Book Review Squalor, New Mexico

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Written By Lisette Brodey

Published March 18th 2009 by  Saberlee Books

This is a coming of age story and it would seem like that is all I read but I swear it’s not.  In fact I rarely read books like this.

The story is told from the point of view of Darla, starts when she is nine and ends when she is 17. She lives with her mother and father and is really close to her 3 cousins April,May and June. One day Darla walks in on her mother and her aunt discussing their little sister Rebecca and this peaks an interest that Darla can’t let go of. Rebecca seems to have some strange hold over the entire family including Darla’s aunt and uncle the mother and father of her three cousins. This book was excellent it made me angry, sad, frustrated and happy I even laughed out loud in several places and cried at the end. Darla is a pretty typical teenager melodramatic and bratty at times but overall she tries to be a good person most of the time. Her three cousins seem on the surface to be almost too good to be true especially for teenage girls but, there is so much more to them. The parts of the book that made me frustrated actually had to do with both sets of parents. Darla’s mother and father were kind of pathetic. Her father is a giant stick in the mud and not in the way that every teenager thinks their father is a stick in the mud but for real!! Her mother seems to have no backbone and is more concerned with appearances than real life. Darla’s aunt is a stage mom to April, May, and June and is only concerned with the next show the girls will be performing in. The girl’s father is basically non-existent in their life and lets his wife push him around. Seriously every book I have read recently has terrible parents in it! The central plot revolves around Rebecca the secret aunt, even though she lives somewhere else and none of the girls have ever met her. Darla spends her time thinking about this secret aunt and it sort of takes over her life and the lives of her entire family without anyone even being conscious of it. Darla enlists the help of her cousins and her best friend Melanie to uncover the secrets of Rebecca and this takes her entire family on this crazy emotional journey with results no one could have seen coming. There is so much more to the book than that but to give any more detail would ruin things for you. At times I thought I had the secret of Rebecca figured out, I didn’t although I was in the ballpark. The end of this book was so good and emotional I just loved it. This is a book I will probably re-read at some point and I think I might love it even more when I do. Bottom line read this book because it is amazing.

goodreads 

Until Next Time

Mini Reviews

These are some books that I have recently finished reading and, for  one reason or another I just don’t have much to say about them. So, I put them all together into one post and this is it.

Here we go.

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

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Published 7/11/60 by J.B Lippincott & Co.

So I don’t really think this book needs another review does it? No. I can’t exactly say why it took me till now to read this book considering its my sisters favorite book , and all the hype surrounding it. When hype lasts that long there must be something behind it right? I think the reason it’s taken me so long to read it, has something to do with my perception of the book. I assumed I knew what the story was about and how it ended.  After reading it I was mostly wrong. It didn’t have the ending that I thought it would but, it did follow a pattern I thought it might. Overall I thought the book was really good and I am glad I finally read it.

Amazon  Goodreads

Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata

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Published 12/22/2009 by Antheneum

This was what they call a coming of age story. It was also one of about 4 books I have read recently that  could be put into that category. This is the story of a beautiful woman named Helen who has 4 daughters by 4 vastly different men. The book is narrated by Shelby the 2nd daughter. Helen is incredibly beautiful, selfish, vain, and narcissistic.She uses her beauty to seduce and use men to get what she wants. Helen is also a truly terrible mother. There is no other way to put it she is just bad yet, her daughters adore her.  Helen is involved in a serious car accident and must stay in the hospital so the girls are split up and sent to live with their fathers, with whom they have had minimal contact with and, who live in different parts of the country.I really enjoyed the parts that revolved around Shelby getting to know her father they were sweet and sincere.  Shelby’s dad was a great character and I would have liked more of him.  The book is really about these girls being torn apart and them trying to find their way back to each other anyway they can. The end was a little to neatly wrapped up for me and I just couldn’t get over that. I think  I liked it enough to think about picking up another book from this author.

Amazon  Goodreads

The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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Published 3/8/2011 by Broadway

I’m not going to summarize this because I don’t think I can summarize it well. Click the link to either goodreads or Amazon if you want to know about it. This book was fascinating. The idea that this one woman’s cells have had such a huge effect in the medical community  is amazing. Having said that I can’t say I actually liked the book.I can understand why so many people love it because the whole idea surrounding it is amazing and scary, and well, fascinating. I think the problem for me was the mix of the scientific with the story about Henrietta it just didnt’ mesh well for me. I really had to push myself to read the last 1/3 of this book it became a chore almost. I heard they were going to make this into a movie and I think it might actually translate better on-screen.

Amazon  Goodreads

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

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Published 5/19/2009 by Bantam

I listened to the audiobook and the fact the narrator saved this book from being as boring as it could have been. If not for the her I may have stopped this book after just a few chapters. A great narrator can make a so-so book better. The problem was the book was just boring. The story revolves around 2 sister Ellie and Lila. Lila is the older sister, and a math prodigy and a murder victim. After Lila is murdered a friend and former teacher of Ellie’s writes a  book about it, and this has huge consequences for Ellie and her parents and, the man who is fingered as the killer in the book. No one is ever charged with the crime and 20 years later Ellie starts looking into the case . It sounds like a great premise but, it never took off for me. There was a lot of really in-depth information of all things math related. The book even goes into details about tsome famous people in the math community. Overall it was just boring. Had I been reading a physical copy of this book I would have put it down. By the end I didn’t even care if the man accused had committed the murder or not.

Amazon  Goodreads

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading visit and see what other awesome things are going on!

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

1. What are you currently reading?  The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and man is it deep. It’s definitely an emotional read but I do really like it so far. I am  still trying to get through Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte and it’s just not drawing me in.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  I just finished No One You Know by Michelle Richmond and it was just OK. I can’t really review because I don’t have enough to say about it.  A few days ago I finished To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee and to be honest I am still processing it.

3.  What do you think you’ll read next? I think it will probably be  Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, assuming I can find it at the book store. I am really looking forward to this one so I hope I can find it.  I have a list of others I want to read but I can’t decide which one so I am going to just close my eyes and pick.

 

That’s all I have today.

Until Next Time

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish where we are given a topic and then we have to come up with a Top Ten list to go with it. Go over and see what everyone has to say this week.

So this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is

 Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

I broke this one up into categories because what I recommend has to do with what a person is looking for, as much as it has to do with me and my likes.

Series 

If you want  murder mysteries without all the violence,blood and gore

The Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny

This is not quite a cozy but you don’t have to worry about yucky stuff. This is definitely more cerebral I guess is the word than your average book like this. There is a lot going on beyond just the old someone dies and the police come in investigate and brilliantly figure it all out. Gamache is one of my favorite male characters ever, he is just so well written you can’t help but love him.

The Agatha Raisin Series by MC Beaton

This is  a cozy series. It’s fun, funny, sarcastic, and smart. Agatha is not the kind of person anyone would want as a friend in real life but somehow, Beaton makes her so darn likable.  The surrounding characters are also so well written that even though none of them would be particularly likable in real life you find yourself liking them as the series progresses.

Stand Alone books

If you want a creepy, crazy psychological book that messes with your mind

The Bridesmaid by Ruth Rendell

Well really any of Rendell’s stand alone books will really do it but, this one stands out for some reason. I got so creeped out by this one I thought about it for days afterward.

You’ve Been Warned by James Patterson

I have read a bunch of Patterson but, he got really repetitive, overly violent, and sexually graphic so I stopped. I haven’t read anything by him in about 2 or 3 years. However, this was a bit different from his others and really messed with my mind. I think I screamed out loud at the end.

If you want to uncover deep dark secrets 

The Killers Cousin by Nancy Werlin

Oh man I liked this book. It was so dark and twisted. When I read it I thought I figured out what the secret was but it was so much bigger than I imagined.

To The Power Of Three by Laura Lippman

This is about a group of friends who are all involved in this twisted tragedy. It takes most of the book to unravel it all. Just when I thought I had it figured out they would change the game on me.

If you want historical fiction

Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter

This was the first Carter book I read and it’s not for the faint of heart.  Carter packs a ton of information into this book and you really need to pay attention to understand what’s going on. It is set during the Harlem Renaissance and that just made the book come alive for me.

If you want to read about issues surrounding race  (non-fiction)

Skin Deep: Black Women & White Women Write About Race by Marita Golden

This is a book I read years ago when I was taking some sociology classes in college. It really held a lot of meaning for me at the time and I think it still does. The book tackles some serious issues but that’s the point I guess.

Don’t Play In The Sun: One Woman’s Journey Through The Color Complex by Marita Golden

Seriously go read something anything by Marita Golden she is amazing.

Alright that’s all I’ve got this week.

Until Next Time

On Audiobooks: Do They Count As Books?

I know that there is a ton of conversation both good and bad about audiobooks. There is a group of people who say they don’t believe people should count them as books read, since they didn’t physically read them. I happen to disagree with that particular point of view. I have listened to hundreds of audio books in my life and I count them among all the other books I have read. I feel like it’s no different from the books my mother and father read to me as a child. I also count the books I read in school while in class, you know the scenario  students have to stand up and read pages out loud to each other, just because other students read parts to me doesn’t mean I wasn’t just as involved in that book the way I would have been had I read it by myself. The author of the book still wrote it, they still spent hours upon hours brainstorming, writing, revising, editing and re-writing the book. Hours of work still went into cover art, title, release date , promotion and all the other things that go with a new book.  In addition to all the above even more goes into producing an audiobook that doesn’t go into a physical book.There are the narrators and production teams,mixers, and sound people and a whole bunch of stuff I probably don’t even know about or understand. The bottom line is we should all be able to feel the way we want to feel about audiobooks without feeling looked down upon or judged because of it. Sometimes the only way some people get to enjoy a book is in the audio format because they are so busy. It’s much easier to download an MP3, or pop a CD into the player  and listen to it while cooking,cleaning,driving kids to and from, working out and all the other things busy people have to do. Which is better, an audiobook or no book at all? I choose the former.

So those are my thoughts on audiobooks and the are they or aren’t they discussion.

I am planning on doing a 3 or 4 part series on audiobooks that will revolve  around a bunch of different areas including, genres, narrators, purchasing vs library and anything else that pops into my head. I am by no means and expert in this area I just know what I like and thought it would make an interesting topic. I hope you enjoy what I have to say.

Until Next Time