Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget is a thirty something single Brit who fails miserably at losing weight, quitting smoking, and trying to find a love life. Her look through the year in her diary lays it all out there. She relies on her friends and searches to find how her life is and could possibly be if she keeps working at it.

Ms. Fielding did a fantastic job of keeping things real for Bridget. Her descriptions of the characters help to make things come even more alive and make it seem like you are right there in the book. The book is well written whether in journal or story form.

Bridget is very real and most of the time not too over the top. She has to rely on her friends since her family has their own struggles. The ones that are the most close are Tom, Shazz, and Jude. They keep her uplifted through all the things she experiences in the book.

I liked this book over all and never really saw a connection to Pride and Prejudice. There were a few mentions of the movie with Colin Firth. It's a quirky book if you can get past all the drama. By the end, it was wrapped up neatly and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I may just check out the next book in the series.

Helen Fielding/ New Author/ British Lit/ Family and Friends/ 271 pages/ Everything Austen Challenge II/ 4 out of 5

I had a nice review all typed up and then somehow deleted it. I hope to finish one more book. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beat Up A Cookie by Denise Dietz

Ellie Bernstein is at it again. Murder seems to follow her around even 7 years later. She is frustrated but Lt. Peter Miller tries to keep her on a short leash. Being a MASH lover, she never knew how it would be for someone to kill look alikes of the actors on that show. Now she feels like she must figure out what is going on before she is next.

Ms. Dietz definitely improved the depth of the characters in this one. I felt a little bit better yet was still a little too gory for a cozy mystery. There were more characters to play around with and a better glimpse into their lives. The flash backs were done well and flowed smoothly through the book. I never felt like any of it was out of place. It all made sense at the end.

Ellie was still a little bit of a snoop. Yet I really started to care for her. She finally seemed to be happy where her life was at. Her ex Tony drove me up the wall. The man didn't seem to know who or what he wanted in his life. Peter, on the other hand, was straight forward and always laid it all on the table. There was no question what he wanted and who he wanted in his life. Mick, her son, came to play more in this story than the previous one. I enjoyed seeing the depth of Ellie's character.

This book was far better than the last and not nearly as gruesome or detailed. I know it is classified as a cozy but sometimes it just didn't have that feel for me. I enjoyed it a lot more and may continue the series at another time. I am curious to see what happens next in Ellie's life and how she gets wrapped up in the next murder to solve.

Denise Dietz/Cozy Mystery/Dieting/253 pages/4 out of 5

Onto the next challenge book, so excited to read something. I will watch Pride and Prejudice next month!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova

Elena Gorokhova presents her world growing up in Russia. Her world is only one side but she does show how each side works a little bit by the people she meets and the friends she has in her life. The rules she follows are ingrained in her from childhood. It encompasses a lot of time and some of it is skipped. Yet I felt that the main part of her life was covered and all the important things are shown. I was blown away with how things are so regimented. Maybe this is only one point of view but that is not how it came across to me.

I had some difficulty believing how things are for them. Yet when dealing with kids from other countries they had the same reactions that I had while reading the book. So it helped me understand just the outside experience with the country. The repetitiveness got to me after awhile but as the story went along, it just seemed that is how they were taught to express themselves. So it fit in her world while it doesn't always fit in mine.

I was proud of Elena and all that she went through. And for the most part, she stayed as true to herself as possible. It wasn't always easy and she knew she might butt heads with her mother in some respects. But she still kept plugging along even if she had to keep secrets from her mother. I didn't agree with that, but then her life is different than mine. The one other thing I didn't agree with is the comparison to Angela's Ashes. While the book was very readable, I never had trouble eating while reading this book unlike Angela's Ashes. I was pleased to see that Mr. McCourt had liked the book. I never noticed it till I finished the book so that helped me like it a little more in the end. If you don't mind a little repeating of things and sometimes feeling a little left out, this is a good book for you. I enjoyed it for the most part and it gave me a great glimpse into a world I don't know a whole lot about. I would love to read more about this time through other people's eyes.

New Author/ Non-Fiction/Memoir/308 pages/Russia/3.5 out of 5

I am going to be posting a giveaway for this book since it is an ARC and I don't believe I'll read it again!

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

A question always nagged at the back of Betsy's head. Twenty-seven years ago, she was left on the door step of The Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies. Raised by the owners Lord and Lady Phillimore has been wonderful. Returning to the place she loved, she finds it in disarray and Lord Phillimore desperate to save the lasting piece of history his family has carried on for a long time. Betsy is given the chance to update the curriculum and make it more modern for the times. Though coming back to London also means facing her crush she had when she was younger. She also wants to solve the mystery of her parents who abandoned her.

Ms. Browne does it again! I loved the Little Lady Agency series. This one brought me back to the UK and I couldn't get enough. The characters are pretty one dimensional but I needed something with a little growth development but not piles of it. There was a nice balance and it was just what I needed. I loved seeing all the aspects of current high society life but making it relevant for anyone. Skills we all could use even me!

Betsy is such a sweet heart of a character. I couldn't get enough of her. Yes, she had her doubts and she had to learn to work through them. I kept cheering her on! Her best friend Olivia is a good balance of reality and naive. She had a lot to learn but was able to take it all in thanks to Betsy's help. They were such a good match in friendship. I enjoyed all the time that they spent together. The four girls that were in the school were so much fun. They even got to play a part in restructuring the new school.

This was a fantastic book from beginning to end. I couldn't get enough. I finished it fairly quickly yet didn't want to see it end as well. I would love to see a sequel from Olivia's point of view. That would be fun! I highly recommend it if you need a good chick-lit book that has heart.

Hester Browne/ Chick-Lit/England/New beginnings/Friendship/ 411 pages/ 5 out of 5

Off to a non-fiction book next. :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

July Stats and Reads

Sorry a little slow, but here they are finally!

1.The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (Another Favorite) 06-28-10 through 07-01-10 A+
2.Persuasion by Jane Austen 07-06-10 through 07-15-10 A
3.A Climate for Change by Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Fairley 07-19-10 through 07-25-10 A+
4.Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz 07-28-10 through 07-31-10 C

Total Books Read: 4
New Authors: 2
Fiction: 3
Children's: 0
Romance: 0
From the Stacks: 3
Books for Review:0
Books I bought: 0
Total Pages Read:1,245

Cozy Mystery: 2/6
Everything Austen II: 2/6

I hope to read a non-fiction book next but not sure what that will be. :)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz

Ellie Bernstein is the leader of a Weight Winners group. But one by one, her members are getting attacked and some of them are dead. Lt. Peter Miller comes to investigate and tells Ellie to keep her nose out of things. That is better said than done. She needs to know what is going on. But could it cost her everything?

Ms. Dietz has a good story plot line through out. I just was less than awed. I felt for the characters and wanted to get through it. There were times that I couldn't put it down. Yet there were times that classified as a cozy, things were a little too detailed from other cozy mysteries that I have read. She kept all the character story lines seperate and I was impressed.

Ellie was learning to get over things that had happened in her life. She was looking out for the people she helped lose the weight to get healthy. She has a good heart and had the right motives. Peter Miller was human in this book as well. He had a case to solve but he made sure all the people in the group who had been attacked or could be next had protection. I also loved Wanda. She was there and stuck through it even though her husband was less than supportive. She kept plugging along and brushed it off.

This mystery was interesting but some of the minor characters drove me bonkers. If someone were to go on this kind of endeavor of losing weight, support is something that is needed throughout the whole journey. I was less than impressed with some of the minor characters. I don't want to say a whole lot just because well the book fell flat in parts. Humor is needed but Tubby and Lulu seemed to take it to the negative extremes. Yeah, not sure I want to pick up the next one. I am hoping it is better. It was an interesting mystery and had no clue who was behind it all. The clues were there once it was revealed. Like I said previously, things were a little over the top.

Denise Dietz/Cozy Mystery/Dieting/251 pages/ New author/ 3.5 out of 5

Off to another book on my shelf. I hope to start it today. I'll post my stats for the month of July tomorrow.