Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Virgin's Lover by Phillipa Gregory

I know, I know, it sounds a little raunchy. But history FASCINATES me and she makes history interesting to read. Just be warned, there are some nasty scenes in there. Not as many as I expected, but there are some yucky parts.

Anyway, this book is about Elizabeth I, Queen of England. She comes to the throne without a husband, so England doesn't have a king to rule them. She starts a love affair with a (married) childhood friend and it gets crazy after that. What I liked about this book was all the historical information in it. They were at war with France and there were things going on with Scotland and Spain and it interests me to know all the politics that went on at that time. It's also cool that Elizabeth was able to rule without a male counterpart.

Content: PG-13
Grade: B+

Friday, November 13, 2009

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

This book actually earned Tyler a Pulitzer Prize. The cover is AWFUL: boring with yucky dull colors. But I try not to let that sway me...usually. Anyway, this is possibly the simplest novel I've read in a long time. It's about Maggie and Ira, a semi-normal couple that tries to keep their family together. Well, Maggie does anyway. Ira just gets annoyed by Maggie. It wasn't an "on-the-edge-of-your-seat" kind of book, but it was heartfelt and warm novel and a good read. It dealt with familial issues and issues that really, all women will probably face: trying to make your kids happy. I liked it. I liked its simplicity and the rhythm of the writing. And I liked that it was just like life: no fairytale endings, beginnings, or middles. Just cut and dry, like life. Isn't weird how we like to read about regular life sometimes?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Queen of the Summer Stars

I'm not quite sure how to rate this book. I liked it and yet was very disturbed by it. I think it's supposed to be a teen book, but there is no way I would let a teen read this, I'm not even sure I want you reading it. This book is about Guinevere and Arthur. I was intrigued because, quite frankly, I don't think I really knew what the outcome of Guinevere's and Lancelot's romance was. So a read it. I enjoyed the story and hearing the dynamics of the king and queen with each other, their knights of the round table, and the problems of joining the different tribes and peoples. I learned a lot about British history as well as how paganism was turning into Christianity (this is what I found most fascinating). Overall I really liked the book and the outcome of Guinevere and Lancelot was different then expected and i really liked it!

Now the reason I don't recommend the book. It is very sexually explicit. It's not very specific, but it is mentioned. One chapter (I forget the name, but it's her the name of her Uncle, if you read this book SKIP THIS CHAPTER) was so disturbing! Again, if you read it SKIP THIS CHAPTER, it is unnecessary, we would have gotten the point without it. It really was a good think the book turned out well to redeem for that chapter. Besides this chapter there is still some unnecessary things in it, but they easily can be skipped.

I'm still struggling to recommend this book, but I did like it overall, but hate it at the same time. So, I say, Read at your own Risk!

The Bourne Identity

I loved this book! It is very different from the movie, so I had no idea what to expect. It's kind of an information overload (this may have had to do with the fact that I had to read it so quickly because it was due at the library), but it is very fun to read. It was written in the 70's so the state of the world and specifically Europe was different, so it was fun to read about the fear's, the political people, and the interaction between countries in that time.

It has the basic feel of the movie. A man is found in the ocean near Marseille, France. He cannot remember anything about what happened or even who he is. A Dr. takes care of him and gives him some insights to what he has found while taking care of him, as well as, how to slowly regain his memory. Bourne did have a chip surgically place in his skin which had an account number for a bank in Zurich. He goes and finds he is wanted by some men, who seem to know him, but who he cannot place. I don't want to ruin the rest, but he holds Marie hostage to try and escape these guys who are after him and she ends up staying and helping him find out who he is. However, he is not the only one trying to find his true identity, an assassin named Carlos and the American federal agencies are also trying to figure it out. At the beginning of the book you are taking the ride with Bourne, unsure of who he is or how he fits into all of the intrigue. You also only get the glimpses he receives of his past. As other people are involved you become aware of who he truly is. It is so fun!

Language: definitely PG-13

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Kinsella is the author of Confessions of a Shopaholic. I had read that book and liked the frivolousness of her type of writing, so when I saw Remember Me? at a bookstore for $3, I decided it could be an investment.

The novel is based around Lexi Smart. She got into an awful accident and when she wakes up she is completely different from what she remembers. How you ask? Well, when Lexi wakes up from her coma, she can't remember the last 3 years of her life. And apparently there's been a complete turnaround for her. She wakes up toned and rich and hot and married. And basically she was none of these before. She goes home with her "husband" to try and piece her life back together. The main problem is that the clues are so crazy and scattered that it takes her forever. But she's charming and funny, so the journey isn't too painful for the reader. I recommend reading it. I finished it within 24 hours, so it's obviously a quick read and something that makes you appreciate your memory and family and friends. Never hurts to be reminded how much you appreciate those things!

(Caution: I'm guessing that the British use the "F" word as an every day adjective, so beware. I marked out all of these heinous words in my copy, but if you get it from the library, you won't be so lucky.)

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Loved it. Actually, I really liked that it was like a comparison to reality. Well, spiritual reality. There is good and bad and they are in constant friction with each other. In the book, that's all they talk about. They are always saying, "If it's God's will." Which really, isn't that what it always comes down to? Life isn't in our hands. But then Dracula comes along and tries to take that spiritual agency away...and people's souls. Which is a problem.

It starts with Jonathan Harker and he goes to Count Dracula's castle to do some business and soon learns he's doing business with a pretty creepy guy. Stoker leaves that scene pretty suspenseful. For there we meet the vampire-catcher Van Helsing (which is where they got the movie title, I'm guessing) and watch a human-to-vampire transformation and a creepy marital-type thing with Dracula and the leading lady. And from there the destruction of evil. Overall a very well written, intensely interesting novel. I suggest reading the one edited by Glennis Byron. There are little notes on the bottom: historical and just informational.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where the Heart Is

Woohoo! The first book review on our blog! Sweet.

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

This book was pretty good. It follows a girl, Novalee, through her adventures. It starts off with her pregnant and 17 and traveling to California from Oklahoma with her boyfriend. On the way she stops off at a Wal-Mart to go to the bathroom and her boyfriend leaves her there. She eventually has her baby in that Wal-Mart and she stays in that town with her baby. It's a self-discovery type of book. I wouldn't really recommend that you girls read it only because there are some crude parts that weren't really necessary. I want to watch the movie, though. I think it has Natalie Portman in it.

Overall: B
Language: PG
Sexuality: PG-13
Would I read it again?: Probably not. But the once was okay.