Monday, April 29, 2013

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger

My rating:  3.4

While this book captures India, has beautiful prose and flows effortlessly, I didn't feel any empathy at all for the main character Balram.  I think without knowing it, I must have expected too much due to it being a Booker Prize winner and all the hype.  Still, an enjoyable read that I am glad I read.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

My rating:  4.6

This is the fascinating story of the survivors of the Titanic.  There are rumors swirling and a media frenzy about the questionable behaviors of some of the survivors and the trial that unfolds,  This wonderful story is all brought together through the eyes of Tess Collins, a determined girl who is hired prior to the crossing as a maid/seamstress by Lady Duff Gordon.

I found myself the people and googling events mentioned to find out which were fact and which were fiction - and I was amazed not only at how much was fact but, at the authors incredible research and ability to tie the story and tell it in a way that was completely new.  It is hard to believe that this is Alcott's debut novel but, I for one hope it isn't her last.  I really enjoyed the audio version

Monday, April 22, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 5.0

Louisa Clark has lived all her life in the same small town, she lives at home and has worked in the Butter Bun for many years but, when she finds herself redundant, she takes a job as a caregiver to a quadriplegic man.  This honest, real, funny novel captured me from the beginning (ok, the prologue felt like a fluffy romance novel but, from the beginning of Chapter 1) and I couldn't put it down the whole weekend until I had finished it.  I loved every page and was so sad when it ended.  This is on my Best Of List for 2013 and if I had free copies, I would be handing them out to every stranger who was remotely interested in reading.

Don't read too much about this book - just pick it up and read it.  You won't be sorry.  I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and think you will as well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Island by Victoria Hislop

My rating:  4.5

This is the wonderful story of the Petrakis family history.  It also was fascinating to read about life on the Greek Island Spinalonga when it was used as a leper colony and how their life was not the horrific lives associated with lepers but rather, a fairly regular life.

This is also about people, love, loss, choices as well as WWII.  It is all that and more, brought together in such a wonderfully woven story.  I will definitely be reading more by this fabulous author.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

The Sandcastle Girls

My rating:  1.8

This was a fascinating topic I knew nothing about - the Armenian Genocide - but it fell flat for so many reasons.  There are authors who, through what they don't say, make you feel so much of the horrors.  Bohjalian is not one of those.  He likes to rub your nose in the atrocities until you start skimming to get past all those gory details that feel like they were written for a movie.  It was a genocide....we get it.  The characters didn't feel well developed.  Normally I really enjoy story lines that flash back and forth from present to past but, somehow this didn't work for me.  I recognize he was trying to use the present to lighten up all the heavy details we were just subjected to but, the contrast was so pronounced that the current day felt fluffy and light. I wanted to like this book but, didn't.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

The Beginner's Goodbye

My rating:  4.3

Anne Tyler is the author I go to when I am busy, scattered, need a good book but nothing too heavy and am tired of being in book limbo.  I always know she will fill the void.  She writes about the quiet lives of ordinary people and this book is no exception.  She elegantly captures how it is to be the surviving spouse, trying to return to the ever orbiting world of your ordinary life.  This explores, loss, healing, wisdom, growth, reflection and ....well, life.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4.8

This second book in the series didn't disappoint.  The characters continued to develop, the story line kept me intrigued and had me on the edge of me seat till the end.  The only complaint I have is, why isn't the 3rd book published yet???!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 5.0

This dystopian society is divided into five Factions. The various factions show how different rules make people act differently to fit in each cultivating a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  All 16 year olds must pick which Faction they wish to belong to for the rest of their lives.

This book is being compared to Hunger Games and, I can see why. A dystopian society that has to fight, a female protagonist that is very compelling being among two of the most obvious parallels. Still, this book is different and worth the read.  If you have children, I would think they would really be enthralled with this read but, there is some violence (no not as bad as The Maze Runner). A very enjoyable fun read and I am definitely going to check out the sequel.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My rating:  4.8

Wonderfully developed characters and writing and a story line to match.  This book is told by two women ....two women who are the best of friends.  One woman is a secret agent and the other is a pilot.  It all takes place in war time Nazi-occupied France.  The secret agent is captured and interrogated.  Her written confessions weave the history of a beautiful friendship between herself and her pilot Maddie.

This beautiful piece of historical fiction captures war-time from women's perspective  but, so much more.  It is about friendship and an incredible believable story that unfolds so beautifully and magically.