Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eeek!

You can lynch me now. I know that I've disappeared from the world of blogging for months now - three to be exact - but I really do have good excuses.  What? You don't want to hear my long list of excuses?  Good beacuse I didn't want to tell you anyway. 

Well I'm back now and I have a TON of books to catch you up on. This first blog will be a summary blog so that I can keep nice and neat records of my reading history and then I promise you'll get real posts with lots of interesting factoids.

The Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins - Good, but it was slightly less captivating than the two prequels.  My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.



Echoes, by Danielle Steele  - Suprisingly delightful. I really should stop being surprised that I have actually enjoyed two of Danielle Steele's books. Again, there was no smuttiness. It was simply a beautiful story about a girl and her family trying to survive the Holocaust. My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.



Only the Good Spy Young, by Ally Carter  - I can't honestly remember this book very well. I'm pretty sure there is a sequel and I'm also pretty sure that I'll read it, but while this series is enjoyable, it is also forgettable. As such, I can't remember whether I liked it or not, so I can't even give it a rating. :(



The Han Solo Trilogy - Paradise Snare, by AC Crispin - AWESOME. I'm a nerd. I like Star Wars. However, I thought it would be all action and no sappy romance crap, but there was!!  Han Solo falls in love... and then... well, you'll have to read it to find out, but it certainly explains the tough demeanor that you see in the Star Wars movies. I definitely enjoyed this read that took me back to my childhood.  My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.



The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski - Love and Hate. Sometimes they can be felt simultaneously. This book was incredibly written, but frustrating for various reasons. It really deserves its own blog post in which I vent and rave, but unfortunately, it gets a short summary. I wouldn't recommend it, but... it deserves a little more than that as well. It is sad and it doesn't have a happy ending. The writing though = superb. 



The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho - LOVED. It was fascinating and challenging. I found myself thinking about it all the time during the following weeks and analyzing life through the lens presented in The Alchemist. I believed I actually tried to quote it a few times. Thank you to my blog readers for recommending this book! My rating: 8- Holy Cow! This book rocks my socks off.



Need, by Carrie Jones - Blah. I can't remember it. I don't think I liked it.  I probably won't read the sequel.  Imagine Twilight gone wrong.  My rating: 3- Bleh. I wouldn't bother, but maybe you have more patience.



The Vampire Diaries, Vol 1 & 2, by LJ Smith  - Interesting, but not captivating. My rating: 5- Pretty good, for the most part.



The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa - I'm pretty sure I really enjoyed this book and I'm definitely planning on reading the sequel, but my memory is so bad, I just can't remember. Which was initially why I started this blog - to help me remember the books I forget! My rating is probably (if I can remember correctly...): 6- Good. Solidly good.



Sphinx's Princess, by Esther Friesner - I love this series. I love Esther Friesner. These are definitely my childish indulgence books, but I can't help it. They're just so fun!  7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.



Burned, by PC Cast & Kristin Cast - Boo. This series gets worse and worse and I still can't put it down. I hate that I'm interested even while I'm not. I'm determined to NOT read the next book in the series. Someone - please keep me accountable to this. Remind me that the series is a waste of time and is trash.  Help please? My rating: Runaway while you still can. Don't let this book snatch you in its clutches to hold you for all 8+ books...



That's all for now!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

Per many recommendations from my lovely blog followers, I've just finished reading The Help.

I loved it.

I was a little sad that the ending wasn't wrapped up all nice and neat, but even so, everything was concluded well. 

My rating: 8- Holy Cow! This book rocks my socks off.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender

I've had the unfortunate experience lately where EVERY book I pick up is either dull, badly written, or depressing.

I'm definitely getting sick of it. I've stopped mid-read in five books now, which is A HUGE deal for me. I, rarely, will stop in the middle of a book - this occurrence happens maybe once to twice a year. So, five books in one month seems a tad bit extreme.

This ridiculously high number of book failures is either due to karma, my mood, or stupid publishers. I voting for the stupid publishers.

Either way, I won't be blogging about the stupid books because I just can't bring myself to think about them any longer.

However, if you want to feel depressed all day long and contemplate how miserable the world is, go ahead and read "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake."

You would think the name would tip me off - the PARTICULAR SADNESS. But no, I dive in expecting a happy delightful novel full of lemon cake with a twist of sadness that still ends up happy.

Well, it isn't happy. There's not one moment of sustained happiness in the whole book. All happiness dies.

I will give it this - it definitely has that Independent-film style, which I know a lot of people actually like. Me? I don't like Independent films. I much prefer Disney.

Interestingly, the author apparently did not learn how to use quotation marks in school as all dialogue is quotation-mark-less. I've never read anything written like this before and it definitely lends the book that noted independent-film style, but I am not keen on this writing technique. And I'm a little annoyed at whatever publisher was like - "Hey, let's be unique. Let's publish a book with no quotation marks in our dialogue. No one's done that before..."

Unlike the idiotic publishers and this artsy-fartsy author, I like quotation marks. They help move the story along without stopping every moment with he-said and she-saids.

She said, I love the flowers.

I love them too, he said.

Doesn't that just sound so morose and melancholy? 

At any rate, the book was written with enough to keep me interested until the end, but I just don't love this writing style so I can't highly recommend it.

However, if you are one of those goth souls in surburban clothes then maybe this book will be right up your alley. However, I'm really a disney princess dressed up as your average American and this book just didn't sweep me off my feet.

My rating: 5- Pretty good, for the most part.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

I was hesistant to start reading this book initially. It is just so darn popular and my inner self rebels against doing something popular. I don't want to follow the crowd. I'm a unique invididual. Right? Wrong.

With books, however, I'm quickly slowly learning that popularity usually denotes a delicious read. And fortunately (or unfortunately?) Eat Pray Love was indeed yummy.

When this book was recommended to me (by several people), all of them agreed that the pray part of the book was a bit dull. A few friends also mentioned their theological diferences and how it made them unable to relate to her experiences.

Interestingly, while I found this section somewhat slow, it felt somehow necessary to the telling of her healing experience. However, this section wasn't interesting to me because of her spiritual experience(s), but rather because of her interactions with her gregarious friend - Richard of Texas. You'll have to read it to understand. But he made me laugh.

I really enjoyed this book - way more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I, like many other women, have experienced similar struggles as Ms. Gilbert. Struggles like bouncing from guy to guy in my younger days in an effort to find fulfillment or avoid depression. Or struggling with being who everyone else wants me to be instead of who I really am. Or struggling with the value of your dreams.

I don't think her answers are my answers. I don't even know that her answers are healthy answers. In some ways her book felt like a story of a runaway - a girl who was just trying one more thing to deal with her pain.

But I don't think her intent was to say "This is how you deal with your crap" or "This is the right way to fix your life." I don't think she was trying to change anyone's life when she wrote Eat Pray Love. I think she is just telling her story.

And all of our stories are worth telling and being heard. Which is one reason why I think I enjoyed reading this book so much. I love listening to life stories. People fascinate me.

It doesn't help that she tells her story oh-so-well. :D

My rating: "7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner, by Stephanie Meyer

As many of you know, I'm a Stephanie Meyer junkie. You might interpret this as being a Twilight junkie, but I'm not. I don't love all things Twilight. I don't want my own personal Edward. I don't make believe I'm Bella. I'm not going to name my first-born Jacob.

But I do love reading Ms. Meyer's books - all of them. I love The Host. I love the Twilight series. And Stephanie Meyer's new book - The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner - is no exception.

The only sad thing about this book is that the ending was already written in Eclipse; Bree, the main character, dies at the hands of the Volturi. I wish I could change the ending, but so does Stephanie Meyer. At least we both agree on that.

This book isn't really a stand-alone. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't read the Twilight series since the ending won't make much sense.

My Rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.

I listened to this book on audio and loved this reading format.

(I think the cover art is pretty clever considering the ending of this novella).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stories

I'm getting so behind on blogging about books that I'm going to blog about a slew of books all at once. I've choosen to blog about all the books I've read recently that are enjoyable and worth recommending, but which aren't going to completely revolutionize your world or bring you to tears if you don't get the sequel. Right. Now.



Heist Society, by Ally Carter - If you liked Ally's I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You series, then you'll love this new adventure in the world of adolescent art thieves.

My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.





H.R.H., by Danielle Steele - I was convinced that Danielle Steel was a smutty writer who put lots of sex and lusty scenes in her book, but I'm happy to report that this book (my first foray into the works of Ms. Steele) was as clean (or cleaner!) than most of the YA books I've read.  It does allude that the couple sleeps together, but it leaves out all romantic descriptions thereof.  I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book and that it was a clean romance.

My rating: 6- Good. Solidly good.


 



The Last Juror, by John Grisham - Another fantastic John Grisham novel. What can be said except that John Grisham consistently publishes interesting and fascinating tales that revolve around our justice system?

My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.





Sea Glass (Book 1) & Storm Glass (Book 2), by Maria V. Snyder -  This series is captivating and full of adventure and romance in unexpected places. I'm excited for the next book in the series (Spy Glass) to see where Ms. Snyder takes things. I'm happy to report that this series gets better as it goes along.

My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.






Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George - A delightful retelling of the old faery tale of the twelve dancing princesses whose father promised one of his daughter's hand in marriage if their suitor could discover where they went dancing each night. Jessica does a fantastic job of weaving a believable and interesting back-story to this commonly known tale.

My rating: 6- Good. Solidly good.



That's it! I'll blog about some of the books I've really enjoyed recently and some of the books that I disliked immensely soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead

How do I start a review midway through the series? I just can't without divulging all the juicy details.

My only word of advice then: Read. This. Series.

I'm hanging by a string for the next book in December!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Spellwright, by Blake Charlton

My brief opinion of this book: not impressed.

I got halfway through and didn't finish it, which is saying a lot because I rarely stop in the middle of a book. In its defense, Andy was reading Spirit Bound while cuddling with me on the couch [Yes, my amazing husband has read the Vampire Academy series. And Twilight. And Hunger Games. O How I Love Him].

Of course, my husband is a genius and voracious reader and finished the whole book in... you know... a normal five to ten two hours (seriously?! ugh).  While I, sitting next to him, had only made it halfway through my book.  This maybe (just a teensy bit) influenced my decision to be done with the book at the same time he finished Spirit Bound. Just maybe. Competitive much?

In regard the book itself, it could have been pretty interesting if the author had followed the writing advice I've received from teachers my whole life: show - don't tell.

And Mr. Charlton told...and told...and told. I simply got tired of reading whole sections of text that sounded like they were plucked directly from a MUD RPG.  If you don't speak geek, this means those nerdy video games that are usually completely text-based. If you watch Chuck (like Andy and I do religiously) then you might remember this scene:

Morgan: What is it?

Chuck: Zork. You remember Zork, the old text-based video game? Well, Bryce and I programmed our own version of it back at Stanford using a TRS-80.

Morgan: Wow, you guys were really cool.

Chuck: Yeah, if I could only I could remember what was in my hero's satchel... (Morgan looks at him quizzically) The weapons I would use to kill the Terrible Troll.

Morgan: Right! You know what, you're still really cool.
 
Chuck: [types in computer] Kill troll with nasty knife.
 
In text-based video games, you use commands like "Kill Troll with Nasty Knife."  Huge sections of this book read just like that - telling, not showing. He could easily have taken sentences like this and created emotion and not just imagery. He could have said, "Green caustic blood oozed from the jagged knife wound in the Troll's heart. My fingers trembled, dropping the knife while cold relief flashed through me burning away the angry adrenaline pumping through my body. The troll was dead and I was still alive." 
 
I may not be the next Tolkien, but I know that my little makeshift troll-killing story has a dollup more emotion and imagery than "Kill troll with nasty knife." And that is something Mr. Charlton could have used in his story - a dollup more emotion that was shown and not told.
 
My rating of Spellwright:  Somewhere between "3- Bleh. I wouldn't bother, but maybe you have more patience," and "4- Could be good with a little work."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks everyone who participated in the giveaway last week! I loved reading everyone's favorite fiction novel and I now have a lot more books to add to my "must-read" list.

The winner of these fabulous books by Sophie Kinsella is.... ::drum roll::.....



Jenna Allen at The Indecisive Organizer! 

Congrats Jenna!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GiveAway: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Who doesn't love free stuff?  Or more specifically - free books.  That's right, you heard it folks, this is ElishaReads' first giveaway. I would make inappropriate innuendos regarding my giveaway virginity, but as the Bare Naked Ladies' song goes, it's all been dooooone before.


So I'll simply get down to business. The deets:

You can win these two lovely books by Sophie Kinsella - Confessions of a Shopaholic & Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.



All you have to do is a leave a comment below answering this question:

What is one of the best can-not-live-without-it fiction novels that you've read? 

Please leave a way for me to contact you (email address, link to your blog, etc.).


Good Luck!



Sunday, May 23, 2010

Magic Study & Fire Study, by Maria V. Snyder

I'm sad to say that this series declines as it continues. The first book, Poison Study, was a perfectly delightful read that left me literally obsessing for the these sequels. Unfortunately, with such an emotional anticipation, the books disappointed.

My feelings are mostly due to the lack of frequent interaction between Yelena and the chief of security in Ixia/super assassin/the love of Yelena's life, Valek. I can't even fathom why Ms. Snyder thought the series would be any good if she took Valek out of the majority of the book. I am, rightly, annoyed at his absence and would be much happier with the series if their romance had continued in a similar fashion as in the first book.

No matter, the series is still enjoyable and I'm glad I mustered my way through these subsequent books because somewhere in the second book, we're introduced to Opal, who is the fascinating star in Maria Snyder's newest series - Sea Glass and Storm Glass - which I am happy to report only gets better as the series progresses.

My rating of Magic Study & Fire Study: 6 - Good. Solidly good.



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

Sometimes there is someone who can just say it better. I read the below review on Science Fiction Reader and since reading it, I've been writing and deleting and writing and deleting my review, finding that each time I am simply trying to write exactly what this reviewer put on his/her blog, in different words.

Of course, my unique review would have been witty and amusing, full of funny anecdotes and suspenseful details [does such a thing as suspenseful details even exist?]. Unfortunately, my seven devoted followers the world, will have to content themselves without my enlightened opinion of Poison Study. While I am confidant that there will be mourning regarding the withholding of my treasured jewels of wisdom, I sincerely hope that you will be able to find delight in the words of another.

[Okay, I'm puking a little in my mouth with my own ostentatiousness. Go ahead and puke in yours too. We can be puking buddies.]

Onto the review by Science Fiction Reader:

This enjoyable fantasy – like all of the better quality books in any genre – possesses all the ingredients that make speculative fiction fans look for more of the same, but also gives a new spin on the premise. So you have your intrepid, but severely victimised heroine; a satisfyingly nasty and dangerous villain and a plethora of awkward and potentially lethal choices confronting your plucky protagonist…

And the difference? Already convicted for murder, Yelena is under the death sentence when the book opens and has a choice – be executed for murder or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived. The Commander’s food tasters don’t have much life expectancy – and small wonder. Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?

I liked the fact that Snyder opted not to give us a blow-by-blow account of Yelena’s grim history of coercion, torture and rape – but started the book at the point when she is offered a way out. Told in first person POV, the story whips along at a suitably cracking pace as Yelena struggles to survive in this hostile environment. Snyder gives us a reasonably rounded protagonist and the supporting cast are well drawn and interesting. Although I found the main male character just a little too much in command of everything going on around him. If he’d floundered a little bit more, there could have been a greater sense of danger during the main crisis point of the plot.

However, this is a relatively picky point in a well-written and slickly crafted story that zips along with plenty of action and character development. When I finished the book, I immediately reached for Magic Study, the second book in the series. And when I finish it tonight, I’m going to dive straight into the third book.


My Review: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead

Eeekk!! I just started the next installment of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.

I'm only a little excited about this - just a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy excited.

I am definitely not in love with Dimitri and I definitely don't want to be a bad-arse strigoi killing damphir. Definitely not. And I definitely am not excited about the new twist with Adrian. I could pretty much care less. I mean, seriously, who likes vampire novels anyway? I certainly don't.

::jumps up and down in an extremely young adult fashion::


[This isn't the cover for the book, but I like it better, so I'm posting it instead]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Schaffer

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society is a mouthful of a name and every time I inform the uninformed about this book, I get some variation of "The what??"

However, while the name may fill your mouth with a handful of unintelligible babble, the book is one of the most captivating and interesting books I've read in a quite a while. I "read" this book on audio and I have to highly recommend this reading format. The audio version gives each character their own voice and makes the novel come alive in a way that transports you into Juliet's world. I believe I might have fallen in love with Guernsey more than Juliet did, and I've seriously looked at my suitcase hanging in my closet with a longing to travel to Guernsey to meet these imaginary friends that Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer have created in my mind.

It's a beautiful story and I can hardly believe that it is fiction. Or perhaps its place in the fiction world makes it all the more beautiful for creating a life and a story that feels so real.

If you only read one book this year, read this one. The book is so delicious that you'll find yourself wishing to devour it all over again.

My rating: 9- Top 100 - this books tops the charts of my favorite books!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

My lovely friend, Lauren [who has an awesome blog at http://thelittlethingswedo.blogspot.com/], does these fun "Fill in the Blank Friday" posts every - you guessed it - Friday



I haven't posted one of these before, but since it is about my absolute favorite subject (well, right after how wonderful my husband is), I figured I might as well play along.

So here we go:

1. My favorite book growing up was: The Mark of the Lion series, by Francine Rivers. It is probably the only book I've read more than twice. Actually, I'm pretty sure I read it every other week throughout my entire adolescence.

2. The funniest book I've ever read was: I haven't really read that many "funny" books, but the Anne of Green Gables series completely captivated me and etched a perma-smile on my face whenever I read it. I found myself frequently finding a long-suffering family member and holding them prisoner while I shared amusing quotes and sections from the books.

3. The one book that has truly changed my life is: Obviously, the Bible. However, if I choose another book I think I would choose Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge or Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers.

4. If you're looking for a real "tear jerker" you should probably read: My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult. I bawled. Snotty yucky bawling.

5. If I could meet any author living or dead I would want to meet: LM Montgomery - Her writing makes me feel like we're soul-sisters.

6. The next book on my "to read" list is: The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa

7. If I was snowed into remote cabin in the woods and could only choose three books to bring with me I'd bring: Eeek! I can't pick just three... Maybe three series??? Or three hundred?? Okay, I'll try to narrow it down. The Anne of Green Gables series, Redeeming Love, & Ella Enchanted. Ugh. I'm literally forcing myself not to make a ridiculous long list of all the books that I would stack around this imaginary cabin.

If you'd like to play along, just fill in the blanks on your own blog (or in the comment section!) and then link back here using by leaving a comment.

Ciao!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Quickie

I get close to being caught up on blogging and then I go and read more. I really need to work on self-control.... or maybe not. :D

Sorry for skimping on the book reviews recently, but remember, this blog is for me (hah!) and not for you. ::sticks tongue at all the internet readers out there in mock disregard:: If you are confused, read my first post in which I declare my independence and state the purpose of this blog.

1. Nightworld, Vol. 1, by LJ Smith


2. Aurelia, by Anne Osterlund (I love the cover for this book!)


3. Nobody's Princess (Book 1), by Esther Friesner


4. Nobody's Prize (Book 2), by Esther Friesner


5. Ever, by Gail Carson Levine


My review for all of the above books is pretty similar in that I found them all to be interesting and simple reads. Unfortunately while trying to blog about them, I found myself dragging my unwilling fingers to hit the keyboard repetitively in the hopes that something interesting would magically appear. After minutes of fruitless abuse to my keyboard, I discovered my brain had vacated the premises and - voile! - I'm on facebook...

As such, my review is simply that I would recommend reading them. I just can't bring myself to blog about them. It is not a reflection of the books, but more a reflection of my frustrating attention span. Can someone say - attention deficit disorder?

My review for all the above books: Somewhere between "6- Good. Solidly good," & "7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When you read more than you blog...

Eeekk! I'm getting so behind on blogging about books!

Here's what I've read recently:



1. To Catch a Pirate, by Jade Parker - I ♥ this book. Pirates, a head-strong aristrocratic heroine, adventure on the high seas, love, and betrayal. Need I say more?

My Rating: Somewhere between "6- Good. Solidly good" and "7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending. "




2. Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, by Ally Carter - this series is still enjoyable, but it's losing steam for me. However, I'll let you know what I think of the next book in the series. I'm starting to think that her publishers are keeping the series going due to the all-important-dollar and, sadly, not as a result of inspiration on the part of Ms. Carter. My theory is reinforced by the fact that Ally just published a new book (Heist Society) that has nothing to do with the I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You series. However, I'm anxiously waiting for my copy of her new book to come in at the library - it looks fantastic!

My Rating: 6- Good. Solidly good.




3. The Morning Gift, by Eva Ibbotson - Have I mentioned that I LOVE Eva Ibbotson?? Well, if you haven't read that far back, let me educate you on my opinions of this stellar author. She's amazing. Simple enough. Read her adult/teen novels. They're amazing. All of them. The Morning Gift was one of my favorites of her novels thus far. I've plowed through all of her adults books now and I'm thinking I might give her children's novels one last chance...

My Rating: 9- Top 100 - this books tops the charts of my favorite books!




4. Madensky Square, by Eva Ibbotson - I told you I was plowing through her books. However, Madensky Square is my least favorite of her adult novels. It doesn't have a lot of movement in it. The main character is a forty-something woman whose life is centered around her shop in Madensky Square where she designs clothing for women. It is certainly a delightful story full of those superfluous relationships that reveal your primary character's strengths and flaws in a pleasing manner, but the story-line is so subtle as to hardly exist.

My Rating: 6- Good. Solidly good.




5. Evermore/Blue Moon/Shadowland, by Alsyon Noel - Goodness, I read these books so many weeks ago that I can hardly remember what they were about. My blogging can't keep up with my reading! Now that I'm pulling my memories out of their box, the books remind me a bit of the Twilight Series, even the introduction of a second "guy" into the story is reminiscent of Jacob in Twilight. However, the direction that Alyson takes these is a bit different and also enjoyable. They were hard to put down while I was reading them, but not so memorable weeks afterwards.

Sadly, if I had reviewed them directly after reading, I would have given the series a "7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending." As it is, I'm relegating it down a step due to the fact that I can hardly remember anything about these books.

My rating: 6- Good. Solidly good.



5. Princess Ben, by Catherine Murdock - This is a great rainy-day-got-ya-down fairy-tale that instantly transports you to another world. Princess Benevolence - Ben, for short (don't you love that?)- is a headstrong princess who is being forced by her step-mother to marry a "specimen of imbecilic manhood." Attempting to flee this fate (as all good adventure-story princesses should), she escapes her castle-prison and finds herself in the neighboring warring kingdom where she falls in love with a prince, discovers magic, and discovers her princessy-self is ready for the responsiblities of ruling her future kingdom. Very fun. Very childish. Very Me.

My Rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.


Okay folks, I'm mostly caught up. Only three more books to review and we'll be right on track!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

I have very little to say about this book which is why I suggest you read another blogger's succint review with which I wholly agree excepting the slight insults thrown in Twilight's direction. Twilight - I heart you.

Review of Shiver

Does it make me a mediocre reader that I love Twilight so?

My Rating: 5- Pretty good, for the most part.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Appeal, by John Grisham

If you've ever read more than one of John Grisham's books, than you'll know that they're all equally intriguing but they rarely leave a lasting impression [at least for me]. I find that all of his books merge together in my mind to create an cacophony of blended memories that can only be described as a tale of suspense and intrigue in the legal and political realms.

This book, as usual, lived up to my standard's of John Grisham's consistent quality, but is more memorable than his other books I've read. Whether you love John Grisham's works or this is your first introduction, The Appeal will intrigue. My father-in-law, if he hasn't already, would add it to his "John Grisham" bookshelf which houses the abundant works of this capable author.

The Appeal, more so than his other books, caused me to dwell on our justice system and the effect of money politics in it. I was surprised at the ending John Grisham choose for this book (which I won't give away to those of you who haven't read it), but I found I agreed with his fitting conclusion as it caused the reader to analyze our political situation.

As a Political Science major in college, I should be pleased by books that spark a righteous anger at the failings of justice in our system, but I must admit that the more I learn about our methods of governance, both locally, internationally, and historically, the more inept I feel to incite any real change. This disillusionment of my abilities to change the world, as we all long to do when we are in our early twenties, makes me want to crawl into my cacoon of disinformation and ignore the tyranny of money that is like a bomb exploding near the walls of my protected shell.

I find my theory on politics is growing closer to that which I have criticized the American public for on countless occasions - ignorance is bliss. And yet, ignorance does not spur action and the world needs action.

While this book angered my sense of justice, it captured the thing that excites me in a book - the everyday little actions that make the world a better place. Things like the love of a parent towards their child, the love of a pastor for his congregation, and a judge with a passion to see justice and compassion combined.

My rating: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.



If you liked this book, you might also like:

1. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (Note to reader: Rated R for graphic violence and sexual content)


2. The Winner, by David Baldacci


3. The Associate, by John Grisham

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

I adore the inspiration for this love story - Nicholas Sparks, inspired by his grandparents (who he says flirted shamelessly with eachother well into their old age), created a novel about two people whose love for eachother outlasted the murderer of most love stories - time.

I listened to this book on DVD while driving around for work [which was my first experience in audio books and an experience I thoroughly enjoyed] and endangered my fellow drivers by routinely sniffling and crying every time I got in my car. I can only imagine getting pulled over with puffy eyes and explaining that I was driving carelessly because I couldn't stop tearing up at a love story on audiobook - yah, that would go over well.

Despite the countless shed tears during this book, I was not extremely impressed with the writing (which sounds paradoxical, I know). I felt that the book was written at a junior high reading level, but was filled with adult content (including a lengthy sex scene that I skipped over). Without the frequent references to sexual content, I would recommend The Notebook as a captivating love story perfect for junior high students and young adult readers.

However, I feel the writing is too juvenile and "dumbed-down" to recommend to most of my reading friends and is too rife with sexual innuendos to recommend to a younger reader.

I'll simply say that I wouldn't recommend this novel if you are accustomed to a higher quality of literature, but if you are in the mood for a beautiful romance with a tad bit more than appropriate amounts of trashy sexual innuendos (again, the paradox is unusual), then go for it.

Of course, it could be that the sexual references are more notable when listening to them said aloud. I think the innuendos registered as more innappropriate hearing them spoken, instead of simply read.

And yet this whole post is skewed by the fact that I simply liked the movie better, which I find odd as books are usually 100% better than their movie counterparts. I felt the movie did a better job capturing their love for eachother as young people.

However, the one aspect I found the book excelled where the movie lacked, is their relationship as an older couple. It was beautiful to hear Noah's memories about his life with Ally after they were married and had children. This was the part that consistently brought me to tears - hearing the recount of their married life, their feelings and thoughts when they were given Ally's diagnosis, their fight against the disease, and their love for eachother over their lifetime.

My rating of this book: 5- Pretty good, for the most part.



If you liked this book, you might also like:

1. Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers


2. Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks


3. A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks