Tag Archives: language

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

Word Lily review

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy (Kregel, December 2010), 320 pages

Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy Summary
Sheila Franklin has lived three separate lives. Now a conservative pastor’s wife in Chicago, she is skilled at hiding secrets — a talent birthed during childhood romps through the music-filled streets of New Orleans. But when the son she bore at the age of 18 comes back looking for answers and desperate for help, her greatest secret — and greatest regret — is revealed. Eager to right past wrongs, Sheila’s heart floods with memories of lyrical jazz music and a worn-out Bible. But when her husband learns her history, she’s faced with an impossible decision: embrace the dream — and son — she abandoned against her will or give in to the demands of her safe but stifled life. ~from GoodReads

I had heard good things about this book, but the cover was a major hurdle for me. It looks … self-published. I think it was Amy’s review that got me over that hurdle. Thanks, Amy. This is one of those instances where my cover-judgment would have dis-served me.

I’m just going to give it to you in bullet points, because that’s what my notes look like, and it’s been way too long since I read it for me to remember specifics.

• The musical threads Lacy uses to tie the pieces of the story together are brilliant. This gives the whole book almost a rhythmic, poetic feel.

• The pacing lagged at times.

• There is an incredible amount of time (number of years) covered in the book. I think she mostly pulled this off, but it might have contributed to the feeling of slow pacing somehow.

• I liked that there’s a bit of a mystery for the reader to uncover.

• And I really liked the setting(s) of the book.

• There was something else that just didn’t quite feel right about it, but I, even after many months, can’t put my finger on it.

Not really related, but still: I think this book (reading it and writing about it) have finally gotten me to where I can spell “rhythm” correctly on my first try. That was one of the words I always had to try a couple times before I found the accurate spelling. So there’s that.

Rating: 4 stars

Other reviews
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Listen by Rene Gutteridge

It’s Thursday of Rene Gutteridge Week! What’s been your favorite part so far? We’re not done yet, though; there’s more to come.

Rene Gutteridge Week 2011, WordLily.com

Word Lily review

Listen by Rene Gutteridge (Tyndale, January 2010), 432 pages

Marlo’s known as being a town where nothing bad (or newsworthy) ever happens. No one knows what to think or where to turn when a mysterious website starts publishing the private conversations of townspeople. People’s initial reactions are varied, but as hours turn into days, it becomes clear that the site could have serious consequences.

I really loved the different perspectives in this book — a couple teens, a newspaper reporter, a newspaper editor, a cop, a mom.

In some ways, this felt like an issue book — a book written to illuminate, explore, condemn, etc., a certain problem — rather than just a book. I tend to dislike stories written for the purpose of conveying a moral or message. But as time has passed since I read it, that impression, along with my irritation based on it, has faded. Instead, I’m left with the thought that this story is a somewhat new exploration of the power of words, both to hurt and to heal. What I remember in this case are the aspects I enjoyed: the characters, the emotions.

Gutteridge’s Occupational Hazard series is still my favorite of her work, but this isn’t at the bottom of the stack, either.


About the author
Rene Gutteridge (Facebook) is the author of 17 novels. On her blog she posted chapter-by-chapter discussions about Listen, as well as other content about the power of words.

Other reviews
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


“‘And what is a portrait of a woman? Your painting and Plastik are poor stuff after all. They perturb and dull conceptions instead of raising them. Language is a finer medium.’ ‘Yes, for those who can’t paint,’ said Naumann. ‘There … Continue reading

Recommend: Books in translation

Help! I realized recently that I haven’t read a single book in translation so far in 2010. This is a problem.

I generally enjoy translated books, but somehow I’ve missed them so far this year. What’s worse, when this first occurred to me, I couldn’t even think of ones I wanted to read. Since then, I’ve picked up (am reading it now) The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón translated by Lucia Graves, and I’ve moved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson translated by Reg Keeland closer to the top of my TBR pile. (I just watched the movie.) However, this is not enough to satisfy me.

Help me remedy this gaping hole in my reading, please! What translated books should I read? Which have you loved, recently or not?

‘Words are not inert tools’

“Let us not become concerned with such distinctions here, except to note the role of language. Whether we are gods whose speech can form creation, or creatures formed by godly speech, all agree creative power emanates from language as heat does from the sun. Words are not inert tools to be wielded haphazardly like a hoe or spade. Words can heal a broken heart, or cut as deeply as a sharpened sword.”

—On page 304 of Lost Mission by Athol Dickson

I really loved this book, review coming soon.

I received this book via the blog of the author’s agent.

Female fact of life

“I detected instantly that she didn’t like me. It’s a fact of life that a girl can tell in a flash if another girl likes her. Feely says that there is a broken telephone connection between men and women, and we can never know which of us rang off. With a boy you can never know whether he’s smitten or gagging, but with a girl you can tell in the first three seconds. Between girls there is a silent and unending flow of invisible signals, like the high-frequency wireless messages between the shore and the ships at sea, and this secret flow of dots and dashes was signaling that Mary detested me.”

—From The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, page 85

What to do with Marina

I need your help! What should I do with this book?

Here’s the story:

My sister is a gift-giver. She loves receiving and giving gifts. She gets so excited about it sometimes that she gives away part of the surprise because she just can’t hold it in. I love my sister.

She told me recently that she was mailing me a book. At first she kind of had to give it away because I’m moving and she didn’t know if I’d want it sent to my current residence or if she should just wait and send it after I’ve moved. Well, I said I want it now, please! :p You can’t tell me you’ve got a surprise for me and then expect me to wait longer than I have to before receiving it!

marinaThis time, I believe she bought the book at a Friends of the Library sale, or something similar. I don’t know all the details, and they don’t really matter too much. She didn’t pay full price, which is good — because when the book arrived earlier this week, it was in Spanish. Which is great, except I can’t read Spanish.

She didn’t realize it was in Spanish until I told her. Which is sad, but also charming.

She saw the author’s name, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, remembered that I’d liked the two books I’d recently read by him (neither of which had the same title as this one), and bought it for me. The book? Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, one of his untranslated (into English, anyway) young adult novels. I really wish I could read it.

Now the part I need your help with. What should I do with this book that I can’t read?

Ideas that have been tossed around:
• Save it. Keep it on my shelf, regardless of the fact that I can’t read it.
• Learn Spanish so I can read it.
• Give it away here on the blog to someone who will at least review it in English for me.
• List it on BookMooch.

What do you think I should do with this book?

Free e-book: The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English

official dictionary of unofficial englishGrant Barrett released his book The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English: A Crunk Omnibus for Thrillionaires and Bampots for the Ecozoic Age as a free PDF download this week.

I haven’t really started reading it yet (I think I should finish one nonfiction e-book before I start another, don’t you?), but I’m excited to dive in; I downloaded it immediately. Seems like a good read for anyone interested in language and words.

I’ve been reading and enjoying Barrett’s blog for quite a while.

Don’t forget about my giveaway of The Night Watchman!