Monday, January 31, 2011
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.
First line: Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.
My thoughts: First off, that blurb interested me in the book but it, the story, was not magical. It was sad and tragic. Little Bee is the story of a 16 year old Nigerian girl who escapes from her home land after her family was killed and her village was destroyed for the convince of oil companies. I loved the voice of Little Bee and loved following her thought process in her chapters. I grew to truly care about her and her circumstances. Little Bee's chapters alternated with the other main character's chapters as the story of their relationship is related. The other is Sarah, an English journalist and suburban mom. They meet on a beach in Nigeria under horrific circumstances and then two years later they meet again in England. The only light moments were provided by 4 year old Charlie and his insistance that he is Batman fighting baddies. Cute. I did not like the ending, at all. I think it was meant to be left open but after reading the whole thing I know what would happen next.
This story opened my eyes to tragic happenings in our world. If you are looking for a light read, this is not it. I found it an uncomfortable read (as only human rights violations can be,) with an important story to tell. I do recommend it.
Quote: "I smiled back at Charlie and I knew that the hopes of this whole human world could fit inside one soul. This is a good trick. This is called, globalisation."
“I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”
NY Times Review (scroll down)
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Why These Books? For the Read To me Picture Book Challenge
•Bear Rhyme, rhythm and alliteration
•Sharing and Friendship
About the book: It is spring, Bear is awake, and he is hungry. Several of his animal friends take him to places where he can get food, "But the bear wants more!" Finally, he heads home, where others have organized a party for him, but he has eaten so much that he gets stuck in his own doorway. After being pried out, he eats more and falls asleep, but now "his friends want more!" The rollicking, rhyming text flows smoothly, and the repeated refrain will have youngsters chiming right in.
•The importance of hygiene
About the book: How Bear and his forest friends discover a NEW FRIEND will enchant young readers. Karma Wilson's playful text and Jane Chapman's radiant illustrations make Bear's New Friend a perfect summertime read-aloud companion to the bestselling Bear Snores On.
•Bear Rhyme, rhythm and alliteration
•Sharing and Friendship
About the book: First-time author Karma Wilson and artist Jane Chapman (illustrator of Phyllis Root's One Duck Stuck) have created a charming little tale of sharing and caring that will have readers of all ages cheering at the humorous finale.
About the book: Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them.
First line: Ronnie slouched in the front seat of the car, wondering why on earth her mom and dad hated her so much.
My thoughts: This is the fourth and final book for my Nicholas Sparks 2011 reading challenge. It is my least favorite of the 4, I had a hard time getting into it. The story, I read somewhere, was developed initially for a screen play written especially for Miley Cyrus. So the book was based on the screenplay. For most of the book I did not care at all for the main character, Ronnie. However by the end she had grown, matured, and changed into a likable young woman. My favorite character was her father. He was the kind of dad that we all want, the perfect foil to Ronnie's hatefulness. His story was the the best, and saddest part of this book. The end of the story had me crying. I knew that, this being a Nicholas Sparks book, someone would die. This book was very slow in places, I'll admit to skimming along a couple of times. This coming of age novel feels like it is especially written for the YA set. I will read more of Sparks books, but not soon. I've cried enough this month over books to last me a while!
Why this book? For the Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge
Quote: Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
First Line: It isn't easy being human.
My Thoughts:This is the second Remy Chandler novel, the first being A Kiss Before the Apocalypse. I had not read anything by Sniegoski before A Kiss... even though he is well known for his YA Fallen series.
This urban fantasy was definitely a page turner, action packed all the way and quite violent in places. I like Remy,he is strong, intelligent, funny and sensitive. Marlowe, his dog, is one of my favorite things about these novels. I hope he has a bigger part sometime. The conversations between Remy and Marlowe are great fun to read. I grew to love Maddie in the first book and hated that she died but even with her dead she is an important part of the story.
In this book the author added to his world by introducing and explaining more about the angelic hierarchy, and added new creatures as well. The end has a surprising twist that I did not see coming at all. This could be a stand alone novel, but I think you would enjoy it more if you read A Kiss... first. Urban fantasy readers will enjoy this one for sure.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc Trade
Source: TBR pile (B&N bookstore)
Quote: Remy stumbled back a bit, bumping into the wall behind him as two Sentries emerged. They were fearsome creations, angels whose sole purpose it was to watch over the magnitude of Tartarus' prisoners, none more deadly than Lucifer Morningstar.
Monday, January 24, 2011
First line: Three years earlier, on a warm November morning in 1999, Adrienne Willis had returned to the Inn and at first glance had thought it unchanged, as if the small Inn were impervious to sun and sand and salted mist.
My Thoughts: This is a short, simple story simply told. My heart ached for the characters and the different kinds of pain they endured for love. The characters seemed real. The plot was predictable, but the author's words, the way he described what the main character was feeling, were wonderful. Nights in Rodanthe is a typical Nicholas Sparks romance novel: an emotional romance with a bittersweet end. I liked that the characters were middle aged, I could relate to them. I liked this book and I think Sparks fans and fans of love stories will like it. Have a tissue ready.
Genre: Contempory Fiction, romance
Publisher: Warner Books; 1ST edition (September 17, 2002)
Source: TBR pile (used book store)
Why this book?: It has been in my TBR pile for a long time and I just haven't gotten to it. Since I joined the Nicholas Sparks Challenge I had to get it out!
Quote:When I sleep, I dream of you and when I wake, I long to hold you in my arms. If anything, our time apart has only made me more certain that I want to spend my nights by your side, and my days with your heart.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
First line:Thank you Detective. We'll take it from here.
My Thoughts: This is the 4th or 5th book I've read by this author. I am a Dekker fan, but I don't think this will go down as one of my favorites. For the most part it was an edge of your seat page turner. You know the killer from the first as the author takes you into his head and thoughts through out the book. What a twisted bad guy. I said for the most part because a lot of time was spent by characters reflecting on their love for each other, repetitive conversation between the patients at the center, and the main female character, Paradise, repeatedly thinking about how worthless she thought she was. The FBI spending so much time with mental patients instead of doing their own research didn't work for me, it rang untrue and I couldn't suspend belief for this one. With that being said, I still thought it was good. The race to get to The Bride Collector before he killed his 7th woman was exciting. The story contains plot twists, character turns, scary scenes. It had horror, mystery, suspense, murder, and a little romance.
Genre: Christian Fiction, thriller
Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
Source: Library (Digital Branch)
Why This book?: I like this author's work and this book his been on my wishlist for awhile. I thought I'd use it as the kick off for my Christian Fiction reading challenge this year.
Quote: “You see, everyone is God’s favorite, even the mentally ill, which is most people, but don’t let me digress. They are God’s favorite, too, all of them. This is possible only because God is infinite and can therefore have more than one favorite without violating the meaning of the term. He can have multiple favorites, and each one is truly a favorite, receiving the greatest God has to offer, which is infinite.”
Filled with the ins and outs of neighborliness in all its unexpected variations, Corduroy Mansions showcases the life, laughter and humanity that have become the hallmarks of Alexander McCall Smith’s work.
First line: Passing off, thought William.
My Thoughts: I fully expected to love this book since I like The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series so well. The characters are quirky and drive the novel, the narration is set at a gentle pace. For these characters life simply happens as we move from chapter to chapter. It is not one big story but several stories that intersect at Corduroy Mansions then go on their ways. My favorite part was the dog, Freddy de la Hay. He had been trained as a sniffer dog at Heathrow. However he lost his job because there were more male dogs employed than female dogs. Equal opportunity prevailed and half the male dogs were fired to make openings for female dogs. LOL. I've recommended this author's work before, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Now I recommend this, the first book and his new series. Can't wait to get the next one to see how things turnout.
Why this book? I learned about this book online while reading about the orignal serialized form. That caught me up and as soon as I found it I got it.
Genre: Fiction, Literature
Publisher: Pantheon (July 13, 2010)
Source: Barnes and Noble
Quote: And the reason for that, she decided, was that Oedipus Snark was profoundly solipsistic. If he paid no attention to her feelings, it was because he did not see her. For one who was constantly adding "See?" to his observations, he saw remarkably little.
New Word: oleaginous: 1. oily. 2. marked by an offensively ingratiating manner or quality.
(This word was used, or course, to describe Oedipus Snark)
Alexander McCall Smith
@ Romance Reader
Monday, January 17, 2011
First line: In the corner of a first-class smoking carriage, Mr. Justice Wargrave, lately retired from the bench, puffed at a cigar and ran an interested eye through the political news in The Times.
My Thoughts: I read this book, first published in 1939, especially for one of my challenges, the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. It is one I've been wanting to read for awhile as well. This version has the characters going to the more politically correct Soldier Island instead of Indian Island. I was surprised to find this one thing changed while other things that would seem to me to be more offensive were left in. After reading it I think it is a must read for any mystery fan. I found Christie's story compelling as she took me to Soldier Island and through the final hours of ten murderers who had been judged and condemned by a stranger. None of the characters were particularly likable, which is just as well. Christie shifted the viewpoint from character to character where you learn the truth of of what each had done. The roller coaster ride continued as the characters tried desperately to solve the mystery before they all died. I was kept guessing whole time. It was full of mysterious cliches: the thud of a body in the hall, the crash of a fallen tray of glasses etc. It is not a very long book and I read it all in one sitting, fully engaged the whole way.
Quote: There was a silence—a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating . . . “Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! . . . You are charged with the following indictments.”
Sunday, January 16, 2011
In the second Judge Jackson Crain Mystery, Joe Junior McBride, beloved barber of Post Oak, Texas, has been murdered. At first glance, the homicide appears to be the work of a prowler, but as the investigation progresses, Joe Junior's second wife, Marlene Ashburn, becomes the prime suspect.
A stranger turns up at the funeral, and something about him reminds everyone of Joe Junior. But Joe's brother, Gerald, claims never to have seen him, and mounting evidence points to Marlene as the murderer.
First line: Jackson Crain pushed open the door of the Post Oak Barbershop, entered and stomped his boots on the rubber mat to dislodge the snow.
My thoughts: This was a homey, quick, cozy read. I loved the Biggie books by this author and thought I'd try out this series. I was attracted to these books bacause Bell writes about living in a small Texas town off where everyone knows their neighbor and their neighbor's business. I liked the characters, especially the judge.
Quote: Jackson got home from work to find Lutie Faye dropping floured chicken pieces into a cast-iron pot. The smell of the frying made his mouth water. He saw a chocolate cake sitting on the kitchen table with fourteen pink candles in the top.
"Umm, fried chicken," he observed. "And cake, too. What's the occasion?"
"It's Ashley's birthday," she said. "She told her mama she didn't care about any party as long as she could spend the night here and have me cook her some fried chicken."
"Lucky for the rest of us." He grinned. "Where are the girls?"
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.
Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look - a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge. . . . It's time the devil had his due. . . .
First Line: "Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things."
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading Heart-Shaped Box by this author so I was looking forward to reading this. I wanted to love it.....but I didn't :(. The story revolves around a murder mystery, and Hill uses flashbacks from the characters to to bring the pieces of the story together. It is a love story, a horror story, and a crime story all rolled up in one. I was hooked on reading it early on but I found it to be an emotionally draining and painful read all the way around. Ig's predicament tore me up.The main mystery,who killed Ig's girlfriend,is revealed fairly early on so the rest of the book is spent watching Ig come into his own and seek his revenge. I really wanted to know why and how Ig got his horns but that was never told. If you like horror stories, you'll probably like this one. It is well written with some funny spots. The overwhelming hopelessness sadness, though, was a little too much for me.
NY Times on Hornes
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.
First line: Deputy Keith Clayton hadn't heard them approach,and up close, he didn't like the looks of them any more than he had the first time he'd seen them.
My Thoughts: I liked Safe Haven so much that I jumped right into another Nicholas Sparks book. This one was The Lucky One. I'd say that I'm the lucky one to finally be reading this author's books! I'll have to say it was a little slow to begin with but I liked it. It gave a mysterious feel to the story. This book takes you, from chapter to chapter, through the thoughts of each character as it moves back and forth between the past and the present. This back and forth was handled well, there was no confusion. Many subjects were touched upon including: luck, destiny, war, love, obsession, parenting, life in a small town.....
I saw parallels between this one and the first one I read. The ex was bad, the new guy was good and the girl was beautiful and sweet. There was some nice suspense, romantic romance, very little sex and no bad language. These are all pluses in my book. I am a big fan of the happy ending and I wasn't disappointed. As you may or may not know, I'm a sucker for an animal and I just loved the dog, Zeus, in this book. I recommend it! It's a great beach read or "rainy-day" book.
Quote: "She was struck by the simple truth that sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people..."
Friday, January 14, 2011
Not even their worst nightmares could have prepared them for the crime scene that awaited them instead. Brutally murdered in her bedroom, Deena's body showed signs of trauma that horrified even the toughest of cops; including our own Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who was specifically requested by the captain to investigate.
My Thoughts: This is the 29th book in the In Death series and the 4th or 5th that I've read. I haven't found a bad one yet and will continue to read them, probably out of order. This page turner was a quick, entertaining read. The Story line was engaging, pulling me along to read more. The stories are set slightly in the future, 2060, with a complement of futuristic gadgets and language. It is not so futuristic that it seems like a sci-fi read. It is a good, solid police procedural. I have enjoyed each mystery and especially liked watching Eve & Roarke's relationship grow.
Quote: Galahad’s bicolored eyes glittered, perhaps in amusement, before he scrambled off the bed.
Eve programmed the kibble, and since it was a holiday, a side of tuna. When the cat pounced on it like the starving, she programmed two mugs of coffee, strong and black.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Description: When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.
But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.
First line: As Katie wound her way among the tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair.
My Thoughts: This was my first Nicholas Sparks book and I must say I really liked it! It was different than I expected. I liked the mix of danger and love. The love story was sweet and safe, with no graphic sex scenes. The suspense built nicely. I liked the look into the mind of her ex, the psycho control freak, it was amazing to hear the way he rationalized his actions and strange to hear him repeat how much he loved her. The characters were well developed and I cared what happened to them. There was an unexpected spooky twist at the end which I loved. I will be reading more by this author. It was a fun, absorbing and I think you would enjoy this book too!
Quote: She liked it here. Southport was different from Boston or Philadelphia or Atlantic City, with their endless sounds of traffic and smells of people rushing along the sidewalks, and it was the first time in her life that she had a place to call her own.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The details of Ben's harrowing story--and his experiences with a remarkable man named Abraham Cross--were passed from generation to generation, until they were finally recounted to Alex Cross by his grandmother, Nana Mama. From the first time hear heard the story, Alex was unable to forget the unimaginable events Ben witnessed in Eudora and pledged to tell it to the world. Alex Cross's Trial is unlike any story Patterson has ever told...
First line: "Let her hang until she's dead!"
My Thoughts:There are some series and some authors that, when a new book comes out I just buy it without reading anything about it. The Alex Cross series is one of those. SO...I was greatly surprised upon hearing the introduction to find that this was not an Alex Cross novel. Then I noticed that there was a co-author, Richard Dilallo. This story made me think of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Time to Kill" but I didn't feel it was as good as either one. The story was a page turner, a fast read, but not a mystery.
The main characters, Ben, Moody, and Abraham were wonderfully written. I wish Abraham had been in it more, what a great character. Their integrity and courage during the extreme racism in post-Civil War Mississippi was inspiring. I knew that lynchings occured then and later, however I didn't realize how common they were. I found "Trial" hard to read in places because of the realistic violence, and because of the images the story painted. But it had to be to show the horrors people faced. Would I recommend it? If you were looking for another Alex Cross book, this is not one. I would say it was a compeling read, but wouldn't call it fun.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
About the book: Every cop gets angry when a police officer is killed. And Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no exception. But Amarylis Coltraine was also in a relationship with one of Eve's closest colleagues, so after Eve has delivered the terrible news to him, she throws every resource she has into finding the killer. When she finds a link to the son of a criminal she and her husband Roarke had put behind bars, the case heats up even further. Alex Ricker was romantically involved with Amarylis ? did she leak information to him and then have a change of heart? Eve puts herself in danger to get to the truth ? but she can't prevent another death before she learns who betrayed both the criminal's son and the police officer he loved...
First line: She was dead the minute she answered the 'link.
My Thoughts: This is the 28th book in the In Death Series. I've read several of them, nowhere in order. I have found each one to be a quick, fun read. I like the characters, they are very human.The character development is well done: I got an even deeper insight into their thoughts and lives than in the others I've read. The murder mystery pulled me along page after page and there was plenty great dialogue, some of it funny. As always I enjoyed the slightly futuristic setting. I'll read more of these for sure.
Quote: She saw curiosity. No alarm, no worry. She knew her face showed him nothing. Not yet. Another second or two, she thought. Just another few seconds before she broke his heart.
In Death series