Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fangirl: 3 Stars

Fangirl by RainbowRowell

Fangirl is a story of a young girl, Kather, who goes off to college and is very antisocial.  She spends most of her time writing fan fiction of her favorite book series about Simon Snow. Simon is going to school to learn magic but is fighting constantly with Baz, a young kid hiding his vampire nature.  She twists it by making them gay lovers. This totally reminds me of when Tom Felton was on Conan O'Brien and he showed him the gay art of him as Draco and Harry Potter.  So funny!

Anyhow, Kather is about to have her world dramatically changed when she shows up to college and a boy is in her room.

Rainbow Rowell is a phenomenal author who I will likely never read again.  I know, saying that is like sacrilege.  But this is the second book I have read by her and I have a personal issue with both that makes me want to avoid her books in the future. I thought the first was a fluke but the second indicates a trend. What's my issue?

Rowell doesn't finish her books! 

In both Fangirl and Eleanor and Park, Rainbow ends her books without fully concluding the story. She greatly leads you to a certain place, but never actually ends it, leaving the ending up to you.  While most people seem to love this style of Rowell, I do not. I need closure!  And my assumed ending isn't what I want. I want her ending. It's her story and her characters, so I want HER ending; not mine.

Fangirl leaves far more open than Eleanor and Park. How does the book series end?  How does Carry On end?  What happens with Levi? Does Kather do the deed?  What happens to Ren over the summer AND the next year?  I  want to know!

My other issue with this book is I am not a fan of Harry Potter or Twilight, much less fan fiction.  I had a really hard time relating to the character and found her so frustrating. The book was still entertaining enough for me outside of that, but I found myself rolling my eyes A LOT.

Rating: PG-13

Monday, May 26, 2014

Top Ten Books Outside My Comfort Zone I Am Glad I Read

Its Top Ten Tuesday time hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie! Pick your own topic! I chose ten books I read that were totally out of my comfort zone but that I really really enjoyed. Here we go:

1. Moneyball by Michael Lewis: I love baseball but I don't pretend to know the first thing about managing a team.

2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: This was a Pulitzer Prize winner about a hermaphrodite and the struggles of transitioning from girl to boy. Excellent read!

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: This is basically a story of love and friendship but with a unique twist.

4. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: This is a war-based novel (not my cup of tea) but was really good.

5. Tuesday with Morrie by Mitch Albom: This is a non-fiction about a man who visits a friend who is dying. I tend to avoid the sad ones.

6. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan:  Another Pulitzer Prize winner I would have never read.

7. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga: I tend to avoid YA books, but really liked this one.

8. The Fault in our Stars by John Green: Another love story I typically avoid.

9. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: Definitely not my style, yet, I tend to like her books.

10. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: I really enjoyed this one.

Making Up For Monday: Shopping

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question: How do you shop for books?  What's your favorite way to get a new book?

I love shopping for books in a shop.  I prefer it so much to buying books online.  I even bought a Nook and tried to start building my collection electronically, but after a month I gave the Nook to my husband.  I just can't seem to get into it. So physically going to a store and buying a book is the way for me.

My favorite store to buy books in his Portland, OR.  It's called Powell's and it's the largest independent bookstore. It's like an entire square block of pure heaven.

My second favorite place is the local library.  Here's a picture of my last haul, costing me only $37:

Check out more from Making Up For Monday!   

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Of Mice and Men: 4 Stars

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

You would think that at some point, being such an avid reader, I would have read Of Mice and Men.  And if not read, then you would assume that I at least know the story.  Well, I am not sure how, but I didn't know that story. I really wish when I had chosen to read it, someone would have grabbed my hand and said "Are you sure you want to read that?"

Holy crap.....this is not a happy story!

Just as a summary, George and Lenny are two migrant workers who roam from town to town looking for work on fields. They are cousins, but Lenny was kicked in the head by a horse as a young child and has some developmental issues. He loves the feel of soft fabric and furs, but he is incredibly strong and this causes problems.  He is constantly killing mice and puppies on accident, and in the most recent town, tried to feel the dress of a young girl.  When she tried to get away, scared Lenny grabbed her and wouldn't let go, causing the townspeople to run him out of town. As you can tell, George is in for some trouble with Lenny.

The story, although incredibly sad, is one of love and friendship. George's life would be leaps and bounds better than what it currently is if he just walked away from Lenny. But George made a promise to his aunt, and at the end of the day, he loves Lenny too much.  He understands that Lenny means no harm to anyone, despite the fact that his brute strength is far more than any others. He does everything in his power to keep the simple-minded Lenny in line and away from danger. But in a downed economy where food and money are scarce, George has very few options.

While this is an excellently written book of profound love, I am not sure I would ever recommend it (unless I knew someone who needed to be depressed for a few days).

Rating: PG 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tinkers: 2 Stars

Tinkers by Paul Harding

What was this book about?  Well.......Here's the Goodreads description:

"An old man lies dying. Propped up in his living room and surrounded by his children and grandchildren, George Washington Crosby drifts in and out of consciousness, back to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in Maine. As the clock repairer’s time winds down, his memories intertwine with those of his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler and his grandfather, a Methodist preacher beset by madness. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, illness, faith, and the fierce beauty of nature."

But, if you were to ask me after I read the book what it was about, I would say, "".  Yep.  I thought the book was boring and utterly pointless.  I was about half way through and all I could think was "Ok, what the hell is the point?!"  I felt like the book was a pure waste of time and energy.  I got nothing out of it, other than a strong desire to fall asleep.  

And this won a Pulitzer Prize?  Really?  Ugh....

Rating: PG-13

Monday, May 19, 2014

Top Ten Books About Friendship

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday!  

This weeks theme is: Top Ten Books About Friendship

1. Of Mice and Men:  George and Lennie

2. Shadow of the Wind:  Daniel and Fermin; Julian and Miguel

3.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Huck and JIm

4. Never Let Me Go: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy

5. The Count of Monte Cristo: Edmond Dantes and Abbe Faria

6. The Lightning Thief: Percy and Annabeth

7. The Giving Tree: The boy and the tree

8. Playing The Enemy: Nelson Mandela and Fran├žois Pienaar

9. Sorta Like a Rock Star: Franks Freaks Force Federation

10.  Silver Linings Playbook: Pat and Tiffany

Making Up For Monday: Deal Breakers

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question: What are your biggest book turnoffs or deal breakers?

There are a few for me but here are my top 5:

1. Rape scenes:  I CANNOT stomach them. If I read on (or see one in a movie) it'll haunt me for weeks. They make me a bit quesy.

2. Excused infidelity: I hate when a character cheats and the author tries to make it ok for any reason.  Nope.  Cheating is cheating.  End the first relationship and then start a new one.

3. Excessive unnecessary language: Language isn't a huge factor for me, until there's no point to it. If you have ever seen the movie Superbad, that's exactly what I mean.

4. Teenage romance: I can't help but think of the kids I went to high school with who were "so in love" and met their "soulmates" and then broke up two days later. Sure it happens, but not as often as is doesn't.

5. Vampires: Yep, Twilight killed me on them. Sorry.

Check out more from Making Up For Monday!   

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Client : 4 Stars

The Client by John Grisham

I know, shocker!  I read yet another Grisham book.  I can't help it.  I think he's great.

Mary Sway is an 11-year-old boy from a broken home who has learned to take care of himself, as well as his younger brother, Ricky. One day, Mark goes out to have a smoke (as the rebellious 11-year-old he is) when his brother decides to tag along.  Along the way, they witness a man attempting to commit suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning in a car. After attempting to stop the man without being seen, Mark is caught and thrown into the car by the man at gunpoint. The man is now going to kill himself and Mark. He is a lawyer with a big secret.  He knows where the body of a senator is hidden....and he tells Mark. Mark manages to escape and the lawyer follows through with the suicide.  But it doesn't take long for people to find out that Mark knows where the body is hidden.

The FBI wants to know where and the killer wants Mark to stay quiet.  Scared and alone, Mark hires himself a lawyer. It's now up to her to keep Mark safe.

I had actually seen the movie for this one about ten years ago. I remember enjoying the film (as I typically do when Tommy Lee Jones in in the cast) and decided it was high time I read the book.  I thoroughly enjoyed both the movie and the book. Grisham does a phenomenal job of capturing the thought process of an 11-year-old boy with more life experience then most. He even notes that most of the boy's knowledge of law is based on television shows.

Yet again, I recommend another of Grisham's books.  He rarely disappoints.

Rating: PG-13

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis: 3 Stars

The Remedy by Thomas Goetz

There is a house not far from where I grew up that is tucked away behind a wall of shrubs and bushes. You can see it through the leaves when you get close. It's a light gray stucco with light blue trim that is well taken care of, surrounded by a well-manicured lawn that is tastefully decorated in mild manner. As a child, I decided that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived here. Why?  I have literally no idea. I mean, I know I liked Sherlock Holmes and I know I loved the house, but why I decided to pretend Doyle lived there, I guess I will never know.

So seeing as I was a big fan of Doyle from back in the day, I jumped at the chance to read The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis. I had no idea that Doyle had ANYTHING to do with curing tuberculosis. What a fascinating tale and concept.

While the tale was rather fascinating and interesting, I did find myself rather disappointed. The title leads you to believe that the Doyle had far more to do with the "quest" than he really did. The book does go into his biography a bit, which was fascinating in and of itself. It also has the tale of tuberculosis and the fear that came with it. But where the two tales meet, I guess I just expected more.

I believe this book would have ranked higher for me if the book was simply a biography of Doyle with a few chapters dedicated to his involvement in tuberculosis.  Or perhaps if it were a history of tuberculosis with a few chapters dedicated to Doyle.  But to throw both names in the title is a little misleading for me, at least.

Other than my disappointment, the book was VERY well written and engaging. What an excellent writing style! 

Rating: PG

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

It's time again for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

This week's theme: Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

But I decided to take it one step further....

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't AND WISH I HAD

1. The Old Man and The Sea: I had to read this in high school and my goodness, WHAT A BORE! Seriously, an old man and kid go out to see, catch a fish, the old man dies, and sharks eat most of the fish before the kid gets back to land. THAT'S THE ENTIRE BOOK! And I am pretty sure I got more out of that sentence than the actual book.  Ugh.

2. The Firm: I am a huge fan of Grisham.  I think he is a wonderful author with incredible talent.  But man, I hated this book.  I know you are supposed to like the main character, but I think he's a scummy scummy douche. He cheats on his wife because the company he works for sends a woman to seduce him so they can blackmail him, but it really wasn't that hard for her to do it.  Then he takes like ZERO responsibility for it.  Ick. So I really didn't care what happened to him.

3. Sex on the Moon:  This non-fiction book is really anything but non-fiction. Its all from the view of this guy who stole moon rocks. He uses every excuse in the book:  "I did it for a girl I love" even though he met this girl almost a year AFTER  he planned it AND is married to someone else. "I did it because they referred to the rocks as garbage" but really he stole different rocks from a guy who was using them and spent years petitioning to get them AND was nothing but nice to him AND destroyed years of research. Seriously, ugh!

4. Red Rain: I thought an adult RL Stine book would take me back to my childhood, but it just destroyed my childhood. What a terribly written book.


5. The Scarlet Letter: This is one of those classics that I knew the basic concept of, but didn't know how it ended.  I decided I wanted to read it. It was boring, difficult to read, confusing, and ridiculous. I hated it more and more the further into I read. I should have stopped reading.

6. Walden: This is the book I read for my very first college English class. I really really liked it in the beginning....and then I realized it was crap. Here's my issues: A. He pontificates about how he can survive on his own and he doesn't need anyone ever, then proceeds to consistently borrow tools and whatnot from neighbors. B. He spent like an entire chapter talking about how people who ridicule how others live their lives are really just sad and lonely, then proceeds to ridicule how others live their lives. Mind you, this all happened after his brother (and only friend) died in his arms and two women rejected his marriage proposal. Sad and lonely, perhaps? C. Every good point he makes, he contradicts at some point in the book. Thoreau and I would have gotten along much better if I had stopped reading the moment I got annoyed. Like I said, he makes some very good points and says some wonderful things, but ruins it all if you read the whole book. (Sorry if I offended any die hard Thoreau fans, even my professor said I was one of very few who didn't like him.)

7. Frankenstein: This is an amazing concept for a book that was terribly executed.

8. Rabbit is Rich:  Ugh...I read this because I want to read all the Pulitzer Prize winners. It was just terrible. And there is another "Rabbit" book that won a Pulitzer Prize.  Ugh.

9. Olive Kitteridge: Like Rabbit is Rich, I read this because it won a Pulitzer Prize.  I might read it again for nights when I have trouble sleeping.  This book might be my cure for insomnia.


10. Night Circus:  I really REALLY wanted to like this book.  Sadly, I found it to be a giant disappointment. (Sorry to all you fans out there, I know I am in the minority).

Making Up For Monday: Intimidation

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question: What is the most intimidating book you have yet to read?


Yep, this book terrifies me.  Not only is it freakishly large, but it's like all philosophical and whatnot. What if I don't get it?!  What is I am too dense to understand it?  What if I hate it?

One of these days I will suck it up and read it.  Until'll haunt my nightmares (just kidding, that's killer penguins for some reason).

Check out more from Making Up For Monday!  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dexter's Final Cut (Dexter #7): 3 Stars

Dexter's Final Cut by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter meets a movie star and turns his whole world upside down when he finds himself attracted to her. But with an obsessed killer out to get her, will Dexter be able to catch the villain and win her over at the same time?  And is he willing to throw aside his marriage to Rita and family for a life of luxury?

I struggled with this side of Dexter.  Yes, he's a serial killer who hunts people, tortures them, kills them, and then hacks their bodies into little pieces.  But does he have to cheat on his wife? I can't stand it when people cheat on their significant others and then pass it off as if its no big deal.  I realize that Dexter has little to no emotion, but that was confused in this book.  He "loves" this woman?  But I thought that wasn't possible?  And then, wait, he feels jealousy??? I just felt like this isn't the Dexter we typically know.  Maybe this is because the fame and fortune went straight to his head, but I just didn't like him very much in this book.

And another question:  Is Dexter's Final Cut the final Dexter book???? It is has "final" in the title and it is not alliterated like the first six. Inquiring minds want to know.

Rating: R

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Divine Justice (Camel Club #4): 3 Stars

Divine Justice by David Balacci

As the fourth installment in The Camel Club series, I was excited and nervous to see how this book would go.  I felt like the last book had a decent finale and was shocked that there were more book in the installment. I was also upset still over the death on one main member of the Camel Club and the addition of one I just don't like.

Picking up where we left off, Oliver Stone has attempted to kill off his original identity of John Carr once again, but now that his death as been revealed as false, that isn't going to be easy. Oliver tries to disappear but ends up in a small town battle he can't seem to walk away from, leaving the rest of the Camel Club to fend for themselves.

While this definitely wasn't my favorite in the Camel Club series, I really like the character of Oliver Stone/John Carr.  He's a rather unique hero.   He is definitely what one would call "rough and tumble", he is not sleek or suave in any way.  He's like James Bond in hobo form.

But I am really not happy with the addition of Annabelle Conroy. I just do not like her character.  She has been in the last three books, and I am just not a fan. She is played up as this sexy, witty, smooth-talking con-woman and for some reason I can't put my finger on, she just rubs me the wrong way. 

I was debating continuing the series, but since there is one one more book, I figured why not? 

Rating: PG-13

Monday, May 5, 2014

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

Its time for Top Ten Tuesday! This week's theme is:  Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

Since this one is all about the visual, I decided to let each cover speak for themselves.