June 12th, 2009


Book advice needed

Hi, I am a new member, and I love books and I hope to find a place where I can talk and read about books.
But now I have a specific purpose in mind. I have a friend, who is seriously ill. We talked about how I can help her. She said she would love having some new books to read - funny, smart, optimistic books.
And I know none of these. And she has already read P.G. Woodehouse.
Help me, please. I am afraid just to order stuff randomly, because
1) I want the books to be really good, and
2) it is important that the books do not contain anything about dying, diseases, hospitals, etc. Which is impossible to guarantee without reading the book from cover to cover.
So please, any advice on what might fit the bill?
Thank you in advance.

Sally Lockheart Mysteries- The Ruby in the smoke.

Title: The Rudy in the Smoke.
By: Philip Pullman
Series: Book # 1
Rating: A+
Summary: When she first uttere these worlds, sixteen year old, sally Lockheart doesn't know their meaning when an employee of her late father hears them he dies of fear. Thus begins Sally's terrifying journey into the seamy underworld of Victorian London, in search of clues that will slove the puzzle of her father's death. Pursued by villains and cuttthroats at every turn, she at last uncovers two dark mysteries. One involves the opium trade; the other, a stolen rudy of enormous value. Sally soom learns that she is the key to both- and that it's worth her very life to find out. ( Summary thanks to the back of the book, which I do not read still just now.)

My review: Well, love was not at first sight, I did fall in love. The first 70 or so page are not great but if you can just trend water until then. You found youself with a book glue to your hand, you will eat, sleep( okay maybe not sleep) and drink while reading this book. I'm so hooked that if my library copy is check out, I'm going straight out and buying the second book.

My next read: the 13 tale by Diane Setterfield, I heard great thing about this book, so I pick it up.

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The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Lexicon The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the things that makes for an unsuccessful fantasy book involving magic is the dismissal of guidelines and the rampant ability to pull magical secrets out from under a metaphorical hat to save the day in astounding feats of greatness the reader never would have guessed otherwise. But magic has rules, after all, and rules were either meant to be broken or, for the safety of all those involved, followed.

Rules add drama and suspense; they give the characters a chance to use their brains and think their way out of a tight magical spot; they doom others and spare a few. Rules can be quite unforgiving if one is not carefully paying attention. Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon is a book hinged on magic, careful and consequential magic with powerful enchantments and dangerous potential. When Nick and Alan Ryves’ mother stole a charm from Black Arthur, one of the most powerful and feared wizards their side of the Atlantic, she unleashed a series of events that would keep their family on the run for the next 16 years.

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Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

In search of something more than a monotonous existence, seventeen year old Fenfang leaves her family and their provincial way of life for the seething city of Beijing. There, she tries to satisfy her insatiable hunger with instant noodles, Western literature, hot coffee, and movies, but her resigned acceptance and blank face fail to cover her longing and vulnerability. Finally, after four lost years, Fenfeng begins to feel like her life has begun. She’s twenty-one, has found work as a movie extra, and believes this will be the catalyst for great changes in her life.
The story is told in twenty brief chapters brimming with deadpan humor and shining with Fenfeng’s resiliency amidst squalor and failed relationships. Xiaolu Guo writes short, sharp prose that captures the hard edge of youthful angst. Her infectious novel is written with an authentic and idiosyncratic voice that brings to mind the way Holden Caulfield spoke to disaffected youth. With a fierce honesty, Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth will transfix and transport you as Fenfeng comes of age and finds her place.

An excerpt:
“My youth began when I was twenty-one. At least, that’s when I decided it began. That was when I started to think that all those shiny things in life—some of them might possibly be for me. If you think twenty-one sounds a bit late for youth to start, just think about the average Chinese peasant, who leaps straight from childhood to middle age with nothing in between. If I was going to miss out on anything, it was middle age. Be young or die. That was my plan.”

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I really enjoyed this... however, I wish I had read the book before seeing the movie :/

I couldn't get Kiera Knightley's face, or whatever her name is, out of head while reading. I like imagining things for myself lol.

Briony Tallis thoroughly creeps me out.

That being said ... did any of you like this? Any thoughts?

I thought it was pretty unique. And, of course, the green dress Kiera wore in the movie was beautiful. lol

Kitty: Angry Calico

Armstrong, Kelley: Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy (2007)
Written by: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 480

The premise: Nadia Stafford is a former cop who was shamed out of the force, and now has to deliver justice through unconventional means: she's a hitwoman, but a hitwoman with a conscience. Normally a solo-act, but when a serial killer starts a killing spree across the U.S. and the clues point to a former hitman, Nadia hooks up with others in her profession to find the killer and take him down, before he brings down all of them. To do this, Nadia must use everything experience has taught her, and to transform herself from predator to prey. She's got to catch him, before he catches her.

My Rating

Must Have: now, I can't say whether it's a must-have for a mystery guru, as I'm no regular reader of the mystery genre. But I get ENOUGH mystery in the genres of urban fantasy and even science fiction that I recognize something good when I see it, and when I consider that growing up, my favorite television shows were MacGyver, Profiler, Batman: The Animated Series, and Alias (well, I was an "adult" by time Alias came out, but bear with me), I feel like I know enough to enjoy a good book in the genre when I read it. For Kelley Armstrong fans, this book is DEFINITELY a must, though you won't find it in SF/F/H. I've found this series in both the mystery/thriller shelves and just in regular fiction, so when you're looking in the store, make sure you exhaust all possibilities. ANYWAY: anyone who's a fan of, say, Alias, is going to really enjoy this: Nadia is a fantastic heroine, and the world of hitmen/hitwomen is definitely fascinating. I loved the cast, the level of tension that keeps pages turning at a deliberate pace, and the mystery holding the whole story together of the Helter Skelter Killer was just a lovely excuse (and a well-played plot) that gave me a chance to get to know these people. I promptly bought book two, Made To Be Broken as soon as I finished this one, because while this book is certainly a stand-alone, the writing and characters are too good not to continue as soon as possible. I really, really enjoyed this, and it's definitely worth the time and money. Check it out.

Review style: Stream-of-conscious review style, but don't worry, no spoilers for this one. If you're interested, the full review is in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: Kelley Armstrong's EXIT STRATEGY

Happy Reading! :)