Thursday, February 28, 2008

#10 - Silent in the Grave

Book No: 10
Title: Silent in the Grave
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Published: 2007
Obtained: 2007/Paperbackswap
Completed: 2/15/08
No. of Pages: 509
Rating: 4/5*****

I love opening sentences that grab you from the start and make you long to curl up and just read away. Silent in the Grave has such a sentence: "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."

Silent in the Grave is a Victorian mystery set in London. Lady Julia Grey’s husband has died of the heart disease that has killed many of the males in his family. About a year after Edward’s death Lady Grey finds out that Nicholas Brisbane was hired by her husband to discover who had been sending him very threatening letters and that Mr. Brisbane suspects the death was murder. Together Julia and Brisbane set out to discover the truth behind Edward’s demise.

Although this is a mystery, it is also the story of Julia Grey’s growth as a person of independent spirit and mind. A proper Victorian Lady she faces some unpleasant truths about her husband and her life that change her into a person with her own personality and not the one she is ‘supposed’ to have. The budding relationship between her and Nicholas Brisbane does not proceed in the usual and rather clich├ęd way either. Although I suspected some of the parts of the mystery, many of them were a complete surprise. The story was well plotted and all the characters were nicely fleshed out and believable. The last line of the book is the perfect set-up to the next book Silent in the Sanctuary. I can’t wait to read of the further adventures of Lady Julia Grey and the brooding and mysterious Nicholas Brisbane.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

#9 - Beautiful Lies

Book No: 9
Title: Beautiful Lies
Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Suspense
Published: 2006
Obtained: 2008/
Completed: 2/11/08
No. of Pages: N/A
Rating: 4/5*****

Are You My Daughter? With those four words Ridley Jones easy going, nice safe life comes crashing down all around her.

After enjoying her 15 minutes of fame for saving a toddler from certain death by taxi on a NYC street, Ridley Jones finds that there is a downside to all the publicity she receives as a hero. One of them is a picture of a man, a woman and a little girl with the mystifying question scrawled across the bottom. After thinking it is some sick joke Ridley decides to confront her parents, who reassure her that she is indeed their child. But there is a nagging doubt at the back of her mind. When Ridley meets her new neighbor, the very appealing Jake Jacobson, she tells him her story. Offering to help her find out if there is any truth to her doubts Ridley and Jake begin a roller coaster search for the truth that confronts all the Beautiful Lies we often live with without even knowing they are lies.

I enjoyed this suspense mystery very much. It was nicely paced, well written and kept me guessing until the end. I have the sequel Sliver of Truth already. A very good and entertaining read that doesn’t take the easy way out by tying everything up in a neat bow, lots of loose ends and questions remain. High recommend.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

#8 - A Girl Named Zippy

Book No: 8
Title: A Girl Named Zippy
Author: Haven Kimmel
Genre: Memoir
Published: 2001
Obtained: 2004/Birthday Box
Completed: 2/09/08
No. of Pages: 275
Rating: 4/5*****

A Girl Named Zippy is a wonderful and poignant memoir. It's quite obvious that Haven Kimmel came from a family with it's fair share of problems and hardships, but this memoir is not a pity fest but a loving and glowing story of growing up poor in the Midwest. Called Zippy because of her speed in getting around, Haven is a young girl with a wonderfully skewed view of the world. How Kimmel was able to tell this story all through a child's eyes and voice is remarkable. In today's world I have no doubt that she would be labeled ADHD, and probably medicated, but back then she was just a rambunctious child. I am about 10 years older than Kimmel, but so many of her observations reminded me of my own family and growing up relatively poor in the late '50's early '60's. Her story of being told she was adopted (by her older siblings of course) was laugh out loud funny and reminded me of that same cruel story we told my younger brother. Everything in this book rang true and I loved her memories and the fact that there was no finger pointing. She was an obviously loved child and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book so much that I have already bought the sequel, She Got Up Off the Couch. I can't wait to get to it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Guess What I Got??

So yesterday, after several weeks of waiting, my Kindle
finally arrived.

I am already enthralled by this little piece of machinery. It is smaller than I thought, and quite thin too. So far it's easy to use, although like others before me have complained I think the paging buttons are poorly placed, but outside of that I'm very pleased.It's easy to read, lightweight, cute as can be and I can download books in seconds. The big danger here is the ease of buying books, I have to make sure I only buying books I plan to read in the immediate future. The Kindle can hold about 200 books, and as any bibliophile can tell you that's dangerous!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

#7 - Dream When you're Feeling Blue

Book No: 7
Title: Dream When You’re Feeling Blue
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: 2007
Obtained: 2007/Paperbackswap
Completed: 2/05/08
No. of Pages: 276
Rating: 2.5/5*****

Whenever I start a Berg book I am always a bit excited, because as an author that I have come to love, I wonder how she can always create such wonderful characters that you care so much about. I am sorry to say that did not happen here.

Dream While You’re Feeling blue centers on a little over a year in the life of the Heaney sisters. Kitty, Louise and Tish live in Chicago and when the book opens it is 1943, the height of WWII. Louise and Kitty have sent their respective boyfriends off to war, and younger sister Tish has a bevy of ‘friends’ she writes to every night, as her sisters write to their men and other boys they come to know at the weekly USO dances. Through these girls lives at home, and the letters thry write and receive we get glimpses of both the home front and the war front.

I just didn’t care for this book. It seemed like a paint by the numbers version of a WWII book. Ration Coupons, check; girls left behind while the boys go off to war, check; women taking factory jobs, check; Blue Star and Gold Star flags, check; the list goes on and on. At no time did this seem to flow through the story with any authenticity, it didn’t feel genuine. I didn’t care too much for the three main characters. Louise was too saintly in her demeanor (although she is hiding a big secret); Tish is very immature and doesn’t seem to change much and Kitty, who is the main focus of the book, is the only one who shows any growth but still seems rather a chilly personality. The one character I really liked was Margaret Heaney, the girl’s mother; unfortunately we only get small glimpses of her. Her story is one I’d really like to get to know. The biggest flaw in the book is the ending, which is delivered in a startling rush and had me re-reading three times to make sure I understood correctly. The ending left me angry and feeling very shortchanged and extremely disappointed. I truly hope Berg goes back to her more contemporary works and leaves the past to others.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

#6 - The Opposite of Love

Book No: 6
Title: The Opposite of Love
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2008
Obtained: 2008/
Completed: 1/31/2008
No. of Pages: 303
Rating: 3.5/5*****

Emily Huxby is a successful attorney with a big NY law firm. She has a great boyfriend, who seems ready to propose. So Emily dumps him before he can ask, sure she has made a good decision. However Emily's life starts to slowly unravel and she begins to delve into her life, questioning many of her choices.

This was a quick and enjoyable read. Chick lit with depth and a great cast of characters. I didn't care too much for Emily at first, but came to really care about her and was rooting for her to get her life together. I loved her Grandpa Jack and his friend Ruth, Emily's assorted friends, Kate, Jess and Mason, her therapist Dr. Lerner made me laugh. In fact I laughed quite often while reading this book, I also cried at parts, but in the end I really enjoyed reading this book.