Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

This was very interesting.

I did feel, at times, that the author clearly had a real agenda. I generally don't like novels where authors are trying to preach to me, as opposed to allowing me to learn what I feel I need from their work.

However, this book was compelling. I found that I hated to see any of the contestants eliminated. I was interested in most of their stories. I wanted to know who these people were going to be. The contestants came to the show to supposedly, to try to win a million dollars. However, it seems that many of them are really here because the universe needs for them to come to grips with issues in their life. Watching the contestants lives unfold or unravel, is better than I can really describe let me just say, that while I was impatient to see how the book would end, I also hated to come to the end of my time with these characters. I liked them, no matter how flawed they were.

The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick

I sometimes enjoy historical romance, mysteries. I generally love Amanda Quick. I have read a number of her novels and I guess it is just time that I move on to someone else.

There are some scenes in this book that are very familiar but I enjoy the sameness of the writing. It's like a comfortable old chair. Unfortunately, when I came to one of the few "love scenes" in the book, I was amused to realize that the scene was exactly like scenes that I have read in her books before. While the scene is unique for first or second time readers of Quick, it is too familiar for someone who has read several books by the same author.
When I got to the scene, I stopped reading wrote down what I thought would happen, and then picked up the book and read exactly what I predicted. SMH

Anyway, the book was pretty good, if you have never read a Quick novel this is a nice one to start with. If you have read her before, don't expect anything new and you won't be disappointed.

A Clean Slate by Laura Caldwell

Wow, what a great book!

This is not a new book but when I saw it in my UBS (used book store), I had to have it. The back cover was intriguing.

Once you begin reading this book, it is truly hard to put down. I found it totally engrossing. Kelly McGraw is an interesting character and getting to know her and learn about her issues are totally worth your time.

I did not find the ending to be pat, nor was it neatly wrapped up as so many books are. I am trying to give you an idea that this is a great book to read without giving away the story or the mystery.

I know that what I am about to say is totally cliche' but it is really a book that one should rush out and read, ASAP.

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond.

This book promised to be riveting. The plot held me enthralled until I began reading.

As a mother I felt sorry for the heroine and the choices that she made. I could empathise with why she did what she did but as a Mom, I was also uncomfortable with what she did. I was frightened. The author did what she was supposed to do. She pulled me in and made me feel that what was happening could be real, she made me angry, fearful, sad. I did not feel manipulated. I felt like I was taking a journey and I had to know how it ended.

I have to say, that at times in the middle, even though I wanted to know what was going to happen, it was hard to stay attached. It became a little too introspective, I wanted to see movement and it did not move as quickly as I liked. I was impatient. I would try this author again. This was not one of my all time favorite books, but it did hold me. If I was grading this book it would be a solid B.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm glad I didn't buy this book- The Perfect Life by Robin Lee Hatcher

I am a great fan of Robin Lee Hatcher. I have read almost all of her books. I have missed some of her recent offerings. I was really impatient to read this book. I read the back cover and wanted to rush to the register with it.

I had like, a milion, books at home that I had to read. Some given to me by friends, some I had chosen. So, I decided to wait to read this book.

I sat down to read it not long ago and I have to say, I understood where she was trying to take us but I felt manipulated and preached to. I mean for me, this book felt like a long sermon. Fine, I understand that Christian novels have a point of view but please let me feel like I am immersed in a life and not just engaged in a morality lesson. While her charachters were given authentice reactions to the stimuli pressented. It felt so sterile, I couldn't connect with these charachters, which is demonstrated for me, by the fact that I read this book this week and I cannot remember the name of a single person.

I have to say, that I don't buy the ending of this book. It sounds wonderful but if you read it and think you know one person who would have done what the hero does, let me know. I don't by it

I love love love Hatcher but I didn't even like this book.

Focus, Focus, Focus,,,,Oh well, I want to Talk about Top Chef

I want this blog site to be mainly about books. However, one of the very few television shows that I watch happens to be Top Chef. I have followed every season of this show, except one, which is very unusal for me.


I have to say that I went into the finale very dissappointed that Lisa was still there. However, I think that she behaved in a very professional manner and I did not see nearly the amount of snarky, hostility that she exhibited all through the show. When she remained after Dale was eliminated, I was aghast. However, today, I thought she did what she was there to do, cooked well.

I TIVOed the show so I am now only finding out who won. Originally, I wanted it to be Richard. Now, I am not so sure.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Take this Man

I think that this book was meant to be funny.

While there were times that I did laugh, those times were few and far between.

I can stretch my imagination pretty far, however, to read this book the suspension of reality that is necessary is a bit more than I can do, heck it's more than I want to do.

The plot device that we see used here is pretty familiar, girl gets left basically at the altar. Penny Frankel's fiance sends a note to her about fifteen minutes before their wedding is to begin to tell her that he can't do it. I don't mind a familiar idea, but I want to see that plot develop in a way that is fresh, interesting, and believable. For me what happens next was new and original but as the story progressed, not too believable.

I have to say that it is hard to really feel that you know these people. They seem more like caricatures than actual people. It is also hard to feel interested or sympathetic toward them.

As the book progressed, I rolled my eyes so much that I finally had to catch myself in case did myself lasting harm. One or two unbelievable occurrences in a book is probably acceptable but page after page we find people behave in ways that just are not reasonable. I would love to give examples but it is hard to without throwing out spoilers.

There is a love scene in this book that comes, for me out of no where. No real people would feel at all disposed to sharing any type of intimacy with so many unresolved issues on the table.

This book is supposed to be funny and light I am sure but I was annoyed for most of the time that I was reading. I kept saying to myself no reasonable person would be have this way. One of the characters is kidnapped, KIDNAPPED and neither he nor his father seem to harbour any real feelings about that fact. They are able to move on rather speedily with no real thoughts of revenge or even justice. I mean who are these people and on what planet do they exist??? Even in the world of novels that I generally inhabit, I expect to see emotions and thoughts that actually correspond to the events in people's lives. Not here.

I know I was supposed laugh when I read this book. However, I am telling you, if you have any ability to reason laughter is not possible. I finished it but God only knows why.

The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center

I loved the author's writing style in this book. Her particular brand of humour and honesty pulled me in from the beginning. I wanted to see what would happen to these people. I cared about Claudia and I believed that her conflicts were real.

However, I have to say that I was very disappointed to read another book about a woman who cannot effectively stand up for herself and whose self esteem was apparently so low that she would allow a man to treat her as poorly as he saw fit. I got so frustrated with Claudia that it was hard for me to finish this book. Claudia's passive acceptance of Dean's actions, just rubbed me the wrong way I wanted to see her stand up for herself and I was disappointed when she didn't. However, after thinking about this book I appreciated Claudia a little more, at times in our lives most women have accepted less than they deserved from the men in their lives. So even though I still don't like how Claudia behaved, it rang true for me. Finally, I must say that having had breastfed 3 daughters, it was nice to see someone give a pretty accurate account of how hard breastfeeding is for some at the beginning.
I was, originally, so disappointed in Claudia and sad for her that there was no way that I could recover enough of my initial liking of your writing style to really enjoy the book. However, this book made me think quite a bit, the characters also felt like real people, and for me those are always traits of wonderful authors. I look forward to Ms. Center's next book.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

While the heroine of this book is an adult woman, I feel as thought I was reading a coming of age book.

I found this character to be so compelling that I could not put this book down until I knew her whole story.
When we meet Tamila Soroush, she is living in Iran with her parents where she has grown up. Her parents had lived in the United States but we find that they came back to Iran when Tamila was a very small child and have remained there ever since.

We find Tamila, not really moving forward in her life, when her parents make arrangements for her to go to the United States on a three month Visa. Their hope is that Tamila will meet someone, through her sister, and marry and be able to stay in the U.S.

This book allows us to watch Tamila as she vocalizes the frustrations that she feels with her life, and the lives of all women in Iran. We are allowed to witness her making friends and learning what freedom means to women in America. I found her explorations and her limitations to be poignant and frustrating. When her sister, treats Tamila as a child, in my opinion, I get so upset. I feel that her sister should have a better understanding than anyone of what it must mean for Tamila to be able to move about at her own will for the first time in her life.

I hope that I have not said too much about this book but I have to say, I loved this book. I loved the choice that she ultimately makes and I am so glad that I read it. Now that does not happen often.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I am always interested in how other people live and what they are thinking.
When I read Infidel, I was hoping to get an idea of what it is like to grow up Muslim. This book was so much more than that for me.

Ali, strips herself and her family bare to give us a glimpse of her world and the life forces that brought her to a way of thinking that was cataclysmic for herself and her family relationships.

I expected a book that would tell me about what being Muslim in Africa might mean to one woman. I did not expect to catch glimpses of some of my own family members while reading. At the beginning of this book, Ali is describing what it was to have to recite her family line back many generations, while I have no experience that mirrors this exactly, I do remember hearing and being asked so many times, as a child and young woman, darling who are you? Who are your people? Who is your granddaddy? Where are they from? I still feel the pressure of not giving answers that would be satisfactory to the elders that posed these questions. I know that this experience is not quite the same as what was asked of Ali by her grandmother but for a moment I had to stop reading and gather myself and wonder, if the questions that I had been asked all my life were some deep ancestral questions that were as much a part of who we are as a people, as other inherited traits.

Anyway, I digress, Ali allows us to witness what it was like to grow up as a practicing but not very observant Muslim. We then witness her transformation, as a young lady, into a more devout Muslim. Finally, as she begins to really understand herself as a woman and the free thinking adult that she has been fighting to be, we see her put away her long held beliefs.

We see what civil unrest and integration to another country are like through the eyes of someone who actually experienced those things, as well as what it was like for Ali to become immersed in another culture.

This book will remain with me for years to come. If not the actual content, then the heart of what it meant to me. I have told many people read Infidel, it is not what you think, it is so much more.

Simple Jess, an old title that was new to me

I read about this book at another site and I just had to see what made so many people think it was so great.
I have read Pamela Morsi books before, one of the first Morsi reads for me was "Doing Good" that book made me laugh, cry and tell others about it, I also went out to get a few more of her books to add to my TBR pile ( which is really three plastic roller boxes underneath my bed). When I realized that she also wrote some romance novels years ago, I thought, hmmm maybe I'll see what those are like. One of them made me so angry that I literally chucked it in the garbage. It just made me feel good!

However, Simple Jess is insightful and interesting. It will make you turn the pages. There were times, when as a woman, I was so infuriated by how the widow, Althea Winslow was treated that wanted to scream. However, the writing was so good that I believed it, I believed this could really happend and I believed in the feelings that each character was feeling. I have to say that at the end of this book I felt cheated, when I read a romance novel, I expect the end of the novel to be about the two main characters. I want to see the novel resolve itself with them. Not with two secondary character. Even having said that, this book is definitely a keeper, if you can find it. It took me a while.