Monday, November 20, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express


Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie

I always forget how much I enjoy Agatha Christie's writing until I read one of her books. I'm not sure why haven't read more of her works because I have really liked the ones I have read. This one was no exception.

This book is one of her Hercule Poirot novels. I know he is one of her more famous characters and that he appears in many of her stories but this was my first experience with him. He is a detective from Belgium and in this story he finds himself on a train where a murder occurs. The train becomes stuck in the snow so all the passengers, including the murderer are on the train with nowhere to go. Knowing he is a detective, the director of the train line asks him to help solve the crime before they arrive at their next destination.

I really enjoyed trying to solve the mystery, even though I didn't even come close to guessing the correct outcome. It seemed so obvious when he explains who done it but it definitely surprised me. I love a good mystery that keeps me guessing and this book did a great job of that.

There was a lot of talking and interviewing and not a lot of action but the story still managed to keep my interest. Many of the passengers and Poirot (because of his Belgium background) spoke french so there was quite a bit of french through out the book.  I took enough french in high school and college that it was pretty easy to follow so I barely noticed but it may be more bothersome for someone who is not familiar with french.

I thought all the characters were really interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing how they are portrayed in the film that just came out. There are a lot of really great actors in the film so it could be fun. Anyway, there were characters from all different walks of life and the way that their stories came together was really cool.

If you like mystery but haven't read one of Christie's books you should give it a try. I'm willing to bet that you are going to like her books too.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Wolf Hollow


Wolf Hollow
by Lauren Wolk

This book tells the story of a young girl named Annabelle, in a small Pennsylvania town during the World War II Era. A new girl moves into town and starts to bully Annabelle. Things escalate and the town's reclusive World War I veteran becomes a target of her bullying also. Annabelle must learn how to navigate this journey and have the courage to stand up for more then just herself.

This was such a heartbreaking but beautiful story. I really liked Annabelle and her family. Likable characters always make a story easier to read.  It was so easy to get caught up in this story. I cared what happened to Annabelle and the people she cared the most about.

I was so frustrated with the adults who didn't believe Annabelle but believed her bully. It was frustrating to see so many people make assumptions about someone because of the way they lived. Of course as the reader I knew what was really happening but the other characters weren't seeing what Annabelle saw. So even though I was frustrated, I also understood why they made the choices they did. This made it so believable and so easy to see how the events in this story played out the way they did. How everything spiraled out of control because of the false words of one little girl.

This  is a good book to read to help get a little more perspective about bullying. Sometimes it is so hard to see what is really going on. When one kid says one thing and another claims something else, who do you believe? It is so easy to believe that your child can do no harm and I can see why parents wouldn't believe their child could be responsible for bad things. We love our children and want to protect them but we need to remember that we don't always see everything, especially when they are away from our home.

I also think this book does a good job of showing how very difficult it was for World War I veterans when they returned home. PTSD wasn't really understood very well yet and no one seemed to understand the help these veterans needed. It was really heartbreaking to read about.

I'd recommend this book, even if it was a very sad story. I think we can all learn something new from it.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Exit West


Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid

This book follows the story of two young people who meet in a war torn city, fall in love and eventually decide to leave their homeland in search of someplace safer. This book had a lot of potential but it just fell apart about halfway through. I barely managed to finish it. I found the plot to be too slow and lacking any real heart.

I'm actually kind of surprised that there are so many 5 star reviews on Goodreads for this Book. It definitely did not live up to the hype.

 I don't like to compare books but it was hard not to compare this book to A Thousand Splendid Suns, which was so beautifully written and such an incredibly touching story. This book doesn't even come close to the writing or plot of that novel, so I was pretty disappointed through out. There were a few things that made this book so unsuccessful for me.

I thought the first half was pretty good. The characters were interesting, especially as they had to figure out how to navigate their romance in a city torn apart by war. Once they left their city though, the story really slowed down. I kept hoping for it to pick back up again but it never did and when it ended I was disappointed and a little bummed I spent so much time on their story.

Part of the problem is that the story is narrated from a third person point of view and because of that I felt like I was just on the outside looking in. I never got to really feel what these characters were feeling. I never felt a real connection to them. I am learning that I much prefer a story written in first person. I story that draws me in and makes me feel like I'm living their lives through their eyes.

I didn't find the characters to be very like able and the way they lived their lives very contradictory. For example Nadia portrayed herself as being very devout and religious by wearing black robes to cover herself but then smoked weed, did psychedelic mushrooms and tried to pressure Saeed into having sex with her. I get that she was wearing the robes so that others would leave her alone but it was such a stark contrast from her real personality, it just felt off.

The beginning definitely had a lot of potential and was interesting enough that I wanted to continue reading. I wanted to find out what became of these characters. Then it got weird. Magic doors started appear that allowed people to escape their country and enter a foreign new place. At that point the story kind of lost me. It just stopped being a very interesting story. I thought that the magic aspect was a strange addition to this type of tale. It didn't add anything. The magic also made the story feel less real. It become less believable and thus lost it's impact. I felt less for these characters because their story didn't seem like something that could actually happen. I felt some empathy for their plight, being refugees in a foreign, unwelcoming land, but I never felt a real connection.

And finally, probably the thing that threw me off the most, were the snippets about random places and people, that never felt like they had anything to do with the story. I kept waiting for them to have some kind of connection but if there was one it was lost on me. I didn't understand why these were even included in the story. Just really odd writing.

So while many people seem to love this book, I am not one of them. I've read much better, far more touching tales, of families and refugees navigating a world torn apart by war.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Eve: First Matriarch


Eve: First Matriarch
By Angelique Conger

This book was given to me by a friend. It is the first in a series of book written by an author here in Vegas. I was a little hesitant to read it because I've rarely read a fictional, religious based book that I have loved. This book was self published so that also made me a little unsure about reading it, but I didn't want to let those things stop me from reading something that might be good so I decided to give a try.

This follows the story of Eve, from her creation, to eating the fruit and being kicked out of the Garden, and their life outside the Garden. It really had potential to be a fascinated look at what their life might have been like as they navigated the world outside the protection of Eden for the first time. But I struggled to get through this book. The writing style just wasn't for me. It was all just too simple. There wasn't enough depth to the story or the characters. I never really felt any connection to Eve which made it difficult to really stay interested in what was going on. I didn't find  Eve and Adam to be very like-able characters, so when their children started leaving them I didn't feel that sad about it. Not really the reaction I think the author was going for.

Everything worked out a little too easily for them. For example horses appeared and they not only allowed themselves to be ridden with out any effort, but the characters immediately knew how to ride them. There was no learning involved. This kind of thing happened through out the book and to be honest really made the entire story unbelievable for me. They would come across some trial or problem and a couple paragraphs later they would miraculously solve the issue.

My other issue was that it was very preaching and repetitive. I feel like Eve kept rehashing her choice to eat the fruit in the garden, over and over again. I don't mind some religious sentiment through out a book but I dislike it when it feels overly done. Also there where parts of the book that felt like they were taken from other places that weren't meant to be put in a fictional setting. It's hard for me to explain but those parts made me uncomfortable. I just feel like some things should be kept more sacred.

The truth is that I never felt anything spiritual uplifting from this book and  If I'm being honest I prefer to get my spiritual fixes from the scriptures. Which I have come to realize, is why I don't often like religious stories fictionalized.

It's just a personal preference for me. I'm sure there are plenty other out there who might really like a story like this. A story that gives you a peek into the lives of the people found in the Bible. Brings them to life and makes them more accessible. If you enjoy Religious fiction I would give this book a try but if you are like me and don't often read them, you may not like it much.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Woman in Cabin 10


The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

I recently started up a book club with some friends and we read this book for October. In this mystery Lo, a journalist assigned to review a luxury cruise, sees the women in the cabin next to her being thrown overboard. The only problem is that none of the passengers are missing the next morning. She becomes determined to find the truth and figure out what is really going on.

This story had a lot of potential to be a really interesting read but it moved rather slowly, especially towards the end, when it should have been picking up speed instead.  The ending was anti-climatic and honestly left some questions that I'm not sure can be answered. I thought there were some really interesting characters onboard the cruise with Lo, but they ended up having very little time in the book and I feel like they could have added more depth to the plot.

I did find it enjoyable enough to finish it but I have definitely read better mysteries. Most of the other ladies in my group did not finish. For me it did catch me attention enough to keep me reading. I  really wanted to find out what had really happened. I even like some of the plot twist through out. They were surprising enough to keep me on my toes. I just wish the story had a little more to it, so it wasn't such a slow read.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Words of Radiance


Words of Radiance
By Brandon Sanderson

This is the second book in The Stormlight Archive series. It was 1300 pages and I loved everything about it. If you have been following me at all you have probably figured out that I am a huge fan of anything written by Brandon Sanderson. He really is a Master storyteller. He creates these amazingly complex worlds and characters who live in them. If I am ever struggling to find something enjoyable to read, I know I can count on him to bring me a story that I can't put down.

I loved reading more about the characters from the first book and delving deeper into their stories. I especially liked learning more about Shallan's past. I love the concept in these books of the Spren who work with humans.

The magic in these books is so fascinating and I like how he continues to gives us a deeper look into this fantasy world as the story progresses.

Oh, and I really love Wit's sense of humor in these books. I always find myself chuckling when he is on the scene. I hope that in the future we get to know a little more about who or what he is!

This was a great continuation of the story and I can't wait until the next book comes out in November. I look forward to reading more about their world and their stories!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Room with a View


A Room With a View
by E.M. Foster

I really wanted to like this book but I just couldn't get into it. You'll notice it's been a few week since I posted much on this blog. Partly because I started a book club and the book we are reading this month, I have already read. And partly because this book took me almost 2 weeks to get through. It is less then 200 pages so that really shows you just how slowly this story moved for me. In fact by the end I was just skimming to find out how it turned out.

My biggest problem with this book was the writing style. It was just so hard to follow what was going on. Of course this book was written in 1908 so the language is different then what I'm used to and made it more difficult to follow. It did help that the back of the book had  some explanatory notes to help explain some of the references through out the book. References to places and people that were common knowledge back then, but that most of us have not heard of in our day and age. That being said, I have never had an issue reading Jane Austin which was written in a similar time period. For me the writing was just a little too dull for my taste.

I  didn't feel any connection to the characters and it was hard to follow why certain people were looked down on. There really wasn't any context.  Plus the big event, had no build up or any foreshadowing up to that point. No looks of longing or hints that there might be some kind of attraction. It just seemed kind of random with out any signs that something was up.

The second half was a little better but I still never really felt a connection to any of the characters. And by that point I just wanted to be done with the story.

I read plenty of reviews were people loved this book and what he was trying say about society, but I'm not one of those people. I've read better classics.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ludacris Llama Llama Red Pajama Freestyle





This is the best thing I've seen on the internet this week. I love the Llama Llama books. The rhymes are fun to read and perfect for this style.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Way of Kings


The Way of Kings
by Brandon Sanderson

This is the first book in Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive series. It is over 1000 pages which made it a bit overwhelming to start but I am so glad I did. Sanderson continues to amaze me with his ability to write such unique and captivating stories. I'm not sure I can put into words exactly why this book is so good but I will give it a try.

 This book is everything an epic fantasy should be. A extraordinary world,  an unique magic system, and fascinating characters, who unbeknownst to them, have a very important roles in the destiny of their world.

What makes it even better is that is not filled with pages of endless description. You know what I'n referring to if you have ever read Lord of the Rings. Don't get me wrong. I love LOTR but I did skim through quite a bit of the lengthier descriptive parts. His style of writing really keeps you engaged as a reader and moves the story along at a pace the makes reading 1001 pages enjoyable.

Sanderson has created a world unlike any I have read before, filled with unique cultures and beliefs. A place were only women can read but yet are somehow still not treated as equals. A place wear the color of your eyes determines how you will be treated. I found myself wanting to know more about their world. The belief system is so different from anything I have read which made the book all that much more interesting. I could have seriously read an entire book just about the different cultures and religions of this world. I didn't even need a story because I found it all just so intriguing.

But it's not just about their culture, the characters have so much depth. This makes for a really compelling story. One that draws you in and makes you care about them and their future. This book actually follows several different characters which at first made it a little more difficult to get in to. In the beginning it jumped around to so many different characters and times and places. It was a lot to take in. But then he starts to focus on just a couple characters and I quickly became enthralled by their lives.

My favorite Character was Kaladin. I felt like I could really relate to him and his situation. I liked how we slowly got a peak into his life with flash backs to the years before he ended up as a bridge man. I almost feel like this book could have just focused on him and been slightly shorter, but the truth is the other characters and events were important for the plot too. The story couldn't have unfolded the way it did with out their role in the book.

There are still things I don't really understand and questions that still need to be answered, which I'm sure will happen as the story unfolds in the next 4 books. I read somewhere that there are supposed to be 10 books total in this series. He is writing one about every 3-4 years and the third book comes out in November. At that rate I'm going to be in my 60's before he finishes them all. For some reason that really bums me out. Probably because I know just how good they are going to be and I really want to read more about this world. I loved it!

If you are looking into trying out an epic fantasy this would be a great one to start with. Now I just have to figure out how to get my hands on book two!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Shadow Throne


The Shadow Throne
By Jennifer A. Nielsen

This is the third book in the Ascendancy Trilogy and I thought it was a great conclusion to this series.
In this book Jaron's country is at war and he must find a way to end the war and save his country.

I really like how it all turned out. There were plenty of twist and turns to keep it interesting. One thing I have really enjoyed about this series is that Jaron always seemed to have something up his sleeve. Even when things looked the bleakest, it was all part of his plan. I will admit that this book felt a bit more predictable to me but I think that was because I have gotten so used to the characters. I've learned how they think so it was easier to guess what they would do next. In that way it was less surprising when things happened but I still thought it was a fun read.

I'd recommend this series to anybody. This would be a great series for the middle school crowd. Plenty of action, intrigue and a tiny bit of romance.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wonderstruck


Wonderstruck
By Brian Selznick

This 600 plus page book only took me about 3 hours to read. It helped that 2/3 of the book was filled with pictures.  I really loved how this story was told. The pictures really did tell a story all their own.

I original picked up this book because I saw a preview for the movie and was so intrigued that I immediately wanted to read the book. It follows the story of two kids, Ben and Rose, whose stories take place 50 years apart. Ben in the 1970s and Rose in the 1920s. Ben who has lost his mother and longs to meet his father who he has never met. Rose who is kept isolated because of her deafness  and is drawn to a famous actress from the silent films of the 1920s. They both run away to New York in search of answers. Ben's story is told through words and Rose's is told through the pictures. It was the perfect combination. I love how their stories are connected even though they grew up 50 years apart. Plus it was so interesting to get a glimpse into deaf culture. I am really excited to see how they turn this into a film.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Thousand Splendid Suns


A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

This is one of those books that I think everyone should read. It was heartbreaking but I feel like it gives you a glimpse into the lives of the people who live in war torn countries like Afghanistan.

The book follows the lives of two women over the course of about thirty years who live in Kabul, Afghanistan. It shows what it would have been like to live through a time where their country was constantly being fought over for control.

 Starting with the communist coup, to the Soviets, to all the different Warlords fight for power and on to the Taliban. There are so many different groups of people living in the area it seems as though they have always struggled to get along and live in peace. It was hard to read about the terrible things they went through.

The Taliban was by far the worse and it was so upsetting to see the way that women were treated. What was so sad that about that whole situation was just how happy the people were when the Taliban arrived and stopped the Warlord's endless war. Little did they know just how awful their lives would become after they took control. Women couldn't even get proper medical care because the majority of the Hospitals were for men only. The only Women's Hospital had no electricity, water or drugs.

Even though this story was very depressing I did feel like there was hope at the end. After the events of September 11th, The United States came in and drove out the Taliban. Women were able to have some freedoms again and it felt like things were changing for the better.  I can only hope that this has stayed true all these years later. It just breaks my heart that they have had to struggle to survive for so many years.

Even though this is a fictional story,  I thought it was a great lesson in history. I like historical fiction so much because it takes something in the past and brings it to life. Really makes you feel what life would have been like for someone living through that era or event. This book does that an more. It is so well written. I am glad that I took time to read this story.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Troublemaker


Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
by Leah Remini

I don't read much non-fiction, but I saw a couple episodes of her show on the same subject and was fascinated. I decided to pick up the book and read more about her experiences with Scientology. This may have not been the most well written book I have ever read but boy was it fascinating. I only took me about a day to read it because I couldn't put it down. There are a lot of things she brings up in this book about Scientology that I found very sad. I was both surprised and unsurprised that she stuck with the religion for so long. Surprised because even at a young age she was treated terribly by them but Unsurprised because of how much they control their followers. I still don't completely understand everything she was talking about because it was just really strange. Maybe she could have explained the auditing process a little more in depth. Towards the end of the book she kept saying that they kept her for hours reading policies but it didn't really understand what that meant or what the purpose was. It was a little confusing for me. But I can also  understand not wanting to get into the details of religion that for years you were told only certain people were allowed to have all the knowledge; those who went through all the steps and classes to move higher up the bridge. That would be a hard transition. I really liked how honest she was about her life. She admitted her character flaws and embraced who she was with out hesitation. I found this very refreshing. This was definitely an easy Non-fiction book to read, probably because the subject was so interesting to me. I would recommend it, if you are at all curious about what she went through.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Big Little Lies


Big Little Lies
By Liane Moriarty

A look into the seemingly perfect lives of a group of Kindergarten moms and what lead to the events of Trivia Night, which ended in murder. This book is written from the perspective of three different moms, each very different from each other but connected by experience. Each with a child starting Kindergarten. One very beautiful and rich, one remarried experienced school mom, and one very young single mom.

There is plenty of drama through out this book to keep the reader engaged. Honestly I could not put this book down. I was completely drawn into the story and eager to find out what happened on Trivia Night. I like how there were little snips of interview about the events of that night at the end of each chapter from various other kindergarten moms and dads. I found it entertaining and kept me wanting to know more. Most of the story actually covers the months and events leading up to that night and you learn that everything isn't always what it seems. My one minor complaint was that it seemed to take forever to get to the big event. There was so much build up and I just wanted it to get to Trivia night quicker. This was quite a long book at 458 pages.

There were a couple really great things this book helped to illustrate. One it showed how easy it is to be caught up in rumor and hearsay. To take sides with out having all the facts. This book did a great job of showing how clicks can form and how it can negatively effect everyone. After reading this I sure hope that I never let myself get caught up in school drama. The thing is I can see how easy something like this can happen because we just want to protect our kids and we would do anything to help them if we thought they were the victim of bullying.

Two, and probable the most important, was the portrayal of domestic violence. How easy it is to hide and how easy it is to miss the signs if you are on the outside looking in. In the age of Facebook it is so easy to put on the happy face of a perfect family. To create the image of a perfect life. I think this book shows that you never know what is going on in some ones personal life. It is so easy to judge or to compare and we really shouldn't.

I really liked this book and would recommend it! I just learned that HBO made a TV series based on this book and now I'm curious to find out more. Anyone watch the show? Is it worth checking out?



Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Nightingale


The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah

This is a World War II novel set in German  occupied France. It follows the lives of two sisters and the decisions they were forced to make during a time that the Nazis had taken over every aspect of their country. They are very different from each other and their paths seemed very different but I think that by the end they learned that they were not as different as they thought.

To be honest I was a little hesitant about reading another WWII book. The last few I have read have not been that great. I kept seeing this book being recommended though, so I decided to give it a chance. I sure am glad I did. I thought this was a really touching story and I feel like I learned a lot about the German occupation of France. I can't even imagine living through an experience like that, let alone risking your life to fight against them.

The best thing about this book for me was the ending. Did everything end happily ever after? No, it was about WWII after all. There was definitely some ugly crying involved, but it showed that there were good people who made a real difference. Even if it was a small difference, it was important. There is a lot to be said about our ability to help those around us even in it feels like we aren't making much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Runaway King


The Runaway King
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

This is the second book in this series and I enjoyed this one just as much as the first one.  This series is definitely written for a younger crowd. It would be great for the middle school group. But that didn't stop me from enjoying it. Any book that is well written and keeps me entertained is worth my time to read and this one was definitely a fun one. The characters are great and the story was engaging. I like that main character, Jaron, kept me guessing the entire time about what his next move would be. There always seemed to be some end game he was working for even when things didn't seem to be going his way. I liked finding out just how it would all work out. This is a great fantasy book and series that I would highly recommend.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Monster Calls- The movie



I finally got a chance to see the film version of A Monster Calls a few weeks ago and I loved it.

This was such a hauntingly beautifully book and I am so glad that they were able to keep the same feeling in the movie. I think they did an amazing job bring this story to life. They even included the  illustrations that added so much depth to the book. Liam Neeson was the perfect voice for the monster. The stories told by the monster were beautifully animated. It really was perfect. I cried just as much as I did in the book. I would highly recommend it.

You can read my review of the book here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tiger Lily


Tiger Lily
by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I thought that this was such a beautiful retelling of the Peter Pan story but with the main focus as Tiger Lily. This story is told through the eyes of Tinker Bell and I really liked reading from the perspective. I thought that it made the story even more interesting.

I was immediately drawn into the world of Neverland that Tiger Lily lived in. Her story was fascinating and I loved that she was a strong character but that she also had weakness. She was independent and capable. She did what she wanted, even if it wasn't what was expect of a girl. But at the same time, she was so caught up in what was happening to her that she didn't realize what was happening to the people she loved.

 It did get kind of slow in the middle and it didn't really seem like much was happening. It took awhile to really get back to the meat of the story.  There was some very interesting commentary on Christianity trying to convert indigenous people and the problems that can cause. It definitely did not put them in very good light and even I found myself frustrated with him trying to change and convert everyone to his view of the world. Which I'm sure was the point the author was trying to make.

I did really love the ending. I thought it was a beautiful message about love and loss. About the ability to heal and move on. To love more then one person and to recognize that it is ok to love again. Especially when you love someone who is dearer to you then life and then lose them. It was the perfect ending to the story.

*Also if you are interesting in checking the book out the picture above gives you a direct link to Amazon. The same goes for all the other post on this blog. Most pictures of the books are linked to Amazon, where you can read more reviews or even buy them.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Geekerella


Geekerella
By Ashley Poston

This ended up being a really cute story. It was a fun take on the Cinderella story. It is full of fun geeky references. This is a modern telling, with food trucks, movie stars and Sci fi fans. I think this story does a great job of showing that it's ok to be yourself. That liking things that are considered geeky doesn't make you weird and that there are others out there who like the same things. You are not alone.

It did take me a little bit to really get drawn into the story but once I did I couldn't put it down. It jumps between the two main Characters, Elle and Darien. My one complaint at the beginning was that their voice in the book sounded too familiar, like reading the same character just one being a boy instead of a girl. After the first few chapters though I stopped feeling that way and they became very distinct personalities. I'm sure it is just her style of writing. I just had to get to know the characters first.

I loved the ending and how it all wrapped up. It was such a cute modern fairy tale. I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for something fun to read.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The False Prince


The False Prince
By Jennifer A. Nielsen

This was such a fun book to read. This is a fantasy novel filled with intrigue, hidden secrets and plenty of action. In the book several orphans are  taken by a noblemen, who has plans to use them take the throne, by having one of them impersonate the long lost son of the king. The story moved quickly and easily kept my interest through out the entire book. I thought that the characters were interesting. I especially liked the main character Sage, who was mischievous and stubborn but also kind and thoughtful. He was a character I could really get behind.

The story was somewhat predictable for me but I was happy with it any way. If it hadn't gone the way I wanted it to, I actually might have been a little disappointed. This is a case of knowing what is going to happen but in a good way. This book is geared towards 10-14 year olds but I still really enjoyed it. I think this would be a great book for a kid who needs something to really grab their interest in reading. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Chemist


The Chemist
By Stephenie Meyer

This book is written by the same person who wrote the Twilight series and The Host. I really enjoyed those book so I was looking forward to this book. She dedicates this book to Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross so that should give you a pretty good idea about the subject matter of this book. Now I'm not always a fan of spy thrillers but I really enjoyed this one and I definitely liked it way better then the Jason Bourne book I read.

This book follows Alex, an ex-goverment specialist, who is on the run from the very people who trained and employed her. She will do what ever it takes to survive and bring the people down who want her dead.  She ends up kidnapping someone and in the process ends up learning that the conspiracy is much bigger then she ever knew. (Sound familiar yet?) I would say that the premises is a lot like Jason Bourne, except she has her memories.

I thought that the characters were really interesting and that the story moved at a good paced, especially compared to some others I've read. There was a lot of character development that need to happen to make the rest of the story work and that did take some time. But it didn't feel like it dragged on so I thought that part of the book was well done. The ending was especially exciting and tense, all the things you look for in a good thriller.

 I know that a lot of reviews didn't like how quickly the romance side played out but I found it so much more believable then the romance in Jason Bourne. (you can read my review of that book here.) I could actually believe that he fell for her so quickly because the book made it clear that there was an attracting from the very beginning.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Elantris


Elantris
By Brandon Sanderson

This should come as no surprise to you if you are familiar with me or Sanderson's writing, this book was amazing! I think the introduction at the beginning of this book explains his success as a writer best when  he said that Sanderson owes his success to the small human stories inside his epics. They are what make his books so great. He makes you care so much about his characters that you just have to read more. This book kept me up late finishing it because I just had to know how it ended. I haven't done that it years. My kids' 6 am wake up call came very early that morning.

This was an action filled story that I did not wan to put down. It was definitely worth losing a little sleep over. Princess Sarene has arrived in Kae, only to learn that the man she is supposed to marry is dead. But the truth is that he isn't really dead, he has just become an Elantrian, dead in a way but still alive. There are forces at work trying to take control of the City and they may be the only ones who can save them all.

The magic in this book is so different from anything else he as written and I found it captivating. I am amazed at his ability to create so many unique stories. None of them are the same. Well they are the same in that he creates characters that you grow to love and care about. I loved the characters in this book. Princess Sarene is strong, witty and determined. All characteristics I love seeing in a female heroine. Prince Raoden is kind, wise and intelligent. He was everything I would want a Prince to be and the perfect match to Sarene. I could go on and on. There are so many great characters in this book. It is what makes the story so great.

I am kind of bummed that this is the only book, so far, with these characters. I guess I can keep my fingers crossed that he will eventually bring these characters back so that I can learn more about Elantris and the magic that it holds.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Farewell to the East End


Call The Midwife: Farewell to the East End
by Jennifer Worth

This is the 3rd and final book in the series. It was filled with familiar stories from the TV show. Or I should say that the TV show used many of these stories. I really enjoyed this book. Her stories are engaging and fascinating. Book 3 was much more like the first book, filled with stories about the midwives' experience delivering babies in the East End of London. This made it a bit more interesting then the second book for me. The stories were all rather sad though. It was hard to imagine that people really lived that way.  I just feel so bad for the women who lived during that time. It really is amazing what proper training and medical advances can do for people.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Shadows of the Workhouse


Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse
by Jennifer Worth

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I love the show and the first book was so good. I was excited to read more about her experiences as a Midwife in East End London, a poor area of the city.

This book covered several of the episodes from the TV Series, or I should say the TV series followed the stories found in this book. I really liked reading the stories, even though I had already watched the show and knew how they would turn out. They definitely stayed true to her book in the TV series.

Book two is somewhat different from the first book because it has far fewer stories in it. It really only follows three stories, which are divided into several chapters. This made for a slower paced book but I still found the stories fascinating and was quickly drawn into to the lives that the stories followed. But I did wish there were more stories about the midwives. None of the stories in this book really had anything to do with the Midwives, other then they told the stories of some of the people who they interacted with more often. That was one thing I really liked about the first book, were all the tales of what it was like to be a midwife in that era. I definitely enjoyed the first book more because of this.

The stories that were told though out were really eye opening. The one about the three who grew up in a workhouse was heart breaking. What horrible places those workhouses were! It kind of bothered me that she kept almost justifying how they came into existence. That back then they really didn't understand how terrible they were being towards the poor. It was really the first form of welfare attempted. But how could they not see the terrible conditions and hopelessness these workhouses created. I mean how can you write an entire book about the horrors of the workhouse but then say they didn't know any better. It was just so horrible! She did do a great job of explaining how they came to be and why the poor were treated that way. It is easy to see how a good idea to help the poor turned out so bad. There were people who tried to improve the situation but it was still just all so hopeless and depressing. It's just hard for me to accept any kind of justification.

I still think this was a good, worthwhile read. The history really is fascinating, even if it is a little depressing. It is good to remember the things that happened in the past so that we do better in the future.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Still Alice


Still Alice
by Lisa Genova

This was such a fantastic book. I could not put it down. It is so well written and does an amazing job of giving you a glimpse into the world of someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.  This story is about a 50 year old women, a brilliant college professor, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease and follows her through the progression of the disease. I found it to be both heart breaking and eye opening. I think that the saddest part for me was how people acted differently around her when they found out and just how isolated she felt. It would be so hard to watch a family member lose their ability to remember but it would also be so difficult to know that you were going to eventually forget the people close to you. I think that this book can really help those who haven't experienced this disease better understand, not only what their families go through, but what those who have the disease are feeling. I really love books like this that can help people sympathize and hopefully react better to mental illness. The more we understand, the better we can help.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Cosmere Collection



I finally finished the last three short stories in Brandon Sanderson's Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. They all took place in different systems, on different worlds and all had different forms of magic involved. I am always so impressed by Brandon Sanderson's imagination. He comes up with so many unique and interesting concepts dealing with magic.



White Sand

This story takes place in a world where certain people have the ability to move sand. It contains and excerpt from his Graphic novel of the same name and a short story that goes along with it. I thought the story itself was really fascinating and fun to read. I wish this was a regular novel because I honestly preferred the story to the graphic novel. Don't get me wrong, the graphic novel was cool but I love his writing so much. His descriptions really make a story come to life, even more then pictures can do, at least for me. I would love to read more from this world.



Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

On this world there are Ghost everywhere that are attracted to blood and violence. They will kill anyone with a wound, the person who attacked the person and all those around them. This story was a little too violent for me and I didn't enjoy it as much as his other stories. It is quite an interesting concept but I guess it wasn't really my cup of tea.



Sixth of the Dusk

This was by far the strangest world Sanderson has created. Islands filled with deadly creatures and plants. Predators who hunt by sensing other's minds. Birds that have special abilities then can bestow on humans. I liked how he explores the idea of technological advancement, human exploration and the environment. I ended up really liking where this story went even though it was kind of a bizarre world for me. I think this story really makes you think and that is definitely a good thing.