Thursday, July 30, 2009

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes has an obsession with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice among other Austen works. She is also thoroughly in love with Mr. Darcy. No man has ever measured up to that in the past 13 boyfriends. Her great-aunt Carolyn comes to visit with her mother. Once great-aunt Carolyn dies, Jane inherits a trip to England to a place called Pembrook Park. It is the world of Jane Austen brought to life. Jane is enthralled from the beginning. This could be the one thing that helps her understand her obsession and maybe conquer it once and for all.

Ms. Hale really knows her stuff. Her research shows and I completely felt swept up in the Regency world. Her characters had flaws but it made it even more real. The journey she took them on was interesting with the whole concept of play acting. It was difficult to distinguish at times what was real and what was just acting. I really did like seeing the world brought to life by one character's eyes. It made it more vivid and the challenges were interesting.

Jane sees a gift and takes it. She has to figure out how to just play along. Getting rid of her fantasy is the idea behind it all or at least toning it down. Knowing she'll never truly meet her ideal man, she takes the trip for what it is. A way to glimpse into the world she has always dreamed about. She looks over her past 13 relationships and sees what was wrong with all of them. Dreaming about Mr. Darcy is not a bad thing but it's hindering her real world relationships.

Can she find a way to enjoy her dream but go back to the real world? Jane certainly has her hands full with the way things are playing out in her play acting world. Ms. Hale did an amazing job with this story. It was also very sweet due to being set during the Regency period and the strict rules that they had to follow. I loved every minute of it! I will definitely check out the other works by this author that are geared more towards the Young Adult crowd.

Shannon Hale/ New Author/ 208 pages/Adult Fiction/ Regency World/5 out of 5

It took me longer than I wanted to put this one together. It was a great book though. Now I am reading another new author for me but not sure I'll finish it by the end of the month. We'll see.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

Requesting this book back when I was still a member of Paperback swap, I wasn't sure what exactly to expect. Along the way, not only did I learn about our health care system, the background of the medical community all over the world, but also how we responded poorly at first to the flu epidemic of 1918. Mr. Barry only expected to show about the people behind trying to solve what caused it. It became so much more and you got so much background that it truly helped give you a great look into how things were formed.

Mr. Barry took his time and kept things interesting. I never lost interest or seemed like it was boring. There were a few multiple lines of things he had to describe but nothing overwhelming. I was impressed with his knowledge. He was able to find so much when there wasn't a lot of reporting done. People's lives were at stake and that was the main focus. They worked diligently night and day to find the cause of the illness so that they could produce a vaccination to curtail the deaths.

This was a book that fascinated me from the beginning. I would definitely love to read more by this author. He has a way of captivating your attention from the very first page till the end. He makes history come alive in the pages but never condemns anyone for their actions. He just presents the whole picture of what happened and leaves it up to you to decide. A book to check out if you love History and want to get a good picture of a huge event that changed lives forever.

John M. Barry/New author/ History/ Chunkster/ 546 pages/4 out of 5

Off to some lighter reading with Debbie Macomber.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bowing My Head in Rememberance

I just saw the article that Frank McCourt has died. A man who changed my outlook on reading and non-fiction is gone. Here is the link to the article from the NY Times.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A sad day

Frank McCourt, one of my all time favorite authors, is sick. His brother has come out and said they don't expect him to survive. If you'd like to read the full article, here is the link:

This is one author who I have loved to read since I picked up Angela's Ashes and knowing how impressed he was with the film made it even better! This will be a sad day if he does end up dying. I guess all I can do is watch and pray.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks

Jan loves being an actress but a tragic accident leaves her with a limp foot and the desire to hide herself. Meeting the doctor Charlie just turns her life up side down. Years later, after having no children, Jan is desperate. Sitting in her garden one day, she sees a fairy. A grown up seeing a fairy is unusual but then Tiki decides to help Jan with having a child. The baby girl is beautiful but underneath it all is a Fairy Queen who is not happy at all. They have a battle ahead of them that even they don't know how to handle.

Ms. Banks creativity shines through on this one. The fairies are real and there are good ones and bad ones which only makes it more true to life. The idea of being granted a fairy baby is so different. The story may be a little short but the detailed descriptions really pull this story. I was so pleased with how well it was written and the ending as well.

Jan may be a spoiled woman in the beginning but her heart shines through for her daughter Bindi. I loved the conversations with the fairy Tiki. Her husband Charlie doesn't believe her at first. Even I would have my doubts about what was said in this story. He never said she was wrong but that he couldn't believe her. I hated to see the story end.

This is one story that I have had for way too long. I'll treasure it forever and may even read it again. It's so beautiful. The battle between good and evil make it an even greater story. It pulls you in and I had to slow myself down so that I wouldn't read too fast. It grips you from the beginning and doesn't let you go till the very end. Having read this author before, I definitely want to see what else she has written.

Lynne Reid Banks/ New Author/ Children's Book/128 pages/ Fairies/ 5 out of 5

I read Maura's Angel by this author sent in Belfast, Northern Ireland so might have to re-read it since it's been years. The cover I'm posting is my favorite. They changed it and it doesn't have the same affect I think.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Note by Angela Hunt

Peyton MacGruder works hard for writing her column for the Tampa Times and is single. Yet when she learns her column “The Heart Healer” is ranked last in a reader poll, she is only given two weeks to turn it around. Then the unthinkable happens. PanWorld Flight 848 crashes and bursts into flames. Peyton is given a note in a plastic bag that is washed up onto the shore. This just might be what she is looking for and since there is not a lot of indicators she must search to find the intended for the note. She's determined to give the note to the intended owner. But as the story gains national attention, there is a lot more that Peyton will have to battle besides her emotions.

Ms. Hunt has always been a favorite author of mine. I've had this book for quite some time and was so glad to read another one of her stories. The emotion, the passion, and how she backs everything up with biblical things just blows me away every time. Ms. Hunt gets to the heart of the matter and doesn't let go till your own emotions are pulled to the surface. The characters are not perfect and you just hope to see things get better and that there is some resolution.

Peyton keeps her heart close and rarely reaches out to other people. This note handed to her changes her view of things and she begins to question the decisions she has made for her own life. The voice of reason often comes from her former boss Kingston Bernard. He is there when she truly needs a friend and offers her help with interviewing the possibilities she has for the intended of the note.

This story full of emotions truly showed how reconciliation is important since you never know when something may happen to take away that chance. Ms. Hunt gives you great insight to each characters' view of Peyton that she comes in contact with or works with. I truly appreciated that and never felt that it pulled away from the story itself. It only added a greater depth and insight that I found very helpful. This book may have just become my favorite of the year. Definitely a book to have tissues near by.

Angela Hunt/ Tragedy/ Christian Fiction/ 320 pages/ 5 out of 5

The book was much better than the movie since it was easier to follow in some aspects. It's not a horrible movie but the changes they made to it, I really didn't care for. They pushed some things for dramatic effect or genders that I found unnecessary. All in all, both are well done but pick up the book first if you are able. Sometime this weekend, I plan on picking up a young adult book that I've had for quite some time!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One False Move by Harlan Coben

Myron is not the kind of guy who babysits, yet when he gets a call to keep an eye on the pro basketball player Brenda Slaughter, he cannot say no. The case is puzzling and he has known her for a long time. Brenda's mother disappeared twenty years ago, and is now getting calls to try to contact her. She is at a loss since she recently filed a restraining order on her father. The people popping out of the wood work wanting to keep things quiet range from a high society member to a mob boss trying to start a new women's basketball league. Things could get interesting and Myron is struggling in his own life.

Harlan Coben never disappoints me. The characters always come back and bring more depth to the story. As usual, the humor was there and I loved it! Win certainly knows how to move mountains. The man has a reputation and well earned at that. The series moves along nicely at a good pace and I am looking forward to reading the next one.

Myron has a lot on his mind. His relationship with his girl friend just isn't going where he would like at times but doesn't really want to push. Meanwhile Esperanza wants more out of her job than what she currently has. Myron struggles not only with all of it and how to handle it. Win doesn't help him make decisions just shows things to him in a different light. That is why I think they are such good friends is that they can flush things out and discuss without offending one another.

I am curious to see where this goes next and happy I have a few more books left before his latest comes out in paperback. This is one series that I have really grown to love and an author who always has a twist that I don't see coming at the end. Definitely an all time favorite author and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!

Harlan Coben/ Myron Bolitar Series/ Mystery/400 pages/Sports/4 out of 5

I am off reading a Christian Fiction book that has been on my shelves for awhile now. Definitely need a break in reading styles.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dating Games by Leigh Michaels

Rachel Todd is sick of friends wanting to set her up. She would rather stay single. “Crash” McKenna is his family's only client and they want to see him just as happy as they are. Yet if they work together, maybe it will finally get the line of dates off their backs. “Crash” knows their plan isn't all that simple so why is he going along with it?

Ms. Michaels is a fantastic writer. She has this family series that keeps you in stitches. The story moves along at a great pace and the twist at the end is one that I never saw coming. Though I rarely do see them coming in all honesty. She keeps you hoping for the best for the characters even if they are denying it themselves.

Rachel keeps all men at a distance. She knows her career could go somewhere and relationships just aren't her thing. She is a sweetheart but knows something is missing. The thing is the secrets in her past keep her locked away. “Crash” is sick of being fixed up by his family. He longs for his own family but knows that it will come along at the right time. The whole situation he finds himself in isn't how he'd have it happen but he's not about to turn away a gift.

Even though this is the last in the series, I loved it so much! I honestly didn't even know it was part of a series so it had no effect on the book itself. It can certainly be read alone and I'd love to get my hands on the rest of the series eventually. Ms. Michaels writes with such emotion that I had to go back and read the ending a second time cause tears were streaming down my face. The majority of the book was light and had me in stitches. It was nice to know that even older, authors still like to write clean simple romances. So much can be experienced in a simple kiss. I will definitely seek more of this author's work out! I think I found a new favorite author.

Leigh Michaels/New Author/Romance/187 pages/ Family/ Matchmaking/ 5 out of 5

Now off to something different, a Harlan Coben book. :)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

Thursday will have quite a situation on her hands. Changes must be made or outlanders will no longer read. In the last fourteen years, readership has dropped. Having to hide her what she does, certainly doesn't make things easier than taking up a laying carpet job as a front. Her sixteen year old son would rather sleep than take up his destiny as leader of the Chronoguard. And having to train a new cadet in the book world is only the beginning. She has to face down her worst enemy, herself.

Mr. Fforde has done it again! It has taken me a long time to pick up this book and boy am I glad I have now! There is so much literature stuff involved in this book that it just makes me very happy. The depth of characters and seeing how the world has changed for Thursday has been enjoyable. There were a few times I wasn't sure how Mr. Fforde would wrap things up but old nemeses coming into play shook up this reader's world. The twists and turns in this plot had me flipping pages over and over again. This is one author who certainly knows how to write good fiction!

Thursday has grown up and has more children with Landon. Landon is still trying to write the great novel and not having a whole lot of luck. Thursday does her best to help him but it still seems to fall short. Not to mention that Thursday is battling the book world issues and trying to make her life better at the same time. Her son Friday just wants to play in a band and forget about the chronoguard even though her father was involved in that. Things cannot seem to get any more messy for Thursday.

I won't give away any of my favorite parts but I thank authors who have allowed Mr. Fforde to pop their characters in. It was seriously too much fun for this reader! I cannot wait for the next Thursday Next book and am curious to read the book he has coming out in December. Hopefully this time, it won't take nearly as long to get to it.

Jasper Fforde/ Thursday Next Series/ 384 pages/Literary/ 4 out of 5

Keep an eye open for a fun post in the next couple of days!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

My June Stat s and Read

Yes you read that right, it says read. I only read one book but boy it was a big one.

Total Books I Read: 1
New Authors: 1
Non-fiction: 1
Chunksters: 1
Mystery: 0
Romance: 0
From the Stacks: 1
Books For Review:0
Books I Bought: 0
Total Pages Read: 736 pages

My hours at work went up and down constantly plus being wiped out from the pregnancy hasn't helped much either. I am hoping this month to do much better and get another chunkster in. We'll see!

The Great Shame by Thomas Keneally

This book is full of situations and people that I've known about most of my life. Yet Mr. Keneally puts a new spin on them and gives them more depth than what I've ever read. He never truly paints things black and white in my opinion. He just puts all the information in front of you. This author certainly did his research and I was so impressed with the details that were on every page.

Mr. Keneally researched every aspect so that the span of the book made sense. The 19th century history book was fascinating from all angles. It started before the Potato Famine talking about the convict ships that went to Australia and went through the Civil War. His telling of history in Australia, Ireland, and America was captivating and there were times I couldn't put the book down. There are even times when the book centers on things that happen in Canada since they did land there as well.

The only part that lacked for me was not more about the author's ancestors. I guess I expected more than what I ended up with. The book featured a lot of people that I knew and it was interesting to read about the lives of people and where they ended up at the end. Being a big book can be daunting to most people, but if you keep with it, you will definitely be rewarded. I was sad to see it go but all loose ends were tied up. I am curious to read Schindler's List now since he wrote the book about it. The one thing Mr. Keneally did was make sure to point out where the mistakes were made by both sides yet never actually pointing fingers. This sweeping book of history encompasses so many things that it's difficult to write a review for this one. I am glad I did finally pick up this book cause it was worth every bit of time. I applaud Mr. Keneally for writing such a fantastic book and taking the effort to compile all the information.

Thomas Keneally/ New Author/ Non-Fiction/ History/736 pages/ 5 out of 5

Next up a quick post of my stats for last month.