Monday, June 30, 2014

The Steady Running of the HourThe Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction





Quest's are full of adventure, romance, and hopefully at the end you find what you have been searching for. Tristan's quest does not fail to hit on the first two and for me also the third one depending on your view of whether what he did find in the end was worth what he had lost, for me it was so that is why I would include the third one as also being present in this novel.

Tristan is just a normal "joe" when he gets a letter out of the blue from a law firm in England saying that if he could contact them that maybe both him and the law firm could both benefit from it. Tristan is much more trusting than I would have been I would have thrown that letter in the trash and curse spam mail forever but luckily Tristan is trusting.

Searching back through the past by scouring through items that have survived time Tristan is racing against the clock to prove that Imogen Soames-Andersson, a woman he has never heard of before is actually his great grandmother. Up until that moment Tristan has always assumed that Eleanor, who was Imogen's sister even though Tristan didn't know that his "supposed" great grandmother even had a sister, was his great grandmother but Tristan is about to find out that his family has their share of skeletons in the closet. So who is Tristan's real great grandfather? And what does this all have to do with him and a bunch of lawyers?

The novel is the telling of two stories decades apart but connected to each other through blood. Ashley Walsingham dies in 1924 attempting to climb Mt. Everest leaving behind a large fortune to a woman that he hasn't seen in years, Imogen Soames-Andersson, a fortune that Imogen will never claim. A connection is found that Imogen's sister Eleanor may not have given birth to her daughter Charlotte after all that Charlotte is actually the result of the union of Imogen and Ashley in the weeks before Ashley was to leave to fight in France in World War I. This letter written be Eleanor leaves little doubt that Tristan is Ashley and Imogen's great grandson and that this entitles him to the still unclaimed fortune. But like all good things this one comes with a deadline of two months because if Tristan cannot find more proof by then the 80th anniversary of his great grandfather's death will pass and the fortune will be distributed amongst various charities. This is where Tristan's quest really begins as he follows clues all over Europe searching for lost information that will be his definitive proof that Ashley and Imogen are his great grandparents but soon this search proves more important to him than a vast fortune.

As Tristan's tale unfolds so does Ashley and Imogen's story, they alternate chapters going forward to the present and back through time with each new chapter and each chapter is labeled with the place and date so I wasn't confused at all about where the story was, which can happen when you don't label the chapters for a story that goes back and forth throughout time like this one does. As Tristan visits certain places throughout Europe you get to enjoy the part of Imogen and Ashley's story that occurred in the same place Tristan is in. This I thought was one of the neatest parts of the book because it connected the past and the present with something tangible like a location and anyone who has visited an old battlefield or a town that long ago was ravaged by war you feel that pull from the history of the place that is hard to put into words to describe but that feeling is there none the less and you can imagine Tristan feeling that pull to find out the history of his family and the experiences that they had in these places he visits. Tristan follows every clue and in the end he finds what he was looking for the whole time and I will give you a clue that the pot at the end of the rainbow is not filled with gold!

The Steady Running of the Hour has a little bit of every genre in it, you will find romance, suspense, mystery, history, and lots more on the pages of this book. There were some parts that I felt dragged on to long which made certain parts of this book a little dull for me if not for these parts this book would have been a 5-star but because of them, I gave it 4 stars.

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy




I have read quite a few of Holly Black's books lately and this one did not disappoint. I was first drawn to the title and when I read this blurb on the back cover from Kirkus Reviews saying this about the book: "It's dark and dangerous, bloody and brilliant."

Yes this is another YA vampire novel but you will find this one a little different from those others because in this one the vampires, well at least most of them, live in what are known as Coldtowns.
Pretty intriguing I know.

So this page turner starts with Tana waking up in the bathtub of the place that she partied hard at the night before with all of her friends. But after she starts moving around Tana realizes there is something off and soon discovers that everyone there that night has been massacred by vampires! Completely freaked out Tana contemplates how to escape because the vampires could still be in the house and guess what she's not wrong. Tana soon finds herself locked in one of the rooms, with her ex-boyfriend (who other than here was the one other one to survive but he is infected so if he drinks human blood he will turn into a vampire) and a chained up vampire and there are other vampires outside the door trying to break it down. But luckily for Tana the room has windows and the threat of the sun will keep the vampires on the other side of the door, well that is until it sets, so Tana better come up with a plan and quick. Somehow Tana ends up saving their sorry butts and she escapes with her life, along with an infected and a vampire, oh and she thinks she may have been bitten in the escape so she may be infected to.

The nearest Coldtown seems to hold the answers to why all of this has happened and Tana is determined to know why. What will they find when they get there? If Tana is not infected how will she get out? And what does all this have to do with some ancient vampire feud? Well I guess you will have to read it to find out and it was an excellent read with great characters, a well thought out plot, and the story line didn't stagnant but kept moving at a decent pace which of course are the kind of stories that keep us entertained instead of bored. This would make an excellent movie which I would actually want to see on the big screen instead of waiting for it to come out on dvd like I do for most movies.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy


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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer House with Swimming PoolSummer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Contemporary




Dr. Marc Schlosser seems stuck in a rut. He sees patient as if in a self-inflicted fog where it is almost as if he is completely outside himself and what is going on in the examination room. Mid-life crisis? Maybe? Not Sure, but he prescribes and prescribes his patients to death, play on words there not literally to death.

Then one day in walks Ralph Meier, a famous actor, who he prescribes and prescribes to, and well Ralph ends up dead, but not from the pills even though they helped mask the symptoms of what was really wrong with him. No Ralph really ended up dead because Dr. Marc, which I can call him because he seems like the type of doctor who wants to be considered cool so you could call him by his first name but don't forget the title Dr. for that is what makes him even cooler, purposely doesn't send in a biopsy, a biopsy he shouldn't even have done in his office but instead a specialist should have done it in a hospital. So Dr. Marc was extremely negligent and his patient dies. Is that all you say? No, don't worry there is a reason he threw the biopsy that he shouldn't even have done away in the garbage like throwing away a banana peel.

Ralph is charismatic and Dr. Marc is swayed by his charms. Ralph invites Dr. Marc and his family, wife Caroline, and two teenaged daughters, Lisa and Julia, to a barbecue where it seems like they all hit it off and generally like each other but Caroline isn't fooled by the famous actors smooth ways and is actually disgusted by the way he looks her up and down and makes perverted jokes around her. But Dr. Marc is in to deep and cannot get past the fact that "Ralph Meier" is not only his patient but is becoming his friend. Ralph invites the whole Schlosser family to their summer house and guess what? It has a swimming pool! Bet you didn't guess, lol!

From there everything get a little weird and the tension in the air is so thick you could slice it with a butter knife. I won't go into much detail here but let you read it for yourself but I will let you know that a tragedy does ensue with one of his daughters, don't worry you won't need tissues she doesn't die but a violent incident does occur. Who could have done a thing like this? Was it Ralph?? Was it the American director staying at the summer house to? No one knows but Dr. Marc has his suspicions so he throws away Ralph's biopsy and this Dr. Marc knows will lead to Ralph's death. But a shocking death bed confession sends Dr. Marc reeling when he realizes he sent the wrong man to his death?

This novel makes you struggle with the "what if's?" in life. What if you thought someone had hurt your child and you held his/her life in your hands. What would you do? Would your sense of revenge and some sort of justice overtake your sense of right and wrong with your moral conscience screaming at you.

I did have some trouble reading this book there is a disconnected feeling I get when I read translated books. I had the same issue when I read Stieg Larsson's books, there just seems like there is a coldness from the author, like he is telling the story standing as far back from the content as possible. I don't know if that makes any sense to any of you but it is just something I felt so I thought I should definitely share that feeling with you in this review. However, that doesn't take away from the content of these translated works.

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Val McDermid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fiction/Retelling




I thoroughly enjoyed the re-telling of this Jane Austen classic. Most of you have already read the original so I will only be giving a little bit of detail about the story, so here goes.

Cat Morland has not experienced a lot of life. She is thus very excited when her neighbors, the Allens, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival with them in Edinburgh. There she meets the Thorpe family, who's matriarch, Martha, used to go to school with Susie Allen and quickly starts up a friendship with Martha's daughter Bella. Turns out the world is immensely small and the Thorpe family has already met Cat's older brother James, who is a mate of Bella's brother, Johnny. Bella who has a crush on James sinks her fangs into Cat in order to hopefully impress the brother.

Then there is the Tilney's, Henry and Eleanor, who of course live at Northanger Abbey. Cat falls for the older Henry, of course, and is so excited to accepted the invitation of the Tilney's to join them for a stay at their home, Northanger Abbey. Mysteries, scandals, and even some made up scandals ensue causing a lot of heartache for Cat, James, Eleanor, and Henry but things sometimes have a way of working themselves out and soon everything is right in the world of Austen/McDermid again.
Is Love Just Not Grand!

If you love YA you will even fall for this re-telling of Jane Austen's classic.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Murder by Misrule (Francis Bacon Mystery #1)Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction




A great historical fiction mystery. Cerebral prose with wonderful, likable characters. A must read for fans of both historical fiction and mystery!

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #1)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Romance




Picture a family, not perfect because that doesn't exist, they have their issues like all of us but they are generally a happy family.
Then picture it all being torn away in the blink of an eye.

Mia is a cello aficionado with her eye on the future which involves being accepted to Julliard. Her boyfriend Adam is in a band called the Shooting Stars, which is exactly what they are doing as they move up the food chain of the Oregon music scene. One looking at a future on the west coast the other on the east coast. They are trying to not discuss the inevitable future that they will face separate by so much space when the unthinkable happens, an accident that will change Mia's life forever.

Mia is in a coma, but her spirit is walking around observing everything, hearing everything. Her family is dead and everyone wants her to hang on to fight but Mia doesn't see anything worth fighting for with her family gone. There is Kim, her best friend, and of course there is Adam, her boy friend, along with her grandparents who are still there but they are not her Mom and Dad and they are not Teddy, her little brother. Not sure whether to give up or not the reader gets to really see the internal struggle that Mia faces to decide whether after such tragedy if life is worth living or not?

I read this book two years ago and I didn't really like it actually I would have probably given it 2 stars but after re-reading it sort of grew on me and I enjoyed it a lot more than I did.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Romance




Girl meets boy, and yes I meant it in this order and not the classic "boy meets girl". An awkward relationship ensues and typical YA heartbreak occurs, well at least in the YA books where the girl character doesn't die. I could totally see reading this in like 8th grade and maybe being interested, but I found the content to be to blah to interest me and I just didn't like it.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Monday, June 23, 2014

This is Where I Leave YouThis is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction




I was super excited to get my hands on this book because I saw the movie trailer and lets just say AWESOME! I am normally not one of those that read a book just because they are making a movie about it but this one has an all-star cast and for once I get to veer away from YA dystopian movie/book hybrids. So now that we are done with the why here is how it is.

Poor Judd Foxman his father has died he is living in a crappy basement apartment because his cheating wife is living in their house. Crap Right? Judd has enough reason to self-medicated but he doesn't. He doesn't go to therapy either. He probably doesn't have health insurance anymore because to add insult to an already bad injury Judd has quit his job because the person that his wife is cheating on him with is his boss. OUCH!

Judd goes home for his dad's funeral and a big surprise called sitting shiva , which means he is stuck for 7 days and nights with the rest of his family, their significant and insignificant others, plus everyone's kids because this was his father's dying wish.

There are the four kids Paul, who is married to Alice; then Wendy who is married to Barry and they have three kids Cole, Ryan, and Serena, then there is Phillip the baby of the family who's "engaged to be engaged" to Tracy and there is of course Judd who is separated from Jen. Linda a neighbor from down the street is constantly there helping and her son Horry works at the family's hardware store; Wendy and him used to date but he got in a fight that left him mentally disabled.

Talk about a soap opera but I hope that you will fall in love with all of them like I did. I could keep going but then this post would be obscenely long. But you get the gist family is not always easy but their your family you love them and would do anything for them no matter the cost and this book shows that even the most unconventional families can came through some pretty tough problems. It is life affirming. Judd literally rides off into the sunset at the end and gives hope to those that even though life sucks at the moment there are still endless possibilities that can make it all better! Life is complicated.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where Silence Gathers (Some Quiet Place, #2)Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton (Some Quiet Place #2)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy




Sometimes our emotions seem to take a life of their own but in Where Silence Gathers emotions really do seem to be ALIVE!!

Alexandra Tate's best friend is Revenge. No his parents didn't hate him. No they were not trying to be cool when they named him. Because Revenge is not actually a real person he is a personified emotion from another plane and he is not the only one all of the emotions are there Rage, Worry, Hope, Love, and on and on.

A little confused?
Don't worry so was I at first!
But I was already hooked
I just had to know what the hell was up with all of this.
I don't know if it would have helped if I had read Some Quiet Place before this or not since I haven't read it yet.
But if you get the chance you might want to read the first book, well first,
maybe it will lessen the confusion
but who knows, not me.

Okay where were we?
Oh yes, so Revenge and Alexandra are best buds, why you may ask?
Well a drunk driver killed her mother, father, and younger brother and she was the only one who survived the accident. Add a little survivors guilt in with all that grief and you got someone that not only feels a lot of emotions but revenge would be the utmost in my mind to so I can definitely see how Alexandra became best buds with Revenge. Revenge wants her to hurt the man, Nate Foster, that killed her family, revenge well wants revenge enough to manipulate and play tricks on Alexandra. Now I know this sounds really weird but if you just stop yourself from thinking of them as emotions and just picture them as real people it is so much easier to understand this book.

Nobody can hate forever. Then that emotion that we all hate, especially towards cheating asshole ex-boyfriends, sometimes comes trickling in and that would be Forgiveness.

But in Alexandra's case there is some weird love/hate relationship between both Forgiveness and Revenge and she doesn't know who to chose like literally there is so much sexual tension I am surprised none of them spontaneously combusts. Can you have a real relationship with your own emotion? Again sorry think people!
Okay so love and hate and a volcano of sexual tension.

Did I mention that she shouldn't be seeing the "Emotions". I figured that had already figured it out but just in case there it is and that is where our conflict comes from.
Mad scientist,
crazy killer stalker who works for mad scientist,
and lots of running through old mine tunnels and you got one of those stories though a little unorthodox still mildly entertaining.
I was still confused a little in the end but the puzzle was getting put together in my head enough that I think I get the general gist of the story but not enough to be philosophical about it!

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Doll BonesDoll Bones by Holly Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Children's Middle Grade Fantasy




Imaginative play tends to fade away the older we get and this is what has Poppy so worried about the changes she is seeing in her best friends Alice and Zach. These three friends have spent most of their young childhoods together playing a never ending but always evolving game that takes their imagination into that wonderful world of fantasy full of mermaids, pirates, thieves, and warriors. And of course the Great Queen, the ruler of this imaginative land, who is based off of the bone china doll that Poppy's mother keeps locked up in a cabinet. Afraid of the game stopping and of her friends growing up and leaving her behind Poppy decides to free the Great Queen from her mom's curio cabinet, punishment be damned, as an enticement to keep Zach and Alice in the game. But most things in life are not that easy and Poppy gets more than she bargains for when she releases the doll from its glass prison.

What if the Great Queen wasn't just any type of doll? What if the bones from a dead little girl were used to make the doll? Creepy right! Even creepier is that the ashes of that same little girl are hidden inside the doll! Goose pimples, do you have them? I know I do.

Eleanor Kerchner's ghost is not happy that what remains of her body is in the doll itself and not properly buried so that her soul may rest. And you don't have to be well read in the horror genre to know that an unhappy ghost is not really a good thing. So Poppy, Zach and Alice go on a quest to put the Great Queen in the ground so that Eleanor's soul may rest in peace. Along the way they meet some nice people and some really creepy people, that reminds you why we don't let kids go wandering off by themselves, but they finally reach their destination of East Liverpool, Ohio. Sounds easy right. Wrong! Buses are taken, then they flee the bus, then they camp out and then walk, then steal a dinghy/boat; well you get my drift it is not an easy quest like they thought it would be and this journey stretches and pulls at the band that ties their friendship together. After everything they finally arrive but have no idea how to go about finding Eleanor's empty gravesite so that they can bury her. They break into the library find some maps and make a plan but weird things that had been happening along the way only get worse when it seems that the Great Queen got up and walked off on her own! As they search Zach finds Eleanor's story amongst some of the collections in the library and realizes that Eleanor died a horrible death that drove her father crazy. After finding the Great Queen they are able to finish up their quest and they put Eleanor/the Great Queen to rest finally. But what about their friendship? Well I have never heard of an adventurer that only ever went on one quest!

I found this book creepy in a really creepy way, LOL!
A great adventure story for middle graders but not those that may scare easy, like I would not let my daughter Livy, who is a 5th grader, read it because she would be dreaming about dead people inhabiting dolls for weeks and she would want to put her AG Dolls up on Ebay! I know you get what I mean. There were some parts that just didn't flow very well but the heart of the story and the friendship it represents is a great lesson at this age when kids tend to generally grow apart from one another and then you also have the dread cliques start to rear their ugly heads, sigh.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Midnight in Europe (Night Soldiers, #13)Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst (Night Soldiers #13)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/Spy Thriller




Cristian Ferrar is a lawyer, a bachelor, a ladies man and now that Fascism and Socialism are threatening to spread their menacing reach across Europe he has added spy and arms buyer to the list.

Cristian was born in Spain but due to political turmoil his family emigrated to France. Wanting to help his home country of Spain in any way he can Cristian finds himself working for the embassy of the Spanish Republic in their fight against General Franco's Facist Army. A lot of international men traveled to Spain to fight for the Republic but Cristian's family commitments of being the only one supporting his father, mother, cousin, and grandmother left him conflicted so he chose his family and didn't join the fighting forces but his job for the embassy was just as important if not more important than joining in the fighting and he still was able to provide for his family. Working with, Max de Lyon, Cristian goes about the task of not only buying arms for the republic but also risking everything to try to get these much needed weapons to the men fighting for the republic. Max has been at the spy game for a long time and shows Cristian how the game is played but don't count Cristian as the Robin to Max's Batman no Cristian's resources and quick thinking get them all out of some sticky situations. The war for the republic of Spain is looking bleak as Franco gets back up from Hitler and Mussolini making Cristian's mission all the more important.

The game of espionage is a dangerous one and Cristian finds himself in quite a few situations where his very life is on the line. Racing across Europe to obtain and ship the armaments for the republic tests not only Cristian's resolve but his wits. I however did not find the thrill that should have been there in the more hairy situations Cristian found himself in because there was a lack of something, it just didn't pull me in.

Espionage is not the only thing on Cristian's mind. Love affairs with three different women from three different countries also keeps him pretty busy, maybe he is trying to compete with 007! One a teacher, another a author/librarian, another a spy, Cristian can sure pick them. The ending had to do with love and not war which is always nice but again there was something lacking, something missing, and I just was like blah which Teed Me Off because this is so my type of book. All in all it wasn't horrible but it wasn't that great either it just was. So unfortunately I was quite disappointed.

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Baudelaire's Revenge: A NovelBaudelaire's Revenge: A Novel by Bob Van Laerhoven
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction




I READ MOST OF THIS BOOK WITH MY EYES REALLY REALLY WIDE OPEN. I WAS WOWED BY THE DEPTH OF THIS BOOK, SO YES THAT IS YOUR WARNING, IF YOUR LOOKING FOR A BREEZE THROUGH READ THIS IS NOT THE BOOK FOR YOU IT WILL WORK THOSE LITTLE GREY CELLS IN THE BRAIN, SOME OF IT IS KEEPING UP WITH EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING ON WITH A PRETTY LARGE CAST OF CHARACTERS AND THEN THERE IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROSE THAT UNRAVELS A BIZARRE YET INTRIGUING TALE. I WILL NOT GIVE ANYTHING ELSE AWAY BUT IF YOU MISS ALL THE GREAT MYSTERY WRITERS LIKE CHRISTIE AND DOYLE WHO CHALLENGE YOU TO ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT YOUR READING THEN DEFINITELY PICK UP THIS BOOK!

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Amy

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Love & TreasureLove & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




I LOVED this book!! It had all my favorite things; mystery, romance, adventure, and World War II. It was a joy to read, it was well written and the story kept moving keeping my interest peaked consistently throughout the book. If you love historical fiction this one is a must read! 

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Short-LivedShort-Lived by Michael Pritsos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Novella




I loved how Michael took which seems like a bunch of short stories in the beginning each featuring the life of a different person but then you start to see other characters from the beginning chapters pop up in someone else's story later in the novella and then pretty soon everyone in the book is connected to each other in some way and you get what six degrees of separation means. The ending was a, WOW, I was like oh no. So see now you have to read it to make sense of my cryptic talk, lol!! If you are looking for a short read novellas are the way to go and you cannot go wrong with this one.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy 
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Monday, June 09, 2014

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




Absolutely wonderful! All the Light We Cannot See was a treasure to read, Doerr tells two separate tales wonderfully then blends them together in perfection. If you love historical fiction/literary fiction you will not be disappointed when you crack this one open! 

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Amy

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Sunday, June 08, 2014

Frog Music

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction




I know not all books can live up to the hype that is thrown upon them by advanced book reviews but I was quite disappointed in Emma Donoghue's Frog Music for I was hoping it was going to be as good as everyone said it was. But it wasn't! My eyes felt heavy and my brain numb as I tried to read through some of the nauseatingly long paragraphs so I started skimming the pages reading only what seemed important because the only thing that really kept me plugging away at it was because I wanted to find out who really did it. I normally love literary novels but this one was as limp as a dead frog.

Thanks for stopping in,
Amy

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Monday, June 02, 2014

Random Acts of KindnessRandom Acts of Kindness by Lisa Verge Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Chick-Lit/Contemporary




Random Acts of Kindness made me want to call all my friends and get together for a road trip. The bonds of great friendships, even over such a long time, do not fade and through life's ups and downs they remain a constant in your memories for those friends helped form who you are today and this book really drives that principle home that everyone we meet or befriend, or marry and so on effects who we are they all touch our lives in some way. And any random act of kindness whether towards a sick friend or a homeless man you give a cup of coffee to the ripple effect of RAK is far reaching and life changing. This book was an inspiring read and if you loved the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or any of the books by author Cathy Lamb you will love this book!

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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