Dark Places Movie!

27 Jan

I reviewed Dark Places yesterday giving it a 5/5 stars, and this morning I read that it is being made into a movie starring Amy Adams!  I cannot wait!

Speed Reviews

26 Jan

The Thorn BirdsThe Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough – 3.5/5

Genre:  Historical Fiction

This book is considered a reader’s classic.  It’s a saga-style novel that spans the early 1900s through the late 1960s and follows the Cleary family through their lives and the owners of a sheep farm in the back country of Australia.  I was completely enthralled with the story through the first half but then it lost some luster for me.  .  I knew the basics of this story from the bit of the 1980s miniseries I remember watching, and I was highly anticipating the love story aspect.  In the end, though, I didn’t ‘feel’ as deeply for the main characters and their love for each other as I expected to.  I really did think the author is extremely talented.  The description of the Australian landscape and the characters was superb.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – 4/ 5

Genre:  General Fiction

This story is about a high-school girl who loses her favorite uncle, and friend, to AIDS.  She deals with this loss in her own way, and learns a lot about life and loss through her mourning.  I wish I had the talent to write-up a book’s description in a way that actually makes people want to read the book, but alas, I don’t possess that quality.  You’ll just have to trust me that it’s good because my descriptions are atrocious.  Anyway, the main character, June, was so weird in a good way and that made me really love her and reading this book.  The story is sad, but powerful, and ends on the brightest note possible.

The White Queen (Cousins' War Series #1)

The White Queen (Cousins War #1) by Philippa Gregory- 3/ 5

Genre:  Historical Fiction

I love historical fiction, and I love Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl, among many others) but I did not love this book.  Coupled with the fact that I had a hard time keeping the characters straight – everyone’s names are Elizabeth, Edward, George, or Henry- it had waaayy to little romance and waaayyy too much war commentary.  It would be 3 or so pages describing the positions of the troops and the details of the battle, which was boring for me.  I also wasn’t as in love with the characters of this ‘War of the Roses’ time period as I was in times past.  Lastly, there was a mystical element to this story –  that Elizabeth Woodville (the White Queen)  was a descendant of a Greek water goddess and there were certain events that she controlled by directing the ‘water’.  It was kind of weird.   That said, England, before 1700, and I’m in anyways, so it was worth it for me to read.

Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – 5/5

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Ah, the coveted 5 out of 5 rating.  I. Loved. This. Book.  More so than this author’s more popular novel, “Gone Girl”.  I loved this so much for 3 main reasons:  1) The main character was super weird but likeable.  That’s my favorite kind!  I love multidimensional, flawed yet familiar main characters.  2) The mystery kept me guessing until the end.  I’ll admit I’m a good guesser and I’m always a touch disappointed when one of my guesses is right.  It wasn’t in this case!  3) the writing was excellent!  Told from multiple characters’ perspectives revealing the plot without confusing the reader.  Flynn is a near-genius in my opinion! Loved it, Loved it, Loved it!!

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – 4.5/5

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

See my opinion on this author above.  This book was similar to Dark Places, in that the character was super off the wall which I loved.  It followed the same format as Dark Places which I loved too.  The only realize I had to rate it a bit lower than Dark Places is because I guessed the mystery early on.

 

The Fault in Our Stars (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Fault in our Stars by John Green – 4/5

Genre:  General Fiction

This book is about a teenage girl dying from lung cancer.  She meets and falls in love with a boy who’s lost a leg to cancer and while they are in remission, they know their time is limited.  They have this normal yet abnormal relationship.  She’s a great character – snarky and sassy.  Her outlook on ‘the time she has left’ is so realistic yet optimistic – it’s hard to explain. The book is not nearly as sad as I thought it would be.    I liked it!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple- 3/5

Genre:  General Fiction

All right, this book is all over the place.  Best seller lists, best 2012 book lists, my book club pick, my other book club’s favorite book of 2012, etc. etc.  This book is about a girl and her family living in Seattle.  They are not normal, all with their own weird off-putting quirks.  The story is told primarily through emails and letters between characters, with some first person accounting by the daughter, Bee.  In my opinion, that style made the story seem more comical than I think was intended.  It just seemed forced.  Like I don’t think people write 10 page long emails complete with re-capped conversations.  Not sure why this was done.  Also, I didn’t get a good sense of any of the characters.  I mean they described them plenty, but since it was all through emails from them or about them from others, it was a bit disjointed and hard for me to get in their heads.  Lastly, it seemed to be all over the place – Microsoft, Galer Street, the house stuff, Antarctica, the cruise, Straight Gate – it was just so much!  On the other hand, the storyline moved very quickly and it wasn’t hard to finish the book.  And it was somewhat entertaining in spite of some of its shortcomings.

Welcome!

29 Aug

This is a blog dedicated to my personal reading journey and to help guide people to the books that will keep them entertained and interested in reading, which I think is important for everyone!

You can find my recommendations by genre or ‘category’ under the Find A Book to Read section.

If you don’t see something that you’d like to read, drop me a note and ask for a special recommendation – I’d love to help if I can.

 

Really Great Mysteries

29 Aug

Who doesn’t love a great mystery!?  Here are some of my favorite mysteries.  They are all well-written, with a creative plot and interesting characters.  These all break the mold for an ‘average’ who-dun-it.

 

1.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Wow.  Just Wow.

Gone Girl

2.  The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

The Snowman

3.  Faithful Place by Tana French

Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad Series #3)

4.  A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley Mystery #1) by Elizabeth George

A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley Series #1)

5.  And then there were None by Agatha Christie

Classic!

And Then There Were None

6.  Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

7.  Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Slightly thriller rather than mystery but still counts!

Before I Go to Sleep

Speed Reviews – Divergent, Insurgent, Gone Girl, The Snowman, Before I Go To Sleep, Broken Harbor

20 Aug

I’ve read some AWESOME books over the past 2 months.  Unfortunately, I have fallen seriously behind in my book reviews and I need to stop the bleeding.  So, in 50 words or less, here’s my take on the last several books I’ve read: 

Divergent (Divergent Series #1)

Divergent (Divergent Series #1) by Veronica Roth – 3/5 stars

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Similar to the Hunger Games in general plot outline (teen girl in post-apocalyptic United States) and intended audience (young adult) but is a bit more grown up and complicated than the Hunger Games.  Main love interest, named Four,  is also not wussy like Peeta in Hunger Games.  And no bs- the author is 23.  TWENTY-THREE. 

Insurgent (Divergent Series #2)

Insurgent (Divergent Series #2)  by Veronica Roth – 2.5/5 stars

Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian

Obviously, this is the follow-up book to Divergent.  While there were some things I liked about the plot progression, I did NOT like this book as well.  I had trouble keeping the characters straight.  It is set up nicely for the 3rd book, due out Fall 203.  Movie rights have been sold!

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – 3.5/5 stars

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Here’s another really good book!  While I had some minor issues with the plot and character development, I loved it because I did not see the ending coming AT ALL.  It took me completely by surprise.  Which is hard to do, and I liked the book simply for that reason.  This book is all the rage right now – NYT bestseller for at least 10 weeks, and the movie rights have also been sold to 20th century Fox and Reese Witherspoon’s production company is producing it (and Reese will star in it).   

The Snowman

The Snowman by Jo  Nesbø- 4/5 stars

Genre:  Mystery

This writer is Norwegian and his novels take place in Oslo.  The Snowman is a “Harry Hole Mystery” featuring Detective Harry Hole.  It was exceptionally written, although pretty graphic which I believe all of his novels are.  It kept me guessing though! 

Before I Go to Sleep

Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson – 4/5 stars

Genre: Thriller

 A woman has amnesia and forgets everything about herself after going to sleep.  This might sound weird – I was skeptical but it turned out to be totally believable.  It is fast paced and just wow.  I don’t want to tell you too much more.   It’s so good! 

Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad Series #4)Broken Harbor (Dublin Mystery Series #4) by Tana French  – 3.5/5 stars

Genre: Mystery

I was a bit disappointed with this one, although  it was still good.  I got a little bored at times.  I didn’t like this detective as much as the ones in her other books, but the story was strong.  I love Irish feel to French’s books.

Books That are Entertaining but will not Hurt Your Brain

14 Jul

…yet not so simple that you’ll feel dumber after you finish it.  These books are solidly written but not particularly controversial, entertaining but can be put down.  Pairs well with the pool or beach or traveling.  Also good as a chaser to a really thought-provoking novel.

These books make super book club picks for newer clubs still feeling out the preferences of their members.

Enjoy!

1.  Saving Cee-Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Officially categorized as Adult Fiction, but borderline Young Adult.  First person story of an 12-year old girl who begins living with her grandmother and maid in Savannah, Georgia after her mentally ill mother passes away.

2.  The Firm by John Grisham

A newly graduated Harvard lawyer takes a job with a powerful firm in Tennessee, only to find that their practices are not exactly above-board.

The Firm

 3.  The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

A girl’s father’s murder is being released after 23 years in prison.  The man’s son is a lawyer fighting to prove his innocence.  The 2 of them form a sort of relationship and work to move past the losses they’ve both experienced.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

4.  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Told from the perspective of Enzo, a golden retriever nearing the end of his life.  It is pretty touching, especially for those who have pets.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

5.  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The story about Lily, a girl who witnessed her mom’s murder when she was four.

The Secret Life of Bees

6.  The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Mary Boleyn becomes the newest conquest of King Henry VIII, and she is expected to play the part to bring her family fame and fortune.  It is not, however, as easy as one might expect.

The Other Boleyn Girl

7.  American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Alice grows up as a part of the baby boomer generation and falls in love with a man who ends up becoming president of the United States.

American Wife

8.  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

The fictional life of a famous geisha named Sayuri born in the late 1920s.

Memoirs of a Geisha

 

Read all of these?  Message me for more –  I can certainly add to this list!

Do you have any books you would add?

Matchmaking

11 Jul

A lot of times when I’m searching for a book to read, I know I’m in the mood to read a certain type of book.  Unfortunately, the description I’d use rarely matches up with the ‘general’ categories used in the libraries and book stores.  For example, last month I was looking for something “smart and sassy like chick lit, but smart chick lit with a heroine I can really support and not some boring Manhattanite” and the book I finally found the library categorized as “Fiction”.  It gets tedious to find a book that fits my specific reading mood.

I also talked with a dear friend yesterday about how my blog works great for me but it’s not super user-friendly.  She explained that there’s a lot of information about good books on my site, she’s just not sure what to do with it.

So taking all of that into account, I am going to attempt to play matchmaker with my readers and the books I am familiar with, I am introducing a new section of my blog where I pair a mood with a book that will fit it.

If you are looking for something to read, please email me or comment and I’ll help find you something that will be perfect.  Then I can add what you were in the mood for to this too!