Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review: Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah

Distant ShoresDistant Shores by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, first off I should say that I am typically a Kristin Hannah fan. Everyone of her books I've read to date, I actually liked / loved, so I was disappointed to say that I barely liked this one. As a matter of fact, I toyed with the idea of a one star, but in the end decided on two. I won't read this again, not that I ever do, but I also won't be loaning it to any of the ladies that I know who like to read. I think it was really that I just didn't like the characters or that they weren't as dveloped as I would have liked. Typically her books are twice as thick and maybe that was the problem, there wasn't enough time to fall in love with any of them. There were lots of things that I thought could have been expounded upon, but in the end I was just glad when it was over.

This is the synopsis from publisher's weekly, quite possibly if I would have read that last line I would have realized this book wasn't going to be for me.
Hannah returns with another second-chance-at-love story, this one as bleak as the soggy Pacific Northwest setting. Perimenopausal former artist Elizabeth Shore is feeling lost and miserable these days, as daughters Jamie and Stephanie matriculate at Georgetown and husband Jack focuses on jump-starting his stalled sports broadcasting career. So Elizabeth, tellingly nicknamed "Birdie," compulsively redecorates her empty nest and pesters Jack with lugubrious questions about what's wrong with their lives. Then Jack scores a journalistic coup, and in his implausibly meteoric return to broadcasting glory, winds up in an efficiency apartment in New York City, halfheartedly fending off the advances of both a nubile assistant and a Hollywood bombshell. Meanwhile, back in rainy Oregon, Birdie grieves for her beloved late father, joins a support group for "passionless" women, starts to paint again and talks to herself in the self-help homilies Hannah favors ("No more cheerleader years for me. I need to get in the game"). She even has a rapprochement with newly widowed stepmother Anita, who, in a particularly explosive burst of character development, somehow transforms from a tacky Southern "Bette Midler on speed" to a white-haired sylph favoring "long, flowing" white dresses. (When Birdie finds her bliss, she discovers she's miraculously lost weight.) Hannah's tried-and-true formula includes the predictable happy ending, complete with life lessons tearfully learned, but only hardcore fans will make it to the last page of this dreary soap.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

I promise not to turn my photography blog into a book blog, but not that I've found a good place to review books easily, I think I'll post these here for a while as well. Unfortunately, that means you may see how many books I read at any given time and wonder why I haven't been editing and posting pictures if I can read so many books! : )

My Name Is MemoryMy Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stayed up way too late last night finishing this book and have to mimic what some of the other reviewers of this book have said.... I may have wanted to throw the book across the room, but I didn't. Last night I would have probably given this book two stars, I was that annoyed. But then I slept on it and realized it was an open ended ending, which I typically don't like (I need it wrapped in a little bow for me, that;s how I roll), but decided this morning it was actually the best way it could have ended given the circumstances of the book. (I may have also read somewhere this morning that there will be two more books in the series, if that's true, I move it to five stars, if that's not true.... then I'll be sad).

This book is very reminiscent of the Time Traveler's Wife, which to this day still ranks as one of my favorite books of all time. It had a lot of similar elements...a love that never kept popping up at inopportune times (he's four, she's 70). And you are left wondering if the life they are living now is the one where it will finally work out for them. (For those who know nothing about the book, souls keep getting reborn in new bodies, most people forget their old lives, but there are a few people who have the "memory" to remember all of their past lives. Daniel remembers and spends nearly every life trying to find Sophia).

This book is well written and very well thought out and there ends up being only one character that I despised. My only issue was keeping up with who all the people were in their old lives and in their new lives. Daniel always lets you know if you've met that person before, but frankly I could only keep the main four characters straight and ended up letting the others just fade away in my mind.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Good Reads Book Review: Blood Vines by Erica Spindler

I recently found this awesome website to help me track books I've read and books to read.  Maybe this means I might actually publish more book reviews!!

Blood VinesBlood Vines by Erica Spindler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love most of Erica Spindler's books, she's an author I found ages ago and always try to make sure I've read whatever her current book is. I'm giving this one four stars although I am not 100% sure it's because I loved the book or because I love her an an author, if 3.5 stars were an option that's where this one would more than likely land. There were times when I felt like this book went too fast and there were times when I felt like it went too slow. In the end, I liked the story and the plot, however I figured the majority of it out half way through. There was never a gotcha moment that I kind of like. Although in all honesty that could be because I have read everyone of her books and know somewhat how her mind works. I'd recommend this to people who love a good mystery, but with a notation that there are some weird undertones that some people may find offensive.

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