Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: One for the Money

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, No. 1)
Title: One for the Money( Stephanie Plum #1)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Source: Library

I have heard a lot of good things about the Stephanie Plum series, so I thought I would give them a try.  While I liked One for the Money, I didn't like it enough to continue reading the series.  I thought it was a nice and fluffy read, but it was a little too cheesy for my taste.  I thought the author tried too hard to be humorous and the Stephanie Plum wasn't a very well flushed out character.  Halfway through the book she just started to annoy me.  I usually like books like this, but for some reason these really aren't for me.

Rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: Backseat Saints

Backseat Saints
Title:  Backseat Saints
Author:  Joshilyn Jackson
Source:  Personal copy

Synopsis from Amazon:
Jackson’s absorbing and rewarding fourth novel spotlights Rose Mae Lolly, a minor character from her popular debut, Gods in Alabama (2005). Rose is now living under the thumb of her abusive husband and his domineering father. A Gypsy in an airport who reads her tarot cards turns Rose’s life upside down when she tells Rose that if she doesn’t kill her husband, he will surely kill her. When Rose realizes that the Gypsy is in fact her mother, who abandoned her when Rose was eight and left her with her abusive father, she takes her advice, but accidentally shoots her beloved dog instead. Rose comes to believe that hope lies in finding Jim, the high-school football star who was the only boy who ever treated her well. As her search for Jim morphs into a bid to free herself of her past, Rose goes on a cross-country mission to escape her husband and find herself. Jackson peels back Rose’s hard edges and resignation to reveal a smart, earnest, brave, and surprisingly hopeful young woman who yearns to make a better life for herself. Rose’s salvation, when it comes, is positively breathtaking.

My review:
I have read a couple of Joshilyn Jackson's previous books and absolutely loved them, so I knew I had to read this one.  I really liked how the author took a minor character from her previous book Gods in Alabama (which I also really enjoyed) and gave her her own story.  Like all of Jackson's novel, Backseat Saints is very well written.  I also really liked how the author focused on one character and made her feel very real and alive.  As a reader I felt very connected to Rose and was rooting for her, but at the same time, she is not perfect and is very unsure of herself and which of her personalities is the real her.  I also really liked how the ending neatly tied everything up and didn't disappoint the reader.  Jackson is one of the few authors who I make it a point to get their books as soon as they come out- in hardcover, which is very rare for me.  I highly recommend Backseat Saints and all of her previous work. 

Rating: 5 stars (my first!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Cinder and Ella

Title:  Cinder and Ella
Author: Melissa Lemon

Source: Netgalley

Synopsis from Netgalley:
After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.

My review:
I have read several re-tellings of fairy tales and really enjoyed them.  Cinder and Ella was no exception.  It started out being quite different from the well known version of Cinderella.  In this version, Cinder and Ella have 2 sisters who they have to take care of when their father disappears and their mother does nothing but spin yarn.  Soon they become known to their mother as just "Cinderandella" and Ella is ignored completely.  Cinder goes to the castle to work to better support her family.  Ella also leaves, seeing no reason to stay at home.  I really liked this book, but was disappointed by the ending.  I also didn't feel very connected to the characters.  Since it is such a short book, that is somewhat to be expected.  Overall the writing was well done and I enjoyed the book.  I almost wish it was longer or that the author would write a sequel.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars 

I received an electronic copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Montreal Blogger meet up and In My Mailbox

 I have known for about a year that there were several other book bloggers in Montreal and started joining their monthly meet-ups.  Then about a month ago some other bloggers in the area started a Facebook group and we discovered that there are more than 15 of us! We had our first get together yesterday at a local Italian restaurant.

Front row L-R: PK from Aisle B (in red), Cindy from Cindy's Love of Books, Cat from Beyond Books, Lisa from Starmetal Oak Book Blog
Back Row L-R: Avis from She Reads and Reads, Amanda from Tales and Treats, Melissa from YA Book Shelf, Me, Mrs. Q, Cindy B. from Tynga's Reviews, Lucy from Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf, Donna from Book Bound, Laura from Library of Clean Reads, Tina from Bookshipper 
Several publishers were awesome enough to send a ton of books and swag.  Thanks so much to:
Random House Canada
Scholastic Canada
Harper Collins Canada
Simon & Schuster Canada

I came home with a ton of swag and the following books:

From Simon & Schuster Canada:
5 Very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth- The Oatmeal

From Scholastic Canada:
Cleopatra's Moon- Vicky Alvear Shecter
Dark Souls- Paula Morris

From Random House:
Turn of Mind- Alice Laplante

From Harper Collins:
The Book of Lies- Mary Horlock
Tony & Susan- Austin Wright

From Tina @ Bookshipper, I got:
Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

Creep- Jennifer Hillier
Scars- Cheryl Rainfield

What happened to Serenity?- PJ Sarah Collins
Riptide- Barbara Hale-Seubert

I also visited the library and got the following:
Seeds of Yesterday- V.C. Andrews
Started Early, Took My Dog- Kate Atkinson
The Joyful Child- Norman Ravvin
One for the Money- Janet Evanovich

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Surviving the Angel of Death

I had read other bloggers talk about Netgalley, but I had never tried it before last week.  I finally checked it out last week and I was amazed.  There are so many good books that caught my eye.  I was especially interested to read this one, since I have always been fascinated by the Holocaust.  I've read a lot of books about the Holocaust, and even took a college class on the literature of the Holocaust.  But I had never read anything about the Mengele twins.  I really liked this book.  It was moving and horrifying at the same time.  I was especially touched by the author's devotion to her twin.  I would have liked a little more detail about what the author went through in Auschwitz, but overall, this was a good quick read.

3 1/2 stars

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: The Raising

Synopsis from Amazon:   
Set in and around the campus of a fictional midwestern university, Kasischke’s eighth novel centers on a tragic car accident that has taken the life of beautiful, straight-A student Nicole. A year later, her sorority sisters are still up in arms and lay the blame for Nicole’s death on her boyfriend, Craig, who, they claim, is an irresponsible rich kid. But Craig’s roommate, Philip, who grew up with Nicole, has begun to think that she is not really dead and approaches his sociology professor, who is teaching a class on death, for help. Meanwhile, a witness to the accident has given up trying to straighten out the many erroneous newspaper accounts stating that Nicole was found covered in blood, for the girl she saw was not bleeding and not dead.

My review:
This book pulled me in from the very beginning and did not let go.  I did not want to put it down.  It was very well written.  Overall I loved the book, but I did have a couple of problems with it.  Throughout the book there were quite a few instances of the author repeating herself that annoyed me.  The other thing that disappointed me was the ending.  Through the whole book the characters are trying to figure out exactly what happened to Nicole and why, but the ending is abrupt and the reader never really finds out what happened.  I really loved this book and I am excited to read the author's other works. 

4 stars

I won this book in a blog giveaway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Once Upon a read a thon Update #1 and Mini-challenges

I am participating in the Once upon a read a thon.  I had yesterday off of work, so I had a chance to read more than I usually do.

Book I'm reading: The Raising by Laura Kasischke
Pages read:  about 300

Mini challenge #1
- My favorite type of myths are Greek.
- I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, and more recently Abandon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My favorite books of the year so far

Since the year is half over, I decided to make a list of the best books I've read so far this year.
Note: I am not counting re-reads. 

1. Prophecy of the Sisters
2. Stiff
3. Annabel
4. The Handmaid's Tale
5. Running the Books
6. The Memory of Love
7. Beauty Queens
8. Firefly Lane
9. The Radleys
10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I'm back!

My apologies for not posting for a while.  I have been extremely busy the last couple of months.  I have also been suffering from a blogging burnout.  I started to feel like reviewing books was something that I had to do not something that was fun any more.  I think I just needed a bit of a break.  I finished by second semester of library school in April.  I am now halfway to becoming a librarian!  

Here are the books I read while I was away:

22. The Handmaid’s Tale
23. All over the map
24. Unwind
25. Looking for Alaska
26. Squirrel meets chipmunk
27. Call me Russell
28. What they don’t teach you in library school
29. Helen of Troy
30. Running the books
31. Half of a yellow sun
32. The likeness
33. The 19th wife
34. Children of witches
35. Deweys 9 lives
36. The sentimentalists
37. The immortal life of henrietta lacks
38. Beside the sea
39. We need to talk about kevin
40. The ballad of trenchmouth taggart
41. Faithful place
42. The Radleys
43. When men become gods
44. Sing you home
45. The Gendarme
46. Firefly Lane
47. Revolution
48. Dead Reckoning
49. Elixir
50. The memory of water
51. Ravens
52. An abundance of Katherines
53. Tender is the night
54. Raven stole the moon
55. The moon looked down
56. Gunn’s Golden Rules
57. THe buccaneers
58. Bumped
59. Shattered dreams
60. Love, lust and faking it
61. Call it sleep
62. Valley of the Dolls   
63. The Tiger’s Wife
64. Sophie’s Choice
65. A visit from the goon squad
66. Flowers in the attic
67. The memory of love
68. Beauty queens
69. White noise
70. Sound and the fury
71. Inside out
72. The lake of dreams
73. Cruel shoes
74. Abandon
75. The earth, my butt and other big round things
76. The last of the mohicans

Bloggers, have you ever gone through a blogging burnout?  What did you do to get your mojo back?