|marsap's Book Lists|
|100+ Book Challenge 2014 (105 titles)
|100+ book challenge 2013 (53 titles)
| Book challenge 2011-2012 (62 titles)
|I am the messenger [sound recording] |
by Zusak, Markus.
A young adult novel, I am the Messenger tells the tale of 19-year-old Ed Kennedy an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. After accidentally preventing a bank robber from escaping, Ed receives his first playing card with three addresses written on it. He understands that he needs to deliver a message to each of these places, but the card offers no further instructions. Relying on his intuition alone, Ed starts touching people’s lives and trying to understand what he has to do. The messages vary from simple (buying someone a ice cream cone) to horribly complex and painful (saving an abused wife and daughter). The final question to be answered is who is sending Ed the messages. I found this book a wonderful example of how anyone is capable of making a difference in another’s life—whether through a small gesture or a large one. I found myself truly engaged in this book—and found the premise clever and the writing sweet, sad and humorous all at the same time. A 4 ½ out of 5 stars. posted Mar 10, 2014 at 10:38AM
|The body in the piazza |
by Page, Katherine Hall.
The 21st Faith Fairchild mystery, Faith and Tom are on an anniversary trip to Italy to see the sites, art and of course enjoy the food. After, a weekend in Rome, they are to travel to Tuscany, where Faith's former assistant Francesca has opened a cooking school. However, on their first night in Rome, the Fairchilds stumble upon a dying man in the Piazza Farnese—Freddy a travel writer they have just spent the evening with. When they leave Rome for the cooking school, the mystery follows them, many of the guests at the school are not who they seem, and somebody is intent on sabotaging Francesca's new business. As always, Faith will need to use her skills to determine the truth and find the culprit. I have always enjoyed this series—particularly our heroine Faith and the wonderful recipes at the end of the book. The descriptions of Italy and the food were enticing—making me wanting to take a trip to Italy by the end! However the “mystery” was a little wanting and felt convoluted and rushed at the end. A 3 out of 5 stars. posted Mar 6, 2014 at 11:22AM
|Great expectations |
by Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870
A classic by Dickens, Great Expectations is the story of Pip. He is an orphan who, due to a mysterious benefactor, comes into a goodly sum of money or his “expectations”. This is written in first person and is told by an older Pip, a Pip who is not only older but wiser. It may be a rags-to-riches story, but it's not necessarily a happy story. It is a story about Pip, his harsh and cruel sister Mrs. Joe and her kind and fatherly husband Joe, an escaped convict Magwich, a beautiful but cruel girl Estella, and the corpse-like jilted bride Miss Havisham. The story centers around Pip and how, when he comes into his expectation, he becomes snobbish and unlikeable, looking down on Joe and his childhood friend, Biddy. He puts social position and class, etiquette and learning, gentility and leisure, above his friends. Eventually circumstances change (as they always do), and Pip learns a variety of lessons. I found the beginning of this novel a bit slow—though I am not sure why (maybe it was getting use to the dated language)—however I loved the last third of the novel—exciting, surprising & bittersweet. Particularly enjoyed being surprised by some of the characters—Magwich, Wemmick & Miss Havisham specifically. A 4 out of 5 stars posted Feb 24, 2014 at 2:39PM
|Love saves the day |
by Cooper, Gwen, 1971-
The novel is told primarily through the eyes of Prudence, a young cat rescued from a construction site in Manhattan by Sarah. After three years together, one day Sarah doesn’t come home. Prudence is then taken to live with Sarah’s estranged daughter Laura and her husband Josh. Prudence continues to hope that someday Sarah will return for her. The history between Laura and Sarah becomes known by the chapters narrated by two of them—which I enjoyed more than the chapters by Prudence. What I particularly enjoyed were the descriptions of the Lower East Side in the 1970s, from the drugs, to the homeless people to the music scene to the beginnings of gentrification. The final events of what took place in this area were heartbreaking. The one criticism I have of the book is that the author did not fully commit to writing the Prudence chapters as a cat—with a cat’s understanding of the human world. At times Prudence doesn't understand the workings of the human world—then in the next paragraph she will use a word like saran wrap—if you are going to use the technique of writing as an animal you have to fully commit to it. For an excellent example of this read the Art of Racing in the Rain—a book I loved. All in all, I enjoyed the last part of the book and it was, in the end, a sweet read. A 2 ½ out of 5 stars. posted Feb 24, 2014 at 11:35AM
|The bone yard |
by Bass, Jefferson.
Number 6 in the Body Farm series finds Dr. Bill Brockton's in the panhandle of Florida—consulting on two different cases. One involving a student’s, Angie St Clair, sister’s apparent suicide. The second, two skulls found in the woods by a wandering dog. The investigation of the skulls eventually lead Dr. Brockton to the ruins of the North Florida Boys' Reformatory, a notorious juvenile detention facility burned to the ground forty years before. Guided by the discovery of a diary kept by one of the school's "students," Brockton's team finds a cluster of shallow graves, all of them containing the bones of boys who suffered violent deaths. The graves confirm one of the diary's grim claims: that one wrong move could land a boy in the Bone Yard. The novel is based on real events and real characters at the Florida School for Boys. As with the other Bone yard books I enjoyed the technical, detailed descriptions of the forensic techniques used, as well as the interesting characters and detailed description of the environment—this time the panhandle of Florida. One disappointment was that Miranda, Brockton’s graduate assistant was not very involved in this case. This novel is not for the faint of heart, the description of the violence is quite graphic and disturbing. A 3 out of 5 stars. posted Feb 10, 2014 at 3:05PM