Saturday, August 19, 2006

Review: The Ruins by Scott Smith

I hated this book. It consumed my entire week and was the only thing I read besides the latest fashion magazines. I stayed home to read it. I thought about it before going to bed. I told everyone at work about it. In the end, I felt like throwing it across the living room.
The Ruins opens in Cancun and introduces us to two couples who've just graduated from college and are in Mexico as a last fling before starting jobs and grad school. Eric and Stacy and Jeff and Amy meet several other foreign tourists; three Greek guys and a German named Mathias. Mathias' brother has disappeared into the jungle and left him a crudely drawn map of where he is. Mathias decides to go find his brother and Jeff volunteers himself, Eric, Stacy, and Amy to go with him. As they are all getting ready to leave, one of the Greeks whom they know as Pablo, arrives and wants to tag along. The group rides a bus to a distant town and then takes a cab into the dusty jungle. Trying to follow the map, they walk for several miles before coming upon a Mayan village. No one in the village will acknowledge their presence and so they turn around and start walking back to the road. Shortly after leaving, though, they find a concealed path that they are sure leads them to the archaeological dig where Mathias' brother is supposed to be. They come upon a hill covered with tangled green vines with bright red flowers in the middle of a strange clearing. Standing at the base of the hill they are startled to see several of the Mayans charging toward them with weapons. They are forced to climb the hill and quickly realize that the Mayans have surrounded the hill and trapped them there. The reason for this slowly unfolds over the next two days. I won't say why they are there in case you ever want to read this, but I will say that the sense of drama and foreboding is extremely realistic. The author has perfect timing and knows how to keep the reader hooked on his every word. I couldn't stop reading this and was thoroughly engaged with the story. However, I felt cheated at the end. It is a great story told by an excellent author, but caused great irritation in its conclusion.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What I Am Reading

I am reading several different books at the moment. Here is a list:

> The Ruins by Scott Smith
> The Brambles by Eliza Minot
> The Dead Hour by Denise Mina
> A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin
> Front Row, Anna Wintour by Jerry Oppenheimer

I am excited by these books and intend to finish all of them. I currently have 34 holds at the library so it looks like it will be a busy fall reading season for me. One of the books I am most anxious to get is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. As you know, I loved Twilight and have heard that New Moon is just as good and is a satisfying sequel. I think it comes out next week -- I am seriously considering buying it instead of waiting to get it from the library. I will try to review as many of the above as I can. I think it is good practice for me and helps me to describe them to patrons.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I'm mostly still in my mood. I've almost finished a travel book, but that is the only thing that's held my attention. I want to escape into a really meaty novel, but nothing appeals to me. I think travel books are my reading for the rest of the summer. I have a couple on Italy and one about Wales. I like them because they are exciting and full of adventure, but you can read them in small doses without losing the flavor of the book. I am attempting to read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -- we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Sure What to Do

I am having a reading depression. Everything I pick up dissatisfies me and I am very frustrated by my lack of interest. In times like these I usually turn to magazines or books that you don't have to concentrate on. I've been reading back issues of the Ensign and a travel book that has short chapters. I thought about starting a classics reading plan and I checked out The Color Purple, but I lost interest after the 2nd page. What is wrong with me? Do you ever get in these weird moods? I know it will go away soon, but dealing with it in the moment is irritating.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pure Trash (and I liked it!)

Hey, finally got some reading in this weekend. I'm a total binge reader. Alene and I went to a used book store on Saturday and I was weak and bought some romances. I love the paranormal junk because it is pure escape. So I read three books in three days. This is probably responsible for my insomnia. If I stay up past a certain time, the whole second wind thing kicks in and then I'm in trouble. I always stay up way too late when I'm reading. Read the first two books in a new vampire romance series by J.R. Ward. They were pretty good but racy and I skipped quite a few pages. The other was also a paranormal romance. I think it was titled Tiger Eyes. I liked it pretty well also. It was about a girl with an affinity for metal who belongs to a society of people with paranormal powers. She buys a riddle box in China that is like a genie's lamp and of course a hot guy pops out. Also racy with pages skipped. I can't wait for the sequels to Twilight. I think it is the only absolutely clean paranormal romance I've ever read.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Today I got several holds in that I have been waiting months for. I was so excited! I checked them out and got them home and eagerly read the first few pages of each one. Disappointment set in. I can immediatley tell whether I am going to like a book or not. Or if I am in the mood for it. The three books I got today were all take-backs. They were: The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes, Theft by Peter Carey and The Sultan's Seal by Jenny White. For various reasons, I just knew that I could not read any of them. I am a VERY picky reader and I never force myself to read something that I hate or even dislike. So, these will go back and I will await the next round of holds.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Too Much

I have too much to read! I am feeling pressure. I keep bringing home bags full of books from work because every day I hear about a new author, series, or book that inspires me to check it out. I found out a few days ago that the new Rebus novel is coming out in October and I really want to read the 4 mysteries leading up to the new one. I still want to finish the Bridgerton series. I checked out a few religious titles that I'd like to read. I am also reading a YA novel, a travel book, the 2nd Caroline Graham mystery, two Agatha Christies and I have 25 holds at the library! This is ridiculous. I'd like to get a handle on my check-outs, but it always seems I have at least 40 books out at a time. I am truly a book junkie! Despite all the chaos, the books that are really important to me always get read. I shouldn't panic because it all works itself out in the end, but I get anxiety nonetheless.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Book Review: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham

The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham is the first book in the Barnaby and Troy mystery series. Several of the novels have been made into TV movies and shown on A&E. The TV versions are very quirky and eccentric and though this novel had those elements, it was not as kooky as the movies.
Set in a small English village, The Killings at Badger's Drift revolves around the murder of Miss Emily Simpson, an elderly lady who was killed with hemlock. Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy suspect that Miss Simpson witnessed something in the woods near the village that she shouldn't have seen. Interviewing witnesses and reviewing the evidence convince Barnaby that one of the local villagers is the culprit. After a blackmailer is also murdered the pieces start to fall into place and Barnaby and Troy track down the killer before he/she strikes again.
I really liked the characterization in this mystery. As far as plots go it was okay -- i figured out who it was before Barnaby did. The main draw of these mysteries is the cozy English village setting and the interesting characters. I would recommend this novel -- I am starting on the second one in the series and would not mind reading all seven.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm back - finally

Ok, so I think I was a ding-dong and might have forgotten my user name, causing this whole "disappearing act". But no matter, I'm back now and love your review of Party Girl. I can't wait to read it. Marci and I heard the clinical director of Anasazi speak on addiction in her RS a couple of months ago. They've had a few kids in her area dying of overdoses, so they thought it necessary. I remember him mentioning a book called "The Disappearing Girl". Ever heard of it? I have meant to check it out but forgot about it until recently. With all my craziness, I haven't had much time to read lately. I am reading a little each night from Understanding Isaiah, a reference to help you understand the book of Isaiah (it think the title gives it away :). It's really fascinating but mostly digestible in small bites. Hopefully I will have some time to read this weekend.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Book Review: Party Girl by Sarah Mason

Party Girl is a light and funny Chick Lit novel full of hilarious characters and luscious British wit. Izzy Serranti is a party planner from London who, through her batty Aunt Winnie, gets a job planning a charity ball at Pantiles estate. Pantiles is owned by the notorious businessman Simon Monkwell whom Izzy spent several years growing up with on the estate. When he became a teenager their relationship changed and Izzy was bullied by Simon before she and her sister left the estate to live with Aunt Winnie. Fifteen years later, Izzy still has animosity toward him and agrees to plan the ball if she doesn't have to associate with Simon. Reconnecting with Simon's father Monty and brother Will reminds her of how much she loved the Monkwells in her youth and seeing Simon again turns out not to be as hard as she thought it might. Izzy spends several weeks at Pantiles with her adorable friend Dom and grows to admire Simon and his talents. A pet tarantula named Poppet, a merger Simon is conducting and a romance for Aunt Winnie all add to the charms of this lovely novel. The romance is slight, but the relationships among the characters and the quirkiness of the humor are fantastic. Highly Recommended!

Monday, June 5, 2006

I am Reading a Romance!

Can you believe it? You know how much I dislike them. However, I've found a series that I like. It is the Bridgerton family series by Julia Quinn. The first book is called The Duke and I. It is a regency romance -- set in the early 1800's in England. There are eight Bridgerton siblings and each book focuses on one of the siblings and their romances. I am liking The Duke and I so much that I plan to read the entire series.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Speaking of Audiobooks

I can't believe there was cursing in Ancient Greece! They were such noble people. Do you ever find it difficult to listen to audiobooks? The only one I've ever listened to straight through was Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. It was excellent. Mostly, though, I can't concentrate on them. And if I do listen, I start to long to have the printed words in front of me. There is something about reading the words myself that makes the book more real for me -- makes it a part of me.
I've just started reading a book called Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's non-fiction about a woman who's life is a constant drama, full of divorce and heartache, so she decides to live 4 months each in Italy, Indonesia and India. So far, it is funny and moving. I'll let you know how it goes.

It's me

I'm all set up! Anbolyn is fabulous!

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Reading Plan

Niesa here - reading plan? Hmmm, I'll have to think on that one. I'm generally too scatter brained to stick to any one thing. I swing back and forth between fiction and non-fiction and whatever strikes my fancy at the moment but I like the idea of a plan. With my recent trip home and 11 hours in a car, I rented "Gates of Fire" on audiocassette from the library. It is fiction based on the Persian invasion of Greece, the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.. It was fascinating but full of foul language. Who knew they used the f-word so much in ancient Greece? :) So I only listened to a couple of tapes and ended up turning it off. I would like to find the non-fiction account of that battle though. Maybe my reading plan will be ancient Greece. I'll keep you posted.

Summer Reading Plan

Do you have a summer reading plan? I want to. I want to read every book in a series or read a bunch of books on the same theme. I just need to decide what to do. Today I'm leaning toward reading all of the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. There are 21 of them and that should keep me occupied throughout the hot summer months. Two summers ago, when I lived in Arkansas, I got on a scary book kick. That is the summer I read Pet Semetary and scared the poo out of myself for several weeks. I probably shouldn't do the scary book thing again.