Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review - The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Book Summary from Goodreads

First published in 1892, The Yellow Wall-Paper is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper – a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, The Yellow Wall-Paper stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.
My Review - 4 Great to the Last drop

This is more of an essay, short story but such an amazing one to discuss mental illness.  I slightly remember reading this in school but as it is mentioned in numerous works I wanted to read again.

My favourite  parts were the way the main character described the Wallpaper, so many different ways, intricate patterns, nightmarish, claustrophobic, creepy but through the descriptions beautifully crafted by words in a weird way.

My favourite - The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.  You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are.  It slaps you in the face, knocks you down and tramples upon you.  It is like a bad dream.

She was suffering from Postpartum Depression but her husband John is a Physician and doesn't think she is sick just thinks she needs time to relax during her temporary 'illness'. 

I do like that she used a diary to express herself, this is how we hear the story so of course we don't know the true journey.  Is she really crazy?  Was getting away and being put in a room you hated with yellow wall paper a mistake.  She is happy her baby doesn't have deal with the horrid wall paper, some how I found this ironic.

I would have preferred if the diary had dates in it to know how many entries she actually did, at times it was confusing, the same day entry, next day, few days or a week later, I was unsure.

This was a story that made me smile which is sad because of course we are talking about someone not well but I  enjoyed the light hearted tragedy told like this.  It did make me question the decision to treat her illness the way they did, the ending with the husband's reaction was priceless.

I can see this being a great debatable book during an English class.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review - The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor Del Arbol

Book Summary from Amazon

A betrayal and a murder in pro-Nazi Spain spark a struggle for power that grips a family for generations in this sweeping historical thriller.

When Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat living in the pro-Nazi Spain of 1941, becomes involved in a plot to kill her Fascist husband, she finds herself betrayed by her mysterious lover. The effects of her betrayal play out in a violent struggle for power in both family and government over three generations, intertwining her story with that of a young lawyer named Maria forty years later. During the attempted Fascist coup of 1981, Maria is accused of plotting the prison escape of a man she successfully prosecuted for murder. As Maria's and Isabel's narratives unfold they encircle each other, creating a page-turning literary thriller firmly rooted in history.

My Review - 3 More Sugar Please

I was intrigued as I started reading, each chapter taking on a different generation which you know will all come together toward the end.  Historical fiction isn't a genre that I read so I was happy to read this for a challenge and while reading realised it was full of suspense.

I appreciated when the story included meanings of the Samurai, the art work of the sword, the meaning, what it means to wound someone and when, its mandate, this was very well done, keeping you in tuned to the title of the novel.

I do think for those that love suspense would think this thriller was a bit convoluted, the execution of it was done in a way to make it more complicated and throw it off but it actually turned me off, it became a touch boring for me.  Instead of feeling the excitement of getting to the end to see how it all comes together, I just couldn't wait for it to end.

There are numerous killings and betrayal which kept the story exciting, in the end it just didn't fully work for me.  A 40 year tragedy, all the heartache, the murders, the family history and how the finale ended, I expected more of a explosive ending, some readers may feel it was.  A great story about hate and revenge and being patient enough to win, if it is to cover up actions or to reveal them.

I thought this was good, not completely my cup of tea but I can see many others enjoying the intricate weaving of the stories. If you are intrigued I say go for it.

Some favourite quotes - this book definitely has some amazing quotes

"You read the novel.  If you don't like it, burn it... And if you do like it, burn it anyway.  But that won't change things.  I know who you are, and I know what's inside you, waiting to awaken."

Waiting is the only thing you have left when you are unwilling to give up.  Hatred needs patience to become a useful emotion.

This weapon represents the best values of the warrior: bravery, loyalty, fierceness, elegance, precision, and power, but at the same time the worst as well:  death, pain, suffering, murderous insanity.

"All my life I wanted to be honest.  I thought that if I armed myself with principles, if I made an effort and put order into my actions, I would manage to live a good life.  But everything that forms the basis of my existence is false.  It's like finding out that you yourself are a lied.  I failed, and I don't even know who I am, or who I wanted to be.  I feel lost, filled with confusion and pain.  And I have no answers."

Thank you to the Publicist for sending me this one for my honest review.  I am putting this towards my Eclectic Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crime Fiction Alphabet (A) Andrea Kane

Go to Kerrie's blog, Mysteries in Paradise for more information on how to participate in this meme.

Your post MUST be related to either the first letter of a book's title, the first letter of an author's first name, or the first letter of the author's surname, or even maybe a crime fiction "topic". But above all, it has to be crime fiction.

So you see you have lots of choice.

You could write a review, or a bio of an author, so long as it fits the rules somehow.
(It is ok too to skip a week.)

You probably won't have to do a lot of extra reading in order to participate, but I warn you that your TBR may grow as a result of the suggestions other participants make.

My choice this week is Andrea Kane. Her newest will be published June 26, 2012

Summary and Bio from NetGalley



Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason’s newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin’s best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child.

Or was he?

One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin’s father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs.

Forensic Instincts is the one team up for the challenge.

A behaviorist. A former navy SEAL. A technowizard. An intuitive. A retired FBI agent. A human scent-evidence dog. Together they achieve the impossible, pushing ethical and legal boundaries whenever the ends justify the means.

The manhunt is on for the elusive father. Yet the further FI digs into his past, the more questions are raised about whether the man Amanda fell in love with ever really existed at all.

Dark secrets. Carefully crafted lies. From the congressional halls of Washington, D.C., to exclusive Hamptons manors, there are ruthless people who would stop at nothing to make Forensic Instincts forget about the man Amanda desperately needs to find.

Little do they realize that once Forensic Instincts takes the case, nothing will stop them from uncovering the shocking truth that transcends The Line Between Here and Gone.

About the author:

ANDREA KANE’s psychological thriller The Girl Who Disappeared Twice became an instant New York Times bestseller, the latest in a long string of smash hits. It introduced Forensic Instincts, an eclectic team of maverick investigators, each with different personalities and talents, all with one common bond: a blatant disregard for authority. The Line Between Here and Gone is the next exhilarating installment in the Forensic Instincts series. Armed with skills and talents honed by years in the FBI and Special Forces and training in behavioral and forensic psychology, the team solves seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement.

With a worldwide following and novels published in more than twenty languages, Kane is also the author of eight romantic thrillers and fourteen historical romances. She lives in New Jersey with her family, where she is plotting new ways for Forensic Instincts to challenge the status quo.

My review of The Girl who Disappeared Twice  - We meet the Forensic Instincts team and her newest book is about them, fantastic.......

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reading - It's Monday........

Sheila over at Book Journey has an incentive for networking so go over and have fun while continuing to add to your 2012 Wishlist.

I'm currently reading a Historical Fiction/Mystery - a requested review.  I'm enjoying so far.

Set across three generations, this gripping page-turner brings explosive force to the traditional historical novel. When Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat living in Pro-Nazi Spain becomes involved in a plot to kill her Fascist husband, she finds herself betrayed by her mysterious lover, setting off a power struggle that grips a family for generations.

I completed the classic Rebecca, and loved it.  My review

I have also completed but still need to do mini reviews for.......

No idea what is next.  Look forward to networking with you, enjoy your week.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Book Summary from Amazon

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

My Review - 5 Tea Time Perfection

I am glad I chose this as my classic read for the year, a masterpiece, I understand why this is many readers favourite book of all time.  Daphne Du Maurier was a true artist of her time. 

The whole book had this mysterious eerie feel to it which keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Flow is important to me and I think this may be one of the best executed books I have read.  There is no doubt I prefer modern reads but DDMaurier took you back without the unnecessary description, the wording and sentence structure was enough to put you in the time and atmosphere of the Manderley home.   When I got to the revealing of the true secret in the book I was shocked but also pleasantly surprised, it all made sense and then I couldn't put the book down, amazing.

What was most brilliant to me was that we never know the new wife's name, she is called Mrs. de Winter throughout, I wanted her to say just call me "    ", I will not live in the shadow of Rebecca or the latest Mrs. de Winter.  This alone made the book mysterious and creepy.

My favourite character was Mrs. Danvers, she was brilliantly done and I loved to hate her, I couldn't wait for the new Mrs. de Winter to stand up to her or fire her, the thrill of the wait was great.   What a cruel controlling woman.  I would read more about her character.

For those that are struggling with choosing a classic read for a challenge or just intrigued, I highly recommend. 

For those that love audio I have read that a Anna Massey performs it amazingly.  I can see this as a great book club read also.  There is so much more I would love to say but don't want to take anything away from someone's first experience with this one.

Since blogging, I have read To Kill a Mockingbird, And Then there Were None and now Rebecca, I was able to appreciate the others but this one is by far the best in my opinion, I will try more of her works now when I am in the mood for a delightful classic.

A favourite quote that I think represents the story well....

Frank did not have to sit at her place in the dining-room hold the knife and fork that she had held, drink from her glass. He did not throw a coat over his shoulders which had been hers, nor find her handkerchief in the pocket.  He did not notice, every day, as I did, the blind gaze of the old dog in its basket in the library, who lifted its head when it heard my footstep, the footstep of a woman, and sniffing the air drooped its head again, because I was not the one it sought. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday, Gillian Flynn

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases we are highly anticipating. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This is a total WOW for me, I can't wait to read it, I have it in my calendar to download on release date, June 5, 2012.

Michelle over red headed book child has a current giveaway for US bloggers, go become a follower, she is one of my top blogging friends and another fan of Mystery, Thrillers, etc.

Here is Michelle's ARC review.

Summary from Goodreads:

"'What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?'"

Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was left in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What are we reading.....

Sheila over at Book Journey  has an incentive for networking so go over and have fun while continuing to add to your 2012 Wishlist.

Currently reading the classsic.......

Completed a not so great mystery - My review here. 2 1/2 stars

Also, completed a great YA read - My review here.  4 1/2 stars

What is next, I have no idea.  Maybe i'll go for another genre, last week was a great mix.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review - Live to Tell by Wendi Corsi Staub

Wendy Corsi Staub Live To Tell

Book Summary from Amazon

Secrets can scandalize . .
In a lovely suburban town just north of New York City, the gossip mill runs more efficiently than the commuter-train line. And in every impeccably decorated house, they're talking about Lauren Walsh. They say that nothing could be worse than being abandoned by your husband for another woman. They're wrong . . .

Secrets can shock . . .

All Lauren wants is to protect her children from the pain of her messy divorce. But when their father goes missing, a case of mistaken identity puts all their lives in danger, and a stealthy predator lurks in the shadows, watching . . . waiting . . .

Secrets can kill . . .

Lauren is about to uncover an unfathomable truth—a truth this cold-blooded mastermind would never let her live to tell . . .

My Review - 2 1/2 Not my Cup of Tea

I had high hopes for this one, Wendy Corsi Staub was recommended as an author similar to Mary Higgins Clark, what an amazing honour in my opinion but hardly should be received.  I found this story to be completely disjointed, to many characters and side story lines trying to create this great big mystery which for mystery lovers they would have already figured out so even though it all came together in the end, it felt like what was the point.

I read until approx 25%, thought it was my mood, came back a couple of weeks later, considered it a DNF but decided to complete it.  There is family drama, lots of it, the story almost read like an adult fiction instead of a mystery which in the end took away from the book overall in my opinion, I continued thinking, just get to the point already.

I usually enjoy the style of hearing what characters are saying in their head.  I think one character is fine, it becomes a part of that character, but all the characters was way overdone.

I do think the last 30% of the book was done well, bought it all together but nothing about the book was dynamic or enough of a mystery to be entertaining.

Unfortunately another let done in the reading department this year for me, sigh.

If you are a fan of Wendy Corsi Staub, please recommend your favourite, I will be willing to try another by her........