Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Blogger Hop - July 3 to July 9, 2015 - hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Book Blogger Hop



I haven't participated in a Book Blogger Hop for a while, but I always enjoyed them. You get to visit other book blogs and see what other people are reading. There is also a question to answer each week. Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer has taken over the reins to this Book Blogger Hop so the fun can continue! 

Here is the prompt for the week of July 3 to July 9: 

Do you lend out your books to friends and family? 

Think of YOUR answer and write a comment to this post. Then go to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and click on one or more of the other blogs listed to see what they say. 

Here is my answer: 

I gladly lend out my books to friends and family. Last month, I took our book club selection over to our library and offered it to anyone who wanted to read it. I told them I didn't need it back. I have enough books on my TBR shelf, I don't need another bookshelf of books I have already read, although I do keep a few if they are very special. 


High Summer Read-a-Thon by Seasons of Reading


Seasons of Reading

It's summer! Time to relax and read, and read, and read. Seasons of Reading is sponsoring the High Summer Read-a-Thon to help you do just that - relax and read! 

There really are no requirements to join this read-a-thon at Seasons of Reading. You do not have to have a blog. You can join from Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. Sign-up here

Children's books are allowed as long as you are also reading some adult selections. 

There will be one big giveaway at the end of the read-a-thon, but you must have participated in the read-a-thon to qualify. This means signing up and linking up your wrap-up at the end (winners are chosen from the wrap-up linky). 

The hashtag for this Read-a-Thon is #HSreadathon on Twitter (or Facebook). You can see the rest of the details for the Read-a-Thon here

Here is the read-a-thon credo as proclaimed by Seasons of Reading: a week of relaxed reading during which we can personally challenge ourselves and whittle away those ever looming TBR piles/shelves/libraries. So, no pressure...EVER! Enjoy!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: Annie Moon and the Elemental Artifact by Melanie Abed

Anni Moon & The Elemental Artifact by Melanie Abed

Title: Annie Moon and the Elemental Artifact
Author: Melanie Abed
Ebook Published September 30, 2014 by Oculus Print

from Goodreads:

Anni doesn't know about Elementals, Funk, Zephyrs, excited talking Bat-Rat creatures, and, least of all, Dragons. All that changes when her best friend, Lexi, is kidnapped and forces beyond Anni’s control trap her on a hidden, floating island in the Elemental world.


In a race against time, Anni sets out to save her friend. Along the way she finds allies among the Elementals, but she is also presented with a choice, one that might help save Lexi. If Anni agrees to an ancient, open-ended contract, will her sacrifice cost her more than she’s bargained for? Or will it land her in the middle of an age-old war between the humans, the Elementals, and the dreaded Fectus?

Alleluialu's Review:

I read this book upon request of the author. In my opinion, young readers - middle school, junior high - would really enjoy it. Personally, I am open to nearly any kind of book no matter what age the intended audience. This book had all kinds of interesting characters and mysteries to solve. The main character, Annie Moon, was adventurous, strong and clever. I liked that about her. She also cared deeply for her friends and those she regarded as family. She wasn't freaked out - well, not for long anyway - about being in a strange place with really strange creatures. She was focused on finding her friend, Lexi, no matter what. Lexi, on the other hand, appeared meek but her association with Annie strengthened her. This was a very good book with lots of lessons that could be learned. It moved along well and I think any middle school/junior high reader would really enjoy it.


I have given this book 4 stars - I really liked it, but after all it was written for middle school/junior high readers and I definitely am not one of those. However, I do think that audience would really enjoy this book. 




Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Paperback: 422 pages
Published: April 22, 2014 by Broadway Books
Setting: North Carthage, MO
Literary Awards: Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel 2013; Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel 2013; Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award (RT Award) for Suspense/Thriller Novel 2012; Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Best Novel 2012; Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel 2013; Goodreads Choice for Best Mystery & Thriller 2012; women's Prize for Fiction Nominee for Longlist 2013; Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle for roman policier 2013

from Goodreads: 

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 

Alleluialu's Review:

This was our book club's April selection. It was suggested last year, but the person suggesting it was worried about offending some book club members with the language, etc. I didn't really notice that big of a foul language problem. I mean there were words spoken or thought, but it wasn't offensive to me. The story was good. The ending...eh...weird. I like books and movies that you have to figure out and this certainly was one of those. I sometimes count the number of pages in a book and the number of days until I have to have it read. I finished this book 3 days early. At a certain point, I read it as much as possible. It wasn't as compelling as some other books I have read, but I definitely had to keep going to find out what happened next. I would have liked for Nick's Dad to have had something to tell. He kept popping up and I expected him to have some clue to offer, but it never happened. Amy's character was pretty much of a genius - a wicked genius. She was so thorough. I wanted Nick to match her wit. Anyway, I might have to see the movie. If you like crime fiction and twisting plots, this is a book for you. I am always amazed at authors who pull things like this off. Their minds are "amazing".


I usually use notes for ratings, but this time I want to use stars. I gave this selection 5 stars. It was definitely hard to put down and it was intriguing. I was a little disappointed in the ending, but it was still worth 5 stars. The murder-mystery buffs out there will love this one. 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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Title: The Awakening
Author: Kate Chopin
Paperback: 195 pages
Published: 2006 by Elibron Classics
Setting: New Orleans, Louisiana

from Goodreads
When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin's daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.

Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. Edmund Wilson characterized it as a work "quite uninhibited and beautifully written, which anticipates D. H. Lawrence in its treatment of infidelity." Although the theme of marital infidelity no longer shocks, few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening.
 

Alleluialu's Review:

** spoiler alert ** My daughter told me I would like this book. I'm not sure why. Anyway, I didn't particularly like the beginning. It seemed like your basic Victorian family at the beach story, but it got better after the family went back home. I was proud of Mrs. Pontellier when she stood up for herself and started painting again, didn't have tea parties just because her husband wanted her to, and found the little house around the corner. However, I don't understand why she had to (SPOILER ALERT) take her own life. How did that prove anything? Didn't that mean that her husband won after all? Granted she had control over the deed, but she was dead. I don't get it. The story reminded me of "To The Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf, but I just don't get why she had to die. 


I gave this selection 4 notes - A Concerto! I really liked this book. Go Find It! I got mine at my local library. It's a Classic. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything (2014) Poster

Title: The Theory of Everything
(2014)
PG-13 123 minutes Biography/Drama/Romance
Ratings: 7.8/10 
Director: James Marsh
Writers: Anthony McCarten (screenplay), Jane Hawking (book)
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior and others

My family and I watched this video last night. It was a remarkable movie. Great performances, especially by Eddie Redmayne, and beautiful music. Stephen Hawking overcame tremendous obstacles and was very brave to keep pushing on. I liked that Jane's story was told as well. I didn't expect that to be the case. I thought it would be all about Hawking and his work, so I was pleasantly surprised by Jane's inclusion. Of course, as my daughter noted, the movie was based on Jane's memoirs, so it only makes sense that her story would be told. She supported him so well, in my opinion. Even though she did love both Hawking and Jonathan, I was disappointed when Hawking left her to travel to America with Elaine. Then the pen-dropping scene left me suspicious of his motives with that girl. These suspicions are unfounded, but I'm just saying... Anyway, it was a lovely movie, as I said. Wonderful performances and a beautiful soundtrack. 

Book Review: The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley

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Title: The Girl on the Cliff
Author: Lucinda Riley
Paperback: 559 pages
Published 2011 by Michael Joseph
Setting: West Cork, London, England, New York

from Goodreads: 

Why has a secret from 1914 caused a century of heartache? Troubled by recent loss, Grania Ryan has returned to Ireland and the arms of her loving family. And it is here, on a cliff edge, that she first meets a young girl, Aurora, who will profoundly change her life. Mysteriously drawn to Aurora, Grania discovers that the histories of their families are strangely and deeply entwined . . . From a bittersweet romance in wartime London to a troubled relationship in contemporary New York, from devotion to a foundling child to forgotten memories of a lost brother, the Ryans and the Lisles, past and present, have been entangled for a century. Ultimately, it will be Aurora whose intuition and remarkable spirit help break the spell and unlock the chains of the past. Haunting, uplifting and deeply moving, Aurora's story tells of the triumph of hope over loss.

Alleluialu's Review

 I really enjoyed this selection. It was kind of epic. It told the story of how two families were intertwined. And it took place in Ireland - how could anyone not like that? The story opens with a young Irish sculptress, Grania, leaving her American lover, Matt, after a miscarriage and going back home to Ireland. She encounters a little girl on the cliffs near her home and befriends her. The novel is told in the little girl's voice. Grania's mother gives her a pile of letters that were written by her great-grandmother and the story of the two families unfolds. I could really connect with the characters in this novel. I felt as if I was right there experiencing everything. It was a very satisfying read.


This book gets 5 Notes from me - A Symphony - This book is excellent. Usually I say I didn't want a 5-Note book to end, but this one had a very satisfying ending. Pick it up at your local library or bookstore and enjoy it. 



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Romance is in the air 2015

Welcome to the
Romance is in the Air Blog Hop!

This hop was organized by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. There are over 110 blogs participating in this Hop and offering book-related giveaways featuring Young Adult and Clean Adult Romance. We are all linked together so you can hop from one blog to another easily. The Hop runs from Wednesday, Feb. 4 to Valentine's Day, Saturday, Feb. 14

The giveaway prize on this blog will be a Barnes and Noble gift card for $25. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.

To enter, just FOLLOW this blog, leave me a comment, then complete the entry form on the right side panel. Last day to enter is Valentine's Day, February 14.  Until then, grab a link and hop around! THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks for stopping by. The winners will be announced on Feb. 15, 2015. Come back to visit anytime. 




Friday, January 30, 2015

Book Review: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

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Title: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Hardcover: 260 pages
Published: April 1, 2014 by Algonquin Books
Setting: Alice Island, Massachusetts (US)
from Goodreads:

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
 

Alleluialu's Review

It's so good. You have to read it! "A town isn't a town without a bookstore." It made me want to open one. This novel is filled with the best characters: a cranky bookseller who knows what he likes, a baby-child-teenager who is so smart, such a nerd, who loves books; the quirky book agent who just belongs there; the cop who learns he loves to read... And books, and books, and books, and books. This review is a bunch of babble, but the bottom line is - this book is so good, you have to read it. Thank you, Ms. Zevin, for sharing it with us. 

At our book club meeting, we discussed the relationship to the short stories listed at the beginning of each chapter and the chapter itself. It gave such a new depth to this novel, I couldn't believe there was an even better reason to read it again! Every one of our members liked the book and had a different reason for doing so. It's such a good book. You have to read it. 


If you think I would give this anything but 5 notes - A Symphony - you haven't read my babbling post above. This is an outstanding selection and a book worth reading! 



Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: The Other Shakespeare by Lea Rachel

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Title: The Other Shakespeare
Author: Lea Rachel
Published: The Writer's Design press 2015
Paperback: 197 pages


from Goodreads: 

What if Shakespeare had been born a woman? What would have happened to her? And, what would she have accomplished?

Virginia Woolf first posed these questions in her acclaimed novel A Room of One’s Own…and now maverick author Lea Rachel steps up to tell the rest of the story.

The Other Shakespeare carries readers back to the sixteenth century to follow Judith Shakespeare, the older sister of William, as she tries to make a name for herself in a male-dominated society that consistently denies women their independence. Born with as much talent, creativity, and drive as her younger brother, she is stifled by the world around her and ultimately resorts to extreme measures to get accepted and have her talent recognized.

Judith’s story is rich with history, conflict, and drama and is sure to appeal to fans of Virginia Woolf, William Shakespeare, and character-driven fiction.
 

Alleluialu's Review

Okay, now I'm sad. There may be spoilers in this review. I'm just warning you, I can't help it. I was given this book by the author's agent to review and I just finished it. I liked it very much and I am glad I got the opportunity to read it. It held my interest and was well-written. After the final page, the author challenges the reader to find the Shakespeare quotes she embedded in every chapter. Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough with most of Shakespeare's writings to do that, although I did catch a reference or two. That certainly would be fun for Shakespeare fans. I immediately caught the Virginia Woolf references however, especially the final one. That could be a spoiler, but only if you know anything about Virginia Woolf. As I said previously, the story was well-written. Situations were believable for the time period, except I doubt a woman would be welcomed so frequently by a troupe of male actors at their pub without them thinking the worst of her. It was sad that she couldn't get any recognition for her writing talent. I kept trying to figure out in my mind how the world discovered Judith's "Romeo and Juliet" and attached William's name to it. Did she tell Robert Greene her brother wrote it just to have it accepted and then did Judith collect the royalties in her brother's name? It could have worked. There were several pages when I tried to tell her to do that, but alas, she didn't listen. Such a sad ending and stupid James Burbage just watched. I expected more from him. The author definitely engaged me in the story which is why, as I said, I'm sad now.


I'm giving this book 4 notes as well - another Concerto: I really liked it and you should go out and find it on Amazon here or on Barnes & Noble here