Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I'm reading A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher
for an upcoming blog tour.

And still working on Chocolicious by Geraldine Solon.

I just finished Landing Place by Marina Snow. (Fogive the bad picture quality, but I couldn't find an image online) You can find my review here.

Next, I'll probably read In Vain by Barbara Reichmuth Geisler

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Unrevealed by Laurel Dewey

"Of course, he owned every single Beatles album, but he also had every solo effort thar John Lennon recorded. Oddly, there was nothing in there of George, Paul or Ringo's solo projects."

pg. 54

Monday, August 29, 2011

Landing Place by Marina Snow

The idea behind the novel had lots of potential. It could easily have become a great thriller with a feminist touch, but unfortunately, the novel did not live to expectations.

The biggest problem is the lack of a plot. Yes, Celeste is abandoned in an airport with her children by her husband and she must decide what to do with the rest of her life, that is a great beginning, but the novel seems to stop there. Everything goes smoothly for Celeste from then on, from finding the perfect job to being able to afford her first house without incident. She just goes in and buys a house with cash. She develops a relationship with the perfect guy who has absolutely no flaws and who loves her children without effort, and her life proceeds to be a heaven that no reader out there could ever identify. We all have daily problems and struggles, there is no way to feel close to a character who doesn’t have a single problem in her life. Even the big confrontation between her old husband and her new husband is resolved too quickly.

The writing style is not bad, but the novel becomes dull as the pages turn and nothing happens. There is no tension and no fear that Celeste will get anything less than a happy-ever-after. If you like stories that are so feel good they make your teeth ache, then this one is for you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing is… a book meme!

What was the last book you…
• borrowed from the library?
• bought?
• cried over?
• disliked and couldn’t finish?
• read & loved?
• got for review? (or: got in the mail?)
• gave to someone else?
• stayed up too late reading?

Hmm, lets see:

Borrowed from the library: a biography on Edgar A. Poe by Jeffrey Meyers

Bought: Incognito by David Eagleman

Cried over: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Disliked and couldn't finish: Women who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Read and loved: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

Got for review: Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker

Gave to someone else: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Stayed up too late reading: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quote It Saturday

Add as many quotes as you wish, from whom ever you wish. It can even be lyrics to a song.
Just tell us who it is. Anonymous welcome too.
And please leave your link.

Today I have some quotes by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

"Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth."
(Crime and Punishment)

"Right or wrong, it's very pleasant to break something from time to time."

"Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!"
(Crime and Punishment)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties by Clark Zlotchew

A man with a tortured psyche keeps a pink teddy bear on his food tray as he watches the Olympics on television. A waitress in New Jersey puts a curse on a sailor; his behavior becomes increasingly irrational. Two shipmates learn firsthand about segregation in 1950s Savannah. A timid adolescent suffers the pangs of unrequited love. A sailor who wants no more complications in his life falls in love with a young prostitute in Cuba on the eve of the Castro Revolution. An academic meets Jorge Luis Borges and uncovers the mystery of an American writer with three different names.

The seventeen narratives of this collection deal with love and death, triumphs and defeats, adolescent angst and the tension between ethnicity and assimilation against the background of the 1950s. Some present adventure on the high seas as well as a glimpse of Havana night life on the eve of the Castro Revolution.

The narratives in this collection paint a picture of the 1950s. Many of the elements of this culture will repel: racism, sexism and homophobia, for example. Yet this was an era in which neither the threat of terrorism nor the scourge of AIDS existed for the average American.

Story collections are always interesting to read, they are not always done well but when they are, it creates a great effect. This is one of those that work really well.

The 50s are represented here in more ways than one, although Mr. Zlotchew seems to focus a lot on the controversial aspects of that time period. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider this a fault, on the contrary, I think he manages to convey the grittiness without overdoing it and without boring the reader.

The collection begins with a story that involves a little magic, the only one that has a bit of supernatural quality to it. It is handled well and it leaves the reader wondering just what happened to Andreotti, one of the main characters. A standout tale is “Storm Warning”, it shows the permeating racist atmosphere in the era, but it is not shoved in the reader’s throat. The story begins to turn dark slowly, reaching a climax of violence, then calming once again. It’s a great example of the little jewels that form this collection.

The writing is impeccable, the pacing taut. There are some very witty dialogues and scenes that capture your attention and won’t let you go. This is a book that will linger in the reader’s mind with its beauty and its darkness. I can easily recommend this to anyone.

Follow Friday

Q. In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

Well, vampires would be pretty cool, but then again, that would erase all the mystery, so I don't know. I like the mystical aura all supernatural creatures have, and I think that by "coming out of the closet" they would no longer be as interesting as they seem.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta is Susan from The Book Bag!

Congrats Susan, I've sent you an email asking for your address, so whenever you can send it my way so that I can give it to the publishers.

Thanks everyone for participating!

Booking Through Thursday

When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL.

The last one that I read, that really captivated me was The Band that Played On by Steve Turner. It was about the band in the Titanic, about their lives and how they came to be on board for that fateful voyage. I was drawn in by the minutia, the twists of destiny that made them accept the offer to work on the Titanic. Very interesting and it painted a vivid picture not only of these peoples' lives but also of the time period.
My review is here, if you're interested.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Economics of Ego Surplus: A Novel of Economic Terrorism by Paul McDonnold

Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist internet "chatter," which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?

A mix of political intrigue, detective story and economic lesson, this book is eclectic, to say the least. It is an intriguing read that bends genres and rules.

The writing style is clear, which in a novel that deals with a lot of ideas about economics, is a good thing, otherwise we’d be lost after a few pages. It was fascinating to learn about the different theories about the way our world’s economy works, and although some of the explanations deviate from the storyline, they are never dull, and they enhance the plot rather than hurt it. There is an interesting balance between the seriousness of the worldwide economic crisis in the story and the main character’s fresh voice. When it could have easily been all doom and gloom, the author manages to keep things relatively light.

The one thing that I had a bit of an issue with was the book’s length. I feel like it could have done a bit better by being longer, taking more time to explain certain things more thoroughly. It sometimes feels a bit rushed, leaving the reader trying to catch up. This should not deter anyone from reading it, though, since the plot still holds itself together.

This is a book for everyone with an interest in world economy and for all the mystery or thriller lovers out there.

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I'm reading Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties by Clark Zlotchew

And Between the Land and the Sea (Marina's Tales #1) by Derrolyn Anderson

I just finished reading The Lost Queen by Mark Miller You can find my review here.

Next, I'll probaby read Chocolicious by Geraldine Solon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Lost Queen by Mark Miller

Zandria and Olena continue their adventures in the land of Empyrean. Zandria discovers a magical crystal that may be the clue to finding their mother, who has been missing the past six years. Zandria and some new friends set out on a quest to recover the other crystals. The wicked Carnivale Chaotica ringleader, Raymond Shaydaway, wants the crystals for his own evil ends and will stop at nothing to take them from Zandria. Now Zandria must solve the mystery of the Lost Queen if she has any hope of finding her mother.

This is the second book in series about Empyrean, the complex kingdom that Mr. Miller has created. A wonderful sequel, it is infused with the same kind of magic that the first book in the series had, making it a good choice for all ages.

The characters truly shine in this one. They jump off the page, with Zandria leading the way. Among the new characters, we are introduced to the mysterious Skiordan people, who live in the Peckwood forest as well as Raymond Shaydaway, a fantastic villain who seems to steal the scenes he appears in. His Carnivale Chaotica creates a great atmosphere, making the book a bit darker than the previous one.

The writing is clear, well-structured, with very few errors, which makes for a pleasurable reading experience. There is a musical quality to the way Miller writes that makes the reader want to pick up more of his books. Something else that should be considered is that these books have very strong female protagonists, none of the wimpy ones we see too often nowadays, so it’s a great choice for teen girls.

I can easily and happily recommend this book to everyone who likes a well-thought out fairy tale in a truly magical kingdom.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From The Economics of Ego Surplus by Paul McDonnold

"Behind the heavily tinted glass sat Marshall Adams and four other FBI agents. There was about to be a raid, and as they neared the designated house a complete silence of focused concrntration fell over them."
pg. 75

Monday, August 22, 2011

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing asks…

Do you prefer character-driven stories, or plot-driven stories?

I tend to like character-driven stories better than plot-driven ones. When the characters are the main focus, we get to really bond with them, to feel for them much more than when the actions are the important things. I see that a lot in fantasy and sci-fi books, which I think is the reason why there's not that many great ones out there. They are too plot-driven, while other ones, like Harry Potter, stay in our heads because all the characters are unique and well-crafted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chosen by Barbara Elsborg

Some crimes can never be forgotten...

Kate Evans doesn't take risks. She chose her apartment with care-a safe district with a good neighbor-a place where she can live a quiet, unassuming, under-the-radar existence. Then she makes one mistake and opens her door to accept a delivery of flowers from a secret admirer and her life will never be the same again. A guy she's never seen before bursts into her apartment and asks her to marry him. Jack Thompson won't take no for an answer and drags Kate on a cross country journey to hell.

Invalided out of the police, Nathan Beranson works as a private investigator in San Antonio, Texas where he spends too much of his time following unfaithful spouses and delivering the bad news to their partners. When his fiancée cheats on him with Jack Thompson, the half-brother Nathan's only just met, he becomes obsessed with Jack in the same unhealthy way as his revenge-seeking clients. By the time Nathan finally realizes putting the ghosts of the past to rest is a wiser option than settling an old score, it's too late. He's already been drawn into his sibling's latest deadly game and Nathan and Kate find their nightmare is only just beginning.

What a frightening story! This is one of those books that completely swallow you up, never letting the tension ease. The reader is really taken in by the whole plot, and although it’s violent it’s hard to put down.

The story line is complex, full of twists and turns that I will not reveal since I do not want to ruin the experience for anyone else, but I can tell you it’s a book that is hard to put down once you start. What’s the most frightening is that it is not a far-fetched story, it could and does happen to people all the time. There are a few rape scenes in the novel, so it might not be the best read for younger teens or for those of you who are affected by those reading those types of scenes. There is a lot of violence on top of that, but it is not gratuitous and they never feel “fake”.

Jack, the villain, is a very interesting character. His personality is complicated enough to make it difficult for the reader to know what to feel about him. we want to hate him, and yet, it never seems possible. The main character, Kate, is a strong female one, who does her best to get out of the situation she is in.

If you want a powerful story that will shock you with every page turn, this is one for you.