Friday, August 31, 2012

Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

My rating: 4.7 of 5 stars

This was a strong 4.7 stars. If you want to "go to Russia" then read this book. I was in Phoenix in August and felt cold from reading this book. This book is about an English lawyer, Nick, in contemporary Russia who's moral compass get's tilted off kilter. In his retelling of how things came about, you can feel for how it happened so gradually with the condoned Russian corruption pushing him along the slippery slope. None of the characters were likable, but I loved them all. It is easy to see why this was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is beautifully written with phrases that you want to read and reread and yet you can't wait to turn the page to have the story unfold. An amazing debut and I can't wait to read more by this author.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Bee flies to London when her mother tells her that her younger sister Tess has gone missing. Initially with this book, I was thinking what a phenomenal writer this woman was and that was going to be a great book. Then the story became so full of false clues/red herrings and was drawn out, boring and extremely annoying. 98% of the way through, things suddenly changed and took a total left turn. It was so annoying that I wanted to throw my kindle against the wall. Such a promising beginning to go nowhere.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Island Beneath The Sea by Isabel Allende

Island Beneath the SeaIsland Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Set in the late 18th century, this is an epic historical novel about a slave Zarite (Tete). The characters were compelling and the history fascinating. This takes place in Haiti and New Orleans and captures life of the and treatment of the slaves and masters. Very well written.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I must be on a dark dysfunctional streak with having just finished Sharp Objects and now to read The Easter Parade. This is the story of the Grime sisters Emma and Sarah, who live out their lives in very different ways.

The Easter Parade
 IMO, this is not Yates best work (check out Revolutionary Road) as the characters felt flat and had no heart. He does however capture that period in his masterful way. The middle portion seems weak but he finishes much stronger. Still, Yates can write and is so enjoyable, even with it being dark.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3.8 of 5 stars

I recently finished “Gone Girl” and enjoyed it so much that I was compelled to check out another book by Gillian Flynn. I have never found an author who captures dysfunctional like Flynn. Wow. Uncomfortable, haunting, addictive. This story is of Chicago reporter, Camille Preaker being sent on assignment to her small home town of Wind Gap Missouri to cover the second murder of a young girl. Camille is a self-mutilating cutter, has a very rocky relationship with her family, is an alcoholic and her own sister died at a young age. This gives you a hint of how dark this novel is and yet, very entertaining. I found the ending a little too “neat of a package” but still, love her writing style and will be checking out her other novel.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

A Land More Kind Than HomeA Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
My rating: 3.6 of 5 stars

This is told in a "Southern" voice which I normally don't care for but, this book took me in. I loved all the voices - Adelaide; the town midwife, Jess;the 9 yo boy who wants to protect his older mute brother and, most particularly Clem; the town sheriff. The ending was a bit predictable but it was so well told that I stayed engaged right until the end. Excellent writing makes it hard to believe that this a debut novel.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

My rating:  1 out of 5

I wanted to like this book but didn't.  Whether it is the unbelievable characters, the tedious foreshadowing that really was boring rather than titillating or the horrid plot line (they didn't have any plans of what to do when they got there?  Seriously?!)  Even the "witty" dialogue seemed exaggerated and like something out of a comic book.

The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)Matt Reynolds review said it best: Her characters are all little more than caricatures, with the sort of exaggerated easily identifiable physical features that you’d expect of characters in a comic book or role-playing game. The physicist is 6’6” and scarecrow thin. The mathematician is a petite and impossibly beautiful ex-prostitute. The pilot is impossibly ugly and speaks such an exaggerated Texan slang that the portrayal is embarrassingly close to racism. The main character Emilio is a roguishly charming and impossibly handsome Jesuit priest. He’s essentially an agnostic that wants to believe, who hubristically seizes on the mission to another world as a way to reconcile his own lack of faith in his God. His chief sounding board, and seemingly the author’s chief voice, is Anne – a 64 year old silver haired but still sexually precocious doctor and hostess who is always ready with wit and wine. Both characters seem to be someone’s fantasy rather than real people, and tellingly Anne’s husband George is the least well drawn and least independent of the central characters.

 This had a lot of promise in the beginning but, for me, it just fell apart.