Sunday, September 30, 2012

Literally Dead by James Conroy

Literally DeadLiterally Dead by James Conroy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was asked to read and review this novel by the publisher. It interested me because there were several authors mentioned in the blurb I read. I'm not a fan of crime fiction, but this book held my interest. Many famous authors' names were dropped - Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay - there's also a plug for James Conroy! The story takes place in Chicago and deals with the effort to start workers' unions and the corruption of Chicago's police force. I guess it held my interest because I have family that would have lived in Chicago when the story takes place AND my father was a steelworker and belonged to the Steelworkers' Union. The young writer who is at the center of this story was also son to a renowned union organizer. His father was killed during a worker strike in an attempt to get better wages and working conditions for the workers of a shoe company. It turns out that he was actually murdered and now his son is trying to put the pieces together to find out who murdered him. Hemingway is depicted as you would expect - garrulous and independent; Sandburg and Millay are very important people in this Chicago and help the boy out as much as they can. They also bring along Clarence Darrow to get him out of jail and help with his puzzle. Writing it here, it seems rather fantastic, but reading it, it flows together. It was a very good book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I don't particularly like crime fiction, but this was okay - almost historical. I recommend it.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

The White Garden by Stephanie Barron

The White Garden: A Novel of Virginia WoolfThe White Garden: A Novel of Virginia Woolf by Stephanie Barron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite authors and this book is a fictionalized account of events surrounding her death. Stephanie Barron does an excellent job making you believe the events she creates are true. The way things progress makes this book exciting and very hard to put down. If you like mysteries and puzzles, you'll love this book. She gives you bits and pieces and weaves them together, extending one piece, then another, then weaving around to join them to complete that part of the puzzle. Wonderful! And, I just love Virginia and Stephanie's story does her justice and kind of justifies her actions that others have labeled "crazy". I definitely recommend this book.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Blogger Hop 9/21 - 9/27/12

Book Blogger Hop

I haven't participated in a Book Blogger Hop in a while and I really missed it...soooo, here goes!
This Book Blogger Hop lasts from 9/21/12 to 9/27/12 and is hosted by Crazy for Books. This is the question of the week:

What is the one thing your blog readers probably do not know about you? will be interesting to read what other people answer to this question. I'm trying hard to think of best friend is my eldest sister, Betty, who is 12 years older than I am. She thought my parents had me just for her and we have always been close. Now we go to water aerobics classes, sing (well I'm the accompanist) in the church choir, and sew costumes for our local high school musicals. She certainly doesn't act or look like she is 12 years older than I. I'm hoping I'm as healthy as she is when I'm her age.
If you want to participate in this Book Blogger Hop, create a blog post and go to Crazy for Books and add your link.  It's really fun!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes

To enter the "Uncontrollable" ebook Giveaway, just complete the form at the upper right.
This giveaway ends at noon on September 15th!
Good Luck!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian ChroniclesThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has two things going for it - it is science fiction and it's a classic. This is a series of stories about people from Earth who travel to Mars and what they did there. All the stories have a 1950's vibe to them, in my opinion, even though they claim to take place from 1999 to 2026 and they are going to Mars! They must have some kind of advanced technology. It was the words that were used and the images that played in my mind - I saw people dressed as in the 50's and acting as people did then. Ray Bradbury has quite the imagination. My favorite story was the one about the House of Usher - creepy but very cool. I also liked the Hathaways and Tom and his parents. Bradbury touched on all kinds of social issues - racism, bookburning, greed, etc. I'm sure there is a story in this book for everyone. I recommend it! It is a little book, but it gives you a lot to think about.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes

Uncontrollable (The Nature of Grace, #2)Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great story by Shelli Johannes! I loved "Untouchable" and "Uncontrollable" is just as exciting. Grace, the heroine, is just so amazing. She has been through hell and still tries to help the people and animals she loves. I felt her sadness at her losses and I especially felt the cold when she fell into that snow drift. Johannes knows how to write to keep you turning pages and anticipating what will happen next. Her villains are believable and she gives you little clues, but you have to be clever enough to notice them. Twists and turns abound. The relationships are real - not sappy and gross. Grace is a teenage girl and her relationships are age-appropriate. This is a great book. If you care about the environment or wildlife conservation, you need to read this book. Fantastic! Next week - on September 14th - I will be hosting a giveaway for this ebook! Come back and enter to win a copy!

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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood -- moving up on my TBR list.


On The Classic Club blog, this is the September Meme Question:  

Pick a classic someone else in the club has read from our big review list. Link to their review and offer a quote from their post describing their reaction to the book. What about their post makes you excited to read that classic in particular?

I chose Beachreader's review of "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. My favorite quote of the review was this:

"What I particularly liked is that Offred is not a hero in the "have bow & arrow - will shoot - Hunger Games sense." Her heroism comes in the telling of her story. There must be people who remember what it was like before there was a Republic of Gilead."

I admire strong heroines and can't wait to read this book. Both of my daughters have read it and have told me I MUST read it. And that I will LOVE it. So, "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood has moved up to #4 on my 50 Classics in 5 Years book list (I'm reading #3 now.)

If you are interested in reading more classics, gather 50 to read over the next 5 years and go to The Classic Club blog and sign up! Here's a link to my book list.

The Classics Club

I'm joining The Classics Club. I know, I'm crazy, but I've been wanting to read more classic literature for a while now. To join The Classics Club, you have to make a list of 50 books you want to read over the next 5 years! It's harder than you think. There is a list on the site, so I just went down through the list and picked ones that sounded interesting or that I have heard of before. I can change my titles if I want over the next 5 years, I just have to read 50 classic books by then. I'm setting my start date as July 15, 2012, so I can include "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett and "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins. I read "Watership Down" by Richard Adams in January, but I didn't want to go back that far. That means I should have read at least 50 classics by July 15, 2017. So, here is my list:

The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett  read 7/26/12  review 
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins  read 8/20/12  review 
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury  read 9/13/12  review
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Edward Albee
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
A Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen  read 12/27/12  review
The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow
Farenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Lady Audley's Secret, Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte
The Professor, Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Evelina, Frances Burney
Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Burns
Erewhon, Samuel Butler
A Lost Lady, Willa Cather
Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
Sapphire and the Slave Girl, Willa Cather
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
Three Sisters, Anton Chekov
The Awakening, Kate Chopin
My Mother's House, Colette
Armadale, Wilkie Collins
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Stephen Crane
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
The Winds of Heaven, Monica Dickens
The Lost World, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
Daniel Deronda, George Eliot
Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Eliot
Absalom! Absalom!, William Faulkner
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Cousin Phillis and Other Stories, Elizabeth Gaskell
Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Island, Aldous Huxley
A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
Daisy Miller, Henry James
The Bostonians, Henry James
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

These are in alphabetical order by author - except the first ones, of course, but not in reading order.
There is more to this list, I only put 50 here. This should be interesting!