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Reviews Written by
Denise Bentley "Kelsana" RSS Feed (The California Redwoods)
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The Three of Us
The Three of Us
by Cynthia Victor
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
77 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible treat, a significant jolt., May 8, 2002
Three strangers suffer a near death tragedy, leaving them confused about their feelings towards family and life in general. Together they work through the rage that surfaces after their loss of control, and disappointments in a life that has passed them by. Kip, Nora, and Eloise are about to find out just how important it is to follow your dream.
The authors, Cynthia Katz and Victoria Skurnick, known by the pen name of Cynthia Victor, have written a book that upsets the balance between what is, and what can be. Remarkably you find yourself cheering on the heroines as they make political and social statements that shake up the standards. The characters are as clearly cut as glass and I found myself laughing as well as crying as the story unfolded. It all culminates in the last 100 pages where I felt like I was in a rowboat headed for the falls at break neck speed.
I picked up this book thinking this was a light read, the cover struck me as chick lit, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a total package with a great deal to say...


Raveling: A Novel
Raveling: A Novel
by Peter Moore Smith
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $18.99
125 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The unraveling of a family., May 8, 2002
Told in the first person, by a man named Pilot after his father's love of flying; we are entrenched in the bizarre happenings of a family gone awry. We meet Pilot, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, right after he has suffered a psychotic event, where he believes he remembers what happened to his sister Fiona who disappeared at the age of seven.
The book takes off in several directions leaving the reader wondering what is real, and what is the meandering mind of a psychotic. His mother tells us in the first paragraph that she is seeing ghosts. Pilot's brother Eric is a neurosurgeon that seems to deal with it all quite calmly and efficiently. Their father is out of the picture but that is still yet another slice of the story to be dealt with.
The author does a superb job of climbing inside the chaotic mind of someone who is deranged, but all is not always as it seems. There are many characters on the stage set by this novel, and there are several suspects. The truth is so gruesome it is not for the faint of heart. I found this book unnerving, but I also could not stop listening to it. Kelsana 5/8/02


Back When We Were Grownups: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Back When We Were Grownups: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by Anne Tyler
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.98
686 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A character study in family., May 3, 2002
Rebecca Davitch is 53 years old, widowed and rethinking her chosen path. Surrounded by family on more occasions then not, she is the instigator of parties and the glue that holds them all together. Parties have become a business for her over the years, and she is about to give the party of the century for Poppy, her aging relative and roommate who is about to turn 100 this year.
The book travels back through time, and Rebecca relives her past and thinks over her choices, trying to remember who she was and how she has become this woman that stares back at her from the mirror. The author has created some richly illuminated, strong, and intelligent characters. Poppy makes us realize how much joy there is in the everyday sights, sounds, and smells of living. He was by far my favorite character.
The book takes time to get going since the strong point is the development of the characters. Beautifully written she is an author with deep insight into the human spirit. The book reads like a lackadaisical trip through someone's old photo album.
Kelsana 5/03/02


The Blue Bottle Club
The Blue Bottle Club
by Penelope J. Stokes
Edition: Paperback
130 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreams that come true in a round about way., May 1, 2002
This review is from: The Blue Bottle Club (Paperback)
Four Young girls decide to write down their dreams and place them in a blue glass bottle where they remain hidden in the eves of a house for 65 years. It is during the destruction of the house that the bottle is found thus setting Brendan Delaney, a local reporter, on an adventure that there is no turning back from. As she attempts to find the four woman, who have been scattered by the wind, she is surprised to find herself filling a deep need within.
This is a touching book with an array of life and paths chosen, showing the reader that life is much more than what ever could be expected. The message is clear. The "big picture" is not always in accordance with the whims and wishes of the narrow sighted young, yet the joys abound for those who just let it unfold.
This is a well written book with a timely message. I enjoyed this book very much and would be happy to read another book by this author. Kelsana 5/01/02


Picture Perfect
Picture Perfect
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Hardcover
67 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty as a Picture or so it seems., April 29, 2002
This review is from: Picture Perfect (Hardcover)
Now let's take a look at the real world. Wonderfully written as all of Picoult's books are; this one has a lot of heart, and a whole lot of selfless love or so Cassie thinks. Is her behavior selfless or foolish?
Alex Rivers is a mega star in Hollywood and Cassie is the most unlikely of people to grace his arm at a premiere among the Hollywood golden set. She is an anthropologist with her head in the books and her mind on the next dig, happy to be in a bush jacket and jeans as she unearths her latest treasure. Two worlds collide in more ways than one when Alex and Cassie meet and marry.
A study in abuse that will touch your heart, and leave you cheering for both sides because of the love the author so eloquently makes you feel for both characters. Ahhhh but just how much can one person take, and is there a way out, is the question that has to be answered. This book had me guessing till the last 25 pages. Picoult has a new book coming out in May titled PERFECT MATCH. I'll be first in line for that one too. This author has never disappointed me. Kelsana 4/29/02


Firefly Beach
Firefly Beach
by Luanne Rice
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
325 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich family loyalty and deep understanding., April 29, 2002
Caroline Renwick has been the strength that held her family together. The oldest of three daughters of a famous artist whose life was riddled by sadness and alcoholism, Caroline has been the foundation her mother could never be.
As a very young girl, a terrible tragedy has changed the direction of her life, and the person at the center of it is back on the scene. Will it spell trouble by dredging up old hate and angers not yet faced by those that have carried them for years like an old skin, uneasily shed? Will tragedy bring all of these characters closer?
This is a well written book that flows easily leaving you with likable characters that you can't help but wish the best for. I did enjoy the read though it is predictable. I already have another Rice book waiting in the eves to be read, titled BLUE MOON. Kelsana 4/29/02


The Last Castle
The Last Castle
DVD ~ Robert Redford
Offered by Phase 3, LLC
Price: $19.49
222 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic battle between Good and Evil with shades of gray., April 23, 2002
This review is from: The Last Castle (DVD)
Starring Robert Redford as a three star general that has been sent to military prison, and "The Soprano's", James Gandolfini as his warden/keeper. Tension is high between the war weary General and the warden who has always been behind the lines, a watcher of battles never a participant. The warden rules with an iron fist, and not always by the rules; all is not as it should be in the Castle.
The Castle refers to the Prison, which stands with a history of years past. There is some intense strategizing and battles hard won that make for a wonderfully entertaining body of work that will keep your attention and raise the hairs of indignity on the back of your neck. The end comes to you with patriotic overtones that will make you want to stand up and cheer. I really enjoyed this film and would highly recommend it. ...


Missing Pieces
Missing Pieces
by Joy Fielding
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
204 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love and the serial killer., April 23, 2002
The premise for this book is so absurd I can hardly believe there was a story to go with it. After reading Fielding's 5 star GRAND AVENUE, I wanted to read everything she has written.
Kate's sister JoLynn opens the paper one morning and decides she will fall in love and marry the serial killer who's handsome picture is plastered all over the front page. His trial is moving along and JoLynn decides to meet with him to give him her support.
The rest is totally absurd with little merit. I find it hard to believe the same author wrote both of these books. The one redeeming aspect is that this author excels at creating living, breathing, characters, even the ones that behave in the most unbelievable manner. Kelsana 4/23/02


Fall On Your Knees (Oprah's Book Club)
Fall On Your Knees (Oprah's Book Club)
by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.40
1174 used & new from $0.01

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and foreboding, masterfully written., April 16, 2002
Written by a natural born storyteller, MacDonald allows the reader to amble through the insanity that becomes the Piper family. We trip through the abuse, lust, neglect, alcoholism, homosexuality, and the many lies that keep the truth buried so deep, no one will ever unravel fact from fiction. A twisted tale of survivors as well as those that are annihilated by the insanity of a family that continues on at all costs. The prices paid are astronomical when measured against the joys reaped.
This is an intense book, marked by a profundity that keeps the reader aware of the sadness that permeates the writing. Writing where the description of even the joyful moments, which are all too few, has an element of sadness shadowing it. At times it became quite difficult for me to read, the story telling was that antagonizing, pulling the reader along like a whirlpool of exasperation, never knowing what would surface. I can only now say that I am glad I continued because it was certainly worth the ride. Kelsana 4/16/02


Grand Avenue
Grand Avenue
by Joy Fielding
Edition: Hardcover
142 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fielding takes a leap into literature, April 16, 2002
This review is from: Grand Avenue (Hardcover)
and comes up with a winner. Spectacular character development is only part of the winning presence of this book. The reader becomes a part of a tight knit group of four women who laugh, love, and attempt to live life to the fullest, sometimes cloaked in secrecy. Through the ups and downs of marriage and the childbearing years they always know they have each other. Until something unspeakable happens, something so unthinkable they are not sure whether it is even possible.
I climbed right into this novel and became one of the "Grand Dames" of Grand Avenue, as they were so richly known. Clever and sharply written, to the point that I even winced at some of the scenes. These women will stay with you long after you read the last page. Kudos go out to Fielding for making a marvelous contribution to her reading public. Kelsana 4/16/02


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