August Book Reviews by Robin

easy routeSecond Nature by Alice Hoffman. If writers are directed to find a story that hasn’t been told, Alice Hoffman is good. A man who was raised by wolves, but that is not really the story. The story is of the woman (named Robin!) who discovers herself in the process of saving him. Yes, there are stories of people raised by animals. But Hoffman doesn’t even bother to go into much detail about that part of the story, she tells the rest of the story and I liked that. Rate: 4.0

Wonder When You’ll Miss Me by Amanda Davis. This story was filled with surprise twists and turns. It starts out as the story of the mental health of sixteen year old Faith Duckle, but takes you off on her actual adventures when she – drum roll  – runs away and joins the circus. Yep. Davis has taken that cliche and used it to tell a very deep emotional story. I really liked this one too! Rate: 4.0

Tip of the Bone by Christine Finlayson. I bought this book a few years ago, on a road trip up the Oregon Coast. It was one of those times when every novel on my Kindle bored me so I stopped at a beautiful book store in Bandon, Oregon,  I bought a couple of books, but never got to this one on my trip and it joined the stacks of books at home, waiting to be read. I must have bought it because it was local, takes place in a town on the mouth of Yaquina Bay. The story of Maya Rivers, new to the area, and her fringe involvement with a environmental group (through her active brother) is a murder mystery. Enjoyable, but I really can’t say anything surprised me, kind of a formula story. Rate: 3.0

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Loved, loved this book. It is everything that amazes me – well written, great character insight and development, adventure, pace of unfolding story great. But what should one expect from Patchett? The story of Dr. Marina Singh, a researcher who heads out to Brazil to find out what has happened to her colleague reported dead. I won’t spoil it for you, but I consider this a must read. Rate: 4.9



  1. How can we be such great friends and love/hate different things so passionately? Guess it’s a tribute to our intellect and compassion, right? I think Ann Patchett is a gifted write but this “State of Wonder”.was a bit off. Here’s my review: . Patchett is an author I greatly admire and was happy to read another (Thanks, R!). But I feel she might have been rushed into publishing this as it isn’t up to her usual good writing. This contemporary story is set in the Amazon and Patchett takes you there so that you hear the insects, feel the brush of vines and can almost smell the water-laden atmosphere. It is an intriguing plot about using tribal traditions for modern medicine. So, yes there is the big bad corporation that is ready to exploit what this nearly hidden tribe has to offer (this is presented with quite a bit of criticism of drug companies, even if partly deserved.). We are taken into the plot directly, mysterious and intriguing, but also follow some of the characters with their own emotional journeys to conquer. The main doctor, Dr. Annick Swenson is a bit unbelievable but certainly aides the drive of the plot. The single most glaring minus to the story was the dismissive, demeaning and condescending manner of talking about the natives. Too sad! So is it a recommend or not, you ask? Hmm, I can’t make up my mind. We were captured by the unfolding of the story but at the end were deflated with the implausibility of the scientific studies….I won’t spoil it for you but really, who would want that drug anyway? So-so recommend.

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