Sunday, April 29, 2012

Its Monday, What are you Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.
Read Last Week:

The Night Villa by Carol Goodman:  She is one of my favorite authors and I loved this book.

Reading this Week:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate:  I won this from Librarything a few months ago and just got it in.  This week is the busiest week I have at work, running the school book fair, so I am not sure I will get to read much at all, but I will try.  I also have the feeling this book is going to make me bawl my eyes out.


Rules - Review

Rules by Cynthia Lord
Source:  the library I work in

Goodreads Summary:

A heartfelt and witty debut about feeling different and finding acceptance--beyond the rules.

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules-from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

My thoughts:

I loved this  book, and have reccomended to a few para's and teachers at the school I work at, especially those that work with students that have different needs.  My nephew was born differently, and it kills me when people don't understand his differences.  

Catherine's brother is autistic, and does not process the world like she does.  She makes lists of rules for him to follow, so that he doesn't embarass her in front of other people.  This bothers me a bit about her, but she is a twelve year old girl, and when you get down to it, most twelve year olds just want to be like everyone else, to blend in and not stand out.  She does love her brother though, and defends him when people make fun of him. She befriends a paraplegic who ultimately teaches her to not be embarassed of her brother anymore. 

I think this book is great for any kid to read!

How to be a Woman

How to be a Woman by  Caitlin Moran 
Source: Nook, on recommendation from a friend

Goodreads Summary:

1913 – Suffragette throws herself under the King’s horse.
1969 – Feminists storm Miss World.
NOW – Caitlin Moran rewrites The Female Eunuch from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller.

There’s never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?

Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman – following her from her terrible 13th birthday (‘I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me’) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond

My thoughts:

I thought this book was hilarious, surprisingly feminist, and identifiable for women.  I did not have a childhood remotely like hers, yet parts of the book resonated with me.  She was a chubby kid; so was I.  Those moments echoed my childhood.  I absolutely died laughing when she talked about her childhood crush on Chevy Chase,  and had to read that part alound to my husband between giggle fits to the point where I had to reread it to him so he could understand it.

She talks about topics that you don't read everyday in books - female masturbation, what to name your boobs, porn, childbirth, marriage and about hair removal in certain areas of your body.  She talked about the difference between strip clubs and burlesque, and having attended a burlesque Alice in Wonderland show, I admit I can see the difference.  Burlesque is more of an art form, telling a story or pantomime, where strip clubs are a place men go to to see women take off their clothes.  To each their own in my opinion, but she said that one is about embracing the sexuality of women where the other isn't.  (paraphrasing here)

The feminist parts came as a surprise to me; I didn't know this book was anything other than a memoir.  I thought the feminism was out of place, I would be laughing along with a story from her childhood and bam! There it was.  I don't know if it was because I wasn't expecting it, but it just seemed out of place, and there to give the book more depth. 

I enjoyed this book, and Moran's writing style.  I recommend this book to those who don't mind reading about the things women usually keep secret about themselves or any woman who likes to read amusing memoirs by people who grew up in England. (or anywhere)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.

Read Last Week:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R.Martin:  I loved this book, and I love the series so far.  These books are so intense, and for me, emotional with all the animal stuff.  I am so sensitive to animal stuff in books, sometimes I don't even read them if I know animals are abused or die.  But I made it through this book, and I am looking forward to the next in the series.  I just need to wait a bit before I start it, let this one sink in.

Reading this week:

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran:  This book comes on a good recommendation from one of my good friends.  I am excited to read it.  

Rules by Cynthia Lord:  This book is in our school library, where I work.  I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and this week on break I am finally getting to to it. 

50 Shades of Grey- Review

Title:  Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E L James
Source:  Nook

Goodreads Summary:

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time. 

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms. 

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny. 

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds? 

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

My Thoughts:

Please, if this is your thing, or you liked the not be offended. 

I only read to the end of this book to see if there was a conclusion that I could be happy with - one of the main characters had to change for me to be happy.  And fortunately for me, one of them does.

Christian Grey is a millionaire at a young age - I am not sure what he does for a living, but I do know that he owns a company and has a helicopter.  Anastasia Steele is a 21 year old college student who has never been in love, dated, or even kissed anyone.  These characters are based on Edward and Bella from Twilight -and when I read Twilight  I was disgusted with the unhealthiness of their relationship.  I was Team Jacob.  Well, this book takes their relationship in a totally different direction!   Although Anastasia is a virgin, she decides it would be a good idea for her first sexual relationship to be one with a contract and chains.  Christian is a BDSM master, and Ana his submissive.  She lets him do pretty much what he wants.  We learn that Christian got into the life when he was 15 years old, and his mom's friend made him her submissive.  We are supposed to believe this saved his life, keeping him from drugs; I think it is child abuse.  We learn his mom was a crack addict who abused him and most likely starved him.  He is a man with many demons, and to be honest I felt sorry for him.  This was obviously the way he felt he was in control of his life.  I just thought it was wrong for Anastasia, her introduction to sex to be one of pain, slavery, submission, and fear.  

I know that none of my opinions are based in any fact about why Christian does what he does - that was my conclusion from reading the book.

The shoddy writing didn't help.  I was going to poke my eyes out if I had to read him scolding her for biting her lip and rolling her eyes one more time.  And her crazy inner goddess and subconcious! Oh my god. That drove me insane!  

The summary says this book will stay with you forever, and I think it is right.  It just won't stay with you in a good way.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.

Read Last Week:

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James:  This book gave me nightmares and left me feeling really depressed.  It was a horrible intense train wreck.  I can't quite understand the ravings about this book - is it because it is so shocking?  I do understand that all people are different however, and this is somebody's cup of tea, and I respect that.  It is just not mine.

Reading this Week:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin:  I am about to tackle this bad boy.  I have put it off a long time - I worry about the wolves too much!

The Wolf Gift - Review

Title: The Wolf Gift
Author:  Anne Rice
Source: Christmas Gift Card Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Summary:

The time is the present. 

The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest. 

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift. 

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

My thoughts:

I was so excited to read a new supernatural book by one of my favorite authors, Anne Rice.  I have been waiting so long, and when I heard that her newest book was about werewolves, I raced to the store and bought it.  Then I heard that the main character's looks were based on actor Matt Bomer, I thought that was pretty cool too, since I watch White Collar, the current show he is in.  

However, I have mixed feelings about this book.  The writing, the descriptions, the crumbly house with eccentric, well read, intelligent characters is classic Anne Rice.  I could not get enough of Nideck House, and I, like Nick, would have loved to live there.  I loved Marchent.  I love the account of the attack on them, Reuben's miraculous recovery, his gradual changing into something other, then his first forays as a werewolf and the use of his "wolf gift" to help those that are being killed or abused.   

Then it starts to get weird.  Reuben has a girlfriend, although he seems ambivalent about her.  This does not stop him from having sex in his werewolf form with a human he runs into in the woods.  That whole part was seriously icky and I did not enjoy reading it one bit.  Bleh.  This continues throughout the book as well, with the same woman and same furry form.  Then other things start to happen, other werewolves, the mystery of Felix Nideck, a fight. That is all pretty interesting, and set up for the next book.

I think that Reuben, before he became a werewolf, was pampered, spoiled, and not taken seriously by anyone, not even himself, and was often referred to by close family and his girlfriend as some sort of boy nickname, like Golden Boy, Baby Boy.  He is just a pretty face, an innocent almost.  Then, he becomes the werewolf and this change not only changed him physically, but also seemed to force him to grow up and become a man, and I believe this was the real transformation.

I am not so sure where this series is going - but I am willing to give the next book, which I am sure there will be one, a try.