Tuesday, September 6, 2011

book butterfly -- august

Things definitely slowed down in the reading department for me this month, not only because of the start of school, but because I started it out reading a bear of a book.  That took up some time!  In the end, I'm just happy to get in the reading I did.  Next month will look quite different I am sure!

The Count of Monte Cristo

"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexander Dumas

really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating)

In the words of Ramona Quimby, age 8: "I can't believe I read the whole thing!" This is one bohemoth of a book at just under 1500 pages. Perhaps 10% of the book was made into the movie many years ago (one of my favorites, Jim Caviezel...yum) and even that 10% was radically different from the book version.

The book has so much more to do with Edmond Dantes' life after escaping prison (about 1200 pages worth!) and his setting up the deaths and failures of those four men who took his life, love, and family away by deceit just hours before his wedding at age 20.

There are many subplots and many many MANY characters--so many so that I felt I should be keeping notes as I was reading. Most of the characters end up related or interconnected in some way, so that gets a bit confusing at times too. It was pretty quick-moving for such a large book, not wordy at all, just full of lots of dialogue and story.

One thing that made me laugh: the ability of women to faint when and wherever they felt apt to. One of my favorite lines from the book went something like "...she tried valiantly to faint, but finding this impossible, she gave up and..." Were women's constitutions just weaker back in the 1800s?
One thing that kind of bothered me: the Count's omniscience. He seemed to know everything about everyone, including their past and histories, their financial and geneological records... all after spending 14 years in prison. It wasn't really explained how he knew these things (other than he had access to LARGE sums of money?), or for example, how he knew a set of horses were going to spook and take off, endangering the lives of the carriage-riders, so he'd be in a position to save them. I know the book was translated from its initial french, so perhaps some things were lost in translation.

In the end, I am highly impressed with Dumas' book (don't even ask how my husband finds amusement in the last name), at the complicated and amazing tale he wrote, and recommend it to anyone with 2 weeks of free time on their hands. :)

So there you go, a mammoth review for a mammoth book.


Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum, #10)

"Ten Big Ones" (Stephanie Plum series) by Janet Evanovich

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

Again, we read this out loud. The fun part about this book is that Stephanie, in evading the gang member contract killer, finds one of Ranger's haunts and lives in it secretly while he is out of town. That was both funny and exciting, because you knew at any moment he could come home and find her squatting in his pent house suite.


The Hiding Place (Hendrickson Classic Biographies)

"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

Not only is it absolutely amazing and inspiring what the Ten Booms did for Jews during the 30s and 40s (and beyond), but they were so completely faithful while doing it, never losing sight of a loving Heavenly Father who only wanted the best for his children--all of them, even the German soldiers. It's hard to read biographical works such as this; sometimes its just so hard to believe one group of people could actually treat another in such a revolting way. Thank heavens there were people like Corrie Ten Boom to make things a little easier for those in need, all the while willing to suffer right along with them.



"Phantom" by Susan Kay

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

Well I had really high hopes for this one, since I love the story of Phantom, the music, the play, the movie, etc. I was really interested to read about Phantom's back story on how he became such an amazing musican, magician, architect, and engineer. However, the story took a long time to get anywhere and I found myself skimming a lot.


Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)

"Hush Hush #1" by Becca Fitpatrick

really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating)

Another great YA fantasy; nearly read this all in one night, which means I really liked it. I heard from so many people that this was a Twilight rip-off, but you know what? I don't see it. Pretty much the only similarity I see is that teenage girl falls for paranormal boy who protects her over and over--oh and that they meet in Biology class and she looks him up on the internet. Other than that, it's very much its own plot and story. I look forward to the next one.


Bumped (Bumped, #1)

"Bumped #1" by Megan McCafferty

really liked it (my current rating) really liked it (my current rating)

This was a tough one...I was appalled from the start about the premise (dystopian society, teenagers are the only ones who can get pregnant, so they are basically pimped out as surrogates to the highest bidder), but I was also curious about it and really hoped there'd be a good message in the end.

The fact that the story was intriguing enough to cause me to read it all in one day should earn it more stars. However, not only was the subject matter rather coarse, what happens to most of the characters is pretty awful, and, like "Pretties" and "Uglies", this dystopian society has it's own language that just grates. on. my. nerves. so. much.

I also didn't like that from the start, the 'crazy' one was the morally upright churchy girl who wanted to wait for marriage, whereas her twin was the 'normal' pimped out ready-to-breed for money character. You can just guess how those two's stories played out.

This one 90% wrapped up, but I can kind of see how there could be another. I really doubt I'll pick it up.


Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum, #11)

"Eleven on Top" (Stephanie Plum series) by Janet Evanovich

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

The thing that made this installment different (and fun) is that Stephanie quits work at the Bounty Hunter office and starts and quits/is fired from job after job, and eventually ends up working with Ranger which I LOVE and hope (but doubt) the author will continue on in the next book.


Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)

"Crescendo (Hush Hush #2)" by Becca Fitzpatrick

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

This kept me pretty engaged and flummoxed 'til the end regarding who the bad guy truly was. It did get a wee bit confusing at the end. You know me, I'm ok with one or two fantastical elements but when every single character ends up being something other worldly, well, I lose interest. Also, the first one wrapped up neatly...this one ends on a cliff hanger. Urg!!

Now I've heard a lot of comparisons to Twilight with this series...there were a couple of similarities in the first book, but I was willing to overlook them. But when within the first 50 pages of the second book, Nora and Patch had broken up and she was doing Dangerous things in order to keep him in her life, well, I have to concede that those basic plot-lines definitely follow the Twilight/New Moon story arc! However, having said that, the rest of the story is very original and well done, and I still recommend it. :)

OH, and PS: can anyone explain to why these are named Hush,Hush and Crescendo? Is it just me or these really lame titles?


The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)

"The Iron King #1" by Julie Kagawa

liked it (my current rating)

Gave up, it just wasn't grabbing me. And then at the first mention of Faeries, I was outta there. I just don't care for books with faeries, I can't explain it. Yawn-fest.



So, that one doesn't really count. . . read 8, gave up on the 9th.  What have you been reading?  Recommend anything good?


laurie said...

i enjoy reading your book reviews to see what is out there. i don't get through near as many books but you always seem to read a few that i write down on my list! if i ever go back to school for my phd in reading i am going to sequester your brain for research!

leaner said...

I just finished Iron King, and am reading Iron Daughter. Meh. Really not loving it. But a friend said the 3rd book is really good, and since I like to bury myself in series I will read them.

So that is what I am reading right now.

Jennifer ♥ said...

I'm amazed at how much you read each month!! I've only read 2 books in my entire life (for pleasure as an adult).

Jan Garber said...

I love Janet,too, but who are you reading these out loud to?? I know it's not the kids!! LOL! I definately want to read "The Hiding Place" now! I am in a "Sarah's Key" mode, and want to see that movie! If still at Arrowhead, wanna go?

Anonymous said...

I also love The Hiding Place. If you are ever feeling sorry for yourself, or if you ever think your life is hard, read this book and you'll suddenly be thankful for every little thing-- stuff like a bar of soap.