goodreads: (Default)
Title: Letters to eBay
Author: Art Farkas
Genre: Humour
Rating: 6/10
# pages: 231
Date read:


Review: From duct tape to straw hats and Hello Kitty merchandize, Art Farkas has questions about them all. Inspired by his ebay-selling older brother, Art (or Paul Meadors as he's know in real life) took upon himself to write the weirdest and most far-out questions to ebayers about their auctions. This book contains all these auctions, Art's letters to the sellers and their replies.

Art wants to know if a set of bongo drums can be carried by his grandma, or if they'd be too heavy. He wants to know if 'Satin Organza' can be used by strict Presbyterians who are of course against 'Satin and all his powers', and if a bird feeder can hold liquids so that he can fill it with alcohol and watch the birds get tipsy. The letters vary from the crazy to the simply insane. The amusing thing however, is not his questions as much as the sellers' replies. Very few catch on to him and calls his bluff. The majority tries to answer his questions sensibly, while adhering to the age-old saying "The customer is always right."

While the letters and replies provide great entertainment, they do get a bit repetitious after awhile, as there are only so many questions to ask about similar auctions. This meant that I never actually did end up finishing it as after I'd read about half, I'd had enough of his style of writing and (increasingly) inane questions. (Written for Armchair Interviews... with the exception of the last paragraph ;) )

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Ship of Brides
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: world war ii
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 357
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: A fictional account of an actual voyage from Australia to England in 1946 by HMS Victorious, a WW2 aircraft carrier. On this, its last voyage before decommissioning, the role of the Victorious could not have been more different to its one in the war. It was a transport ship for some of the last Australian war brides to leave Australia, young women who had married British servicemen serving in Australia during the war, taking them to their husbands and new homes in the UK. The story is woven around four young women from vastly different backgrounds who are brought together through having to share a cabin for the journey.

Review: I've always been fascinated about the different aspects of World War II and the effect it had on the world. This is a different book than most as it concerns life after the war rather than during it. In style - although in no way in plot - it reminded me quite a bit of "A Town Like Alice" by Nevil Shute. It's an interesting insight into a social phenomenon we would otherwise not hear about, unless our grandmothers happened to be one of those war brides. I highly recommend it.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Forever in Blue
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: YA
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 380
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: Bridget goes to Turkey on an archaeological excavation and Lena takes a painting class in Providence. Tibby stays in New York to take classes, and Carmen attends a theater festival in Vermont to work as backstage crew. There are new love interests, loss of virginity, and breakups and makeups. The themes are familiar, but fans who already identify with the characters will want to read more about their latest exploits. The pants pay a more prominent role than they did in the third book and a significant event takes place as each teen receives them. The possibilities and impossibilities of love are explored as Bridget is attracted to the married leader of the excavation team and Tibby fears she is pregnant. When Carmen auditions and lands a major role in the theater production, she worries that she cannot handle the part. Although squeamish at first, Lena becomes attracted to a fellow art student when they agree to pose in the nude for each other on weekends.

Review: Presumably the last book of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants for reasons that will become apparent as one reads the book. The four girls realize that friendships take more work than just shipping a pair of pants around which is a lesson well learned. The book isn't quite as charming and innocent as the first three, but still well worth reading in order to tie knots on story lines. Besides, anybody who's read and enjoyed the first three will want to know 'what happens next' - including me :)

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 205
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: "Stardust" tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land include escaping evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold.

Review: This book is written according to the age old rules of fairytale telling - you don't see many books like that these days where fantasy books are going more in the direction of LotR and HP than Cinderella and Snowwhite. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a refreshing change to come across a book like "Stardust". It seems childlike in it's way of telling the story even though it is in no way solely a book for children. I liked it more than I'd expected to.

Book List
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Quentins
Author: Maeve Binchy
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 403
Date read: August 2007, April 2014


Ella Brady is a documentary filmmaker who wants to bring the tale of the eponymous Dublin restaurant to the screen. Quentins has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years and has become the meeting point for a lot of characters, including some familiar faces from previous Binchy novels. As Ella makes more and more headway with her documentary, the secrets, betrayals, and stories of love that emerge make her question whether or not she wants to bring the tale of Quentins to the screen after all; especially as she is also forced to confront a devastating dilemma from her own past.

One of my favourite Maeve Binchy books, although I'm glad I had read "Scarlet Feather", "Evening Class" and "Tara Road" first, as it references all of those books.

I enjoyed all the stories featuring Quentins, but was happy that Maeve Binchy had decided to tie it all together using Ella's story, rather than just leaving it at those small vignettes. I'm not that good with short stories, and prefer to have some common factor tie them all together.
Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Butcher of Dreams
Author: Kay Williams & Eileen Wyman
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 6/10
# pages: 404
Date read: August, 2007


Review: Lee Fairchild has realized ever actor’s dream – a theatre of her own. Unfortunately she quickly discovers that having a theatre of her own is not all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of being able to focus solely on her acting, she now has to be in charge of all the administrative work, worry about finances and sweet-talk actors and directors intent on getting on each others’ nerves.

Lee starts to get into troubles when a dead homeless person is found in the theatre. At first they think he just crawled in there to get out of the cold and accidentally OD’ed, but when they discover that somebody cut off one of his fingers, and that money is missing from the theatre office, foul work is suspected. Things go from bad to worse when more murders and attempted murders take place at the theatre and they become more and more ritualistic in nature. Is it a satanistic cult that’s at large? Or just one really deranged individual?

I often found myself yelling at the characters, because what they ought to do and what they actually did do were two very different things, and you never knew where you had them. Just as I thought I’d gotten them figured out, they’d turn and show a completely different side of themselves.

Butcher of Dreams is a believable whodunit with lots of interesting characters. Even though I'd guessed the culprit almost from the very beginning, the authors did a good job of making me second-guess myself as conflicting pieces of evidence rose to the surface, and you end up suspecting just about everybody. A daring attempt, as it often seems over-done, but here it works.

The writing could have been sharper, something that’s often the case in a co-authored book, as these usually need a firmer editor, but that didn’t stop me from being caught up in the plot and chilled by how it unfolded. A very disturbing read indeed. (Written for Armchair Interviews.)

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Don't Look Behind You
Author: Lois Duncan
Genre: YA
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 179
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: Seventeen-year-old April Corrigan's life ends abruptly when she learns that her airline executive father has been working secretly undercover for the FBI. Now his testimony against a notorious drug dealer has placed the whole family in danger, and April and her family are quickly relocated under the Federal Witness Security Program. What begins as a temporary measure soon must become a way of life. April, an ace tennis player, has to stop playing tennis; her mother must give up a lucrative career as a children's author; their names are changed; and April's naive attempt to communicate with her boyfriend causes the violent death of an agent. The entire book is fast-paced and enthralling, but the conclusion will have readers on the edge of their chairs.

Review: I felt like a quick read, and this one definitely falls into that category. It's one of the few YA's I read as a tween that has stood the test of time, and it still makes me wonder how I would cope with being under the witness protection program and have to give up everything I'd grown to know and love...

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Nights of Rain and Stars
Author: Maeve Binchy
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 238
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: Four strangers cross paths in a tiny Greek seaside village. When tragedy strikes the smalltown of Aghia Anna in the form of a devastating fire on a tourist pleasure boat - 24 people are killed - elderly barkeeper Andreas and craft-shop owner Vonni find themselves host to a random assortment of travelers who watch the conflagration from Andreas's taverna. There is Elsa, the German beauty who is trying to flee from love; David, the quiet young Englishman whose demanding father wants him to go into the family business; Thomas, the American professor who struggles to share his son with his ex-wife's new husband; and Fiona, the Irish nurse who follows her abusive boyfriend despite the warnings of her friends and family. As these strangers become friends, the mysterious Vonni, an Irish woman whose Greek is fluent and whose respected position in town is unquestioned, explores her own memories of heartache, as does Andreas. Unwilling to see their new friends repeat their mistakes, Andreas and Vonni set out to influence the hearts of this motley bunch of foreigners before they leave the village.

Review: One of Maeve Binchy's strengths is characterizations, and this one is no exception. There's no plot to speak of, but you really get to know the main characters for better or worse. It's a good comfort read and in general a charming book.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Nineteen Minutes
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 503
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Review: Jodi Picoult at her best. I've enjoyed almost all books I've ever read by her (with the noticable exception of "The Pact") and this is one of her most powerful books. She put me into the mind of a school shooter and managed to make me understand why he acted the way he did.

A powerful, heartbreaking novel. I couldn't put it down and devoured it in less than 24 hours.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Lioness Rampant
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/10
# pages: 308
Date read: August 2007, October 2011


Summary: Having achieved her dream of becoming the first female knight errant, Alanna of Trebond is not sure what to do next. Perhaps being a knight errant is not all that Alanna needs....But Alanna must push her uncertainty aside when a new challenge arises. She must recover the Dominion Jewel, a legendary gem with enormous power for good -- but only in the right hands. And she must work quickly. Tortall is in great danger, and Alanna's archenemy, Duke Roger, is back -- and more powerful than ever. In this final book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna discovers that she indeed has a future worthy of her mythic past -- both as a warrior and as a woman.

Review: I'd never noticed it before, but on this reread of the quartet, I realized that this is actually the weakest of the lot. Tamora Pierce tries too much in this book, with 4 different plotlines being twisted together. Because of this, it's by far the longest of the four. It doesn't make it bad though, just means it's not as tightly spun as the other three.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Woman Who Rides Like A Man
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 216
Date read: August 2007, October 2011


Summary: A knight at last, Alanna of Trebond heads out to seek adventure in the desert of Tortall. Captured by desert tribesmen, she is forced to prove herself in a magical duel to the death. But her real challenge doesn't come until after she wins. As the first female shaman, Alanna must fight to change the ancient traditions of the stubborn desert tribes -- for their own sake and for the sake of all Tortall.

Review: When I first read this quartet, I stopped after the two first books, because it just seemed wrong to me to read about Alanna when she wasn't still at the palace. I didn't realize that her adventures other places could be just as interesting to read. Fortunately I got over it, and now enjoy this book just as much as the rest of the series.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: In the Hand of the Goddess
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 209
Date read: August 2007, October 2010, September 2011


Summary: Disguised as a boy, Alanna of Trebond becomes a squire -- to none other than the prince of the realm. But Prince Jonathan is much more to Alanna; he is her ally, her best friend, and one of the few who knows that she's really a girl. Now it will take all of Alanna's awesome skill, strength, and growing magical powers to protect him from the mysterious evil sorcerer who is bent on his destruction--and hers!

Review: Probably my all-time favourite Tamora Pierce book... although it's subject to change whenever I reread one of the others ;-) When writing this series, Tamora Pierce still stuck to the 'keep it simple' policy (something which she dropped in later books) making her earlier series both more accessible and more charming.

Book List
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Alanna
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 216
Date read: August 2007, October 2010, September 2011


Summary: Call it fate, call it intuition, or just call it common sense, but somehow young Alanna knows she isn't meant to become some proper lady cloistered in a convent. Instead, she wants to be a great warrior maiden--a female knight. But in the land of Tortall, women aren't allowed to train as warriors. So Alanna finds a way to switch places with her twin, Thom, and take his place as a knight in training at the palace of King Roald. Disguising herself as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page in the royal court. Soon, she is garnering the admiration of all around her, including the crown prince, with her strong work ethic and her thirst for knowledge. But all the while, she is haunted by the recurring vision of a black stone city that emanates evil... somehow she knows it is her fate to purge that place of its wickedness. But how will she find it? And can she fulfill her destiny while keeping her gender a secret?

Review: The first quartet written by Tamora Pierce, and while "Protector of the Small" has overtaken it as my favourite series, the two first books of this quartet are definitely my favourite books. I love reading about how Alanna fits into life at the palace - her lessons and the friends she makes. I read it for the first time when I was 12'ish and have reread it regularly ever since.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Lady Knight
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 406
Date read: August 2007, October 2011


Keladry of Mindelan (a.k.a. Kel), has finally been knighted. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kel champs at the bit, ready to tackle the horrific magic killing devices she was shown in the Chamber of the Ordeal during her knighthood initiation. The huge, insectlike machines, "made of iron-coated giants' bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long whiplike tail," feed on the souls of dead children and are systematically killing off the citizens and warriors of Tortall.

Thoroughly disgusted to discover that not only is she not going to be assigned a combat post, but she has been placed in charge of a refugee camp instead, Kel, in her usual noble, stoic way, swallows her disappointment and sets out being the best refugee camp commander possible. Of course, destiny has a way of sneaking up on a young woman like Kel, and soon she is fulfilling the ordeal the Chamber set out for her... and then some.

While I still love the book, I guess this is my least favourite of the quartet. Not that it's not well written, it just gets repititious at times, and could probably easily have been 50-100 pages shorter.

Still charming though - I don't think Tamora Pierce is able to write uncharming books :-)
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Squire
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 339
Date read: August 2007, October 2010


Summary: 14-year-old Keladry of Mindelan is ready to begin training as a squire after undergoing four grueling years as the first girl to be officially educated as a page. Disappointed at first that Lady Alanna does not choose her, Kel is delighted when gruff, good-natured, down-to-earth Lord Raoul takes her on. The next four years prove to be tough but happy, for the most part, as Raoul and most of the others in the King's Own (a corps of 300 men--299 now, plus Kel--that enforces the law and helps local nobles deal with problems such as centaur attacks and forest robberies) treat Kel as an equal. Throughout, Kel is physically and mentally preparing herself for the final test in the Chamber of the Ordeal, in which fourth-year squires must successfully face their greatest fears before becoming knights.

Review: A bit repetitious, especially as we're told 5 or 6 times thoughout the book just *why* Kelandry is no longer petrified by heights. I think we got it after the first time, thanks!

Still a charming book though, and a quick and pleasant read. Probably my favourite of the lot as it's more diverse than the others.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Page
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 231
Date read: August 2007, October 2010, October 2012


Summary: As the only female page in history to last beyond the first year of formal training to become a knight, 11-year-old Keladry of Mindelan has an uphill battle to fight. In addition to proving herself worthy of being a page, Kel spends her time defending first-year pages from bullies, staying on top of homework, conquering her paralyzing fear of heights, and keeping up with Lord Wyldon's grueling physical training schedule. Kel's detractors do everything in their power to thwart her progress, from tormenting her friends to sabotaging the Midwinter Festivities to kidnapping her maid and dog on the day of final examinations. The tide of resistance begins to turn slightly during the summer between Kel's second and third years, when she leads a team of pages in defensive maneuvers against renegade bandits.

Review: This book covers 3 years, and while it mostly handles that well, it does occasionally seem a tad rushed... 8 months passing by in a single chapter. I don't mind books covering a lot of time as long as it's done consistently, instead of covering one week in three chapters and then 8 months in one. Still, it's a minor complaint. Mostly I love this book as I find it fascinating to read of the training pages have to go through in order to become squires.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: First Test
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 204
Date read: August 2007, February 2009


Summary: Ten years after the proclamation that girls are eligible for a page's training at the court of King Jonathan of Tortall, 10-year-old Keladry applies and is accepted, but on probation, a condition never forced on male applicants. Resolutely accepting the challenge, the hostility of the royal training master, and harassment by fellow pages, Kel makes her way through this difficult year. Trained from early childhood by stoic Yamani warriors, she is capable of hiding her feelings, fearless in a fight, and willing to work hard to develop the necessary physical capacity. Her sympathy and support for the underdog and her sense of chivalry earn her the admiration of a group of fellow pages. She also befriends the sparrows that live outside her window and wins over a difficult horse. Kel performs well in her first real battle and is grudgingly allowed to stay for another year of training.

Review: Kel is by far the most ordinary heroine of Tamora Pierce's books, which is part of her charm... even if I do miss the magic. "Alanna" will always be my favourite Tortall quartet - especially since she was how I discovered Tamora Pierce in the first place - but "Protector of the Small" runs a close second.

Book List
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Nanny Diaries
Author: Emma McLauglin, Nicola Kraus
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 368
Date read:August, 2007


Summary: The Nanny Diaries takes a peek into the utterly weird world of child rearing in the upper reaches of Manhattan's social strata. Cowritten by two former nannies, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the novel follows the adventures of the aptly named Nan as she negotiates the Byzantine byways of working for Mrs. X, a Park Avenue mommy. Nan's 4-year-old charge, the hilariously named Grayer (his pals include Josephina, Christabelle, Brandford, and Darwin) is a genuinely good sort. He can't help it if his mom has scheduled him for every activity known to the Upper East Side, including ice skating, French lessons, and a Mommy and Me group largely attended by nannies. What makes the book so impossible to put down is the suspense of finding out what the unbelievably inconsiderate Mrs. X will demand of Nan next.

Review: Very, very similar in style to "The Devil Wears Prada" except that the characters are somewhat more 3-dimensional. If it hadn't been for the unsatisfactory ending I would have rated it a 4, but I was very disappointed by the way things weren't resolved. Not that I thought it was completely possible to, but the way it ended was just cruel. Do women like Mrs. X and Miranda Priestly really exist outside books?

Book List
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Eclipse
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 629
Date read: August 2007, December 2008, December 2009, August 2014


As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob --- knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

Just like the two others, I devoured this in less than 24 hours. It was amazing, even if I was disappointed that we were cheated out of seeing Charlie's reaction to a certain event near the end. I've seldom read as captivating books, and it was difficult to move on from them once I finished as I wanted to stay in the same universe. I highly recommend this series, it's absolutely amazing. I'm still firmly placed on Team Edward, but felt so sorry for Jacob.

Reread in December 2008: Still really, really good, but I found myself taking my time with it this time around, meaning that some things struck me more on this read-through. Most noticeably Jacob's "assault" on Bella which totally turned me off him, and Charlie's outrageous reaction to it... even if he did sort of redeem himself later. I know we're supposed to like Jacob, but Meyer really went too far there. I just found him obnoxious.

Reread in December 2009: What struck me this time around was how nobody seemed to respect Bella's wishes at first. Edward came around thankfully, and mostly Jacob and Charlie did too, but Alice's insistence on throwing a wedding annoyed me. Especially the "If you loved me, you'd let me do this." How about "If you loved me, you wouldn't force me to do this."??

I still love the book though, and still couldn't put it down.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Velveteen Rabbit
Author: Margery Williams
Genre: Classics
Rating: 7/10
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: August, 2007


Summary: A stuffed toy rabbit (with real thread whiskers) comes to life in Margery Williams's timeless tale of the transformative power of love. Given as a Christmas gift to a young boy, the Velveteen Rabbit lives in the nursery with all of the other toys, waiting for the day when the Boy (as he is called) will choose him as a playmate. In time, the shy Rabbit befriends the tattered Skin Horse, the wisest resident of the nursery, who reveals the goal of all nursery toys: to be made "real" through the love of a human. "'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'"

Review: When I found this one at Librivox, I figured I had to hear it, as I otherwise only knew it from its being mentioned in 'Friends'. It's a cute children's story that I'd be very happy to share with my kids once I have any. A bit on the cutsey side obviously, but totally appropriate and adorabe for its target audience, so I can forgive that. Unfortunately the reader is one of my least favourites at Librivox, as she reads in a sing-song tone without any changes of emphasis at all, making everything sound like a lullaby. It makes it very hard to concentrate!

Speaking of 'Friends', I still don't get Joey's comment to Kathy when he gave her the book. "Because you like cheese"? Huh? Help please?

Book List

Profile

goodreads: (Default)
goodreads

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2 34 5678
9 101112 131415
16 171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 21st, 2017 04:44
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios