January 24th, 2011


# 4 My Reading Life

Pat Conroy

My Reading Life is the memoir of author Pat Conroy. However, it's so much more than a memoir. It;s a love song to all the books, authors, and people who have inspired him and influenced his writing.

While this did, at times, seem a bit too overwritten and rapturous, I didn't mind at all because I was caught up along with him, soaring with the joy of language, and the written word. I was struck anew by the power of books; how they seemed to provide an anchor for the author who had a fairly rootless and abusive childhood, and how, through writing, he seems to have been able to release some of the demons that haunt him.

I actually deliberately slowed down my reading in order to savor every bit, every word, every phoneme of this book. Rarely does a book cause me to do this, which is evidence of just how much I loved it!

SW: Obi-Wan Reading

Books 1 through 3

Kissed By An Angel by Elizabeth Chandler.

Book summary: In a romantic and suspenseful collection of the New York Times bestselling trilogy, love's unbreakable bonds are put to the test.

When her boyfriend, Tristan, died, Ivy thought she'd lost everything, even her faith in angels. But now she's discovered that he's her guardian angel -- his presence so strong that she can feel the touch of his hand, the beat of his heart. Ivy needs Tristan now more than ever because he knows she's in terrible danger. Only Ivy's guardian angel can save her now that his killer is after her.

But if Tristan rescues Ivy, his mission on earth will be finished, and he must leave her behind forever. Will saving Ivy mean losing her just when he's finally reached her again?
Book spoilers, review under cut.

Review: I will have to say that this book had a good idea, it wasn't very well written. It reminded me of the Twilight series and Ghost.

It jumped from Ivy and Tristan's perspective every chapter. You read the same stuff, but from a different perspective for a few paragraphs, and then there was new information. It got old quickly as you already knew what happened.

I do have to say that Lacey, who's another angel trying to help Tristan on his mission, is an interesting character. She has the ability to project her voice so humans can hear her, and has managed to get strong enough to make her fingers appear so she throws things and pushes people into water.

My favourite scene by far in the three books, was when there was a party at Ivy's house. Ivy orders a drink, and her cat, Ella, jumps on to the counter. Lacey projects her voice to ask for some milk. The bartender looks at the cat and dismisses his thought. The bartender turns around to make another drink, and the cat 'talks' again. It was rather hilarious. A few minutes later, the cat 'speaks' to Ivy's mother, after having jumped into her lap. Lacey complains to Ivy's mother that nobody is asking her to dance.

All in all, despite the really good idea, the execution was poor. I give this book one star.
did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #5 -- Francesca Lia Block, The Waters & the Wild, 111 pages.

A wonderful little novella about three unusual children finding their place in the world.

Book #6 -- Nancy Werlin, Extraordinary, 393 pages.

I have to admit, I liked Impossible better, but this one was still good, particularly the focus on what it means to be human, and whether any of us are ever really truly "ordinary".

Book #7 -- James Norcliffe, The Boy Who Could Fly, 312 pages.

A great illustration of the clichees "out of the frying pan and into the fire" and "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it"

Book #8 -- Wendy Delsol, Stork, 355 pages.

Kat's never really been all that in touch with her Icelandic heritage. Until her parents get divorced and her mother moves them back up to her native Minnesota. Suddenly Kat's discovering something - those old legends? - they're a lot closer than she thought.

Progress toward goals: 24/365 = 6.6%

Books: 7/100 = 7.0%

Pages: 2490/30000 = 8.3%

2011 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven

Books 6: Mortal Remains (aka Spider Bones) by Kathy Reichs

Book 6: Mortal Remains (US: Spider Bones).
Author: Kathy Reichs, 2010
Genre: Forensic Thriller.
Other Details: Hardback. 320 pages.

The 13th in this series finds forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan called to the scene of a drowning in Quebec. Fingerprints identify the corpse to be John Lowery. However, Lowery was declared dead in 1968, the victim of a Huey crash in Vietnam and his body has been buried for the last 40 years in North Carolina.

In order to solve the mystery, Tempe travels to North Carolina and the body previously believed to be Lowery's is exhumed. Tempe then accompanies the remains to Hawaii and the headquarters of JPAC, the U.S. military's Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, the organisation that strives to recover and identify Americans who have died in past conflicts. The case gets even more complicated when a set of unidentified remains at JPAC are found to have Lowery's dog tags in their coffin. Three bodies - one identity. Which one is the real John Lowery and why the confusion?

While in Hawaii Tempe is asked by the local medical examiner to consult on another case when the very minimal remains of an adolescent boy are recovered off the coast. Tempe quite naturally hears the opening bars of Jaws in her head as she examines the remains. Added to the cases are a few issues with both her on-again off-again lover and her daughter, who is dealing with a personal loss.

Kathy Reichs is passionate about forensic anthropology and it shows throughout all her books. She also includes here a lot of information about the Vietnam conflict and its legacy as well as the work of JPAC. I did find that towards the end the story did get fairly convoluted as to who was who but overall it was a cracking good thriller.

Also, quite amusingly she gives a nod in the direction of the TV show for which she serves as a producer when a detective interviews a suspect: "You claim to be smart. Know all about DNA. I'm sure you watch 'CSI' and 'Law and Order'. Maybe 'Bones', but that might be over your head..." Cute. I enjoy Kathy Reichs' writings as well as the TV show even though they are very different and hope that both incarnations of Tempe Brennan continue for some time to come.
  • mhleigh

Book 1: Small Wars

Title: Small Wars
Author: Sadie Jones
Genre: Novel

Plot: Small Wars tells the story of Hal Treherne and his wife, Clara, in 1956. Hal is a young, enthusiastic soldier in the British Army, poised to quickly rise in the ranks due to his commitment, responsibility, and intelligence. Clara and Hal also have two baby daughters, Lottie and Meg. Hal is stationed in Cyprus, a British colony in a state of confusion and simmering rebellion, and after taking time to get settled Clara and the girls join him. Although Clara knows what is expected of an army wife, she finds that Hal is growing increasingly distant towards her as he experiences atrocities and begins to see the shades of grey that he never imagined when he was being trained.

Review: I found Small Wars to be an extremely engaging, interesting read. The time period and setting were fascinating, as was Hal's transition as time passed and he moved further from enthusiastic but inexperienced to battle hardened and questioning. Another strength in Small Wars is the cast of smaller players, from the Cypriots who Clara and Hal encounter to the other soldiers and their families. Small Wars is at its best when it reveals the struggles of a family and the effects of war on one small family.
El Corazon

12. LEGO: A Love Story; 13. Ender's Game

LEGO: A Love Story
by Jonathan Bender

January 18, 2011
January 23, 2011

I liked the LEGO-centric parts of this book but didn't much care for Bender's lame attempt to make it more personal by going on and on about his attempts to conceive a child with his wife. Plus for someone who really loves LEGO, Bender was a pretty crappy builder of them judging by the examples he shows in the books photographs. Still, I guess I enjoyed this overall. It did make me want to buy some LEGO. 262 pages. Grade: B-
Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card

January 15, 2011
January 23, 2011

Really good and imaginative story, some interesting characters and ideas in here, but also some absolutely horrible dialogue. 226 pages. Grade: B
Total # of books read in 2011:
Total # of pages read in 2011: 3001