Wednesday, June 23, 2010

...and back

Well, after a near 6 month hiatus I am back to review books. I can't remember all of them - and there have definitely been a few that I couldn't even finsih, but I'll just talk about the ones that stand out in my memory. Here goes...

After reading These is my Words I put it in my mental list of "favorite books of all time..." It was wonderful. As the cover says, it is a Diary of Sarah Prine, and it starts out with horrific spelling and grammar (which in my opinion is fun to read - fun to decipher and correct what she is saying) but as time goes on you can see the change that happens. Sarah teaches herself and after a while there are no mistakes in her diary. The story-line is fantastic. I loved how emotionally connected I felt to the characters. I loved the ending, but I won't give anything away. Just read it. You won't be dissappointed. Unless you are Kathy reading this... sorry hon, you probably won't like it. hehe.

Sarah's Quilt is book 2 in the Sarah Prine series. It was very good. I wouldn't say it was as good as the first, but it was still very good. It was a fun western story read. Book 3 in the series I ordered online and is on the way to my house.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was hilarious. It was a silly take on the classic story and I had fun reading it. I hear it is getting made into a movie with Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Darcy. So fun! I am anxiously awaiting it's release.

I just finished City of Bones last night. I read this book fast. I couldn't put it down. I was blown away by a SURPRISE ENDING!!!! Wow. I don't know if I've ever been more shocked/disturbed by an ending. It wasn't what I was hoping for/expecting at all! However... book 2 and 3 in the series are on their way to my house and I'm excited to read them. The story is about a 15 year old girl (about to turn 16) who can see things/people that others can't - and is pulled into the Shadow Hunter world (shadow hunters kill demons). It is very similar to Harry Potter (and also has an Uglies/Twilight(just a little bit) feel) but it has it's own things that make it unique. And it is funny - I laughed out loud quite a few times. It is a good read and I think I recommend it. I was just really blown away by that ending!!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Echo in the Bone

An Echo in the Bone. The 7th book in the Outlander series. I was the first in line to buy this when it came out in September, and then really took my time reading it. Which is obvious, since it is the end of December and I just finished it 2 days ago. The book was 815 pages of drama, history, romance, suspense, and sci fi. I think that's what I love most about these books, that there is a little bit of everything. The majority of this book took place in and around Phillidelphia and New York during the American Revolution, as well as some parts in Scotland during the 18th century and the 20th century. The end of the book was a HUGE cliffhanger. The previous 6 books wrapped the story up into a nice resolution at the end of each 700+ page masterpiece. The end of this 7th book left us hanging. But I love it. I'm hooked on Jamie and I can't wait for the 8th book.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taking my time...

So the 7th book in my favorite series came out on September 17th and I'm STILL reading it. I read a couple pages daily, but it is over 900 pages. I think I'm subconsciously stalling getting to the end. I have a feeling the author will leave us hanging again, and since she writes such long books it takes her a few years to complete each one. So that's what's I've been immersed in. What about everyone else?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tom Jones

Ok, so I can't decide which novel of Sherlock to read so I want to change my vote to Tom Jones. It better be good, Joy.
What should our deadline be for having it read?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's up to YOU!

I added a poll. We have until 4 on Thursday to decide.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


NOBODY has any suggestions?

Come on people. Am I going to be the only one to vote on the poll as well?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shout out!

If you aren't a member (Chris, Eric, blog stalkers) and want to join, let me know. Even if you just want to discuss the book-of-the-month, that's cool.

ALSO: Please make suggestions on what to read next. I'll compile a list of suggestions tomorrow, post a quick poll that will close Sunday and we can all start reading Monday.

Rachel out!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Potato Book and Belong To Me

It's been a busy few weeks of reading for me. Since I last posted I read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society.

Hunger Games has been reviewed and so has Catching Fire (see the posts below. I added my rundown).

The "Potato Book" as I call it was excellent. It chronicled the aftermath of WWII for the people living on an island between the UK and France through nothing but letters and telegrams. Juliet is a journalist and Dawsey, a man who lives on the island, writes her because he found her name and address in a second hand book he bought. Juliet ends up going to the island and falls in love with the people there. The most poignant character of the book, Elizabeth, never writes a word or gets a chance to tell her side of the story but she is the character I fell in love with the most.

It was a great book, one that I want to read again and again.

Belong To Me by Marisa de los Santos. It is the sequel to Love Walked In (which I read back in July). It's a little slice of life book about a woman in living in suburbia. I didn't love it, didn't hate it. But it made me feel good and ended well enough.My spoiler free summary: Cornelia has just married a handsome oncologist and they are trying to have a baby. They move into a quaint little neighborhood full of people who could be extras on Desperate Housewives. She finds a good friend in a woman named Lake and an enemy in neighbor Piper. Let the fun begin.

Rachel's Rundown

Ok, I was horrified by the whole "fight to the death for entertainment value" premise of this book until I realized that, hello, humans have totally done this before. Gladiators (Russell Crowe). Granted, it wasn't as, um, organized or high tech as the HGs (great acronym, BTW), but the ability for humans to make death entertaining isn't new.
So, onto the annoyingly self depreciating Katniss. Oh honey, not since Bella have I seen such a whiny little snot who doesn't understand that it's not normal to have 2 good looking dudes be attracted to someone so unaware of said attraction AND still put up with her after she leads both dudes on. But the similarities stop there. Bella was a weakling (sorry Twilight fans) while Katniss is a really strong and genuinely on top of things person. I really liked how Katniss stepped in for her sister (If Jenn is reading I would have totally done that for you!). As for the whole "valuing life" thing I think the only people who really didn't value life were the people in the Capitol. They reminded me of the French Bourgeoisie who lived lavish lives while the poor around them suffered. I got the feeling that the districts weren't particularly fans of the HGs but that they went along with it because they were divided and powerless. Katniss found out more about the other districts while attempting to kill and not be killed by them than she ever knew before. How are they supposed to revolt if they don't even know where the other districts are?
Also, the tactics they used to keep people from complaining on camera have been used in so many POW situations. The whole "smile while I hold this gun up to your head" concept happens all the time, and I am sure it is still happening.
This book took a bunch of really crappy aspects of the way humans treat each other and made it into a depressing glimpes of a possible future. But I loved it. I think realizing that this is all possible really sucked me into this book. The ending was great, I would totally have eaten the berries.
I also read the second one and didn't like it as much. I hope the 3rd one is better. And I'm on Team Gale. I'm making a t-shirt tonight.

The Hunger Games - Joy's Review

I loved this book. Compared to other young adult books I feel this one is above and beyond the others. The author pulled me in and had me loving all of the characters. Even smelly Haymitch. The story is awesome. I read the book within 24 hours I was so entranced with it and then had to get my hands on Catching Fire.

It was so crazy for me to read that the kids form groups with one another, knowing that they would eventually have to kill the people they teamed up with. I don’t know that I could do that, or kill anyone for that matter. I suppose they were brought up differently and don’t value life as much as we do now? What kind of people would put together the hunger games for the entertainment of others? I tried to draw parallels of this with our society and when watching The Biggest Loser on Tuesday realized the book and show are very similar! They compete for one winner, and they are all starving for food. Hehe. A lot of America, including me will watch every Tuesday night to see how their competition has gone and who is getting “killed off” that week. The Hunger Games is The Biggest Loser on steroids.

I wish the third book would come out already!

HG - Kate's Thoughts

It probably goes without saying, but my thoughts here are packed with spoilers, so you have been warned...(this is my very first blogging experience EVER, so bear with me please!). I admit, when I heard that we were reading HG, I was not pleased about the selection because I don't like sci-fi-type books. And I thought the first couple of chapters were irritating and frustrating to read - I was definitly not "hooked." But I was really surprised to discover that after the first few chapters, the book sucked me in and I actually LOVED reading it. I could identify with the main character and, although I HATE sappy romances (in books, movies, whatever), I actually wanted her to end up with dough-boy. :)

I also liked the messages in the book, and the idea of how society/laws/culture can really shape the way people act. Can force them to do things they never would have done otherwise. I'm not homicidal, but forced into a similar situation, I would kill to save my own life too. The book does a fantastic job of underscoring the power dynamics of society that are all too real (rich vs poor...powerful vs powerless). And I'm so used to my own reality that I first thought "hunger games? seriously, that's not realistic" but then I think about the things our governments and others have done and are doing, and I realize the book might not be so fantastical after all.

So, now I'm left wondering, do I read book 2? I'm satisified with book 1 because they won the HG's, but what is the attraction to read book 2? To find out if she picks dough-boy or her old hunting buddy? To see if the government will punish her, her family, or district 12 for showing them up? To learn whether her father actually died or is still alive? Or maybe that her father was murdered by the government as part of some kind of conspiracy? I could go on an on with ideas for book 2, although I'm not sure I'll read it. I'm curious to hear other's reactions to book 1 though...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hunger Games Run Down

Ok, who finished it? What did you think?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Catching Fire...

Chris and I are both reading Catching Fire (the sequel to The Hunger Games). I am about 100 pages ahead of him, but we both wanted to read last night. This is how it went down... me on the right, him on the left, both holding their respective side of the book. haha!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol

Tawny, I hope you are reading this: If you can, get your hands on this book and read it at night while you are still in Washington DC! It will give you a whole new outlook that I wish I'd had while I was there. And for heaven's sakes, take time to go to the top of the Washington Monument. I am KICKING myself that we didn't.

I LOVED DC and when the book described some random fact about a place I had been I would occasionally say out loud "OH, I want to go back to DC." Sometimes I would say this to whichever dog happened to be sleeping next to me (I like to prop my books up on them) and sometimes I would say it while Collin was there. I got the same "whatever" response no matter whom my audience was. Anyway, that factor of the book made it really personal for me so I enjoyed that.As for the story, what Dan Brown book would be complete without twists and turns and controversy? And Dan Brown did not disappoint. I saw some of it coming, but was really thrown off by other plot twists. Anyone who has read more than 2 of his books will think "Boy, that Dr. Langdon sure does get around. Not only the globe, but with women." His new lady love, Katherine, is by far the smartest woman who he's chased down lost symbols (ha ha) with. I liked her.The mystery is all about Masonic symbols scattered throughout DC and a madman's all too evil and all too literal translation of those symbols. They mention the "Mormon's" a few times, but always in a good light and we are in no way central to the story; just passing elements of Robert Langdon's colloquial (point out the OBVIOUS) lectures Dan Brown is famous for.It's a fun read. I don't think it will be as controversial as his other books. Then again, it doesn't make any claims that would tick off Christianity.And, just in case anybody is interested, I really want to go back to DC.

Monday, September 21, 2009

October 15th it is...

If you are participating in the Book of the Month have Hunger Games read by October 15th.
Thanks -Management

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Book Thief

I finished this book 4 days ago (I know, it has taken me a while to get it posted on here, I've been busy) and I can't shake it. In fact, part of my brain kind of thinks I'm still reading it and I have to go back and finish it. I wish I was; it was such a beautiful book. There were parts where I cried so hard I couldn't read. I put off reading this book for a long time because it has to do with the Holocaust. Somehow my husband and I went through this phase where we watched a ton of movies that were Holocaust related and then we went to the Holocaust Museum in DC in January and I read two books that were about it (although I didn't realize that when I started them) and I kind of told myself "Enough, you know what happened, you know it was sad, you know it was horribley wrong, you don't need to keep reading/watching about it to remember those things for the rest of your life." But I am SO glad I made an exception for this book. Just when I thought I couldn't see another point of view this book comes along and changes everything. The narrator is death itself and is told from a German family's point of view. I won't say anymore because I think everyone should read this book not knowing anything when they go in.I will say this: it was depressing but hopeful at the same time. You get the feeling that the main character, Leisel, is a symbol of the goodness and beauty you can find in even the most gruesome and horrific situations. And it makes you realize how hope can make you resiliant to pain and sorrow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Book of the Month

As you can see I added a "Book of the Month" to the side of this blog. Joy and I thought it would be fun to all read the same book and discuss it. We still want to discuss all the great and not so great (ahem, Mr. Darcey Vampyre) books we read.

When should we have it finished by? Your thoughts?

PS: I know that the "nose in" list is not current so I am just going to go ahead and grant you all admin privleges (I just realized I could do that) so you guys can update your own books. If you need help let me know and I can post instructions.

PPS: Be sure to label all your posts with the name of the book for easier reference.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

Sigh. I should have known this book would be dissapointing. I shouldn't have expected much, but i did have a very small morsel of hope inside of me that this book could be a good one. It wasn't. It was a reach out to those girls that loved pride and prejudice and those that loved twilight. Yes, I want it to continue where Jane Austen left off, and some parts were pretty convincing as to why mr. darcy was so strange in pride and prejudice, he was a vampire! But there were just too many holes in the story. The real Elizabeth Bennet wouldn't have been so clueless about so many things. And COME ON a bat? There was a bat flying outside of her window. Am I supposed to believe that is Mr. Darcy? Then the book doesn't ever mention it again. I can't even talk about the ending. How ridiculous!! grrr. That's all. Don't read it. But if you want to, you can have my copy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

3 books, one post

This book made me go into a kind of funk. Normally when I read I just flow along the pages and get lost in a book but I didn't with this one. Maybe it was that it hit too close to home a few times (the same night I read about a dog fight in the the book my own dog was attacked by a German Shepherd) but I just wasn't happy reading this book. Then, about half way through, a friend (who has very similar book tastes to me) said she hated the ending, so I was dreading that. I can't go into the story without ruining it, but I will say the one redeeming factor of this book was how poetic the language was. The chapters told from the dog's point of view were beautiful. So I would recommend it and would give it maybe 3 stars.
Tawny, I think you'll like this one. The writing style was very similar to The Time Traveler's Wife. I also found a lot of similarities in the story. Same kind of relationship (little girl having a friendship with a middle aged man who she ends up falling in love with years later when she is an adult). Same sense of "yeah right" (instead of the man being a time traveler he is an imaginary friend). And, just like I liked The Time Traveler's Wife, I really liked this book. It had some language and 1 sex scene that was quite tame.The story: Jane is a little girl with a father who doesn't see her often and a mother who sees her but doesn't pay attention to her. So she has an imaginary friend, Michael, who she eats ice cream with and who is kind of a father figure to her. Then he leaves and tells her she won't remember him but she does. Years later, when she is in her 30s, he comes into her life again. And that's where the love story begins. Really sweet, really thoughtful, a good read.

I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing about President Jackson. Like, did you know that he actually killed a man in a duel over something the man had said about his wife, Rachel? And that him killing a man wasn't what made him lose the presidency the first time he ran?So the story: Rachel is in a crappy marriage but is stuck because it's illegal for a woman to ask for a divorce and even if it hadn't been it was literally unheard of for people to even get divorces and even then they had to be due to something really bad like adultery. So Rachel is stuck in this marriage and then she meets Andrew Jackson, who pretty breathes awesomeness. So then she does get divorced but only because she admits (falsley) to being and adultress. Crazy, I tell you. So the book is basically the story of their marriage and his rise to the presidency and the effects her first marriage has on said rise. Some of the passages got flowerly and mushy so I skipped over them (try reading just the adjectives, you still get the gist without the gag), but I liked the book as a whole. The ending will bring you to tears.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Life in France

I'm done with My Life in France. I loved this book. With a few exceptions of when she would talk about french named dishes for multiple paragraphs, i found the book very entertaining. I loved how upbeat and positive she was about life, and food. She sounds like she was a very funny character. She and her husband never sent out Christmas cards, they sent out Valentine cards instead. One year they set up the camera to take a picture of themselves in a bubble bath! How funny (and weird!) It was interesting to hear about how life was in the 1940s - 1960s AND how France was (which I imagine a lot of it is still very much the same) I was shocked to hear about all the alcohol and smoking going on in her life. But living in France I guess that is the norm. I remember a story my mom told me about asking for water (instead of wine, scandal!) at a restaurant in France. The waiter turned up his nose and said, "Water, is for the ducks!" haha! Julia has given me a renewed zest to take a little more care in the kitchen and try new recipes every once in a while. Merci, ma cherie!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Time-Traveler's Wife

I wanted to post my own review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I always enjoy movies and books when they become applicable to my own life--you may wonder HOW time-traveling becomes applicable when I write, NO, I do not have my own Delorian or genetic disease---but I think this books gives us added perspective. If you were able to travel back and forth what would you want to know? To go even deeper--what does this book tell us in respect to the past and what we cannot change, and the choices we make followed by the consequences. All this is very deep, but I thought it was an excellent book. I loved how she wrote from both perspectives. I just wish the movie would have been able to show Claire's perspective more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Funny Quote:

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. ~P.J. O'Rourke

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Definite Must Read

So, this is my first post; and I need to tell you, I am not amazing when it comes to writing, so please excuse the many grammatical errors.

First things first, I love you Rachel, but she lied to you all, I was not reading the Harry Potter books as Rachel posted on the side of this blog. This I realize was my own fault. She called to ask what I was reading and I was frustrated that day and very rudely told her I didn't know (sorry Rachel, again, I love you!) So what do ask, was I reading ? A book that is now in my top 5 of good books!

That's right, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. My mother was the one who suggested this book to me. I started it on Wednesday night and finished it last night. Having only 2 hours during Alex's nap time and an hour or so after Alex went to bed, I didn't want to put it down. It's about a German girl in Nazi Germany; told from deaths point of view.

I loved it!! I could barely read the last few chapters, because of the tears in my eyes. It is a definite must read.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just Read:

Update: I just found out today, completely by accident, that the author of these two books are married. Imagine that. Like attracts like, I suppose.Do you ever finish a book that you've been reading so fast that you feel like you read right off a cliff and are now just floating 100 feet in the air? And the momentum you have from reading this really interesting, great, touching, sweet story is the only reason you aren't plummeting to the earth? I finished The History or Love by Nicole Krauss about 10 minutes ago and that's exactly what I feel like. I loved this book. It is a story of an old Jewish man named Leo who has been in love all his life with a woman named Alma; a woman who he knew as a girl in Germany who left for America when they were teenagers and she was pregnant. The story intertwines with other stories, like the story of a girl and boy who lost their father to cancer and their mother to grief. And the story of an author who never knew his real father. I loved the way they all got a chance to narrate their portion of the story giving the book layers. Sometimes the book was blunt and to the point and other times it was almost like reading poetry. Great book. I would recommend it to anyone.

The History of Love reminded me of another really good book I read a few months ago by Jonathan Safron Foer called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. It's the story of 3 generations of men. The Grandfather, who escaped Nazi Germany, the father, who died in the 9/11 attacks, and the grandson, who, in an effort to find the answer to a clue he thinks his father left, discovers his father as well as his grandfather. Sometimes the book is through the eyes of the grandson, sometimes through the grandfather. It was a different way to look at the tragedy of 9/11. I liked how sometimes, instead of words, the author actually put in pictures to convey the sadness of the little boy. I would recommend this book as well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just Read:

Gift From the SeaI knew a little about this author when I started. I knew she was a pilot, that her husband was the first man to fly across the ocean, that her oldest son, while still a baby, was kidnapped and murdered. But nothing else. I thought the book would be her reflections on those things but she barely mentions any of them.
The "story" is made up of stages. Each stage a different kind of sea shell symbolizing a different stage in life. It was written over 5o years ago; before the Internet, before cell phones, and during the first generation of "liberated women" yet she can already see what nobody realized would happen, that women would be so overworked trying to use all the "modern conveniences" AND measure up to a man that they no longer found joy in the simple things like a sea shell or spending time alone or nurturing her family, or that we would be ashamed if we did.
I really liked this book. It's short (I read it on one sitting in about and hour and a half) but what she has to say, even though it was written over 50 years ago, still seems true today. I'm all for being liberated, I think my opinions and choice are no less important than a man's. But I loved how she tried to say that "yes, let us be equal, but lets remember who we are. I am a women, I am supposed to nurture my children, husband, and those who are downtrodden, but just because I want to do those things don't think I can't be strong and smart."
In essence: Gender roles are important, we need them or we can get too caught up in "being equal." Who cares if my husband has never cleaned one of our toilets. That shouldn't make anyone mad. I've never mowed our lawn...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just Read:

Loved it:
Loved it: How did I go so long without knowing about the Scarlet Pimpernel? I feel kind of cheated. Stupid English teachers...)Liked it: Were it not for the references to my all time favorite books ever (the Anne of Green Gables series) I would have not like this book at all. But, alas, any fan of Anne already has one foot in my friendship door. All time Top 10: I read To Kill a Mockingbird last night for the second time. The first time I read it was about ten or so years ago. My then English teacher, Mrs. Schneider, has us read it painfully slow; picking apart every chapter with worksheets and reflections and group discussions. Because of how long it took to read back then I was expecting the book to be at least 700 pages long. Imagine my surprise when I finished it in 3 afternoons? It kind of makes me want to go back and reread a few other books also dissected by Mrs. Schneider such as Raisin in the Sun, Silas Marner, Count of Monte Cristo, Rebecca, and Huckleberry Finn.Anyway, one thing my memory did not fail on was how much I loved it (that and the ham costume, I’ll never forget the ham costume). I love Scout. She is one of my all time favorite characters. I’d forgotten what happened to Tom Robinson in the end and the part about Mrs. Dubose and Jem reading to her. Or about how Dill wanted to marry Scout when they grew up. I wonder if they did. I know they are just characters, but I kind of want to know where Jem, Scout, and Dill were 20 years later. I’ll bet they were Civil Rights Activists.