Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Sisters Brothers: A Novel by Patrick deWitt

The Sisters Brothers: A Novel

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2011 by Ecco

Let me start by saying that I am not so sure how useful this review will be to anyone.  I just didn't get the humor or point of this book.  From the cover art to the last page, I felt confused.  I read the reviews of others that have loved this book, but I really didn't care for it.  

The book is set in the old west during the gold rush.  It follows two brothers who are paid killers.  They also murder other characters in the book that they just don't like.  I found the conversational between the two brothers bizarre.  They had huge vocabularies and spoke as well as a Harvard educated professors.  I assume that this is part of the humor that others enjoyed, but as I said, I just didn't get it.  I kept reading, expecting  more, but it didn't deliver.  I guess my sense of humor is not sophisticated enough to enjoy this book.

Thanks to Ecco publishers for allowing me to read and review this book.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SPYCATCHER by Matthew Dunn

Spycatcher: A Novel

Spycatcher: A Novel

Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2011 by William Morrow
0062037676 (ISBN13: 9780062037671)

Will Cochrane is HOT! This  main character is an MI6 agent and he's on a mission to kill a very powerful and elusive bad guy.  Will is an expert at his job.  He is emotionally scarred.  He doesn't play by the rules.  He has a good heart (for a man that kills for a living).  No obstacle is too much for him.  He always gets his man!  What more could you ask for in a main character?  All the women will want him and all the men will wish they could be him!

The plot of this book is a bit slow to start off, but it picks up speed and doesn't stop until the very last page.  It has some unpredictable twists and turns, with lots of ruthlessness, carnage and action along the way.  Will Cochrane even finds the time for a little romance! 

While comparisons to James Bond are inevitable, I really don't think they are warranted.  James Bond is one dimensional and unrealistic next to Will Cochrane. 

As you come to the end of the novel, you get the feeling that there is still so much you don't know about Will.  And you will want to know!  The author, Matthew Dunn, has created a character that comes alive on the pages of this book and leaves you wanting more.

Matthew Dunn is lauded as a former MI6 agent.  This gives the novel credibility and a feeling authenticity.  Dunn's second career as an author is off to a great start.  I am already craving more from him.  I am also pretty sure that he is as hot as Will Cochrane!

Thanks to William Morrow publishers for allowing me an opportunity to read and review this novel.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: May 31st 2011 by Random House
140006712X (ISBN13: 9781400067121)

Dreams of Joy: A Novel

Dreams of joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls, which I have not yet read.  Normally, I avoid reading sequels or series of books out of order.  I always feel like I came in to a movie late and missed the beginning!  I did not feel that way about this book.  It stands alone and does not rely heavily on the story told in Shanghai Girls.

Dreams of Joy is set in Red China in 1957.  Not a popular setting for most novels.  I didn't know anything about that period of time in China.  I found this refreshing and educational in an entirely entertaining manner.  I have found some "historical" novels to be dry and boring.  I tend to skip over the history lesson or quit reading the book.  Again, I didn't find this to be true.  Lisa See's description of China in the midst of "The Great leap Forward" bought history to life in a colorful and painless way!

The book alternates between first person accounts by Joy and her Mother, Pearl.  I had to flip back to the start of the chapter at times, to remember which person was speaking.   Joy's adolescent rebellion has life changing consequences and Peal must sacrifice all that she has worked for in America to return to a dysfunctional and corrupt China  in order to rescue her daughter.

This novel went a long way in helping me to understand  how and why the people of China tolerated their government's Communist Agenda.  The characters in this book displayed a manner of thinking and dealing with issues that never would occur to most mid western American citizens. This story enlightened me and  allowed me to begin to understand how the people of China endured a terrible time in their country's history. I would recommend this book as reading material for any students studying this time period in China. But don't let that scare you away from this book!  This is an interesting story that offers a change of pace from the usual subjects and characters.  Once you start reading it, you will find it hard to put down!

I plan to read Shanghai Girls in the near future!
Thank You to Random House for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this interesting book.

Dominance by Will Lavender ISBN:978-4516-1729-0

Advance review : coming in July 2011 from Simon & Schuster

Dominance by Will Lavender

My advance copy came by UPS in the middle of a snow storm. The poor UPS driver got stuck in our driveway and had to be towed!  It worth all the trouble to get this book  into my hands...

Dominance is a "who dun it" murder mystery.  Complete with a cast of interesting characters called together in an old mansion. That is where the comparison to the formula murder mystery ends.  This book is a quick paced easy read with unexpected plot twists.  Just when you think you have it all figured out, the author reveals information that changes everything!

The book bounces between present day and 1994 when the cast of characters were in undergraduate school and part a unique class.  I have to admit that I kept getting the students in the class confused.  Just about the time I was reaching frustration, Will Lavender thoughtfully included a summary of all the students in chapter 18!

After reaching the end of this book I have the urge to re-read the whole book now that I know "Who Dun It".  I never did have it all figured out.  I think it would be an entirely different read know the ending!  I loved that this book kept me guessing to the very end.  That is the mark of a  great  mystery! I am looking forward to the next Will Lavender book.