Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1)
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse. Just dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead and the blurry line in between

3/5 stars (liked it)
I  admit that I really only read this book because I saw the preview for the movie.  Like most books turned into movies I like to read the book first.  I have not seen the movie yet but I want to because I liked this book.  I like the way in which R learns to become alive again.  I love that he has a best friend, M.  Although I wish we could have found more out about M.  I like how the zombies are actually not mindless but actually communicate with each other and have thoughts.  I'm very curious to see what happens in a sequel and how R will be different.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting French families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty Years Later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This story alternates between Sarah in 1942 and Julia in 2002, both taking place in France.  Sarah, her mother & father are taken by the French Police to a concentration camp.  Not knowing the severity of what is happening, Sarah locks her 4 year old brother Michel in a secret cupboard promising to return to him and get him out.  We follow her story as she is separated from her parents, has her head shaved and is faced with in-humane conditions along with other children.  While the whole time she is carrying the key to the cupboard trying to get back to her brother.  Julia is an American married to a French man living in Paris.  She is asked to write a story on the Velodrome d'Hiver (Vel' d'Hiv) round up that took place on July 16, 1942.  Through her research she comes upon the story of Sarah.  But Sarah becomes so much more than a little girl to her and makes her see so many things in her life.  The end of the book mostly deals with Julia's story as it wraps up Sarah's.  I myself did not know about Vel' d'Hiv and find it such a sad thing that was done. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston

The Witch's Daughter
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches.  A tale of magic and love and loss.  A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be.  Let me tell you what it means to be a witch.

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch. But will she be able to stand against Gideon—who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul—in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?

4/5 stars (really liked it)
First of all I absolutely love the cover.  The story starts off in the present with Elizabeth just moving to a new house.  There she meets a girl name Tegan and for the first time she opens up about who she really is.  We see three glimpses into her life.  First story told is in 1628, when Bess is young and the plague has just ravashed her town.  Her mother is accusessed and hanged for being a witch.  There she meets Gideon, who helps her escape and essentially teaches her the craft but at a terrible price.  For over 300 years, Bess has been hiding and fleeing from Gideon.  In the second story, which takes place in 1888.  Eliza is working at a hospital as a doctor and also has a clinic in her home where she treats prostitutes.  During her time there "Jack the Ripper" is also there.  She of course meets Gideon and faces him down and flees.  The last story takes place in 1917 during there war.  Her name is Elise and she is a soldier nurse at the front lines.  She falls in love and ultimately looses her love because of Gideon.  Then the last part of the book is her ultimate showdown with Gideon.  I would very much like to see a sequel to this story.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

3/5 stars (liked it)
I read the first page and very much recognized J.K. Rowling's writing in it.  I thought the beginning of the story was slow and there were so many characters that I had trouble keeping track of them.  By the middle of the book I did not have as much trouble.  This book has taught me that I should always treat my children right.  I liked how this story was not just about the adults and the open parish council seat.  In the end it didn't really matter who won the seat but rather how all the stories and the characters lives changed because of one man dying.  Overall I liked it and look forward to more books from J.K.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Book Club December: The Ice Storm - Rick Moody

The Ice Storm 
The year is 1973. As a freak winter storm bears down on an exclusive, affluent suburb in Connecticut, cark skid out of control, men and women swap partners, and their children experiment with sex, drugs, and even suicide. Here two families, the Hoods and the Williamses, com face-to-face with the seething emotions behind the well-clipped lawns of their lives-in a novel widely hailed as a funny, acerbic, and moving hymn to a dazed and confused era of American life.

This book takes place in 1973 and how do I know that?  Well the author was kind enough to remind me several times, which actually got really old.  The book is told from several points of view and takes place in a single night.  I didn't really care for the characters or the story.  The book just didn't really go anywhere.  Not one of my favorite book club picks.

The book for January is:  Shanghai Girls - Lisa See 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Book Review: Don't Breathe a Word - Jennifer McMahon

Don't Breathe a Word
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams--who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam's hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed--a promise that could destroy them all.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
First of all I LOVE the cover.  The child looking at you is kind of creepy.  I thought the beginning was a little confusing.  I love how the story alternates between Phoebe in the present and Lisa fifteen years ago.  As I read I couldn't wait to finish the chapter to find out what happens in the next chapter.  The story kept me guessing even after I read the whole book.  We are presented with things that make us believe that there really were fairies in this book and then we are presented with other things that just make us think otherwise.  I loved the character of Phoebe and how she was not perfect.  I wish I could have learned a little more about her though. 

Book Review: Blood Fury - JR Ward

Blood Fury - JR Ward A vampire aristocrat, Peyton is well aware of his duty to his bloodline: mate with an appropriate female of his cl...