Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book 68 (2011): One Day

David Nicholls story about Dex and Em spans over 20 years, all on the same day, each year. From the moment Dex and Em slept together on the night of graduation from college they bound for the rest of their lives.

Then as their friendship grows and they change and evolve and their lives go separate ways, sometimes they're friends, sometimes not, and sometimes more.

This is a will they or won't they ever get together romance.

I like this novel. It's more than just chick lit and I think the characters are likable and then not so likable.

The one thing I did not like was the ending. At all. (437 pages)


Monday, December 26, 2011

Book 67 (2011): The Tenth Circle

I read this novel by Jodi Picoult many years ago but for some reason I couldn't remember much about it so I decided to give it a re-read over Christmas vacation, and I'm so glad I did.

I forgot how much I love her stories, with all the different narrative voices. And this one stayed out of the court room and was focused on one event and how it affected an entire family. I liked the twists and turns, and the shifting, drastic setting. And it's fun that there's experts of a graphic novel sprinkled throughout.

Jodi Picoult is at her best here and I certainly recommend The Tenth Circle. (400 pages)


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book 66 (2011): Smokin' Seventeen

Smokin' Seventeen is one the best in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie and Ranger have sex. Lots and lots of sex.

And stuff blows up and bail jumpers get the best of Stephanie and the the former ho Lula, her partner in anti-crime. And since Vinnie's bail office is gone and is now in Mooner's RV, Stephanie has to catch more 'bad guys' to guarantee her job.

And her mother is working hard to get her to break up with sexy fellow bounty hunter Ranger and her on again-off again boyfriend cop Joe Morelli. She has a childhood friend of Stephanie's who is trying to cook his way into her heart.

There are dead bodies, Grandma Mazur at the funeral home, Grandma Bella's evil eye, Tasy Cakes and all other great things expected. (308 pages)


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book 65 (2011): Burnt Mountain

Thayer grows up loving camp in North Carolina where she meets her first love and gets her first broken heart. She was an unloved child after her father died when she was young and could only find solace and happiness at summer camp or with her grandmother.

As an adult, Thayer marries Aengue, a Irish folklorist, and they move into her deceased grandmother's home, near her beloved childhood camp. Instead of finding happiness as an adult with a man she loves in a place bequeathed to her by her beloved grandmother, near her childhood haven, she finds scary truths about her past and present.

This is a wonderfully told story, spinning a Goth Southern tale. (323 pages)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book 64 (2011): The nineth Wife

I love love loved the book The Nineth Wife. And I am so glad. I checked it out from the library thinking it was probably going to end up as lighthearted chick lit cotton candy junk and I was so wrong and I am so glad!

The premise is that thirtysomething Bess had given up on love and marriage and then she meets Rory, an Irish musician and they fall in love. Then Rory drops the bombshell that he's been married before-- 8 times and she, Bess, would be wife number 9. Bess is taken aback and isn't sure that's a good thing for her so she decides to meet some of the exs, unbeknownst to Rory, as she takes a cross country trip with her fighting grandparents (helping them move), her gay neighbor, a mannequin, and a shar-pei.

Yes it is witty and silly sometimes, but it's also insightful. I like the changing narrator voice of Bess and Rory and how we, the readers, gets let in on Rory's marital history before Bess-- and we know far more than Bess.

Good read! (448 pages)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Book 63 (2011): South of Superior

I loved South of Superior! I loved the complex characters, the setting location, the characters felt like people I would want to know. I LOVED the voice of the story and I fell in love with the hotel and the UP. It was a story I didn't want to end.

Amazon says:

When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change. Charged with caring for an aging family friend, Madeline finds herself in the middle of beautiful nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, the other sweeter than sunshine. As Madeline begins to experience the ways of the small, tight-knit town, she is drawn into the lives and dramas of its residents. It's a place where times are tough and debts run deep, but friendship, community, and compassion run deeper. As the story hurtles along-featuring a lost child, a dashed love, a car accident, a wedding, a fire, and a romantic reunion-Gladys, Arbutus, and the rest of the town teach Madeline more about life, love, and goodwill than she's learned in a lifetime. A heartwarming novel, South of Superior explores the deep reward in caring for others, and shows how one who is poor in pocket can be rich in so many other ways, and how little it often takes to make someone happy.

Wonderful!!! (384 pages)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book 62 (2011): Winters In Bloom

Amazon says the following about The Winters in Bloom:

Together for over a decade, Kyra and David Winter are happier than they ever thought they could be. They have a comfortable home, stable careers, and a young son, Michael, whom they love more than anything. Yet because of their complicated histories, Kyra and David have always feared that this domestic bliss couldn't last - that the life they created was destined to be disrupted. And on one perfectly average summer day, it is: Michael disappears from his own backyard.

The only question is whose past has finally caught up with them: David feels sure that Michael was taken by his troubled ex-wife, while Kyra believes the kidnapper must be someone from her estranged family, someone she betrayed years ago.

As the Winters embark on a journey of time and memory to find Michael, they will be forced to admit these suspicions, revealing secrets about themselves they've always kept hidden. But they will also have a chance to discover that it's not too late to have the family they've dreamed of; that even if the world is full of risks, as long as they have hope, the future can bloom.

Lyrical, wise, and witty, The Winters in Bloom is Lisa Tucker's most optimistic work to date. This enchanting, life-affirming story will charm readers and leave them full of wonder at the stubborn strength of the human heart.

I didn't find it enchanting at all, not optimistic or charming. I didn't really care for it at all... (288 pages)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book 61 (2011): The Uncoupling

From Amazon:

When the elliptical new drama teacher at Stellar Plains High School chooses for the school play Lysistrata-the comedy by Aristophanes in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war-a strange spell seems to be cast over the school. Or, at least, over the women. One by one throughout the high school community, perfectly healthy, normal women and teenage girls turn away from their husbands and boyfriends in the bedroom, for reasons they don't really understand. As the women worry over their loss of passion, and the men become by turns unhappy, offended, and above all, confused, both sides are forced to look at their shared history, and at their sexual selves in a new light.

Even though it sounds like something I should enjoy with it being set in a school, about sex, directing plays, relationships.... well, I just didn't like The Uncoupling at all. I didn't care for the subject matter. I figured out the "conceptual ending" about 40 pages in. I didn't like the voices of the characters or of the author. It's not a favorite book, obviously and it just didn't set well with me--- the characters rang so false and I don't like "all angry, all the time". Feh. (288 pages)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book 60 (2011): Cemetery Girl

When I read Cemetery Girl I thought I liked book overall but it left me feeling creepy about the end, something just so off and wrong and it gave me the heebeeejeebees, it was so twisted. With a society like ours, unfortunately, maybe the twisted part that creeped me out was too real and it felt like a story we could hear on 20/20 or read about in the papers. So I think that means author David Beil did his job. This story was good but still left me.... icky at the same time.

Summery from Amazon:
Four years after Tom and Abby's 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover. (400 pages)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Book 59 (2011): Fragile

Here is a summery of the book Fragile by Lisa Unger that I've taken from Amazon who took it from Publisher's Weekly:

Set in the Hollows, a secluded town about 100 miles outside New York City, Unger's contemporary thriller offers solid entertainment, but lacks the tension of her 2008 stand-alone, Black Out. Psychologist Maggie Cooper and her husband, Det. Jones Cooper, disagree on how to handle their rebellious son, 17-year-old Rick, who prefers to spend time with his band or holed up with his girlfriend, Charlene Murray. When Charlene disappears one night after a fight with her mother, Maggie and Jones wonder if she ran off to Manhattan, but are reminded of the disappearance 20 years earlier of Sarah Meyers, whose mutilated body was found after she vanished on her way home from school. Though the alleged killer confessed, there are still unanswered questions, and Maggie and Jones find themselves forced to revisit the past as suspicion falls on Rick.

I liked the book well enough. It was better than some I've read this year. There's a very small group of characters and their development is shallow. (336 pages)


Friday, October 28, 2011

Book 58 (2011): The Midwife's confession

I LOVED this book. Here's a great summary I found, written by a reviewer at Amazon. com, named DC:

On a beautiful day in September, Noelle commits suicide. Her two closest friends, Tara and Emerson, are completely shocked that the woman they had known -- caring, committed midwife, champion of babies-in-need, strong independent Noelle has done this. Why? Turns out that Noelle had a lot of secrets -- a history of lies, betrayals and a hidden past that neither of them knew.

The story is a mystery and also a study in friendship and family relationships. The ability to write believable characters is a definite strength of author Diane Chamberlain. The women in her books are mothers, daughters, wives, etc. who are able to form strong bonds that are tested but that don't break even in the face of tragedy or heartache. Ultimately, this is a book about the extent that someone could go to in an attempt to make a wrong a right; or how loving someone too much can cause a person to do things that ordinarily wouldn't be considered. And at what cost?
Told from the viewpoints of the key characters in the novel, the story also shifts back and forth in time as Noelle's friends and their children Jenny and Grace try to make sense of the suicide and to find answers to the questions it brought to light. It seems that none of them really knew Noelle at all!

This was a great thriller and an amazing look at people, and definitely makes you ask the question "How well do we know anyone?" Great read! I tore though it in an afternoon and went in search of other books by Diane Chamberlain. Great voice of characters, and I liked how all characters were presented, even though I didn't 'like' them all! Wonderful, jarring and a good mystery, too. (432 pages)


Friday, October 21, 2011

Book 57 (2011): Everwild

The second book in the Skinjacker series just didn't excite me like the first one did. I LOVED the first book, but again, it's a case of an author writing a great first book and then spinning it into a series, which was weak.

I guess it's not fair to say the whole series is weak, but this second novel is.

Nick, "The Chocolate Ogre" is still trying to get every kid in Everlost to take a coin and "go to the light", which is against what Mary High Tower wants. Mary joins with scary allies, and Allie the Outcast joins with Skinjackers, learning more about her powers. There's also a wicked twist ending, which of course will lead readers to the third novel of the trilogy.

It was ok. Again, not the target audience and I'm sure this appeals to junior high kids. I like the creative-ness and I like the idea of the world of Everlost. Otherwise, I think Everlost as a novel should have stood alone. (432 pages)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book 56 (2011): The Imperfectionists

It's been awhile since I read this book but I did like it well enough.

A bunch of folks work at a English speaking newspaper in Rome. The cast of character- editors, reporters, staffers, management- all have their own stories of how they came to Rome and to the paper. The paper was originally started by a millionaire and it's struggled to stay afloat for 50 plus years. The Imperfectionists tell the stories of the current staff while blending the back story of the previous staff and the newspaper's history.

Each chapter tells the story of a different member, almost like a bunch of short stories tied together with a central theme, setting, etc, and how they all come together. (288 pages)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book 55 (2011): Forever

Forever is the last book in the Wolves or Mercy Falls trilogy.

I remember when I read the first one I was really excited and as it went on.... I became less enchanted, like I did when I read all the Twilight book series. I liked each one less and less with each book I read.

We know Sam is human and Grace is a wolf. Isabel's father is trying to get a legal wolf hunt to wipe out the pack behind the property and Cole is trying to find a cure for the shifting.

All these stories blend together in a race against time to save them all and let true love prevail.

I think teens will like it the way they like Twilight, but I just felt it was forced and would've enjoyed Shiver had it been a stand alone novel. (400 pages)


Friday, October 7, 2011

Book 54 (2011): Sworn to Silence

When Kate Burkholder was 14, she experienced a horrifying encounter with a serial killer that left her alive but scarred for life, which caused her to shun her Amish community upbringing and become an "English" police officer. She is now the Chief of Police in her hometown, Painter's Mill. Kate's biggest problems were stray cows until a girl is found dead and all the traces are similar to Kate's past horror.

Although Kate is an excellent police officer, she is a woman and inexperienced so the town officials bring in more help with more experience. BCI agent John Tomasetti, a federal agent who's on the verge of being washed up and has his own secrets is sent to help Kate catch the killer.

The murders get more and more gruesome as the killers takes more victims. Kate, who is trying to do her job, protect her family and their secrets as well as protect herself, might have to quit her job to save the next victim, as well as herself.

It was a fine mystery and an interesting new character but Kate had too much personal angst to keep me interested in reading her any more. And having all these cops with issues when trying to solve a murder just made it an unpleasant read all the way around. I just couldn't seem to like any character! (336 pages)


Friday, September 30, 2011

Book 53 (2011): After

Devon Davenport is on trial because she had a baby and threw it away in a dumpster. The thing is... she doesn't remember it ever happening.

Devon, age 15, has a crummy home life, but she's a model student, a star soccer player, holds down a job and is involved in all things a perfect student does. So why is she in a juvenile detention center, awaiting a trial to see if she will be sentenced to life for an act she doesn't even remember committing?

After is an excellent young adult novel. It's well written and it gives Devon a realistic teen girl voice. I think teen girls will eat it up. (354 pages)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book 52 (2011): State of Wonder

I like Anne Patchett's novel State of Wonder. I can say it's the first time I wasn't all that thrilled with the book's ending but I still like the novel- it didn't change my appreciation of it.

A doctor- Dr Swenson- doing research in the Amazon jungle stays out of contact with her pharmaceutical employer for 2 years. The company sends a fellow researcher to find her, only to die under mysterious circumstances. So Dr Marina Singh goes to investigate her colleague's death and to see what progress is being made on this new drug that could change humanity as we know it.

This story is multi -layered because Marina has her down dealings with Dr Swenson in her professional past, as well as the story of traveling to the Amazon, to the tribe and living and working in the jungles and all that entails.

I found this to be a profound and riveting novel. (368 pages)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book 51 (2011)-The End of Everything: a novel

The End of Everything is a yucky novel and it made me feel icky.

Lizzie was the last person to see her best friend, Evie before she disappeared. The girls were best friends then suddenly, at age 13, Evie was gone and there were no clues, just the faint remembrance of a maroon car, and the knowledge that Lizzie was the last to Evie.

Lizzie, who was lost without Evie, started her own search for her friend. However, as Lizzie dug deeper, she started to learn that she and her best friend really didn't share all their secrets, and maybe Evie wasn't who she thought she was.

The End of Everything is well written, but difficult to read because it is so disturbing. It's dark and sad and made me, as a reader, very uncomfortable and feel rather icky. I thought it would be a good mystery or psychological thriller but instead its teenage sexuality, as well as a glorified or romantic view of a pedophile was shocking and harsh.

There is a loss of innocence here which was difficult to read, too. The characters were disgusting and it felt like all the relationships were really warped, from that of Evie and Lizzie to that of Lizzie and... well, everyone, as well of that of Evie and her abductor.

Author Meg Abbott creates an uncomfortable (there's that word again, I know) atmosphere but her characters are not flat. I work with teens and she does seem to have a firm grasp on the mind of a child who thinks they know things but in reality, really know nothing. This story is narrated by 13 year old Lizzie and often the assertions that come from her are twisted and creepy, even eerie, which make Abbott a good author, even though the subject matter is quite repulsive. The sexual overtones through the whole story were uncomfortable. Between the feelings Lizzie seemed to have for Evie's dad, as well as the feelings she seemed to have for Evie and Evie's sister Dusty, all these seemed to appear sexual in nature. It was hard for me to read that Lizzie thought Evie's kidnapper took her because he loved her and wanted to have a romance, rather than the pedophile sexual predator he was. There was something sadly realistic which led to the uncomfortable feelings this story left with me.

As I said, this book is yucky and icky. I wish I hadn't read it. (256 pages)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book 50 (2011): In Search of the Rose Notes

I liked this book. Something about it just drew me to it and I enjoyed reading it all the way to the end to see what the twist was going to be. I love a good twist!

Nora and Charlotte are friends as young 11 year old girls when the babysitter they both idolize, Rose, goes missing and is never found. Charlotte is strong and assertive and wants to see if they can find her, using their Time Life Mystery Books as a guide. Nora, quiet and introverted, wants nothing of the sort, and shortly after the disappearance of Rose, the friendship ends and is never rekindled. Nora graduates from high school and leaves town, vowing to never look back since she will forever be known as "the last person to see Rose".

Now years later, Nora returns to her home town, drawn by the news that Rose's remains have been found. Nora comes back and is again drawn into memories of that time before and after Rose went missing, and she does a bit of investigating on her own, since no killer was found-- just her remains.

While back in her small town, she and Charlotte re-kindle their friendship, as it were, working through old demons as well as new ones. And many misconceptions from the past also surface, between them and between others childhood friends.

I did like In Search of Rose Notes, especially the pacing. There were two things that left me questioning the plausibility of the story. The first was that Nora, having not spoken to Charlotte since one brief conversation in high school, so basically since they were 11 years old, that she would go back to stay with her, in Charlotte's home, for weeks on end. That left me troubled- the too casual quickness of the friendship coming back together, especially since both women were uneasy with each other, and Charlotte was quick combative, strange and angry. The second was just... sort of uncomfortable. There was a distinct pre-occupation with sex when the girl's were 11 years old, and Nora was always uncomfortable just sort of turned on, but she didn't know that's why she felt tingly or giddy or whatever adjective. The sex was subtle and often just talk but Nora's shy thoughts still seemed to make her feel good and she chastised herself for feeling good. It was just strange.

Other than that, which I could overlook, I did enjoy this psychological thriller and will certainly be hunting for more books by Emily Arsenault. (384 pages)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book 49 (2011): Shaken

Shaken is the latest installment in the life of Jack Daniels, former copy gone PI.

I like the twist- this story jumps around in flashback- but is very easy to follow- as we read about Jack entering the force, leaving the force, her partner, and about a serial killer (who she called Mr. K) she was chasing and the outcome of of that chase.... will she live or die while her family and friends race against time to find her, and to help her.

Great Jack Daniels... the author is obviously winding down the story of Jack and while she's bounded and gagged after being kidnapped by Mr K and the flashback story is her life passing before her eyes... (304 pages)


Book 48 (2011): The Weird Sisters

The one thing I enjoyed about The Weird Sisters was the awesome and repeated use of everything Shakespeare throughout the novel: quotes, character names, references to plays, conversations that take place in almost solely Shakespeare nuances.

Otherwise, this felt like some traditional chick lit, but the serious sort. Three sisters who are all as different as night and day and don't get along and really don't like each other all that well but love each other no matter what, all end up back at their parents' place when their mother is battling cancer.

They are all grown adults, with their own personal battles to fight but come home to do that and then spar like little children.

And of course we all have a happily ever after in sister-land when they finally make nice after all these years.

Obvious stuff, but the repeated Shakespeare makes it worth turning the pages! Okay... and I thought the cover art and texture was pretty cool, too. (336 pages)


Friday, September 2, 2011

Book 47 (2011): Joy For Beginners

I know this is supposed to be an inspirational story about a woman who beat cancer, and then a profile of all her women friends who helped her during her treatments and surgery. And the story is a good idea but it just seems so overdone. I'm not a fan of Joy for Beginners.

The premise is that Kate survived cancer so she gave each of her women friends a task they must accomplish and she would also do something: white water rafting. Each chapter is the story of one of these women and what they had to do it, how they did it, and then how doing it changed them. Obviously, it's going to have predictable outcome with each women- yeah they did the thing their cancer survivor friend asked because SHE beat cancer so what she told them to do can't be so scary, right? And of course they come out better and happier people.

Blah, blah, blah.

It just didn't speak to me and I wasn't really a fan of the writing style. While there was a thin string of a story that tied all these women together, it really was like reading short stories, and I really didn't feel like there was enough continuity and story flow to call it a novel. (288 pages)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book 46 (2011): Then Came You

Then Came You is told in the voice of 4 women, all with different stories, who are joined together by infertility.

India re-makes herself and find her dream husband but the only thing lacking is their ability to have a child. Jules needs money to save her father so she sells her eggs while she's a poor college student. Annie is a young women with a family who's been beaten by the economy and she and her husband decide she can be a surrogate to bring in extra cash, and there's Bettina, India's step-daughter who is unsure of her place in her family's life after he parents divorce, and who wants to protect her beloved father from making a terrible mistake of having a late in life child.

All four women come together with unexpected twists and turns. Not only does this novel explore their own individual stories but of how these characters meld together. Great work by Jennifer Weiner! (352 pages)


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book 45 (2011): The Good-bye Quilt

The Goodbye Quilt is a quick little read about a mother who drives her only child, her daughter, across country, to go to college. As she and her daughter drive this journey they try to grow their relationship while the mother pieces together a memory quilt to give her daughter upon arrival at the university.

Sweet story and an easy, short read. (250 pages)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book 44 (2011): Like Dandelion Dust

It's been awhile between reading and posting so pardon my poor writing. I also didn't care enough about the book to Google info to get it right so...

Some woman gave her baby boy up for adoption because her abusive was in prison for domestic violence. She never even told him she was pregnant.

Fast forward ahead 5 years. The guy gets out of prison and the woman thinks he's changed so she confesses. He wants his son back so he starts the process, even though the boy is in a loving home with 2 parents and he doesn't know he adopted.


Due to a snafu in the adoption paperwork the judge grants the return of the 5 year old boy to his birth family. he's to visit them 3 times and on the 4 visit he's to stay permanently. His adoptive parents are crazy over the decision and decide to run away to Europe, to a country with no extradition.

Then the birth mother sees her husband be abusive to the boy and before the 4th visit she has the husband arrested again and they sign the papers saying they don't want him after all.

It's religious fiction- the boys prays to God to not have to stay with the "mean" people and the adoptive mother is a faithful Christian who tries to convert her sister who does find God by the end of the book.

It was okay, predictable, and i still felt I was being hit over the head with religion. (384 pages)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book 43 (2011) The Bird Sisters

Twiss and her sister are spinsters, living together, hobbling around in the house they grew up in. The Bird Sisters explains how they came to be a pair of single old ladies in their childhood home, told in flash backs to their summer of 1947, the summer cousin Bette came to visit, the summer their daddy lived in the barn, and the summer of first loves and heart breaks.

This is a really sweet story, nice character development, and a nice blend of flashback story telling, with just enough twist to keep interest and without the reader forgetting the "modern" story.
(pages 304)


Monday, August 15, 2011

Book 42 (2011): The Postmistress

The Postmistress is 2 stories that eventually overlap into ton tale.

In a small American New England coastal town in 1941, the small town worried about the War and whether it would come to America. The postmistress dated Henry, the man who kept watch over the ocean, watching for the Germans, watching to protect the town. No one seems to believe the War will come to the States, though they do keep a close eye on the lone German man who suddenly appeared.

People all over the town listen to the reports on the radio of what's happening during battle, of the Blitz in London. They hear the horror stories as told by Ed Murrow, and of young woman reporter and journalist Frankie Bard.

The other story is of that of Frankie and her life in London as a reporter and about her trip into the Field, as she rides the trains trying to capture the voice of the Jews and other refugees.

The folks back in America listen to these report and Dr. Fitch, after a tragedy he couldn't prevent, goes to London to try and help, leaving his young wife, alone and pregnant, waiting for him. He's drawn by the stories he hears from Frankie's voice, and he's running from the horror he feels he caused.

The two stories come together.

It's a sad story and full of tragedy. It is well written, but still so sad. (336 pages)


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book 41 (2011): The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman is not my favorite wife tale, of late. It was billed as a story of a couple who ran the Warsaw, Poland Zoo before WWII and then they used the zoo grounds to hide Jews. That was the big thrust in all the blurbs written about this book. But...!

And yes, it is about that, to a certain degree. But Ackerman's writing style and tone shift and change so much throughout this book, it was hard for me to get a reading rhythm, and hard for me to read, period. She shifts from storytelling style with beautiful descriptions, choked full of emotions into a no- nonsense telling with lots of statistics and details about the war, lots of detailed history, did I mention LOTS of detailed history about all things surrounding the war, persons involved, events during and leading up to the war... Often times there was so much history interjected into this tale, that the story of Antontia and Jan (the zookeepers) seemed to be lost, or at least an after thought.

There is a grand cast of characters: people who work at the zoo, the Underground, the people being hidden, family members.

While it was interesting, it wasn't what I was expecting. (342 pages)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book 40 (2011): The Paris Wife

Hemingway is a real asshole, and I've really known that, but it was more apparent in this story, this historical fiction tome, maybe because it seemed like Hadley was telling this story. And I know he's dead and I know he was a brilliant writer, and part of the Lost Generation (blah, fricking rah rah blah) but it doesn't change the fact that he was a horror to his first wife. Probably why he had 4 of them.

The Paris Wife is the fictional account of his first marriage, to Hadley, to his one true love, she being 9 years old than he. They married and moved to Paris where he wrote and they lived, and they "experienced" where they hung out with the likes of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott, and many others. It seemed like a wonderful and true romance. Until, of course, Hemingway, screwed it all up.

It's an obvious testament to the powerful writing of author Paula McLain that though this is historical fiction, she wove such a grand and moving tale. I did a bit of research myself to see what I could discern fact from fiction and of course the emotions, the tone, the voice are works of fiction, from the creative and innovative author's mind, but the story is that of Hemingway and Hadley- the love, the happiness, the tears, the betrayal- warts and all, are true.

And while I love the lives of real people, especially my beloved authors, taken into a fictional setting, and I loved this book, I still think Hemingway was an ass. (314 pages)


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book 39 (2011): A Reliable Wife

I'm not sure what to make of this story. There's lots and lots of sex, in act and deed, in word and thought, almost as an obsession. And the story of rich Ralph getting a mail order bride, and the twist of her past and the sadness of Ralph's past intertwining is really a good story.

Set against the stark, cold, desolate Wisconsin winter of 1908 adds to the darkness of the story; there's no happiness and light in this novel.

I do recommend it, if for nothing else than I'd like to hear what others think. (293 pages)