December 31, 2008

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Lexi Smart awakens in a hospital having lost all of her memories of the past three years of her life. She remembers herself as snaggletoothed, frizzy-haired, broke, plump and miserable...but somehow she has a Louis Vuitton bag, a skinny body, perfect teeth, perfect hair...and the perfect husband?? The car accident she was her Mercedes...has left Lexi with amnesia and somehow she must figure out just how in the heck her life changed so dramatically. 

Sophie Kinsella's stories are always good for a laugh. They are fluffy, funny and you can finish them in a few hours. I really liked the concept of Remember Me? and was cracking up at all the messes Lexi got herself into and tried to get herself out of. Kinsella has an amazing ability to make very likable characters and to make you laugh. I have read The Undomestic Goddess though which I liked better, mostly because I laughed more, and which, for me, had a more satisfying ending. I would have liked to see an epilogue or a longer last chapter for Lexi's story. That said, I bought Confessions of a Shopaholic and look forward to reading more of Sophie Kinsella's novels. 
My Rating: 3.5

December 30, 2008


Today's question: Here is a list of the main areas of Library Thing:
1. Home (, before you log in)
2. Home (once you log in, contains Your Home, Your Profile, Connections, Recommendations, Reviews, Statistics, Clouds, Gallery, Memes)
3. Profile (Recent activity, tags, comments, members with your books)
4. Your Library 5. Your Tags 6. Add Books 7. Talk 8. Groups 9. Local 10. Search 11. Zeitgeist (Stats, Top Lists) 12. Tools (Widgets, Store) 13. Blog
What area are you most familiar with? What area is your favorite? What area are you curious about? Are there any that you have not really looked at?

Areas I am most familiar with are 2, 4, 6, 10 and 11.  Adding books, looking at My Library and searching for books and reviews are my favourite things to do on LibraryThing.  LT is my number one place to go trolling for reviews!!  

I also visit the Zeitgeist on occasion to see who I have the most books in common with and what top books I have in my library.  I am most curious about Blog, Talk and Groups as have not spent a lot of time in these areas.  I have no idea what Talk is - if its sending comments then I have done that  - maybe I should find out what it is again before I say I have no idea what it is! I have tried to add my Local City a couple times but it never seems to work, goes back to the default of Boston.

December 28, 2008

Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell

In Interred With Their Bones, author Jennifer Lee Carrell plunges you without delay into a suspenseful story revolving around Shakespeare and the burning of The Globe Theatre. In the present day Globe, Kate Stanley is directing soon to be premiered Hamlet when Rosalind Howard, her mentor not seen for many years, asks her to take a gift - an adventure, a secret - and follow when it leads…The Globe Theatre is on fire, the same day when The Globe Theatre burned in 1613 and Rosalind Howard is found dead within. 

I think Jennifer Lee Carrell must have done a mind-boggling amount of research, with the amount of knowledge and historical content of Shakespeare required within all of the details in the story. It would have been daunting to keep all the back-story organized. I did like that the story was convoluted with layer upon layer of plotlines, but reading was confusing and challenging at times, doubly so since the last time I had any familiarity with Shakespeare was in high school. The plot skipped from idea to idea a little to quickly for me, but those who have read any Shakespeare recently, especially Hamlet, would enjoy Interred With Their Bones and doubtless find the story progressing more smoothly than it did for me. 
I also liked the partitioning of the novel into Acts and historical Interludes. I found the shorter chapters particularly effective; giving you enough time to absorb what was just read before the story twisted and turned again. 
There are a limited amount of characters in the present day story, so with this being a suspense/murder mystery…you know at least one of the characters must be a murderer, otherwise the character is superfluous to the story. It wasn’t that difficult to figure out the whodunits but it was difficult determining motives. 
A couple of things that grated on my nerves were that Kate Stanley’s character has an abundance of thought but not an abundance of emotion, leaving me with little sense of who the character was until toward the very end of the book; I did not like the dichotomy that Kate is supposed to be intelligent but she cannot reason out who her killer is; And why have her kiss Ben and then Matthew kiss her? 
I did like the book a lot but I didn’t absolutely love it so I have to rate it 4.0. I am left with a lot of questions about Kate Stanley and will look out for the sequel released in 2009 “Haunt Me Still” (probably why the author held back so much detail on the character). Similar books are The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber and Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott. Out of the three I would recommend Interred With Their Bones over the other two.
My Rating: 4.0 

December 23, 2008

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir is an exciting addition to the realm of Tudor fiction. The story follows Lady Elizabeth from when she is three years old to when she is become Queen of England and all the trials in between.
I am very impressed with Alison Weir’s storytelling ability. I have not yet read any of her non-fiction work but as she is an historian first, I appreciated the level of detail and historical account in this novel. The conversations between characters and descriptions of England and life in the 1500s were compelling and thorough. I’m sure there are some who would be put off by the more controversial aspects of the story, especially between the Admiral and Elizabeth, but I thought it gave the plot an enthralling twist that had not yet been put forth in other Tudor fiction, setting The Lady Elizabeth apart. 
Another way that this story is set apart from the other Tudor fiction is that a good portion of the story follows Lady Elizabeth when she is a young girl. I was fascinated that young children were treated more as adults in that era, their life expectancy being much lower than today (as described by Weir). In the storyline we get to live with Lady Elizabeth as she grows into adulthood, making mistakes, taking chances, and becoming more intelligent, perceptive and cunning. There is a very distinct feeling and voice between dowdy, spiteful Mary and daring, vivacious, precocious Elizabeth.
I am rating The Lady Elizabeth 4.5 because the story lagged for me a bit three quarters of the way through the book. I thought the omnipresence of doom throughout the last section was a bit too much. In “A Conversation With Alison Weir” at the back of the book Weir states that The Lady Elizabeth is the first part of series, with The Phoenix and The Bear being the sequel. Very much looking forward to reading this. In other reading I would recommend The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory (religion – Queen Mary) and although I have not yet read The Virgin’s Lover by the same author I imagine it would be a good basis of comparison. I am adding Weir to my list of favourite authors. 
My Rating: 4.5

Tuesday Thingers

Today's question: Holiday gift-giving. Do you give books for the holidays? Did you participate in LT's SantaThing, either this year or last, or in other blogging gift exchanges? Were you happy with what you received?
I have given books in the past but my favourite gift now is the giftcard...I have given many a gift card to Chapters. As well I like to buy books as gifts online and have them sent to the recipient. I did not have time to participate in SantaThing but the idea of the program is an excellent one...maybe next year. I have never participated in any gift blog exchanges...I don't want to give up any of my books and I like particular books and authors...maybe I should find out how these really work before forming an opinion...I think it would be fun to send a book I would not necessarily read myself to someone and hear what they have to say...but if I did not like the book I was sent I don't think I would read it.

December 16, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question: The LT Home Page feature. How are you liking it? Or not? Do you go here when you log into LT or do you use your profile page more?
I always take a quick look at my Home page before moving on to other areas of the site. I often use the Search feature. I have a widget on my website pulling recent adds that mirrors my recent adds on Home. Most often I look at Popular This Month. I have in the past clicked on other members who have my books. I find the Home page very useful. I rarely use my profile page...mostly only to look at comments.

December 10, 2008

Cold Pursuit by Carla Neggers

An American ambassador had been killed and his stepdaughter is fleeing from an unknown elusive threat in Black Falls, Vermont. Jo Harper is a Secret Service agent on leave in her home town of Black Falls for an embarrassing incident with the Vice President’s genius teenage son. The boy who Jo loved as a teenager and left her to go into the army, Elijah Cameron, has survived being shot and has also returned to Black Falls to recuperate. But something is going on in Black Falls...Elijah’s father has died on the mountain and he is determined to find out whether it was an accident…or murder. Jo and Elijah’s paths cross and they combine forces to discover the truth behind the deaths. 

While I liked the chemistry between Jo & Elijah, there were a lot of threads in Cold Pursuit, some of which I thought were unlikely or farfetched or seemed to cut off abruptly. The dialogue between characters Myrtle, Grit & Moose was often choppy and staccato. I liked that the story left an open ending indicating the start of a series. There were a few times with Jo and Elijah where the storyline duplicated itself, crossing paths numerous times in the first day they see each other, saying the same things after similar events. Anyways, I liked the characters but was not truly engaged in the story.

My Rating: 3.0

December 9, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

Most of us book bloggers like to write book reviews- if we don't love to write book reviews- but here's today's question. When it comes to LT (and your blog), do you review every book you read? Do you just review Early Reviewers or ARCs? Do you review only if you like a book, or only if you feel like you have to? How soon after reading do you post your review? Do you post them other places- other social networking sites, Amazon, etc.?
Well, I don't review every book I read. I do read quite a few romance novels but I just don't have much to say about them. I would rather give my point of view on historical fiction, action/adventure or mystery/suspense, which I read a lot of. I have been trying to get into the habit of reviewing most of these type of books as I think it might help my chances on getting more ARCs, plus I like to go back and see what I wrote as a comparison for other books by the author, or similar authors. I write my review immediately after I finish the book or within a couple days, otherwise I feel I can't move on to another book.
Ever since I started blogging I have reviewed a majority of the books I have read. I definitely review the ARCs I receive from LibraryThing's EarlyReviewers program and other programs. There is only one book I received from the ER program that I have not yet reviewed. I always post my review to my blog, LibraryThing, GoodReads and Chapters Community.

December 7, 2008

The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan

I received an ARC copy of The Book of Love from Simon & Schuster Canada and it will be released in hardcover on March 10, 2009. The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan is the second book in The Magdalene Line trilogy. The first book in the trilogy, The Expected One, focused on Maureen Paschal’s adventure to discover the lost Gospel of Mary Magdalene and growing realization she is an “Expected One”. The second story in the trilogy begins as Maureen is on her book tour. 

Fresh from her successful hunt for the long-hidden scrolls written by Mary Magdalene, journalist Maureen Paschal receives a strange package in the mail – containing what looks to be an ancient document written in Latin and signed in code. Maureen discovers that the document was written by an extraordinary woman who history has overlooked – or covered up, Matilda of Tuscany, and it demands the return of Matilda’s “most precious books and documents”. As the discoverer of Mary Magdalene’s gospel, Maureen immediately recognizes a new search has begun. Soon, she finds herself in a race across Italy and France, where new dangers await her and her lover Sinclair as they begin to uncover secrets and shine new light on the hidden corners of Christianity. 
As Maureen learns more about Matilda, a warrior countess who was secretly married to a Pope who joined her, not only in bed, but also in using the Last Gospel of Jesus to form a radical new kind of church, she begins to see the eerie connections between herself and Matilda, connections she must unravel quickly if she is to stop the wrong people from finding The Book of Love and hiding it forever.
Combining expert research with Dazzling plot twists, The Book of Love is sure to thrill readers as they follow Maureen’s search for clues through the world’s greatest art, architecture, and history, until a potentially fatal encounter reveals The Book of Love to her – and to us. 
I thought The Expected One leaned more toward the mystery/suspense genre, while The Book of Love presents itself as largely historical fiction. It is an ode to a little-known but vital woman in history, Matilda of Tuscany, and a quest for the truth. As a large portion of the novel is portraying Matilda, I did not get as strong a sense of Maureen’s character that I did in the first book. In fact I was much more engaged with Matilda, as Maureen seemed to be wavering between making choices, decisions. Parts of Maureen’s story I was frustrated with, first that, as she should have already experienced theft of her belongings and attempts on her life, that she would have been more aware of plots against her and have the intelligence to avoid them. Second, her life is in ways paralleling Matilda’s, but Matilda is a warrior and Maureen has little shown similar strength of will. I was most riveted with Maureen’s story when she was unraveling all the clues to the truth about The Book of Love and the secrets of Chartres Cathedral. 
The Book of Love is surprising, evocative and eye opening. There are many layers and interwoven elements to the story, probably more than what can be grasped in the first reading of the book (the author herself suggests this in Acknowledgements). I have to applaud Kathleen McGowan for the shear amount of historical content that had to have been researched and the creativity required to present the story in its three-way format of Maureen’s present day journey, Matilda of Tuscany’s historical diary and the writings from the Book of Love. 

In reading this series I would suggest keeping an open mind and an open heart. If you loved books such as The Red Tent, Labyrinth, The Rossetti Letter, The Historian or The Thirteenth Tale, I would definitely recommend this series. 
The third and final book will be called The Poet Prince, the story of Maureen’s other half, Berenger Sinclair. I definitely will be re-reading the first two books when The Poet Prince is published. 

Kathleen McGowan’s website:

My Rating: 4.0

The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan

I originally posted this short blurb on LibraryThing in April 2008.
Great read. I appreciated that the book focused on an historical figure that we know little about even though she is prevalent in art and culture, as well as insight on other female historical figures like Marie Antoinette. This book makes you think and question! Looking forward to the second in the series: The Book of Love. 
My Rating: 4.5

December 2, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

What's the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it?
Its funny because I have had the Harry Potter series on my to purchase list for a long time but I want to buy the whole set, which will cost a lot. I have read the first two Harry Potters and loved them but I stopped reading the series when I decided I wanted to buy the whole set and read them all one after another. I have read The Da Vinci Code and watched the movie but I do not own the actual book, although I do own Angels & Demons, which I thought was a much better story.
The first book in the list that I actually have in my library is...The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (24,939), with the second being Pride and Prejudice (23,275). I love both books and have read them multiple times as well as The Lord of the Rings and all of Jane Austen's works.