Monday, March 29, 2010

Riding Lessons

Riding Lessons: A Novel Riding Lessons: A Novel by Sara Gruen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What I liked: The story was well-told. The main character was seriously flawed, the only thing she did well in the story was ride horses, this made me like her very much.

What I didn't like: There were too many storylines going on at once. The character was crazy obsessed about the horse and the guy, I thought a lot of her actions were out of line with what was going on with the rest of the story.

Final Thoughts: I wanted desperately to hate the main character, she was so selfish and egotistical, but I couldn't. She had a good heart, even if her intentions didn't always reflect that. The characters were interesting, with detailed histories.

Pub. Date: March 2004

Synopsis: A devastating accident that ends both the career of an Olympic-contender equestrienne and the life of her beloved horse sets off a chain of events that comes to a crisis point nearly twenty years later.

As a world-class equestrian and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, the beautiful horse she cherished.

Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenage daughter to this place of pain and memory, where ghosts of an unresolved youth still haunt the fields and stables—and where hope lives in the eyes of the handsome, gentle veterinarian Annemarie loved as a girl...and in the seductive allure of a trainer with a magic touch.

But everything will change yet again with one...

Recommended Reading:
Flying Changes by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen [unabridged audiobook] [NOOKbook]
Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles
Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Outlandish Companion

The Outlandish Companion The Outlandish Companion by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was an amazing trip inside the author's head. Although it only covered the first 4 books of the series (the other 3 hadn't been published yet) it wet my appetite to re-read the series. I love DG's sense of humor, and I think her personality is present so much in this book I feel that I know her personally and could pick up the phone to call her.

This book did an amazing job giving summaries of the first four books, picking the author's brain about research, characters and writing, and provided helpful character summaries, a bibliography, a recommended reading list, and even a glossary of terms/translations for the foreign languages used in her books.

If you read and love DG's Outlander series, you have to read this book too!

Pub. Date: June 1999

Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captured the hearts of millions with her critically acclaimed novels, Outlander. Dragonfly In Amber, Voyager, and Drums Of Autumn. From the moment Claire Randall accidentally steps through a magical stone that transports her back in time more than 200 years to 1743, and into the arms of Scottish soldier Jamie Fraser, readers have been enthralled with this epic saga of time travel, adventure, and love everlasting.

Now Diana Gabaldon has written the ultimate companion guide to her bestselling series, the book only she could write - a beautifully illustrated compendium of all things Outlandish. As a special bonus for those who are eagerly awaiting the next appearance of Jamie and Claire, she includes never - before - published excerpts from upcoming works in the series. And there's lots more in this lavish keepsake volume for the many devoted fans who yearn to learn the stories behind the stories:
• Full synopses of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn
• A complete listing of the characters in all four novels, including extensively researched family trees and genealogical notes
• Professionally cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire
• A comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to Gaelic terms and usage
• The fully explicated Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel
• Frequently asked questions to the author and her (sometimes surprising) answers
• An annotated bibliography
• Tips, personal stories - even a recipe or two
• Essays about medicine and magic in the eighteenth century, researching historical fiction, and more
With the insight, humor, and eye for detail that has made her novels such an outstanding success story. Diana Gabaldon here gives her readers the best gift of all—The Outlandish Companion.

Recommended Reading by Diana Gabaldon:
Dragonfly in Amber
Drums of Autumn

Sunday, March 21, 2010

PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God

PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God by Frank Warren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In my endeavor to utilize my library for more than just movies and children's books, I stopped by today to find something light and quick to give my brain a break from DG's The Outlandish Companion. I picked this up, hoping it would fit the bill, and killing two birds with one stone as I was able to remove this title from my (ridiculous) wishlist without cluttering up my house further. I mention this because in a moment of clarity and potentially fatal bit of housecleaning a week ago, I shortened my physical TBR list from 49 to 29. Anyways, I picked this up because it's a book I have zero intention of ever keeping.

I spent about an hour and a half looking over this book. Some of the secrets were humorous and silly, some didn't seem very secretive at all, some were frightening and emotionally moving. Some secrets I plan on going back to look at further as some of the artwork is amazing, or confusing. "What do they really mean?" And some of the secrets could have easily been mine.

Pub. Date: October 2009

Synopsis: The PostSecret phenomenon lives on! Frank Warren, “the most trusted stranger in America,” offers the fifth book in his New York Times bestselling series. PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God—born from Warren’s collaboration with the American Visionary Art Museum’s “All Faiths Beautiful” exhibition—is another provocative collection of never-before seen, artistically created postcards from around the world revealing the shocking, soulful or laugh-out-loud funny thoughts and feelings we all share about life’s most profound questions. The original PostSecret was selected by the Los Angeles Times as a Favorite Book of the Year. The website has won numerous Weblog “Bloggie” Awards—including Weblog of the Year and Best American Weblog—a Webby and a People’s Voice Award and receives more than six million visitors a month, proof positive that we live in a PostSecret world!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Princess of the Sword

Princess of the Sword (The Nine Kingdoms, Book 3) Princess of the Sword by Lynn Kurland

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What I liked: I really enjoy this fantasy world that LK has created. This book had a better plot than the other books in the series - I was taken by surprise several times.

What I didn't like: The hero is a marshmallow. There were a few times I wanted to tell him to quite his snivelling and be a man already. Some (okay, all) of the romance scenes dragged on about three pages longer than they really needed to - and considering that LK's books are PG/PG-13ish, that's a lot of mushy crap to read through. And LK did the usual bogging down of the book by adding the entire cast of characters from all 3 of the books (and two of the short stories) in addition to a few new characters so that it was one big muddled mess and I couldn't remember who was who.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this story. LK has fine writing skills and really makes this fantasy world come alive. I recommend this series for anyone looking for a quick escape, but nothing deeper.

Pub. Date: January 2009
Series: Nine Kingdoms Book 3

Synopsis: As the mercenary daughter of Gair, the black mage of Ceangail, Morgan is the only one who can stop the terrible sorcery her father unleashed. To do so, she must race against time and find the spell that will allow her to close the well of evil he opened. But that quest will lead her to places she never dreamed existed and into a darkness she would give anyting to avoid.

The fate of the kingdom of Neroche is intertwined with the closing of Gair's well. Miach, the archmage of Neroche, is determined to help Morgan find what she needs, not only because the safety of the Nine Kingdoms hangs in the balance but also because he will do anything to protect her. Together they must search out the mysteries of Ceangail, and the dangers of Morgan's own bloodline.

Recommended Reading:
The Mage's Daughter (Nine Kingdoms Book 2) by Lynn Kurland
Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms Book 1) by Lynn Kurland
A Tapestry of Spells (Nine Kingdoms Book 4) by Lynn Kurland
Till There Was You by Lynn Kurland

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Earthly Joys

Earthly Joys Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book had me, it so had me. And then the author threw a homosexual love scene into the middle of the book and it was done for me. Not that I have anything against homosexuals, or that I've never read a book with a similar theme, but in this case it was so out of line with what I felt the character would do it ruined the beauty of the story. I've tried several times to return to the book, but remain unable to finish it. In fact, I was so motivated by this author's failure to hold my attention, that I've removed all of her books from my TBR shelf.

View all my reviews >>