Reading with Style discussion

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Challenge Home (Summer 2011) > Reading w/Style Completed Tasks - Summer 2011

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message 251: by Deedee (last edited Aug 09, 2011 04:13AM) (new)

Deedee | 669 comments After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Entertaining, even for those who never read the Superhero comics.

+ 10 Task

Task Total: 10

Girl in Hyacinth Blue (1999) by Susan Vreeland
Over-rated.

+ 10 Task

Task Total: 10

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
Good overview of today's steampunk.

+ 10 Task

Task Total: 10

Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt
Excellent!

+ 10 Task

Task Total: 10


The Moon and Sixpence (1919) by W. Somerset Maugham
Misogynist.

+ 10 Task
+ 05 Oldies points for any book written prior to 1950

Task Total: 15


Grand Total: 365 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 15 = 420


Ashlee (ashleeyaegergmailcom) | 8 comments The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Task: 10 points
+5 Jumbo
= 15 points

Total Points= 85


message 253: by Erin (new)

Erin (eecamp) | 138 comments The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters

+10 Task

Grand Total: 155


message 254: by Deedee (last edited Aug 10, 2011 09:50AM) (new)

Deedee | 669 comments Ring Around the Sun (1953) by Clifford D. Simak

An entertaining romp through a "Golden Age" 1950s science fiction novel. The descriptions of "normal" then seem alien today -- everyone smokes, the corner drugstore, the Car is King, and the phone system -- needing a human operator to make a long distance call! The upbeat ending in the face of adversity is also typical of the "Golden Age", and is present here. The obsession with (view spoiler) is very 1950s also. My main complaint with the novel is the writing -- way too many passages of:
"what if xxx??" or, if not that, then "what if xxx??"
Some passages of that technique are OK but this novel overuses it.


+ 10 Task
+ 05 Review

Task Total: 15

Grand Total: 420 + 15 = 435


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 945 comments "A Dance With Dragons" George R R Martin

+10 Task
+5 (Jumbo, 1016pp)

Grand Total: 175


message 256: by Denae (last edited Aug 11, 2011 05:14PM) (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace
***
Given my utter hatred of Tokyo Year Zero, I was pleasantly surprised that I mostly enjoyed this book. The plot was grimy and violent and the view of humanity extremely dark, but the writing did not bother me. I can't say it changed the fact that I am reading Nineteen Seventy-Seven only because it is on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, but at least I no longer dread that and expect to abandon it partway through. Overall, this book goes in the category of books I respect more than enjoy, but don't hate. I don't think I would recommend it, but I wouldn't discourage people from reading it.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
****
After the disappointment that was Rebel Angels, I was very happy to see Libba Bray return to the type of writing and plot I enjoyed in A Great and Terrible Beauty. This was by no means as good, but it was still a very fun book to read. She managed to avoid at least some of the pitfalls that are so common when someone is telling a coming of age story. Potential character development was realized and the story drawn to a close in a highly enjoyable way. I do remain curious as to why this was a single book rather than two, given the length relative to the first two, but that's hardly a drawback. Basically, I say read a synopsis of the second, but give this book a read.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


Diana the Huntress by Marion Chesney
***

+10 Task

Task Total: 10


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
*****

This book came highly recommended by a close friend who posted on a facebook update when I was reading that he went gaga for it. I have to say I did the same. Erik Larson takes two fascinating tales and weaves them together into a non-fiction page turner. The story of the chief architect and other people behind the world's fair in Chicago and that of a disturbingly successful serial killer blend together surprisingly well. I will definitely be reading more by the author. I think it takes a specific sort of rare skill to write a non-fiction work that is both this strong and this memorable.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 10


Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
****

I love Death. To anyone unfamiliar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld series that likely seems a strange or morbid comment. Among his readers, though, it's a common sentiment. This is yet another enjoyable romp through that delightfully wacky universe he has so masterfully created. The books just make me happy. In this one, Death is told he will die, so he decides to use the time he has left, now that he has time. The results of both this, and the removal of Death from the world are unpredictable, involving souvenir snow globes and runaway shopping trolleys. Oh, and an irascible undead wizard named Widdle Poons. How could that combination go wrong?

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15

Post Total: 70

Grand Total: 655


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 3024 comments Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Stegner is stealthy; by that I mean he deceives you into thinking this will be easy, that nothing of any import will happen, so that you can just read along and be comfortable. The prologue foretells that this sense of ease might not be quite accurate, but it is short and it is easy to set aside any sense of foreboding.

In fact, it is so easy to forget, that we are nearly 100 pages in and still are lulled into a false sense of security.
And so, by circuitous and unpredictable routes, we converge toward midcontinent and meet in Madison, and are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship. It is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by neither law nor property nor blood, there is no glue in it but mutual liking. It is therefore rare. To Sally and me, focused on each other and on the problems of getting on in a rough world, it happened unexpectedly, and in all our lives it has happened so thoroughly only once.
Do not be fooled into thinking this is just a comfortable read. It is Stegner, and he will challenge you. He gives us four distinct individuals, very well-drawn characterizations and two seemingly different marriages, also well-drawn.

Told in the first person by a man who is a college professor and an author, it feels as if Stegner is writing auto-biographically. In the afterword, he talks about drawing on his own life experiences in all of his novels. It takes a pedestrian and literal mind to be worried about which is true and which is not true. It's all of it not true, and it's all of it true.

This is good, but not spectacular - solidly 4 stars, neither aspiring to be 5 stars, nor looking down at three.

+10 Task
+ 5 Review

Grand Total = 180


Tobey | 211 comments Persuader by Lee Child

While I enjoyed this Reacher novels, I felt that The Persuader was different somehow than all the previous ones I have read. The storyline was different somehow, perhaps it was in how Reacher was involved in the storyline or perhaps it was that I was reading it while in the car, at the cabin – in dribs and drabs. I felt sort of disjointed from it somehow and I felt this one was more in your face than other Reacher novels. Reacher is never going to give you a lighthearted feeling but it definitely entertains and engages you. I always want more Reacher.

+10 Task
+ 5 Review
Total=15

The Devil Colony by James Rollins

The newest and highly anticipated Sigma Force novel, The Devil’s Colony was well worth waiting for. If you have not read any Rollins novels and like a Dan Brown kind of novel, Sigma Force is for you – I highly recommend them and find them better than the Dan Brown novels. Rollins has created action packed novels with believable and likeable characters that you grow to love as if they were friends of your own. The Devil’s Colony’s storyline is set closer to home than other Sigma novels and that brings a different kind of feel to it making it a very enjoyable read.

+10 Task
+5 Review
Total=15

Tribute by Nora Roberts

Maybe it’s the sap in me, but I always seem to enjoy a Nora Roberts novel. I know a lot of people will say it’s drivel and always has a happy ending and blah, blah but when I compare it to the recent Debbie Macomber novel I just read, well Nora wins hands down – for me, maybe not for others. In Tribute like in most of her novel’s, there is some sort of sub-plot going on which doesn’t focus on just the romance and that’s what makes her better than Macomber. I’m intrigued and entertained all at the same time which is just what I want out of a lighthearted fun read!

+10 Task
+5 Review
Total=15

Nightingale's Lament by Simon R. Green

I always feel sort of discombobulated when I read a Nightside novel but I guess that’s how it is, in the Nightside. In the Nightside it’s always 3 am and there are things you don’t even want to imagine exist. Our hero, John Taylor, take you somewhere new each time we visit and I can’t seem to figure out if he has any real friends at all or if everybody just really wants him dead. The Nightside is spooky, creepy, gross – any kind of bad word you can imagine but you can’t help going back because it’s simple and fun too! You want to find out about John’s mother and who all these freaky things are that live in the Nightside. I’ll be visiting again soon – you should too!

+10 Task
+5 Review
Total=15

Task Total=60
Grand Total=220


Liz M | 2588 comments The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
+10 task
+5 oldies (11th C)
+5 jumbo (~1120 pages)

Middlemarch by George Eliot
+10 task
+5 oldies (1871)
+5 jumbo (908 pages)

Grand total: 285 points


Shannon Under an English Heaven by Robert Radcliffe

10 task points
105 challenge points


Eowyn | 5 comments The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

+10 Task
+5 Jumbo

Post Total: 15
Summer Total: 45


Tobey | 211 comments Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this book since I’d have it on my TBR shelf for at least a year if not more. I’m a huge Koontz fan but never found the desire to pick this book up for some reason. Perhaps I was scared of comparing it to the original classic by Mary Shelley which I read quite a few years ago and remember loving it.

But Koontz’s version is a totally different take on the Frankenstein story. He brings it to modern day and weaves a tale so creepy, scary and freaky that you can’t help but get sucked into the story. It’s not just about the “monster” but it is so much more and I found myself wondering about the ethics surrounding this storyline. I don’t want to say much more than than else I give too much away.

Prodigal Son is the first in the series and I'm not totally sure where he's going with the whole series aspect. Needless to say, I’m glad I had the second one waiting for me to dive into…

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task total=15
Grand Total=235


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 3024 comments Summer by Edith Wharton 4 stars

Such a short, sad tale.

Charity Royall was "brought down from the mountain" into a town at the edges of civilization, northwestern Massachusetts I believe. But the household seems not to have been a loving one. The Summer of the title Charity is about 18 years old. She is uneducated and unsophisticated and very very lonely.

Wharton writes of Charity so that I felt great empathy for her. Charity yearns for love and life as do most young women, but her hope in achieving it is small. Summer brings a young architect from another city and a friendship blooms. Charity seems not to hope for more than friendship, but I couldn't help but see she truly hopes for so much more.

This is a tale beautifully written. I haven't yet read enough of Wharton to know whether it is typical of her, but I hope so.

+10 Task
+ 5 Oldie (pub 1917)
+ 5 Review

Grand Total = 200


message 265: by Jayme(the ghost reader) (last edited Aug 16, 2011 02:51PM) (new)

Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 945 comments "Amazon Ink" by Lori Devoti

+10
+5 Review

Amazon Ink (Amazon, #1)Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I liked the concept of this book. I love Amazons and the idea of living in the modern word. I liked how tattoos were part of their culture and each animal stood for a specific trait or power. I feel it fell short because it could have gone into more detail on the teenage girls that were murdered. There was very little investigation into the murders either by the police or the main character. Plus the pacing was so slow. It was only just okay.



View all my reviews

Grand Total 190


itpdx | 464 comments The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

Review: Several generations of historians search for Dracula or his grave. They search archives from Istanbul to Oxford with some aid from a mysterious group of Turks that were tasked with this quest about the time of Dracula's "death". Part of group of historians are descendants of Dracula himself. For me, the internal logic of the story did not hold up. For instance at one point in the story, Dracula goes out to feed every night and, yet, there doesn't seem to be any notice of unusual deaths among the locals. It seems that he follows some of the protagonists around and has enough "strength" to be out in daylight. Maybe I need to know more vampire lore to understand the logic.

Previous total: 130
Book + review + jumbo (909 pages) = 20
New total: 150


Ashlee (ashleeyaegergmailcom) | 8 comments Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Task: 10 points

Total Points: 95


Kate S | 1625 comments Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams Miller
+10 Task

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie
+10 Task

Contact by Carl Sagan
+10 Task

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
+10 Task
+5 Jumbo (1392p)
+5 Oldies (1869)

Post Total: 50
Summer Total: 825


message 269: by Rebekah (last edited Aug 17, 2011 05:41PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens (pub 1948, 613 pgs)
+10 Book
+5 Jumbo
+5 Oldies
20 pts - Total

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
+10 pts Book

30 pts - These Tasks
275 pts - Grand Total

These books have completed my goal of reading all the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction, until next year's winner is announced anyway. I started this mission in 2006!


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 3024 comments Rebekah wrote: "These books have completed my goal of reading all the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction, until next year's winner is announced anyway. I started this mission in 2006!"

Congratulations! I have far too many to go, but will make my way to as many as I can.


Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Rebekah wrote: "These books have completed my goal of reading all the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction, until next year's winner is announced anyway. I started this mission in 2006!"

Congratulat..."


Thanks, Elizabeth! Some were really hard to find as they are out of print now. Guard of Honor had reviewers say it was greater than Catch 22, but Catch 22 is easy to find and I had to haunt used book stores (real and on-line)for this and others. I'm thinking about finishing the ManBookers next. Thanks to last season's challenge, I got a few under my belt and the overall list is much shorter. (smile)


message 273: by Rebekah (last edited Aug 17, 2011 06:05PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (Another Pulitzer Winner for gen NF)
+10 pts Book

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
+10 pts Book

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
+10 pts Book

My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
+10 pts Book

Far Appalachia: Following the New River North by Noah Adams
+10 pts Book

A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
+10 pts Book

60 pts - Total this post
335 pts - Grand Total





Tobey | 211 comments City of Night by Dean Koontz

Um, wow! I’m really glad I had the second installment in this series on hand so I could dive right into it and dive, I did. I was totally riveted in a creepy, yet fascinated way. Koontz really brings the reality of this story to life for me and let’s face it, if you can write about it, why can’t it be true? (Oh, lord let’s hope not in this case)

I love how our two protagonists still keep some levity in their lives while involved in this horrifying situation which may very well be apocalyptic as it is referred to in the story.

I loved it and want more which made choosing my next book so hard because I want more Frankenstein!

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total=15
Grand Total=250


Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
***

It's taken me some thought after reading to decide how I wanted to rate this book, and I have finally settled on 3, largely because I loved the first part. I found the core concept fascinating and fresh and enjoyed the writing. Then it went downhill. The primary character underwent a change into a being called The Painted Man, but along the way makes decisions that make little to no sense. Another character, Leesha, also fails to develop as more than a cliche and vehicle for a rather fuzzy message on gender and sexual politics. The third main character, Rojer, never really develops at all. Overall, the book lacked focus. It was disappointing.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


Hounded by Kevin Hearne
****

First of all, you have to ignore the awful cover. It's a much better book than it implies, I promise. It's a much better book than I expected, even with a solid set of recommendations behind it.

Hounded is the story of an ancient Druid who's hiding out in Arizona running a bookstore and selling teas to college students. Unfortunately, he doesn't think about the implications of an internet presence in the age of Google and is found by, among others, his greatest enemy. An excellent combination of the funny and the violent ensues. Trailed by Oberon, his Irish wolfhound sidekick, Atticus fights ancient beings and gods, cements a friendship with an old Irish woman who I seriously want to be like when I grow up, and various other spoilery hi jinks. Purely a fun read, not great character development, but some enjoyable snarky one-liners.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
*

That this book is impressively boring is probably the most positive thing I have to say about it. I found it vapid and remarkably without point. It is the story of an uninteresting, probably intended to be considered tortured, young American poet who pretended his way into a fellowship in Spain by stating his intention to write a poem about a subject about which he knows nothing. He has no intention of writing said poem. That this is the character is not, of course, the true problem with the book. Those surface facts do not necessarily result in a bad book. Unfortunately, the author does nothing with them. The character has no depth, he mostly spends the book getting high and pretending to care about things, and there are several wandering discourses on writing and poetry which I imagine are intended to sound clever. The promise of the book having something, anything to do with the Madrid train bombings is unrealized and that event becomes merely a backdrop for more musing on the part of the character about his disconnectedness. Even that is implied to be affectation.

I know nothing about Ben Lerner or his poetry. It could be it is quite good. Regardless, he should have stuck to it rather than prose. One hopes he does a better job in his role as creative writing teacher than he does in that of author.


Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy of this book for free through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


The Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction by Susan Ketchin
*****

Flannery O'Connor said "I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted." From these words, the title of The Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction was born. The book consists of twelve interviews Susan Ketchin conducted with Southern authors about the roles played by faith and doubt in their lives and their writing. Each interview was preceded by a brief biography and either a short story or an excerpt from a book by the writer.

This book came highly recommended by a friend with whom I have a shared Southern and religious background. It is not a subject about which I have thought often in such a direct manner, but it is one which struck a chord with me, and this was one of the finest works of non-fiction I have read. The role of these twin subjects in the life of the South is unmistakable to one who has lived there, and the way in which they must be wrestled by these writers rings true. If I have a complaint, it is that there was no representation of authors who are now atheistic.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15

Post Total: 60

Grand Total: 715


Kate S | 1625 comments Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
+10 Task

Hard Times by Charles Dickens
+10 Task
+5 Oldies (1854)

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
+10 Task
+5 Oldies (1944)

One Giant Leap: Neil Armstrong's Stellar American Journey by Leon Wagener
+10 Task

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
+10 Task
+5 Oldies

Post Total: 65
Summer Total: 890


Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) Oh, I remember that being a great Christie.


Shannon The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Task points = 10
Total points = 115


Kate S | 1625 comments Denae wrote: "Oh, I remember that being a great Christie."

It was definitely one of my faves!!


message 280: by Rebekah (last edited Aug 19, 2011 06:43PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments The March by E.L. Doctorow
+10 pts Book
345 pts - Grand total





Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Deedee wrote: "After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Entertaining, even for those who never read the Superhero comics.

+ 10 Task

Task Total: 10

Girl in Hyacinth Blue..."


I love your one word reviews!


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 3024 comments Every Last One by Anna Quindlen 4 stars

This is difficult to review without spoilers, but I'll try.

Anna Quindlen presents us with a somewhat typical 21st Century family: professional father, small-business mother, three teenagers who are good students but not without their problems. For the first 100 or so pages the family is so typical that, while there is not necessarily a sense of impending doom, I felt certain something dramatic would happen to alter the course. The dramatic event is not what I anticipated.

This is not an easy story to read. Although sad, I can truly say I've never found literature to be depressing, and this is no exception. This is a story of healing. It is a story of how our relationships - both with family and friends - give us needed strength in the most difficult of life's circumstances. If this was the author's purpose, it was accomplished.

My biggest quibble with this novel is that it is told in the first person present tense. The present tense helped it lose some of its power, and the first person meant a loss of perspective that an anonymous third person telling could have lent.

+10 Task
+ 5 Review

Grand Total = 215


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 945 comments Three To Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

Task: +10
Grand Total: 200


Ashlee (ashleeyaegergmailcom) | 8 comments The Help by Kathryn Stockett
10 task points
+5 jumbo


Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
10 task points
=25

Summer Reading Total= 120


message 285: by Rebekah (last edited Aug 22, 2011 08:52PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
10 pts - Book
355 pts - Grand total





message 286: by Liz M (last edited Aug 22, 2011 08:03PM) (new)

Liz M | 2588 comments Les Liaisons Dangereuses
by Pierre A.F. Choderlos de Laclos

+10 task
+5 oldies (1782)

Grand Total: 300 points


message 287: by Rebekah (last edited Aug 22, 2011 08:57PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Sight Unseen by Mary Roberts Rinehart (pub 1914)
+10 - book
+5 - oldies

The Terror of Tellico Plains : The Memoirs of Ray H. Jenkins by Ray H. Jenkins
+10 - book

25 pts - this post
380 pts - grand total ( I think)





Tobey | 211 comments A Highlander's Destiny by Melissa Mayhue

I’m not sure what to say about this book. I’ve read the first few in this series and sometimes I’m not sure why I continue to keep them on my TBR. They are just okay, in my books!

I found this one to have taken place over such a short period of time that in all actuality, some of the plot is just not believable for me and I know that’s saying a lot. I didn’t feel there was enough time to get a real feel for the main characters to grow attached to them. What I do like about this series is the recurring characters but unfortunately we don’t see enough of them to grow to love them. Sort of how I feel about this book – I just didn’t grow to love it!

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total=15
Grand Total=265


message 290: by itpdx (last edited Aug 23, 2011 11:04AM) (new)

itpdx | 464 comments On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe by Andrzej Stasiuk

This is a treasure--impressionistic, haunting journeys in the land between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas-Slovakia, Moldavo, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary--towns with names in three languages or more--mountains, plains and corn fields--pubs, border crossings, Gypsies, cemeteries, buses, trains and ferries. Stasiuk seeks the edges, the eternal of his Europe. This is not linear or chronological but follows the wandering mind of the author.
Beautiful! but read with the internet at hand for this westerner that grew up with this area behind the "iron curtain" and I am mostly ignorant of its geography, history and culture.

Previous total: 150
Task + review: 15
New total: 165


message 291: by Arow (new)

Arow | 228 comments The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I had no idea what to expect from ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and I was more then pleasantly surprised. With each page I was drawn further into the web of information and detail that Stieg Larsson had put into his world. I was fascinated with the lives of each of his characters and the incredible depth that went into everyone’s background.

The life and voice that he was able to breathe into Lisbeth Salander was beyond what most male authors do for their female characters. I felt everything that she went through and felt emotional drained from the roller coaster that she went on through this story.

The Mikael Blomkvist character was beautifully written. The reader can associate with the betrayal that he lived through and the reader is able to understand why he would take certain risks with his career and his life to try and get back on track.

The size of the novel is a bit off putting for people who don’t normally go past the 350 page mark but I can assure you that it is a fast read that you won’t want to put down. I finished it within a week of starting it and I can not wait to read the other two installments.

Highly recommend this novel (and most likely series) to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

+10 Task
+5 Review
+5 Jumbo (841)
Task Total = 20

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Wow, what can I say? The second installment of the Millennium series, ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ did not let me down. I was not sure what direction the series was going to go in at the end of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ but it surpassed my imagination.

Stieg Larsson has created one of the most in depth worlds that is not part of a fantasy series. I honestly believed at some points that I was reading a biography. He is able to write layer upon layer of background story. His web of government secrets, the sex trade, mental illness, computer hacking and sexual abuse is so detailed and honest that I believed everything that I was reading.

The main plot of the series is not revealed until the second novel, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is mainly a brief introduction to the main characters but the story line itself does not really carry through into ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ which was confusing for me at first.

He takes the Lisbeth Salander into a world that I could not comprehend going into and the reader really doesn’t know ‘who’s done it’ until the author wants you to. At least I had no idea who did it.

I really can not wait to read the third and final installment. I highly recommend having the third on hand and read to start reading as soon as you have completed ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’.

+10 Task
+5 Review
+5 Jumbo (512)
Task Total = 20

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest’ was an incredible final installment to the Millennium Series. Stieg Larsson was able (in my opinion) to tie up all the loose ends and was able to satisfy my curiosity to what would end up happening to Lisbeth Salander.

Stieg Larsson continued to expand on the amazing world that he created. The amount of background knowledge and details that were provided was outstanding. I really felt like I knew all the characters and that I was watching and feeling everything that happened to them in this world.

This is one of the first government secret agency books/series that I have read, and it has definitely opened my eyes to a new genre. I am not sure if other stories could live up to my expectations now but I would be willing to try a few.

I am sad that the series has ended. I was really addicted to the characters in the series. I am very happy that I decided to read it as it has been on my TBRS for ages and I just kept putting it off. Highly recommend this to everyone.

+10 Task
+5 Review
+5 Jumbo (576)
Task Total = 20


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I have looked forward to reading this story since it was released in 2010. The cover always intrigued me and I know you should not judge a book by its cover or decide to read a book due to its cover. But that is exactly what I did in this situation.

Having no idea what the novel was about I was a bit surprised when I came to chapter two and discovered that I was reading a teenaged girls version of Groundhog Day (the amazing Bill Murray movie for those who have not seen it). Thankfully by the third chapter Lauren Oliver made reference to the movie and there by letting me relax into the story and not think that she had completely ripped it off.

Once I got into the fourth chapter I really started to enjoy the storyline and appreciate what Lauren Oliver was trying to accomplish. I enjoyed the depth of the character that eventually came through and saw what type of role model Sam Kingston could be to young adults.

I would recommend this story to anyone in junior high or high school. I enjoyed how Lauren Oliver portrayed the different social groups in school and thought that she was able to shine a light on each one.

+10 Task
+5 Review
Task Total = 15

New Total = 255


Kate S | 1625 comments We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
+10 Task

Bossypants by Tina Fey
+10 Task

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie
+10 Task
+5 Oldies (1933)

Post Total: 35
Summer Total: 925


message 293: by Erin (new)

Erin (eecamp) | 138 comments Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell

+10 Task

Grand Total: 165


Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg
***

If Goodreads saw fit to give us half stars, this would be a solid 3.5, but as it is I couldn't quite give it a 4. I enjoyed the book and Smilla is an excellent character, but the last third of the book dragged for me. I got tired of the cryptic nature of everyone's actions and found myself waiting for the book to end. This did change in the last twenty or so pages and I found myself very intrigued with the ending. It made me think and suited the book far more than what I expected. Given my dislike of Borderliners, I was very pleasantly surprised and pleased.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


Nineteen Seventy-Seven by David Peace
***

Bleak. Nineteen Seventy-Seven is extremely bleak, but it earns it. I am giving it three stars instead of four primarily on the basis of my enjoyment, rather than the quality. I feel I would have a hard time judging the latter. It is more thought provoking than Nineteen Seventy Four and I found it more easy to relate to the characters. The relevant word being more. It is definitely a better book than its predecessor, but that has more to do with writing than plot. One might say the same of the book as a whole. It is more a work of style than substance, but not in a way that detracts.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan
*****

Disclaimer: To echo a sentiment expressed by the authors towards the beginning of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, I am not interested in discussing the validity of evolution. If you contend it is not a valid scientific model, this is not a book for you.

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality is an impressive, witty, and funny book that researches both the origins and inaccuracy of the prevalent views of human sexuality. It is well-researched and the authors base their conclusions on scientific data rather than merely psychological studies or the theories proposed in the past. They present the idea that our current societal focus on monogamy is, in fact, contrary to the way in which we have evolved biologically. They discuss the ways in which female sexuality has been distorted over centuries, including some of the horrific things that have been done in the name of suppressing something that is regularly presented as slight or aberrant. They discuss some of the potential future implications of these theories on the belief in the nuclear family as the "natural" model, despite pretty conclusive evidence.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in either the evolution of our species or today's sexual climate.

+10 Task
+5 Review

Task Total: 15


Post Total: 45

Grand Total: 760


Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Bleeding Hearts by Susan Wittig Albert
+10 pts - book
390 pts - Grand Total


itpdx | 464 comments The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
Review: This is a story of political intrigue and mystery set in 19th century Istanbul. A lot of interesting bits of information about the culture and life of Istanbul presented against a well-paced mystery. The protagonist, a eunuch, moves through many layers of society from the sultan and his mother through the European diplomatic corps to street vendors and entertainers. I found one section where the author, Jason Goodwin, puts in some experiences of historic characters (I suppose) that have nothing to do with the story somewhat jarring. This book has inspired me to do a little reading on this period of the Ottoman Empire to see what we know about what happened during this period.

Previous total: 165
Task plus review: +15
New total: 180


message 297: by Arow (new)

Arow | 228 comments My last two books are:

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell

I was very pleasently surprised by this novel. My friend lent it to me and it really was an interesting and quick summer read.

+10 Task
Task Total = 10

Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel by Ann Brashares

This was a good follow up to the series. I was
sceptical at first but she really won me over. If you have already read the first four books- I highly recommand this follow up 10 years later.

+10 Task
Task Total = 10

New Grand Total = 275


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 945 comments "Second Wave: Accorna's Children" by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Scarborough

+10

Grand Total: 210


message 300: by Rebekah (last edited Aug 28, 2011 12:01PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 2001 comments Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
+10pts - book
+5 pts - jumbo (560 pgs)

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert
+10pts - book

+25 pts - This Post
415 pts - Grand Total




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