Monthly Archives: July 2009

Teaser Tuesday (7/28/2009)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
# Grab your current read.
# Let the book fall open to a random page.
# Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

# You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! # Please avoid spoilers!

My Two Teasers:

There’s No Place Like Home (Cecilia Ahern)

Was it an accident that we were all here?

Did we stumble upon a blip in the earth’s creation, a black hole on the surface, or was this just a part of life that remained unspoken throughout the centuries?

The Luxe – Review

New York in the 1899’s is a frivolous and fantastic time for a certain set of elite teenagers, whose time is engaged in parties, fashion and well, romance.

The Luxe begins with the funereal procession of Elizabeth Holland, 17 and one of New York’s finest young ladies from the established line of Hollands. The first chapter gently introduces us to the cast of characters that make up this glamorous novel. As the rest of the novel continues, we go a little bit back in time, to when Elizabeth is still among the living. Through various decisions made by the characters, the story eventual goes around in a full circle by the end of the book explaining the death of such a fashionable and proper young lady. As a teen book, I did find the ending rather predictable, and I didn’t think the characters classified as the antagonists were really all that evil. There were quite a few characters to keep track of in this book, and some did not get as much attention as I thought they deserved (I would have liked to see Penelope be more scheming for instance.)

I think Anna Godbersen did a fantastic job of really bringing the 1899-1900’s to life with the fashion, etiquette and mannerisms of the characters. While reading this book I felt inclined to check out an ettiquette book from my library, such to brush up on my social skills.

One thing I was worried about and thankfully didn’t actually experience was the potential of the novel reading as if Godbersen took modern-day teens and stuck them in a time-warp. I felt like I was actually reading about the children of the elite of 1900. I liked the juxtaposition between Elizabeth and her maid Lina. Both felt trapped by their social standing and wanted more from their life. Both felt obligated to a life they didn’t want because of filial duties.  Although this book did glam up the Victorian era, I think it did a fantastic job of showing that appearances are not always truthful, and that just because something sounds fantastic, does not necessarily mean it is everything you want it to be.

I think that the following two novels in the series will be much more interesting than this first, particularly with how everything was left unfinished at the end of The Luxe. This series is picking up some popularity points at the library, so I have a little bit of wait before I can start reading Envy. I am spacing out the books though, because the characters in this novel can be quite annoying with their constant whining about their situation in life.

The Luxe
Anna Godbersen
Harper Teen, 2007
ISBN 0061345661
433 pages

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How Shall I Tell the Dog – Review

How Shall I tell the Dog & Other Final Musings by Miles Kington

Publication date: July 7, 2009

Newmarket Press, 206 pages

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Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Miles Kington coped the best way he could. He penned a fanastically wry, witty and comical collection of observations about his situation. The real originality and emotional element behind the book is that each chapter is written as a letter to his literary agent and friend, Gil. Each letter claims another idea for a best-seller book, and each book deals in some way with cancer. The final paragraph on the back synopsis covers the contents fairly well.

His final musings include everything from the irony of 1,000 Places to See Before you Die, and creating a funeral video (“Hello, I’m sorry I couldn’t be here in person with you today”), to the notion of creating cancer language guides (Parlez-vous Cancer?) and the prospect of being outlived by his dog, Berry. Mischievous and utterly original, Kington’s final words are a celebration of life.

I, for one, feel very special at having received this book as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviews. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this book when I first started reading. I wanted to laugh at his observations, but then remembered that he had passed away in January 2008, and these were his quirks about his own battles with cancer. I was left quite confused. I loved his wit and comedic timing, but I was incredibly saddened that such a great talent and mind is no longer in this world. I’m definitely adding his earlier works to my reading list. I hope this is a book you all consider picking up next time you browse through your local bookstore.

How Shall I Tell The Dog & Other Final Musings
by Miles Kington
Newmarket Press, 2009
ISBN 1557048417
206 pages

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Find this book at your local library

Teaser Tuesday (7/21/09)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
# Grab your current read.
# Let the book fall open to a random page.
# Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
# You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
# Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Mrs. Hayes had always been annoying, but ever since Penelope Hayes had discovered the engagement of her Future Husband and her Former Best Friend, she found every swallow or breath her mother took to be a personal affront to her sensibility.

She listened for rotund Mrs. Hayes to go back to her yapping, then crumpled the telegram and dropped it into a silver vase bursting with yellow roses.

Book Blogger Appreciation Awards!

The second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Award nominations are now open! If you absolutely love my blog, please remember to go HERE and vote for me (and your other favorite bloggers as well). The awards ceremonies will be held Sept. 14-18th.

The Categories are:

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Artichoke’s Heart – Review

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Artichoke’s Heart by Susanne Supplee
Age: YA
Genre: Fiction
 

Rosemary Goode is a normal teenager, with the normal teen issues plaguing her daily routine. Her obesity and her sullen relationship with her mother. After tipping the scale at 200 lbs, catching the eye of her crush at school and learning of her mother’s recent diagnosis with cancer, Rosemary goes through a transformation of not only her body, but mind and spirit as well.

What I really liked about this book, is that it is more about self-esteem than it is about losing weight. Rosemary has a number of obstacles in her life; the popular cliche called the Bluebirds, her bossy aunt, her mother’s reluctance to talk about her problems, not to mention the weight and typical boy issues. Rosemary is smart, excelling in academics, she is independent and continuously stands up for herself against the mean-girl Misty Towers. This book is more of a journey of Rosemary rebuilding a life for herself, strengthening some relationships and building new friendships from the ground up. Rosemary learns that appearances are deceiving and that you have to dig deeper than looks to really find the truth about someone. Despite having a cute boy as a catalyst for Rosemary’s change and motivation for wanting to lose weight, it is not necessarily the central motivator. What I enjoyed was that Supplee provided a wide variety of reasons for Rosemary’s weightloss, and all of which seemed very plausible.  Suzanne Supplee manages to break into the mind of a loney teenager, and does a fantastic job with the writing. Her sarcasm is sharp, but never over the top. I never once felt like this book was forced, and I was very pleased with the ending. Rosemary learned a very valuable lesson about herself and I think this is one girl that many teenage girls struggling with weight issues will be able to relate to and appreciate.

Artichoke’s Heart
by Suzanne Supplee
Speak, 2008
ISBN 0142414279
276 pages

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Find this book at your local library

One for the Money – Review

Laid off from her job as a discount lingerie buyer for E.E. Martin’s in New Jersey, Stephanie Plum is hard up for cash and desperate to find a new source of income. The solution? Become a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinny’s bonds company. The high profile case she’s given? To bring in a fugitive/renegade cop accused of murder, who also happens to be the guy who broke her heart twice before. The incredibly dreamy, and sneaky Joe Morelli.

All this turns One for the Money into a really fun read full of twists and crazy characters. And I really mean crazy characters. You have a sadistic boxer, a smart-ass heroine who is clumbsy but still gets the job done, a friendly cop and a lot of people with grudges to bear. I am very happy with the ending and didn’t think it was too cheesy. One thing I really liked about the book was that it was written in 1994, so it was cool to read about the latest technology law enforcement was using at the time. Me being the nerd that I am, would be interested in reading the series and track the technology changes that may or may not make Stephanie’s life as a bounty hunter easier.

A friend of mine devoured all 19 books in the series so far, and has been at me to read at least the first book of the series. Although I really liked this book, I’m not a mysteries/series type of gal. At least not without an intermission of another genre. I figured out I read my genres in groups of three, possible four, before I get bored and move into a different theme. This series has more substance than other mysteries I’ve come across and Stephanie Plum is an incredibly funny and well thought out character, but I don’t think I have the energy to finish the entire series.

One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich
St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1994
ISBN 0312990456
320 pages

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw – Review

Jeff Kinney brings a third installment of the ever popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. This time, Greg Heffley is a little bit older, but not necessarily that much smarter.

His diary chronicles another year in the life of an average pre-teen. The year goes from January to June, tracking such life-changing details as; Greg’s crush and numerous attempts to talk to Holly Hills, the birth of the insult “Ploopy” by younger brother Manny, and the many quiffs with older brother Rodderick.

This series continues to be hilarious and resolute in the hands of young children. This book does not stay on the library shelves, I’m not quite sure how I managed to snag a copy during my last trip to the library. The book is age appropriate for the 12 and under crowd, although plenty of adults get equal entertainment value from the book. The illustrations are cartoonish and have lots of fun sound effects that are fun to say. Kids who really enjoy reading this book may even be turned on to starting their own journal. This series is obviously geared towards boys and its great to see something that promotes reading and writing in boys at such a young age.

Haven’t heard of this series, or read the first two books? Then catch up on my reviews of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Rodderick Rules

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
by Jeff Kinney
Amulet Books, 2009
ISBN 0810970687
216 pages

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Find this book at your local library

Teaser Tuesday (7/14/2009)

teasertuesdays31

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

Please avoid spoilers!

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

My Teaser

In The Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua

The following morning, Mary tiptoed into Puttnum’s room and woke him up. She stood above him, smiling radiantly, as beautiful as she’d been almost two years before on his first visit home.

The Road – Review

A man and his young son make the journey down a long and dangerous road in attempts of finding civilization after a major apocalyptic event that leaves the world ashen and unknown.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the first book read for my new book club, and I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. There were times when the scenes felt repetitive, but it was an incredibly fast read. Anyone familiar with McCarthy’s writing style is aware of his stance on grammar. The conversations weren’t too difficult to keep up with, although a few of them I did have to reread.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the relationship between the father and his son during the journey. I took the son to be the symbol of hope and optimism in this book. His innocence and genuine compassion for human life is the little bit of light in this otherwise dark world. The scenes are very desolate and as much as I wonder what caused the world to end up in such a way with cannibals roaming the streets, I like not knowing. This book is about the relationship between the father and the son and their self-discovery.

I would definitely recommend this book to guys. I think its one I can shove in a teen’s face at the library and say “read.” It makes you question your own instincts, how you view the world and how you view the people in your world.

The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Knopf, 2006
ISBN 0307265439
256 pages

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Find this book at your local library