Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Another book I've read just for fun. I'm finding, with my study schedule, that it's great to keep things light and there's nothing better for that then Young Adult Fiction. I usually don't read this genre, but many blogs I've read have reviewed Coraline, and loved it. I was curious about the storyline so I picked it up. It seemed incomplete to me, like the story could have been developed so much more. A great idea, and I'd have like to have seen a lot more story development. But, it only took me a couple of hours to read it and it was a good book. I'd like to read some more from Gaiman. It's on my long list of things to do.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Review and an "I Give Up"

What can you say about Lean Mean Thirteen? If you have read the rest of the series, you already know that you'll love it. If you haven't read the rest of the series, you should get started. At the pool this summer, I ran into a mom on #8. By the time the swimming lessons were over two weeks later, she was waiting for #13 like the rest of us. I told her the only problem with starting now from the beginning is that you'll eventually reach the place the rest of us are at -- where you have to wait a year now for the next one. Bummer.

I'm really bad at series. In fact, I can't even remember where I left off on Harry Potter. It's true that these are pretty much all the same and I try to analyze why they keep my interest then, when no other series do. I think it's because they crack me up. I mean, I actually guffaw OUT LOUD wherever I happen to be reading. I usually never laugh out loud reading books, so that really says something. Bad language, though, for those of you who are sensitive to that sort of thing.

I finally gave up on Suite Francaise. I can see how it will be a very good book and it is still on my To Be Read list. I have limited time for reading right now, though. I'm studying for licensing exams and considering buying into a yoga business here in town that is in trouble, something I have no idea how to do. Light reading is my best bet right now. So Suite Francaise will have to be shelved while I read some fast paced reads and young adult reads. I don't usually give up on books but simply have to admit that the timing is not right.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review for FUN!: The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks

This is the second book in a series. I know I reviewed the first one, "The Traveler" at some point, but it was before I had a book blog and I just can't find it. Let me just say, though, that the WORST thing about reading this series is that you'll have to wait for the third book! I was walking through my library the other day, saw that the second in the series was out and available and I almost yelped! in the library. What I DID do was snatch it up in a hurry.

I don't know quite what genre to call this series. I suppose it would be categorized as science fiction, which I don't particularly like and isn't my regular genre. It has a political message too -- if you think it's just hunky dory that we're listening in on other people's phone calls and holding people without cause, you might get a little annoyed by this book. Basically, it's a futuristic type book where "Big Brother" has gotten out of control and everything we do, buy, say...etc. is recorded and controlled.

The people who do this controlling are called The Brethren. The people who primarily resist this force and come up with new ideas and shake up the system are called The Travelers. They can travel to other realms (our world is the Fourth Realm, hell is the First Realm, etc.) and thus see things from a larger perspective. There are also warriors called Harlequins whose only job is protecting Travelers from the Brethren. I know, it sounds complicated. But, gosh, don't you wonder what would happen if a Harlequin fell in love with her Traveler?? You'll have to read it to find out!!!!

This is just, quite simply, a fun quick read. You won't be able to set either book down. As I said, the only thing that I don't like is that I'm hanging off a cliff for probably, oh, a year while I wait for the third and final installment.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer at my house

My kids, 6 and 2. It's all about Garfield, man.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

This will be a relatively short review. This is a great book. There was nothing that I didn't like about it or that dragged, etc. But somehow, it probably won't be on my "greatest books I've ever read" list. The story was good, the subject matter was sufficiently disturbing to keep me interested, and the characters were well developed. I'd recommend the book to anyone looking for a quick, satisfying literary read. I'll definitely look for more from Kim Edwards and will pick up her next book without hesitation. I read the book in just a few days and liked it.

There seemed to be something missing, something that would have made it unforgettable; and yet, I just move on to the next book and go on. I can't put my finger on what that might be...

In another note, I'll be reading a lot less over the next few months. I know that sounds crazy, what with me sponsoring the Something About Me challenge and all. Something I hadn't considered when I started that challenge was that I was going to be (and now am) in full study mode for the State Licensing exams in California for my profession. There are two exams in order to be a Marriage and Family Therapist in California, and I'm hoping to take the first one in September and the last one just before Christmas. I will select a book per month for the Something About Me challenge (can't study all the time!) and choose alternates in case I have more time to read than I think. Still, my main focus will be elsewhere until the end of the year. I do still want to read Suite Francaise before the challenge starts in August, since that is my last book for the NYT Notable challenge.

Wish me luck!! (I'll need it, if the stories I've heard are any indication)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

NYT Notable Review: Forgetfulness by Ward Just

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Ward Just. I have only read one other of his books, An Unfinished Season (link is my review). I liked that book also, but I liked this one better. Perhaps you have to be "in the mood" for Just's books, and I was this time.

In Ward Just's books (it seems...I've only read two) nothing much happens. They are not action-packed. There is a pivotal event, and then you get to ride around in the character's head for the rest of the book while they figure out how they feel about it, what it means, and so forth. When you finish a Ward Just book, you feel like you are losing a friend in a way, so close have you been inside this person's head.

This particular book centers around the murder of a French woman married to an ex-pat American (that's not a spoiler, really, it's on the jacket and comprises the first pages of the book). This takes place post 9/11, and we get a view of how the idea of terrorism has changed the world, and the views of different cultures about it. Fascinating, a quick read, and deep well developed characters.

I said this before, when I read Unfinished Season, but Ward Just has been a prolific writer and more of his books are going on my list.