Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: The Other Life by Ellen Meister

The Other Life by Ellen Meister

  • Paperback: 368 pages

  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (December 6, 2011)

  • Goodreads Summary:

    If you could return to the road not taken, would you?

    Happily married and pregnant, Quinn Braverman has an ominous secret. Every time she makes a major life decision, she knows an alternate reality exists in which she made the opposite choice-not only that, she knows how to cross over. But even in her darkest moments-like her mother's suicide-Quinn hasn't been tempted to slip through...until she receives devastating news about the baby she's carrying.

    The grief lures her to peek across the portal, and before she knows it she's in the midst of the other life: the life in which she married another man, and is childless. The life in which her mother is still very much alive.

    Quinn is forced to make a heartbreaking choice. Will she stay with the family she loves and her severely disabled child? Or will an easier life-and the primal need to be with her mother-win out?



    How creepy would that be, knowing that you exist in an alternate reality?  Just imagine if you make one decision but in an other life you make a different one and it's all happening at the same time.

     I thought this book was gonna be a page turner but it turn out to be a let down for me. I'm not saying that it was bad, it just wasn't what I expected. I thought the whole alternate life thing was a good idea and I do like Meister's writing style but I personally didn't find the story that interesting.

    I couldn't seem to care about the main character for some reason. In one life Quinn has a child and is pregnant with her second. She found this portal that she could go back and forth through to the alternate life.
     A mother leaving her child  that she loves so dearly for another life because she thinks she may be happier there, even for a little while, didn't feel believable. She just came across as selfish to me. But hey, that's just my two cents worth. I have seen a lot of four and  five star reviews for this book...this just won't get  that many stars from me.



    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Review: Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli


    Sirena By Donna Jo Napoli

    Goodreads Summary
    When Sirena and her sisters sing their siren songs to the sailors on their way to the Trojan War, the men crash their ships upon the rocks. There is one survivor. Sirena defies the goddess Hera by tending his wounds and soon the two are deep in love. But does Philoctetes love Sirena's song, or her soul? And will the pull of honor prove stronger than the bond of love?


    This was my very first mermaid story. I don't typically read fantasy so I almost dreaded reading it, however I try to keep an open it only had 224 pages. It was pleasantly surprising and I actually quite liked it. Now that I've tried this one on, I will be more apt to read this type of book in the future. 
    Sirena and her mermaid sisters sing a song that makes men adore them. The problem is that when the men are lured by the song, their ships crash on the rocks leading them to their deaths. Her 9 sisters are not bothered by this the way she is so she swims away to live alone.

    Sirena will not become immortal unless she is loved by a human man but when she finds an abandoned soldier on the island of Lemnos she hides from him. She won't let  him to hear her sing because she does not want to trick him into loving her. She brings him food and water while he is asleep because he is ill due to a snake bite and unable to provide for himself.

    Will he survive? Do they fall in love thus allowing Sirena to achieve immortality? Will this Greek soldier ever be able to leave the island and continue his journey to the Trojan War? I'm not telling so you'll have to read this book and find out for yourself!


  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (November 1, 2000)
  • Monday, July 16, 2012

    Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)

     Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

  • Hardcover: 352 pages

  • Publisher: Quirk Books; Book Club edition (June 7, 2011)

  • Goodreads Summary:

    A mysterious island.

    An abandoned orphanage.

    A strange collection of very curious photographs.

    It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

    A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.



    I found the story to be interesting but I was expecting much more. I felt like the author struggled by trying to make the story fit the photos at times. I thought the vintage photographs were good and creepy. The story did have some unexpected  twists for me, which I love not being able to figure the ending out too quickly. 

    I thought the author did a wonderful job describing things so I had a pretty decent visual of how things looked. Some of the characters fell a little flat for me. I wish they were developed a bit more, although Jacob was a very believable character. I think I would have enjoyed the story more in audio format with a picture catalog to go along with it. Overall I thought it was a good book and I will most likely read the next book if and when one is published.



    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Review: Three Maids For A Crown by Ella March Chase

    Three Maids for a Crown: A Novel of the Grey Sisters

    Three Maids for a Crown: A Novel of the Grey Sisters


  • Paperback: 432 pages

  • Publisher: Broadway; Original edition (August 2, 2011)

  • Ella March Chase did a fantastic job taking me back in time so much so that I would forget that history can't be changed and I found myself on edge hoping that Jane would be set free! It got so intense for me and let me tell you, I would hate to have lived during those times, especially at court with all the greed and struggle for power. Yikes! I can't imagine my parents putting me in harms way just to further their own status. If ever there was a need for child protective services, it was back then.

    If you love historical fiction or if it's a new genre for you, I recommend you read this engaging well written story about royalty, greed and paranoia.



    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Review: The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

    The Kitchen Daughter by

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (December 20, 2011)

  • Goodreads Description

    After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

    A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.



    Ginny is 26, loves to cook and also has Aspergers. She has been sheltered by her parents her whole life. When her parents die suddenly her sister, Amanda, wants to sell their home and have Ginny move in with her. Ginny is very frustrated with Amanda when she won't listen to what she wants to do.

    Ginny functions much better with things  in order, so she finds comfort in following  recipes, one of which is   her grandmother's Ribollita. After she prepares the dish, something strange happens...Ginny sees a ghost!
    I don't want to give away too much so that's all you get...until you read it for yourself that is.

    I love Ginny's character and the way she uses ingredients  to cope.  I also love that there are some DELICIOUS sounding recipes in the book that I would like to try out! The story kept my interest throughout while Ginny made new discoveries about her condition and things about her parents that she didn't know before.


    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Review: The Cottage at Glass Beach

    The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

  • Hardcover: 320 pages

  • Publisher: Harper (May 15, 2012)

  • Goodreads Description:

    Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, Nora Cunningham is a picture-perfect political wife and a doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she, along with the rest of the world, learns of the infidelity of her husband, Malcolm.

    Humiliated and hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters--Annie, seven; and Ella, twelve--and takes refuge on Burke's Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine. Settled by Irish immigrants, the island is a place where superstition and magic are carried on the ocean winds, and wishes and dreams wash ashore with the changing tides.

    Nora spent her first five years on the island but has not been back to the remote community for decades--not since that long ago summer when her mother disappeared at sea. One night while sitting alone on Glass Beach below the cottage where she spent her childhood, Nora succumbs to grief, her tears flowing into the ocean. Days later she finds an enigmatic fisherman named Owen Kavanagh shipwrecked on the rocks nearby. Is he, as her aunt's friend Polly suggests, a selkie--a mythical being of island legend--summoned by her heartbreak, or simply someone who, like Nora, is trying to find his way in the wake of his own personal struggles?

    Just as she begins to regain her balance, her daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own--a journey that will force Nora to find the courage to chart her own course and finally face the truth about her marriage, her mother, and her long-buried past.


    When I started  reading this book, I didn't realize that there were elements of fantasy in it. That's not a genre I usually read. I felt it was a little slow and parts of the story were not believable to me....guess that's why they call it fantasy huh?  Ha!
    I was unable to  get invested in the characters although they did have potential.
    I liked the whole beachy, cottagey (I know that's not a real word but I like it) setting but I didn't get enough of it. I want to hear the surf,  smell the salt and feel the sand between my toes. For me, the story ended just as it finally got going.


    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across The Universe #1)

    Across the Universe (Across The Universe #1) 
    by Beth Revis
    • Hardcover: 416 pages
    • Publisher: Razorbill (January 11, 2011)

    Goodreads Description:

    A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

    Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

    Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

    Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.



    Across The Universe kept me intrigued during the entire book. I liked  the main characters (although I wanted to smack Amy a couple of times :D) but I feel they could have been developed a bit more so it took me a little while to get there. I like that the story alternated between Amy and Elder. It keeps you on your toes

     I'm claustrophobic so I felt like I couldn't breath while reading due to the story being set on a spaceship. lol I guess if I look on the bright side of it, the story felt more real to me because of it! It was fun to check out the blueprint of the ship from time to time to get a better feel for the location of each scene.

    In Across the Universe, Godspeed is a vast spaceship, the size of a small county. The lives of its passengers are severely regulated. And people are divided into three categories--Feeders, Shippers, and Keepers--represented by the three levels of the ship.

    I would recommend this book, I loved it with it's unpredictability and the  unexpected twist.


    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Review: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

    Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

  • Hardcover: 400 pages

  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 29, 2012)

  • Goodreads Description:

    For fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life.



    Alice Buckle is a wife, a mother of two, and she teaches drama at a local elementary school. She is a character that I enjoyed from the moment she googled eyelid drooping. I can definitely relate to that. When she searched Happy Marraige a survey showed up in her spam folder. Alice moves it to her inbox. Once she starts the survey and meets researcher 101 she becomes the anonymous wife 22.

    Although I don't prefer diary entry format, it worked perfectly for this novel and  I very much enjoyed seeing  Alice's story unfold. The only two negative things I have to say about it is I didn't love some of the secondary characters as much as I would have like to and I was a little bored with some of Alices more lengthy survey answers.

    I definitely recommend this book.