Tag Archives: Drama

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Book Review

Book Review of Where We Belong: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 24, 2012), File Size: 477 KB, Print Length: 383 pages, ASIN: B0071NMK66

Marian is a successful television producer and she has everything, a great job, a wonderful boyfriend, and a big secret. A secret that she has kept for 18 years, but which is about to be exposed to the world. When 18 year old Kirby knocks on her door, she sees her daughter for the first time in 18 years and Marian is forced to examine the decisions she made 18 years ago.

Emily Giffin has written numerous books, and they all fall into the chick-lit genre but Where We Belong is also a drama and a romance story. It is told in a first person narrative alternating between the main protagonist, Marian’s and her daughter Kirby’s point of view.

The theme of this book is secrets, and it reveals the power of destruction behind the secret. The story shows how a secret can become an emotional barricade that separates us from the people in our lives. The characters are all well rounded and interesting. My favorite character was Kirby, she knew what she wanted and she went after it, even though she was afraid and she did not know how she would be received. Although I could not really understand why she had a difficult time with her parents, I still thought it was believable. I also loved all the scenes with Conrad, because he was an intriguing and sexy character.

Where We Belong is a standalone novel that captured my interest from the very first line and I thought the story built up to a satisfying ending. There were no real surprises and it pretty much went where I thought it would. I recommend this book as a very good read and I stayed up late several nights because I found it hard to put down.

 Favorite Quotes:

“So I guess what I’m trying to say is that life is fast. And it keeps speeding up. Sometimes I lose track of the season-or even the year. And we just have to make the best of it all. Our choices. Our fleeting moments together.” (location 3973)

 “Although too much time has gone by to miss her, I feel regret that I didn’t maintain our friendship. Even if we no longer have much in common, we would have always had the past, which, in some ways, is just as important as the present or future. It is where we come from, what makes us who we are”. (location 4284)

 “It’s about wanting something real-even if it’s messy and complicated. It’s what Kirby has taught me.” (location 5151)

Question to Ponder:

Often in the book Ms. Giffin states that secrets and lies are the same thing, do you agree, do you think they are the same thing? 

To Purchase: “Where We Belong” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Book Review

Book Review of Life of Pi: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Mariner Books; Int Mti edition (October 2, 2012), Paperback: 416 pages, ISBN-10: 0544045203, ISBN-13: 978-0544045200

In Life of Pi a young Indian boy becomes lost at sea after his ship sinks in the Pacific Ocean during his family’s journey from Indian to Canada. For 227 days he lives in a lifeboat, and his sole companion is a Bengal tiger.

Yann Martel has written several novels, but Life of Pi is his most well known book, and this book has also won several awards.  It is written in the genre of magical realism and is an adventure story. The story is told primarily in a first person narrative from the point of view of our main protagonist, Pi Patel.

The author’s note at the beginning of the book convinced me I was reading a true story, and it wasn’t until I was about half way through the book did I come to realize that this note was part of the fiction. The story is told in a format that suggests it is a retelling of a true adventure, including italicized notes at the beginning of some of the chapters.

The story is told in three parts.  The first part introduces the main character and develops the premise which explains how Pi could eventually exist alone on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. This part takes place during Pi’s early years when his father ran a zoo. There were some interesting comparisons between animals and humans. The second part is his time at sea, and the final part introduces a possible alternative.

This is a spiritual story, and Pi Patel has a strong faith, which he relies on heavily during his trials at sea, but it is not religious or sanctimonious. Overall I thought the story was told in an interesting manner, and generally found it believable. The Life of Pi is a standalone story, and it is well told, although both the beginning and the time at sea were a bit too long.  I recommend this book as a good read.

Favourite Quote:

“To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephew, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports it branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you.”

Question to ponder:

Which version of the story did you think really occurred?

What did you feel was the most spiritual or mystical part of the journey?


To Purchase: “Life of Pi” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

Treasure or Trash? Book Review Rating

Book Review: Yet To Be Determined
Publisher: Little Brown (September 27, 2012), Print Length: 512 pages, ASIN: B007THA4FI

J. K. Rowlings  new book: The Casual Vacancy, is going to be released on September 27. This book will be something completely different from anything she has previously written, and it is going to be available in a variety of formats. Can she successfully make the move from young adult fantasy to black comedy/adult drama?  Time will only tell, but if the cover is any example, it seems unlikely.  However, you cannot always judge a book by its cover.

J. K. Rowlings is the author of the beloved Harry Potter series.  From these books and movies she has earned millions, so it is surprising that she would want to risk publishing a new novel in a completely different genre.  She certainly doesn’t need the money, but perhaps she just loves to write. I enjoyed her writing and storytelling in the Harry Potter series; faithfully reading all 7 of the books as they were released. I can understand why she would would want to switch genres, perhaps she has written all she has concerning fantasy.

Following are the details about the new book directly from J.K. Rowlings site, http://www.jkrowling.com/en_US/#/the-new-book:

Little, Brown announces details of J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Seemingly an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

Publication date 27th September 2012 (UK & US)

This little snippet sounds interesting, but it also sounds a bit nasty with neighbor at war with neighbor. I guess this is where the black comedy comes into play.  I can also understand the meaning of the book cover, since the story appears to revolve around an election for a seat on the council.  It will be tempting to read and find out who these characters are and whether their lives are worth concern.

However, before I spend my time and money reading this new book I want to obtain more information. I would like to access a preview of the book, but currently none are available. I would love to get a feel for the writing and of course I would also like to read some reviews so if anyone knows of any please let me know.

Interesting enough, as of September 9, this book has been one of Amazon’s top 100 sellers for 79 days and it is currently #9. So it appears that many people are anxiously awaiting this new release.  I am curious to find out if this book has merit.

Questions to ponder:

Can she successfully make the move into a completely different genre?

Should she be attempting something new or should she continue to bask in her previous successes?

Did anyone not enjoy reading the Harry Potter novels, and if not why not?

Please feel free to add your comments and let us know what you think.


To Preorder: “The Casual Vacancy” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

The Tower by Jade Varden

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Deck of Lies

Book Review: 2 Treasure Box Rating
Deck of Lies, Book 2
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2012), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 361 KB, Print Length: 162 pages, ASIN: B007RTX4V4

While Rain is figuring out who she and her family really are, she is also trying to find Laurel Riordan’s killer. Rain knows that the answer to these questions will either lead her out from under the craziness her life has become or will send her further down the spiral into doom.

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, currently there are 3 books in the series with book 4 coming soon. The books are YA fiction and are told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist.

The story continues in this installment and it becomes more interesting and convoluted as it unfolds. While Rain is working through the lies that created her life, she remains relatively unchanged. Her name may have grown and changed but she is still the same person.. Once again there were many surprising and shocking events, with an interlocking connection appearing between the characters.

This is not a standalone novel, and in fact it ended with a cliff-hanger. I am curious to find out what happens next and where this story is going to end. I recommend this book as a good read.


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

Justice by Jade Varden

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Deck of Lies

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Deck of Lies, book #1
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 23, 2012), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 364 KB, Print Length: 154 pages, ASIN: B006PW51F6

Rain Ramey received a scholarship to the Sloane Academy, but when she arrived the other students made it very clear, that she didn’t belong. Rain’s whole life falls apart after the Queen Bee of the school plays a dirty trick on her.

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, currently there are 3 books in the series with book 4 coming soon. The books are YA fiction and are told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist.

Justice is captivating, but at times it was surreal, and had a soap opera feel. Rain is a likeable teenager who faces numerous challenges after it is revealed that her whole life has been a lie. There were numerous moments when I was shocked at the outcome. The story has several twists and turns, some expected, but others were totally unforeseen.

This is not a standalone book, but it is an intriguing start to an entertaining series. As soon as I completed this book, I quickly picked up the second book in the series, The Tower. I recommend this book as a good read.

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

Patchwork of Me by Gregory G. Allen

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Expected publication: April 15th 2012 by ASD Publishing, Paperback, 312 pages, ISBN: 139780983604945

What if you had a secret past? Would you seek out answers or hide in your room? Sara, now in her early thirties, has decided it is time to find out about her roots.  She has a spot on her forearm that drives her crazy, continually demanding to be scratched, but there is nothing there. She has a recurring dream, where she is a man and a father whose child has drowned. She is unable to maintain a romantic relationship and she lies to her therapist.

Patchwork of Me is Gregory G. Allen’s newest release. The story is a drama told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Sara Butler. The story follows Sara while she goes on a journey of self discovery.

I loved how this book began. We are introduced to the main character, who at first glance appears to be male, but soon we discover, was a dream character and we are hooked, why is Sara dreaming she is a man? Before long, we are introduced to Sara and her circle of friends.  Sara lives in Arizona and although she has no family of her own, she has a small group of friends that have become  her family.  It was interesting to read a story that centres on a woman, told from her point of view but written by a man.

This is a good read and the characters are interesting, I enjoyed the banter amongst the friends. This standalone story grabs our attention from the first page and keeps us engaged right up to the ending. The story unfolded in a smooth manner, and although it wasn’t thrilling or exciting, it was captivating.  I recommend this story as a light and entertaining read.



The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Book review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: MacMay (March 26, 2009, Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 83 KB (64 pages), ASIN: B0021AEIUU

Who is Mr. Hyde? Why is he so callous and what is his association with the upstanding Dr. Jekyll? This is the mystery that Mr Utterson and Mr. Lanyon explore to their detriment. Here is the legendary tale of the good and evil that exists within us and what can happen when we do not control the corrupt side of our nature.

Robert Louis Stevenson  wrote numerous novels, short stories and poems  including Treasure Island as well as the novella of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which was first published in 1886. The majority of the story is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of Mr. Utterson, a lawyer who is observing his friend Dr. Jekyll and the mysterious Mr. Hyde.  The end of the story moves over into a first person narrative by Mr. Lanyon, another friend of Dr. Jekyll and finally by Dr. Jekyll himself. These final narratives are related in the form of letters that Mr. Utterson has received from each of the parties.

The story is well told in an interesting manner. It almost seemed as though we were being told some juicy gossip since the story is about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but is told through the eyes of Mr. Utterson. At times the writing was truly inspiring and I loved the word descriptions. The portrayal of Mr. Hyde is a good out-picturing of evil in human form and the examination of  Dr. Jekyll’s inner conflict is captivating.

This is a standalone story which builds up to an interesting conclusion. Although most of us are familiar with this story, I still recommend you read the book, because it is well worth the time, especially since it is a quick read.
To purchase The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from Amazon, click here or on picture above


Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (February 11, 2003), Paperback: 416 pages, ISBN-10: 0812966929, ISBN-13: 978-0812966923

Eiji Miyake has never met his father, but he is on a journey to find him. The desire to find and meet his father is what drives him to take action, when in reality this aspiration is just a side quest. What he really wants to find is the meaning of life.

Number9Dream is the second novel written by David Mitchell.  The story takes place in Japan, it is a drama/coming of age tale told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, nineteen year old Eiji Miyake.

Eiji grows through his trials and tribulations. He experiences life through his dreams, his imagination, video games and the people around him. But as the tale unfolds, it is difficult at times, to differentiate which of these experiences are really happening. While the task of searching for his father both terrifies and enthrals him, it also seems to be continually out of reach.  Eiji is likeable and we care about him immediately, he is an interesting yet damaged character. There is a fair bit of humour throughout this novel and there are also some pretty gruesome parts.

Number9Dream is a standalone story which is weaved together in a unique fashion. It has stories within stories and includes his sister’s journey, which is tragic. However, I did not really understand the part about “goatwriter”, it does not seem to add anything. Despite this, it was a good read.


To Purchase: “Number9Dream” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Book review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Listening Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes (186 pages), ASIN: B000N85TWI

Kitty, a vain and shallow young woman, marries Walter, a serious, bacteriologist for all the wrong reasons.  Although Walter loves and adores Kitty, she is bored with Walter and their life together in Hong Kong.  As a distraction, Kitty has an adulterous relationship with the handsome, dashing and married Charles Townsend. Once Walter discovers what his wife is up to, his heart breaks and to help both his heart and their relationship to heal he takes Kitty away to the interior of China to give aid dealing with a cholera epidemic.

The Painted Veil was written in 1924 and originally released as five instalments in Cosmopolitan magazine. Subsequently it has been made into a movie three times, in 1937, 1957 & 2006. This story is a drama and it is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, a young woman whose name is Kitty. Mr. W. Somerset Maugham wrote numerous plays and novels; his best known work was Of Human Bondage.

I was intrigued from the first page. The story pulled me in immediately. I was curious about the characters and what drove them. Mr. Maugham does a superb job of showing us who Kitty, Walter and Charles really are, with well drawn characters. This book is truly a tale of transformation.

This is a standalone book and although the ending is sad, it is satisfying. The story is original and keeps us guessing right up to the last page about what will happen. Although the book revolves around the marriage of Kitty and Walter, it is not a romance; instead the focus is more on Kitty’s personal journey through a difficult time.  I recommend this book.

To Purchase: “The Painted Veil” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Trout Lake Media, Listening Length: 4 hours and 40 minutes (180 pages), ASIN: B002T5U202

A mysterious young man frequently holds extravagant parties for the rich and chic crowd in what is known as East Egg on Long Island. Nick, his neighbour, is soon invited, which we learn is due to Nick’s connection to Gatsby’s long lost love. This is a story of love, lost honour and the cruel nature of some people; it also shows how the past influences the future.

The Great Gatsby was released in 1925 and is a drama that takes place just after the end of World War I. The story is told in a first person narrative by Nick Carraway, but he is not the protagonist, only the narrator. He is chronicling Jay Gatsby’s story. Gatsby is the protagonist and the story is his life as observed by Nick. The author, F. Scott Fitzgerald has completed four novels and numerous short stories; he is also considered one of the great American authors.

The first page of this book is intriguing and summarizes what the story is about, a non-judgemental view of Jay Gatsby’s life. Throughout the book, Mr. Fitzgerald is examining society and exploring the difference between “old” money and “new” money. This is a sad story about some awful people. Initially, we know little about Gatsby, but as the story unfolds his character is drawn with skill and precision until we come to fully understand the man and his motives.

This book is a great character study and certainly worth the read.  It examines an earlier time and gives us an interesting view into the past.


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