Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Took only two years

I am so excited right now. Scarily excited. On March 25, 2007, I added How I Fell in Love with a Librarian and Lived to Tell About It by Rhett Ellis to my Amazon wishlist. Today, March 25, 2009, I will remove that book from my wishlist---and I didn't even plan it out this way! I did realized that it had been about two years since I added How I Fell and I did want to finally get it off my wishlist. But still, it's a bit sad how excited this random coincidence makes me. However, I have to admit this book wasn't worth waiting two years to read.

If you want to see the cover, go here. It's so cartoony and I hate cartoon covers. The book is more of a novella and is probably self-published (or maybe independently published), which explains the cover. However, it had rave reviews on Amazon and I loved Ellis' novella The Greatest White Trash Love Story Ever Told. Seriously, that story rocked. It was truly examined redemption--yet was sweet and utterly shocking/surprising. I'd probably give it a 10. So you can imagine that I went into How I Fell with high expectations.

Here's the plot: basically, this 37-year-old pastor falls in love with a 24-year-old librarian who has just moved to his town. Oh yeah, she's a bit crazy. Like take numerous-pills-a-day, can't remember hours of her life, seriously crazy. There's also a subplot of this "bad" councilman who wants to shut down the town's library. But don't worry--love conquers all!

Here's what really got me: the writing. It focused on random details that didn't add to the plot (ex.: they had chips, slaw and pop for dinner and then sat on the couch...) and had much awkward telling, but not so much showing. And the pastor seemed hardly concerned about being in a relationship with a CRAZY person--someone who would randomly flip and start talking in rhymes, break the law with a "wild" car chase, etc. The whole major age gap wasn't really addressed either; speaking for someone who is in her, that guy is almost 40...that's a 13-year gap. Yikes.

So I had issues with this book. But at least it's finally gone from my wishlist!!!

Rating: 5/10

Monday, March 23, 2009

A week's worth

Evidently I haven't been in a posting mood. Ah well, inspiration comes in waves. So here's what I've been reading this week:

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda

Plot, courtesy of Amazon: An ambulance driver during WWI, Jade del Cameron promises a dying soldier that she'll track down his brother. The only problem is that the soldier's mother, whom Jade goes to visit in London, insists that she had only one son. Jade reasons that the missing brother must have been born to another woman, conceived when the now deceased family patriarch was exploring East Africa. So off she goes to Nairobi, where she mingles with the colonial elite, kills a hyena, learns Swahili, fingers a drug smuggler, romances a man twice her age, uncovers a murder and attracts the attentions of a local witch.

My thoughts: Kind of dark with a mystery I wasn't a huge fan of, interesting setting, I'll probably read the next one...

Countdown by Michelle Maddox

Again, courtesy of Amazon: Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die. The man she's been partnered with--her only ally in this nightmare--is a convicted mass murderer. But if he's so violent, why does he protect her? No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

My thoughts: Action-packed, fun, quick's a SHOMI book and I think I may like the genre.

As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason

My thoughts: The last book in the Gardella series...and it had an excellent ending. I am thoroughly satisfied with how Gleason ended the love triangle.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My first did not finish of the year (I think)

I wanted to like Celia Rees' Sovay but after 50 or so pages, I just gave up.

Here's why: the point of view switched intermittently, I had no sympathy with the main character and I didn't like where the book was headed. Also, I didn't understand really why Sovay became a highway robber. Was she just on the outlook for a certain document that could incriminate her father? I don't know...

I liked Rees' Pirates but something happened to the writing in this book. It was painful but yet dull. I had read negative reviews of the book but wanted to give it a chance. Yeah...sometimes it pays to listen to advice.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another classic Goodman

I like that I can pick up any Carol Goodman novel and have my expectations met. Her The Drowning Tree is a classic example; it's peppered with water imagery, poetry, an "other" woman and twists.

The book has a dual story, following a modern-day woman, Juno, whose husband was put away for insanity. After something horrible happens to Juno's best friend, Christine--who also was a good friend of her insane husband--new twists and turns reveal a connection to the past. Juno's life begins to reflect the story of two Victorian women who may also be connected to Christine. It's an interesting contrast between the two eras and stories.

I like how Goodman examines a theme in her works. This time, the theme was on art and madness. Can a deep obsession with art--and creating art--drive you to madness? What is the relationship between the two?

Goodman is smart and it shows it in her writing. I feel more intelligent just reading her work.

Rating: 8/10

Not envious of a love triangle

Anna Godbersen, your latest Luxe novel, Envy, was strangely addictive. I'm not sure why, either. I wasn't sure I was in the mood for drama but your story sucked me in even though the book focused way too much on Penelope, who everyone hates. She's a schemer, a liar and to be honest, I think she deserves Henry, who is pathetic, weak and a drunk. I know, I know, he only married Penelope to save Diana's reputation but since that clearly didn't lead to anyone's happiness, since now all he does is drink and long after Diana. And Diana wavers between hate and love for Henry and being a slut with Penelope's brother. Ah, love triangles, where no one is happy.

Let's talk about Diana's sister, Elizabeth. All Elizabeth did was puke throughout the entire novel (hello, morning sickness!). She was so faded in the story, letting life roll on by but I was truly surprised by her ending (and Diana's, too).

Carolina's story was fine but I'm not a whole-hearted fan of hers. I still think she's going to end up with Tristan, since she's also a major liar.

The Palm Beach setting was a nice change and kept the action rolling along. I'll definitely read all the books in this series because they're freakin' addictive. Also, all the covers in the series are amazing.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) scared me.

As you likely deduced, this book is all about traffic. It's about merging, signs, pedestrians, danger, death and scared the crap out of me. Basically, no one quite understands how to best control traffic because humans are unpredictable. Scary, yes.

Anyway, the book is well-researched, with tons of footnotes, which I appreciate. Also, his writing style is easy to follow and understand. All in all, a good nonfiction read, regardless of how it scared me. I think I'm going to work on my driving skills...

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still chugging

I'm still chugging away at Traffic. It's interesting reading that's freaking me out about my own driving but I just can't read nonfiction as quickly or as intensely as fiction. Thus, it takes me longer. Also, when I'm reading something more serious, I have to interperse my reading with something light. And since I don't want to begin one book while reading another, I usually pop open one of the 30 magazines I have on my table, just waiting to be read. I'm getting toward the end of Traffic though, and once I'm through it, I'm thinking it will be a Carol Goodman weekend...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hello again

So I haven't been reading any new books lately. I'm just in a re-reading mood. This week, it's been Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (which was just as charming and adorable as the first time I read it) other book. Hmmm. Oh! I remember: When Twilight Burns, in preparation for the final book in the series, As Shadows Fade.

Currently I'm reading my one nonfiction book of the month, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us). So far, so good...except it's convincing me that I'm a bad driver...