Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jane Eyre - Review

book cover art of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
Genres: Classic, Romance

     This was yet another classic book that I went into blind. I hadn't even really wanted to read it, but it was the January selection for my facebook reading group. I was pleasantly surprised with this story.

     Jane Eyre was orphaned at an age where she didn't remember her parents and was raised by a real she-wolf of a mean aunt. She is sent away to a very strict school which sad to say, was an improvement on her aunt's residence. Read this book while dieting, you will appreciate the small portions you have consumed when Jane is grateful for having a whole slice of bread to herself.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo - Review

cover art of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
Genre: Classic

     While many reviewers are quick to proclaim Edmond Dantes as a villain, I have to disagree. Granted his motives are far from pure as he seeks vengeance against those who had wronged him. He serves the ball into play, and it is up to the other characters as to what they do with the ball when it is in their court. They ruin themselves through greed, jealousy, or their desire for power without him putting a gun to their heads, or twisting their arms behind their backs.

     Most of the time it is the case where Dantes provides his enemies with enough rope to hang themselves and then sits back and watches the drama unfold. In one instance, he is horrified when one of his schemes progressed further than he had foreseen. He quickly becomes remorseful with some of the circumstances that he had set into motion.

     The Count of Monte Cristo is a very hefty book, with intricate plots, and lots of characters, but well worth the time. I look forward to reading it again as it seems like the type of book where you will get even more out of it the second or third time through it. This is definitely one of my new found favorites.

I give it 5 star review graphic 5 stars!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And the Plot Thickens

     I think it is interesting how the characters of The Count of Monte Cristo intertwine within the story. The count randomly meets Franz on his island who, as it turns out, is betrothed to one of his enemies' daughter. Said girl is actually in love with the son of one of the count's friends. Franz's best buddy, Albert, is found to be betrothed to the count's other enemy's daughter. As luck would have it, one of his servants had smuggling dealings with one of the few characters who had felt remorse towards the count while he was imprisoned. Even Dantes' first love shows up later in the story as we get more and more entangled in the web that Dumas spins.

     This story is like an onion with many layers to peel away and examine in great detail. There is so much more going on in this book than just unadulterated revenge. I'm a little over halfway finished and haven't even gotten to his vengeful wrath yet. However the characters are all in place, the foreshadowing is beginning to clue the reader in on the count's thoughts, and we begin to await the drop of the guillotine, so to speak.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Then and Now

     Through time and space, the festivities of Mardi Gras are still going strong. I've always wanted to go to New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras. The previous book that I read What She Doesn't Know was set in New Orleans during this wild tradition. It told of revelers dressed in costume, parades, and huge crowds.

     The Count of Monte Cristo was written by French author Alexander Dumas in 1944 and set primarily in France and Italy between 1815 and 1838. It also describes a grand festival in Rome where revelers ride up and down the streets in their carriages while dressed in costume. The festival is not referred to as Mardi Gras per se, merely as the Carnival, but there is reference to the fact that it is the Tuesday before Lent.

     I find it amusing that while reading the old timey classics from different continents, there are some things mentioned that are still common in today's world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo - First Impressions

     I really have to say that I'm quite surprised with The Count of Monte Cristo. I'll admit that I read a lot of classic books without having much clue what the book is about. The only thing that I had heard about this book is that it dealt with revenge for past wrongs inflicted on the main character. While that may be the overall feeling the book leaves with a reader as it must take place later on in the story, I'm quite impressed that Dantes is not completely consumed with revenge. He first takes care of those who remained loyal to him even after he had been marked as a traitor. It took me quite a few chapters before I was really drawn into the plot. I was a bit lost in the beginning as I'm not very educated about France during the Napoleon era. The Count of Monte Cristo is quickly becoming a book that I enjoy more than I had expected.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Early Morning Ramblings

     I didn't seem to get much reading in this week. The Count of Monte Cristo is fairly thick though, weighing in at over 1,000 pages. So it might just seem like I didn't read a lot since it took me so long to get to 25% in the book. Also, I read the weekly allotment of chapters in Jane Eyre for my facebook group.

     Purchased my domain and set up email, facebook, twitter, etc. I signed up to host FOUR virtual book tours, starting in February. Pretty excited about that. I downloaded the Goodreads phone app. This program is very cool! I can actually use it to scan the bar code on books to add to my shelves in Goodreads. Played with that feature a little bit yesterday but the camera is a serious battery hog on my phone, so didn't actually manage to scan a book before my phone started complaining that it was tired.

     I've been doing a lot of work setting up a new website for a friend too. Another friend requested a behemoth of an afghan crocheted to cover her couch. So I guess maybe it was a productive week. Small accomplishments in many areas is harder for me to judge that I have gotten much done.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fantastic Flight

Written by Barbara Bockman

Illustrated by Jack Foster

      Mom Does Reviews is hosting this great giveaway! To read her review of this book, visit Mom Does Reviews's website.

      If you can't wait to win this giveaway, you can buy Fantastic Flight right here.

      The giveaway starts 1/21 and ends 1/29.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What She Doesn't Know

What She Doesn't Know (Romantic Suspense)What She Doesn't Know
by Tina Wainscott

     What She Doesn't Know has something for everyone... mystery, suspense, romance, even a touch of paranormal and fantasy. This is one of the books that I downloaded from Amazon for free this month.

     As a mystery and/or suspense novel this book is great. The storyline is fast paced, but not rushed. The plot is dark, twisty, and not at all obvious. The editing errors were few and far between.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Date by Krista McGee

Book Cover Art of First Date by Krista McGeeFirst Date
by Krista McGee
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Read my review of this book at A Goddess of Frugality.
I give it 3 star review graphic 3 stars.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some Things Never Change

     I found it, not quite amusing, but ironic maybe that North and South contained a subplot that revolved around the workers union and a resulting strike. Having lived in Detroit my entire life, I grew up with frequent strikes by the members of the United Auto Workers. Centuries separate the writing of this book and modern day strikes, yet the situations surrounding them don't seem to change. The workers strike, the unions inflate themselves with self importance, the companies hire knobsticks or scabs, and the workers ultimately lose. Whether it is the 19th century or the 21st, strikes haven't changed much at all, and it makes me wonder why workers even still try it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012


     Guess this is what I get for not researching properly. I have to laugh at myself even though I feel like an idiot. When I was going through the books that my Goodreads book group had already read, I spotted North and South, and thought OH! I loved that mini series and would be sure to enjoy reading it! I downloaded it and pushed it to the front of my classic books to read.

     It has nothing to do with the civil war. In fact, the author passed away BEFORE the civil war. The family in the book has just moved to a town, I forget it's actual name, that is succeeded by -North. My only conjecture is that maybe North and South alludes to the difference of the two sides of the village. Possibly like a wrong side vs. right side of the tracks.

     While the story seems enjoyable enough, I admit I am disappointed that it is not the story that I was expecting. But I can only blame myself for jumping the gun and not bothering to research.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cottage by the Sea - Review

Cover art of A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware Cottage by the Sea
by Ciji Ware
Genres: Romance, Suspense

     I really got into this book more than I had expected. It had the usual entanglements of unnecessary jealousies and petty misinterpretations that seem to be mandatory in romances, and I find so tedious to read through to be honest. Sometimes I just want to shake the simpering "heroine" and scream for her to chill, so he's talking to another female, so what?! Even through all that, I was riveted to the story.

     Cottage by the Sea is more than your typical romance, there is also an element of drama and suspense as well. Not even your typical "who dunnit" type of suspense but just not knowing where the story will take you next.

     Some parts were incredibly predictable, but others left me picking my jaw up off the floor thinking "I didn't see that coming". There is also a lesson to be learned here as well. There are two sides to every story and sometimes more than one victim to every diabolical scheme. Not everything in life can be taken at face value without considering other's motivations and emotions.

     That's all I'm saying before I end up giving too much away. I definitely give this book the ratings of PYOL. As my mother used to warn us "Plan Your Own Life" because she wasn't putting the book down until she read the conclusion.

I give it PYOL review graphic my personal PYOL rating!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cottage by the Sea - First Impressions

     I started this book last night, planning to read a few pages before bed. I had a hard time putting it down and forced myself to bed at 1am. I'm not a big reader of romance novels anymore. I used to like them back when I was young, optimistic, and still believed in knights in shining armor. Now I'm an old maid ... err ... confirmed bachelorette, and don't have much patience for the sappiness of traditional romances.
     I'm glad that I picked this book though as it isn't the typical romance story. There is an interesting subplot that isn't mentioned in the synopsis that I find intriguing. Don't worry, I'm not going to blab what it is. It is a pretty hefty book, weighing in at 544 pages, but well worth the read so far.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wuthering Heights - Conclusion

Book cover art from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
Genre: Classic
     Well, I definitely never read this book before. I'm torn between hatred of Heathcliff and pity. Was he heartless because he was a scoundrel or because his heart had been broken to bits?
     I still find it hard to understand dialogue when it is spelled phonetically based on the character's speech patterns. Mark Twain is also known for doing this. I find it easiest to read these passages aloud and pray my family doesn't think I am nuts. But still I found that I couldn't understand a word that Joseph said. The gist of what I did get from him, he probably wasn't saying anything very nice anyhow. It doesn't seem that he had ever heard the adage "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". I'd have sacked his sorry butt and sent him packing if I had been lord of the manor.
     Is it just me or were people more apt to fall ill back then? The housekeeper/narrator had been out in the rain and gotten her feet wet. As a result she was bed ridden for THREE weeks. Jane Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice, was sick for months after getting caught in the rain. One could argue that we have better doctors today, though I'm not sure I would agree, or that they didn't have Nyquil back then. Personally, I often get caught in the rain without need of either a visit to my general quacktitioner or over the counter cold medicines. There were other illnesses where the cause of which seemed strange to me, but I don't want to go into specifics for fear of giving away too much of the book.
     One thing I found humorous, the main female character compares a situation in her life to a passage in another book which I just finished.

I give it 3 star review graphic 3 stars.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wuthering Heights - First Impressions

book cover art of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
Genres: Classic, Historical Romance
     OK, I don't like to go into a lot of details about plots of books, I'm always afraid of giving too much away, and spoiling any surprises. I chose to start Wuthering Heights because one of my book groups has already read it and the other doesn't plan to read it. Plus the fact that it is written by Emily Bronte while I am also reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte seemed ironic.
     This is another classic that I'm almost positive that I read it in high school but doesn't seem at all familiar. Well, I'm not going to admit how long ago high school was, but it isn't too surprising if my memory fails me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Dark Gifts - Birthright

Book One in The Dark Gifts series
ebook by Willow Cross
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
My review is available at A Goddess of Frugality
I give it 4 star review graphic 4 stars!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Picks for This Month

     Amazon has loads of free books for the Kindle, or your choice of Kindle apps for your computer, laptop, phone ... whichever. While most of the freebie books are classics within the public domain, Amazon does offer a limited amount of new books for free, for a limited time. I have many books that I downloaded months ago for free, that now cost up to $10! I try to check at least once a month, for new releases.

This month I chose to download ...

My review

My review

My review

My review

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

     I have finally finished syncing my Goodreads books with all of the Kindle books that I've acquired over the past year and still haven't read most of them. I also got some new books too, I just can't help myself! Of course I still have all of my bookshelves to go through too. UGH!
     I'm a reader, 3rd generation, and proud of it. There is no such thing as too many books. And if I must confess, there are very few books on all my bookshelves that have not been read.