I adore the times spent with my fellow members of the Paige Turner Book Club...but I have a literary appetite that simply cannot be sated with just one book a month. This blog is a place for me to talk about more of my reading adventures. Reviews, summaries, highlights, warnings, praises and quotes. Because after all, it can be a jungle...er...savannah...out there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

Characters and story-lines and shenanigans abound!  What a delightful tale. 

Things I knew before I started listening to this book:  1) There would be lots of intersecting plots as the story followed the tenants of a particular apartment building.  2) The story would be narrated by an observing spirit/presence.

Things I failed to observe:  Keyes' story is set in Dublin, Ireland...and the main character would become the delightful narrator -- who gave a whimsical and pitch perfect performance.  Never in a million years would I have been able to give as much spunk and pizazz to the story as the narrator captures with each breath.  If you've never entered the world of audiobooks, I order you to pick up this recording, kick back (or drive on) and escape.

As to the story itself, I enjoyed it.  (It doesn't hurt that the ending is completely satisfying.  *wink*)  It took me a minute to catch on to what was going on.  But there *are* four floors/sets of players to get to know.  Also, Keyes does something very interesting with the time-line in the story.  Time is moving forward and backward all at once.  But once you get into it, it's easy to fall under Keyes' spell.  I found myself rooting for all the players...even the ones who are a bit rough around the edges. Also, I found it impressive that Keyes could explore some keep and heavy subjects, while keeping the overall tone of the book light and quirky.

I'll be looking to read more from this author.  Maybe I can convince my book club to come along for the ride.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen

This is one from my TBR pile.  My sister gave it to me over a year ago and assured me that it was hilarious and that I would really enjoy it.  For some reason, I was dubious.  Despite the cleverly written back cover, I was sort of put off by the title.  So I just kept passing it by when it came time to grab my next book.

But a few weeks ago, some friends and I took a bus ride up to Philly to support the USA soccer team in their friendly match against Turkey before heading to the World Cup in South Africa.  It's a 3-hour drive each way, and I went prowling for a the perfect book to take with me.  Skinny Dip won the prize.

I got a good feeling when one of hte other bus patrons passed me and said, "Oh, that's a great book.  You'll love it."

This is a snippet from Amazon's review: 
Charles "Chaz" Perrone fancies himself a take-charge kind of guy. So when this "biologist by default" suspects that his curvaceous wife, Joey, has stumbled onto a profitable pollution scam he's running on behalf of Florida agribusiness mogul Red Hammernut, he sets out right away to solve the problem--by heaving Joey off the deck of a luxury cruise liner and into the Atlantic Ocean, far from Key West. But--whoops!--Joey, a former swimming champ, doesn't drown. Instead, as Carl Hiaasen tells in his 10th adult novel, Skinny Dip, she makes her way back to shore, thanks both to a wayward bale of Jamaican marijuana and lonerish ex-cop Mick Stranahan, and then launches a bogus blackmail campaign that's guaranteed to drive her lazy, libidinous hubby into a self-protective frenzy.
It's ridiculous.  It's over the top.  It's funny... Have you seen the Sprite commercial that focuses on a group of writers sitting outside a Hollywood studio?  They're all just tapping their pencils and looking lost.  But then a pirate ship, a panda, a cheerleader, and a martial arts fight all start falling out of the stratosphere, and when the main character takes a drink of sprite they all 'splash' into his imagination and you hear him say, "Ok, I got it.  We'll start with a cheerleader..." 

That's how I imagine Carl Hiaasen came up with some of this characters and plot devices.  They're just that ridiculous.  (For example:  A woman made independently wealthy because her parents died in a plane crash while transporting their juggling circus bear home from the specialist who needed to treat the bear's impacted tooth.)  But you forgive him.  Because it's just so entertaining.

So thank you Amanda.  I should have trusted you.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Can you judge an audio-book by it's CD-sleeve?  I'm going to answer with a very decisive, "sometimes."  *grin*

The cover art of this book grabbed my eye:

And the story was very satisfying.  It's a coming of age tale, with a bit of love, and a tad of the paranormal.  I really enjoyed it.  The main characters are just at the beginning of high school, and the language and tone of the plot fits them perfectly.  The narrator of the story sounded like she was in high school too, which I wanted to find fault with, but just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Her voice just fit the part.

It's a great summer listen, that looks at the whimsical side of life without delving into vampires and werewolves.  I recommend it!