Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Colorado Kid: 3 Stars

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

I read It when I was a teenager and vowed never to read Stephen King again. Not because I was too scared. Not because of the language.  It was the ending for the 11-year-olds. It crossed a line for me. If you read it, you now what I'm talking about. If you haven't, just read the plot on Wikipedia. All I can say is, ugh!

Anyhow, my sisters have been very into the show Haven on SyFy and I have seen a few episodes.  The plot is interesting and is based on The Colorado Kid by Stephen Kid, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Other than two of the main characters of the short story being two of the side characters on the show and the location (shocker, it's Maine), I don't see the similarities. But it was a decent story none the less.

A young reporter has worked on a small town newspaper for four months and is having lunch with the two editors. They get on the topic of unsolved mysteries. They tell her a few, each of which you can guess what could have happened based on the circumstances. Then the tell her about the Colorado Kid.

The Colorado Kid, later identified, showed up on a beach dead, apparently having choked on a piece of meat.  No wallet, no coat, no explanation.

The story isn't really scary as much as weird.  There is no resolution.  It's just a story.

It was a good short read so that was nice, but I am not sure what else to make of it.

Slaughterhouse Five: 4 Stars

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

As a POW who survive the fire bombing of Dresden while being held in an old Slaughterhouse, Vonnegut struggled to put into words what he experienced. How do you put it into words? You are fighting an enemy you share a heritage with while making friends and enemies on your own side. It's not a normal life experience. It something that changes you. I think that Vonnegut mixing his own real-life experiences with a science fiction element helped him express what he felt during the war, his capture, and the fire bombing.

Slaughterhouse Five follows a man, Billy Pilgrim, and his life.  Billy leads an interesting life. Not only does he end up a POW in Dresden when it is fire bombed, but he also gets abducted by aliens AND travels through time. He has a hard time keeping everything straight and explaining his life to others.

I liked this book. It was weird and bizarre and filled with dark humor. There were a few moments were it was a bit too crude for me (mostly in the ways that one character described torture techniques) but I understood the perspective. 

I would recommend this book to anyone with a slightly dark sense of humor. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Camel Club: 3 Stars

The Camel Club by David Baldacci

I decided to try this book because my dad recommended it. After about six chapters, I was confused and bored. There were so many characters and back stories introduced immediately, that I had no idea what was going on. I wanted to stop the book, but kept going since it was my dad who recommended it. I am glad I pushed through. After about 15 chapters, the book really picked up speed and I was able to catch up with the many many characters.

The story revolves around four men who spend their time looking into government conspiracy theories. While typically you would expect these kind of men to be in suits and have high level jobs, their leader, "Oliver Stone", lives in a tent outside of the White House, with very little money. These men witness a murder committed by members of the government. Considering their social status, they knew they would be ignored or blamed. So with the help of Secret Service agent, Alex Ford, the four set out to uncover the truth; the truth that could lead to full blown world war.

Other than the really slow, boring, and confusing beginning, I enjoyed this book and will likely finish the series.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

It's once again time for The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday!

This weeks theme: Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters.

I love secondary characters, sometime better than the main characters!  They typically get to be the plucky comic relief or the cool character or the one with the best vision of reality. is my list:

1. Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet: I was heartbroken the first time I read this play (ok so its not really a book, but oh well) and not because of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. I was heartbroken when Mercutio, the only one who seems to fully understand what is going on long BEFORE anyone has to die, died. And let's face it, he is awesome (and please let's ignore the movie with Leo....see previous TTT).

2. Charlie Weasely in the Harry Potter Series: I am a late starter of the Harry potter series (boycotted for years) and am now through the fifth book. And I adore Charlie Weasley. I realize there are a TON of other secondary characters with much larger roles than Charlie, but come on!  He works with DRAGONS!  What a stud!

3. Major Major Major Major in Catch 22: Besides the fact that he has one of the most ridiculous names ever, Major Major Major Major was a fun character. Without even trying, he advances in the army and makes a ton of enemies. And all because he is a nice guy with a ridiculous name.

4. Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird: Do I really need to explain this one?

5. Fermín Romero de Torre in The Shadow of the Wind: I was into the story before he appeared, but I was hooked the second he showed up. He has this dark, mysterious past that haunts him.  But he's loyal, hilarious, and tries to look on the bright side of life.  He's the perfect sidekick for Daniel as he unravels a mystery.

6. Renfield in Dracula: He's insane, in an asylum, and no one understands him.  But in a way, he's smarter than them all. Renfield knows what's going on, but has no way of really conveying it. He tries to do good before the evil takes over.  He's amazing and underrated.

7. Abbé Faria in The Count of Monte Cristo: Faria is just like Renfield, but he's not insane, well....not in the asylum kind of way.  He's been trapped in an isolated prison all by himself for years. Despite his escape plan, he knows he'll never get out alive, but he still doesn't hold back.  He knows he can live through someone else and he puts everything he has into that man. 

8. Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy: Only Douglas Adams adds a depressed android to a story for some comic relief.  I love it!

9. Isaac in The Fault of Our Stars: Everyone talks about the strength of Gus in this story, but I love the strength of Isaac. He's about to lose his eyes and he loses the girl he's in love with.  Shortly after, he loses his best friend. But he never loses his sense of humor.  What a great character.

10. Boxer in Animal Farm: Boxer is the horse that always want to believes that what is happening is for the best. He knows its not, but he never stops caring about making sure everyone else is taken care of and doing his part. He felt that way before the animals took over, he felt that way after Snowball disappeared, he even felt that way after the rules changed and he knew it. But Boxer never worried about himself, he always worried about others. He may have been betrayed and some may view him as stupid, but not me. Boxer had an amazing work ethic.  He wanted something better from everyone and he did everything he could to get there.  He never accomplished what he wanted, but I don't think that makes him any less amazing and kind.

What about you? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Inferno: 2 Stars

Inferno by Dan Brown

This is the 4th installment of the Robert Langdon series. I started this years ago (after The Da Vinci Code was a big deal) with Angels and Demons because someone got me the book for my birthday.  I was reluctant to read it because I am not a huge fan of super hyped books. I am often let down by them. But I read it anyway.  I LOVED it! It was like a riddle disguised as a book with a history lesson mixed with some fiction. I love all those things (because I am a nerd).

I have since read The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol, so when Inferno came out, I requested it immediately from the library.  Seeing as I was 38th on the list, I just got it. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.

In Inferno, we once again join Robert Langdon. This time he wakes up in a hospital in Italy with no memory of the last few days (including what he's doing in Italy) and is now on the run from a killer. He has no idea what is going on but he knows it has to do with Dante's Inferno.

Seeing as the book starts out the Langdon on the run for his life and no idea why, you think it would be thrilling. But the book had two major flaws.

1.  The book was WAY too long. Brown does a lot of unnecessary, and frankly dull, grandstanding in this book. For a  480 page book, you could have easily cut out 200. I know Brown is a fan of the controversial topics (Jesus having a daughter, the Pope fathering a child, Masons in the government), but with this one, he kind of shoves the controversy in your face. Its to the point where you get sick of hearing about it. I get it Dan Brown, the overpopulation of the Earth is a hot topic, can we please just move on with the story?

2. Predictable! I knew right away who not to trust. memory and on the run?  Why trust the person telling you everything?  Why not question them?  You are trying to solve a mystery and you know she isn't being completely honest, yet you just blindly trust?  Come on! Langdon is smarter than that!

Ok, so maybe I was harsher on this book than I should be, but I guess I just expected more. This is one reason I am not a huge fan of series or a fan of "hyped" books. I get let down.  And if I get my hopes up and am let down, I will grade you harsher.  Sorry Dan Brown.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dexter by Design (#4): 3 Stars

Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay

This one was definitely better than the last one. Dexter is back to his emotionless and funny, killer self. Newly married, Dexter is trying to enjoy his honeymoon in Paris. But when you lack emotion, that isn't the easiest thing.

Back in Miami, Dexter is out to hunt down a serial killer. He wants a new victim for his viginate killing spree. This killer is a little sick and twisted for his choice of displaying the bodies.

This book highlights more of Dexter with his two step kids, Astor and Cody. After being being often by their drug addict father, the kids have turned out a lot like Dexter. And for this reason, he has begun to mold them they way his adoptive father molded him, all without their mother's knowledge.

The plot was a bit weak on this one and didn't really flow as well. But I still enjoyed it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Make Your Life As A Reader/Book Blogger Easier

It's that time again!  Time for my weekly post based on The Broke and The Bookish's tradition of Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's theme: Top Ten Things That Make Your Life As A Reader/Book Blogger Easier

1. The library:  They might as well make a shelf for me because I am constantly requesting books. They have a great online system and a plethora of books. They make my adventure into book blogging easy.

2. Goodreads: I love that I can see what my friends are reading and they can recommend books for me.  And the biggest help is the "to-read" list. When I am ready for a new book, I check out the list and order more from the library.

3. Powell's Bookstore: Its the bookstore in Portland, OR, where I not longer live.  But I visit it a few times a year and still love it.  It's a full city block and filled with new and used books from all over the world. I could spend a lifetime in this store.

4. Abe Books: Sometimes I want to own a book, but its not a book I care enough about to spend $15-25 on. Abe Books is my source. Using buyers from around the world (including libraries and bookstores), you can find nearly any book for a very low price. It may not be in "new" condition, but I have yet to have an issue with the quality (although I only buy from seller's with good ratings).

5. Auntie's Bookstore:  While I LOVE Powell's Books, I don't live in Portland, OR anymore. When I crave a bookstore experience, I head to downtown Spokane, WA to Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane's largest independent bookstore. I don't know what it is about independent bookstores, but they have a homey feeling. And the employees there are awesome!

6. Pinterest: Sometimes (although not often lately), I am not sure what book to read next. Pinterest has a tons of lists available of books that one should read. I use it every once in awhile for ideas.

7. My dad: My dad is the person closest to me with the most similar taste in books. We both listen to books on tape while working, so we can polish off quite a few.  We talk a lot about the books we are reading and recommend books to each other. Some are good, some are bad, but neither of us take offense when one of us likes a book the other doesn't.
Yep, that little baby is me!  And that's my dad.

8. Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble is the closest bookstore to my home and sometimes I need a bookstore fix and don't want to drive far. Plus, they give members AND their family members a great discount and my sister is a member.  Love it!

9. Other bloggers: I love reading other people's blogs!  They give me great ideas for my blog as well as great recommendations for new books to add to my to-read list!

10. Anyone who reads my blog: Seriously, if it weren't for you guys reading my blog, I don't think I would do it at all.  Thank you!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Catch-22: 4 Stars

 Catch-22 by Joesph Heller

This book is probably the weirdest, funniest book I am not sure I completely followed. I have no idea how to categorized this book. It's war-based, but funny, yet serious and traumatic. It deals with everything from death, insubordination, mental health, cheating, prostitution, love, and more.

Taking place during WWII, the story mostly revolves around Yossarian, a young pilot who is tired of the war and wants to go home. Lucky for him, he only has to complete a certain number of missions to go home. Unluckily, his commander raises the number every time Yossarian gets close. So Yossarian decides to try to get send home for mental health reasons. The war will send you home if you tell them you are insane. But there's a catch...Catch-22. You must ask to be sent home because you are crazy, but if you are crazy, then you would never ask. By asking, you prove that you are not crazy. The problem is, if you want to complete the missions, you must be crazy because they are so dangerous.

Yossarian goes through so many people trying to find a way home. The entire time he has to deal with so many crazy people like Major Major Major Major, or crazy situations like the dead man who's his roommate that he can't get anyone to do anything about.

The story is great, but very complicated. Heller jumps from character to character and adds characters repeatedly. There is a long list of characters, making it difficult to keep track of who's who. He also jumps around in time, without much warning or explanation. He brings up things you have no knowledge of, but acts like you should know all about it. Then later he explains it. He will also tell you a joke you won't understand until he prefaces it five or six chapters later.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes, even if just for the unique, hilarious insanity Heller created.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Never Go Back (Jack reacher #18): 3 Stars

 Never Go Back by Lee Child

Goodreads had a contest for an Advanced Reading Copy of the newest Jack Reacher novel and since I had interest in the series, I decided to throw my name in the bucket. Well, I won! This is my first Jack Reacher novel.

Jack Reacher is on his way to Virginia to meet his new commanding officer.  But when he gets there, its a completely different person and this guy is not a fan. Now accused of murder, Jack Reacher must get to the bottom of the mystery, and fast!

Can I just say, Tom Cruise was a TERRIBLE choice for Jack Reacher. Ok, ok, I haven't seen the movie, but after reading the book, I don't think there is anyway he could possibly pull of Jack Reacher.  For one, Jack Reacher is much taller. :) But that is neither here nor there.

Jack Reacher is a great lead character. He's awesome, but not perfect. He's rugged and...well... a badass. This made the book fun to read because I actually cared what happened to him, but didn't feel like he was "guaranteed" to figure it out in time. The novel had a great element of suspense.

So why three instead of four or five stars? I felt like I was out of the loop from time to time. I felt like I really needed to read the 17 previous novels (or at least the one just before this). For this reason, I fully intend to start this series at the beginning and work my way back to this one. The novel was good enough to have me sold on reading the 17 previous books! This will be a fun series to throw in to my reading list from time to time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Boyfriends

I recently found a post by Belle of the Literati's about book boyfriends. Now I tend to not read romance novels or anything normal along those lines, so my book boyfriends are interesting...but then again so is my taste in men. I like them a little rugged and/or damaged. Damaged guys make the best boyfriends in books. Its like Batman.  Do you think Batman would be Batman if it weren't for his parents dying?  While he's damaged, that's what makes him awesome.

1. Sam Roxton in I've Got Your Number: He's cute, he's successful and he's a sweetheart. Seriously, break me off a piece of THAT.  So his mom died and he's got some attachment issues, I'll still take him!

2. Julián Carax in The Shadow of the Wind: Talk about damaged boys!  Julian has got some major issues, but my goodness I had such a crush on him while reading this book.  If they ever make a movie (which I hope they don't since they will just ruin it), he'd have to be someone really really attractive to match up to the person in my mind.

3. Pat Peoples in Silver Linings Playbook: Ok, so my list of damaged boys continues. But seriously, what a sweetheart.  I adored Pat in the book (and casting Bradley Cooper didn't hurt at all).  

4. Robert Langdon in Angels and Demons: I like to pretend the movies never happened with this one. Seriously, Tom Hanks is NOT Robert Langdon.  Langdon is rugged and gorgeous. He's smart and sophisticated, but not always right and he knows that.

5. Huckleberry Finn in Huckleberry Finn: I definitely would date the older version of Huckleberry Finn (since he's an underage boy in the book and I'm not a pedophile).  But I adore Huckleberry Finn. He does what he wants. He's sweet and caring, but he never settles for what he's given.  He has a desire for more and the word "can't" means nothing to him.

6. Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:  A cute, sarcastic alien who lives life in the moment? Yes, please!

7. Abraham Van HelSing in Dracula: While I love Hugh Jackman, he is not Van Helsing. Van Helsing is older (I'm ok with older) and wise.  What I love more is that he knows so much about Dracula that you know that man has had previous adventures.  He tells these prime and proper men and women to do the craziest things, and they think its crazy, but feel such trust in him, despite barely knowing him, that they do as he asks. He has a commanding and strong persona. What girl doesn't love that?

8. Charlie Weasley in the Harry Potter series: I know, I know,  out of everyone in the Harry Potter series, why Charlie Weasley?  He trains and studies dragons.  Dragons! What a badass.

9. Patrick in The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Patrick had such a fun and unique personality, I couldn't help but love him. He might be gay, which would but a small damper in our relationship, but that's ok.

10. Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice: I haven't read this book yet, but from everything I have seen, I adore him. And if he happens to look like Colin Firth, I'll take it! 
Who's on your list???

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Inkheart: 3 Stars

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

For a girl who doesn't like children and YA books, I sure do seem to read a lot of them.  This particular one was a favor to my mother, I think because she needs someone to talk to about it. I mean, don't we all finish a book and feel a little let down when we have no one to talk to about it? I guess that explains book blogs and book clubs. So I was happy to oblige. 

Have you ever read a story desperately wanting to be apart of it, or meet the characters? Mo was the same way.  Then one day while reading a book called Inkheart, it happened. Some of the characters came out, but not only that, his wife went into the story. Mo swore he'd never read aloud again.  To keep this promise, Mo had to continually run from the characters he had made appear; one in particular who desperately wanted to go back. But when they finally find him, he must to save his daughter Meggie.

The stories premise is fascinating. Its based on a concept I myself have wondered about often. I can see why she wrote this book for children.  I can imagine a child reading this book and then trying to read any other book.  You'd begin to wonder what would happen if suddenly the characters were in your room. What a wonderful play on imagination!

But I felt the great concept was left a little untouched. For such a great premise, the book drug on in boring fashion for far too long. The knew how they were going to win several chapters before they pulled it off.  It took out all of the suspense and left me wondering why there were so many "empty" chapters in which very little happened. Considering this is the first in a series, maybe the other books tap into the limitless potential the concept holds. We shall see. 

I will say this, if you tell a normal person "Hey, I met the characters from this book" they will think you are insane. If you tell a writer, "Hey, I met the characters from your book" no other explanation is needed because they will instantly believe you!  Well done in nailing the extreme ridiculous personality writers have!  I loved it! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Non-Fiction Books

It's time again to participate in The Broke and The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday.

The week's theme: Top Ten Favorite Books With a X Setting (i.e.: futuristic world, set mostly in schools, during World War II, books set in California  etc. etc. So many possibilities!)

I decided that my approach would be book set in reality; aka my favorite Non-Fictions!

1. Playing the Enemy by John Carlin: I grew up knowing very little about Nelson Mandela. I remember first reading about South Africa and apartheid and I remember thinking "I was in school when this happened.  Why didn't I ever hear about this?" I still wonder that often, but am very glad I have since remedied this error.  If you have never read this book, I can not recommend it enough.  It was fascinating.

2. The Innocent Man by John Grisham: I actually picked this book up at the library without reading the back. It was the only John Grisham audiobook they had and I am a huge fan.  It's all about a man who is wrongly convicted of a crime on basically no evidence. I had no idea until I was almost done that the book was a non-fiction. It was very eye-opening.

3. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson : If you read my blog enough, you know I have a small thing for serial killers. They fascinate me in that they can seem so very normal and upstanding, yet be filled with such evil. This book does not disappoint.

4. Stiff by Mary Roach:  Many people ask the question what happens to your soul after you die, but did you ever wonder what happens to your body?  Read this book and you won't need to wonder. This book will either convince you to donate your body to science or completely gross you out.

5. 1776 by David McCullough: I think every American should read this book. It helps you appreciate more how we got where we are today.

6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: Is In Cold Blood the best true crime book ever written?  No. So why do I list it?  It was the first. Thanks Capote for a new genre that I personally love!

7. Moneyball by Michael Lewis: Again, if you have read my blog for long than you know I love baseball. Moneyball is all about the Oakland A's and their manager Billy Beane. What's so impressive about them?  They win. Big deal right?  Well, they do it with a fraction of the money that other teams do. 

8.  Bonk by Mary Roach: this one was more of a guilty pleasure but I figured I throw it on the list because I did enjoy the book. Its all about the science of sex. After reading this book, you'll be an expert about what EXACTLY happens during the dirty deed. Its fascinating!

9. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: I read this book as a kid, which I think is the perfect age to read it. If you really want to understand what happened during the Holocaust as a kid, what better perspective than a child? 

10. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: Looking to get a refresher on life?  This book helps you wipe your eyes a little and see a bit clearer.
 I hope you enjoyed my list and perhaps found a book you might be interested in. :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Calico Joe: 5 Stars

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Happy birthday to me!  Since today is my birthday, I figured I'd review a book about baseball written by John Grisham, two of my favorite things!

Knowing the basic concept of this book, the fact that I loved it was not a surprise. Calico Joe is the tale of a Paul Tracey as he looks back on his childhood and remembers two baseball players who had huge impacts on his life.

The first is a young player named Joe Castle. He's a phenom in AA, and after two injuries take out the first basemen in AAA and the majors, he gets to make his MLB debut. During his first at-bat, he hits a home run on the first pitch. He gets two more home runs that game and the opportunity for a fourth. He decides to bunt instead to bring in the winning run. He is an overnight star. The next few months are just as extraordinary. He is the biggest star in the majors, and a humble, small town guy on top of it. Paul idolizes him like no other player.

The second player is Paul's abusive, arrogant, barely-in-the-majors pitcher father, Wallace Tracey. The two players meet for the first time that summer. What comes from that meeting, ends Paul's relationship with his father and his love of the game. He never plays or watches again.

Now all grown up with a family of his own, Paul looks back on the summer that changed his life.

I love baseball stories. They spark so much in me. I tend not to get choked up about movies or books. Beloved characters can die and I feel sad, but no urge to cry. But as Grisham describes the rise to fame of Calico Joe, the game, the moments that make fans fall in love with him....I wanted to cry. I guess it proves I am just a baseball girl at heart.

I highly recommend this book. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Book Q&A: A Little More About Me

I would like to thank Words for Worms for giving me the idea for this particular post. People seem to enjoy these types of posts as filler for my actual book reviews so I figured, why not?

Book Q&A Rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too (Yeah.....I'm not going to do this one, but feel free to do the Q&A!)
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!

Your Favorite Book Cover: 
I am a straight up bibliophile. I love older books with worn, basic covers, that are filled with that musky smell. For an example, here's my copy of Canterbury Tales. I haven't read it yet, but the book looks like it has been read and loved by many others before me and I love that!

What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading two books right now.  Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (because I promised my mother I would) and Never Go Back by Lee Child, which is the newest Jack Reacher novel.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
Yes, currently next on my list is John Adams by David McCullough.

What five books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to? 

Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain
Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper -- Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/ lounge right now?
Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Easily The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I had to read it in school and every time I started reading it, I fell asleep.  It didn't matter where I was, I was asleep in no time.

What book seemed really popular but you didn’t like?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I know so many people who loved this book and I guess I just didn't get it.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Both books swept me up and didn't let go, even after I finished reading them.

What are your three favourite poems?
The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
There Once was a Puffin by Florence Page Jaques
 A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

The first two poems my dad used to read to me as a kid and he has an AMAZING reading voice for kids. The last one I read as a sophomore in college and then had to write a paper on Langston Hughes.  I have been a big fan ever since. 

Where do you usually get your books?
Either the library or Powell's Books in Portland, OR.  If you have never been there, GO!

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?

When I was little, my dad had build us a tree-house in our backyard. He basically placed a platform in the tree resting on and around several branches and never nailed into the tree at all. That's where I loved to read the most!

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
Oh yeah, especially in school. Thank you internet!

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Absolutely. Mostly I like old books and if they are beautiful old books, I will buy them.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I loved the Goosebump series by R.L. Stine.

What book changed your life?
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.  I know what you're thinking, "Stop mentioning that book!" but here's my explanation:  My husband is maniac depressive bi-polar. I have told a few people before but you get a lot of reactions like "Well, you need to watch out for yourself and get out if it gets bad"  or "Wasn't Ted Bundy bi-polar?".  I stopped tell people because I felt like no one understood or that everyone assumed that if he wasn't abusing me yet, he would someday.Or that he was serial killer.

Then I read this book, which was made into an Academy Award winning movie. Quick represented the mental disability in normal, good people.  They struggle with their moods, but they are good people. I wanted to find him and hug him and thank him.  And now I feel more confident saying, who cares if my husband is bipolar; look at how amazing he is!

What is your favourite passage from a book?
"I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast in dust and who's smell I carry on my hands to this day." -The Shadow of the Wind (Can you see why I loved it so much?)

Who are your top five favourite authors?
John Grisham: I am typically not a fan of super popular authors, but man I love his books!
David McCullough
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Matthew Quick
Mark Twain

What book has no one heard about but should read?
Playing the Enemy by John Carlin. Its a non-fiction about Nelson Mandela.  Loved it!

What books are you an ‘evangelist’ for?
Hmmmm..... I guess none.

What are your favourite books by a first time author?
Honestly, I am horrible at knowing what else writers have written and whether or not it's their first book.  So I can't help you on this one.

What is your favourite classic book?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, without question!

Five other notable mentions?
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Animal Farm by George Orwell

There you go! Feel free to take the Q&A to your own blog!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I've Got Your Number: 4 Stars

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I have along list of books recommended to me by friends and this was one of them. I saw the audiobook was available at the library, remembered it from the list, and grabbed it without reading the back.  Then I just popped it in the CD player and started listening. Within seconds I was thinking "Who recommended this to me? Is this a joke?".

The book is a chick lit, a romantic comedy.  Basically, this just isn't my cup of tea. So I looked up on Goodreads to see who would have been silly enough to recommend this book to me. It was someone who's opinion I value, someone who gets my taste. So, for her sake, I kept listening, even though I figured I would hate it. 

Poppy Wyatt has lost her family heirloom engagement ring at a hotel. Her friends were all trying it on and she got up to go talk to the auctioneer and there was a fire drill. The ring simply disappeared. She is frantically searching for hours when the unthinkable happens. Her phone is stolen right out of her hand. Her phone with the number she has been giving out all night! She frantically goes to talk to the concierge, but he's busy. As she paces, she notices a cell phone in the garbage. She grabs it. She needs a phone and she finds a phone. She decides to start handing out this number and use this phone until her ring is found. No harm, no foul. Except not quite. 

The phone belongs to the PA of a businessman, and the PA has just quit and tossed her phone. The man calls and Poppy answers. After doing him a quick favor, she tells him shes keeping the phone and takes off.  He argues some but reluctantly agrees that she can keep the phone as long until she gets her ring back as she forwards all of his messages. And so begins the relationship of Sam and Poppy. 

Poppy was annoying with a capital A. Shes the type of girl who who ends every message with X's and O's no matter who they are going to. She says "footnote" constantly and uses way too many emoticons. Not to mention she is incredibly stupid and dense.  I found myself constantly yelling at the CD player "Don't!  Are you stupid?".  So I should have clearly hated this book.....but I didn't. 

Not only did I not hate it, I couldn't stop listening to it. I only listen to books while I am working, but I kept looking for excuses to keep listening to this one. I'd listen on my lunch break, or while I was cleaning. I just couldn't stop. I was hooked in the story (even though you can see exactly where it is going).  Why?  I have no idea other than I really enjoyed this book and now want to read more of Sophie Kinsella's novels.She made me love Sam from the very beginning. I could just see this as a movie and Sam being gorgeous.  It would be a silly rom-com that I would watch in my room, alone, with ice cream when I had a bad day, just in book form.

I guess I found my guilty pleasure.

Q is for Quarry: 3 Stars

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

Just like with V is for Vengeance, this was a filler for my goal to read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. I really needed a Q and Sue Grafton's alphabet series really helps with that.

Once again we join Kinsey Millhone, private investigator, as she goes through life dealing with cases.

For this case, Kinsey is helping two retired cop friends as the hunt down a killer on a case from 18 years ago. One of the cops in dying and this is the case that has always haunted him.

This particular book reminded me of an episode of Psych. There is an episode called "Viagra Falls" (season 5, episode 4) where Shawn and Gus team up with two old retired cops. The cops were funny and bickered often, but in the end great cops.  Did I just make a Psych reference?  Oh yeah!

Anyhow, this book gave a lot more insight behind the lead character, Kinsey and the past she talks about so little. It explains a lot of her quirks and her stubbornness (to a serious fault).

The best part of this book is that Sue Grafton based it off of a real murder. The murder really happened and the killer was never caught and the cops never could quite give up.  With her novel, Grafton was able to raise awareness on the case and once again ask for someone to step forward with information. While the case is still open and yet to be solved, I admire Grafton for using her books for good. Way to go!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels

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

This week's theme: Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Sequels

This was a rough one for me so there are only 6 on my list.  The reason I was not a fan of this list is simple: I am not a fan of sequels. Why?  Often times I feel like the character/story is ruined in the sequel(s). I realize I am the minority on this one, but when I do read a series, very rarely is the first book not the best in my opinion. When the first book is by far the best, the other books will always leave me a little disappointed. I do actually read a few series (because they are pretty hard to avoid) but my preference is for there to be just one.  But none the less, here is my list.

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker:  Honestly, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel.  What is even more amazing is how little Van Helsing is in the novel.  I would love a sequel that follows where he goes.  To know what he did about vampires, you know that man leads an interesting life and that this wasn't his first, or last, adventure.

2. True Grit by Charles Portis: While I am not a big fan of westerns, this one was a fun read. Just like with Dracula and Van Helsing, it is obvious that Rooster Cogburn lived an interesting life. How can you not want to know more?

3. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: I do not doubt that there will be a equal to this one in the future due to its popularity.  But I would be interested to see how the lives of Pat and Tiffany progress with their particular issues.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I don't want a sequel to this story so much as a prequel. There are so many "stories" about the Radley family. I bet a book about their lives would be very interesting.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: How does Nick Carraway go on with his life after New York?  After knowing what he does about his cousin and about the "American dream".  How does all of that change Nick Carraway?

6. Boy21 by Matthew Quick: Yep, Matthew Quick is on my short list twice.  What can I say?  He writes very interesting novels. Without giving away the ending to this one, the books ends with a very big change.  What happens after the last chapter?

There's my list! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

From the Hubby: Leaders Open Doors: 4 Stars

As I plan to do occasionally, this post is from my husband from a book he won on Goodreads:

Leaders Open Doors by Bill Treasurer

It seems nowadays, in any bookstore you step in, there might be countless books at any given moment speaking on how best the average individual might most easily reach their potential as a leader or master of business. The options are plenty yet I am willing to bet if you take a moment to page through them independent of one another, you might see a lot of the same information being dispensed in a variety of ways, all claiming to be original or innovative in their own right.

“Leaders Open Doors” is one of the few that can truly make a claim to be innovative.

The author cuts through the fog of how best to be a leader and gets straight to the heart of it. At barely 90 Pages, this small yet powerful book is a breath of fresh air in the congested world of “How-to” business and Management books. The chapters are short, the language plain yet still provides you with enough information to allow even the most novice of leaders feel empowered.

I have read countless business and management books yet I can honestly say this is one book that I would highly recommend. The concepts spoken of in the text are so simple, and should seem so obvious to anyone that spends a good deal of time working with people as a professions but the truth is, they are often overlooked. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars: 4 Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Are you a crier?  Then you will cry reading this book.  Lucky for me, I am not and therefore no tears were shed. But when a book is about a teenage girl with terminal cancer who meets and falls in love with a teenage boy, who also has cancer, its a safe bet that the book won't end well. 

Knowing early on that someone was going to die, it wasn't hard for me to figure out who. But the book was less about cancer and dying than it was about love. 

Hazel was loved by her parents. Her parents who knew at every waking moment that they would one day bury their daughter. Her parents who never knew when that day would come and what day would be their only daughter's last. We often hear that we take each day for granted when we are not sick, and while that may be true, I prefer it that way. Worrying that each day with my loved ones may be the last would be exhausting and emotionally traumatic. I enjoy the fact that I get the luxury of taking for granted the time I get. 

Hazel was obsessed with a book written about a girl with cancer. The book ended abruptly, mid-sentence. You never know what happens. The book implies that it stopped mid-sentence because the girl finally died.  But Hazel could not accept this and was obsessed with wanting to know what happened to the girl's mother, friends, and hamster.  It is obvious that Hazel is not worried about the characters in the book as much as she worries for the characters in her life who must press on in the wake of her inevitable death. 

But the book is also about a different kind of love. True love. Hazel meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, a one-legged cancer survivor. I have read many a review of this book citing their love as "a love I will never truly know." I, on the other hand, view it as the kind of love I already have, just on a shorter time table. 

Did my husband use his dying wish to fulfill my lifelong quest?  Nope. But then again, he's not dying, so he has no dying wish. Our love is not surrounded by death at every corner. We get the luxury of taking our time together for granted.  Did John Green create a love like none other in this book?  No. What he did was show the love that many of found, but between two kids who knew they needed to live a lifetime in a very short time.

Hazel was easy to relate to, since she dealt with cancer in a fashion I felt I would have at her age. She tried to be alone but when she couldn't, she dealt with it with blunt and realistic sarcastic tones. That's what made it easy to sink into. 

So why 4 stars and not 5 you ask?  Because, as always with me, I relate better to adult than teenagers. Especially teenagers who have a large vocabulary and grasp on existentialism, yet constantly use words like "hot" and "sucks". But for a YA book to get 4 stars in my book takes an awful lot.