Saturday, November 2, 2013

August and September Book Reviews

There's just so many wonderful stories out there I wish I had more time to read and then write about each one I encounter. Alas, I must keep these short or I 'll never do them anymore!

1. The Silver Stay - Jeannette Walls: What I liked about this novel is I think it's the first where she hasn't based it off her own, or the life of one of her relatives. It's the story of two sisters who are abandoned by their mother and need to make their own way to stay with an uncle they've never met. They encounter a bit more stability with their uncle but also some challenges with the community and an employer. What is sweet is they get to uncover bits and pieces of their mother's past and learn a little more about where they came from while growing closer to each other and their uncle. All in all very enjoyable.

2. Mistress of the Sun - Sandra Gulland: Sandra is the author of the Josephine B. Trilogy, which I really enjoyed, so I thought I'd give this one a try. It's about the woman who becomes the mistress of Louis XIV of France. There is a large back story of how she became noticed by Louis XIV and it takes up at least 1/3 of the book. The character is interesting though there is so much plotting and back-stabbing you tend to forget who is good and who is bad. The book is historical fiction so it is enjoyable but leaves you wondering what is real and what is not.

3. I Am Legend - Richard Matheson: One of my 501 books I was happy to read because I'd already seen the movie and enjoyed it. I was really surprised to see how very different it was from the movie!! Why did the movie not take more of the original story as it was well worth a translation to screen. The last known survivor on earth is fighting zombies that used to be his neighbours, friends, etc. and at the same time is trying to learn what happened. It's an incredible struggle for him to daily endure the taunts of these creatures and have no one and seemingly no hope. Give this book a read as the ending is well worth a good discussion with others who have read it.

4. InterWorld - Neil Gaiman: I pretty much love everything Neil writes so just go buy his stuff :)
This is a story of Joey who discovers he can walk between different variations of Earth and our timeline.  He's not the only one as he's joined by the other versions of himself who can do the same thing! They battle two sets of other worldly beings who are bent on using the versions of Joey to their advantage. Pretty cool ideas and enjoyable for people of all ages.

5. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare: I saw this movie was scheduled to come out so figured I'd give it a try. What I like is that it has some original ideas when it comes to teen lit/fantasy. It even has some neat twists in the end. It's is much better than the movie (as usual) and if you've read the book you likely didn't enjoy everything the omitted that was great about the books. It's about Clary who discovers she has some abilities to see a secret world within our world. She realizes her mother has been hiding the truth from her and embarks on a journey to find out all the secrets as well as stop a madman who is threatening her family. Fun times.

6. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing - Tarquin Hall: This is another adventure of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator. Right now I'd have to say this is creeping onto the lists of my current favourite series I'm reading. I love the character of Vish because he's smart and crafty but also vain, proud and humourous; to me it makes him more real than some other characters. These stories never turn out to be about just 1 case so I'll just say it's a super fun series and this one is mainly about the death of a "myth-buster" and Vish sets out to find out what happened.

7. Fortuna's Ghost - Evan Bly: This little gem is a graphic novel written by a friend of mine. He's one talented dude but you can only get his book by contacting me and I can have him send you one. The graphic novel is about love and battling worlds in space - pretty cool! You can also check out his awesome graphic work on youtube here

8. Let's Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson: A super humorous look into the life of The Bloggess herself, Jenny Lawson. She has a very peculiar sense of humour that can easily be attributed to her parents! I laughed out loud at times but also cringed during others. Enjoyable but not for faint-of-heart parents who may take exception to how she was raised.

9. The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds - Alexander McCall Smith: I believe this is the 9th book in the Isabel Dalhousie series. I enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's writing quite a bit but find Isabel a bit dull at times. Thankfully the situations he usually puts her in help drive the story and keep me in there when times get slow.

10. Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins: This is book 1 in a wonderful YA series written by the same author who wrote the Hunger Games series. You follow Gregor who accidentally follows his sister down a grate in the laundry room that takes him to the centre of the Earth where rats, mice and cockroaches are human-sized and can talk. He sets out on an adventure to help the "humans" of the Underland while also trying to discover what happened when his father disappeared. It's well written, original and engaging. Thumbs up!

11. Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman: *sigh* I just did not enjoy this book. The TV series must be VERY loosely based on this book because I found myself struggling to get through it. The pacing was off, the details were unnecessary, and there was very little substance. Piper writes about her experience going to jail 10 years after being convicted of transporting drugs. I found the book to be a bit boring so  I wouldn't suggest picking it up.

12. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane - Suzanne Collins: Book 2 in the Overlander series and again it was very enjoyable. I think my favourite part of this series is his sister Boots and Gregor's fierce desire to protect her. In this book Gregor sets out once again to help the Underlanders take care of a growing threat to their world. Great series for lovers of YA or kids ages 10 and up.

13. Who Could it Be At This Hour? - Lemony Snicket: Love it! This is book 1 in the 4 book series where we go back to when Lemony Snicket was a boy. He becomes an apprentice in an unusual organization and they set out to solve a crime about a stolen statue. Very smartly written and it's easy to love Lemony as a young boy.

14. Love's Sweet Bait - Jennifer A. Thomas: I was asked to read a short story by a friend of a friend and all I can say is that I'm so very pleased to be given the honour of reading it. The story centers on the life and love between Joshua and Catherine, a robot and a human. I finished the story in one sitting and was left wanting more. I wanted Jennifer to turn this short story into a novel so I could learn more about their era, their meeting, and their relationship growing from a working one to a partnership based on love and respect. It's incredibly sweet and made me cry. Exceptionally well written piece of work; watch out for Jennifer as I think she's got a great future in literature!

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