Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book Review: Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain LP The Art of Racing in the Rain LP by Garth Stein



My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'll admit, I have trouble with books featuring animals that talk--I honestly don't even like them in the kids books. Silly I know. This book is original because it is an adult book told from a dog's point of view.

Enzo is a very unique dog, he thinks, he is intelligent, and extremely loyal to his master, Denny. Enzo is ready to die, he has lived a long life, and served his master well. He believes that he will be reincarnated as a man, and eagerly looks forward to that life. But on the eve of his death, the story he tells is Denny's too. Denny falls in love with a woman named Eve, who Enzo both loves and is jealous of. When tragedy strikes, Enzo stands by Denny and tries to help him through the most difficult time in his life.

The book is well written and told from an interesting point of view. It however, isn't my type of book. I can see how this book will have broad appeal to dog lovers, and realistic fiction lovers, but since I am a cat person who prefers fantasy I guess this one isn't for me. Despite that, it is interesting to have a dogs-eye view of events and the story itself is appealing. I think many will like this book.


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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
First off, let me say that this wasn't high on my priority list to read, but working in a library sometimes you get assigned reading. I was given a choice of titles to read and this one sounded intriguing. In the end I am glad I read this book because it made me think about how I can change my life and my eating habits.

At first I didn't like the book much. I thought the author was being a bit pushy and overbearing. Her project was to go a year eating only locally grown vegetables and foods. I admit this is something that never crossed my consciousness before reading this book. Her goal was to reduce her family’s carbon footprint by buying foods that were grown closer to home and didn’t require the fuel that transports our store bought fruits and vegetables across the country.

In the beginning, I felt the book was a bit preachy and it made me feel bad because I love my out of season tomatoes—yes I know they are not as good as homegrown, but they are an adequate substitute when you don’t have the opportunity to have homegrown. I don’t like books that beat you down for the way you live, or in this case the way you eat. I don’t mind books that introduce a new way of thinking or attempt to educate, but at first I felt like she was saying that her way is right and my life is wrong. When I mentioned my frustration to my husband, he helpfully pointed out that our family reduces its carbon footprint in different ways. We have fuel efficient cars, have replaced all conventional lighting with compact fluorescents, we recycle, etc… After that I began to understand that this was her way, and while it may not be perfect for me I could learn from her ideas and apply the ones that work to my own life if I choose.

Once I got past that first hurdle, I began to enjoy the book. She has some really good ideas, and I loved the descriptions of her gardening, canning, harvesting, and of course the turkeys. I found the book informative, and it has made me eager to check out our own farmer’s market to see what we have available locally. She mentioned some failures in the end that made me wish she had mentioned them sooner—it would have eased the feeling that she was telling me that this is the only way to do this.

In the end, I would highly recommend this book. It did frustrate me, but I learned something and even got a couple of chuckles out of her exploits. I think I would like to try making my own mozzarella cheese and I think I want to try planting a tomato plant or two this year. (I don’t expect much from the tomato plants—I’ve killed every plant I have ever owned.)




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Friday, May 8, 2009

Book Review: O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King

O Jerusalem (Mary Russell Series, #5) O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
O Jerusalem the fifth book in the Mary Russell Series actually takes place during the events of the first book The Beekeeper's Apprentice. The story fills in the events that occurred when Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell are forced to leave England to escape the mysterious person who has been pursuing them. During their escape from England they land in Israel, and find themselves caught in the middle of another mystery. Forced in to the company of prickly Ali and Mahmoud, Mycroft-s "spies" in the Holy Land, they try to piece together the puzzle concerning the deaths of other agents.



This book was a fun read. It was nice to see Holmes and Russell in new surroundings, and to see Russell prove herself to the men around her. For most of the book, Russell is disguised as an Arab boy. A good mystery.




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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book Review: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

Gossip Girl (Gossip Girl, Book 1) Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar


My review


rating: 1 of 5 stars
First a disclaimer...Please keep in mind, the number of stars for this book is a rating of whether I liked it or not, I am not rating the author or the people who do enjoy these books. To be honest, this book isn't my cup of tea. I am a diehard fantasy fan, and would, in most cases, prefer that to any other genre. In the case of Gossip Girl I will loosely refer to it as realistic fiction. Which is definitely not one of my favorite genres, with few exceptions.

That said, I really didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the drinking, the drugs, the casual sex, the gossip, and in my opinion Chuck should be locked up for the safety of women everywhere. It was like a self indulgent tabloid of the life and times of the young, the rich, and the famous. The designer labels, and booze, and outlandish behavior, did not impress me, in fact I found the book disgusting on a whole.

On the other hand, I can understand the appeal of the books. There are teens who want to read about how the other half lives, without any serious parental oversight, and with wild parties. It is in its very essence gossip and many teens will appreciate this type of escapist literature. As I said earlier, my preference for escapist literature was for fantasy, but I know many teens who appreciate and enjoy literature that is more realistic in nature. Also with the popularity of shows like Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives, and now even the Gossip Girl TV show, I can see the draw. Not one I will recommend, but to each his own.

Cautions for sensitive readers: This is the first time that I have ever said this, but I would not recommend this book to a sensitive reader. There is sex, drugs, alcohol, and yes some language.




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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, Book 1) Glass Houses by Rachel Caine


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
Glass Houses is the first book in the Morganville Vampire series. When scholastically brilliant Claire Danvers sets off for college in Morganville, Texas, she gets more than she bargained for. Claire quickly makes an enemy of one of the most popular girls in the dorm and finds her life in danger because of this girl. After leaving the dorms, Claire finds a home in Glass House with three mysterious roommates who are willing to risk their own lives to keep her safe. In Glass House, the mystery of Morganville and its vampire heritage are slowly revealed.

Although vampire fiction is not usually my favorite genre, I have to admit that this book was a fairly quick read. As a librarian, I was disappointed in the lack of professional reviews for this book or this series. I could have used them since people were requesting that we purchase the books.

It is a fast read, and not a bad one either. Is it original or profound, no, but it was an enjoyable read and a good light vampire story. It is definitely meant to be read as a series, and ends with a cliff hanger that will have you dying for the next book. Recommend this to teens looking for the next vampire read. Entertaining.

Cautions for sensitive readers: This book contains a lot of violence and profanity is used in some of the more extreme situations. As of yet, there is no sex in the series, but I can not say what will happen in the later books.




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Monday, May 4, 2009

Still Reading: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I am still reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore. It seems to be a very good book, I unfortunately haven't had much time to spend reading it lately. I have a number of books I have to read, and not enough time. Most of my must reads are for work, so I have to get to those first.

Graceling

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