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Divergent - Veronica Roth

This book is not working for me at this time. Not saying it won't another time, but, right now, I am working too hard to get from page to page. Only at page 85 after 8 days of trying. Moving on...for now.... I want to stress, that it is probably not the fault of the book. Have started learning a new job the last couple of weeks and my brain is taxed to the max. Thinking that I'm more geared to simple and uncomplicated stories for the near term. I think I will come back and revisit this one when I am more able to give my undivided attention to it.


I also have to say that the cover of this book irritates me. Too much a knockoff of the Hunger Games "logo". I think this book would stand on its own without the burning logo ala Hunger Games. 

Not what I remembered...

The Mists of Avalon  - Marion Zimmer Bradley

I read this book about 20 years ago. So now, I'm picking it up again to read and, turning to the first chapter, I didn't remember that much about it. I know that I was wildly enthusiastic about the book when I read it long ago. Now I am not quite that enthusiastic. However, I am seeing depth where I don't recall there being any before. I'm seeing nuance, where there was none before. I'm obviously reading with older eyes and life experiences. Scenes are standing out for me this time that didn't before. 


That's what I like love about books. I can grow with them.

The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients - Erica Bauermeister

If you liked Joanne Harris's Chocolat, you might like this one. Although there wasn't magical realism applied here, there was obviously a certain amount of magic created in preparing food for others and the healing of hearts through friendships and the love initiated by gathering together to create food for each other.


Mostly strangers at the start of the book, by the end, the students of a cooking class have grown close and we've learned much about their lives and their hurts and the ways they've become whole again. Or mostly whole, anyway. I loved this book. Might even be in my top ten now.

Anything Courtney

The Heiress Effect  - Courtney Milan

I will read anything by Courtney Milan. I love her writing and I love the way she tells a story. She's an intelligent writer who simply hits all the right notes for me. This book is another in her Brother's Sinister series. (There are a couple of novellas in the series as well.) Although The Heiress Effect is part of a series, the book can easily be read as a stand alone book without losing any of the story line. 

A bit disappointed

Dark Witch - Nora Roberts

I enjoyed this book right up until the last 20 or so pages. As I reached the last page, I could be heard in the next county bellowing, "That's IT???" The entire book led up to an "event" that was critical to the book and all the characters' lives...and the event was over almost before it began. 


I hate to be cynical here, but it felt like "just a little something" offered up to reward the reader for staying through the other 348 pages of pretty intense build-up.


It's a trilogy after all...and you can't have it all in the first book. But still.


I like the story so far, and am willing to give the trilogy a second chance. I've pre-ordered the second book with hopes that the story digs deeper and the characters all develop more layers and whatnot. Because I DO like these characters. I hope it delivers better than this one.



If you like Harry Potter, start collecting stamps

Now boy wizard and his friends can be sent to every place, literary. The most popular YA characters go on stamps. Great lifting to old-fashioned hobby and original accessories for all Harry Potter fans.


The United States Postal Service reveled five stamps which are part of a 20-stamp Harry Potter Forever collection. The collection will count 20 stamps and will be officially released on Tuesday (Nov 19th). But you can pre-order them now here: usps.com/stamps


What other characters would you like to see in this stamp collection? 




P.S. If you're a fan of J.K. Rowling's series, join BookLikes Discussion Room where you can (re)read all seven titles and discuss them with other Potter fans :-)


Join Harry Potter Read Group here: 



Source: http://www.today.com/klgandhoda/harry-potter-stamps-unveiled-exclusively-klg-hoda-2D11586024
Reblogged from Kate says

The Testament of Mary

The Testament of Mary - Colm Tóibín

In this story, Mary is reaching the end of her days and she is still shattered by what she witnessed and what she ran away from. And there is the mother's guilt. Lots of that. And strength. And anger. Lots of that, too. 

Mary clearly comes across differently here than the Church would have her. And the disciples don't look good either.

Some would find the book entirely blasphemous. Others will find it gut-wrenchingly sad. I also found it a thoughtful consideration of a mother's agony over the crucifixion of her son. And that is something to which I don't think I ever gave any thought -- which surprises me, now that I consider it.

Toibin does a superb job of making Mary completely human with a mother's heart and an aching and angry soul. This is the first time that I've viewed Mary as a whole person rather than an iconic figure.

Not so much confessions as engaging conversation

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated - Alison Arngrim

I had no particular expectations when picking up this book out of curiosity, but it quickly grabbed me. Alison Arngrim is a good writer with a delightful sense of humor. She doesn't take herself too seriously despite plenty of reason for doing so. I was pleasantly surprised. She's good people.

The Mephisto Club

The Mephisto Club (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles, #6) - Tess Gerritsen

This was one of the better horror stories I've read and I'm not sure it was meant to be (Rizzoli & Isles crime thriller). It has been a long while since I've been urgently moved to leave every light on in the house while reading. And still felt jumpy. 

Really liked this book.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale (James Bond) - Ian Fleming

 I've watched a few James Bond movies over the years, although not any of the Casino Royale films. I recall a trailer for the one with Daniel Craig as 007, which forewarned of certain unpleasantness that our poor James was to suffer in this story. Without that image in my mind, I'm not sure how well that scene would have worked just from the reading. But then, I'm not a man, either. So your mileage may vary on that score.


Although this book was first published in 1953, it doesn't feel dated. Technology has advanced significantly, of course, but the feel of the story is quite contemporary. In this first of the 007 books, Bond's character hasn't been developed extensively. What little is revealed shows a deeply conflicted man. I wouldn't say that he likes himself and he tries hard not to think beyond what his job requires in the moment or his sensual pleasures after business is concluded. He is a clever spy and good at what he does, but, in this installment, he is merely human and hasn't acquired the trappings or expectations of a super spy. When he is afraid, he sweats fear all over the pages. I don't know whether the super spy thing is only a feature of the films or if later books turn him into something more elevated. 


I look forward to reading the next 007 adventure to see how James Bond develops. I hope that he doesn't become the suave super spy of the movies. This was an enjoyable book and, I think, well written. Not what I expected and the experience was the better for it.

John Saturnall's Feast - Lawrence Norfolk A foodie book, seventeenth century style. A fair amount of research went into this book. I'd always wondered about the more minute details of how a kitchen in a manor house or castle operated back in the day. This book goes into exquisite detail with the rather sophisticated menus, food prep, presentation...the sights, smells, ordered chaos...and oh my mouth watered. And then there were the characters and the story. I loved John. Wonderful character.

This book also earns a place on my permanent shelves because of the book's physical beauty. Lovely cover, typography and the illustrations. Oh the illustrations.

Read and savor this book with all your senses.

Lost Light (Harry Bosch)

Lost Light - Michael Connelly I surely didn't see that ending coming. Whew. Connelly keeps getting better and better.

Lolita, 50th Anniversary Edition

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov This book knocked my socks off, but I have to give some thought as to why. The story is tragic from beginning to end. And the ending is too ironic for...well...words. It's about a subject that makes one queasy. Yet, this book is such a celebration of language...languages...that I'm not sure how anyone who appreciates language can hate it despite the gritty subject matter. The book's structure is also incredibly crafted.

Nabokov, as has been said many times, was a genius. He was fluent in Russian, French, and English. English was not his native language. The book feels European to me, but the fluency of his English is astonishing. Far more sophisticated than most of his literary contemporaries. He obviously loved language and loved playing with it.

The multi-layered use of English...mixed with French -- Puns and word play and such sometimes made me forget I was reading about a hideous crime and made me burst out laughing. The child cried herself to sleep after being repeatedly raped. Yet, I laughed at some of the self-deprecating humor that Humbert Humbert used until I remembered that I was laughing at and with a man who was loathsome. Yet...he was still human and clearly loved Lolita. Or thought he did. Obsession not necessarily being love. Very unsettling to read and to become carried away with the words only to be brought up short...H.H. destroyed a child's life. She looked worn and had "lost her looks" by the age of seventeen.

I can only say, this is a masterpiece. And when I read it the next time, I want to read an annotated version. I missed much of the word play going on between the English and the French. There's so much more going on here. I've only touched the most obvious points.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1)

Angelfall  - Susan Ee
I look forward to the second book to see what explanation turns up for the last 25 pages in this book. Interesting and quite dark. And I just know there's something going on with good ole Mom that doesn't quite meet the eye. She's going to be a surprise, somewhere along the line. Betcha.

I'm not a wild fan of book series in which the individual books are not complete within themselves. Each book should carry the story forward, but I really dislike the cliffhanger thing. Although, technically, there wasn't a cliffhanger in this book, the ending was abrupt and the answers to the obviously dangling questions are anybody's guess. Oh well.

The Blind Assassin: A Novel

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood Luminous writing that is all the more so compared against the bleakness of the story. This is a story within a story within a story....and maybe more stories within more stories. So multi-layered that I'll be unpacking them for a long while. This is about women. Two sisters. This is about being a woman at various points during the 20th century. And how some things do not change. And how being suppressed and repressed by one's society takes a toll on the woman until the day she dies. It's about hope. It's about loss. It's about the different kinds of love and the different ways we show love. Or don't show love. It's about damaged people. It's about so many things, yet so delicately woven into so many layers of story that the threads are almost invisible. Such a gorgeous book.
The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje A simply beautiful book.