Monday, June 30, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This is one of those books that I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading. All the hype was spot on. This book is fabulous! Neil Gaiman is one of those rare genre-defying authors that can suck anybody in and this book is no exception. Part fantasy part literary part fairy tale, this book will easily please any reader.

The story follows a man who recounts a part of his childhood that he has forgotten entirely. Told through the eyes of a seven year old it is almost too wild to be believed. Filled with brutally honest insights that most children have, the recollection of this forgotten and fanciful childhood is teeming with truthful, naive, and confused emotions. The result is a masterpiece. I honestly couldn't get enough of this book. Just another shining example of why Neil Gaiman is such a dynamic author!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

All the Pretty Horses

This is my second Cormac McCarthy book and I liked it much more than I did the first one (Blood Meridian). Written in his signature southern, rustic drawl the story follows a young rancher and his friend who have nothing to lose.

The two teens leave Texas with nothing but their horses and dreams of a quiet existence in the wild Mexican frontier. On the way they encounter another young man who ends up tampering with their dreams of an idyllic future. What can their friendship withstand? Trials, guilt, love?

Narrated by Brad Pitt, I was mostly pleased, but wished he would have spoken a little louder. He was very soft spoken, and at times sounded dispassionate. I have yet to see the movie adaptation.

This is a must read for fans of westerns, literary novels, and Cormac McCarthy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mr. Mercedes

I was due for a fast paced thrill ride and Stephen King's latest thriller certainly did the trick. King takes a departure from his darker horror novels to create a wonderful crime thriller which is certainly less creepy than some of his other materials, but still dark.

The story follows retired police detective Bill Hodges, a man on the verge of withering away in his La-z boy chair. Life holds no excitement for him, that is until, he receives a letter in the mail from the Mercedes Killer, one of the few men that eluded capture while Hodges was still active duty. The Mercedes Killer was responsible for running down dozens of people standing in line at a job fair in a stolen Mercedes, killing eight and critically wounding many others. He got away without a trace but he's not done with the fun. Now he wants to make the fat ex-cop his next project. Little does he know that this might just be the wake up call that Hodges needs to get on with his life.

Suspenseful, thrilling, and disturbing, this is a must for fans of crime novels and Stephen King. Readers will also enjoy the black teen that Hodges uses as a sidekick. Witty and insanely smart, that kid could have his own series! Hands down my favorite character. I want a Jerome in my life!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Striking and vivid this book seamlessly blends war accounts with fantasy in this riveting young adult novel. British medic, Ellie, gets more than she ever bargained for when she finds herself arriving at her new military base, not only is she in constant threat of danger but she has to have the capability and level-headedness to save the lives of her fellow soldiers. As if that weren't enough to shoulder, she soon finds herself seeing a young Afghan girl in the warzone. Ellie thinks her eyes are playing tricks on her, how can this girl survive the firestorms, landmines, and bullets? She soon realizes that this girl may be a bad omen, whereever she is, death follows; or is that just superstition?

Girl and boy teens alike will enjoy this read. It's gory, bloody, horrific, romantic, thrilling, etc. It's got something for everyone!

I received this novel for free from Librarything in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Monday, June 9, 2014

While You're Away

This is not a book I would have EVER normally picked up. The whole story line of "can cheaters ever change?" is not enticing. I do not like cheaters; I don't condone their behavior and I believe that karma will come back to bite them. That being said, the writing was solid. I know this is a pseudonym of a well known young adult author, and I can understand why she didn't attach her name to this particular piece of tripe. The characters have depth and teens will definitely enjoy the banter and musings of these high school characters, but... that's were my praises end. "Jessa Holbrook" definitely wasted her talent on this crap story line and will hopefully work on other pieces of meaningful teen lit.

If you're wondering why I despised this story let me break down the plot for you. Sarah and her boyfriend Dave are talented musicians, singers, and songwriters (they have it all!) and have a kick ass band together called Dasa. After a performance Sarah finds herself in a room with the high school man-whore, Will, and they end up making out. Sarah is Torn. She esteems Dave and loves what they have, BUT she thinks that there is something deeper with the wealthy, too good looking to be real man slut that is Will. She eventually decides to dump Dave after seeing Will behind his back (harlot) and Will eventually leaves his girlfriend (shocker). Together they are perfect and soo soo in love (cue little birdies singing). But oh no! Will has to go to college! Can Sarah trust Will around other girls?! Especially since he is a womanizer and known cheater? "Can a love born from betrayal stay true?" Barf. The worst part about this story was the end. It was ridiculous and I feel like I need to apologize to any self-respecting females out there. You are better than Sarah. Please always remember that. I guess that is the real lesson from this, because clearly cheating is alright if you find your "soulmate" (yeah right!).

Saturday, June 7, 2014

VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good

I don't normally read cookbooks all the way through, but I certainly did for this one. Mark Bittman's no-nonsense easy guide for changing your health and your lifestyle is thought provoking and not nearly so hard to put into practice as most "fad-diets" are. Basically, you follow a strict vegan diet for breakfast and lunch and for dinner you can be flexitarian and have dairy, grains, or meat. The theory being animal products in grain are not nearly as good for your health as fruits and veggie so they need to be eaten sparsely and in moderation. A little bit can be a good thing, but the crux of everyone's diet should be fruits and veggies. Besides a basic outline of the lifestyle change (not diet!), there is a guide on storing, cooking, and buying fruits, veggies, nuts, condiments, etc. Also included in the book are dozens of intriguing recipes. I haven't had time to try any yet but they certainly look yummy. Some are even simple enough for a novice like me to make!

Recommended for someone interested in changing their eating lifestyle or wanting to try out a vegan diet.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

The Fault in Our Stars

So I've already read "The Fault in our Stars" and written a review for it (in 2013) but in light of the movie coming out and it being our chosen read for book club I just HAD to reread it. And let me tell you what. It was just as good the second time around! I still ugly cried all over it. Augustus is amazing. Hazel is amazing. Their romance is amazing. Their banter is amazing. Everything about this damned book is amazing. I could quote it all day long. It's beautifully written. It really truly is. If you haven't read it yet, what in the hell are you waiting for?!? Go get a copy now! But be warned if you go to the library to get it, you're going to have a bit of a wait. My library system has nearly 30 copies and there is still a waiting list of about 60 people. Just goes to show you what good advertising movie adaptations are for books. Seeing the movie tonight with my Reading Between the Wines Book Club. Can't freaking wait!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Pelican Bride

Albeit a little sappy, this wasn't a half bad inspirational historical fiction. Based on a largely forgotten piece of little known history, this story followed the plight of the french women sent to the Americas aboard the Pelican to become brides to military men holding down a fort in Louisiana. They became known as "the Pelican brides" and unfortunately many of them succumbed to sickness on the way their and upon arrival. This fictionalized account follows young Genevieve Gaillain and her sister as they escape France and try to find refuge in The New World. If they thought they would be safer in Louisiana they were solely mistaken. Men fight for the women's attentions, sickness claims many, "savages" roam the streets; they traded one hellish adventure for another. Genevieve soon finds herself falling for the roguish, brute, Tristan Lanier and wonders if he could ever love her, despite her sordid past. Filled with political intrigue, romance, brawls, and suspense. This is a good crossover book for those who are thinking about dipping into the inspirational romance genre. It's not too heavy handed, yet plays an integral part of the story line.

I received this book for free from Revell Reads in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bedrock Faith

I was a little skeptical of picking this book up. It didn't look like anything I had ever read before and in some degree I was right. It was completely new to me... and I LOVED it!! I fell soo hard for this book. Author, Eric Charles May, describes the south side Chicago hamlet of Parkland so well and in so much detail, that I felt I could have driven there and hung out with the neighbors. Parkland seemed more real to me than my own home town. Hell the neighbors too! Parkland's residents were so lovingly created and so vibrant! There were easily the most realistically flawed and lovable characters I've ever read. I wanted to live on their street!

One wintery morning Parkland residents woke up to find an unwelcome surprise; Stew Pot was out of prison and back in town. Eighteen years of bliss in the neighborhood and now Stew Pot was back, and as a man, not a kid. Stew Pot was the most evil and notorious kid; burning down garages, killing cats, introducing kids to drugs, sleeping around, you name it, he'd done it. Parkland residents decided that they had to do something, but what? This novel tells the story of how these residents try to tackle Stew Pot and get him back in jail. Filled with gossip, rumors, jokes, and musing. This tale will have you enthralled. Soo good! My description doesn't even begin to do it justice. Just read it all ready!

I received this book for free from LibraryThing in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.