Monday, January 28, 2008


P. J. Parrish
Genre: Mystery
Published: 2007
Personal Rating: 4/5

P. J. Parrish is actually a sister team and this is the first in their new series starring Joette (Joe) Frye, who was plucked from their Louis Kincaid series. One sister is more adept at "character development" while the other's strength is the "gory stuff", so they make quite a pair . . . and it works!

In A Thousand Bones, Joe (note: pet peeve of mine - naming characters with cross gender names) who is currently on the Miami Police Department's Homicide Division shares with her lover, Louis (too close to Louise for my liking) Kincaid, about her past harrowing experience of being a rookie cop in Echo Bay, Michigan. Almost the entire book is told in flashback, which gives the reader a great understanding of Joe and how she dealt with chasing down a killer.

Ultimately, Joe's experience happened to be one of terror. The word choice and sentence structure contributed to a very fluent flow with no lulls in the story. I didn't find it to be a page-turner, yet I was always interested. I look forward to following this series.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

THIRTEEN Reasons Why

Jay Asher
Genre: YA Fiction
Published: 2007
Personal Rating: 4/5

This was, without a doubt, a page-turning debut novel and an extremely creative and deep endeavor by Jay Asher. While the storyline of suicide is heart-wrenching, Asher delivers it in a way to help teens (and adults alike) to understand the process and influence we all have in contaminating or contributing to someone else's well-being.

The story of Hannah Baker personifies my thoughts on the header of my blog "Thoughts of Joy...": "Words can and do change lives." It also depicts how our actions or lack thereof affect others and ourselves. It's quite a powerful, enticing book, leaving me with much to mull over. I most enjoyed Asher's creativity and plot, which encourages me to watch for this author's name in the future.

No Second Chance by Harlan Coben

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 420
Rating: 4/5
Read: Jan. 2-3, 2008
Challenge: Numbers Challenge; Celebrating the Author Challenge

First Line: When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought of my daughter.

Dr. Marc Seidman wakes up in the hospital to find that twelve days earlier his wife, Monica, was shot dead in their home, and their daughter, Tara, is missing. When the ransom note arrives, Marc's hopes go through the roof. But when the drop goes bad, everything around him spirals out of control. Eighteen months later, another ransom note is delivered. Instead of contacting the police and doing the "right" thing, Marc takes matters into his own hands. With the assistance of his ex-girlfriend, they chase down the clues to Tara's disappearance, only to realize that there's more to the story than meets the eye.

*~* This story was well plotted and fast paced. I was sucked in with the first sentence and could barely wait to figure out if Tara was still alive. The revelations at the end are shocking, to say the least. The ending came out of left field to me. This was only the second Coben book that I have read (the first I read years ago) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Update on my progress

I have read several books for this challenge since my last posting.

Three Dirty Women and the Garden of Death by Julie Wray Herman 01/07/2008 3/5 This is a very good mystery. When one of the members of the Three Dirty Women is suspected of murdering her soon to be ex husband the rest of the women go diging to find out who really did do it. I will for sure read more of this series.

The Second Time Around by Marry Higgins Clark 01/10/08 3/5 Typical Clark book. I have read several of her books and am never disappointed.

The Fourth Perimeter by Tim Green 01/14/08 3.5/5 Another good book by this author. I really like his writing style. Keep me wondering what was going to happen next.

I am now reading Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton. I will more then likely finish it later this evening. Not a very big book but still well written. It is keeping me turning the pages to find out who did it.This will make five books that I have read for this challenge when I am finished. One more to go and I will have my first ever challenge completed.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Second Glance by Jodi Picoult---Gautami's first read

Title: Second Glance
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Books/2003
Pages: 506
Genre: Fiction

Second Glance was a book beyond my imagination. It took me into an entirely different world. Jodi Picoult makes such a world possible with her words.

Ross Wakeman has a death wish since Aimee, his fiancée died. He tries to kill himself in every way conceivable but always comes back alive. He tries desperately to connect with Aimee in some way thus becoming a ghost hunter. Strange things start to happen in tiny Comtosook, Vermont as a developer wants to build a strip mall in an ancient Abenaki Indian burial ground. The inhabitants talk of supernatural forces at work and Ross tries to explain the paranormal phenomena and meets Lia, who reawakens love in him. When he tries to follow his heart, next thing he sees is beyond anything he can comprehend.

To read more, visit here...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

(I think we're supposed to cross-post reviews. If not, Callista, let me know and I'll just replace the post with a link!) (Cross-posted, with changes, at my blog.)

I finished Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne on January 2nd. It's my first completed book of 2008, and it's also my first pick for the Numbers Challenge. This post ended up too long, even without a plot synopsis, so if you want to know the story's bare bones, Wikipedia tells it quite well (though if you read the last paragraph, it tells the ending).

I've never read Jules Verne before, but of course I've heard of him. And, while I am about to comment on his writing style, I'd like to point out that apparently the B&N edition uses an older translation that cuts out 23% of the original French text. Of course, if I had known that, I'd have gone with a different translation. So I was actually quite curious about how the original French sounded, since the English I read was, in a word, uninspired. And this being the day of the internet, I found the French version and read chapter ten of part one (when the reader, and narrator, meets Captain Nemo). It corresponded quite closely with the English, in that the construction was simple and the vocabulary straight-forward. How straight-forward? Well, with two years of college French, I was able to read the whole chapter, and the few words I didn't already know were easily discovered through context. While this might be great news for a French lit student (oh why did my professor make us slave away with Apollinaire?), the style combined with the endless cataloguing of sea life makes the book feel like an enthusiastic schoolboy's daydream. That's not necessarily a bad thing-it's quite fun to get swept along with Verne's equal fascination for technology and oceans-but it did prevent me from giving it more than just three stars.

Because it's not just the style that's schoolboyish. Of the four main characters, three of them-Pierre Aronnax (a French scientist), Conseil (his faithful-one might be tempted to say dog like-servant), and Ned Land(the red-blooded Candian harpooner) feel like charactertures. In fact, throughout the entire novel, I couldn't find one instance of character development; everyone behaved in the exact same manner all the time. The only intriguing person in the book is Captain Nemo for, while his behavior in the present never changes, there are hints at a dark past (after all, what could have compelled him to renounce humanity and live in a submarine?). Unfortunately, those hints are all too rare. It's possible to excuse this, in fact to find a certain brilliance it in, since Pierre is the first-person narrator. He tells the story through his journal and, as a rational scientist, it's easy to imagine that aboard the submarine he'd be much more focused on the nature and gadgets that surrounded him than any of the people. I haven't read any other Vernes, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and believe that he was staying perfectly true to his narrator. Also, there are moments when poetry, in the form of Captain Nemo's speeches, glimmer through:
"You like the sea, captain?"
"Yes, I love it! The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' as one of your poets has said. In fact, professor, Nature manifest herself in it by her three kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The sea is a vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knnows if it will not end with it? In it is supreme tranquility. The sea does not belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still exercise unjust laws, tear one another to pieces, and be carried away with terristrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its level, their reign ceases, their influence is quenched, and their power disappears. Ah! sir, live-live in the bosom of the waters! There only is independence! There I recognize no masters! There I am free!"

If this is the case, I can only wish that Venre had chosen a scientist narrator interested in psychology! Really, Pierre himself best sums up the fault in the book
...I have read it to Conseil and to the Canadian. They found it exact as to facts, but insufficient as to effect.
Despite my qualms about Verne's style and characters, I found the plot to be wonderfully inventitive and exciting; whether Captain Nemo was saving a diver from a shark or showing Pierre Atlantis, I was always curious about the next adventure!
While the fiction may be lacking a thing or two, the science is certainly up to snuff. Verne does a meticulous job of presenting the wonders of the deep sea to readers. Take Pierre's catalogue of fish, the first time the 'windows' of the submarine are revealed:
For two whole hours an aquatic army escorted the Nautilus. During their games, their bounds, while rivaling each other in beauty, brightness, and velocity, I distinguished the green labre; the banded mullet, marked by a double line of black; the round-tailed goby, of a white color, with violet spots on the back; the Japanese scombrus, a beautiful mackeral of these seas, with a blue body and silvery head; the brilliant azurors, whose name alone defies description; some banded spares, with variegated fins of blue and yellow; some aclostones, the woodcocks of the seas, some specimens of which attain a yard in length; Japanese salamanders, spider lampreys, serpents six feet long, with eyes small and lively, and a huge mouth bristling with teeth; with many other species.

These kinds of lists are one of the main feautures of the book, and I quite enjoyed them. Also, whatever energy Verne spared in character development must have been turned to making the technology believable. The Nautilus is a submarine, but also a self-contained environment that can get everything it needs from the ocean, except air (which it surfaces for rather like a mechanical whale). Through Captain Nemo, Verne (in my opinion a tad overzealously) justifies the possibility of such a craft. Here's a sample passage of the kind of information Captain Nemo shares:
"Professor," said Captain Nemo, "my electricity is not everybody's. You know what sea-water is compsed of. In a thousand grams are found ninety-six and a half percent of water, and about two and two-thirds percent of chloride of sodium; then, in a smaller quantity, chlorides of magnesium and of potassium, bromide of magnesium, sulphate of magnesia, sulphate and carbonate of lime. You see, then, that chloride of sodium forms a large part of it. So it is this sodium that I extract from sea-water, and of which I compose my own ingredients. I owe it all to the ocean; it produces electricity, and electricity gives heat, light, motion, and, in a word, life to the Nautilus."
How's that for technical? Passages like this are common as well.

In sum, I had a lot of fun exploring the ocean, found out many interesting facts (for instance, a fathom is six feet, and the Sargasso Sea terrified sailors due to its sluggishness and large amount of seaweed), and have a bit of a crush on Captain Nemo. I see him as a civilised, ocean-dwelling counterpart to Heathcliff (oh! if only I could read Captain Nemo's backstory as relayed by a Bronte), and I appreciated being able to spend time aboard his splendid, and scientifically rigourous, vessel. A fitting start to 2008.

Friday, January 4, 2008

First Book Finished

I finished reading the first book for this challenge. The First 48 by Tim Green. It was a very good book, very well written, I had trouble putting it down at night. This is the story of a father who will do anything to find his kidnapped daughter.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My List

I posted my list on my blog!

Click here to see it.

Good luck everyone!

Jackie's Five

Here are my 5 picks for the challenge. I don't have any alternates yet since I'm having trouble finding interesting books in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy genre. If anyone can recommend anything, from any genre, I'm all ears.
  1. Just One Bite by Kimberly Raye
  2. One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  3. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  4. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
  5. The Fairy Godmother (tales of the 500 kingdoms) by Mercedes Lackey Changed to: The Dark One by Ronda Thompson

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Information and Signup

*This is a Sticky Post. Scroll Down for newest Entries*

NOTE: This challenge end date has been extended to August 1, 2008.

The challenge is to read 5 books whose titles have a number in them from Jan 1, 2008 to August 1, 2008 This includes written numbers like "one" or "forty." UPDATE: Numbers like 10th or First are fine too.

Need some help picking? See the sidebar.

You can choose up to three that are on lists for other challenges. So two of the choices must not be on any list. You can re-read books but all books must NOT be read until January 1, 2008.

Want to Join?
Comment on THIS post to join. If you want to add your list and/or review your books on this blog, put your email in the comments like this: myname AT yourprovider DOT com and your blog url.
If you just want to post the list/reviews on your blog then just add your blog url.

UPDATE: If you don't want to be a member of this blog but wouldn't mind your review being cross-posted to this blog, email me your review and a link to your blog and i'll post it.

I know there are a lot of great challenges going on starting Jan but remember, they are all just for fun, if you don't finish, you don't finish, no big deal!

Again I hope to have a prize but don't have one yet. However it will for sure be a book with a number in the title.