Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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Title:  The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green (Author Website)

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; First Edition edition (January 10, 2012)

ISBN 10: 0525478817

Pages: 336 pages

Format: Hardcover (Library Loan)

About the Book: 

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. (from Goodreads.com)

Setting: Indiana/ Amsterdam



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About the Author:

John Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green's career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children's Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.
In 2007, John and his brother Hank were the hosts of a popular internet blog, "
Brotherhood 2.0," where they discussed their lives, books and current events every day for a year except for weekends and holidays. They still keep a video blog, now called "The Vlog Brothers," which can be found on the Nerdfighters website.  (from Goodreads.com)

Related Media: – Book Trailer

My Review:  The Fault in Our Stars is a story that has stayed in my thoughts long after I finished the book.  As a parent, I can only wonder how could I possibly manage if one of our children was diagnosed with Cancer.  It is unimaginable to me. I have to keep reminding myself this is a young adult book. One of the reason I think I forgot this was a young adult book, was the voice of the narrator, Hazel Grace.  Hazel’s voice seemed to be too old.   But the more I thought about that I remembered that most of her time was spent with adults, doctors and books.   She had to grow up very quickly to face and deal with the realities of her life and death.   It is so unfair that any child must live a life being sick and knowing they will die. 

Hazel was annoyed with her mother hovering.  But I think her mother was doing pretty good.   I know I hover even more than that when my children have a simple illness.  But honestly, this is a coming of age, love story.   Cancer is a part of that story, but really takes a backseat to the love story of Hazel and Gus.   I just loved Hazel and Gus as a couple – they really complimented each other well.   Gus was charismatic, witty, and so in love with Hazel. 

So if you have read this review and thought you wouldn’t want to read a story about kids with cancer, I encourage you to read Fault In Our Stars anyways.   You will not be disappointed.  You will laugh, cry and be amazed by the lives and attitudes of these young people facing the most uncertain future, but finding love along that way. 

My Rating:  4/5 – I really liked The Fault in Our Stars -  I would recommend it to others.   I did lose a few hours of sleep trying to finish The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.   The Fault in Our Stars very well might change my attitude about the genre of Young Adult fiction, which I have avoided reading for the most part.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Other Bloggers Reviews :

Book Journey

Time 4 Reading

Baby Got Books

Rhapsody in Books

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: Dead End Deal–Allen Wyler

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Title: Dead End Deal

Author: Allen Wyler (Author Website)

Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions (May 10, 2012)

ASIN: B00822N2G2

Pages: 402 pages

Format:  Digital File from Publisher

About the Book: 

World renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world. His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions. But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same. Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter turns to his long-time colleague, corporate biotech CEO Richard Stillman, for help. Together, they conspire to conduct a clandestine clinical trial in Seoul, Korea. But the danger is more determined, and more lethal, than Ritter could have imagined. After successful surgical trials, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario: The trial patients have been murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, now the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin. Dead End Deal is a fast paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler—who often draws from experience and actual events when writing—Dead End Deal is unmatched as a technical procedural. Its medical and scientific details can impress even the most seasoned medical practitioners. And yet, the fascinating expertise is seamlessly woven into a riveting plot, with enough action and surprises to engross even the most well-read thriller enthusiast. A smart, unique, page-turner, Dead End Deal delivers.

Setting:   Washington/ Seoul,Korea

AllenWylerPGE1_1107 About the Author: Allen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute. In 2002, he left active practice to become medical director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest. Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 1970s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as vice president of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.

My Review:  I read Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler at the request of the publisher in exchange for a fair review.  Dead End Deal started off slowing for me.   Initially, the characters were introduced too fast for me to really get a good grasp on each character.  I like to understand and feel the emotions of the characters.   In Dead End Deal I didn’t feel I had much insight into what the characters were thinking.  I did have a character I was rooting for and the one I wanted to get his just deserts.    I found Jon Ritter, to be a likeable and very clever character in Dead End Deal.   I wanted to keep reading to find out how he would get himself out of the next predicament. 

As the action begins the story picks up and I was curious and intrigued regarding how the situation would resolve itself.  The whole idea of a cure for Alzheimer’s and stem cell research was very interesting to me.  I was satisfied with the ending of Dead End Deal and felt the story flowed well into the ending.    Dead End Deal is a departure from what I usually read, but I enjoyed the change. 

My Rating: 3 – Liked It;  I didn’t lose any sleep trying to finish this book, but if you like medical thrillers, you will like Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Other Bloggers Reviews :

The Book Galaxy

For What It is Worth (interview with author)

Library Mosiac

A Bookish Libraria

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

9724798 Title: The Violets of March

Author:  Sarah Jio (Author Website)

Publisher: Plume (April 26, 2011)

ISBN 10: 0452297036

Pages: 304 pages

Format:  Paperback – from public Library.

About the Book:   A LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2011

A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.



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Pictures of Bainbridge Island
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Setting: Bainbridge Island in Washington State – Puget Sound

About the Author

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Sarah Jio is a Seattle-based magazine writer and novelist. Her novels include THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011), THE BUNGALOW, and the forthcoming, BLACKBERRY WINTER (Penguin/Plume). Sarah is also the health and fitness blogger for Glamour.com. She has written hundreds of articles for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband and their three young boys

Related Media:  Violets of March – Book Trailer – I just love book trailers!!!

My Review:  Violets of March is book that was on my reserve list at the library, most likely because I read an interesting review.  Violets of March is a romance and mystery that is set in present day and the 1940’s through a diary discovered by Emily in her great aunt’s home.  The flow between the present and past is very smooth.   I was very intrigued by the diary and the story it held.  Some parts of the story, were just a bit too convenient, but if you could look past that and enjoy the story without over thinking it, it was a very pleasant, engaging read. 

My favorite character was Aunt Bee, she was quirky without being over the top.  But actually I found the island itself to be a best character in the story.  I loved the essence of the island and the peacefulness of life there.  The island maintained an air of mystery itself, including the presence of the Violets.  The feeling of the island reminds me of the wonderful relaxing feeling I experience during my times up in north in Duluth, MN on Lake Superior. 

As I got further into the the story, I found Violets of March to be a real page turner.  I neglected all I was suppose to do around the house to finish the book.  I did not find the ending completely satisfying.  I wanted to know more about the characters from the diary and their motives, especially Elliot and Esther. 

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I plan on checking out the next book by Sarah Jio, the Bungalow. 

My Rating: 4- really liked it – I did get caught up in the story towards the end and just had to finish it!   Good thing hubby was out of town as I didn’t get any of my household chores done and my youngest son stayed up way too late because Mom was caught up in the book.  My son didn’t seem to mind! Violets of March is a good, light Summer read that I would recommend to a friend!

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Other Bloggers Reviews :

The Well - Read Wife

BookNRound

Amy’s Book Obsession

Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading?? and Library Loot–July 23rd, 2012

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It’s Monday! What Are you Reading? is hosted by Shelia of
Book Journey. It is a chance to share what you have read and what you plan on reading in the upcoming week. I enjoy seeing what everyone’s reading plans for the week. I always find some titles that I just *had to add to my TBR list.

My Plans for this week

Write a review of :   The Violets of March – Sarah Jio

Finish Reading:  Read - Dead End Deal – Allen Wyler – a review book, I have really neglected.

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Next Up ?? - State of Wonder – Ann Patchett – reading/listening for book group

These are my reading plans for the week. What are you reading plans for the week??? Join in with Shelia at Book Journey and share your reading plans for the week!!



Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from
The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Currently On Loan from the White Bear Lake Public Library:

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The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares – Joyce Carol Oates State of Wonder – Ann Patchett Carry The One – Carol Anshaw
   
     
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True Sisters – Sandra Dallas The Girl in the Garden – Kamala Nair The Violets of March – Sarah Jio

   
   
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Simplify Your Time – Stop Running and Start Living – Marcia Ramsland The Fault in our Stars – John Green  
   
   

Happy Reading!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: Home Front by Kristin Hannah

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Title: Home Front
Author: Kristin Hannah (Author Website)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 31, 2012)
ISBN 10 :0312577206
Pages:
388 pages
Format: Library Book

About the Book: (from Goodreads.com)

In her bestselling novels Kristin Hannah has plumbed the depths of friendship, the loyalty of sisters, and the secrets mothers keep. Now, in her most emotionally powerful story yet, she explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.

All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life---children, careers, bills, chores---even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own---for everything that matters to his family.

At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope

Setting: Poulsbo Washington/Liberty Bay

About the Author: (from Kristin Hannah Amazon Page)

Kristin Hannah was born in September 1960 in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf. When she was eight years old, her father drove the family to Western Washington which they called home.

After working in a trendy advertising agency, Kristin decided to go to law school. "But you're going to be a writer" are the prophetic words she would never forget from her mother. Kristin was in her third-and final-year of law school and her mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. Kristin was shocked to discover that her mother believed she would become a writer. For the next few months, they collaborated on the worst, most clich├ęd historical romance ever written.
After her mom's death, she packed up all those bits and pieces of paper they'd collected and put them in a box in the back of her closet. Kristin got married and continued practicing law.

Then Kristin found out she was pregnant and was on bed rest for five months. By the time she'd read every book in the house and started asking her husband for cereal boxes to read, she knew she was a goner. That's when her husband reminded her of the book she'd started with her mom. Kristin pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off and began writing. By the time their son was born, she'd finished a first draft and found an obsession.

The rejections came, of course, and they stung for a while, but each one really just spurred her to try harder, work more. In 1990, Kristin got "the call," and in that moment, she went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and has never looked back. In all the years between then and now, she have never lost her love of, or her enthusiasm for, telling stories. Kristin feels truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer.

Related Media: (Kristin Hannah speaking about Home Front)

My Review:  We went to the library and Home Front by Kristin Hannah was waiting for me.  I don’t even remember reserving Home Front, but glad I did.    I easily got caught up in  Home Front and found myself reading every spare moment I had or didn’t really have.   Trying to cook a big meal for guests on the 4th of July and sneaking in extra reading time don’t really work well together.  I must say, my hubby is a wonderfully tolerant man.

My favorite character in Home Front is Jolene Zarkades. Jolene is a loving mother, wife, friend and soldier.   She believes to the core of her being in duty, honor and loyalty.  She does her best to keep her career as a pilot in the military separated from her family life, but her deployment brings it to the forefront.   Jolene’s husband, Michael was my least favorite character.  He was very unsupportive of his wife’s career and felt the war in Iraq was unnecessary, without considering the true cost of war.  The Zarkades have 2 children, Betsy (an preteen with a terrible attitude) and LuLu (delightful 3 year old wear a kitty headband to be invisible).

The author does an amazing job of character development.  I started off just hating Michael, but as he grows and develops, I found my self hoping the best for him.  Kristin Hannah’s writing evoke such emotions and is so real.   In Home Front she confronts the truth about the war in Iraq and the effects of the war on the soldiers and the families they leave behind. 

My heart ached for Jolene when she was deployed.  The parts of the book that depict Jolene’s time in Iraq were the most heart breaking to me.  I could not put the book down during that part of the book.  She was an amazing soldier who took her duty, honor and loyalty to her crew very seriously.  All the way through this book, I thought about the amazing sacrifices soldiers and their families make for our country.  As a nation we need to do better about helping the families of the deployed and those returning from war.  They all give so much. 

Home Front is an eye-opening account of the effects of war on modern day soldiers and their families.  Home Front is a very emotional read, which portrays true friendship, love, loyalty, truth and honor. 

My Rating: 4.5/5 – I really liked Home Front and would high recommend this very emotional read.  I lost a nights sleep and burned supper for Home Front!

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Other Bloggers Reviews :

Shelia of Book Journey

My Friend Amy

Steph the Book Worm

Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf

 

Happy Reading!