Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sometimes Friends You Meet Seem so Familiar?!!

The Oracle of Stamboulthe Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

Description:  Late in the summer of 1877, a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, and Eleonora Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives who arrive just minutes before her birth. "They had read the signs, they said: a sea of horses, a conference of birds, the North Star in alignment with the moon. It was a prophecy that their last king had given on his deathwatch." But joy is mixed with tragedy, for Eleonora's mother dies soon after the birth.

I entered a drawing on Goodreads, and was sent this book from the publisher for a review. 

Let me say that I LOVED this book!!  One of the reasons that I loved it was because the way that it was written was so James Micheneresque (James Michener is one of my favorite authors)!  This book is also historical fiction.

I loved Eleonora Cohen, the 8 year old that this story is about.  She is so sweet and managed to stay true to herself even when her world fell apart around her.  I was so glad that Eleonora's father loved her so much, and then when her father died, I was grateful that Moncef Bey took her in and took great care of her.

I loved all the intrigue of the story.  How good of a spy was the Reverend James Muehler?  Was the Grand Vizier a good guy or a bad guy? 

I especially love how I was transported to a different place and time.  I could smell all the smells that Eleonora did, see the sights, hear the sounds.

I always know that a book is good when it comes to an end, and I don't want it to end.  This is a book that left me wanting more.  What happened to Eleonora?  Where did she end up?  What did the future hold for her?

This is the first book written by Michael Davis Lukas.  He did a good job.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Long Weekend = A few Book Reviews!!

I had a very productive weekend!  Not only did I get a lot done around the house, spend time with my fam, but I also read a few books that I want to share with you!  A couple were books that I loaded on my Nook (they were not free), and one was an actual fleshy book.

The Mind Readers

Ok, the first one was the book called "The Mind Readers" by Lori Brighton.  This is the description:

Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows that Cameron can read minds. When Lewis Douglas arrives, he tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a place where she meets other Mind Readers. But when the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs.

I liked the premise of this book.  What would it be like to be able to read peoples minds?  For some people, it would be easy to keep this superpower secret.  It wasn't that easy for Cameron.  She and her grandmother had to move every time Cameron got involved in a situation where she made her mind reading abilities public.

I had a hard time getting emotionally involved with any of the characters.  There was little known about Cameron's mother, just that she was a drug addict that left Cameron with her grandmother.  Her father had been out of the picture for a long time, maybe killed?  There were also a lot of characters introduced, and I was really wishing that I could feel something for them, but they all fell flat.

I also had a hard time with the fact that even though Cameron had reservations about leaving with Lewis, she still did, because he was hot.  So many times she went against her gut feeling.  Get a backbone, girl!

I might read the next one, just because I want to see what happens with Lewis, Maddox, and the twist that Maddox brought at the end of the story.

** This book had a little more swearing than I like to read, and some innuendo, and make-out scenes.
The Kind of Friends We Used To Be

Next book I want to tell you about is "The Kind of Friends We Used to Be" by Frances O'Roark Dowell.

Kate and Marylin are smack dab in the middle of middle school-seventh grade-and lately being stuck in the middle is starting to feel like a regular theme in both of their lives. They know that they can never be best friends like they used to be, not after Marylin became the kind of person who cares too much about hair (a.k.a. a middle school cheerleader). But, what if they still kind of want to be friends . . . and what if that's much harder than they ever imagined?

This is a book that my 12 year old daughter brought home from school.  I had it read in a couple of hours.  This was a cute read, and a lot of fun, because this is the stage that my daughter is going through right now.  These 2 girls, Kate and Marylin, have been friends since a young age, and they are now thrust into that big, bad world of middle school.  I enjoyed watching them start to learn about themselves as they were put in different situations, met new friends, and realize that people really didn't have to fit in the molds that they thought they should in order for us to like them.  Lessons we all can learn each day!

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, #1)

The last book I read (which was also my favorite of the weekend) was "Fools Rush In"  by Janice Thompson.  This was also bought for my Nook.

Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding-planning business, Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

I loved this book for so many reasons!!  I loved the dynamics of this fun, boisterous, Italian family!  A parrot that went from talking like a sailor to talking like a saint?  A broom wielding aunt chasing neighbor kids down the street?  Not to mention the soft spot I've always had for cowboys...  I laughed out loud in so many places in this story! 

If you want a light, fun read, this book is for you!  I did read in a review where the person was offended because she wasn't warned that this book had talk about religion in it.  So, I am "warning" you (haha) that there is some general religious talk in this book (a few different religions), and faith is a big part of Bella and D.J.'s backgrounds.

Now, what are you waiting for???  Go READ!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Giving it a Whirl!!

Ok, my first book review.  Had a house full of sickies over the weekend, so I got some good reading done!

This first book is an e-book that I downloaded onto my Nook.  It was one of Barnes & Noble's Free Friday selections.  (So far the free ones have been pretty good!)

Stuck in the Middle (Sister to Sister, #1)

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith.  This is taken from the first few paragraphs:

Brrring. Brrring.

From the desk behind the sales counter in the reat of the showroom, Joan Sanderson scanned the empty store.  Fluorescent ceiling lights cast a harsh glow that reflected off the polished wooden surfaces of the furniture artfully arranged for display.  Where was...  oh yes, Rosa would be a couple of hours late this morning, after her daughter's doctor appointment.  She reached for the phone and punched the button for the first line.  "Good morning, Abernathy Sales and Rental!"

"I'm going to kill her."

Joan closed her eyes.  Patience.  I need patience.  "Hi, Mom.  What has Gram done?"

"She alphabetized my underwear drawer."

So starts this light, cute romance!  Joan is in the middle of 3 girls.  She feels like an outsider through most of the story.  Both of her sisters are small, blond, and very outspoken and outgoing.  Total opposites from Joan.  A great story of family bonds, conflicts, and resolutions.  Some great things happen when a handsome, single doctor moves into the house next door.  Be ready for some surprising revelations, and have a fun journey with Joan as she discovers her worth and her faith.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Adventure

I love to read. Always have. When I was young, we had to drive across the city to go to the nearest library. My mom would get upset at me because I would have read almost a whole book by the time we got home. As I got older, I would hide books under piles of clean clothes that I was supposed to be folding, or under my pillow so I could read at night.

The only time that I did not enjoy reading, was in College. I was taking my freshman English class, and we were required to read The Red Badge of Courage. I had never read the book before and was looking forward to it. I got almost halfway through it, and the teacher informed us that we needed to write a paper on it. This was not a normal "book report". We had to analyze the book, find all the colors that were in the book, and report on the significance of the colors that the author had used. Yeah. Isn't reading supposed to be for enjoyment? for escape? That's what I had always thought. Tearing apart this book (not literally...) was not enjoyable for me. It took a while for me to pick up another book.

Now, I am back to reading for enjoyment and escape. I love just about all types of books, but lately have been leaning more to the YA genre. My favorite authors, you ask? James Michener (not light reads, but so descriptive and informative), Sue Grafton (LOVE her ABC series, gotta love Kinsey Milhone), Tolkien, Louis L'Amour, Stephenie Meyer (The Host is one of my all-time favorite books), Love the Hunger Games trilogy too.

I've been trying to instill my love of reading into my children. Some have caught on, some have not. I enjoy reading the books that they are reading and enjoying. I have always told my kids that "books are our friends", and they need to treat them nicely. Now, I want to introduce you to some of my "friends", some new and some old. Hopefully, you will love them and enjoy them as much as I do!!