Monday, February 28, 2011

The Source of all Things by Tracy Ross

I received this book as an advance reading copy from Free Press and let me state that it is definitely five stars.

Tracy was molested but never penetrated by her stepfather from the time she was eight until she was fifteenish. The memoir takes you through her trials an tribulations. Tracy talks about how she was not given the proper tools and how to this day she doesn't trust her "daddy" around her sons. She gets up the nerve to try and confront her stepfather on a hiking trip for just the two of them only to find out that she was molested more than she knew because her "daddy" drugged her with sleeping.

The story is not just a memoir but also sad tale of what really happens in many child welfare agencies. 

5 stars

Alexandra Sokoloff

Alexandra Sokoloff

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

I've never really cared for the Alice in Wonderland story. Still, there was something about hearing a imaginary account of real Alice's life that caught my imagination and I wanted to hear her tale, not Lewis Carroll's version. Since I didn't know a thing about Alice Liddell or much about Lewis Carroll's so everything was fresh to me. Yes, there is conjecture and events have been distorted to fit into the story, but there is a lot of truth in there too.

Broken up into three sections, the first deals with young Alice and her relationship with Mr. Dodgson and her older sister, Ina, who's her competition. At times this part is very rough, which it should be since it deals with a pedophiliac liaison. My attention was fully captured.Sections two and three were less distressing, but they also had less detail and jumped around more.

I had to remind myself several times that this is fiction and not a biography, because at times it felt completely real. The book is well-written some parts excelled. I don't believe it's the fault of the author, at least not entirely, but more than likely due to how the book affected me. The author does clarify events she exaggerated, tweaked or didn't change at all, and how she incorporated them into the book, which I appreciate. Overall, I can say that I loved this book.

4 Stars

Walter the Farting Dog by Walter Kotzwinkle

Let's get this out of the way this entire book is about farting. It is about as graphic as you can get about farting. There is not a single page that doesn't mention farting. I even like to type the word farting.

But it is also a very cute story about two children who rescue a dog from the pound and how their kindness is repaid.

I read this in about 10 minutes last night at work and loved it !!

4 Stars

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr

Author Robyn Carr has brought bright characters to her well-liked Virgin River series. In Wild Man Creek, Colin, comes to northern California for some rest and recover from a horrible accident. Colin is lucky to be breathing after a horrifying helicopter crash; the former Army pilot is now at loose ends. During the painful months of rehabilitation, Colin became addicted to narcotics and now had to fight his dependence as well. Unable to continue his life as an Army pilot, Colin's outlook is undecided. Moving to Virgin River where he hopes to restart his wildlife painting is supposed to help him come to terms on what has happened and help him make decisions so that he can move on.
Jillian Matlock has relaxation in mind when she comes to Virgin River. She has been through the worst professional duplicity and has decided that she needs time off to recuperate. She had passed throughout the area on a trip once before and she has warmhearted recollections of the peaceful setting and its gracious population.
I won’t give up any spoilers but let’s just say that the citizens of Virgin River will have a ball watching and participating in Colin and Jillian’s antics.
Wild Man Creek is a great addition to the series. I love Riordan brothers. This book is what I consider mind candy because it comes across so sweet and easy to read.
4 Stars

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekends at Bellevue by Julie Holland MD

Julie Holland works in the psych ward at Bellevue for nine years before going into private pratice. Throughout the years she has fought the system, well, it seems she fought anyone who she saw as below her but rose above her professionally. Julie learned about loge and loss but tends to distance herself from anything she deems to be to hard emotionally. Shecomes off as being all about me at times and actually seems to dislike anytime her friend,Lucy, who succombed to cancer, is mentioned.
I enjoyed reading aboutthe different patients but even then she comes off as uncaring at times. I was excited about this book but after reading it I hope I never have to go to q psychiatrist who needs a psychiatrist.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Killer on a Hot Tin Roof by Livia Washburne

Delilah Dickinson is a single woman who owns her own travel agency in Atlanta, Georgia that specializes in tours focusing on popular Southern literary writers. Her tours, featuring attractions and events from Mark Twain’s and Margaret Mitchell’s classics have been spoiled by shocking occurrences of assassinations and chaos. Delilah has become a novice investigator, though she doesn’t realize or acknowledge it, and she has the aptitude for solving these crimes. She does realize that too much infamy could destroy the small travel agency she runs with her family.
Delilah contracts to lead a group of professors to New Orleans to attend the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, she thinks the tour will be relaxing, reasoning that professors were unlikely to be too much trouble also, her friend and possible love interest, Dr. Will Burke, would come along. But Delilah’s soon realizes that the professors are not too easily handled. They drink and get drunk, they have affairs, they guard family secrets that would ruin them if they were exposed; and more than a couple of them appear to hate each other.
When a key figure turns up dead, and Delilah is the one to have found the body, she has to work diligently to prove her innocence to the police and to find the killer before she herself turns into his victim.
I won’t give away the ending but I will say this was a fun read!

4 Stars

Sex and The Single Ghost by Tawny Taylor

Claire has been a ghost for nine years after dying in what she thought was a botched robbery. Once every nine years a “Spirit-American”, a term that I love by the way, can go back to earth and reanimate in order to do things that ghosts apparently can’t such as eat and have sex. Claire has one big regret in her life and that is that she did not ever make a move on the one guy she wanted. Once reanimated she can reconnect with her cherished Jake and they can share nine days and nights of bliss before she must go back to what she considers purgotary. What she didn’t realize though was that Jake is also a “Spirit-American and he also regrets not telling her how he felt nine years ago.
When Claire, gives him an opportunity to make love he jumps at it and holds on with both hand and some fuzzy pink handcuffs. However, he has his own plans to keep Claire with him even when the nine days are over.
The story line contains a terrific early twist that ironically readers know, but the protagonists do not. Though the tale is erotic with light bondage, fans of heated supernatural romances will enjoy this torrid paranormal second chance at love tale. The only problem I found with the book is I wish there hade been more of the investigation into her death and the surrounding circumstances.
4 Stars

The Other Life by Ellen Meister

This book looks at the issue of the road not taken. If we are honest with ourselves we can all admit that there comes in a time in our lives when we wonder what would have happened if we had chosen the other path when we came to a fork. A lot of times, we push the thought away, convincing ourselves that we have made the best decision and that we are satisfied as with our lives.

What if you could experience that other life, the life on the other path, the one that you did not take?

During an extremely unstable and overwhelming time of her life, Quinn is able to take the road not taken or the other path, while retaining the knowledge of her present life.

The dilemma for Quinn is not in the knowledge that this alternate reality exists but instead the quandary is about what she is willing to give up and for whom. In the end, her decision is on believing in the prospects that the future could hold.

The book is a beautifully written story that brings forth a lot of thoughtful what if wishing.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Lake Wobegone Days by Garrison Keillor

I had heard about this author for years, but never had the urge to read it. I picked it up on a whim when Better World Books was having a sale and I needed one more book for round out a nice ten books. This book, Lake Wobegone, is funny, even though his political opinions are a little on the heavy side for me.

I genuinely liked the book, but I was disappointed that it was not funnier. I did laugh a little; but it came across as very somber.

Keillor should have toned down the extended annotation on the "95 Theses 95" as it was extremely pessimistic and hard to believe as humorous for the most part and as an annotation that went on for pages, it definitely interrupted the flow of the text. I wish he had not used annotations at all but instead included them in the text, especially given the way the story jumped around.

Maybe I should have not started with this one. I think I will try a few others and see how they go.
3 Stars

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No! I Don't Want to Join A Book Club by Virginia Ironside

This book started out really great but by the end I was bored. The main character Marie is eccentric but yet amusing. She is in love with her friend, Archie, from her teenage years, who is now a widower, and only realizes it around halfway through her sixtieth year.
She muses about him and flirts with him and it is charming. Her friend, Penny, is dating a much younger man she met on an internet dating site and it gets to the point of her having sex with him and then the dreaded no call back and she falls into a anxious state that is uncomfortable to read. Marie also discovers that she is strangely attracted to her gay friend’s partner both of whom she has known for ever and she counts as family and when he voices his attraction to her she starts to visualize a future with him.
It really starts out as a very good read, but once her grandson is born, she turns into this crazily fraught person who she insists throughout the story she is happy to be. Marie starts to have these ghastly thoughts about her grandson getting sick and even dying and it gets so bad that she starts to become this miserable obsessed grandmother. I found myself wanting to smack her or at the very least put the book down.
Marie’s manic moments near the end drove me nuts but overall the book was ok. The beginning was much better than the end.
2 Stars

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa

I like dark stories and Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa was certainly dark. The story revolves around Hailey, a sixteen year old confused young woman. Her life revolves around her dysfunctional family, her mother who has taken to bed and found religion after having a miscarriage, her father who was laid off and spendshis days hustling pool, cheating on his wife and drinking and her brother who is a gang banger. Despite this Hailey trys to remain a good person. Hailey also has a possible mental condition that as she describes as feeling like roaches running around my head. I won't say anything else except that you need to pay attention to the little details because in the end they matter. For a debut novel it is not bad and I would not hesitate to pick up his next one.
3 Stars

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah is the story of an unwanted daughter. I had read about this book on a website (I think Oprah but I don’t remember) I became enthralled, so when I finally bought and opened the book I was relieved to find that it is a memorable and even enjoyable story.

When Yen Jun-ling is born her mother dies, and that is the misfortune of her entire existence. Her father remarries and proceeds to ignore her and her siblings causing her siblings to blame Jun-ling for being the cause of their father’s abandonment.
Chinese Cinderella is an autobiography. It is a story written by a mature woman about her own upbringing and is set against a backdrop of living in Japanese-occupied China and the war between the communists and nationalists which followed Japan's defeat at the end of the World War Two. There are some captivating insights of the old mode of life such as the binding of Grandmother Nai Nai's feet which had been the practice in China for over a thousand years. But this is largely an account of the unyielding abandonment and antipathy which was piled on Yen Jun-ling during her agonizing childhood, and the way she chose to deal with it. Her description is delivered with the insight of a mature woman.
This book is exceptionally unforgettable. It is an astonishing account of abuse and malevolence which will stay with you after you finish the book. My opinion is that the book is so well written that despite the content you will not be able to put it down.
Five Stars !!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Winter of our Disconnect by Susan Maushart

I searched high and low at the chain bookstores before finally breaking down and ordering The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart from Amazon. I just want to let you know that I sit here writing this I have my email, facebook, and two blogs open in Firefox on my computer.
Maushart is a single parent of three who after questioning the effect of decides to enforce a six-month ban of technology in the house, and write about the development. She actually has significant doubt up until the very minute she pulls the plug.
What makes this a wonderful read is its sense of balance. Maushart alternates between journaling her family’s experiences and observations with a bit more detachment and scrutiny.
I had to laugh out loud because I recognized my family throughout the book. The book is not a case to shut your media off but instead it’s a wake-up call to scrutinize how the media that we use uses us. One of the most interesting points the book makes is about multitasking, the conception that you can work, have five chat windows open, be reading four websites and listening to music and/or talking on the phone is ridiculous.
For myself, even before I started reading this book, I’ve already somewhat minimalizing when the TV is on and I am reading it is most likely turned to soundscape for the music. I have also removed the laptop from the bedroom. The only thing that I have not made a concession on is my IPhone but then again it is also my alarm clock and falling asleep listening to an audiobook can’t be all bad right?
5 STARS!!!!!