Thursday, August 29, 2013

ARC Review The Tulip Eaters Antoinette van Heugten

The Tulip EatersThe Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Nora de Jong returns home to find her mother murdered and her baby missing. Frustrated with the lack of developments from the police department Nora decides to find her baby on her own. In doing so she discovers family secrets that change everything she thinks she knows.
I loved Those that Save Us by Jenna Bloom and Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and was really hoping for a similar read with a World War II theme. Unfortunately, this book fell far short and I struggled to get through it.
My main issue with the novel was the writing, I found it to be very juvenile and it did not convey the emotion or depth the novel should have had.
Immediately, in the first chapter when Nora discovered her deceased mother the writing threw me off. Passages like, "Nora tried to push the gray lumps back into her mother's skull. They felt like buttery worms and smelled like spoiled eggs." Often times, through out the novel the author became very descriptive but it did nothing to convey emotion or depth in a character, it seemed like she was trying to hard.
In other instances the dialogue between characters and inner dialogue was forced and very simplistic or stereotypical.
Nora de Jong was not a fully fleshed out character. She never seemed to be a grieving or distraught mother of a missing child. She was certainly frantic and very focused on her research of her family secrets but she seemed too focused on that. Her reaction to finding her dead mother and eventually her missing baby was odd and once the investigator came it got even worse. Nora and her friend were allowed to remain in the home and meander through the crime scene repeatedly, eventually having tea in the kitchen while the investigation continued. I found this highly unlikely. Later when the detective comes back for a follow up, he and Nora have coffee in the living room where the mother died, a blue blanket thrown over the blood and brains on the carpet. Again, who would stay in a home after that "awful day" as it was often referred to.
When Nora went to Amsterdam to search for the kidnapper she became even more unbelievable as a mother of a missing child, focused on her research and family secrets and eventually her former lover. At one point she is sipping wine in a bar thinking about how relaxed she is, totally unrealistic.
Then there is Nico, her former lover and as it turns out the child's father. Conveniently, he is the director of the historical society Nora needs to do her research at. She left Nico after he refused to move to the U.S. with her where she had a neuro surgery fellowship and soon after arriving in Houston she found out she was pregnant and decided to not reveal this to Nico. He has since remarried but that doesn't stop the feelings between the two and neither does her confession of a shared child. I found their relationship to be very shallow and Nico unbelievable as a father denied his baby.
The supporting characters Amarissa, Ariel and Dirk were very one dimensional and stereo typical as well and did little to improve the story. I really hated Amarissa not just because she was a horrible person but also because she was a very very cliche character.
The premise of this book was very interesting, the title interesting and the preface got my hopes up, the actual story disappointed. I would like to give this story idea to other authors and see how differently it could have played out, to see it reach its potential.

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley in exchange for a fair review

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Have Been A Bad Reader but a Great Pickler!

It is sooooo hot.  I should be laying in the air conditioning, on the pool deck or beach reading my heart out.  But I am not.  Instead, I am trapped in my kitchen hovering over boiling pots of water, pickling, making jam and blanching.
I had this great idea that we were going to save money, eat healthier and know where our food came from.  I had visions of our pantry packed full of homemade tomato sauces, salsa, pickles and jam and our freezer full of green beans, corn and peas, homemade pesto and a cabinet full of dried herbs from our own garden.
I did not envision how much time this would take.  So 16 quarts of pickles, 2 gallons of frozen green beans, 4 pints of dilled green beads, 12 pints of blackberry jam and 10 ears of corn later I am exhausted, and I still have lots of tomato's that need to be taken care of and a raspberry patch that will be ripe in a week or two. 
I have to admit I abandoned my herbs a while back, let them go to seed and cut them totally out of the garden over the weekend - I need to scale back!
But I did make delish German Dill Pickles, Polish Dills, Refrigerator pickles, bread and butter pickles and pickled green beans - I need to figure out what else I can pickle!!  Labor day weekend I plan to can salsa, my green peppers and Serrano peppers should be ready and I did hold on to some home grown cilantro.
And, I promise to read!  I am nearly finished with my first ARC, The Tulip Eaters, watch for my review soon!.  It helps that it is baseball season I can read in the late evenings while my husband watches the St Louis Cardinals.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My first ARC: The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten

In a riveting exploration of the power the past wields over the present, critically acclaimed author Antoinette van Heugten writes the story of a woman whose child's life hangs in the balance, forcing her to confront the roots of her family's troubled history in the dark days of World War II.
It's the stuff of nightmares: Nora de Jong returns home from work one ordinary day to find her mother has been murdered. Her infant daughter is missing. And the only clue is the body of an unknown man on the living-room floor, clutching a Luger in his cold, dead hand.
Frantic to find Rose, Nora puts aside her grief and frustration with the local police to start her own search. But the contents of a locked metal box she finds in her parents' attic leave her with as many questions as answers;and suggest the killer was not a stranger. Saving her daughter means delving deeper into her family's darkest history, leading Nora half a world away to Amsterdam, where her own unsettled past and memories of painful heartbreak rush back to haunt her.
As Nora feverishly pieces together the truth from an old family diary, she's drawn back to a city under Nazi occupation, where her mother's alliances may have long ago sealed her own and Rose's fate. (taken from Goodreads)

First Impressions:  The premise of this book sounds very interesting, however; my initial thoughts are that the writing is weak and this novel will fall short of its potential.  53 of 368 pages read.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read Gillian Flynn completely backwards! I started with Gone Girl., which was the first time I had even heard of Flynn. Gone Girl blew my mind, it was probably one of the most exciting books I had read in a long time. It took me nearly year to pick up Dark Places mind blown again, I loved it! Two months after I finished Dark Places I got my hands on Sharp Objects - I was really excited to read another exciting, dark, mind blowing book. Sharp Objects is dark, gritty and disturbing, however, I didn't blow my mind.
Camille Preaker is a mediocre reporter working the police beat for a mediocre newspaper in Chicago when her boss gives her an assignment in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. One young girl has been murdered and another is missing. Camille is forced to reconnect with her estranged mother, step father and her half sister she barely knows as well as confront some nasty family secrets as she works to get a scoop.
Sharp Objects started out slow and I had trouble connecting initially, Camille's reintroduction to Wind Gap was really lack luster despite our introduction to her bizarre family. And they truly are bizarre. Adora is cold, calculating and extremely wealthy. Alan is one strange cat, totally dominated by Adora. Amma, the step-sister, is creepy, manipulative, sick and just plain scary.
About half-way through, it picks up speed and I couldn't put it down - I had to figure out who was the killer. I found this book to be a bit more predictable than Flynn's follow up works - not totally predictable but I had it narrowed down to a couple options, and I was right.
I liked Camille and rooted for her, despite her flaws, and there were many. Scarily, I could see bits of myself in Camille, she was searching for acceptance, love, respect and because she searched desperately for those thing she acted out in some destructive ways.
"Sometimes when you let people do things to you, you're really doing it to them."
Sharp Objects explores some really dark areas Munchausen by Proxy, cutting, murder, sex, abuse and the relationships women have with one another. This is not an outright exploration of bullying but the way the women's relationships and power struggles played out was very insightful and real writing.
"They were women not strong enough or smart enough to leave. Women with out imagination. So they stayed in Wind Gap and played their teenage lives on an endless loop. And now I was stuck with them, unable to pull myself out."
Having grown up in a small town I related to her descriptions and the characters of Wind Gap as well as her insight as to the type of damage living in that environment can do.
"A town so suffocating and small, you tripped over people you hated every day. People who knew things about you. It’s the kind of place that leaves a mark."
Had I read Sharp Objects, Flynn's debut novel first it may have changed my view of it, but having read her subsequent works I have to say this one just isn't as good. It's good, a great first novel but it did not blow my mind like the other two. I recommend it if you are a Flynn fan or enjoy a dark, creepy, twisted read.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Librarian suggests turning the page on longtime reading club winner

Librarian suggests turning the page on longtime reading club winner

This is just crazy!  How many times in all our lives have we had to compete against somebody we were never going to beat.   In everything I have ever done there has always been some body better than me.  I have worked my tail of to be competitive in equestrian competitions, and though I won sometimes (maybe because the good people didn't show up that day) and I knew that there was always going to be some one better than me. 
Let this boy shine in the area he excels at and let the other kids learn you can't always be the winner and if you do want to win you need to work harder, not just quit.
Kudos to Tyler for being an avid reader and hopefully he will be for a lifetime, cause reading rocks!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review Silver Linings Playbook Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings PlaybookThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am behind the 8 ball when it comes to the hype surrounding Silver Linings Playbook. When the movie came out and Oscar season created all the buzz surrounding it, I had no interest in seeing it. Finally, this summer after hearing from numerous friends that I should read the book, I caved. And, I really enjoyed it and then I saw the movie and I really didn't enjoy it. The movie differs from the book in to many ways that make the characters not as fully fleshed out and his relationship with Nikki seem even crazier, I just didn't care for it after reading the book.
Pat Peoples is a real relatable person - he has his highs and lows and his oddities, but it makes him fully fleshed out and relatable. Parts of his story were sad and heartbreaking and other parts were really funny, like his fear of Kenny G. His relationships were complex and real, I enjoyed how he related to his parents and how his parents related to one another. His brother, his friends, his doctor and Tiffany all had very real reactions to his disease and his dealings with it.
Pat People's believes everyone deserves a happy ending and he believes that if he changes his life and and improves himself he will win back his wife Nikki and get his happy ending. He loses weight, exercising constantly, he begins reading all the books his wife recommends to her English classes and he works on being a stand up man. He doesn't remember why he and Nikki are having apart time or why his family gets so weird when he talks about her - he just knows he will get his happy ending.
Tiffany has her own struggles but sees someone like herself in Pat, she offers him a trade, dance with her and she will coordinate communication between Nikki and him, in this all Pat sort of gets his happy ending, its just not what he expected.
This a quirky, fun, real read that I highly recommend.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Oh, I Hated that Book!"

Recently, my husband and I had dinner with another couple who are good friends, while eating dessert the wife brought up that she had finally read Fifty Shades of Grey and that she loved them, they were the best books she had read, like ever. 
My response, "Uggg, I hated those books!" I was promptly shot a dirty look by husband, which meant shut up and on our way home I relieved a lecture in tact and being happy that people found things they liked.
I have this problem, I am very passionate about the things I like and dislike and have a very hard time hiding my disdain for things. My facial expressions give me away.  Ask me if I want to eat a carrot and before I even answer you will know from my look of disgust the answer is no.  
I get lots of book recommendations from friends and family, they are always very well meaning, but it is frequently for things I wouldn't read.  I had several older adult relatives that went nuts for the Twilight series and were constantly pushing them on me.  I tried to casually decline the offers to borrow their books and eventually had to flat out say it wasn't something I was interested in.  That didn't stop them from sending me the movies to watch while I recuperated from knee surgery.  And I was right, they weren't my thing...
I don't want to sound like a book snob here, saying boo to Twilight and Fifty Shades, there are plenty of other books I would say no to as well or should have said no to.  I had co-workers who were crazy about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and kept telling me I had to read the series.  Something about them just didn't appeal to me, but I finally gave in and slogged through the first book, yep, really didn't like it.
Another friend kept raving about how hilarious Tucker Max's book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell was and how it was the male version of Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life (I did giggle all the way through that one).  Max's book was  not funny, not one tiny little bit.  I would like a refund from the author.  Actually, I would like the author to pay me for the time I wasted reading the garbage he wrote.  Yep, not hiding my disdain for that one!
I frequently give recommendations if people ask, and the books I recommend are books I really loved and I do try to consider the persons interests if I know them well enough.  I am never hurt if they don't read what I suggest or if they hate it, I can accept that not every book can please every person.
I recently read a few reviews on Amazon for an up coming release and one guy gave it 5 stars and then proceeded to comment on other reviews and blast them if they didn't give the book five stars.  I don't want to be that guy! I won't think you are an illiterate idiot if you like a book as much as I do. 
How do you decline the offer to read something you won't like?  How do you discuss a book you really hated but most people have really liked.  And how do you handle it if a book you recommend isn't well received?
In the meantime I will try to be a little more tactful. 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review The Orchardist Amanda Coplin

The OrchardistThe Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"His face was as pitted as the moon." And so begins The Orchardist, the beautiful haunting debut novel by Amanda Coplin. Talmadge lives alone in the orchard his mother brought him and his sister to as young children, he is alone and rather reclusive. During a trip to to sell fruit in a near by town two young girls steal from him but he does not bother to chase them. Later, they turn up in the orchard to learn more about the man who let them get away with theft. The girls arrival in the orchard changes the course of Talmadge's life, and theirs, for better and worse.
Coplin spent eight years writing this book and you feel her dedication and love for these characters in every line of the book. Talmadge, Jane, Della, Angelene, Caroline Midday and Clee are all introverted characters and somehow the author has managed to maintain the relationships and emotion between these charters without a lot of dialogue. The relationship between Talmadge, Della and Angelene is the central story and left me with many mixed emotions. Talmadge is a good man haunted by the disappearance of his sister many years before. In Jane and Della he sees a bit of his sister and strives to save them and keep them in a way he could not do for his sister. Della proves to be difficult, set in her own ways, and always in search of something that Talmadge cannot provide, in her search she hurts him deeply and uses him. Talmadge, blind to Della's abuse, almost loses everything to save her. Angelene, the daughter of Jane, raised by Talmadge with the assistance of Caroline Midday, suffers due to Talmadge's obsession with Della.
These charters are well fleshed out, complicated and real.
The Orchardist does touch on some tough and graphic topics, child prostitution, child birth and suicide, but don't let those topics scare you away, they author does not dwell on them or sensationalize them and the rest of the story overshadows those dark areas.
My only criticism of the work are the lack of quotations around the dialogue, it made it hard to track at times what the conversation was or if it was just inner thoughts. However, this is not a book you read quickly, it is one you savor and linger on every single word, because of this I picked up on characters conversation more quickly.
The end of The Orchardist left me fighting tears, it is a beautiful and fitting ending.
I highly recommend The Orchardist - this is a novel that will stick with me for a long time.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

One month and a few days of blogging and A to Z Survey Fun!

Jamie, aka The Perpetual Page Turner created this old school survey and since I have recently hit one month of book blogging and a successful one at that (over 1,000 hits, 130 or so followers!) I thought this would be a fun way for you to get to know me better! 

 Author You've Read The Most Books From 

Emily Giffin - I have read seven books by her, which I believe are all her books.  I anxiously await anything new, as her books are always an enjoyable read!

Best Sequel Ever 

I don't typically read books that would have a sequel - so going with Something Blue by Emily Giffin, the follow up to Something Borrowed!

Currently Reading  

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West By Dorothy Wickenden

 Drink of Choice While Reading 

Crystal Light Lemonade or Coke & Malibu Rum in the summer and coffee or Coke in the winter

 E-reader or physical book? 

Love my Kindle and the ease of downloading new books but there is something about holding an actual book that I prefer - oh and the smell of new books - love that!

 Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

Eeeeee.....high school.......I am really drawing a blank!  Maybe an older Alec Ramsey from the Black Stallion series - we both like horses - it could have worked!

 Glad You Gave This Book a Chance  

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot
I thought this was going to be all about science - I don't really like science, but this book was amazing!  The author wrote it in a way that it read like a novel, was part history, part science and all great story!  I learned a ton and think everyone should read this book.  This fall I am going to see the author and some of the family members at a event through the university where I work - super excited!

 Hidden Gem Book 

The Mill River Recluse By Darcie Chan  It was 99 cents! (For some reason I hear Thrift Shop by Macklemore in my head as I type this) This book is self published and through word of mouth has made it to the New York Times bestseller list and has a 4 star rating on Amazon, slightly less on Goodreads. A widow watches her city from her window - altering lives and showing people you can't judge a book or person by their cover. 

 Important Moment in Your Reading Life  

Reading my first chapter book, I selected and checked out from the library myself (I might have been 7)!  I was dumbfounded that a book could hold so much!  After that I visited the library as often as possible!  Pretty sure the volunteer librarian was glad to see me, I don't a lot of people stopped by (I grew up in a town of 800 people, I think the library was only open 8 hours a week).  She introduced me to a lot of great books while I was growing up. 

 Just Finished 

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin  One of the best books I have read in a long time!  It was amazing, beautifully written, slow and leisurely, great characters and fantastic story.  It took the author eight years to write this book and her dedication shows in every word and every description.  I highly recommend this book and will have a full review posted soon!

Kinds of Books You Won't Read 

Science Fiction, Erotica, Christian-y romance, Para-Normal, vampires and werewolves type stuff 

Longest Book You've Read 

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - over 1,000 pages.  I read this book in 8th grade so its been a long time record holder!  And I do love the book!

Major Book Hangover 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - I couldn't put it down and read it way to fast, getting to the ending way to fast!  I wasn't prepared for it to end - I was in a daze after wards muttering I can't believe that's how it turned out. 

Number of Bookcases You Own  

2 and they are jam packed full.

 One Book You Have Read Multiple Times 

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb  My copy is falling apart every where, I am surprised the pages are still in order. 

Preferred Place to Read 

There is this corner on my sectional I love to curl up into in the winter and evenings before bed, I get the best dog ever snuggled in with me and we read away.  When the weather is nice I love the deck and I enjoy the occasional soak in the tub with a good book!   

Quote That Inspires You 

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

  Reading Regret 

Reading all of Tucker Max's I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell, this book was not funny.  Tucker Max is not funny or a cool guy - he needs serious help.  I can't believe people read and liked this book and that I wasted my time and money reading it.

 Series You Started and Need to Finish

I don't read many series, not since late elementary or junior high.  I had the goal at one time to read every Baby Sitter Club book, but aged out of them as new ones were still coming out.  Yeah, probably never going to finish those!

 Three of Your All Time Favorite Books 

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb,  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand,  In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen 

Unapologetic Fangirl For

Horsey books - if its about a horse, I will probably read it, even if its bad.


 Very Excited for This Release 

We Are Water by Wally Lamb - I will be at Barnes & Noble the day it is out buying it in hardcover!  Can't wait! 

Worst Bookish Habit

Reading the last chapter first - I try so hard not to do it, I just can't help it.

  X Marks the Spot:  Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book  

Of Mice and Men  John Steinbeck

 Your Latest Book Purchase

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (last one that kept you up way too late)  

 The Orchardist - it was just so good....

 Enjoy this - create your own list, just link back to Jamie @ perpetualpageturner and thanks for helping to make my first month of blogging such a success!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review Dark Places Gillian Flynn

Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Gone Girl about a year ago and LOVED it, ever since then I have been wanting tor read more of Gillian Flynn's work and finally this summer I made it happen! I read this book while on vacation in the Smokey Mountains and it was a GREAT vacation read! All I wanted to do was sit on the porch of my cabin and finish this book - forget site seeing and hiking - I had a fantastic novel to read!
Libby is a well fleshed out character, dark, moody, depressed, lazy and nasty. Despite her fowl personality I wanted her to overcome her past and have some resolution and healing.
I really enjoyed reading the three perspectives of Ben, Patty and Libby and how the day of the murders played out for them. Each was so vastly different, yet how they came together was masterful writing. The book is dark and gritty but full of real characters and real emotions and things the reader can connect with. I remember growing up in the 80's and hearing rumors of devil worship and animal sacrifices in vacant lots and tree rows around where I grew up in the mid-west. I also remember the farm crisis of the 80's and many of the radical ideas that came out of it, as well as the fear.
The ending of this book was unexpected and a great who-done-it - even though I was alert through the whole book trying to find the foreshadowing that would tip me off to the real killer. It's there, the book is so well written though that you pass it by and only realize it when you turn the last page.
Must read book!

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Feature & Follow - English Lit Class

Happy, Happy Friday everyone! I am excited to meet new book blogging friends again this week and I enjoyed putting together my book list for my fictional English lit class! Hope you want to take it!
English 356 American Authors - American History This class will explore American History through the writing of American Authors and works both classic and contemporary and various genres. (this is a college course didn't want to have to censor my book choices!) Colonial Period - The Scarlett Letter Nathanial Hawthorne
Civil War - Cold Mountain Charles Frazier
Western Expansion - Giants of the Earth Ole Rolvaag
Great Depression - The Bones of Plenty Louis Phillips Hudson
World War II - Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand
Race Relations - The Help Kathryn Stockett
Modern Era - I Know this Much is True Wally Lamb
And lastly for extra credit (cause my reading list might be getting a bit long) Native American History - In the Spirit of Crazy Horse Peter Matthiessen
Would your take this course? What would you like to read in the various categories? Any category suggestions?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review Jump Cindy Paterson

Centuries of loyalty His code of honor was respected without question, until he consumed the blood of an enemy in exchange for a mortal woman to be set free from certain slavery. He can’t forget her Despite knowing, he will be imprisoned and put to death if caught, Balen, a fierce Senses Tracker, returns to Toronto to find the mortal woman, Danielle, he left behind two years ago. Haunted with memories of the torture they endured in the hands of a Senses enemy, Balen’s determination to see her again, drives him to risk everything. But when he does, a new enemy comes into play, one he can’t defeat. To conquer the wrath of fear Determined to find some sort of peace after her abduction, Danielle finds solace in painting a man from her nocturnal unconsciousness. When he comes knocking on her door, her world is shattered and Danielle must face her worst fears in order to survive what is coming after them. It won’t stop. It can’t. For the ancient spell has no compassion. A journey of tenacious desire that refuses to fade even though that is what will destroy them. Because—in order for Danielle to live, first she must die. **Note from Author-the prologue is violent and some may have a difficult time reading. This book is intended for mature audiences.** Jump (The Senses, #1)Jump by Cindy Paterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is not a genre I would normally read or be drawn too, but I agreed to review a copy of the book I received from the author in exchange for a fair review. I enjoyed this book to a point - the writing was good, the storyline moved along well and the were well developed and the author did a great job of writing about all their various phobias. I also really liked the dynamic between Danielle and Balen. Things that lowered the review, it was difficult to keep all the characters straight, the plot was convoluted and hard to follow at times and the amount of unnecessary (in my opinion) violence and sex scenes. While this book kept my attention this type of paranormal, fantasy genre still does not appeal to me. I am equating this to how I feel about watermelon - every year I try it, but after one bite I know I don't want anymore. Every now and then I try this genre, because it is so popular, but after one I know I don't want anymore.
In conclusion - if you like this type of novel I highly recommend it, if you don't your probably not going to enjoy this one.

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Congrats to the winner of the $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card!

Thanks to the everyone who contributed to the 459 entries my Summer Giveaway Hop 2013 garnered and thanks to all those that are new followers!  I appreciate each of you! 
Congrats to Jamie @ the winner of the $15 Barnes & Noble gift card! 
Again, thanks for making my first give away a rousing success and watch for more in the future!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Cheryl Strayed

22 year old Cheryl has lost everything, her mother, her husband and her family. Four years later after further mucking up her life with drug usage, careless sex, an abortion and more she sets off on a solo hike on the Pacific Coast Trail in an attempt to pull her life together.

This is no Eat, Love, Pray or Glass Castle. Cheryl Strayed has to be the most unlikable person who ever wrote a memoir! The book kept me reasonably entertained because I was horrified by one poor decision after another, and her careless attitude about such decisions. 
The book alternates between her time on the trail and her life before the hike and we get a better glimpse of what a mess her life had become. 
In writing this memoir the author seems rather detached and I never felt like she learned anything or had any great epiphany, she basically whined her whole way through the book, finished her hike and was all better.  Nothing believable or heart felt at all. 

Strayed has no expierience hiking, over loads her pack and gets godzilla skin on her hips, loses all her toenails, is to tired to masturbate, totes a fat roll of condoms over the whole trail, constantly thinks about who she will have sex with next, gets a tan, gets some muscle and loses weight.  I think that nails down exactly what happens on the trail.    

**Spoiler** **sort of** In a flash back to her life prior to the hiking the trail she explains why and how they killed her mothers horse - this part made me feel physically ill and to top it all off she eats her mothers ashes - proof that she is a seriously disturbed person.  

Ultimately, I gave this book two stars, it was entertaining - I plowed right through it always hoping she would have some great personal discovery, however, in the end I was disappointed and not to fond of the author.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yeah for the Weekend, Boo for Monday

What a great weekend - the weather was perfect, high 70's low 80's, just a slight breeze - slept with the windows open!  What a great start to August!  The husband and I ate all our meals on our deck overlooking the lush green corn fields and fell asleep at night hearing the coyotes yipping! 
I had two great trails rides with friends, my horse walked by a herd of cows without jumping out of his skin, I watched some great eventing at a nearby horse park, and we walked the worlds greatest dog and ate yummy frozen yogurt - I highly recommend the root beer float yogurt at Orange Leaf!

And of course I spent time reading! Sunday morning the worlds best dog and I pulled up a chair on the patio had a pop tart and coffee and immersed  ourselves in  The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. I am reading this a part of a partner read that I am doing through Bound Together a group I belong to on Goodreads.  Everyone who signs up to participate in the partner read is assigned a partner and then you compare your to be read lists picking a book you have in common.  And boy am I glad that my partner and I had The Orchardist in common - this is simply an amazing debut novel!  The writing is stark, beautiful and the story captivating - I am in love!  Be watching for my complete review! 

And a pic of the worlds greatest dog sun bathing while I read!

And finally, I got a LIBRARY CARD!  After three years of living in my current city I finally got a library card - I think this is the longest I have ever gone with out one and consquently I was spending way too much money downloading books to my Kindle!  Yeah for saving money!

Oh and boo Monday - -back to work.....

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reveiw Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline

The story of two women who forge an unlikely friendship: a 91-year-old woman, an orphan-train rider in her youth and a teenage girl with a troubled adolescence. 
Nearly eighteen, Molly is months from "aging out" of  her foster home, a family she has a rocky relationship with already. Faced with community service for stealing a library book she accepts a position helping an elderly woman clean out her home. 
Vivian has been living on the coast of Maine recently but in her attic, hidden in trunks, are the remains of her own turbulent youth.  As Molly helps Vivian organize her possessions and memories, she discovers that the two unlikely friends are not that different. Vivian was an Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children and placed for adoption. 
As the two grow closer Molly helps Vivian answer questions about her own past, ultimately helping them both. 

A good read but ultimately disappointing. Orphan Train had so much potential for more - deeper characters, more feeling and more of a history. I often felt like the author was rushing to get through Vivian's life and left out so much that could have enriched her story. I also had a hard time with the age given to Vivian, she was an 8 or 9 year old girl but through much of the book I identified her as  an older teen, this was the authors attempt to make her more mature, but something about it didn't  work. Molly, I found to be stereotypical and and with out a lot of depth. The relationship between the two main characters I also felt was not fully fleshed out - again sort of rushed. This book had so much potential but just didn't get there. 
This is a three star book, an easy entertaining read but it lacks so much.   

Friday Follow Feature & Question

This weeks Question, How do you handle a book you don’t like? Do you DNF or do you power through? Personally, I try and power through, particularly if I paid money for the book. There are a few that I have never finished and I keep promising myself I will, but......I doubt that will ever happen. Most recently discarded book The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, just could not get into it. Did anyone like that one?