Saturday, July 31, 2010

School's Out Forever

School's Out - Forever (Maximum Ride, #2)School's Out - Forever by James Patterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I liked: This book jumped right into the action and didn't stop. The author didn't waste any time with back story.

What I didn't like: Plot seemed a little vague again. There seemed to be no resolution to the story. More questions than answers.

Final Thoughts: I continue to look forward to finishing this series. The characters are great, the action is great, just waiting for the plot to come together.

Pub. Date: May 2006
Series: Maximum Ride Book 2

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride and the other members of the "Flock"--Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It seems like a dream come true--except that they're being hunted by half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" who can fly, too.
In Book 2 of the series, the Flock members are taken under the wing of an FBI agent and try to live "normal" lives by going to school, making friends--and continuing their relentless search for their parents. But the Erasers return, forcing the Flock to abandon their search and make their escape once again. The voice inside Max's head keeps telling her that it's up to her to save the world, but this is especially challenging to do when she is faced with her ultimate match: a newer and better version of herself, Maximum Ride II. Max's heart-stopping quest to investigate the mind-blowing mystery of her ultimate destiny continues in the scariest, strangest, and funniest James Patterson novel yet.

Recommended Reading:
Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
The Final Warning by James Patterson
Max by James Patterson
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and IndonesiaEat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What I liked: Parts of this book read like talking to a good friend. Parts were funny and honest and didn't feel contrived for plot or dramatic affect.

What I didn't like: Quite honestly, I felt a lot of things about this book were construed together too perfectly to be a "real" story. It wore me out and wore on and on at points when it just should have died. Who the hell gets to have a mental breakdown AND a happy ending? There were also chapters that I felt were created (history of rome 101, where gurus come from and Bali Realty for Dummies to name a few) just to fill out the numbers. They were boring and added no context to the story.

Final Thoughts: This book did not live up to the hype for me.

Published Date: February 2006

Synopsis: The celebrated author of The Last American Man creates an irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure and spiritual devotion.

By the time she turned thirty, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern, educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house in the country, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love and the complete eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.

To recover from all of this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, left her loved ones behind and undertook a year-long journey around the world, all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the chronicle of that year. Gilbert's aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature, set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Italy, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, where, with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise Texan, she embarked on four months of austere spiritual exploration. Finally, in Indonesia, she sought her ultimate goal: balance—namely, how to somehow build a life of equilibrium between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. Looking for these answers on the island of Bali, she became the pupil of an elderly, ninth-generation medicine man and also fell in love in the very best way—unexpectedly.

A memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment. It is also about the adventures that can transpire when a woman stops trying to live in imitation of society's ideals. This is a story certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.

Recommended Reading
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
One Day by David Nicholls
Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen [unabridged audiobook] [NOOKbook]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One of THOSE Books

I'm trying to work my way through Eat Pray Love but it isn't easy. It's one of THOSE books. A book that resonates so closely with my own life, that I find myself nodding my head thinking "been there done that" at every page.

The author was very close to the age I was at when my 'mid-life crisis' struck me. I didn't runaway to travel the world the way that she did, but I have had to find my way through what my choices had made my life had made me. We both struggled through depression to find what brings us pleasure in life, slogged through the demands of the modern world to find a spiritual connection - to see the bigger picture of the world we live in, and finally to find love in ourself. For ourself just as we are and for those we touch in life.

And that's were the similarities end. The author leads a charmed life: already an accomplished world traveler, seemingly set financially, able to make friends and surrounded by an abundance of them... I dread finishing this book. I just know the author's ending is going to be so much better than mine. (Considering that I'm nursing the Mother of All Broken Hearts, a horror novel would end better than my life.)

But I can't stop reading. This book is just so well written. It's funny and smart and moving. I dread picking it up, but struggle to put it down when I do. I'm torn between thankfulness that vacation with The Spawn and The Diva has kept me too busy to read, and being upset by the interrupted reading time.

I'm having a serious love/hate relationship with this book.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Traveling Mercies

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I liked: This was the message I was missing in Grace (Eventually). Anne Lamott's stories of faith and life are enduring and uplifting.

What I didn't like: It started out as more of a memoir of how not to live your life before it settled in to the inspirational stories and moments of Lamott's current life. Once I got past the "this is who I am and how I got here" section, the rest of the book was great.

Final thoughts: Lamott's stories continue to entertain and fill my well. I've enjoyed her stories and found comfort to know that we are not walking through this life alone. Sometimes God comes in a bag of dimes, the love of a child or the loss of a friend.

Pub. Date: 02/28/2000

Synopsis: Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother."
Despite--or because of--her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers--her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.
Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.
Recommended Reading:
Plan B by Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
Take This Bread by Sara Miles