Friday, August 22, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 4 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 7

Bout of Books


Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:     135 pages


Bout of Books:
Don't know why but I didn't read much during the day, but once the evening came on Thursday, I read a lot.  Hopefully I get more reading done this evening.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 3 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 6

Bout of Books


Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:                  50 pages
Under the Wide and Starry Sky: 40 pages
Total pages:                                 90

Bout of Books:
Productive day of reading; started reading Under the Wide and Starry and got about 40 pages done from that book.  Got a bit more of The Word Exchange completed with 40 pages.  Hoping to do as much reading as I did yesterday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison

Title: The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)
Author: Graeme Simison
Pages: 295
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, I Love Libraries
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Romance
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper. (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After having seen a number of bloggers reviewing the book, I knew that this would probably be a really good read for me and I wasn't disappointed with the book.  It was probably due to the fact that at some level I could I identify with Don and his wanting to keep routines and a schedule as much as possible and how getting out of that routine and schedule can cause a certain degree of anxiety.  I also liked how Rosie allowed Don to change at a pace that he was more comfortable with.  

Like with His Majesty's Hope, this book was a nice break from the usual sort of books that I read and when I was able to sit down with the book, I found that it flowed really well and was an enjoyable read.  I am looking forward to the upcoming sequel this September.

Bottom line: If you enjoy books that have some romance and some humor in them or just need a nice, light read, you probably will enjoy this book.  The writing is pretty good and the characters are well-drawn.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2014: 13,690

If you have read the book, what did you think of it?

His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal

Title: His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Mystery #3)
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Pages: 334
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, Historical Fiction, I Love Libraries
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad—and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war—and of her own past. (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this read, as it was a nice break from the heavier-themed fiction that I had previously completed.  While I had previously enjoyed the first two books in the series, this book was much more enjoyable to read.  Maybe it was that the primary story took place in a different location than war-time London or maybe it was that I had recently finished the second book in the series, I think it was because the themes dealt in the book went below the surface and dealt with more personal issues with Maggie and also was more darker and sinister than what was dealt with in the first two books in the series.

I also liked how the plot moved smoothly between London and Berlin and the other minor characters in the series, particularly David's story.   I also liked that while the main story of the book was basically resolved, with the minor storylines in the book were left unfinished just enough to keep a fan of the series coming back and wanting more.

Bottom line: If you have read the first two books in the series, you will enjoy this one as well.   If you are new to the series, I would recommend reading the first two books, as they provide the back story to this book.  Highly recommended to fans of the series.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2014: 13,395

If you have read the book, what did you think of it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 2 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 5

Bout of Books


Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:     45 pages
The Cuckoo's Calling:   163 pages *
Total pages:                   208

* Completed

Bout of Books:  Day 2

Felt like a productive day of reading, especially since I was able to finish The Cuckoo's Calling on Tuesday evening.  I don't know how much reading I am going to get done today, but I am hoping to get a lot done.


The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: The Remains of the Day
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 245
Published: 2005 (first published 1988)
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Blogger Summer Reading, Roofbeemer TBR, Bookish TBR
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence. (from Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: This was the third Ishiguro novel that I read (first two were When We Were Orphans and Never Let Me Go) and this was by far my most enjoyable experience, probably because I had already knew what the story was about due to the Merchant Ivory movie of the same title that was based on this book (the one that starred Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant and Christopher Reeve).

I did have some issues with the book, namely that when Stevens was in the 'present'.  I found that those sections dragged and that when he was reflecting on his life just prior to World War II seemed to fly by and go more quickly.  It also didn't help that it took me the majority of the book for me to find a rhythm and get a sense for the book.

What I did like was that the ending was a bit ambiguous and Ishiguro allows for the reader to draw their  own conclusions about what happened in the end.

Bottom line:  I would probably say that if you have really enjoyed any of Ishiguro's other pieces of fiction, you probably will enjoy this book as well.  Also if you enjoyed the film, you probably will like the book as well.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.25/5

Pages for 2014: 13,061

If you have read the book, what did you think of it?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallfloer
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Pages: 213
Published: 1999
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Blogger Summer Reading
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This book has been on my TBR for a number of years, but for one reason or another, I was just unable to get around to reading it, but after hearing a number of times on a number of podcasts, I knew I had to read it.

I felt that for the first little bit of the book was a bit slower than I had expected it to be, but once I was engrossed in Charlie's world, I was hooked and had a hard time pulling myself away from the book.

What I really liked was the letter format of the story and how it gave the reader a really good insight into the mind of a person who is struggling to find their place in a world that doesn't really seem to have room for those who tend to contemplate the things that are pressed upon them, with little or no warning, that makes life a little more complicated for them.  

Bottom line:  If you don't pull any punches and is a fairly quick read, I would recommend this book.  I would also recommend this book for teens who just want to make sense of the world around them.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.25/5

Pages for 2014: 12,816

If you have read the book, what did you think of it?
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