The Bloggers Book Club

This is the no pressure book club. If you have read a great book, blog about it, and if we are interested in it we will read it and comment about it. It's that simple. See, no pressure, no monthly meetings, ah!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Sugar House

Another Tess Monaghan novel. Another really good book. Ya'll should really read Laura Lippman. I think you would like her too.
But, I think I've finally achieved overkill and will move on to another subject for awhile. Like that dang "Book Love" list Annette put on her site.

Monday, September 22, 2008

By A Spider's Thread

Yes, I know. Another Laura Lippman book. That's how I read. One author at a time. The problem is when I finish with one author it takes me awhile to find another with a writing style I like. So, fair warning, Ms Lippman has several more books for me to read!

I did like this book. I was afraid I wouldn't. I had tried to read another of her 'Tess Monaghan' books earlier and just couldn't get into it so I was afraid maybe I just didn't like Tess. But, I do and I did really enjoy this story. The only complaint I have is you find out a key piece of information at the end and I guess that is what is supposed to make mysteries so enjoyable but I kind of felt like I should have been privy to this information much earlier.

Acclaimed author Laura Lippman pens a complex novel with multifaceted characters and disconcerting plot. Private investigator Tess Monaghan has taken on a baffling new case. Wealthy furrier Mark Rubin's wife has disappeared, and the police won't help find her because they feel that she left willingly. Finding that her client is secretive, controlling, and in denial, Tess is forced to research Rubin's Jewish Orthodox religion. Using the resources of her fellow women investigators across the country, she tracks down the wayward wife and uncovers an intricate web of infidelity and revenge.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Book Theif

This is a book I had started a few weeks ago and could not get into. I was told that it would be one of the best books I have ever read so I should give it another chance. Thankfully, I did because this has to be one of the best books ever written. I am thankful to the person who talked me into giving it another chance because I would have missed an amazing, deeply moving, and powerful story.

From The Washington Post's Book World/
Death, it turns out, is not proud.

The narrator of The Book Thief is many things -- sardonic, wry, darkly humorous, compassionate -- but not especially proud. As author Marcus Zusak channels him, Death -- who doesn't carry a scythe but gets a kick out of the idea -- is as afraid of humans as humans are of him.

Knopf is blitz-marketing this 550-page book set in Nazi Germany as a young-adult novel, though it was published in the author's native Australia for grown-ups. (Zusak, 30, has written several books for kids, including the award-winning I Am the Messenger.) The book's length, subject matter and approach might give early teen readers pause, but those who can get beyond the rather confusing first pages will find an absorbing and searing narrative.

Death meets the book thief, a 9-year-old girl named Liesel Meminger, when he comes to take her little brother, and she becomes an enduring force in his life, despite his efforts to resist her. "I traveled the globe . . . handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity," Death writes. "I warned myself that I should keep a good distance from the burial of Liesel Meminger's brother. I did not heed my advice." As Death lingers at the burial, he watches the girl, who can't yet read, steal a gravedigger's instruction manual. Thus Liesel is touched first by Death, then by words, as if she knows she'll need their comfort during the hardships ahead.

And there are plenty to come. Liesel's father has already been carted off for being a communist and soon her mother disappears, too, leaving her in the care of foster parents: the accordion-playing, silver-eyed Hans Hubermann and his wife, Rosa, who has a face like "creased-up cardboard." Liesel's new family lives on the unfortunately named Himmel (Heaven) Street, in a small town on the outskirts of Munich populated by vivid characters: from the blond-haired boy who relates to Jesse Owens to the mayor's wife who hides from despair in her library. They are, for the most part, foul-spoken but good-hearted folks, some of whom have the strength to stand up to the Nazis in small but telling ways.

Stolen books form the spine of the story. Though Liesel's foster father realizes the subject matter isn't ideal, he uses "The Grave Digger's Handbook" to teach her to read. "If I die anytime soon, you make sure they bury me right," he tells her, and she solemnly agrees. Reading opens new worlds to her; soon she is looking for other material for distraction. She rescues a book from a pile being burned by the Nazis, then begins stealing more books from the mayor's wife. After a Jewish fist-fighter hides behind a copy of Mein Kampf as he makes his way to the relative safety of the Hubermanns' basement, he then literally whitewashes the pages to create his own book for Liesel, which sustains her through her darkest times. Other books come in handy as diversions during bombing raids or hedges against grief. And it is the book she is writing herself that, ultimately, will save Liesel's life.

Death recounts all this mostly dispassionately -- you can tell he almost hates to be involved. His language is spare but evocative, and he's fond of emphasizing points with bold type and centered pronouncements, just to make sure you get them (how almost endearing that is, that Death feels a need to emphasize anything). "A NICE THOUGHT," Death will suddenly announce, or "A KEY WORD." He's also full of deft descriptions: "Pimples were gathered in peer groups on his face."

Death, like Liesel, has a way with words. And he recognizes them not only for the good they can do, but for the evil as well. What would Hitler have been, after all, without words? As this book reminds us, what would any of us be?

Reviewed by Elizabeth Chang
Copyright 2006, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman

(Synopsis "borrowed" from Barnes and Noble) Two little girls banished from a neighborhood birthday party take a wrong turn down an unfamiliar Baltimore street—and encounter an abandoned stroller with an infant inside. What happens next is shocking and terrible, and three families are irreparably destroyed.

Seven years later, Alice Manning and Ronnie Fuller, now eighteen, are released from "kid prison" to begin their lives over again. But the secrets swirling around the original crime continue to haunt the parents, the lawyers, the police—all the adults in Alice and Ronnie's lives. And now another child has disappeared, under freakishly similar circumstances ...

Another good book by Ms Lippman. Although one of the last chapter gave me nightmares for a couple of nights. And, yes, I am planning to read every single one of her books that I can find at the library.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

I've finally found a new author. This was a great book and I'm dying to read more mystery novels by Ms Lippman.

Two sisters disappear in 1975. Thirty years later a mysterious woman shows up and claims to be one of them. Is she? I'm not telling. I did sort of figure it out about 2/3's of the way in but there was still enough doubt to keep me second-guessing myself. I do like the way she writes - she gives each character a chance to be in the first-person so you really get to see things from every angle and everybody's perspective.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Pillars of the Earth

I really enjoyed this book. It took me forever to read, but mainly because I have had so much going on. If I could have, I would have spent a weekend reading it until I was done. It's a spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect-a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother. Oh there are many, many characters that you can't help to love or hate. They weave in and out. I'll never forget the moment that my favorite character was killed of. I was so angry but It's OK, because the death only made the story more interesting. I have my copy, so if you want to read it...let me know, I'll ship it out to you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Marley & Me

Alright fine! So I am the last person on the planet to read this book. I loved it. I cried like a child. I stayed up late turning pages in a fog and reading the same line three or four times to comprehend what I was reading while half asleep.

If you are an dog lover, this is a must read. If you are an animal lover, this is a must read. If you are a humanitarian, this is a must read. Did I mention I cried?

They are making Marley's story into a movie. I'll be the first in line to see it. And I'll probably cry.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leven Thumps Series

Fourteen-year-old Leven Thumps (a.k.a. "Lev") lives a wretched life in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change and his destiny be fulfilled as he learns about a secret gateway that bridges two worlds -- the real world and Foo, a place created at the at the beginning of time in the folds of the mind that makes it possible for mankind to dream and hope, aspire and imagine. But Foo is in chaos, and three transplants from that dreamworld have been sent to retrieve Lev, who alone has the power to save Foo.

Enter Clover, a wisecracking, foot-high sidekick; Winter, a girl with a special power of her own; and Geth, the rightful heir to Foo. Their mission: to convince Lev that he has the power to save Foo. Can this unique band of travelers help Lev overcome his doubt? Will Lev find the gateway in time? Or will Sabine and his dark shadows find the gateway first and destroy mankind?


I saw this book on the shelf at Walmart and every time I went down the isle I wanted to buy it. I finally bought the first book and was hooked. If you like Harry Potter you will like this three book series. I have read the first two and am looking for the third one. It is an easy read and children should love it.

Pieces of My Sister's Life

"Once, Kerry and Eve Barnard did everything together: sailing the Block Island harbor with their father, listening to their neighbor Justin’s magical fairy tales, and all the while longing for their absent mother. They were twin girls arm in arm, secrets entwined between two hearts. Until the summer of their seventeenth birthday, when their extraordinary bond was shattered. And thirteen years later, it will take all the courage they can summon to put the pieces back together—at a time when it matters most.…"

I thoroughly enjoyed this book although I got so angry while reading it. It is an incredible story about the power of forgiveness.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I read the Kite Runner and loved it. I could not wait until I got the chance to read A Thousand Splendid Suns and it was so worth the wait. This is the incredible story of two women who are brought together by fate and end up forming an incredible friendship. The women have suffered more pain than anyone should have to bear and yet they endure, clinging to their friendship to help them through it all. One of the things I like about Hosseini's books is how he draws you completely into the story and you become emotionally attached to Mariam and Laila. I strongly recommend it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years -- from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding -- that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives -- the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness -- are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heartwrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love -- a stunning accomplishment.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I swear...

I'm going to post soon. Really I am! I have not forgotten about this site. I just have not been reading. Isn't that terrible?! Gosh, it is, I know it is. Not to wory though, I'm reading a really good book now. It's long but that's OK. Atleast I'm not letting my mind go to mush.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Play Dirty

I have been a die hard Sandra Brown fan for many years. After Ricochet, I got a tad bit frustrated with her predictable writing style. But I am happy to say Play Dirty has renewed my admiration of Ms. Brown.

Funny that I was reading this book during the time when Tony Romo was being chastised for making poor decisions and keeping controversial company. (Miss Jessica Simpson) This book is about a former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Griff Burkett, who intentionally throws a playoff game that would have ultimately taken them to the Super Bowl, to satisfy a large debt to some bookies.

After doing time, he is thrown back out into the public that now despises him. Finding work proves to be challenging until he is summoned to the home of a very wealthy quadriplegic businessman with a stunningly beautiful wife.

While Burkett accepts blame for his past, he is also trying to put his past behind him, seeking absolution from those willing to give it, falling in love, and suddenly fighting for his life.

I liked this story, I looked for any chance to sit down and crack open the book. I did peg one character from the very beginning, which I felt was a bit predictable, but overall Sandra did not let me down. This was a good one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc

After the previous book I read (see post below) I really needed this book to be good. And it eventually came through. The book is broken into three parts.

Part One was a bit of a slow start. It could have been because I was so busy with the holiday's and I didn't have a lot of time to read. But once I got into it, it was really good. Sissy LeBlanc is a mom of three,with a very "colorful" past. The once, head cheerleader, in love with the high school football star, ends up erroneously married to PeeWee LeBlanc, the one time nerdy high school pip squeak, who has endured a constant struggle his whole life, to assert his manhood. The book is set in 1940 Gentry, Louisiana and I couldn't help but read this book with a thick Louisiana accent in mind.
Throughout the book, Sissy keeps coming up with little bits of wisdom which she assigns a number to and puts in "The Southern Belle's Handbook". Rule 59 was my favorite: It's okay for a woman to know her place, she just shouldn't stay there."
In Part Two, Sissy's colorful past really begins to emerge and the story gets good and juicy.
In Part Three, Sissy enacts some long over due acts of revenge but I found the ending just a tad bit predictable.
Overall I really liked this book. It took twists and turns that I didn't see coming. (Other than the end.) I totally recommend it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Heartbreak Town

This book started out interestingly enough. But after that it just fizzled. I really wanted to like it. I wouldn't allow myself to give up. But when the bookmarker fell out of the book, it just wasn't worth trying to find my spot and I put the book away for good.
The author,Marsha Moyer was born and raised in Central Texas. We are very loyal, us Texans. And so I wanted so much to like this book. But I didn't. The main character is Lucy Farrell, a single mom with one son. She leaves her estranged husband in Nashville who follows the bottle more often than he follows his dream of making it big in the country music industy, and Lucy comes back to the small East Texas town she calls "home".
I LOVE stories about small town Texas. I am all about small cowtown Texas. But this story was just painful to read. Ash's character is boring despite Ms. Moyer's best attempts. Lucy just washes dishes, makes Margaritas and stares out the window all day while trying to figure out what to do. This goes on for several chapters until I'm just so bored, I want to drink Margaritas until I get drunk and forget that I ever wasted four months of my life trying to get through this book.
Oh the misery. Seriously. Pass this one up.