Hilarie
Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Callista83. This week Callista asks:

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

As I pondered this question, one book came almost immediately to mind. It is, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. You can read my full review here. This was a fun read, and one that would be a perfect break between more serious reading selections.

This is an interesting question, because I think it really depends on what you personally define as "fluff." For instance, I have a friend that feels that any book that isn't a certified classic is a waste of time and not worth reading, while another feels that the shopaholic series should be required reading in our consumer driven society. Personally, I consider a book of fluff to be a fun and somewhat frivolous read; one that doesn't really require me to ponder any personal or societal beliefs. In short, I consider a fluff book to be the literary equivalent of a Disney cartoon like Sleeping Beauty; a whole lot of fun and leaves me with a smile as the credits roll. What is your idea of fluff?


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Hilarie
Cover attraction is a weekly meme hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. My cover of the week is:

This cover really caught my eye, especially as I am currently searching for books that will help me to complete my War Through the Generations Challenge. I love period photographs, so this cover really appealed to me. There is also an interesting photograph from the trenches on the back of the book. Here is the cover blurb:

"Set against the panorama of the First World War, Gifts of War is a poignant love story, a finely woven tapestry of choice, consequence, and redemption. Mackenzie Ford explores the ambiguities of the human heart with an unwavering hand and in so doing creates a haunting and moving tale that will resonate with the reader long after he or she has finished the last page."

Quote by Pam Jenoff, author of Kommandan'ts Girl and Almost Home
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Hilarie
I am currently in the midst of reading this book, so watch for my complete review in future posts. Although I can't comment in full, I can say that I am enjoying this read, and it is certainly a book that grabs your attention right away.

Cover Blurb:

Description

CLASSIFIED: APPARENT SUPERNATURAL

Subject: Gabriel Bleak. Status: Civilian. Paranormal skills: Powerful. Able to manipulate AS energies and communicate with UBEs (e.g. "ghosts" and other entities). Psychological profile: Extremely independent, potentially dangerous. Caution is urged....

As far as Gabriel Bleak is concerned, talking to the dead is just another way of making a living. It gives him the competitive edge to survive as a bounty hunter, or "skip tracer," in the psychic minefield known as New York City. Unfortunately, his gift also makes him a prime target. A top-secret division of Homeland Security has been monitoring the recent emergence of human supernaturals, with Gabriel Bleak being the strongest on record. If they control Gabriel, they'll gain access to the Hidden -- the entity-based energy field that connects all life on Earth. But Gabriel's got other ideas. With a growing underground movement called the Shadow Community -- and an uneasy alliance of spirits, elementals, and other beings -- Gabriel's about to face the greatest demonic uprising since the Dark Ages. But this time, history is not going to repeat itself. This time, the future is Bleak. Gabriel Bleak.

Read an excerpt of Chapter 1

Library Journal review of Bleak History by John Shirley: "Shirley has a gift for storytelling that emphasizes both depth of character and immediacy of vision. VERDICT This gritty and fast-moving horror urban fantasy will appeal to readers who enjoy dark supernatural thrillers."

I would like to express a special thanks to Pocket Books for giving me the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for this great book!

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Hilarie
I just have a few finds this week:

Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts





















The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
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Hilarie
Be sure to check out Booking Through Thursday to see what everyone has to say! I have been pretty lucky of late as almost I've enjoyed almost every book I've read. There is one that sticks out though, although I am in the minority on this one. I really didn't enjoy, "The Strain" by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, and after completing over half the novel I finally decided to leave it unfinished. I still can't put my finger on exactly why I didn't like this book. I really had high expectations, and am usually very appreciative of new entries in the vampire genre. I also had high hopes that Del Toro would create something truly amazing, as I have enjoyed his work in the past; I mean, I even loved Hell Boy and the sequel, and don't even get me started on Pan's Labyrinth. I think my dislike was the result of the vampires themselves. I don't want to ruin the plot for anyone, so I won't describe the origins of the vampires in this novel in detail, but this was probably what killed this book for me. There was also an ick factor involved for me. As I said, I think I am one of the few that really didn't like this book, and since I didn't finish it in its entirety, I don't feel qualified to write a full-fledged review. What books have disappointed you lately?
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Hilarie
Rating:
Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Sweden
Reading Challenges: 37 for 100+ in 2009

It was almost love at first sight with this book. The title alone was enough to pique my interest. I wasn't sure who the girl with the dragon tattoo might be, but I had a feeling she would be just the kind of feisty and slightly off kilter heroine that I prefer. After finishing this book, I am pleased to say that my instincts were correct, and Lisbeth Salander (the tattooed girl herself) was even more amazing than I expected.

This is an interesting read. I had seen it mentioned all over the blog sphere, usually in a very positive way. So, I was a little surprised that this book didn't really grab me from the first page. Perhaps it is because I am totally unfamiliar with the geography of Sweden, and the names were a bit different sounding, but it took me a few pages to get into this book. However, once I was able to immerse myself in the story (thirty pages in or so), I was hooked.

The story begins with Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist who has just been convicted of libel and sentenced to a brief prison term, at a crossroads in his life. Blomkvist seems slightly dazed by the whirlwind of events that have resulted in a guilty verdict and the apparent derailment of his career as a respected journalist. It is at this time that he is approached by Henrik Vanger, the former head of the Vanger corporation, and an old man who hopes to solve the mystery that has haunted him for almost forty years, and in some ways, ruined his life. The mystery in question involves the disappearance of Henrik's great niece, and Henrik suspects that someone in his family was involved. Blomkvist finds himself working, albeit unwillingly at first, to solve the mystery. Eventually, he seeks the help of Lizbeth Salander, a mysterious hacker, who might just have the skills to not only help him solve an ever growing mystery, but also to keep them both alive.

This is a page turner! Literally, I just reached a point in this book where I couldn't put it down. Even in the midst of packing up my house I found myself trying to sneak in some reading time. I was surprised however by several events in the book which were so graphic and horrendous that I almost stopped reading. I don't want to post any spoilers, so I won't go into more detail, other than to say that this book has a lot of violence against women. The violence is not presented in a sensationalist manner, but the details are very graphic and disturbing. After reading this book, I learned that the original title in Swedish is something like, "The Man Who Hates Women." Honestly, that says it all. It isn't all doom and gloom however. The women characters are not portrayed as victims, even if they are victimized, but as strong individuals who work to find their own solutions to the bad situations in which they find themselves.

I really enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire. It wasn't until I started reading this book that I learned that Larsson had passed away before it was published. Initially, I wondered if the book was perhaps overrated because of the tragic fate of its author. but after finishing the novel I have come to the conclusion that the praise it has received is all richly deserved.
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Hilarie
I never realized just what a slave I was to the internet until I was cut off unexpectedly last week after we moved to our temporary housing. I am still currently without internet access, and am camped out at my local library while I write this. I hope to be up again and running soon. More than anything, I miss my fellow book bloggers. As a stay-at-home mother, I rely on book blogging to get my intellectual fix for the day, and have been somewhat depressed and out of sorts since I've lost one of my few outlets for adult fun. I hope to be back soon. Until then, happy reading!
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Hilarie
It has been another crazy week, but phase one of the big move is almost over. We move into the temporary housing this week. I've been loving my mp3 player these past few weeks as it has been my primary source of biblio fun.

Books I finished this week:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson - Really, really good. I need to write a review on this one.

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster - A favorite from my childhood that I recently discovered. What a fun read!

Current Reads:

Mort by Terry Pratchett - The first Death-themed Discworld novel. I am savoring this one.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - Absolutely no progress whatsoever. I better get going, or I'm not going to meet my classics challenge.

Ironhand by Charlie Fletcher - The second in the Stoneheart Trilogy. I'm really enjoying this, and right now I feel like a nice easy read.

After really giving it a fair try (I read over half the book), I've decided to stop reading The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. I really wanted to like this book, and it sounded amazing. I'm not sure why I didn't like it, and I don't want to give any spoilers away. I'll just say that I prefer my vampires with a bit more class, like Dracula. I'm not going to review this book since I didn't finish the whole thing. I've just decided in the past few months that life is too short, and there are too many books to read one that doesn't really excite me.

What are you all reading this week?
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