Sunday, June 24, 2007

Three to get Deadly - Janet Evanovich

Three to get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

The third book in the Stephanie Plum number series, this book does not disappoint! You read this book for the quirky characters rather than for the plot line. This book sees Plum searching for Uncle Mo, a neighbourhood favourite. When Stephanie gets shot at multiple times in one day and finds a basement full of dead bodies, she calls in the help of Lula, an ex-hooker turned filer, and of course Ranger and Morelli. I love the chemistry between Stephanie and Morelli. It's a love/hate (but of course, more love than hate) relationship between the 2 of them. Grandma Mazur wasn't in the book as much as she has been in the past, but making up for it was Lula. Some of her antics were so funny I found myself chuckling on the train... which is kind of embarrassing. I'm looking forward to reading the next book! I can't wait to see where Stephanie and Morelli's relationship goes next!




Lucky by Alice Sebold

From the Publisher
Enormously visceral, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the belief that justice is possible even after the most horrific of crimes, Sebold''s compelling memoir of her rape at the age of 18 is a story that takes hold and won''t let go

A disturbing book!!! The account of the rape is detailed and quite vivid. Sebold's determination is admirable. The justice system is also shown in all its goods and bads. How can a line-up be handled like it was? I found it quite callous in how both Lila and Alice treated each other and their lack of mutual understanding. Alice also seems to forego any sort of therapy and I believe that is why she has trouble later. This is a tale of a very strong young lady to whom the ultimate personal tragedy happened



Imaginary Men

Imaginary Men by Anjali Banerjee

Publishers Weekly
A desperate lie leads to true love in Banerjee's predictable but fun debut. At the Kolkata, India, wedding of her younger sister, Indian-American matchmaker Lina, who lives in San Francisco, gets so fed up with her great-aunt's talk of arranged marriages that she tells everyone she's already engaged. Too bad Lina isn't even dating anyone, much less the rich, cosmopolitan fellow named Raja she claims as her fiance (she invents him, based on the real Raja Presad, a prince she met at her sister's wedding). In what becomes a Bridget Jones's Diary meets Monsoon Wedding-style escapade, Lina must find the Mr. Right she's supposed to already have. Enter a series of humorously awful first-and-last dates. When the real Prince Raja drops by, seeking a match for his brother, Lina's day job takes a turn for the personal. Is it possible that Raja could actually be the One? Could Lina's California lifestyle ever meld with that of a wealthy Indian prince? Besides, with his home in India and antiquated views on women, Raja is hardly interested in Lina as his real-life betrothed or is he? Of course he is! Banerjee's prose is workmanlike, but at least her narrator isn't afflicted with the logorrhea so many other chick-lit heroines suffer from, which makes this a quick, enjoyable read. Agent, Winifred Golden. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information

This book was a fun read. Lies have a habit of growing and growing and becoming a burden. This is what happens to Lina when she invents a fiancee. There are some times when Lina must become quite inventive in her lies. Lina really does try to find herself a fiancee by her own job in a matchmaking company. Throughout the book there are wonderful insights into the Indian-American culture. Some of the descriptions of people searching out others are quite funny. Of course in true romance book style there is a prince to sweep her off her feet.



The House of the Spirits

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Literature in Translation

Spanning four generations, Isabel Allende's magnificent family saga is populated by a memorable, often eccentric cast of characters. Together, men and women, spirits, the forces of nature, and of history, converge in an unforgettable, wholly absorbing and brilliantly realised novel that is as richly entertaining as it is a masterpiece of modern literature

This book tells the story of the Trueba family. Estaban Trueban was a man with extreme anger issues. Although he ended up very wealthy in some ways he also ended up very poor. Emotionally this man was a train wreck. This is a family saga with amazing details about Chilean history. Politically this book was extremely interesting and I learned a great deal about Chile. Allende writes of strong willed men and women with a great passion for life.



Friday, June 22, 2007

Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin

Hide and Seek by Ian Ranking

In the second Rebus novel by Rankin, Rebus finds himself in yet another drug-laced, death-inducing situation. When the body of a young man shows up in what looks like it was an overdose, Rebus has to question the way the body was positioned and the writing on the walls. Slowly piecing together the mystery, Rebus makes friends with a nude model and gains a new partner who ironically enough is named Holmes. The streets lead Rebus to upper class as he searches his way through the clues to find out what exactly happened to this look alike suicide.
At the beginning of the novel, Rankin writes a note about his thought process for this book and how after this book you can notice that Rebus changes a bit. In fact, I noticed quite a bit of change between the Rebus of this novel and of the first one (Knots and Crosses). Rebus seems a bit less withdrawn in this novel. Although I was a bit upset that him and Gill broke up without much of an explanation. It was almost like Rankin didn't feel like writing about Gill anymore so he just cut her out.
I felt this book was really about Rebus and his interactions with the other characters. I'm happy he's got a partner now, albeit somewhat unofficial. Hopefully we see him in a couple more books! Out of the first two books, this one is probably the better!



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Recent Duds

In the past 4 days or so I've had to give up 2 books. I found both of these books way too slow for my liking, so on they go to the next happy reader.

The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
Historical Fiction

My mom recently read this book and enjoyed it. I started this book with fairly high hopes. It sounded quite interesting, being about Da Vinci's Last Supper. However it was so sluggish that after 40 pages I had to give up. I also found that the author used unnecessarily large words. If you can explain something gracefully and accurately in 2 syllables, why take 10?





Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Classical Literature

This book is actually #26 on the BBC Top 100. I have only heard bad things about it so when I settled down with it, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy read. I found the opening chapter so off the wall that I couldn't quite get over what Hardy was trying to do. If someone were to come up to you and tell you that you look like part of the royal family, would you then assume that you must be part of the royal family and start spending money? This really bothered me.
The book was also quite slow and too wordy. Though I did expect that. I tried to stick it out but I was losing touch with what exactly was going on in the book so I gave up.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

From the Publisher
For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned, and watched illiterate soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. In spring 2002 award-winning journalist Asne Seierstad spent four months living with the bookseller and his family. As Seierstad steps back from the page and lets the Khans tell their stories, we learn of proposals and marriages, hope and fear, crime and punishment. The result is a unique portrait of a family and a country

What an interesting book!!! The author simply states the Khans story. She does so without judgement and so the story is made even more powerful. Sultan with one hand treats his women relatives with distain,little more than slaves and on the other hand condemns the burka. This book gives us a rare glimpse into a different culture. We are provided with a portrait of a family in Afghanistan. We learn the customs of proposals,marriages, crime and punishment. We find out about the women and their ideas and fears.



Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Historical Fiction

Dragonfly in Amber is the second book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Unexpectedly, this one starts in present time even though Outlander ended off in the 1700s with Jaime and Claire together. Claire has a 20 year old daughter, Brianna, and is taking her back to Scotland in order to tell her about who her real father is. Claire also enlists the help of Roger, the son of an acquaintance of Frank Randall's to help her determine which men survived the massacre at Culloden. While Claire tells her daughter about her journey in the 1700s, Gabaldon takes the reader through her life in France and Scotland.
I enjoyed reading about Claire and Jaime in France. I felt like there was a lot more for them to do in the city. It wasn't just running away from the English in the forests like the first one seemed to be. Politics and Claire's knowledge of history played a lot more into this book and it brought up quite an interesting dilemma. Is the course of history set no matter what or can we really alter it? Claire seemed to be continuously asking herself this.
Of course, the chemistry between Claire and Jaime is unbelievable. They are one of the best fictional couples I have ever had the pleasure to read about. Most of the characters from the previous novel made a reappearance. I mentioned in my review of Outlander that I hoped we would see Jenny and Ian again. There was a section of the book where Claire and Jaime got to spend some time with them and it wasn't disappointing.
The ending of the book is heartbreaking!! I won't give anything away but those that have read it will know what I'm talking about. I'm looking forward to starting the next one so I can find out what happens with Jaime and Claire!



Man Booker International Prize

On June 13, 2007, Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe was named the recipient of the 2nd Man Booker International Prize. The £60,000 award is given once every two years to a living authors for a body of work that has contributed an achievement in fiction on the world stage.


Things Fall Apart(1958)
No Longer at Ease (1960)
Arrow of God (1964)
A Man of the People (1966)
Chike and the River (1966)
How the Leopard Got His Claws (1972)
Beware,Soul Brother (1972)
Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975)
The Flute: A Children's Story (1977)
The Trouble with Nigeria (1984)
Anthills of the Savannah (1987)
Home and Exile (2001)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Summer Reading Contest

Susan and a couple other bloggers (ones that you'll likely find on our side bar) are having a summer reading contest called Hidden Treasures. Basically they are looking for you to read and review a book that hasn't made the top sellers list and is from a royalty-paying publisher.

See the contest here: Summer Hidden Treasures Contest!

I'll be going out tomorrow to purchase my book. I've already checked out Chapters to make sure they have it in stock at the local store! Stay tuned for my review.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

Sam Hunter (formally known as Samson Hunts Alone) has abandoned his Crow Indian roots after a run in with the law. He lives as a "white person" until his Crow roots catch up with him. Coyote, Sam's Indian God, appears one day and turns Sams life upside down. Coyote causes Sam to nearly lose his job and home, takes advantage of Sam's secretary, and helps Sam pursue a beautiful girl called Calliope. All of this brings Sam back to his roots. He ends up at home with his uncles trying to find a way to get Coyote back from where he came, and save Calliope.
In comparison to the last Christopher Moore book I read (Practical Demonkeeping), this book wasn't as good. I was expecting multiple story lines that all eventually found their way together in unexpected ways. This one had only two main story lines (Sam's and Pookey's). They were interesting, but definitely weird. The humour wasn't enough to get me through the weirdness of the book and although I finished it, it definitely isn't a top rated book for me.




Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I find it very difficult to review some non-fiction books as they are sort of self-explanatory. This book's sub-title is The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. That is exactly what the book is about. There are a number of very interesting examples included in the book. The part of the book which was most interesting to me was that the police if trained enough can override their instincts so that they do not kill in error. Obviously with the number of incidents sensationized in the press this needs to be implemented in more police forces. Gladwell has the ability to write to the general public's level



Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva

The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva

CIA agent Michael Osbourne is a counter terrorism expert. When a plane is shot down off the east coast of the country, it is suspected that the Swords of Gaza, a group that Michael has been following for a while, is responsible. At the same time, the vice president, some lawyers in the Washington area, and a missile defense contractor benefit from the recent "terrorist" attack. Michael starts to wonder who the real terrorists are, and travels to London and Cairo to find out. Soon he has an assassin who murdered his girlfriend many years ago in his sights. But the assassin has been contracted to kill Michael so who is hunting who?
This book was definitely thrilling and quite the page turner. Although at first I was a little confused because so many characters were introduced so quickly. I don't really understand why Silva introduced characters that died a couple pages after they were introduced. Really, why bother? It just serves to confuse.
I thought this book was quite relevant to the current situation of the world today, with tensions in the middle east and distrust of the government. This includes the ending, which was not satisfactory from a readers point of view, but is quite like what would happen in real life.
As for the characters, it was easy to like the ones you were supposed to, and dislike the ones you weren't supposed to like. I quite enjoyed Michael and I saw that Silva has more books with him as the main character.
This was a great book to read on the train because it kept me awake and turning the pages!