Firefly Lane (mini-review)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kristin Hannah's latest, Firefly Lane, brings readers another comfortable read. By comfortable, I don't mean boring; rather, as a reader it's so nice to fall into a nice, heart-warming, but well written story. The storyline isn't really new -- it's about two girls who are opposites on the outside but who befriend each other as teenagers and become life-long friends. It tells of their lives through the 70's, 80's, 90's, and today. (LOL sounds like a radio station). However, Hannah does a great job at bringing back the real, honest, and genuine feelings of each stage of life that the main characters, Tully and Kate, experience. This was a great read about the true friendship between the two girls. This was my 4th read by Kristin Hannah and I'd say it's my 2nd favorite, Magic Hour being my first.

Heartsick (mini-review)

In this new thriller series, Chelsea Cain writes about a detective who was tortured by a previous serial killer he had been tracking down (The Beauty Killer), and then was mercifully let go. After taking time away from work to deal with this trauma, Archie returns to work to track down another serial killer. However, the effect that the Beauty Killer has on his life doesn't end there. In this, a sick and twisted serial killer character is developed.

I heard so many wonderful things about Heartsick by Chelsea Cain before I read it, so I expected to be absolutely blown away. While I wasn't completely blown away, I was maybe only a step or two below that. Cain wrote an suspenseful thriller/mystery with interesting characters. The "relationship" between Archie and The Beauty Killer is one that would be an interesting contribution to the field of psychology and criminal justice! I will be reading the next one, just to see how crazy the characters and situation get!

The Dowry Bride (mini-review)

Shobhan Bantwal's The Dowry Bride tells the story of a young bride bride in India, trying to make the best of an arranged marriage. Then one night, she overhears her husband and mother-in-law talk about murdering her due to her father not yet paying the promised dowry. She then runs to the aid of a cousin of her husband's.

While the premise of this book was great, I was disappointed in the reading. The simple language took away from the literary feel. Also, the story read more like a romance in some parts than a contemporary fiction. I kept reading because I felt that something more had to happen, but it turned out to be anticlimactic. There was definitely some potential, but may have been better as a short story, which according to the author's website is how it was originally intended.

Bitter is the New Black (mini-review)

I finally got around to reading Bitter is the New Black by Jennifer Lancaster. I feel like I'm the last one to read this, but in case anyone hasn't read it yet.... don't wait! Go out and get this right away! I love Jen Lancaster's humor and am so happy to have found her book! She has the smart, witty humor that I love. This book is a memoir mainly about how she went from being the vice president of a company to being unemployed; about how she went from buying Prada and other designers to not even being able to pay rent. Jen's outlook on life is hilarious, and I love how confident and funny she is. I found myself wanting to read more all day long and devoured this book. There many LOL's. It led me to her blog (, or click on the link in my blog list). Can't wait to read more by her!

Forgive Me (mini-review)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of a journalist, Nadine, who has traveled the world to report significant events. At the beginning of the book, she is forced to take a break from her job, but then hears about an amnesty hearing in South Africa for the killer of an American journalist who lost his life years before. Nadine reported on the murder and consequent trial when it initially occurred, and she feels the need to return. In the amnesty hearings, those who murdered for the sake of their country can be forgiven and released from jail if the surviving parents are able to forgive.

Nadine struggles with her own issues at home, including relationships that were strained due to her dedication to her career. Amanda Eyre Ward does a wonderful job of incorporating the two story lines. And as in Sleep Towards Heaven, her characters are cleverly woven together. The writing flows throughout the book and makes it a fast read. Very good book!

The Moon in the Mango Tree (mini-review)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen is historical 1920's story about a young married couple who travel to Siam (what is today Thailand) so the husband can work as a medical missionary. The wife is a singer who was about to join the opera, but leaves her dreams behind to follow her husband and be a good wife. She struggles with having to choose between following her dreams and being a supportive wife. She also doesn't fit in well with the husband's Christian mission group and finds herself questioning their purpose in Thailand.

This is fiction based on the true events in the life of the author's grandmother. The characters were realistic and I felt for the main character "Babs". I was drawn into the life they lived. My only criticism would be that it was a little long. It really wasn't even that there were long drawn out passages, because there wasn't anything that I got bored with reading, but there were scenese that weren't important either. I was happy with the way the book ended and happy I had the chance to read about this era and experience.

Secondhand World (mini-review)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Isadora Myung Hee Sohn—Isa—has just spent ninety-five days in a pediatric burn unit in Albany, New York, recovering from the fire that burned her house and killed her parents. Moving back in time, Secondhand World casts a devastating spell, revealing the circumstances that led to the fire.

Growing up the daughter of Korean-born parents, Isa is bullied by American classmates and barely noticed at home. Seeking the company of another outsider, Isa falls in love with Hero, an albino boy. But what starts out as a small teenage rebellion sets in motion a series of events and revelations Isa never could have foreseen.

This was a very fast read. It was a coming of age novel about a girl who grows up the daughter of Korean parents living in the states, and all the cultural issues associated with it. She falls in love with an albino boy, likely due to the fact that they are both different. The story doesn't have so much to do with the fire but the life that was lived up until that point. It was very interesting and can be read in almost a single sitting. Very good book!

Project Jennifer (mini-review)

What's in a name?Joan Benjamin, a plain and uptight secretary on Long Island, New York, is suffering an identity crisis brought on by a very bad week. Her ex-fianc‚ just married someone else; she's lost her cushy overpaid job; and she's been kicked out of her apartment. All because of women named Jennifer! So when Joan learns that her parents almost named her Jennifer, she decides to transform herself into the Jennifer she might have been.
It's either Everything.Armed with all the pop psychology she can get her hands on-and with the help of a dear friend who can recite Cosmo-style stats by heart-Joan sets out to cultivate her inner Jennifer: a sexy, successful belle-of-the-ball who's completely in charge of her professional and private lives.
OR NOTHING AT ALL.But "Project Jennifer" is not a rousing success right out of the gate-apparently, even Jennifers can have bad dates and wardrobe malfunctions-but soon Joan begins to feel transformed by her new self. In fact, her Jennifer persona might end up teaching her a few unexpected lessons about life: like how to say "yes" to things you want and "no" to things you don't, and that just being yourself is enough. Even if that self is named Joan.
A clever, fun new twist on a story of a modern woman grappling with the very nature of who she is and why, Project Jennifer explores whether having the right name can really take you places.

I don't want to be cliche and repeat what all the other reviewers are saying, but it definitely was a good chick-lit that had a great message about being yourself. The character was someone everyone could relate to and there were lots of LOL moments for me. In the beginning the author sort of repeated a couple tid bits or events (about Jennifer) and I was worried it was going to be repetetive. But it ended up coming together very well. This was a cute chick lit!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

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Review Policy

Friday, August 1, 2008

I would love to accept requests for reviews. While I can only do a limited number at a time, it will be my responsibility to not accept those I cannot complete. Therefore, the books that are sent to me for review will be posted as soon as possible, approximately 2-3 weeks from the time the book is received at the latest.
I am currently a little backlogged so reviews will take a little longer. I will, however, work on this and get all reviews posted. (9/19/09)

In addition to being posted here, reviews will be posted and/or discussed on paperbackswap, goodreads, librarything, book, amazon, and However, there might be a slight delay in when I post on these other sites, as my first goal is to post it here. My favorite genres are contemporary fiction and mystery/thriller, but I also read various books from other genres.

One last thing -- I am honest in my reviews. While I try to be nice in what I say, I will say what I truly feel since this is my blog and my opinions.

Thank you!