Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category
Let me say up front that based on the title and cover alone, I probably never would have picked this book up – it’s not my typical reading fare. But after reading an excerpt from this book online, I was completely hooked and wanted to keep reading immediately. So much so, that I was willing to read it online using the Kindle app on my iPad – the first book I’ve ever read using the app.
Budo is Max’s imaginary friend – and because Max imagined him as a human boy, he can walk and talk much like you and me. Except that only Max (and other imaginary friends) can hear and see him. Max is in 3rd grade, and is most likely on the autism spectrum (this is never explicitly stated). Which is why Budo has “lived” much longer than most imaginary friends.
Budo looks out for Max and helps him cope with the stress of life. However, when something terrible happens (don’t want to give away too much here), it is up to Budo to save Max, even if that means sacrificing himself.
The story is told completely from Budo’s point of view, in first person. It is this that makes this book so interesting, because we are seeing the world through the child-like eyes of someone who is on the outside looking in. Budo’s observations and somewhat skewed understanding of the world he and Max lives in, are both funny and sometimes sad. Budo’s descriptions of the other imaginary friends he runs into are one of the best parts of this book – not every child imagines his friend as a human. Some are just a hair bow, or a paper doll (complete with wrinkles and rips and folds from being in the bottom of a backpack), or a bobblehead.
This was a really original story, that suprised me with how much it drew me in and made me care about Budo and Max. And I was sad when it was over. I highly recommend giving this book a try.
While the subject matter of this book is a little disturbing, the story itself was really compelling. Trish is on the verge of losing her son after he’s injured at home as a result of her hoarding. As her various family members step in to help her clean up, it’s not just garbage and junk that is exposed to all. Family secrets are revealed, relationships are renewed, and truth comes out.
If you like the A&E show “Hoarders”, you’ll like this book. This story is essentially the fictionalized version of a “Hoarders” episode.
I had a hard time putting this book down, because as bits and pieces of the past were revealed, I wanted to keep reading to find out the whole story. I liked the alternating points of view, seeing the story alternately through Trish’s eyes, and in every other chapter, through her sister Mary’s view.
As another reviewer stated, the ending was somewhat disappointing, in that it seemed to just come to a halt, with not enough resolution of each character’s story. But overall, I enjoyed this read, and can recommend this book.
Reviewed for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Advanced Reading Copy provided courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.
This book was a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t at all what I expected – I was quite surprised when it finally arrived, and it was such a slim volume. The story of Mr. Oto, Miss Anne and Sophie was sweet and languid, much like the 1940s south the story was set in. I enjoyed the interweaving of the Japanese folk tale about the crane’s wife, and how that was a frame for Sophie and Mr. Oto’s relationship.
However, like another reviewer mentioned, the story left me wanting more, much more. I wanted to know more about Sophie and Mr. Oto’s relationship. About Sophie and Sally’s friendship. About Miss Anne. There were quite a few threads left hanging in this book – I’m not a big fan of the “use your imagination to figure out what happened” literary device.
If you liked The Help, give this one a try. But be prepared to use your imagination.
Reviewed for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Advanced Reading Copy provided courtesy of Bell Bridge Books.
The description for this book made it sound like it would be interesting, but in fact I could hardly finish it. The story never really went anywhere. The characters were annoying and I didn’t like any of them. Am I really supposed to believe that each of them could resolve their big “problem” or come to their big “life realization” or experience a big “life moment” over the course of a single weekend? Maybe because I didn’t go to an Ivy League college, I just didn’t get the whole “reunion weekend” concept. In any event, I didn’t enjoy this book and wouldn’t recommend it.
Reviewed for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Advanced Reading Copy provided courtesy of Voice.
With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic being recognized this year (“celebrated” doesn’t seem an appropriate word to use here), there is a slew of Titanic-themed fiction and non-fiction being released over the next few months. The Dressmaker is one of those novels.
I found this story of an aspiring dressmaker/maid who is brought on to the Titanic at the last minute to be engaging, and a fresh take on the Titanic story. Tess Collins runs away from her position as a maid in Cherbourg, France and ends up on the dock before the sailing of the Titanic. In an unlikely turn of events, she is hired on the spot by the aristocratic Lady Duff-Gordon, famous dressmaker and head of the House of Lucile.
Tess is thrilled and honored that Lady Duff Gordon has hired her as her maid, and hopes to parlay that good fortune into one day becoming a dressmaker herself. What she doesn’t bargain for is the sinking of the Titanic, and the reprecussions of events in a lifeboat that continue to have an impact on her and Lady Duff Gordon’s lives long after they have been rescued.
Like any good romance, Tess ends up with two suitors – the good-hearted but poor sailor Jim Bonney, and the rich, aristrocratic divorcee Jack Bremerton. Her involvement with Mr. Bremerton (the rich older man) again seems somewhat unlikely. It’s these types of things that prevented me from giving this book more than 3.5 stars, in that I just couldn’t find some of the things that happen to Tess to be believeable.
Still, if you can look past those things, you’ll find this an interesting piece of historical fiction, that keeps you intrigued until the end. If you enjoy Titanic-themed fiction, I’d definitely recommend picking this one up.
Reviewed for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Advanced Reading Copy provided courtesy of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
I’m not sure what to think about this novel. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Feng, from the beginning. She seemed so completely set apart from everything that was happening to her. And then in the middle of the story, she suddenly becomes incredibly angry to such an extreme that she makes some really terrible choices, and becomes completely unlikeable.
I found some of the language in this story to be odd (some slang that I don’t really think this character would have used), and some of the relationships hard to keep straight. Combined with a huge out-of-the-blue time jump in the latter third, and not feeling any kind of connection to the main character whatsoever, this all added up to a difficult book to stay engaged with.
Reviewed for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Advanced Reading Copy provided courtesy of HarperCollins.
I’m not sure what to think of this novel. The story sounded interesting. But, I had a really hard time getting into the story – the characters didn’t grab me at all – I never really understood their motivations. The timeline was somewhat disjointed and hard to follow at times. I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did.
As I read, the picture in my mind of the setting was always foggy and in black and white – I think that’s reflective of my lack of interest in the story. If I hadn’t been reading this for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program, I probably would not have finished this book. Honestly, I’m relieved it’s over.
Reviewed for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Advanced Reading Copy provided courtesy of Penguin Group USA.