Wednesday, March 23, 2011

REVIEW: White Oleander by Janet Fitch

book cover of White Oleander by Janet FitchTitle:  White Oleander
Author:  Janet Fitch
Date Published:  1999
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Page Count:  390 Pages
Challenge: None

     Alright, here's an Oprah's Book Club book that I actually enjoyed.  I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book.  And here are my thoughts.

     Astrid Magnussen is a child, living with her mother. Her mother, an artist, a poet and a woman who fights fiercely. However, when Ingrid's boyfriend leaves her, she exacts her revenge and poisons him with oleander flowers. She is arrested, sentenced to prison and sends her daughter to a never ending string of foster homes, and we follow Astrid on her journey to find herself, without her mother.

     A lot of the content of this book is truly horrifying. I think one of the reasons that it is so horrifying is because some of the experiences that this child has, are experiences that other children have, this isn't merely a work of fiction. Some homes are better than others, but a lot of them are less than ideal. as she struggles to find herself, her mother still tries to exercise her control from prison. But through the small bit of love that she does find through one foster mom, she is able to stand up for herself.

     This book is graphic and intense, and if that is not your cup of tea, I suggest that you stay away from this book. I know that it was made into a movie, which I haven't seen, but I've been told that like usual, the book is far better than the movie. The intensity of this book, and the way that Astrid's story has stuck with me, though its been a few years since I have read this book, everything has stuck with me. I would recommend this book to anyone, and I give it a 5 out of 5.


Think you might want to give this book a try?  Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com   White Oleander (Oprah's Book Club)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Release Tuesday (4)

Here's a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about for the upcoming week in both books and music.  I only feature one or two for each category, but there a LOADS of new releases every Tuesday and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  The Scarlet Gospels
Author:  Clive Barker
Release Date:  Unannounced :(
Summary:  If you keep up with Clive Barker at all, then you know that this is almost a continuation of The Hellbound Heart.  There's no official summary or cover art, but there is this, which was posted on Clive Barker's website:
"...Having long grown out of its 'short story' format, The Scarlet Gospels (the long-awaited Pinhead versus Harry D'Amour story) continued to expand to at least 230,000 words long.
Whilst our friend with the pins might think he has exacted some kind of influence over the publication date, knowing his fate is contained within its pages, he has perhaps not reckoned on his author teaming up with the fearsome writer and editor, Mark Miller...
Clive's taken an extended break before completing the final draft, during which time he has instead completed Mister B. Gone, the third book of the continuing Abarat series and the stories for Black is the Devil's Rainbow, but Mark's involvement now brings Scarlet Gospels much closer to a clear delivery date."
Why I'm Excited:  I loved the Hellraiser movies.  They're some of my favorite horror films of all time.  I recently finished The Hellbound Heart and discovered that this was in the works.  Apparently its going to explore more into the cenabites, which I think will be very interesting.  So, I'd like him to just release it already! :]

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sunday Salon (6)

Edition #6 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto Facebook.com and join the group!


A Bit of an Absence...
Yea, I had a bit of a hiatus for a while.  With everything piling up for school, something had to give, either the blog, or getting things done for class...and you can guess which one I chose.  However, I'm back!  It's been a while since I've posted on the Salon, so I'm back again and hopefully I can set aside a day where I can set aside and get things done on the blog.


On a Roll!!
Unfortunately, I came down with the flu on Monday.  I woke up, felt terrible, made myself go to class and when I woke up Tuesday, I felt even more terrible.  Fever/chills ensued and I have been out of school/work since then.  I didn't go back to work until today and I won't go back to class until tomorrow.  So, while I felt pretty terrible, it did give me the chance to finish a whole bunch of books.  You can see my Mailbox post to see everything I read.


But, that about wraps up the Sunday Salon for this week!
I hope everyone had a great week, and happy reading!

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!



I had a good week for reading, since I was stuck in my bed with the flu.  I got several things finished and reviewed!  Look for the reviews in my blog!



Books I Bought
None this week!

NookBooks I Downloaded
Once again, nothing!

Books I'm Currently Reading
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy The Two Towers Tolkein

Books I Started

Books I Finished
1984 George Orwell Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut The Hellbound Heart Clive Barker

Friday, March 18, 2011

REVIEW: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

book cover of The Hellbound Heart by Clive BarkerTitle: The Hellbound Heart
Author: Clive Barker
Date Published: First published in 1986
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Page Count: 176 Pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge

     Most of us that love cheesy 80's horror films have seen the film Hellraiser.  I saw the films (all but 2 out of the 7) about 2 years ago and recently just watched the second one all over again.  It wasn't until after I saw the films that I learned that they were based off of this novella.  Of course, I told myself I would read it, but only recently decided to do it.  A quick synopsis:  Frank is no longer satisfied with simple human pleasure, so he sets out to find the Lemarchand puzzle box.  He finds it, solves it, and enter the cenabites, who promise to introduce him to pleasure that he could only dream of.  However, their definition of pleasure and his are two different things, and crazy things ensue from there.

     I've been told that Barker is hit or miss when it comes to his work.  I would say that this is a definite hit.  I guess because Clive Barker was so involved in the production of the film, the two coincided pretty closely together.  But as much as I loved the films, the book was so much better.  You were able to see more of Frank and Julia's motivation as the story unfolded.
     I will say that I was surprised at how sexual in nature a lot of the beginning on the novel was and some scenes thereafter.  It all comes back to sex and pleasure, so if you are easily offended by things like that, I wouldn't recommend reading this.  Also, if you expect to see Pinhead, you will be sorely disappointed.  He appears very briefly at the beginning of the novel, but that's the only place.

     Overall, I really liked this.  It was a very quick read, since its only a novella.  I would definitely give this novel a 4.5 out of 5.


Think you might want to give this book a try?  Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com!   The Hellbound Heart: A Novel

Thursday, March 17, 2011

REVIEW: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

book cover of Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Title: Breakfast of Champions
Author: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Date Published: First published in 1973
Genre: Classic Literature
Page Count: 303 pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge

The more Vonnegut I read, the more I really love him.  I love his characters and I really love the way that he writes.  A lot of people don't like the way that he repeats certain things or just the way that he writes in general.  To each their own.

Anyway, I loved this book.  There were a few points that it did get a little boring for me, but I couldn't put it down, I read the entire thing in a day. I couldn't sum it up any better than this, (from Goodreads.com) "One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth."


There were so many things that I loved about this.  I loved the illustrations that he added in, almost like those that were reading his book were from a completely different civilization, and he's showing us new things.  I love how the things making Hoover do bad things are "bad chemicals."  And I think I just overall love Kilgore Trout and his bird, Bill.  The descriptions of his stories throughout the novel, some are hysterical.  And its interesting to me how there are certain things that are interconnected, but everything is "coincidence."

I think Vonnegut is the master of satire. I loved this book, I thought it was fantastic.  I definitely give this book a 5 out of 5.


Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  Breakfast of Champions: A Novel

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

REVIEW: 1984 by George Orwell

book cover of 1984 by George OrwellTitle:  1984
Author:  George Orwell
Date Published:  Originally published in 1949
Genre:  Classic Fiction, Science Fiction
Page Count:  298 pages
Challenges:  E-Book Challenge

This was one of those books that I had always meant to read and just never had.  While I can't say that it was my favorite classic read, I did still enjoy it.

1984.  Who doesn't know the premise?  This is where the term "Big Brother is watching you" comes from.  I knew that before reading the book.  The premise really intrigued me when I first heard about it forever ago, it just took me forever to pick it up.  But, as intrigued as I was, I had a hard time getting into it at first.  Originally, my boyfriend and I were trying to read this together, but he lost interest before the story got good.

To me, the story didn't get really interesting until Julia was introduced.  There were also several times that it felt more like an essay than a novel, which turned me off from a little bit, but it made up for it in the end.  The last bit of the novel was the best part..  I loved the way that Orwell depicted Winston's journey through the Ministry of Love.  And O'Brian.  I can't really say much about him without giving it away, but part of me loved him and wanted to understand him and part of me really hated him.  I will say that there were parts of it that was predictable, but maybe that's just because sometimes I expect the worst.

I liked this book, even though it did feel a bit like an essay at times.  Overall, I give it a 3.75 out of 5.


Think you might want to give this book a try?  Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com!  Nineteen Eighty-Four

Monday, March 14, 2011

REVIEW: Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

book cover of Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt VonnegutTitle:  Welcome to the Monkey House
Author:  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Date Published:  November 1, 1970
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Short Story Collection
Page Count:  302 Pages
Challenge: Forgotten Treasure Challenge

After I read Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel, I found my mother's copy of this gem hanging out on a bookshelf.  I really liked Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel, so I decided to pick this one up.  I have to say that I was not disappointed.  This is a collection of short stories that Vonnegut wrote between the 50's and 60's.  Some of them are science fiction, others are just stories.  And for the most part, I loved every single one.

"Where I Live" - This was just a meandering.  Honestly, it was a weak opening, but it got so much better.
"Harrison Burgeron" - I absolutely loved this.  Picture a world where everything is fair.  People have handicaps so that no one is more beautiful or smarter than anyone else.  That's the premise of this.  Even if you wouldn't want to read the entire collection, this is a must read.
"Who Am I This Time?" -  A small town with a phenomenal actor who has no personality except when he's on stage and a new girl in town team up for a play.  I liked this story. 
"Welcome to the Monkey House" - An overpopulated world, one where you can go to a clinic to commit suicide and where you have a pill that you must take.  A form of "ethical birth control.  This was one of my favorites.
"Long Walk to Forever" - Short and sweet.  Was published in Ladies Home Journal.  That should say it all.
"The Foster Portfolio" - Nothing Sci-Fi here, just says a lot about human nature.  I liked it.
"Miss Temptation" - A small town actress is brought down a few notches by a vet returning home.
"All the King's Horses" - How'd you like to play chess with real live chess peices?  This is a terrifying game, where if you lose, you die.
"Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog" - Honestly, this one didn't stand out to me much at all.
"New Dictionary" - This is another one that didn't stand out to me.  I wish I could remember more of this one.
"Next Door" - A little boy gets to stay home alone for the first time.  And all sorts of madness ensues.  I really liked this one.
"More Stately Mansions" - Who knew that interior decorating was such a big deal?
"The Hyannis Port Story" - Commodore Rumfoord is not a big fan of the Kennedy's.  Another one that didn't stand out.
"D.P" - I child in an orphanage meets his father.  This one didn't stand out to me too much.
"Report on the Barnhouse Effect" - A man finds an interesting talent, and becomes a weapon of mass destruction.  I really liked this one.
"Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son" - A famous actress and her fifth husband do some remodeling.
"Deer in the Works" - A man goes to work for a large cooperation.  I honestly did not understand this story at all.  Probably my least favorite story in the book.
"The Lie" - A wealthy family's adventure to register their son for the boarding school that everyone in their family has gone to.
"Unready  to Wear" - This almost reminded me of the movie "Surrogates".  What if you could just leave your body?
"The Kid Nobody Could Handle" - A troubled teenager learns that actions speak louder than words.
"The Manned Missles" - About space exploration.  Letters between two fathers about their sons that had recently passed away.  Very good story.
"EPICAC" - What if machine's had minds of their own?
"Adam" - This one didn't stand out to me.  I can't remember what it was about for some reason.
"Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tommorw" - The world is overpopluated again, but this time its because no one gets old, due to a new anti-aging drug.

I really liked this entire book.  There were a few stories that just didn't stand out to me, but for the most part I liked all of them.  Overall, I would give this collection a 5 out of 5.

Think you might want to give this book a try?  Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com!  Welcome to the Monkey House

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!

So, this weeks edition is a little bit different.  Since its been like a month since I've updated, this is going to be everything since I last posted.  So, this is going to be pretty lengthy!  Also, some of the books under "Books I Bought" were actually given to me by a friend :]





Books I Bought
PRudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror & Fantasy Herman Melville Seven Novels Complete & Unabridged Stephen King Under the Dome The Lincoln Lawyer The Lovely Bones The Innocent Man The Body Farm Snuff Revolutionary Road Firefly Lane Murder in Three Acts Blowfly World Without End

NookBooks I Downloaded
None!

Books I'm Currently Reading
Anna Karenina The Two Towers 1984

Books I Started
Nothing New!

Books I Finished
Welcome to the Monkey House The Colorado Kid

REVIEW: The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

book cover of The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
Title:  The Colorado Kid
Author:  Stephen King
Date Published:  2005
Genre: Mystery
Page Count:  184 pages
Challenge:  Stephen King Challenge, E-Book Challenge

     This was a quick read and it was kind of a departure from traditional Stephen King, which I found pretty interesting.
     A man is killed on a island off the coast of Maine.  No one is ever arrested for the crime and no one can figure out what happened to him.  A local newspaper and an officer on the case are the only two that turn anything up, and its not until years later.  The story is recounted by the two men that own the local newspaper to an intern.

     This book is all about the allure and darkness of mystery which was one of the reasons that it appealed to me.  It was also nice that I could read it in one day!  I also liked the characters that King put in, I felt that they added a little bit to the story.  Overall, I liked this story.  I would give it a 3.5 our of 5.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com The Colorado Kid (Hard Case Crime #13) 

Busy Bee.

I told myself that I was going to spend this spring break doing a lot of reading and relaxing and updating my blog, and instead, I spent most of my time at work.  I have gotten a little bit of reading done though.  I have finished a few books and I need to get some reviews up.  I also have a million little weekly meme's that I haven't participated in lately.  I hate that I haven't.  The saddest part is, the month of March is going to be pretty intense for me in terms of school, so I think I might fall even further behind :[

However, since I do have the afternoon free (until I go to cook dinner anyway), I'm going to work on some reviews and updating some things and doing some scheduled posts.

I also hate that I haven't had a chance to read some of your blogs!  Hopefully I'll get some time to go through my Google Reader tonight!

For those of you still reading, thanks for sticking around <3
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