Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell -- A Book Review

One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into - one way or another. For the women in Candace Bushnell's new novel, One Fifth Avenue, this edifice is essential to the lives they've carefully established - or hope to establish. From the hedge fund king's wife to the aging gossip columnist to the free-spirited actress (a recent refugee from L.A.), each person's game plan for a rich life comes together under the soaring roof of this landmark building.

This book is a modern-day story of old and new money, that same combustible mix that Edith Wharton mastered in her novels about New York's Gilded Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald illuminated in his Jazz Age tales. Many decades later, Bushnell's New Yorkers suffer the same passions as those fictional Manhattanites from eras past: They thirst for power, for social prominence, and for marriages that are successful - at least to the public eye. But Bushnell is an original, and One Fifth Avenue is so fresh that it reads as if sexual politics, real estate theft, and fortunes lost in a day have never happened before.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut -- A Book Review

So it goes.

The first time I tried to read this book I couldn’t give it the proper attention. It was at a busy time and I could only read a few pages here and there and it made no sense reading it like that. That was years ago and now I’ve been able to give it the proper attention it deserves. The story is about a WWII Veteran, Billy Pilgrim, who witnessed the bombing of Dresden, Germany. Today the death toll is estimated to be about 25,000 people, when Vonnegut wrote the book the death toll was estimated much higher. Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in Dresden at the time of the bombings and this story is his experience there, but told through a fictional character that is not himself.

Billy Pilgrim is the main character and we hear is story through a jumble of events. One minute he’s in war the next curled up next to his wife years after the war. He talks of time traveling and of how he was abducted by aliens. He is able to tell in great detail of his experience with these other life forms. The reason it is called time traveling is because he not only has flash backs he also experiences flash forwards. Anytime death is mentioned it is followed by the saying “So it goes.” It is how the author changes the subject and uses it as comic relief. According to wikipedia it appears 116 times. Once the POW’s arrived in Dresden they are imprisoned in an unused slaughterhouse…Slaughterhouse-Five. It’s also there that they take shelter from the bombings.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

To Our Followers:

We are an online Book Club that will review and dissect books of all kinds. After lots of emails and persuasion we have decided on a title and it will be announced very soon.
So, before we make that announcement we want to make public a few guidelines and ask anyone who is joining in to please take these guidelines into consideration.
1.) You do not talk about Book Club.
2.) You do not talk about Book Club.
Just Kidding!!! That was my attempt at humor.
No for real, all titles that will be considered for book of the month is a title the 3 of us have never read. The book title will be announced on the 1st of every month. We encourage anyone who is a book lover and avid reader to join us! On the 28th we will post our reviews, opinions, ideas e&…After the above date comments opinions and discussions are more then welcome. We ask that all comments be held until the end of the month so as that everyone has enough time to finish reading the selected title.
Thank you and we look forward to reading with you!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

For Love of Evil by Piers Anthony - A Book Review

Parry was a gifted musician and an apprentice in the arts of White Magic. But his life of sweet promise went disastrously awry following the sudden, violent death of his beloved Jolie.
Led down the twisted path of wickedness and depravity by Lilah the harlot demoness, Parry thrived -- first as a sorcerer, then as a monk, and finally as a feared inquisitor.
But it wasn't until his mortal flame was extinguished that Parry found his true calling -- as the Incarnation of Evil. And, at the gates of Hell, he prepared to wage war on the master himself -- Lucifer, the dark lord -- with dominion over the infernal realms the ultimate prize!
I started reading this book before I realized it was the 6th book in a series. I am not sure if reading the other books would make this book any better. As a fan of Piers Anthony I was quite disappointed in this book. It would jump from one story of the book to the next in one sentence. It would be a better book if there was one concrete story to go by.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Coraline by Neil Gaiman -- A Book Review

It was a happy accident the day I came upon Neil Gaiman. I was browsing around Waterstones looking for that 3rd book, as Waterstones always has a 3 for 2 deals on. I have always liked authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman’s book Fragile Things was on the table mixed with such authors. The main reason I was drawn to it was the sticker on the cover that said “3 for 2.” Also the cover was really cool. I know I’m not to judge a book by its cover, but being somewhat of an artist myself I can’t help but admire book cover art. Hey I think I have a new calling….

This title Coraline was written for ages 9-12 and being only 192 pages I was able to finish it in less then a day. When I first read Gaiman’s work I was unsure how I felt about him. Now I know that he will eventually be talked about like the authors I mentioned above. Coraline was an engaging read. I also enjoyed how it was short and to the point. Sometimes authors get to windy and babble too much about things that don’t have any relevance to the story. It has Alice in Wonderland qualities about an alternate world where you learn that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Watership Down by Richard Adams -- A Book Review

It’s about bunnies.

Adams used to tell his daughters stories, about bunnies, on road trips to keep them amused. They begged him to write them down and so he did…it took him 18 years to complete it. People seemed to want to read more into it then he had intended. To him he was writing about a bunch of bunnies going on an epic adventure! And what an epic it is!!!

The story takes place 30 miles from where I’m currently living. Fiver is a type of seer and he tells his brother, Hazel that all the rabbits in their warren must leave because something bad was going to happen. Hazel knowing his brother believed him and went to the Chief Rabbit only to be told they were crazy and that to move the whole warren would be nuts! So, Hazel and Fiver gather a small band of rabbits and leave. That’s where the adventure begins.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Masters Of Time Series by Brenda Joyce - A Recommendation

Highland warriors sworn to protect Innocence through the ages….
Malcolm of Dunroch has been chosen by the secret Brotherhood, a nameless society of pagan knights sworn to defend mankind. He is a novice to his extraordinary—and dangerous--powers. But he has already broken his vows--for an innocent woman’s death is on his hands. Malcolm is determined to fight his dark sexuality, denying himself all pleasure…until fate sends him another Innocent, the beautiful bookseller, Claire Camden.Desire is the first weapon
Since her mother's murder, Claire has done everything possible to make a safe, secure life for herself in a city where danger lurks on every street corner, especially in the dark of the night. But nothing can prepare her for the powerful and sexual medieval warrior who sweeps her back into his time—a treacherous, frightening world where the hunters and the hunted are one and the same. Claire needs Malcolm to survive, yet she must somehow keep the dangerously powerful Master at arm’s length. For she has no wish to die in his bed like the others—in the throes of dark, forbidden pleasure…

Highland warriors sworn to protect Innocence through the ages….
A golden man, he is called Black Royce—a battle hardened soldier of the gods. His vows are his life—until he is sent to New York City to protect a Healer from those who would use her powers for themselves. The moment Royce sees beautiful, feisty Allie Monroe, he knows she will be his only weakness—and he is right.Destiny is a dangerous thing
Allie Monroe is more than an heiress. She is a Healer, willing to do anything to save victims of the evil that lurks in the city at night. But alone, she can do only so much—until destiny sends her the darkest Highlander of them all. Then evil strikes and Royce is destroyed before Allie's eyes. Now Allie will do anything to save Royce—even if it means going back in time to a dark, dangerous world to be with him. And confronting their enemies could cost not only their lives, but also their love—for all eternity.

Highland warriors sworn to protect Innocence through the ages….
Aidan, the Wolf of Awe, has abandoned the Brotherhood and forsaken his vows. Feared by all and trusted by none, he hunts alone, seeking vengeance against the evil that destroyed his son. He has not saved an Innocent in sixty-six years--until he hears Brianna Rose’s scream of terror across centuries, and leaps to modern-day Manhattan to rescue her…
Her Seduction... His Salvation.
Brie spends her time fighting evil from the safety of her laptop—and fantasizing about the medieval Highlander she met just once. She is also a gifted empath. Still, her life is pretty ordinary—until she awakens one night consumed with Aidan’s pain and rage—which she is feeling across centuries! And when Aidan suddenly appears in the city and takes her hostage, Brie cannot believe how dark and dangerous he has become. She knows she should be afraid, but instead, she will fight across time for his redemption… and his love.

A dark, ruthless Highlander, the Black Macleod has refused his destiny. His life is revenge for the massacre of his family. His enemies' insults—that he is a man of stone—only amuse him. But Fate is impatient, and when a woman from another time dares to summon him, he cannot resist her powers—or her…THE WOMAN WHO WILL SAVE HIM.
A schoolteacher by day, Tabitha Rose uses her magic to protect others by night. When the vision of a dark Highlander, bloody and burned, appears to Tabby, she knows she has been called to help him, no matter how frightening he might be. But what Tabby doesn’t expect is to be taken against her will to his dark violent time. And when evil begins to stalk her, she realizes she must fight for far more than his destiny—she must fight for her love….

Highland Warriors, sworn to protect innocence through the ages...
Ian Maclean’s arrogance hides a terrible secret—for decades he was held prisoner by demons. Not a day goes by that he isn’t tormented by his darkest fears of powerlessness. Now he is about to sell to the highest bidder a page he’s stolen from the Book of Power—if one women doesn’t stop him. Every Rose woman has her destiny
Slayer Samantha Rose’s latest mission is to recover the stolen page—and get payback from the only man who’s ever rejected her. What she hasn’t counted on is the raging attraction between them—or her growing realization of what Maclean has survived. As the powers of the evil from his past gather, Sam will do anything to help him—even if it means following him into time and facing his worst nightmares with him...
If interested check out more at http://mastersoftimebooks.com/
I have read the first three and can't wait to read the last two.

Rule of the Bone - A Recommendation

Is a 1995 novel by Russell Banks. It is a bildungsroman about the 14-year-old American narrator, Chappie, later dubbed Bone (named for a tattoo that he gets), who, after having dropped out of school, turns to the guidance of a Rastafarian Jamaican illegal immigrant. The novel is split into two halves, the first of which concerns his family struggles in America, and the second takes place in Jamaica. Some critics, such as the New York Times' Michiko Kakutani, describe the book as descending from other novels about rebellious teens, such as J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book contains frank descriptions of drug use and sexual abuse, which coupled with the age of the narrator, has contributed to the book's controversy.
This book looks at faith and life from a different light. If you've ever known a kid like Bone you'll appreciate his struggle between right and wrong, and what's important for survival. This is a great book that kept me reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt -- A Recommendation

~Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever--isn't that everyone's ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift--but doesn't know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. Intense and powerful, exciting and poignant, Tuck Everlasting will last forever--in the reader's imagination. ~
Taken from amazon.com

I read this, I believe in the 5th grade. It always stuck with me. It made me think and years ago I went and bought my own copy as I felt it a must for every book collection. I don’t think I need to say a lot as the description above really says it all. If that doesn't spike your curiosity then nothing I say will.

P.S. The movie does not do it justice and I don’t recommend it.

Cujo by Stephen King -- A Book Review

Cujo is so well-paced and scary that people tend to read it quickly, so they mostly remember the scene of the mother and son trapped in the hot Pinto and threatened by the rabid Cujo, forgetting the multifaceted story in which that scene is embedded. This is definitely a novel that rewards re-reading. When you read it again, you can pay more attention to the theme of country folk vs. city folk; the parallel marriage conflicts of the Cambers vs. the Trentons; the poignancy of the amiable St. Bernard (yes, the breed choice is just right) infected by a brain-destroying virus that makes it into a monster; and the way the "daylight burial" of the failed ad campaign is reflected in the sunlit Pinto that becomes a coffin. And how significant it is that this horror tale is not supernatural: it's as real as junk food, a failing marriage, a broken-down car, or a fatal virus.

Recently I have had an urge to read some of Stephen King’s work. I set my sights on The Stand first, but after seeing how fat it was I changed my mind. Not that I don’t like fat books…I just wasn’t in the mood for an epic. My sister, Janet, was somewhat of an old-school Stephen King fan and she recommended Cujo.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood -- A Book Review

Book Summary
Ten little piggies dance on a young child's fingers and toes before finally going to sleep.

My Review
This is one of my favorite books! The illustrations (by Don Wood) are excellent and the story is catchy and easy to love. It's funny, cute, and there are a million things to pick out and talk with your children about within the illustrations. I never mind reading this book a million times (parents - you know what I mean!). We give this book 10 thumbs up! (I give two and each of my four kids give two as well! :))

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards -- A Book Review

Book Summary
Kim Edwards's stunning family drama articulates every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? In 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins, he immediately recognizes that one of them has Down Syndrome and makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and to keep her birth a secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.
Find out more: http://www.memorykeepersdaughter.com/

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tweak Growing up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff - A Book Review

Book Summery
Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It's a harrowing portrait -- but not one without hope.
Nic Sheff is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Still in his early twenties, he continues to fight daily battles with his addictions. His writing has been published in Newsweek, Nerve, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Tweak is his first book.
My Review
Since this is not a fiction book it is a bit difficult to review since I am reviewing the person. I think that it takes a strong person to write about their weakness and put it out there for the world to read. What bothers me about this book is that Nic just wasn't some poor punk kid struggling on the street. He grew up with wealthy some what famous parents where he was around celebrities on a regular bases. This doesn't make his story any less sad or hard to read, it just doesn't make me feel as sorry for him. After Nic wrote Tweak book his father, David Sheff wrote a book called Beautiful Boy. Now I feel like the family, who doesn't need the money, is making a ton of money off of this boys addiction. That is what I have a problem with. I can not decide if I liked or disliked this story, I took it for what it was. But I didn't feel like there was a strong message to end the book. He relapsed after he had written the book. Which I suppose shows that addiction is an on going battle and you have to keep fighting every day. On the other hand you could argue that it doesn't give people much hope. I know and understand that addiction is a strong and powerful thing, I'm going to have to end with being on the fence about this book.

Emma by Jane Austen -- A Book Review

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.
(words and picture taken from Amazon)
My Review:
(Spoilers included)
What a great story! Austen wrote that she thought no one but her would like her heroine, Emma. I have to disagree I loved Emma. She’s a bit spoiled and thinks well of herself, but I ask myself is there anything really wrong with that? Being confident and self-assured are all qualities I look for in people. Yet being confident and self-assured can also be called arrogant or conceited. Which can easily be mis-interpreted in some people (Pride and Prejudice). What’s wrong with being happy with who you are? Being a spoiled brat is awful because one could never be satisfied--always wanting more. If you are a little spoiled it can be nice and most people deserve a little spoiling here and there. There are problems if you think you are perfect and think there is no room for improvement. Emma does not think herself perfect. She just acknowledges that she was born to privilege and plays her role of dutiful daughter and neighbor and she has someone making sure her head does not swell to the size of a watermelon…
(Spoilers Start Here)
...Enter Mr. Knightley! I think he gives Mr. Darcy a run for his money!! He is a lot older then Emma, but I think that was common for the time period. Men had to make sure they could afford a wife and home e&…so they married later in life and chose young brides. Which was suitable for the bride as they had the comfort of knowing they had a sensible man to take care of them financial. That they love each other is obvious when her friend Mrs. Weston confides to her that she thinks Mr. Knightley likes Jane Fairfax and Emma gets in a right start and starts rambling that he can’t marry and ruin her nephew’s prospects. Made me laugh. Which is another reason I like this book: it’s comical. Mr. Knightly has been patiently waiting for Emma to grow up. He does not say anything out right about Mr. Frank Churchill except for passing comments of his foolishness. When he realizes that Emma never had any real feelings for him he can’t help himself, but to confess his feelings. It's my favorite part in the book it’s what the reader has been waiting for!!
(Spoilers End Here)
Emma is a lovable character who grows and changes as the story moves on. She's caring to all around her. Except for that nasty Mrs. Elton!! The supporting characters are fun too and I dare say that you may recognize your friends and family in them! I've read it twice now and I can say I will read it again if I ever find a lull. I have tons of reading to get on with, but sometimes you want a carefree love story. Austen is wonderful and I have three more of her books to get to!!

For a full background on the story check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sky Tree by Thomas Locker

I was in the New York State Museum the other day and I was playing in the children's section of the museum when I found this book. I read it aloud to the people I was with plus two or three randoms. I really like trees and art so this book is fabulous. I looked up information on the author and he has other books just like this dealing with clouds and water, very talented. Great visual book for kids.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

World Book Day

Today in the UK it’s World Book Day!!!

Every Monday I take my daughter to the library and they handed out a 1-pound WBD Book Token. Which entitled us to either a free book (special 1-pound books were printed) or 1-pound off any children’s book at participating stores.

So today I went to the store and purchased The Tyrannosaurus Drip Song By Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts. It’s very fun and has the music printed in the back! This book is a song from the book Tyrannosaurus Drip that is similar to the ugly duckling. A baby duckbill dinosaur is hatched out of a T-Rex nest and from there the fun begins! I think I’ll have to buy a copy of the original title for my daughter!!
Julia Donaldson has many children books out, the most popular The Gruffalo and if you want to know more about her visit her site at http://www.gruffalo.com/index.html on the same site she sings the song from the book. We own The Snail and the Whale. Which is a very exciting book about a snail wanting to see the world and a whale that helps him. It all rhymes which makes it fun to read!!

The WBD comes from the tradition of giving roses and books to loved ones on St. George’s Day, which is April 23rd. It was declared International Day of the book in 1616 which also happens to be William Shakespeare’s death day. *

The UK changed the date to correspond with the school’s term times. Everyone else make sure you read a book to your kids (or someone else’s) on April 23rd!!

To find out more visit the UK official site at: http://www.worldbookday.com/index.asp

* Information comes from worldbookday.com and wikipedia.org for information on St. George’s Day. Picture comes from amazon.co.uk.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer - A Series Review

Twilight is a series of four vampire based romance/fantasy novels: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. It follows the adventures of Isabella "Bella" Swan, a teenager who moves to Forks, Washington and finds her life turned upside-down when she falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen.
The series is told primarily from Bella's point of view, with the epilogue of Eclipse
and a portion of Breaking Dawn being told from the viewpoint of character Jacob Black. Midnight Sun, if published, will be a retelling of the first book, Twilight, from Edward Cullen's point of view.

To read Midnight Sun go to http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/. To read the reviews of the series, click on the comment button below. *Warning - spoilers*

Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown {book review}

Every month a blog I follow hosts a book club, but the books chosen all have to do with food. Particularly baking. It’s very similar to ...