Tuesday, April 1st 2014

Review: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

18223777Title: The Museum of Extraordinary Things

Author: Alice Hoffman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: February 2014

Genre: Adult Fiction/Historical

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone Continue Reading →

Monday, December 9th 2013

Review: Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

17571907Title: Bellman & Black

Author: Diane Setterfield

Publisher: Simon & Shuster

Publication Date: November 2013

Genre: Adult Fiction/Horror

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone Continue Reading →

Wednesday, November 13th 2013

Review: Watership Down by Richard Adams

76620Title: Watership Down

Author: Richard Adams

Publisher: Rex Collings LTD (original publisher); Avon

Publication Date: 1972; April 1975

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Children’s Fiction/Fantasy

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone Continue Reading →

Thursday, May 23rd 2013

Review: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Title: Me Before You

Author: JoJo Moyes

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: December 2012

Genre: Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
I purchased this book.


I don’t know what to say.
I usually listen to audio books on my commute. So when Friday evening came, and I found myself sitting in my car in my driveway, with still half the audiobook to listen to, I decided to go inside and listen to “just one more chapter.”

Which turned into a very late night of me laying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling. Before dinner. After dinner. And finally, with my husband asleep next to me and the lights out, until 2am, when I finally finished Me Before You. And was a hysterical blubbering mess.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book.
I met friends for a fun Saturday afternoon the next day and they remarked upon how puffy my eyes were and how I looked very tired. Which of course then I had to explain to them why I was up all night, a sobbing crazy person.

Lou seems content with her small life, her simple existence. Will’s life was bigger, brighter, fun and in motion. They couldn’t be more different and that’s why their middle ground is so unstable. But coming from each side, both of these characters have a journey ahead of them through struggles and hardship and love that alter them so completely, my heart warms just thinking about who they were in Chapter One and who they became by the end.

This is not Chick Lit. It is not a conventional romance.

It is way more than that.
It’s a deep and thought provoking read about courage, living and love.

I listened to the well read audiobook and highly recommend it.
I also fear that reading the book would have been very difficult for me as I probably wouldn’t have been able to see the words from all the crying!

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while, and certainly the best one I’ve read all year.

Go get it.
I’ll wait. 


Now, let’s discuss…

Rating 10 One of The Best

Thursday, April 18th 2013

Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Title: Bel Canto

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Publication Date: September 2007

Genre: Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.

I purchased this audiobook.


In South America, a birthday dinner party is taken over by terrorists who wish to kidnap the President in order to secure demands. But the President isn’t there, and what should have been an in and out operation  becomes months of living together. Hostage and terrorists side by side, until no one remembers the outside world.

I enjoyed State of Wonder, Patchett’s latest book, and on some friends’ recommendations, I downloaded the audiobook Bel Canto.

There are many things to love about Bel Canto– the descriptions of the house, the surroundings, the deeply woven relationships and full of life characters that leap from the page. The love stories, the opera, the singing. The books feels like you are a hostage as well, removed from your old life, not sure how long you are going to stay, and surrounded in a new world.

The writing is elegant and moving, descriptive and like any Patchett I’ve read, some phrases are so dead on, they simmer for days in my head.
She certainly knows how to wright.

That said, I can’t say I enjoyed Bel Canto. All of the above is wonderful, and I’m happy to recommend it to friends who enjoy fine writing. The story is interesting, but moves slowly. So slowly in fact, that I almost stopped listening a couple of times. Maybe I’ve become a young again, with a shorter attention span and yearn for action. But for me, the story moves too slowly and while all the characters are given full stories, and I am interested in all of them, not a lot happens.

That’s the beautify and the flaw of Bel Canto. The hostages, terrorists and reader, is stuck in this house, where stuff is happening, but nothing happens. The limbo of continuing on when everything and nothing changes.
So while the book itself is impressive, I don’t have an emotional pull to the book, the characters, the story.

Even the ending, when something does finally happen, is short and fast. It’s wrapped up in minutes and the epilogue leaves me wanting, for motivation, explanation and forward motion. But even that, is slow going.

Rating: 5 OK, Decent like Diet Coke

Thursday, November 1st 2012

Review: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Title: The House of Silk

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Publication Date: November 2011

Genre: Adult Mystery

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
Audiobook from audible.com


Sherlock is back!
It seems that everywhere you turn nowadays, there’s a Holmes reference. Sherlock, on the BBC, is by far one of my favorite shows at the moment. And Elementary has come out switching the Holmes and Watson relationship up a bit.
And then there’s The House of Silk, which came out last year and is endorsed by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate. And it lives up beautifully.

Watson is old now, and writing his memoirs. But there is one case that he has never shared with anyone and that is the House of Silk. Reaching into his memory, Watson narrates a twisted mystery filled with wrong turns, misconceptions and dangers. Even when Holmes is in peril, and Watson isn’t sure how they will get out of it, Holmes stays calm and cool, keeping his observations and theories close to the chest.

From what started as a simple robbery case, leads the pair into the darkest parts of London, to the highest pedestals of society. People don’t want Holmes to know about the House of Silk, and they will do anything in their power to stop him.

A slow and well laid out mystery, I loved Horowitz’s writing. I was easily transported back to that age, the sights and smells overwhelming me. When Homes was in danger, I was on the edge of my seat. And as the clues carefully began to unfold, I followed Holmes’s logic too. While the ending wasn’t a huge surprise as I had already begun to put the pieces together, the ride was fun. And the best part, a little cameo from a mysterious mathematician.

I listened to the audiobook which was well read, with great feeling and depth. Derek Jacobi’s deep and soulful voice was excellent as Watson, bringing much life into the dear doctor.

Overall, a great Sherlock read.

Rating 7 Pretty Cool Would Recommend

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Monday, September 17th 2012

Book Review: Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

Title: Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Author: Christopher McDougall

Publisher: Vintage/Knopf

Publication Date: May 2009

Genre: Non Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.

Let’s get one thing straight- I don’t run. I may lightly jog on occasion or perhaps bolt to catch a passing ice cream truck, but run for fun? May I quote a man at the bar in Back To The Future Pt. III- “Run for Fun? What the hell kinda fun is that?”

Well, my friend, perhaps I was wrong. Because after reading Born To Run, I think of little else to do besides, well. Run.

Born to Run chronicles the adventure of the author, Chris McDougall, when he asked the simple question- Why does my foot hurt? Well, Chris, you’ve suffered from some very bad running injuries. So bad, in fact, most modern doctors are telling you to stay off it and stop running. But as McDougall goes deeper and deeper into the history of running, and befriending some amazing characters who will eventually compete in an ultra run of 50 miles, McDougall does the impossible. He finds a way to run, long distances, with no pain. Effortlessly.

McDougall’s narrative is well done, slowly weaving an incredible story of runners, hidden tribes, Olympic games, and foreign cultures. A few times, I found myself wondering where he was going on this tangent, only to have it loop back round again in the perfect conclusion. The cast is a fun line of eccentric characters, including Scott Jerek, Jenn Shelton, and Barefoot Ted, who seek adventure in the Cooper Canyons, Mexico’s remote range of mountains.

The story is so amazing, it’s almost hard to believe.
It’s an adventure story, a history lesson, an anthropology class and an exciting race all rolled up into one.

I listened to the audiobook in the car. The narrator was excellent. I even got my husband to listen to it! He finished the book in two days, went out to buy new five fingered running shoes, and has since started running long distances. Inspiration.

Maybe you’re like me, not a runner. It doesn’t matter. You’ll love this book anyway.
And you may go out and get a new pair of running shoes. Maybe the five finger kind. Maybe you’ll run outside a little bit.
Maybe I’ll see you there.

Rating 9 Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream