Mailbox Monday: 10/31/2011

I got two books this week that I am really excited about!

The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides is a contest win from Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea. I won a contest on her blog where I was able to choose any book from Amazon that was under $20.  I was in luck because The Marriage Plot was on sale for $14! I definitely plan on reading this one soon. I have been so excited for this one and I hope to get to it within the next few weeks.

Out of Oz, by Gregory Maguire was sent to me unsolicited by William Morrow publishers.  I admit that I have never read any of Maguire’s books.  I heard great things about Wicked, so I did pick it up a few years ago, but after reading a few pages I was bored, so I didn’t finish it.  I am curious as to whether I can read this one as a stand alone or whether I better give Wicked another shot.  What do you think?

So that is what came into my house this week.  What about you?

The Sunday Salon: RIP Wrap Up

This post is going up a bit late because I had to go to my mother and father in law’s house earlier to check out a kitten they found.  They originally wanted me to take the kitten until they were able to find a shelter for her later this week, but by the time I got to their house they had already decided to keep her! She is the snuggliest, friendliest kitten I have ever seen and she slept curled up in my arms forever! She even let me clip her nails with nary a fuss! She’s all black and I think they have decided to name her Jynx.  I wish I thought to take my camera.

Tomorrow is Halloween, but as usual I am not doing anything special.  I still have to get candy for the trick or treaters, and since my stepdaughter will be with her mom, it will just be a quiet night at home for my husband and me.  Maybe I will even finish my book, which will make my total for October 13 books. I usually only read 7-8 a month, but the readathon definitely upped that, not to mention that less hours at work=more reading time!

Meanwhile, tomorrow also marks the end of Carl’s RIP challenge.  Here is what I read for the challenge–

Kindle Books:

The Night Stranger, by Chris Bohjalian

Cold Kiss, by Amy Garvey

Curtains, by Tom Jokinen

Print Books:

The Alienist, by Caleb Carr

The Devil’s Star, by Jo Nesbo

The Fates will Find Their Way, by Hannah Pittard

The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

The Poison Tree, by Erin Kelly

The Lantern, by Deborah Lawrenson

That’s a total of ten books, which is more than I had hoped to read.  I usually stick to around eight RIP books per year.  As always, I really enjoyed this challenge.  It’s one of the few that I always finish, which is amazing considering my track record with reading challenges!

I hope everyone has a nice, relaxing Sunday.  I am headed to my parent’s house shortly to have dinner but maybe I’ll squeeze in some reading at some point.

Saturday Snapshot

Someday I will post a picture that doesn’t involve one of my cats.  Maybe.  This is Milo and my husband sound asleep.  That is how Milo sleeps evey night, although he usually switches off between the two of us.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books.

Book Review: I’m Not Her

I’m Not Her

Janet Gurtler

Sourcebook Fire

304 pages

Kristina is your typical blond, curvy bombshell.  Every guy wants to be with her and every girl wants to be her friend, so she is one of the most popular girls in school.  Tess is the baby sister.  She’s a high school freshman and the only thing occupying her is the prospect of being in the National Honor Society.  Kristina is doing her best though to break Tess out of her shell, and the book opens with Kristina dragging Tess to a high school party.  Tess is fed up of being in Kristina’s shadow, so instead she is content to fade into the background.  Because let’s face it, Kristina has it all . . . until she discovers she has bone cancer.

Kristina has an aggressive form of bone cancer, and doctors must act quickly in order to save her leg.  She is immediately admitted to the hospital to undergo chemotherapy, and instead of being the gorgeous girl around school, she becomes sick and starts losing her hair.  Suddenly, Tess is the one taking care of her sister, instead of the other way around, especially because their parent’s are having a hard time coping with Kristina’s cancer.  Tess is forced to reevaluate what is important to her, and she starts to question her friendships and priorities.

As is typical with YA, both girls had love interests, but Gurtler kept the reader questioning who liked whom and where relationships were going till the end, so that was an added element that kept my interest.  I’m still unsure of how I feel about the outcome of Tess’s boy drama, and all I can say in regards to Kristina is . . . wow.

Gurtler has definitely done it again.  Which I guess makes no sense because this is her first book! But I read her new book, If I Tell, a few weeks ago, and I was blown away, so I am glad this one was just as good, if not better!

Other Reviews:

Story Siren

Books, Movies and Chinese Food

I received a copy of this book from the published in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing

The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Melissa Bank

Penguin Books

304 pages

Jane Rosenal is an urban girl learning all she can about love and growing up.  The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing starts off the summer of her fourteenth year when Jane is staying at her parent’s summer house and watching her older brother’s attempt at love.  From there, the book is broken up into short stories dealing with different time in Jane’s life.  The majority of the book deals with her relationship with an older man who is a well known editor.  Their May- December romance (that’s how the saying goes, right?) has a lot of turmoil, mostly due to the boyfriend’s egregious use of alcohol.

This book was highly lauded when it came out just over a decade ago, so I had high hopes.  I love a good coming of age story.  Unfortunately, I was let down.  I had a hard time connecting with Jane and the format of the book didn’t help matters at all.  I hadn’t realized that I was getting short stories instead of a linear narrative, so I never found my footing with that either. There was one story in particular that seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with Jane, and it was the only one in the bunch where she wasn’t the focus, so that left me even more confused.

I’ll admit, it is harder for short stories to win me over, so this book had that going against it from the start.  Even so, I can’t say I would recommend it.

Here’s the Penguin Ink edition.  Isn’t it cool?  This is the version I wanted and had I not seen the Penguin Ink cover, I probably would have never decided to read this book!

Other Reviews:

Fingers & Prose

I received this book as a gift.

Book Review: The Devil’s Star

The Devil’s Star

Jo Nesbø

Harper Paperbacks

464 pages

Harry Hole is a drunkard.  He’s falling apart at the seams and the most important women in his life have faded.  He’s hit rock bottom when he’s called upon to assist with a murder investigation after the body of a woman named Camilla Loen  is found in her flat.  Hole is forced to work on the investigation with fellow detective Tom Waaler, who readers may remember from Nesbø’s previous book Nemesis.  Hole is convinced that Waaler is involved in the dark underbelly of the crime world but is unable to prove it, so he grudgingly goes to work with him.

Hole and Waaler quickly come to the realization that there is a serial killer on the loose after another victim turns up, so they are running against the clock to try and find the killer before he strikes again.  And boy, is the reader taken on a ride! Just when I thought I had everything figured out, I was thrown through another loop. Which was fine with me, because despite his extreme flaws, I really started to care for Hole and was rooting for him along the way.

I have wanted to read one of Nesbø’s novels for a few months after seeing a review of his book The Snowman.  I knew that it wasn’t the first of his books but even after looking up the order, I always get confused.  So when I was at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago I noticed two of Nesbø’s books on one of the tables: this one and The Redbreast.  I now know that The Redbreast is the first Harry Hole novel, at least as far as those that are published into English. The truth is, it didn’t sounds all that interesting, so I skipped it and picked up The Devil’s Star instead.  In doing so, I also inadvertently skipped over Nemesis too, and as a result I pretty much spoiled the plot of that book since it was discussed heavily in this book.  So my plan is to continue reading on in order and skipping those two books, at least for the time being.

For those of you that are in the dark about the order of the Harry Hole novels, here it is:

•The Bat Man (not published in English)

•The Cockroaches (not published in English)

•The Redbreast

•Nemesis

•The Devil’s Star

•The Redeemer

•The Snowman

•The Leopard (being released in the US in December 2011)

•The Phantom (released in Norway in June 2011.  No plans yet for an English translation)

The reason I was most anxious to read Nesbø’s books is because they seemed to be in a similar vein to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.  I am happy to say I can see the comparison.  After just one book of Nesbø’s books, I can’t hold him in as high esteem as I old Larsson, but damn, it’s close.

I read this book for the RIP challenge.

Book Reviews:

Book Chatter

S Krishna’s Books

Jenn’s Bookshelves

You’ve GOTTA Read This!

Rhapsody in Books

I purchased this book from Barnes & Noble.

 

Book Review: The Fates Will Find Their Way

The Fates will Find Their Way

Hannah Pittard

Ecco

256 pages

Nora Lindell goes missing on Halloween and is never seen again.  Her peers are all hung up on her disappearance, and The Fates will Find Their Way is the story of her exit from the persepective of her male classmates.

This is not your typical mystery novel in the sense that there is no focus on an investigation.  We never hear of police involvement really, although surely there must have been some type of investigation.  The only viewpoint we hear is that of the boys as they mature into adulthood.  Obviously they have no concrete facts, but instead focus on the gossip that abounds.  Their imaginations also take hold and they make up different scenarios that could have befallen Nora.  Is she dead?  Did she escape out west?  Is she in India? Does she have children? The novel follows the aftermath of Nora’s disappearance for a decade after the event, so that certain details of her family’s lives afterward are woven into the different contrivances they come up with.

The Fates will Find Their Way was somewhat reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides.  The vagueness of the story along with the teen boys narrating the novel seemed very similar to me.  It turns out I am not alone, because I googled the two books once I finished this one and realized that I was certainly not the first one to notice the similarities.

The Fates will Find Their Way did not quite reach me in the way The Virgin Suicides did.  While Nora definitely had the charm and intrigue that the Lisbon sisters did, the bleary ambiguity in this book made it hard for me to focus.  I think another issue I had was the structure of the novel married to the plot of a missing girl.  Ambiguity doesn’t always bother me, but when I am reading a mystery I expect to at least have an idea of what happened.  I never got that here.

This book still had its merit but I have a feeling that the details will start to be hazy and by the time a few months have passed, I will remember very little about the book except that I found it mediocre.

I read this book as a part of the RIP challenge, although it turned out not to be all that fitting.

Other Reviews:

She is too Fond of Books

Caribous Mom

The Boston Bibliophile

Shelf Love

Devourer of Books

Fizzy Thoughts

Views from the Page and the Oven

You’ve GOTTA Read This!

Steph & Tony Investigate

I purchased this book from a used book sale.

 

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