Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bookish Review: The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a book for book lovers. Initially, it reminded me of InkHeart, but it is not quite a fantasy like that. The book opens with a book dealer taking his young son, Daniel, to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a repository for books that fell out of print, were destroyed, or forgotten. Some of the books here may be the only copies left of their respective tomes. Such is the case with The Shadow of the Wind. Daniel becomes obsessed with the book and its mysterious author, Julian Carax. The story follows Daniel as he grows up and persists in his quest to find what became of Carax, all the while unknowingly following in Carax's footsteps.

The book is a reader's journey and does have a few twists and turns along the way. Nicely executed. A recommended read.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bookish Review: Rusty Nail

Rusty Nail is the 3rd book in the Jack Daniels series by J A Konrath. The books center on Detective Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. In this installment, Jack is faced with a probably copycat killer. She is sent a video of a murder that follows the same MO as the Gingerbread Man--a serial killer that Jack already caught. Jack is ordered to stay away from the case, but the killer is targeting her personally, and she can't stay away. Before all is resolved, Jack, her partner, and her friends will all become the targets of the sadistic killer.

The book is pretty graphic, and there is plenty of dismemberment, torture, abuse, and murder. So, be prepared. The story is pretty good, though I found some of Jack's reactions and actions unbelievable and the killer was rather predictable.

Not a bad read, but not sensational, either.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bookish Review: The Grimm Legacy

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman tells the story of Elizabeth Rew, who takes a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository. The Repository is like a library, but instead of lending books, it lends objects, including doublets, old spoons, and Marie Antoinette's wig. In addition to the ordinary objects, however, are objects from the Grimm fairy tales and other magical bric-a-brac. Elizabeth is excited to be trusted with the magical objects, but all is not well at the repository. Things keep disappearing, and the pages are being tracked by a large, black bird. When one of the pages disappears, Elizabeth and her friends decide to take matters into their own hands.

There is, of course, also a romantic storyline involved.

The book is a fun read, and should appeal to fairytale lovers.

Full Disclosure: I picked up a free ARC of this book at a conference. Pub Date: July 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bookish Review: Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker is set in a disturbing future where grounded oil tankers are being scavenged for parts. Nailer scrambles through the tight spaces to gather up copper wiring while dreaming of one day riding on one of the high-tech clipper ships someone in his class will never set foot on. Nailer's work is perilous--he nearly drowns in a hidden oil tank (a very valuable commodity)--and his father is an abusive drunk. Nailer does have loyal friends on his crew, though. When he and his friend Pima find a lone survivor of a shipwreck--who happens to be a very wealthy girl--Nailer decides to follow his conscience and help her find her family rather than killing her or ransoming her. By doing the right thing, he finds a way to live his dream. But with the bad guys chasing them--led by Nailer's father--it won't be an easy journey.

The book is well-written and enjoyable, though as a Gulf Coast resident, I did find it a bleak and disturbing vision of the future.

Full Disclosure: I picked up a free ARC of this book at a conference. Pub date: May 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bookish Movie: The Lovely Bones

I loved this book, but I wondered how it would translate into a movie. After watching it, I think my first instincts were correct, and this just should not have been made into a movie. I think Stanley Tucci did a great job as a child murderer (creepy!), and, in fact, all of the acting was good. It was just not as compelling to me as it was as a book, and didn't really hold my interest.

Please read the book (but buy some Kleenex!). The movie, you can skip.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bookish Review: The Prince of Mist

The Prince of Mist is a translation. The author is best known for his book The Shadow of the Wind. Max Carver moves with his family to a new house in a new town. Once there, strange things begin happening, centered around an old shipwreck and a creepy garden of circus statues at the house. Max and his sister Alicia make a new friend, Roland, whose grandfather knows a lot about the evil in the town. It turns out that no one is in more danger than Roland.

The book is appropriately creepy, though the ending is not very satisfying--too many loose ends; probably an open door for sequels. I'm also not a huge fan of the title--it's not quite ominous enough.

Full disclosure: Little, Brown sent me a free ARC of this book. It will be available on May 4.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bookish Review: The Cardturner

Louis Sachar is probably best known as the author of Holes. In this book, he tells the story of Alton Richards, who is coerced into helping his blind great-uncle by his parents, who have hopes that the rich uncle will leave them lots of money in his will if Alton sucks up to him enough. Alton dreads the duty at first, but he comes to like and love his uncle and the game that he plays--bridge. Sachar manages to make bridge seem exciting and challenging while not making the rules too confusing. Alton, of course, also finds a bridge-loving girl. The book is pretty straightforward, but the end does have a supernatural element.

Fun, quick read--it may inspire a whole new generation of bridge lovers. I don't get the cover, though--it seems to have nothing to do with the plot.

Full disclosure: I picked up a free ARC of this book at a conference. Pub date: May 11, 2010