Tag: book

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

August 4, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 14

18775443Title: Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered
Author: Dianne Hales
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This wasn’t the most organized nonfiction I’ve read, but the author did an amazing job bringing the people and time period to life.

Although the Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world, little is known about the real woman represented in the painting. There is even some speculation about which woman was Da Vinci’s model. Lisa Gherardini is the most likely candidate and in this book, Dianne Hales brings together what is known about Lisa’s life. She also uses this “quintessential woman of her times” to explore what life was like for women in Florence during the Renaissance.
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Soundbite Sunday – Words of Radiance

August 3, 2014 Audiobook 3

9781427233080Title: Words of Radiance
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★☆
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

This is a book I would probably give 5 stars if I weren’t comparing it to the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. The plot is similarly complex, interesting, and expansive. There is once again great character growth, with personal plots nested within the overall story. The magic and worldbuilding retain their internal consistency. However, while I wouldn’t say this suffered too much from second book syndrome, I did feel as though less happened than in the first book. Read more »

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Toms River

July 30, 2014 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Science, Uncategorized 13

15798109Title: Toms River
Author: Judith Frank
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book was engaging and easy to follow, a perfect mix of science, history, and human interest stories.

Toms River had been a dumping ground for chemical pollutants for years before anyone suspected anything might be wrong. However, watchful parents soon noticed a disturbing increase in local cancer cases. It took years of unceasing efforts by residents for an investigation of chemical dumping in Toms River to begin. Even then, it was difficult to impossible to determine the different chemicals dumped in Toms River over the past half century and even more difficult to determine whether that dumping influence cancer incidence. Although families were convinced pollutants were the problem and a settlement was reached, the exact nature of the pollutants dumped at Toms River and their relationship to cancer there may never be known.
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Big Little Lies

July 29, 2014 Thriller, Women's Fiction 12

19486412Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Liane Moriarty has outdone herself, creating three believable women who face some of the toughest challenges women commonly face then combining their moving story with a riveting mystery.

We begin Big Little Lies with the knowledge that someone has died at the parent trivia night under suspicious circumstances. Through flashbacks we get the perspectives of several characters, but the story focuses on three friends who are intimately involved in what happened that night. Madeline is concerned about her daughter choosing her ex-husband over her, still hating him for walking out on her when their daughter was born. Jane is a timid single mother, secretly worried her son might not be as sweet as he appears, given her past. And Celeste and her husband, with the perfect life and perfect marriage, might just be hiding the darkest secrets of all.
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How To Build a Girl Read-Along – Part 3

July 28, 2014 Blogger Events 6

caitlin moranWe’re up to chapter 15 in our read-along this week, so be warned – spoilers below! What surprised me most about this section was how beautifully sentimental some of the quotes were. Especially at the beginning of the section, I really enjoyed how happy Johanna was and how much fun she had traveling. I was a briefly heartbroken for her when she stopped hearing from the magazine, but finished the section feeling reasonably hopeful. I mean, I’m sure she’s going to get herself into a bad situation the way she’s going. I also think her coworkers probably think she’s completely ridiculous. But she’s having fun again and exploring who she is and I’m excited to go along for the ride. Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – The Way of Kings

July 27, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy 7

The-Way-of-Kings-610664Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★★
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

Many authors do one thing exceptionally well: world building, character creation and growth, or an intricate plot. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job at all three. The world is very unique, with creatures and a magic system I never could have imagined. The world and the magical system are also notable for their internal consistency. The creatures described seem like the sort that would evolve together. The magical system follows clear, consistent rules. The world building take place through slow, constant information sharing, in parallel with both an epic, world-wide conflict and moving personal stories. The story wasn’t always straight forward or predictable and I loved the unexpected obstacles which forced every character to grow and change in order to succeed. Read more »

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How To Build a Girl Read-Along – Part 2

July 21, 2014 Blogger Events 7

caitlin moran

I am now 10 chapters into How To Build a Girl and it’s time to check in again. Beware spoilers through chapter 10 below. So far, things are still going well! I definitely have a girl crush on Caitlin Moran who is both the reason I consider myself a feminist and the reason I’m happy to tell you I consider myself a feminist. In How To Be a Woman, she had me in stitches almost the whole book – an impressive feat given that she also made me think about many important issues. How To Build a Girl is living up to the hype that created for me much better than I expected. Caitlin’s same sense of humor is there, perhaps slightly less often given the need for narrative, but there are definitely parts that have me laughing out loud. Even though this is fiction, I feel like Caitlin’s character’s story has the same refreshing feel of raw honesty found in her memoir. I know it’s not real, but it’s such an intimate look at a character’s life, I still feel like she’s a real person telling me her story. Read more »

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Library Month Guest Post

July 20, 2014 Uncategorized 6

library-month-guest-post

I love my library, so I was very excited when Krysta and Briana of Pages Unbound asked me to do a guest post for their month-long celebration of libraries.  The fun posts they’ve written so far include a personality quiz (what library resource are you?) as well as two posts about why libraries are so awesome (part 1 and part 2) because one post just wasn’t enough. Today they’re sharing my guest post about how much I love browsing for books at my library, so if you love your library too or just wondering what all the fuss is about, you should hop over and check it out.

 

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Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Requesting ARCs

July 18, 2014 Blogger Events 56

HowToRequestARCs

Welcome to bloggiesta everyone! Today I’ll be running a mini-challenge all about requesting ARCs. I actually started blogging completely unaware that advanced review copies (ARCs) existed. I was shocked when I received my first invitation to review a book and thrilled when I found out about the sites that allow bloggers to request books. I’ve recently graduated to requesting physical ARCs and specific books from publishers, so I’m hopeful I can offer you all some useful advice on the different ways to request advanced review copies. Read more »

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In Praise of Hatred

July 17, 2014 Fiction, Translated Fiction 6

18630509Title: In Praise of Hatred
Author: Khaled Khalifa
Source: from publisher via LibraryThing
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although this was beautifully written and gave me some insight into life in Syria, it was mostly confusing and disjointed.

Set in the Syria in the 1980’s, In Praise of Hatred tells the story of a young muslim woman whose name is never given. Facing scorn from her secular classmates and the conflicting views of her variably conservative family members, she takes refuge in hatred for those who are different from her. As her uncle’s become involved in trying to overthrow the regime, she herself becomes increasingly radical in her views. Alongside her coming of age story, we also learn about the many dramatic romantic liaisons and fascinating histories of her family members. Read more »

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