Monday, September 17, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern {review and discussion}


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:

Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.

Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter. (from the back of the book)

Melanie says: I first picked up the book while on vacation in Yellowstone, not because I wouldn’t be enjoying myself, but because I needed something for when the sun went down and my mind was still wide awake. I only mention this because I think it is a testament to the quality of the storytelling in the book. I found myself thinking about the book and sometimes hurrying back to the hotel to read while I was observing the awesomeness that is Yellowstone. The story moves a bit slow at times and the battle is much less epic than the back cover implies but the characters are relatable, despite their magical tendencies, and the plot is quite intriguing. I imagine the circus being something of a black and white Cirque du Soleil but where the action happens up close and personal - I found myself wanting to step into the pages and experience the circus myself. I also really liked the two converging story lines (but only after I realized the importance of reading the chapter description, which is not something I often do). 


Lisa says: I remember seeing this in my local store and thinking it looked intriguing, but instead of picking it up I just put it on a mental back burner. When Melanie suggested bringing back the book of the month (we’re bringing it back with a little less structure!) and it was fate that she mentioned this book! I really enjoyed this book! I agree with Melanie saying it is a bit slow at times. The circus set up reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (one of my favorite books). The Night Circus is definitely intriguing and felt very real! As I was reading I was like either the ending is going to be pants (check me and my British slang) or the author new what she was writing. Sometimes I feel authors have a good idea and then don’t/can’t follow through to the end. Erin Morgenstern knew what she wanted the story to be. I can’t wait to see what her next novel might be like! 

Janet says: I really enjoyed this book and found myself unable to put it down. Interestingly, I really likes Bailey's story line the best. As I read, I wanted to hear more about him! Of course I was very happy with the way his character ended up in the story. I felt a little disappointed in the climax. I think it lacked a little given the enormity of emphasis put on it.I loved what Marco and Celia made for each other, one of my favorite parts was when Celia experienced the ice tent. I felt like I was there and I wanted to explore more!Overall I recommend this book, I really enjoyed it!

And last but not least it looks like this book, yet again, is going to be turned into a movie. Yay. (note the sarcasm) 

Update Jan 6 2013: Loraine @ What I Felt About.... shares her thoughts on The Night Circus here

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris {book review}

Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse Novels.....I like'em. I got hooked on the tv show True Blood thanks to some of my friends. Lucky for me one friend had all 11 Sookie Stackhouse Novels for me to borrow. I read them all in a very short amount of time, they are quick reads. 

There were a few books in the middle that got a little boring but I read those quick too so I could get to the next book. It is always true what they say that the book are better than the movies/tv shows. 

It seems to me what the tv show did was cram most of the big plot lines from the first few books into the first season of the show, there are now 4 seasons and after reading the books and seeing the things they have changed and added and left out I'm not sure where the shows gonna go. Either way there are beautiful people and I enjoy the show. This post wasn't supposed to be about the tv show but rather and encouragement to read the books, they're fun and sexy.



Since I couldn't find a good synopsis for the books here is a quick one.... Sookie Stackhouse is a southern bell from Louisiana who can read minds. She also has found a world involving vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, fairies and anything else you can think of in the super natural world. There is love and war when you read these books you will be on edge waiting to find out what happens.
~Stacy

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Night Circus: Book of the Month


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:
Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn
As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.


I have had a bit more time to read lately and it was suggested to me by Melanie (a fellow reviewer on the blog) that we should try and bring back the Book of the Month. August has already started, but I thought I would announce the book now and we can then discuss it later in September? Maybe middle of the month say the 15th? 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a book that caught both Melanie and I's attention. If you've already read it great! I can't wait to hear what your thoughts are! If you haven't but are now intrigued grab yourself a copy and join along with us! 

Here is a link to a social networked Night Circus game. I haven't joined because I don't know if I need to read the book first. Here is another link to Erin Morgenstern's web page. 
Happy Reading!! 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer {book review}

UK cover
I am on Twitter!!! (@unitedcakedom) I am stating that because that is how I learned about the existence of this book. I follow Jodi Picoult and she was re-tweeting peoples responses! 


I picked up a copy at my local grocery store, in hard back! It is rare for me to buy a hardback. I love books, but I have to really want it not to wait until it comes out in paperback. 


Just a flip through the book it had my attention. There are pictures! Well drawn pictures! 


I like the idea of the characters of books having their own world (between the lines) after the book closes. The story was handled very well, for such a complex story line. There are so many questions to be asked about the world in the book and I think most of them are answered! What happens when a character in a book wants more? 


I enjoyed reading this book it's labeled as young adult, but I think today there are so many books that sit on the borderline of young adult and adult. I am nearly 30 and I enjoyed it and I think a young person the age of  10 or so would enjoy it as well. 


It was an entertaining light read that I would suggest to anyone who loves fairy tales! 


I have a couple of niggles; I wanted a few more examples of why Delilah and Oliver liked each other. It felt a bit forced, it's one of my gripes about fairy tales in general. Tangled: Rapunzel was locked in a tour for 16 years! Yet she marries the first guy she meets! I know at the end there is the disclaimer when Eugene says "after years and years of asking I finally said yes" so it implies that she didn't marry him the second she got home. But still! Anyway off track again........ where was I? 


My other niggle was after all this build up (not going to spoil it) it just ends. I guess that is a sign of a good story that I didn't want it to end, but I was physically looking for more pages thinking "is that it?" Maybe there is a sequel? I've never know Jodi Picoult to do a sequel, but there is a first for everything! 


To find out more about what this book is about click here
~LiSa

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!!!


My sisters and I (us three) love Harry Potter. It’s not a secret!

If Harry were a real person he’d be 32 today. 
He was born in 1980.
He’s older then me! He also shares his birthday with his creator: JK Rowling (not the same year, just the day and month!)
Happy Birthday! :0)

Think I might re-read Goblet of Fire as it reminds me of the Olympics.

Anyone want to re-read or first time read along?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Changeless and Blameless {Book Review} The Parasol Protectorate



Alexia Tarabotti Novels Changeless & Blameless by Gail Carriger

When I first read Souless, I wasn't sure what to think. The style of writing was a bit different and  I wasn't sure about it being a series. I have said before how I don't really like series. It's just that by book 5, or if we're lucky book 7 or 8, the story tends to get repetitive. Or worse the characters change so much you don't recognize them anymore ~coughanitablakeseriescough~!! 

All the books are stand alone stories, but they do follow a timeline. So, if you are curious you can  start with Souless and stop if you want. Which is what I did, until after I reread it and wanted to know what happened next. So, I picked up Changeless (2) and Blameless (3) I also just ordered Heartless (4) and Timeless (5). Will be updating shortly on those! ;0) 

Changeless starts with all the supernatural folk becoming human, which is greatly concerning. Oh, to go back a second Alexia Tarabotti is souless and lives in a Victorian England with scientific advancements (aka Steam Punk) and where supernaturals have been given rights (in England). Souless people are rare; when they touch a supernatural they become human. Which vampires and werewolves don't like very much. So, when everyone becomes human they think she has something to do with it. To prove her innocence she goes on a search to find out what is going on! 

I have to say about all the books so far is they are very funny and clever! 

Then in Blameless she is forced to leave England to Italy to find out more about herself and her father's history. What I find frustrating is when there is a character who could answer her questions, but won't. Her butler, Floote, was her dad's butler and knows stuff!! Yet, he won't tell her things that would be useful to her! This was less satisfactory then Souless and Changeless as the other two had more interesting insight! 


I am stuck into book 4 at the moment and will let you know how it goes! 



I highly recommend this series and that's a lot coming from me, who doesn't like series'! 
~LiSa

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shades of Grey by E L James {book review}

Okay so if you haven't heard of this book you are living under a rock! Most likely not only have you heard of it, but you've read it as well! What did you think?


I didn't like it. It's Twilight with out the supernatural and I didn't like Twilight. I tried re-reading Twilight last summer, in case I was missing something, but it was actually worse then I had remembered. Probably because when I read it the first time I hadn't read the 4th book Breaking Dawn. Which is listed in my top 5 worse books ever!!


I could rant about Twilight forever so I will stop myself. I don't know why I thought I'd like Fifty Shades of Grey, knowing that it was originally fanfiction for Twilight. Why did I bother?!? Well, I like to read what's "popular" just to see what the hype is about. I haven't been able to bring myself to buy book 2 & 3 to see if it gets any better.


I don't find anything offensive about it: sex is sex. It just wasn't written very well and the dialog was abysmal. Also Anastasia just finished 4 years of college and she didn't have a computer or an email address..... if it wasn't for the technology dating it as current I would have thought it was set in the 80's!


I'd like to hear others thoughts! Have an opinion leave a comment!!  


~LiSa

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan {book review}

Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Penny chews or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money . . . the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag . . . Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian's sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong. Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams - a novel - with recipes.

I loved Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan and picked this one up the day it came out. Another perfect summer read. It's easy going and a great story about making life changes. Although it's fiction I feel it shows that life can take some unexpected turns and we should just go with it! I am also excited because it has an advertisement for Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe! Already on my wish list!! ~LiSa

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE
Three great storylines weave through the books, charting the civil war for control of the Seven Kingdoms; the defence of the towering Wall of ice in the uttermost north against the unearthly threat of the Others; and across the Narrow Sea the rise to power of Daenerys Targaryen and the last live dragons in the world.



A GAME OF THRONES

A CLASH OF KINGS

A STORM OF SWORDS, 1: STEEL AND SNOW

A STORM OF SWORDS, 2: BLOOD AND GOLD

A FEAST FOR CROWS



I have read books 1, 2, and 3 pt.1, I am in the process of getting book 3 pt 2 and 4. I am trying not to rush to quickly through this series as book 5 was only just published. Who knows when book 6 will be out?
I love these books. They are a bit slow and tedious in parts, but I am glad I've stuck with them so far. The characters are lovable, even the un-lovable ones!! I found myself constantly thinking about what would happen next after I put the book(s) down for the night.
The chapters are written from the view point of alternating characters, my sister pointed out Jodi Piccoult does the same. I would find myself flipping forward to see what happened next to certain characters. However I don't recommend this as I spoiled a few things for myself!!


These are very popular at the moment due to being a HBO TV series, so I don't know what I can say about them that hasn't already been said except for this: if the opening chapter of A Game of Thrones doesn't grab your attention, then I wouldn't bother. Just put it down and read something else! ;0) 
~LiSa


note: after re-reading this it feels like I was all over the place, I am sorry. It's just hard to say in the written word what I want to say!

Update: I have finished book 4, I found it a bit of a struggle. It introduced too many new characters and even though I liked getting all the information in book 4 A Feast for Crows, I would have preferred reading about the characters I had come to love! 
I am totally enthralled in book 5!! Now that it's back to what feels familiar!!
 ~LiSa 24/07/2012 

Friday, April 20, 2012

World Book Night!!

April 23rd is World Book Night!!
I am a giver!! Check out this post on my other blog!!
The one I'm better at keeping updated!!!


I promise to update soon, I've been reading the Game of Thrones series, a romantic comedy, and has anyone heard of Shades of Grey?? Stay tuned!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eesoo by Kathleen Boettcher: A Review and Comparison!!

Melanie reviewed this book a while back, but it took me a while to hunt a copy down. It’s out of print, published first in 1990. On the last page there is a form so you can be contacted when the next book was published. It’s ironic because no following book was ever published. Someone somewhere knows why, but we the masses will never know. In the front of the book the author claims there were to be 7 books to follow.


My theory is that she changed her name to Diana Gabaldon While reading this book I just couldn’t help but feel I had read it before. The main characters are so similar to Outlander (book 1) or Cross Stitch (in the UK) it was like dejuvu. If you remember I hated Outlander, which is one difference, I didn’t hate Eesoo.

Here are a few of the similarities: There will be spoilers!!

The heroine: Claire-Nurse; Angela-Doctor (she only got interesting in the last few pages); Both-Spunky character who is a boring marriage. Is forced to marry an exciting adventurous type. Both females drove me crazy with they way they conducted themselves. The hero: Jamie-beat/raped; T’hur-beat/raped, which means they both have reasons for being guarded moody men who need to learn how to love/trust and be loved/trusted in return--by someone who can not only fix them, but understand them. Both are some form of royalty one is to rule the other a duke or something.
As for the story one is about space travel the other time travel, but it gives each story a fantastical feel. And both are slightly overly long. The main characters where one dimensional, but that is common in most romance novels/stories. Romeo and Juliet, Twilight etc… Yay I did it I just put Shakesphere and Meyers in the same sentence. If your main characters are plain they don’t alienate the reader. The reader needs to be able to insert themselves or relate to the main characters.

Going back to Romeo and Juliet it was the secondary characters that really made the story and that’s how I feel about Eesoo. Outlander was horrendous with silly things happening and on more then one occasion things that happened were unbelievable and the secondary characters were nonexistence. Eesoo has some amazing loveable secondary characters!!
Eesoo gives you exactly what it promises to give! Romance, adventure, and mystery! Even though my guesses were right in the end, I wasn’t 100% sure. Which is what I think makes a good story! It also made me laugh out loud sometimes. That's hard to do in a book I think. The writing was very witty! If you ever come across a copy of Eesoo I suggest you grab it up!!

It’s sad that the other books were never written/published. Yet, I hate sagas and series because it usually drags on too long. They ruin a good book. The other thing I like about this book is the name, Eesoo is a creature that looks loveable, but when pissed off becomes a scary monster. The lesson nothing is what it appears to be. That’s what this book is, it isn’t what it appears to be! Love it!!

~LiSa
note: all books were purchased by me and they are my own opinions and views and thoughts! If you disagree or agree with anything I've said please leave a comment I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

West End Girls by Jenny Colgan {book review}

from the back cover: The streets of London are paved with gold . . . allegedly. They may be twin sisters, but Lizzie and Penny Berry are complete opposites - Penny is blond thin and outrageous; Lizzie quiet, thoughtful and, well, definitely not thin. The one trait they do share is a desire to DO something with their lives, and as far as they're concerned, the place to get noticed is London. Out of the blue they discover they have a grandmother living in Chelsea - and when she has to go into hospital, they find themselves flat-sitting on the King's Road. But, as they discover, it's not as easy to become It Girls as they'd imagined, and west end boys aren't at all like Hugh Grant . . .

I first read Jenny Colgan when I bought a magazine that came with a free copy of one of her books. I can't remember the title and it's okay because it was a typical chic lit story about a girl finding her true love in the most unlikely of places. Then I read Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe and loved it. So, when I picked this one up I had a 50/50 chance of liking it. Now I will always give Jenny Colgan a chance because this was an entertaining read. With semi-predictable ending. I don't read chic lit if I was looking for a mystery, crime, or fantasy novel I read it to be entertained for a while and this book entertained me. Summer is months away, but a good summer read, something to take to the beach!
~LiSa

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin {book review}

The first book of Earthsea is a tale of wizards, dragons and terrifying shadows.
The island of Gont is a land famous for wizards. Of these, some say the greatest - and surely the greatest voyager - is the man called Sparrowhawk. As a reckless, awkward boy, he discovered the great power that was in him - with terrifying consequences. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his means, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast in his land. Only he can destroy it, and the quest leads him to the farthest corner of Earthsea.

I have owned this book for well over a year. The first time I tried to read it I couldn't. It is written so different from what I was used too I easily got confused and gave up after the first 3 chapters. However recently I've found myself with nothing to read. Searching the shelves at the local charity shops and grocery stores for something to grab my attention and nothing did. We are having the windows in the house re-placed which caused us to move everything around. Good for an early spring cleaning and for looking through ones books! This one was sitting in the pile of yet to read. Without thinking I started to read it, right in the middle of sorting and I was hooked. It's an enchanting coming of age story. People in other reviews are comparing it to the likes of Harry Potter and such, but it's way before Harry's time therefore it can't compare. A young boy discovers he has magical ability in a world where it is excepted, he goes off to school and learns the skills to be a wizard. While in school he does something foolish and after school the real life lessons are learned. I like it. I can't wait to read the other three. I have them all in one book.
I don't like series because I don't know if or when they will end and I don't have the time to commit or funds to a series. However a trilogy or saga is different. I know it's 3 or 4 books and expect it to have a beginning, middle, and end. Different then a series.
This reads like old school science fiction. If you like fantasy and sci-fi I would recommend it to you! I would also recommend it to you if you like coming of age and adventure stories!!
x LiSa

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Fat Chance Guide to Dieting by Claudia Pattison

Think nothing tastes as good as slim feels? You're obviously not eating the right food . . .
Holly, Naomi and Kate are determined to win the battle of the bulge. So it's down to the local slimming club, where carbs are strictly off the menu and there's no escaping the scales. But calorie-counting isn't the only thing on their minds.
Newly engaged Holly should be over the moon. So why does she blush every time her sexy boss walks into the room? Curvaceous Naomi finds herself the object of a very unusual fetish and a shocking secret is revealed when an unexpected visitor arrives on Kate's doorstep.
Yet with a little group support (and a particularly brutal weight loss boot camp) the women manage to stick to their regime, in time for the glamorous Slimmer of the Year Awards. But with tempting buffet tables, highly competitive contestants and even the odd fat fetishist lurking, it's anyone's guess as to what will happen . . .

Having recently joined a local slimming club I thought this would be a fun read, but it's nothing short of odd. The group leader is horrible and the lives of the 3 main characters are lacking to say the least! Another reviewer said that the book was about friendship and that it shined throughout the book. I didn't get that. The relationship between the girls hardly progressed from acquaintances. One of the girls actually gets held against her will and force fed by a guy who gets turned on by bigger girls stuffing their faces. Ah...okay? I would suggest you give this one a miss!!
Happy Reading in 2012! I hope to be around a bit more!! You can always find me at my other blog www.unitedcakedom.com where you can find reviews on all my baking books!!
~Lisa

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

This year one of my resolutions is to post at least one book review a month! :0) I don't read nearly as much as I used too. Kids are getting bigger and I find that I actually have less time to myself!
Hope everyone has had a great 2011 and are looking forward to 2012!!
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