Friday, December 25, 2009

Shadowland

Shadowland, by Alyson Noel

This is the third book in the Immortals series by Alyson Noel, the first being Evermore, the second Blue Moon.  We last left our heroine, Ever, wondering how she was going to explain to her Immortal boyfriend Damen, how she had changed the course of their relationship forever when she tried to save him.

Within the first few pages she confesses, and they determine that they will try and find the solution, the antidote, that fixes their problem and they can be together after 300 plus years.

This book bothered me.  Please read no further if you are fearful of spoilers.  Light spoilers coming next ...

The entire book is Ever trying to find a way to ... consumate her relationship with Damen.  Ever is 16.  This book is for YA.  I felt like Noel was trying to justify the lust by saying, oh they've been together for 300 years, they are destined, so yeah they should be together intimately.  And Ever goes on and on about how she missed a physical relationship with Damen, and it just felt ... wrong.

The added twist of Jude, the surfer dude who makes her uncomfortable who's apparently an old interest from a former life, just felt hollow.  Contrived?  And Damen disappearing for the last 12 chapters irritated me.  In fact, the book felt oddly written.  Maybe it was me.  But it took me a long time to get through and usually I fly through these YAs.

I'll read the next one, it's a series and I'm a sucker to see how this ends.  But definitely this is my least favorite so far.  It was confusing, convoluted, contrived and a whole bunch of other C words I'm sure that I just can't think of at the moment.

And please, editors, somewhere, teach Ms. Noel how to close up a book?  Even a series that already has 3 more books planned should have more of an ending than these do.  It's like they just pick a chapter to end at and hit done.  It's making me less of a fan.  What the heck happened to Haven?  Where did Damen come from?  Did I miss something?  Did my Kindle mess something up?

Because right now I'm thinking the editors are just letting Miss Noel get away with murder with these endings.

Evermore's the best one.  So far the sequals are just Eh.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wrap Up: What's in a Name

So Where the Heart Is closed out the What's in a Name Challenge for me.  Yeah for me for finishing!  Below is what I read:

1. A book with a "profession" in the title: Midwives, Bohjalian
2. A book with a "time of day" in the title: Friday Night Knitting Club, Kate Jacobs
3. A book with a "relative" in the title: Between Sisters, Kristen Hannah and My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Piccoult
4. A book with a "body part" in the title: Where the Heart Is, Billie Letts
5. A book with a "building" in the title: Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
6. A book with a "medical condition" in the title: Club Dead, Charlaine Harris and First Comes Love, Than Comes Malaria, Eve Brown-Waite

Of all the challenges I attempted this year, I had the hardest time picking books for this challenge.  In fact, I still haven't read Fall on Your Knees, and I'm this close to taking it to the used book store for a credit because I just cant be bothered with it.  But, I didn't finish my other challenges (bad me, bad!) and I did finish this one so I think it speaks gobs about the quality of this challenge.

The favorite book that I read of these?  Sheesh ... Anne of Green Gables is an all time favorite and classic.  None of the others really come close to that one.  I'd have to say Where the Heart Is would be second on the enjoyment scale, with the others all being interesting and worth the read, but probably not on the repeat read lists.

Great challenge!  I'll be participating in What's in a Name 3 ... hosted by Beth F (Annie turned over the reigns!)  The categories are:


  1. A book with a food in the title: Clockwork Orange, Grapes of Wrath, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  2. A book with a body of water in the title: A River Runs through It, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, The Lake House
  3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: The Murder of King Tut, The Count of Monte Cristo, Lady Susan
  4. A book with a plant in the title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Wind in the Willows, The Name of the Rose
  5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Out of Africa; London; Between, Georgia
  6. A book with a music term in the title: Song of Solomon, Ragtime, The Piano Teacher
I really like the categories.  Have no idea what I'll read.  But it's 6 books and I have 12 months to find them.  Surely I can manage!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's in a Name: Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts

Novalee Nation is 17, 7 months pregnant, and heading west to California with her boyfriend, Willie Jack Pickens.  Novalee's shoes fall out the hole in the bottom of the passenger floorboard of the car, and she has to go to the bathroom.  Naturally, they stop at Wal-Mart.  She runs in to get new shoes and what not, and when she comes back out, Willie Jack has left her.  Stranded.  In Sequoyah, Oklahoma.

Novalee spends the remaining months of her pregnancy living in the Wal-Mart, meeting new people, and really just buying time until she figures out something.  She doesn't really figure anything out.  But the baby is born, Americus (a name that will stand up to the hard times), and Novalee's squatting in the Wal-Mart is discovered, she becomes famous for having the "Wal-Mart" baby, and the kindness of strangers gives her a fresh start.

I've read almost every other book Billie Letts has written (Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Made in the U.S.A).  I swore I had read this one (I hadn't).  I'd seen the movie, but hadn't read the book.

The book is Fannie Flagg meets West Texas / Oklahoma territory.  Small town people with quirky personalities, big dreams and interesting back stories.  Like most of the other Letts books I've read, this novel takes a dark turn (if you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about).  The book is harder to stomach than the movie's sort of drive-by approach to that topic.

But even the book doesn't dwell.  It's not that long and we travel through 7.5 years of Novalee's life, chapter by chapter.  Life altering event, by life altering event.

Forney Hull is great in the book.  I liked him in the book better than I liked him in the movie (and I liked him in the movie).  Sister Husband, Mr. Sprock, Moses Whitecotton ... they were all wonderful.  Moses is kind of a pass through character in the movie, but in the book he's much more of a centeral focus, as he gives Novalee her career and her passion (photography) and helps her get back on her feet after the storm comes through.

I really liked this book.  I flew through it.  I had loved the characters already but I loved them more for having spent more time with them.  The movie, if you are interested, is fairly faithful to the book.  There are some things that are left out but that's to be expected.  But I was surprised to see that a majority of the dialogue from the film is lifted straight from the book.

If I were Billie Letts, I'd be proud of that fact.

Definitely pick this up if you're a fan of the genre, live in Oklahoma (or drive through), or loved the movie.  It's fun and uplifting and just sort of leaves you feeling like all will be right with the world if we keep doing our best with what we've got.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Lady Elizabeth


The Lady Elizabeth, By Alison Weir

Elizabeth's mother, Ann Boleyn has just been executed.  Mary, her half sister, has come to visit to tell the toddler the news.  At 3 years old, Elizabeth is surprisingly (and somewhat unbelievable) aware of what's going on, and understands what she's being told.  And thus opens the story of Elizabeth's childhood.

We go from the time that Ann dies to Mary's death and Elizabeth's famous quote, "This is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes" when she is proclaimed Queen of England.

There is so much information out there about this woman, that I find all the different opinions of her muddle in my brain and I get confused about what is fact and what is fiction.  Weir, quite obviously, is a fan of Elizabeth.  And does not portray her to have many, if any, flaws at all.

Which is ridiculous.

Elizabeth got in so much trouble throughout her youth I find it hard to believe that she wasn't actively guilty in some of it.  The affair with Thomas Seymour, the Dowager Queen Catherine's husband, is shown as to be entirely his fault and she the innocent victim.  Save for the fact that the author admits Elizabeth was more than likely infatuated with him.

At 13, of marriageable age by the times standards, Elizabeth would have, and should have, known better.  Was Thomas Seymour scheming to have more influence in the realm?  Sure.  Definitely.  He was  clearly at fault.  But Elizabeth was not blameless, and her later fame for flirtation would indicate that she was partly culpable, and deserved the stricture that she was given when the affair came to light.

The next ... all the protestant plots to put her on the throne during her sister's reign.  Weir writes that Elizabeth had nothing to do with any of them, and was just the rallying point for the rebels and she had no part in planning.  I. Don't. Know.  I just don't believe it.  Even in the novel she is actively planning her government should Mary die (when Mary died, for they start talking of it as a foregone conclusion).

So here's my big problem with the book ... the author wrote Elizabeth sort of as a hypocrit.  Which I have no doubt that she was.  She attended Mass to keep her sister appeased even though she pretty openly reviled the Catholic faith.  She feigned illness when called to court to keep from being punished, and she openly manipulated pretty much any man that came into her path.  Any person, for that matter.

But the part that bugs me, is that Elizabeth (in the novel) reads as a hypocrit but still believes herself to be  innocent of all wrong doing.  "I love the Queen!"  but "She is a dreadful Queen, I hope one day to be Queen!" but "I would never threaten the Queen's reign!" but "I love and cultivate the love of the people I  hope to one day rule!" but "I'm so shocked that they rally to me! I had no idea!"

What poppycock.

This was probably the other side of Philippa Gregory's version (Virgin Queen) which is sort of an ironic title since Gregory pretty openly thinks that Elizabeth was ... um ... loose with her morals.  Weir on the other hand believes Elizabeth to have been a true virgin, dispite the escapades with Thomas Seymour.  Wier thinks she's good and just, Gregory thinks she was petty and fickle.

The truth is probably somewhere closer to the middle.

The book, as fiction, was good up until the last 150 or so pages.  It has never taken me so long to finish a book.  It was as if all action ceased.  And primarily that's because - it did.  She was in the tower and under house arrest for the better part of Mary's reign, so there wasn't much of a story to tell except, "Woe is me, I love the Queen, but I hate the way she rules, and the people love me, but I did not act traiterously! No not me!  Never!  Hurry Cecil, devout protestant and known enemy of the throne, tell me what to do!"  Over and over and over again.

On the whole, glad I read it, enjoyed the different point of view up until Elizabeth was in her 20s.  Then, the virtuous act just got old.  I can love Elizabeth I and still believe that she was flawed.  And for all the animosity that Mary had toward Elizabeth, it stands to reason that Elizabeth harbored some herself.  But not Weir's Elizabeth.  But, to each his own.

If you like historical fiction on the Tudors, you should read this.  It's well done.  Despite my bickering with the author.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Weight of Silence


Calli Clark is 7 years old.  She has not spoken a word since she was four.  Petra Gregory is her best friend, who has taken to speaking for her, and protecting her.

Early one morning, Petra's parents wake up to discover her missing.  Looking for her at Calli's, they discover that Calli is missing too.

The novel is told from different narrators points of view.  And I can't really put my finger on it, but I think that it changes from 3rd person to 1st quite a bit?  A little bit distracting, mostly in Calli's chapters, but I think this was done because Calli doesn't talk?  I don't know.

Spoilers below ... minor ones.

The bulk of the story is the investigation, and looking into the parents.  Primarily Griff Clark, who has a history of alcholism and being a bully.  But even, albeit briefly, Calli's older brother Ben.  Antonia doesn't really come to the conclusion that her abusive husband is, in fact, abusive, until the very end of the novel.  Which was a little disheartening to me.  At the end she grieves over the choice she has made to stay with him through it all when looking at what it has done to her children.  This seemed dense to me.  Lady, he threw you down the stairs in front of your 4 year old daughter.  You just now put it together that that may have scarred your daughter (who doesn't talk, mind you - sheesh) for life?

There were other odds and ends about the Gregory's family, told from the Dad's point of view, but it didn't resonate and I skimmed a bunch.  Thought it was useful in moving the plot, looking back.

The story was fast paced and engaging.  I literally read the final 200 pages in one sitting.  Antonia and Louis were the most interesting characters, even though I think the author wanted me to think that Martin was really interesting, he wasn't.  He felt like a literary tool for moving action forward.

I was surprised by the ending, which is always fun because usually you can spot where they are taking you.  I recommend this for people that like mysteries, or small town stories.  The subject matter is disturbing, and honestly I don't usually read stuff that involves hurting children because I just can't stomach it.  There is enough hardship in the world I don't need to read about it in my recreation time. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kindle Books

Okay there is so much out there I want to read.  But between buying maternity clothes and planning for baby, I haven't bought a book in a while.  I'm struggling!  So much on this list I want to read ...

Books I want to buy on the Kindle:

Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater
Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Wings, Aprilyne Pike
Shadowlands, Alyson Noel
The Queen's Mistake, Diane Haeger
The White Queen, Phillippa Gregory
Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffeneger
City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass (Mortal Instrument Series)
Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosney
Same kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall
Those who Save us, Jenna Blum
Knit Two, Kate Jacobs
Knit the Season, Kate Jacobs
Nanny Returns, Emma McLaughlin


To read before I start buying these:

Weight of Silence - reading now
The Lady Elizabeth, Alison Weir
A Great and Terrible Beauty

If I get through those three ... I'll be pleased.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The 19th Wife


Excerpt from GoodReads:
It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.


Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.

And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.


I received this book through the giveaways section over at GoodReads. I had no idea what it was about and then one day my mom said she was reading it and I was surprised so I picked it up and plowed through it.

We start off in present day Utah, a member of the reculsive "Firsts" has been shot through the chest at close range with a shot gun. His 19th wife, has been charged with his murder. Jordan Scott reads this at the online paper (he is in California) and recognizes his mother as the woman charged. Jordan Scott was excommunicated from the compound when he was young (12? 13?) and has not seen either his mother or his father (the deceased) since.

He's compelled to help her, drives out to Utah to see what's what. Intertwined within that, is the store of Elilzabeth Webb and her daughter Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young's 19th wife, taking place in the mid-1800s and into the 1809s, when the LDS church banned polygamy.

Parts of this back history were dry and meandering so I skimmed, but towards the middle and end it was very compelling. You could fill a lot of bathtubs with what I do not know about early Mormonism and it's early leaders, and this book did not paint them in a very favorable light. At one point I turned to my husband and said, "There's a major university in this country named after this guy?" But I imagine there is probably more to his story than this one books fictional account.

The present day story was full of bad language that just seemed gratutious. But I think what the author was trying to do, was show how the early adults entered into polygamy willingly, for their faith, and then how that decision shaped the children that were affected. Several times the main character says adults should do what they want but when children are involved they can't.

The resolution of the murder in the present day arc ended rather ubruptly, but it was kind of like, "oh I see," when it did. The clue that led the police to BeckyLynn was an online chat her husband was having, someone was knocking on the door and the other individual asked "who?" and he replied "#19". BeckyLynn was his 19th wife. The clues that led up to the ending were kind of pointless, and didn't really help tie anything up, as it all happens quickly when Jordan finally finds the one important piece of information.

It's galling to me that polygamy and child brides still exists today. It amazes me that still, to do this day, we have no idea how many "wives" Brigham Young or Joseph Smith had. And it amazes me further that these groups claim religious peity and that it has nothing to do with their baser urges, and yet they excommunicate the young boys from their compounds.

The clue that solves the murder for Jordan, it sort of helped me figure out how we have no idea how many wives these men had. Or other men like them for that matter. They don't count them all. They don't count the ones they are not currently "visiting." So if they no longer visit a wife, she is no longer counted as a wife. Though she has no recourse, can't marry anyone else, and is stuck trying to scrap by a living through whatever means necessary.

I enjoyed the book as it's subject matter fascinates me the same way train wrecks hold an audience. If you are at all into religious history I would recommend this to you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lament

Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater
Deirdre, a gifted musician, finds herself infatuated with Luke, a mysterious boy who enters her life, at the same time she discovers she's a Cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Trouble is, Luke is a faerie assassin—and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark.
I found this book through a book blog website I frequent, and a review for Stiefvater's most recent book, Shiver.
I enjoyed this and it took me no time at all to read.  Probably because the intended reader is about 12 years younger than me.  Some of the Folk Lore stuff went over my head, and the book ended on a pretty mean cliff-hanger that is somewhat annoying.  The physical book itself ... some what distracting.  The paper is that stark white and the book itself is a wierd size.  And the binding just didn't want to break.  Which was wierd for me.
Overall I'm intrigued.  And I love a series.  Over at good reads I'm going to give it a 3.  Even though I should probably rank it higher as I'll probably be scouring the book stores for when the next one comes out.  The story moved, Luke and Dee were a nice little eternal couple to root for against the bad guys, and Ms. Stiefvater's dialogue wasn't annoying or campy.  At least, if it was it didn't distract.  If you liked Twilight or Evermore, I'd say pick this one up.  I stay away from the Vampire ones because ... well .... just eww.  But theis fairies were pretty creepy too.  I was thinking Tinkerbell, but apparently these fairies are much darker than that.  Much. Darker.
I put this one above Evermore I think.  Because the backdrop of Fairies, and Ireland, and music, and four leaf clovers is more attainable than Immortals.
Worth picking up if this is your genre of choice.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

Margaret Lea lives a quiet life in the apartment above her father's beloved bookshop.  She's spent her life hiding away there, devouring books of all sorts, to hide from the secret she discovered about her birth when she was ten; she was born a twin, and her sister died.

Vida Winter is the most prolific writer of the age (think JK Rowling with 100s of novels), and is a curiousity.  She has never given an honest interview, and no one can discover the roots of her past.

Miss Winter is dying, and is tortured by the past she has written novels to escape from thinking about.  She sends for Miss Lea to write her biography (something Margaret plays at) and begins to tell her a story about Charlie and Isabelle, twins Emmeline and Adeline, Missus, John-the-dig, Hester, a haunted house nestled crookedly in the English moors, loss, heartbreak, suffering, and a devestating fire that changes everything.

Written as an homage to great writers (mostly Charlotte and Emily Bronte), it's clear that Diane Setterfield has a love for both reading and writing, the art of doing both.  Both characters have escaped from their private pains within the pages of books, one by reading, one by writing.

The beginnings of Miss Winter's story are disturbing, but I couldn't put it down.  Unlike other novels Setterfield expects a certain intelligence from her reader, and she does not plainly spell things out.  You are left to assume based on clues for much of the novel, and then there'd be a line somewhere that would confirm what you assumed.  This helped pace the story I thought, and got the reader involved.

An interesting note, timing is never discussed.  What era are these stories set in?  Miss Winter's childhood takes place on a great estate in the English countryside with servants, governesses, and cottages set on the property paid rent to the man in the big house.  All that made me think .... sometime in the 1800s?  Since Jane Eyre is so prevelant throughout, it had be sometime after the novel was published, so mid-1800s.  They also discuss the The Women in White, which was published in 1860.  So it would have to be even later 1800s.

But what about the older Miss Winter?  What time is it then?  Well she's in her early 70s, so if her childhood was 1880, it'd be 1950.  Which fits with the other clues of hand written letters, no telephone, few cars, and lots of trains.  Anyway, that little side mystery of "what time is this?" kept me going too.

**SPOILER**
The question of Emmeline and Adeline's parentage.  Isabelle and Charlie were brother and sister, but Charlie was obsessively and violently in love with her.  Isabelle believes the twin girls are daughters from her late husband, but the teller of the story (Miss Winter) believes their father is Charlie.  The twins are never "right in the head" (said throughout the book) and I thought this was the author using more clues to get us to believe incest had occurred.  They weren't right in the head because they were inbreed, and had mental abnormalities.  Which lead to another clue about the age, the medical science was not extensive on behavior disorders or mental conditions.

All told, the book is a dark and twisting story that's incredibly well written.  I'm still in awe over some of it.  The change of use in pronouns, they, we, I.  Such a subtle thing that I did pick up on, and is pointed out by Miss Lea, but after the truth is revealed, wow does it all make more sense.

Makes me want to read Jane Eyre and Wurthering Heights.  Recommended.  Especially for those of us that love reading and a good story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen

Josey Cirrini has lived in this small ski town her entire life.  At 27, she lives at home with her mother and takes care of her, driving her to meetings, picking up groceries, and being her companion.  It's a dull life, and her mother is not nice.  The highlight of her day is when the mail is delivered, and she rushes down to have a two sentence conversation with the mailman.

To cope, Josey keeps a stash of snacks and romance novels in her closet.  But one day she opens it to find a stowaway, Della Lee Baker, the town vagrant, is squatting there hiding from her life.

This starts off a series of events that pushes Josey out of her comfort zone, away from her steady, boring and meanial life of servitude to her mother, and into her own.

I loved this book.  Josey is loveable and relateable and the little side mystery keeps things moving.  The chapters all being named after sweets was very cute, and like Allen's last novel, the magic is all here.

Chloe becomes Josey's first friend.  Chloe has this wonderful little habit that books appear before her whenever she is in need of them.  As a child, bored over the summer, a book of magic tricks and card games appeared at her feet.  As an adult, dealing with a cheating boyfriend, the book Finding Forgiveness haunts her as she sorts it all out.

It was endearing.  I liked it a lot and the twist at the end ... I should have seen coming, but I didn't.  Which that moment when you go, "Oh my gosh I should have known!" is just awesome.  I can't wait for Allen's next book, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, next March!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult

Katie is 2 years old when she is diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia.  The doctor informs her parents that she will need a bone marrow transplant in order to surivive for even a few months or years, and neither her parents nor her brother is a perfect match.

The doctor tells her parents not to despair, that perhaps other siblings will be a match.

This sends Sara and Brian (Kate's parents) to a clinic to genetically engineer a perfect match for Kate.  Months later, Anna is born.

Fast foward 13 years and Kate is 16 and Anna is 13.  After all the treatments, Kate's kidney's are giving out and she needs a transplant.  After years of transplants, transfusions, and donations, Anna is expected to participate in this procedure to.  She surprises them all by hiring a lawyer, and filing for medical emancipation from her parents for the rights to her own body.

I have stayed away from Jodi Picoult because of the smaltzy titles and high drama themes.  But she is a favorite author of a good friend of mine, and this book in particular has intrigued me.  So I picked it up.  Dialogue, characters and side stories all aside ... this book really made me question what I would do.  What anyone would do.  Because honestly ... how far would you go to save your child?

It is very easy to judge Sara.  To say she's a monster for treating Ana and Jesse (her oldest son) this way; for abandoning and neglecting them to care for Kate.  But the world isn't fair.  And when one child requires 1000% more attention than the others ... how do you manage?  What do you do?  And when one child  can save the other ... don't you persue it?

One thing bothered me about this book ... the absence of religion.  I got the impression by a few flippant comments that were made that Picoult doesn't set a lot of store by religion.  But at a few points (maybe only two) characters say to Kate, "you'll watch us from Heaven," "We'll see you in Heaven," etc.  It felt like the author was picking and choosing which parts of religion she favored.

And really, she uses astrology in place of religion.  The stars as a substitute for scripture.

It wasn't bad or great.  It just was.

I've read many reviews that feel the ending of this book was a major cop out.  It didn't bother me in that way.  It was just the way these characters story ended.  I won't go further than that as I don't want to spoil it.

I can't say I enjoyed this, but I am glad I read it.  One of the best lines of the novel is this:

I realize then that we never have children, we receive them.  And sometimes it's not for quite as long as we would have expected or hoped.  But it is still far better than never having had those children at all. Pg 395.

I really got to thinking about some pretty serious stuff after reading this novel, and how much we all take for granted.  For that reason alone it's worth the read.  The fact that Picoult's a decent writer doesn't hurt either.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bitsy's Bait and BBQ

Bitsy's Bait and BBQ, Pamela Morsi

Emma and Katy and Katy's son Josh, are driving into the Ozarks to look at a Bed and Breakfast that Emma just purchased with her divorce settlement.  On eBay.  Turns out, B&B has different meanings, the girls find themselves learning about spinners, lures and smokers.

Several months in, just as they are getting settled in, Katy's mamma's boy ex-husband and mother-in-law show up wanting to take custody of 5-year-old Josh.

The usual is what happens, I guess.  The rich, urban, socialite Mom thinks Katy is down home trash and not good enough for her son.  She also happens to think her son isn't good enough to be her son, and sees a second chance in trying to raise her grandson.

Emma is the overprotective older sister who thinks the rich-boy Sean (ex-husband) isn't good enough for her sister, whom she secretly sort of resents because she's always making sacrifices for her.

The rest of the characters - the people who live in Warbler Lake - are brilliant.  And the stuff about fishing and barbecue was a lot of fun and made the other formulaic stuff tolerable.  The romance between Sean and Katy sort of felt contrived, and the last "epilogue" chapter was a hodge podge wrap up that I skimmed through.

Nadine and her three kids were more interesting than either of the two main characters, and I would have liked to see or hear more about her and how she resolved things.  In truth, I think the novel spent more time on backstory for the interesting side characters than it did the two leads.  Which maybe is a bit backwards?

Any who.  I liked it.  It's not really Southern but its very Fannie Flagg.  It was fun to read about the fishing and bbq, and some of it was realy brilliant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seducing an Angel


Seducing an Angel, Mary Balogh

I have a guilty pleasure.  I read romance novels.  I know, I know.

I'm not going into detail here, because ... well it's a romance novel and it's not winning any awards any time soon (except maybe romance novel awards, which there are bunches of, I know).

But this little series set in Regency London is really quite fun.  It's a whole bunch of recurring characters (my favorite thing) and this is the 4th book.  Not my favorite one in the series, the first one may well be the best.

I have high hopes for the 5th one ... the cousins story.  But her website is wierd on when that one is due out.

With everyone married, and my traveling done, I am hoping to read some more in the last few days of July than I did in the mid days of July.  But if you look romance novels, specifically those with recurring characters where a whole family gets a happy ever after complete with 2.5 kids ... this series is the one for you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blue Moon

Blue Moon, Alyson Noel

It's three weeks after we last left Ever and Damen in Evermore, and Ever has decided that she will become an Immortal and spend eternity with Damen.  He's teaching her how to use her powers and blend in, when at school there's a new student, and suddenly Damen  isn't the same, and the whole school turns on her.

Ever goes to Summerland seeking answers to set things back right and is shown a way to save her parents and sister from the horrible crash the year or so before.  She'd lose Damen, but her family would be alive.

I liked this one.  It was an interesting story that kept me wondering what the heck she was going to do.  Parts of it dragged (descriptions of Summerland.  I get it. It's perfect.) and I couldn't understand why she would trust Roman and Ava.  I never trusted either one of them.  Especially after Ava's behavior in Summerland.  So some character inconsistencies maybe?  Or plot twists?  You decide.

And since the comparison is completely unavoidable, let me tell you something I discovered about this and the entire series while reading; I would let my daughters read this book before I let them read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer.

Why?  Because in New Moon, Bella goes apocolyptic over a boy.  Granted, it's a fairy tale and she's like the princess locked in the tower because her one true love abandoned her, but it's a bit too dramatic for any teenage daughter of mine.  Mine specifically.  Because she will definitely have moody, dramatic tendencies, and come by it naturally, because she's mine.

The other three Twilight novels, I'm okay with.  They have their own issues, don't get me wrong, but New Moon in particular worries me.

Anyway I digress.  But in Alyson Noel's novels, not only is sex only alluded to and the word never said (I think virginity was used once), but Ever has a life that involves more than Damen.  And yeah she loves him and he's her true love, but she has Haven and Miles, and Sabine, and her family, school, etc, and what it means to lose all of that for Damen and vice versa.

The question itself is dramatic, I know, but at least it's more normal than the year of sadness in New Moon.  That is a book that would require some serious conversations between me and any child of mine that read it.  Because the concept of doing scary things to move on from a love is really not that uncommon, and really dangerous for a teenage kid to read and have to contemplate without, ya know, adult supervision.

Back to Blue Moon.  It's YA, and distinctly different from it's unavoidable comparison cousin Twilight, and a series in a way that Twilight is more of a ... saga.  Hahaha, see what I did there?  I make myself laugh.

I liked it enough to think that waiting till January to find out how Ever deals with the revelations in this one is just mean.  Noel commented recently that Shadowlands went into editing just this month so I guess it takes 6 months to edit something into publication.  I'll be buying the next one.  It's worth reading if you liked Twilight and are into the whole teenage angst, love triangle, supernatural stuff.  And I am, at least perhiperhally.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling

As I said in a previous post, I read this novel in July of 2005 the week that it came out.  And I remember that after the somewhat (IMO) disjointed and frazzled Order of the Phoenix, that this book was much more structured and orderly plot wise and made much more sense.

And was intensely hard to read.  Well, not all of it, just the last three chapters.

Harry Potter is now in his 6th year at Hogwarts and as he arrives, Professor Dumbledore, still Headmaster at Hogwarts, has invited him to private lessons so that Harry may learn more about the Dark Lord and the prophecy that he was after in OotP.

In these lessons, Harry glimpses the past and Lord Voldomort's early years, and what his overall plan may be.  These educational classes show Voldy's parents, his upbringing in the orphanage, and his attempts to get a position at Hogwarts.  Through these trips into the Pensieve, Harry and Dumbledore see and guess / estimate at how best to vanquish him (to borrow a word from Charmed!).

There's so much going on in this novel, all of it wonderful, that you should just really read it for yourself.  I love these books and every time I visit them I laugh and remember how wonderful they are and why I love them.  It's the ultimate in comfort reading.

I'm excited about the movie coming out next week, and I've seen some reviews so far (I haven't read them!  I just saw headlines!) and they say things like best HP yet.

I can't wait.  The entire series should be read.  But don't take my word for it, I'm Dumbledore's man, through and through.

Scene from Harry Potter and HBP





This scene is actually pretty close to how it happens in the book! (I know, I just looked it up again, and I just read it yesterday!) But ... WHO is that person sitting on the stairs with the dark hair? Is that meant to be Tonks?

But ... this makes me happy on a couple of levels.  Because in the trailer when Lupin says "Draco Malfoy was been given the task by the Dark Lord" that irked me because we do not learn that until the very end, and Lupin most certainly didn't tell anyone that.  But this scene clears that up nicely.  He's mimicking back Harry's theory to Harry.  So all is well with the world.

So excited about the movie folks ... so excited. Can't wait for next Wednesday! I will forever associate Megan's wedding with "the week HBP came out in theaters!"

Which ... and this is sort of sad really. Because my Grandfather died on July 14, 2005, three days before the book came out. And his funeral is tied to that book for me too. Not in any real important way ... just that my Dad went to the book store at midnight to pick up our books and then flew to Kansas the next day and was irritated that he stayed up so late to get them when they were all OVER the place at the airport.

And then we all sort of peripherally glanced at our books during that weekend.  I read mine at home, in my bedroom, and I remember during the final fight scenes I was leaning over my book hitting my fists into the bed.  And then I cried.

HP and tDH was released in paperback on Tuesday so I have my complete set of those FINALLY. My husband thinks it's a tad ridiculous that I have three sets of these things but I couldn't NOT have the final one in paperback. I mean really.

And you know, DH is the only one I haven't re-read. I've read HBP like 3 times (this is my 4th) and the others I've lost track. The one I've probably re-read the least (aside from DH of course) is OotP.

But as I approach page 600 of HBP I'm stealing myself up for the end. I will cry. Big horrible tears.

Excited for the movie!  I really love this book.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Evermore

Evermore , Alyson Noel

Ever lost her parents and little sister in a car crash, and her entire life is completely different.  Not only does she have to move to California to live with her Aunt, but ever since the accident she's had pyschic abilities and can read people's minds.  When a new boy comes to school and everyone goes gaga over him, things get even stranger.

This is a YA book that I read the review for and had to read it.  It's Twilight-esque, but it doesn't really compare.  What I mean is, Twilight is way better.  But this is basically the Twilight story without the vamps and our main girl character has magic powers.  It's a cross between Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries and Twilight.  Which ... I like both of those so yeah for me.

Immortals (the series name) are just creatures that live forever and have magic powers.  More like dark fairies, and not like vampires.  Though there are similarities.

It took me 4-5 hours to read this book.  I enjoyed it, it's light, fun, ice cream fare and I really want to read the second one, Blue Moon, which comes out on Tuesday!  I like Ever, she's got a strange name but I like it, and I like Damen and her's relationship, and I like the aura's and flowers (red tulips!) and the symbolism.  It's all fun stuff.

Fans of Twilight will like this one, as that's who it's marketed towards (Blue Moon? Really?  Couldn't have at least TRIED to name it something else?  It even RYHMES with NEW MOON).  It was very similar, but that didn't bother me.  It was a bunch of fun and I'm excited to read the next in the series!

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria, by Eve Brown-Waite

Lewis recommended this non-fiction book to me after he read a review that said it was pretty cool.  I read it on the Kindle and it took me quite a while to finish it.  Part of that was life getting busy, part of it was ... it sometimes wasn't that interesting.

Eve graduates from high school and goes to the Peace Corps recruiting office to see about a career there.  John Waite is her recruiter who leads her through the selection process, and they fall in love.  They date for several months while she works on getting a peace corps placement.

When she's shipped off it's with a mixed heart as she's now set up to be away from John for 2 years, at least.  But she has a panic attack and is sent home, and they are together again.

They end up getting married, and he takes a job with CARE that sends them to Arua, Africa.  The rest of the novel is her experience there and how her pregnancy went and how a civil war forces them to leave.

But here's the thing ... his tour with CARE was only 2 years to begin with.  And then he extends for one year, and then they move just after three years.  So, to my ears / eyes, that to me meant they lived out their obligation and were going to move anyway.

And her getting "sick" in South America was due to repressed memories.  I'm a cynic.  I don't have a lot of repressed memories.  It just felt ... silly.  She spent like 6 weeks in a hospital for panic attacks?  Those are some serious attacks.

It was just an "okay" book for me.  John did most of the actual work with the needy, etc. and she kind of spoke about it like, and this is my impression of it, that because she was living in Africa and doing without Starbucks, she was morally superior to those of us who watch movies at Tinseltown and have running water.

I didn't get that impression the entire time, just a couple of points.  It's worth the read if you're interested in Peace Corps or overseas work, but it felt kind of shallow.  She gets all sorts of job offers helping with HIV / AIDS and I never understood why.  She didn't really talk about why she was so reverred in those fields.  It would have been nice to hear more about what she did early on and why she has such a valued opinion in that area.  Which I'm assuming she still does.

Anyway ... glad I read it.  Definitely a different read for me. But just okay.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kindle

So after I wrote that last post about books I'm going to read in July, I went to Amazon to see if Harry Potter is available on the Kindle.  To my dismay.  It is not.

And apparently JKR has a "philosophical" reason for not wanting her books on e-readers.

To which I say ... grow up and into the next century please.

I love my Kindle.  It in no way replaces my actual books.  Nor does it assuage my book buying addiction.  But I love my Kindle.  I love the idea that I have my library with me, at all times, and with the flick of a finger I could summon up the words to my favorite stories.

I also love that carrying it in my purse doesn't put a stitch in my back for two weeks.

Everyone I show my Kindle to is enthralled.  I was recommending it to someone else just this past weekend.  And I continue to visit Amazon.com and hit the "I want to read this on my Kindle!" button in the hopes that enough of those will wake publishers up to the new millenia.

So JK and Scholastic ... 1980 called.  They said it really was okay to move on.

What's on Your Nightstand - June

Hosted by 5 Minutes for Books this is the post where I tell you all about what I read this past month.  And this month, I'm actually on time!


So this past June I read:

And I'm currently reading, First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria.  Which, I should have finished before the 30th, personal and work life permitting.

So how does this fare against what I said I would read?  AWESOME, that's how it fares.  I read everything on that list (if I finished FCL,TCM that is).  I should get a medal.  Granted, to make it easy on myself, I only had 4 books on that list and two of them were Chick Lit.

But, where do we go from here?  Next month I would like to read:

The Tory Widow, Christine Blevins
The Girl from Junchow, Kate Furnivall
Run, Anne Patchett
Evermore, Alyson Noel
The Tea Rose, Jennifer Donnelly

This list is ambitious.  One - because two of those books I don't own.  Two - because I have two weddings to go to in July, one of which is my sister's so I'm heavily involved in the planning, and who knows when I'll find time to read.

SNAP!  I just remembered.  I have to read (and I mean have to read) Harry Potter 6!  Wow.  This list IS ambitious!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's in a Name: Friday Night Knitting Club

Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs

Georgia Walker runs Walker and Daughter, a premier knitting shop in downtown New York.  She's been raising her 12 year old daughter, Dakota, alone and running the shop and has been doing just fine thank you, with help from her friends.

Kind of accidentally, a group of strangers starts meeting every Friday night to get tips on knitting projects, to escape lonely apartments and procrastinate from school work.  And the knitting club is born.

There is a large cast of characters here, all revolving around Georgia and the knitting shop.  There's the married Darwin who's husband is away doing a residency, the single Lucie who desperately wants a baby, K.C. who's been laid off and looking for a new direction, wise Anita, widowed and looking at her future, and Peri, the entrepeneur who makes purses out of the shop and runs the cashier.  And James, Georgia's long lost love (and Dakota's father) and Cat, Georgia's long lost friend from high school.

As is often a problem in these novels ... the multiple points of view gets old for me.  And some of the characters were more interesting then others.  The story itself was often slow, and meandering, and not very cohesive.

The best part was the knitting, and the yarn, and Anita.  Many of the other characters felt cliche to me.  Including Georgia, who's saint act wore on.  Everyone loves her, she's such a great person, she's never annoying, she's always right, and everyone admires her and dotes on her.  She's the perfect mother, friend and girlfriend.  And yet, in her POV, she's unaware of this constant barrage of attention?  Please.

I think I'll give this one 3 stars.  It was pleasant, in a sugar-sweet, rush to the end kind of way.  It took me a week to finish which means I didn't like it that much.  But it did get me knitting again.  Which is cool.  I liked the knitting part.  And I think I even learned something.  Or rather, I read about something that made me curious so I researched and learned something.  Which is always fun.

Beach read, definitely.  If you're a knitter, it'll make you want to find a nice eccentric shop and see if they have classes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A, by Billie Letts

I was able to win a copy of this book from All About {N} last month.  I started it yesterday and finished it this evening.

Lutie and Fate McFee (15 and 11, respectively) are living in Spearfish, SD with their father's ex-girlfriend when she unexpectedly dies in the check-out line at Walmart.  Questioned by the police and faced with the foster care system, Lutie and Fate steal her car and head out to find their Dad in Las Vegas.  What they find is dark, distrubing, and hopeful.  They end up in Hugo, OK, with a circus family, where they try to find a place to belong.

Billie Letts first novel was Where The Heart Is, which honestly, I can't remember if I've read.  Since I can't remember, I'm going to say that I haven't.  But I have read, Honk and Holler Opening Soon, which I adored.  She has a talent for (strange names that for some reason work) believable, marginalized characters that are usually on the raw end of hopeless and almost always need just a little bit of help to get themselves back to rights.

In Made, Lutie and Fate have lost both their parents to one thing or another, and been neglected their entire lives.  Scared and not sure how to remain safe and fed, they make terrible decisions.  It was really hard to read the beginning parts of this book because you just want to scoop them both up and hug them and say, "here, let me help you."  And you want to save them from themselves.

It didn't "fix" itself enough for me, and the ending felt a tad rushed.  Or ... I'm not sure.  I was so uncomfortable yet riveted to the first parts of the novel I think I expected an equal measure of relief when they finally came to a place to settle and when that didn't happen I was a tad disappointed.

I will say that her description of Las Vegas was a bit ... dramatic.  It is called Sin City but there are many houses off the strip and an Air Force Base and regular people that live there too.  I think the Governor of that state would take issue with her descriptions.  And at some points she makes it sound like all that stuff is only possible in Vegas ... and it really, sadly, happens everywhere.

All in, a good book.  Very glad I read it.  Obviously I was caught up in the story and characters as I flew through it, and it's got some pretty dark subject matter.  I read the author's note / short story at the end and the interview and Lett's personal story explains a great deal of why she wrote some of this.  Her and her husband took on some foster kids for a time, and some of this is what she feared for them, or maybe even what she heard of from them.

But the last question from Lett's was really sad.  Her husband of 50 years died last year.  This book was dedicated to him.  When asked what she was working on next, Letts answered that she was unsure, because she's adjusting to life alone.  She admits, she may have lost her muse.

I say read this one.  And then hug your children.  And your grandmother.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dead to the World

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

It's been a month since Sookie was in Jackson trying to save her cheating, now ex-boyfriend from a crazy group of vampires that were trying to kill him.  So it's somewhat surprising when Bill (cheating ex) shows up on her porch step telling her he's off to Peru of all places for the forseeable future, oh and could she watch his house for him?

Adding to it, driving home from Merlotte's one night she comes across a half naked man running down the side of the road.  Low and behold it's the haughty Eric; only he has no idea who he is or why he's running or who Sookie is.

When the Shreveport Vamps find out Sookie has Eric, they ask her to hide him in her home while they sort through the mess with some crazy, wacked out witches.  Sookie and her brother Jason agree, but then Jason myseteriously disappears and Sookie is left (mostly) alone trying to help Eric, search for her brother, and try to stick to her New Years Resolution of not getting beat up.

This is the 4th in the series and it was much better than Club Dead.  Eric was probably the best part of Club Dead and I looked forward to more of him in this book, even if his character wasn't really ... him.  I had a hard time liking this new Eric becaue he lacked that sarcastic, egocentric wit that Eric just exudes.  There are a light spoilers ahead so please be warned ...

And then there's Sookie and Bill.  This is hard because I realize the author wants/wanted to move past Bill but ... I just don't believe Sookie cares about Eric the way she cared about Bill.  Maybe that's intentional.  Or maybe I'm just biased.  But the believability was there for me in the first two novels with Sookie and Bill and with Sookie and Eric it's just sort of ... not there.

As also happens in series novels, the author spends several annoying paragraphs doing the "Last time on Sookie Stackhouse..." routine which I realize is necessary but it kind of gets old.  I skip those parts.  As I'm probably expected too.

I like this series and I think the whole storyline is interesting and worth following along.  Louisianna is a good backdrop and I can imagine quite clearly what some of these characters are like.  Definitely worth picking up and at 290 pages it's a breeze to finish and easy (light!) to carry around with you.
I won another book!  The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff, through the Good Reads First Reader program!

I love this winning books bit!  I have to review them though, or you stop winning.  Because the whole reason publishers give places like Good Reads and book bloggers books to give away is they want people to talk about them and review them.


Still ... what a very pleasant start to my weekend!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chick Lit: Queen of Babble in the Big City

Queen of Babble in the Big City, Meg Cabot (3rd book for Chick Lit Challenge!)

The second book in the Queen of Babble series, we find Lizzie in New York City after her summer in France with her best friend Shari, Shari's boyfriend Chaz, and Luke, Lizzie's new boyfriend.

So everything's great, except that Lizzie has no job, no money, and no place to live.  Deathly afraid that the big bad city is going to chew her up and spit her out like it did some girl from Anne Arbor named Kathy, Lizzie takes a job that earns no pay, and agrees to live with Luke, who she's known for 3 months.

This book felt like a continuation of the other book.  Which, hello, it should as it's a series.  But more than that, it felt like it was supposed to be part of the same book.  Like Cabot wrote it all at one time, her publisher got a hold of it and said "I bet we can make three books" and chopped it up at the desireable points.

This is beneficial for one reason - I didn't have to sit through a chapter of "previously, on Queen of Babble."  Which gets soooo annoying.

It's also irritating, for one reason - the ending does not feel like an ending but more like an annoying cliff hanger from a prime time soap opera.  What will happen to Lizzie now?  What will her answer be?  How will she get out of this jam?

And, I can see the end from here.  It's not a bad ending, and really with Chick Lit, who can't see the end from 50 pages in?  It's part of it's charm.  It's comfort food in that you know what it tastes like, and it tastes good.  Chocolate ice cream for the book lover soul.

I still miss Luke.  He had that one charming scene on the train in the first book and it's like he's never been heard from again.  It makes me sad.  Shari, also, took a big jump out of this story, and was replaced by Tiffany and the lovely french people that own the bridal store.  Both of these are very funny characters, and I hope they are present in the next one.

I enjoyed the book, finished it in no time, and I enjoyed the back story of the wedding dress refurbishment and all the wedding info / quotes throughout.  Like I said, we're sort of in "wedding mode" around here so it's fitting and fun.  Definitely worth picking up at the library or the used book store.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chick Lit: Queen of Babble


Queen of Babble, Meg Cabot

Lizzie Nichols has just (sort of) graduated from college and is going to England to meet her (sort of) boyfriend, Andrew, and spend the summer with him.  Andrew "rescued" her from a fire in her college dorm earlier that fall but then had to leave Anne Arbor, MI, when his student visa had problems.  In the land across the pond, Lizzie is horrified to find out that not only is he not the man of her dreams, but he told his mom she liked tomatoes, which she vehemently, does not.

Mildly heartbroken, Lizzie gets on a train to France where she meets up with her college roommate who is volunteering at a chateau that does weddings.  She runs into Luke on the train, the owner's son, not knowing it's him, and confesses her entire sordid story with college and the ex-boyfriend Andy.

Embarrassment, humor, and a wedding dress maid entirely of doilies follows.

Meg Cabot is most famous for The Princess Diaries and other YA books.  The Queen of Babble series was recommended to me by my sister and while it was quick and fun, the writing isn't my usual thing.  It's entirely too stream of conscious, and that's coming from a person that writes stream of conscious.

One other pet peev ... I was never sure how to pronounce some of the names.  She helps you out with this when characters are first mentioned, but it bugs me sometimes.  I liked that Lizzie got her foot in her mouth a lot (I do that - in far more embarrassing was than Miss Lizzie) and I liked Luke though there wasn't enough of him.  There was more the idea of him that was discussed.  So we'll see if he's more involved (he should be) in the next one.

It was good but different.  One of its best attributes, coming off a spell of books that are multiple POVs is that it stayed entirely in the first person.  Which seems to be really rare lately.

I'm definitely going to finish the other one (Queen of Babble in the Big City ).  And look!  I finished one more book in May!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Piano Teacher



In 1950s Hong Kong, Claire Pendleton arrives with her husband Martin who works for the Water Board.  Claire becomes board or anxious and begins teaching piano lessons to an affluent Chinese family, Victor and Melody Chen and their young daughter Locket.  Here she meets the driver, Will Truesdale, and begins having an affair.

Will has been in Hong Kong for many years and was in love with Trudy Liang, a Euroasian of Chinese and Portugese decent.  Trudy is the belle of the ball in pre-WWII Hong Kong, the daughter of an heiress and a debutante (or something similar, I searched for a word).  She is vivacious and tenacious and all those "acious" words that people use to describe the life of the party.  Read: the girl everyone hates but secretly wants to be.

The more I read about this region during this time period the more I want to read.  The history framing the central story was really interesting, if the characters themselves were less compelling.  It started off really slowly, and then sort of raced to the finish line.  I felt sort of confused as it wrapped up and didn't quite understand all that was happening.

Specifically at one point, where a plot is revealed while in a certain persons perspective that this individual could not have known.  This bothered me throughout the last 20% of the book.  Why did the author reveal this fact at this point and then have the "ta-da" moment at the very end?  It confused me.  As I'm probably confusing you but trying not to reveal too much.
I didn't like a single character in this book.  They were all unloveable.  Your classic anti-hero story where Will refuses to do something, making him a good guy, but pays for it the rest of his life by regretting not doing that which would have made him evil.  It was hard to like him for his principles when he hated himself for not breaking them.
Claire is a theif and that's never explained fully.  Obviously she's a bored housewife who is confused by Asia but yet doesn't miss England.

Trudy is mean spirited and selfish and petty.  The author tries at the end to reverse this opinion of her, by showing her actions as sacrificial rather than self-serving.  I don't see it.  She still seems the petulant child to me, who let it go when she didn't get her way but refused to save herself or others with her petulance.

All that having been said ... me not liking the characters did not stop me from enjoying the book.  Odd, I know.  But the story carries itself and the historical backdrop of Asia in WWII is fascinating.  Dark, sad, scary and horrible in some cases, but fascinating.

Point of note though, it changes perspective in almost a dizzing way.  And at first I didn't mind.  But than it became more and more annoying as the author used it to build suspense.  She would get half way through a story in one time period (1953) and then break in the middle and go back to the past (1940s).  It was disorienting.

Definitely worth picking up, despite it's faults.  It was a compelling story.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's On Your Night Stand? May 2009

Every month I wish that this post was just a day or two away.  But alas, it's not.  I still contend that I might be able to finish one more book in May.  But it's a slim hope.
What's on your nightstand is hosted by 5 Minutes for Books.


So, what did I read?  Only one book that was on my original list.

I read, Vision in White, Nora Roberts, and Mary Balogh's marriage series (which I didn't review).  So that's a total of 4 books.  Boo hiss.  (Again, more than likely 5 books, as I'm 60% done with The Piano Teacher according to my Kindle)

In my defense, May was a very busy month for me.  And June and July are going to be just as bad.

But, there's lots of airport / plane time coming up in June, so with that in mind, here is what I really must finish for June:


Queen of Babble (must return to Megan)
Queen of Babble in the Big City (must return to Megan)
Dead to the World (must get further in this series so can intelligently discuss with cousin)


I'm leaving it at that.  Oh wait ... the 4th Mary Balogh book came out last week and Girl from Junchow (sequal to Russian Concubine) comes out on June 2nd.

There is no shot of my TBR getting any smaller.

Edited on May 31st: I finished The Piano Teacher (May 27) and Queen of Babble (May 31), so that's 6 books in May.  Not too shabby!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - May 20

I'm always a day late ...

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

 
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Pg. 123
"They can hang out in the kitchen and be part of it a bit.  You don't want to leave them alone-they might not be there when you come back!"