Pages

Monday, September 27, 2010

Updates

Wow, can't believe I'm almost caught up with reviews! Did 9 in the past couple of days, with 2 more to go!

So coming up reviews:
  • The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
  • Room by Emily Donoghue
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (reading now)
Give Away:
  • a Non-book, yummy give away! Watch out for it soon!
Finally finished editing the little kittens pictures. Here are a few favorite. They were about 10 days on in the pictures. I heard they'd been growing fast!! Will be up for adoption once they'd been spayed/neutered. Aren't they precious!





Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young













Title: Buying Time
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Year: 2009
Page: 370
Genre: Fiction - Legal Thriller

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):
Waverly Shaw is a down-on-his-luck lawyer who stumbles upon a potentially lucrative business just when he's about to hit rock bottom. In his new line of work as a viatical broker, Waverly comes to the rescue of people in desperate need of cash. There's a catch, however, his clients must be terminally ill and willing to sign over rights to their life insurance policies before they receive a dime. Waverly then finds investors to advance them thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker's fee for himself—in exchange for a significant return on their investment once the clients take their last breath. The stakes get higher when Lawrence Erickson, who's bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General, hires Waverly to broker the insurance policy of his cancer-stricken wife. But Waverly's clients start dying sooner than they should, and Erickson—who has some skeletons of his own to hide—is unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail, and murder. With two determined federal prosecutors hot on his trail, Waverly is on the run, and this time he might need some life insurance.


First Sentence:
Veronika Myers tried to convince them, but no one would listen.
  
Why did I pick this book?
I first heard about this book from Random Rambling's review. My library didn't have this book, so I read another book, In Firm Pursuit, by the same author instead. It was just an okay read for me, but Tea Time with Marce convinced me to give this author another chance.
My thoughts:
  • I do like this one better than In Firm Pursuit. I have no idea there is such a thing as a Viatical broker - you find someone who is dying from a terminal disease with health insurance. You tell them you'll pay them a percentage of the face value of what they are insured for, and you'll give them the money now. They'd just have to change the benefactor to the investors you work for, and as a broker you get a cut of the deal. Sometimes these dying people need the money for experimental clinical trials or whatever now... and this is the only way they could get enough money. 
  • What an interesting concept! The author mentioned at the end of the book that after she first heard about this, she decided to write a thriller about it. Definitely has a lot of potential!
  • What I didn't like though, again, as with other legal thrillers I read, there was NO courtroom drama... even though one of the main protagonists, Angela, was an Assistant US Attorney. So I was disappointed about that... this would be more of a murder / mystery / suspense, than a legal thriller. The protagonists just happened to be lawyers.
  • I like the characters fine, but don't really love them. Angela was supposed to be smart, but there were definitely decisions made by her, regarding her personal relationship, that I don't agree with. Now, I suppose she can't be perfect, and it's only human to have flaws. Perhaps it is realistic that even smart women aren't always logical or rational, especially when it comes to relationship. But still... I guess I just prefer stronger characters. I suppose, since I have never went through what she went through, I couldn't say exactly how I'd react. I can think about how I'd like to react, but you won't know until it happens to you (touch wood it won't.)
  • The plot is rather clever regarding who the killer was, and I didn't see it coming. But there was a loop hole [Spoiler] - p210-211 - Undercover agent Jon (aka "Jerry" in disguise) died - Waverly learned it from Rico, but when Waverly searched the internet, he couldn't find any articles about it. Yet when the Assistant US Attorneys Angela and Zack questioned him, Waverly told them Jerry died in a car accident, and yet Angela and Zack never questioned how he knew that detail if it wasn't reported, unless he was the killer... but they never had him arrested for murder...
  • I hope the author, with her legal background, would include more courtroom drama in her future books
     
    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

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Book Review - Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer













    Title: Life As We Knew It
    Author: Susan Beth Pfefferx
    Year: 2006
    Page: 337
    Genre: Fiction - Young Adult, Dystopian

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

    Summary (from goodreads.com):
    It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over. 


    First Sentence:
    Lisa is pregnant.
     
    Why did I pick this book?
    Read about this book from Brenda Loves Books' review. For some reasons I am just really liking this dystopian genre this year! So added that to be ever growing TBR list.

    My thoughts:
    • This was written in a diary format, from Miranda's perspective. I have always liked books written in this format, because you get to know the inner feelings of the protangonist. I guess there is a bit of voyeurism too lol. I mean, while we respect other's privacy, don't we all get a little nosy sometimes if given the permission? (No, I won't read another person's diary, but it makes you wonder what they write! :)
    • I like the characters fine, but don't really love them. My favorite character probably was the old neighbor, Mrs Nesbitt. She was so thoughtful and selfless. Miranda annoyed me sometime, but I guess she was a typical teenager. I did like her relationship with her older brother. I always wished I had an older brother.
    • The plot is quite realistic - though I think this book is more character driven than plot driven, unlike most other dystopian books. You see Miranda's growth throughout the book, but I don't think a lot happened... But it definitely made me think how I'd survive or deal with the situation if it really happened...
    • There are 2 other books in the series. I didn't love this enough to keep on reading, but I did google to find out what happened. Sounded like Book 2, The Dead and The Gone, is more of a companion book, whereas Book 3, The World We Live in, is about Miranda again.

      Quote:
      "Countries?" I said. Somehow I'd forgotten there were other countries, that we shared the moon with other countries.

       
      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
      Young Adult

      Book Review - Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder













      Title: Inside Out
      Author: Maria V. Snyder
      Year: 2010
      Page: 320
      Genre: Fiction - Young Adult, Dystopian

      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):
      Keep Your Head Down. Don't Get Noticed. Or Else.

      I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.



      First Sentence:
      A vibration rippled through my body.
        
      Why did I pick this book?
      I read a review by Journey of Books. The premise sounds interesting. I had read another book by the same author (my review of Poison Study) and enjoyed it, so when I was in a dystopian mood, I decided to read this one.

      My thoughts:
      • I like this okay - the plot, the characters... but I just don't love it
      • The plot is rather simple, and at times it dragged on a bit with not much happening
      • There were 2 twists in the story - one about the protagonist, Trella, and one about a place. The one about the place is set up for a sequel (argh not another series!) but both weren't really mind-boggling twists. At least I didn't get that "WOW" feeling.
      • Not sure if I'd read the rest of the series (the next book I think is called "Outside In", coming out next year, a rather clever sequel name!) I may just google spoilers to see what happened. This is not a bad series, just didn't make as much of an impression on me as others in the same YA dystopian genre 
       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
      Young Adult

      Book Review - Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom by Marianna Olszewski













      Title: Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom
      Author: Marianna Olszewskix
      Year: 2009
      Page: 256
      Genre: Non-Fiction - Finance

      New to me author? Yes
      Read this author again? Not sure
      Tearjerker? No
      Where did it take place? US
      FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

      Summary (from goodreads.com):
      Does your heart race when your credit card bill arrives? Are you one flat tire or one emergency room visit from financial ruin? If you think a secure financial future is out of reach, you're wrong. Let Marianna Olszewski teach you how to love your money instead of running scared from it.

      Marianna didn't start out rich, happy and fabulous. A strapped-for-cash childhood motivated her to strive for abundance and financial independence-goals she exceeded by age thirty as a successful business owner and respected Wall Street player. Now Marianna reveals the lessons she learned on her own road to success and the savvy strategies of other amazing women. She shows how to let go of stress, break your bad money habits, take control of your finances, and finally achieve your goals and a happier, richer life.

      You'll learn to:
      -Say Yes to Yourself: Turn toward people and situations that enhance your life and well being, and away from those that don't. Until you start affirming your future through both thought and action, your efforts to improve your finances will fall flat.

      -Fall in Love with Your Money: Having a cavalier attitude toward money is part of the reason many of us find ourselves in a financial pickle. But when you treat your money with respect, keep track of it and spend and save it wisely your money will always love you back.

      -Act as If: If you think that change is impossible, think again. Start your transformation by acting as if you already are as successful, intelligent, and prosperous as you want to be.

      Live It, Love It, Earn It is full of true stories of ordinary women who have overcome tough challenges, such as climbing the corporate ladder, getting out of debt, and changing jobs mid-career, to get the life you want. Marianna also shares insights from other successful women like designer Diane von Furstenberg; shoe mogul Tamara Mellon (of Jimmy Choo); fashion entrepreneur Tory Burch; the first woman to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, Muriel Seibert; and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.

      Let Marianna give you the tools you need to create and maintain and abundant and fulfilling life.

      For more information, visit: www.LiveItLoveITEarnIt.com
       

      First Sentence:
      Growing up, I was just like so many other girls pining for a life that seemed out of reach.
      Why did I pick this book?
      While luckily we are doing okay with our finances (just mortgage and student loans, and the fact that we have no kids make it a bit easier too. But definitely not rich or well off), I want to learn more what we can do to prepare for the future, and manage our finances better.


      My thoughts:
      • This book was not quite what I'd expected. It said "A Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom" and I wanted to read it to learn more about money management, investing etc. But this was more than just that, so the chapters about money was spread thin. It included other self-help materials like think positive, visualize yourself with your success etc... whereas I was looking for more concrete materials for investing. So I probably wasn't the right target market for this book
      • I would probably benefit from reading this book if I was in my late teens or early twenties. A lot of what it covered, I'd already read elsewhere. It included stories of how other women succeeded or vignettes of "everyday" people. But again I felt like I'd read about them before

      • 2 stars because it may be beneficial to others, while it was not really for me as this was a bit too high-level. I may have enjoyed more it if this was my first money-related book. I am far from being a financial expert (I hated accounting and finances during college), but we are doing Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University now (in class and reading his book) - we are almost half way through - and I felt it is more what I am looking for.

      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
      Non-Fiction Five

      Book Review - Unwind by Neal Shusterman













      Title: Unwind 
      Author: Neal Shusterman
      Year: 2009
      Page: 335
      Genre: Fiction - Young Adult, Dystopian

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

      Summary (from goodreads.com):
      In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

      Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

      In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.



      First Sentence:
      "There are places you can go," Ariana tells him, "and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen."
        
      Why did I pick this book?
      I heard about this book from Reading On a Rainy Day's Friday Find. Even though I'd been trying NOT to add more books to my TBR list, for some reasons I just felt like I needed to read this NOW. I must've gotten the dystopian bug!

      My thoughts:
      • WOW. I am so glad I read this! If you are into dystopian - read this next!
      • While, I still like the Hunger Games series better (okay, I just started reading Mockingjay today...), probably because Suzanne Collins' writing is a bit more engaging and less choppy, this book has one of the most intriguing concept! It takes "Safe Haven Law" to a new extreme... and yet, you can't help but think that it is realistic... 
      • "Tithing", the Storking Initiative, "Unwinding" 13-17 years old... all for the common good... was very interesting - it got my brain spinning. Now, I am not saying I am supportive of these rules, but it definitely made you think what if... [POTENTIAL SPOILER] if you're a parent, would you unwind your child, is unwinding still living or dying, is it better to sacrifice someone for the better goods of multiple people? Do orphans deserve to be unwinded just because no one loves them? Do you still have a soul if you're unwinded? Would you give up your baby for storking? What if you were forced to adopt? And the power of rumor... can start a riot! [/spoiler ended]
      • I like the names of the characters ("names" is one of my personal interests) - Dalton, Cyrus, Finch, Emby, Blaine, Lev, Jedediah, Risa, Josias, Roland, CyFi, Cy/Ty
         
      • I like Connor and Risa and CyFi. Lev - I don't know how I feel about him but I can see how he turns out to be the way he is. I thought CyFi would have a bigger role - but he was definitely a memorable character and my favorite
      • Part of the concept is similar to The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist but yet the two books are so different. Perhaps one deal with children, and one with older adults?
      • I think the reason why I like dystopian, is so I can tap into the author's creativity, things I could never imagine it myself and wish I could. Yes they can sometimes be depressing but the threat that it could become a reality, and that these are all very realistic scenario... made me glad that I can't live forever :) I guess I am typically not a very imaginative person, so I love reading about others' creativity. Very interesting that I typically like realistic fiction (like Still Alice) and this is as far away from that genre as possible
      •  Found a study guide online! It has some interesting questions and activities - great for schools or book clubs! www.storyman.com/books/UNWIND%20Study%20Guide-final.pdf
         
      •  There is a rumor that this will become a series... so who knows? It does have an ending, but it also leaves room for a Book 2 if the author wanted to. Would definitely read it if there is a 2nd book. Yet at the same time, it doesn't feel unfinished... would a Book 2 ruin it?
        Quote:

        "So everything we talked about was just a lie."
        "No," says Ariana. "It was a dream. Reality got in the way, that's all." (p9)

        "I ain't no runaway -- I'm a run-to," (p122)


        "Picasso had to prove to the world he can paint the right way, before he goes putting both eyes on one side of a face, and nose stickin' outta kneecaps and stuff. See, if you paint wrong because that's the best you can do, you just a chump. But if you do it because you want to? Then you're an artist." (p125)



         
        Rating: 4.5 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
        Young Adult

        Book Review - Denial: A Memoir of Terror by Jessica Stern














        Title: Denial: A Memoir of Terror
        Author: Jessica Stern
        Year: 2010
        Page: 320
        Genre: Non-Fiction - Memoir

        New to me author? No
        Read this author again? No
        Tearjerker? No
        Where did it take place? US
        FTC Disclosure: Part of Crazy Book Tours - received a copy, then passed it on to the next reviewer

        Summary (from goodreads.com):
        Alone in an unlocked house in a safe neighborhood in the suburban town of Concord, MA, two obedient, good girls, Jessica Stern, 15, and her sister, 14, were raped on the night of October 1, 1973. When they reported the crime, the police were skeptical. Their father, away on business, did not return for three more days.

        Following the example of her family, Stern—who lost her mother at the age of three—denied her pain and kept striving to achieve. But while her career took off, her success hinged on her symptoms. After her ordeal, she could not feel fear in normally frightening situations. Stern thought she’d disassociated from the trauma altogether, until a request took her back to that night more than 30 years earlier.

        The world-class social scientist and expert on terrorism and post-traumatic stress disorder began her own investigation, with the help of a devoted police lieutenant, to find the truth about her rapist, the town of Concord, her own family, and her own mind. The result is Denial, a candid and deeply intimate look at a life, a trauma, and its aftermath. 



        First Sentence:
        Chet keeps trying to get me to swim with him.
          
        Why did I pick this book?
        I enjoy reading memoir. When I saw that this book was offered as part of the Crazy Books Tour, I signed up immediately. I'd also read good blog reviews about it.

        My thoughts:
        • I was so looking forward to this book, and so I was disappointed that I couldn't finish it. I was a psych major in college, so am interested in books dealing with trauma. This book dealt with an emotional topic, and yet, the author seemed quite disconnected or distant from it - now, that was probably how she managed to live through it, and that could well be her defense mechanism, which I guess reflects reality - however, as I reader, I just couldn't connect to her, and felt her pain. 
        • It reminded me of another book I abandoned, on a similar topic, and for the same reason:  Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold. While reading these two books, it felt like i was watching the events through layers of semi-sheer curtains, or dirty glasses, and couldn't quite see and felt frustrated by not being able to feel and see completely.
        • There were other reasons I couldn't read on - it got repetitive. E.g., she mentioned her dad was overseas and didn't fly back - this was mentioned like 5 times at different spots. And I only read 40 pages! I know, this was a big deal to her as she went through her ordeal and thought back about it, but it was just frustrating to read... 
        • There was also a bit about the grandfather that was a bit weird, that I wasn't quite sure if what I read was what I thought she really meant...  so I googled it and another reviewer mentioned this tidbit too and {POTENTIAL SPOILER!!} that nothing more was elaborated on this topic, so why even mentioned it...
        • Disjoint, distant, repetitive... those were the thoughts I jotted down from the 40 pages I read... 
        • Other reviews will be posted here from the tour. If you google, you will find quite a few other reviews - mostly positive from what I read.
           
          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 - A Vintage Affair: A Novel by Isabel Wolff














          Title: A Vintage Affair: A Novel
          Author: Isabel Wolff
          Year: 2010
          Page: 423
          Genre: Fiction - Women

          New to me author? Yes
          Read this author again? Possibly
          Tearjerker? No
          Where did it take place? England
          FTC Disclosure: Part of Crazy Books Tour - received a copy and then sent it to the next reviewer

          Summary (from goodreads.com):
          Do fairytale dresses bring fairytale endings? Every dress has a history, so does Phoebe! Phoebe always dreamt of opening her own vintage dress shop. She imagined every detail, from the Vivienne Westwood bustiers hanging next to satin gowns, to sequinned cupcake dresses adorning the walls. At the launch of Village Vintage, Phoebe feels the tingle of excitement as customers snap up the fairytale dresses. Her dream has come true, but a secret from her past is casting a shadow over her new venture. Then one day she meets Therese, an elderly Frenchwoman with a collection to sell, apart from one piece that she won't part with ! As Therese tells the story of the little blue coat, Phoebe feels a profound connection with her own life, one that will help her heal the pain of her past and allow her to love again.


          First Sentence:
          "...seven-teen, eight-teen... nine-teenn...twenty! Com-ing!" I yelled.  

          Why did I pick this book?
          When I saw this book up for review as part of Crazy Books Tour, I debated whether to get it. I usually don't like reading women fiction or chick lit, but some said it's more than the typical chick lit. On the other hand, while I am not a fashionista, I do appreciate vintage clothing. So I thought I'd give this one a try - if anything, I could learn a bit more about vintage clothing, which I don't know much about!

          My thoughts:
          • It's not bad. The plot is a bit predictable, which is why I generally don't like reading this genre. It is also quite long and I think it could've been shortened a bit.
          • The characters are likable, and I wish I know a old lady like Therese. Though none of the characters or the plot really tuck at my heartstrings, despite the background involves a sad part of history... 
          • The best part for me was, as predicted, the vintage clothes! I wish pictures were included! Clothes can definitely change how you feel about yourself - your self confidence, the impression you gave, and just make you feel better when the clothes fit nicely. Though on the flip side, clothes shopping can be so frustrating when nothing fits properly because you don't shape like a model... 
          • I googled some of the designers mentioned, and particularly liked Cristobal Balenciaga and Madame Gres. Had never heard of them before. In fact, I don't know a lot of designers... I have to say though I love watching Project Runway even though I can't sew (my mum is a fantastic seamstress though!)
          • You can read other reviews from the tour here

              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 - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie














              Title: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
              Author: Agatha Christie
              Year: 1926
              Page: 288
              Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

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

              Summary (from goodreads.com):
              Village rumor hints that Mrs. Ferrars poisoned her husband, but no one is sure. Then there's another victim in a chain of death. Unfortunately for the killer, master sleuth Hercule Poirot takes over the investigation.


              First Sentence:
              Mrs Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September -- a Thursday.
                
              Why did I pick this book?
              Read it as part of the Marple, Poirot, Holmes Challenge. I researched to see which Christie book I'd like to read (there are many!) and this one is one of people's favorite. I haven't read a Poirot one before (if I did, don't remember it), so want to give it a try.

              My thoughts:
              • I think I definitely prefer books written recent years. E.g. this book used "clews" instead of "clues"! So the writing took a bit of getting used to... at times it is a bit choppy too
              • I didn't guess who the killer was, so that was a good thing! I did like that, the killer's identity was revealed step-by-step, and with explanation, unlike some other modern books in this genre where the killer just came out from nowhere, and showed no motive
              • I think I'd have liked the book better if it is "modernized" a bit. But, we may lose the Christie charm... 
                • I'd say for those of you who like this genre, to read at least one Christie book - I can definitely see why she's popular. She definitely has a unique style
                 
                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
                Marple, Poirot, Holmes

                Book Review - The Last Picture Show: A Novel by Larry McMurtry














                Title: The Last Picture Show: A Novel
                Author: Larry McMurtry
                Year: 1999
                Page: 288
                Genre: Fiction

                New to me author? Yes
                Read this author again? Probably not...
                Tearjerker? No
                Where did it take place? US
                FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

                Summary (from goodreads.com):
                In The Last Picture Show Larry McMurtry introduced characters who would show up again in later novels, Texasville and Duane's Depressed. This first volume of the trilogy drops the reader into the one-stoplight town of Thalia, Texas, where Duane Moore, his buddy Sonny, and his girlfriend Jacy are all stumbling along the rocky road to adulthood. Duane wants nothing more than to marry Jacy; Sonny wants what Duane has; and Jacy wants to get the hell out of Thalia any way she can. This is not a novel of big ideas or defining moments; over the course of a year Duane and Jacy make up and break up, Sonny begins an affair with his high-school football coach's wife, and the only movie house in town closes its doors forever. Yet it is out of these small-town experiences--a nude swimming party in Wichita, a failed sexual encounter during a senior trip, a botched elopement, an enlistment--that McMurtry builds his tale and reveals his characters' hearts. No epiphanies here, just a lot of hard-won experience that leaves none of his protagonists particularly wiser, though they're all a little sadder by the end.


                First Sentence:
                Sometimes Sonny felt like he was the only human creature in the town. 
                  
                Why did I pick this book?
                Book club pick for August. 

                My thoughts:
                • This is definitely NOT a book I'd have picked to read. But that's part of the charm of joining a book club so you are exposed to books you don't know about, and at least to give it a try! And you get to hear others' perspectives - while you get that from reading online reviews, but it's nice to be able to have a instant interactive conversation
                • I read about 2 or 3 chapters and just lost interest. I have to say, I can vividly "see" the story as I read, but the topic, characters or plot just bored me... I did google spoilers for the book, and let's just say, after reading a 500 summary, I felt satisfied in knowing how the plot went without having to read it (though there are some, let's say, disturbing, pieces of the story that didn't make it to the summary, but I heard about it from the book club discussion! Still, didn't feel like I missed out on anything!)
                   
                • There is a movie for this book too but I doubt I'd watch it.  
                • I guess I am just not very interested in learning about what teenagers did in small towns in the 60's... 
                • Would I read other books by this author? Don't know... not if his other books are similar... if it's another book club read, then I'd give it a try. Probably not one I'd pick over others.



                   
                  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!

                  Sunday, September 19, 2010

                  Update

                  Argh, I am NINE reviews behind... but have a few other things I need to do first:
                  • Book club is this Tuesday - The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride - I just started reading it yesterday because I had other books to read first... so I want to finish it in time for the discussion. Can I do it???
                  • Husband and I are going through Dave Ramsey Peace University (personal financial management class) - so have to do some readings and homework. We aren't even half way through yet, but so far I'm enjoying it and I hope we'll apply what we've learned. 
                  • The house is still a mess... we are hoping to get it all painted and clean up by Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, so families/friends can visit. We'll see about that...
                  • 2 weeks ago, I took some pictures of some 10 days old kitties for the local rescue. I hadn't had time to edit yet so need to get them done ASAP, especially since the kitties are growing FAST!!  Will post a teaser! Will post more when I'm done with them.

                  Give Away - Book - My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg













                  The publisher, Forge, has granted me THREE copies of My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg to give to you! (My review here.) Thank you Forge!

                  I'd definitely love you to read it - especially if you have a different perspective than I do!

                  All you have to do is:

                  1) leave me a comment on why you want to read it
                  2) your email address
                  3) Comment before 10/1/10!

                  First 3 comments get it!

                  US /  Canada only.

                  Book Review - My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg (Blog Tour)















                  Title: My Lost Daughter
                  Author: Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
                  Year: 2010
                  Page: 447
                  Genre: Fiction - legal thriller

                  New to me author? Yes
                  Read this author again? Maybe (maybe the older books?)
                  Tearjerker? No
                  Where did it take place? US
                  FTC Disclosure: A free copy from the publisher for review, as part of a blog tour. I was NOT compensated for this review in any other way and my review is not "pre-viewed" by the publisher.

                  Summary (from goodreads.com):
                  Lily Forrester is a tough judge in Ventura County, California, who has overcome adversity and heartache to achieve a position where she can help those who can’t help themselves. The current case before her is the sensational murder trial of a woman who tortured and killed her beautiful two-year-old son. Lily is determined to see justice done but she’s thrown for a loop when she receives word that her own daughter, Shana, is on the verge of dropping out of law school. Fearing for her daughter’s mental health and pressured by the looming trial, Lily takes Shana to a supposedly prestigious treatment facility.

                  Which is when things go horribly awry. The institution is far less interested in treating patients than it is in bilking the insurance companies out of extravagant fees…and they are less than scrupulous about patients’ rights. Lily has to use all her intelligence and street smarts to find a way to free Shana. And time isn’t on her side, for there is a sociopath who is using the hospital to stay safe.

                  A sociopath who has decided that Shana is his best new obsession...


                  First Sentence:   
                  Death was approaching.

                  Why did I pick this book?
                  I was contacted to see if I want to receive this book for review, as part of a blog tour. I haven't heard of this author before, but I love reading witty legal thriller, especially if they have clever court scenes. So I was happy to give this a try! The premise sounds interesting!

                  My thoughts:
                  • It seems lately, that legal thrillers I'd been reading all LACKED court drama. I love it when the lawyers in the book find loop holes and set up the defendants or witnesses to fall into their trap. (Okay, I wouldn't want to face such lawyers myself, but it adds so much more drama - "Gotya!") This was no exception. There were some court scene about a minor case, but that was it... so this is more like a suspense novel, rather than a legal thriller according to my definition. It just happened that the main protagonist, Lily, is a judge.
                  • I can't say I like Lily, or her daughter Shana who also played a main role. I think this is Book 3 or 4 in the series? I hadn't read any of them, but you can almost read this as a stand alone. There were some "flash back" to fill the gaps, but I don't know if readers who'd been following the series will find the info redundant or not. I guess that's difficulty in writing a series - how much background to give so that new readers will know who these characters are, but not so much that loyal followers will get bored. Anyway the reasons I don't really like them is Lily is obviously smart enough to be a judge, and yet she seems rather dumb in other decisions she made, particularly regarding her daughter... now I suppose someone's IQ does not necessarily correlate to how good a parent they are, however, I'd imagine being a judge, you would at least make logical decisions (or I hope anyway!), but that was really lacking in her personal life. Lily's daughter Shana is 28 years old, but she acted more like a spoiled 16 years old. Enough said. Her love/hate relationship with her mother seemed to change overnight which I found unrealistic. 
                  • I don't know if it is because I haven't read the previous book, but I found some details not matching up - e.g. Lily and Shana had this incident years ago, and they didn't report it. However, it seemed like everyone in the book knew what happened to them.
                  • There is also some inconsistency in the book - e.g. p56-57, Lily had lunch, then went back to court to the defense lawyer's opening, then she called the court to rest. What the defense lawyer had to say wasn't THAT long (a couple of pages?), but it was already 6:30pm when she looked at the clock! Okay maybe I'm nitpicking, but hey, I'm reading a legal thriller, my mind automatically over-analyze all the evidence to see if I could figure out who the killer was! That's why I love reading murder/mystery, because I love piecing together the puzzles to see who-dunit. So it's HARD not to see the little details not adding up.
                  • Some dialog seems a bit forced and not very natural, especially the conversation between Lily and daughter Shana. 
                  • I thought another character, Mary Stevens, an FBI agent, would play a bigger role, but was disappointed that her involvement was minimal. It seemed like she is a recurring character from the previous books. I would like to see her in more action. She is probably the character I like the best in the book
                  • I was disappointed that I guessed who the bad guy was early in the book :( I thought there would be more twists... 
                  • I do like the Epilogue in the book, kinda like the end of a movie where they'll tell you what happened to each characters. Though some may see that everything was tied up a bit too nicely
                  • Would I recommend this book? If you are looking for a courtroom drama-type of legal thriller (as I was hoping for), then you will probably be disappointed. I miss the TV show Boston Legal! However, if you just want a beach-read type of suspense book, this might not be a bad choice (since I don't usually read chick lit, these are my type of beach read).
                  • I'd be having a Give Away for this book - yay my first ever give away! So please see my other post. I'd love to hear what you think - I think I may just be overly picky or have high expectations :) 
                     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
                    Read Your Own Books