Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of BeautifulNorth of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was touched by this thought-provoking story of Terra, a girl born with a port-wine stain that stretches over most of her cheek. She has spent her life under the thumb of a harsh, critical father who takes every chance to belittle her and the other members of her family. As a senior in high school, she wants nothing more than to escape her little town and her horrible father, a cartographer who has fallen from grace.

Terra has been through every treatment imaginable to remove her port-wine stain, unsuccessful in every attempt, she now resorts to several layers of makeup to mask the stain. She has been ashamed of her face and definitely doesn't feel close to beautiful. Then she meets Jacob, a boy who forces her to look at the world through different eyes and realize that beauty isn't in flawless perfection, but in everything around her, especially the flaws.

I really enjoyed this book. I love this quote:

"real everlasting beauty . . . lives not on our faces, but in our attitude and our actions. It lives in what we do for ourselves and others."

Also this one:

"Let the glossy spreads have their heart-stopping, head-turning kind of beauty. Give me the heart-filling beauty instead . . . Flawed, we're truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful."

In a world where we are measured by our looks, our bodies, and our material possessions, I found this book fascinating and inspiring. That we can be beautiful by who we are and what we do and the feelings that we leave with people is a fantastic idea and gives me hope that I can become a better person by who I am rather than what I look like.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch

The 13th HourThe 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Completely broken and devastated, Nick Quinn is stuck in a police interrogation room, accused of murdering his beloved wife. The unthinkable happens when he is given the chance to go back in time, hour by hour, to prevent her murder.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I stayed up late last night and woke up early this morning to finish it because I really wanted to find out what was going to happen. I enjoyed the the creative angle on time travel and I have to say I did like the ending for the most part.

That said, there were several things that were predictable about half-way through and the writing style wasn't anything amazing. Nick and Julia were a little too perfect and had a little too perfect of a life (well besides her murder that was the catalyst for the whole book), I wouldn't have minded a little more meat behind their flawless bodies, jobs, home, cars, and life plan. I did think that Detective Dance is pretty sinister, and easy to despise but it would have been interesting to have some background on why he is so evil and greedy; something horrible that happened to him in childhood or a grain of goodness that in a twisted way fueled his hate or something.

Not chomping at the bit to read more of this author but it was an entertaining few hours I spent with his story.

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Review: An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs, #5)An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this one. The plot was different and unpredictable and kept me guessing until the end. More like a 4.5 for me.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2)Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm really loving Maisie Dobbs and her unique techniques for solving mysteries. All ready for the next one!

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Review: The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

The Patron Saint of LiarsThe Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rose, a mysterious young woman comes to St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers. She is pregnant, but not unwed. As her time comes nearer, she doesn't know if she wants to give up her baby. She ends up staying much longer than she ever planned.

Wow, this book was kind of like driving through a bunch of rolling hills, not much happens, just a lot of introspection. It was ok. I liked how the book was told from three different people's perspectives. The book was sad and I'm not really that excited about anything I read.

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