Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books

Its that time of the week again. It's time to participate in the The Broke and The Bookish's weekly edition of Top Ten Tuesday.

This weeks theme: Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books

As you can tell, this week's list is FULL of SPOILERS!!!!!  So if you want to skip over some on my list, please do. 

1. The beginning of The Shadow of the Wind: This book starts out with a father taking his son to a secret place where every book you can possibly think of is hidden for safe keeping. This is a book lover's dream!  The imagery was magnificent!

2. The ending of Calico Joe: I'm a sucker for baseball and baseball stories. This particular story involved a man who's father had once played Major League Baseball as a pitcher and had hit the biggest up and comer in years in the head, ending his promising career. The man knows his father did it on purpose and on his father's death bed wishes for his father to apologize. While his father does apologize, the apology doesn't improve his relationship with his father or even make his father a better man.  What it did was give closer to the man that was hit.  I love that ending!

3. The beginning and ending to Animal Farm: This one I enjoyed for the simple fact that they were basically the same, just with pigs instead of men.  So profound and interesting.  What a great way to end the story!

4. The ending to Silver Linings Playbook: I liked this one (and was my major complaint with the movie) because Tiffany and Pat didn't really get together. They had formed a much needed friendship with the possibility of it becoming more. But I liked that it was left as a strong friendship; something they both needed.

5. The ending of To Kill a Mockingbird:  Two words: Boo Radley. 

6. The ending to The Count of Monte Cristo: Unlike most theatrical representations of this novel, the ending isn't a happy one. In fact, I find it ridiculous when they try to make them happy. Considering what he became to exact his revenge, he couldn't end up happy. And even he knew that.

7. The beginning to The Hitchiker's Guide to The Galaxy: Who doesn't love a silly novel that starts of with the Earth's destruction to build a glorified highway?

8. The beginning to In Cold Blood: The beginning tells you about a horrific murder, who did it, and why. Why did I like it?  Because you know right away that this book isn't about they how and the why, but the story..

9. The ending to Darkly Dreaming Dexter: As the first in the Dexter series, this was my favorite.  The ending left Dexter with a choice.  You think he made the wrong choice, but he didn't.  And his sister knows everything. I love that! 

10. The ending of The Perks of Being a Wallflower: There is a build up in this book of something dark and hidden in this kid's past, that not even he knows what it is.  When it is finally revealed, it makes the entire book makes sense. I love the way the ending tied this book up in a neat little package. 

There you go!  That my list for the week. I hope you enjoyed! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dexter in the Dark (#3): 2 Stars

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Once again we join Dexter Morgan and his journey through life as a serial killer vigilante who works for the police. This particular book centered around Dexter's dark passenger. That's what Dexter calls his desire to kill. The dark passenger helps Dexter sense when he is bong watched or when evil is around. But in this book, Dexter loses his dark passenger.

I don't know what happened in this one. Lindsay went all supernatural. It was really annoying. I love these books for Dexter's unique perspective on the world. This perspective was lost in the supernatural and metaphysical story of the dark passenger. Hopefully he drops this theme in the next book.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

That Touch of Ink: 3 Stars (ARC review)

That Touch of Ink by Diane Vallere

This is my first ever ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) book that I have recieved so I was very excited.  I won the book via a Goodreads giveaway. Here is my very honest review:

This is the second book in the Mad of Mod series. I have not read the first book, but the author sums up the previous book so its not necessary that you read it (although I would recommend it since so much of the story depended on the previous).

Madison Night is an interior decorator with a  very specific niche. This is namely Doris Day, whom she has modeled her life after. Her little business specializes in creating decor based on the Doris Day era, with the help of her handyman helpier, Hudson. Hudson was accused of murder in the previous book, but Madison never believed it and helped prove him innocent. Needless to say, Hudson is interested in moving their relationship past "work" and into something a little more personal.

But Madison is dealing with an annoying ex that just won't go away.  Brad was the love of her life, but broke her heart by revealing he was married. After two years of being gone, Madison had learned the truth about Brad; a truth she couldn't really deal with. Brad was never married but was mixed up with the wrong people and needed to keep her safe. But he knew her price; a $5,00 bill.

Madison was shocked when one arrived at her door, followed shortly by Brad himself.

This great shock is short-lived as she will soon be shocked by the discovery of a dead body. She immediately calls her cop friend, Tex; the man who was there when she found out about Brad. While he has a semi-girlfriend, he only has eyes for Madison.

Now if you are keeping track, that is THREE men who are interested and pursuing Madison. If you add in finding a murder victim, stumbling upon two more $5,000 bills, and slowly uncovering a kidnapping plot, then it goes without saying that this woman has her hands full!

The story was cute and engaging. It kept me guessing until the very end. I also loved the little references to that era like Archie Leach (Cary Grant's real name). I must admit that I am a sucker for hidden references throughout books like this, epsecially when they involve Cary Grant!

So you are probably wondering why I rated it 3, and not 4 or 5. Well, I had one major issue with the book:  Madison Night. I did not like her. In fact, I thought she was rude and completely unlikeable. Three men pursuing her romantically made very little sense to me, because she wasn't terribly nice to any of them (except maybe Hudson for the whole helping prove he wasn't a murderer thing). Also, I felt like she reacted minimally to very big things, and overreacted to tiny things. For instance, after finding a dead body, she calls Tex and not 911, even though her reasoning for being there was explainable. But that I can vaguely understand and move on with.  But then she heads home only to be rammed by another car AND find out someone was in her apartment.  But this didn't seem to need a call to the police.  Why?  She had already bothered Tex.  Any sane person would call the police right away.

I guess I just didn't understand or relate to her at all. It made it difficult to get into the story hen she was the main character.  I would have much prefered the story from Tex's point of view.  Perhaps her charatcer was lovable in the first book and that should have endeared me to her, but alas, I have not read it.

Anyhow, I do recommend this book, especially for anyone who is a fan of Doris Day. And really, can you watch Calamity Jane and not be a fan?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Dinner: 3 Stars

The Dinner by Herman Koch
Translated by Sam Garrett

I first saw this book while out book shopping with my husband. It was on the shelf of employee recommendations and the cover grabbed my attention. So I flipped it over and read the back of the book, and then I knew I wanted to read it.

The premise of the book is two couples meeting for dinner.  The book is from the perspective of one of the men.  He's not looking forward to the dinner at all, since he and the other man do not get along all that well.  It reminded me a bit of the premise of My Dinner with Andre initially. 

The entire book takes place over the course of one dinner, but as time goes on, the narrator thinks back on different memories, giving us a back story.

Well it turns out the two men are brothers and the dinner is meant to discuss their children. The three cousins have done something unspeakable, something illegal, something horrible.  And now the parents need to figure out what to do about it. 

The brothers know that during this dinner, they must decide what to do with their sons, but both seem to be avoiding the topic.  This is not only because of the gravity of the situation, but because the brothers are as different as night and day.  They have completely different ideas about how to handle it.

What would you do if your son had done something horrific?  Something terrible beyond your thinking?  Would you do everything you could to protect them?  Would you make them fess up and face the consequences, even if you know the consequences could end their future? 

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.  But it didn't take me long to realize I wasn't going to be thrilled with the ending.  Controversial to say the least, I definitely found myself siding with the other brother and not the narrator. The outlandish ending left me uncomfortable and uneasy.  

While that doesn't always make me rate a book lower, a boring middle does.  For such an interesting premise, there were multiple points in which I was bored and really wanted something, anything to happen.

I'd recommend this book for anyone looking for something different.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You NOT pick up a book

It's time to participate in The Broke and the Bookish's weekly post of Top Ten Tuesday. 

This week's topic: Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You NOT pick up a book.

I think my list explains a lot about my book choices, or rather, my non-choices. 

1. Sex: I realize with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey that I am in the minority here, but I am NOT a fan of books mostly about sex. Now, I don't mind if there is a sex scene in a book, as long as it tastefully done and applicable to the story.  But I do hate when they are overly detailed and have nothing to do with the story.  Call me a prude if you will, but I have zero interest is being involved with other people's sex lives. And I don't get my jollies off in reading about it. I have a husband for the real thing. :)


2. Vampires: I realize that I have not only reviewed Dracula, but given it 4 stars.  But vampires no longer appear in books like they did in Dracula. They are more often than not like Edward Cullen, who is as far from the original folklore of vampires as you can get. I can't stand it.  Again, I am well aware I am in the minority on this one. But until they stop sparkling and start burning, like they are supposed to in the sun, I will avoid them.

3. Romance: The drama of relationships annoys me in real life, so I am not keen on reading about it.


4. High School:  This one is easy. I hated high school when I was in high school. Reading about it now that I am out would make no sense. (And yes, that's a picture of my high school).

5. Politics: This one is just like the previous; I hate politics, so why would I read about it?

6. War: I am not sure why, but I have the hardest time following war time novels. Even if I like the author and plot, I have a really hard time following. There are a few books I have read that are about wartime, but they are few and far between.

 7. Fantasy: I'm not sure what it is specifically about fantasy, but I just can't get into like other people. I think it may because its hard to relate to the characters when they live in a different world with totally different situations. Authors have to spend so much extra time explaining the basics of the fantasy world, that simple things like traveling from one location to another take ten times as long. I think I just get...bored.


8. Space: This is relatively the same as fantasy.


9. Rape: Do I really need to explain this one?  If there is a rape in a book that I know about, I won't pick it up.  If there is one that creeps up on me, then I either skip it or stop reading the book entirely. I realize that there are plenty of books out there about rape that help those who have been through it.  But the words will haunt me for days, and I just can't handle it.


10. Unicorns: I thought unicorns were silly and ridiculous as a child and think they are even sillier as an adult.


So there you have it. I guess you can tell by my list that  I will never be reading or reviewing Twilight. :)

I f you disagree with my list, well, sorry.  I'm a weirdo and I understand that.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dearly Devoted Dexter: 3 Stars

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

The second in the Dexter series brings us another enjoyable novel. Once again we join Dexter Morgan as he tires to keep his vigilante serial killer life a secret from the police. This is never easy when you work for the police department.

In this book, Dexter is up against the formidable enemy of Sergeant Doakes. Doakes, unlike everyone else in the Miami Police Department sees who Dexter really is behind his mask. Without emotions, Dexter is forced to fake his way through life. Unfortunately, Doakes isn't buying it. He decides to spend his every waking moment following Dexter, making it impossible for Dexter to kill anyone. 

Lucky for Dexter,  Doakes past comes back to haunt him. While on the hunt of Dexter, the serial killer, he's being followed by a serial killer from his past. Now Dexter is faced with a choice: help Doakes catch the bad guy out to kill him, or let the bad guy take and kill Doakes, eliminating Dexter problem.

Once again, I enjoyed the narration of Dexter as he tries to navigate the world without basic human emotions. And once again I was annoyed by the edition of Deborah.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the first one. A good follow up to a good book.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Lovely Bones: 3 Stars

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Set in a time in between when doors were left unlocked and children roamed the streets without worry and the current time, Susie is a 14-year-old girl who is brutally murdered. Her killer lives next door to her parents and he is not suspected. The story is from Susie's perspective in her heaven as she watches those involved from above, each dealing or not dealing with her death in their own ways. 

While the story is intriguing, I was disappointed in the ending. Not that it was sad, that was expected. I'm disappointed it went nowhere. It just ended. It left me feeling unresolved, just like the story. 

The writing and approach were unique. Focusing on one character at a time, Sebold shows all the different ways people cope (or don't cope) with unimaginable tragedy. It was such a innovative and unique way of telling such a sad story and did enjoy her style.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Once again, I am participating in The Broke and Bookish's weekly fun with Top Ten Tuesday.  This week is authors who deserve more recognition.

This was a hard list for me to complete because, well, I don't know many non-popular authors.  I have had an obsession with reading classics that I have never read and catching up on some recommendations, which means that I tend to read popular authors.  This means everyone I read gets plenty of recognition. I really need to branch out more. I am more likely to come up with a list of writers that have received a lot of recognition that I thought were terrible. I even debating making a list of them.

I am not going to make a list of them. The truth is, as an aspiring writer, they have accomplished that which I can only dream.  Not to mention that my list of authors who "suck" for lack of a better word, is based entirely on my taste. And let's face it, my taste is strange at best. I would like to be far more well-read than I am currently and perhaps published myself, before I dole out the insults to those already accomplished.

So needless to say, here is the tiny list I have of underrated writers and that is it for this week. (Please note that I do know these authors are already quite popular but it's the best I have today).

The Unappreciated:
1. Matthew Quick
Works include: Boy21, Silver Linings Playbook, and Sorta Like a Rockstar

 Matthew Quick is not long for this list as he is growing wildly in popularity with the Hollywood award-winning movie based on his book.  But I have yet to be disappointed with one of his novels. I find his characters unique, but so real at the same time. He has a knack fro writing in the voice of his narrator. While not overly complex, it's true to the narrator and helps the reader feel linked and endeared to the character.  Kudos Mr. Quick.

2. Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Works include: The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven

While I am not always thrilled with Zafon's novels, I am always in love with his writing. His words are so beautifully pieced together, I feel like his books are more of a work of art than anything else. He is the writer I currently admire the most, washing as I read that I possessed a fraction of the talent he does.

3. Mary Roach
Works include: Bonk, Stiff, and Packing for Mars

My first introduction to Mary Roach was at a book reading a friend of mine asked me to attend with her. It was for the book Bonk, although she did discuss Stiff as well. She was hilarious. While being a non-fiction writer, a lot of research goes in to each novel.  She explores different topics in depth and then presents her findings in the form of a novel with quick wit and amusing stories.  She's like the teacher you wish you had in high school, taking seemingly boring topics and making them profoundly interesting.

4. Erik Larson
Works include: The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck, and  In The Garden of Beasts

I read the book The Devil in the White City based on more than one recommendation and was blown away with how much I enjoyed the book. I was enthralled and could not put it down. I love that feeling. He captivated me with his writing style and talent for telling a compelling story, even though the book was non-fiction. I felt like I was there.  Brilliant!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Boy21: 4 Stars

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

This was my second Matthew Quick novel; the first of his teen novels. I'll start out by saying that I don't like teen novels. I stopped reading them when I was about 12. I always seemed to be one step ahead of what was written for my age group (being the snobby reader I was as a child).  Now that I am an adult, I tend to stick with adult novels. I am not a teenager and don't understand that world as well as I did when I was one.  I take that back, I never understood that world. That being said, I will always make off a star or two when it written for someone that is younger than me. While the novel may be great, as an adult I did not enjoy it as much as I feel I could have. I realize this is not the authors fault since not all novels can be written specifically for me, bu it's my blog therefore my rules. :)

Now that we have established some rules, I loved this novel. It starts out with a mystery; a kid who has a troubled past but won't talk about it. Growing up in a very rough neighborhood, Finley is one of very few white kids around.  He keeps to himself, except for his girlfriend, and even than he's a "minimalist talker".  While not the best at basketball, he works very hard to keep his starting position. He dreams of the day he can bail on this crime-riddled town with his girlfriend and never look back. Then his coach adds a complication.

Just before his senior year, his coach asks a favor of him. He wants him to befriend a new student. The new student's father was friends with the coach and had moved to LA where he was quite successful. After he and his wife were murdered, their son needed to get away and chose to stay with his grandparents. As a phenomenal basketball star, he changed his name and came to the small town.

Finely doesn't think much of this until he finally meets the boy.  The boy is Boy21, an extraterrestrial.  Or at least that's what he tells Finley.

Now Finley must try to help this kid cope with his tragic past and his new persona in a school where Finley himself doesn't fit in. Oh yeah, and Boy21 plays the same position as him. If he succeeds in helping Boy21, he will lose his starting position and be on the bench.

Wow!  What a unique novel filled with unique characters. Once again, Quick enters the world of mental issues. Both Finley and Boy21 live with tragic pasts that they can't seem to face. Each chooses a different coping mechanism. While totally different, the two boys have an incredible amount in common.

Quick's story and characters were captivating. While unique, I found the characters easy to relate to. He spun a compelling tale, that was once again, hard to put down.  I definitely recommend this novel!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook: 5 Stars

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

It has taken me awhile to write this review since I wanted some time to be able to sit down and put my thoughts into words. This story is about a guy named Pat. The story takes place the day he gets out of "the bad place", which is clearly a mental hospital. He is obsessed with reuniting with his wife, Nikki, and ending "apart time". The problem is that Pat thinks it has been just a couple months and ignores everything that points to the fact that he's been there for several years. 

Enter Tiffany. 

Tiffany is Pat's best friend's sister-in-law. Her husband died two years previous and she is not handling it well. Initially I thought this would be a silly love story about how these two would meet and instantly heal each others pain. Thank goodness I was wrong. The story deals more with the severe depression these two face and how they handle it. 

The story was engaging and I literally had a hard time putting it down. I actually read this one (and didn't listen to it on CD). While normally a slow reader, taking weeks to finish a book, I finished this one in less than 24 hours. Perhaps its because I have been well acquainted with mental disorders like depression in my life that drew me to this story. Whatever the reason, I loved this story and would recommend it to anyone.

Matthew Quick has a fantastic insight into the world of mental disorders. While he never labels Tiffany or Pat, I think that is best. I am a firm believer we all have mental tendencies and issues.  Of course some and far more extreme than others.  This book shows Pat as a wounded man with serious issues from a positive perspective. He is really trying to heal and function normally. He doesn't need to be treated with kid gloves or locked away. He just needs people who will understand and exercises patience, a trait we could all use this day an age. 

Again, I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Devil in the White City: 5 Stars

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Originally I thought it was a historical fiction, but it's actually a nonfiction written as a narrative. If I had not read the category of this book online, I would have never believed it was nonfiction. The book is all about the events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Once again, my interest in serial killers was peaked with the tale of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a doctor. He showed up in a city where young girls would come out on their own for the first time, disappear, and there just weren't enough cops to look for them. He built a hotel and added some serial killer luxuries like gas chambers. He often told men that the hotel was full, saving room for the single women.

The book also tells of Burnham's challenge in creating and pulling off the Worlds Fair. During the time to prepare, his partner died, and many other things. The fair ended up being wildly successful and had several celebrity appearances including Wild Bill Cody and even Walt Disney's father.

This book was incredibly well written and very educational. I knew very little about the World's Fair. I don't even know much about the World's Fair in Spokane and that's where I am from. Chicago was filled with incredible designs and acts, and devastating tragedies. 

I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Once again, I follow in The Broke and Bookish's footsteps with Top Ten Tuesday.  This week is all about movie adaptations of novels. This is a particularly touchy topic for book lovers. The movies never live up to expectations, but for many reasons they simply can not.

Books have the ability to be whatever length they want because the reader can always put it down and pick it right back up. Movies you sit through in one sitting (typically). Most people can't sit through a 5 hour movie. Also, books have the ability to get into the mind of any character the author wants. In order for a movie to do this, a character must say everything they are thinking, do a voice-over to imply thinking, or express it in the non-verbal way.

For these reasons and many more, books are a better media for detail, emotions, and elapsed time. Movies are better for action.

Creating this list was rather difficult for me. I tend not to watch the movie adaptations of books I have read. If I liked the book, than the movie just doesn't do it justice.  If I hated the book....well then why would I watch the movie? 

So here is my list which only includes movies I have seen and books I have read.Some are good, some are not great, and some are awful!

The Good:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird: This is one of my all time favorite books. I am that weird person who has even gone as far as to collect multiple editions of the book. I just really really enjoyed it. That being said, I was very hard on the movie when I first saw it because I did not think it had a chance to live up to my expectations. I couldn't have been more wrong.  Now I always picture Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

2. Silver Linings Playbook:  I wasn't too sure about this book when I first picked it up, but I LOVED IT! Matthew Quick wrote an excellent book about a young man and his struggle to deal with the real world after spending some time in a mental hospital. His characters were so real and bold. I was reluctant to see the movie version, but finally decided to try it out. In order to make the story work on the different medium, they changed quite few major points (most of which I did not like), but for the most part, it worked!  The two main characters, Pat and Tiffany, were still very true to the book. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were perfect choices to make the characters come to life. It was an excellent adaptation, even though their were some big differences.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower:   When I first started reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I wasn't too sure about it.  But about halfway through the book, I actually starting to connect with not only the main character, but his two best friends. The book dealt with some deep issues and I wasn't sure how the movie version would handle it.  But surprisingly, I loved the movie. The casting was fantastic and the three main characters from the books were clearly evident on the screen. The emotions and chaos of the deep issues came though well.  It was a very enjoyable movie.

The Bad:
4. The DiVinci Code:  You can also count Angels and Demons into this one. I avoided The Da Vinci Code because of all the hype. (I am not a big fan of reading what is popular).  But I was given the prequel, Angels and Demons, for my birthday so I decided to read it. I was hooked and have read The Da Vinci Code since. When they announced the movie, it had been a few years since I had read the book. I started thinking of who I wanted to play Robert Langdon; the athletic, attractive, college professor. My list included people like Daniel Craig, Tom Hiddleston, and Clive Owen.  You know the type; the smoldering sexy type, the kind that female students would drool over, which is how he's portrayed in the book.  And then came the announcement.......Tom Hanks?   Seriously, Tom Hanks? Now, don't get me wrong, I love Tom Hanks, but not in a smoldering sexy kinda way.  But I tried it anyway.  It wasn't HORRIBLE, but it definitely wasn't good. I WANTED to like it.  I WANTED to like Tom Hanks as Langdon.  But I didn't.  And no matter how many movies they make, he will never be Robert Langdon to me.  Sorry Tom.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia:  I have seen several versions of The Chronicles of Narnia throughout my life.  And because of these movies, I never wanted to read the books. The kids were so annoying! The plot was so ridiculously cheesy and I just couldn't get into it.  But I finally caved and read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Seriously, THIS is what you guys were trying to create?  You missed. Other than Peter on occasion, the kids are not completely and totally irritating, like the movies suggest.  The movies do follow the plot pretty accurately, but it was my lack of compassion for the kids that ruined even the plot for me.  Is it how the kids were written or the cast?  I don't know the answer.  At the end of the day, they weren't AWFUL movies, but they were awful kids.

6. Catch Me If You Can:   I saw this movie and really enjoyed it.  It was a great little caper based on a true story.  I was so interested in the real story, that I decided to read the book. The book was a thousand times better!!!  After reading the book, I felt like the two main characters and the main plot were completely misrepresented.  It was like they took a few stories about Frank Abagnale and applied them to a different person.  The movie not compared to the book is not bad at all, but the when you read the book, you feel like they ruined the movie.  It could have been so much better!

The Ugly:
7. How The Grinch Stole Christmas: How do you ruin a kid's book that has illustrations to guide you???  It's completely spelled out how this is supposed to go.  How do you screw it up???  Ask Jim Carrey and Ron Howard. I saw it once and was so appalled at how far off track and terrible it was.  Seriously, I am so glad Dr. Suess was not alive to see this train-wreck.

8. The Scarlett Letter:  Ok, seriously, before you make a movie based on a book, someone should probably READ THE BOOK!  Now I was not a fan of this book at all, but the movie barely followed the basic story.  Ugh!   Just avoid this one.

9. Sleepy Hollow: Remember what I just said about reading the book?  Yep, this movie forgot to do that as well.  And Ichabod Crane was a geek, a nerd....definitely NOT Johnny Depp.  You should definitely have called this "A Ghost Story With Some Slight Similarities to The Legend of Sleepy Hallow and Major Liberties Taken". 

10.  Romeo and Juliet:  I don't even know how to address this one.  It was bad.  Really really bad. If you want to do a modern day Romeo and Juliet, you DEFINITELY need to change the dialogue, not twist the story to try and make it work.  And you should DEFINITELY not ruin Mercutio! He is hands down my favorite character.  He's the only one that gets it before everyone else.  And they RUINED him.  

So that rounds out my list. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Moneyball: 4 Stars

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

I absolutely loved this book! Confession: I LOVE baseball. I grew up on baseball and have been a huge fan of the Atlanta Braves my entire life. So when I read books about baseball, I already love them.

This is an excellent story of how the Oakland A's general manger, Billy Beane, defies logic by continually winning with an incredibly small budget. He has a completely different take on baseball. I had read it years ago, but needed a refresher. While I understand very little of the statistics chapter, the rest I absolutely love. I'd recommend this to any passionate baseball fan.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

1776: 4 Stars

1776 by David McCullough

It's almost the Fourth of July so I decided to review something patriotic. It's also a book that sat on my "to-read list" for years.

I guess I should have read the back of the book before reading this one. I have wanted to read it for awhile under the assumption that this was about Congress in 1776 and their tale in coming to the point of declaring independence. This book is actually about the war, mostly following George Washington. Although I was looking forward to hearing all about John Adams, Ben Franklin, John Hancock, and more, I do already know quite a bit about that. What I knew very little about, was the war itself, so this book was extremely educational.

As for David McCullough's writing, I was incredibly impressed. He kept the tale engaging without altering the information. If he wasn't sure if it was true or didn't have the actual account, he let you know. There was no glorifying what happened to make the book more compelling. He let the facts guide the story. Also, his research on this was intense. He sited more sources that I thought even existed for this, British and American.

As for the tale itself, I always heard it was a miracle we won and that we were so novice compared to the professional British Army. But this book really highlights just how close we came to losing on several occasions. Also, I knew I would like the book when David McCullough started out with and ACCURATE portrayal of King George. From the American perspective, he is viewed as a tyrant and rich, pompous king. The truth is, he was actually a pretty good king.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Most Intimidating Books

Since I am fairly new to the book blog world, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of some others that I follow. The Broke and the Bookish has a Top Ten Tuesday theme and for this week, its most intimidating books.

So I decided to play along this week and here is my list:

1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: Like most people, this book by sight alone is intimidating. Weighing in at around 1392 pages, the book is rather large and older. Not to mention I often have a difficult time following war novels. But its a classic, so I want to read it.

2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The book is called Crime and Punishment. I don't think it's exactly going to be a happy book. While that doesn't always turn me away from a book, it does make a bit hesitant to jump in with both feet.

3. Dante's Inferno: This classic is referenced often in the media, most recently by Dan Brown. But, this book is actually an epic poem.  And it goes with two other books/epic poems. I am not the best at deciphering poetry as is, much less a metaphysical poem that is the length of a book.

4. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafron: The only non-classic on my list is The Prisoner of Heaven. What's the intimidation you  ask?  Simple.  I LOVED The Shadow of the Wind. The book was amazing and I couldn't put it down.  The Angel's Game was far more disappointing. I really really want to like this book. But I am afraid that I might not.

5. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair: And here is yet another classic. My husband read it and loved it. The intimidation comes easily with this one:  I love meat!  Apparently this book turns many a people into vegetarians.

6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding:  Once again, this one I want to read because it's a classic. The intimidation is that the book is incredibly depressing.

7. The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas: In college I read The Count of Monte Cristo. It was amazing and easily one of my favorite novels of all time. However, it took me three tries to get through it and took me months to read. I am a slow reader anyway, but Dumas has a unique way of writing. It was not an easy read. It was a labor to get through, but totally worth it. Ten years later, am I really ready for another Dumas?

8. Moby Dick by Herman Melville: Here is another classic. I know it's about a guy chasing a white whale, but its really long. There's got to be more to it than that, so I want to read it.  But I know (stop reading now if you hate spoilers) that the narrator gets axed half way through. Really?  Killing the narrator?  Weird! 

9. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: Oh boy, I have been a fan of Chaucer since high school. But I must admit, of the few stories I have read, each one has been translated into modern English. Chaucer wrote in Middle English. My intimidation with his one is that I am scared I won't understand it.

10. The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft: This isn't even a book; its a short story.  But here's where I get intimidated:  H. P. Lovecraft is iconic. He's considered to be one of the best horror writers. I love horror.  But what if I don't like Lovecraft?  I am not cool or hip, and therefore am worried I won't really get it. Can I really still consider myself a true horror fan if I don't like Lovecraft??

The worst part of this list is that I own  EIGHT of them. While they don't really compare to the list of books I won and have never read, that is still eight more books that I need to read. I guess I really should at least pick one and dive on in!