Posts Tagged ‘book review’

Where have I been??

Thursday, December 27th, 2012
It's been over two months since I've blogged!!! So much has happened and it has just been so crazy of late. That happens, from time to time, I guess. Sigh…
What have I/we been up to?
Jermaine and I took a very relaxing trip to the Florida Keys:
I basically spent a week in a hammock and it was fantastic! We spent our second anniversary at a very nice Lady-and-the-Tramp-like Italian restaurant in Key Largo…very delicious and romantic.
Then we came home just in time for Hurricane Sandy:
Fortunately we were fine but I can not say the same for my cousin and his family in New Jersey. They were without power for a week. So many families had more issues to deal with too with all the damage to properties.
Then there was the election.
Maryland legalized gay marriage. Wohhooooo!!!! I am so proud of my state!
Work has been so crazy for the both of us. The craziness for my job occurred a little earlier this year. Luckily, it will always be busy but the crazy, ER-quality pace has dissipated.

Jermaine and I are enjoying a nice Christmas. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree:

 

It's what tress often turn into, no? :-)

Craft-wise and book-wise, I've:

  • Finished 11 books. No idea if I'll be able to write reviews for every single one
  • Finished three pairs of socks for girlfriends and one pair for moi.
  • Made two fairly nice necklaces for my boss and my mom. I've come a long way since making necklaces out of macaroni teehee
  • Started knitting a monster for the 600 Monsters Strong group. Inspired by the terrible traders in Newtown this December, this group aims to send these knitted monsters to kids impacted by gun violence.
I hope to share more here in the upcoming months. I feel bad that I have gone MIA both with my blogging and my commenting. I hope to change that.
 
Happy 2013, everyone!!!
 
 

Book Review – Insurgent

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

What I’ve recently finished:

**Insurgent by Veronica Roth**
GoodReads
Amazon
World Catalog

What is it about?
I read Book I in this series earlier this year for a book club and enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. This is a sci-fi series set in a dystopian version of Chicago. This society is divided into five strictly segregated factions. At the age of sixteen, every kid must pick a faction in the annual ceremony. The Five Factions are listed quite well in this site here. The book’s protagonist, Tris Prior, in the first book selected the Dauntless faction who believe that cowardliness is at the root of society’s problems. Interestingly enough, she was raised inĀ  the Abnegation faction that values selflessness. For more information about the first book, check out Divergent on Goodreads
Often with second books in a trilogy, the book serves merely as a gap between a big start and grand ending. I believe this book had more of a foundation to it – You see the main character struggle with current life decisions and ones she made in the past. Her society is in the middle of quite a revolution and this story is about each character’s motivation to side with one particular view. I think this society is starting to realize, one can not be all of one faction too.

Why did I read this?
Like I stated before – I read Book I for a book club. This book was rather thick….500 some pages but even with that, it was a quick read. So, when Book II (Divergent) came out, I wanted to see what would happen next!

What impressed me about this book?
I appreciated how thoughtful Tris was. In the previous book, she did and witnessed some things that take a lot of time to get over. I read the Hunger Games Trilogy and wondered how Katniss can go through such experiences and then be OK making TV appearances for Panem. Yes we see that both she and her fellow survivors struggle with it but I never got how they affected her specifically. Tris is more thoughtful and the reader starts to understand her feelings during and afterward.

What disappointed me about this book?
…then again, Tris is still a sixteen year old girl, who, at times, can be a little self-absorbed. So yes, there were times when I was rolling my eyes at her. But really, that is a phase, like it or not, we all go through. ;-)

Historical Relevance:
Non-applicable seeing as how this was set in the future ;-)

What reading challenge(s) did this book apply to?

Overall Grade?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book Review – Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

What I’ve recently finished:

**Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal**
GoodReads
Amazon
World Catalog

What is it about?
What a fabulous beginning to a series!

Margaret Hope finds herself in England as World War II breaks out. She put her graduate program at MIT on hold to go across the pond from the United States to sell her grandmother’s house. Clearly trying to sell a home in a city where war is about to break out makes for a questionable housing market so she opens the house up to a few young women to be her roommates. We meet her a few months into the war and then the reader slowly starts to learn of her back story. Maggie was raised by her aunt who lives in the US after her parents’ death. This aunt is apprehensive of Margret’s presence in the UK because she fears Margaret will come across the truth about her childhood. I will stop there ;-)

Now let’s throw in some historical events! Margaret receives a job as a typist in the Prime Minister’s office (hence they book’s title). She was looked over for a job as a PM’s Analyst because that position was not suited for a females. As the PM’s office concentrates on the movement of Germany and wonders when the United States will be involved, the country starts to forget the IRA until they start conducting random acts of violence throughout the city of London! Thanks to Margaret’s wit and smarts she is able to break the codes she sees but the process of her doing that is really quite thrilling.

Why did I read this?
Honestly, I think I was wondering around Amazon one weekend and found it. Didn’t I say that last time? :-) It was available in Target one evening with I was there.

What impressed me about this book?
This was one exciting story with a very very likable heroine! This, I do believe, was my first spy book and I liked that it was fast-paced without getting overwhelming

What disappointed me about this book?
…but I will say, and maybe this is just a personal quirk, that I had a very difficult time keeping characters straight. And honestly, if that’s the only gripe I have about the book, then I say it is still a keeper.

Historical Relevance:
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Margaret, in a way….to be so smart but not be taken seriously whether it was in 10 Downing Street or in Britain’s security agency, Mi5. It didn’t take till the 1970s for women to be accepted as full officers in Mi5. Women held mainly secretarial jobs and did not do so for long. When they got married, they would be “encouraged” to go home to take care of their families. I found myself applauding Margaret throughout this book. She showed her intelligence in really smart ways. I can’t help but wonder how much of a typical woman of the times she was? I would venture that she definitely stood out from the typical woman of the times. And, because of that, I very much look forward to the next book, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy.

What reading challenge(s) did this book apply to?

Overall Grade?

Rating: ★★★★½

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