Book Addicts Welcome

I created this blog as a way for book addicts like myself to share their new favorite books and to find suggestions for great reads. Comments and suggestions are appreciated!

To Read List

The Hunger Games

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Promises to Keep

Jane Green is back again with a new novel about family, friends, and the power of love. Callie has it all, the perfect husband, beautiful children and a career she loves. She has her minor complaints; she wishes her husband didn't travel so much, she wishes her kids didn't fight quite as often, but compared to her sister she had it made. Steffi, Callie's little sister is the girl who has never grown up. Now in her 30's she is still dating loser guys and until recently flitting from job to job. It isn't until she finds a job as a chef at a little vegetarian restaurant that she discovers her true passion and begins her journey towards " growing up." The cast expands to include Callie's best friend Lila, and her parents. As each character faces their own problems in life, they all know that no matter what they would drop everything to be there for eachother in times of need. One added bonus is that Green has added some of Steffi's recipes throughout the book and they all look delicious!
       While Green does write a touching tribute to what it truly means to love, I felt that this novel was a little predictable. Not to say it wasn't enjoyable, and touching. It definitely spurred on a few tears here and there and Green does a good job building each character to be relatable as well as lovable. However, I knew the ending by the third chapter and was a little dissappointed that it unraveled the way it did. My favorite part about the book was probably the recipes, which isn't saying a whole lot for the book itself.

Heart of The Matter

In Emily Griffin's new novel she writes from the stand point of two very different women. One is a stay-at-home mom struggling with the everyday aspects of caring for a family, while keeping up with chores and having a little time of her own. She never quite feels like she can keep up with the other "perfect moms" around her, but does her best to balance it all. The other is a single mom who has put herself through law school and has a successful career while still making time for her son. When tragedy strikes the two women's lives interweave and they are faced with dealing with eachother's differences and their own shortcomings.
    Griffin once again has given us a well-written tale to follow. The plot, being more realistic than fantasy, may be a hard one for some to swallow and there were moments when I was ready to put the book down. However, the ending is appropriate and leaves you with a sense that all is how it should be. Just be warned, this is not a happy-go-lucky look at love and life and the perfect little family. It is a more closer-to-home look at how life can really be, with a happier ending than most realities!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Nanny Returns

McLaughlin and Kraus team up once again to bring us Nan and her many adventures. Ten years have passed and she is back in NY fixing up a house her and her hubby have bought. While trying to remodel/ live in their falling down "dream house" Nan runs into her old charge Grayer and is instantly thrown into his life, and many family issues.   Her residual guilt causes her to feel she owes him and to take them all on and be his rescuer. Along with these problems Nan has started her own business and takes on a tough client. Finally, her man is ready to be a dad, but Nan just isn't there and isn't sure she ever will be. With all of this the novel is fairly fast paced and easy reading. Nan is a likeable heroine and since we know and love her from the Nanny Diaries we are easily forgiving of any faults and ready to watch her take on the world.

The Postmistress

Sarah Blake writes a novel about the many casualties of war from a different perspective. Set during WWI we hear the story from a postmistress in the US who finds herself in a place where a letter not delivered might make all the difference. The novel also follows a female war correspondent from the states who has placed herself in Europe among the worst of the fighting. This novel hits on many crucial topics of this era. Should the US get involved in the fighting? What is happening to the Jewish people and are they really being treated badly? Sarah Blake does a good job weaving a story through many interesting characters and topics and while it is a unique perspective it seems to fall a little short. It is very bittersweet and has very little in the way of happy endings. In fact it could be labeled more of a tragedy than anything else, and perhaps that was what Blake was striving for when writing a novel about war.

The White Queen

The White Queen! Phillipa Gregory writes again and this time it is the first in a series of books about King Richard and the era before the Tudors. Always very well done, and once again she captures your attention and draws you into the story of the war for the throne between three brothers. It is a never ending battle in this novel as the residing King and Queen are never safe for long on their newly won throne. Brothers and then cousins guided by parents and mentors stop at nothing to become the ruler of England. Even if it means destroying a family, their own family, in the process! A must read!

Her next book in the series will be called The Red QueenThe Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War) and is due out August 3rd. This one will pick up with Margaret, mother to King Henry VII, who will spend her life trying to get her son on the throne. Again it is a cousin's war, and set to be another must read!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spellman Files

A friend of mine has been telling me to read these books for awhile now and I finally have. What can I say, she is usually right about her recommendations. Izzy Spellman and her family are a quirky, fun-loving group who, besides her older brother David, all work in the family business of private investigation. They are fun, easy reads with a few deeper moments when real-life threatens to invade.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Hodgepodge of Reviews

Catch up time. I am going to do a quick review of the last few worthwhile books I have read.

Accidental Happiness by Jean Reynolds Page was surprisingly better than I had expected. When Gina's husband dies in a freak accident she is consumed with a grief so thick she doesn't see a way out until she is forced to spend time with an unlikely companion. His ex-wife. The duo have their ups and downs but together they finally start putting the pieces of their lives back together. And it is through Reese's daughter Angel that Gina finally begins to mend. It is a story about the power of friendship, motherhood, and the courage it takes to put the past behind you and embrace the present.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was a definite must read. I am a little behind on the times, but I had never read this novel so I thought I would give it a try. The book is split into two sections, each following the lives of two different women who end up becoming best friends. Mariam and Laila are from two different generations and two very different backgrounds, but tragedy brings them both together and binds them for life. It is a look at life in Afghanistan over the past thirty years and follows these women through marriage, births, deaths, and endless war. As devastating as some parts of this novel are, the courage of these two women and what they endure for their families and each other is breathtaking.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming  by Joshilyn Jackson reminded me again of how much I enjoy this author. Her books are unique and so well written. Her characters are relatably flawed and you love them for this. In this novel Laurel is living what she thought was a happy, easy life until tragedy strikes literally in her own backyard. The past she has carefully hidden from her husband and daughter begins to emerge and when her sister Thalia comes to help her, the life she thought was so perfect begins to crumble around her. This book has a little of everything; a mystery that needs to be solved, the ever volatile mother-daughter relationship, a marriage on the rocks, a couple of ghosts, and possibly a few murders to top it off. Not to worry, Jackson is able to weave them together in quite an engaging story and even wraps it up with a couple of twists and most questions answered. There are the usual holes in the plot-line, but there has to be a little left to the imagination, right?

If you enjoyed this one, she has another due out in June. Backseat Saints looks like it will prove to be another page turner!

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. For me this was one of those novels where the author has had a few huge successes and tries to follow that up with a novel that just doesn't quite meet expectations.  Robert Langdon returns to lead us in yet another race to uncover hidden mysteries through codes and symbols. This time throughout and under the city of Washington D.C. Langdon's beloved mentor Peter Solomon is in trouble and he is the only one who can save him and discover the truth about the hidden mysteries within the nation's capitol. It is very well written and keeps the reader guessing with each new clue and turn of events. However, after leading you through many hoops, and mazes the ending just doesn't quite deliver. Not to say it isn't a worthwhile read, it just wasn't my favorite of Brown's novels.

The Magician's Wife by Brian Moore is another novel I am behind the times on. written in 1999 it was made into a movie in 2003. Where have I been? I found this book in a stack of books given to me by a friend and once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this one, it is a worthwhile read. In 1856 our main character, Emmeline Lambert, is unhappily living a stale life. Married to a world famous magician, whom she admits she does not love, her life has turned out very differently than she expected. When her husband's unique skills are needed to help in a mission for Napoleon III Emmaline is suddenly thrust into a world where she feels she doesn't belong. As she follows her husband first to Paris, and then to South Africa Emmaline is forced to make some life changing choices and finally discover who she really is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Jordan's novel is set in rural Mississippi in the year 1946. Laura McAllen is a woman beginning to fear spinsterhood, who is saved from a life of loneliness by an honest, hardworking man who may not be the love of her life but is certainly someone she respects. This changes when he moves her from the only life she has ever known to a farm in the middle of Mississippi. As a city girl she has to adapt to a life of no running water, an outdoor toilet, a hateful father-in-law, and endless amounts of mud.

This novel is written from several points of view and also includes that of Laura McAllen's husband and brother-in-law, who is the charming, flirtatious opposite of the man she married. However, the point of view I found most interesting was that of Ronsel Jackson, the oldest son of the black sharecroppers who reside on the McAllen farm. Ronsel is a decorated war hero who is treated like an equal throughout the war in Europe but still has to use the back door of the country store in the town where he grew up.

Mudbound is certainly a page turner. I had a difficult time putting it down once I started it. My only complaint is that I never was really able to connect with the characters. I am not sure if it is because of the different points of view or just the fact that I was not able to relate at all. Besides that, it is a very well written novel that I would recommend reading. It unquestionably opens your eyes to the racism and hatred that existed, and may still, in this part of the country and leaves you with much to think about at the end.

Other reviews on Mudbound can be found at:

A Striped Armchair



Friday, February 12, 2010

House at Riverton

Kate Morton's debut novel begins in the present day with the narrator, Grace, living out her finals days mainly within her own memories of long ago. As a girl she worked for a very well off, aristocratic family in England during the two world wars and holds to this day their secret for which she has told no one. As she is the only remaining living sole who knows what really happened on that fateful summer night in 1924 she has decided to finally share her secret.

Morton has the ability to so seamlessly intertwine decades that you are carried from the present day to the 1920's as though in one of Grace's own daydreams. Morton's storytelling abilities paint a picture of the Riverton House and all that happens inside it so vividly you feel as though you are right there in the 1920's with the characters. I usually can see the twist coming, but was caught totally unaware as this tale ends. One of the best endings I have read in awhile, not to say it is a happy one, but it does leave you breathless.

This is a definite must read and ranks high among my list of favorites along with her second book The Forgotten Garden (read more about Morton's second novel by clicking here).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Discussion Questions

 Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger

First off, before you click on this link know that although I tried not to reveal too much in the questions there are spoilers so don't read them until you have read the book. Secondly, if you would like to post these questions to your own site please include a link to my site and give me credit. Thank you and enjoy!

Discussion Questions

Her Fearful Symmetry

In Audrey Niffenegger's first novel since writing the ever popular Time Traveler's Wife, two twenty-one year old twin sisters living with their parents in Chicago have their lives dramatically changed when they inherit an apartment in London from their recently deceased Aunt. Set on the edge of a cemetery the apartment not only changes where they are living but who they are becoming. As their once close bond begins to unravel so does the world around them. It is a novel about love and friendship as well as jealousy, mystery, death, and tragedy.

Forever Valentina thought, I will live forever with Julia in our apartment in London, which we have never seen, surrounded by people we haven't met, forever.

The novel has several major plot twists and to write too much more of a review would be giving away a huge amount. As an avid reader I get pretty upset when writers add spoilers in their reviews so I am not going to do that to you. I will say that ghosts are involved, sisters turn on each other, and identities are mistaken. Other characters will steal your heart, but the twins you won't always like. I started out feeling sorry for Valentina because Julia was always bossing her around and in the end it was Julia who I was able to relate to.

Having said all of that, as a huge fan of Time Traveler's Wife I was somewhat disappointed by this book. I went into it with high expectations and found it lacking. The novel was entertaining and well written, a definite page-turner. Once I picked it up I had a difficult time putting it down, but to me it was trying to mix too many themes and none of them really congealed. The plot had some definite holes in it, and I wasn't in love with the way it ended. Of course this is just my opinion and most of the other reviews I have read said this was the best book they have ever read. Many liked it more than TTW.  So I could be way off base. Like I said it was well written and certainly worth reading, I just expected more from someone who wrote TTW.  However, because of all of the many themes throughout the book it would be a good one for a bookclub to discuss and therefore a great pick for your next read. If you decide to check it out please comment and let me know what you thought. If I am way off base I want to know!

Stay tuned for discussion questions to go along with the book....