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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2nd Cat

We found a potential 2nd cat that sounds like a great match for our first cat Kunik! We'll be picking her up this Saturday and hopefully they'll become buddies! Reading up on how to introduce kitties now...


We'll be driving 10 hours (same day return) that day to take her home... it's from the same shelter and they'd just been wonderful to try to find a good match, so I'm sure it'd be worth the drive as we love Kunik!

10 hours drive - also means lots of reading time if I don't fall asleep, like I did last time :)

Will post some pics once we get her!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Updates - Books and Cats

Books
  • As you can see, I'd been reading, but didn't have a chance to do my 6 book reviews until now for the books I read in July (except one!) I averaged about 10 books a month, and didn't quite reach that this month, since I was busy doing research about cats, and got busy with the cat we adopted! (updates about the kitty below!)
  • Reading Veracity by Laura Bynum now - another dystopian book. I am really enjoying this genre. Though I am struggling with this book... I heard it's a little scary if it comes true... but I just can't seem to focus right now. I'm on p73 right now. I have to return it to the library by early August... I may just have to return it, and read it later when I feel like it. I think with my lack of sleep, I just need something easy to read! Anyone read it? Worth sticking to?
  • My next Book Club read is The Last Picture Show. I think it's a movie too? No idea, never heard of it...
  • Again, I am behind visiting everyone's blogs!!! I have over 1000+ new posts to read. Sorry about that! Will try my best to catch up soon... I was supposed to vote for the genre I registered with for BBAW, and didn't have time to do that!
  • And THANK YOU for all your comments on my blog too! Will reply soon!


Cat
  • Well it's been just over a week since we had him! To answer some of your questions, the shelter thinks he's a Scottish Fold with straight ears. He's about 1.5 years old, 7lb or so. He's a small cat but has a rather long body for his head proportion! :)
  • I think we'll call him Kunik - which means Eskimo Kisses as he likes giving them! Still trying to see if this name will fit him. It's so hard to come up with a name that fits his look and personality!
  • The first night was tough, he cried all night... and we were exhausted after a 9 hours drive that day (return). But he had adapted amazingly well - using his litter box perfectly, eating fine, loves following us around, loves being petted, loves having his tummy rubbed. He keeps rolling over and over in front of us. He can get a little vocal at times, like waking us up at 5am-ish 3 days in a row for more food, and we're not morning people :p He also cried for a few minutes when we go to bed but hadn't done that the past couple of nights. He doesn't really want to sleep in bed with us, he just likes being in the same room with us, preferably somewhere high, so he can watch us. But I can't get sleep that way with him walking over my pillows all night!
  • He LOVES his cat tree - so glad we got it!! Catnip has NO effect whatsoever on him. Doesn't really like play toys either. I should do product reviews of all the things I'd gotten him! I did a lot of research, and that's why I didn't much time to read or blog this past couple of weeks... I have a tendency to do A LOT of research, list pro/con, before I make a decision...
  • So, so far so good with the cat. We'll probably get a 2nd cat soon to keep him company. We went to the shelter yesterday but didn't really see any that jumps out to us. We don't just a 2nd cat, we want one who'll be a good fit for Kunik personality wise. We want them to be good buddies, not just 2 cats who'll try to tolerate each other in the house
  • Today, we were watching some video about cats we were looking into adopting. When Kunik heard the cat meow, he just stared at my monitor and wouldn't look away!! Husband J found some other clips of other cats meowing (just to see if it's that particular cat, or just the meowing), and Kunik went behind his monitor, figuring that's where the meowing was coming from, only to be disappointed that there were no cats hiding behind the computer :( He wasn't hissing or anything, just got really curious. We think he really, really misses his other cat friends in the foster home (there were 6 there). While I think he's happy with our attention so far, he can definitely use a friend, especially at night when we're sleeping! So our hunt for a 2nd cat continues!
  • Yesterday he missed his steps and fell from the window sill to the cat tree (not a very high drop) - my heart almost jumped out! Good thing cats have 9 lives and are good at landing from high drops!!
  • If anyone is in the Mid-West looking to adopt a cat, I can high recommend the shelter we got our cat from - Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue (SPCR)! The foster mum was amazing, and answered my numerous questions. And they took such good care of the cats. I didn't really have a preference for purebred or not - I just happen to like the look and personality of Kunik! That was even before I knew he was a Scottish Fold (he doesn't have the signature folded ears, so I had no idea), and I had always thought Scottish Folds were cute with a wonderful personality! So I got what I wanted, without even knowing it!
  • I have to say he's a great first cat to have. I couldn't have asked for a better first cat. Now hopefully we can find another great cat that's a good fit for our home!

Book Review - Still Missing: A Novel by Chevy Stevens













Title: Still Missing: A Novel
Author: Chevy Stevens
Year: 2010
Page: 352
Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Yes
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? Canada
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old Realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor of the day pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.  Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive of a sadistic psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered spirit back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor. The truth doesn’t always set you free.
 
First Sentence:
you know, Doc, you're not the first shrink I've seen since I got back.   

Why did I pick this book?
I had read my good reviews about this book from different blogs. I think Thoughts of Joy's review made me put it on my ever growing TBR list!

My thoughts:
  • Very strong voice from the portangonist - I like that! You feel like you really got to know the character. I am the same age as the protagonist, so definitely hit close to home! (Though I am not a Realtor)
  • Since I recently read Damaged, which was also sent in Canada and was a book in a similar genre, I got a little mixed up while reading this book (I think both mentioned Vancouver Island?). But then again my mind had been preoccupied with the cat in the past couple of weeks, so I am not paying as much attention as I usually do when I read! Also, the named Berger was mentioned in this book, and it was a name also used in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So interesting to see these connections! Some people may also find Still Missing a bit too graphic - I'd say it's about the same as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or slightly less.
  • The way the mystery revealed was a bit abrupt. While it wasn't totally expected, it was just revealed too fast and made me question, that's it?? 
  • I wasn't happy with the ending either. It was a bit of a let down and disappointing, and tied things up a bit too perfectly. Hence this is a 4 Stars book to me instead of higher.
  • Being abducted was a nightmare no one would want, yet I didn't feel overly emotional about it. I definitely wanted to find out what happened, but I didn't feel as scared as I thought I would 
  • The book title was very appropriate!! DO NOT read the quote below if you don't want to find out why I thought it was a good title!

    Quote:
    Doc, it was a flyer with my face on it -- my face -- over the words Missing Realtor. I just kept staring, and until a drop landed on my hand, I wasn't even aware I was crying. Maybe I should put up my own flyers: Still Missing. (p207)

     
    Rating: 4 Stars

     
    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


    Challenges:
    100+ Reading

    Book Review - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson












    Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    Author: Stieg Larsson
    Year: 2008
    Page: 480
    Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

    New to me author? Yes
    Read this author again? Yes
    Tearjerker? No
    Where did it take place? Sweden
    FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

    Summary (from goodreads.com):
    Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.


    First Sentence:
    The trial was irretrievably over; everything that could be said had been said, but he had never doubted that he would lose.
     
    Why did I pick this book?
    Have heard lots of good things about this book. I must be one of the very few people who hadn't read it. It happened to be the book pick for the Book Club in July, so I thought I'd wait to read it with the group!


    My thoughts:
    • I liked it, but didn't love it. I wonder if it's because I read quite a few books in this genre, so I had high expectations, and didn't quite get all the hype? It was good but not THAT good
    • I did like that the characters were more unique, that you could definitely visualize them as you read
    • Some felt parts of the book was quite graphic - yes, kind of, but it wasn't the worst I'd read. Fiction wise, I was repulsed after reading The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum, and wondered why anyone could have written on such a topic - though in the "after words" in the back of that book, the author explained why he wrote it, which made me feel a little better. But gosh, after all the murder / mystery books I'd read, including True Crime books, nothing disgusted me quite as much as The Girl Next Door - perhaps that just spoke volume about the author's writing abilities then... anyway... so while there were some disturbing parts in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I wasn't quite shocked, but your mileage may vary.
    • The who dunnit part of the book also revealed a bit too early for me, and made me wondered what was going to happen to the rest of the book... but I heard that the author intended this to be a trilogy (again!!!) to begin with, so it just didn't wrap up after the mystery was solved. I guess I wasn't too surprised about some of the twists in the book either...
    • Some of the Swedish reference in the book didn't mean much and had to google - e.g. who were Kalle Blomkvist and Pippi Longstocking that were supposedly like Mikael and Lisbeth? Also, a lot of the Swedish names (people or places) got a little confusing!
    • The book could probably use some editing too, it was a bit long. I heard that the publishes decided to publish as is, after the author died? Pretty sad though that he passed before seeing his books got published. I wonder if part of the hype was because of his death?
    • I heard the movie was quite true to the book, so I look forward to watching that!
    • I will probably read Book 2 and 3, just to find out what happened. But I don't love it enough to go out and buy the books. I can wait for the library copy to come in (queue number 67 or something!)

      Quote:
      People always have secrets. It's just a matter of finding out what hey are. (p126)

       
      Rating: 3.5 Stars



       
      Have you read this book? 
      If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


      Challenges:
      100+ Reading

      Book Review - Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord










      Title: Hector and the Search for Happiness
      Author: Francois Lelord
      Year: 2010
      Page: 192
      Genre: Fiction - Philosophy

      New to me author? Yes
      Read this author again? Maybe
      Tearjerker? No
      Where did it take place? France and around the world
      FTC Disclosure: Part of Crazy Book Tours!

      Summary (from goodreads.com):
      Can we learn how to be happy? Hector is a successful young psychiatrist. He s very good at treating patients in real need of his help. But many people he sees have no health problems: they re just deeply dissatisfied with their lives. Hector can t do much for them, and it s beginning to depress him. So when a patient tells him he looks in need of a holiday, Hector decides to set off round the world to find out what makes people everywhere happy (and sad), and whether there is such a thing as the secret of true happiness... Over a million readers worldwide have engaged with psychiatrist François Lelord s modern fable. Narrated with deceptive simplicity, its perceptive observations on happiness offer us the chance to reflect on the contentment we all look for in our own lives. More like Tintin than Freud François Lelord on Hector Intelligently naïve Marie Claire


      First Sentence:
      Once upon a time there was a young psychiatrist called Hector who was not very satisfied with himself.
        
      Why did I pick this book?
      The book was compared to The Little Prince, which I love. And hey, who doesn't want to be happy?

      My thoughts:
      • This is a fast read, I finished it within a day
      • It was a bit philosophical, but wasn't too hard to understand. In fact, some of the Lessons that Hector found were common sense. It was nice that he put it into a list - which I'll copy and paste into Quotes below.
      • Can't say I really feel attached to Hector though, and didn't agree with some of his thoughts and actions (won't elaborate or it'd be spoilers)
      • It was kinda fun to guess which country Hector traveled to - he didn't specifically say where he went (apart from China), but it wasn't too hard to figure it out. Which made me wonder why China was the exception?
      • There were also 3 questions asked of Hector - 1) Think about the difference between the life you have and the life you wish you had; 2) Think about the life as it was now and the best period of his life in the past; 3) Think about the difference between what you have and what others have. How would you answer these questions? I have to say there were quite a few happy moments in my life, but I couldn't possibly pick the best period. I am contented where I am now - well, there is room for improvement, but I am grateful with what I do have.
      • I can't say this book really provided me with any new insights, but the lessons quoted below were good reminders!

        Quote:
        1)   Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
        2)   Happiness often comes when least expected.
        3)   Many people see happiness only in their future.
        4)   Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money.
        5)   Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
        6)   Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains.
        7)   It's a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.
        8)   Happiness is being with the people you love.
        8b) Unhappiness is being separated from the people you love.
        9)   Happiness is knowing your family lacks for nothing.
        10) Happiness is doing a job you love.
        11) Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own.
        12) It's harder to be happy in a country run by bad people.
        13) Happiness is feeling useful to others.
        14) Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are.
        Observation: People are kinder to a child who smiles (very important).
        15) Happiness comes when you feel truly alive.
        16) Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
        17) Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.
        18) Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think.
        19) The sun and the sea make everybody happy.
        20) Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.
        21) Rivalry poisons happiness.
        22) Women care more than men about making others happy.
        23) Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy?

         
        Rating: 3.5 Stars

         
        Have you read this book? 
        If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


        Challenges:
        100+ Reading
        Global

        Book Review - My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares











        Title: My Name is Memory
        Author: Ann Brashares
        Year: 2010
        Page: 324
        Genre: Fiction - Time Travel

        New to me author? Yes
        Read this author again? Not sure
        Tearjerker? Not sure
        Where did it take place? US
        FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

        Summary (from goodreads.com):
        From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, inspired, magical book-a love story that lasts more than a lifetime. Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short. Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together. A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.


        First Sentence:
        I have lived more than a thousand years.
          
        Why did I pick this book?
        This book was compared to The Time Traveler's Wife a lot. I thought the Time Traveler's Wife was okay - interesting concept but could have been executed a bit better. I actually ended up liking the movie better than the book. I am interested in time travel books - though only the ones that aren't very technical or sci-fi-ish. So I was excited to hear about this book!

        My thoughts:
        • I knew that it was a bit slow to start from reading other reviews... but even knowing that didn't help as I just couldn't hold my interest, especially when it went back to the ancient time... I just got lost, and didn't care enough to go on. So this is another Did Not Finish for me. The book alternates between Present and Past - the present parts are fairly easy to read, it's just Past parts that bored me
        • When I read the first few chapters, it actually reminded me of Twilight - who is this mystery guy the female protagonist so in love with even though she didn't know squats about him?
        • Argh, another first book of a trilogy!!
        • I read that the movie rights were bought. Maybe like the Time Traveler's Wife, I'd be more interested in the movie!
           
          Rating: 0 Star (Did Not Finish)



           
          Have you read this book? 
          If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


          Book Review - Damaged by Pamela Callow











          Title: Damaged
          Author: Pamela Callow
          Year: 2010
          Page: 453
          Genre: Fiction - Murder/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

          New to me author? Yes
          Read this author again? Maybe
          Tearjerker? No
          Where did it take place? Canada
          FTC Disclosure: Part of Crazy Book Tours

          Summary (from goodreads.com):
          Haunted by the death of her sister, and wounded by her ex-fiance's accusations, Kate Lange throws herself into her new career at a high-powered law firm. When the grandmother of a lonely private school student seeks her counsel, Kate thinks it's just another custody case. Until the teen is brutally murdered. And it isn't only Kate who wonders if her legal advice led to the girl's death. Put on notice by Randall Barrett, the firm's charismatic managing partner, Kate must fight for her career, for her reputation -- and for redemption. Unwilling to live with the damage she has caused, Kate pursues the case on her own and unearths some chilling facts. Facts that lead straight to the heart of a legal conspiracy. Facts that lead Kate directly into the surgically-skilled hands of the Body Butcher.

          First Sentence:
          Springtime in Halifax was not known for its warmth or sunshine.
           
          Why did I pick this book?
          I signed up to read this book as part of the Crazy Book Tours - I have always enjoyed reading murder / mystery / thriller / suspense books (don't ask me to define these categories! I just lump them together), so thought I'd give this new author a try!


          My thoughts:
          • It's not bad for a debut novel! It was pretty fast paced, and the main characters are likable
          • However, probably because I used to read primary this genre, I have high expectations... so the plot falls a little short for me and it was a little predictable
          • It was an enjoyable read - I don't usually read chicklit, so this type of books are my guilty pressure. By the same token, once you're done reading the book, you tend to forget most of it already... which may not be a bad thing if you intend to read to escape and just want to read for fun! (Okay, some people may not find reading murder books 'fun'... )
          • I'd say this book is more along the line of Elizabeth Lowell's books than say, Jeffery Deaver or Tess Gerritsen or Kathy Reichs which provide a bit more forensic / technical details

            Quote:
            The older I get, the more I see how the mind returns to its childhood. (p208)

             
            Rating: 3 Stars



             
            Have you read this book? 
            If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


            Challenges:
            100+ Reading

            Book Review - The Pact by Jodi Picoult











            Title: The Pact: A Love Story
            Author: Jodi Picoult
            Year: 1998
            Page: 512
            Genre: Fiction

            New to me author? No
            Read this author again? Maybe
            Tearjerker? No
            Where did it take place? US
            FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

            Summary (from goodreads.com):
            When a so-called "suicide pact" between their teenage children goes awry--leaving only one child dead--the parents, who have been friends for 18 years, find themselves caught up in an anguished courtroom drama.
             

            First Sentence:
            There was nothing left to say.
             
            Why did I pick this book?
            I'd read My Sister's Keeper and really enjoyed it (liked the ending as well). I know Picoult is very popular so had always wanted to read another one of her books. The Pact had a good rating, so I thought I'd try it out.

            My thoughts:
            • What a major disappointment. Not gripping and kinda predictable even though the premise sounded very promising. It is a very delicate / sensitive topic and yet I didn't feel emotionally attached to the characters at all. Didn't really like any of them either. I thought the main protagonist's younger sister will play a bigger role - yet it's almost a character that could have been eliminated
            • Could have been shorter!
            • What's with all the repeated names? Both the cheerleader and jewelery shopkeeper were called Donna. Both the art therapist and cellmate were called Vernon (last name). I thought there were some twists that perhaps these minor characters were related, but nope. 
            • Apart from the book length and repeated names, the book could use a bit more editing - I think there were at least 2 mistakes, if I remember right, at first it said Chris is 6 months older than Emily, then later it said 3 months. There was something else but I don't remember now since I was too tired to write it down. Nothing major to the story but just made you go, huh, I thought you said earlier it was ___?
            • I have to say at least  her books are easy read, and make you think what you'd do if you're in the same situation. For this reason I gave this book 2 stars instead of 1.
            • Would I read another Picoult? Maybe... I heard Salem Falls and Perfect Match are not bad - anyone read them?


            Quote:
            A good criminal defense lawyer did not think about the truth, and focused instead on what a jury was going to hear (p195)

            Being a mother gives you a singular sort of vision, a prism through which you can see your child with many different faces all at once. It is the reason you can watch him shatter a ceramic lamp, and still remember him as an angel. Or hold him as he cries, but imagine his smile. Or watch him walk toward you, the size of a man, and see the dimpled skin of an infant. (p237)
             

             
            Rating: 2 Stars



             
            Have you read this book? 
            If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


            Challenges:
            100+ Reading

            Sunday, July 18, 2010

            The reason I haven't read or posted much the past couple of weeks

            We drove 9 hours (return) to pick him up yesterday! No name yet... still waiting to see what name fits him :)






















            Now, if I could just find time to finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Tuesday for the book club! Only 1/3 way through... enjoying it so far though!

            Friday, July 9, 2010

            170

            170.

            I have finally put the books on the shelves. There are approximately 165 books I own that I want to read but never had the chance to... (there are more books than that, but I don't want to read the rest of them, like my husband's computer books or my old text books :p)

            Since I read about 100 a year, it'd probably take me 2 years just to read all the books I have, given that I'll probably still borrow a few books from the library - I couldn't resist it when I read books you all highly praise on your blogs!

            I suppose I could stop reading your blogs. BUT I DON'T WANT TO.

            I probably need to be more selective about what I borrow from the library!

            So many books, so little time...

            Reading Interrupted

            My reading pace for the next few weeks will probably slow down... because we may be getting a cat next weekend! I didn't grow up with pets, but my husband did grow up with cats. So it's going to take me some time to get used to it. But prior to that, we need to get our house clean and kitty proof, which will take quite a lot of time and effort...

            Plus I borrowed A TONS of books today about cats!!! I'd better read some of them before next weekend so I can prepare myself, and provide a safe home for the kitty.

            The kitty is in a foster home now about 4.5 hours away from where we are... I hope he'll like us! If all goes well, I'll post some pictures of him :)

            I'm feeling a bit nervous but excited too. Been doing a lot or research for kitty supplies... fun, but overwhelming too!

            Monday, July 5, 2010

            Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW)










            Even though I didn't start my blog until 1/1/10, I had been reading book blogs for a year or two before that. I'd come across postings about BBAW then and thought it'd be fun to join in sometime in the future. Well, here it is! My first year participating!

            For more information, go to their website: http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com/

            I have decided to enter into the Non-Fiction niche category and New Book Blog feature category. Here are my entries for consideration!




            Non-Fiction (at least 3 reviews): 



            New Book Blog (at least 2 reviews):

            THANK YOU BBAW organizers! I know it's a lot of hard work to put something like this together. Can't wait to see others' entries!

            Books about cats?

            My husband drew up with pets (mostly cats), I didn't.


            He really wants to have a cat or two. I asked if he'd regret it if he never have pets again. Yes, he said. I am willing to give it a try... while I don't like the idea of potentially finding cat poop or pee or puke on our carpet when we get home (I stayed with his family for a bit when we were dating - I was visiting from Australia then, and had experience on stepping on the nasties because I couldn't see it on the dark brown carpet... luckily we do NOT have dark brown carpet! Just beige... so should be easier to spot!), perhaps I also don't know what I could be missing out on from having a pet - the love and companionship I hear about (and read about, like Dewey the library cat, and Marley the dog).

            So, for those of you who have cats, are there any books you can recommend so I can be better prepare for this new adventure? We probably won't adopt for another month or two, as I want to finish cleaning up the house first. It's not pet-safe right now. Plus I want to finish painting the different rooms first as I wouldn't want kitty painted paws on the carpet, or knocking over the paint can (I'm clumsy enough as is!)

            Would love to hear your experience with your kitties!

            Book Review - The Burning Wire: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver













            Title: The Burning Wire: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel
            Author: Jeffery Deaver
            Year: 2010
            Page: 448
            Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

            New to me author? No
            Read this author again? Yes
            Tearjerker? No
            Where did it take place? US
            FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

            Summary (from goodreads.com):
            As Earth Day approaches, someone breaks into the power company and starts manipulating the electric grid in New York City to create "arc flashes," 5000-degree sparks that leap from electrical outlets and kill anybody nearby. It can happen at anytime, anywhere . . . . Is it eco-terrorists, or a disgruntled employee of the utility, or some psychotic individual? Lincoln Rhyme, Amelia Sachs and the crew from the prior Rhyme books have to race against time to find and stop the killer before more people die. Meanwhile, Rhyme is working with Kathryn Dance and a police official in Mexico to find and trap his nemesis, the Watchmaker, who is in Mexico City to assassinate a businessman. And Rhyme is finally confronting the question of dangerous surgery to improve his condition.


            First Sentence:
            Sitting in the control center of Algonquin Consolidated Power and Light's sprawling complex on the East River in Queens, New York, the morning supervisor frowned at the pulsing red words no his computer screen.  

            Why did I pick this book?
            I am a big fan of Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series ("The Body Collector"), so when I heard he has a new Lincoln Rhyme book coming out, I reserve it at the library straight away! I don't like his stand alone books much. The last stand alone book, The Bodies Left Behind, was a big disappointment to me. The new Kathryn Dance series was okay, not as good as Lincoln Rhyme. So I highly anticipated this book, to see if it's up to the usual Lincoln Rhyme standard!


            My thoughts:
            • I like that when I read a Lincoln Rhyme book, I'd learn something new. Some people think there may be too much technical information, but that's what I like - to be able to learn something even if it's a fiction. This time is about electricity - and boy, there were some scary scenarios!
            •  While this is the 9th book in the series, you can still pick up the book and be able to understand who-is-who as the author gave background to the characters and relationships. However, it can be a bit redundant to those who have read all the books in the series (though I admit I sometimes forget who some minor characters were). Though if you have never read his books before,  I would still recommend you start from the beginning, the Bone Collector (which was made into a movie) so you can see how the characters develop over time. I read the Bone Collector before it got popular as a movie. I randomly picked it off the library shelf at college (had no idea who the author was at the time), and was thrilled to discover an author I love by myself :)
            • For those familiar with the series, it was great to see the usually calm Thom (the aide) showed a different side in this book (p131).
            • I have to say though this is not my favorite book of the series, though I didn't guess the twists which was good. It did start off a little slow - wasn't much of a page turner for me, but it did pick up pace later in the book.
            • The ending dragged on a little though - I kept thinking it was going to end the next page, but nope.
            • I guess the next one in the series will be around 2012. Will be reading it.
            • This is more like a 3.75 Stars for me, but since I do 1/2 Star rating and not 0.25 Star rating, I bumped it up to 4.0
            • For some reasons, I was paying more attention to the writing while I was reading this book. For instance, on p1, it said, "He lowered his cardboard coffee cup, blue and white with stiff depictions of Greek athletes on it, and sat up in his creaky swivel chair." My first thought was, is the description, blue and white with stiff depictions of Greek athletes on it, necessary? Is it significant? Does it add to the story? Should that have been edited out, so the book is shorter, more straight to the point? My second thought it, the description does help me visualize the scene with more details, so perhaps it is not unnecessary. But do I really need to know what the color of the coffee cup is? What do you think? I usually don't like books that take 34 pages to describe one little detail... though this is just one sentence so I could tolerate it, but it just got me thinking about writing - when to include more detailed description, and when to just leave it out if it doesn't contribute to the story.


              Quote:

              He believed that we were all disabled in one way or another, ranging from emotional scar tissue to arthritis to Lou Gehrig's disease. Life was one big disability; the question was simple: What did we do about it? (p128)

              If you understand something, Lincoln Rhyme had told him, you fear it less. Knowledge is control. (p167-168)

               
              Rating: 4 Stars



               
              Have you read this book? 
              If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


              Challenges:
              100+ Reading

              Book eview - Dismantled: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

















              Title: Dismantled: A Novel 
              Author: Jennifer McMahon
              Year: 2009
              Page: 304
              Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

              New to me author? Yes
              Read this author again? Possibly
              Tearjerker? No
              Where did it take place? US
              FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

              Summary (from goodreads.com):
              "The New York Times" bestselling author of the acclaimed "Island of Lost Girls" and "Promise Not to Tell" returns with a chilling novel in which the secrets of the past come back to haunt a group of friends in terrifying ways. Dismantlement = Freedom. Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz banded together in college to form a group they called the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following the first rule of their manifesto--"To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart"--these daring misfits spend the summer after graduation in a remote cabin in the Vermont woods committing acts of meaningful vandalism and plotting elaborate, often dangerous, pranks. But everything changes when one particularly twisted experiment ends in Suz's death and the others decide to cover it up. Nearly a decade later, Henry and Tess are living just an hour's drive from the old cabin. Each is desperate to move on from the summer of the Dismantlers, but their guilt isn't ready to let them go. When a victim of their past pranks commits suicide--apparently triggered by a mysterious Dismantler-style postcard--it sets off a chain of eerie events that threatens to engulf Henry, Tess, and their inquisitive nine-year-old daughter, Emma. Is there someone who wants to reveal their secrets? Is it possible that Suz did not really die--or has she somehow found a way back to seek revenge? Full of white-knuckle tension with deeply human characters caught in circumstances beyond their control, Jennifer McMahon's gripping story and spine-tingling plot prove that she is a master at weaving the fear of the supernatural with the stark realities of life.


              First Sentence:
              "Dismantlement equals freedom."
               
              Why did I pick this book?
              I was attracted by its cover while browsing the new books section in the library. Picked it up, and the premise sounded interesting. Never heard of this book or author before. Of course, when I did a search for blog reviews, this book was on a blog book tour not too long ago! I must have missed reading those reviews... I used to read A LOT of murder/mystery/thrillers before expanding my reading genre. Haven't read any for a while so I was looking forward to it.

              My thoughts:
              • I liked that the story kept you guessing until the end. It spoiled the fun of reading a mystery when you figured out the puzzles way too early!
              • There were some riddles in the book which I thought was fun (I'd put them in the quotes below)
              • I didn't really feel attached to any of the characters though. They weren't very likable, even the little girl... 
              • I thought the cover was well done - creepy, which reflected the book well. As mentioned, it definitely got my attention.
                • One thing that really bugged me was one character kept using the word "babycakes". I was ready to scream if I saw it one more time! I know the author was just trying to build the character, but still, it was WAY over used...
                • I think the book could also have been shorter, and yet not lose the story. 

                  Quote:

                  "To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart," (p2)


                  Riddles from the book:

                  1) What is dark but made out of light?
                  Shadow (p85)

                  2) What do you destroy when you speak its name?

                  Silence (p133)

                  3) What is coming, but will never arrive?
                  Tomorrow (p135)

                  4) You are in a cement room with no windows or doors. Just four walls. There's a mirror and a table. How do you get out?

                  You look in the mirror to see what you saw. You use the saw to cut the table in half. You put the two halves together to make a whole. You crawl through the whole and escape (p170-171)
                   
                  Rating: 3.5 Stars



                   
                  Have you read this book? 
                  If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!


                  Challenges:
                  100+ Reading

                  Saturday, July 3, 2010

                  Mid-Year Challenge Review

                  I haven't really checked how I am doing with my Challenges. Mid-year seems like a good time!

                  • 100 Books - 56/100 (yah half way through!)
                  • Read Your Own Books - 2/10 (oops, but now my own books are out of the boxes, maybe I'll get to finish if I ban myself from the library)
                  • Science - 2/3 (likely to finish, just one more!)
                  • Bibliophilic Book - 1/3 (will have to see about this one...)
                  • Global - 2/6 (guessing will finish 3 or 4 out of 6)
                  • Memorable Memoir - 7/4 DONE!
                  • Marple Poirot Holmes - 0/6 (want to finish at least 3)
                  • War Through Generation - 0/5 (want to finish it all with non-fiction)
                  • YA - 16/12 DONE!
                  • Take Another Challenge - 1/6 (guessing maybe 2 or 3...)
                  • 5 Non-Fiction (until September) - 3/5 (confident will finish)
                  Out of 11, 2 are finished.

                  Friday, July 2, 2010

                  Maybe I shouldn't go to the library anymore...

                  We moved in 3 years ago, and last night I finally opened the boxes that contained my books. Oh boy.

                  I didn't have a chance to look through them or put them on the shelves yet (need to dust first), but gosh, I HAVE SO MANY BOOKS I HAVE NOT READ!!!!!!!! And they look like good books to read too!

                  Last year, I bought a book to keep as it was a childhood favorite (it is originally a Japanese book, and I'd read the Chinese version multiple times as a child, and now bought the English version). Guess what, as I opened one of the boxes, I ALREADY HAVE A COPY OF THE ENGLISH VERSION! But I have NO recollection at all when or where I bought it (probably ebay, like the one I bought a few months back)!!

                  I may need to ban myself from going to the library for a while, after reading the pile I have borrowed, and I feel I really want to read that is on my TBR list.

                  But I don't want the library circulation stats to go down and they get a budget cut :) Well, what I borrowed is just a small number of their total circulation, but still, every little bit helps I'd think, and I do check out a lot of books/videos, and read most of them.

                  Anyway, back to my books. I wonder if I'd need another book case, since one of the (cheapie) bookcase was ruined when we moved and is now in the garage... ummm... hopefully I'll have the books on the shelves by the end of the long weekend!