A good book has no ending. ~ R.D. Cumming

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Than It Hurts You

Product DetailsMore Than It Hurts You by Darin Strauss

Josh Goldin has everything a man could want - a great job, a beautiful wife and a not-quite-two year old son, Zack. Everything changes one day when Josh receives an emergency phone call at work, asking him to meet his wife at the hospital. The doctor in charge of Pediatrics ICU, Dr. Darlene Stokes, suspects that this may be more than just an "incident". Her suspicions only increase when the child is brought in again on another occasion...with the same issues. Although the tests that the doctors run show nothing wrong with Zack, Darlene fights to draw attention to the mother, all the while drawing negative attention towards herself as she makes a potential diagnosis that no one wants to hear: Munchausen syndrome by proxy; in other words, a mother intentionally injuring her child.

It is a big risk to tackle a subject so controversial as MSBP, and unfortunately I felt the author fell short in his delivery. Although I like the concept of the story, I think it could have been better developed. I didn't find that I really connected with any of the characters and so I don't think the book impacted me the way it could (and maybe should) have. Perhaps I am simply biased, being a huge Jodi Picoult fan (for those of you who are unfamiliar with her, controversial subjects are her forte), because once I finished the novel, I couldn't help but think WWJD (What Would Jodi Do?).This was in no way a bad novel - I would hate to give that impression - I simply feel that the subject wasn't explored as thoroughly or deeply as it could have been.

Darin Strauss has written a couple of other novels ("Chang & Eng", "The Real McCoy"), so although I wasn't a huge fan of this one I wouldn't mind giving the others a shot to see if they are written differently. Unfortunately this novel isn't one that I would jump to recommend but, nonetheless, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read it.

But Inside I'm Screaming

Product DetailsBut Inside I'm Screaming by Elizabeth Flock

After a meltdown on live TV, Isabel Murphy checks herself into the place she least wants to be - a mental institution. At Three Breezes (aka: the Nut Hut), Isabel finds herself wondering why she is there, among all the "freaks"; but once she starts accepting the help and guidance of the nurses and therapists there, she understands how desperately she needed to take a break from life, and her insane desire to be perfect.

This novel brings to light the issue of mental illness and society's stereotype of mental institutions and the kind of people who reside there. While I did enjoy the book, I must be honest in that I expected much more, having previously read "Me & Emma" - another novel by Elizabeth Flock. It was a fairly light read and a good plot created around the idea of mental illness and mental institutions. I managed to read this book in about a day and a half (reading bits here and there as time allowed), so I do need to note that despite that I was able to fly through this novel, it was mainly because I wanted to know what would happen to Isabel in the end.

I would definitely recommend this book as a quick, light read which I think would be great to bring along while travelling. However, I was so impressed by "Me & Emma" that I would recommend that novel more. Needless to say I will definitely be reading other works by Elizabeth Flock, and I hope others will enjoy this novel, and her others, as well!

So Behind!

Just wanted to post quick to say that I have two reviews to be posted still. I am finally finished reading every book that I own (about 138 at last count) and am currently waiting on a Chapters/Coles gift card to arrive in the mail so I can go purchase some new reading material! Very exciting! (Is it strange that I detest normal shopping (for shoes especially!), yet can spend hours in a bookstore and love every minute?!)

I will hopefully touch base again later today and get those two reviews posted; and until the gift card arrives, it's on to some re-reads for now!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Product Details  The Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I originally intended to write for each of these separately, but having the good fortune to have had them lent to me all at once, and, therefore, being able to finish them all in succession I realized that it would be better to write about them collectively as a whole.

These books were phenomenal! They are intended for a "young adult" audience, and therefore contain no swearing or sex. They do, however, contain quite a bit of violence (not overly graphic, mind you) but given the subject of the novels I don't think there was any way around that. I enjoyed these 3 books thoroughly and couldn't pick a favourite out of the trio if asked. They all tie in so well with each other, and I would highly recommend reading them in succession, as I was able to, because once you put the first book down you will want the second (and third!) book right at hand to begin immediately!

The Hunger Games trilogy takes place in the nation of Panem, which is essentially what is left of North America after hundreds of years, and some natural disasters. There are 12 districts surrounding The Capital, which is the core of Panem. There was a period, about 75 years or so before The Hunger Games story takes place, called the Dark Days when all 13 districts rebelled and tried to take down The Capital. District 13 was wiped out as an example of what happens when the citizens go against The Capital, and that is when The Hunger Games were created. Each of the 12 remaining districts must send 1 boy and 1 girl into an arena to fight to the death. The motive behind creating the "Games" was to institute a means of punishment for the uprising and to serve as a constant reminder of The Capital's control over the citizens of Panem.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the plot because I think it is best read with no expectations or pre-formed ideas about what will happen. I had these books recommended to me with no real idea about the story, other than a brief explaination of the Hunger Games, and so I suggest others do the same.

I very highly suggest these novels to all readers. I think this trilogy falls into the same category as novels like "Twilight" and "Harry Potter": designed for young adult readers, but appealing to a wider audience of varying ages. You miss out by not reading these!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It Begins!

I have loved reading since I can remember.

I can remember when I was just starting out reading - books like "Run, Jane, Run" and "See Spot Run". Good times! And my love of reading hasn't diminished since. In 2009 I decided to set a goal for myself in the New Year (a "resolution", if you will) to read an average of 4 books a month. I figured that reading one book a week seemed fair. At the end of the year I had read an average of 4.5 books a month, and so I decided to up the ante for 2010. This year my goal is to read an average of 5 books a month. So far (Jan-Aug) I have read 27 novels.

Why am I aiming for an "average" of 5 a month? While I like the idea of challenging myself to read more, I didn't want to put pressure on myself to fill a quota each month. As is the case for everyone, some months are busier than others and so I may be able to read more in one month than the next. So I figured aiming for an average was a good compromise.

My goal for this blog is to entice others to read more and to suggest books to those looking for something new to read. Although I have read many books up to this point (I am hoping to list them on this blog), I will start reviews from this point onwards; although I may go back after some time, especially if I re-read the book, to update and post a review.

Happy Reading!