Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala

I don't usually write about books I don't finish but wanted to say something about this one, as I was really looking forward to it. It is a short book, about 150 pages, and I made it about a third of the way through before giving up.

It is about the civil war in Africa, and is a novel, but is written from the perspective of a young boy who gets caught up in the fighting. What I didn't like is that is is written as if English isn't the narrators first language. The entire book is one big grammatical error. I know the author was going for authenticity, but I found all the errors distracting.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 5th Horseman by James Patterson

Patients at San Francisco medical Center are mysteriously dying hours before they are to be released with a clean bill of health. Lindsay and the rest of the Women's Murder Club begin their own investigation into the hospital, but the list of suspects proves to be as long as the list of patients.

I actually read this one before I read 4th of July, but decided to blog about them in order. I enjoyed this book, but once again liked the comfort and quickness of it, not necessarily the mystery part. I have had the blah's with regards to most books I have picked up lately and hope that reading these, where my expectations aren't very high, help get me out of this slump. I am going to just keep going with the series and will be able to mark one series to finish off my list. 3.5 stars

4th of July by James Patterson

After an arrest goes awry, Lindsay finds herself facing police brutality charges. But taking time off to cool down proves harder then she thought. As she heads out of town, Lindsay finds herself in the middle of a killing spree, and must locate the killers before they find her. Back in San Francisco, the Women's Murder Club helps to get Lindsay through the trial... but will she be found innocent?

It's been quite a while since I've read this series, but it's one that doesn't really need a refresher. I remembered enough about the characters for them to feel familiar and the story gave enough background on what I had forgotten. The majority of the story was predictable and comfortable, and the ending had enough of a surprise to keep me happy. 3.5 stars

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

What’s the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it? What’s the most popular book you don’t have? How does a book’s popularity figure into your decisions about what to read?

I had never sorted my books by popularity, but my top 5 most popular books are:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • American Gods
  • Middlesex

And of those, I have only read Geisha. I really enjoyed Geisha and it actually inspired me to pick up some other Japenese historical fiction.

Over 20,000 people with Harry Potter doesn't surprise me. I sometimes feel like one of the only people who hasn't read this series!

A books popularity doesn't have much influence on whether I read something or not. A popular book might get a look just because of its hype, but that doesn't always mean I will pick it up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

A young widow raising two boys, Sarah Laden is struggling to keep her family together. But when a shocking revelation rips apart the family of her closest friend, Sarah finds herself welcoming yet another troubled young boy into her already tumultuous life.

Jordan, a quiet, reclusive elementary school classmate of Sarah's son Danny, has survived a terrible ordeal. By agreeing to become Jordan's foster mother, Sarah will be forced to question the things she has long believed. And as the delicate threads that bind their family begin to unravel, all the Ladens will have to face difficult truths about themselves and one another, and discover the power of love necessary to forgive and to heal.

Wow! I am surprised to say that I loved a book about childhood sexual abuse, but this book was wonderful! While a difficult subject, it is also a terribly important one too. This book takes a compassionate, thoughtful look into a terrible reality. Each chapter is told from a different characters point of view which helps show that abuse affects all those involved very differently. The characters are riveting and you can't help but be pulled in by their story. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

The house was deathly quiet. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke that morning to find herself alone. Her family, mother, father, and brother, had vanished without a word, without a note, without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is still looking for answers. Now she is about to learn the devastating truth.

This book came highly recommended by other mystery fans, and maybe I expected too much. It was a good, tightly woven story, but it didn't strike me as amazing. Even still, I did enjoy the book and will be checking for other books by this author! 3.5 stars

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

Today’s question is about tags- do you tag? How do you tag? How do you feel about tagging- do you think it would be better to have standardized tags, like libraries have standardized subject headings, or do you like the individualized nature of tagging? What are your top 5 tags and what do they say about your collection or your reading habits?

I do tag, but most of my tags are pretty specific to my library. I haven't really gotten into tagging time period, main characters or other general tags. The only one I use that might be helpful to others would be my non-fiction tag. I also don't tag any books but those in my library.

I like the individualization of the tags, but I also like the over lap of what people use. I do browse the tag clouds occasionally just to see if anything looks interesting.

My top 5 tags are: TBR (640), Read & Passed On (124), Non-Fiction (85), Read 2007 (63), Read 2008 (49). That shows that I have way too many books sitting around waiting to be read!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hand of Evil by J. A. Jance

With his hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man struggles to remain upright as he's dragged along a deserted stretch of San Juan Road in Phoenix's South Mountain Preserve. It's the perfect place to drive a man to his grave -- literally. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance from the remains, a killer begins crisscrossing the Southwest on a spree of grisly murders.

A hundred miles away, Ali Reynolds is grieving. The newscasting job she once delighted in is gone and so is the philandering husband she loved and thought she knew. When a member of the family who gave Ali a generous scholarship for her education decades earlier suddenly asks her for a meeting, Ali wonders what it can mean. Before she can satisfy her curiosity, though, Ali receives another startling call: a friend's teenage daughter has disappeared. Ali offers to help, but in doing so, she unknowingly begins a quest that will reveal a deadly ring of secrets, at the center of which stand two undiscriminating killers....

This is the third book in the series, and I enjoyed this one more than the first two. I wasn't very impressed with the first in the series, and thought the second was just ok. This one was better than both, in my opinion. I like the characters a little better, but felt like I was missing some details as it seems I don't remember too much about the first 2 books. 3 stars

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

Today's Tuesday Thingers question is: Why LT? Why did you choose to open and maintain an LT account? Do you/did you use other online cataloging/social networking sites, like GoodReads or Shelfari? Do you use more than one? Are they different or do they serve different purposes?

I started using LT when I signed up with BM. I loved how I could mooch a book, click a button and automatically have the book added to my library. All of my BM books get added and I will go in spurts where I will add PBS and FOL sale books. I wish my library was a little more complete, but haven't had the time for that yet. I would like to get a cue cat too, to make entering the books easier.

I am signed up on GoodReads, but have never used the site at all. I do use Shelfari because I like the look of it, but pretty much only add books once I have read them. I do tag my book with the year I read them at both sites. I like to be able to look back and see what I read, and approximately when.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

I was so excited to finally get a copy of this and have time to read it, that I am afraid I was expecting too much. I liked this book, but it wasn't the absolutely amazing book I was hoping for. Garden Spells is enchanting and definitely worth reading, but I think the apple tree was my favorite character. 4 stars