Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Genre:  Fantasy, Metaphysical, Historical
Order Online: Amazon.com  
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 2 stars   
Borrowed this book from library.  

In A Nutshell:  
While I loved the world that Erin Morgenstern created, I am not sure that this book was the best to tackle as an audiobook.  While the audiobook easily conveyed the magic and artistry of the world, the multiple story lines spanning different periods of time were sometimes hard to follow.

I love audiobooks.  I love Jim Dale narrating audiobooks.  So when I found out that this book was narrated by Jim Dale, I could not wait to get my hands on it.  Admittedly I may have had unreasonable expectations based on my love of Jim Dale's narrations, but I was not overwhelmingly impressed with this story.

I think part of my lackluster feelings come from the choppy way the story is brought together.  We are following multiple story lines across multiple points in time.  And all of these story lines were hard to follow--which may not have been as much trouble if I had had the hardcopy so I could refer back to it. 

I am also still not 100% sure I am satisfied with the ending--and I waited all day to write this to see if I could decide how I felt and I still cannot really decide how I feel.  I felt like there were stories that were not left without an explanation in the end which is a little frustrating to me.  And even some of the answers I got seemed to lack some of the pageantry and ingenuity that made the rest of the story so magical.  At the end I felt underwhelmed.

What I did love--what absolutely kept me coming back despite my frustration with the choppy narrative--was the descriptions.  Erin Morgenstern created a world that was full of magic and wonder.  I want the Night Circus to come to my town so I could spend time in the tents and experience the artistry and magic that she described.  I want to be dazzled by Celia or Poppet and Widget or Tsukiko or really there are too many performances to choose from.  So in that case, I want to travel with the Reveurs and have a shock of red against a nice black and white suit so I have an opportunity to see them all.  Erin Morgenstern's descriptions have been the first and only time I truly understood why someone would want to "run away and join the circus."

I love Jim Dale, so I immediately starting looking for the next book I can get to listen to him and decided to add this one to my TBR:

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

Genre:Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires  
Order Online: Amazon.com  
Previous Review of Series: here
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 3 stars   
Borrowed book from the library. 

In A Nutshell:  
After the frustration with Bloody Valentine, I admit that I did not jump into Lost In Time with the highest or most positive expectations. But I am so glad that I did finally pick it up because it was so much better and more engaging than I expected. 

After reading Bloody Valentine, I was so disappointed that it almost made me want to stop reading this series.  But I am glad I gave Lost In Time a chance because it brought back many of the aspects of the series that I had grown to love.  In particular, I really loved how Melissa de la Cruz was able to string together three completely separate storylines (specifically Jack/Schuyler, Allegra/Ben/Charles, and Mimi/Kingsley/Oliver) without losing continuity or having the elements cross over between the storylines causing confusion.

The one issue that is very frustrating for me is the repeated references to Florence.  I feel like we (as readers) have been patient with the references to this life style without substance and context.  There were numerous times throughout this book where I wanted to scream "what happened in Florence--tell me already!"

But overall, I felt more drawn into the story of Mimi/Kingsley/Oliver.  I found that I started to see Mimi as more than a shallow bitch--she revealed more emotion and more depth than I expected after stories up to this point.

After this one, I feel more optimistic about tackling a book that has been on my TBR pile for a while:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Mysteries & Detectives, Family Life
Order Online: Amazon.com
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 4 stars
Borrowed this book from the library. 

In A Nutshell:
When I first heard about this book, I was not sure what to expect.  Would it feel too much like a picture book to hold the attention of an adult?  But I kept hearing people talk about it so I took the plunge.  This book is not like any picture book I have ever read before.  Yes, some elements of the story only come out in the illustrations, but the story that Brian Selznick weaves is much more complicated and full of intrigue than any other picture book I have ever read.

Hugo has been left alone in the train station where his uncle (who was serving as his reluctant guardian) serviced all of the clocks.  Afraid of what could happen to him if the officials at the train station learn he is alone, Hugo has taken over servicing all of the clocks hoping that no one notices him.  As this story unfolded, I really felt terrible on Hugo's behalf.  He went from a very loving and caring household with his father, to feeling like a nuisance and an inconvenience.

This loss of the connection he felt with his father led Hugo to fixate on the one physical thing that he still has to connect to his father.  And through the illustrations, we are able to capture some of the nuances and impact of Hugo's feelings and reactions more realistically than I imagine we would in a written text.  We see his face and how his expressions change the same way we would an acquaintance or a friend.  And that is the progression that Hugo made for me over the course of the story--he went from being an acquaintance I wanted to understand to a friend I valued.

But Brian Selznick did not just create one endearing character, he created a whole cast of them.  From the Station Inspector Hugo is constantly hiding from to the Etienne the friend who starts the chain reaction that brings Rene Tabard to Georges Melies' door, there is so much complexity and intrigue that I did not want the story to end.  Even now I want to know what happened after--what adventures did Isabel and Hugo go on after the final scene? 

I just saw that Brian Selznick has another book out--and now I have to read it!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

TBR Intervention (15)

I am still working on the books I started for my last TBR--and my big lesson for this week is that 800 page books take a long time to read (you would think I knew that already right?).

This Week

If I can finish these books--my next book is going to be:

I have been focusing on making changes in my life to be healthier and to set a healthier example for my daughter.  This goal will not change all of the books I read--but periodically I want to read some that teach me something about living healthier.

Summary (from back):
Tired of dieting?  Are you eating nonfat and carb-free foods that don't satisfy?  Then stop!  You've been wrecking your metabolism with yo-yo fad diets and chemical-filled nonfoods.  Jillian Michaels is here to repair the damage and retrain your hormones and endocrine system.

Master Your Metabolism is a simple three-phase plan that amps up your weight-loss hormones and kicks those fat-storing hormones to the curb.  You'll learn how to:
  • Remove antinutrients and toxins, which are slowing your metabolism.
  • Restore natural whole foods to your diet--foods that will rally your fat-burning hormones.
  • Rebalance your hormones by sleeping, dealing with stress, and exercising in ways that will manage them best.
Master Your Metabolism teaches you how to reach your optimum health and weight and transform your body into the ultimate healthy, fat-fighting machine. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Follow (20)

Q: You are a matchmaker -- your goal, hook up two characters from two of your favorite books. Who would it be? How do you think it would go?

In a non-romantic pairing, I think that Stephanie Plum from the series starting with One for the Money  and Kinsey Millhone from the series starting with A is for Alibi should meet.   I feel like if they did meet they may even go into a very successful business together where they do PI work and catch bail jumpers.

In more of a romantic pairing, I think Hannah from Delirium and Gale from The Hunger Games should meet. I can't say that this pairing is based on anything more than these were two characters that I really loved in the books that did not seem to find a happy ending (note: I haven't read Pandemonium yet so that could affect my perception of Hannah). But I do think they both had a desire to rebel against the society they were raised in--in some ways a stronger desire than the protagonists in the books. The difference was that they did not have the same opportunity to display that desire to the world that the protagonists had. So I think they would understand things about each other that no one--not even their closest friends would understand.