Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On Folly Beach

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Well this is an exciting review for me because it is the very first review I have ever done for a publisher!  A few months ago a very nice lady from Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media contacted me, and wanted to see if I would like to read a few of their new releases and blog to all you wonderful readers about them.  I eagerly accepted her generous offer and then proceeded to blog about all the horrid books I had been reading lately.  I am sure that this wonderful publishing lady was kicking herself in the butt wondering why she gave these books to a snarky blogger that has nothing good to say about anything she had read recently {but what can I say I'm an honest blogger and I'm going to tell it like it is}.  

Fortunately I only have very fabulous things to say about On Folly Beach by Karen White.  The Characters were all delightful, the story was interesting and you wanted to keep reading "one more chapter" before you had to do something else {and then one more chapter after that}.  And like most Southern Literature it made you want to move on down to the deep south and get wrapped up into their easy way of life.  Plus {and this is a big ol' bonus for moi} but half of the story was  in modern time and the other half was in the 1940s during WWII! I had no idea that it would be jumping back and forth between two stories and two time eras and I was quite pleasantly surprised because I heart historical fiction especially anything having to do with WWII! 

So let me give you a little run down so you know what to expect with On Folly Beach.  In the very beginning we meet Emmy {in modern time}, she has just learned that her husband Ben has been killed in Afghanistan, and her life simply stops.  She can't get over his tragic death and her Mom Paige talks her into leaving their family home in Indiana and move to Folly Beach South Carolina to purchase a book shop that is for sale there.  Emmy is a literature and book lover and she has a degree in Library Science, and she begrudgingly takes her mothers advice and heads to South Carolina to start a new life and run the book shop Folly's Finds.  When she arrives she slowly falls in love with the people there, and her new shop, but only through the help of some long lost love letters that she finds between the pages of some of the old books in the shop.  The love letters are written by two star crossed lovers and Emmy is determined to find out who these lovers were and what happened to them.  As the mystery unravels you learn a lot about Folly, the lovers, and Emmy's pain of letting go.  The story jumps between Emmy and her sleuthing and the lovers and their lives on Folly during WWII.

This book is a perfect summer read.  Grab it before your next vacation and find a shady place in the sand with a good drink at your fingertips and enjoy every sentence of this beautiful story.  I highly recommend this to anyone that love Southern Literature, Historical Fiction, Book Club groups.  Enjoy it and review it and let the reading world know that it is a great read!!!

BOOK vs. MOVIE:  No movie but if there were I'd bet it would be a tear jerker!

RATING: 4 stars

3 More Reviews of On Folly Beach:

On Folly Beach by Karen White
{Publisher Copy}
ISBN 9780451229212
Pages 416

If you liked On Folly Beach then please read:  The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

Monday, July 12, 2010

In The Woods

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Oh Tana French, you better put up your dukes because you and I are in a fight, and I have a mean left hook!  How can you write such an exquisite book and leave us so unsatisfied?  It really is just unfair!  I mean we read and read this semi-chunkster of a mystery novel and the "whodoneit" is riveting, and extraordinarily frightening, and then as the mystery unravels you leave us with more questions than answers!  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I just need one more chapter please!!!  I am begging you, just give me one more little chapter!!!  Maybe an epilogue, another installment, something I beg you!  Please!!  

I must mention here that I don't really like mystery novels but if Tana French wrote another 429 page sequel, or even added another 429 pages to In The Woods I would have devoured every last word.  French is a beautiful writer, this story was heart wrenching, scary has hell, and so real.  In fact {even though Tana and I won't be on speaking terms for a bit, while I try and forgive her for not satisfying my reading experience} I understand why Tana didn't tie up all the loose ends, because in reality life isn't perfect, there are always dangley bits and bad decisions, and cold cases.  And most of the time you don't expect that from a book.  You can start a book and be pretty sure that there will be a "Once upon a time" and a "Happily ever after", but French takes that theory and stomps on it.  And I guess I'm coming around as I write this because I guess I kinda want to say "Thank you Tana" maybe I'm not as mad at you as I was before.  I understand why you left us with more questions than answers.  I LOVED your book dangley bits and all.

So I guess you are wondering what all that was about so I have to give you a little synopsis here.   Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox are Murder detectives in Ireland {oh by the way my Irish brogue got really good in my mind}.  They are given a case of a murdered 12 year old girl in a little town called Knocknaree in County Dublin.  The girl was found murdered and sexually assaulted on an archeological dig site in the town right out side of the forest.  However, Detective Ryan secretly has a strange connection to the case, because about 20 years before hand, Ryan and his two best friends went into those very same woods to play and 2 of them disappeared never to be seen again.  The only one that knows about Detective Ryan's connection to the case is his partner Cassie, and as the two detectives unravel the modern case, detective Ryan is trying to make sense of the old cold case that he had been involved in years before.     

If you like mystery novels, if you like Ireland, if you like things that go bump in the night, if you don't like things that go bump in the night, heck if you like to read, you should pick this book up.  Like I mentioned before, the story telling is exquisite, reading this book was a treat, and Tana French is a jewel of an author.  And even though I am still a little sore with her, I would recommend this book to anyone.  I read this for our book club and we had a great time discussing our theories, thoughts, and opinions.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did despite the fact you might want to cry with frustration at the end.  And Tana, if I ever meet you "in the woods" I'm going to tie you to a tree until you give me some answers!!  I'm just joking.  Maybe.  (:      

BOOK vs. MOVIE:  I am really surprised that this book hasn't been optioned for a film yet.  For a couple of reasons, first, the book would make an amazing movie.  The suspense alone would keep people on the edge of their seats.  Second, the author is actually an actor.  You would think that she would want to have this made into some sort of film.  Maybe even play Cassie {I pictured Cassie looking just exactly like French's picture on the book jacket}.

RATING: 4 starts {I just couldn't give it 5 because I wanted so much more}

3 more reviews of In The Woods by Tana French:

In The Woods by Tana French
(Library Copy)
ISBN 9780670038602
Pages 429

If you liked In The Woods then read: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


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Have you ever been a room where someone is watching TV, and someone is playing a computer game, and someone else is talking to someone else, and the phone is ringing, and the dog is barking, and micro-wave is dinging, and a baby is crying, and you just want to stand on a chair and scream at the top of you lungs to just "SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP"!  Well that is how Lullaby is but in literary form.  And the funny thing is...  I kinda loved it!!  I mean the big kind of love where you can't stop talking about it, you wanna buy it in hardback, you want to sleep with it under your pillow, and you want everyone else to love it just as hard as you do.  I just have to say, Chuck Palahniuk, where have you been all my life??  I think most of us would recognize Chuck Palahniuk's work from Fight Club which is one of my favorite movies of all time (though I haven't read the book yet), and if you can picture the darkness of Fight Club you can understand the darkness of Lullaby.  The humor is DARK, and DRY, and the story is DISTURBING, and the prose are GRUESOME, but even so this book is hysterical (even though sometimes you feel like it is inappropriate to laugh, and you might feel the need to take a shower after reading it), and it really gets you thinking about life and death.  If you have a weak stomach move on, you won't want to digest this book.  But if you are up for some mind Olympics, and some amazing writing dive right in please!

So in this book we meet Carl Streator, investigative journalist extraodinaire.  He prides himself on not missing the details when he is on an assignment and that is how he gets himself into the mess in this story.  Carl is assigned a 5 part article on SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), he heads out to a families house that sadly have just lost their little one to this strange Syndrome.  While Carl is looking over the nursery he notes a library book on the bedside table opened to a nursery rhyme (a culling song) on page 27.  On the second house call to a victim of SIDS he notices the same library book, and on and on it goes.  So he reads the rhyme on the page and recites it to his editor who dies.  Now Carl is off on a wild goose chase through the U.S. (with 2 Wiccans {Mona & Oyster}, and an eccentric real estate agent that sells haunted houses{Helen Hoover Boyle}) to find the remaining copies of this book and destroy them.  The only thing is, that every time Carl recites the Culling Song (even in his head) someone dies.  That is all I'm gonna say.  There is SOOOOOOO much more to this book than the little bit I have just mentioned.  There is Carl's story, Helen's Story, Mona and Oysters story, the characters fight for power, twists, turns, dead ends, death, carnage, cell phone calls, talking cows, flying Virgins, more twists, more turns, more dead ends, and can you tell why I gave the loud room analogy earlier?

Like I mentioned before, don't read this book if you are easily sick or if you are easily offended.  There is gore and offensiveness a plenty.  But do pick this book up if you want something SUPER different to read.  Or if you want to laugh out loud.  Or if you want to discuss the heck out of it with me!  The only regret I have is that I didn't actually read this book but listened to the Audiobook.  Though the reader Richard Poe was FANTASTIC!  You won't regret reading this little gem, unless of course you do regret it, and then I warned you about the gore.

BOOK vs. MOVIE: There has been some interest in this book for a movie adaption by the director of Fight Club.  There is also a rumor that a Swedish director may pick up the project.  All I can say is that if it is done as well as Fight Club (and remember I haven't read that book yet, so don't judge me for a comparison yet), I would be at the theater to see it.

RATING: 5 Stars

3 more reviews of Lullaby:

Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk {Audo Book}
ISBN 1402524978
6 Disc {3 Hours 29 Minutes}
Read by Richard Poe

If you liked Lullaby then you should read: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Mermaid Chair

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Hello my friends {and I have quite a few new friends it looks like}.  First I wanna say thanks for following and welcome!  Now that little bit is out of the way let me jump right into my review on The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.  The very first thing I have to say is IT IS ABOUT BLOODY TIME!!!!!  I have been reading and listening to tons and tons of horrid books lately and I am sure you all are sick and tired of me writing reviews on books I hated!  But while The Mermaid Chair isn't going to leap to the top of my favorites list, at least it was extraordinarily well written and the story was captivating.  Why I haven't picked up a book by Kidd before is beyond me, but I am so so glad I did!  She paints such a pretty picture and develops her characters so well that I felt like I wanted to move to Egret Island, become part of this little community and raise my unborn children there!  I was enthralled with this book by the first paragraph because it has a very surprising start and I wanted to find out "what the heck??"  Here is the first line...

"In the middle of my marriage, when I was above all Hugh's wife and Dee's mother, one of those unambiguous women with no desire to disturb the universe, I fell in love with a Benedictine monk."
So I mean come on...  How do you not read more and figure out how this woman who is happily married falls in love with a Benedictine monk that is cloistered on a little Island off the cost of South Carolina?  I'll give you a little hint but that's it.  It has to do with a purposely severed finger.  A special needs adult that has a knack for knowing the things you are thinking.  A very devout mother.  Mermaids, a chair, and a 20 year old family secret that is resurfacing after all the years it has been buried under the sea.  On top of this intriguing story is the wit and voice of a charming southern woman named Jessie, and I really really liked her!  Most the time, when I read books about unfaithfulness in marriage, I get so mad at the guilty party but I really loved this lady, and felt like I was rooting for her no matter what her decision was.  I really liked her husband Hugh and the Benedictine monk so I didn't really know how I wanted it to end.  Also, I always always figure out what is going to happen on the end of the book, way before the end of the book, but I was surprised when Kidd tied up all the loose ends and some of those little ends weren't exactly what I had thought they would be!  So do you wanna read it?  Huh?  Huh?

I would recommend this book to just about anyone.  It isn't that long and her writing is so beautiful that it is easy to read, so consider this book if you are headed to the beach.  Book clubs would love it and discuss the heck out of it because it is chalked full of literary, religious, and mythical symbolism.  So all in all I am elated that I finally read a book I liked after so many others I wanted to chuck in the bin!  I thought that maybe The Road had ruined it for me and nothing would ever again compare.  I remember feeling the same way after I read The Time Travelers Wife for the first time, it took me a long time to find another good book after that one.  But it looks like I am out of my reading rut because I have another fantastic audio book review for you waiting in the wings, and I am reading 2 amazing books right now!  So in the next few weeks you will see some glowing recommendations!

BOOK vs. MOVIE:  There was a Lifetime movie made on The Mermaid Chair in 2006 staring Kim Basinger.  It didn't really get great reviews but I'd give it a try if I ran across it on TV.

RATING: 4 Stars

3 more reviews on The Mermaid Chair:

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
ISBN: 0143057421
10 Hour and 22 Minutes
Eliza Foss

If you liked The Mermaid Chair you should also read: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blog Hop

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Hey Welcome Hoppers!  My name is Lauren {click on my name to read a little more about me} and I started blogging because about 10 months ago I thought it would be a good idea to keep a  journal about the books I've read.  I had NO IDEA there was this amazing community of readers and writers out there that agreed with me so I was pleasantly surprised to fall into this group of fabulous book bloggers!  I have met so many wonderful bibliophiles/bloggers that love reading and love blogging as much as I do.  Take a look around.  Leave a comment or two.  Find some good reads.  Become a follower!!

Warm Regards,