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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.

Beautiful Creatures Review

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After a few weeks of not having a way to do so, I did get a new television and dvd player. Now I don’t have to read all the time. But I probably will because I don’t watch t.v. anymore and dvds get boring after a while and I really don’t have friends anymore. So reading it is.

Recently I’ve been reading books that I haven’t truly been enjoying. It’s not that I went into them knowing that I wouldn’t like them, I legitimately hoped that I’d like them. I wouldn’t have wasted my time if I didn’t feel like there was some hope. So I was sick of not enjoying books I was reading. I decided to try a different genre. I have been reading adult novels. So I tried Y.A. It makes sense right? I read Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

I work with a few high schoolers and the one of the seniors was more excited that I was reading this book than I was. I feel like I don’t have a strong opinion about this book. For me, it was an easy read. An easy read is what I wanted and needed. It looks like a long book but with how the publishers use the page, it’s not that bad. The margins are of good size and the print is larger. I bought this at a used book store for $5 so it was a little beat up. While I was reading it, I kept looking at the cover and thinking I saw something and then dismissing it because it was a used book. Of course it was going to be a little damaged. Nope. What I thought was damage is really trees done in a charcoal so sometimes it looks like damage against the black cover. But the letters did have some marking on them so they looked like bubble letters and that just made me laugh because it didn’t fit the book.

Normally I feel like I’d be the one that complain, if only mentally, about teenagers telling each other that they love each other. I mean, what do you really know as a teenager? Yes, sometimes it works out but more often than not it doesn’t. But this book I really didn’t care. I knew that there were paranormal stuff going on the book so I knew the plot wasn’t real life and that’s probably why I didn’t really care as much. I did have times where I felt like the telepathy was a too convenient way of talking to each other. When they were actually narrating or talking about when they were together, it didn’t seem like they had a cheesy relationship but sometimes they mentioned something that made me roll my eyes like making out in between classes by their lockers. No one did that when I went to school. Did I go to weird school? I don’t know.

Favorite scene of the book would probably be the one when the uncle shows up at the disciplinary meeting. I always wish I could pull off something like that. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t pull off the snarkiness. I know here I’m full of snark and in real life people can’t tell the difference between my seriousness and my sarcasm but I couldn’t pull it off when I’m under pressure and I’m in front of a crap load of people. Am I disappointed that the uncle died? Yeah. I didn’t mind him all that bad.

This book is a book where most everyone has a secret. Was I surprised by the secrets? No. But there were secrets and I’m sure that there’s more in the series. Because I’m only like 6 years late when it comes to reading this book. It’s a Y.A. book. As an adult and someone who’s read a few books, I’m supposed to see some of that coming. It didn’t bother me to have the secrets there. Everyone has secrets and what they choose to do with them is their business. It doesn’t change in literature. At least it shouldn’t.

I don’t feel compelled to read the rest of this series. I wouldn’t turn it down but this one is a good simple book that I would read the rest if I needed a simple book. But then I’d have to buy the rest of the series. That’s a true story.

A Simple Plan Review

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Sometimes I wonder why I keep reading a certain book. I don’t need to read a certain book all the way through if I don’t like it. I don’t even feel the need to finish it for the blog. Well a little bit but nothing that would keep me up at night. The author doesn’t know me. I’m sure they wouldn’t be overly upset that I didn’t finish their book. I read and finished A Simple Plan by Scott Smith and it’s one of those books that I wonder why I kept reading.

I didn’t like a single character in this book. No one seemed that honest. Yes, Sarah and Hank both talked about being honest and reporting the accident and turning in the money but it didn’t seem like they fought very hard for it. The money got to them. And they couldn’t even use it in the end. All that death and no money. And Jake and Lou couldn’t have that much of simpletons. To me, the author set it up where Hank and Sarah were far superior mentally to Jake and Lou. It was set up in the book like that for a reason, I get that. There was a very specific reason. But how could you not see that coming? I would have been surprised if Jake and Lou would have turned on Hank and Sarah and ended up killing them and Jake and Lou got all the money. Yes, the narrator would have been killed. But that’s where it gets interesting when the narrator changes. Oh. Maybe that would have been too hard for Smith? He probably just wanted to work with an intelligent character and felt like he was too above a character like Jake who cries at every murder. Another thing that bothered me was that Hank and Sarah were the only smart people in the area. No one questioned anything. Oh, snowmobile accident and you died, too bad. Oh, lover’s quarrel and like 4 people dead and Hank just happens to be there, too bad. Oh, no surveillance cameras in the liquor store by the airport. That’s convenient. I know this was in 1980’s but they were smarter than this in the ‘80’s. I’m like 96% sure.

I have a hard time believing that Hank just stopped killing at the end of the book and went on to live a normal life and no one questioned him on anything. Like his brother died and to me it seemed like he was obviously transparent with his grief. Actually, I can’t say that. Maybe it was real and that’s just how Hank deals with killing his own brother. Maybe Hank didn’t feel as much remorse with killing Jake and Lou because they weren’t close and Hank felt that he was getting retribution for them making fun of him and making him feel like he wasn’t a part of their little group. I don’t know. I just don’t think Hank and his family could have just gone on living without ever talking about it ever. There has to be some guilt or something. I have a hard time that people wouldn’t feel some kind of guilt after a situation like this. Maybe I just have too much faith in humanity.

I think 2 posts ago I complained about the inconsistency of the chapters. This book had consistent chapters. They were consistently long. 47 pages is a little much in my opinion. Have a chapter a decent length so it keeps a reader’s attention. In a book that’s over 400 pages, there should be more than 12 chapters right? Am I going crazy with this chapter thing? I never had a problem with chapter length before. Maybe I’m getting a little too picky. Because of the chapters, it kind of ruined the book for me for after work. Who wants to get off work from a nursing home at 11:45 p.m. and read that huge of a chunk of a chapter? I like my option to stop after a normal sized chapter. Why am I obsessing over this? Oh my God.

When I get a book and I start reading it, I go through the front page by page to see if there’s a book mentioned that interests me or something of the sort. They had the author bio in the front. I don’t know if I’ve seen it like this before. All it said was Scott Smith, the title of the book and then Scott Smith was educated at such and such universities and this is where he lives. It was 2 sentences and it was like the second page in. I don’t like that. Leave it to the end. And looking at the colleges he went to, I kind of expected better literature from him, especially with a second novel. Random question. How many quotes promoting a book is allowed on that book? On my copy of this book, there’s one on the front and 4 on the back, then there’s more on the first page, front and back. On the covers, it was to fill up space? And in the book, it’s because it’s customary? I don’t know. It just seemed excessive. Like the author and publisher needed to feel better about themselves and slather the book in praise. I know I’m being harsh on this book but I can’t help it. Smith just set me up for that.

Night Circus Review

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Okay, yes. It’s 4:00 in the morning and I’m posting. Don’t judge. I can’t sleep. I’m angry that I can’t sleep and therefore makes me even more awake. It’s a vicious cycle.

There’s books in my book room, (yes I said book room. I live in a three bedroom house. What am I supposed to do with 2 extra bedrooms? Turn one into a book room where you have a stack of your extra blankets and pillows.) that sit there and I just never know when they’re going to get read. They’re just not a high priority. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of them.

I kind of enjoyed this cover. I got this book at a used book store and it’s in great condition and I looked at it in the store and I kind of nodded and kind of was intrigued by it. They have it with a shiny silver cast on it of two people and stars and the such and I really liked that. I like that you open to the sub-cover or whatever you call it and you get a great picture, or at least an interesting picture. Let’s go with interesting picture. I like that better. The thing that bothered me is that there’s a hole that lets you see part of the picture from the sub-cover. I kept accidently hooking my fingers in it. Not cool. I like how they differentiated the parts with the one side like the sun and the other side like the night with stars. I do wonder how much that one dark page for each part cost them. It can’t be cheap to have like 7 (because they don’t just separate the parts) mostly black pages and then another page for each black page to be a grey. And then I think back to when I worked at a newspaper. I would physically put things like grocery store sales in the paper and how black my arms would get from the ink and then I think if all of them were black like this and how many copies there was and if I worked with them, how black I’d be.

This book was not what I expected. I thought it would concentrate more on the relationship between Celia and Marco. There was a lot more other stuff going on. There was a lot going on and about half way through the book I was wondering when the whole battle between Celia and Marco was going to begin. I felt like you didn’t see those two together enough. At one point, I was so confused on what was going on. I wanted them to be in love from like the get go. I was pretty much ready for the ending at the beginning. I think that this book might have been more of their demise more than anything. And demise could be taken very lightly. It depends on your interpretation of the book.

I did like that they hid the name of the boy and the man with the grey suit at first. It gave an air of mystery and it made me wonder. Celia calls the man in the grey suit out early and says his name isn’t what he says it is. I like that she’s perceptive.

I did find that I did have to pay attention to dates. But if you’ve read this book, it’s easy to figure out when they go to 1902 for a chapter and then go back to where they were. The first time they went forward in time I got a few chapters away from it and then had to go back and look at what the dates were on the chapters. But it’s not that hard. I also didn’t quite understand why the author did this until the end. At the end, all the pieces came together and it made so much sense.

I did like that they had the part where it was like you were walking through the circus. I like how they tied things together. They were tying strings together until the last moment and then you totally get it. You get why you, as the reader, are walking through the circus. You get why they tell you the boy’s story and why you need all his details. I did wonder it was the original Bailey at the end of the book as it is during the rest of book. I’m pretty sure it was the original because as they point out in the book, no one has children and everything seems to stay the same. Oh and the contortionist. I didn’t see her role in the story coming. I do like it. But it took the characters long enough to figure it out. I feel that if I can’t figure out what’s going on with someone, the characters should know more than me and then reason out why something is what it is and then I can go, ‘oh that was dumb of me not to see’. Yeah, didn’t get that in this book. On anything. I didn’t see many of the ends being tied up like they were.

I don’t think I’ll pick this book again. I liked it, I enjoyed it about 78%. It’s just not a book I normally read. The writing isn’t bad because there were times I was very intrigued but I found myself wondering when the point was going to be there and I feel like I waited so long for answers. And normally that’s not a bad thing, I’m just impatient lately.

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.