Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: The Buried Giant
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 304
Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: Begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards—some strange and other-worldly—but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: Quite honestly, this one just flew over my head and by the time that I had gotten through about a third of the book and just had to focus on the book without focusing too much on what I had missed.

Unlike his Booker-prize winning book, The Remains of the Day, I felt kinda meh about the book and there was nothing that really wowed me while reading the book, even though I was intrigued with the book itself.

Bottom line: Like I said earlier, I thought that the book was okay and didn't have the power that Remains of the Day had.  Probably would recommend the book to those that enjoy retellings of familiar myths and stories.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.25/5

Bones: The Complete Series - Jeff Smith

Title: Bones: the complete series
Author: Jeff Smith
Pages: 1341
Published: 2010
Genre: Graphic Novels
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: An American graphic novel first! The complete 1300 page epic from start to finish in one deluxe trade paperback.

Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, spending a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. Their many adventures include crossing the local people in The Great Cow Race, and meeting a giant mountain lion called RockJaw: Master of the Eastern Border. They learn about sacrifice and hardship in The Ghost Circles and finally discover their own true natures in the climatic journey to The Crown of Horns. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I first gained awareness of the Bones graphic novel series through my volunteer work at a local school library and seeing these book being signed out frequently by the students, I was intrigued by the series and found that my public library had a copy of the complete series.  It took me a few years of being on my TBR, but I eventually got through the book.

And I really, really enjoyed the book.  I liked how the story played out and also how quick the pages flew by; I was quite amazed at how quickly the book went by.  I can see why kids are attracted to these books.

If there was anything that I would quibble about is that the ending of the series seemed to feel a little too drawn out at times.  Other than that, I quite enjoyed the series.

Bottom line: Really enjoyed plowing through the series and was a nice break from my usual prose novels and would recommend it to people who need a palate cleanser or just need something for a readathon.  Highly Recommended.

Rating: 4.9/5

Mãn - Kim Thúy

Title: Mãn
Author: Kim Thúy; translated by Shelia Fischmann
Pages: 139
Published: 2014
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband--a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal. 

Thrown into a new world, Mãn discovers her natural talent as a chef. Gracefully she practices her art, with food as her medium. She creates dishes that are much more than sustenance for the body: they evoke memory and emotion, time and place, and even bring her customers to tears.

Mãn is a mystery--her name means "perfect fulfillment," yet she and her husband seem to drift along, respectfully and dutifully. But when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Mãn discovers the all-encompassing obsession and ever-present dangers of a love affair. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I enjoyed this more than Thúy's debut novel, Ru.  It was probably due to the fact that I better able to understand Thúy's style and could better appreciate the book.

While it may have not been her best work, I personally enjoyed more and look forward to other books that may come in the future from the author.

Bottom line: Really enjoyed the read and would probably recommend the book to those that enjoy Thúy's style. Highly Recommended.

Rating: 4/5

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley

Title: The Dead in their Vaulted Arches (Flavia DeLuce #6)
Author: Alan Bradley
Pages: 336
Published: 2014
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: Bishop's Lacey is never short of two things: Mysteries to solve and pre-adolescent detectives to solve them. In this New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve the most dastardly crimes the English countryside has to offer and, in the process, comes closer than ever to solving her life's greatest mystery--her mother's disappearance... (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: Much like the other books in this series, I enjoyed the read.  More than any of the previous books, this one was able to get emotion out of Flavia's father and that he is human after all.

What I enjoyed most about the book, and probably is the case with the other Flavia books that I have read, is that it was just fun and enjoyable to read and also because I liked Flavia's spunky character, despite the grim circumstances that surround the book.

Bottom Line: I would probably recommend the book to those that have read the previous five books in the series, as there is background in those books that help to give the book context and understanding to the rest of the book.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5

In the Unlikely Event - Judy Blume

Title: In the Unlikely Event
Author: Judy Blume
Pages: 416
Published: 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on. (via Goodreads)

Book Reviews: Despite the mixed reviews that I saw from a  number of fellow bloggers that I follow, I actually quite enjoyed this read.  Maybe it was because I hadn't read a adult novel of Judy Blume's  or that the books that I had just read were just not that memorable or it was a combination of the two that made me enjoy the book more, I don't really know.

I think having a lengthy period of time between reading this and my last book by the same the author probably aided in my like for the book more than for some who had read her previous adult fiction.

Bottom line: A quite enjoyable book based on true events and would recommend the book to those that like historical fiction books that are based on true events.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bout of Books 16 sign up

Bout of Books


I thought for some reason that today was the start, but at least now I have an extra week to get prepared.

For those that are wondering what Bout of Books is, the lovely ladies over at the site can say it better than I can possibly do:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I hope you can join me!  Happy reading.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Cadence of Gypsies - Barbara Casey

Title: The Cadence of Gypsies
Author: Barbara Casey
Pages: 266
Published: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Description: On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the read.   I didn't know what to make of the book, but once I got into the book, I quite enjoyed the read.  I felt that the book was fairly realistic and could very easily envision each of the main characters in the book.  I suppose it didn't hurt that a good portion of the story took place in the Italian countryside, surrounded by good food and good wine.  I felt that the plot moved along quickly and held my attention and made me care about the characters.  

Bottom line: If you enjoy books set in a country that has good food and good wine, you will enjoy this book.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Author's Bio:

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

​Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:  Website



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