Apr 28, 2009
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything- Janelle Brown
When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for — until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune. Meanwhile, four hundred miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers' older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling postfeminist magazine. Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut.
The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country-club ladies, their own demons, and one another, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for—even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is an original, utterly modern addition to the genre of suburban fiction.
When I picked this book up I thought it was a chick lit book, but it definitely wasn't. It had a dark tone to it, which suprisingly I liked. When Janice finds out her husband is divorcing her, and having a affair with her best friend she tries to be above it, and carry on as if nothing is wrong, but that proves hard to do....without IT, that is. It is the drug meth, which she get's from her pool boy. Her life then starts to spiral out of control, the whole while she thinks she's managing well. Her daughters Lizzie, and Margaret also are seeing their worlds unravel around them. Margaret is deep financial ruin, and Lizzie just found out she's known as the school slut. I found this book to be real, and engrossing...I loved it. I felt like I was taking a peek into the upper high society dysfunctional life. I totally recommend this book.
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (May 27, 2008)
This is actually info on the Hardcover, but I read a UK paperback version with a different cover.
A Certain Slant of Light- Laura Whitcomb
In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen, terrified but intrigued, is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.
This book is a ghost story that is romantic instead of scary. Helen has been a ghost for 130 yrs. Instead of haunting a place she haunts people. She attaches herself to host and for years until they die she is their companion without them even knowing. While reading over her host's back in the class he teaches, she notices a pair of eyes looking at her. Helen finds this disturbing since no one is suppose to be able to see her. In comes James, or Billy Black whichever you want to refer him as. Don't want to give to much away so I'll stop there, but I will say that I read this in one day. The story is powerful, and stays with you. Another one I recommend.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Graphia (September 21, 2005)
Like I said in another post, because of the contest i'm in, I've been reading like a madwomen. So I'll be back with plenty more books to review.
Apr 26, 2009
Sheer Abandon- Penny Vincenzi
Martha, Clio, and Jocasta meet by chance at Heathrow airport in 1985 as they are starting off on separate backpacking adventures, and they decide to spend the first few days of their trips together in Thailand. When they go their separate ways, they vow to get together in London the following year. But many years pass before the three cross paths again, and the once-capricious, carefree girls now all have thriving careers. One of them, however, harbors a terrible secret: On her return from her pre-college excursion, she abandoned her just-born daughter at Heathrow.
Clio has fulfilled her ambition of becoming a doctor, only to find herself trapped in a marriage to an arrogant surgeon who belittles her and her professional achievements. Martha is a highly paid corporate lawyer, just embarking on a political career. Dedicated to her job, she has had little time for personal relationships and lives a busy, but lonely life. Jocasta, a tabloid newspaper reporter with an infallible instinct for the big story, is in love with a charming colleague who can’t make the permanent commitment she longs for. The infant abandoned at Heathrow has grown up under the loving care of her adoptive family. Now a beautiful teenager named Kate, she sets out to find her birth mother—a quest that unexpectedly brings the women together and exposes the secret buried so many years before.
This book was nothing like I thought it was going to be. For starters, I thought we would find out more about what happen to each of the girls on their backpacking trip, but no instead we get alot of political crap. This book had so much potential to be a really great read instead it got boggled with unnecessary subjects that got boring really fast. I kept waiting for something to happen, but alas nothing ever really did, even the whole who's baby was it, and why did she do something so drastic was uninteresting. I felt nothing for the characters, including the abandon child(of course, we get introduced to her as a teenager). Not worth the read in my opinion.
Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Anchor (April 8, 2008)
Lust for Life- Adele Parks
If the shoe fits...
Here's what the Evergreen sisters have in common: jealousy. Eliza longs for the stability of Martha's picture-perfect marriage; Martha craves the spontaneity of Eliza's life with her sexy musician boyfriend. Now one of the sisters has dumped her mate, and the other one just got dumped. Suddenly single-minded, they are about to get what they think they've always wanted -- a chance to walk in the other woman's shoes.
...buy a pair in every color.
Here's what the Evergreen sisters found out: trading placescan be a complicated affair. With new lovers in their lives, Eliza's partaking in sensible discourse at upscale dinner parties, while Martha's having great, no-strings-attached sex. But love is full of surprises...and dream lovers can be full of hot air. No longer green with envy, can the Evergreen sisters each find a perfectly imperfect man to make their lives -- their real lives -- truly satisfying?
Two sisters totally different, that become discontent with how their life has turned out.
Martha the responsible one has two kids, and is married to a wonderful husband, so she thinks, until her husband out of the blue says he isn't happy, and wants a divorce. This is where the story begins for Martha. Some of the things that she does to get her husband back made me cringe, really can someone be anymore pathetic, but things do change for her for the better in the end. The other sister Eliza is thirty going on twenty one, she feels she has to grow up, and become responsible, and decides to dump her boyfriend who she feels also needs to grow up, but feels won't. This book is predictable, but a okay book. Somethings in this book made me smile like Jack. Have to read the book to find out about Jack.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Pocket (November 1, 2005)
Masquerade- Melissa De La Cruz
Schuyler Van Alen is starting to get more comfortable with her newfound vampire powers, but she still has many unanswered questions. A trip to Italy in search of her grandfather only serves to make things more confusing. What secrets are the leaders of The Committee hiding? Meanwhile, back in New York, preparations are feverishly underway for the famous Four Hundred Ball. In true Blue Blood fashion, the ball is totally fab, complete with masks, and hidden behind this masquerade is a revelation that will change the course of a young vampire's destiny.
The thrilling sequel in Melissa de la Cruz's vampire mythology has all the glamour, attitude, and vampire lore that made the first book a hit.
The second book in the Blue Bloods trilogy, I thought this book was better than the first. In this book we find out more about the powers of the Silver Bloods, and what they are capable of doing. The connection between Schuyler and Jack is still there, though they both can't explain it. A new guy in town brings in new drama, and makes things alittle bit messy. Looking forward to reading the next book, Revelations.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (July 1, 2008)
Body of Knowledge- Carol Dawson
Carol Dawson's outrageous second novel chronicles the decline and fall of a strange dynasty--from post-frontier Texas to the present day. It's the story of a secret war, of obsession, fear, loathing, and betrayal. But most of all, BODY OF KNOWLEDGE is the story of Victoria Grace Ransom, the story's 600-pound narrator, whose engrossing secret gradually reveals itself in a novel as big as all Texas.
This book was not very interesting, and quite boring. It had alittle bit of everything in it, revenge, adultry, and secrets, but I just couldn't get into it. Nevertheless I finished it, but only because I was reading it for the Paperback Challenge i'm in.
Even the ending didn't save this book for me.
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 1, 1996)
Paint It Black- Janet Fitch
Following the huge success of White Oleander, where Janet Fitch portrayed the coming-of-age of Astrid, a young girl placed in foster care after her mother murders a former lover and goes to prison for life, she has once again created an indelible portrait of a young woman in Paint it Black. Josie Tyrell is a teenage runaway, an artist's model, and an habitué of the '80s LA punk rock scene. She is a white trash escapee from Bakersfield, having left a going nowhere life there. Now, sex, drugs and rock n' roll inform her days and nights. Paint it Black is the perfect title choice because Josie's lover is never coming back, as the song says.
Josie meets Michael Faraday, son of concert pianist Meredith Loewy and writer Calvin Faraday, long divorced. He is everything that she is not: refined, wealthy, well-traveled, brilliant by fits and starts. He is also a Harvard dropout, leaving school so he can paint; his new obsession. He refuses help from his mother, who is furious about his decision to leave school, but it doesn't bother him to have Josie working three jobs to support them. He is given to black moods, frozen in amber by his perfectionism, contemptuous of those who do not agree with him about art and life. Josie adores him. One day much like any other, he leaves their house, saying that he is going to his mother's so that he can paint in solitude. Instead, he goes to a motel in 29 Palms and shoots himself in the head.
What follows is days of watching Josie in a near fugue state from grief, drugs, booze, and going over and over her love for Michael, trying to grasp how he could do what he did. After all, didn't they share the "true world," Michael's characterization of their cocoon of love and exclusivity?
Meredith calls her and says, "Why are you alive? What is the excuse for Josie Tyrell? I ask you." Ultimately, they form a tenuous relationship, because all that is left of Michael lives in the two women. Josie even lives with Meredith for a while. When Meredith is ready to go on tour again, she asks Josie to go to Europe with her. Before she can do that, she must go to 29 Palms and try to understand, finally, why Michael's depression pushed him over the edge. That puzzle is not solved, nor can it be, but the end of the story is a hopeful, upbeat, new beginning. Janet Fitch has beaten the curse of the sophomore slump with this dynamite second novel.
Another disappointment I read this week. I've never read White Oleander, but I had heard good things about it, so I picked this up with hopes that after a couple of not so good reads I finally get a winner....wishful thinking. I knew it was about a suicide, but jeez this novel was so depressing, and dark. The story takes place in the seedy parts of L.A. and deals with drugs, depression, drinking and more drugs, with like I mentioned before a suicide. The relationship between Josie, and Meredith is wierd, and didn't feel realistic to me. Another one I don't recommend, and one I only finished because of the contest i'm in.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books (October 3, 2007)
I still have 4 more books to review that I read this week. Luckily my luck turned around and they were all good reads. Laters..
Apr 22, 2009
So anyways I've been on a reading frenzy lately, and I thought I would take a little break from the reading and do some reviews for the books I recently finished. I've been trying to grab books that have been on my shelf for a long time, and been pleasantly surprised at how good they are. I've been reading mostly fluff, but I notice most of my older books are chick lit. I guess my reading taste have matured alittle, since I tend to read more contemporary fiction now, with fluff inbetween. Of course, I can never not read chick lit, I still love reading about single, confused twenty or thirty somethings trying to live life.
Apr 19, 2009
Peeps- Scott Westerfeld
A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal's life.
Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he's infected the girlfriends he's had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It's Cal's job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind. . . .
First, this book gave me the creepy crawlies. Did the author have to include short chapters in between the story to tell us about parasites that live in our bodies. I was grossed out reading those little chapters. The story of Cal was a good one, but not great. Cal got infected by sleeping with a carrier of the disease, the disease being I guess some sort of vampirism. There are alot of rats in this book, like thousands, which the author likes to describe in detail. I'm shaking in disgust right now just picturing it. There is a sequel to this novel called Last Days. I'm gonna read it just to see what happens, but believe me I'm in no rush. All in all, if your library has a copy then read it, if not I don't suggest forking over the money to read it. Good thing I got this from the library(they have the sequel, too).
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon (September 7, 2006)
Apr 16, 2009
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox- Maggie O'Farrell
In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend's attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital, where she has been locked away for over sixty years. Iris' grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme's papers prove she is Kitty's sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme' face. Esme has been labeled harmless; sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But Esme is still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit? Maggie O'Farrell's intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth will haunt readers long past its final page.
I heard so many great things about this book, that was looking forward to reading it. I picked it up on a lazy sunday fully expecting to lose myself in it. Well, let's just say that that Sunday I rearranged my bookshelf, and washed a couple loads of laundry. It wasn't horrible by no means, I found one or two things to enjoy about it, but much more things I hated.
First, the writing style was off putting, I would get frusterated, and just put it down for the day. Why did she end a paragraph in mid-sentence, and start a new one mid-sentence, it did nothing for the flow of the book. Another thing I disliked was the added story of Alex and Iris. It seemed like it was thrown in there just to fill up more pages. I would find myself skimming through pages concerning Iris and Alex's relationship. The ending, well, it left a bitter taste in my mouth. It was so abrupt that I actually wanted to through the book across the room, I kept reading it hoping the ending would make up for the rest of it, and then to end up with that garbage.
The one thing I like in the book was the character of Esme, she was so unrestricted, and out of the box. I guess it's fair to say I would not recommend this book.
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 24, 2007)
Apr 14, 2009
Blue Moon- Alyson Noel
Eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal, Ever turns to her beloved Damen to show her the way. But just as her powers are increasing, Damen's are waning.
In an attempt to save him, Ever travels to the magical dimension of Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen's tortured past; a past which he has always kept hidden from her. But in her quest to cure Damen, Ever discovers an ancient text that details the workings of time. Now Ever must chose between turning back the past and saving her family from the accident that claimed their lives - or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows sicker every day...
Blue Moon is the next book in the Immortals trilogy written by Alyson Noel. I just finished reading the first book Evermore(previous post has review) and I really enjoyed it, so I'm anxiously waiting for this one to come out July 2009. Nice cover, don't you think?
On a side note is anybody sensing something here with the name of the book. New Moon, Blue Moon, get my drift.
Apr 12, 2009
Evermore- Alyson Noel
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste… Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen is equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.
Ever was the sole survivor of an accident she had with her family, and every sense then she can hear what people are thinking, see flashes of people present, and future, and regularly talks to her dead sister that hasn't crossed over to the other side. When a knew guy arrives at school, she feels some connection, but doesn't understand it.
I think this book has the potential to become another Twilight. The writing is good, and the story was great. I definitely like Ever more than I ever liked Bella, and well there could never be another Edward, but Damen was scorching in his own way. I'm loving that this is going to be a sequel with the second book coming out sometime this year, June I believe. If you love Twilight, and books like that you'll love this one.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (February 3, 2009)
Apr 10, 2009
The Angel's Game- Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In the turbulent and mysterious Barcelona of the 1920s, David Martin, a young novelist obsessed with a forbidden love, receives an offer from an enigmatic publisher to write a book like no other before—a book for which "people will live and die." In return, he is promised a fortune and, perhaps, much more.
Once again, the author of The Shadow of the Wind takes us into the gothic universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy, and a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets where the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.
The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all time favorite novel. I love the journey that Carlos Ruiz Zafon take you on when reading his books, so naturally I'm anticipating his newest novel The Angel's Game.
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (June 16, 2009)
Apr 9, 2009
I have 296 unread books on my shelves, and more are coming everyday, so I've decided to make a reading goal.
I was looking at my Goodreads To-Read shelf, and saw that I have 43 books that I posted from 2007 that haven't been read, so my goal is to tackle those 43 and get them read.
I will be charting my progress with tickerfactory here. Every couple of months I'll post my progress, and ticker. Wish me luck!!
Apr 8, 2009
Beastly- Alex Flinn
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
A modern version of Beauty and the Beast with cell phones, chat rooms, and proms. I don't know really what I think of this book. Kyle Kingsbury was a typical good-looking Mr. popular that was vain, mean, and selfish, after playing a mean joke on a girl who turns out to be a witch, she turns him in the Beast. Where there is a Beast there has to be a beauty, steps in Lindy. Lindy is a shy, studious, non-popular girl who of course comes to love the beast without realizing he's Kyle, her crush. The first couple of pages are a chat room transcript, and after reading it I thought "oh no, this is gonna be ridiculous." The Beast is chatting with a frog, and grizzly bear, and a mermaid (the little mermaid to be exact). I loved the happily ever after part....who doesn't.
About the Author
Alex Flinn is a former attorney whose fascination with witness reliability and bias led her to write FADE TO BLACK. She is the author of three previous books: BREATHING UNDERWATER, an ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults; Breaking Point, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers; and NOTHING TO LOSE, one of ALA Booklist's Top 10 Youth Mysteries. She lives in Miami with her husband and two daughters.
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (October 2, 2007)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- John Boyne
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
I liked the story, and got teary eyed at the ending, but Bruno was so naive, it was frustrating. I understand he was nine, and not until the end of the war when the stories starting coming out about the concentration camps did people not there find out what was going on, but still in the book Bruno was there, he could see the camp, he saw the way the officers would treat them. It was hard to get past that character flaw to really, really enjoy the book. The book was still powerful, and touching and because of that I still gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.com. The ending is just heartbreaking though, be prepared to cry or at least get watery eyed.
About the Author
John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize. But it was during his time at Trinity that he began to get published. To pay his way at that stage of his career, he worked at Waterstone's, typing up his drafts by night.
John Boyne is the author of six novels, as well as a number of short stories which have been published in various anthologies and broadcast on radio and television. His novels are published in 39 languages. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a film adaptation was released in September 2008. Boyne resides in Dublin. He is represented by the literary agent Simon Trewin at United Agents in London, United Kingdom.
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: David Fickling Books (September 12, 2006)
Apr 7, 2009
Those Who Save Us- Jenna Blum
For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmführer of Buchenwald.
Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.
Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother-daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.
Those Who Save Us is a remarkable story of one trying to forget her past, and one wanting to know more of her past. The books goes back and forth between Anna's point of View in Germany during Hitler's Rein, and Anna's daughter Trudie's point of view in America in current times.
From Anna's lost love Max to the SS Nazi officer she becomes mistress to, we find out what Anna would do to ensure the survival of her daughter. Some of the things Anna sees are so inhumane you can understand why she doesn't want to remember, and chooses to not look back after being rescued by a American officer, Jack.
Trudie is having a hard time coping with not knowing what exactly happen while she was in Germany as a child, she remember's bits and pieces, but needs her mom's help to connect the pieces together. She starts diving more into what was going on in Germany when she starts interviewing Germans who lived in Germany through Hitler's power for a project at the University she teaches at.
The ending is a great, but not how I would have liked it to end. I wanted Trudie to find out about her past from her mom, but I can understand that the author was trying to make a splash. I just don't feel it was necessary. The ending did make it easier to fill in the holes though.
As I was trying to go to sleep last night after finishing it, the characters stayed in my head and heart, always a good sign. I totally recommend this book to anyone.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Jenna Blum has been writing professionally since 1986, when her short story "The Legacy of Frank Finklestein" won First Prize in Seventeen Magazine's national fiction contest. Jenna's debut novel Those Who Save Us was published by Harcourt in 2004. In October 2007 the novel, called "the little book that could" in Publishers Weekly, jumped onto the Boston Globe and the New York Times bestseller lists. Those Who Save Us won the Harold Ribalow Prize, awarded by Hadassah Magazine and adjudged by Elie Wiesel, in 2005; foreign rights have been sold in Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Italy, Israel, Norway, and Spain. Those Who Save Us was also the Borders Book Club Selection for Summer 2007 and is still a Borders 2-for-1 promotion. A World War II mother-daughter story inspired by Jenna’s German and Jewish heritage and the interviews she conducted for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, Those Who Save Us is a national book club favorite and continues to hold steady on the New York Times bestseller list.
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Adult (May 2, 2005)
Apr 6, 2009
Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates
The rediscovery and rejuvenation of Richard Yates's 1961 novel Revolutionary Road is due in large part to its continuing emotional and moral resonance for an early 21st-century readership. April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.
I thought the movie stayed true to the book. Some things were weeded out of the book in the movie, but not major plot points. I still get the sense of discontentment in both Frank and April Wheeler mainly due to the actors portraying them, Leonardo Decaprio, and Kate Winslet did a great job. Revolutionary Road is one of my favorite books, so naturally I expected the worse, surely no actor could portray the emotions of Frank and April, the feeling of suffocation in the very world they created, but indeed I felt it while watching the movie. If you loved the book, you'll love the movie.
Apr 5, 2009
The Glamorous (Double)Life of Isabel Bookfinder- Holly McQueen
Isabel Bookbinder is a twenty-seven-year-old assistant at the Saturday Mercury newspaper in London. She has a disinterested boyfriend, a mother who loves clothes that match, and a father who always expects her to do better.
Although Isabel may spend most of her time measuring newspaper column inches, she's well on her way to becoming a bestselling author. She's already perfected Her Look (cashmere track suit, lots of mascara), is working on her toned size eight figure, and gets up at dawn to work on her novel (well, sort of). She even has a fabulous mentor -- a bestselling but increasingly eccentric author who takes her to glamorous book parties and introduces her to the dreamy literary agent Joe Madison. But when she inadvertently exposes a political sex scandal and her name becomes known for all the wrong reasons, her glamorous double life starts to spin out of control.
With her distinctive voice, penchant for getting in sticky situations, and blind confidence in her dream of becoming a famous novelist, Isabel Bookbinder is a heroine that you can't help but root for.
Looking forward to getting my hands on this one. Let me know what you thought after you read it.
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press (April 28, 2009)
The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova
In this riveting debut of breathtaking scope, a young girl discovers her father's darkest secret and embarks on a harrowing journey across Europe to complete the quest he never could -- to find history's most legendary fiend: Dracula. When a motherless American girl living in Europe finds a medieval book and a package of letters, all addressed ominously to "My dear and unfortunate successor..." she begins to unravel a thread that leads back to her father's past, his mentor's career, and an evil hidden in the depths of history. In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright: a hunt that nearly brought her father to ruin and may have claimed the life of his adviser and dear friend, history professor Bartholomew Rossi. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler, the historical Dracula, have to do with the 20th century? Is it possible that Dracula has lived on in the modern world? And why have a select few historians risked reputation, sanity, and even their lives to learn the answer? So begins an epic journey to unlock the secrets of the strange medieval book, an adventure that will carry our heroine across Europe and into the past -- not only to the times of Vlad's heinous reign, but to the days when her mother was alive and her father was still a vibrant young scholar. In the end, she uncovers the startling fate of Rossi, and comes face to face with the definition of evil-- to find, ultimately, that good may not always triumph.
This book is just beautifully written, the details, and descriptions of the countries visited were so vivid. I was completely enthralled with Vlad the Impaler, that I did some research of my own, trying to find out more about this man behind the tales of dracula. After reading this book I wanted to be a historian.
The only thing i didn't like was that it sometimes would get slow, and stall. I wanted to yell at times "Lets get on with it".
The Sugar Queen- Sarah Addison Allen
Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…
Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.
Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.
As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.
Josey is a loner, whose only comfort is the food she keeps in her closet. After finding the tough Della Lee in her closet things start to change for the better for Josey. Della Lee starts pushing and encouraging Josey to come out of her shell, and experience life.
Josey is a great character, that you can relate to, and root for. Della Lee is hard but after finding out her childhood, and her life, you can totally see what made her that way. This book was a great, fun read.
Apr 4, 2009
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson
It's about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthest families in Sweden...and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes is murder.
It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case hired to get the bottom of Harriet's disappearance...and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four year old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard earned wisdom of someone twice her age-and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it- who assist Blomkvist with the investigation.
This Unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running thorugh the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism, and an unexpected connection between themselves.
After losing a libel suit against a shady businessman Mikael wants to get away from it all. A perfect opportunity comes when a aging tycoon offers him a cabin on his property in the country, and money to investigate the disappearance of his neice. Thinking that nothing will come of it but relaxation, and easy money considering that the case is old, and many detectives have investigated it and come up with nothing he takes the tycoon up on his offer, little does he know that he's stubbled upon a crazy, dysfunctional family. He soon meets Lisbeth, and together dodging attempts on their lives they start to unravel what happened. I'm not a big fan of mysteries, but I really enjoyed this novel. It was fast-paced, and plot driven. The charcters Mikael, and Lisbeth were both realistic, and well-rounded. The author didn't really give us a detail background on Lisbeth, leaving her mysterious, and wanted more. Why is she so angry, and cold? We are led to believe she had a terrible past, but what was it? Stay tuned, book 2 comes out in June and we find out more about this wonderful character, Lisbeth.
About the Author
Stieg Larsson (Born August 15, 1954 in Skelleftehamn, Sweden as Karl Stig-Erland Larsson, died November 9, 2004 in Stockholm of a massive heart attack) was a Swedish journalist and writer.
As a journalist and editor of the magazine Expo, Larsson was active in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organisations. When he died at the age of 50, Larsson left three unpublished thrillers which have since been printed. These books are all bestsellers in Sweden and in several other countries.
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Knopf (September 16, 2008)
Rena's Promise- Rena Kornreich Gelissen
Sent to Auschwitz on the first Jewish transport, Rena Kornreich survived the Nazi death camps for over three years. While there she was reunited with her sister Danka. Each day became a struggle to fulfill the promise Rena made to her mother when the family was forced to split apart--a promise to take care of her sister. One of the few Holocaust memoirs about the lives of women in the camps, Rena's Promise is a compelling story of the fleeting human connections that fostered determination and made survival a possibility. From the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters, to the links between prisoners, and even prisoners and guards, Rena's Promise reminds us of the humanity and hope that survives inordinate inhumanity.
Rena's Promise was heartbreaking, and touching. Rena and her sister Danka survived three hard years in Auschwitz and in this memoir she describes with detail what that was like. She would do anything to keep her promise to her mom, who she would never see again, that no matter what she and Danka would survive, and return home. Rena's bravery, and strength is admiring, and made me think that in trying, unforgettable times I too could be brave, hopeful and strong.
On the other side of this story is the cruel, inhumane treatment that so many people went through. As I was reading those parts I would find myself flinching. It is disturbing to read but all the more important. That is history, ugly as it may be.
“I love because there is not enough room in my heart to hate--to hate is to let Hitler win.”
-Rena Kornreich Gelissen
About the Author
Partnered with writer Heather Dune Macadam, Rena told her moving story of surviving the Nazi concentration camps with her younger sister Danka. The story was made into a book, titled Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz, which was published in 1995. The book was well-received, earning her spots in numerous interviews and guest appearances.
Rena was the mother to one daughter, Sylvia and three sons, Joseph, Peter and Robert. In 2006, she died in North Carolina, at the age of 85.
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (October 30, 1996)
The Given Day- Dennis Lehane
Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times best-selling author Dennis Lehane's long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families—one black, one white—swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.
Here, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era—Babe Ruth; Eugene O'Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson's ruthless Red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge; and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Hoover.
Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time—including the Spanish Influenza pandemic—and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.
This book follows two men, Danny Coughlin and Luther laurence. Set in 1918-1919, this book covers terrorist, race, and the Boston Police strikes. There's also alittle baseball, and Babe Ruth.
Luther is running from his past in Tulsa, and Danny is trying to be his own man, even if his family doesn't agree. So many things happen in this novel, yet they are done so that they intwine flawlessly. I found myself rooting for Luther, and hoping everything turned out well for him in the end. Most of the topics written about in this book are relevant today. Lehane's writing is to the point, and again he can do no wrong. The book is long, but well worth the read.
About the Author
Dennis Lehane (born Aug 4th, 1966) is an American author. He has written several novels, including the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award winning film, also called Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (Lehane can be briefly seen waving from a car in the parade scene at the end of the film). The novel was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, and France's Prix Mystere de la Critique.
Hardcover: 720 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (September 23, 2008)