Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Outlander (by Diana Gabaldon)

As I have mentioned before, my mom is a lover of books that come in "series". Her bookshelves at home are lined with series - murder, mystery, romance, witches, if its a series, she owns it. Which, I have to say, benefits me also, especially if I want to start reading the series, because she has all the books already. Good for the pocketbook. Well - two years ago (or thereabouts) when I went home for some holiday, she bestowed upon me the Outlander series, and said, and I quote "you will no be disappointed." Hesitant to get wrapped up in a series of books with each book at a meager 800 pages each, I put it on my bookshelf and didn't look back. That was until last month, when after reading "In cold blood" I needed a fast/lighthearted read. Something to take my mind of the reality of civilization. So why not read about a time travelling nurse in the 1940s? I opened the first book of the series - "Outlander" and began my journey. Oh My Gosh. I quickly realized how ADDICTING this book was. I would think about it at work, and be excited to get home to read it at the end of the day. We aren't talking a literary masterpiece here, but it is damn good. It has all the makings of the perfect chick book - love, time travel, romance, scottish warriors, love, romance, ... love, romance... you get the point. Basically, the book is about a main character - Claire Randall aka Claire Beauchamp. She is visiting Scotland with her hubby in 1940s (after WWII) - Frank Randall - and while on a hike to look at some rocks, she gets hurled back into the 1700s, in Scotland. She gets swept up in the life and times and love of the 1740s and basically the book follows her story from that point on. Its a guilty pleasure to read this book, and luckily for me there are 7 more books in this series to carry me onward. I just started the second book - Dragonfly in Amber, and it is not disappointing either (and it is also 800+ pages). I recommend this book if you are looking for an easy, entertaining, and addicting read. It won't take you long to power through the 800 pages, and it will definitely leaving you wanting more at then end, and luckily there is more!

Friday, October 1, 2010

In Cold Blood (by Truman Capote)

I have a fascination (albeit strange) of true crime stories. So, when I was reading about a sad sad story on CNN the other day, my co-worker suggested I read In Cold Blood. And I did. And I liked it. Can you really say you like a nonfiction story about a family that gets murdered? In any case, I didn't "enjoy" it, but found it intensely interesting. And, well, Truman Capote was just an amazing story teller. I was thoroughly engaged and felt like I knew every side of the story of what happened to that tragic family. If you don't know what this book is about, it basically, in detail, describes the before, during, and after of the murder of a family in Kansas, from the perspective of everyone involved - the killers, the towns people, and the police/detectives. Yea, a very happy book. But apparently, Truman Capote went to Holcombe and researched heavily into the murders, and, according to some stories, striked up a friendship with one of the killers. I recommend this book if only that it is in and of itself a "classic." But, if you get scared easily, I would not recommend it. It is very real.

Up Next: The Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain (by Garth Stein)

I just finished this book last week. It was for book club. I think at book club we spent approximately 5 minutes, maybe, talking about the book. But the point of book club is to drink wine and chat, didn't you know that? In any case, I liked the book. It was a book about a man and his family, told from the perspective of the man's dog - Enzo. Interesting and creative idea. At times I found myself forgetting that I was reading from the perspective of the dog. Very clever writing. The main guy - the owner of the dog - Denny Swift, is a race driver. Not a Nascar driver, but a race driver on courses around the world in fancy shmancy cars. The book uses the racing as an analogy to life throughout the book. Basically, the dog falls in love with the racing also. Denny meets a woman, gets married, has a kid, and it goes on from there. This book definitely had its sad moments (not quite as sad as Marley & Me where I bawled like a little girl at the end), but definitely sad. And it also deals with the struggle between your dreams and the realities of those dreams. All in all a good read. Especially if you like dogs. I'm a cat person myself, but I found this entertaining.

Up next: In Cold Blood (by Truman Capote) - I'm trying to mix in a few more classics into my reading repertoire.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Day (by David Nicholls)

I picked this book up at B&N on a whim. I was trying to find "The Art of Racing in the Rain" (for book club) and stumbled upon this book, as it was a pick of one of the employees at B&N. My, am I glad I found this book. What a thought provoking, emotional, and creative novel. This book follows the lives of two people - Emma and Dexter, and is set in England. Em and Dex meet on their last day of college after graduation. Em, after having a crush on Dexter for almost all of college, finally lands him at a party that night. What follows is a dramatic and yet delightful trip through the next 20 years of their lives, but only told on one day of the year - July 15th (hence the title "One Day"). Each chapter is July 15. Each chapter discusses what is going on that day in Emma's life and in Dexter's life. Each of the characters has an impact on the other's life. This book read fast, was immensely addicting, and hard to put down. I'm glad I read it on vacation because I had extended periods of time to read. This isn't a happy go lucky chick lit book. It deals with real struggles throughout the book, but it also unravels a genuine love between the two main characters. I felt myself relating at times to the struggle to "find yourself" and establish yourself as a woman in her 20s, and I also related to the quest to find love, and the obstacles along the way. I recommend this book. It is quite enjoyable. Make sure you have tissues handy throughout the book.

Up Next: The Art of Racing in the Rain (by Garth Stein)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Commencement (by J. Courtney Sullivan)

I enjoyed this book. It was a light reading until the very end when it turned into a mystery. Kind of threw me for a loop. This book follows 4 women, from when they first meet at the all girls - Smith College, to when they are in their late twenties in respective different areas of the world/life. It's told from each of the 4 girls perspectives, which is interesting because it also talks about events that happened in their lives from different point of view. There's the feminist girl, the snob, the rich girl, and the laid back chick. I related to a lot of the book, as in relationships I formed in College and how life is like for the relationship four years later. It read really fast, and kept you pretty enthralled. It dealt with love, dreams, growing up, not wanting to grow up, losing touch, and also when its a good time to be opinionated about a friend's choices and when you should just keep your mouth shut. I recommend this book for a light end of summer read, but watch out for the last 100 pages, will surprise ya.

Up next: The Likeness (by Tana French) and The Art of Racing in the Rain (by Garth Stein) (for book club)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (by Aimee Bender)

I read this book a few weeks back, on recommend from one of my besties. I liked it. I didn't loveee it. But I liked it. This book concerns a girl, who ate the age of 9, realizes that she can feel the emotions of the person who made the food she is eating when she eats the food they made (got that?). She quickly realizes how sad her mom is, despite her mom's peppy exterior. The book then chronicles her teenage years having to learn to deal with the ability to tell what someone is really feeling inside. There are some relationships thrown in there, as well as some heartbreak. If anything, this book made me think about what its like to "mask" your emotions if you will. How often do we do that? Pretend to be happy when we are crying inside? Or pretend to love something when in fact you hate it? I would have loveed this book if there hadn't been this weird, unexplained thing with the brother, I didn't feel like there was an adequate explanation. But I'll let you be the judge. I recommend it if you don't mind reading about super human powers, and are able to suspend reality for about 300 pages.

Up next: Commencement (by J. Courtney Sullivan) - already finished this, currently reading The Likeness (by Tana French)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (by Steig Larssen)

This book is the third and final book in Steig Larssen's series. And what a good series it was! The third book was my favorite. It might be because everything comes to a climax and resolutions, and it also might be because it seemed to read at a faster pace. Once again, as with all his books, there is a lot of description of everything - such as "now we are drinking coffee", "he walked up the stairs", etc. If you have read these books then you know what I am talking about. This particular book deals with the protection of Zalachenko, Salander's dad, and the secret section of the Security Police who used every tactic it could to protect itself and Zalachenko, to the detriment of Salander. This book was interesting because it got a little Bourne-y - spies, stalkers, crime, murder, etc. I enjoyed this book, and like I said it was a good conclusion to this series. I recommend it!

Up next: Winter Garden (by Kristin Hannah) - I think this book has been on my "to read" list for about 6 months.

After that - if anyone has an good recommends let me know!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just Don't Call Me Ma'am: How I Ditched the South, Forgot My Manners, and Managed to Survive My Twenties with (Most of) My Dignity Still Intact (by Anna Mitchael)

I read this book in less than 24 hours. It was just that good. This is a non-fiction memoir about a chick named Anna (the author). She is in her late twenties. It was very witty and relatable. At times I felt like I was reading about my own life. She's a Texan, from Houston who moved from Boston to Seattle to New York. The book starts in her apartment in Brooklyn, and at the end of a relationship, and continues on from there. Its an introspective look at the mind of a late twenties woman who is forging on through adulthood. I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to discuss it at book club in a month!

Up next: Still reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, keep getting sidetracked, but plan on finishing it up soon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Space Between Us (by Thrity Umbrigar)

I just read this book for my June book club meeting. It took me a while to get through it, but it was interesting nonetheless. This book is set in India, Mumbai to be exact. This book is centered around two main characters - Bhima and Serabai. Bhima is a maid for Serabai and lives in the slums with her granddaughter Maya, and Serabai is a member of the middle class and lives in an apartment in a high rise building in Mumbai. The book details the two women's lives and how they intersect and effect one another. I learned a great deal in this book about the Indian culture and the class system. This book also deals with the power of ignorance in your life and how it can mold who you are and the decisions you make in your life. It also deal with the issue of prejudice, and how even if you care about someone so much, the prejudice you feel towards their class of people overrides any care you might feel for them. This is not a happy book. Its realistic and deals with difficult topics, including abortion (just to forewarn ya).

I won't lie and say that I didn't skim it the last 100 pages, mostly because I had only read half the day of our book club. But it is a good book, well written, and worthy of your time if you are looking for a more serious book.

Up next: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next (by Steig Larssen)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Carrie Diaries (by Candace Bushnell)

I was given this book by a best friend of mine, and I took it with me to read while on vacation in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. That was the best decision! This was a perfect "beach read". It's an easy read - I read it in 3 days (much of which were interrupted by floating on a raft in a pool and drinking Pina Coladas, among other things). This book is a prequel if you will of the Sex and the City book by the same author. In this book, you read about Carrie Bradshaw's senior year of high school and all the antics, drama, romance that comes along with it. I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining and read fast. I learned all about Carrie's senior year - her friends in high school, the boys she dated, her decision to become a writer, and why she ended up in NYC. I definitely recommed this book if you are a fan of Sex and the City, gives ya a glimpse of Carrie pre NYC. Still the same spunky girl though as she is on the show! I wouldn't mind reading a book like this about Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. A little back story is always good, and I hear in the upcoming movie (to be released this week!) we get a glimpse of the ladies back in the Eighties!

Up next: The Host (by Stephanie Meyer) - about 1/4 in right now, AND The Shack (by William Young) - about 1/2 through.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Little Bee (by Chris Cleave)

What an interesting book. This one did not take me long to get through. I won't divulge too much of what this book is about because it'll ruin it for you and I don't want to do that. But, what I will tell you is this - read it. This book is not "easy" emotionally. Its not a romantic book. It is a love story though. This book centers around a character named "Little Bee" who is a Nigerian Refugee and a British woman named Sarah and how their lives impact each other's lives. This book will take you through the emotions of anger, fear, compassion, gratitude, frustration and happiness. That's all I will tell you about it thought - I definitely recommend you read this one for yourself! And then let me know what you think!

Up Next: The Shack (William P. Young)

Friday, April 30, 2010

In the Woods (by Tana French)

I just finished this book for book club (which meets tonight). This is a mystery novel, similar in a way to Steig Larrsons "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". I enjoyed this book, although it took me a while to get through (it might have been more of my busyness at work, then the book itself). It takes place in Ireland (Dublin and Knocknaree - a small town in Ireland). It was interesting to learn a lot about Ireland and the fictional police force that the author made up. This book follows two Murder Squad detectives, Cassie and "Rob" Ryan, as the seek to uncover who murdered a teenage girl in what is called "The Woods" located in Knocknaree Estate. Knocknaree also happens to be where "Rob" Ryan (the quoatation marks are added because his real name is Adam, which plays a key part in the book) grew up and was part of a disappearance of two of his best friends back in the 80s, a crime that is still unsolved. The book was a little heavily worded at times for my taste (I did some skimming of descriptions of things), but the dialogue was well written between the characters. The author does a good job of exploring the dynamics of a "partnership" between Rob and Cassie, and the role this partnership plays in each of their lives, and how one incident can cause repercussions for the rest of your life. I'm excited to discuss this book tonight at book club, and I recommend it to all those mystery lovers out there. The ending will surprise you and surely lead to discussions. I have mixed feelings about the ending, just to put that out there. Let me know what you think!

Rating: Could put down but enjoyed it while i was reading it.

Up next: Little Bee (by Chris Cleave)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Monster of Florence (by Douglas Preston)

This books was good in many ways and not so good in many ways. This books is non-fiction and details the story of "The Monster of Florence" - a person who killed couples as they messed around in cars in the Florence country-side. The book is very descriptive about the crimes and the investigations concerning the crimes. This book follows Douglas Preston - a journalist who moves to Florence and meets Mario Spezi (another journalist in Florence who had been following the Monster of Florence case from the beginning). The author describes Mario Spezi's investigation and personal dealings with the Monster of Florence. The book also beautifully describes the Florence country-side and gives you a glimpse into Italian culture, police work, and societal norms. That part was very interesting. The part which became a little tedious was the descriptions of the on-going investigations and false accusations that ran rampant during the 30 year pendency of the case (which remains unsolved). As far as historical non-fiction goes it was pretty enlightening, other than the slow parts which were easliy skimmable.
Rating: Good
Up next: Columbine (by Dave Cullen) and In the Woods (by Tana French - for book club!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh and if you're wondering...

I am reading "The Monster of Florence" right now. So far so good!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I have been reading books my faithful readers! Its been a busy two three months for me in lawyer land but things are starting to slow down so hopefully I will have reviews written this week for these books:

- The Piano Teacher
- The Year of Fog

Both very good books (and both read for book club).

Much love.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry (By Audrey Niffenegger)

I received this book as a Christmas present from one of my besties - Elaine (she has a book blog too - http://alittlebookworm.blogspot.com/). This book is from the author of the famed "Time Traveler's Wife" so I knew I was in for twists and turns. The setting of this book takes place in London's Highgate Cemetery and an apartment building which overlooks the cemetery. The characters in this book are two sets of twins, one of the sets is in their 20s, and the other is in their late 40s/50s. One of the 40s twins is the 20s twins mom (got that?). The story follows the series of events that occurs after one of the 40s twins passes away and bequeths her apartment overlooking the cemetery to the 20s twins. They move into the apartment, and are met with the presence of their dead aunt, and form a relationship with her, and the odd neighbors of the building. I enjoyed this book as it explored the relationships between twins and the jealousies and dependency that occurs between them. And no worries, you'll get your Niffenegger twist in there.

Naked in Death (JD Robb)

Did I mention my mom is WAY into reading series upon series of mystery novels? Whether its Sue Grafton, Nora Roberts, or Patterson, she LOVES these things. Which means she trys her hardest to get me into these series. The problem is that once I start reading the series, they are on book a hundred million of the series (okay, maybe not quite that many, but enough to seem overwhelming). So, I generally end up giving up after book 2. Well, she got me to read the book to the left of this post, which is a part of the "In death" series by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts). And well, I'm hooked. I'm not sure what it is about this particular book but I really enjoyed it. The "In Death" series follows Eve Dallas, a futuristic detective, and her relationships, mysteries, and struggles. It is an easy to read, engaged crime novel. Each book apparently has its own mystery to solve in which it appears (after reading 1 1/2) that Eve always solves. This particular book (Book 1 of about oh I think 20), we get introduced to Eve and the futuristic world she lives in (I believe its NYC in about 2065 or something like that, far away enough that cars fly). This mystery deals with the death of "licensed companions". It was entertaining and I enjoyed the witty writing of Nora Rober... er JD Robb. There is also a little bit of romance thrown in there to titilate the taste buds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fired (by Steig Larsson)

Well, with the holidays and everything, I was able to read a few books. The first one - the book to the left - I received as a present from one of my friends. This is the sequel to the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was just as good, or better. The upside of this book was you didn't have the 100 pages of explanation of characters like the last book, which is understandable since it is a sequel. This book dealt with the issue of sex trade in Sweden (I'm not sure if this is a real issue in Sweden, by Swedish knowledge is a bit lacking). In this sequel we have the same characters from the last book - Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. There is less interaction between the two in this novel. This sequel focuses on the life of Lisbeth more than the first book. We get a glimpse into her back history and the reasons why she is the way she is, while also watching her character mature and grow into a better version of herself. This book hooked me more then the last book (don't get me wrong, I really liked the first book). There are a lot of twists and turns in this novel as they seek to discover who murdered two people investigating the sex trade and the major players. It's once again, a mystery, and a very well written one at that.
Rating: Hard to put down.
Up Next: Naked in Death (by JD Robb)