Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Probably Future by Alice Hoffman

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman

The females of the Sparrow family are all born in March and on their thirteenth birthday, wake up with an unusual ability. Elinor, the eldest of the family has the ability to tell when anyone is lying. Her daughter Jenny has the ability to see other's dreams and Jenny's daughter Stella has the ability to see how people are going to die.

Despite the Sparrow women being unified by these abilities, their family is dysfunctional. Jenny married good-for-nothing Will Avery, whom Elinor immediately took a dislike to because she could tell that he was lying constantly. Their relationship was already strained because Elinor was not there for Jenny the way she expected her to be. This just makes the relationship even worse. When Jenny and Will have a child, Jenny tries to keep Stella away from Elinor although to two secretly communicate. Circumstances lead the two back to the small town of Unity and Jenny's childhood home of the Cake House. Each learns more about their family and about themselves as they try to live together.

This book pulls you in right away with the unique premise that these women wake up with a gift on their thirteenth birthday. While I liked most of the characters and understood where they were coming from, I found Stella to be unnecessarily rude and took a disliking to her right away; one that I couldn't get over for the rest of the book. Really, this is a book about finding yourself and determining how one fits into their family. Despite my dislike for one of the main characters, I still found the book enjoyable.

First Line: "Anyone born and bred in Massachusetts learns early on to recognize the end of winter."


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Cosbyology by Bill Cosby

This is a collection of short stories about Bill Cosby's life. A variety of topics are presented with wit and humour. I found 'To Mr. Sapolsky with Love' the funniest as it was really about how karma comes back to bite you in the rear. 'A Gift from God', although funny is very sentimental and the story of Cosby's first skiing trip is another humorous one.

The stories are from Cosby's childhood into adult life, from school to work and leisure. This book was not laugh-out-loud funny for me but had me smiling at the insight and perception Cosby's shows of the human psyche.

First Line: "A lot of writers - like Mark Twain and James Baldwin - write long books."


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Jennifer's experienced a lot of loss in her life. Most recently, her husband passed away in a surfing accident while waiting for Jennifer to finish work and join him on vacation. When Jennifer gets a call that her grandmother Sam is in a coma, Jennifer doesn't know how much more she can take. She drives to Lake Geneva to be by her grandmother's bedside at the hospital, living in her house waiting for Sam to get better.

Jennifer finds a stack of letters from Sam saying that her life isn't what everyone thought it was. Turns out that Sam had a horrible marriage and a secret lover. As Jennifer learns about her grandmother's past, she meets Brendon who is also staying at Lake Geneva for the summer. Can Sam's letters help Jennifer move past her heartache? Will Sam recover and come out of a coma?

This is a simple but pleasing read and a good one for the summer. This is completely different from James Patterson's normal novels. I almost felt like his wife helped him out with the romance of the novel because the overall tone was quite feminine. Overall, an average book.

First Line: "Sam and I are sitting on a mostly deserted beach on Lake Michigan a little north of the Drake Hotel in Chicago."


Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

After the hype this book has been receiving (and now with the movie coming out), I thought I'd give it a try. I'd heard good and bad things so didn't know what to expect, but I was skeptical. Eat Pray Love is the journey of Gilbert after getting divorced and breaking up with her on-again, off-again boyfriend and determining that she needs to do something for herself.

Gilbert starts in Italy simply because she loves the way the Italian language sounds. She lives there for a few months, eating everything put in front of her, learning Italian with a Swedish friend she meets there, and slowly coming off of her depression medications.

Her next stop is in India where she learns meditation, devotion, and self-restraint at an Ashram. Yet even here Gilbert learns about herself, with the help of an out-spoken Texan. Gilbert's final stop is in Indonesia where she learns about healing from a medicine man and about love from a Brazilian.

The best part of the book was the first part; Eat. I found the second part (Pray) tedious and not as interesting as Italy. Perhaps that's because meditation holds no interest to me and I'm not an overly spiritual person, however I've heard this complaint from others as well. The final part (Love) improved but wasn't as good as Eat. I'm not sure I see why this book was so popular. It can't be simply because this woman followed her dream and 'found' herself, can it? I don't think I get it. I, personally, didn't gain anything from this book and found that it was a slow read.

First Line: "I wish Giovanni would kiss me."


Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Richard is an ordinary man living an ordinary life engaged to Jessica. One night he stops to help a young girl (Door) who is bleeding, much to Jessica's chagrin. Door asks him to find the Marquis for help. Once Richard involves himself in Door's life, he becomes invisible and forgotten in London above.

Richard must find Door and get his life back. But Door has problems of her own. Her whole family was murdered. Is she next to die? Richard ends up in London Below in a mess of abandoned subways and sewer tunnels. Door leads Richard on 'quests' and Richard experiences an exciting dangerous life.

This story is a dark urban fantasy. Although the characters are not likable, the reader is drawn in. Gaiman has shown his immense imagination in his fantasy world of London Below. An excellent read!!

First Line: "The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself."


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Judgment in Death - J.D. Robb

Judgment in Death by J.D. Robb

Eve Dallas is back in another installment of the In Death series, this time getting called in to investigate the murder of a cop in a club that belongs to none other than her husband Roarke. As Eve tries to determine what the motive was, she keeps finding threads leading to Max Ricker. Ricker used to do business with Roarke, when Roarke's business wasn't completely above board. Now they are enemies, with Ricker waiting years to get back at Roarke. Was he involved in the murder?

As the cops start to pile up, Eve's urge to bring justice gets more strong, as it always does. Eve always seems to over-do it in these novels, not sleeping for long period of time. I wonder if this is the most effective way to go about solving a murder. Surely some sleep could do wonders for Eve's frame of mind?

Even though Eve and Roarke have been married for a year now, she still isn't comfortable in her role as wife. The two get into a big argument that lasts about half the book. Of course, like any civilized couples, it's nothing a little chat and sex can't fix...

As always, it's pretty easy to figure out who the murderer is. I guessed within the first 50 pages and I was right. I don't like how these books always end with a sting or Eve alone confronting the killer. I wish Robb would find a new way to end a book with suspense. Still, this is as good as the rest of the series.

First Line: "She stood in Purgatory and studied death."


Noughts & Crosses

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Genre of book

Sephy is a Cross - dark-skinned and Callum is a Nought- light skinned. The Crosses run the government and the Noughts are considered the dregs of society. In this alternate world, Crosses and Noughts do not mix. Crosses are the privileged and the Noughts are distrusted and prejudiced against.

Callum's mother once worked for Sephy's family and the two have maintained a friendship and have now fallen in love. This is not a world where inter-racial relationships are allowed and the course of their love is fraught with difficulties.

The alternate society was very interesting and well thought out even to the point of showing how band aids only come in a black colour. A point that is well taken. A Romeo and Juliet story that is well worth reading.

First Line: "Honestly, Mrs Hadley, said Meggie McGregor, wiping her eyes."