October 13, 2014

Wilson's Book World

This weekend I went to Downtown St. Petersburg to grab a bite to eat at The Moon Under Water, a neat little tavern by the water that serves British cuisine (I ate fish and chips). I also visited Wilson's Book World which was nearby. This bookshop sells used books and comics in decent condition at a bargain price. I loved it! There were several rooms dedicated to specific genres. I wish I had taken more photographs, but I only had my iPhone with me. I'm still working on getting a portable pocket camera, and hopefully that will motivate me to blog more. Anyway, the owner was welcoming, helpful, and friendly. Him and I talked for a while about my latest  obsession: Game of Thrones. He even found me a copy of the first book in the series. I really do hope I enjoy the books as much as I enjoy the show. I've heard there are far more characters in the book series and it is difficult to keep up. We shall see!

June 2, 2014

Book Review · Tell The Wolves I'm Home

Title: Tell The Wolves I'm Home
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt
Narrator: June, first person
Publisher: Random House, 2012
Genre: Fiction
Source: Target
Review: 1 star out of 5 stars

Tell The Wolves I'm Home is probably one of the most boring books I have ever attempted to read. To top it all off, the story is disturbing. This book is about a fourteen year old girl named June whose uncle just died of AIDS. She has a weird obsession with her dead uncle, Finn, and it seems as though she may have had inappropriate feelings for him when he was alive. Finn had a "special" friend named Toby. Toby, a man who is roughly thirty years age, reaches out to June after Finn's death and writes her a letter in which he explains that he thinks they should meet to bond over the death of Finn (basically) and to not mention it to her parents. Um, creepy. Neither of them have a social life or anything remotely interesting about them. It's hard to sympathize with characters who aren't likable. They did meet, and it was awkward. Toby is desperate and June is naive. I've read several books with slow beginnings, but this one tops them all. I don't even care what happens next. All of the characters, including June's family members, are just so impersonal. I'm usually a fast reader, but this book turned me into a slow reader. Great books pull me in and this one just kept pushing me farther and farther away.

I did not finish reading this book. I have way too many books on my to-read list and I just don't have the energy to force myself through a book I don't find interesting. I wanted to give this book, or at least the first one hundred pages, zero stars to be quite honest. The only reason I am giving this book one star is because I like Carol Rifka Brunt's style of writing. However, I cannot recommend this book. I feel bad for saying that, but when I decided to write about books and my personal experiences with them I told myself that I would be completely honest and write only the truth. This is my first real negative book review. Fact: not every book is a good book. This one just wasn't my cup of tea.

May 29, 2014

Book Haul · May 2014

My birthday was this month so of course many books were a result from that.
One new "fun" book, eight new paperback novels, three new hardcover novels.

14,000 Things to be Happy About (2007)
A list of happy things.

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles (2013)
A book sensation gets published under the wrong sister's name.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (2010)
A local man falls in love with a foreign woman in a village where their bond may not be so welcoming.

The Baker's Daughter (2012)
A German bakery owner with a dark past of the last year of WWII.

The Perfume Collector (2014)
A young woman receives an inheritance from a mystery woman.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home (2013)
After a girl's uncle dies, she meets a strange man who may hold the answers to all her questions.

The Fault in Our Stars (2012)
A girl and boy meet at a cancer support group. They fall in love, I think.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (2013)
A mystery of some sort taking place inside of a bookshop.

Whistling Past the Graveyard (2014)
A child runs away from her grandmother's home.

The Inventor's Secret (2014)
An alternate universe where the American Revolution failed and refugees struggle to survive under a brutal British Empire.

A Burnable Book (2014)
1385 London. The "burnable book" is an ancient prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings.

All The Light We Cannot See (2014)
The lives of a French girl and a German boy collide in occupied France as they try to survive the horror of WWII.

May 24, 2014

Book Review · The Life List

Title: The Lift List
Author: Lori Nelson Spielman
Narrator: Brett Bohlinger, first person
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Chick Lit, Fiction
Source: Barnes & Noble
Review: 5 out of 5 stars

A book about loss and gain, The Life List quickly found a spot on my list of favorites. My heart was with the main character, Brett Bohlinger, the entire time. I was rooting for her. This book is about a woman in her mid-thirties who has just lost her mother, Elizabeth Bohlinger, and that is where the story begins: a grieving Brett in her mother's bedroom during the funeral luncheon. The next day Brett hits rock bottom when she finds out her mother didn't leave her an inheritance. Also, she loses her job at her mother's multimillion dollar company. Yikes! What her mother did leave behind for only daughter was a life list that once belonged to a teenage Brett who has since forgotten about it. Elizabeth believed that these were the true desires of her daughter's heart and before she succumbed to cancer she hired a lawyer by the name of Brad Midar to help guide her daughter. The life list is to be completed within a year or Brett doesn't receive a single dime. Brett gains so much in the next few months after her mother's death and in many ways she finds her true self. This book is about personal growth, discovery, reunion, forgiveness, finding courage, and living life without regret. As the story progressed it occurred to me that this wasn't going to be a story about a woman chasing an inheritance, but instead about a woman building her very own fortune. I really loved the main character, Brett, and all of her quirks. I highly recommend this book! Well-written and heartfelt.

Favorite quote: "After twenty-seven years of slumber, love has arrived and awakened me from my sleep. The old me would say this is wrong, it's immoral. But the woman I've become feels helpless to stop it. For the first time in my life, my heart has found its rhythm."

May 3, 2014

Book Review · The Book Thief

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Narrator: Death, first person
Publisher: Picador, 2005
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: Barnes & Noble
Review: 5 stars out of 5 stars

How can I even begin to explain how this book made me feel? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is officially one of the greatest stories I have ever read. My only tiny annoyance with this book was the use of random German because I had to pause every time I came across a German word just so I can look up its definition. However I got over it as I dived deeper into the story. My absolute favorite thing about this book was that it was narrated by Death. And at first I was so enthralled by the story that I really did forget who was the narrator. Only when I would come across something such as, "The beginning of September. It was a cool day in Molching when the war began and my workload increased." Workload increased? And then it hit me. Many people die in war. Death's workload increases. Ah. And that's when I would remember again. I think that remembering that it was Death telling me this story and not some old man in his rocking chair was vital. And halfway through the book, it was impossible to forget that it was Death recounting a story about an orphaned girl, her love of words, a Jew hidden away, and a ghastly war that consumed the lives of millions. A definite page turner. Fair warning: do take heart if you plan to read this book. It's not sweet. It's tough and it may will make you cry.

Favorite quote: "She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."

February 2, 2013

Book Review · The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson (Translator: Steven T. Murray)
Narrator: Third person
Publisher: Norstedts Förlag, 2005 (English: Knopf Doubeday, 2008)
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Adult
Source: Borders
Review: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo turned out to be a completely different book than I had in mind. The book initially started off rather slow, but that changed almost instantly. This one definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I read it in about a week and a half. The characters seemed so real, they had so much personality. This story takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. It revolves around the disappearance of a teenage girl 36 years prior to the present date and the lives of the two characters, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, who are on a mission to uncover what really happened to her. I especially enjoyed the ending. This book is a thriller. There were many unexpected twists and turns that jumped out at me. The book is filled with suspense and mystery. I couldn't give it a perfect score because there were tiny parts in the story that I didn't care for at all, but overall the story was fantastic and very well written. Those tiny parts do not take away from how great this book is. I'd recommend this book to fans of suspense and mystery.

August 11, 2012

Book Review · Twenties Girl

Title: Twenties Girl
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Bantam Press, 2009
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Comedy
Source: Barnes & Noble
Review: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl has become one of my favorite novels. I read this book in under 48 hours. I could not for the life of me put this page-turner down. Kinsella wrote Twenties Girl with great charm, wit, and humor. It was definitely an easy read. The story takes place in London, England. It's a story about a twenty-something year old woman named Lara. After her great Aunt Sadie dies at the age of one hundred and five years, Lara is the only one who is able to see her ghost. The ghost of Sadie is also in her twenties. Together they go on an adventure to solve a mystery about a missing necklace that Sadie must retrieve in order to find peace. Along the way Lara, with Sadie's help, tries to work out her own problems within her business and love life. I recommend this book to anyone who is fond of the 1920s, mystery, romance, and chick lit.