Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fearless Fourteen (Audiobook)

Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14) Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I tried to get into this audiobook, but after reading 13 other books just like it, there was nothing to hold my attention.

Love in the Present Tense

Love in the Present Tense Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What I liked: This book jumped around between time and characters. It gave the book a jointness that can usually be hard to capture when telling a story this complicated. It made beautiful points about love and how we love.

What I didn't like: A few of the secondary characters were a little flat.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this book much more than I expected. Don't let the first chapter deter you from reading this book.

Pub. Date: July 2007

Synopsis: For five years Pearl has managed to keep the past from catching up to her and her bright, frail five-year-old son. Life has given her every reason to mistrust people, but circumstances force her to trust her neighbor Mitch with watching Leonard while she goes off to work. Then one day Pearl drops her son off…and never returns.
They are an unlikely pair: Mitch is a young, unattached business owner, and Leonard is a precocious, five-year-old boy. But together they must find a way to move forward in the wake of Pearl’s unexplained disappearance. Their bond as parent and child shifts and endures, even as Mitch must eventually surrender Leonard to a two-parent home.
Is it possible to love the people who can’t always be there for us? The answers will surprise and move you. As their lives unfold, profound questions emerge about the nature of love and family. Ultimately, this novel’s richest reward is watching Mitch and Leonard grow up together, through the power and the magic of the human heart.

Recommended Reading:
Oxygen by Carol Cassella
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What I liked: This book is written in several perspectives. Clay's present life without Hannah, Hannah's tapes and Clay's own memories during Hannah's tapes. The format the book is written in was quite easy to follow. Reading this book was a huge reminder of how circular life is, how often we tread on other people's lives and every action we take creates in a reaction in someone else.

What I didn't like: Hannah seemed a little deeper, a little better at reading people than most adults I know. Some of her comments that the reason should have seemed obvious, didn't to me. For a sixteen year old girl it was a little unbelievable. The plot, overall, while it was an original idea, seemed a little forced at times.

Final Thoughts: I think this book would be a great movie. It reads well and keeps the reader on the edge of the seat waiting for what happens next. The ending stuck with me for awhile, before I realized that there is bitter edge of truth to the ending. It isn't easy to ask for help, and even harder when no one hears you.

Published: October 2007

Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Recommended Reading:
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Lost It by Kristen Tracy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to Talk to a Widower

How To Talk To A Widower How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I liked: Everything. From the first page this book had me with it's pain, intensity and dry humor. This book says a lot about how people love, grieve and live after someone has gone from their lives.

What I didn't like: I can't think of anything I didn't like. Honestly. This book was well-written, there was plot and conflict and meaning... Just a really really good book overall.

Final Thoughts: READ THIS BOOK!

Pub. Date: June 2008

Synopsis: Doug Parker is a widower at age twenty-nine, and in his quiet suburban town, that makes him something of a celebrity – the object of sympathy, curiosity, and, in some cases, unbridled desire. But Doug has other things on his mind. First there’s his sixteen-year-old stepson, Russ: a once-sweet kid who now is getting into increasingly serious trouble on a daily basis. Then there are Doug’s sisters: his bossy twin, Claire, who’s just left her husband and moved in with Doug, determined to rouse him from his grieving stupor. And Debbie, who’s engaged to Doug’s ex-best friend and maniacally determined to pull off the perfect wedding at any cost.
Soon Doug’s entire nuclear family is in his face. And when he starts dipping his toes into the shark-infested waters of the second-time-around dating scene, it isn’t long before his new life is spinning hopelessly out of control, cutting a harrowing and often hilarious swath of sexual missteps and escalating chaos across the suburban landscape.
Funny, sexy, and smart, How to Talk to a Widower is a novel about finding your way, even when you have no idea where it is you want to go.

Recommended Reading:
Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper
The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Commencement by J. Sullivan

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What I liked: I liked the format of the book. The story switched between Mariam and Laila telling. I also liked that it skipped through the years. I enjoyed the history inside the story. These were events that fell within my life time and reminded me how little I pay attention to the world.

What I didn't like: The characters fell a little flat. They were caught during a very revolutionary time in Kabul, but neither one of them seemed to grow from it.

Final Thoughts: After loving the Kite Runner as much as I did, this book fell a little short of expectations. I read and finished it because I enjoyed the history, but there was no character motivation to keep me interested.

Pub. Date: May 2007

Synopsis: A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years -- from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding -- that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives -- the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness -- are inextricable from the history playing out around them.
Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heartwrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love -- a stunning accomplishment.

Recommended Reading:
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen [unabridged audiobook] [NOOKbook]
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Life Gets in the Way

I've fallen slightly behind on this blog, not because I haven't been reading. I've actually read quite a few things, I simply am lacking time, ambition and/or the ability to think at the moment. I had a week long trip to China the end of April that has taken up the last three weeks of my life. My life these days seems to involve: Work, children, work, potty training, work, a certain Big Dumb German, work, laundry, work, ear infection, and oh, did I mention work? No? How remiss of me.

I'll be back in a few weeks, a soon as I get my head on straight, more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep a night and hire a housekeeper.

Happy Reading!