Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TLC Book Tour Stop: Bond Girl by Erin Duffy

Title: Bond Girl
Author: Erin Duffy
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: January 24, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like stories a bit off the beaten path.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "When other little girls were dreaming about becoming doctors or lawyers, Alex Garrett set her sights on conquering the high-powered world of Wall Street. And though she's prepared to fight her way into an elitist boys' club, or duck the occasional errant football, she quickly realizes she's in over her head when she's relegated to a kiddie-size folding chair with her new moniker—Girlie—inscribed in Wite-Out across the back.

No matter. She's determined to make it in bond sales at Cromwell Pierce, one of the Street's most esteemed brokerage firms. Keeping her eyes on the prize, the low Girlie on the totem pole will endure whatever comes her way—whether trekking to the Bronx for a $1,000 wheel of Parmesan cheese; discovering a secretary's secret Friday night slumber/dance party in the conference room; fielding a constant barrage of "friendly" practical jokes; learning the ropes from Chick, her unpredictable, slightly scary, loyalty-demanding boss; babysitting a colleague while he consumes the contents of a vending machine on a $28,000 bet; or eluding the advances of a corporate stalker who's also one of the firm's biggest clients.

Ignoring her friends' pleas to quit, Alex excels (while learning how to roll with the punches and laugh at herself) and soon advances from lowly analyst to slightly-less-lowly associate. Suddenly, she's addressed by her real name, and the impenetrable boys' club has transformed into forty older brothers and one possible boyfriend. Then the apocalypse hits, and Alex is forced to choose between sticking with Cromwell Pierce as it teeters on the brink of disaster or kicking off her Jimmy Choos and running for higher ground."

My Two Cents:

I really, really liked this book. I was intrigued by the synopsis but wasn't sure how a book about a young woman who's dream is to become a bond trader. Different strokes for different folks and all that but that world just does not appeal to me. Duffy makes the world of bond traders seem almost glamorous (almost being the operative word; I'm still not ready to move to Wall Street). You definitely get to see why Alex is so drawn to that world though, at least at first. 

Alex is a girl after my own heart. She's known what she wants to do with her life from a pretty early age (so totally me) and went for it right out of college. There's a lot to be said for that! She copes a lot better with the sort of trials and tribulations that she deals with throughout the entire book. And she makes one of the hardest decisions ever for a young person just getting into their career.

Duffy's writing is great. Alex has such a great characters. She's witty, funny, and smart. She has some fantastic one liners. Duffy really makes you care for Alex. You feel for what she's going through and why she makes some of the decisions that she has to make.

This book really had all the makings of a great summer read. In summer, I find myself drawn to books that are a little lighter and more fun. Add a pinch of romance and a bit of drama and I'm sold!!!

Bottom line: Good main character, good read!

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, July 17th: Girls Just Reading
Wednesday, July 18th: Life In Review
Thursday, July 19th: Seaside Book Nook
Monday, July 23rd: The Book Garden
Tuesday, July 24th: Twisting the Lens
Thursday, July 26th: Life in the Thumb
Monday, July 30th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, July 31st: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, August 1st: Stephany Writes
Thursday, August 2nd: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, August 8th: Reflections of a Bookaholic

When We Touch! (Ebook Offer)

Looking for a free read for the summer? When We Touch by Brenda Novak is free on Brenda Novak's site (and a couple other common ebook sites like Amazon.com). The book will be free through the month of August!


Olivia Arnold is arranging the festivities — and it's the hardest thing she's ever done. Because she should've been marrying Kyle Houseman. They were together for two years. . . But her jealous sister, Noelle, purposely stole him away — and now she's pregnant. All their friends in Whiskey Creek know as well as Olivia does that Kyle's making a mistake. His stepbrother, Brandon, knows it, too. But Kyle's determined to go through with it, for his child's sake. Olivia's still devastated but surprisingly, Brandon, the black sheep of the family, is there to provide comfort and consolation. The intensity between them, both physical and emotional, shows Olivia that maybe Kyle wasn't the right man for her. . . But is Brandon?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Odds and Ends (3): The Not My Birthday Edition

This past weekend, we celebrated my husband's birthday. He's been super, super busy with work lately so it was important to me that he had a really nice day. We had breakfast at our local diner, which was really nice. On our walk home, we saw the mayor of DC doing a ribbon cutting for our neighborhood's new streetscape project. I love happening upon things like this!

My photo: Mayor Gray and our council member .
Next, we went to Hillwood Estates, which was the home of Marjorie Merriwether Post, heir to the Post Cereal and General Foods fortunes. She had a wonderful house and gardens right off of Rock Creek Park, a park that runs through the center of Washington, DC. Her grounds are so spacious and quiet that you would never know that you were still in the middle of our Nation's Capital! Her house is filled with lots of French and Russian art that she collected as a diplomat's wife. There are some really amazing things in her collection.

I want to live here.
We also saw The Dark Knight Rises. We went to a theatre close to us that has been open since at least the 1920s. It's a great place to see a movie! It has the huge red velvet seats and a balcony. It feels a little bit glamorous to see a movie there. I absolutely loved the movie! Although I was definitely a little jumpy throughout the movie as I couldn't help but to think of what happened in Colorado.

This weekend, I've been watching tons and tons of the Olympics. I liked the opening ceremony for the most part (the ode to NHS was a tiny bit strange to me but hey- if you're happy with your healthcare system... maybe you should celebrate or something...).

The lolcats have more ideas for Olympic events.

What's going on in your corner of the world?

TLC Book Tour Stop: The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe

Title: The Color of Tea
Author:  Hannah Tunnicliffe
Format: ARC
Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: June 5, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
  • You're a foodie.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "An exciting debut novel set in the exotic, bustling streets of coastal China—a woman whose life is restored when she opens a small cafÉ and gains the courage to trust what’s in her heart.Lost among the mayhem that defines Macau, Grace’s life is slowly unraveling. Her marriage to Pete is fraying and her dreams of having a family seem hopeless.     With the heralding of a new year she resolves to do something bold. Something her impetuous Mama might do. In this pocket of China, filled with casinos and yum cha restaurants, she opens her own small cafe called Lillian’s. This sanctuary of macarons and tea becomes a place where the women of Macau come together, bridging cultural divides, to share in each other’s triumphs and pain. But Grace’s immersion in the cafe takes its toll on her marriage, and when things start to crumble, her beloved Lillian’s suddenly feels like a burden rather than an escape. The recipe for disaster is complete when Pete does the unthinkable.     Infused with the heady aromas of Macau and peppered with delectable characters, The Color of Tea is a mouth-watering journey of the senses as Grace rediscovers what it is to love, to live with hope, and embrace real happiness."

My Two Cents:

Foodie fiction in China? Yes, please. I was very excited about this book. I love, love, love foodie fiction and I love armchair traveling so this book definitely fit the bill.

I loved the setting of the book. Macau seems like a sort of glamorous place. It has a lot going on and still seems to hold on to its European influence. It was a Portuguese settlement back in the day and is now a special administrative district of China, sort of like Hong Kong. I loved the exotic-ness of the setting. Tunnicliffe paints a great picture of the city and its people. It made me want to visit!!! I definitely thought that the book was at its best when the setting was being described. I loved hearing about how Lillian's (the restaurant in the book) was set up.

I also liked the food part. Lillian's is a sort of bakery come tea house that specializes in macarons, a delicious French treat that can be incredibly temperamental to make. The interesting in the  book is that Grace doesn't know how to make the macarons at first and so Leon, another character who owns another restaurant, helps her make the macarons and then they become the focus of Grace's shop. I kind of wonder why Grace doesn't choose to build a business around something that she already knew. It just seemed to be a big gamble that I didn't really understand the motive behind. I did like the story. It kept me reading, wanting to see what happens. I did wish that I understood a little bit more about the motives of all of the characters. Grace seems to want to set up a cafe very suddenly and I wish that I knew more about why. She seems to hint at the idea that it was something spontaneous that her mother would do but I'm wondering if that was not the only reason.

I did like the food part of the book. Macarons are totally intimidating to me. It's something that I've never attempted to bake. Thus, I loved living vicariously through Grace. Each chapter was named after one of the macarons served at Lillian's and some of them sound absolutely to die for! I did have one regret on this though. The book talks about all those delicious macarons yet there is not a recipe to be found in the book. Throw us a bone, please!!!

Bottom line: A delicious trip!

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, July 9th:  Book Club Classics!
Tuesday, July 10th:  BookNAround
Wednesday, July 11th:  girlichef
Monday, July 16th:  Book Addiction
Wednesday, July 25th:  Stiletto Storytime
Thursday, July 19th:  Twisting the Lens
Monday, July 30th:  A Bookish Affair
Thursday, August 2nd:  Suko’s Notebeook
Friday, August 3rd:  Raging Bibliomania
Monday, August 6th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Thursday, August 9th:  Southern Girl Reads
Tuesday, August 14th:  The Written World
TBD:  Regular Rumination

Review: Welcome To Carson Springs by Eileen Goudge

Title: Welcome To Carson Springs
Author: Eileen Goudge
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Open Road
Publish Date: May 15, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You've read other books in the Carson Springs trilogy.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A Hollywood film crew upends life in an idyllic California village in this prequel to the Carson Springs trilogy.

In the late 1950s, filmmakers descended on Carson Springs to shoot the movie that made this sleepy Spanish mission town famous. A plaque commemorates the filming of Stranger in Paradise, but nowhere does it mention Cora Delarosa, whose life changed forever when Hollywood arrived. Barely thirty, but married for over a decade, she does not realize that her marriage is falling apart until she meets the handsome and charming film director Hank Montgomery. In this novella, Eileen Goudge sets the stage for her Carson Springs trilogy, showing that in this small town, passion, heartache, and long-buried secrets have always been a way of life."

My Two Cents:

This very short novella is the prequel to Goudge's Carson Springs books (a trilogy). This book also included the first part of the first book of the series to give you a little taste of what's to come. Also, the book includes a couple recipes of Goudge's own. They all looked delicious, especially the Pina Colada cake. Om nom nom nom.

I find that the issue with some prequels is that sometimes, if they are written after the books that they are prequels for, you feel like you should read the other books in the series first. I sort of felt like this with Welcome to Carson Springs. I was intrigued by the story line but I felt that you didn't really get a chance to connect with the characters. There is a lot of action in this short novella but there isn't a lot of characterization. You're introduced to a lot of different characters quickly, sometimes only by name and brief action, which makes it difficult to keep tabs on who's who.

On the other hand, I was intrigued enough that I would definitely read the trilogy. As I mentioned before, I have not read any of the books in the trilogy but I have a feeling that it might be a good idea to read the other books first!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood by Darlene Craviotto

Title: An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood
Author: Darlene Craviotto
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Front Door Books
Publish Date: November 17, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a non-fiction fan.
  • You like memoirs that are off the beaten path.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "When award-winning screenwriter Darlene Craviotto receives a call from Disney Studios asking her to write a musical PETER PAN for Steven Spielberg, with Michael Jackson in the starring role, it seems as though all of her Hollywood dreams are about to come true... If she can just get out of the house. Life isn't exactly a walk in the park for this working mom, with two restless kids under six, a neurotic agent, a demanding studio head, and a loveable "under-employed" actor for a husband- And then of course, there is Michael. AN AGORAPHOBIC'S GUIDE TO HOLLYWOOD: HOW MICHAEL JACKSON GOT ME OUT OF THE HOUSE is an irreverent, behind-the-scenes look at show business. It tells the true story of how an agoraphobic screenwriter learns to overcome her fear of stepping outside of the house, and starts to live her life again-thanks to a top secret project, and the most important assignment of her career."

My Two Cents:

An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood is definitely a different kind of memoir. Imagine that you're a screenwriter in the early 90s and you get to work with the infamous Michael Jackson on a top secret project and the top secret project happens to be a movie version of Peter Pan (Note: this is way creepy to me knowing what we know of Jackson now). That would make for a good story, no? Oh, and just to make it a little more interesting, you have an oft debilitating case of agoraphobia (an anxiety disorder brought from being outside of situations you are used to. Even leaving the house can bring on anxiety). Of course all of this makes a really fantastic story!!!

Craviotto gives us a front row seat to the sort of show that Michael Jackson was. Michael Jackson has been a very divisive figure. On one hand, he made good music, really good music. The kind that when it's played still today, you just want to drop everything and dance. On the other hand, you have the weirdness, which you all probably know a little about so I don't need to say anything on that aspect. Craviotto shows us both sides.

As I mentioned before, Craviotto is a screenwriter by trade. This definitely shines through in the book. Drawing on actual taped conversations between Michael and herself, she gives a really full picture of Michael, who is sort of a complicated man. At one time, he was somewhat of a sex symbol. In conversations with Craviotto, he seems like anything but. He's almost childlike in sort of a creepy way. He seems so unassuming and just really, really strange. You can almost picture him saying some of the truly weird things that he says in the book. I think it was interesting to see a more personal story about Michael Jackson.

Another aspect of the book to mention is the author's agoraphobia. I didn't know much about agoraphobia at all before this book. The author discusses how difficult it was to go to her office (just down the street from her house) or out to meet Jackson at Neverland (whether you like Jackson or not, who wouldn't really want a tour if for nothing more than to see the weirdness?). It's definitely a rough disorder to live with. It was very interesting to learn more about this disorder as I didn't know much about it at all.

Bottom line: This is definitely a fascinating memoir!


Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

Title: The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Author: Ree Drummond
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks
Publish Date: March 13, 2012
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a foodie.
 What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The Pioneer Woman--accidental ranch wife and #1 "New York Times"-bestselling author Drummond--shares even more of her satisfying and delicious country cooking, with recipes sure to please the whole family, from meat-loving cowboys to finicky young ranch hands. And with widely available ingredients and step-by-step photos of each recipe, she makes it easy to cook new favorites."

My Two Cents:

So it's a little hard to rate a cookbook but let me try. Okay, first things first, I love the Pioneer Woman. I've been following her website for a long time and I loved her other cookbooks. Anyhow, I was really excited for this book. I was most definitely not disappointed.

Here are a couple key things I liked about this cookbook:
- Basic ingredients (there's not really anything you're going to have trouble finding)
- Clear pictures (step by step directions are key)
- Yummy food (I wanted to make everything is this darn book)
- Easy cooking directions (I love to cook but I'm not so good with the more complicated acts of yummy making; PW's directions are really simple to follow and are things that new and seasoned cooks can follow easily)

I think this book will be a fantastic cookbook for those who already love the Pioneer Woman and those who have yet to discover her. I plan to get my own copy for my own collection!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Afterlife by Megg Jensen

Title: Afterlife
Author: Megg Jensen
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: May 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a young adult fiction fan.
  • You're a paranormal fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The fire inside Lianne threatened to consume her, but she fought back and won. Unfortunately the collateral damage of her decisions won’t stop haunting her. She embarks on a secret trip to find Mags and return her son, but her search leads her into another nest of lies.

Everyone’s safety is in Lianne’s hands as the Malborn, an enemy more fearsome than her own people, looms over them. Will Lianne be able to unravel the secrets in time to save the ones she loves the most? Or will her lack of faith in her own decisions lead to disaster?

Afterlife weaves some of the favorite characters from the Cloud Prophet Trilogy (Anathema, Oubliette, and Severed) into The Swarm Trilogy as Lianne comes face-to-face with a character introduced at the end of Severed."

My Two Cents:

Afterlife picked right up where Sleepers, the first book in the Swarm trilogy left off. That being said, if you haven't read Sleepers, you are probably going to be really confused. There is a small sort of summary of what happened in Sleepers but you're still going to miss a lot. I sort of wished that there had been a little bit more of a review. It's been a couple months since I read Sleepers so I had forgotten some of the details. It took a little bit for me to remember everything that had happened in the first book. Also, both Sleepers and Afterlife are fairly short books (not sure about the third one) so if I could re-do it, I might have read both books right together.

This second episode is filled with action. It definitely feels like Afterlife could have been together with the first book. One thing that I liked about Sleepers over this book is that there was a lot more story development. In Sleepers, I felt that you got to know the characters a little more. In Afterlife, I didn't feel like you got to know a lot about the characters, even the main character Lianne. I wish that we got a little more insight into Lianne and Bryden and the new characters in the book: Johna and Chase.

There was another love triangle in this book but I didn't like it nearly as the love triangle between Lianne, Bryden, and Kellan in Sleepers. I just didn't get why Lianne was attracted to Chase...

Anyhow, I think that I would have liked if Sleepers and Afterlife were combined. I still like the story but Afterlife was a much flatter story for me.


Review: Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith

Title: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Author: Sally Bedell Smith
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a biography fan.
  • You're a history fan.
  • You're an Anglophile.
 What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends."

My Two Cents:

This is a very appropriate book for me to be reading right now with the Olympics going on. Perhaps you all may realize by now that I'm sort of a Anglophile and thus, I've been very excited to read this book for awhile. I was glad that I was able to get it at the library.

While I know an awful lot about the Queen, I believe that this is the first biography of her that I've read. I really enjoyed Smith's writing. She makes the Queen seem a lot more like a person. Because of the high demands on the Queen, she often seems almost otherworldly. It was so nice to see the other side of her. I thought it was great how Smith was able to draw on a lot of different sources to really give a full picture of what the Queen is like both in her public and personal life.

One thing that I didn't like is that the book seemed to jump around a little bit but it only happened in really random spots. It was almost as if the author forgot a detail and just stuck it in wherever. It was a small thing but it did make it a little difficult to keep track of exactly what time the book was discussing was.

In about 3 years, the Queen will be the longest reigning English monarch (right now that record belongs to Queen Victoria). It's pretty cool that I might get to witness that historical event. Queen Elizabeth II is a fascinating figure and I loved that I got to learn more about her through this book.

Bottom line: My fellow Anglophiles and history lovers will really enjoy this book.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The Search for Artemis by P.D. Griffith

Title: The Search for Artemis
Author: P.D. Griffith
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Gryff Publishing
Publish Date: June 1, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a paranormal fan.
  • You're a young adult fiction fan.
What's the Story:

From Goodreads.com: "Fifteen-year-old Landon Wicker is psychokinetic, but the tragic unleashing of his abilities forces him to run from everything he knows. Alone, terrified and unable to remember the events that compelled him to flee, Landon fights to survive and understand what’s happening to him. He finds solace, however, in the company of hundreds of psychokinetics like him when he’s brought to the Gymnasium.

Forced into a life where people don’t just see — but control — the world around them and teenagers lift city buses with a thought, Landon struggles to accept his new reality and the guilt over his painful secret. But everything changes when a chance encounter with a mysterious girl propels him on a hunt for answers. Uncovering dark truths the Gymnasium would do anything to keep hidden, Landon must choose where his loyalties lie.

Will Landon accept his past—and his future? Will he discover the truth? What’s hidden in the Restricted Tower, and who is Artemis?"

My Two Cents:

This book holds a very inventive story about a world where telekinesis is a real thing. Landon finds this out the hard way when his parents die in a horrific event. In this world, those with the special gene that controls telekinesis or in layman's terms: the ability to move things with their minds can go to a special school to hone their skills. I really liked once Landon got to the school. Luckily that doesn't happen too far into the book.

This book is the first one in a planned series (I'm actually not totally sure how many books there will be). I think that this book is definitely for those who enjoy series. If you're looking for a standalone book, you could probably read this and enjoy it but I think that you will probably want to read the other books in the series since there are still a lot of questions to be asked once you get to the end of the book. I found myself wondering a lot about if different things (I'm thinking specifically about the society at the school in the book for anyone who has either read the book or is planning to read this book) really factor in to the greater story told as the series progresses. I wish a little bit more of the mysteries in the book had been resolved in this first book. What's so wrong with stand-alone books??? I think the book would have been a little more gripping if we got more detail on what was happening with the different characters.

The writing of the book is very engaging. There is a lot of good detail in the book and you will have no problem feeling what the characters in the book are going through. While there isn't a lot of world building as far as setting goes, there is another sort of world building that goes on in the book with explaining the characters and why they are where they are.I think readers who like science fiction stories with a lot of detail about the basic science behind the story will like this book.


Review: Workingman's Ink by Dave Shiflett

Title: Workingman's Ink
Author: Dave Shiflett
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: April 3, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a short story fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A collection of journalism originally published by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, The American Spectator, The Los Angeles Times and other places. Subjects include alcohol hysteria, celebrities (Elvis, Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, King Farouk and many others), military deployment, remembering a family slave, trial lawyers, gambling, scapegoating, sex, marriage among the very rich, deer hunting, the demise of country music, bluegrass and old time music festivals, Apollo 11 and the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl."

My Two Cents:

This book is a collection of a bunch of different writing from Dave Shiflett. It covers a little bit of everything from funny stories to stories about celebrities to political commentary. There's really a little bit of something for everyone in this book. I definitely liked some of the stories better than others. The one about Shiflett saying goodbye to his son as he left for war and the ones about the celebrities (especially the one about Liz Taylor) were probably my favorite. Some of the stories were just not really down my alley.

I think one of the things that could have helped a little bit is if there was some more connection between all of the stories. It would have been cool if the stories were divided up into categories or something like that. I think that it would have made the book flow a little bit better. I also read this book on my Kindle and the way that the book was formatted didn't really help the flow. It would have been nice to have more of a separation between the stories. It was sort of jarring to read one story about one kind of subject matter and then to read something about a completely different subject.

Shiflett is a pretty good writer. I think this would be a great book for someone who has a wide variety of interests and likes articles like you would find in a newspaper or magazine - fairly quick and to the point.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

TLC Book Tour Stop: My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

Title: My Dear I Wanted to Tell You
Author: Louisa Young
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: May 31, 2011
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The lives of two very different couples--an officer and his aristocratic wife, and a young soldier and his childhood sweetheart--are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning World War I epic of love and war.

At eighteen years old, working-class Riley Purefoy and "posh" Nadine Waveney have promised each other the future, but when war erupts across Europe, everything they hold to be true is thrown into question. Dispatched to the trenches, Riley forges a bond of friendship with his charismatic commanding officer, Peter Locke, as they fight for their survival. Yet it is Locke's wife, Julia, who must cope with her husband's transformation into a distant shadow of the man she once knew. Meanwhile, Nadine and Riley's bonds are tested as well by a terrible injury and the imperfect rehabilitation that follows it, as both couples struggle to weather the storm of war that rages about them.

Moving among Ypres, London, and Paris, this emotionally rich and evocative novel is both a powerful exploration of the lasting effects of war on those who fight--and those who don't--and a poignant testament to the enduring power of love."

My Two Cents: 

This book takes place during World War I, a time period that I have not read very much historical fiction about. I found myself wondering why World War II seems to be such a more popular time period as far as historical fiction goes. Does anyone have any idea why this is?

This book focuses on the stories of two couples and those surrounding them. You never really get to find out about what attracts both couples to each other, which I think would have been nice to know especially considering what happens to both couples throughout the book (I don't want to give anything away). Since in the book we only really get to see what the couples are like once they've fallen in love, I felt like I didn't really get to connect with them. Not having that background also made it difficult to see what the motive was for what the characters do throughout the book. I think there could have been more to help the reader engage a little bit more with all of the major characters.

Interestingly enough, the one character that I really connected with was Rose, the nurse who takes care of Riley after he has sustained a bunch of really bad injuries from the war. I felt like you really got a good sense of who she was and her thoughts and her feelings, which made it much easier to connect with her. Not being able to connect with any of the main characters I think definitely hurt the book.

Another aspect of the book that I really liked is the information about some of the surgeries that were performed during this time. It was sort of amazing what the hospital was able to do in order to try to fix Riley's jaw (they give him sort of a prosthesis)after it's blown off during the war. I guess I didn't realize how far advance surgery was way back then. That part of the book was definitely fascinating to me.

Bottom line: A decent read with interesting details!

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, June 26th: A Musing Reviews
Wednesday, June 27th: Lit and Life
Thursday, June 28th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, July 3rd: Reading Lark
Wednesday, July 4th: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, July 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, July 10th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, July 18th: The Book Garden
Thursday, July 19th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, July 20th: The Written World
Thursday, July 26th: A Bookish Affair
Friday, August 3rd: My Bookshelf
TBD: Shall Write


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Indian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya Samson

Title: Indian Maidens Bust Loose
Author: Vidya Samson
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: April 21, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
 What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Nisha Desai is a young Indian woman who pines for romance in a country where love is in the same class as malaria, and where mates are selected using a calculator.

Normally deluged with ghastly suitors of her father's choosing, she suddenly finds herself on the short list for a bride-seeing tour by a rich and handsome nephew of a neighbor. This is the stuff of which dreams are made.

A nightmare materializes when a very un-Indian ruffian moves in next door, complete with beard and obnoxious Harley motorcycle. He might play the bad boy in one of Nisha's beloved romance novels, but in real life, he terrifies her.

So she tries to ignore the thundering engine of the bike while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prince Charming--or at least, Prince Rich.

But arriving first are a long-lost black-sheep American aunt and her trouble-magnet teenage daughters. The aunt proves to be a New Age space case, while the cousins’ appetite for disasters threatens to level the city of Ahmedabad. In short order, the demented cousins instigate an elopement, a public protest, and a riot that gets Nisha thrown in jail.

Nisha’s family comes to the conclusion that while East and West may meet, sometimes they shouldn't. The guests are seen as an invading force, equipped with weapons of mass corruption.

While Nisha wonders how she can hide her now corroded reputation from the dream suitor's family, insanity marches on. Nisha's father adopts a pet cow and convinces half the city it's the reincarnation of a Hindu deity. The two families are finally united in a common goal: to bilk thousands. The result is Madison Avenue's idea of a religious experience, which is not a controllable situation.

Indian Maidens Bust Loose is a hilarious romantic comedy set in the land of cows, curry, and the Kama Sutra."

My Two Cents:

This book looks at a classic clash of cultures. Nisha and Vinita live under the thumbs of their parents who believe very much in the very traditional Indian ways. When their American cousins, Amber and Lauren, come to visit, their lives are turned upside down.

India has always been a fascinating place for me. I would love to go there and visit someday. I think that it would definitely be an awesome experience. There are a lot of things that are unfamiliar to Americans as Amber and Lauren find out. In parts, I kind of wanted to kick Amber and Lauren as they seem to be checking all of the boxes as the ugly American tourists, a stereotype that I really, really hate. Although, I think a lot of times it's hard to keep in mind that you have to accept other places for what they are and that the world would be a very boring place if every single place were exactly the same. That being said, I think that the reactions that the cousins had were very realistic. Even if I didn't share them out loud, I recognized some of the same things that I thought about when I was in Ukraine last year (I don't know how it compares directly to India but it was definitely the roughest country that I had ever been in).

One thing I didn't like in the book was the mystery of Nisha and Vinita's origin. The mystery didn't come in until sort of the end of the middle of the book. It seemed like it was put there for some unknown reason and then the mystery ends pretty quickly. I can see how it resolved some issues in the minds of the characters but I wasn't really sure how it fit into the "big picture" of the book.

I loved the writing of the book. Samson really makes you care about the characters, especially the main character, Nisha. You get to feel what she's dealing with and you get to experience first hand the transition that she makes throughout the book, which I really liked.

Bottom line: I think that readers who like books about different places and cultures will really enjoy this one!


Review: In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

Title: In Leah's Wake
Author: Terri Giuliano Long
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: October 1, 2010
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like dysfunctional family stories.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The Tylers have a perfect life--beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister's approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life...until Leah meets Todd, a former roadie for a rock band.

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family-leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.

Can this family survive in Leah's wake? What happens when love just isn't enough?"

My Two Cents:

Troubled kids don't always come from bad families. Leah's family finds that out the hard way. On the surface, the Tylers seem like a pretty normal family. They seem to be living the dream. They have a nice house. Their kids seem to be okay for the most part. Leah is a star soccer player. Justine is both very responsible for her age but she also seems a little immature. It was an interesting combination to me.

I felt really bad for the Tyler family. Leah's behavior takes a total 180. At times, it seemed like bad things kept happening in the book just to to make a point. I get that just because you have a good family, it doesn't mean that your kids can't go off the rails. With Leah, it just seems to happen very suddenly. Suddenly she's dating an older guy. Then she's listening to alternative music. Then she's going out late. Then she's smoking. Then she's going to do drugs. It's just event after event after event. What we don't see is how Leah is such a smart girl. She makes terrible decisions. I understand that even really smart people make dumb decisions but it just seemed like a bit of overload. I didn't think you ever really got to know Leah except for the fact that she makes really terrible decisions.

I was also a little confused about when the story actually took place. I was under the impression at first that the book took place in the present day but the references to the music and some of the things that the characters in the book seemed very dated.

What I did like about the book is that it's a portrait of a family where everything isn't exactly as it seems. I loved trying to figure out what was going on with each member of the family. I think this is a good book for anyone who likes stories about families who are not necessarily functional.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen

Title: The Man Without a Face
Author: Masha Gessen
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Riverhead / Blackstone Audio
Publish Date: March 1, 2012
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You like international politics.
  • You're a history fan.
  • You like biographies.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The Man Without a Face is the chilling account of how a low- level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.

Handpicked as a successor by the "family" surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin seemed like a perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country's fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.

As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her account of how a "faceless" man maneuvered his way into absolute-and absolutely corrupt-power has the makings of a classic of narrative nonfiction."

My Two Cents:

Vladimir Putin is sort of an enigma. It's hard to know what to make of him. Who is he? What is his background? How did this person who rose from the bottom of the KGB come to be such a long term fixture in Russian politics? This book looks at all this and more. Told from the perspective of a journalist (Masha Gessen), the book brings together the personalities and the events of recent Russian history.

I didn't know much about Putin at all before listening to this book except for the fact that first he was Prime Minister of Russia and then he stepped aside for Dmitri Medvedyev, only to come back as Prime Minister fairly recently. In Political Science terms, this would be looked at as an observation in how Russia isn't quite fully democratic and may be sliding backwards in the political freedom department.

The book recounts Putin's early biography from his childhood to his career as a KGB operative to his political rise through his controversial political career all against the backdrop of a vastly and quickly changing country. It was interesting to see how just being in the "right place at the right time" contributed to his rise. A lot of his background I didn't know. He was sort of a weird guy, just sort of off kilter and I thought it was really interesting to see that.

Some parts of the book were very hard to listen to. There were many political gaffes where people's lives hung in the balance and yet no action was taken (the Kursk (sp?) submarine issue, the Chechen school issue, the taking of the Moscow theater). I had forgotten about a lot of these events and how Putin handled or did not handle the books. It was sort of crazy to see how by trying to make himself look good, Putin would step on anyone that was in his way.

I feel like this book gave me a much better insight into why Russian politics and Russia itself are the way that they are. So much of Russia's recent history has been entangled with one man, that being Putin.

The audiobook version of this book is great. The narrator did a good job with all of the different accents of the people in the book.

Bottom line: History and politics lovers will enjoy this book.


Review: Out of the Box by Julie C. Morse

Title: Out of the Box
Author: Julie C. Morse
Format: Paperback
Publisher: iUniverse
Publish Date: May 22, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're an armchair traveler.
  • You don't mind blurring between truth and fiction.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "When she was little, Uncle Bob filled Julianna’s head with positive thoughts – while filling her room with wild souvenirs from his exotic world travels. There was the painted wolf skull from Siberia; a jagged, blood-stained rock from Mount Everest; and a faceless voodoo doll from Africa. He whetted her appetite for adventure and convinced her that nothing was beyond her reach. Then, when she was sixteen, he invited her along on his far-flung adventures. To the teenager, Uncle Bob was Superman and James Bond combined. But even as she grew up to realize that he wasn’t really magic, there was something magical about her favorite uncle.

Bob Harris lived life by his own rules, and it took him on great adventures and to the heights of success. Parts of that life were also shrouded in mystery. Now nearing eighty, he reveals his true identity to his beloved Julianna – imparting wisdom, inspiration, strength, and some real surprises, too. Bob’s story is a testament to the power of the American dream – and to his personal passion to live life boldly."

My Two Cents:

Out of the Box is an interesting book. The story is about an uncle and his niece that go on all sorts of interesting travels. The interesting thing is that even though the book is based on true stories, the niece in the book is a combination of several real-life characters so it's a true story with some untruths. It was an interesting combination. I was sort of wondering what was real and what was not real throughout the entire book, which in turn sort of took me out of the book. I almost wish that the book would have been a full non-fiction book (as it was billed) or that it had been a fully fictional book so I didn't have to wonder.

As an armchair traveler, I loved the travel stories. Uncle Bob goes to some really fascinating places that are way off the beaten path. I loved seeing the things that he saw and reading about the experiences that he had.

I sort of wished that the book had been organized a little more linearly. There wasn't really a good sense of time throughout the book.

I think that this book will really appeal most to armchair travelers who want to read about places that you really don't get a chance to see in books that much.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Odds and Ends: An Update in the Life of a Book Blogger (2)

Guys, look at the picture below. Notice anything?

That's right! I have an official book blurb! If you missed my Facebook announcement last week, a quote from my review of Richard Due's The Moon Coin appears in the printed version of the book. I am really, really, really excited. I loved this book and am very excited that my quote was included in the book.

I also have a couple of other bookish endeavors in the works that I'm excited about but you all will have to wait to hear about it later.

Other than that, I just feel like I've been really busy lately. Work has been crazy. The great move from the city back to suburbia is beginning to loom over us. In August, we will be leaving the District for the wide open spaces of Suburbia (Suburbatory? I don't know). The thought of packing is making me le sad (does anyone really like packing? really?).

This picture sort of explains how I feel. I have so much to do and all I really want is a nap (and perhaps an umbrella drink but mostly a nap). Unlike this cute little kitty, naps are sort of frowned upon when there is a to-do list leering at me.

My mind and heart have been really heavy with everything that has been going on in Colorado. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but most of my family is in Colorado. Both of my parents were raised there. One of my sisters and I were born there and we still visit a ton. I have a ton of family in the Denver area and some cousins about to move to the Aurora area. This whole situation really hit close to home for me. I'm sending my thoughts to all of those affected. This is definitely one of those situations where after you hear about it, you're incredibly happy to hug your loved ones close and to cry for the ones that can't do that.

How is everything in your corner of the world?

Review: Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Title: Open Minds
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: November 1, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a young adult fiction fan.
  • You're a dystopian fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her."

My Two Cents: 

I keep thinking that I'm going to get tired of dystopian books but when I read a book like Open Minds, I know that as long as I keep reading good books, there's no way that I'm going to get tired of this genre. Open Minds is a wildly inventive story where almost everyone can read minds and those who can't are outcasts. Kira is one of the ones who can't read minds but she may have something that sets her apart even more.

World building is something that I look forward to in dystopian books. For me, the world building in Open Minds was one of the best parts of the book. Quinn does a great job of making you feel what it must be like to live in a world where if you're different like Kira finds out she is, you're going to be under government scrutiny. It's a scary new world but one that you could sort of see happening - if the entire country became mind readers. It's a chilling place. The part where some of the characters are in the government camps were especially creepy. You really begin to feel bad for the characters that are there.

The best character in the book is definitely Kira. She's a well-rounded character. I loved that we got to see the story from her point of view. Many of the other characters are not as full as her. They almost seem like vehicles for the action in a lot of places. You don't get a full sense of who they are or what their motivation is. It would have been nice to know a little bit more about them.

This book is part of a trilogy but I think that you could just read this book and have a fairly good standalone book, which I appreciated. As much as I like dystopian books, I'm not liking the trend of having so few standalone books.

Bottom line: A great inventive story for the dystopian lover!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: The Angry Women Suite by Lee Fullbright

Title: The Angry Women Suite
Author:  Lee Fullbright
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Telemachus
Publish Date: March 10, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a fiction fan. 
  • You're a fan of family stories.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Secrets and lies suffuse generations of one Pennsylvania family, creating a vicious cycle of cruelty in this historical novel that spans the early 1900s to the 1960s. Raised in a crumbling New England mansion by four women with personalities as split as a cracked mirror, young Francis Grayson has an obsessive need to fix them all. There's his mother, distant and beautiful Magdalene; his disfigured, suffocating Aunt Stella; his odious grandmother; and the bane of his existence, his abusive and delusional Aunt Lothian. For years, Francis plays a tricky game of duck and cover with the women, turning to music to stay sane. He finds a friend and mentor in Aidan Madsen, schoolmaster, local Revolutionary War historian, musician and keeper of the Grayson women's darkest secrets. In a skillful move by Fullbright, those secrets are revealed through the viewpoints of three different people-Aidan, Francis and Francis'stepdaughter, Elyse-adding layers of eloquent complexity to a story as powerful as it is troubling. While Francis realizes his dream of forming his own big band in the 1940s, his success is tempered by the inner monster of his childhood, one that roars to life when he marries Elyse's mother. Elyse becomes her stepfather's favorite target, and her bitterness becomes entwined with a desire to know the real Francis Grayson. For Aidan's part, his involvement with the Grayson family only deepens, and secrets carried for a lifetime begin to coalesce as he seeks to enlighten Francis-and subsequently Elyse-of why the events of so many years ago matter now. The ugliness of deceit. betrayal and resentment permeates the narrative, yet there are shining moments of hope, especially in the relationship between Elyse and her grandfather. Ultimately, as more of the past filters into the present, the question becomes: What is the truth, and whose version of the truth is correct? Fullbright never untangles this conundrum, and it only adds to the richness of this exemplary novel. A superb debut that exposes the consequences of the choices we make and legacy's sometimes excruciating embrace."

My Two Cents:

This book mostly centers around Francis even though the story is told from three different points of view. There is Francis, the son of a family that has way more than its share of secret and who grows up being abused by the women in his household. There is Elyse, Francis' young step-daughter who becomes the focus of the continuation of the abuse in the family. Then there is Aidan, a teacher who becomes involved with the Grayson family.

Some parts of the book were really hard to read. The parts where Lothian, Francis' aunt who is totally crazy and delusional, was abusing Francis were especially hard to read. I felt bad during this part of the book for Francis because the other women in the household know that Lothian is nuts but they do nothing to keep her away from Francis even though they can see who she thinks Francis is. That was never really explained well.

I had a hard time understanding why Francis perpetuates the abuse by continuing it with Elyse. He seems to know that Lothian is nuts with the things that she says to him and he seems to realize that he doesn't deserve the abuse. It seems that he should have realized a lot earlier that what he was doing was wrong. I didn't really understand his motivation. Was he just following what was done to him?

Fullbright does a great job of keeping the voices of the different narrators separate, which can be really hard to do.

Bottom line: Readers who like multi-generational stories and mysteries will enjoy this book.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Room 306 by Ben Kamin

Title: Room 306
Author: Ben Kamin
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Michigan State University Press
Publish Date: March 15, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book: 
  • You're a history fan.
  • You're a non-fiction fan.
 What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A tragic landmark in the civil rights movement, the Lorraine Motel in Memphis is best known for what occurred there on April 4, 1968. As he stood on the balcony of Room 306, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, ending a golden age of nonviolent resistance, and sparking riots in more than one hundred cities. Formerly a seedy, segregated motel, and prior to that a brothel, the motel quickly achieved the status of national shrine. The motel attracts a variety of pilgrims—white politicians seeking photo ops, aging civil rights leaders, New Age musicians, and visitors to its current incarnation, the National Civil Rights Museum. A moving and emotional account that comprises a panorama of voices, Room 306 is an important oral history unlike any other."

My Two Cents:

This book is sort of hard to describe. It's really the history of a place: Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel. Perhaps room 306 doesn't sound familiar but if you're a lover of history, the Lorraine Motel in Memphis probably sounds familiar. Room 306 was the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was brutally killed as he stood on the balcony of the motel room. The hotel was thrust into American history infamy.

This book tells the story of the motel. Once a monumental, history changing event happens in a place, it's difficult to separate the place from what happened. In my own experience, walking the streets of DC where I live, it's really hard not to look at the famous sites around the city and not think about what happened there. Just the other day, I was driving past the Lincoln Memorial. Even though I live here and have lived around the area since I was four years old, the monuments are still awe-inspiring to me. Obviously the Lincoln Memorial is great monument to a great man but there are so many things that happened on the memorial grounds that I think about when I look at it, including one of MLK's most famous speeches. How amazing would it have been to be there when MLK was speaking? How do you separate a place from what happened there? However, in history, the focus is ultimately on the event and not the place. This book takes a different approach. It actually looks at the place and includes what happened long after the MLK shooting. It's a really fascinating perspective.

There's stories about MLK and how he spent his time in the motel. There's stories about the people who were with MLK when he was shot. There is also stories about The Lorraine Motel as a museum. Room 306 is preserved the exact way that it was when MLK was shot there. It also covers how the motel became the National Civil Rights Museum and how it was almost foreclosed. Some of the stories are not necessarily connected to each other, which was a little jarring as a reader. It sort of took you out of the story of this place a little bit.

Overall, this slim book is a great overview on this important historical place.

Bottom line: History lovers will enjoy this one.


Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publish Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a young adult fiction fan.
  • You're a sci-fi fan.
  • You're a dystopian fan.
  • You love great world-building.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future."

My Two Cents:

is is the kind of book that you will be torn as whether you want to throw it against the wall or turn down the lights while hugging it and crying gently into your pillow after you finish it (wait, is that just me?).

Why I wanted to throw it against the wall: First, I am sorry that I waited so long to read this book. Second, Ms. Meyer, do you think it's really fair to us readers to write a fantastic book and then make us wait another year until the next book??? No, it's not fair. To make matters worse, I have to wait a couple years for the third and fourth books to come back. It's books like this that make me wait until the entire series comes out before I start reading them. I have to know what happens!!! And I really like instant gratification; I really, really like instant gratification.

Why I wanted to hug the book and gently cry into my pillow: I loved these characters, like really, really loved these characters. Cinder is awesome. Iko is awesome. Oh and Ms. Meyer, you made me tear up a little over an android. I cannot say that I've had that experience since watching Wall*E (poor Iko!). Queen Levana is a fantastic villain. She's creepy and has a huge dose of mystery. I can't wait to see how everything unfolds in the coming books.

The world-building in this book was fantastic. You can imagine what New Beijing must look like and be like and how it must feel to live there. Meyer does a really fantastic job of making the book really come to life.

I did not want this book to be over. I read a bit slower than normal just to prolong the experience. You have to love books like that, no?

Bottom line: This book is fantastic and definitely a favorite for 2012.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

TLC Book Tour Stop: The Thread by Victoria Hislop

Title: The Thread
Author: Victoria Hislop
Format: ARC
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: July 12, 2012

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Thessaloniki, Greece, 1917: As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will forever change this place and its people. Five years later, as the Turkish army pushes west through Asia Minor, young Katerina loses her mother in the crowd of refugees clambering for boats to Greece. Landing in Thessaloniki's harbor, she is at the mercy of strangers in an unknown city. For the next eighty years, the lives of Dimitri and Katerina will be entwined with each other and--through Nazi occupation, civil war, persecution, and economic collapse--with the story of their homeland.

Thessaloniki, Greece, 2007: A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents' remarkable story for the first time and understands he has a decision to make. For decades, Dimitri and Katerina have looked after the treasures of those who have been forced from their beloved city. Should he stay and become their new custodian?"

My Two Cents:

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the setting: Thessaloniki, a place that I have not read a lot about. It seems like a really interesting place. When the book opens, it's a city where Christians, Muslims and Jews can live side-by-side with absolutely no issue. Everyone isn't really worried about their differences. The story follows Dimitri and Katerina, two people who come from very different backgrounds. I loved the historical backdrop of their story; it was definitely interesting.

This book covers a lot of ground. A lot of focus is put on Dimitri and Katerina as young people and then the book seems to move faster and faster as the years go on. It was a little uneven to me and I almost wish that Hislop had chosen to focus more on a couple events in Dimitri and Katerina's lives instead of trying to cover so much in this one book. I loved the detail in the beginning of the book. Dimitri's family was very interesting and I loved seeing where he came from and why his family was the way that it was. I loved Katerina's story as a young girl and how she ended up coming to Thessaloniki. The rest of the book felt very rushed. I think it can be difficult to cover so much ground in one story. I kept wishing for the book to stay in one spot for just a little bit longer. Also, because the book was going so quickly, it was really sort of difficult to keep track of which point in time the story was talking about. Sometimes you wouldn't find any sort of indication of a date until the end of the chapter!

On the other hand, I think it's always a good sign when you want a book to go a little slower. I definitely liked the story. There's a hint of fate that makes the story really interesting. You really do get a good sense of the characters and begin to care for them a lot. I would love to read more by Hislop in the future as there is definitely the potential for some great writing there.

Bottom line: There is good writing here but the story goes just a little too quickly.

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, July 10th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, July 11th: Bibliosue
Monday, July 16th: A Library of My Own
Wednesday, July 18th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 19th: A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 20th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Tuesday, July 24th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, July 30th: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, July 31st: Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, August 1st: My Bookshelf
Thursday, August 2nd: JulzReads
TBD: Twisting the Lens

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...