Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
From the Publishers: This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.
Well it was my day off on Friday and I had big plans of cleaning my house and doing laundry and my apartment building decided it was a great day to shut the water off for 7 hrs. Needless to say I didn't get anything accomplished except reading an entire book. I have to say that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would have. I did like the main character but I thought that the book didn't give as much character development as I would have liked. There are a lot of mini stories going on throughout the entire novel. I did enjoy reading the descriptions of Africa and I suppose that the character development may come in future books in the series but I have to say that overall I was a little disappointed. There is so much hype about this series and I felt it fell a little flat. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
This is the second book of a two book series. I have already reviewed the first book Riding Lessons and that being said I really enjoyed this book a lot better than the first one. The main character in the first book was quite irritating and it was difficult to sympathize with her. In this book, while she still does some frustrating things, she is a much more believable character. I stayed up all night finishing this one; I couldn't put it down. I also found that this book tugged a bit more at the heartstrings. Gruen really develloped each character from the first book and I found myself drawn into wanting to know more. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Sadie, however, could care less. Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie's necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different "twenties" girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella's books beloved by millions, "Twenties Girl "is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.
I know this is chick lit and therefore not a great literary masterpiece but I couldn't put this book down. I really enjoyed the characters in the book. This book was a little different from Kinsella's other books in the fact that it is a ghost story. It focuses on family heritage which I have always found interesting. I have always been the one in my family who wanted to know my relatives as more than just their title (grandmother, great aunt, aunt, etc) I have always wanted to know what it was like for them growing up and what kind of trouble they got into. This book reminds me of how important these kinds of conversations are with your relatives while you still have the chance. That being said, like most chick lit there is an air of predictability about the book. I have come to expect this and it is still fun to read none the less. I really enjoy Kinsella's writing style but have found that I enjoy her non-Shopaholic books best. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared off the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family. There was no corpse, no witnesses, no evidence. But her uncle, Henrik, is convinced that she was murdered by someone from her own deeply dysfunctional family. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to investigate, but he quickly finds himself in over his head. He hires a competent assistant: the gifted and conscience-free computer specialist Lisbeth Salander, and the two unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.
It took a little time for me to really get into this book but once I did I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed reading a book that was set in a totally different country than I am used to. The book really did a good job of giving me an idea of who the main characters really were. The book was not purely driven by plot and I really enjoyed that. I almost felt like I was smack dab in the middle of the mystery. I also have to say that the book was anything but predictable. I have often found that I can guess who the "bad guy" is right away in mysteries but while reading this book I really found myself changing my mind every few minutes about who could have been the killer. I really liked the twist at the end of the novel too. I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the book. I am really looking forward to The Girl Who Played With Fire which is the 2nd book in the series. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I have to say I couldn't bring myself to finish this book. Most of the plot was boring and there were long gaps in the timeframe that I didn't like. It also had way too many gratuitous sex scenes. I am not a prude by any means but I don't think that a book has to have a sex scene in it every chapter. It was just a little too much for me. I was disappointed because I thought that it would be just a nice easy summer read and I was looking forward to it. I give this book 1 star out of 5.
Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date) Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? Depends on my mood. Something in between really.
Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? Paperbacks Fiction? Or Nonfiction? Fiction Poetry? Or Prose? Prose
Biographies? Or Autobiographies? Autobiographies History? Or Historical Fiction? Hmm... I was a history minor but I guess I'd go with Historical Fiction
Series? Or Stand-alones? Stand Alones... I do read some series but after a while depending on the series the books can tend to get too repetitious
Classics? Or best-sellers? Best Sellers
Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Something in between, nothing too basic but nothing too fruity
Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Plots
Long books? Or Short? Depends on my mood
Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? Non illustrated
Borrowed? Or Owned? Owned
New? Or Used? New
(Yes, I know, some of these we’ve touched on before, and some of these we might address in-depth in the future, but for today–just quick answers!)
So there they are :)
Monday, July 6, 2009
But everything will change yet again with one glimpse of a red and white striped gelding startlingly similar to the one Annemarie lost in another lifetime. And an obsession is born that could shatter her fragile world.My Thoughts:
I got this book because I absolutely adored Water for Elephants. It's not that I was disappointed with this book because I wasn't but I didn't find that it had the same pizazz as Gruen's bestseller. I never grew up around horses but I had a friend in high school who had a horse at a barn and went with her a few times to watch her ride. I myself have never rode a horse but when I watch people it looks exhilarating. I found myself really involved in this book and wanting the characters to get along. I have to say I found the main character to be frustrating. I could just see her making all kinds of mistakes with her daughter (I myself am 27 with no children so what do I know) and with her parents and I just wanted to shake her sometimes. I almost felt like while I could sympathize with the main character's sadness for not being as close with her daughter and parents, I could sympathize more with her daughter and mother. I would not know how to communicate with a woman like that. In the end I really wanted to know what else was going to happen. So... to feed my book addiction I went out and bought the next book in the series. Stay tuned for that review. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The big day is almost here for Jessica Wild. She's finally engaged to the perfect man-sexy, wonderful Max-and is in the middle of planning the perfect wedding. Nothing, absolutely nothing, stands between her and happily-ever-after. Well, almost nothing. Probably nothing. You see, lately Max has been evasive, even secretive. And when Jessica answers his mobile and hears a sultry woman's voice on the other end, it's the last straw. Leaving nothing to chance, Jessica tracks down the mystery woman-and finds her smack in the middle of Max's embrace.
The next thing Jessica knows, she's waking up in the apartment of Max's business rival after a night out that was meant to help her forget her woes. And when a series of even more tumultuous events leads to a life-changing discovery, Jessica realizes that things are not what they seem-not by a long shot. How could she have ever doubted the only man she's ever wanted? And now that her job, her reputation, and her heart are in jeopardy, is love enough to give her the miracle she so desperately needs?
This is a typical chick lit book. I have read most of Townley's books. I started reading her novels because she is Sophie Kinsella's sister I really enjoy her novels. This is the second book in a series althought I'm not sure how many more books Townley is planning on writing. I enjoyed this book because it was an easy light read but at the same time the main character is a bit frustrating. She continues to dodge the truth and as a reader you just know that things are going to end in disaster. With that said, you also know that as typical chick lit, things will work themselves out in the end if only the protanganist comes clean and confesses to her wrongdoings. I give this book a 3 out of 5.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.
They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting.Now their time has come.
In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.
In two months-the world.
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city-a city that includes his wife and son-before it is too late.My Review:
I really enjoyed this book. It was like vampires meets zombies. The head vampire in the novel wants to take over the planet starting with New York City. I really like how the authors drew out the plot to make it suspenseful. The characters, even the minor ones, are written beautifully and I have a feeling that they may reappear later on in the next two books of the trilogy. I had seen Pan's Labrinth and The Orphanage which were both directed by del Toro and I was really looking forward to this book. I was not disappointed and I recommend it highly if you like vampire/zombie genre. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.
Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?
I have to say I haven't read any celebrity memoirs but there are a few that I've been thinking of getting; one being Barbara Walters' new book. She has interviewed so many people and has had quite a fulfilling life. It would be interesting to see if she has any skeletons in the closet. I was also told that Tori Spelling's two books were pretty interesting. I think I may have to add a few of these to my TBR pile.
I have to say it really bugs me when someone in their 20s writes a tell all memoir. I feel that they should wait until they have a little more insight before they write their life story, especially considering they haven't lived even half their life yet. That's just a little pet peeve of mine.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Here is this weeks question:
There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)
But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.
What niche books do YOU read?
I can honestly say I don't think I read any niche books. Perhaps when I was in university I read some history books but other than that I don't think I have any niche books really. I do have a collection of architectural technology books but they are my fiancee's. Actually, I suppose I have a niche of teaching books. I have all the Ontario curriculum books and I read those often for my lesson plans. I also have books on how best to teach children who have learning disabilities and if English is their second language. So I guess my niche books are teaching books.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
From the Publishers:
Come into my parlor . . . For FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy it starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly is too horrifying to be true. But prostitutes are disappearing, leaving behind no bodies and no explanations—except one only Kimberly, herself four months pregnant, is willing to believe. Could a sadist be hunting the streets for vulnerable young girls and using spiders to do his dirty work? Said the spider to the fly. . . . Either a serial killer has found the key to the perfect murder or Kimberly is following clues to a crime that never happened. In fact, Kimberly’s caught in a web more lethal than any spider’s, and the more she fights for answers, the more tightly she’s trapped. She’s already close—too close—to a psychopath who makes women’s nightmares come alive. And like her mother and sister before her, both victims of a serial killer, it won’t be long before it’s Kimberly’s time to say goodbye with her dying breath.
I really got into this book and found I couldn't put it down. Gardner really knows how to write a murder mystery. Not only does she write an exciting plot line but she also develops all her characters including the killer. What I really like about this book is the fact that you never know what is going to happen next; predictable is not a word I would use to describe this book. **** SPOILER ALERT**** At times I found it really hard to believe that someone who went through as much abuse as he did, Dinchara continued the legacy of sexual torture on other young boys. That being said, I can see how it might happen if that is the only life he remembers. I guess there is the Stockholm Syndrome for a reason. I really like how all the characters were tied together in the end. Again, this was another book that I read within a day or two. I couldn't put it down. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars
From the Publishers:
Brad Meltzer--author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Fate--returns with his most thrilling and emotionally powerful novel to date.
In Chapter Four of the Bible, Cain kills Abel. It is the world''s most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history.
In 1932, Mitchell Siegel was killed by three gunshots to his chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world''s greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain''s murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found.
Today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Cal Harper comes face-to-face with his family''s greatest secret: his long-lost father, who''s been shot with a gun that traces back to Mitchell Siegel''s 1932 murder. But before Cal can ask a single question, he and his father are attacked by a ruthless killer tattooed with the anicent markings of Cain. And so begins the chase for the world''s first murder weapon.
What does Cain, history''s greatest villain, have to do with Superman, the world''s greatest hero? And what do two murders, committed thousands of years apart, have in common? This is the mystery at the heart of Brad Meltzer''s riveting and utterly intriguing new thriller- read less
I found this book to be fast paced and suspenseful and it took almost no time at all to finish. The book blends the biblical story of Cain and Abel with the modern story of Superman and takes the reader on a journey to find the Book of Lies which actually turns out to be a book of truth. I really enjoyed reading this book. I found that in some parts the plot line was a little predictable but overall I was excited to see what would happen next. Like many plot driven books, the characters are not as fully developed as I usually like but you come to expect that when reading books like this. I give this book a 4 out of 5
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I saw this over at Shelley’s, and thought it sounded like a great question for all of you:
“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”
Ok, this might be difficult but here I go:
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistrey
4. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
5. Fall On Your Knees by Anne Marie MacDonald
6. The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman
7. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
10. The Way the Crow Flies by Anne Marie MacDonald
11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
12. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
13. My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult
14. The Harry Potter Series by J. K Rowling
15. The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
So I guess that wasn't as hard as I would have thought. I still have a few reviews to post on here but I want to get back to my book so perhaps another time.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
From the Publishers:
Through a combination of magical humour, revisionist history and muted nostalgia, this book transports readers to the fictional town of Blossom. As the story unfolds, Thomas King familiarizes readers with the lives of five Blackfoot Indians. The plot centres around Alberta, a university professor involved with two men who pull her into opposing orbits. There is also Charlie, a flashy ambitious lawyer; Lionel, the local TV salesman; Latisha, the manager of the Dead Dog Cafe; and Eli, a lost soul searching for the white man’s grail in Toronto. Although the characters live seemingly separate lives, they discover their existences are connected in ways at once coincidental, comical and cosmic in Green Grass, Running Water.
I had a hard time getting through this book. At certain parts I was really intrigued by the characters and their lives. At other parts I had a hard time following what was going on. The dynamic seemed to be either life on the reserve or the rest of the world. I don't have a lot of knowledge on native culture but the novel presents a tension between staying on the reserve and living off the reserve but still retaining their culture. I was frustrated with all the magic realism but at the same time I found it interesting that most of the stories were based in native creation stories but fused with "modern" and Christian culture. Overall I give this book a 3 out of 5
From the Publishers:
One of the most celebrated and controversial authors in America delivers an extraordinary novel—a sweeping chronicle of contemporary Los Angeles that is bold, exhilarating, and utterly original. Dozens of characters pass through the reader's sight lines—some never to be seen again—but James Frey lingers on a handful of LA's lost souls and captures the dramatic narrative of their lives. A dazzling tour de force, Bright Shiny Morning
At first I found this book a little hard to get into but after about 30 pages I really got into it. I wanted to know more about the 4 main characters in the book. I found the way Frey brought in many different fact about LA fascinating and I found myself drawn into the book. I would say if there was one main character it is the city itself rather than the people who inhabit it. That being said, I did find the book a little bleak but I suppose that is the way life crumbles sometimes. I give this book a 4 out of 5 illuminates the joys, horrors, and unexpected fortunes of life and death in Los Angeles.
Friday, May 22, 2009
From the Publishers:
The "New York Times" bestselling sensation that''s ""Steel Magnolias" set in Manhattan" ("USA Today")-now in paperback. Juggling the demands of her yarn shop and single-handedly raising a teenage daughter has made Georgia Walker grateful for her Friday Night Knitting Club. Her friends are happy to escape their lives too, even for just a few hours. But when Georgia''s ex suddenly reappears, demanding a role in their daughter''s life, her whole world is shattered. Luckily, Georgia''s friends are there, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they''ve created isn''t just a knitting club: it''s a sisterhood.
It took me a little time to get into this book. I wasn't quite sure in the beginning but by the end of the book I actually found my self on a city bus trying not to cry so as not to look like a total dud. By the end of the book I was really fascinated by the dynamics of the characters in the book. I was also a surprised by the ending (which I'll keep to myself for those of you who haven't read the book). The thing that took me a while to get into the book was the fact that at some points in the book you are made to think that you know something when it has never been explicitly stated. I could be wrong on the following example but I did find myself going back to reread at certain points. The daughter in the book is bi-racial. Maybe this is a small tidbit that I missed when they were describing Georgia's relationship with James but I at one point I found myself asking if I knew James was African American or not. Other than this, I really enjoyed the book. I found the characters endearing and it makes you feel as if ever after many years redemption is still possible. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Rehana Haque, a young widow, blissfully prepares for the party she will host for her son and daughter. But this is 1971 in East Pakistan, and change is in the air.
Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution; of hope, faith, and unexpected heroism in the midst of chaos—and of one woman's heartbreaking struggle to keep her family safe
What I think:
From the Publishers:
What’s a Park Avenue working mom to do when her troubled son desperately needs a male role model and her husband is a power workaholic? If she’s like Jamie Whitfield, the gutsy heroine of Holly Peterson’s astute new comedy of manners among the ill-mannered elite, she does what every other woman down the block does. She hires herself a manny. Peter Bailey is cool, competent, and so charmingly down-to-earth, he’s irresistible. And with the political sex scandal of the decade propelling her career as a news producer into overdrive, and her increasingly erratic husband locked in his study with suspicious files, Jamie is in serious need of some grounding.
Peter reminds her of everything she once was, still misses, and underneath all the high-society glitz, still is. The question is: Will the new manny in her life put the ground back beneath her feet, or sweep her off them?
I ended up reading this in one day. It was an easy read and if you're looking for something fun and mindless then this is a book for you. I have to say that while I enjoyed reading this book the main character bothered me. She couldn't make up her mind and never stood up for herself. Even at the very end when she has made the obvious decision, she remains ambiguous about her decision. The ended also left too much to the imagination. It doesn't tie things up at all. The title character was endearing and always held strong to what he believed in. I give this book 2.5 stars out of 5.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own. Aminata’s eventual return to Sierra Leone—passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America—is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey.
Lawrence Hill is a master at transforming the neglected corners of history into brilliant imaginings, as engaging and revealing as only the best historical fiction can be. A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.
This book was amazing. I could not put this book down. The book told the story of Meena from childhood to old age perfectly. While reading you couldn't help but wonder how on earth such atrocities could have occurred. This character was stolen from her land, sold and was forced to give up her freedom and eventually had both her children stolen from her. While all this is going on in her life Meena continues to assert her sense of agency. She seeks out education and books and eventually gives the same education to those around her. She finds her way back home after everyone says it will be impossible. The courage and strength of this character is admirable and I could not find one negative thing to say about the way her story was told. While this is a work of fiction it really helps you to reflect on what life would have been like for a person of colour back in these times. I give this book a 5 out of 5.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
From the Publishers:
During the grand opening celebration of the new American headquarters of an immense Japanese conglomerate, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found. The investigation begins, and immediately becomes a headlong chase through a twisting maze of industrial intrigue and a violent business battle that takes no prisoners.
I really enjoyed the cultural research that Crichton puts into this novel. While I don't know much about Japanese culture there seems to be a lot of research done into how culture would play a part in a murder investigation. I also enjoyed how Crichton makes a point about Japanese investment and business practices in the United States. As stated before I do not know much about such things but it has made me question a few things. Perhaps, I will do some research of my own. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel and found the plot line to be exciting. The plot kept me on my toes; however there were times when I thought it was a little predictable and I didn't necessarily like how much of a know it all the main character's partner was. Overall, I give this book a 3.5 out of 5
This is a controversial "memoir" that tells the story of a 23 year old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation in a Twelve Step oriented treatment program.
After all the Oprah hype I never bothered reading this book. There was just too much publicity regarding the book for me to be able to read it at the time without it tainting the experience for me. That being said, a few weeks ago a friend recommended it to me. I have to say I was quite impressed with the book. While it may not all be a completely accurate portrayal of Frey's life it didn't need to be to make an impact on someone's life. The writing is amazing and from the first moment you are sucked into Frey's addiction and recovery process. Having dealt with people who have addictions in my personal life, I can relate to this book. I have to admit I have never seen someone in as rough shape as Frey seemed to be but addiction is addiction and as shown in the book it doesn't matter who you are, whether it be a criminal, a judge, a mobster, or a father, addiction can affect your life and can alter the way you view the world. I was impressed that someone had the courage to not only admit they have a problem and try to conquer them but that they decided to do it on their terms and their way. While this may not work for everyone, Frey seemed to have a good idea of his self and his recovery. I also admire his courage for writing the memoir regardless of if parts were altered or not. I give this book 4 out of 5.
From the Dust Jacket:
Abigail Benet was completely in control of her life. But then tragedy pushed her to the brink of something she's never experienced: obsession. Now, she's given up everything she's ever worked for to chase down the object of that obsession. His name is Tyler Kamp.
As Abigail follows him across the border into Canada, her journey is awash in memories of family and childhood, especially those of her younger sister Hailey. Even as Abilgail races into her future, her past continues to pull her back Only when she is brought to the edge of her obsession will she be able to come to terms with the tragedy that ignited it.
I got this book from Library Thing as part of the Early Reviewers program. Overall, I enjoyed this book but there were some things in it I found a little unbelievable. I found the images of Hailey's suicide to be quite vivid and heartbreaking and I also found that Hailey's struggle with her mental health also to be quite compelling. The relationship between the two sisters was quite remarkable. On one hand Abigail loves Hailey like a mother would while on the other hand she resents her at times for not being able to have her own life apart from taking care of her sister. I found this dynamic to be believable and for this part I really enjoyed Abilgail's character.
On the other hand, there were some parts that I struggled believing. While I was raised Roman Catholic and can appreciate the religion, I found that at the end of the book the whole aspect of communion didn't fit with the rest of the book. Yes, there were religious undertones throughout but I found this part of the book to be a little too over the top. I also found that Abigail's obsession with Tyler to be a little too dramatic. While it fuels the whole book and her reason for going to Canada I think that trying to kill Tyler was again over the top. It would have suffised if she went there for self- discovery or to try to come to terms with what Hailey did by trying to place blame on Tyler. I just think that once Abigail gets to Canada and meets Tyler, the act of actually trying to kill would likely not have been there.
Overall, like I said, I quite enjoyed the book, there are just parts that I could have done without. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5
Sunday, March 22, 2009
From the publisher: Roses Are Red, James Patterson''s sixth Alex Cross thriller, openswith the District of Columbia detective attempting to mend his nearly unraveledfamily. The year-long kidnapping of one''s intended (1999''s Pop Goes the Weasel) will dothat to a relationship. Christine, the kidnappee, is amenable with onereasonable condition: that her family''s horizon remain uncluttered by homicidalmaniacs. How unfortunate, then, that the joyous christening of their newborn sonis rudely interrupted by the FBI bearing news of several heinous murdersrequiring the attention of detective (and doctor of psychology) Cross."Three-year-old boy, the father, a nanny," Kyle said one more timebefore he left the party. He was about to go through the door in the sun porchwhen he turned to me and said, "You''re the right person for this. They murdereda family, Alex."As soon as Kyle was gone, I went looking for Christine. My heart sank. She hadtaken Alex and left without saying good-bye, without a single word.Which leaves Cross free to hunt the Mastermind, the barbarous brains behind awidening series of bank robberies in which employees or their family members areheld hostage and, when instructions aren''t followed to the finest iota,slaughtered. Given the cases'' glaring and unfathomable inhumanity, Cross''s long- time DCPD partner (the wonderful giant, John Sampson) gives way to the warm,attractive, and fiercely intelligent FBI Agent Betsey Cavalierre.The longer and harder Cross and Cavalierre remain on his trail, the bolder andmore brutal--and shiveringly close to home--the Mastermind''s strikes become.And, thanks mostly to lightning-short paragraphs and a point of view thatrappels from the first-person Cross to the third-person Mastermind, the taleprogresses at hot-trot speed to a bona fide doozy of a denouement. It''ll be overbefore you know it, so sit back, hold your breath, and enjoy the show. And staytuned for the next one. --Michael Hudson
I don't have much to say about this book. I've been on a James Patterson kick lately. I'm trying to read all the Alex Cross books and I'm almost through them. This book is fairly well done. Every time you think they solve the case another criminal is found. It kept you in suspense and it kept you guessing up until the very last line. That being said, I would classify the series as classic literature. They are great mysteries but they don't make a reader question things like some other books I have read. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Likened to a "young Muhammad Ali," Alex Cross, the Porsche-driving profiler, doctor, detective, and father of two has seen his fair share of vicious killers. From a bloodthirsty butcher who came after his family (Cat and Mouse) to a devilish duo working cross-country (Kiss the Girls), Cross has managed to outmaneuver all of his enemies. Until he meets the Weasel. A series of killings in the forgotten, crime-infested ghettos of southeast D.C. has sent Cross and his 6''9" 250-pound partner, John Sampson, in search of the "Jane Doe" killer. However, their racist, tyrannical boss George Pitman orders them to stay out of the southeast and investigate the high-profile murder of a wealthy white man. Cross already has suspicions that the murders are linked, but when Sampson''s ex turns up in an abandoned southeast warehouse kicked to death, the two detectives carry on with their original investigation. Meanwhile, Cross''s longtime love, Christine (Cat and Mouse), has taken prominence in his life, and it looks as if the two will finally get hitched--with one glitch: Cross puts everything he loves in jeopardy as he obsessively goes after the Weasel. Akin to a slick Hollywood action flick, Pop Goes the Weasel doesn''t have time for meaningful character development or thoughtful moral analysis. And it doesn''t need to. Its winning formula is based on short scenes (chapters average about 3 pages), addictive plot progression, and mean dialogue: "Sampson sighed and said, ''I think her tongue is stapled inside the other girl. I''m pretty sure that''s it, Alex. The Weasel stapled them together.'' I looked at the two girls and shook my head. ''I don''t think so. A staple, even a surgical one, would come apart on the tongue''s surface.... Crazy glue would work."--Rebekah Warren
I really enjoyed this Alex Cross book. I hadn't really enjoyed the last 2 books as much but this book just flowed really well. The book kept me interested from beginning to end and it didn't feel like two separate plot lines were going on like the last novel did. I couldn't put this book down and I can't wait to read the next one. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A murderer named Gary Soneji patiently waits in the basement of Alex Cross''s home in Washington. He has come to kill Cross and his family. That''s just the beginning of the greatest page-turner in years. Two mind-numbing killers -- one operating up and down the East Coast of America, one in Europe -- believe Cross is their only worthy opponent. They dare to ask the ultimate question: Is Alex Cross about to die? You won''t put CAT & MOUSE down until the question is answered.
This book was entertaining but as far as Patterson books go I wasn't super impressed. It is almost like reading two different short novels in one; like he ran out of things to say for the first plot line and began a whole different one half way through. I enjoyed reading the second half more than the first though. In the end I give this 2.5 stars out of 5.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Every expectant parent will tell you that they don''t want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O''Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they''d been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it''s all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She''s smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.
Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow''s illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?
Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Handle with Care brings us into the heart of a family bound by an incredible burden, a desperate will to keep their ties from breaking, and, ultimately, a powerful capacity for love. Written with the grace and wisdom she''s become famous for, beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult offers us an unforgettable novel about the fragility of life and the lengths we will go to protect it.
This book was quite compelling. It revolves around a young girl with Brittle Bone Syndrome. This girl breaks bones quite easily. Her parents are in the middle of a wrongful birth lawsuit. Essentially, they should have been informed beforehand that their daughter could potentially have this disease and if this was told to them they could have made the decision to abort their special needs child. As someone who has worked with children and adults with disabilities I found it very hard to agree with this kind of case. I found myself yelling at the mother wanting her to end her lawsuit. It becomes a fine line when you start questioning who has the right to live. It can be extremely difficult to raise a child with any kind of disability but they can bring so much joy to your life. I enjoyed reading this book but like I say it was at times really difficult and frustrating to read. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hate or sympathize with the mother. The father also got so wrapped up in the trial that he forgets all about his other daughter. Overall I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Mike and Tia Baye decide to spy on their son Adam, who has become moody and withdrawn since his friendas suicide. The software they install on his computer exposes every website visited, every e-mail and instant message sent or received. But each keystroke draws them deeper into a maze of mayhem and violence that could destroy them all.
I have to admit I read this book in one day. The story just drew me in. It also dealt with the issue of the right of privacy vs the role of a parent to keep their child safe. Mike and Tia install spyware on their son's computer because he was acting weird after the suicide of his best friend. I am not sure where I stand on the issue. On one hand, I think of course he is acting weird, his best friend just killed himself. I think it is a little much to install spyware on his computer and monitor his every move. If he ever found out, all the trust that has taken years to build is so easily broken. On the other hand, in the novel it turns out their son is in some serious trouble and his parents were able to help him out of it. One may say, if this is at the cost of losing some trust then so be it. I think you need to find a balance. No one said parenting was easy.
Other than that, the storyline sucks you in and you really can't put the book down. There are a few side stories and in the end they are all brought together brilliantly. I give this book 4.5 out 5
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I decided to review both books together as I read them one after another and I also believe them to just be one continuing story. They were at best okay. I found the main character Lucy to be quite irritating. A woman who never really finds herself and relies on her happiness and success to derive from men. That being said, none of the women in this book are that inspiring. The closest would be Autumn but for most of the books she spends her time being a doormat for her drug addicted brother. Chantal decides she is not getting enough sex from her husband so of course decides to hire a gigolo. Who does this??? Nadia I find to be a strong character. She is forced to pick up and leave when her husband racks up their debt again with a gambling addiction. I won't say I completely hated the books. They were funny and entertaining and after reading the first book I did want to read more. I just think that some of the messages in the book may not be that good. I give these books 2 and half stars out of five.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens''s life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens''s friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author''s last years and may provide the key to Dickens''s final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.
I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little long but if you're able to keep reading you get hooked. I found it amazing how Simmons was able to incorporate so many facts about Charles Dickens' life into the novel. The narrator, Wilkie Collins, is unreliable at best. As a reader you have to try to figure out what is really happening and what is a part of Wilkie's laudenum induced hallucinations. Even at the end of the novel you are never quite sure if Drood ever really existed. Some of the book got a little long winded but I think it all went to setting the scene. I have to say that I am also unimpressed with Dickens as a character. Not that the writing was bad but regardless of biographies on Dickens I have always had a deluded image of him in my mind. That being said, Dickens in this book was an arrogant know it all who had no problem letting people know exactly what he thought. I would definitely not enjoy knowing a man like that. The book was macabre but it drew me in from the beginning to the end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
From the Publisher:
It's been 20 years since wild child Jessie Brentwood vanished. Her high school friends believed she ran away. Now, a body has been unearthed on school grounds, and Jessie's old friends find themselves being killed off one by one, in this riveting work of romantic suspense. Original.
This book is definitely forgettable. Half the book is about high school friends reuniting to rehash whether their friend Jessie left town or whether she really did die. Another 40% of the book is spent with a series of pointless deaths. The remaining pages of the book attempt to tie the story together but fails miserably. It kind of tells a story of incest and some man who is trying to kill two women who he thinks are the devil spawn but it doesn't really go into too much detail. The book is written by two authors and you can definitely tell when one person is dominating the writing more than the other person. I really disliked this book but felt the need to finish it. I would rate it at most a one out of five.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train—and inadvertently runs away with the circus. So begins Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen’s darkly beautiful tale about the characters who inhabit the less-than-greatest show on earth. Jacob finds a place tending the circus animals, including a seemingly untrainable elephant named Rosie. He also comes to know Marlena, the star of the equestrian act—and wife of August, a charismatic but cruel animal trainer. Caught between his love for Marlena and his need to belong in the crazy family of travelling performers, Jacob is freed only by a murderous secret that will bring the big top down. Water for Elephants is an enchanting page-turner, the kind of book that creates a world that engulfs you from the first page to the last. A national bestseller in Canada and a New York Times bestseller in the United States, this is a book destined to become a beloved fiction classic.
Wow, this book was so good. I was hooked from the first page. I found the main character so endearing. I found the dynamics of the relationships quite interested as well. There is always a class struggle in this book. Even in the circus with a bunch of people travelling across the country, people were so divided. The main character in the book, also tells part of his story in the perspective of an old man. I have always found it important to know people's stories. When I look at the elderly I see rich life with so many stories. When Jacob is in the nursing home I found it endearing to read. I find that today people forget that the elderly are not just people to take care of and placate while in the final years of their life. We have so much to learn and hear from them. We need to be able to really listen to what they have to say. There is also the issue of domestic abuse in this book. I found it so important that someone took a stand against what was happening. All too often people sit back and don't get involved. Anyhow, I'm off on a tangent now. I would say if you haven't read the story go out and pick up the book now. I give the book 5 stars
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Summary (from the publisher):
With "Heartsick," Chelsea Cain took the crime world by storm, introducing two of the most compelling characters in decades: serial killer Gretchen Lowell and her obsessed pursuer Portland Detective Archie Sheridan. The book spent four weeks on the "New York Times" bestseller list and garnered rave reviews around the world. But the riveting story of Archie and Gretchen was left unfinished, and now Chelsea Cain picks up the tale again. When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland's Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the last time they found a body there, more than a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer's first victim, and Archie's first case. This body can't be one of Gretchen's--she's in prison--but after help from reporter Susan Ward uncovers the dead woman's identity, it turns into another big case. Trouble is, Archie can't focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison.
Archie hadn't seen her in two months; he'd moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he's relieved. He knows he's the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all.
This book is the 2nd book following the lives of a detective and an imprisoned psychopath. The detective was once the victim of the psychopath and now she has escaped from jail. I enjoyed the first book and this book was quite interesting as well. It took me a little while to get into it. The detective in the book is addicted to drugs and self-destructive. At times I must admit that I really couldn't sympathize with the detective regardless of what he had been through. Even with all the support around him, Archie (the detective) still can't seem to open up to help of any kind. I found the dynamic of the relationships in this novel so bizarre. Even though Archie is brought to the brink of death he still has sexual fantasies about his killer and goes as far as wanting to visit his torturer. I wouldn't say this is a classic that will be around forever and I don't think it will win any awards. This being said, it was a good read to keep you in suspence.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
1. The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:
I think this would have to be In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I did an independent study on this book in like grade 10. It survived may moves that's for sure. Usually I purge my books in the case of a move just because if not all my boxes would be books. That being said this book has survived a lot. It's a classic and it introduces a new genre of writing. The story is grim but I just had to keep it.
2. A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):
Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald makes me think of life in Cornwall. At the time I read this I was in grade 10 doing a book study. I was going through a lot of personal family issues and I have to say that this book really helped me keep my head straight during a lot of that. It made me realize that life could be much worse. I have been through some tough things and everytime I do I think of that book. I will also never forget my teacher's face in grade 10 English when I told him I was doing that book for a novel study. It's twists and complications were a little scandalous for a Catholic high school.
3. A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):
I'm not sure if I acquired any of my books in an unusual way. Mostly from the bookstore, the library or from friends. I remember the book that Derek, my bf, first got me. We were doing long distance at the time and I was constantly going back and forth from the Toronto to Ottawa and as a result spent many hours on the bus. So one night on our way to drop me off at the bus station yet again we were wandering Chapters with our Starbucks and Derek bought me Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. I read it for the entire 5 hr drive home.
4. The most recent addition to your shelves:
Hmmmm... Well I recently got a few books in the mail from Barnes and Noble. They are as follows:
-Night by Elie Wiesel (audiobook)
-Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
-Dracula by Bram Stoker
-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
-Sweetheart by Chelsea Caine
5. A book that’s been with you to the most places:
Hmm... I'm not sure. I'm not much of a re-reader so that being said I would have to go with the same answer as question one. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote just because it's moved with me the most. From Cornwall, to my dad's in Ottawa, to my grandmother's in Ottawa, to my first place on my own in Ottawa, then off to Toronto (2 different places there), and then to Ottawa again. Like I said, I've moved a lot.
6. A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions:
Well, I think that this would have to be A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer. I had to read this book recently for a book club that I started. It was someone else's pick and I have to admit I am a judge a book by it's cover kind of girl. Based on the cover I wasn't really looking forward to reading this book at all. I put it off for a while and when it became apparent that I had to start reading it or it wouldn't be done in time I picked up the book and started reading it. Well it didn't take me very long to finish it because I became so immersed in what was happening. I ended up really enjoying the book. I have to say that this has opened my eyes to other books. I like to try new things now. I try not to limit myself to what I usually read and I try not to judge the book by it's cover although occasionally it still happens.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Summary (from publisher):
Heather Wells Rocks!
Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two -- and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather's perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York's top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen -- not the police, her colleagues, or the P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives -- even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective!
But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong . . .Review
This book was easy to read and entertaining for a couple days. I found Heather Mills character endearing; however at times I found her frustrating. She is desperately in love with her roommate but unwilling to ever tell him. While being terrified of telling a boy she loves him she's not afraid at all of a potential murderer. She dives head first into the murder mystery in the dorm- or, as we are never meant to forget as the term is annoyingly repeated throughout the book, residence hall. The book is typical of chick lit and the plot line is predictable. That being said, overall I did enjoy it. I was not expecting it to be literary genious and as a result I could enjoy the book. I do believe the Heather's character could have been developed more but I believe there are 2 other books in the series and I have a suspicion that over time the character development will occur. I give this book 3 stars.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Summary (from the publisher):
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers-among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears-through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation and a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twentieth century, Blindness has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of man''s worst appetites and weaknesses-and man''s ultimately exhilarating spirit. The stunningly powerful novel of man''s will to survive against all odds, by the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature.
What I think:
This book excellent. It takes a little while to get used to the writing style. The paragraphs don't seem to make much sense because the subject can change with the next sentence but overall it is a well written book. The book is thought provoking and it really shows how people act when they think no one can see them. It is amazing to think of how much trouble we would be in if everyone lost their sight. The book gives a very raw look at humanity and has us question how different we really are. Would we react any differently? The people in the book were of all different classes and cultures and in the end most of them reacted in the same way. After reading the book I watched the movie. I would have to say that the movie follows the book fairly closely. i would recommend both highly. I give it 5 stars
Summary (from the Publisher):
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children: it has the proverbial good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. It’s the kind of place where parents are involved in their children’s lives–coaching sports, driving carpool, taking an interest in their development at every level. The Abstinence Teacher focuses on two divorced parents who each play key roles in the lives of other people’s children: Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school who believes that “pleasure is good, shame is bad, and knowledge is power.” Her younger daughter’s soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Tim is a member of The Tabernacle, the local evangelical Christian church that wants to take its message outside the doors of its own sanctuary, and sees a useful target in Ruth Ramsey. Adversaries in a small-town culture war, Ruth and Tim instinctively distrust one another. But when a controversy on the playing field forces the two of them to actually talk to each other, an uneasy friendship begins to develop.
I really enjoyed this book. I had read mixed reviews. I found the juxtaposition of fanatic religion and anti-religion to be interesting. While I tended to relate more to Ruth, a sex education teacher who is forced to adhere to a strict abstinence focused program, I at times was frustrated with how close minded she was. I enjoyed reading the parts about Ruth more than the parts about Tim. I found Tim to be bland and seemingly without much personality. I suppose that it might be on purpose to show how fanatic religion has taken over Tim's personality and he doesn't quite know who he is anymore. I just found it funny that both sides were evenly close minded. I grew up in a Catholic family, going to church every Sunday and going to Catholic school. While I do not follow organize religion anymore, I can see the value in it. This being said I think that people need to be less close minded to things. Ruth rejects all things religion and is upset when her daughters want to go to church. Tom's church believes in Christianity to the exclusion of all other things. There needs to be some kind of balance in life. Overall, this book is easy to read because the characters draw you in. That being said, I'm not sure if I find the ending believable. I won't spoil anything for anyone but the ending seems to be something to be expected but shouldn't happen. Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.