I thought that maybe I ought to talk about books other than mine every once in a while. So today I'm going to recommend two good ones. They're vastly different types, but that just means this post will have wider audience appeal, right? (Either that or you'll get a glimpse into my multiple personality-like psyche. I mean, who else puts the iPod on shuffle and goes from gothic rock to Josh Groban to hip hop to alternative to electronica? Yeah, my husband laughs at my music. "Eclectic doesn't quite cover it," he says.)
Up first, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
This story rates pretty high on the creep out factor, much like the movie The Village rates high on the creep out factor. And there are a lot of similarities between the stories, or at least the setting.
In Mary's world, there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village....
This book is set in post-apocalyptic U.S. after a virus that changes the infected into zombies (The Unconsecrated) has claimed most of the population. There are a few isolated pockets of living left, like Mary's village, which is protected by a fence to keep out the zombies that overrun the forest. Mary grew up with stories of other times and places, and of amazing things that are hard to believe, like oceans and cities and a life without The Unconsecrated always hungering after living flesh. Mary dreams of leaving the village and finding a life different than what she knows, but when she finally does things aren't exactly like she hoped.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a good read, especially if you're in the mood for creepy. It was extra interesting because it's written in first person present tense. I'm not a big fan of that, but it was so well done that I didn't really notice.
Up next, with nary a zombie in sight, is the book Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate.
From the back cover:
The lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. That's what Kate Bowman learns when she moves temporarily--with her husband and baby son--to her grandmother's Missouri farm. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who's become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother's heart.
Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma's journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life--and her grandmother--in a completely new way.
Tending Roses is a heart-warming story (uh oh! If you're like me then that term will make you really suspicious, but it really is a feel-good story). You come to love the characters and I don't know any mothers who won't at least identify somewhat with Kate, who is facing the challenges of financial troubles, aging family, and figuring out motherhood and the feeling of losing her identity in her new role.
One of my favorite lines is: "The best times of my life, the times that have passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild." It's a poignant reminder that sometimes I need to let some of my "roses" grow wild in order to focus on more important things. (Like ignoring the dishes to dance with my daughter.)
There are also four more books in the Tending Roses Series, but I've only read the first one. They're on my list of books to eventually get to.
There are a couple of great reads for your summer. Take a look over on the sidebar to find other recommended books and book reviews. *It will be updated soon, too. Promise!*