Tag Archives: authors

Love and Treasure Review

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This morning I finished Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman. I’ve found lately that I can’t marathon read like I used to. It makes getting books finished hard. This book shouldn’t have been so hard for me to finish. But it was. Because I can’t concentrate. True story.

I first was interested in the author’s name. Ayelet is not a name you hear everyday. According to GoodReads, she was born in Jerusalem. Which makes the name more sense. Or at least the first name. Waldman doesn’t seem like a name that would come from Jerusalem to me. But I couldn’t find the origins of her last name. She’s pretty and I’m very jealous of her hair and it seems like she’s done quite a bit of work all over the world.

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been a little obsessed with books that happen in Hungary. So I was really excited about this book because there’s a decent amount is in Budapest. I also have been a little obsessed with World War II in Hungary. The Invisible Bridge (I’m still upset the brother died in that book) and the Hungarian Holocaust Museum did that for me. I did find a book trailer for this book. It’s beautiful. I love it. It gives you information about this book without really giving you information. It’s not a linear book. It’s starts right after the war, goes to modern times and then goes to the early 20th century. The book starts with The Hungarian Gold Train. I didn’t know anything about this. But it was interesting to read up on.

I don’t have many complaints about this book. There were definitely sections I liked more than others. Even though they were all interesting, I was the most involved with the Grandfather’s story with the Hungarian Gold Train. He annoyed me the least. He tried to do the right thing and he wanted all the valuables to be returned to their owners, but no such luck. This was the section I read the fastest. It was the most interesting to me because the era and subject matter. And Ilona was interesting to me. She had to go through a lot. I can’t imagine living through the Holocaust and not having your family anymore. The book did make a point of telling how many Hungarian Jews were deported to camps in a short period of time.

The Granddaughter section was okay but I felt like she was immature for her age. She was definitely the stereotypical American. The way that a lot of Europeans see us. And I don’t know to what extent that Waldman has been in the States or if she made the granddaughter like that on purpose. I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of the Granddaughter. If you think about it, how dumb is she? She was with a guy for 12 years, and then was married for a few months before she found out the guy was cheating on her and her family didn’t like him. From the sounds of the guy, how do you not see that he’s crappy? But I shouldn’t talk, I haven’t been in that situation.

The last section wasn’t bad but I really was not invested in those characters. And I have a problem with feminists sometimes. I realize I have a lot to owe to feminist since I can vote and own land and don’t have to rely on getting married. I don’t have a problem with mild feminism. I have a problem with in your face feminism like I felt like some of the characters in the last section was. I think that some of the actions were extreme. I think passion is good when it comes to a cause, not radicalism. Radicalism kind of scares me. It’s like those people don’t have any other way out. I don’t think that the female character need a doctor though. This is the section I had the hardest time reading. But it was nice to have the back story. Though I do wish that events were told differently. Like tell the story chronologically. That’s the way my mind works, that’s the way I want it.

I did find it interesting that anti-Semitism played a role in the whole book. I’m so used to hearing anti-Black or anti-white or anti-Hispanic. I rarely think of anti-Semitism happening today. You would think I would be used to different kind of hate after listening to Hungarians talk about Gypsies. I mean honestly. I think it’s a good thing to talk about. I think it could start conversations within different groups.

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The American Heiress Review

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I have a friend on GoodReads that liked the fact I marked this book as a to-read. I was like, maybe she’s an avid fan. Nope. She just wants me to read it before her so she can see if it’s worth it. She’s never read it. The book I’m talking about is The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. The more friends I get on GoodReads, the more excited that I get because that means I have more book exposure and opinions. And I finished a book. YAY!

There’s a promotional quote on the book that compares this book with Downtown Abbey. Reading it, it does have that feel. I can’t say for sure though. I made it through a couple episodes and haven’t made the time to watch all of it. Does that make me a horrible person? Side note: I do get PBS now. Four versions of PBS and I don’t know why I get 4 versions of it. And I don’t always get them. Sometimes I only get NBC and a radar channel. I’ll take the radar channel. It’ll help a lot this winter when I go to town to work.

Let’s start at the beginning. Who the heck pays their maid to help them figure out kissing? That’s when you have a random best guy friend that’s at the party or you whine to your maid about not knowing how to kiss and you’re worried. The kissing of your female maid is weird Cora. It’s even weirder when you pay her. That makes her almost a prostitute. But given the time, I have to remind myself that a best guy friend would not be helping Cora get ready. Having a best guy friend that intimate probably wouldn’t be allowed. Especially with as much money Cora has. Girls like Cora annoy me. They’re rich, beautiful, they’re self-righteous. I don’t care if you’re beautiful or rich. I may be a little envious but what I have a hard time with is when you’re those two things and self-righteous. Maybe not self-righteous. Maybe self-centered. That might be a little better of a word. No wonder the dude ignored her. He saw through her. I do have to commend her for going to a different culture as she did. I first thought that I couldn’t do it like her and then I remembered that I did spend 10 months in Hungary so I could do it if necessary. It’s not easy and Cora needs to be commended for that. I do think that Cora got more relatable at the end of the book.

But at the same time, I have a hard time with him at the beginning of the book when he says ‘but she’s an American’. I hate the prejudice that’s behind it. Yeah, I’ve been outside of the States and I know how people feel about us and it’s not all unwarranted. But give us the benefit of the doubt. Though it does work with the story. I can’t hate it because it works with the story. Though I have hated a book for less. I got frustrated with the Duke because he was fake. I know he didn’t want to marry Cora at first. But it’s part of the story. It was a cultural thing as well. But at the end it did kind of resolve itself, which was nice.

I did feel like their ending was a little convenient. But that’s me.

The mother as crazy but the kind of mother you would expect Cora to have. I didn’t feel bad when her face was burned. I kind of shrugged like my friend Amanda did when she broke a girl’s nose in a basketball game. I also feel like she was a little presumptuous. Like she was pushing Cora a little too much on the Duke. Then I started thinking about that. The main point of the trip was to find a title for Cora and that was an open door.

I liked that the maid part of the story was in. Because I know the premise of Downton Abbey, I expected there to be a maid part of the story. But I like that she was black. I was so heartbroken for her when her mom died at the end of the book. I related way more to her than Cora.

Now a technical thing. Written conversations typically have the quotations with the two marks on either side of the spoken word. This book had just the one mark on either side. That kind of bothered me. At first, for a split second, I thought that I was entering a thought process of a character. Nope, it was an actual conversation. But I got over it and fell into the gist of the writing and how it was published. I did appreciate the language. There were a few words that I didn’t know and I appreciate that. I’ve mentioned before in here that language has gone to hell in very recent times and it’s nice to read of an era and it have the right wording and intelligent wording.

Overall, this was a pretty good book. If you like Downton Abbey, you’ll love it. It definitely feels like that show from what I’ve seen of it.

Epic Book Tag.

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I know that it’s super early in the morning. I’m being an insomniac again. I know this is another book tag and not a review. I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time focusing. I do have a 3 day weekend from work so hopefully I can focus enough to finish The American Heiress. I got this tag from The Honest Bookclub. There were 10 questions but 9 was tagging people and 10 was do the shimmy. Let’s say that I did the shimmy and the proof was destroyed and everyone’s tagged 

If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

Diana Gabaldon and Jane Eyre. That would be a good woman meeting and very smart conversation. I’d serve tea and sandwiches because I’m really good at sandwiches.

What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?

I kind of what a prequel for The Hunger Games. Like Katniss’ parents or the war that made the Capital the Capital. I think it’s be interesting. That way you can really get into the series.

Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

D’Artagnon from The Three Musketeers and the main character from Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I just think that it would be entertaining. They probably wouldn’t make each other happy. But I’d be entertained. That’s what matters right?

If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?

Jamie, you killed my father, prepare to die….haha, just kidding.

What book made you a reader and why?

It wasn’t a book, it was me falling off a horse, breaking my wrist and having nothing to do for a good chunk of the summer. Let’s not pretend that it was a book that brought me back. It was a stubborn thoroughbred quarter horse mix horse. But the one book from that time that stands out was Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allan.

Incendio! Your bookshelf just caught on fire! Show us the one book you save.

I can’t do it. It’s like a parent choosing a favorite child.

Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? Why?

I think the one that Cinder’s in. Because it intrigues me. And there’s cyborgs. I really need to read the rest of that series. But mainly I pick it because it’s intriguing.

What is your most epic read of all time?

Outlander. I haven’t read a series that I’ve been through the whole long series and still be dedicated. Can’t believe that it was there because it’s obvious.

I’m tired but I got through it! YAY! Now if you want to do the tag, do it.

The Coffee Book Tag

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I did steal this from Beachy Reads. I can’t take credit for this tag. And I love coffee. I made some this morning and I enjoyed it. I sat and held my mug even after the coffee was gone. Mmmmmm coffee. Tuesdays were coffee day in Hungary. Starbucks was on the way to bible study. We had to do it. Norbert was our coffee guy for most of the year.

1. Black: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

Well, I had a hard time with Game of Thrones. I muddled through the first book and after that I said no. I couldn’t do it. It seems like everyone who loves these books, are really into it. Or at least the fans of the television show. I’m just not into it and it’s sad because I thought that would be a series that I could get into.

2. Peppermint mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

My first instinct was the first Harry Potter book. But then I was like Little Women. They both confused me for Christmas. Unless Harry Potter was because they were popular in winter because they’re supposed to be darker? And the other one because it’s quaint? I don’t know! I can only guess.

3. Hot chocolate: What is your favorite children’s book?

Amelia Bedelia. They were the first books that I remember really getting into. I also don’t remember reading books by myself before these books. I probably did but I don’t remember them.

4. Double shot of espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Amazonia by James Rollins. It was my first Rollins book. It’s the only adventure author I’ve ever gotten into. He’s a smart adventure writer. Rollins writes in a way that makes me interested. It keeps me on the edge of my seat and I want to find out if everything ends okay. I consciously know that it will but I keep reading because I don’t know that emotionally all the time.

5. Starbucks: Name a book you see everywhere.

Everywhere physically or virtually? I’ve seen books by Sarah J. Maas a lot lately. I’m okay with it because she seems like a cool person and the one book I’ve read by her is good.

6. That hipster coffee shop: Give a book by an indie author a shout-out

Chuck Klosterman. I don’t think he’s necessarily an indie author. But I like the one book I’ve read of his. Klosterman wrote Downtown Owl. He’s an author that wrote about small-town North Dakota and got it right. Some people are offended by it but I think it’s reality. It made me laugh. Definitely not everyone’s speed.

7. Oops! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

Wicked. I know that it’s a Wizard of Oz retelling and the Wizard of Oz scares the crap out of me but I expected this book to be better just because…..well just because. I always have high expectations of a Wizard of Oz retelling. I have hopes that I won’t get nightmares. The other night I watched the Wizard of Oz commentary as I embroidered (yes, I’m in my upper 20’s and embroider. I’m an old soul…..I think) and I had a dream about the Cowardly Lion grabbing my ankle while I was in bed. It wasn’t fun.

8. The perfect blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

Outlander? I’m stretching there. There’s war and marital and extra-marital relationships and nice moments and not so nice moments. Let’s go with that. Outlander.

So that’s that tag. I’m not going to tag anyone. I don’t want to but if you want to do it, go ahead.

Someone to Watch Over Me Review

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So I typically don’t read a romance author. I look at a romance and think, ‘you’re going to be cheesy’. It’s not that I’m bitter about love, it’s just from what I’ve read, they’re cheesy and the probability that they’ll ever happen is very little. It can give the reader unrealistic expectations because the need for love is unrealistic. But every once in a while, I’ll try one to see if I’m right or wrong. But it has to be a very special romance for me to like it. The Outlander series did that for me because it was more realistic.

Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught is the most recent one that I’ve tried and it’s not a full blown romance. It has mystery in it. It’s about this woman Leigh (who’s a Broadway star) and it starts with her getting into an accident when she’s driving to a cabin her husband just bought during a blizzard. OH SIDENOTE! I’m so excited for the first blizzard this year, not excited for driving in it but I really want one good one this year to make up for the lack of snow I had last year in Budapest. I was gone over Christmas last year and the day before I got back everyone was posting how it was snowing in Budapest and I got back and it was gone. Anyway. Leigh’s husband was supposed to be there at the cabin and wasn’t. That’s where the book begins and that’s pretty much on the back cover.

I kept going back and forth on the title. Sometimes I want to give it cool points for the Gershwin reference and then others I just roll my eyes at the reference because it’s obvious. I eventually ended with not liking it because it is cheesy.

I’ve read one Judith McNaught book before and I HATED the female lead because she changed her personality so quick and so dramatically after she fell in love with the main male character. In this book, I wasn’t a big fan of the female lead again. It’s like Judith McNaught wants me to hate these women. This woman felt like she had no dimension to me. How many times does the reader have to be reminded that the female detective had 6 brothers? And what the heck was going on with Sam and McCord? Why did we need a secondary story? I did like Sheila Winters though until the end. Then she just had to die. And who didn’t see the murderer coming? It’s always the understudy that thinks they deserve so much more than they actually do. I also didn’t quite understand the teenager. Like she did write that article at the end but it’s not like she saved anyone’s lives. She was like the stress reliever for these people.

I wasn’t a fan of how Valente was set up. I was not sure for a long time what made him so dangerous and then around page 300, it finally came out more clearly and I looked at the book and shook my head. Because yes the reason is important enough for jail but they made him seem so much more evil. There seemed to be things that weren’t set up that good. And sometimes I wondered how some of the characters didn’t put certain things together. They’re not stupid right? But what do I know? I just read.

I also am not a fan of the chapters. Some were like an ordinary length or what felt like ordinary and others were a page. I hate that. That made the book jolt a little for me. I don’t think that chapters need to be a certain length it’s just how my mind works. My mind stops with the end of the chapter. That’s how it works. The end of a chapter is the end of a coherent thought or scene, so your mind stops with it. You turn the page and expect another long scene or thought to start and it’s like 2 paragraphs and you’re, in this case my, mind stops very quickly. I just don’t like it. I want better flow. And this book probably could be a lot shorter than it was. Who wants 549 pages of this? Not I. This book seemed to take me forever to read. I would always find something to do. Like embroidering dishcloths or watch a Disney movie on VHS or sleep.

So, if you haven’t guessed by now, not a fan of this book. I kind of regret reading it. I don’t want to read another romance for a super long time and it’s not even that romance-y. It’s just not a good book. And reading romances won’t happen because the amount of romances I have are practically none.

Another James Rollins Book.

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Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell is the second book or the follow up book to another book called The Blood Gospel by the same authors. The cover of the book tells me it’s part of The Order of the Sanguines Series. So that’s why I say it’s the second book. I have talked in the past about how much I love James Rollins. Actually within the last couple months I’ve said that. Generally, he’s not an author that I generally go towards but I really like him.

So the cover is very….October. Or Halloween. Whatever you want to call it. It’s kind of creepy. The other night I watched The Blair Witch Project and looking at the cover. They go together well. And for the record, that was the first time I watched The Blair Witch Project. Part of the reason is I never was interested in it. And when it came out in ’99, I was still in the age where my parents were very hesitant about letting me watch it. And they knew that I would have nightmares from it because I was that kind of kid. And while I was looking at this cover I looked at how the authors were credited. Rollins’ name is bigger than Cantrell’s. I had a moment where I was very upset by that because the woman should have the same credit. But if you think about it, James Rollins might be the more popular author so that when you put his name bigger, it brings more people in. Honestly, that’s why I got it, because I had read some of Rollins’ other stuff. Nice publicity trick publishers…nice trick.

I will point out that there is one Hungarian phrase in this book and I got a little excited because I understood contextually what it meant. Since I brought that up, let’s talk about the Hungarian in the book. Elisabeta. She was mentioned in the last book in Rhun’s flashbacks and I thought she was horrible and I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. This book you saw more of her motherly side and it made me feel conflicted on what should happen to her ultimately. I found that with this book, some of your questions were answered very well and there were characters that were given more dimension. Elisabeta was one of them. The way she dealt with Tommy was interesting. Before Elisabeta and Tommy met, I was hesitant to ever let her near a child. Because in the book and historically, (her character was based on a real person) she killed children. You don’t trust children with a person that has killed children. But she took on a very motherly role with him.

Jordan and Erin, I felt, didn’t change much. Erin changed more and accepted who she was more but Jordan felt the same to me. It felt like that this book was a continuation of ‘let’s try and kill the humans’. Even one of the not human asks Jordan how many times Jordan had to be killed. I was panicked that Jordan was legitimately dead at one point. In like the page or so he was dead I was panicked about who Erin was going to have sex with and love and protect her and who was going to be the warrior dude and how is the series going to go on without him? But he didn’t die. Don’t worry. I did feel bad for Erin at the beginning of the book and her grad student. The college was kicking her out of there and her grad student was in love with her and didn’t want a new advisor. I get the college’s thought process especially with what happened at the beginning of the other book but I felt bad about the student. He was so devoted to Erin and then she shuns him. Booo. But she loves Jordan, what else could she do? I do like Jordan and Erin together.

Rhun I think you saw more depth. Not as much as Elisabeta but still dimension. You saw how he felt about her and how he reacted with her. I felt like he didn’t interact with the other two as much. As the trio, he should communicate more. Even if there was doubt on if Erin was in the trio or not.

Things started to come together in this book. Like you understand what the deal was with the kid and Elisabeta. The last book, I wasn’t quite understanding the connection fully. Elisabeta did make more sense in the last book because of her connection to Rhun but I didn’t get Tommy. Until this book. It makes more sense. There were several more instances in this book. It’s nice when things start coming together. And it’s well written so that makes it more interesting. The details were really cool for me. Like little parts of the world that just makes everything come together. It’s a series so you can’t give everything away. Which is nice, you build a following and you keep it for the things that are coming out in the next book. I liked the people that were in the book that had historical and/or biblical relevance. Judas, Elisabeta, Lazarus, a Romanov, Rasputin. That made the book more interesting to me. With the exception of Eisabeta, I had known of the others for years and it’s nice to see them in a fictional light. I even liked some of the new characters. I really liked Christian in this book. I don’t know if he’s going to go double agent on me. And when I say me, I mean the characters in the book.

I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the flashbacks. I skimmed a lot of the flashbacks. I know they have a relevance but I don’t care. They’re not my style in this book. In some books, yes. But in this book I was so not interested and it might come back and bite me in the behind.

A Court…….Review

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I read a book. Surprising right? I read a y.a. novel that wasn’t John Green. That should be the surprising part. It is a new release. It came out this year. That should be surprising as well. I don’t normally read books that are released that year. It happens, just not often. New books are usually too expensive. Especially because they’re usually hard covers. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. The only reason I know of this book or author is because of BookTube. This book is all over the place. Everyone seems very excited about this book. I also looked for interviews of Maas. Between the taped interviews and the acknowledgements at the end of the book, I really like her. I feel like we could be friends.

Let’s talk about the appearance of the book. I really like the front of the dust jacket, it’s lovely and the back I would have liked more if there wasn’t a head popping up from the bottom. It doesn’t suck but I’m not a fan. I liked that there were thorns on each of the chapter pages. I would have liked it even more if they had grown into roses at the end of the book. But I get why they didn’t. Space and stuff. It happens. Plus, I have a whole opinion about dust jackets. That might be a future post. We’ll see.

So let’s talk about the actual book. It was pretty good. There were times I related it to this other book called Behind the Highland Mist. Just in the way things that were said or done. But the world in Thorns and Roses was way more developed and better. I found myself referring to this as a kind of a Beauty and the Beast story. Sort of. I also had times that I was a little bored. Maybe because I’ve read non-y.a. for so long that I’m not used to how they’re written anymore. I did like how this was not a young y.a. This wasn’t innocent. It didn’t sugar coat anything. They used language appropriate to their age and did things appropriate to their age.

I will admit that at first I thought Faere would end up with Lucien. They had a relationship of sparring. It would have been an easy thing to transition into love. But no. It did turn into a great friendship though. After I figured out that it wasn’t Lucien that she was supposed to be with I figured they’d argue and not really be friends. Yup, wrong again. Faere helped him out and he got very protective like of her. Not only because of the good Faere did for him but also a little because of an oath he made to Tam. But I think it was legitimately because she was good to him and who else would he verbally spar with? I would like a story about him. But I also wanted that with Luke from The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden and I was a little disappointed.

I found that I forgot about the masks. Every time they mentioned the masks, I had to remind myself why there were masks. It was almost worth it because then Faere fell in love with Tam of her own accord. But she does talk about his body often enough to make me think. And did you notice I call him Tam? We’re on a shortened name basis. Except he doesn’t use mine….because he’s a fictional character and you have to special for that.

I liked the spacing between the three tests that Faere had to do. At first I thought that it was going to be one after another. But she had time between each one of them. She had time to heal or think about the riddle or think of Tam. It’s nice that she had the time and I like how that was written and the things that she did with the breaks. Rhysand was a good addition to that time. It was a good jealousy device for Tam. I really liked how he surprised everyone at the end. But I really want to know how after words that worked for that week she went to go see him and how Tam reacted to that. I also liked that there were different factions of the fairy world and that not everything that the human world knows about them is true so they’re not bothered. The world is very rich.

I hope that there’s another book about them or how Faere goes to Rhysand or a book about Lucien. Even if I was bored at times, I liked the concept and how things were told. And there’s too much that you could do with this story not to have another one right?