Friday, November 19, 2010

Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent - Book Review

Catching MoondropsCatching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Catching Moondrops is the last book in the Calloway Summers series, and it does not disappoint! Jessilyn is about to turn 19 years old, and her love for Luke Talley has only gotten stronger over the years. A new young doctor, Tal Pritchett, has arrived in town, and when Mrs. Cleta becomes ill, he's the only doctor she's willing to see. The only problem is that Tal is a black man, and prejudice still runs rampant in Calloway. Hate flares up again, and Jessilyn finds herself lost between her craving for revenge and doing what is right.

I can't say much without ruining the ending, but I will say that Valent's final chapter in the Calloway series does not disappoint. I have thoroughly enjoyed this entire series, and would highly recommend it!

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The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - Book Review

The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Th Devil in the White City is, hands down, the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Every American should read this book! It tells the most fascinating tale of 2  men: Daniel Burnham, the lead architect in charge of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and H.H. Holmes, a convicted serial killer who used the fair to draw victims to his World's Fair Hotel. Larson manages to pull history of the time from every corner of the nation into this superbly written novel, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Susan B. Anthony and Buffalo Bill. He writes a haunting account of H.H. Holmes, a man who had the charm and charisma to attract women in droves, but an evil streak that puts Charles Manson to shame.

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 was a turning point in American History, and this book describes that event and its effects in spellbinding detail.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Book Review

Love in the Time of CholeraLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Florentino Ariza fell in love with Fermina Daza as  a young boy. When she marries another man, he dedicates his life to one day winning her back. Fifty years later, the opportunity arises, and Florentino will profess his love for her again.

I really thought I would like this book. I held out hope up until the end that I would find some redeeming quality about it. It's a "modern classic", and was picked for Oprah's book club - it HAD to be good, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong. This may actually qualify as the worst book I've ever read. Perhaps that is a harsh statement, but I can usually find SOMETHING in every book that I enjoy, even if its not my favorite.

The writing style is too verbose and makes for a difficult read. Despite that, I felt that important information, such as a well-defined setting, was lacking. It took me a while to figure out the time-period and location of the story. (Turn of the century, Carribbean.)

The main characters in the story were not at all likable. Fermina is cold and distant, and not worthy of the love that Florentino holds for her. She is a bitter woman who seemingly treated her husband with hostility rather than love. Florentino is worse. Though the author wants you to see him as a romantic and a poet, he comes across as a desperate man with no morals - his way of proving his ever-lasting love for this woman is to spend half a century sleeping around with other women, one of whom was a 14 year old girl. He's nothing short of a pedophile. The only thing I enjoyed about this book was finally finishing it.

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