While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: Audiobook: The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace

Thank you to Anna at Hachette for letting me review this one.

About the Book

The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from the bestselling author of Infinite Jest, available for the first time as an audiobook.

At the center of The Broom of the System is the betwitching (and also bewildered) heroine, Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman. The year is 1990 and the place is a slightly altered Cleveland, Ohio, which sits on the edge of a suburban wasteland-the Great Ohio Desert. Lenore works as a switchboard attendant at a publishing firm, and in addition to her mind-numbing job, she has a few other problems. Her great-grandmother, a one-time student of Wittgenstein, has disappeared with twenty-five other inmates of the Shaker Heights Nursing Home. Her beau (and boss), editor-in-chief Rick Vigorous, is insanely jealous. And her cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, has suddenly started spouting a mixture of psychobabble, Auden, and the King James Bible, which may propel him to stardom on a Christian fundamentalist television program.

Fiercely intelligent and entertaining, this debut novel from one of the most innovative writers of our generation explores the paradoxes of language, storytelling, and reality.

For more information about The Broom of the System please visit Hachette's website.

You can also "Like" David Foster Wallace on Facebook.

My Review

This was another odd one, and I really don't know what to say about it. It was pretty good, but at times it made no sense whatsoever.

Lenore seemed to be a bit dense at times. She just didn't seem to grasp what was going on most of the time. Her boyfriend Rick was teetering on crazy! Her therapist was nuts himself. Her brother and Wang Dang Lang were the most down-to-earth people in the story. And with one being a genius and the other with the name Wang Dang Lang... how down-to-earth can they really be?

I don't know if my lack of connection with this one was because it was an audiobook or if it was because it was just a little to out there for me. I understood the basic theme to the book, but even with the "broom" sweeping the system the story was just plain odd. The characters were really not believable, and the short stories interlaced throughout were distracting. They did serve a purpose in giving insight into how Rick was thinking/feeling, but I think it could have been done much more effectively.

The narrator was ok in this one. A few of the voices he did were off as to how I had them in my head, but he wasn't monotonous to listen to and he did use voices to help differentiate who was talking.

The Broom of the System: A Novel

Review: ebook The Last Key by Rob Steiner

I won an ebook copy of this title from Library Thing.

About the Book

Raven Byrne is a novice dahkshari warrior-priest about to complete his training when his mentor, Jelan Drummond, is killed by a mad war hero named Thallan Brael. With the death of his mentor, it falls to Raven to to stop Brael from using an ancient, destructive magic called the Reaping Key to avenge the deaths of his family and commit genocide against an innocent nation.

My Review

This was a pretty good book. Although I did get confused a few times keeping all the characters and their roles straight I did enjoy this one. It was pretty full of action and it was beautifully written. The scenes were so vivid in my mind while I was reading this.

I really liked the story. It was obviously a fantasy but it was believable. It wasn't way out there like some fantasy stories I've read. I didn't have trouble picturing the beasts and such that were in the story. It was written very well.

I loved the characters. Raven was a great hero, even though he didn't always believe in himself and he took a risk or two, he always had everyone's best interests at heart and really believed in his mission. Raven was great but I loved Seala. She was a bit hard-headed, but she was strong and reasonable (as the story progressed). I liked the bit of a love story that was developing also. It added to the story and I think it would have been lacking without that little detail.

Overall this was a pretty good story. I liked the writing and would love to read something by Steiner in the future.

Review: No Hope for Gomez! by Graham Parke

I had been wanting to read this one for a while so I went ahead and bought this one for myself.

About the Book

It's the age-old tale:
Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly. When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. What Gomez isn't ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, his neighbor boiling salamanders on his balcony at midnight, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science. But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced illusions, he decides it%u2019s time to go underground and work out a devious plan.

Now, years later, his blogs have been recovered from a defunct server. For the first time we can find out firsthand what happened to Gomez as he takes us on a wild ride of discovery.

For more information about No Hope for Gomez! please visit Graham Parke's website.

My Review

I was intrigued by this book from the first time I'd heard of it. It sounded as if it would be an interesting read to say the least. It was interesting, but it was also weird. I've read this twice now because I felt like I'd lost something along the way. And while the second reading did help me figure it out a little more I was still kind of confused with the whole thing.

Gomez was an odd character. His downstairs neighbor was odd, the employee that worked for him at the antiques store was odd, the guy that was shopping at the store was odd. His doctor/girlfriend was the most "normal" person in the book, and even she was a bit odd at times.

The things that happen in Gomez's life aren't really all that odd, but the way in which he deals with them is odd. Falling in love with the researcher, perfectly normal. Becoming her stalker stalker, odd... I can't really give anymore examples without giving some of the story away.

The writing was humorous, I laughed quite a few times throughout the book. And like I said the things that happened to Gomez weren't all that abnormal, but the way he deals with life was a bit strange. It was an entertaining read, and it didn't take me long to read it. I actually read it twice within a few days.

No Hope for Gomez!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Review: Journey on the Estrada Real by Glenn Cheney

Thank you to the author Glenn for letting me review this book.

About the Book

Glenn Cheney began a love affair with Brazil when he impulsively hitch-hiked there from Connecticut in 1974. Less than a decade later, disillusioned with the hectic New York lifestyle, he and his wife bought a rural banana farm in the state of Minas Gerais, the region through which the Estrada Real road winds its mountainous way. Cheney's familiarity with the area adds richness and depth to this travelogue, the compelling story of his journey on foot through one of the most remote areas of Brazil. The author makes his way through rural but populated areas, writing about people and an archaic way of life almost forgotten by the rest of the world. Throughout his journey, he is constantly aware of the fragility of the way of life he documents, and the extent to which the region lies under the threat of globalization. The personal connections he makes with the people of Minas Gerais are invaluable for our understanding of how these mountain people live; so far at least, untouched by the modern world.

My Review

The other book that I read of Cheney's was a historical book about the Pilgrims, and while I did enjoy that one I wasn't quite sure of what to expect with this book. This is more of an autobiography of his life, as well as the real story of road in South America.

The book started out a little slow, but the further along the Estrada Real we were taken the more interesting the story of this road becomes. The people he meets while walking each have such great stories. They're not amazing people, they're not rich and famous, they're just real people living the lives that they were given. While some of the people have high hopes, they aren't any different than anyone else. Everyone had dreams right?

While I don't know that I would ever try and tackle the feat that Cheney did I would at some point in my life like to see some of the places that Cheney visited on his journey. Some of the cities seem so vibrant and some of the wilderness was described so beautifully. By the time Cheney makes it to the end of his journey I was so enthralled with the journey that I didn't want it to end. I could feel the happiness, tiredness, and humbleness that Cheney experienced while on his journey.

When Cheney first described some of the places he was staying I thought to myself "I could never stay someplace like that". But the more he travels and the more commonplace these accommodations become I realized that for these people this is what they know. I can't imagine not having electricity and my luxuries and these people can't imagine having them. I was truly humbled by the lives of these people and by the fact that they have stuck to their way of life despite the fact that the whole world is changing around them.


Wild Legacy by Fern Cook

Thanks to the author for letting me review her book.

About the Book

In book III, Dan Tucker's passion for the wildlife runs through the veins of his offspring, but 'his curse' also courses through the veins of his child. Only he knows why his child is different from all the other children.

Like every parent, Dan is challenged with teaching his child how to fit into this world. In Dan's case the dilemma is taken up a notch.

But like every new soul that arrives on this planet, they must make their own way, no one else can do it for them.

For more information about Wild Legacy please visit Fern Cook's website.

My Review

This is the third in the Wild Series. I've had the fortune of reading the first two in the series and again had high hopes for this one. I wasn't disappointed, I just wished for a little more.

This story still follows Dan for a bit, but the majority of the story focuses on Dan's daughter Lizzy. Dan had hidden the fact that he is a werewolf from everyone, including his wife. So when Dan's twins are born he is worried to see if his curse is passed along to them. Lizzy happens to the be one afflicted. And despite Dan's guidance Lizzy is a teenager, and one with a special ability, so she learns about her abilities in her own way.

I really like Dan and his wife from the first two books. I just wasn't that crazy about Lizzy. The story was good and it kept me reading, but I really just didn't like Lizzy. She's hard-headed and strong-willed, which does lead to some good story lines, however her stubbornness to not see things in a different way made her some one I loved to loathe. I didn't hate her, but there was something about her that just didn't sit well with me. I felt she means well, but didn't agree with her means.

I did however like her boyfriend. Stephen is very level-headed and tries to keep Lizzy on the "straight-and-narrow". His family, who Lizzy gets to know very well were all fairly level-headed and at times pose a bit of a problem for Lizzy and her plans.

While I did like the story and the writing was good I would say this is not my favorite from the series. I just didn't care too much for Lizzy, although she did bring quite a bit of "drama" to the story. She just wasn't for me.

Wild Legacy: Book III of the Wild Series (Volume 3)

Review: Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt

Thanks to Anna at Hachette for letting me review this title.

About the book

Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.
Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

For more information about Notorious Pleasures please visit Hachette's website.

You can also follow Elizabeth Hoyt on Twitter, "Like" her on Facebook, or visit her website.

My Review

Notorious Pleasures is the second in the Maiden Lane series. I was fortunate enough to have been able to read Wicked Intentions, the first in the series. I really liked Wicked Intentions so I have very high expectations for Notorious Pleasures.

Book two follows Lady Hero and the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children. But Hero is the main character in this book. The book starts just about where the last book left off. Hero is due to marry the Duke of Wakefield, but she has her secrets, like the foundling home. And then one big secret comes to the forefront of the story. Hero has fallen in love, and not with her fiance...

I liked Hero and was glad to see her as the tie-in from the first book. She was so strong, but yet she knew her place in society and tried to ensure she stayed within the confines of that place. Although she is not always as proper as she appears to be. Her secret of helping with the Foundling home is one that she's kept from all of the men in her life, except one. Then when her romance with Reading becomes more than just flirtatious her position in society is very much in danger.

This, much like the first book, was such an engaging read. Hoyt has a great command of language and makes the book so enjoyable. After now reading two of Hoyt's books I would imagine she could write a book about paint drying and make it interesting. So needless to say I will be waiting for book three in the series, which is due out later this year.

Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane)