Sunday, September 13, 2009

TSS - Sunday Shorts

My thoughts on a selection of books that, for one reason or another, didn't inspire me to write full reviews.

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White
published 6/09
336 pages


Neil White, a journalist and magazine publisher, wanted the best for those he loved—nice cars, beautiful homes, luxurious clothes. He loaned money to family and friends, gave generously to his church, and invested in his community—but his bank account couldn't keep up. Soon White began moving money from one account to another to avoid bouncing checks. His world fell apart when the FBI discovered his scheme and a judge sentenced him to serve eighteen months in a federal prison.

But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy. Hidden away for decades, this small circle of outcasts had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. It is here, in a place rich with history, where the Mississippi River briefly runs north, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, that White's strange and compelling journey begins. He finds a new best friend in Ella Bounds, an eighty-year-old African American double amputee who had contracted leprosy as a child. She and the other secret people, along with a wacky troop of inmates, help White rediscover the value of simplicity, friendship, and gratitude.

My thoughts:

I didn't have a specific problem with this book - I just found myself a lot more interested in the leprosy patients than in White, and I felt like there wasn't nearly enough of them.

Finished: 8/13/09
Source: Franklin Avenue Library
Rating: 6/10

Fade by Lisa McMann
published 2/09
248 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....

My thoughts:

I'd read the first book in this YA series earlier this year, and thought the idea was interesting. I didn't enjoy the sequel quite are much as the original, however, and don't know that I will pick up the final book in the trilogy. I do find Janie to be an engaging heroine, but found too much that was predictable, including the "truth" about Janie's ability. It was a fine, light read, but nothing that I will likely remember in a couple of months.

Finished: 9/6/09
Source: Franklin Avenue Library
Rating: 7/10

The Sister by Poppy Adams

published 7/09
304 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

Born into a long line of distinguished lepidopterists, scientists who study moths and butterflies, Ginny and Vivien grew up in a sprawling Victorian home. Forty-seven years later, Ginny lives there alone, tending to her moths and obsessions amid the ghosts of her past.

But when her sister Vivien returns to the crumbling family mansion, dark, unspoken secrets rise, disrupting Ginny's ordered life and threatening the family's fragile peace. Told in Ginny's unforgettable voice, this debut novel tells a disquieting story of two sisters and the ties that bind-sometimes a little too tightly.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting novel, very well written, but I just never quite felt swept up in it like I wanted to be. Also, I figured out the "secret" about Ginny rather early on, which felt a bit disappointing. It was a good story, but I had hoped for a bit more.

Finished: 9/10/09
Source: the publisher (via
Rating: 7/10


bermudaonion said...

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is on my nightstand - I hope I like it more than you did.

Andi said...

Bummer! I was really interested in the lepers. Too bad they're not a big enough part to make it worthwhile.

Luanne said...

I really enjoyed The Sister. but I must say I don't like the US cover at all....

Nymeth said...

Sorry to hear The Sisters was a bit of a let down! I've heard some good things about it, but I've also heard that it includes more details about moths than I could probably handle :P

Diane said...

In the Santuary of Outcasts sounded pretty good, but like, you I think I'd gravitate toward the leprosy victims. I enjoyed The Sisters; Poppy Adams.

Elizabeth said...

bermuda - well, it was certainly interesting, but I just wanted more detail that wasn't there.

Andi - yeah, maybe I was just TOO interested in them.

Luanne - well, I didn't NOT like it. It just felt like I was removed from the characters.

Nymeth - there are DEFINITELY lots of details on moths!

Diane - well, I might have been the only person in the world who wasn't in love with The Sister.

Zibilee said...

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts sounds like a book that I would really like to get my hands on. I think it sounds really unique and I am going to put it on my wish list. I have seen The Sister around as well, too bad it was a little disappointing. I may just pass on that one.

Jenners said...

I wasn't inspired to write a full review of "The Sister" either. And I'm still confused as to what actually happened ... maybe I can ask you some questions offline to see what you thought.

Elizabeth said...

Zibille - it's quite possible that you will really like it. I think I might have been feeling a little scroogy when I was reading these three books!

Jenners - sure, that would be fun. It might be a book that gets better with conversation?? =)