Heather's books

Sarah's Key
The Help
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Lightning Thief
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Notebook
Eat, Pray, Love
The Time Traveler's Wife
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Heather's favorite books »

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Audio book review: True Colors

True Colors

By: Kristin Hannah

Genre: Chick Lit

Pages: 400

Published: 2009

Audio book: 12 CD’s (14 hours)

Read: February

3 out of 5 stars

I don’t read a lot of this genre, but after a couple nonfiction audio books I wanted an “easy listening” novel.  The story is engaging right from the beginning and the characters are very likeable; easy to feel their pain and joy. There are several twists and turns, however I found the majority of them very predictable.  I have read a few other Kristin Hannah novels and found my favorites to be Night Road and Magic Hour being my favorites.  POSSIBLE SPOILER – This book ends like most Chic Lit – happily ever after.  Even with being able to predict the story and knowing exactly where it would end, I found it entertaining. Recommended for fans of Chic Lit, Kristin Hannah, and anyone wanting an easy, enjoyable book.
Kristin's website is www.kristinhannah.com

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Population 485

Population: 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time

Population: 485 Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time

By: Michael Perry

Genre: nonfiction

Pages: 234

Published: 2003

Read: February

2 out of 5 stars

This narrative nonfiction novel is marketed as a funny, yet heartwarming story.  I feel this marketing stirred me wrong, I expected it to be much funnier; whereas I found it very sad.  The entire story is about death – auto accidents, heart attacks, and fires.  None of which, I find very funny. There was one chapter, “Oops” that was funny and entertaining.  With all that said, I do feel Perry is an excellent storyteller and the novel was very well written. He should definitely continue to write; he is a genuine individual and a great role model.  I also appreciated that the setting was once again in Wisconsin; a strange confidence that I read two novels in a row that were placed in Wisconsin. A great novel for paramedics and firemen to read – proves what heroes they are.

His webite markets him as Author, Humorist, Singer/Songwriter, and Amateur Pig Farmer. Even though he has written 9 novels, they are not the focus of his website; www.sneezingcow.com

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Blankets


By: Craig Thompson
Genre: adult graphic novel

Pages: 592
Published: 2003

Read: February
3 out of 5 stars

Taking place in Wisconsin and the protagonists being teenagers grabbed my attention immediately.  I have always enjoyed stories, whether fiction or nonfiction, that the setting is a place I can relate to. Craig is an awkward child and teenager who meets and eventually falls in love with a girl from church camp, who lives in Minnesota.  The fact that their parents allow Craig to spend two weeks with Raina’s family was shocking to me.  The only explanation for allowing this to occur was that “they are a Christian family”.   However, Craig’s mother never once talked with Raina’s parents who were going through a divorce and rarely home throughout Craig’s visit.  There were a couple of side plots, one being the relationship between Craig and his brother, Phil.  The other, and essentially the basis of the novel, is Craig’s struggle with his religious beliefs, which does complicate his decisions on his direction in life, relationship with his parents, brother, and Raina.  I recommend this novel to all fans of graphic novels, but will cautions that several pieces of the artwork contain nudity.

Craig Thompson has won several literary and artist awards; you can read more at www.craigthompsonbooks.com

My Take on Graphic Novels

I’m not a graphic novel reader and my expose didn’t begin until required texts (mostly Neil Gaiman) for my library degree.  I decided to give Blankets a chance because it was not in the fantasy genre of graphic novels and I feel in order to because a well-rounded librarian I need to have a diverse knowledge of literature, including genre I normally don’t read.  While I am usually impressed by the artwork, every graphic novel I have read in its entirety, Blankets being the third (The others: Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Stephenie Meyer and The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger), I feel I’m missing the “guts” of the story.  I understand that the artwork helps tell the story and is there to provide the insight, but my literary brain needs and craves more.  My take is that graphic novels only provide a synopsis of the true story.  This was especially true for me while reading Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 (Young Kim’s artwork was amazing), but that may be because I had read the full novel and new there were plenty of crucial details missing in the graphic version.

With that being said, I would never discourage teens (or adults) from reading graphic novels, anime, or manga.  While there is definitely literature that can be considered better quality and educational; I am a true believer than any reading is better than no reading at all.  I also believe that readers of graphic novels may become so absorbed with a storyline that there is a good possibly they will ask for other books on the same topic.  And further believes, that the more one reads the more likely they will continue to read more and continue to diversify their reading base.  I have explained this belief to parents who have insisting their child read quality literature and not “comic books”.  However, I have also suggested titles of full novels to teens that have to obey their parent(s) insistence.  Being a mother myself, I understand that as well.

In the end, Every Reader has his/her Book and Every Book has his/her Reader. My rating of 3 stars of Blankets by Craig Thompson was definitely directly related to my lack of interest in graphic novels and the desire for more detail of the story.  I am positive that a fan of graphic novels will rate this story much higher.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Black Swan Rising

Black Swan Rising (Black Swan Rising #1)

Black Swan Rising

By: Lee Carroll

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Pages: 396

Published: 2010

Read: February

3 out of 5 stars

I choose to read this book because it is written by my all-time favorite author, Carol Goodman, and her husband, Lee Slonimsky.  Her husband is a poet and she has used some of his poetry in her previous novels, most notably, The Sonnet Lover. Black Swan Rising is very well written and I definitely saw Goodman’s influences and writing style woven into the story. I especially loved that while this book was fantasy based, it included actual events that happened in the present time period, such as Obama’s inauguration and September 11th. For me, the combination of present time and fantasy world was intriguing and helped ground the story. While I am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre; I felt it was a worthwhile read and recommend it to Goodman fans and especially fantasy genre booklovers.

Carol and her husband share a website at www.carolgoodman.com


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

By: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: YA fiction

Pages: 344

Published: 2011

Read: February

4 out of 5 stars

This historical fiction novel starts in 1941, when Lina, her mother and young brother, Jonas are deported from Lithuania along with many others.  They are separated from their father and travel from Lithuania to Siberia to Trofimovsk, North Pole.  While the characters in this story are fictional, the circumstances and similar events did occur during these critical years of our history.  Even though Sepetys published this accomplished novel in the young adult genre, it will definitely not bore any adult.  She develops her characters and describes the details in such a way; you cannot help but sympathize with the characters and feel as if you are living right alongside of them.  If you judge books by their cover, this novel looks as though it is more targeted towards girls; but even with the protagonist being female I believe teen boys would enjoy this story of twelve years of survival.

This is her first novel, but her second Out of the Easy is expected sometime in 2013. I will definitely be reading it.

Ruta Sepethys's website is www.rutasethys.com

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Audio book review: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

By: Laura Hillenbrand

Genre: nonfiction

Pages: 496

Published: 2010

Audio book: 11 CD’s (14 hours)

Read: January

2 out of 5 stars

With the reviews I have seen, I expected to enjoy this story way more than I did.  Although I know I have never been much into history I do continue to try to engage myself.  The easiest way for me to do this is through nonfiction novels.  However, I enjoyed hearing about the character building of Louis Zamperini up to the war and the deterioration and consecutive rebuild of the significant role model that Louis Zamperini deserved to be.  By acknowledging the fact that I am, unfortunately, not very interesting in history, I can completely understand how readers who are could become completely engrossed in Zamerini’s story.  I highly recommend this nonfiction story of Louis Zamperini to all history buffs or those who are interested in World War II.

You can read more about Laura Hillenbrand and her novels at www.laurahillenbrandbooks.com