Chelle B. (bankie79) - Reviews

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Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 3/4/2009


I have loved this book from the first time I read it at the age of twelve. I even named our blind, toeless, toothless cat after the author. Now that is a compliment.

The idea of empowering a young woman in the eighteenth century with the will to perservere despite the odds is not an unusual theme in romantic literature, nor is allowing her to fing the man of her dreams who happens to be wealthy.

What is unusual is the Jane has a tenacious quality to her that keeps her from fainting and swooning when some pretty horrific things happen around her. Her character has a brilliance to it that allows someone like her to capture the imaginations of so many of the other characters, either one way or the other.

I highly recommend this book because it's not only a classic that justly deserves to be canonized, but it also is rather timeless. It touches people in strange ways.


The Last Summer (of You & Me)
The Last Summer (of You & Me)
Author: Ann Brashares
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 237
Review Date: 3/8/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I did not care for this book. I didn't attach to the story line or the central two female characters. It is very rare for me to say this, but I couldn't bring myself to read the end of the book.

I love the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series and wanted to read more by the author, but the style, tone, and content of the book was so different from the other series, I just couldn't get into it. I also need to clarify that I am a Lit major, so I am used to reading a breadth of books from authors, knowing that they will obviously have different reasons for different pieces of literature. This book: not so much.

Also AND REALLY IMPORTANT: If you have a child with a chronic disease, this may not be a good read for you AT ALL. One of the sisters has a congenital heart defect and (spoiler) she dies from it. My daughter was preparing for and undergoing one of her several open-heart surgeries when I was reading this book and it was completely inappropriate reading for me at the time. I had to go back and try it again later (still hating it...) just to make sure I was being fair. I wouldn't even leave it at the Ronald McDonald House for fear that another family with a very sick child would start reading it.

I would not recommend this book at all.


Life of Pi
Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 3373
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I cannot even express how much I enjoyed this book. It is amazingly well written and brings about many of the theological, worldly, and evolutionary debates of which no one can agree on one solid answer. I think this is an excellent book for anyone who is ready to sit down and try to think about what he/she believes is reality.


The Lot at the End of My Block
The Lot at the End of My Block
Author: Kevin Lewis, Reg Cartwright (Illustrator)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 2/11/2009


This is a great book for beginning readers. There is plenty of repitition and simple vocabulary. It is a wonderful book for little boys who enjoy construction, trucks, and dirt!


More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Wisconsin Women (More than Petticoats Series)
Review Date: 12/21/2010


This is the first book I've read by this author and I was thrilled to find out that she has even more with the same title- only exceptional women from different states. The biographies are interesting, well-written, and left me wanting to read more about each of the ladies. I highly recommend this book.


A Pal for Pat (Phonics Storybooks)
A Pal for Pat (Phonics Storybooks)
Author: Fisher-Price
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/11/2009


Very simple beginning level phonics reading. Alliteration and rhyming words help to guide the child through reading. Pictures are bright and useful for asking probing questions and summarizing events.


The Picture of Dorian Gray (Tor Classics)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Tor Classics)
Author: Oscar Wilde
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 3/7/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Oscar Wilde is an important part of Irish Literature. His work has its own style and flavor, while still accomplishing its avante garde message. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one such example. From the moment I picked up this book, I was enthralled by the characters and the horror of finding the ugly truth about ones personality. I found this book excellent for self reflection and honestly, it is by far my favorite Wilde piece.


A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of Twenty-Six American Women Who Served in Vietnam
Review Date: 3/16/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I wanted to let you know about a book that I received here and has really had a profound effect on me since I began reading it. Narratives of 26 women who lived in Vietnam during the years of war that ensued recount their experiences from being military intelligence, nurses, community coordinators and activists to airline attendants bringing soldiers home from their tours.

I am learning so much more about Vietnam and understanding feelings of the service members with which I currently work. My own husband's reactions to his service are becoming more understandable to me now and I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand family members who are veterans and their reactions to things we take for granted. I highly recommend this book and it is definitely a hidden gem. We need to understand so much more about these special people.


The Promise of an Angel (Heaven On Earth, Bk 1)
The Promise of an Angel (Heaven On Earth, Bk 1)
Author: Ruth Reid
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 5/1/2012
Helpful Score: 1


Yes, I admit. I am an Amish fiction lover. I've been exposed. Anyhow, moving on... :) This book was so wonderful. Nothing deep and overly thought provoking, but the story was wonderful and light- just what I need when I want to escape. I highly recommend.


A Room With A View
A Room With A View
Author: E. M. Forster
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 3/15/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This is my second favorite EM Forster novel, with Maurice being my favorite. In my opinion, it is quite interesting how Forster can take the topics he discusses (classism, sexuality, etc) and can make his novels still remain 'proper' in the eyes of critics. He does an amazing job with this novel, bringing to light the ever-present British class system and emperialism that surrounds these characters despite the fact that they travel quite immensely. This is an amazing novel, along with all of his others. I wouldn't miss this read.


Santa Paws (Santa Paws, Bk 1)
Santa Paws (Santa Paws, Bk 1)
Author: Nicholas Edwards
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 3/4/2009


These books have a cute story. I do like the characters and the plots, but the author goes off on random diatribes in each one of the books which makes it very difficult for a young advanced reader to get through (not to mention a mother trying to read it out loud...). I will admit, you will learn random useless facts throughout the story and Santa Paws will not disappoint you in your quest to find a super dog.


Sarah, Plain and Tall
Sarah, Plain and Tall
Author: Patricia MacLachlan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 248
Review Date: 3/8/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Another favorite. This story is about an amazing woman with a lot of courage who is able to rise above the fears of living in the wilderness and not knowing anyone around her to falling in love with the man who has called for her after the death of his wife. Sarah Plain and Tall is such an important story for adolescents (and anyone else for that matter) to understand the hardships of life in pioneering times. The reading is smooth and easy, but the lessons it teaches are much more in depth. A great combination for young readers and people who just need a break.


Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic, Bk 2)
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic, Bk 2)
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 1258
Review Date: 3/15/2009


I liked this book. I love the whole series, so I feel like my reviews of the series will sound redundant, but I just really enjoy them all. I like that when I first started reading this book I was afraid that it would basically be the same as the previous (Confessions of a Shopaholic) but it really wasn't. The characters were there, the humor was there, but it was a completely different episode for the Shopaholic series. I would recommend this book to anyone. My husband even got a good laugh when I would read particularly funny excerpts.


The Thorn Birds
The Thorn Birds
Author: Colleen McCullough
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 301
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Good book. Lots to think about. I love when books don't follow moral conventions but you still empathize with the main characters (like Dr. Zhivago). I think it's good for us as humans to examine why we believe what we believe and if there is any room for grey areas. This book certainly accomplishes that task.


To the Lighthouse
To the Lighthouse
Author: Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty (Introduction)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 175
Review Date: 3/28/2009
Helpful Score: 7


Well, honestly Virginia Woolf just doesn't do it for me. I have read all of her writing (of which we are aware) and read every writing I could get my hands on about her life, writing style, and historical relations to her writing and I still couldn't get into her. The only exception would be Orlando and that was still not the best.

To the Lighthouse has a lot to offer in its colorful language and descriptions of the landscape, but I felt lost in the characters and goingsons of the novel. It was hard to get into the plot. It wouldn't be on the top of my list for reading.


Tuck Everlasting
Tuck Everlasting
Author: Natalie Babbitt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 79
Review Date: 5/31/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This was an EXCELLENT book. I actually read it for the first time as an adult and was drawn to it right away. The concept of immortality is alluring to people of all ages, not just young adults. The story struck me as a poignant metaphor for our own reactions to aging, but it did more than that. Babitt juxtaposes the idea of immortality with toxic relationships~ those that will only lead to eternal sadness in the end. It was really interesting to read a book that hasn't any mention of vampires, and yet to see the same themes: immortality, death, eternal sadness, star-crossed relationships...

It is an excellent read at any age because the themes and meanings of the story will evolve with age. I highly recommend this book.


The Undomestic Goddess (AudioCD) (Abridged)
Review Date: 3/5/2009
Helpful Score: 3


This is a great story. While the writing style is the same as her Shopaholic series, the character of Samantha is quite different in that she works far too much while Rebecca Bloomwood of the Shopaholic series shops too much. Samantha's situation is almost reminiscent of the romantic novels of the early twentieth century which is funny to say because Kinsella has been pigeon-holed in the 'chick-lit' category. I love this story.


The View from Castle Rock: Stories
The View from Castle Rock: Stories
Author: Alice Munro
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.6/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 4/29/2012


This was not a personal favorite. While there were definitely interesting sub-stories within the body of the text, it was quite laborious to read as a whole.


A Virtuous Woman
A Virtuous Woman
Author: Kaye Gibbons
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 345
Review Date: 3/15/2009
Helpful Score: 3


I absolutely love Kaye Gibbons and her ability to use voice in her writing. This novel is no exception. As usual, she examines the point of view of southern female characters and Ruby Pitt Woodrow does not dissappoint. Her background would lead one to expect that she would marry up in society, but reality has another course for her to follow. Very readable and relatable. I highly recommend this novel.


While They're at War: The True Story of American Families on the Homefront
Review Date: 3/4/2009


This is, by far, the best military spouse related book out there. It has totally different perspectives from different spouses, allowing the reader to understand that every one is different and pigeon-holing military spouses will never be effective. Henderson cultivates the idea that we should celebrate our differences in order to form a more robust support system. I recommend this to any military spouse.


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