Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label book review

Book Review: The Kitchen God's Wife

Today I share the review I wrote at Goodreads.com this afternoon about The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan.  See you tomorrow.

The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's true what people say about Amy Tan: She's one grand storyteller! This is the second novel that I've read of hers. I admit it has been sitting on my shelf for several years. When I first bought it, I read several pages and put it down because the conflicting relationship between the daughter and mother was so relatable. I didn't think I could handle the story.

So years later, nearly 2 years after my mom's spirit soared into the universe, I picked up the novel. When I finally went beyond the first few chapters, I was surprised to see that the main story was about Winnie's (the mother) life in China during WWII. She is telling her story of heartbreaking secrets to her daughter because Winnie's best friend, Helen, who lived through much of the past with Win…

Five Book Reviews for My 2015 Reading Challenge

I love reading books. Writing book reviews, not so much. I tell myself it's good for me to write them for my 2015 Reading Challenge. Discipline and all that. Of which, I have been finding the time to read for pleasure more regularly. Yay! for that. Boo! though, as a couple of the books I've read don't fit any category. This may mean another level of discipline—finding books that do match the challenge categories. I'll think about it.

Anyway, today, I give you four reviews. Just so you and the FCC know: Should you click on the Amazon links and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change.

√ A book with magic As I read The Game by Laurie R. King, I traveled back to the Flapper Age, wandering around India with 60-ish Sherlock Holmes and his much younger wife Mary Russell.  The couple was sent there by Mycroft, brother of Sherlock, to find the 50-ish missing spy Kim O'Hara, the once-upon-a-time young boy about whom Rudyard Kipling wro…

Atta Girl, Jane Eyre!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen used to be Numero Uno on my all-time list of favorite books. Then, a few years ago, I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. And, just like that, after 40-some years, Pride and Prejudice became number two. 
So, what took me so long to read Jane Eyre
I was introduced to the novel in seventh grade when our English class watched the 1943 movie starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. Until I watched the 2006  BBC series of Jane Eyre with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson, I had no idea that Jane Eyre had a lot of gumption, courage, desire, determination, and smarts. Ms. Fontaine's portrayed Jane as meek and overpowered by the selfish Rochester. Then after I saw the 2011 film of Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, I finally decided to read the novel. 
Wowza! I love Jane. She stands up to Rochester from the moment she meets him to the moment they finally reunite. Rochester is a fortunate man because he has Jane's love. I admire J…

#3 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge

On Sunday night, I read The Happy Hollisters, being that it was published in the year I was born (1953), a category in my 2015 Reading Challenge. The Happy Hollisters was the first of the 33 titles of the Happy Hollisters series written by Andrew E. Svenson, under the guise of Jerry West.

I had bought the book several years ago at our local thrift store on a whim, because I was born and raised in Hollister, California and now living in Hollister again. As a kid, I remember seeing the series at the public library, but I bypassed the Happy Hollisters for the Nancy Drew series. If I had known that the Hollisters solved mysteries, I may have become a fan way back when.

I like the Hollister kids, from 4-year old Sue, to 6-year old Holly, 7-year old Ricky, 10-year old Pam, and 12-year old Peter. Each character has lots of positive energy and common sense.  One of the things I like about the Hollister kids is how they feel bad after doing something wrong, apologize, and seek to make amends…

#2 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge

Thug Kitchen is written by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis, who are 29-year-olds, hence I can cross A book written by someone under 30 off my 2015 Reading Challenge

If swearing bothers you, walk by this cookbook, because a lot of f-bombs and sh-wordsare dropped. The title had me open the cover at the bookstore, but it was the novelty of the cussing that drew me into flipping through the book. There was nothing new under the sun for me. I know how to roast garlic, for instance. But, what  impressed me was that the authors offered recipes like the ones I make up and not make again because I can't remember what I did. Maybe I cook like someone under 30.

I left the bookstore without the cookbook, but I kept thinking about the intriguing recipes such as ginger-mushroom summer rolls, cauliflower cream pasta,  spicy plantain chips, and lemony red lentil soup. A couple weeks later when I was choosing books online for my birthday gifts, I thought, "Why not?" I needed inspirat…

#1 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge

Five days into the 2015 Reading Challenge, I can cross off my first item —a mystery of thriller. Whooo-hooo!

Queen of Hearts is the eighth book in the Royal Spyness Mysteries series by Rhys Bowen.  This is one of three mystery series that I look forward to reading the latest stories. Bowen's Royal Spyness Mysteries  is set primarily in London in the 1930s.The protagonist is Georgie, the great grandaughter of Queen Victoria. She would become queen should King George and the 33 heirs before her were to die all of a sudden. So, it's very unlikely.

Georgie's formal name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Her father, the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch, gambled all family's fortune away, so Georgie is broke. Because she's of royalty, she can't make a living for herself although she has tried. In the first book (and maybe the second, I can't remember), she secretly worked as a maid. Queen Mary likes Georgie and often sends for her to do some bidding, such …

2011 Cozy Book Challenge

How many book challenges did I sign up for at the beginning of the year?  Whatever was I thinking? Oh, yeah, that I could and would read books for pleasure, at the same time as I'm doing research crazily about 500,000 different professions. hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yeah, I'm hysterical. No, serious, I am hysterical.

I started off fine. If you were to look at my book list,  you'd see I've read a dozen so far. C'est la vie.
Just the fact that I piled up all the books that I want to read, rather than scattered throughout our space is a win for me. And, for the husband. Poor guy. Once upon a time he organized and managed a very large warehouse of paper and office supplies for a California state agency. It was very clean and orderly. It in fact rivaled the cleanliness of the Mama's garden. (The woman picks up leaves and sweeps the ground every day that it's not raining. )

What was I talking about? Book challenges, yeah. There is one I did complete: The Cozy Book Cha…

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows,  at the bookstore early last year because the title caught my eye. Really delightful, don't you think? But, I put it down when I read "the German occupation" on the back cover. Let's face it, I don't like to read depressing tales anymore. A few months after that encounter, I read a review about it that made me think "maybe, I'll read it." Using correspondence to move the plot forward intrigued me. Now flash forward to my birthday last December. What do you know? A friend gifted me a copy of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." Thanks, again, evil2win.

The setting: London and the Island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel.

The time: Several months after the end of WWII.

The characters:  Juliet Ashton, an author, and the people of Guernsey.

The story: Juliet no longer wants to be thought of as a &qu…

Book Review: Homicide in Hardcover

Homicide in Hardcoverby Kate Carlisle was a very fun and quick read. It's been a long while since I've read a book in one day. No, not all at once. I would've if I wasn't so responsible. Ha!

Brooklyn Wainwright is a bookbinder who lives in San Francisco. She attends a book event where she reunites with her mentor Abraham who had gotten miffed when Brooklyn decided to start her own business. An hour later, he is dead and Brooklyn becomes a suspect. She also is hired to complete the bookbinding job on a very old copy of Faust that Abraham was about to start working on. The copy supposedly has a curse on it and by all the misfortunes that fall on Brooklyn, it may be true. Brooklyn is worried that her mom may be the murderer, so she starts sleuthing on her own.

Thrown into the troubled mix is Derek, a handsome British security consultant who has been hired to protect the book. Lots of sparked dialogue go on between Brooklyn and Derek. Also, interesting to the tale is Brookl…

Book Review: Jane Eyre

I didn't think it would be possible. That another book would bump Pride and Prejudice off the top of my all-time favorite list, and that it would be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

To think that I let 40 years go by before I read Jane Eyre. Oh, the condensed version was assigned in high school, but I merely skimmed it. I probably didn't like the opening pages because Jane's sour rich Aunt and her bratty cousins rubbed me the wrong way. I was an impatient reader in my youth. If I didn't like a tale by the end of the first chapter, that was it for me. And most likely I thought Rochester was a simp and Jane one, too, for being in love with him.

So, what got me to finally read it? The BBC movie of Jane Eyre with Tobey Stephens and Ruth Wilson. After watching it a few years ago, I was sold on the plot and the characters so much that I bought the book. But, I didn't read it. A couple weeks ago, the movie was being shown again on TV. It was a two-parter and I couldn't be…

Book Review: Travels with Zenobia, Paris to Albania by Model T Ford

Travels with Zenobia, Paris to Albania by Model T Ford, A Journal by Rose Wilder Lane and Helen Dore Boylston, and edited by William Holtz.

This book is the journal kept by two friends who travel from Paris to Albania.  This is a true story about two women in 1926.  Rose Wilder Lane  was a well-known author of the times, who later would become known as one of the founders of the libertarian movement. You, dear readers, may also know Rose as the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie books. Rose's friend, Helen Dore Boylston, known as Troub, was also a writer, but during this time frame she was still learning her craft. Have you ever read any of the Sue Barton, Nurse series? They were written by Troub, who served as a nurse in WWI.

Zenobia is the name of the Model T Ford that Rose and Troub bought in Paris. Buying the automobile was easy, but getting it out of the showroom was not. It took about 6 weeks for them to get the proper paperwork and…

Book Review: The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is the third novel featuring Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbology. Just over 500 pages, the story takes place within 12 hours. On my random scale of 1 to 5, I give it an arbitrary 2.039.

Robert Langdon has been summoned suddenly to give a speech for his friend and mentor, Peter Solomon, at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. It turns out to be a ruse set up by bad guy Mal'akh who has kidnapped Solomon. To get Solomon back, Langdon must provide Mal'akh with the Masonic Pyramid that leads to finding the Masonic treasure buried beneath Washington D.C. Also key to the story are Solomon's younger sister, a noetic scientist, the CIA, and, of course, the Freemasons.

For  a fast-action plot, the story moved slowly for me. I didn't care for any of the characters, including Langdon. The back story for Mal'akh and his obsession with the Solomon family got tiring, but I do admit that I was surprised with the final details.

I th…

Book Review: Glazed Murder

Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck is the first title in her A Donut Shop Mystery series. I wish the author had used the old way of spelling the delicacy. D-o-u-g-h-n-u-t.  That aside, on my random scale of 1 to 5, I'd give Glazed Murder an arbitrarily 3.703.

Suzanne Hart is the main character of this mystery series. She's definitely a spunky woman. After all, she took her divorce settlement and bought the doughnut shop in her small North Carolina town, even though she had no experience in making or selling doughnuts.

The story opens with Suzanne turning on the lights of her shop at 2 a.m. She witnesses a body being thrown out of a car in front of her establishment. What a way to start a day, right? The dead body belongs to a good customer and friend of hers. That becomes one reason that Suzanne starts snooping. Another reason is her concern the culprit may try to get her because of the threats she keeps getting for snooping. Thirdly, from her point of view, the cops are very slow …