Monday, August 31, 2009

Benefits of Jury Duty

Today I sat in a waiting room to see if I would be one of many called upon to sit on a jury. While many around me complained of waiting and wasting time, I joyfully pulled out my books and began to read. I was there for a total of seven hours, six of those just waiting and reading. I finished off two books. What follows are my reviews. Both of these books were read as part of my Reading Challenges. The August Book Challenge hosted by Pizza's Book Discussions and 100+ Reading Challenge hosted by J.Kaye's Books

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Brenner Duble
This book came from my shelves at school.
We have all heard the stories of the Salem Witch Trials. Few of us are aware of the fact that Andover, Massachusetts had more people accused of being a witch than in Salem. This Historical Fiction novel is the story of one such family. Based on facts discovered about the author’s own family it is the story of Abigail and her sister Dorothy who find themselves accused of being witches. Abigail’s character in the book is seen as being wild by Puritan standards. The story starts and we find her sitting with her legs locked in the stocks for lifting her skirts and running. During the 17th century this is seen as sinful. It doesn’t help that the townsfolk see her father, who is prone to “fits” as a weak person. It also did not help her case that her grandfather is their preacher. Dorothy is Abigail’s older sister. She is the absolute opposite of Abigail. She is quite, obedient and hates to run. Their grandfather, instead of admonishing his grand-daughter in church, talks about spreading falsehoods. No one knows what he is talking about until they are told about the young girls in Salem who have accused others of witchcraft. Now they are to be brought to Andover where they are to discern witches among the people of Andover. Many are accused and sent to Salem to await trial. Abigail’s Aunt Elizabeth is the first in their family to be accused and sent off. While attending their sick mother who is hallucinating due to a high fever, their house servant sees this behavior and accuses Abigail and her sister of being witches. The rest of the story is their survival and family sacrifices made on their behalf. The book had been in my pile to read for a long time. I finally got around to it and am sorry that it took me so long to get to it. It was read for the 1st in series challenge held by J. Kaye’s Blog and for the August Reading Challenge. I believe it is a must read for anyone interested in the Salem Witch Trials.

Death of a Cure by Steven H. Jackson
Death of a Cure by Steven H. Jackson is a book that normally I would not pick up without someone recommending it to me. Since I teach middle school, most of my books are Middle Grades or Young Adult in nature. Recently I vented about the reading program I must teach in school this year. The author read my post and asked if I would be willing to preview his book and review it. I checked it out and decided it had a premise that sounded promising so I agreed. My review follows.

Dr. Ronald Briggs works for an organization trying to find a cure for a disease called CID. Now that he has found some success in finding the cure it is snatched from him. The story opens with the violent action of someone demanding the disk that contains the information about the cure while holding him at gun point. As Dr. Briggs body slams into the pavement his last thoughts are of the cure and how it will die with him. Enter Dr. Thomas Briggs. A Marine Surgeon, Thomas is on assignment when he gets the message of his brother’s death. He flies to New York and like a bull in a China shop begins investigating. He brings in a long time friend and part-time girl friend, FBI agent Marilena. He needed her to head the investigation into his brother’s death. Not for one moment did he believe that it was a suicide. He knew that sometimes you needed to use a little finesse when dealing with people. This was something he was not good at. On their first night together they are almost run down by a yellow cab. That was my first hint that Thomas may be right about his brother’s death. I had my own ideas about who the murderer was. I was so wrong. book kept me turning the pages one after another. I was very pleased with the character development, the subtle romance that was building. The author even had me guessing about the romance. Would it develop or not? The book was well researched. Not just anyone could write about a not-for-profit organization. I was taken into the world that sometime is a little more than what is portrayed on the surface. The medical information was not grotesque but detailed and informative enough to keep me reading. Although, had it been a grotesque , detailed oriented book that dealt with the issues of someone falling from a building, and the effect it has on the body, I would still have read it. Call me weird. You are talking to someone who spent her summers reading her sisters nursing books for pleasure. I believe this book would appeal to many people; those who are looking for a corporate thriller, those looking for a killer in the medical field and those who just like to read. The plot and the characters were well fleshed out. I look forward to reading many more novels by this author. It is definitely books like this that pull me back from my Middle Grades/ YA books and into the world of the adults. I can’t wait to share this book with many teachers at my school.


  1. What a great excuse to read all day!! I secretly love those situations, lol!!

    Btw,the writing for your links blends in with your background so I had to search with the pointer for where to click on comments. =/

  2. Oh to have 6 hours just to read!!! That would be a dream . Great books, just added more to my must read list!

  3. I take advantage of any opportunity to read. I have started eating my lunch in my room so I can read. I took a book to the teacher's lounge but they talked so loud I couldn't concentrate.

  4. Just stopping by to pass you a little note: I'm giving away a copy of The Tale of Despereaux. Swing by when you have the time.=)