Sunday, January 31, 2010

The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

"The River of Doubt Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" by Candice Millard

I absolutely loved this book. It is well written and riveting.

The author brings the characters to life with histories and background information on each throughout the book, allowing us to get to know each of them as if we were travelling the River of Doubt along with them.

This glimpse into Roosevelt's life has inspired me to pick up "Mornings on Horseback" by David McCullough to learn more. He is a fascinating central character in this book, but is portrayed as a man who was truly liked and loved by most all who met him. Although full of self confidence and bigger than life, he did not hold himself up as someone who is unapproachable or above those he travelled with.

The Amazon was described in fantastic detail, bringing the vegetation and it's human & animal inhabitants to life in beautiful and terrifying vividness. Steven King could not have imagined or created more terrifying scenes or creatures. The river full of flesh eating fish & cayman, millions of insects and flies carrying untold potential for disease, the jungle of millions of species of floral & fauna that seems to exist as a single organism. Descriptions and truths that make the readers' skin crawl.

The story is told beginning with the failed run for a 3rd term as President, presenting Roosevelt's frame of mind as the trip to South America presents itself and the potential for adventure and exploration. We are introduced to the main characters and the serious flaws in planning. After the trip down the River of Doubt the author continues with short synopsis of each main character quite nicely wrapping it all up with a bow.

I highly recommend this book. It's a good read taking you to a place you may never had been before.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"Rumors" by Anna Godbersen

"Rumors" is the second in a series of teen romance novels set in 1899 Manhattan. The women are beautiful, rich & young, the darlings of the social scene.

We follow the lives of the same characters presented to us in book one, Penelope, nuveau rich and cunning. Diana, from an old family but on the verge of destitution, Elizabeth, secretly living with her former servant/lover in California after faking her death, Carolina, a servant girl with aspirations of granduer, and Henry, the male figure that in one way or another unites them all.

I didn't care for the style of the first few chapters which, being the burden of the second novel in a series, revisited many of the events of book one to bring the uninitiated reader up to date. Somehow I think this needs to be avoided to the extent it was used. If a reader were to pick up this book without first reading "Luxe" then they simply need to read "Luxe" to get up to speed and the author can stop boring me with repetitous details.

The other fault I find with the writing of this story, both in book one and book two, is the time frame of the events. On one had the author will refer to events "several months" in the past and yet in reality is refering to October while it's currently Christmas time, barely two months. And being Christmas time, even the current events are much too swiftly occuring to be believable.

Putting my peeves aside, the book was a fun read, however a bit drawn out. I surely thought the character of Carolina would have been more substantial for the effort of writing her into the story. Maybe time will tell with her story in book three. As for this book, she was the servant girl in love with the servant boy, Will, who ran away with Elizabeth. She thought her only failure in capturing his interest was in being less than Elizabeth was in her social standing. But once she felt she could honestly call herself a lady, she decided being with Will would be a step backwards after all.

Henry is the pivot for which Diana and Penelope revolve around. He seems to have finally fallen in love (rather than lust) and desires a real relationship with Diana. His previous engagement to Diana's sister Elizabeth, who is believed to be dead, prevents their love. Meanwhile, Penelope has always desired Henry and helped Elizabeth fake her death to be with Will and freeing Henry up for herself. Who will win? Will it be the sweet love of Henry & Diana or will it be the cunning of Penelope? One of these two ladies is married to Henry by the end of the book.

For me, I am moving away from Gossip Girl circa 1899 for a while and partaking in some non-fiction. Next up - "The River of Doubt" by Candice Millard

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What I've Already Read & Reviewed (prior to 2013)

This is simply the list of books by title that I have read and reviewed through this blog site. If you wish to see what I had to say, including any comments of my followers, just click on the book title.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Wish List of Reading

Not so much a blog, this one, but a list of books I've either seen, heard about or have been recommended to me. I have zero memory so this is my go to place when I am stuck for a good read... like that'd ever happen!

The list will change over time as I add more and subtract the ones I've read. Please feel free to leave comments to offer up your own suggestions or your opinions of books you see here. I'd love the feed back!

There is so much more, but that is my start for now. Please feel free to offer suggestions based on what you've enjoyed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Missed the Mark?

I was waiting for my daughter to check out while purchasing her text books and noticed a literary magazine with a subtitle, "A Strong Cup of Coffee and a Good Book" or something like that.

I immediately coveted those words!!

Now I want to change the title of this blog. I doubt I can change the url, but I am not happy with the title. I'm thinking of "The Caffeinated Reader." Not quite ready to commit to it, though.

Offer me some more ideas... there could be a gift card involved if I choose a title you submit.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Can Hardly Wait!

March 16, 2010.

That's the release date of The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. I loved her first two books and I can hardly wait for this, her 3rd.

Wish I was still working where I could get a hold of those advance reader copies!