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Posts tagged "2 Stars"

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Born in Portland, Maine Elizabeth Strout grew up in small towns in Maine and New Hampshire. She attended Bates College and graduated with a degree in English in 1977. At Syracuse University College she earned her law degree along with a Certificate in Gerontology. She started working in Legal services but soon became an adjunct in the English Department of Borough of Manhattan Community College. In 1998 her first novel was published. She is living in New York. For more information visit http://elizabethstrout.com

I took a day before writing a review on this book. I picked it up because the book got some good ratings form people I follow on Goodreads and usually share a same taste with. Though I can understand people liking this book it was not a book for me.
First it took me a long time to get a grip on the story. I still have a hard time to grasp the deeper meaning of putting these stories together and how they are exactly connected and what it means.
Each chapter describes a situation in a persons life. It took me time every chapter to get a hold of the story and therefore I could not connect with the characters.
I am left with the feeling I have missed out on something very important in the book but I cannot get my head around it. Unfortunately I cannot rate this book any higher than 2 stars. It was a real struggle getting trough it and left me very unsatisfied.
Before buying it please read the reviews and you might want to try out some pages in the bookstore to see if you can get a hold of the story. Otherwise 270 pages can be a struggle.

Olive Kitteridge
Author : Strout, Elizabeth
Publisher : Random House, New York
ISBN-10 : 158836688X
ISBN-13 : 9781588366887
Pages :  270
Format : eBook
Random House: Olive Kitteridge, Trade Paperback or Hardcover

My Heart Remembers
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer                         
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2008
Pages: 348
Genre: Christian Fiction

Orphaned in a tenement fire, three Irish-immigrant children are sent to Missouri to be adopted. Despite eight-year-old Maelle’s desperate attempts to keep her siblings together, each child is taken by a different family. Yet Maelle vows that she will never stop searching for her brother and sister… and that they will be together one day in the future. Seventeen years later, Maelle is still searching. But the years have washed away her hope… and her memories.

The author
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. Visit her web site at www.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information.

The review
I have been reading various books tagged with Christian Fiction this year. The first time I picked up a book with that tag I was very interested in the story but scared of the level of Christianity the book would have as I am not a religious person and can get annoyed when I get the feeling there is a message that being Christian is the only right way. True by picking up books with a Christian fiction tag you know you are taking a risk but you might scare yourself out of a good story too by avoiding it and honestly I have been reading a few of them now and none where annoying until now.
My Heart Remembers is everything I was afraid to find by dabbling the Christian Fiction tag. The way Mrs. Smallwood told Mattie at least twice how happy she was he picked up a bible. One time was enough and the second time it happened it did not even make sense. There are more examples where religion is written in the story without it making sense. If the author would have chosen to leave it to the more subtle messages the book would have been more enjoyable for me.
Characters are various. While I felt really for Molly and Mattie I had a harder time placing Maelle specially in the whole setting of time and religion. I cannot imagine a woman behaving like that. 
The story is written pretty solid though flaws can be found. The two star rating is really based on my annoyance so please do not take this review as your only source there are plenty of people who really liked this. I might just have to duck and hide from the Christian tag for a while again.

Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Publisher: Vintage 
Publication date: 05/26/2011
Pages: 540
Genre: Adult Fiction

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Fifty Shades Darker
Author: E.L. James
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication date: 09/15/2011
Pages: 532
Genre: Adult Fiction

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.
But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.
While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

Fifty Shades Freed
Author: E.L. James
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication date: 01/19/2012(first published 2011)
Pages: 579
Genre: Adult Fiction

When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey, it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed. Now, together, they have more-love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity, or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present. Just when it seems that together their love can conquer any obstacle, tragedy, malice and fate combine to make Ana’s worst nightmares come true.

The author
E L James is a TV executive, wife and mother-of-two based in West London. Since early childhood she dreamed of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those dreams on hold to focus on her family and her career. She finally plucked up the courage to put pen to paper with her first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.
E L James is currently working on a new love story… For more information visit http://www.eljamesauthor.com

The review
Fifty Shades of Grey was nominated for my bookclub this month and I was wondering if I wanted to read it or not. There is a lot of discussion about this book and a lot of details are all over the net making me wonder if I wanted to read a book like that. Curious as I am I decided to pick it up and ended up reading the whole series
Not because it has such great characters cause honestly throughout the three books the characters hardly develop. The books are mostly about the two main characters Anastasia and Christian all the other persons are extras hardly playing a role. After reading three books I can still not give a character reference for both of them.
The storyline is not really that exciting either. The first book hardly has a story, if they would have taken out the sex there would probably not be more than 100 pages in this book. In the second and third book the balance gets better.
Still the author managed to get a grip on my curiosity wondering if they would make it or not.
Still wondering if I should advice people to read this will make me think very hard. I for sure would not spend any money on these books. Get them from your library or lend them from someone who has bought them by accident if you are curious.

I gave all three books two stars.

What Alice Forgot
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication date: 02/06/2011(first published 01/01/2009)
Pages: 432 
Genre: Contemporary

Remember the woman you used to be …

Alice is twenty-nine. She is whimsical, optimistic and adores sleep, chocolate, her ramshackle new house and her wonderful husband Nick. What’s more, she’s looking forward to the birth of the ‘Sultana’ - her first baby.
But now Alice has slipped and hit her head in her step-aerobics class and everyone’s telling her she’s misplaced the last ten years of her life.

In fact, it would seem that Alice is actually thirty-nine and now she loves schedules, expensive lingerie, caffeine and manicures. She has three children and the honeymoon is well and truly over for her and Nick. In fact, he looks at her like she’s his worst enemy. What’s more, her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her either. And who is this ‘Gina’everyone is so carefully trying not to mention?

Alice isn’t sure that she likes life ten years on. Every photo is another memory she doesn’t have and nothing makes sense. Just how much can happen in a decade? Has she really lost her lovely husband for ever? (Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6469165-what-alice-forgot)

The author
Liane Moriarty was born in 1966 in Sydney, Australia. She has always been surrounded by books and stories and has been writing stories since she was a child. Her first publishing deal was with her father. She had a career in advertising and marketing but dreamed of being an author instead. When her sister managed to get a successful book published she decided to give it a more serious try and after her first story being rejected by every publisher in Australia she enrolled in a Masters degree at Macquarie University. Her she wrote her firs novel which was accepted by a publisher and got published around the world. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.  For more information visit http://lianemoriarty.com.au

The review
This book is a difficult one to review. It was on my shelf for a while already waiting to be read and got put into a Goodreads challenge for the month of June by  someone who told me I should read it cause it was good. Still I felt a bit reluctant to start it and I am not sure why.
Though it is a low level story and the author keeps everything light and accessible I had a difficult time getting a grip on the story. At some point I even wondered if I should just put the book down but there was one thing I did want to know and that was how Alice would react on her husband. As this does not happen until halfway the book I had to keep on reading. After that the story actually picked up nice and it became easier to get involved.
The story is told mostly from Alices perspective and she cannot really remember what people are like now. You get some more background with the letters both her sister and Frannie (the surrogate grandmother) are writing but for most of the characters you are guessing along with Alice and while this gives the book a nice touch it made it difficult for me to really connect with the characters.
Though I can understand why this book can be enjoyed it was not the right book for me. I am not sure if it was that I was just not in the mood for it or it was just not a story for me in the end. As I said I already felt a bit reluctant to pick it up while I can still remember adding it to my shelf without hesitation so don’t let my rant stop you from picking it up.

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 21th of February 2012
Pages: 235
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they left behind. Determined to get to Manhattan and to find Rhine’s twin brother Rowan, the two press forward, amidst threats of being captured again … or worse.
The road they are on is long and perilous-and in a world where young women only live to age 20 and men die at age 25, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price-now that she has more to lose than ever. (http://thechemicalgardenbooks.com/wither/?page_id=102)

The author
Lauren DeStefano was born in New Haven, Connecticut. She received a BA in English from Albertus Magnus College, and has been writing since childhood. For more information about Lauren DeStefano visit http://www.laurendestefano.com/

The review
I must be spoiled. The last few series I read actually have a very strong sequel which is always the question with series. Unfortunately The Chemical Garden’s second book is far away from the level of the first book and that surprised and disappointed me.

There are a bunch of new characters introduced. Though some of them are very interesting like Lilac, Silas, Claire and even Maddie they don’t seem to be a part of the story, like they are not that important. It felt like Rhine was on a mission and even Gabriel has to be punished for it. There where so many more possibilities and story-lines in those other characters I felt a bit robbed. Specially Gabriel deserved some extra love after all he has done for Rhine.

Second the storyline. A lot happens in this book but it is 100 pages shorter than Wither. I felt rushed and overwhelmed and this did not settle until 75% of the book when the pace finally became calmer. Still I find this one of the more interesting dystopian stories out there cause I can feel the described world can really happen at some point. I just hope this book is meant to be a bridge between the first and third book to get all the people in the right place.

Dead Until Dark / Charlaine Harris
start date: 04/20/2012                end date:  04/21/2012
ISBN: 0441008534 
ISBN-13: 9780441008537       
Publisher: Ace
Publication date: 05/01/2001
Pages: 292
Genre: Supernatural, adult
Stars: 2 out of 5

The author
Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over twenty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Now she lives in southern Arkansas with her husband, her three children, three dogs, and a duck. The duck stays outside.

The synopsis
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out…. Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

The review
I will not say to much about this book. It is a very entertaining story fitting right on the Harlequin shelf with some vampires. If you really try hard you can make up some double layer meaning behind the story but I think that is more by accident.
Characters are properly described. Looks are obviously very important, more than character . There are various holes and flaws in details of the story. I will not be able to read all these books in one go. But they are entertaining enough to pick one up to fill up a hole or after some heavy books if I do not want to think to much about what I read.

The Tiger’s Wife / Téa Obreht
start date: 03/15/2012                end date: 03/19/2012
ISBN: 0679604367 
ISBN-13: 9780679604365 
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/08/2011
Pages: 260
Genre: Contemporary, Historical Fiction
Stars: 2 out of 5

The author
Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, and spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, The New York Times, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading. Her first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, will be published by Random House on March 8 2011. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in Ithaca, New York.  For more information http://www.teaobreht.com

The synopsis
In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weekly trips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.

The review
O my… another one.  This book has gotten a lot of praise from various corners. It even won some awards for best fiction. But I do not know why. This book does not really make sense. It is called the Tigers Wife but should have been named the Deathless Man in my eyes. I got the feeling that whole tiger’s wife part is just an extra addition to the story to explain the title. I cannot find the value of it.
The story has a nice flow which makes it easy to read a lot of pages in a short time, but the book is not easy to get trough. The story is slow and does not follow one line. It is hard to distinguish what period you are in and who is the main character at that moment. The whole story are some loose parts of lives bound together in a book but I missed out on the whole idea why these are bound together.  I cannot say much more cause it left me in total confusion.

The Dovekeepers / Alice Hoffman
start date: 03/10/2012            end date:03/15/2012
ISBN: 1451617496   
ISBN-13: 9781451617498   
Publisher: Scribner Book Company 
Publication date: 10/04/2011 (first published 01/01/2011)
Pages: 512
Genre: Historical Fiction
Stars: 2 out of 5

The author
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing.  She currently lives in Boston. For more information visit http://alicehoffman.com/

The synopsis
In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean, desert, Masada. Only two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom comes to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.
The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets — about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and who they love.

The review
I do not really know what my opinion is on this book. I heard a lot of good things about it and became curious. I needed a D for my A-Z challenge and thought, why not The Dovekeepers? Now I am more like why the Dovekeepers?
First, if you love historical fiction this book is good. The whole fall of the old Israel, brought down by Romans has been portrayed in a very beautiful way. I saw some people write in their reviews that this story was dark, that they could not imagine that life was so hard in that period. I think the author has made a pretty accurate description on how things where, life was dark and everything was difficult and you did what your religion or superstitions told you and tried to survive. This image gets very clear in this book.
Still I had trouble getting trough, the way things where written felt off. These woman told you their darkest and most precious secrets but it all felt cold. It was easy to hate all 4 woman for things they did and even if they made a decision in their lives that  made sense in the name of love it still felt wrong. These woman where strong survivors, standing up against all they know to rescue their lives and that of their loved ones, to survive but that emotion did not touch me. I was not engaged at all with their survival at Masada, not cheering for them. I was just finishing a book. 
If you want to read the book do not hesitate but it will not be on my recommendation list.

Torment / Lauren Kate
start date:01/16/2012        end date: 01/18/2012
ISBN: 0375897178 
ISBN-13: 9780375897177 
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication date: 9/28/2010
Pages: 392
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Stars: 2 out of 5

The author
Lauren Kate grew up in Dallas, went to school in Atlanta, and started writing in New York. She is the author of Fallen, Torment, the forthcoming Passion, and The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in Laurel Canyon with her husband and hopes to work in a restaurant kitchen and learn how to surf. She is currently at work on the final book in the Fallen series, Rapture. For more information visit http://laurenkatebooks.net/

The synopsis
Lucinda is sure that she and Daniel are meant to be together forever. Now they are forced apart in a desperate bid to save Luce from the Outcasts–immortals who want her dead. Daniel brings Luce to the Shoreline School. A school where a special group is getting educated. The Nephilim, children of angels and humans. She learns to handle the shadows that have been chasing her all her live, she learns they hold messages from the past that can be seen and shadows can be used as transporters to the past. As she discovers more about her past lives, Luce starts to suspect that Daniel is hiding something. What if he has lied to her about their shared past? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The review
In this book, same as in Fallen, a lot of questions stay unanswered. Every time you think you will learn something new, the story moves to another subject. Even her classmates and people you think are her friends don’t help her with information.  The way this is handled is starting to get very annoying. Specially the excuses to avoid giving answers gives me the feeling it is done as an excuse to write another book.
The story was better written than Fallen. In Fallen the author sometimes forgot to explain details that would make the story complete. Now all I want are some answers, so I am going to read the penultimate book Passion but I do not think I will add this author to my favorite shelf.