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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Margot by Jillian Cantor

Margot

Margot by Jillian Cantor

From Goodreads:

Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten.

In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.

Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.


Many of us probably have read The Diary of Anne Frank (I read the Chinese version when I was a kid). But what if her sister is still alive?

Interesting premise huh. It was just an okay read  - I think there is so much potential, but this read a bit more like a chicklit than what I was expecting.

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film


Night Film by Marisha Pessl 

From Goodreads:
NEW YORK TIMES bestseller and Goodreads Choice Award Nominee! 

A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.
On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.
For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.
The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.
Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.




I was excited to read this book as it sounds very intriguing. I was drawn into the mystery, and really wanted to find out what happened. 


It would have been a better book if (1) it's shorter and more concise - I found myself skimping through parts of it (2) has a tidier ending - and I am not the only who felt like, "wait, what happened...?"


For some reasons, I think this will actually make a better movie than a book. 



Note - The book was borrowed from the library.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2 months?!

Wow has it really been 2 months since I last posted?!

Work has been crazy busy... hence my silence.

I am now also behind on reviews - by 4 fiction and 3 graphic novels (a series).

Hopefully I will have the energy to post soon. Was going to do one or two today, but got a cold so I'm taking it easy instead...

Hope everyone is doing well! The long winter is killing me here... I really can't wait till spring!



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review - The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty


The Husband's Secret

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

I saw that this book made it to many blogger's Top 10 in 2013. I had read her other book, What Alice Forgot (see review here) and liked it okay, thinking it'd be a stronger story if it was shorter.

I have the exact feedback for this book - at almost 400 pages, it was just a bit too long. I do like the story better than What Alice Forgot, as I enjoyed discovering how the three seemingly unrelated characters intertwined in the story. There are also many "what if" questions that made you wonder how you'd react, such as - [POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD] Would you open a letter written by your husband now or later, if you were supposed to open it upon his death? What would you do if your daughter was murdered and the killer was never found? What if your husband and best friend fall in love? [/SPOILER]

This book is still a bit chicklity and once again, it reconfirms that it's not really my genre (I don't know why I keep trying). Not the worst I'd read though. But like most books in this genre, it was a little predictable and I was able to guess the husband's secret early. Thus I think some tighter editing and maybe a little less foreshadowing would turn this into a better read.

3.5 Stars.


Note - The book was borrowed from the library.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky


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Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

I like reading about other occupations. So when someone said they enjoyed reading this book about a guy who worked in hospitality, I thought it'd be a fun read, especially since I enjoy traveling (which means, mostly staying at hotels).

I was a little disappointed that the author had only worked at a couple of hotels, though he did work in a few different positions from valet to front desk to manage of housekeeping. There were some good to know do's and don'ts for guests (especially if you want "free" upgrades), and made you appreciate the hard job the staff has to do (especially for housekeeping!) But I don't know if this needs to be a full book size as I got a bit bored in the middle.

Not bad, but not the best memoir out there. 3 Stars.



Note - The book was borrowed from the library.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Books Read in 2014


Will be updated throughout the year.
What I'd read in the past years: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. (Reviews started in 2010)
Wow, I've blogged for 4 years as I started in Jan 2010! Totally forget about that.

Fiction:

  1. My Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (3.5 Stars)
  2. Night Film by Marisha Pessl (3.5 Stars)
  3. Margot by Jillian Cantor (3 Stars)
  4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (4 Stars)
  5. The Color of Earth (Color Trilogy, #1) by Kim Dong Hwa (3.5 Stars)
  6. The Color of Water (Color Trilogy, #2) by Kim Dong Hwa (3 Stars)
  7. The Color of Heaven Color Trilogy, #3) by Kim Dong Hwa (3.5 Stars)
  8. Points and Lines by Seicho Matsumoto (4 Stars)
  9. What I had Before I had You by Sarah Cornwell (3 Stars)
  10. The Forever Girl by Alexander McCall Smith (2 Stars)
  11. 黑夜旋律 by 譚劍 (3.5 Stars) 

Non-Fiction:

  1. Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky (3 Stars)
  2. The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change by Matthew May (3 Stars)



Children's Books:

  1. Brady Needs a Nightlight by Brian Barlics


Did Not Finish (DNF) - Fiction:

  1. x


Did Not Finish (DNF) - Non-Fiction:

  1. x









All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

KID Book Review: Brady Needs a Nightlight by Brian Barlics

Brady Needs a Nightlight

Brady Needs a Nightlight by Brian Barlics

Normally I don't read children books... but of course after my son is born, I have to start! He seems to be interested in books so far - at least he thinks they are yummy since he keeps chewing on them! Though lately he likes flipping the books by himself, even if I am not around. And I note that he even knows to turn the book right side up all by himself!

When TLC Tour asked if I want to review this book, I agreed as I don't know anything about children books. As a child, I read mostly children books in Chinese, so apart from a few famous ones in English (some of the translated into Chinese), I just don't even know where to start. (And nope, I didn't read any Dr Seuss until the last 1.5 years!)

This is a very cute book - I mean, Brady is a bat, but he is not at all spooky or scary! The illustrations were nicely done by Gregory Burgess Jones, and I like the verse (I like verses that rhyme! So much more fun to read out loud). Plus I like fireflies - seem how cute that one on the cover is?

I think when my son gets older, especially when/if he starts getting scared in the dark, this would be a fun and useful book to read together! Even if he have this fear, this is a still great bedtime story too.

Fun fact - the author is also a Pediatrician!



Don't forget to check out the other tours!

Brian Barlics’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 6th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Tuesday, January 7th:  Allison’s Book Bag
Tuesday, January 7th:  Mental Foodie
Wednesday, January 8th:  Book Dilettante
Thursday, January 9th:  Cherry Blossoms
Friday, January 10th:  Not in Jersey
Monday, January 13th:  Read Lately
Tuesday, January 14th:  Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, January 15th:  Simply Stacie
Thursday, January 16th:  Melissa Northway
Friday, January 17th:  Cheryl’s Book Nook
Monday, January 20th:  Babblin’ Brooke
Tuesday, January 21st:  Musings by Maureen
Wednesday, January 22nd:  Quirky Bookworm
Thursday, January 23rd:  Red Headed Book Child
Monday, January 27th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Note - Received a free copy from TLC Tour in exchange for an unbiased review.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.