Teaser Tuesday Featuring The Black Echo

Here is my Teaser Tuesday featuring The Black Echo by Michael Connelly:

Harry was moving through a smoky, dark tunnel and his batteries were dying. The beam of the flashlight grew weaker every yard he covered. He needed help. He needed to move faster.

Sorry I had to cheat a bit. I figured if it was just two sentences it wouldn’t pique your curiosity enough. 🙂

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Monday Combo 9/28

Here is Monday’s Memes for this week!

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Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about your wishlist…

Do you keep a book wishlist, either on paper, Amazon/etc, or via a book database site (Shelfari, GoodReads, LibraryThing)? If yes, do you share this list with others (especially coming up to Christmas)?

– Yes! there’s about three different types of wishlists. One: on Shelfari are the ones that I can take out from the library. Those I don’t have to buy or if I can’t wait that long then I’ll buy. Two: There’s one on Library Thing. That one tells me those books on that list are available on interlibrary loan. I sometimes buy books from there, I sometimes don’t. Three: there’s a very small one on Goodreads. Those are books I definitely want to buy. I don’t share my list with others, because whenever I give a wish list out it’s never used.  I gave up. The only one who actually buys me stuff from the wishlist is the hombre 🙂 I choose about three from the wishlist and give it to him, he orders, I’m happy. Now if he could do that monthly I’d be even happier. 🙂

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In My Mailbox this week:

Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent (contest win)

Cleopatra’s Daughter: A Novel by Michelle Moran (requested)

The Curse of the Tahiera by Wendy Gillissen (requested)

WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy (contest win)

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Library Finds this week:

Mister Monday – Garth Nix

The Thief Lord – Cornelia Funke

The Virgin’s Queen’s Daughter – Ella March Chase

The Seance – John Harwood

The Devil’s Teardrop – Jeffery Deaver

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So! what are your answers? what loot did you get?

Sunday Salon: Review of Bending Toward the Sun

Bending Toward the Sun

Bending Toward the Sun

First of all, thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a review copy of this memoir. It’s actually my very first memoir that I have read from front to back in its’ completion. I’m not much of a memoir reader, the genre hasn’t really interested me but I gave this one a chance as it has something to do with World War II which I like to read about.

Bending Toward the Sun is a mother and daughter memoir by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie. It covers both of their lives and how the Holocaust has made such a significant impact on them and on their future generation. The first part features Rita’s story, from hiding in a cramped attic with her family during the War to her years in America struggling with her past and growing up without a real mother. The second part of the book, covers Leslie’s life, who tries very hard to please her mother, but at the same time, tries to understand what her mother went through and realizes that Rita’s painful past has somehow affected the outlook on life to Leslie, and also onto Leslie’s daughter Mikaela.

I thought it was an excellent memoir. Not only do you get to read the stories of two very strong willed women but there’s a clear concise narration to it that actually makes the memoir very interesting and before you knew it, you were already at the end. It was a very interesting look into their lives and how the Holocaust had made such an impact on their daily routines, how they thought, how they acted, and how strongly attached they were as a family unit. I especially liked Rita’s strength and her determination to be a very good mother to her children. Considering since she never really had a mother to begin with, she made an extreme effort to be loving and to give her children the childhood she never had when she was young. I thought it was very admirable and a very strong trait in her. Leslie also follows in her footsteps and tries to become a very good mother, but also it seems she has to please her mother as well, which can become extremely difficult as you see Leslie trying to struggle with it.

The book shows how slow psychological healing and with facing the past and its’ ghosts, it could go a long way into healing some wounds that have never had the chance of healing properly. I felt a lot for Rita, who really had no one to turn to, and to confide in, while she was in her teenage years. It truly seemed as if she was really alone in the world but again, as I said, it’s very admiring how she managed to be determined to pick herself up on her feet to live her life the way she wants. Although I really had no love for Clara even though she survived through a lot of pain and misery I can’t help but dislike her for her treatment towards Rita. It certainly didn’t help Rita much during her childhood. Towards the end however, I felt ambivalent towards her especially when she says her point of view of things. It was hard to believe who was telling the truth or if Rita had selective memory.

I have to admit, this book actually drove me to tears at the end. The letter Leslie and her sister writes to their Grandmother is very touching and although they never had a chance to meet her, is filled with love and provides some sort of closure like this book provides closure to their mother.

Overall a wonderful touching memoir about the impact the Holocaust has on its’ victims and their children.

I give it a 10 out of 10.

Sunday Salon: Finishing and some changes

I’m on the verge of finishing a book (Bending Towards the Sun) and meanwhile I’m thinking of actually doing some changes to this blog. I also have a personal blog but am not using it, that’s on a paid host so I figured, since I’m investing so much time on this book blog I should move it to my paid server.

It’s easier said than done. So I’ll see what I can do 🙂 in the meantime, let’s hope I can get some reading done today.

What’s everybody reading today?

Review of Dark Hours

Dark Hours

Dark Hours

First I’d have to say, the cover of this book is interesting and it definitely suits the book. I really do like the red on black however that’s not what really got me into the book. I was surfing on Amazon for random books I might find that I would like and stumbled across this one. It peaked my interest and I decided to take it out from the library.

Dark Hours by Gudrun Pausewang, is a grandmother’s account of her life when she just turns sixteen to her young granddaughter who has just turned at that age. It takes place towards the end of World War II and features a girl named Gisel who, with her three brothers and Grandmother, had to leave their home to go towards Dresden as their town is about to be approached by the Russians. However while at a train station, air raid sirens hit, and in the mass confusion Gisel with her siblings (and a small girl named Lotte whom she meets at the station) they run towards a shelter, which then gets hit by bombs. Gisel is stuck there with a small amount of food and not much water and until they get rescued they have each other and a soldier on the other side of the wall whom they talk to through a pipe.

Sometimes with these kinds of books (where the characters are placed in a dire situation with no hope of getting out except by rescue) I get this sudden urge to just turn to the back of the book to see what happens (if they do get rescued or not) but I really tried not to do it with this book. I managed to resist temptation and wait it through until the end. I got myself hoping with Gisel that they will be rescued even though the situation looks extremely bleak.

The story is told in Gisel’s point of view and it’s an interesting one. She tells you how her life was when the war was going good for Germany and then how it started turning against them, you can feel her bitterness towards the war. Actually, you can feel it towards everybody in this book as now since the tide has turned, frequent visits to the air raid shelters are all over Germany, and talk against Hitler and the German government is also starting to rise. The idea of leaving all that she loved behind and having to take care of all her siblings (all younger than her) just enhances her bitterness towards the war. However throughout the book I admire Gisel’s strength and courage when they were stuck beneath the rubble waiting to be rescued. She does get impatient several times as any other older sibling would do when they’re stuck with their younger ones (Gisel especially gets annoyed with Lotte who’s a spoiled brat). I think it adds realism to her character and rounds her out very well.

I think her courage stemmed off from her brother Erwin who is a few years younger but acts very mature and helps Gisel when needed. I liked him as he provided the extra strength she needed to keep being positive and to survive. The other part is the solder who is also stuck underneath the rubble but is able to communicate to them with a pipe (he was on the other side of the wall). He provides Gisel with advice and also advises her to make as much noise as possible in the hopes of being heard and rescued quickly.

What I liked most about the book is Gisel’s ability to pull everybody together and to maintain a positive outlook while in times of duress. For someone who has barely just turned sixteen, she ages and matures quickly and you can actually hear her voice growing “older”.

There is no real plot in this book which may be a deterrent to some readers. The majority of the book takes place underneath the rubble and all you really read are Gisel’s thoughts. It may or may not draw readers in, so perhaps I would only recommend this book for World War II buffs. Otherwise, for those who aren’t, it certainly is worth a try. It’s a little over 200 pages so it should be a breeze for the majority of readers out there.

Overall an interesting account of someone who is on “the other side” of war. Albeit, with no real plot it’s certainly worth a look see.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Review of Playing House

Playing House

Playing House

First thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a review copy. I’ve read The Lie by the same author and although I couldn’t get used to it, it didn’t necessarily mean I didn’t like it. It was interesting but the writing style wasn’t something I was familiar with. I was a little hestitant about reviewing Playing House as I thought the writing style would be the same and perhaps a hard read as well.

Playing House is about a woman who’s had an incestious relationship with her brother when she was younger. At first, you’d think, she would struggle against this sort of thing. It’s obviously not normal and it’s certainly psychologically devestating. However, things starts to take a darker twist as she starts to accept this, and actually like it. As she grows older, and has different relationships with other men, she still has her mind on her brother and compares these men to her brother. As you read through the pages you see what goes through her mind and how her life just always revolves around her brother.

I knew it was going to be a hard topic to swallow. I read the synopsis before agreeing to review this book. Even though I was a little hesitant because Wagman’s writing style is very different. I was wrong. You won’t have that many problems reading this book it’s almost lyrical and poetic if not for the haphazard thoughts the narrator goes through. As for the topic, I knew what I was getting myself into, but I didn’t think it would be as bad as I thought it would be. There’s just parts that now stand out in my head and I can’t get it out and it just feels dirty. Don’t get me wrong it’s not as if I don’t like the book, in fact I thought it was interesting because of what goes through her mind and what the narrator does to go through her life always comparing everything to things she’s done with her brother. It’s just because of the topics you just feel almost dirty reading it. Perhaps Wagman had that in mind for her readers. I’m not sure.

I found it hard to sympathize with the narrator. She actually liked having sex with her brother and she wanted to be with him for the rest of her life. She starts taking a turn for the worse after her brother leaves and it’s just hard to like her. Her brother is just as bad, he’s cruel he’s horrible and everything about him is just wrong. You’d almost have to wonder if they’re both really meant for each other (even though they’re related) since he’s corrupted her and made her this way (at least, I think so).

The things I didn’t like about the book? the narrator’s thoughts are a little haphazard and all over the place. Also they blend in from the past, into present time so it’s a bit hard to follow. Otherwise, those that are a little sensitive to this kind of taboo content, it’s really not for you. There’s also some beastiality content so if you’re really not into any kind of sexual explicit material this is probably not the book for you.

Overall a very shocking book. One of the most psychologically draining books I have ever read up to this point. I really liked the narration though, despite its’ content, Wagman made it sound lyrical and poetic at times and I thought it was a job well done. It’s a short read (less than 200 pages) and although I don’t really recommend it, I wouldn’t say ignore it either as it’s something that should be read. It’s not everyday where you come across a book with taboo content but written well enough that it’s not trashy.

I give it a 6 out of 10.