Tag Archives: Book reviews

Book Review – “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

Title:  The Road

Author:  Cormac McCarthy

ISBN:  9780307387899

Publisher:  Vintage Books

Synopsis (from bn.com):  The searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-—and each other.The Roadis the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

My thoughts:  Well, I must say that I do not even know where to begin with this review.  My book club picked this book for our August read and I was fairly excited to read something outside of my normal cozy mystery/mystery/chick lit genre.  All I can say about this book is that I read it.  I bordered on hating this book.

It is a story of a father and son, in postapocalyptic times, walking down a road in a burnt out world looking to survive.  That is about it.  It literally describes their walk down this road, scrounging for food and supplies, on their way to the coast.  That is it.

I consider myself rather well-read and somewhat intelligent, so I was excited to feel what other reviewers clearly felt when reading this book, a beautiful description of an abiding love between a father and a son.  I must say I clearly missed this deeper, more analytic, symbolic meaning.

The cover of the book uses words such as, “vivid, eloquent”, “one of the best books of the year”.  I think not.  And frankly I am stunned that it won the Pultizer Prize.  How I ask?

The writing seems overly simplistic to me, especially in parts that are dialogue between the unnamed father and son.  It is short, quick, phrases with little punctuation so ultimately if you are not quick you have no idea who is actually speaking.  The deeper part of me realizes that somehow this style of writing in the dialogue between the father and the son are most likely symbolic of the vast, open, expansive road ahead of them, empty.  But when reading it comes off as simple, juvenile, and boring.

I found the story boring, pointless, and flat.  There was absolutely no climax, just flat and boring throughout.  Although it certainly was a very quick read, the story could have been told in about a chapter or two and the effect would have been the same.

I guess I am just not high-brow enough in my reading choices to have appreciated the underlying beauty, depth, and quality that some see in this book.  Instead of moving and profound, I found it boring and empty.  Instead of eloquent and deep, I found it simple and ridiculous.

I can’t help but to think that some of the books popularity at the time was because it was chosen as an Oprah book.  And we all know that once Oprah mentioned a book, the sheep followed along and read whatever she read and said they loved it. (Not a fan, can you tell!)

I guess I am happily now going back to my cozy mystery series, my mysteries, and my chick lit and refraining from Pulitzer Prize winners for now!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Filed under Book Club, Book Reviews, Fiction

Book Review – “Clutches and Curses” by Dorothy Howell

  Title:  Clutches and Curses (Haley Randolph Mysery Series #4)

Author:  Dorothy Howell

ISBN:  9780758253309

Publisher:  Kensignton Publishing

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Life is finally looking good for amateur sleuth/professional fashionista Haley Randolph. Her sort-of-boyfriend Ty is now her official boyfriend, her job at Holt’s department store is going well, and she’s on track to get her hands on the Delicious—the hottest purse of the season. What could possibly go wrong?

A curse from an irate customer? Haley doesn’t believe in curses but when things start to go really wrong she jumps at the chance to pack up her wardrobe and transfer to the new store near Las Vegas. . .where she promptly finds the body of Courtney Collins, an old classmate, sprawled across the floor of the menswear department.

It seems the curse also made the trip from L.A. because Haley is now suspect #1. Sure, everyone knows she was jealous of the now un-fashionably late Courtney back in the day, and Courtney was about to launch a spectacular new line of designer bags. And, well, there weren’t any witnesses when Haley actually found the body. . .

Since she definitely doesn’t look good in prison stripes, Haley’s going to have to get to the bottom of this increasingly strange mystery. Finding and catching the killer won’t be easy. . .and getting rid of this curse once and for all may mean going against everything a real fashionista stands for.

My thoughts:  Haley Randolph, great lover of all things handbag, is back in this 4th book in the Haley Randolph Series.  After Haley is convinced that an angry Holt’s Department Store customer put a curse on her, she decides to take the opportunity to head off to Las Vegas to help set up for the opening of a brand new Holt’s store.  Imagine her surprise as she enters the menswear area and they body of an old high school classmate is found dead on the floor.  Who of course is one of the main suspects but Haley herself?  Haley embarks on the latest whodunit to prove she in fact is not the killer!

This is a charming cozy mystery series, especially for those of us who love a good designer handbag and thoroughly enjoy dreaming that we had all the handbags mentioned in these books – Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Judith Lieber, Prada, Louis Vitton, oh to dream . . . 🙂  As I have mentioned before in previous reviews of Dorothy Howell’s books, the main character is almost too similiar to the main character in Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series and I feel like somehow I have slipped in to a Kinsella book.  That being said, I still recommend these books for a fast, quirky, delightful read.  There are a couple new characters introduced in this book that I would like to see in future books.  And the very last page does indeed make you want to run to the next book to see what is up with the boyfriend Ty!  That is all I will say, but I already have the next book “Tote Bags and Toe Tags” from the library and will be jumping right in.

A perfect book for your beach bag!

And remember,

Books are Life,

Heather

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Filed under Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Dorothy Howell, Fiction, Mystery

Book Review – “Then Came You” by Jennifer Weiner

  Title:  Then Came You

Author:  Jennifer Weiner

ISBN:  9781451617733

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior on a full scholarship who plans on selling her “pedigree” eggs to help save her father from addiction.

Annie Barrow, a struggling Pennsylvania housewife, thinks that carrying another woman’s child will help her recover a sense of purpose and will bring in some much-needed cash.

India Bishop, thirty-eight (really, forty-three) and recently married to the wealthy Marcus Croft, yearns for a baby for reasons that have more to do with money than with love. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to Jules and Annie to make her dreams come true.

But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Bettina, Marcus’s privileged daughter, becomes suspicious that her new stepmother is not what she seems . . .

Told with Jennifer Weiner’s trademark wit and sharp observations, Then Came You is a hilarious, tender, and timely tale that explores themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and charity, the rights of a parent and the measure of a mother.

My thoughts:  I recently won this book from a giveaway from a great blog chicklitcentraltheblog.blogspot.com.  Please go check out this great blog!

First off, let me say that this is in fact the very first Jennifer Weiner book that I have ever read.  I was very excited to get it in the mail and start reading as I have heard great things about Jennifer Weiner and read great things about her books.  Based on this book alone, I wouldn’t necessarily go back and give any of her other books a chance.  I really, really wanted to love this book, but I can’t say that I did.  I am kind of neutral about the whole thing.  I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, it was just alright!

Each chapter in the book is written from the perspective of a different character.  I do enjoy this writing style, but found myself not really feeling anything intensely about any of the four main characters.  I somehow didn’t feel connected to these women and therfore their experiences just fell flat for me.

The book felt quite “Jodi Picoult”-like in that it dealt with a number of difficult issues – surrogacy, infertility, egg donation, motherhood – but simply didn’t have the grace and style one finds in Jodi Picoult’s novels.

I really wish that the four characters would have started meeting and interacting earlier in the book.  For me I think this would have added a certain depth to the characters and made me feel more connected to them.  The way it is written, their stories don’t really start connecting until the latter parts of the book, and then the whole story seems rather abrupt in its ending.

I hated the ending of the book.  I found myself reading the ending and going, “What? Oh come on.” Not only did I just personally not like the way the author chose to end the book, I found that the ending really seemed too neatly finished.  The whole story with its difficult topics, just felt like it was tied up with a neat little bow, everything was fine, and it ended.  Too neat and tidy of an ending for me.

So, all in all certainly not my favorite chick lit book and author.  Given that I have read many positive reviews on some of Jennifer Weiner’s other books, I may go back and try her again.  The jury is still out on that.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Filed under Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Fiction, Giveaways