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The Passage: A Novel by Justin Cronin

21 Jul
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Passage: 2 Treasure Boxes First book in The Passage Trilogy
Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 36 hours and 52 minutes (785 pages), ASIN: B003QL14NC

The Passage is a vampire story. It is about blood sucking abominations that man-kind created while developing  a serum in the hopes of  discovering immortality. But instead of  infinite healing potential, they invented an illness that resulted in humans transforming into immortal monsters. Their experiment created millions of vampires while at the same time killing off billions of humans. While the army was secreting developing the virus they injected a special composition of it into six year old Amy, and due to her young age, she was altered in a different manner. She would have been considered a success, if the virus did not abolish the majority of mankind.  She seemingly became immortal and after 93 years appears to have only aged 10 years, she retains most of her humanity and did not become a vampire, yet she has a connection to them. She is able to communicate with them telepathically. The Passage details the development and the devastating effect of the virus during the 93 years since its inception. This book shows what has happened to mankind, and how a small group of humans are fighting back.

Justin Cronin has to date, written four novels, two of them in The Passage trilogy. The third book in the series, The city of Mirrors, is supposed to be released sometime in 2014. Cronin has won numerous awards for his writing. The Passage is a horror story, and it is told in a third person narrative using several different tactics including diary entries. I found the switch between third person narrative and diary readings to be confusing, especially when some of those diary entries were 1000 years after the events in the book. There are numerous protagonists throughout the novel, but Amy seems to be the constant.

The story was interesting and original. I really enjoyed the beginning, which I thought was well written and engaging. However, I found the middle of the book to drag a bit, and to be a bit boring. I understand that Cronin wanted to fill in some information to gap the years between the onset of the virus and year 93, but I did not enjoy how he did it. I did not like the use of the diary entries. I did think that Cronin’s concept of the vampire was fascinating. I also liked the characters that he focused on, and I thought his character development was well done. I recommend this book as a good read, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I liked how this book ended, and I could see the potential for a future story.

 

To purchase The Passage: A Novel from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

New Book in our Online Book Club: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

03 Jul


Welcome all book lovers to our Online Book Club

Today at Find The Treasure, our Online Book club, we have started reading a new book, The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. This book will soon be coming out in a movie starring, Helen Mirren. On the surface, the story is about a restaurant, however underneath it is about life and relationships.

To Join our discussion, please click on the page tab on the right. Find the Treasure – Online Book Forum, and then click on “The Hundred Foot Journey”

We hope you join us and we look forward to hearing all your comments and feedback.

Book details as outlined on Amazon.com

“Soon to be a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Juliet Blake, DreamWorks Studios, and Participant Media.

“That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist.”

And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life’s journey in Richard Morais’s charming novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste.

Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.

The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais—that of the famous chef Madame Mallory—and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages—charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.”

 
 

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

23 Jun
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Storyteller: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books; First Edition edition (November 5, 2013), 480 pages, ISBN-10: 1439102775, ISBN-13: 978-1439102770

The Storyteller is comprised of several separate and distinct stories that interconnect. Sage is a young woman who has a disfiguring facial scar, and she is battling an inner torment that disfigures her far more than the scar on her face. Josef is a 94 year old, healthy, German man who no longer wants to live because he is tormented by his past and the things he did as a Nazi commander at Auschwitz. He asks Sage to help him end his life. Minka is Sage’s grandmother and she is many things including a survivor of the Holocaust as well as a creative writer. Within is included a story that Minka wrote about a young woman who falls in love with a vampire.

Jodi Picoult has written 20 novels, including My Sister’s Story. The Storyteller is both a drama and a historical novel. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the character whose story is being revealed.

I enjoyed the story and I liked how the past and present combined to slowly reveal the truth. I thought the characters were well developed and multidimensional. My favorite was Minka; I enjoyed reading her tale. I thought she was a strong and resourceful woman, and I found it fascinating how her fictional story about Ania and the Vampire saved her life. It provided both a sense of hope, as well as entertainment to the other prisoners, because it was a metaphor for love and redemption.   The Storyteller may have been about the Holocaust, and parts of the story provided a heart-wrenching view into what it was like, but it was so much more than that. It was really about forgiveness, and not just for Josef, but for all of the characters and on many different levels.

I liked how the story unfolded, and I was surprised by the twist at the end. I recommend this book as a very good read, and if you enjoy reading about the Holocaust, both the horror of it as well as the triumph over it, then you will enjoy The Storyteller.

 

Favorite Quote

“Mary folds her arms. “I know I’ve told you how I left the convent, but did I ever tell you why I entered it?” she says. “My mother was raising three kids on her own, because my father walked out on us. I was the oldest, at thirteen. I was full of so much anger that sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night with the taste of it in my mouth, like tin. We couldn’t afford groceries. We had no television and the lights had been turned off. Our furniture had been reclaimed by the credit card company, and my brothers were wearing pants that hit above the ankle because we couldn’t afford to buy new school clothes. My father, though, he was on vacation with his girlfriend in France. So one day I went to see our priest and I asked what I could do to feel less angry. I was expecting him to say something like, Get a Job, or Write your feelings down on paper. Instead, he told me to forgive my dad. I stared at the priest, convinced he was nuts. ‘I can’t do that,’ I told him. ‘It would make what he did seem less awful.’

I study Mary’s profile as she speaks. “The priest said, ‘What he did was wrong. He doesn’t deserve your love. But he does deserve your forgiveness because otherwise he will grow like a weed in your heart until it’s choked and overrun. The only person who suffers, when you squirrel away all that hate, is you.’ I was thirteen, and I didn’t know very much about the world, but I knew that if there was that much wisdom in religion I wanted to be part of it.””

“She faces me. “I don’t know what this person did to you, and I am not sure I want to. But forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me. It’s saying, You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.””

(page 451)

This was my favorite quote because it sums up forgiveness and why it is important.

 

To Purchase The Storyteller from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

11 May
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of  Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Knopf (October 15, 2013), File Size: 2745 KB, Print Length: 400 pages, ASIN: B00CNQ7CRI

Bridget Jones is back, but it is 14 years later. She has two small children and she has been a widow for four years. It is time she started to re-enter the world of dating, and although she is now 51, the first man she dates is a boy toy of 29.

Helen Fieldings created the lovable and amusing character of Bridget Jones. She has previously written two Bridget Jones books: Bridget Jones Diary and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason. Both have been made into movies. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy continues the diary style used in the previous two books, and shares with the reader all of Bridget’s private thoughts through her daily diary entries.

Bridget Jones Diary, the forerunner of the chick-lit genre, is an enjoyable and humorous story. Bridget Jones is a delightful character, and in Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Fieldings once again shares with the reader the ups and downs of Bridget’s life. In the previous books Bridget, a single woman in her mid thirties with the support of her friends, is looking for love while counting calories. In Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy as in the previous installments, Fieldings accurately captures and relays the thoughts of feelings of a single woman. Only this time Bridget is 51 years old and a mother. She is once again looking for love with the support and encouragement of her friends, and she is still counting calories. Only now she is also grappling with social media and online dating.

I enjoyed the story, and I both laughed and cried with Bridget as she stumbled through life, dating, and motherhood. However, I did find the lack of grammar in some of the diary entries to be both distracting and annoying. “Look. Is absolutely fine being in on own on Saturday nights. Will simply clear out cupboard under stairs then get on exercise bike.” Location 604-5. But when she expands on a scene and includes dialogue, then the story becomes enjoyable. However I did find some of her diary entries amusing and funny. “Was trying to park car. This is impossible in our street as is narrow, curved and cars park on both sides. Had just reversed in and out of space fourteen times, then resorted to Braille Parking, i.e. forcing car into space by bumping cars in front and behind.” Location 853-56.

The story was predictable, and I could see what was going to happen with Mr. Wallaker almost as soon as he was introduced into the story, but I did enjoy the journey. I could relate to Bridget’s trials, tribulations, and successes. I recommend Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy as a very good read. If you enjoyed the previous Bridget Jones books, then you must treat yourself to the newest book in the series.

 

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

26 Apr
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of A Week in Winter: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014), 416 pages,ISBN-10: 0307475506, ISBN-13: 978-0307475503
A Week in Winter is a collection of stories that are weaved together, and the common thread that pulls them together is the location of the story, a small inn in Ireland. Each chapter is a glimpse into the life of a new guest. The beginning of the book examines the life of the proprietor and the birth of the inn.

Maeve Binchy was an Irish author and she published 16 novels; A Week in Winter was the last novel that she wrote.  The protagonist in A Week in Winter isn’t a person, but rather a place. It is Stone House, a newly renovated hotel on the cliffs of the west coast of Ireland. Each chapter tells a different story about the inhabitants of the inn during it’s opening week.

I enjoyed this book, it was a nice light and easy read. There were not any surprises, and not much excitement, but it was entertaining. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections by Renée Sarojini Saklikar

04 Apr
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Children of Air India: 3 Treasure Boxes


In the early part of 2014, I went to a poetry reading where Renée Sarojini Laklikar read from her book: Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections. I found her words moving and unforgettable.  This assemblage of poems is dedicated to the people who died on Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985, as well as to those who lost their loved ones.  While this plane was flying through Irish airspace, in route from Montreal to Delhi, with a planned stop in London, a bomb exploded. The Boeing 747 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and 329 people died.

Although this book is a work of fiction, and many of the details were derived from her imagination; it merges fact with the fiction.  It many ways it is a form of docu-poetry. Saklikar spent many hours researching and reading transcripts and archives. She was born in India, and lost an aunt and uncle in the bombing of this airplane. She experienced the loss first hand and through her work she has brought the loss of these 329 people into the hearts of her readers.

I found the book well laid out and presented in an interesting manner. It starts with a short introduction that shares with the reader the terrible loss of the individuals as well as the unfathomable injustice of the resulting trial. Throughout the book, Saklikar redacted all the names of the victims, and in many instances, simply refers to the individuals as “Redacted.” For me, this represents the finality of the loss and death of each person.  From page 113, she writes, “Write the names all the way through. Write them down. In writing there is redaction, redact. That is the burning that is the body.”

Part One of the book is “in which N imposes meaning” with “N” representing niece and/or narrator, in other words, herself.  She is searching for meaning for herself, and for those who perished. Through her words she brings the departed briefly back to life, as in page 21,

“…she loves to read,

wins a prize in math.

 

Her sister follows, arms holding

large heavy books…

 

Status: bodies not found.”

 

Saklikar makes the passengers real, and at the same time is able to impact to the reader the  horrendous plane crash. I found the poems that related directly to the passengers very touching, and there were many such poems throughout the book.

Throughout the text, Saklikar effectively uses white space. In so doing she speaks volumes without the use of words. I found this technique haunting, because many of these people’s bodies were lost in the open space of the ocean.

Saklikar is able to blend the terrible with the dispassionate and in doing so able to combine human tragedy within the confines of the impersonal court. In this way she brings into the poetry the injustice of the mishandling of the trial, without sermonizing. She effectively shows both to the reader.

However there were other parts that I did not understand. Like on page 61, it is filled with what appear to me to be random letters, “ACI-ACISS ACPS ACS…” and this page also includes two randomly placed 2.2cm2 squares. Additionally on page 85, entitled “Exhibit: June 4, 1985, in the woods outside Duncan, items of examination,” I did not understand what these items were nor why they were included.

In writing this review, I found the subject matter quite upsetting, and very, very sad. Several times I was moved to tears for the lost of so many people, each one cherished. I recommend this book of poetry as a very good read.

 

Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz

22 Mar
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Dead and Alive: 1 Trash Can
Frankenstein, book 3
Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (July 28, 2009), (352 pages), ISBN-10: 0739317172, ISBN-13: 978-0739317174

Dead and Alive continues the story of the modern day Doctor Frankenstein. The premise is that Doctor Frankenstein, now known as Victor Helios, has created a way to prolong life, including his own and that is why today he still appears to be relatively young. Not only has he created a way to prolong life, but he is also creating an army of genetically modified humans. 

I was not able to finish this story. I found the writing atrocious, and the story improbable, as well as gruesome. But what I disliked the most was how undeveloped the characters were, especially Victor Helios, who was one-sided, all evil. I do not recommend this story, I thought the book would be better used as tinder.

To purchase: “Dead and Alive” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Reverb by J Cafesin

16 Mar
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Reverb: 3 Treasure Boxes

Reverb is a story of redemption, healing, and love, with a twist of foreboding. The majority of the story takes place in Greece and revolves around James, a musician in hiding, and Elizabeth, a young mother recovering from the death of her husband.

The book captured my interest from the first page. The story was well told, and I liked all the characters, who I found to be well-rounded and complex. I enjoyed how the tale unfolded, and many parts I found original, although I did think the ending was a bit abrupt, and perhaps a tad too concise. Overall, I enjoyed the story and I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase Reverb from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Longbourn by Jo Baker

27 Feb
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Longbourn: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Knopf (October 8, 2013), Sold by: Random House LLC, File Size: 1708 KB, Print Length: 353 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385351232, ASIN: B00CCPIITQ

 


Longbourn is a look at the world of Pride and Prejudice from a different point of view, from the view downstairs. It is the story of the servants who work at Longbourn, the home estate of the Bennets. The author, Jo Baker, has created interesting backgrounds for the lives of these people.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought it was well written and I liked the characters. I enjoyed tying the story into Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was an interesting look at the separation of class, especially in England during this time. I recommend this book as a very good historical read.

Favourite Quotes:

“She was as sweet, soothing and undemanding as a baked milk-pudding, and as welcome at the end of an exhausting day.” Page 50

“A blur of rich colours—one green velvet coat, one blue—and the soft creak of good leather, and a scent off them like pine sap and fine candlewax and wool. She watched their glossy boots scatter her tea leaves across the wooden floor. The two gentlemen were so smooth, and so big, and of such substance: it was as though they belonged to a different order of creation entirely, and moved in a separate element, and were as different as angels.” Page 195

“Fear now was a creature; it slithered around him, covered his face and got in amongst his hair and he could not breathe and he could not think, and he just stared across the wide poor land, and along the empty road, then spun to look back off the way they’d come from.”  Page 236

“ It was not the end, of course; it was just an end. Mrs. Hill’s thread may have become snarled up into an intractable knot, but others were still unspooling. One had wound all the way out through the wild Derbyshire hills, and then along the gentler lanes of Cheshire, and then drifted across to the flat lands by the sea.” Page 328

To purchase Longbourn from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Power Vs Force by David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D

23 Feb
Book Review

Book Review

Book review of Power Vs Force: 3 Treasure Boxes

Power Vs Force is a fascinating look at how spiritual power is superior to physical force. Dr. Hawkins backs up his book with thousands of tests to support his position. I recommend this book as a very good read, it is interesting and informative. Plus I like the way Dr. Hawkins shows how good will always overcome evil in the end.

 
 

WISH LIST

The Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Me Talk Pretty One Day
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Eat, Pray, Love
The Joy Luck Club
Under the Tuscan Sun
A Time to Kill
The Silence of the Lambs
Jurassic Park
The Hunt for Red October
Kiss the Girls
Like Water for Chocolate
Stranger in a Strange Land
Neuromancer
Snow Crash
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
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