Monthly Archives: January 2010

Storm Front – Review

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Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Age: Adult

Strom Front by Jim Butcher is the first book of the popular series known as the Dresden Files. By day, and by night, Harry Dresden is a private investigator in Chicago, always on the hunt for supernatural activity.

Business has been slow for Harry. That is until the Chicago PD calls him in as a consultant for a grisly double murder. Once at the crime scene, Harry realizes that black magic was used and where there is black magic, there is trouble. Throw in a hardened mafia boss, a sexy journalist and a magic panel eager to see Harry suffer, and you have one crazy, mixed up supernatural mystery case.

Although a bit cliche, I found the book to be pretty entertaining. Butcher did a great job with the plot, the story getting more detailed and intricate with each chapter. The characters are well thought-out and hilarious . Harry Dresden is a likable character despite his sharp wit, and bad reputation. This book was a book club pick January and almost all the girls in the club enjoyed it. We even watched the first episode of the Dresden Files that aired on the SyFy channel a while ago. As much as I thought this book was corny, the TV show was much worse! Total cheese-fest.

I think I may have liked this book more if I didn’t feel overdosed on the supernatural theme already. Her Fearful Symmetry was sort of the last I could take of eery, and mystical happenings. I’m in the mind for something new…or something more classic.

Storm Front
by Jim Butcher
Penguin, 2000
ISBN 9780451457813
322 pages

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Up in the Air – Review

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Up in the Air by Walter Kirn

Age: Adult Fiction

I went to see the movie Up in the Air about a few months ago, and instantly fell in love with the story, the theme and the characters of the movie. Having learned that it was based on a book by Walter Kirn, I put a hold on the book as soon as possible and started reading it.

The book Up in the Air, differs incredibly from the movie. Although there is a still a melancholy tone, a theme of unfinished business and unrequited love, the actual story told about Ryan Bingham is different. In the movie, Ryan’s job is to announce lay-offs to employees of major companie and provide those employees with advice to help them with their transition from having a job to being jobless. In the book, this is still Ryan’s job, but it is not the focus of the book. In fact, the focus is on Ryan having turned in his 2 week notice, his attempts to meet with his publisher about his self-help book, and about his desire to work for Mythtech. The story of the book spans only a week. During this week of travel, Ryan is still earning points, hoping to achieve 1million frequent flier points before his last day at CIC. In this week, we are introduced to Airworld. A work in flight, in motion and with little to no baggage involved. The people in Ryan’s life are fleeting and unreliable, but then again, so is he.

Overall, I found this book to be an wonderful breath of fresh air for all the chick-driven literature I’ve been reading lately. This book was told by a man, for men, and that was an awesome thought process to experience. Kirn’s short and choppy sentences demonstrate just how fast-paced Ryan’s life is. He supplements the dull moments with philosophical quips about human behaviour and interactions based on Ryan’s methods of handling different situations and via his conversations with fellow passengers on the plane.

My only regret is that I did not give this book the time that it needed. I kept putting off reading the last third because I had to read my book club books first. By the time I was able to return to Kirn’s fictional Airworld, I had lost my connection to the book and sort of rushed through the end. I think if I hadn’t taken such a long break, the book would have had a more powerful effect on me.

Up in the Air
Walter Kirn
Doubleday, 2001
ISBN 9780385497107
303 pages
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Teaser Tuesday (1/12)

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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:

Dammit. I was going to have to do that research after all. Maybe it would turn up something helpful, some kind of clue to help lead me and the police to the murderer.

From Storm Front: Book 1 of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

A reading challenge

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So, I lied in my 2009 recap post about not joining anymore challenges. I came across the OATES challenge on Trish’s blog, and figured I could at least do this one…it is only 5 books, and goes from January 1st to December 31st.

So, each letter in OATES stands for a literary author’s name, we can pick up to 5 authors.

These are my picks:

O – Flannery O’Conner

A – Jane Austen (Persuasion, the only Austen book I haven’t read)

T – Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina is on my book club list for February)

E – Edith Wharton

S – J.D. Salinger

The official rules

  • The challenge goes from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.
  • Anyone can participate! You do not need a blog!
  • Challenge books can overlap with other challenges.
  • You do not need to pick your books in advance.
  • You can change levels mid-challenge!
  • Levels:
    • Instant OATES – 1 book
    • Old Fashioned OATES – 2 books
    • Rolled OATES – 3 books
    • Steel Cut OATES – 4 books
    • Whole OATES – 5+ books

Sign up at Trish’s blog: Hey Lady Watcha’ Reading Here

Her Fearful Symmetry – Review

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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Age: 16+ years old
Twins Eslpeth and Edwina live separate lives, one in London and the other in Chicago. Neither sister has spoken for over a decade until Eslpeth becomes diagnosed with cancer and soon starts correspondence with her long lost twin. After her death, she wills her second floor flat in London to her nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. In her will she states that they must live in the flat for one year before deciding if they want to sell it. What Eslpeth had not accounted for, was that her spirit would return from the grave to haunt the flat, the girls, changing their lives.

To be honest, I found this book to be really dull. I thought Eslpeth made for an incredibly boring ghost, the twins were annoying and there weren’t any likable characters other than Martin (and I wish we learned more about Martin). There was a big rift between the elder twins that caused them to not talk for over a decade, but by the time you found out what that secret was, it didn’t effect the plot at all and seemed to be a let down. One of the girls from my book club compared this book to Breaking Dawn: so much build up for nothing. I wouldn’t go that far. Audrey Niffenegger is still incredibly more talented as a thinker, creator and writer than Stephanie Meyer. The ending of HFS felt rushed, and I was mad that it ended just as it got interesting. The ending was predictable (I guessed what would transpire between Eslpeth and Valentia halfway through the book).

What I did like:

I love Niffenegger’s descriptions and characters. Although they weren’t likable, they were fully formed and had their own personalities and histories. I loved that she used British slang and colloquialisms in her writing and I loved learning about Highgate cemetery and its history. I will not compare this book to Time Traveler’s Wife, because they are completely different and one should not be judged based on the other. I love her emphasis on character development and seeing how Martin and Valentina progressed and grew stronger while the initially stronger characters (Julia and Marijke) grew weaker. It was an interesting dynamic.

Overall, I was disappointed with the book. It wasn’t creepy and it wasn’t very original. It had many elements that I have seen in countless ghost movies and read in other ghost stories.

Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger
Scribner Books, 2009
ISBN 9781439165393
404 pages

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2009 Recap

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I read a total of 76 books in 2009, most of which ended up being YA or Juvenile books. A good chunk were nonfiction, although I didn’t even finish the challenge I started (The Dewey Decimal Challenge). Congratulations to everyone who participated and did complete the challenge. I, apparently, am not good with challenges and will therefore refrain from starting or joining any other challenges, ever.

The final breakdown:

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