Monthly Archives: January 2013

Book Review : The Sculptress

I have recently become much addicted to the ID channel and have had to do an intervention on myself. I love crime and mysteries. How can you resist a channel with show titles like “Happily Never After” or “Who the bleep did I marry? (actual title)” or “Very Bad Men” ? If you haven’t watched this channel – don’t start! You will find yourself watching hours and hours of shows, then inevitably coming to the conclusion that you should NEVER get married (the husband or wife ALWAYS does it) or that your spouse is probably plotting something….just kidding.

So, you know around Halloween everybody and their mother came out with lists of horror books, gory books, and other creepy crawly type mystery, paranormal books. This gem happened to get on my to read list and I am so glad I went ahead and read it! I loved it and if you are into mystery/crime/psychological thrillers you would definitely like this one.

Title : The Sculptress

Author: Minette WaltersThe Sculptress

Stand Alone or Series : Stand Alone

Red Flags : extreme violence and gory details, bad language, sexual situations (NSFC)

Three Words : crime novel, mystery, psychologically intense

Summary : Rosalind Leigh is a journalist who is a little down on her luck. Her publisher is pushing her to start some new work. However, Roz is not interested in anything. Then she is told to go prison and do an interview with Olive Martin, the famous Sculptress. Everyone knows about Olive Martin and her horrific crimes five years ago. Olive murdered her sister and mother in their family kitchen, carving up the parts and positioning them again….giving her the moniker. Olive was found in the kitchen itself cradling some of the parts. Olive has always maintained her guilt, but something that in her manner convinces Roz that something is wrong and that Olive could possibly be innocent. When Roz seeks out Hal Hawksley, the arresting officer, things start to get very interesting. She delves deeper into the mystery and the dark secrets hidden in the Martin case. Is Olive innocent? Who is the real murderer?

Review : I loved this book! Roz was an interesting and multi-faceted person who had her own issues going on. The romance between Hal and Roz was at times funny, at times painful, but also added another dimension to the book. The murder mystery was also really interesting, there are plenty of twists and turns but none of them crazy unbelievable. It all fits in. The best part of this novel is Olive Martin. At times repellent, at times sympathetic, she is a complex character. She is morbidly obese but highly intelligent. She has built up walls around her to protect her and her secrets. The whole time you are questioning all the things you know about her, as they are completely shaded through how other people experience her. You can’t entirely trust what the book is telling you. I’m not sure I’m doing enough justice to this book. If you like mysteries than I would highly recommend this one. I give this one nine shoes … I loved it and can’t wait to read more by the awesome Minette Walters.

Anybody else read this one out there?? What did you think?

Trina

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Filed under book review, Mystery, nine shoes, The Sculptress, Walters; Minette

Book Review : The Diviners

Title : The Diviners

Author : Libba Bray

Stand Alone or Series : 1st in the Diviners Series

Three Words : occult, historical fiction, different perspectives

Summary : This book is dense with characters so it might be hard to keep track. The “main” characters could be considered Evie. So Evie O’Neill is this totally swinging flapper girl who is being completely bored in her small hometown. She drinks, smokes and in general fools around. But Evie also has a secret ability to know what a person’s deepest, darkest secret is just by holding one of their objects. When she reveals a little too much about one of the town scions, she is carted off to New York to live with her Uncle Will who is the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (or as she calls it the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies).

Then there is Memphis Campbell, a numbers hustler, who used to have the ability to heal people but couldn’t save his mother. Now he just has creepy prophetic dreams…

Next, we’ve got Sam Lloyd. A con man who hits on Evie. He follows her to the Museum but he has a secret ability of his own.

Then there is Jericho who works for Uncle Will at the museum. He is a giant and somewhat dull and dry. He’s got a secret past though, as well as some strange medicinal issues.

Or there is Theta Knight, real-life Ziegfeld girl. She is running from a bad marriage (and even worse circumstances of her leaving). Although she likes the money, she doesn’t love her life. One night she meets Memphis and he changes her life forever.

These are just a few of the cast in this book. All of this is set against the backdrop of a murder mystery, murders which have occult overtones. Uncle Will, Evie and Jericho think they can solve the murders but at what cost? Will their secrets be learned?

My Take : I really enjoyed this book but I definitely had some reservations. I loved the historical aspects of this novel. I loved all the little Roaring 20’s sayings and vernacular that peppered the book. It made me want to go to a speak-easy! The book was long but things in general moved along at a quick pace. The mystery was an interesting mystery and I was invested in learning if they caught the killer and how. My problem with this book was the intense amount of  characters in the book whose stories didn’t always seem to go somewhere. At times the narrative seemed to wander a bit. I think that maybe much of this book is setting up future books in the series but because of this it felt at times like it didn’t know where it was going at that moment. All in all, I enjoyed the book but I think it could’ve used some direction. I give it seven shoes : cute menswear-inspired mary janes like they would wear in the 20s.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Trina

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Filed under book review, Bray; Libba, seven shoes, The Diviners, YA

Book Review : The False Prince

You know how sometimes you are in a reading slump? The kind where everything you read just seems boring and trite. Nothing is satisfying that itch….the reading itch. THIS is the book that got me out of it.

Title : The False PrinceThe False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)

Author : Jennifer Nielsen

Stand alone or series : Book 1 of the planned Ascendance Trilogy

Three Words to describe it : fantasy, plot driven, exciting

Red Flags : Some violence

So, we are in a kingdom in another world somewhere and things are a little uneasy. There is a civil war a-brewing because guess what everybody the ENTIRE royal family is dead. Only, not everyone knows it yet.  Conner, a nobleman, has devised an extremely cunning little plan. He is going to find an easily controllable but intelligent young boy to impersonate the dead prince and install him as his very own puppet prince. Still with me?

Now we are introduced to Sage (stupid name, awesome character) who is one of four boys chosen for their looks to compete to impersonate the prince. They are taken to Conner’s castle to get trained in the princely ways. At the end of their time there, one will be chosen to impersonate the prince and the others will be killed. Will Sage be the chosen one? Does he even want to be? What about the other boys?

This book was delicious. We follow Sage through his training and honestly you just start to fall in love with him as you go along. He’s all super intelligent but also super stubborn and rebellious. Truly, is there anything more swoon-worthy than an intelligent bad boy? There is lots of intrigue and mysteries along the way. I’ve always loved the people being trained trope in books, because it provides such an easy way for the author to teach you as well their main character all about their world. I loved the relationship that Sage developed with the other boys, at times friendly, at times antagonistic. There is a sort of romance in the book but I definitely got the feeling that this was more of a down the road sort of story. When the big ending finally came, it did not disappoint. All in all, I was definitely in love with this book. I cannot wait for the upcoming books! I give it 9 shoes (only because I feel like I can only give my favorite books in the world 10 shoes). This is my cute suede booties that I always get compliments on…

Trina

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Happy New Year Five : My Favorite Books EVER!

Happy New Year! My resolution for this year is to be better about this blog (posting, interesting material, better website) and I’m working on all of those things. Hopefully you will see and appreciate new improvements. In looking at other blogs that I admire I noticed that my About Me section could probably use some work. Specifically, I mostly review books and you have ZERO idea what my notion of a good book is. So….what better way than to post what my favorite books of ALL TIME (insert booming voice) are. These are the books that when I don’t know what to read I think about rereading because every time I do I find something new or I enjoy it even more or I just pretty much love every moment of being in that book’s world.
So without further ado ….. Trina’s Top Five Books :

5) Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) by Choderlos de Laclos

Yes this is the book that horrible movie with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Philippe was based on (don’t judge based on that). It is also the book that the wonderful movie with Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close and John Malkovich was based on (DO judge it based on that). This book was written in 1782 and was considered the most scandalous and diabolical book ever written (if you are anything like me then that will make you run out and read the book right away). The bonus part is that this book is fantastic. It is in the epistolary form (you know I love the back and forth letter writing). The main characters are the Vicomte de Valmont, a deliciously sinister and charming man and the Marquise de Merteuil, a woman way beyond her time who is both intelligent, seductive. Both of them are utterly without conscience in their game of seductions. This is full of intrigue, romance, witty satire, not to mention insight into the nature of love and relationships. This makes me want to dress in a ball gown, sip a delicious cocktail by the fire and plot intrigue (on somebody I’m not sure who). Read this book!

4) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

So cliche but so true. I love the boy wizard…as a fan of high fantasy, I’m basically forced to. I won’t bother to go into summary and such. I love the world that Rowling has created and occasionally I wish I lived there too.

3) The Belgariad by David Eddings

The Belgariad is actually a series of five books starting with Pawn of Prophecy. It follows Garion, a young scullery boy who is being raised on a farm by his Aunt Pol. One day, the storyteller Old Wolf appears and urges Garion and his aunt to leave the farm immediately. This is just the beginning of an epic quest that spans the five books in which Garion will encounter magicians (both good and evil), snake queens, mad gods as well as confront his own true destiny. Another high fantasy gem,  the world that Eddings has created is populated by the most interesting characters who have flaws and quirks but hearts of gold underneath. The adventures are interesting and the books move along at a break neck speed. The series is followed by a second follow up series called The Malloreon that is just as good.

2) Beloved by Toni Morrison

I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t read this book in a LONG time. Mostly because it is so disturbing to me that I couldn’t bear to do it again. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love this book or felt profoundly affected by it. It follows Sethe, who was born a slave but escaped eighteen years ago. She can’t really be free because she is haunted by her former life in slavery. Especially the baby that she lost, whose tombstone only has one word on it : Beloved. Partly ghost story, partly literary fiction, partly historical fiction, it has got a lot going on. What I loved most about it was the way it was written. It is honestly one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

My favorite, favorite, favorite, favorite book of all time. I was one of those nerds in English class who actually loved the books we were assigned to read (well some of them). I have probably read this book at least 10-15 times. This is the story of Jane : plain but intelligent, shy but filled with inner passion. Jane suffers a hard life at the hands of her aunt, then on to an orphanage finally ending up as a governess at Mr. Rochester’s house (for his ward, not his child). Although she is developing a sort of strange relationship with Mr. Rochester, there are even stranger goings-on at the house including mysterious laughter, random fires, and creepy servants living upstairs for no discernible reason. I love many things about this book : Jane is a feminist before her time – she refuses to compromise herself for anybody or anything. Rochester and Jane have a real romance, based on friendship not on being the two most pretty people in the room. There is a creepy mystery to be solved as well which drives the plot forward. It appeals to me on so many levels. I want you to read this book! Go! Do it now!

It took me a bit to come up with this list because it is hard to narrow this down. Two books almost made the cut so I will call them bonus favorites : Gone With The Wind and Wuthering Heights. This has just solidly outed me as an incurable romantic, my favorite variety being obsessive/tortured love.

So, what about you? What would make your top five list? Have you read any of these books? What did  you think?

Trina

 

 

 

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