Thursday, December 31, 2009

Going Rogue

By: Sarah Palin 5/5

There has been much controversy about one woman in America, there hasn’t been so much written about a family since the royal family. So what is all the craze about?

A mother of 5, from a middle class family in small town America, made the good old boys in DC shake in their boots by living the American dream and showing what America is about. Sarah Palin born in Alaska, lived a moderate conservative lifestyle with no extravagances, she lived the dream that if you want something and you work hard for it, you can make anything possible. As a concerned citizen of Wasilla, she found herself in local politics where she served proudly while still being the fantastic and caring mother she is. Politics, as it turns out, worked for her, and she was elected governor of the biggest state in the Union with the largest profitable industry in natural resources. With very little support and even less money, her political tactics of sticking to the point and talking in common sense terms worked for Alaska’s people and they chose her. She vowed to change the “normal” politics of corruption in Juneau and she did.

The book takes the reader on a tour of the past decade in the life of the Palins. Challenges faced her everyday; as a woman; as a mother; as a fiscal conservative; as an ethical politician. These characteristics and a fantastic smile, wit and charm, and her political background of getting things done, led her to the Republican National Convention nominee for VP on the McCain ballot. No one would could have foreseen the role of the Democratic party and the media played in trying to destroy someone’s morals. It seemed from the very beginning, despite the jump in poles with the new VP nominee, that the RNC wasn’t there to help and were afraid of going against the regular way of doing things; getting to the point. The national media tried to destroy all of the Palin’s and the Heath’s character. No other candidate, Republican or Democrat, had their family placed in the national spotlight the way they were. How can a family with strong ethics and morals and good American values combat a louder in your face group of people: the MEDIA? In the end, the RNC blames Sarah Palin as having gone Roque, and the reason for loosing the election. Facts were never part of the deal, and in the 21st century TV plays a large role in people’s lives.

In the end, the Ms. Palin couldn’t fight the battle of the media and choose her family over them. As strong candidate that loves her state and a mother, she chose to do what is right; step down from the governor’s seat and let those good old boys try it again. Does this mean the media won? NO. She fought back, to clear her name, her families’ name, those that worked hard in the administration and that fought for what is right, in a tell all book, “Going Rogue”. I don’t believe this is the last that we will see from Ms. Palin, and we shall see her fighting for the 3 issues she is most affiliated with: natural resources, special needs, and women’s issues.

Go Girl!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


By: Chuck Palahniuk 3/5

The writer of “The Fight Club” and “Lullaby” has done it again! Chuck Palahniuk makes me shiver when I think of the graphic words he uses to describe his bizarre thoughts, and feelings that go into writing a book.

Diary is the story of Misty Wilmot the young artist that finds herself in a Catch-22 situation where she must paint for her life. In her college years she envisions and paints the houses that are so realistic. Later she meets a strange boy, that knows and has seen these houses, on his island. The life story, of girl meets boy, marry and move to the fairy tale island changes are her husband, now in a coma, is taking from beyond. He was always bizarre man whose job was to remodel people’s homes. Misty now faces angry customers of the remodeled homes, as her lunatic husband has hid rooms in these peoples houses. He leaves encrypted messages written on the walls of these hidden rooms, that Misty is bound to see. Misty is in the midst of an array of interesting characters, like her mother in law Grace Wilmot, her daughter, Tabbi, and a self proclaimed writing expert Angel Delaporte.

The story is strange and takes you on lots of twists and turns. As one who can always guess what happens next, Mr. Palahniuk has had me beat, I could not have seen that ending happening. The story has an interesting plot, twists, turns and in true Palahniuk style, a truly strange feeling. The book leaves you feeling grossed out, with in depth descriptions, and leaves you with hibbie jibbies running down your spine as the story of Peter Wilmont unfolds and we, the readers, find out more about the strange island Waytansea Island and the Waytansea Hotel. If you’re a reader who likes a little suspense and little bit of gore, this is the book for you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Lion Among Men
Gregory Maguire 4/5

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my favorite all time book, Wicked, has another two books in the series! I loved Wicked so very much, and was sadly disappointed by Son of a Witch, which is the 2nd book in the series!

A Lion Among Men follows Wicked in the same satire that Gregory Maguire is so well known for. It was interesting to follow on to the story after all the years that passed since the 2nd book was written, and to know what happened years after in the book itself as well. The book was written from the perspective of the Cowardly Lion, which is famous for his role in the “Wizard of Oz” movies. The Lion is on a search for the Grimmerie, the magical book of the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) and the bloodlines that followed after her death.

It was interesting story, captivating, and intertwined. It would have been easier to follow had I read this book one right after the other in a series. It wasn’t as fascinating or entertaining as Wicked. This might have to do with knowing and expecting this kind of a story. I do like the book, and overall the series is a great read. I wonder if Maguire will follow the story from the Scarecrow or even the Tin Man!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein 5/5

Yes, its true another dog book, but not at all like “Marley and Me” which is what I expected. This book is about life, love and friendship (of course it is, its about a dog’s life). I guess I had no idea what to expect and I was splendidly surprised. Of course like any book about an animal and my emotions rolled, and I cried. Here are two of my favorite passages.

“The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles-preferably of his own making-in order to triumph. A hero without a flaw is of no interest to an audience or to the universe, which, after all is based on conflict and opposition, the irresistible force meeting the unmovable object.”

“Inside each of us resides the truth, I began, the absolute truth. But sometimes the truth is hidden in a hall of mirrors. Sometimes we believe we are viewing the real thing, when in fact we are viewing a facsimile, a distortion.”

The story is written in the voice of the dog Enzo, of the life he shares with his humans Denny, Eve and Zoe their daughter.

There is a documentary on the belief of Mongolians, that dogs when they die they are reincarnated into the humans, and they are closer in fact to humans that monkeys which are dumb. What a waste of an opposable thumb.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Tender Bar
JR Moehringer 4.5/5

What can I say about “The Tender Bar”? Out of all the memoirs I read this was not my favorite, but it wasn’t bad either. Like many memoirs it’s the story of getting over the hump, over coming hardships; poverty, single parent households; education; etc. What I also enjoyed about the book (which is why it got a higher rating) was the idea of male presence and what effect it had on the author. Obviously the author felt so connected and obliged in a way to write this book about this bar. The title fits the book so well, a bar that has all the characteristics of being caring, kind and tender.

Like with any memoir, I think everyone can partially relate to the book one way or another. So “The Tender Bar” like others, there were many times you feel like the author is writing about your life. I certainly felt it when he discussed the hardships of school, love, money and more.This was a fast read, and it would have been faster had I had the time to actually read it.

The writing is easy and flowing, and the thoughts are well organized. It is easy to get caught up in the emotions the author is portraying. I recommend this even on a high school level. I don’t know much about the background of the author, but maybe that would be even more interesting to read! Great book! I will recommend it to others.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
By: Dai Sijie 4.8/5

Set in the 1970s of communist China, two young adult boys, 18 and 19, are sent to a small remote village to be “re-educated”. The Re-education is a passed law by the communist regime. The re-education through labor system has been in place since 1957 and was subjected to minor reforms by the Chinese government in 2007. This books takes you on a travel through the process of the educated people of China, to learn the basics of camaraderie in hard manual labor. It is only fit that the two sons, best friends, of doctors would be sent to carry excrement up a mountain. During the communist era in China, like in many other places, religion, books, art, music, and any culture, were banned, as this was a form of individual thought.

While exiled, with no hope of ever returning home, they learn the hard life of manual labor. The musician and the story teller are re-educated in their own way understanding the meaning of friendship, love and the hardships of life. They learn of a secret of a pile of books, that are forbidden and it entices the boys to steal them. In the meantime the boys befriend a lovely teenage girl, the seamstress, where with his story telling charms, Luo charms her. Thus begins the process of re-education for the little seamstress, an unconditional love of Balzac.

The story is a great historical fiction, incredibly fast read. It teaches you a lot, and can really take you back of communist China. Not different than the communist life I lived. Granted Romanian communism was the renaissance of communism. So while families weren’t re educated there was the idea of no intellectualism, and everyone on the same plane! OF course the most uneducated was the dictator and his wife. The ending wasn’t what I expected but it does take the surprising turn which I love. I always wonder had I read Balzac if the book would have taken any different or secret meanings!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

By Chuck Palahniuk 4.4/5

Having never read “The Fight Club” and only experiencing Chuck Palahniuk through a movie, I didn’t know what to expect of this book.  The books is fast going, and explores the possibility of ultimate power. What can ultimate power do to different personalities and how it will affect them.  In the case of Helen Hoover Boyle, a strong minded, strong willed woman, the power over took her not wanting to share it. In the case of Carl, the journalist, he ultimately feels guilty about the control he has over people.
The book is an adventure of trusting people, what can change and damage that trust. Do actions really speak louder than words? What would I do with that ultimate power? The book is about a “culling spell” that leads people to extreme relaxation and then death. It explores how holding someone’s life in your hands affects you, and what if everyone had that power? It is a great book, I wasn’t disappointed and would like to read more from this author.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An additional image to the Book!

The Woman in White
By Wilkie Collins 4.5/5 1.

‘This the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.’ (p 3)  I love this line! I think that can show of the patience of any woman in the book, from Laura and Marian, to Mrs. Clements, Eleanor, Mrs. Catherick, etc. They each had dealt with their own struggles of life, and accepted what was given upon them. In the end I think that patience eventually does pay off and the women win. Laura was given her life back, Marian was happy the Count was put in his place, Mrs. Clements got her closure on Anne, Eleanor got rid of her conniving husband, and Mrs. Catherick got payment with Percival. The Man’s resolution is fast and acting, but it does persevere if put under the right circumstances.

 The Heroine of the novel can only be Marian, as I found Laura a little too girlie and too “woe-is-me”. I felt like she wasn’t a really strong character and had no back bone. How can someone that has not followed on any actions be considered a heroine? Laura was the damsal in distress saved by Walter and by Marian. She would still have been in the asylum had it not been for Marian’s wits. If there is a true hero it is Marian for selflessly loving her sister.

Sir Percival seems too stupid to know what to have done. He is the puppet of Count Fosco. Fosco is the brains behind the operation of what happened. While he did not intentionally kill Anne Catherick, he was smart enough to proceed with getting the money from Lady Glyde. That is why without a doubt Fosco is the villain of the story. I can not account for the strange behavior of Mr. Fairlie, but if looking at Laura and her character that we are safe to say that the Fairlie family is week of mind.

Now in regards to critics calling Laura, Marian and Walter being called a ménage a troi, I can only say that the arrange is very strange. Obviously at first Walter thought she was good looking, and Fosco apparently adored her. I don’t understand how Marian gave up her entire life for Laura. That is very strange in deed. My suspicion lies in the fact that Marian loves and adores Walter, and maybe that is why she sent him away the first time, a little woman jealousy of her sister. Now living together, how can she leave?!?! It is strange and bizarre and a free nanny to JR.

 The fact that the story is told in many different view points, is a great way to play into the novel, because it gives you thoughts, feelings, and emotions through different peoples eyes. At one point you can even assume Fosco is innocent due to Mrs. Michelson’s testimony of what she saw. IN the end who is to say that what Fosco confessed to was 100% correct. The general impression of the books is that it is a great Victorian Romance/Mystery and would not have assumed that was what the book was about going into reading it. Great book and a must read!

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Belong to Me"
By Maris de los Santos

Belong to Me can mean so much in so many different ways. As the sequel to “Love Walked In” I didn’t know what to expect, especially after having rated Santos’ first book a 3/5. I enjoyed this book a little more. Like in her style, Santos develops her characters thoroughly. The story follows Cornelia’s storyline, having married Teo and moving from the city into the suburbs. There are a lot of new characters the reader meets and gets the backlog of their personal stories; Piper the suburb housewife; Lake the desperate single mother; Dev her desperately intelligent son; and a variety of other characters. As the reader you wonder why so much on each character, and the descriptions are sometimes unnecessary. That is what makes the book so long. IN the end the stories of the characters do mix, there is a clear reasoning for their actions on the most part.

Maris de los Santos isn’t going to be the next Bronte, but her stories are daily lovable family stories, that anyone can relate to. These are stories of life and life’s curveballs, and the pressures of handling it all. The title “Belong to Me” is perfect for the book, as you can see the theme recurring. Would I recommend this book? Yes, if you wanted an easy feel good book, though I think there are better written books out there. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

“Simon’s Cat”
By Simon Tofield

WOW! I don’t even know where to start. First, this book came to me by mail and I forgot that I promised to review the book, so I was confused where the book came from. The book arrived on a gloomy Saturday morning that I wasn’t feeling to well. This is the best surprise ever!

Simon’s Cat isn’t per say a “word” book, and maybe some knew that and knew what to expect. I opened it up standing in the kitchen and didn’t stop laughing until I finished the book in 15 minutes. Simon’s Cat is a cartoon book of what else, Simon’s Cat, who has one very big Catanality. Like all cats, he wants to be fed all the time, is somehow under your feet all the time, and no matter what is forever getting into trouble. A little reminiscent of Garfield, but way better, as Simon’s cat feels more like your own. Some of my favorite moments, which any cat owner can relate to, are when your cat comes and cuddles and purrs, and as soon as you want to kiss him/her they shy away as if your killing them; or sleeping in the sink which always happens; and taking over 95% of the bed when you are sleeping, leaving you with no covers.

I highly recommend this to everyone of all ages. This is a great gift to people, this is a great table book, and anyone who has ever owned a cat can relate. I have never laughed so hard. I did reread the entire thing again, and I still laughed just as hard. I hope Simon Tofield keeps it up!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


“Love Walked In”
by Marisa De Los Santos

You would assume from the title that it is a story of hopeless and deeply of love, and in a way it is. There are of course different types of love other than that one true soul mate and this books explores the love between friends, mothers, and lovers.
Clare the 11 year old that has everything for her, looses her mother, as her mother drops her off at the side of the road. Her mother who goes crazy leads Clare to her estranged father and into his life. Martin, having not taken part in raising her dumps her with his girlfriend, Cornelia. Due to life’s circumstances, and expectionality of Clare, Cornelia falls in love with her and desires more than anything to help this lost child whose mother is wacked out and no where to be found. The books explores how new loves, old loves and different loves fit into your life.
I found the book strange, from the perspective of Cornelia who sites movies I have never heard of and compares her life to those of movies, to Clare who loves these new people in her life more than her estranged father. It was hard to follow the character’s thoughts and feelings, as it seems strange that after everything Clare doesn’t discuss her father, falls in love with Cornelia’s “true love”.
Eventually, the wacked out mom comes back, wants Clare, Clare is afraid of her and the mother and daughter move in with Cornelia in her new house she inherited from another wacked out lady. 
Having dealt with crazies, life is not like this at all. And sometimes for a child to forgive a crazy mother doesn’t happen! That is why this book didn’t get much approval other that that it was a quick read, and not even always!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Rescue
By Nicolas Sparks

Denise is the typical single mom with a son, Kyle, that has a speech problem. Like all lonely heroines of Nicolas Sparks’ books, she is ultimately rescued in love. She has no family to speak of and her entire life revolves around her son with whom she spends ever waking moment with. This of course leads to the problem of when is there time for love? Love of course ultimately finds her in the form of Taylor, the handsome tall fearlessly brave fireman. The plot is the secrets of Taylor’s life that hold him back from falling in love with the heroine, Denise.

I picked up this book for that reason, light and fluffy, not much thinking required. There really was no significant plot, nothing to keep you interested other than seeing if ultimately the characters fall in love and make babies. In true Nicolas Sparks fashion, his book falls down to not his greatest, to long for the story line. I was skipping words and the story still flowed, if that’s how you want to call it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
By John Perkins

The amazing brazen story of Mr. John Perkins who was recruited by the CIA and a company called MAIN to do economic forecasting.
John was young, didn’t like school, had no real interest in anything which landed him the job of a lifetime. The CIA used his character traits to create a confident, suave and intelligent economic mastermind. As a former Peace Corps member he was fluent in Spanish and comfortable with “rural” living.
After a large salary and economic lessons, he learned his true job. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a diary of John Perkins life, his travels, his dealings and his part in world affairs. The book he wrote almost didn’t make it till April 18th, 2003, that made him realize the heaviness and hardships he has carried with him. His journey exposes influencial corporate partners and the government’s role in the corporate deals. The heavy hand that rules the global world is exposed.
When reading this book, you are shocked and awed. It is harsh to read, and hard to believe. His journey starts in the early 70s and ends with today’s global issues. As a younger American, I can not share feelings of politics previous to the Clinton era. These are the stories you don’t read in the your history books. It was an eye opener. I don’t want to believe that these confessions are all 100% true, because if that is the case that would be a truly sad world. How much has John been tainted by his role as an EHM to feel angry and want to stir feelings of anger. With that said, readers should take care to listen to how they feel, do their own research in such important matters.
It is said that he almost didn’t write the book because the 3 times before he tried to write it, the corporations that had much to loose put threats on his life. What has stopped them?
The knowledge that if he was “rubbed out” that his book would ring more true? So everything written should be taken with a grain of salt, and we as Americans should find it out duty to do the research on the clearly biased media!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Reader

The Reader (5/5)

This is a very unexpected book, not having had the premise of the book previously. The story of Michael and
Hanna, two people that are very unlikely to meet, never mind have their lives intertwined for years to come. The story starts off on a slow pace, learning the characters and where they come from. The books take a turn for the unexpected, with the real story of Hanna during the post WWII war trials. The author makes you think about the what if, and you never really enter the character's mind. "Whose story is it?" some might ask, Hanna's story to tell of her trials as an illiterate whose circumstances took her to the concentration camps. Or is it Micheal's story, a heart broken kid that fell in love with wrong person.

The book, is a historical fiction that can make you hate or sympathize with the characters, a different way to look onto the ideas of a what a person can do with the circumstances presented to them.

A must read!

Getting with It!

Alright, I have joined the cool kids, and am officially a blogger. Bare with me as I work through this blogging thing. I will eventually figure it out, and discuss well everything on here!