Mailbox Monday February 28, 2011

In February, Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Laura of Library of Clean Reads.

Last day of February!!! YAY! (Just felt the need to celebrate...)

I received The Guilty Plea by Robert Rotenberg last week from Simon & Schuster. I will be participating in the blog tour for this book which takes place in May when it will be published. The description of this book is taken from the blurb on the back cover:

On the morning that his headline-grabbing divorce trial is set to begin, Terrance Wyler, youngest son of the Wyler Food dynasty, is found stabbed to death in the kitchen of his million-dollar home. Detective Greene arrives minutes before the press and finds Wyler's four-year old son asleep upstairs. When Wyler's ex-wife, a strange beauty named Samantha, shows up at her lawyer's office with a bloody knife, it looks as if the case is over.

But Greene soon discovers the Wyler family has secrets they'd like to keep hidden, and they're not the only ones. If there's one thing Greene knows, it's that the truth is never that simple.

Waiting on Wednesday: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Being published in July 2011:

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends — and his own soul — Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…

Tuesday Teaser: One of Our Thursdays is Missing

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences from somewhere on that page and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

From pages 6 and 7:

'Anyone from Classics had a clebrity status that outshone anything else, and I'd never had anyone even remotely famous pass through before. I suddenly felt a bit hot and bothered and tried to tidy up the house in a clumsy sort of way.'

Mailbox Monday February 14, 2011

In February, Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Laura of Library of Clean Reads.

Last week I received The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French. The blurb on the front cover by Lee Smith says: "If you liked the film Little Miss Sunshine, you'll abslutely love this novel..." Well, I did enjoy that movie and this book looks just like my sort of entertainment. This novel has quite an amusing book trailer.

The description of this book is taken from Random House's website:

Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.

Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter’s family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stum­bling into.

Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that’s not all . . .

Told from the varied perspectives of an incredible cast of endearing oddball characters and written with the flair of a native Floridian, this dark comedy does not disappoint.

Review: Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchan

I like the cover of this book but it’s another one that threw me off the real content of Separate Beds. For some reason, I expected more humour in Separate Beds. That cover strikes me as a bit funny in a 'chick-lit' sort of way - but I don't think it was meant to be that at all. I'm not sure if that's my (wrongful) misinterpretation or more the fault of whoever chose the cover. In any case, what I read was a thoughtful and intense family drama. Despite not being the read I expected this was a great book.

This book was set in the UK and I think that reflects in the author’s non-sparing dialogue. The characters responses are short and to the point – the diaglogue treats the reader intelligently and does not overly describe the action. The characters are both good and faulted and it’s difficult to dislike them – even the absentee (and judgmental) daughter.

Elizabeth Buchan paints a very real picture of a family in crises dealing with true-to-life problems that have plagued many families, especially so in recent years. Unemployment, parenthood and marriage are some of the issues the Nicholsons face. How they deal with these problems as a family and individually present very interesting scenarios. There is good and the bad, maturity and childishness. I didn’t like the behaviour of some of the characters (and at times felt frustrated at their reactions to their problems and to each other) but nevertheless, I could understand them. And honestly, I couldn’t claim to behave any better given the same circumstances.

The plot was well done and whenever I put the book down I was anxious to get back to it. I rooted for this family and was pleased at their successes and disappointed at their failures. It’s a story everyone can relate to.

I recommend to all who enjoy a good family story intelligently done.

Mailbox Monday February 7, 2011

In February, Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Laura of Library of Clean Reads.

The description of Jasper Fforde's latest installment of his Thursday Next series, One of our Thursdays is Missing, is from Penguin's website:
Jasper Fforde's exuberant return to the fantastical BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday.

The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions. A trip up the mighty Metaphoric River beckons-a trip that will reveal a fiendish plot that threatens the very fabric of the BookWorld itself.

Once again New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde has a field day gleefully blending satire, romance, and thriller with literary allusions galore in a fantastic adventure through the landscape of a frisky and fertile imagination. Fans will rejoice that their favorite character in the Fforde universe is back.

Review: 13 , rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro

I almost always start my book reviews as soon as I’ve finished reading, while the story and characters are fresh in my mind. I’m having a bit of trouble with
13, rue Thérèse though because I’m unsure if I’ve caught everything there was to catch. I think I need to re-read from the perspective of having finished the book and discovered what the puzzle was. Because it was a puzzle. Part of a small blurb on the front cover says:

‘A puzzle novel that gave me the same fizzy satisfaction as completing a Sunday crossword.” – David Ebershoff

I agree with that sentiment except for the completing a Sunday crossword part. I’ve never been good at the Sunday puzzles!

This was a unique novel in many ways. The story, with its different perspectives; the narrator was one, the American professor another and a third person viewpoint that doesn’t seem to be from either of the former ones. The concept of a box full of mementos from the First World War and the history behind them is explored and beautifully imagined. I liked that the mementos formed so much a part of the story that they were illustrated throughout. It made the reading experience that much more different and interesting. The photographs were also a nice added touch. Who were those people, really?

When I came to the end of the book I was stymied by what I knew I was reading and what I thought the ending was supposed to be. And this is where I was surprised so that I feel I need to read this novel again from the perspective of what I know now and pick up on the tiny clues dropped here and there about what is really going on. I’ve already gone back to re-read some passages (if you’ve already read this book, you’ll probably know which ones I’m talking about).

The writing is consistent with the rest of the book’s structure. Here and there the sentences are off-set and have a poetic flair – another high point for me. At some points the writing is quite sensuous; Elena Mauli Shapiro definitely has a flair for descriptive narrative.

I would recommend this book to readers who like something a bit different from your everyday novel. It’ll keep you wondering and puzzling until the last page.

This is a Reagan Arthur Book and therefore meets my Reagan Arthur Book challenge requirement. This is my kind of challenge since there's no pressure and the books are ones I enjoy.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Peach Keeper

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen will be published on March 22nd. The blurb from Random House's website reads:

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Tuesday Teasers

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences somewhere on that page and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

My teaser is from Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchan. From page 84:

'Then, with a slightly sick feeling, she realized he had struck some crazy deal with reason. If he couldn't hold his job, at least he could do this, was probably what he was telling himself, and she was so fearful she could barely speak.'

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