Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hello, old friend...

Classic Summer 2013- Kicking off the Harry Potter series 

Recently I have been contemplating getting my first(and if I'm being truthful, probably only) tattoo. I have sort of been wanting one for a while but I couldn't think of what I wanted to get, and I really do not believe in getting ink just for the sake of saying you have it! So I began to think, what is important to me? I'm definitely not going to make the mistake of tattooing my husband's name anywhere on my body, that's some bad juju right there. And as you might have guessed, my biggest passion in life is literature. And some of the most influential books that I have ever read, personally, are J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Knock it if you want, but these books have more depth than most "adult" fiction. I read an amazing blurb detailing exactly that recently, you can find that here. Some of it is a little far fetched, but most of it is spot on. And that is only one way to look at them.

But for me, there is one word that epitomizes the entire series...
ooff. Right in the feels.

Just like these books, it's not didactic. It has several meanings, different applications for different characters and situations. My plans are to tattoo 'Always' in some lovely script just behind my ear, where it is easily hidden.

Whilst pondering whether or not to get this tattoo, I realized something. Something that is rather embarrassing to me. I have never read the entire series all the way through without having long gaps in between. With other series, that might be okay, but not this one. There is so much specificity and detail, it is far too easy to forget things. So I have decided that this summer I will add Harry to my Classic Summer reading. I will read the series from start to finish, reading a few others in between so that I don't become too bogged down(because that can happen with even the best of books) and I'll be rewatching the movies of course! And after all that, I will make my decision. To ink, or not to ink!

So for now, all I can say is..

Hello, old friend..

Ink disclaimer: To any family or friends who would try to deter me from getting above mentioned tattoo, I ask that you respect my wishes. I know your comments would come from love and concern, but it would probably only add to my determination. :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

I seriously love this book! For some reason, I had decided that I was not going to read this one. But it was chosen as a monthly read for a bookclub that I am a part of on Goodreads, and then I realized that my library had a copy, and I was like, okay universe, I get it! I can take a hint!

From Goodreads:
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Caution, Spoilers Ahead!

It's hard to know where to begin with this one, so I'll start with Bernadette. I felt really protective of her the entire time I was reading. I just couldn't believe all of the things that had happened to her and the hands of other adults, and she felt that it was all her fault. I'm not saying that she is blameless, but how is it her fault that her Twenty Mile House was literally destroyed? I feel like there was solo much more to that but anyway..
That brings me to Elgin. Where in the hell was he during all of this? Oh yeah, playing with robots. I tried really hard not to hate him, and I think I feel mostly at peace now, but the way that he was willing to take everything that everyone said about Bernadette at face value and have her shipped off was disgusting. And he was so disconnected from his wife that he didn't even realize that the people he was getting said info from were women who shunned Bernadette and Bee on a regular basis. 
Which brings me to Soo-Lin. I have not one ounce of pity for that gnat. I really feel like she projected a version of Eglin that she created in her head onto the broken, pathetic one, and took advantage of a person who's life was falling apart, and she realizes most of that, but doesn't seem that sorry about it. It's still all about her and her baby, which I also feel like was part of her coup.

Okay, I have to have something positive in here, so I give you Bee. Balakrishna. What an amazing name. I loved her interjections in the story, which is later realized to be her book. She just loves her mom so much. All of the Galer Street gnats pity her, but the truth is that she more well-adjusted than any of the other kids. I loved her view of the world.

As many negative things that I have to say about certain characters you would think that I didn't enjoy this book, but it's quite the opposite. I absolutely loved it. It has the perfect amount of quirkiness and snark, which are things that I love to find in a book.
This is the first book that I have given five stars to in many months, and it will go on my 2013 'Best' list! I would recommend this as a perfect summer read!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

From Goodreads:
It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood.  Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach.  It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased.  But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer.  When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.

Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash.  Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death.  Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.  

Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children.  How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself?  Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept 
is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.

Isn't that cover beautiful?
Something that I love is when an author who has several books has the covers done in some way that they either match or are very similar. It's very pleasing to the eye to see them all sitting on your bookshelf. :)
Here are the covers of her other two novels. I'll be reading The House I Loved very soon.

I read Sarah's Key by de Rosnay a while back and was absolutely enthralled, especially since it was her debut novel. So when I picked up A Secret Kept, I admit that I expected another shocking read, and on that front I was a bit let down. In retrospect, I can admire Rosnay's difference in writing between these two novels. I think that it shows a certain depth to her writing style. A Secret Kept does not have the twists and turns leading to gut wrenching revelations the way Sarah's Key does, but it does have an unmatched realistic quality that you do not find very often. I found that the thoughts of Antoine were the thoughts of a real person; truthful, if not a bit odd at times, but that it how people really are(or I think so, anyhow).

I gave this book three stars. I enjoyed it but also found it easy to put down. And that's okay. Not all books are meant to be devoured at once. Sometimes I have to remind myself to savor a book or else I might forget to enjoy it.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

From Goodreads:
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And - most importantly of all - she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine's Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls - neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels

I posted on the first book in this series a while back, but I have been super lazy about blogging recently, so here we are at book four.

I have always felt that in most series there is a book that is mostly a means to an end, setting up the final books in the series. The plot went almost no where in this one, except at the end, resulting in a huge cliffhanger. I almost feel a bit sadistic for wanting to read these, because I know that Clary and Jace will not be able to be together and be happy until the final book, which hasn't been released yet. But I enjoy both of these characters so much, as well as all the others, so I keep reading.

I did have another issue with this book, and that is continuity. It was little things, like a character holding a necklace in their hand, but suddenly it is being described around their neck. There were several instances like this and because there were so many it was really annoying to read. I really hope that the last two are edited more closely. The writing process is tricky and its easy to become jumbled and that's what makes editing so important. Okay enough about that...

I am getting pretty excited about The Mortal Instruments; City of Bones movie coming out! I'm really curious to see how they do it. But what I am really, really curious about is how the general population will take Jace and Clary's relationship. I really do like these books, and it's going to be really obnoxious if they get crucified the way Twilight did. There will be a TON of non-readers going to see this movie, and like always, the just won't get it. Ugh, now I'm frustrated about something that hasn't happened yet! :P I'll leave you with this...


Happy Reading!