Sunday, September 26, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

Read September 2010

My rating - 2.5 out of 5

"When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers--with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life--even after death."

My review: {be warned, this review will contain spoilers} Where to start with this book.... I read the reviews online, and most people were very disappointed with this novel. However most people who read this book, read the Time Traveler's Wife beforehand, and were all comparing the two novels. I think many people who read this book had high expectations because of Time Traveler's Wife, so I decided to give it a shot, as I have not read the Time Traveler's Wife yet. It started off really well, and I was enjoying the story. Most other people claimed that they did not like the characters, and at the beginning of the novel I had liked all the characters, and I liked where the story was going, therefor at the beginning of the novel, my rating most likely would have been a 5. About half way through, I thought it was getting a little strange, as there was a ghost involved, and Robert started dating Valentina, who was not only much too young for him in my opinion, but was also his deceased lover (the ghost's) niece (which later turns out to be her daughter.) So at that point of the novel, my review started going downhill, as I didn't agree with that relationship. I looked past the relationship, and then the ghost got unbelievable. I've read novels with ghosts before and I enjoyed them, but this was getting out of hand. I started to hate all the characters for many different reasons, but in the end, ALL of them were selfish and irritating, and immature. And at the end, I was like, really??? A ghost just killed and took over her daughters body? They stole a body from a grave after a funeral? So unbelievale, and I did not relate to this novel at all. The only part of this novel that I enjoyed, is the character named Martin; Martin lived upstairs and has serious OCD. His story was the only one I enjoyed, reading about him dealing with his disease, and slowly overcoming it for love. I really wasn't sure how to rate this novel, as I enjoyed the writing style more than some of the other novels that I have rated a 3, however I didn't enjoy the story. I wish anyone good luck who reads this novel. I hope that when I read Time Traveler's Wife, I will enjoy it, as everyone else.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I think I have a book buying additction...

They are sooo expensive, but it's an addiction. You walk into a Chapters, and the smell of Starbucks and the smell of new books puts me under a spell, and the $20 tag on the book, no longer deters me from taking out my bank card. I have 10 books piled on my bookshelf in the 'to read' pile, yet I just bought three more books... hope they are good :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Language of Trees

Read: September 2010

My rating: 5/5

"Echo O'Connell knows that summer hold its secrets. They are whispered in the rustling trees, in the lush scent of lilacs, in the flurry of the mayflies batting against the screen door, and in the restlessspirits that seem to clamor in the scant breezes on hot evenings. It is in the summer that she returns home to Canadaigua, to confront these spirits, both living and not, and to share a secret with her first love, grant Shongo - a secret that will forever change the loves of many people in the town and put to rest the mysterious disappearance of a little boy more that a decade earlier.

Grant, a descendant of the Seneca Indians who call this place "the chosen spot" has also come back to face his past. After a broken marriage, he has moved into his childhood home, a lake house that has withstood happiness and tragedy. he knows the spirits of the past must be dealt with - that of the little boy who disappeared all those years ago; the boy's sister who never overcame the loss; and the love Grant still has for Echo. But before the healing must come the forgiveness..."

Brianna's Review: I would have to say that of all the books that I have read this year, this is probably my favourite, and for so many different reasons. I could go on and on and on about how much I love this book. The book has amazing reviews. When I was reading the beginning of this book, I can't say I was overly loving it, so I read some more reviews for inspiration,which I'm glad I did, because once I got a few chapters in, the story was just so captivating I couldn't set it down. It was full of secrets, mystery, romance, tears, and surprises. I love how in some way everyone is connected. I can't remember the last time I stayed up past my usual bed time to finish a book, but I just couldn't wait to figure out how it ended. Ilie Ruby is an amazing writer. The way she describes things, makes you really imagine. When one character is giving advice to another, she doesn't come right out and make them say it, they say it in a way that you really have to think about the advice they are giving. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about the story and couldn't wait to sit down and keep reading. There are so many more things I can say that I loved about this book, but I just can't explain it in words (I am clearly not an writer, haha).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A book that made me smile, and I can't even remember what it was about...

I was just going through one of the lists on the Goodreads of what to read next, and came across a book I read sometime around when I was in grade 8ish. Flowers for Algergon by Daniel Keyes. I can't remember what it was about, but just seeing the cover made me smile. All I can remember is that I was young, and even then I knew a good book when I read one. I am very much so putting this on my list of books to read, and the next time I am in a book store, you can bet that I will buy it, because I'm so excited to read this book once again!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Without a Backward Glance

Read September 2010

My Rating: 5/5

"On a stifling Christmas Eve in 1967 the lives of the McDonald children - Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith - changed forever. Their mother Rosemarie, told them she was running out to buy some lights for the tree. She never came back. The children were left with their father, and a gnawing question: Why had their mother abandoned them?

Over the years, the four siblings have become practiced in concealing their pain, remaining close into adulthood, and forming their own families. But long closed wounds are reopened when a chance encounter brings James face to face with Rosemarie after nearly 40 years. Secrets that have each sibling has locked away come to light as they struggle to come to terms with their mothers reappearance, while at the same time their beloved father is progressing into dementia. Veitch's family portrait reveals the joys and sorrows the complexity and ambiguity of family life, and poignantly probes what it means to love and what is means to leave."

Brianna's Review: Wow.... where to start. This again was another book that I bought for only $4.99. From the first page I was so interested in this novel, and stayed interested for the entire thing, reading at every chance I possibly could. The story and the characters, my goodness she did an amazing job at making you understand them and what they are going through. A mother of four children and an amazing husband decides to abandoned her family with no explanation or warning, and on Christmas Eve of all nights. From the beginning of the novel I disliked her, she had an amazing life and yet was unhappy. The author wrote out some of the mothers thoughts, and they were terrible. She genuinely seemed like she hated her children and her husband. So she ups and leaves. The oldest daughter, Deborah is left in the mother role, and the dad has totally shut Rosemary out of their life. Each child has their own characteristic, most likely resulting from the impact of their mother abandoning them at such an early age. One of the children an alcoholic, one with OCD, one an organization and control freak, and one incapable of love. During the novel they meet up with their mother, and their problems slowly are going away or becoming better. This novel reminds me a little of Jodi Picoult as you are really thinking of everyones feelings. I mean I understand if you are unhappy, then leave and make yourself happy, but to just abandon your children? Who does that? And then as the children reconnect with her, you wonder what in the world would make them want to? and to accept her back so quickly? The mother was selfish, and even at the end when her thoughts were still being written out, she still seemed mean (mean.. I know, such a wonderful word to use :) ) This novel just has so much going on, I mean your trying to follow what is going on with each of the children separately, as well as together, with their mother, and ofcourse the beloved Alex, their father with progressing dementia (whom I just loved and felt sadly for.) Its interesting to see how each of the family members react together as well. I just loved loved loved this book! I very much would recommend this to everyone. The only question that I have, and would love for someone to explain to me - WHAT WAS UP WITH THE LAST PARAGRAPH? The entire book was amazing and I was thinking how great it was going to end, and then it just ends so randomly?? I still recommend people to read it, but my goodness I'm left confused with why she put that part in. Definitely a great discussion book as well.