Category Archives: Book Review
Grace Stanton is living the life. With her life style blog bringing in thousands of views a day and advertisers lining up to be a part of it, as well as a super hot husband… well, what more could she want?
Then one evening she catches that sweet husband with her so-called trusted assistant and the next thing you know Grace has driven his sports car into the pool. Seeking sanctuary at her mother’s house while she clears her head, Grace learns that hell hath no fury does not only apply to women….
Suddenly Grace finds her bank accounts closed, and her blog passwords changed. As Grace’s husbands name is on everything, he is shutting her life down one gold card at a time and now Grace is left with the clothes on her back and the change in her pocket.
Forced by the divorce judge to attend mandatory “divorce recovery” sessions weekly, Grace finds herself among a group of disgruntled women… surprisingly all sent to this same quirky divorce recovery by the same judge… something does not seem to be on the up and up. As the women in this group start to bond they find they have a lot in common and “Ladies Night” comes out of the ashes of their messy messed up lives and something new begins to grow…
is it hope?
I so enjoyed this read! Light and funny, Grace is a woman who has been wronged. As a blogger myself… I can only imagine what it would be like to lose my rights to my own site…. grrrr :razz:
Mary Kay Andrews writes Grace as a strong female character who gets knocked down, but finds her way back up. In a fun fast paced read that will have you laughing and cheering, Ladies Night is Women’s Chick Lit at its finest. Grab a glass of wine and pull up a chair!
The Bookies reviewed this book for our November read. We had a lot of fun setting up our food and drinks as the “Sandbox”, the name of Grace’s moms bar. For the most part, the girls really enjoyed the book giving it an above average score overall.
*This review may inadvertently contain spoilers if you have not read the previous 4 books)
In City Of Lost Souls, Jace is just gone. After the battle of the last book and Lilith’s dark magic, Clary finds nothing but an empty room. Perhaps just as disturbing and if not even more so, Sebastians body is gone as well. It appears that Lilith has bound the two together – you can not harm one, without harming the other. Death for one, means death for both.
As the Clave is planning a search and destroy mission for Sebastien, Clary, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus are trying to figure out how to find Jace and a way to separate the dark magic off of him before he is killed. When Clary discovers a way to get to where Jace is, she knows she is offering up her own life as well as Jace is not who he once was. Now under the control of a powerful magic, Jace has a new agenda that will with the manipulation of Sebastian, destroy everything.
How far do you go for love? And if there is a line… where is it?
Holy twinkies this was good reading! I fell right into page one and hid from the world until I could finish this amazing book. Cassandra Clare does not weaken in her writing as the books go on, if anything, like any good series, they become even better, more powerful and ugh….. what am I going to do until that 6th and final book comes out in May????
If you are looking for an amazing series that I could honestly say can enter into my “books that come close to my love of the Harry Potter books”… this is your series. If you know my total love and obsession for all things Harry Potter, you know that these are words I do not take lightly. WOW oh WOW.
This week, the first book in this series, City Of Bones, came out in DVD. The movie is fantastic! My advice… it is winter and at least in my area of the world… winter is LONG. Pick up these books…. enjoy that first movie and please please please, join me in the world of The Immortal Instruments.
Previous books in this series and the reviews:
City Of Bones (the only one I listened to on audio)
Book 4 (May contain (inadvertently) spoilers)
Finally things are coming together. The war is over. Clary’s mom is not only safe and home, but also preparing to marry the love of her life. Even Clary herself is in love, real love, now that it has been proven that Jace is not her brother after all. Even Simon who has become a little hotter, a little more self-assured in his new vampire physic, is attracting a few prospects of his own.
Yet nothing ever stays calm and soon Shadow Hunters are being murdered in New York. Tensions run high between the Downworlders and Shadow Hunters as each wonders now that Valentine is gone, who could possibly be behind these killings? Is it followers of Valentine? And then there is Jace, finally he and Clary have what they both had dreamed of and yet he seems to be pulling away. Clary is so confused – he claims to love her so much it hurts but then why it is every time they get close he pulls away. Far away.
As Clary and Jace deal with what is happening between them, Simon is trying hard to avoid what all vampires seem to cave in to… and his thirst just grows stronger and more uncontrollable every day. When a baby shows up at the hospital with claws for hands and black pits for eyes, something bigger than their own problems seems to be taking form….
Holy smokes! I read this one in its entirety while on vacation in Florida. Read that sentence again. I read this book while on a three-day Florida vacation packed with things to do and places to see. That is how awesome this book is. I read it in the morning while at the hotel breakfast and again at night when I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. And I read a big chunk of it on the plane. I could not put it down …
and when it ended…
I could not wait to get my hands on the next one.
As Jace and Clary have now made it to boyfriend and girlfriend – what we had all (ok – me) been hoping for comes to reality only to seem to be ripped away as soon as it happens. While this may be a familiar scene in books of this genre – be sure that Cassandra Clare has put a spin on things to make it unique and page turning all at once. And with Simon’s battle of who and what he is you got to feel for him, I mean… a guys got to eat right?
Another solid delivery, Cassandra Clare takes us to yet another level of her world that is breathtaking and fast paced. How I long to add Shadow Hunter to my bucket list of things to do…..
Book 3: Clary’s mom has been in a coma for a long time and answers are finally starting to fall into place as to why she will not wake up. To get to the bottom of what is going on with her mom, Clary, Jace, Alex, and Isabelle must go to to the City Of Glass which is said to be an unwelcoming place and dangerous. Simon must stay behind because vampires are frowned upon and one that can withstand daylight would be all the more insulting to those who dwell in the City.
As Clary works to try to figure out her past, a friendship comes in the form of Sebastian, a good looking Shadow Hunter who seems to understand Clary. Downworlders and Shadow Hunters class are required to work together on what seems to be reaching epic battle proportions – but the underlying questions is can these two groups come together when they are worlds apart?
And can Clary stay strong as Jace moves on with another girl leaving her to come to face to face with the fact that is all she can ever have of him is his friendship.
So mid series I am still at a WOW level. I simply love the characters and Jace… well…. see the City Of Bones movie and tell me if you can think of Jace any other way. ;) (Just saying…). Simon is as always a great addition to the books (way to go Cassandra Clare!) He adds that mix of dorky loyalty that levels out the book from all the hotness those Shadow Hunters provide! But stay tuned future Mortal Instrument readers, Simon also comes into his own and this book is an excellent example of that.
Get ready to join in the battle as it is a GOOD one!
Life… once resembled normal for Clary. She was a typical teenager hanging out with her best friend Simon. But now everything seems goofy. Simon, now seems to be more than a friend… and of course that is because Jace, who really holds her heart… has been relieved to be her brother. Clary wishes it would all just go back to what life was…
but not really.
At least Jace is part of her life, even if it can not be in the way she wishes. And the Shadowhunter world is both strange and exhilarating all at once. With her mom still in a coma, and Downworlders being murdered by who knows who or what, there is not a lot of time to dwell on what was…
In a word: Yippy!
I moved on to this book not after reading book one (City of Bones), which was an “eh” audio listen for me, but instead, after I seen the City Of Bones movie. Yowza. Once I could see what was happening I could not wait to dive into this book and give the Mortal Instrument series another go.
Results? Fantabulous! (*My word.) Seeing the movie gave me the kick-start I needed to visualize what was happening in this world of Shadow Hunters, Downworlders, Demons, and other things that go bump in the night. I flew through this book loving the world that Cassandra Clare has created and thirsting for more. I do not think I have been this excited about a fantasy series since dare I say…. Harry Potter?
My recommendation: dig in. There are 5 books in the series but they are so engrossing you will fly through them. I have. And loved every minute of it.
In the later 1800′s, Norwegian settlers took to the Great Plains to find for themselves a better life. Dreams of great farm lands and prosper propelled them forward and Per Hansa, was not an exception.
Per Hansa, his wife, Beret, and their two sons head out into the wide open space hoping to catch up with the group they had started out with and begin to build their dreams. While Per Hansa almost vibrates with his desire for something to call his own, Beret keeps quiet to her dreams of staying where they were with, with family and friends and all she ever knew of as home.
When they do meet up with the others and stake their land the whole family experiences first hand what it is like to start with nothing. A house built out of sod, and their cow living under this same sod roof. The planting of food to eat and to sell and the hope and prayer each season that the crops will prosper and drought, weather or plagues do not take what they have put blood, sweat and tears into.
The land is hard and the life style to match but Per Hansa thrives in the environment of working from before sun up to after sun down. As other settlers pass through and the native Americans come calling, Per Hansa comes across many situations he was not prepared for…. yet onward he goes, trusting in God and the land.
We read Giants In The Land for our classic read. Around page 11 I thought I was in trouble… when our author started explaining the sound of the grass I thought “oh oh…. I have over 500 pages of this?” Yet I settled into the book to get through it, and found that I was enjoying it in no time.
Per Hansa is a go getter. At times to the point of ripping your hair out, but it seems like everything he tries and touches turns out for the better. Beret, is another character all together. Left mainly to tend to the house and the children, the time alone only wears on her. Although their are other women near by, Beret is far too sheltered within herself to go out and make the relationships she needs to keep her going.
The real beauty in Giants In The Earth is that the land and the weather is just as much a character as Per Hansa, Beret and the other settlers. The land and weathers role is a bit one. It can give, and it can just as quickly take away. Everything in this environment depends on both.
I flew through this read. It was so far different from anything I had read and I could imagine what the times had to feel like, make it or break it, you had to keep moving forward day after day. It is a book that will remain on my shelf to be referred to again.
Bookies thoughts and fun:
We had a blast being able to have our review in an 1851 cabin that is on the property of one of our book club gals. (Thanks Brenda!). We dressed the time period and ate the food that they ate: lefsa, potatoes, cider, stew, goat cheese… It was a great time.
What a great time! The Bookies over all rated it a high 3 (almost 4!) out of 5. Most of us enjoyed the time period and the idea of the early settlers. A few of us struggled getting into the book and found it too dry.
“I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because my super powered Blogerific Ninja Team Raphael and Biff, that scan the blogesphere for all things copied are not always as quick and efficient as I would like them to be. (Especially Biff, but do not say anything to him as he is HIGHLY sensitive.)
Imagine… if someone you loved who has passed away – someone you had mourned for, grieved over and made deals with God about how much you miss them and only if they could return to you…
if they did.
Harold and Louise Hardgrave had lived decades of this kind of loss and pain. In 1966, at the age of eight their only son Jacob had drowned at his own birthday party. As life tends to go on, even when we sludge through it… that is what the Hardgrave’s did… forming for themselves a life without Jacob and doing their best to move on.
And then one day, there he is. Jacob, at their door, looking just as he did at the age of 8.
And not just Jacob. All over the word that reports had been coming in for weeks that people who had passed on had suddenly arrived back at their homes, back in their loved ones lives… and no one can explain why. Is this the sign of the world coming to an end? Or the return of Christ? Or is it something darker…. something difficult to fathom when standing before you is the one that you have prayed for…. hoped for….
In a new and confused world, even Harold and Louise have trouble seeing eye to eye on how they feel about Jacob’s return. Louise is hook line and sinker ready to throw herself back into the role of nurturing mother and takes Jacob at face value. Harold however has reservations that this really is his son. He may look like him, walk like him, and talk like him… but he was there when his son had died. Life zapped away in a blink of an eye does nor return like that.
Wow. Even before I started reading this book I had heard the scuttle around the edges of the internet of the mixed emotions this book was bringing out. That just made me more curious.
The Returned really is a fascinating topic for a book. As the book opened with Jacob at the door of his parents who have aged and stooped over the years yet here was their precious little boy looking as fresh and wonderful as he did before he left them I knew I wanted to know more.
The Return does very well at describing the emotions both accepting and abrasive as those who have passed on return to their homes and families rejoice. I even enjoyed the dynamics of what issues this would cause our world if this really did happen… for instance, The Returned had huge appetites. Always hungry they needed to be fed. And for that matter housed, and cared for. Suddenly as people keep returning, you can see where the once dead could soon out number the living. And, The Returned did not always turn up where their families were, some had no families… others had no desire to return to the family and friends they had so choose to go elsewhere…. etc…. fascinating stuff really.
What The Return (in my opinion) does not do well at, is coming full circle. The whole book I am waiting to see what is bringing the returned back from the graves. In the danger of causing a spoiler, but I feel a necessary one… it is never made clear, which to me made the book feel as though it was not fully thought out.
As readers, or at least I can speak for myself and say as a reader I want to read great books. Even when an idea, such as The Returned is a new topic (which I love it when that happens!), I still want to be intellectually stimulated and not just smile and read on for the sake of reading something that entertains my mind. I want to feel “WOW” when I come out of the last page. Unfortunately, as much as I can say I enjoyed the idea of The Returned and parts of the book, it did not have the full idea thought out therefore, leaving me wanting more.
My final thoughts, I did enjoy the book. I dont mean to come off as harsh in this review, just real. It is enjoyable and if thats what you are looking for, I would recommend it. If you like answers to questions that come up in your fictional reading however, you may feel a bit disappointed.
In other news, I heard that this book is being considered for TV. I would tune in to see what they do with it.
*pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet
Nollop is a happy happy place where folks go along their merry way, minding their own business and helping a neighbor as needed. Nollop, named for the very famous (and very fictional!) Nevin Nollop, the creator of the pangram sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” On fact the town loves Nevin so much, they have the alphabet hanging in large tiles with the alphabet on them that hangs form a memorial statue of the famed man and have hung their for hundreds (maybe more!) years.
When one day, the “Z” drops from the statue the Island’s council calls an emergency meeting. Surely this a sign from Nevin from beyond the grave! A message quickly goes out across the land that the use of the letter “Z” is now forbidden as of midnight. No longer may people discuss the buzzing of bees, the fixing of a zipper, or visiting a zoo. To speak words containing this now letter that shall not be named, or writing it down will result in a series of punishments including up to public flogging and even jail time.
And so, Nollop moves on, after all it is only a “Z”, and it is possible to have a pretty (almost!) normal life without that letter.
But then… soon after…. the “Q drops. And again the council meets, and again a letter goes out now removing this letter as well, after all, it must be what Nevin wants…. and so to the wayside goes the ability to say or write things like quick or quiver or make the noise of “Quack!”.
And so it goes… letters continue to fall and the world spreads tot he public that the use of these letters are now forbidden… as the books continues, written in letters, the letters become harder and harder to read…. when the letter “D” drops – you can no longer say you knocked on a door , but instead on a portal… and so on and so on…
What will become of the town as people slip up when greeting others or write a now forbidden letter into a sentence?
What will become of Ella, who lives on Nollop and wants nothing more than to see the written word and language returned so once again we can freely express ourselves?
I adored this brilliant book.
I heard about Ella Minnow Pea a couple of years ago while in New York for the Book Expo. I thought it sounded brilliant. While Ella Minnow Pea is not a banned book, it talks about the banning of books. As letters continue to be eliminated, the Library in Nollop is closed…. too many words and you know every one of those books has to be a violation.
Letters sent to one another are read by a selected person to check for the offending letters – but no wait, this is not an invasion of privacy as the person hired to do this does not speak any English, therefore has no idea as to what he is reading.
Ella Minnow Pea is a wonderful reflection of what happens when we enforce censorship. We take away people’s rights to use the tools we have been given to communicate, to choose what we say or write and when we say it. As the books goes on and the letters continue to be eliminated it becomes harder and harder to understand and that… is exactly the point.
Check out Ella Minnow Pea. It’s smart, it’s fun… and it really makes you think about how one small right taken away (like the use of “Z”) seems like no big deal…. and then… one day…. it is another small no big deal (“Q”) and then another… and another…
I chose to review Ella Minnow Pea for Banned Book Week because it fits right in with what happens when we ban or challenge books to be removed from shelves due to our personal preference for what we consider to be proper. Imagine… if everyone had their way on banning and challenging books… think of the great reads we would have NEVER been allowed to read….. The Bible, Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, Little House On The Prairie, Narnia, Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, SPEAK, Charlotte’s Web, Alice In Wonderland, The Giver, Wuthering Heights, Kite Runner, Perks Of Being a Wallflower, The Chocolate War, Beloved, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Color Purple, The Bridge To Terabithia, Of Mice and Men, In True Blood, Song Of Solomon, Are You There God Its Me Margaret, Blubber, A Prayer For Owen Meany…
Before I knew it I was so caught up in the book it was like the pages were turning themselves.
Gene goes to high school like the other teenagers his age. He looks and acts just like the other students yet Gene is not like the other students.
Gene is human. Heper, as they are called. And they are hunted and rare,
It is unfortunate that he can not run as fast as his peers with their lightning quick moves. But on the upside he doesn’t have to avoid the sun and he doesn’t crave the taste of human blood.
He knows the rules to staying alive and not drawing attention to himself. Do not sweat. Do not smile or laugh or show and emotion for that matter. Do not blush or cough. And absolutely… under no circumstances do you fall in love. Life and death depend on how close he pays attention to these rules.
Then the Hunt is announced. A lucky few will be chosen by lottery to participate in the televised hunting and killing of a group of hepers. The odds are that he will not be chosen out of the hundreds, thousands even that are eligible – yet as the numbers are read ….
There is no way he will not be found our for who he is.
What are odds of survival?
And what is the greater cost?
I was so excited to read this book dubbed as part Twilight…. part Hunger Games. A YA read that consisted of a world of vampire like creatures that have replaced us in the schools and in the markets. They thirst for human blood. They hang from locks on their feet at night. They scratch their wrist to express emotion like humor or nervousness. Their teeth are pointy.
To be human (heper) is unheard of unless you are under captivity to be studied or be raised like cattle… fattening up for the slaughter… but as Gene can attest, being human/heper and living among the others is rare and dangerous… but so far possible.
I loved the flow of this book like Hunger Games into a world where survival is the goal and friend is pitted against friend. What I didn’t love was when it became a little too close to Hunger Games, for a while there “The Woman director shows up again in her frilly dress”…. and “Their can only be one survivor… one real champion” was a bit too cookie cutter copied for my liking.
HOWEVER…. as the book went on I was thrilled to see it take its own path and break out of that cookie cutter mold into a story that kept me reading and guessing and hoping and…. well… and ordering the next book, The Prey.
Did I love it? Pretty darn close. Overall it was an awesome read, one that filled me with those first thrills that Hunger Games did and those are rare finds.
The Hunt is way more Hunger Games than it is Twilight, and if you enjoyed Hunger Games, I think you will find this a nice fix.
“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”
William Kent Krueger
Like a soft whisper you barely hear, Ordinary Grace brings your senses to full attention – you are on alert for what will happen next and in the end, you were not even close to the truth but wow – what a fantastic journey!
New Bremen, Minnesota 1961. The Twins were a new team, ice cold frosty mugged root beer was the coveted drink of choice, and Hot Stuff comic books were the way to spend that change that was waiting in your jeans pocket. For thirteen year old Frank it started out as a summer of possibilities, but this summer had other plans, plans no one could have foreseen. The summer of 1961 in New Bremen Minnesota turned out to be the summer of death.
Frank, now 40, looks back at this summer of 61 with a sense of peace and awe at the grace of it all. In 1961 he lived with his Methodist Minister father of several churches in the area, his mother who never planned on being a ministers wife but that is what she was and while she liked to smoke cigarettes and hold her own identity she did her best as part of the choir at the churches, an older sister with talent that had her heading right towards the awaiting gates of Julliard and a tag along always under foot younger brother who while bothersome, was wise at the most perfect times. At the brink of manhood, Franks thirteenth year was one that changed his way of thinking for life.
Death comes in many forms: Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. Thirteen year old Frank is about to experience all of the above.
Why did I want to read this book? William Kent Krueger is a Minnesota legend. He is that author who is writing books that generate followers of his writing yet I had never read him. I have over the past several years picked up his books here and there, tales of Minnesota’s North Shore and while I planned on reading him…. I just never got to it. Thanks to Wine and Words and Kent’s generous offer to be a part of our debut year, I knew I had to (and wanted to!) read him and Ordinary Grace was told to be a different kind of tale for Krueger. With all that said – I was in.
Ordinary Grace is the kind of book you do not want to put down. It flows with a pace you would expect for 1961, a small town pace that reminds you of summer heat and the days before the media outpouring at every way you turn and the days of course where you could pick up a soda with a straw at the local drug store and make it last for hours.
As I melted into the pages of Frank’s life and his family I had no trouble at all seeing through thirteen year old Frank’s eyes. William Kent Krueger drew a perfect picture of the life and times of Frank and his family, and I fell right into Bremen as though I were a resident.
Drawn in completely Ordinary Grace has the town characters who are indeed “characters”. Gus (to name one)is the buddy each of us has in our life that likes to love life a little bit on the edge, not always a rule follower which keeps things interesting when you are with them and usually has a heart of gold and would do anything for you. And Gus is only one of the great people you will meet within the pages.
In the end, Ordinary Grace took my breath away. I cruised through the final pages as in rapid succession the missing pieces of the summer of 61 were dropped into place. I closed the final page with a sense of bewilderment in the crazy and amazing grace of a young boy who in a summers worth of days grew to know more than he had ever wanted or thought he needed, yet molded him into the man he was to become.
I can not wait to dig into William Kent Krueger’s books again. Tamarack County awaits for me.