Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley

Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley
313 pages
Finished 7/27/08

This book is one of the reasons I LOVE Half Price Books. I got the hardcover of this book for only $1, and it was well worth it!

The story revolves around to boys raised as brothers until they were six years old - one black, sickly, and unlucky, and one white, rich, with a golden touch. After the boys are separated, their lives take drastically different turns, and we follow them through their late teens until they are able to meet back up again.

Overall, I loved the book. It was a really fast read, and I had to make myself put it down the night I started reading, otherwise I would have been up until midnight finishing it. There were a couple of things that bothered me a bit about the characters (I think the author went out of his way to make one boy so unlucky & hapless while making the other boy seemed like he could do no wrong in the eyes of everyone around him), but overall it was a really touching story.

Three stars.

Pink Ice by Susanna Carr

Pink Ice by Susanna Carr
304 pages
Finished 7/20/08

Boy, am I glad I only paid 75 cents for this book at a local thrift shop! The book has four short stories that center around 3 sisters and pink diamonds that they bought. Apparently there is supposed to be some mystery/suspense in the story, but it is seriously lacking. The sisters are apparently all gorgeous and well educated, but don't have a man until they have the FABULOUS pink earrings.

It could have been not so eye-rolling if the author stretched out the stories a bit, but she tried to jam them in so quickly that you were left wondering what exactly the men saw in the sisters that made them fall in love so quickly and wrap up each storyline.

Two stars.

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger
384 pages
Finished 7/20/08

I bought this book at one of my Goodwill excursions because I had read The Devil Wears Prada and didn't completely hate it (good reasoning, huh?). I'm not usually a big fan of this type of chick lit because they all seem to follow the same format (girls gets fabulous new job, finds true love, loses true love, loses job, finds herself, gets true love back) and there is no imagination in most of the these books.

That said, I didn't completely hate this book. I was actually pretty amused by it, although probably not for the right reasons. I typically get annoyed with books that name drop celebrities, and I think this book showed why my annoyance is so justified. The main character works with famous people, so she puts together a fabulous party, where Ja Rule is in attendance (a name I haven't heard in years), Ashanti is the surprise guest (yay! three years ago...), and Hef is there with his 6 or 8 girlfriends.

It was a quick, mindless fluff read. Moderately amusing. Ooh, and VERY predictable.

Two and a half stars.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Deception Point by Dan Brown

Deception Point by Dan Brown
752 pages
Finished 7/18/08

Oh, Dan Brown and your simple novels that seem so smart. The only other Dan Brown book I've finished is the much-hyped The Da Vinci Code. I really liked that book the first time I read it, and the second time...not quite as much.

Deception Point would probably have the same affect on me. I didn't really like the book, but I liked it enough. It was interesting and well-researched (either that, or the author is such a good bullshitter that I can't tell the difference. Either way!). It's a very easy read, and even though it is mammoth (752 pages!) I was able to get through it pretty quickly.

My biggest complaint is that the book read a bit like a movie. It was a bit like the author was thinking "Ok, what can I do now to include another action sequence? I know, snipers on an iceberg!" Combine that with a love story that doesn't totally make sense (I have no idea what is actually attracting the two main characters to each other) and you have all of the fixens for a Dan Brown blockbuster movie!

Three stars. But don't make me re-read it, or they will probably drop!

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni

384 pages
Finished 7/11/08

I can't even begin to tell you how long I waited to read this book. Actually, you can probably guess - ever since it came out! I have this weird book quirk that generally has me buying only like books. I bought The Kite Runner in paperback, so I have been waiting what seems like forever for ATSS to come out in paperback. However, like The Da Vinci Code before it, it seems the publishers have decided to milk it in hardcover for as long as possible. Grr. I finally broke down earlier this month and bought it.

Overall - I loved it. It was a great story, heartbreaking and eye-opening all at once. Scary to think that all of that really HAS happened in modern day Afghanistan. At times I was reading it and thinking "How could they do that? Women would never stand for it!" But unfortunately, there was just nothing they could do. So sad.

My only complaint about the book is that I actually felt it was too easily written. It was an extremely fast read, even for me, something that The Kite Runner wasn't. It felt a little like ATSS was missing some depth that could have been there. It's a little hard for me to articulate what exactly I thought was missing - blah, me, at a loss for words?

Overall, though, the book was worth the wait, and yes, even worth purchasing in hardcover.

Four stars.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shh...the baby is sleeping...

I think I've mentioned before that Toby is just about the neediest cat ever. A typical Saturday involves either David or me sitting on the couch with him, because otherwise he walks around the house meowing/screaming. Constantly.

Today we don't have a ton going on - David is going to work in the basement for awhile in the morning, and then we're going to go on a book hunting extravaganza (he's taking me to some thrift shops/used bookstores - yay!). Before David went down to the basement, he asked me to please not take a shower until he was done down there for the morning. I figured he was going to be doing something that involved him turning the water off. Uh, no, he just wanted to make sure that I could keep Toby occupied so he didn't sit at the top of the stairs and meow for David.

I came up to the office to do some nerdy things (fine, I'm updating my book spreadsheet with the newest Baby-sitters Club books I've bought), and that just wasn't acceptable for Toby. He spent literally a half hour walking around the house meowing (mainly standing in the living room, almost like he was beckoning us to the couch). I kept calling for him, David came up at least once to try to get him to be quiet. And yet he continued.

Finally, I think he exhausted himself, because he came into the office, curled up on one of the cardboard boxes littering the room, and finally has fallen asleep. Yay!!

Of course, now the issue is that I don't want to leave the office to take a shower, because that means I will wake the beast, and the vicious cycle of him standing around meowing will start again...

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks

The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks
432 pages
Finished July 9, 2008

The Dark River
is a sequel to The Traveler. These books are part of a trilogy. The first book, The Traveler, was beyond fabulous. I think the books can be considered dystopian - people aren't living in poverty, but the world is constantly being watched by Big Brother. Everywhere you go, you are on The Grid.

The Traveler follows a Harlequin, Maya, who is out to avenge the death of her father. Before doing so, she must first protect Gabriel, a man who has essentially lived off of the Grid with his brother since they were children. A Traveler is a person who can leave their body in spirit and travel to other realms.

I was so anticipating this second book in the trilogy - the first book was fabulously written, intense, and very imaginative. Unfortunately, I felt like most of the second book (the first quarter, for sure) moved very slowly. I was anticipating a fast moving novel, but it seemed a little lacking at first (with an exception or two).

Luckily, the book picked up, and the ending...WOW. Let's just say I can't WAIT until the final novel in the trilogy comes out (whenever that may be). The end definitely made up for what the first part of the book was lacking, and it definitely made me (as the reader) incredibly anxious for the last installment.

I would definitely recommend checking out this trilogy - I probably didn't do the book justice trying to describe it. :)

Also, one other note - after I read the second book, I started to look up information on the author, and it seems his (or her) identity is a secret. Allegedly even his editor has never met him. The author contacts his editor via a satellite phone, which is not traceable, and also uses a voice scrambler so the voice can't even be recognized. The author also claims to live "off the grid." Crazy - it makes the story even more interesting to me!

Four stars for The Dark River.

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

608 pages
Finished June 29, 2008

I love Binchy's books. They are all about the same (set in Ireland, lots of characters, lots of conflicts, and usually a woman with an unfaithful lover), but that's what I like about them. All of her books read the same, so it's like visiting a comforting friend when I read her books.

Penny isn't her best book, but it still sticks with the same formula, and I really liked it. It did end/wrap up abruptly, but after 600 pages, it was probably time to end it anyway.

Three stars.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oh. My. Gosh.

David and I have been trying to remember to take weekly shots of me so we can see the ever changing stomach I have going on. When David got home from work today, one of the first things he said was, "Holy cow, you actually look pregnant." Lately I've been wavering between occasionally looking pregnant and usually looking just down right tubby.

Since today is the day we try to take pictures, I ran for the camera. Um, wow. I realized that I was wearing the same outfit I wore the last time (ahem, ONLY time) I posted a belly shot on my blog. Just to refresh your memory, here is what I looked like at 10 weeks, 6 Days:

Cute, and not at all scary, right?

Now, here is what I look like exactly 7 weeks later at 17 weeks, 6 days:

It's like a freaking different person! I think that part of it is bloat today, but there is definite baby involved these days. I am a stomach sleeper, and it is already getting really uncomfortable to do - I feel this hardness when I lay on my stomach, and it just gets in the way. And to think, I still have 22 weeks to go!