The narrator, a man who suffers from insomnia, is continuing looking for meaning in his life. He starts going to various different support groups, like The Vctims of Testicular Cancer support group, The Parasitic Brain Parasites support group and numerous others, pretending in each one that he too is ill. He goes to a different support group everyday as a method of dealing with his life and his insomnia. In the process he meets another person, Marla Singer, who also attends these meetings faking illness. While he is stumbling through life, he becomes involved with Tyler Durden, a man who is even more emotionally and spiritually messed up than himself.
I read about half of the book and then I had to stop. I found that these people were sick and I did not enjoy sharing their twisted view of life. I have also seen the movie, so I knew where the book was going. I did not like any of the characters, and I did not think the writing was especially good. Instead, the main focus seemed to be how to disgust and shock the reader. I stopped reading shortly after Tyler was urinating in the soup. It was at this point that I realized, I did not care about these people and I did not want to read anymore.
I do not recommend this book, I thought it was a piece of trash. Perhaps there is a veiled message against consumerism, but overall it is not worth reading.
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.
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.
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.
Book Review of Wedding Night: 1 Treasure Box
Publisher: Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 13 hours and 13 minutes (464 pages,) ASIN: B00CAZKFJ4
Lottie is convinced that the man she has been dating for four years is going to ask her to become his wife. Fliss, the older and wiser sister, is going through a divorce. However, things do not go as expected, so when Lottie ends up engaged to an old flame, someone she has not seen in fifteen years, Fliss does everything she can to stop the marriage from becoming official.
Madeleine Wickham is the author of this book written under the pen name of Sophie Kinsella. She has written numerous books under this name, including the Shopaholic novels. Please see my other reviews at Sophie Kinsella reviews. All of these novels including Wedding Night are considered chick lit. The story is told in the first person narrative alternating between two sisters.
Wedding Night combines and interweaves two story lines and is told in the alternating voice of these two sisters, showing their different perspectives. I l
iked Lottie’s character, but I found Fliss annoying at times. The story had no suspense or sense of mystery and I knew after the first third of the book what was going to happen. I also found the story unrealistic and trying. Especially all the scenes concerning Lottie and Ben’s wedding night experience. Although I think the biggest flaw in the book was the lack of romance.
There were a few funny scenes in this book, but overall I found it rather lackluster and disappointing. I did finish the book, but I could only rate it as okay. Not good, not bad, just okay. Overall, I was disappointed because it was not what I had come to expect from this author.
Book Review of The Art of Choosing: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Hachette Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 10 hours and 36 minutes, ASIN: B003D7S8W4
What is the science and psychology behind making choices, and why do we do what we do? The Art of Choosing looks at what drives our choices and Ms. Iyendar backs up her claims with research. She discusses freedom and control and how these affect what we choose. In Chapter one, part two Ms. Iyengar says, “When we speak of choice, what we mean is the ability to exercise control over ourselves and our environment. In order to choose, we must first perceive that control is possible.”
Ms. Iyengar has written numerous essays, but The Art of Choosing is her first book. It is non-fiction and it analyzes how people make choices. It was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2010.
The Art of Choosing is supported by research and surveys with some surprising results. It was insightful to learn how cultural upbringing affects choices. Ms. Iyengar tests children of different backgrounds and those with an Asian upbringing were motivated if they felt their mother made the choice for them, whereas Anglo-American students felt the exact opposite. The same results were observed within factories in these different regions. Ms. Iyengar included research that was done on animals, which I felt uncomfortable reading, but the results cannot be disputed. The information is related in an interesting manner that includes stories, facts and draws the reader in through some well placed questions.
I recommend this book as a good read that provides some fascinating information. Although, I am not too sure what benefit I received other than entertainment.
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
“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.
Book Review of Winter of the World: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Two of the Century Triology
Publisher: Penguin Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 31 hours and 48 minute (818 pages,) ASIN: B009CMO4JU
Five different families living in separate countries are each trying to live with, and against, the fascism that seems to be gaining strength. It is 1933 in Berlin and Hitler along with his Nazis regime are brutally taking over Germany. The Red Army is infiltrating Germany and working with citizens who despise Hitler’s tactics but are afraid to speak out. This story follows the next generation of families from The Fall of Giants as the Second World War breaks out.
Ken Follet has written numerous novels in the suspense and historical fiction genres. His most famous work is Pillars of the Earth, which was produced as a mini-series in 2010. The Century Trilogy is a series that starts in 1911 and the first two books span both World Wars. The final book, with a working title of Edge of Eternity is not yet released but will conclude with the final events in the 20th century and it is expected to be released in late 2014. These books are historical fiction and follow the lives of five interrelated families. The stories are told in a third person narrative from different characters within each of the families.
Winter of the World gives a detailed description of the brutality of WW2, but it also shows how people can make a difference and can fight against injustice. It is an inspiring tale of integrity and shows the importance of making the right decision, rather than the easy one. The historical tale told through the eyes of the participants was fascinating and really well done. It covered the Spanish Revolution, the rise and fall of Nazism, several key events within the Second World War, even the threat of British Fascism, and the beginning of the cold war.
I enjoyed this story more than The Fall of Giants because the characters were already established and many of them grew and developed as the tale unfolded. I recommend this book as a very good read although I did find it a long book and at times it dragged a bit. I am looking forwarding to the release of the final book in the series. I am curious to see where Mr. Follett goes with the final installment of this trilogy.
Book Review of An Echo in the Bone: 1 treasure Box
Seventh Book in the Outlander Series
Publisher: Recorded Books, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 45 hours and 58 minutes, ASIN: B002RCJ9LA
The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776 and Jamie Frazer is fighting on the side of the Rebels, but his son William is an English solder. Jamie’s greatest fear at the Battle of Sartoga, where they are both fighting on opposite sides, is that he will shoot his own son. AnEcho in the Bone continues the adventures of Clare and Jamie Fraser and starts in 1776 in America. The book follows several separate storylines and moves between 1776 and 1980.
There are currently seven books in the Outlander series and book eight, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is expected to be released in the fall of 2013. These books are all considered historical fiction, but they also include some of romance. The majority of the story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, a English woman, Clare, who has time traveled over 200 years into the past. The story moves back and forth through time depending on the characters and at times is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of some of the other main characters including Jamie, Claire’s husband; Brianna, Claire’s daughter; Roger, Brianna’s husband; and William, Jamie’s son.
There are three plotlines running simultaneously in 1776, one revolves around Clare, Jamie and Ian as they deal with the repercussions of the American Revolution; another follows Lord John, and his stepson, William, who also happens to be Jamie’s secret illegitimate son; another follows a couple of new characters, the Quaker Doctor Denzell Hunter and his pretty sister Rachel. When the story moves to the 1980s, it revolves around Brianna, Roger and their two small children who all live in Lallybrock, Scotland.
The book was really slow, particularly the first half and spent far too much time on Sir John and William. I found all the prose concerning Sir John rather boring, as well as the first half of the book when William was on his own. I enjoyed the scenes with Claire and Jamie as well as everything that occurred in present day. I also liked the new characters who were introduced, the Hunters. Not much really occurred to more the plot forward, but I am curious to find out what will happen to Brianna and her family.
Additionally, the book did not have an ending, did not have a cliff hanger, it just stopped in the middle of the tale. I had a hard time trying to decide if it should be an OK book or a good book, but for me it fell closer to OK than it did to good. The book was too long and did not have a proper ending.
Book Review of Cold Days: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Fourteen of The Dresden
Publisher: Roc; First Edition edition (November 27, 2012), Hardcover: 528 pages, ISBN-10: 0451464400, ISBN-13: 978-0451464408
Harry is no longer dead, no longer a warden of the White counsel and no longer a professional wizard for hire. Instead, he has a new job and a new identity; he is now the Winter Knight for Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. The Winter Knight is a tool of death that the Queen dispatches with a whisper and his first assignment is the assignation of an immortal. Not only does Harry need to discover how to kill an invincible being, he also has to investigate the threat of a devastating magical explosion.
Cold Days is the fourteenth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher is currently working on book fifteen, Skin Game. He has also written six books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to high fantasy than The Dresden Files. See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/The Dresden Files are considered contemporary fantasy and are sometimes referred to as urban fantasy. They also fall into the detective genre since Harry is a detective, who is also a wizard, and in each book he solves a case involving the supernatural. These stories are told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point of view.
When Harry first returns from the dead, he needs to recover from his ordeal, which he does in Arctis Tor, the capital of the Winter Court of Faeries in the Nevernever. He spends his first three months preparing for his new job by recovering his strength, doing physiotherapy, and fending off frequent, deadly surprise attacks from his new boss. A few new characters are introduced: Sarissa, a woman indebted to Mab the Winter Queen who helps Harry during his initial recovery; Cat Sith, a vicious faerie who is available at a moment’s notice to help Harry; Lacuna, a fairy of the little folk, who Harry has taken as a prisoner; and He Who Walks Before, who is related to He Who Walks Behind and is an outsider.
This book really moves the plot along and provides a lot of information about the outsiders, who they are, where they come from and what they are trying to do. Additionally, more information is released about the Adversary. However, I did feel that a few of the solutions to some of Harry’s predicaments were a little too pat. Harry has his own personal struggle dealing with the mantle of the Winter Knight including the predatory feelings that this magical position inspires, but Harry is still the smart-mouthed character that I have grown to love. There was plenty of action throughout this novel, it started in the beginning at Harry birthday party and continued pretty much up until the end. The suspense kept on building and building and the ending was shocking. I never saw it coming and was really surprised by the final outcome.
Cold Days is a standalone story, yet it is also part of a larger tale. I found the book hard to put down, and I recommend it as a very good read. All the books in this series are well written with great characters within a fascinating and unique universe. I am anxious to see what is going to happen next, and am waiting for the release of the next book in the series, Skin Game.