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!