Thursday, May 2, 2013

book butterfly reviews -- april

All I have to say is, thank goodness for audio books.  Because it is easily 9pm at night before I sit down to do any school work, paperwork for the house(s), and ultimately personal reading.

I started work full-time this week, and a Monday-Friday 8-5 job is so beyond what I've ever had experience with prior. . . other than home daycare (which was really more 7-6) but that was in my own home.  :)  Anyway, just this week with the 8-5 and then next week starts three 12s/week.  I look forward to hitting the floor for the first time.  (the Post-Op/Ortho floor in the Med-Surg unit, that is, I have all intentions of avoiding the actual floor)

Here's what I read in April:

The Scorpio Races

"The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater

4 of 5 stars false

Puck Connolly lost her parents to the giant mystical water horses years earlier, and is about to lose her home. She meets Sean Kendrick, the four-year winner of the Scorpio Races, in which these dangerous and deadly horses raced, some to the death. The mystery surrounding both Sean and the supernatural horses intrigues Puck, and she cannot stay away...from him, the races, or the idea of the victor's prize money.

I listened to this on Audio CD, and I kid you not, I found excuses to sit in my car and listen to the beautiful voices telling this story. The legends of these water horses is based on a fictional island of Thisby, somewhere near cliffs of Ireland? Scottland? Not sure. The readers are English, and perfect. But they portrayed the various characters and accents so is very entertaining.

I really really enjoyed this story. I give it a solid 4.5 stars--saving my 5-star ratings for those books I would read over and over again--and recommend it strongly for anyone who enjoys a light fantastical story with elements of low and slow-boiling romance.

*Light spoilers*

I just wanted to mention that my favorite line has to do with Puck and Sean first starting to fall for each other. (It's no surprise, right, that this is a girl-meets-boy story, so I can mention that they do become a couple?) Sean is giving pointers to Puck as far as racing and safety, and listening to the ocean and feeling the spirit of her horse beneath her. As they will be racing side-by-side for ultimately the same prize, she stops him.

"I say, 'I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.'
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, 'It's late for that, Puck."

Yeah, I swooned.(less)


A Study in Scarlet  (Sherlock Holmes, #1)

"Sherlock Holmes #1 A Study in Scarlet" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

didn't like it (my current rating)

I can't even give a synopsis of this book because it was so boring, I don't want to bore readers by recounting it. Because of the absolute success of present Sherlock-esque television shows and movies, I am blown away at how bad it really is. I was AMAZED at the lack of depth in this book. Hearing about Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle all my life, I really thought this would be better. It was not. It was flat. It was boring. There was no character development. If these were written today, I really doubt any publisher would even pick them up. I picked this up around January...I still haven't finished it.

Then of course at the half-way point (when I've ceased to care about Sherlock or Watson), the story shifts to Utah and a man that comes upon Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Prophet Brigham Young. His portrayal of church members and their worship of the prophet and references to Joseph Smith were very off-putting. I don't know where Sir Doyle got his information, but I was disappointed at his lack of research into my people. He wrote them very cult-like and controlling, forcing one female character to become the 8th wife of someone against her will. I may never know how this tied into Sherlock Holmes in Britain, because I didn't even finish and likely won't pick up another. Bah.



"Afterwards" by Rosamund Lupton

4 of 5 stars false

I didn't love this one as much as Lupton's "Sister", but it was still very well written. Gracie and her daughter are the victims of a terrible school fire, and because of this are in coma-like states in the hospital. Their souls/spirits are outside their body, observing all around them. They follow their family in sadness, listen in on the police investigation, and try themselves to solve the mystery of who the arsonist was and why he would target an elementary school.

The concept was a good one--these characters obviously can't speak to the living or sway any one's opinions, and it is heartbreaking watching them wish they could interact with their loved ones, help dissolve feelings of guilt and sadness. The story keeps you guessing all along regarding "whodunnit", so it is exciting that way.

Another tear jerker, but a good one. I would continue to read books by this author. (caution, profanity)


The Confession

"The Confession" by John Grisham

4 of 5 stars false

Dante Drum is about to be executed for a murder he didn't commit. Meanwhile, the true killer has confessed to a priest the whodunnits of the case. Though he's not sure he wants to come clean to the world, he doesn't want to send an innocent man to his death. What follows is example after example of what is wrong with our justice system today.

1) this was the first Grisham book I've read in years and It.Was.Fantastic.

2 )I listened to it on audio book and was amazed every time the reader changed his inflection for the different characters; made it very easy to follow along.

3) fascinating story and plot. The murderer is this foul repeat sex offender who has spent half his life in the prison system. He's sick. Literally, he has a brain tumor and is dying. But he is also literally and figuratively sick with a fetish for teenage girls. *shiver*

4) Very well laid-out with some surprises here and there. Very much enjoyed this one, although it was a bit dark and creepy at times.

5) Very strong characters in the murderer, the priest, the accused, the accused family, the victim's family, the judge, and most importantly, the lawyer. All very well-written.

I know Grisham books aren't for everyone. I've read just about every one and there are some definite winners and humdrums in there. This one joins the list of my Grisham faves.



"Persuasion" by Jane Austen

didn't like it (my current rating)

The more Austen I read, the less respect I have for her. I know, classics of the times, yadda yadda yadda, but honestly, is there any other plot other than Poor family, 3 daughters, father is in debt which inspires a change of dwelling, marry the daughters off, love interest is a Captain, damsel in distress is laid up and needs a long period of rehabilitation, a vicious overheard rumor is nearly the undoing of them all, yawwn.

Technically, this is about Anne who had an engagement with Captain Wentworth (and ensuing misunderstanding) eight years earlier. They are reuinted later, she still very enraptured by him, he seemingly disinterested. That's about all I got out of it while trying to pay attention.

Wondering if I read the same book as all my friends who gave this 5 stars. I strain to give it 1.5. I probably wouldn't have finished it except it was super short and I finished it in 2 days on audio CD.


Mail Order Man (Ladies of Larkspur, #1)

"Mail Order Man (Ladies of Larkspur #1)" by Heather Gray

3 of 5 stars false

Sarah's town is infested with men and mail, answering an anonymous ad for a mail order husband. She runs the post office in town, and has a responsibility of parceling out and sorting the letters. In the meantime, she meets Samuel, who is in town for a different purpose. As the town is over run by mysterious shady men, he becomes a security figure and the object of Sarah's affections.

This was written by a personal friend of mine, my best friend throughout high school. This is her first book and very solidly written for a first-time author. (And can I add right now how proud I am of her!?). It was cute, light, sweet, with some great Christian messages. I have read some excerpts from other books that will follow in this series, and am excited to read more about the ladies in the town of Larkspur.

On a side note, I know both the author and the main characters have quite the obsession with coffee. I am not a coffee drinker, so that entire section wasn't as amusing to me as it might be to someone else. I did enjoy the little bit of mystery and excitement with the shoot out. The love story was very enjoyable as well. Great job, Heather!


Not too bad, eh?  Some really good ones in the bunch.  What are you reading?

1 comment:

tif-do said...

Your doing so much better than me, I haven't read a book since December. Makes me feel sort of uneducated!