Monday, February 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday - February 23rd.

Every Monday on The Printed Page, people list the books that arrived the previous week. Here's what arrived at my doorstep:

Frank Beddor. The Looking Glass Wars (via Bookmooch)
James Conaway. Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes (via BookObsessed Swap)
Sara Gruen. Water for Elephants (via Bookcrossing - a surprise wishlist book!)
Michael Crichton. Eaters of the Dead (via BookObsessed Swap)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hush by Mark Nykanen

First sentence:

"Davy Boyce climbed on top of another gray stump and fired again."


"Words can not describe the horror of a young boy's life-but one woman is determined to hear him...

To the outside world Davy Boyce is a sullen, uncommunicative child cared for by a concerned stepfather since the death of his mother. Only he knows the truth behind the silence-a world of unspeakable abuse that has left him traumatized and mute. Hope arrives in the form of Celia Griswold, a young art therapist coping with tragedies of his own. Encouraged by Celia to express himself through his drawings, Davy tries to tell her his painful story, gradually offering clues that coalesce into a picture of misery and fear that no one but Celia is willing to believe. As their friendship grows, it pulls them closer to danger-and to a terrifying flight from a sadistic killer who is determined to silence them both forever." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

Although the plot was a bit formulaic at times, the intensity of the action and the predicament of the characters kept my interest throughout. I especially liked getting the different viewpoints from the characters such as Chet, Davy and Celia.

Date read: 2/20/2009
Book #: 16
Challenge: 999 Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0312968523
ISBN-13: 9780312968526
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Year: 1999
# of Pages: 326
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

First sentence:

"Where you're supposed to be is some big West Hills wedding reception in a big manor house with flower arrangements and stuffed mushrooms all over the house."


"She's a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway "accident" leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she is transformed from the beautiful center of attention to an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you'll ever want to look.

In this hilarious and daringly unpredictable novel, the narrator must exact revenge upon Evie, her best friend and fellow model; kidnap Manus, her two-timing ex-boyfriend; and hit the road with Brandy in search of a brand-new past, present, and future. Changing names and stories in every city, they catapult toward a final confrontation with a rifle-toting Evie--by which time we will have learned that loving and being loved are not mutually exclusive, and that nothing, on the surface, is every quite what it seems." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was an intriguing book about identity and perception. I liked how Shannon gradually learned about making assumptions based on appearances and how she learned the truth about herself and others.

Date read: 2/17/2009
Book #: 15
Challenges: 999 Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge 2008, Celebrate the Author Challenge 2009
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0393319296
ISBN-13: 9780393319293
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Year: 1999
# of Pages: 297
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

In Fond Remembrance of Me: A Memoir of Myth and Uncommon Friendship in the Arctic by Howard Norman

First sentence:

"On November 8, 1977, in the Halifax train station a few minutes before boarding a train for Montreal, Helen Tanizaki handed me a letter from the afterlife."


"In the fall of 1977, Howard Norman went to Churchill, Manitoba to translate Inuit folktales, and there he met Helen Tanizaki, an extraordinary linguist translating the same tales into Japanese. In Fond Remembrance of Me recaptures their intimacy, and the remarkable influence that she, and the tales themselves, would have on the future novelist. Through a series of overlapping panels of reality and memory, Norman evokes with vivid immediacy their brief but life-shifting encounter, and the earthy, robust Inuit folklore that occasioned it." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was an interesting look at an Inuit culture and their retelling of the Noah story set in the Arctic. I liked how Norman reflected on his conversations with Helen and her maintaining a sense of dignity in spite of adversity.

Date read: 2/14/2009
Book #: 14
Challenges: 999 Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge 2008, In Their Shoes Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir

ISBN-10: 0312425228
ISBN-13: 9780312425227
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 166
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mailbox Monday - February 16th

Every Monday on The Printed Page, people list the books that arrived the previous week. Last week, three books entered my home. I'm also listing a book I forgot to post about last Monday:

Jane Jakeman. In the Kingdom of Mists (arrived 2/4/2009)
Gregory Maguire. Son of a Witch
Jim Butcher. Fool Moon
Joyce Carol Oates. The Gravedigger's Daughter

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

First sentence:

"How sense-luscious the world is."


"If Colette had studied science and spent time listening to icebergs in Antarctica and interviewing a professional nose in New York, she might have written a book as luscious and erudite as A Natural History of the Senses. In the course of this grand tour of the realm of the senses, Diane Ackerman writes about the evolution of the kiss, the sadistic cuisine of eighteenth-century England, the chemistry of pain, and the melodies of the planet Earth with an evocativeness and charm that make the book itself a marvel of literate sensuality." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a beautifully written, informative book about the five senses. Ackerman's descriptive writing kept me engaged and I enjoyed learning about the different ways we perceive the world.

Date read: 2/11/2009
Book #: 13
Challenges: 999 Challenge, Dewey Decimal Challenge
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0679735666
ISBN-13: 9780679735663
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1991
# of Pages: 309
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

The Cadaver's Ball by Charles Atkins

First sentence:

"Come on, Beth."


"Ed, Peter and Beth have been close friends ever since medical school. But for Ed it’s much more. He loves Beth—intensely. He even proposed to her once, but she turned him down because she’d already agreed to marry Peter. From that day on, Ed has been determined to prove to Beth that she married the wrong man…

Ed never got the chance to convince her. A tragic car crash took Beth’s life. Peter was at the wheel. Suddenly all of Ed’s burning hatred for his old friend flares to life, and Ed won’t rest until he’s destroyed Peter. Bit by bit, Ed sets out to ruin the unsuspecting Peter and everything that’s important to him—his reputation, his career…his very life.
" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very intense thriller which kept my interest throughout. I liked how Peter knew something was wrong and that Ed was somehow involved even if he didn't know exactly what was going on. I also liked the way the point of view switched from third person (Ed) to first person (Peter).

Date read: 2/10/2009
Book #: 12
Challenges: 999 Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0843957573
ISBN-13: 9780843957570
Publisher: Leisure Books
Year: 2006
# of Pages: 342
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gravity Wells by James Alan Gardner

First sentence:

"I told my kid sister Muffin this joke."


"Award-winning author James Alan Gardner evokes a sense of wonder that is synonymous with great speculative fiction. Now, in his first short-story collection, he brings together the numerous tales that have made his reputation, ranging from the everyday experience to the cosmic, from peanut butter sandwiches to space drives. There are stories of wonder, imagination, humanity, and the unknown and tales that remind us of the importance of possibility.

Some of the stories in this collection have won the Aurora Award and the grand prize in the prestigious Writers of the Future contest and been nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, while others are completely new and undiscovered. " -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection of short stories as they made me think at times and laugh at times. I especially liked the stories "The Last Day of the War, with Parrots" in which knowing someone's thoughts isn't always a good thing; "A Changeable Market in Slaves," or, in other words, how many different ways can a story's opening go and "A Young Person's Guide to the Organism," as different people see the same creature in many different ways.

Date read: 2/2/2009
Book #: 11
Challenges: 999 Challenge, Celebrate the Author Challenge 2009, Winter Reading Challenge 2008
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF

ISBN-10: 0060087706
ISBN-13: 9780060087708
Publisher: Eos
Year: 2005
# of Pages: 344
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mailbox Monday - February 2nd

Just one book arrived at my door last week, but I was glad to get it:

Nick Smith. Milk Treading