Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teaser Tuesday...A Thousand Splendid Suns

I borrowed Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns over a year ago from a dear friend and am finally getting around to reading (it was in storage for about a year due to a house fire...yeah).  I've yet to read The Kite Runner, or see the movie, but it's on my list; my ever growing list.  Regardless, so far I'm loving this book...here's a teaser:

"Maybe it was senseless to want to be near a person so badly here in a country where bullets had shredded her own brothers to pieces.  But all Laila had to do was picture Tariq going at Khadim with his leg and then nothing in the world seemed more sensible to her" (153).

Definitely worth the read...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesday...Repetitive Boyfriends

I'm halfway through with the dreaded week of finals; I still have a stack of final essays to grade and one department grading session to complete this week before I can sign off for a much needed week long break, but it's finally starting to wind down.  Added to the chaos that is final's week, the Euro Cup started a few days ago and I have watched every game (even if I had to DVR it and watch it later).  Naturally this takes time away from grading essays (whoops) and posting reviews.  However, this is a necessary evil because I LOVE the Euro Cup and football/soccer in general, as I stated in a previous post

But that's beside the point.  It's Tuesday and that means one thing: teaser time!  I've picked up a quick read because I'm behind on my GoodReads 2012 Challenge quota and I'm trying desperately to get caught back up.  So today's teaser comes from Nora Roberts' The Last Boyfriend.  It's the second in the Inn BoonsBoro series and just came out. 

"He did his best to keep it light, but something had shifted between them with her words.  And he understood she felt it, too" (311).

Ah man, I love Nora...even though she's predictable and formulaic.  What a nice way to end final's week!  And here's to my team in the Cup...DEUTSCHLAND!!!!! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teaser T uesday...Hornets are Nasty Little Buggers

I've still not written a review for Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...or The Girl who Played with Fire, both of which I've finished.  I promise I'll get to it.  Despite that, here's a teaser from the third and final book in the series, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest:

"Then he cut away the bandage that the emergency team had wrapped around her skull.  He froze when he saw another entry wound.  The woman had been shot in the head, and there was no exit wound there either" (6)

I'm only about 100 pages into this book, but I'm enjoying it so far :)  Happy Tuesday all!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Between Shades of Gray

Sometimes a book comes along that has something special to it.  That spark or element that makes you fall in love with it and hope that it never ends.  Ruta Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray was one of those books for me.  I randomly picked this book up at Wal-Mart (it was cheap and sounded good) and I'm so glad that I did because I don't know if I'd have picked it up anywhere else...or even remembered that I read the back of it. 

Gray follows the story of Lina and her family as they try to survive the terrible effects of WWII; including deportation, harrowing traveling experiences, Soviet labor camps, Siberia and the Arctic Cirlce, cruel winters, and even crueler captors.  What ensues is one girl's struggle to survive despite all odds.  Through all of this, she is able to take solace in her art; the one thing that her captors cannot take from her.  With her art, Lina is able to document the atrocities that befall her and her fellow captives at the hands of the Soviets, the passing of time, and other milestones that happen to her and her makeshift family.  Despite the dangers and possible punishments that her continued drawing might provoke, Lina remains steadfast in her documentation in hopes that some of her work will find its way to the prisoners of war camp where her father is being held.

Gray covers several thousand miles and a multiple number of years in Lina's life.  Each is important and each strenthens Lina's resolve to survive.  Yes, there are heartbreaking losses that she suffers; it wouldn't have been as believable if these losses didn't occur.  Sepetys does a beautiful job of portraying how this often overlooked portion of captives (Lithuanians) suffered at the hands of the Soviets.  She delves into the psyche and completely fleshes out her characters.  It's a wonderful book that I could not recommend more.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Peculiar Children = Peculiar Story

I know I finished Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children quite a while ago, but I just haven't had the time (or inclination) to write a review, or any review for that matter.  So, instead of grading the ever growing pile of essays on my desk, I figured I'd at least get one review, this one, out of the way!

Peregrine follows the adventures of Jacob and his search into his grandfather's past.  After the untimely death (murder?!) of his grandfather, Jacob sets off to discover who his grandfather really was.  This leads him to a small island off the coast of Great Britain.  While there, he discovers that the orphanage his grandfather lived in during the war had been partially destroyed in 1943.  However, he soon stumbles upon a vortex of sorts that takes him back to the island during WWII and the home his grandfather resided in with other "displaced" children.  This vortex allows Jacob, and those he encounters, to inhabit both the present and the past.  Unfortunately there are a select few who wish to wreak havoc for those who live in the vortex.  Jacob has, unwittingly, led those creatures right to the vortex and this causes catastrophic damage for the children of the past.  Through all of this, Jacob discovers who his grandfather really was and some pretty interesting things about himself, too.

This was a combination of Percy Jackson meets time travel meets sci-fi meets historical fiction meets photography fiction.  It's a big mash-up that, sadly, falls short of its goal.  While I did find it entertaining at times, I felt that it was trying too hard to be something bigger than it was and trying to accomplish something that others have done better; WG Sebald's Austerlitz comes to mind in terms of history/photographic fiction.  The photographs, though a nice touch, were almost distracting in a way.  Also, I found that Jacob's dialogue was incompatible to his age.  At the beginning it was very lofty, but it deteriorated the further the book progressed.  It was strange.  Rigg's did leave the ending open for a sequel...we'll see if it happens.