Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, I enjoyed the narration by Paul Michael. In an audiobook, the narrator can make or break a good book for oneself.

I enjoyed DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons. I had never given much thought to conspiracies and alternative plots to world organizations until reading these books. These two books happened across the pond away from where I lived.

Upon reading The Lost Symbol I had to start thinking domestically about what I had heard about the founding fathers and what I believed to be true.

I won't bore you with scriptural citations or readings. But what I will tell you is that I agree with Robert Langdon. With all the differences in our country and the moral decay that has progressed since the founding of this great Nation. I too have Hope. Hope that the human conscience will once again prevail after a period of darkness. That the hearts of a great nation will join together in "Laus Deo".

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has been on my 'to read' list for almost twenty years. All my Honors English friends had read it while I was reading...I don't even remember what. Though I did like this book over all, it moved a bit slowly in the beginning. I spent a lot of time wondering "OK, when does the plot start?" Once the action started, I was more engaged and didn't want to stop reading.

Throughout the book, I struggled with the sense of apathy the characters seemed to have, especially about their knowledge of Tom's affair. How could everyone just sit back and not call him out on it? How could Nick just sit there during the impromptu party at the mistress's flat? When Tom slapped Myrtle, everyone pretty much threw their hands up in a fake yawn, looked at their watches and said "Oh my, look at the time." I know, I know. It was another era.

The development of the characters was quite intriguing, though there were few of them that I would want to invite to tea. I had a hard time liking Nick as he seemed so ...soft. He had no voice. He was just there observing and going along with it all. I guess that is just what he was, the narrator. He was a neutral vehicle to watch the story unfold. Oddly enough, the character that seemed to irritate me the most was Jordan Baker. She seemed as flat and lacking in the same moral courage as Nick. I guess they were a perfect match and that similarity is what precluded a relationship between them. Their own characters were too morally...bland, I guess, to get over any hurdles and build a relationship. In the end, Nick found that the East Coast was not his speed and went home. Ya. Probably a good idea. I ended up doing the same thing. Maybe our modern day society is alright, after all.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I had read this just to read it, I'm not sure how I would have felt about it. As study material, it was very interesting. Going into the book with such things in mind as the Victorian era, Romanticism, Gothic revival, Industrialism and Feminism, it was a much more significant read than it would have been otherwise. I won't take the time to analyze those elements here, except to say that I think it's worth learning just a bit about those elements before beginning the book.

I've never watched any of the Dracula films adaptations, but this story has become so entrenched in our pop culture that I couldn't help going into it with some preconceived notions. Many of which were not consistent with the book. Dracula's appearance in the movies is always smooth; hairless for the most part. In the book he is hairy all over. And though he's definitely a creepy guy, the creepiness is more subtle. He's a gentleman, well educated, and better spoken than most of the English characters in the book. His relationship to wolves is also different than I expected. His plays the master over wolves, as well as most other beasts. Though Dracula is nocturnal, the whole getting-killed-by-the-sun thing didn't get added to the legend until later. Big D appears in sunlight several times throughout the book. And the famous creepy "Good Evening" is actually "Good morning."

Van Helsing was also a bit of a surprise to me. I had no idea this character came from this book. The only previous exposure I'd had to him was the Hugh Jackman movie. Stoker's Van Helsing could not be more different from this Hollywood version. Even ignoring my preconceived notions about him, I can't help feeling a bit dissatisfied with this character. All throughout the book, I wanted some of his background to be revealed. Where did this scientific, learned man get his information and experience with vampire hunting? The book never says. In my mind, this is one of the deficiencies that keeps Dracula from being a book worthy of multiple readings.

Over all, I'd say this is definitely worth reading over, even if you don't have to do it for school. Do so with caution though. One of the things that prevented me from reading it before is that I thought it was going to be very scary. I did not find it so. At least it was not explicitly violent or sexual. However, there were several people, both in my class and in my book club, who had a hard time with it. The superstitious elements were strong and the people who were sensitive to superstitions got pretty freaked out. Others were sensitive to the implied violence, especially towards children. The sexual undertones were very subtle. I wouldn't have noticed most of them if the footnotes hadn't commented on them. I didn't think it was offensive in that respect. So read at your own risk.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cute and Creepy Critters for Halloween

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend of mine, who knows I love to crochet, found this at the library and brought it over to show me. Creepy Cute Crochet by Christian Haden has got some of the most adorable creepy critters to make for Halloween. All of the creatures have the same basic pattern to follow for the head and body, and then there are lots of embellishments and accessories to make or add to your creation. My three favorite creatures are the skeleton bride and groom, and the corporate zombie. So, if you have a knack and/or passion for crochet, this is a great little book to add to your pattern collection.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know what? I really liked this book. It wasn't all phony and such. Even with all the crumby swearing, I got through it all right.

OK, enough Holden-speak.

This book was a fascinating read for me. When I first began it, I was feeling all rebellious to be reading a book with this much swearing. I usually have a very timid ear and can't handle hearing 'g-d'. I then realized it was just a kid trying to sound tough. At first I was irritated at Holden. I dismissed him as 'that guy I hated in high-school'. I was the good girl that Holden would have seen as 'phony'. I could never relate with those that didn't care what the higher-ups thought. As I continued to read, I found I understood him more and more. He was just a kid. He was extremely intelligent, but had some stuff to work out. I love how he freaked out about being a madman and couldn't understand how he could get caught up in a moment and say something crazy. He marveled that he would truly mean it at the time he said it. Ha. Been there.

All in all, I found this book much less scandalous than I feared it would be. I read a few synopses to make sure I could handle it. Sure, I'm not running to put in on my 13 yr-old's reading list, but what is so atypical or unstable about it? I understand the language was over-the-top and, of course, reading the thoughts of a 16 yr-old boy would always be disturbing, but I don't see Holden's experience as that different from my own. (With some glaring exceptions, of course!) I guess that is what surprised me in this book. Angst is angst. We all just work it out in our own way.

If you disagree with me...you are probably a phony. ;)

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

The White BoneThe White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I ended up not really enjoying this one. There were things I liked about it- the perspective was kind of fun. Seeing things from the elephants' points of view was an interesting change. Their mythology, their creation story, their after-life were all enjoyable. It was also fascinating to learn a bit about their family units and the hierarchy that goes along with them. What ruined the book for me though was the constant obsession with poop and sex. Granted, it's animal sex, so it's different- less offensive- than if we were talking about humans, but it was still a major and unnecessary distraction from the story. And while it's true that animals are obsessed with dung and urine and anything else that marks a strong scent, as a human, I don't care to hear about animals eating each others' poo. Maybe that's just me, though. Also, I didn't care for the ending, but I won't spoil it by going into detail.

But I have to give Gowdy props for doing something completely different.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

Beyond the Deepwoods (Edge Chronicles, Book 1) The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, let's see if I can get this right. The Edge Chronicles is a 10 book series. This juvenile fantasy gem caught me completely by surprise. I jumped in somewhat grudgingly because it wasn't the greatest time in my life to be starting a long series. But I have been richly rewarded for my sacrifice. Here, you'll find a world where the laws of physics as we know them do not apply. There are creatures you've never imagined, but the illustrations of Chris Riddell help bring them to life.

I'd like to say a little something about the genre here- yes it's unquestionably fantasy, but it is also my first introduction to steam-punk, which I had heard of before and knew roughly what it was but didn't feel too interested in. By the end of the first book, I felt that this is a fabulous introduction to the steam-punk genre. It has turned out to be thrillingly imaginative. Stewart writes in such an easy way, it feels only natural that I should love this special niche of fantasy.

I read all 10 books in numerical order, and that was fine way to do it. But now that I've done it, I can tell others that they have options. If 10 books seems a bit much all at once, then you might be interested to know that the series is really three trilogies and an extra book to tie it all up. Reading them numerically, you'll find that there is a lot of jumping around in this world's timeline. But if you want to read them chronologically, here's the order for you:

Quint's Trilogy:
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (book 4)
The Winter Knights (book 8)
Clash of the Sky Galleons (book 9)

Twig's Trilogy:
Beyond the Deepwoods (book 1, pictured above)
Stormchaser (book 2)
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (book 3)

Rook's Trilogy:
The Last of the Sky Pirates (book 5)
Vox (book 6)
Freeglader (book7)

Nate's story and the end of our epic tale:
The Immortals

Reading them this way would allow you to take a natural break from the series (if you wanted one) before committing to reading more. Just a thought.

I really enjoyed every book in this series and highly recommend them. Bare in mind this is juvenile fiction, but it also has some pretty adult themes, such as war and political intrigue. There is a lot of fighting, and yes, killing. Personally, I would still let my child read it because it isn't terribly graphic. So add it to your to-read list. Now.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

The Tender Mercy of RosesThe Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could have read this book in one sitting if my time hadn't been so limited this week. I found myself thinking about the characters and the mystery, even when I wasn't reading. Anna Michaels writes beautifully, as well. I got caught up in her use of words, which lent a southern flavoring and poetry to the story.

Although this story involves a murder mystery, I felt that it wasn't morbid at all. The rodeo setting didn't overwhelm the rest of the story. The ethereal Native American element gave it a beautiful spirituality that felt natural.

Be advised: There was some strong language, but only a little of it. It seemed like Michael used it only to help develop a clearer picture of Pony Jones' character; her masculine upbringing, her wild personality, her lack of education. That's how it struck me, anyway.

I really enjoyed it. If you don't have a problem with mild profanity, I'd definitely recommend it.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Keesha's House by Helen Frost

Imagine living in a safe place where you would have a chance to dream and then have the freedom to act in order to acheive these dreams. Many of us take this kind of place for granted. Keesha's House opened my eyes to the real hardships that many teens face in their lives. For many, it is a game of survival. A fight for the impact of doing the right thing and confusion on what that is.
Helen Frost did an amazing job in writing this book completely in sestina and sonnet poetic form. Her characters came through vividly as well as details surrounding Keesha's house where she stayed & many who knew this house as hers. Yet it was Joe's house, he, who had bought it to survive himself and then had a golden heart to help teens that were as misfortunate as he had once been. Doing what he thought best by giving them an address and a way out of their unfortunate circumstances. It's hard to believe how something as simple as an address and a comfortable place to stay can mean the whole world opening up to one misunderstood teen. This book doesn't glorify teen misbehavior but realistically shows, through unforgettable poetry, how life isn't fair for all teens and how many times judgement comes out of reactions instead of communication and interactions with teens to understand their needs.
I had picked up this book because I am interested in writing like this. I read through the poems many times in order to remember and feel how Frost had depicted everything. She is definitely a master in her craft. I would enjoy reading another selection from her in the future. She is definitely an author to watch for. I appreciated her down to earth yet classic style in writing. As well as the fact that this book, the stories of these teens and their parents, have stayed with my thoughts which means it has found a place within my heart.

My Rating: 4 stars
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (April 2, 2003)
*Michael L. Printz Honor Book (Awards)

Other insightful reviews:

Lisa the Nerd

Poetry for Children (has a video clip of Frost sharing one of her poetic works)

The Infinite Booklist

Helen Frost web page (take a look at the book trailers)

In essence this book reminded me of this famous quote:

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read more:
Brainy Quotes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Would Google Do?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listen to Jeff regularly on the TWiG (This Week in Google) podcast with Leo Laporte. That is what lead me to read the book.

WWGD? Offered new insights to how Google sees the Internet at large. I was swept up in the ideas of customers and friends and business partners using social media. Businesses today have to embrace and change all prior thinking to evolve and live in this new Internet based economy.

Openness, transparency, full-disclosure. Don't hold back. Start an Internet conversation with someone, a friend, or a business.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The SherlockianThe Sherlockian by Graham Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In middle school, I fell in love with Sherlock Holmes stories. In high school, I tried to convert my fellow English class students to Sherlock Holmes by planning several class lessons around the stories. So when I saw this book on the "New Books" shelf at the library, I just had to check it out!
The book is actually two stories in one. The main story is about Harold, a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, or "Sherlockian" who finds himself suddenly involved in the mystery surrounding the death of a fellow Sherlockian, Alex Cale, and a missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle. Harold attempts to sleuth his way through the mystery as Sherlock Holmes would have.
The second story is about Conan Doyle himself, taking place during the time frame of the missing diary. Arthur also finds himself suddenly wrapped up in a murder mystery involving a possible serial killer in London. He and his best friend Bram Stoker (yes, THE Bram Stoker! I didn't know they were friends?!) set out to solve this mystery, also using the deductive methods Arthur employed in all of his Sherlock Holmes stories, which he personally detests.
If you've ever been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, this book is a very yummy yarn for you.
One favorite moment of the story for me is when Harold has come to an unsatisfying end to his sleuthing, and thinks there is nothing more to find. "Harold found himself pining not for solutions, but for questions. For more. He realized that even after all the stories he'd read, he'd been left completely unprepared for this moment – for the quiet days after the climax when the world ticked onward...What he had not read, he now realized were the moments after the endings." For some reason this part brought to mind the days after some great event. Weddings and funerals are two good examples. After all the emotion, and all the tears, and all the family and friends coming and going, the adrenaline, the memories...You get in your car and drive home and notice the traffic that is still coming and going on the highway, that never stopped even while your world stopped. And there's that hollow disconnect in your heart, and the attempts to reconnect in your brain. Your life seemed to stop with this event, so how did the world not stop with you? Moments after the endings – they're quite confounding.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar WIlde

The Canterville GhostThe Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I was giggling the whole time...well most of the time. (I am a chicken, and should never read anything with the word 'ghost' in the title at midnight, alone in my living room.) I loved how the Ghost chose his characters and costumes with such care. I think my favorite line of the whole book was "He selected Friday, the 17th of August, for his appearance, and spent most of that day in looking over his wardrobe, ultimately deciding in favour of a large slouched hat with a red feather, a winding-sheet frilled at the wrists and neck, and a rusty dagger." It sounded like a Mary Higgins-Clark heroine deciding what to wear before she pulls her hair into a chignon, dons a caftan, and begins to make her omelet. Delicious fun. My favorite characters of the book were the horrid little Otis Twins. Oh, they were naughty! Having little naughty boys of my own, their antics seemed quite plausible and hilarious. Oh, the Facebook statuses Mrs. Otis could post about those two! Of course, I was frustrated that the story drops off before giving you the really scary bits, but oh well. It was just so much fun. I am sure there is some piece of fan-fiction, somewhere, that speculates on Virginia's scary ordeal. :)

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Hourglass Door (Hourglass Door Trilogy, #1)The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this book has an amazing premise. When my mom told me about the plot, I was excited. Time travel? Sweet. Unfortunately, I struggled a bit with how long it took to get to the answers. By the time the answers came, I had lost interest. In all honesty,I was off in my reading at the time, and I just might have been worried about other things. I hope the second book speaks to me a bit more. I've had it sitting on my shelf for about a year. Not in love enough to have read it yet, but also not ready to give up on this cool idea.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It was engaging, yet light. I was happy to let my 13 yr old read when I have maybe steered her away from some other dystopian books. Cassia seemed believable to me and I found myself watching over her back trying to see what the boogie-man was up to. As my daughter read, she would say to me "Well, I think it would be awesome to have all your food prepared for you. How cool is that!" Keep reading, honey. (Which of course would later lead to the ""Agh! Ok, Mom. I see what you mean!" floating down the hall from her room.) This book is the perfect entry-level dystopia. It was compelling enough to keep me going and thinking, but didn't haunt my dreams like a few others. I must say, I never look at that color of green without thinking of that little swatch of silk. I can't imagine a world were that is as far as ones luxuries extend. IN teh romance department, it was fun to have the two love interests and to keep switching sides of who I wanted to win. I must say I am a bit Team Xander and can't wait to find out more of the secret knowledge he has to share. Can't wait to read the next one!

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Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I gotta say, this book took me a while to get into. Starting out I was struck with the similarities to a few other novels. Uh, oh. We're in a biology lab again. I had read The Golden Spiral by Lisa Magnum recently, and I just couldn't stop seeing the similarities. (Never mind, Twilight!) First, the edgy bio partner with a with a penchant for unpacking every bit of the heroine's emotional baggage, like some pervy TSA attendant. Second, there is the oversexed, annoying friend who is easily manipulated to become the bait in the climax of the story. But it was intriguing. Sure, I rolled my eyes a few times. The plot seemed a bit predictable, and I generally don't like fallen angel stories. But eventually, I just decided to let go of the stuff that bothered me and sit back and enjoy the book for what it was. An ode to a 'bad boy'. I have no problem admitting that a couple of those near kisses convinced me to stick with the book. I ended up not being able to put it down. It was fun summer reading. It spoke to my inner teenage rebel and I'm alright with that. Hmmm. I wonder if Dale and I should take a continuing ed biology class. ;)

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tatiana and AlexanderTatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Since this book is a sequel (and I haven't read the first one) it was difficult to begin reading. The action immediately starts where the first book leaves off, in the Soviet Union during WWII. Alexander is a young officer recovering in a military hospital from some pretty bad battle wounds. For some reason he's also waiting to be arrested by the Soviet government. Tatiana is trying to make her way out of Europe and escape the war. Simons does her best to get new readers up to speed on the story, with lots of flashback moments and conversations from the first book. After reading the first third of the book I felt I was sufficiently caught up with the action.

The reason it took me a third of the book to catch up is because this book moves back and forth through time, telling three stories at once. The first is Alexander's story of how he was brought to the Soviet Union by his parents in the 1930's and how he became an officer in the Red Army. The second story is Alexander's current scenario, being arrested and charged with treason, then being assigned to lead a penal battalion in battle. The third is Tatiana's story, who hides on a cargo ship bound for New York City and gives birth to her son within days of arriving at Ellis Island.

This technique of moving back and forth through the stories almost forces the reader to become engrossed in the book. You HAVE to pay attention so you don't get lost with the narratives. It would have been a whole lot easier to follow the stories if they were told in sequence, but then it's interesting to watch all the story pieces eventually fall into place.

On the front cover is a book review quote that says, "This has everything a romance glutton could wish for.." When I first saw that, I hoped I wasn't opening a harlequin romance. This book does have probably as much sex in it as an HR, but most of these scenarios are between a newly married husband and wife, and Simons uses lots of implied references instead of explicit, graphic detail. Since much of the book follows soldiers in battle, there's also LOTS of f-bombs.

The thing I liked best about the book was how Simons explores the emotions and thoughts of Tatiana struggling with being a war widow. Simon's writing really helped me understand what it would be like to be in Tatiana's position, and I started wondering, "How would I handle this situation? How would I feel? What would I do?"

I enjoyed reading this book, but could do without the language and too-many-honeymoon scenes. Since the book recaps its prequel so well, and ends on a good note, I don't feel I need to read the rest of the books in this series.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Robbers and Wallenstein by Friedrich von Schiller

The Robbers and Wallenstein (Penguin Classics)The Robbers and Wallenstein by Friedrich von Schiller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book contains two plays- The Robbers, and the trilogy Wallenstein.

I enjoyed The Robbers more than I thought I would. I give that one 4 stars. I think I'd describe it as the love child of the Robin Hood story and a Shakespearean tragedy. But it was very fast paced, well written (and well translated) and enjoyable to read.

Wallenstein is considered Schiller's masterpiece, but I did not enjoy it all that much. I give it two stars. This is actually three plays- Wallenstein's Camp, The Piccolomini, and Wallenstein's Death. I can sum up the three works in three words: history, politics, war. The last installment was the most enjoyable to me, probably because it was the only one with any action to it. The rest was a lot of standing around, talking about exciting things that already happened off stage.

If you have an interest in European political and military history, this might appeal to you a lot more than it did to me.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first thing this book did was scream YA to me because the writing, meaning technique and style, is fairly light and simplistic. And it was a fast read. BUT, the story it tells and the questions it raises in your mind are fascinating and utterly captivating. Yes, dystopian fiction has been done, and done agan, and yet again. And yet I like this book because it takes all of those questions and ideas that our society needs to always remember, and poses them towards a younger audience, in a language and setting they can relate to. So brilliant! I feel this book is a much needed bridge, or maybe a hand of fellowship, towards younger generations to introduce them into this perspective of humanity. And I look forward to reading the sequels in this series.

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Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is a good example of why I'm reluctant to read YA fiction. The underdevelopment of the characters, the crazy plot lines, it was all stuff-and-fluff.

The first thing that bothered me was how the characters focused so much on sex. Exploring sexual feelings and tension in a storyline doesn't usually bother me, except when you dwell on it for too long. I don't ever read books just for a sexual thrill. I am happy to say my life is much too fulfilling to need that. In this book, sexual tension seemed to be the ONLY reason the two main characters Nora and Patch had any interaction in the first half of the book. Shallow. And it got old and boring really fast. Nora couldn't make up her mind, even down to the last few chapters, of whether or not she wanted to be with Patch, and that was just annoying. It reminded me of Bill Cosby's classic comedic sketch of Adam and Eve - Eve teasing Adam saying, "C'm here, c'm here, c'm here.. oh gettaway, gettaway, gettaway!" and Adam following Eve around, knuckles dragging like a caveman, tongue lolling out of his mouth. That describes Nora and Patch's relationship to a T, and after the first few chapters, the pandering gets old. Move on.

The second thing that bothered me was how the various plot lines get resolved, or rather, tangled up at the end of the book. It's a mess, and makes no sense. Throughout the story, Nora is suspicious someone is following her and trying to harm her, but can't figure out who. She first discovers her flame Patch is really out to kill her. Just kidding, he doesn't really have the heart to do it. OK, so then it's school counselor-turned-dark angel who wants her dead. Oh, never mind, Patch tore out her wings. So then the REAL danger is mysterious Jules, who's relationship to the whole story is briefly and unconvincingly explained. He gets thrown into the final dramatic scene so Nora and Patch have SOME one to overcome and can say, "Hooray, we have overcome evil and can stay together." Each of these plot lines, if properly developed, may have done well in their own books, but this yarn gets so tangled up and messy, you just want to cut the string and move on.

Oh, and the title of the book - Hush, Hush - well, I have no clue how it relates to the story.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Leviathan I again walked into a world of imagination created by Scott Westerfeld. The drama of a British Air Service Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) lends to the credibility of the story. I found myself wishing the story would follow a different path than the author choose. But I was never disappointed with the outcomes of the choices made by the author through the character development within the book. I voratiously await the third and final book in this series.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer

The Canterbury TalesThe Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I started, I assumed that 460 pages of iambic pentameter would be overwhelming. But don't let the fact that it's written in verse turn you away from this book. At times, I did find that I needed to get away from rhythm and rhyme for a while. But when I came back, I found it was easy to get back into the story. I should also add that this edition was brilliantly translated from Middle-English to modern English. I would never have made it through in Middle-English.

I've always been wary of reading Chaucer (he's been on the banned list for a reason, right?), but I found him rather fascinating. This story is largely an exploration of human nature and how different circumstances- like social class, religion, and gender- affect it. And though some of the ideas expressed seem outdated or archaic, you have to remember that Chaucer lived in the fourteenth century. They ARE outdated and archaic. But there is truth to be found there as well.

If you've been hesitant, like me, to pick up Chaucer, here's what you may want to be aware of:

He's pretty obsessed with sex, but don't think that means he writes trashy love stories. Mostly he talks about sex in a casual, conversational way, and it's usually because he's exploring the relationships between men and women. For the most part, he's fairly tasteful about it.

BUT there are a few times when he did get pretty vulgar (not graphic, just vulgar).

In his day, it would have caused a sensation, now it would make a PG-13 rating.

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Darkness Spoken... by Ingeborg Bachmann

Darkness Spoken: Collected Poems of Ingeborg BachmannDarkness Spoken: Collected Poems of Ingeborg Bachmann by Ingeborg Bachmann

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, you should know that I'm not a poetry enthusiast. I appreciate poetry on a fairly superficial level. If I had a more sophisticated taste for poetry, I might be able to review more authoritatively on this collection.

That said, I enjoyed these poems for the most part. I can't claim to have truly understood some of them, but I enjoyed reading them just the same. Bachmann seems to write a lot about death, war, struggle, sorrow, and love lost. She also uses natural imagery a lot, which I found very pleasing.

Her poems on war, captivity, struggle, sorrow, etc. take on a whole new meaning when you remember that she was writing from behind the Berlin wall. One section of poetry makes me think she must have been hospitalized or something for a time, since her focus is on illness, nurses, drugs, etc. I think it would be interesting to learn a little more about her life.

A lot of these poems were very thought provoking, on their own and as a group. If you like poetry at all, I'd recommend giving this a look over.

As a side note, I'd also like to say that I LOVED that this book included the original German text next to each English translation.

Spoken to the Evening

My doubts, bitter and unappeased,
drain away in the evening's depths.
Weariness sings inside my ear.
I listen...
That's the way it was yesterday!
It's happening all over again!

I know the paths of sleep that lead to the sweetest field.
I never want to go there.
Yet I don't know where, for me, the dark lake
of torment will end.
A mirror shall lie there,
thick and clear,
and will show us,
sparkling with pain,
the underlying reasons.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

First off, I'd like to let you know that I listened to this book on Audio CD. I tell you this since I feel it may be different to experience books this way than actually reading them but it is a good way to get through the long hours of a road trip. Anyway, here's some of my thoughts as I listened to this book.
For me, this book didn't seem to be character driven since I didn't feel a huge connection to any of the characters although I didn't dislike them either. Actually, the storyline was interesting enough to sustain the desire to continue listening to the book. I wanted to find out what would happen next but at the same time I was not compelled with the main character. I enjoyed only one of the side characters namely the coach for the Parma Panthers. All others only seemed necessary to guide the book along.
Basically, this novel showcases Rick Dockery, a career third string NFL quarterback. Right away, the disappointment sets in for Rick after a game injury lands him in a hospital bed. His career seemed to have a very promising start, but all kinds of unfortunate mishaps including concussions & constant trades kept upsetting his dreams. After all, it can't be much worse than considering he just played the worst game of his career which gave him yet another concussion on his short-lived stint for the Cleveland Browns. Not only that Rick is ridiculed, targeted and credited for the loss that completely derailed playoff hopes for the franchise.
Now, he's left with his hopes dashed and pondering if he'd ever play in the NFL again, his agent out of options, suggests a little known Italian league and an escape from his many escalated troubles. After much protest because it means giving up what he'd always wanted, Rick agrees and soon he is on his way to play for the Panthers in Parma, Italy of all places.
Here in the backdrop of Italy is the overlaying sense of the story all described in terms of football and food. It is a simplistic read which provides an elusion that the reader might find enjoyable.
For my final analysis, this book isn't for everyone and it is not one of my favorites of Grisham although it is not completely uninteresting.

320 pages
Publisher: Dell; 1 edition paperback (July 22, 2008)
My rating: 3 stars

Another way of looking at this book:

Book Chase

A Year in Books

For Football fans: The true blog of Jason Johnson on what it's literally like to Play for Pizza - Really Playing for Pizza

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: The Resurrection by H.A. Parker

Synopsis (From Author):

Nothing stops Bancroft Enterprises from developing the best in scientific technology, despite the harsh competition. At the height of its power, biomedical technician Clark Ravensdale performs the nearly-impossible: raising six New Testament figures.
Though criticisms from the religious and scientific communities persist, both groups use this project as an opportunity to advance their agendas. In the midst of division, Clark shies away from discussion, hoping that the fierceness subsides and won’t deter his workaholic life. However, those mixed feelings change.
While some have characterized the disciples as primitive, others like Clark notice the abnormal behaviors and uncanny intellect. As more time is spent living with the disciples, a realization comes to mind: perhaps there is more truth to the New Testament than some thought.

The Resurrection by H.A. Parker tells a story that forces you to examine your own personal convictions regarding science and religion.  As a science teacher, I can understand the almost fanatical belief held by the scientists and their goal to resurrect the disciples.  The main character, Clark, has had his faith in God challenged and he clings to science as an acceptable way to process the world.  At the same time, his life has become void of everything.  He lives alone, has few, if any, friends and he is very devoted to his job and his enigmatic boss.

Suddenly becoming the "keeper" of the resurrected disciples, Clark quickly discovers many of their ideas about them were wrong and he is faced with the faith and religion he turned his back on for science.  He also comes to realized that things are not as he believed with his boss and he wonders if they are doing the right thing.

I really enjoyed the fact there was no clear-cut answer.  All the characters had to deal with the issue of their own faith and belief in the face of the Disciples. This book serves as an excellent example of what is going on in today's churches.  This story explores the goals of the modern church and how so many shift focus to a corporate mindset.  This story evokes deep thought into the reader's own personal ideals of religion and how the face of the church has changed.

Everyone who interacts with the Disciples find themselves changed.  From the fanatical coworker Fulbright to the maniacal boss Bancroft, everyone has reactions to the Disciples. For some, their faith is reaffirmed.  For others, the need to control the Disciples outweighs all.

As for the Disciples, I found them to be delightful.  Quickly adjusting to being in the 21st century, they have never lost their faith in God and waste any time starting their mission of evangelizing.  They grow concerned as they realize the modern world has deviated from the message of God, as they know it and the Disciples do not bite their tongue in letting everyone they have strayed from the message.

This story was so compelling.  See everything through Clark's eyes really made the story so poignant.  It was interesting to see his battle with himself, his religious convictions and his science beliefs.  This story is such a reflection on much of the discussion between religion and science today.    This story is such a reflection on much of the discussion between religion and science today.  This is one you should pick up if you are ready to read and be challenged to think outside the box.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Light Gathering Poems Edited by Liz Rosenberg

Beautiful selections from Dickinson, Frost, Rumi, Hughes, and other well-known (and some lesser-known) poets are compiled to extract thoughts of love, family, hope, nature from one's mind. I enjoyed Rosenberg's anthology and also the way that the poems were organized in the book. As with poetry, you don't have to read them in order but when you can they can create a unique feel that is present as a compilation all on their own.

A few of my favorite poems in this book include: Sonnet # 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron, Blue Butterfly Day by Robert Frost, To Jane by Percy Bysshe Shelley

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes

—Lord Byron

Shelley's great line, "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? "

Other poets featured included Langston Hughes, Jane Kenyon, Rainer Maria Rilke, Christina Rossetti, Rumi, and Ruth Stone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Plain Jane: Brunettes Beware by Cristyn West

Plain Jane: Brunettes Beware

Title: Plain Jane:Brunettes Beware
Author: Cristyn West
Format: Paperback and Ebook
Found at: Amazon and Smashwords

This book keep me captivated from beginning to end!  The story was wonderful and repulsive at the same time.  The hunt for this serial killer took so many twists and turns yet left you wondering who was more insane, the killer or the profiler on their trail!

I loved the main female character in Nicole.  She was a strong and smart woman yet vulnerable in affairs of the heart.  Her job is first and foremost in her mind except when it comes to dealing with her ex, Kent.  He brilliant, deranged and obsessive, all the hallmarks of a top profiler.  He was an ass to her and their co-workers and I cheered at the times she found her moxie and let him know how she felt.  Their relationship is as intriguing as the mystery of the serial killer and I was totally satisfied with the way it played out in the end. 

The serial killer was spooky and the reveal was a total surprise  There were several viable suspects and the author really kept you guessing until the end.  The suspense lasted the entire novel and I came away from the novel with a  sense of "WOW". There is definitely a gross factor with the more visits and the "prize" that the serial killer took from it's victims.  This story may bother you a little if you are a touch squeamish.

A few things I would have like to have seen was more of the back story of the characters.  There was discussion in the book about previous cases and previous relationships but since this was the first book, I only know what was mentioned.  It would be nice to see a prequel book showing how Nicole and Kent wound up together in the first place.  I hope there will be more with these two!  They work together well and it'll be interesting to see another case with them!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Dead Barchetta by Kathryn Lively

Dead Barchetta, a Mystery (Dead Barchetta #1)

Title: Dead Barchetta
Author: Kathryn Lively
Format: Paperback and Ebook
Available at Amazon and Smashwords

From Amazon: “Lerxst” Johnston doesn’t have an enemy in the world…so he thinks. Armed only with a guitar and endless questions, Lerxst escapes the discomfort of his beach home and hides out in New York City to learn the true identity of his would-be assailant. Instead he learns more about himself and what he needs to do to survive the next attempt on his life. What a long, strange trip it is.


I read this one from beginning to end!  The story started off with the simple question of "Why was the mysterious woman was trying to kill him?" to a bigger plot that no one saw coming until it sprang up!  The story was engaging and you couldn't help but love Lerxst and the characters he meets along the way.

It had plenty of musical references and a great deal of dark humor but the book didn't bogged down at any point.  Instead, it moved at a quick pace and had you looking for answers as if you were Lerxst!  The characters were also wonderful.  There's the grandma who grows "medical herbs", a brother that has a huge secret and the female bass player that becomes his partner in the hunt for answers.   In spite of everything going on, Lerxst keeps a level head as he searches for the truth.

This was a wonderful read!  I read it from beginning to end and I wouldn't mind picking up again to discover any wonderful nuances I may have missed the first time around!  Music fans will also enjoy the rock references (especially for Rush) but you don't have to be a music fan to enjoy it.  It's great to see an ordinary, unexpected guy be the detective for a change.  Grab this one!  You'll enjoy it!

Think No Evil... by Jonas Beiler

Think No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting...and BeyondThink No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting...and Beyond by Jonas Beiler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful, quick read. This book is all about the Amish schoolhouse shooting and how the Amish community reacted to that violence with forgiveness. I thought it was very well written. The time spent on the actual events of that day was relatively little, so the tone was not morbid or upsetting. Instead, the focus was mostly on the people, both inside and outside the Amish community, and how the events impacted them emotionally. It explains a lot about Amish culture and how forgiveness is always the natural response for them because Christ is at the center of everything they do. It explores how we non-Amish can better implement forgiveness in our own lives.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read a lot of mixed reviews on this book. I love the first book, as so many others did. The Name of the Wind is on my all-time-favorites list. And though I liked book two slightly less than book one, it is only slightly less. Many of the people who loved book one and were not satisfied with book two, went into this book with a lot of expectations. They hoped to have all their questions answered. But you have to keep in mind that this is epic fantasy; epic. You will not find all the answers in book two of a trilogy. There is a reason Luke did not defeat Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Frodo did not destroy the ring in Two Towers. Instead, we are left with more questions than answers. That's what keeps us hanging on for the third installment.

I thought The Wise Man's Fear was an excellent follow-up to The Name of the Wind. I felt very satisfied at the end, but I cannot wait to read book three and would not be the least bit sad if this trilogy turned into a much longer series. It was a bit longer than it needed to be, but I didn't mind that very much. Rothfuss' writing has such a natural flow that the pages fly by without my noticing. My only disappointment in that regard is that my life didn't allow me to lock myself away and do nothing but read. However, I did manage to neglect some important things so I could have time to read.

It was funny. Rothfuss has such a great sense of humor. His blog has me cracking up pretty frequently, and this book was no different. But it was also tragic. Kvothe has quite a knack for destroying his own happiness. It was almost painful to watch his mistakes.

The frame story aspect continues to delight me. The inner story unfolds with dramatic ups and downs. The outer story tantalizes. I may be more anxious to find out what will happen in Kvothe's immediate future than I am to discover the truth about his past.

My one gripe with this story: a lot of sex. This series is partly a coming of age story. So book one was fairly clean because Kvothe was just a young kid. But he's grown up a bit now, so OBVIOUSLY he has to be an unrestrained, hormone driven, sex-fiend, right? I knew going into it that there was going to be a lot of sex, but I will say this- it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. A large portion of the sex scenes were dream-like. Some of the ideas about sex that are brought up are just ridiculous. Others I simply don't agree with. I didn't think the sex scenes were terribly graphic, but they were frequent enough to detract from my over all enjoyment of the story.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Fierce Dawn by Amber Scott

Fierce Dawn

Title: Fierce Dawn
Author: Amber Scott
Found at : Amazon
Format: E-Book

When I was sent the ARC copy, I admittedly was eager.  I read Irish Moon by the author and I truly enjoyed it!  I am overjoyed to say Fierce Dawn met and exceeded my expectations.  It had all the elements that I really enjoy: supernatural, sexual tension and a great story!

Starting off, we meet the young Sadie Graves, who is taking care of a mentally ill mother and her little sister, Heather.  Her mother is obsessed with her rambling journals and all Sadie wants is to be a normal teen.  Little does she know her life is going to be anything but.

Flashing forward to adulthood, we find Sadie and her sister's positions reversed.  With their mother dead, Heather has turned caretaker to the now broken Sadie.  Sadie is trying to find herself again while convincing her sister and the psychiatrist she's OK.  What she doesn't mention is the dreams of a gorgeous man that have been haunting her for the past 6 months.  Imagine her shock to discover the man of her dreams coming to the library where she works!

It's not a coincidence that has Elijah there.  Something is after Sadie and her life is getting ready to change in ways she never dreamed.  He is there to protect her and try to fight the strong physical attraction that has developed between them.  He keeps telling her (and himself) the attraction is not real but it sure feels like it is!

This book was so wonderful!  The story is gripping and entertaining.  The realization there's another world in the shadow of this one is compelling.  I also LOVED the sexual tension between Elijah and Sadie as they tried to fight the strong mutual attraction between them while trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy to destroy the human world.

I read this book in one day, it was just that good!  It's up for Blog Tour De Force author Cage Match on April 18 and Bestseller For A Day on May 18, but don't wait that long!  Download this now!  You'll be glad you did!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Griffin's War by K.J. Taylor

The Griffin's War (The Fallen Moon)The Griffin's War by K.J. Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this was going to be the final book in the series, but by the ending, I think there must be at least one more. I guess I'll have to wait to learn how it all turns out.

I found this one a little disappointing to be honest. I guess I was expecting it to build off the other books more than it did. The tone and style fit with the other books for the most part, but there were a few added elements that just didn't do it for me. For instance, there's a lot more lovey-dovey stuff in this one (not sex, just mushy love), and it rubbed me the wrong way. There is plenty of action though; lots of fighting and slashing and stabbing and dying- Kill Bill style, or so I imagined it.

Still it was a decent read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as such.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye

"Watch us humans as we enter our rooms,remove our shoes and watches, and stretch out on the bed with a single good book. It's the honey of the mind time. Light shines through our little jars."

Although, I freely admit that this book was not what I had expected, even so it has a definitive quality that shines through as I read it. I believe that this quality is transforming in nature through the various elements that were brought up throughout each poetic source shared in this book.
These poems or paragraphs are thought-provoking almost to the point of confusion for my dear brain. For this reason, I understand that this book will not be for everyone. If you do choose to read it, please acknowledge that it won't take you very long indeed. I read a few of the poems to my 12 year old daughter and she didn't feel like they made enough sense to her. Yet, poetry is that way and that's part of the beauty of it-where words can be constructed in such a way that they can be epic without the need to make sense. This is one of the things I love about poetry and words, in general.
Intrigued, I finished reading this book on my own. I found an endearing poem called "Bees Were Better." It made an observation about people as they break up and this one line I could relate to because I've done this too:

Two people broke up
across the table from me
at the library.
I could not sit at that table again
though I did not know them.

These types of observations were prevelant in this collection of 82 poems and this was one of my favorite things about it. It was honest, simple yet it didn't talk down to its readers. Instead, it left you with a bittersweet feeling of life and what it holds, even from its political views, which left me pondering about more than the nature of bees.
Most of all, it remains for me that Naomi Shihab Nye is one modern poet & author that I'd like to meet. I need to pay attention and this could be possible since she lives in San Antonio. Meeting her would truly be a gift! In her writing, one can tell how much she has yet to offer and what she has already given us is amazing! These are valuable ways of writing words that I'd like to learn how to share with the world for myself.
Let me know if any of you have met her before. I'm highly curious.

Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow (February 26, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0060853905
My rating: 3 stars

My Favorite Poems in this collection:

Bees Were Better pg. 66

There Was No Wind pg. 84

We Are Not Nothing pg. 105

More about Naomi Shihab Nye

Other views:

Teen Book Review

Bookshelf: What We're Reading

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Griffin's Flight by K.J. Taylor

The Griffin's Flight (The Fallen Moon, #2)The Griffin's Flight by K.J. Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an excellent follow up to the first book. Arren's life has been ruined and worse, he has become something that horrifies him. But when he meets a strange girl- an outcast like himself- he begins to hope. Still, things never seem to work out for him the way he hopes they will. The more he fights against his destiny, the more he locks himself into a future he does not want.

This was a fast-paced, enjoyable read. I handed the first book to my husband just in time to get him excited to read this one. He loves the series, too. He finished book three about ten minutes before I finished this one, and now I can't wait to see what all his oo-ing and ah-ing was about.

Like the first book, this is a piece of dark fantasy that doesn't feel dark. Taylor doesn't dwell to long on the morbid or gory things. She tells it like it happened, and I like that about this book.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review - Irish Moon By Amber Scott

Title: Irish Moon

Author: Amber Scott
Found At:  Amazon
Format: Paperback and E-Book

Irish Moon by Amber Scott is a wonderful historical paranormal novel set in Ireland in the 1300’s.   We are introduced to Breanne, a fiery, headstrong princess who wants to live her life on her own terms.  In spite of her family’s apprehension, she is learning how use her druid powers.  After being tasked with caring for a wounded English knight the same night her mentor is mysteriously killed, the intrigue and passion bubbles to the surface and you cannot put the book down until you know what happens next.

The characters in the book really jump off the page.  Breanne is strong, smart and feisty.   She’s not willing to settle and the interactions between she and Ashlon (the knight) are wonderful.  The romance between them is hot but it’s not overly done.  The chemistry between the two is incredible and you couldn’t help but want them to be together.   I loved how noble he was and it didn’t hurt that he was hot!!   The biggest surprise and delight was the cursed cat.  He was funny but still provided wisdom and insight.  He is a great addition the cast of characters. 

The setting of the tale really made to entire story stand out.  The magic, the folklore and the romance all worked to keep the pages turning and I was engaged from the first page.  If you are a fan of historical, paranormal or just romance, this would be the story for you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - Sounds Of Murder by Patricia Rockwell

Sounds of Murder

Title: FM For Murder
Author: Patricia Rockwell
Found At:  Amazon
Format: Paperback and E-Book

Book Description: When Psychology Professor Pamela Barnes discovers her department's star researcher strangled to death in the computer lab, she's determined to find out who did it. Will an accidental recording of the murder allow Pamela to use her expertise in acoustics to identify the killer? A unique cozy mystery--set in the world of academia and high-stakes research--full of excitement, humor, and romance.

In this first book from Patrica Rockwell, we meet Dr. Pamela Barnes.  I enjoyed the fact this book immediately immersed the reader into Dr. Barnes' life.  The academic politics came immediately into play and when a much-disliked colleague is killed, everyone becomes a suspect.  Patrica Rockwell made Pamela Barnes a delightful character.  Even with her being a professor, she  still was a very down to earth person.  She has a loving husband (who cooks!), a tense but loving relationship with her freshman daughter, friends who are her polar opposites and a job she loves.  

This book also shows the underside of the world of academia, with tenure issues, budget cutbacks and personality clashes.  After discovering the body, Dr. Barnes can't help but poke around to find out who killed the researcher.  The killer was never given away until the end and with so many possible suspects, the killer was truly a surprise.  This was an enjoyable read and I think the series potential for this will be outstanding.  Patrica Rockwell leaves you curious about what happens with Pamela Barnes next.  She seems to be a magnet for trouble and I really look forward to see her next adventure.

If your interested the 2nd book of the series is called FM For Murder .

My Review for FM For Murder is HERE.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

30 Pieces of Silver By Carolyn McCray

 Title: 30 Pieces of Silver
Author: Carolyn McCray
Available at: Smashwords and Amazon
Format: E-Book

Before I get started, let me introduce myself.  I'm Karen and I'm an avid reader.  This is my first post here at 5-Squared and I look forward to many more!  I can also be found at www.release-notes.blogspot.com.  

This grabbed me from the first page and took me on an incredible journey! I couldn't stop reading. The suspense was wonderful and the way the author wove the past and the present together were outstanding. It was one adventure after the next and you couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. It was a complex and mysterious story with engaging characters. Dr. Monroe was a smart yet brave woman and rolled with the punches along with Brandt and his team. I really expected a woman who wouldn't hold her own with the rapidly changing environment but she was side by side with the team and her quick thinking came in handy.  Seeing her own beliefs change in the face of mounting evidence really made her come to life!  The conflict present in Brandt with his job duties and his religious convictions provided a depth to his character.   In addition, the author told an excellent biblical story and the ending left me stunned.  It obvious that she really took time to make the past story as engaging as the present story.  I think if you are interested in biblical history, you'd enjoy this book so much. I know that it's unlike anything I've read recently and that's good thing!!

My Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was so hard to rate. It's really more like a four, but loses points because it has the F-bomb a few times. Which breaks my heart because now I can't go and tell EVERYONE I know that they MUST read this book. The F-word is a big deal to me. But that's all I'll say about that.

Aside from the above complaint, this book is BEAUTIFUL! Bender is just an artist. Everything about this story was carefully crafted, and she makes it seem so effortless. It is thought provoking, but still easy to read. It focuses on some paranormal or super natural elements, but the story is really about relationships and how we relate to the ones we know far too well.

I'm not sure I can start another book right away. This is going to haunt me for some time before I can truly put it aside and move on to something else.

So if you don't mind the occasional profane expression, pick it up. Today.
If you are very sensitive to profanity, like I am, I sadly steer you clear of this otherwise delightful read.

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