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Category Archives: 2 Treasure Boxes

The Passage: A Novel by Justin Cronin

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series The Passage Trilogy
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

 

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A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

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.

 

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Revolutionary Road: 2 Treasure Boxes

Revolutionary Road is really well written, but I am finding it quite depressing.  I find it difficult to pick up the story to read it, due to the bleakness that emanates out from within the pages. Additionally, I do not really like any of the characters because I found them unlikable. Frank, the husband is cheating on his wife and for me this is a real turnoff. The story revolves around an unhappy couple.

The story addresses mental illness, and brings awareness to this issue. Revolutionary Road was released as a movie in 2008, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I saw this movie in the theater, so I knew what was going to happen, and because I knew where it is going I was not able to fully appreciate the novel.

The writing was amazing and I give Revolutionary Road 3 treasure boxes for the writing, however the story was depressing and I did not like any of the characters so I give the content 1 treasure box, which leaves me to give the overall book 2 treasure box rating.

I have written an interesting essay about Revolutionary Road called The Fragility of Masculinity. Please click on this link to read the essay.

 

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The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Lorien Legacies
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Power of Six: 2 Treasure Boxes
Book Two of the Lorien Legacies

 

John, AKA Number Four, has joined forces with Six and now the charm is broken, they are no longer protected. Instead, with the help of John’s human best friend, Sam and his shape-shifting dog, they are devising a plan to defeat the Mogadorians. But first they need to evade the evil aliens, who seem to be everywhere. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Number Seven, AKA Marina of the Sea, has her own problems but she is certain that John is Loric and is desperately trying to figure out how to contact him.

The Power of Six was much better than the first book, I Am Number Four. There were more characters, which made the story more interesting, and we learned a bit more about the deeper story. Also there was lots of action, which was exciting. I recommend The Power of Six as a good read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Rise of Nine.

 

 

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I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Lorien Legacies
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of I Am Number Four : 2 Treasure Boxes
Book one of The Lorien Legacies Series
Publisher: Harper Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 11 hours and 24 minutes, ASIN: B003YV7AKK

John Smith is one of nine children from the planet Lorien. This small group of aliens came to earth about 10 years ago, seeking refuge because their planet was destroyed by evil, extraterrestrial beings, the Mogadorians. These nine children, now all teenagers, have been isolated from each other and living incognito. Up until now, this has been necessary to ensure their safety and to allow them to develop their legacies, or super-human powers. However due to a powerful charm, the Loriens can only be destroyed in a certain order, and children one through three have all been murdered. John is next, because he is number four.

Pittacus Lore is the pen name for the dual writing team of James Frey and Jobie Hughes who wrote the young adult science fiction series, The Lorien Legacies. Not only is Pittacus Lore the name of the author, but he also plays a character in the series, a Loric Elder, from the Planet Lorien. I Am Number Four is the first book in the series, and to date three books additional books have been released. The story takes place on earth, and is told in a first person narrative by John Smith, a 15 year old teenager from the planet Lorien. James Frey is also the author of A Million Little Pieces; a book that was originally, inaccurately released as a memoir, because many details in the book are fictional.

John and his Lorien teacher and protector, Henri have never stayed in any one place for more than a few months. They know that the Mogadorians are hunting them, but when they come to a small town in Ohio, things start going wrong. This story has an interesting concept, but it is not very original. The book spends a little too much time in exposition and not enough in real character development. In some ways the characters are a little too stereotypical, and although the writing is fairly weak the story was still captivating.  I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

The book was good enough to entice me to start the next book in the series, The Power of Six. If you enjoy young adult, science fiction then you will enjoy this book.  If you enjoyed The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge then you will really enjoy I Am Number Four, because it is a much better story yet it is similar in many ways. I recommend this book as a good read.

To purchase I Am Number Four from Amazon, click here or on picture above


Happy Holidays! Download a FREE audiobook today!

 

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Snow Child: 2 Treasure Boxes

The Snow Child is a novel based on the Russian fairy-tale, “The Snow Maiden” and feels like a fairy-tale. Mabel and Jack are an old married couple who have never been able to have children. They escape to Alaska in 1920 to wallow in their despair and in their their misery they decide to make a snow girl. The next day a young girl miraculously appears out of nowhere in the middle of the Alaska wilderness. 

I enjoyed the story and I liked the fairy-tale qualities. All the words spoken by Faina were said without quotes and this gave the girl an ethereal quality. She really did come across as an elemental creature, yet at the same time she seemed very much alive and real. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

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Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Maya’s Notebook: 2 Treasure Boxes

Maya, a young woman turning 20, has made a mess out of her life and needs to hide away in a small village in Chili to avoid the FBI and the mob. Her ruminations during this time are reflection in Maya’s Notebook and include her conclusions about life, death and love. Maya may be a spoiled brat but still I cheered for her and I enjoyed the story. I recommend Maya’s notebook as a good read.

 

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Iced by Karen Marie Moning

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Fever Series
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Iced: 2 Treasure Boxes A Fever novel, the sixth book A Dani O’Malley Novel, the first book Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 14 hours and 51 minutes, ASIN: B00A0M7ABA

The walls between earth and the realm of the Fae have fallen and the world is in chaos. Dani “Mega” O’Malley is a fourteen year old Sidhe-seer, she has super speed, super hearing, super sight and she is super strong. There are only two objects that can kill the immortal Fae, and Dani possesses one of them, the Sword of Light. With her abilities and her sword, she is doing everything in her power to protect mankind from the madness that has descended. However, there is a new problem in Dublin, something is indiscriminately freezing both humans and Fae. Dani needs to find out what, and stop it before all of Dublin turns to ice.

Iced is the sixth book in the Fever Series, but this time the story is told from the point of view of Dani and it is the first Dani O’Malley book.  The next book in the series is Burned, and it is expected to be released April 2014.  The third book in the Dani O’Malley series will be Flayed, but its release date is currently unknown. Iced is a contemporary fantasy book, also known as Urban Fantasy. The majority of the story is told in a first person narrative from Dani O’Malley’s point of view, but sometimes other character’s point of view are told instead.

This story continues almost immediately after the events in book five of the Fever series. The first five books revolved around Mac and Barrons, but in Iced they are only mentioned briefly. Instead the focus is on Dani, and the story comes across more as a young adult novel than the erotic urban fantasy that we have come to expect from these books. Although there are a few love interests, Dani is still too immature to really comprehend what is occurring. She tells her story using plenty of slang and with a teenage attitude that took some getting used to, but once I did I enjoyed her voice. Her character became more developed and we learned more about her past.

Iced,  like most of the books in the series, ends on a cliff-hanger. The major story line concerning the freezing of Dublin was resolved, but to keep us hooked, Ms. Moning threw in an unresolved and intriguing event. Now we have to wait a year to read the next book, and to find out where this story is going. I recommend this book as a good read, but you need to read the first five books to really understand what is happening.

 

 

To Purchase: “Iced” from Amazon, click here or on picture above Happy Holidays! Download a FREE audiobook today!

 

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The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Chaperone: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 5, 2012), Hardcover: 384 pages, ISBN-10: 1594487014, ISBN-13: 978-1594487019

It’s 1922 and women have only recently received the right to vote, so when a young dancer has the opportunity to go to New York City to study her craft, she needs a chaperone. Cora Carlise, an unhappy, middle aged woman with a secret past, decides to accompany the girl. In the process she finds what she has been seeking all her life.

Ms. Moriarty has written several novels, but The Chaperone is her first book in the historical fiction genre, it is also a drama.  The story is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Cora Carlisle.

The character of Cora, a middle aged woman and the chaperone of a wild and troubled fifteen year old girl, was really well developed. I also liked how Ms. Moriarty tied in Louise Brooks, but I would have liked more insight into Louise’s character. The story was primarily about Cora and spanned over her entire life with details sprinkled in a non-linear fashion. This made the story more interesting because her upbringing and experiences were slowly revealed. Cora was my favourite character, at first I thought she was stuffy, yet she showed her true self right at the beginning when she convinced her friend that the KKK was to be avoided. I thought that she blossomed as the book unfolded. She had many hardships that she had to deal with, but she dealt well with everything that she faced. She seemed at times to be judgemental, but as the story progressed she softened up. The subject matter was surprising, because it touched on homosexuality as well as child molestation. The story was nothing like I was expecting, but it pulled me in from the beginning, and I was never really sure where it would lead.

There were several surprises as the story unfolded. I also found the facts about the orphan trains surprising as well as upsetting. To think of all those little children, in the first half of the century, just sent off without any consideration of the people who were picking them or what kind of lives they would have to lead. It also made me think about why there were so many orphans, but I guess the combination of the great wars, the influenza breakout, and the great depression, caused many children to be left without parents.

This book fell somewhere between good and really good, and I gave it a 2 Treasure Box rating although I enjoyed the book, I was not obsessed with it, and had no problem putting it down

Favorite Quotes:

“Show me a mother with that much thwarted ambition, and I’ll show you a daughter born for success” (page 111.)

I just thought that this was an interesting quote about Hollywood mothers.

“As young as Lousie was, she was a grown woman, a modern woman, smart and fearless of judgement, a lovely sparkle on the blade of her generation as it slashed at the old conventions” (page 302.)

I loved this sentence, I thought it beautifully written and I loved the idea of cutting away the old conventions, which oppressed women.

 

Question to consider: Was this book an accurate portrayal of women during the 1920s? For example, Cora was afraid to show her own husband affection for fear that he would think her forward.

 

To Purchase: “The Chaperone” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The School of Essential Ingredients: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (January 5, 2010), Paperback: 261 pages, ISBN-10: 0425232093, ISBN-13: 978-0425232095

Food is required to live because it feeds the body, but to feed the soul, connection to another person is required and this is the true fuel. The School of Essential Ingredients provides both, and it is a slice of life story. It briefly introduces 8 cooking students and their teacher, Lillian, telling a little about each. Most of them meet for the first time at an upscale restaurant which holds a monthly cooking class.

Erica Bauermeister has written a few fiction books and has co-written a couple of reading guides. She released a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients in January, 2013; it is called The Lost Art of Mixing. This sequel is a continuation of Lillian’s story and revolves around her restaurant and the people who frequent it. The School of Essential Ingredients primarily takes place in Lillian’s restaurant and is told in the voice of a third person narrative with each chapter from the point of view of a different character. It falls into the drama genre.

The School of Essential Ingredients is an enjoyable book, although it does not have much depth. In many ways the story was like a recipe with the subtle flavours of the characters all mixing together to create a feast. The book tries to be more than what it is and would succeed better if Ms. Bauermeister shared as much about the characters as she does about food and ingredients.

There were lots of different characters, and the reader learns just a little about each one. The stories are generally uplifting and the cooking class helped each of them in just the way they needed.  Ms. Bauermeister effectively uses white spaces between the words creating a great effect. In many ways the book was laid out like a recipe book. Each section dealt with a separate person. Each person mixed with the others like the ingredients in a recipe.

The writing was great, and the story interesting, but it felt more like a mixture of short stories. I like a story that is big and full, one that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page. I also like a story with a bit more excitement. For me the overall story was just a little bit lacking, but I still recommend the book as a good read.

Favorite Quotes: 

 “Underneath the wand was an old photograph of her mother holding a baby Lillian, her mother’s eyes looking directly into the camera, her smile as huge and rich and gorgeous as any chocolate cake Lillian could think of making.” (Page 25)

                “There were so few occasions for a zester; using it felt like a holiday.” (Page 27)

 

To Purchase: “The School of Essential Ingredients” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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