Sunday, October 21, 2012

August and September Book Reviews

August was a good reading month! I got through more books than I thought I would which will make up for my slow reading in September.

1. The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett: I saw the mini-series and figured it was worth a read. It was likely a bit easier to read since I already knew the characters and the premise of the story. It starts out by following Tom the Builder and his quest to care for his family while trying to fulfill his dream of building a cathedral all in the middle of a British war for the throne. The story has many twists, turns, is full of backstabbing and many sub plots unfold. It is well written and the characters are certainly likable or detested depending on the author's purpose for them. I'd definitely suggest it.

2. The Power of Six - Pittacus Lore: This is the 2nd book in the Legacy Series. If you've seen the movie you know the general premise of the series. It's about an alien race that came to Earth to escape another alien race trying to annihilate them. This part of the series gives the back story of another one of the 9 Loriens left to protect Earth. If you enjoyed the first book you'll certainly enjoy this one. It's a good form of escapism!

3. A series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1, The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket: Ever since I saw the movie a few years back I was excited about reading the entire series. If you haven't seen the movie you really should.This book is the beginning of the story of the Baudelaire orphans and their unfortunate placement with their nearest relative who wants their fortune. I think the writing is brilliant and the characters are rich and unique. I'm hoping to read these again with my kids when they're a little older.

4. Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K Jerome: This is one of our 501 Must Read Books. I found it to be more of a collection of funny quips and short stories that make up the bigger picture of the story. It was amusing but I must admit that some of the language/sayings escaped me so I feel I missed some of the humour. It's probably not a story that most would pick up to read but it was cute.

5. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce: I really enjoyed this book. It's the story of a man who finds out that a woman he knew in his past is dying of cancer. He believes if he walks to her (hundreds of km away) that she will live longer, at least until he gets there. His journey brings him in contact with many characters that teach him things about himself while looking back at his past. It's well written and sweet.

6. The Lost Files, I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore: Another book in the series follows the story lines of other survivors. I won't say much about it as once again you won't have any interest unless you've read the rest of the series but it's still a great escapism series.

7. Kim - Rudyard Kipling: This is one of our 501 Must Read Books. It's the story of an Irish boy orphaned in India. He survives by begging and running errands but his life gets turned upside down when he decides to throw his lot in with a Tibetan Lama. From there he gets mixed up in with trading secrets with spies, and gets sent to a boarding school and eventually gets back with his Lama to finish their quest. I thought at times the story was a bit confusing but loved the little quips.

8. The Rise of Nine, I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore: the next in the series. Also still good!

9. Falling Backwards - Jann Arden: I found this memoirs to be filled with funny stories about her childhood mixed in with sad ones as well. I felt I learned so much about her childhood and career before she succeeded as an artist. Worth the read!


1. Madame Tussaud - Michelle Moran: I've read a number of books by Michelle Moran before so figured I would give it a try. I found the general story to be interesting and was surprised at a number of things. Enjoyable and entertaining.

2. i, Robot - Isaac Asimov: I was genuinely surprised at this one as it's nothing like the movie, and I mean nothing! This book is based on recollections of a robot psychiatrist. She recants stories she's heard or seen in her days of work before she retires. It's interesting and full of great imagination.

3. The Story of Beautiful Girl - Rachel Simon: Interesting book and a fairly easy read. The main part of the story is about a women who was institutionalized in the 60's and the abuse she suffered there. She escapes long enough to give birth to a little girl and the story follows the main characters over the next 40 years. Enjoyable.

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket: The second in the series and just as fun as the first. Full of great imagery and interesting characters. Great series!