Although the book is intended for a much younger audience than myself, I couldn't resist the title. Georgia's life is one hot mess and she tells her stories with the desperation only teenaged girls can muster. I drew quite a few raised eyebrows reading this one in public because I could not stop laughing. The glossary of British words and slang really puts it over the top.
Although I'm a huge Chelsea Handler fan, I was really disappointed with the book. I think she's hilarious and watch Chelsea Lately religiously but her humor didn't translate very well for me into her writing. Most of the stories were really drawn out and just plain boring. I hung onto it and skipped around trying to find something I liked and came up short.
The Aviary Gate is a story set in both present day and 1599 Constantinople. Celia is the daughter of an English merchant who is taken captive by Ottomans to become a slave in the sultan's harem. In present day Oxford, Elizabeth is a graduate student who stumbled upon part of a narrative describing Celia's time in the harem. The search for the remainder of Celia's story takes Elizabeth all the way to Istanbul.
Jumping back and forth through time is something many writers attempt but in The Aviary Gate, Elizabeth's progress in her search for the rest of the narrative did nothing to drive the story. Many of Hickman's characters are complicated and interesting but Elizabeth is not. She spends most of the story moping over a guy who treats her badly. Elizabeth's interludes really only served to halt the pace of the book. Its my opinion that The Aviary Gate would have been just as good without Elizabeth.
The part of the story which took place in Constantinople was full of suspense and intrigue. I'd recommend skipping the present day interludes altogether, you won't miss anything important to the story. If you enjoy stories told in the past/present format I'd recommend People of the Book.
This story is divided into 2 parts: Dashti and Saren's time in the tower and the time after they leave the tower. It was really difficult for me to stay interested in the first part. Based on other reviews, I decided to give it at least 100 pages and I'm glad I did. I found the second part to be much better than the first. It's in the category of y-a fiction and is perfect for that audience. Adults might find it juvenile at times. All told it was a good story.
The Book Thief is set in Germany during World War 2 but it tells a side to the story that you don't often hear. The story is about Lisel and her foster parents, non-Jewish Germans who don't belong to the Nazi party but they must pretend to in order to protect thier own lives. Death is the narrator and he's tired of his job. Zusak's characters are so rich I cared about every single one and cried at the end. Although this book is categorized as young adult fiction I think it can be appreciated by people of all ages and cultures. It was my introduction to Markus Zusak and I will definitely read more of his work.
Whenever a Jen Lancaster book comes in the mail I drop whatever else I'm reading and dive right in. Bright Lights, Big Ass is the funniest yet. I have to love a girl who goes straight to the bar from the OB/GYN on a Tuesday afternoon.
I divide Circus of the Damned into 2 parts: the part that sucked and the part that didnt. Aside from one or two nasty run-ins monster/undead and a zombie rising gone awry, the first 150 pages were just filler. Do I need a detailed head-to-toe description of Anitas outfit every time she changes her clothes? No, no I don't. She likes Nike shoes and wears them all the time, I get it! Those are actually funny since the book was written in the 90s and even then Anita seems a bit behind the times, fashion-wise. Maybe she just spends too much time raising zombies and killing vampires and not enough time on her personal style.
Do I need a description of exactly what workout she did at the gym along with the layout of the place? No, definitely not. I kept hoping something would jump out from behind a weight bench and attack her just to make it all worthwhile. SPOILER ALERT: Nothing jumps out from behind a weight bench.
I was really disappointed and was almost ready to bid Anita an early farewell when things started really happening. By the end Hamilton had me hooked again.
I'm a fan of Berendt's because of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil but this one didn't grab my attention the same way. The book is presented as a story of the burning of the Fenice Opera House but that subject was talked about in less than half the book. The majority was spent on disconnected short stories about the people of Venice. Don't get me wrong, they were interesting stories of very colorful characters but Berendt failed to weave it all together around the central theme as well as he did in Midnight. Most of the stories were of people who had very little or no involvement with the Fenice. I enjoyed the stories but am glad I found it on clearance for $7!
A great story of the good and evil that battle inside everyone. It's called his "novel of temptation" which is intriguing before you read the first page. A stranger arrives in a remote village and tests everyone who lives there. He brings a backpack full of gold and makes his offer. If the citizens commit murder, they get the gold. Manipulation, self reflection, and bargaining ensue. He deals with personal limits, morality, fear and regret. I chose it for my reading group so more people can get aquainted with his work.
Two Scottish thistle fairies wake up hungover in New York with absolutely no idea how they got there. Mayhem ensues. Its quirky and fun, bringing another universe to life. The only thing I wasn't super crazy about is that it ends quickly.
Don't let the title throw you. This isn't a sad story of someone who's very unhappy with her life. Gretchen admits up front that she has a great life. She also admits that she's becoming complacent and wants to feel more gratitude for all life's blessings. She knows happiness is often a choice and often takes effort. Making the effort to be happy now, when things are good, will better prepare you to weather the storm when things go south. She also states several times that her happiness project is not intended to treat depression. Having said that, Gretchen takes readers through a year in her life where she made resolutions each month. She resolves to "lighten up", "sing in the morning", "stop nagging her husband" and everything in between. Everyone's happiness project will be unique to individual needs and desires. I found it to be a manual for life improvement. If you can identify a problem area, Gretchen gives suggestions and inspiration for improving that area. I highly recommend it!
Science-fiction meets slavery in the antibellum south? I know its crazy but this is one of the most creative and gripping books I have ever read. I started reading while my son was taking his afternoon nap on a Saturday and finished it Sunday night. Yeah, its that good. Dana is a young, black woman living in the 1970's with her white husband, Kevin. While they are unpacking boxes in their new home, she's suddenly transported to a plantation in South Carolina where she must carefully interact with the masters and slaves in order to survive. You gotta read this book and you'll understand exactly why its been celebrated for over 25 years.
The Laughing Corpse was even better than the first book of the Anita Blake series (Guilty Pleasures). The vampires actually take a backseat to zombies in this one but you don't have time to miss them. There are EVIL villains, scary monsters, action and big trouble for Anita in every single chapter. I couldn't put it down and can't wait to read the next installment of Anita's adventures.
John Wood was living the highlife of a Senior Executive at Microsoft until he went hiking through Nepal on vacation. He saw children with little or no education, no books to read and nothing they could do about it. He promised the village he would return with appropriate books for children but they didn't believe him. He returned, not only with hundreds of books but with a plan to build schools and libraries. His passion for his project grew to the point he could no longer juggle it and his position at Microsoft. So he left Microsoft, the company car and driver, the flights on private jets, the luxury apartment in Sydney, and the fancy cocktail parties to start Room to Read. Since 2000, Room to Read has built over 5,000 libraries in developing countries. The book is John's story of how he was inspired to start the program and how it grew big enough to make him start a new life. If you need your faith in your fellow man restored, pick this one up and check out www.roomtoread.org.
This book was on my list for a long time and I finally stopped putting it off. Its the story of Susie, a 14-year-old girl, who is raped and murdered by a neighbor. Susie watches from her own personal heaven, made up of everything she dreamt about or wanted in life, as her family tries to deal with her loss and the police try to solve her case. The idea of the deceased watching their loved ones from heaven is intriguing to me. Its sad but very well written.
The first 2 of the Anita Blake series were awesome and I tore through them both in a matter of a couple days. I struggled through the 1st half of Circus of the Damned but the 2nd half really hooked me into the series again so I continued with The Lunatic Cafe. It took me a while to get through this one cause it just didn't hold my interest. I don't plan to read anymore of the series at this point. If I find myself thinking about it again I'll go back. Unfortunately, I borrowed this one from a diehard Hamilton fan so I can't trade it. Sorry to all the people wishing for it!
This book grabbed me from the prologue and never let go. While graphic at times, its full of twists, turns, and very well written characters, each with their own secrets and skeletons. You'll never think of New York or the people who live there the same way again.
This is a great book for someone either just starting to learn their way around the kitchen or an experienced cook trying to master an ellusive technique. There are tons of pictures of completed dishes and step-by-step shots of recipes. Classic techniques are broken down to a "I can do that!" level. Martha even covers what pitfalls to avoid and troubleshooting when a recipe doesn't turn out. This book covers everything. Want to know how to use and store fresh herbs? She'll tell you. Truss, roast and carve a chicken? It's in there. Make a cake from scratch with homemade chocolate buttercream icing? You'll never go back to boxed mixes and canned icing. The steps and pictures make it easy. Its chock full of delicious and easy recipes for dishes and desserts you might think are out of reach of the home cook. Great for anyone who loves (or wants to love) cooking.
London Below is the parallel universe beneath London (London Above) and home to people who've fallen through the cracks in the world. Richard is an "upworlder" who joins the crazy inhabitants of London Below after he stops to help a woman in crisis. Neverwhere takes you on a wild ride where nothing is what it seems. It takes a couple chapters to settle into the pace of the book but once you do, you won't want to put it down.