Monday, August 29, 2011

Bout of Books wrap up

I am really happy with the amount I got read during this read a thon even though I only got one netgalley book read and didn't write any reviews.

Here is what I read:
Chronicle of a death foretold
Poison study
Good bones
Still missing  
The last letter from your lover 
Twilight sleep 
The book of lies  
Turn of mind  
Magic study  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bout of Books read a thon update- Days 1 and 2

Books read: Chronicle of a Death Foretold- Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Cleopatra- Stacy Schiff
Books finished: 2
Pages read: 120 + 432= 552

Books read: Poison Study- Maria Snyder
Books finished: 1
Pages read:  416

Total books read so far: 3
Total pages read so far:  968

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon Starting Line

I’ve decided to join Amanda from On a Book Bender in her Bout of Books Read-a-thon. Click the button below to learn more. The read-a-thon starts Monday, 8/22 and goes through Sunday 8/28.  I'm hoping to get quite a bit of reading done since I only have to work 2 1/2 days this week.


  •  Get through at least 1 book from Netgalley.
  • Get caught up on writing some reviews.
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Good Bones- Margaret Atwood
  • Poison Study- Maria Snyder
  • Vision in White- Nora Roberts
  • Cleopatra- Stacy Schiff
  • Mini-Shopaholic- Sophie Kinsella

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Riptide

Riptide: Struggling with and Resurfacing from a Daughter's Eating Disorder
Title: Riptide: struggling with and resurfacing from a daughter's eating disorder
Author: Barbara hale-Seubert
Source: personal copy

 A young girl’s fatal, decade-long struggle with anorexia and bulimia is chronicled from her mother’s perspective in this heartbreaking memoir. Barbara Hale-Seubert tried to cope with grief, fear, and powerlessness as her daughter suffered through these diseases, and she kept a journal of their experiences as a form of therapy. These entries are the basis for a raw and revealing narrative, meant to offer other parents the comfort that comes with knowing they are not alone, the strength to help their children through the agony of eating disorders, and the grace to learn to surrender what is out of their control.

My review:
This was a difficult book to read because of the emotional content.  It is written by a mother who lost her oldest daughter to anorexia and bulimia.  The book chronicled the author's struggles as her daughter suffers from and slowly dies from the diseases.  She talks about her guilt about not being able to save her daughter and that she didn't do enough to help her.  I have not read very much about eating disorders, but I thought this was a unique view on the subject.  It is definitely worth reading, especially if you or someone you know is suffering from the same illnesses.

Rating: 4 stars


Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: The Poisoned House

The Poisoned House
Title: The Poisoned House
Author: Michael Ford
Source: Netgalley

The year is 1855 and orphaned serving girl Abigail Tamper, 14, tries to escape Greave Hall, an austere London mansion, in the dead of night. She is hauled back and forced to work for Mrs. Cotton, cruel and devious housekeeper to senile Lord Greave. It isn't just the dreary residents who frighten Abi; there's something terribly amiss in the house. Glasses crash to the floor, rooms are turned topsy-turvy and then righted again when no one is looking, handprints appear in impossible places. Deepening Abi's dread is the upcoming anniversary of her mother's death. She pins her hopes for brighter days on the heir to the house, handsome Samuel Greave, who is returning as an injured hero from the Crimean War. The two played together in childhood, when Abi's mother was Master Samuel's nurse, and they share a brother/sisterlike bond. But the eerie occurrences only increase on his return. Is Abi's dead mother trying to tell her something? Every gothic trope is put to use here: the silent butler, a séance gone wrong, messages via Ouija board, secret alliances, out-of-wedlock pregnancies (two of them), and a last-minute will that changes everything. This ghost story is light fare, chilling, and suspenseful.
My review:
Despite being a bit predictable, this was a quick fun read.  Several of the characters were a bit cliche, such as the Mrs. Danvers-esque housekeeper, but then again, this book was aimed at a younger audience, so they might not see them as I do.  I would have liked some of the characters, such as Abi to be a little more fleshed out than they were.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

Rating: 4 stars

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: The Lake

The Lake
Title: The Lake
Author: Banana Yoshimoto
Source:  Received from

Synopsis from Amazon:
It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.  They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . .

With its echoes of the infamous, real-life Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system), The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the countryside, it’s also one of her most moving.

My review:
I have to be honest and say that I found this book to be a little weird.  The main character is dealing with the death of her mother, so she moves to Tokyo where she meets the man who lives in the apartment across the street from her.  I was a little confused when the characters went to the lake to visit friends.  This book was mostly character driven, and not a lot of action took place.  I prefer my books to have more of a plot, but this book didn't completely disappoint me.  It was very beautifully written and I could feel the emotions the characters were going through.

Rating: 3 stars 

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

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

This is the first time I have participated in this meme.
I just started:
Vanished Books One & Two: When Lightning Strikes; Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You)

And I am finishing up:
A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One

Last week I read
Of Bees and Mist: A NovelCleopatra's MoonStill AliceThe Golden Notebook: A Novel (P.S.)

Mailbox Monday

~Mailbox Monday~  
is hosted by Staci at Life in the Thumb during the month of July.
We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here).

I had a lot of Amazon gift cards accumulated, so I bough a bunch of books.  I haven't actually gotten them yet, but I will when I get to my parents house in the States.  Here is what I bought:

The HelpThe Help- I loved this book and I bought it for my mom because I thought she would really like it.  I am going to take her to go see the movie.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)Circle of Fire (Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 3)Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A NovelA Stolen Life: A MemoirMini Shopaholic: A Novel (Shopaholic Series)The Story of Beautiful GirlThe Summer I Turned Pretty

World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Book One of CataclysmAnd because I am a wonderful wife, I bought this book for my husband.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: 5 Very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)
Title: 5 very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth
Author: The Oatmeal
Source:  Received from Simon and Schuster at Montreal Blogger Meet up

Synopsis from Amazon: 
Social etiquette, animals, rules of grammar, and more are critiqued in ways ranging from the educational to the bizarre in this collection of comic strips from While proceeding directly from the newspaper strip tradition, these Web comics present observational humor that's a little more vulgar, a little more clever, and a little more likely to end up with the reader actually learning something than would have been printed in a nationally syndicated comic strip. The humor, like many classic comics, is based on Andy Rooneyesque shared experiences, such as "10 Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone," "How to Use a Semicolon (The Most Feared Punctuation on Earth)," and "How to Track, Hunt, and Kill a Unicorn." These are presented in a text-heavy style supplemented with basic, XKCD-like drawings. While the collection is erratic, some of the best strips—many dealing with cats—hit the universal funny bone.

My review:
I absolutely LOVE The Oatmeal website, so when this book came out of the bag at the blogger meet up, my hand shot straight up.  This isn't a typical book, but rather a series of drawings that are "guides".  As a stickler for proper grammar and punctuation, I particularly like the guides dealing with those topics.  A number of the guides also deal with cats.  While most of the content is available on the website, there are a few that are not.  This is a fun, light read that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.  It would be good for anybody who is a fan of the Oatmeal, but even if you're not, you should check it out.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher at the Montreal Blogger meet up.  I was not compensated in any way for this post. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: The Twisted Thread

The Twisted Thread

Title: The Twisted Thread
Author: Charlotte Bacon
Source:  Netgalley

Synopsis from Amazon:
When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it. Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is--a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying. At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school's students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.

My review:
This book is really similar to The Raising that I read last month.  Overall I enjoyed the book, but there were a few things that I didn't enjoy so much.  I would have liked to have gotten to know Claire, the dead girl, a little better.  The book starts to explore her and her personality, but doesn't go very much into it.  The "love triangle" between Madeline, the art teacher and the cop felt a little forced.  I really didn't like the ending to that story line either.  I would have liked more of an explanation of the school's secret society.  Despite these things, I really did enjoy the book.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

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

July wrap up

I can't believe it's already August! That means I only have one month left before I go back to school. This is my last school year. 

July was a great month for me, both book wise and in general.  I saw the Harry Potter movie, went to see Paul McCartney in concert, and found out I could go see my parents.  I am going next week and haven't seen them since Christmas.

Here is what I read this month:

77. Petals on the wind
78. Outside In
79. When will there be good news
80. Lady Oracle
81. If there be thorns  
82. The raising  
83. Surviving the angel of death 
84. Beloved  
85. Cinder and ella   
86. Backseat Saints 
87. The joyful child- Norman Ravvin  
88. One for the money 
89. A key to the Louvre   
90. The twisted thread  
91. Seeds of yesterday
92. 5 very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth  
93.  Started early, took my dog
94. What happened to serenity?
95. The Lake   
96. Riptide 
97. The poisoned house 
98. Scars 
99. If you ask me
100.  Of bees and mist

Favorite book of the month: Backseat Saints