Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Photo taken from Goodreads

 Book Info

Title:  The Angel's Game 
Author:  Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Publisher:  Orion Publishing
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  448 pages 
ISBN - 10:  0753826445
ISBN - 13:  978-0753826447
Music Background:  Lacrymosa by Evanescence
Source:  Gift, from The Boyfriend 

Summary

From Goodreads:
 

"In the turbulent and mysterious Barcelona of the 1920s, David Martin, a young novelist obsessed with a forbidden love, receives an offer from an enigmatic publisher to write a book like no other before—a book for which "people will live and die." In return, he is promised a fortune and, perhaps, much more."

Review

It is often said that all books are beautiful in their own way - yes, even bad books.  But all the real literary masterpieces have one thing in common:  they suck in the souls of readers who make the mistake of opening their pages, trapping them within chapters of tales that may or may not be real, and might be too impossible to happen in real life that after readers have turned the final page and has gone onto a new book, the story lingers in their minds as if what they just read might come creeping its way out into their own lives.  If the story was as light and as pleasant as daylight then that its occurring in a reader's real life might be a wonderful idea.  But what if the story was as gothic and as terrifying as it was seductive, electrifying and fascinating?  Would a reader be thrilled to have it happen in his/her real life?  Would you?

And this is where The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon comes in.   A book about books, this is the story of David Martin, a writer of crime novels who was given a once in a lifetime chance to write an extraordinary book for a mysterious French publisher.  Little does he know that this would lead him to a series of mysteries and events that might take everything he holds dear, even his own life.

Set in the 1910s, this novel is both prequel and sequel to the author's first book, The Shadow of the Wind, as well as a stand-alone story of greed, mystery, friendship, love, and murder.  David's voice was as haunting and as engaging as he narrated the whole story, the underlined urgency egging the reader on to keep turning the page and fueling the curiosity for what is going to happen next.  Apart from playing the narrator, David also manages to be a very interesting character who undergoes some major changes in his personal views.  He is very imaginative, compassionate, a bit serious but has a great amount of sarcastic humor that peppers his dialogues throughout the book that would definitely catch any reader off guard by the sudden gust of witty and snarky remarks that is like a splash of cold water amidst a deluge of suspenseful and somber scenes.

However, the character I loved most was Isabella.  She was the perfect friend, sister, mother, even lover, all rolled into one.  In my opinion, she provided most of the comic relief as she traded jibe after jibe of entertaining remarks with David in their almost never-ending verbal sparring.  I even thought that she had better chemistry with David than Cristina, the latter's love interest.  But Cristina has her own unique characteristics that reveal her warmth and charm that helps her stand her ground among other equally fascinating characters.

What struck me the most was the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' which seemed to be one of the threads that connect The Angel's Game with The Shadow of the Wind.  A glimpse of this fantastic place would turn any book lover liquid with envy but nervous and a wee bit frightened at the same time.  I would love to tell you more about this particular place but I do not want to spoil the fun and will just have to make you read it yourself to find out what makes this place tick.

This book made me think of 'Lacrymosa' by Evanescence and this music kept playing in my head the entire time I was reading this book.  The gothic feel of this music perfectly matches the theme of the story, especially those times when the scenes got too intense and thrilling.  And like the lingering effect of music, most of this book's moments were stuck in my head even when I was not reading the book, even going so far as to look over my shoulder for fear that some mysterious person is stalking me.  Scary, yes, but shows that the story is very effective in embedding itself into my brain that it has almost blurred the lines between what is real and what is only in the book.  Which is a good indication that my soul has been sucked into its pages, as what I said about real literary masterpieces.

If that is so, I don't want my soul back.  But this book will definitely stay in my hands.

Rating

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.

Notice 

All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Sea Glass by Anita Shreve


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
* Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
 
I was so amazed by The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve, so I'm very excited to start reading Sea Glass by the same author.  Both books were given to me by a friend and it's really fun to receive free books that prove to be really awesome reads :D

The Teaser:


"CELEBRATION OF FOURTH COSTS 148 LIVES."

-pages 61, Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
 

Monday, March 28, 2011

First-Ever Music Monday: "Lacrymosa" by Evanescence for The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


I have been telling myself to do this a thousand times before, and now I've finally done it!  Yay!!!  Thank you so much to Lah over there at Lazy Girl Reads for doing this feature where we showcase music that reminds us of a particular book that we read.

About the Book
 
I've just finished reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and I still have a huge hangover from this one.  I'm still working on my book review for this one, but as I cannot stop from talking about this book, I hope a Music Monday post about this book would suffice.  This book is more along the lines of gothic fiction, mystery thriller, and magical realism with a dash of a tragic love story and what better music to describe such a mix than Lacrymosa by Evanescence? 


About the Artist

Evanscence is an American rock band started in 1995 by lead vocalist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody.  Current band  line-up consists of Amy Lee on lead vocals, piano, keyboard, and harp; Terry Balsamo on lead guitar; Tim McCord on bass guitar; Will "Science" Hunt on drums and programming; and Will Hunt on drums.  Their gothic-style music has appealed to listeners ever since, especially songs like My Immortal and Bring Me To Life, among other things.  In Lacrymosa, they used a sample of the 'Lacrimosa' section of Requiem by Mozart.  Which is awesome.  Visit their website for more awesomeness.  



10 Good Things on a Monday: Ten Reasons to Read The Washingtonienne by Jessica Cutler

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly feature  I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.


Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!
----------

My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Reasons to Read The Washingtonienne by Jessica Cutler

I don't care if you tell me this is cheating.  I know that I have never written a book review for this book, but it's not because it's so bad I do not want to waste time writing about it.  Actually, I thought it was pretty awesome, and even my Mom thought so.  So in lieu of a book review, I'm going to share 10 good things about this book that would definitely make you want to read it yourself!

First things first, here's a summary so you won't be left in the dark:

When Jacqueline Turner's fiancée gives her two days to move out of his apartment, she has no choice but to leave New York City and crash with her best friend in Washington, DC. (She can't be expected to keep herself in cute clothes while paying New York City rent, after all.) She needs a new, exciting life-not to mention real employment. Where better to get a fresh start than the nation's capital?

Alas, DC turns out to be a lot more buttoned-up and toned down than she'd hoped. It's a town where a girl has to make her own excitement-and Jacqueline Turner is just the woman for the job.

From the married presidential appointee who gives her cash after each tryst, to the lascivious Georgetown lawyer who parades her around like something out of Pretty Woman, Jackie's roster of paramours grows so complicated her friends ask her to start a blog so they can keep up. But in a small town like Washington, the line between private and public blurs very easily. Just as one of her beaux takes a lead in the race for her heart, Jackie realizes this blog idea may be more than she bargained for...

  1. It's losely based on a real event in the author's life.
  2. It's got really juicy - if trashy - scandals that would get you hooked and keep you reading.
  3. The clothes mentioned here are fantastic!
  4. Jacqueline Turner is such a shallow, self-centered narrator and it's hard not to read more just to get more laughs out of her antics.
  5. The men in Jackie's life have such colorful personalities and quirks.
  6. It might sound stupid but I guess I'm one of those people who get a kick out of reading about somebody else's stupid decisions and actions.
  7.  It's your typical chick-lit but with more room for dirty scandals.
  8. In spite of all the scandal, it's still a pretty light read that would be perfect for those days when you've got nothing better to do than sit back and read, or in preparation for a more serious read, or to cool down after reading a pretty heavy story.
  9. It sounds like a Washington version of Sex and the City, but in my opinion, Jackie looks way hotter than Carrie Bradshaw.
  10. Even though it gets a bit too nasty in some parts, it remains witty and entertaining, with some introspective reflections that at other times would come off as a silly and worn-out cliche but turns out to be hilarious, considering that the person rattling off such sensitive realizations is a shallow but predatory narrator.
Got you interested?  I hope so, but I won't mind if you don't want to read this book, I was a bit wary of this myself at first, but when I began reading, I couldn't put it down!

So tell me, what are your Ten Good Things for this week?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


Photo taken from Goodreads

 Book Info

Title:  Revolution 
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  472 pages
ISBN-13:  978-0375989506
Source:  Purchased, Celina's Books and Mags

Summary

From Goodreads:

"BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
"
Review

Good books beckon to a reader and get them engaged until the last page.  Bad books seduce readers but fall short of their promises.  Great books, however, do all of the above, except fall short of their promise - they do not promise anything at all and no reader would mind.  Why?  Because who needs promises when a book just surpassed all your expectations and more? 

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly is about two young women:  Andi living in modern-day Brooklyn, and Alexandrine from Paris in the time of the French Revolution.  Both girls are in a midst of a revolt, the difference is that Andi's is from within her self while Alexandrine's is that of the historical kind.  

So begs the question:  Is Revolution a good book, a bad book, or a great book?

This is not a mere time travel novel.  Yes, the past and the present parallel each other in this book, but that is not the main focus - it's the revolution that takes place within the characters' lives.  Both Andi and Alexandrine are wounded artists - Andi struggling emotionally because of the death of her younger brother, Truman, her mother's descent into insanity, and her father's indifference and ignorance of his daughter's plight.  Because of this, her performance in school has suffered that gets her father concerned about her academic future as she was tested to be a genius when she was younger - her  father being a scientist, putting premium on intellect rather than emotion.  Alexandrine, on the other hand, deals with a million troubles - poverty, a lack of promising opportunities to showcase her talent on the Paris stage, and a burgeoning French revolution among other things.  Both girls channel their hurt and through their art - music and acting respectively - both flawed artists who try to come to terms with their lives, Andi with accepting what has happened, and Alexandrine with finally realizing the significance of loving another human being other than herself and putting the happiness of another person before hers.  This premise is so skillfully written that readers would find themselves drawn into these girls' worlds, empathizing and sympathizing every step of the way.

Another striking detail is the use of real-life historical events and personalities in order to create a more credible narrative that has chapters set in the French Revolution.  The blending of fact and fiction is so seamless and almost indistinguishable that a reader not very well acquainted with that particular time in French history would be tricked into accepting every historical detail in this book as real and not tampered with.

This story is mostly narrated by Andi, and that narration showed a progression from downright gloomy and despairing, to hopeful and optimistic.  Peppered with sarcastic quips one expects from a jaded teenager, the narrative's voice can be classified as a consistent portrayal of a real teenager's way of speaking and storytelling.  However, other chapters are narrated through journal entries written by Alexandrine that adapts a dated voice that captures a reader's expectation of how a young woman in the old French world would speak.

One would note, however, that Andi's way of speaking during her time in France seemed too 'American' in that although it was understood that her conversations with the French were already translated to English, the nuances and idioms of typical French language were not present in the translations.  Some reviews showed this to be inexcusable, I found this considerate.  Why?  As a book of young adult fiction, this would obviously be read by a younger audience and they like a more straightforward presentation of a narrative, rather than wading through tall grasses of vague 'translated' French to English conversations.

As for the characters, they were not difficult to love - or hate, depending on the circumstances.  When I say love or hate, it means that the characters do not have difficulty in eliciting in me an appropriate emotion and reaction to their personalities and actions.  Andi, a poor rich girl, may sound like a cliche in the beginning, but once you get to know her, it is not difficult to feel for her and understand her pain as her issues are not as superficial as other teens.  She has real problems and really deep sadness that a 'simply divine skirt from Chanel' cannot solve.  Alexandrine, on the other hand, with her conniving and scheming, also gets under your skin without much effort, once her transformation to a deeply-caring young woman becomes complete.

Simply put, this is a great book.

Rating

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.

Notice 

All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

The Weekly Book Report 3/21 - 3/27/2011


I am currently typing on a new keyboard that The Boyfriend gave me - he's so sweet!  

Okay.  So things have not changed yet, I'm still crazy busy, but I'm really trying hard to keep up with this blog.  I promise to try harder next week and improve on my posting.

Book Reviews (Just a couple, I know, it's horrible!):
Revolution by Jennifer Donnellly
Bella by Steve Piacente
 
Author Interview:
Awesome Author Interview with Steve Piacente who wrote Bella

Features:
10 Good Things on a Monday  Ten Favorite Glee Songs
Teaser Tuesday from Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh
Audrey Hepburn and Her Timeless Style

Books Received:

Gift from The Boyfriend (I love him!):
     Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly - reviewed 
     The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
     Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh
 
From the Author/Won: 
     Bella by Steve Piacente (received 3/15/2011 but I was unable to do a Weekly Book Report for that week so I'm including this for this week.) - reviewed
    
Currently ReadingThe Angel's Game by Carlo Ruiz Zafon

Have a great weekend!

 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fabulous Follow Friday


It's Friday again, and that means that the weekend is upon is, which is awesome because I badly need to rest after such a hectic week.  Patients, patients, and more patients tested my patience.  Fortunately for me - and lucky for them - my patience thread is quite long and I was able to pull off this week's work without too much fuss.  Is your week as busy as mine?

This week's featured blog:  

Confessions of a Page Turner”=


This week's question: 
 
Inspired by the inane Twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.
  1. Every day that I wake up, I tell myself, "This is the day that I will stop visiting bookstores and start a month-long book buying ban."  I've been telling myself that since November of last year - nothing has happened so far.
  2. I practically shove books at my younger brother and The Boyfriend.  They thank me after they've read whatever it was that I was peddling them.
  3. My mother loves my books - even the YA ones.
  4. No one from my workplace knows that I love to read and even have a book blog.
  5. Contrary to typical conclusions, I did not get myopia from reading books in dim light.  I used to sneak out my mother's old prescription glasses to school and wear it during classes, not minding that my vision was shaky and twisted.  That's still book related, right?
Have a great Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Awesome Author: Interview with Steve Piacente (Bella)

This new author that I interviewed I met quite unexpectedly.  I am sure you already know how I got to snag Bella from a book giveaway, but what I have not yet told you is along with the book, I was also able to develop a friendship with its awesome author, Steve Piacente.

Steve is very down to earth and has a lot of zeal, especially in promoting his book that is as equally awesome as its author.  Read my review of Bella for proof.  This is what I enjoy most in blogging about books:  I not only get to read amazing stories, I also get to make friends with lots of people, bloggers and authors, who have very interesting personalities and are very eager to share their love for reading and creating stories.
 

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know yet. 

The Bella self-publishing project is very much a family affair.  One of my daughters designed www.getbella.com, and her boyfriend coded it. His brother is an artist who drew the sketches that accompany the excerpts. My older daughter is in public relations and helped write our press releases, and my wife has come up with some great marketing ideas, like our “message in a bottle.” See: http://www.getbella.com/travels-with-bella/

What made you decide to write a story that revolves around the Pentagon and the military? 

I’m going to disagree slightly with the premise of the question. To me, the story revolves around the relationship between Bella and Dan. I was less interested in the military backdrop than the ethical decisions that drive the action, both on the battlefield and in the bedroom. I have always been fascinated by actions people take when they think no one is watching. 

You wrote this book and published it yourself as well.  What made you decide to go indie, and how did the self-publishing process go? 

There used to be just one way to enter  the literary castle. You wrote your book, wooed the agents, and hopefully landed one who could get you a publisher. If you didn’t get the agent, you didn’t get into the castle, plain and simple. Technology’s changed the landscape, to my mind for the better. We self-published Bella and are in the process of getting it before average people without the help of any middlemen. That means real people will decide if the novel is worth reading. That said, an author takes on a big challenge when he or she moves from creative writing to creative marketing. We have taken on that challenge by crafting a web site www.getbella.com that features a video trailer, an interactive reader map, and illustrated excerpts. We are also well represented on Facebook - please friend us:   http://on.fb.me/bellaFB -  YouTube and Twitter. Finally, I am writing a how-to blog on self-publishing (Back Story) that tells how we’ve reached this point. The most recent post features a TV interview that was actually a lot of fun: http://www.getbella.com/can-we-talk/ 

When you decide to write another book, are you going to self-publish again? 

I’m having a lot of fun so far, and it’s been a wonderful challenge, but I’m going to reserve judgment on that one for the time being. 

Do you personally know any real-life version of Bella?  If yes, did you ever – at anytime you’ve known such person – think that you would be using her for a character in a future book? 

Over a long reporting career, I covered several tragic events, including the murder of Adam Walsh in Hollywood. I have always been interested in how people respond to profound grief – in the Walsh case, parents John and Reve channeled their grief into action by lobbying the state legislature in Tallahassee to pass tougher child protection laws. Others in similar situations became very withdrawn and shunned the spotlight. The Bella character is a mix of people like this that I covered during my reporting days. 

How were you able to balance your writing with other aspects of your life? 

It’s tricky, because inspiration strikes at the oddest moments. I like to write in the early morning, while it’s still quiet and peaceful. That’s not always possible. In the end, I think it comes down to being organized and a bit disciplined. 

Scenario:  A fire broke out in your house’s kitchen.  What is the first thing you will save? 

Assuming everyone’s out of the house, I would save the picture of my wife and myself, taken more than three decades ago when we were in our teens. 

The fire now reaches your library.  What are five books you will take with you on your way out? 

That’s easy. We don’t have a library. If we did, however, I would snag: The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, Rabbit at Rest by John Updike, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. 

Will we ever see your reporter Dan Patragno in another novel? 

Yes - In one of his first assignments, rookie reporter Dan stumbles on a decades-old secret. It began simply enough - two boys were planning to sneak a few beers in the woods. They knew to be careful; 1959 was no year for underage black kids to get caught drinking in rural South Carolina. Before the first sip, they came to a clearing. A black man was on his knees, surrounded by white men in robes. One shed his mask – the local judge. One boy bolted. The other, Ike Washington, froze. Dan learns that Judge Mac McCauley weighed things in that moment and offered young Ike a choice; join the man about to die, or begin hustling the black support McCauley needed to advance in state politics. In trade, Ike would enjoy a life of power and comfort. Decades later, with Dan on the story, McCauley is a U.S. senator and Ike is poised to become the first black congressmen from South Carolina since Reconstruction. Instead, he winds up in the same forest where the hanging took places years earlier, a long rope in hand. The night is noisy, but all Ike hears is the name his rivals have bestowed upon him: Bootlicker. Our plan is to publish Bootlicker, the prequel to Bella, in late 2011. 

Thank you so much for joining us, Steve! 

----- 

For an added treat, watch the trailer for Bella by Steve Piacente:






Take a look at some amazing illustrated excerpts of the book here. For more info on Steve Piacente and his book, you can  find him on: 

The official website of Bella


News:  Steve will be on Book Expo America (BEA) in New York in May.  If you are attending that event, you can catch him in a booth on Writer's Row at Jandis Center, they will be giving away Bella bookmarks!  And his book will be sold at a special expo price of USD 10.00.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feature: Audrey Hepburn and Her Timeless Style

Recently, I picked up a copy of Audrey Style, a book about Audrey Hepburn's style AND lifestyle, by Pamela Clarke Keogh.  I am a very big Audrey fan and this is my first ever book of her.  Reading through it made me believe more in the extraordinary character that she is on- and off-screen. 

I was supposed to write a book review of the above-mentioned book but I was too thrilled to tell you about that book's subject so I'm going ahead with that instead.

With more than one hundred photographs in the book of this beautiful lady, her simple, sleek, and classy style is clearly appreciated.  What is more interesting to note is that most - if not all - of her ensembles are still workable in today's fashions, if not the basic foundation of most outfits.  They would forever be timeless, yet modern.

Her appeal, I found on further reading and research, also extended on her book choices.  Some of her favorite books included:  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, and of course, Anne Frank:  The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  It is interesting to note that a celebrity of her magnitude still found time to read and be affected by the books she read.  According to her, reading Anne Frank's diary  "devastated her." (Keogh, 196)  She also added that it was a complete account of what she went through in those hard times.  They were the same age when World War II happened and the experience was something that stayed with her throughout her life - unlike Anne Frank who did not survive the war.

I know that this post is totally off-topic since I talked more about a person that the book, but I hope that you would still enjoy reading this as I really had fun writing it :D



Some really fabulous Audrey-inspired outfits:



Roman Holiday
Roman Holiday by audrey2323
Untitled

Untitled by anebe (off for a while)


 Some Audrey Hepburn Trivia:
  1. She once kept a pet fawn named Ip which her then-husband Mel Ferrer gave her in preparation for her role in Green Mansions.
  2. She agreed to play Maid Marian opposite to Sean Connery as Robin Hood in the movie Robin and Marian partly because her sons wanted to finally meet Sean Connery who was then-James Bond.
  3. On her first meeting with Cary Grant (Charade), she accidentally knocked an entire bottle of red wine all over the latter's suit.

Another trivia:  She draws, and quite beautifully too!  Check out some of her drawings:



Awesome, right?  



Teaser Tuesday: Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
* Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
 
I am crazy about Audrey Hepburn.  I watched all her movies thousands of times and probably know most of her lines by heart.  I am very fascinated by her beauty, her fashion sense, and her philosophy in life.  That's why I was so excited to get this book on her - my very first!  What's more awesome is that I got this brand new at 90 percent off!  What a deal right?

The Teaser:


'"I wanted to be Margot Fonteyn and a choreographer as well." - A.H.'

-pages 44-45 Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh
 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Bella by Steve Piacente

Photo taken from Goodreads


 Book Info

Title:  Bella 
Author:  Steve Piacente
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  266 pages
ISBN-10:  1451571615
ISBN-13:  978-1451571615
Source:  Won from the author
Summary

From Goodreads:

"A striking widow intent on proving the military lied about her husband's death lures a Washington journalist into the investigation. Working together, they discover the power of temptation, the futility of revenge, and the consequences of yielding to either."
Review

This book is my first-ever book giveaway win.  And you know what?  It definitely is an epic win!

Bella by Steve Piacente is about a woman's struggle to find out the truth about her soldier husband's death, and to reveal the truth to the whole nation.  Helping her win her cause is cocky and jaded newspaper reporter Dan Patragno whose life may have been tainted by this beautiful widow's entrance into his life.

At its core, Bella is not just a book that solves a mystery, nor is it only to document a woman's search for truth.  Like its title character, Bella is a complex story that will lure, tease, taunt, and leave you wanting for more.  Told through the eyes of Dan, the voice is bitter yet fascinated by this extraordinary woman.  But as much as it is about Bella's charm, struggles, frustrations, and complexities, it is also Dan's own as he is shown dealing with his problems that may or may not be caused by the appearance of Bella in his life.  Reading through his account, the reader cannot help but be torn between Dan's own opinions and Bella's demonstrated behavior.  The different aspects of Bella's multi-dimensional personality that is written in the book contradicts with each other, as we witness her transform from angry woman to aggrieved widow to charming temptress.  It is easy enough to agree with everything Dan tells us about this woman, yet we could not help but be caught off guard by the actual Bella gracing the pages of this book who appears so unpredictably predictable.

The premise of the story also holds its own as it compels the readers to immediately pick up this book as soon as one reads the blurb and synopsis.  Who can resist mysteries?  And then once the pages are turned, readers would be pleasantly surprised to realize that the story has a lot more to offer than the gratification of solving a mysterious case.  Actually, the purported mystery in this novel is solved early that leaves more room to explore Bella's character herself, which appears to be the main focus for this book - quite naturally since this is a book entitled Bella, right?

I would like to congratulate the author in crafting such a creative and emotional masterpiece that would surely beguile every reader's book desires and lure and trap them as Bella unconsciously did to Dan Patragno but unlike the latter, the reader would learn a very valuable lesson without getting too beaten up to appreciate it.

Rating

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.

Notice 

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10 Good Things on a Monday! Ten Favorite Glee Songs from Season Two

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly feature  I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.


Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!
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My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Favorite Glee Songs from Season Two 
So if you haven't already heard, I'm a Gleek!  I'm getting such a kick out of watching that show and I loved a lot of their songs.  So for this week's good things, I would like to list ten songs that really made me dance and be happy!  (Click on the title for a link to the audio)
  1. Silly Love Songs as performed by The Warblers
  2. Valerie sung by Santana
  3. Sing, a duet between Tina and Mike - Mike's voice and antics are priceless!
  4. Marry You by New Directions - Makes me want to do this in my own wedding :D
  5. Sway sung by Will Schuster - Such a suave rendition.
  6. Misery, another song performed by The Warblers
  7. Dog Days are Over as performed by Tina and Mercedes - I loved this song by Florence and the Machine, and the rendition by the two Glee stars is awesome too.
  8. Tik Tok sung by Brittany - I love Brittany!
  9. Need You Now performed by Rachel and Puck - I'm not crazy about Rachel, but I dig Puck's voice.
  10. Hell to the No sung by Mercedes - Mercedes has a great-awesome voice, and the lyrics are crazy, made me laugh a lot!
By the way, because ARGH has this crazy crush on Lauren Zeizes, I'm listing as an honorable mention her performance of the song, I Know What Boys Like, that really made me laugh, and made ARGH blush and sigh wistfully.

Gleek or not, let's all have a great Monday!