Monday, March 31, 2008

Firefly Lane

Author: Kristin Hannah
Challenge: The Pub 2008 Challenge
Date Finished: March 25, 2008
Rating: 5/5

"Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone's Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it's the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It's about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you - and knows what has the power to hurt you...and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you'll never you'll want to pass on to your best friend." (from dust jacket)

Kristin Hannah is a favorite of mine so when I heard she had a new novel out I HAD to read it as soon as I could get my grubby little paws on it. It is the story of two girls who meet in their early teen years, and although an unlikely pair to become friends they quickly bond and form what turns out to be a life long friendship. Much of the novel is a bit emotional and even predictable in parts, but I loved the way it was laid out for the readers. The book opens in the "present" time and then goes back to show the girls growing up til the story catches up to where the book began and then continues in the present until the ending.

Overall the book reminded me ALOT of the movie Beaches but it still was written in such a way that even though I felt it was intentionally pulling my heart strings I was willing to let the story do just that. I loved the characters, despite all their flaws...and even though I knew the ending would make me cry (and it did) I couldn't resist cuddling up with the book and a box of tissues.

The Pesthouse

Author: Jim Crace
Challenge: Speculative Fiction Challenge
Date Finished: March 22, 2008
Rating: 5/5

This was my second time reading a Jim Crace novel and I was not disappointed. Earlier this year I read his novel Being Dead and loved it. So I started reading The Pesthouse with high expectations. The story was so unique, it was not only a dystopian picture of the future, but also a love story AND in many ways an action adventure. Many times in the book I was flipping ahead because I couldn't bear to wait and see what would happen next. From the very first chapter I wanted to spend every moment reading this novel! This might even end up being one of my favorite novels of the year. And I defiantly can not wait to read more by this author.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Initials Reading Challenge

Well of course I could not resist joining yet another if I could just seem to finish some of the ones I've already joined...making lists of what to read is SOOOOO much fun though. The idea behind the Initials challenge is to read books whose authors use their initials as part of their pen name. Here is my list so far...

1. Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton
2. Blood on the Bayou by D.J. Donaldson
3. The Sitter by R.L. Stine
4. Out of Sight by T.J. MacGregor
5. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Last Night at the Lobster

Authors: Stewart O'Nan
Challenge: Alphabet Readers (O title)
Date Finished: February 23, 2008
Rating: 4.5/5

"Last Night at the Lobster is a poignant yet redemptive look at what a man does when he discovers that his best might not be good enough." (from the dust jacket)

The entire story is set in a one day time span, the last day of business at a Red Lobster restaurant located in the far corner of a New England Mall. The story centers around the general manager of the restaurant, Manny DeLeon. Traveling from the opening of business to the close, the reader gets to see and hear Manny's thoughts and internal struggles as he comes to terms with what is happening to the place he has worked for so proudly for the past few years and the employees who have arrived to live out that last day of business with him.

From the moment I read a review stating the idea behind the book I HAD to read it. I am a former employee of Red Lobster and wanted to see how true the story rang. To be honest there were a few things that didn't seem to fit, but overall the story was believable...and after all the book wasn't just about the restaurant, but more importantly the people who work for and make up the restaurant. Last Night at the Lobster is defiantly not an action based story, but I feel the author did a wonderful job of showing some of the internal struggles, happiness, and sorrows of an average working man. I loved the book and although the ending left me wondering what would happen next for each character I felt it was an entirely appropriate ending for the story line.

Mister Pip

Authors: Lloyd Jones
Challenge: Just4thehelluvit Challenge
Date Finished: February 20, 2008
Rating: 4/5

"By the time Mr. Watts reached the end of chapter one I felt like I had been spoken to by this boy Pip. This boy who I couldn't see to touch but I knew by ear. I had found a new friend." Page 23

The story begins on an island that has been torn apart by civil war. The only white man left on the island decides that he will attempt to run the school for the island children. He has many different techniques, but the most influential and the center of this story is that he reads to the children from Charles Dickens's classic Great Expectations. Many of the children find a "friend" in that book's main character, Pip. Matilda is one of these children. As the war intensifies the action mounts until finally all is changed.

The story has many subtle heartwarming parts and also many horrifying moments. Overall it is a book that captured my attention and for the majority of the book kept me on the edge of my chair. I did think the story attempted to carry on well past what in my opinion should have been the logical ending. But as a whole it was well worth the time spent reading it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another Bloomin' Challenge

I think the name of this challenge says it all....I really shouldn't join another challenge, but I LOVE doing so...and heck I may actually finish a challenge or two this year. For this challenge I decided to participate by reading a bouquet.

BOUQUET: Fill a vase with the bounty of the season. For this challenge level read four or more books each with a different flower in the title.

1. Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux
2. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
3. Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate
4. Peony in Love by Lisa See

Spring Reading Thing 2008 Challenge

Well I've decided one more challenge....what could it hurt, right. And some of the books I didn't get read on my winter challenge list will naturally become part of this list. Plus I've decided to start reading some of those first time home buyer type books since we're on the hunt for our first home and hope to be buying later this year. is my list for this challenge:

1. Homecoming by Cynthia Voight

2. Julie and Jilia by Julie Powell

3. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

4. Rembrandt's Ghost by Paul Christopher

5. Don't Try This at Home Eidted by Kimberly Witherspoon and Andrew Friedman

6. 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask by Ilyce R. Glink

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring Reading Challenge 2008

I've decided to join in the Spring Reading Challenge being hosted on the Rock Creek Rumblings blog. I'm not creating a really long list because for some reason I've been reading alot less so far this year and don't want to feel overwhelmed, but these six books are ones I've been really wanting to get read. So for now here is my list:

1. The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse (Rankin)
2. Island of the Sequined Love Nun (Moore)
3. The Memory Keeper's Daughter (Edwards)
4. The Atonement Child (Rivers)
5. A Wile Ride up the Cupboards (Bauer)
6. Letters Home by Sylvia Plath (Plath)