Thins You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Thins You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Let’s just start by saying I am not a Woman’s Fiction type of reader. I don’t really care for strong female characters and their life-changing stories. I usually read Thrillers, Horror and anything that has to do with death and being scared. But man, this book just melted my heart and I couldn’t get enough of it.

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REVIEW: Where'd You Go Bernadette

Set in a rainy city, this is only the second novel by Maria Semple, who herself escaped California to live in Seattle. She is the former writer of Mad About You tv show, which I used to love oh so much. After Bee announces that her promised reward for getting good grades will be a family trip to Antarctica, Bernadette's agoraphobia intensifies. She already hates people, and being around strangers, not to mention other moms from Bee's school, she has to face being stuck on a boat with people, without an escape. She starts to act odd, even more then she usually does, and the drama between her and some other moms at the school gets a little out of hand when she accidentally destroys property. She hates this city, she hates the people that live here that hate the city, she hates being involved in school activities, even though she is a say at home mom, she claims to not have free time. She doesn't want to talk to anyone, she doesn't even make her own restaurant reservations, or buys groceries, she has service from India for that. Bernadette has issues, big ones, and most of them started when she was an architect a long time ago.

This book is written in epistolary form, ranging from letters to text messages. This is the way Bee, Bernadettes daughter tries to find out what happened to her mom, why she disappeared and where she is. It's supposed to be told from Bee's point of view, but since it is written in letters we get to hear everyones side. And that's not a bad thing. With Bee explaining in between the documents, this makes it easier to follow so many characters and ties everything together. Semple did a great job giving a voice to so many different characters and personalities. It was written well and some of the characters were likable it was even a little funny, but it lacked a big dramatic climax. After Bernadette disappears we only get to see Bee's side of the story and that's when it looses that spark. It was nice to see the characters from different perspectives,  I enjoyed reading about the drama and the gossip but when that changed I felt like it got weaker and didn't move along as quickly anymore.

 

I personally didn't like this book too much, I thought I would, at first I did, I liked the drama, kind of reminded me of Desperate Housewives, but then quickly lost it's spark. The climax, if there even was one, was not that interesting.  Since this book is about a middle aged woman who is going through some kind of midlife crisis I couldn't really relate to it, I'm not middle ages nor do I have any crisis. I'm am stuck in the in-between stage, too old for YA and too young for woman's fiction.

I would recommend this book to an older crowd, preferably in their 40's.

ROOM By Emma Donoghue

I bought this book some time ago, at least a couple years, but I never felt the urge to read it. I was hesitant, what could possibly be so interesting about one room. Boy was I wrong. This book really took me by surprise, it scared me, it made me shutter and laugh, it was creepy, sad and a little disturbing. Actually, quite disturbing. I mostly listened to the audio book version I got from the library, and here and there I would pick up the hard copy, and the audio was what made it more creepy, I think. I started to listed to it on one of my runs, after about a chapter I was a little scared to continue. When you hear a 5 year old boy saying "he gets some" in the mornings, I was like WHAT THE HELL IS THIS KIND OF BOOK, WHY AM I READING IT. NO NO NO NO!!  But no it's not what you think, this boy has never seen the world outside the 4 walls that he shares with his mom. All day they play games, watches tv, but only for a little while, he likes Dora and he reads books, he can count and even make himself some food. He starts to tell the story in such a light hearted way, that I got a little confused, wasn't this supposed to be a little scary. He spends days and nights in one 12x12 room and is perfectly happy about it. But you really start to figure out the seriousness of this book when at night Jack is hiding in the wardrobe while Old Nick comes in. Before Jack goes to sleep he counts the squeaks of the bed when Old Nick gets on it. Omg! That is when it hits you. What?! Jacks mom decides that he is old enough to know that the world he sees only on tv is actually real, and that's where she came from, from the Outside. It was really interesting to see how a child who doesn't even know that other people exist would handle finding out that he has a family out there, and that the trees are real and that there is an Outside. He has to learn how to see the world all over again.

I really liked this book, I didn't know if I was going to at first, it creeped me out. Donoghue did a wonderful job going into a child's mind and describing the world as he sees it. Jack is the narrator the whole time, and it might get a little getting used to the writing, because it isn't grammatically correct most of the time. Given that 5 year olds don't speak well. But it is really touching and quite the page turner, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what happens next. It can almost be categorized as a thriller. It really makes you think, there are a lot of people who are kept like this and this just tells their side of the story. It's a beautiful book, that will touch you and make you hug your kids a little more. As well as never let them out of your sight because they will be kidnapped.

Highly recommend it.

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

I liked the book, but I can't say that I loved it. But that's just my opinion, it was well written, and interesting, just not my taste. The book is about Charley "Chick" Benetto who one day decides to kill himself. In the process he meets with his dead mother. For that one day he gets to tell her what he never did when she was alive, and she gets to fill in the gaps of his life. While we wait to see if he's actually dead or not. The book focuses mostly on the relationship between mother and son, advice and guidance that parents give, but kids don't realize. Shifting between his childhood and the present time, Mitch Albom did a great job at not confusing the reader when the story takes place. We get a smooth transition between each time shift. The lesson we get from this book is that there are always two sides of the story, and sometimes we should be quick to judge. Chick learns that the hard way.It's a quick read, and I think people will enjoy this book, especially if you lost someone and never got to tell them how you felt. I think that is the hardest thing a person can go through, knowing that you will never get that chance. 

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

I read this book a few years ago, but I felt like I should do a review now. I liked this book a lot, the story is really absorbing, you get lost in the book trying to figure out what really happened to Emily, if it was suicide, murder, or an accident. The story switches between Chris at court in the present time, trying to explain what happened, and Emily before she died. One piece at a time you get to put the puzzle together and find out the truth. This is the first Jodi Picoult book I read, so I didn't know what to expect from her, and I guess the book could have been a little better. More character development would be great, especially about Emily and the parents. It seemed like the book was more centered around Chris telling his side of the story and we just get pieces of Emily. Which seem to make her look self-centered, almost selfish. we never really get to know her enough to find out what she was like. I think their relationship was supposed to be very mature, but it looks like Chris is more mature than Emily, in some ways.  Overall the book is good, it still manages to get you involved and interested despite it lacking in some areas. I would still recommend it.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon really knows how to tell a good story, her attention to detail and character development are amazing. This book is the third in the Outlander series.I wasn't sure how she was going to pull off having a 20 year separation between Claire and Jamie, but she did a great job. You do get to know what happened with each of them during those long years. And anticipate the reunion. Lots of shocking secrets are revealed and when Laoghaire makes an appearance I wanted to scream at the book. We also meet a chinaman and get to know Roger and Brianna more and I think this is where Lord John makes his official arrival into the series. (By the way Lord John has his own series by Diana Gabaldon) The first half of the book ties all the loose knots, but the second half is spent on a voyage to save young Ian who was kidnapped (I think by pirates). And that's really where the actions starts, but I personally preferred getting to know what they were up to for those 20 years. If you fell like it startes dragging when they are on the ship, don't worry and just keep reading, the ending picks up with some twists and turns.Dianas' characters really come to life, and like I've said before, she makes you feel like you're part of the book and not just reading it. I couldn't put it down, I literally carried it with me room to room around the house. I can't recommend this series enough. I just looooove it. Hopefully it will continue to rock my socks off. There are quite a few more to go. 

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The second part of The Hunger Games we continue the story of Katniss Everdeen, Peeta and Gale. The story continues after Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games, and how Katniss' life has changed, or has it. So she gets a new house in the Victors Village, but is she really safe, is her life any better. Not really, she and Peeta are now the poster children for rebellion, which was never their intended plan. Now they are the number one people that the Capitol wants to destroy. Read the book and find out how they plan to do that. This book was good, but I thought The Hunger Games was a lot better, as is always the case with a series. But it's good anyway, the story still carries the same idea, we still get to feel what the characters feel, and what they go through, and they go though a lot. But it's missing that fire that the first one had. I would recommend reading it right after you finish the first one. Otherwise you might not feel the same connection.

It does leave you hanging a bit, so pick up the Mockingjay right away, a lot of questions from THG are revealed. I found a lot of the plot from the first book repeating, and you will notice months pass in just a few pages, which was a little frustrating. Basically the book lacks the magic that the first one had. And at times you can even expect what will happen, it just didn't pull me in as much as The Hunger Games.  But if you loved the first book you should definitely read this one. And the next one too.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book is amazing, so many historical details about Scotland that I had no idea ever existed. And the story is something else, there is love, loss, war, romance, lots of sex ( so I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers), imprisonment, family, and of course time travel. It makes you feel for the characters as they face what is in front of them, many times they risk everything, and that's what makes this story feel so real. At the beginning I was kind of hesitant about this book being all that great, but as I kept reading I kept wanting more. I couldn't get enough. Clairs life has really taken a 180º turn, but is it for the better? I think so. And I guess I'll find out more as I read more of the series. Yes people this is just the first book. The are seven! And I have already started on the second. 
 
I found this book through other peoples reviews of The Bronze Horseman, which is another great great book. A lot of readers said they were looking for something similar in nature to TBH and this is it. So without hesitation, really, I ordered the whole series. And good thing I did, after finishing this one I wouldn't be able to wait for the next book. 
 
And there is even talk of a series based on this book. Lets hope it goes through.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I find it really hard to write a review for a book I absolutely loved. And this one I did. I couldn't read it fast enough to find out what happens next. The story line is really good, yes I know if you've read or watched the movie Battle Royale you will see a lot, and I mean a lot of similarities, but since I didn't, before I started reading this book, I enjoyed it very much. It's more focused on the fact that these people are all controlled by their government, known as the CAPITOL. They are even forced to kill each other. How messed up is that.

Ok so let me explain the plot first. This book is about North America, now called Panem, and how in the future, ( I don't think they mention how far ) after a riot of some sort gone wrong, the Capitol controls 12 districts. The story follows Katniss, a 16 year old girl who lives in district 12, apparently the worst one. Every year the Capitol chooses two children between ages 12-18 to participate in The Hunger Games, designed to show the citizens that the Capital is in charge of all of them. These 24 teenagers are sent to fight to the death, last one standing wins. And this is where Katniss comes in, she is at the Hunger Games and is fighting for her life. Really there is more to the story but of course I can't sill the beans here. You will just have to take my word for it and find out for yourself. Sure I thought the ending might be a little different, maybe I hoped they would all commit suicide just to stick it to the MAN, but they really didn't. Unless it happens in the next book, Catching Fire. Which I will start as soon as it arrives in the mail. Can't wait what happens next.

I think the book could've been a little better, maybe if it was a little longer, Collins would have more room to develop more of the characters, we don't really get to know all the 24 teenagers. And I don't even want to mention the many spelling and grammar errors. Talk about run on sentences. I had the urge to go through and underline and correct all the errors. I always thought a book had to be perfect in order to be published. But I guess that is the editors fault.

Aside from that, the book is great, I don't really see any similarities between this book and Twilight, and I've seen a lot of people comparing the two. I got to say I like it more than Twilight, they just killed the books with the movies.

Oh and don't forget March 8, 2012 the Hunger Games comes out in theaters. Here's the trailer.

Secret Life of Bees MOVIE

So I watched the movie "The Secret Life of Bees" and I gotta say it's really good, follows the book really closely. And I found myself feeling kind of sorry for the dad, I know in the book he is represented as this evil person who tortures his daughter, but in the move they kinda made it look different. I sort of understood where all the anger came from, going from being madly in love and then your wife leaves you. And then she dies. And then your daughter leaves you. That's a lot to take in. Well I know some of you might not agree completely with me but that's just my opinion.  Overall the movie is really great, and they picked really great actors too.
Check out the book review here.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This book was great, I read it in two days, it really holds your interest throughout the whole book. The story is about a young girl Lily Owens whose father T. Ray (what she calls him) is abusive and neglectful. She has never heard him say he loved her, or anything that resembled feelings. Unless they were anger, he would punish her by having her kneel on grits. Her mother died in a "gun accident" when Lily was only four years old. Leaving her with her father and nanny/housekeeper Rosaleen, who in part is a stand in for her mother. But when Rosaleen gets arrested for insulting three racists, Lily decides this would be a good time to leave to Tiburon, South Carolina, a town she believes to be connected to her mother. She and Rosaleen find refuge with three beekeeping sisters, who in turn introduce Lily to a mesmerizing life of bees, honey and black Madonnas. This story is all about female empowerment, love and forgiveness.

This story will definitely have an effect on anyone who reads it. It teaches powerful lessons, especially to young girls who are struggling with a hard life. Sue Monk Kidd did a great job capturing every detail of the Pink House, Lily's life as well as all the other characters, I kept thinking that this is a memoir, but even though it's not, it still feels real.

I gave this book three stars, but I can definitely see why it deserves five. This is just not my favorite style of reading, but it's still great, and everyone should read it. I wonder is they read this book in schools.

And I just found out there's a movie. How great is that. After I watch it I'll post my review of that also.

90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper

Ok, so the message of the book is great for anyone who is a believer in God, also might make some believe in God, but the writing not that great. I understand that Don is telling his story as it happened, but he repeats himself over and over. By the middle I was frustrated with him telling me how he realized he was taken to heaven and then back to earth to teach and inspire others over and over. I get it. But I pushed through and finished it.

The events and all that he went through are inspiring, maybe a little more for people who went through something traumatic, for others maybe not so much. I'm not saying don't believe what he experienced isn't true, but it doesn't hit the spot for people who haven't been through something life changing. And I won't discuss any more due to religion, and offending someone. Read it and you'll find out. Overall it was a good book, and teaches you to not take life for granted and love others, and that if you believe you can do anything.

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

There really isn't anything special about this book, it follows the lives of 3 couples whose friends die in a boating accident or so they think. They go through the grief and then start to question their relationships with each other as well as with the friends who died. I don't know what to think, it's all jumbled up, it's a good story but there is so much going on, you get to read different chapter from each persons point of view, and not only that you get flash backs and many of them. It was hard to focus on what was happening at the current moment. Basically they all have different reasons to be sad or rethink their life, and the decisions they have made. So if you want an easy fast read go for it but it's not something to really think hard about.

Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy is a master of the written word, he has the ability to completely engage the reader into the lives of his characters.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," is the first sentence of the book, and this is really what the whole book is about, how each character strives for happiness because they feel unhappy. It examines the way people view their problems, families and how they strive to resolve their issues. The book is not necessarily all about Anna, it's about all the people she knows and the story is told from all of their perspectives. You get to know each character on a deep and personal level, their fears and their hopes come to life, and even though it's set in the 19th century Russia, we can relate to each character on some level. It's no wonder this book is said to be the best of the best. It's not a very easy read, as Tolstoy mixes romance with Russian politics and socioeconomic problems, but once I finished the book I understood why he did it. It's to make the reader more aware of all the issues that were going on at the time, everything influences our lives, even if it is politics, people are effected by all that is going on in their country. And the character Levin is deeply involved in farming so the socioeconomic issues are important to understand.  The book really needs to be read to be appreciated, and I really wish I hadn't seen the movie after I finished reading this, it just ruined it for me. The book is so much better then all the movies made from it so far. I loved this book, too bad I knew the ending before I started it, but it still did the job, I read a few chapters a day, it was a bit difficult to wrap my head around all these characters and all their problems, with a lot of details and imagery. But the story is beautiful, it takes time to understand.

Mothers & Other Liars by Amy Bourret

At first I couldn't get used to the authors writing style, it seemed to be jumping from one idea to another, and introducing too many characters right at the beginning without giving a good description of who they were. But I did finish it in one day, and did enjoy it. The plot may not be very believable, parts of it seem a bit exaggerated.
This is a story about Ruby, who nine years ago found an abandoned baby at a rest stop, she took the child with her and headed west to start a new life. Now her life is turned upside down when she finds out that Lark, the girl she has been raising as her own wasn't abandoned at all. She faces many obstacles as she fights for what is right, and for her family.
Maybe I'd like it more if part of the book was written from the daughters perspective as well, I fell like I only get a part of the whole story, which really involves both of them equally, and that's why it gets three stars. It was good, didn't pull me in as other books have. It's a good relaxing read, and maybe I'd enjoy it more if I had kids of my own.

 

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

This book was really great, pulled me in from the start. Nicholas Sparks has done it again, even though I hesitated about reading another one of his novels—they have all have the same style, I still liked it very much. And would recommend it.
 
It follows a story of Denise, a single mother to Kyle, who has limited speech and language understanding, and Taylor McAden, a volunteer fireman, who takes every risk he can, to save lices as well as to fulfill his needs. On the day they meet, she is in a car accident, and while she is unconscious, Kyle goes missing. Taylor and other rescuers go searching for the missing boy. As their lives continue they find each other growing closer, but there's something about Taylor he isn't saying. Keeping himself at a distance.
 
The author does a great job molding each character, and letting the reader experience the lives and emotions of each one. It's a fast and easy read. 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - REVIEW

Compelling and detailed look on the authors childhood memories of poverty and neglect certainly makes you think about life's hardships. 

The Glass Castle is a memoir of Jeannette Walls who along with her siblings survive a harsh and dysfunctional childhood. 

Her parents were dreamers, but lacked the motivation to achieve those dreams. Her father was a genius, he taught them science, math, physics, everything one wants to know. But when he drank there was no stopping him, he was destructive and careless. Her mother was an artist, but never made a sale. She was tired of raising kids and would refuse to provide for them. The children had to take care of themselves, and each other, eventually they made their way to New York where they were able to find success. Their parents followed, but refused help and preferred to be homeless. Describing it as an adventure.

You can't help but sympathize with the children, and get angry at the parents for being so oblivious to their children's needs. 

The authors writing is detailed in way that you can picture yourself there, her memories are truly astounding, and vivid. Describing every member of the family, what they went through, and how they lived.  I loved this bookat times I was surprised at the things the parents would do, even angry, and then I was amazed at how the kids dealt with it. They vere strong and resilient. Even being able to relate on some level to each person. And then I look at my life, and how many things I take for granted, this really opens your eyes. I will never look at a homeless person the same way. I would recommend it to anyone who has children, and a family the most. This story will make you consider all that you have and how much you should be thankful for it. 

Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter - REVIEW

Simplistic narrative and genuine facts of all the random thoughts that run through our minds when faced with someones death.

A touching and beautiful story of childhood friends gathering to mourn the death of a friend from the past. 

We get to meet eight characters, and each one takes us on a journey of how they perceived their friendship and past memories. You can't help but sympathize and relate to each one on a different level. At first, when Philip was describing how living in a small town meant that as a kid you practically didn't have any rules, you knew everyone and parents didn't mind having their kids outside all day, as there was nothing to be afraid of, I couldn't help but smile and think "wow it's just like my childhood, I partially grew up just like he did".  Then when Sarah stepped into the picture I could relate to her also, and Maxine, and each one of the characters. I found my self nodding and talking to myself, saying how much I identify myself with them. And when Sarah finally broke I could not help the tears in my eyes. It really makes you reflect on your own friends and loved ones, and how their lives would go on in case of your own death, as well as theirs.

As the book progresses I found myself not expecting what the big climax of the story was, but of the characters themselves. I couldn't get enough of every one of them, I feel as there should be a book about all of them separately. Somehow they just seem extremely real, and normal. 

I would recommend this book to everyone, it is touching and really makes you think about the small things in life.  

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society" by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows - REVIEW

A historical novel about life after war. It's about friendship, human nature, life, love, family and a unique society.

The story is set in London 1946, when Juliet, an author, receives a letter from Dawsey Adams a member of the "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society", he somehow is in possession of a book she used to own and wants to know more about the author of the book. They start corresponding and soon enough Juliet is captivated by his experience with the war. Before long she is writing letters to all the members of the Society and learning of their experiences, and how the society was established as a cover up during the occupation. And even after the war they keep their meeting. Juliet is writing a book about the German occupation and wants to gather more research, feeling that these strangers have a lot to offer she visits them. While there she is beside herself, their lives were shattered during the war and now they are recovering better then she thought. She befriends each one, and even falls in love.

We find out how many nasty and good things the German officers did on the island, anyone who is a pet lover should beware of reading a letter from "The Animal Lover". But by the end Juliet's love trouble will have you falling off you chair laughing.

The characters are well developed, they have a lot to offer to the reader. Learning what each character went through and their life stories was enchanting. With all the humor this book offers one can forget that it's about war. The characters, although affected by the war have a witty and humorous personality, I had to put the book down because I was laughing so much. And constantly had a smile on my face. 

I loved it! It's well written and laugh-out-loud funny. 

I would recommend it to readers who like an amusing as well as informative and captivating read. The book is a series of letter between the society members, Juliet and her friends. 

Amazing! is all I can say. 

One Day by David Nicholls

I am very happy I came across this book. I highly recommend it. At first I couldn't get used to the way it was written jumping a year ahead in every chapter but once it picked up speed I couldn't put it down.

It starts out with Emma and Dexter graduating from a University in Scotland, her always having a crush on him, and him being the usual bad boy never noticing her. It's July 15th and from there every chapter is on July 15th of the following year. The anniversary of they they they officially met.Each year is different, one happy one sad, you know life. But it's nice to see how their lives are changing through the 20 years. Emma and Dexter become friends, best friends in fact, and constantly you are hoping they will end up together, even though they are total opposites. He's the crazy outgoing, party till he drops kind of guy and she is more reserved and I would say shy. The author does a great job of describing these characters and the scenes. I felt like I was watching a movie. It's an easy read, although the some of the English phrases confused me at first.

So without giving too much away I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romantic comedies. You will laugh and you will cry. And the best part. The movie is coming out in two weeks.