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Short Story Review – The Pigeon by Patrick Süskind

March 1, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012, Short Stories 1 Comment

Short Story Review – The Pigeon by Patrick SüskindThe Pigeon by Patrick Süskind
Published by Penguin Books on May 12, 1988
Pages: 96
Genres: Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

five-stars

Set in Paris and attracting comparisons with Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe, "The Pigeon" is Patrick Suskind's tense, disturbing follow-up to the bestselling "Perfume". The novella tells the story of a day in the meticulously ordered life of bank security guard, Jonathan Noel, who has been hiding from life since his wife left him for her Tunisian lover. When Jonathan opens his front door on a day he believes will be just like any other, he encounters not the desired empty hallway but an unwelcome, diabolical intruder...

‘At the time the pigeon affair overtook him, unhinging his life from one day to the next, Jonathan Noel, already past fifty, could look back over a good twenty-year period of total uneventfulness and would never have expected anything of importance could ever overtake him again – other than death some day.’

‘The Pigeon’ is an incredibly short story detailing a day (albeit a rather momentous day) in the life of Jonathan Noel. Jonathan leads a secluded and private life as a bank security guard in Paris. He enjoys the life he has made for himself and is perfectly content with it continuing as such for his remaining years; however, on his way to work one morning this all comes collapsing down around him as he discovers a pigeon on his front porch. As soon as the pigeon entered his life, his life literally came crumbling apart in his mind. All of his carefully made plans became as fragile as a snowflake.

‘…but he suddenly no longer saw himself – that is, he no longer saw himself as a part of the world surrounding him. It was rather, as if for a few seconds he were standing far away, outside it, and were regarding this world through the wrong end of a telescope.’

I became an instant fan of Patrick Süskind after stumbling upon his novel ‘Pefume’. It left such a permanent imprint on me and is still one of my favorite books to date. I’m not sure why I never looked into whether or not he had any additional works, but after embarking on my ‘1001 Books to Read Before I Die’ reading challenge I discovered ‘The Pigeon’ as one of those 1001. Overjoyed, I knew I had to have it.

Patrick Süskind’s writing is so thoroughly impressionable that earlier this afternoon I saw a pigeon on the side of the road and had to suppress a shiver as Jonathan’s fears flooded my mind. Mildly amusing, but, I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at a pigeon the same again. His descriptions of the pigeon and Jonathan’s instant anxiety over the pigeon were immediately understandable even though, looking at the bigger picture, it seemed as if he made a fuss over nothing. I’ll admit, I laughed at first because it seemed quite absurd, but as the story progressed you can see now it’s not just the pigeon that affected poor Jonathan in that manner; it was just the catalyst to a series of events that disrupted his painstakingly normal existence.

I’m giving ‘The Pigeon’ 5 stars for one reason and one reason only (and it’s not because it’s as great a story as Perfume because it isn’t): because he’s a truly amazing writer. I will read anything written by Patrick Süskind. It’s just such a shame that there aren’t more novels of his in existence to read.

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Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas

February 1, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy ThomasParis, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
Published by Sourcebooks on February 1st 2012
Pages: 305
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

*sigh*… Paris.

And pastries. 🙂

What could be better?

‘I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while. Here’s what happened when I did.’

On top of tales of wonderful sweets, the author shares her own personal story about finding her way in a foreign place, gaining a new perspective on life and simply learning to be thankful for what life dishes out to you. It was quite a delightful surprise that I enjoyed immensely; am so glad that I requested this book.

Despite my attempts to read this only on a full stomach, I still ended up with one serious sweet tooth by the end of this book (or even by the end of each chapter…or page). The author describes in extreme detail the sweets she eats, and makes each and every one of them sound positively heavenly.

’…her signature pretzel-covered, sea-salted caramel that had crackly, salty pretzel bits coating the 66 percent cocoa shell and creamy caramel center.’

Oh… my… gosh. Who makes these and how can I buy some of these goodies? Apparently her name is Rachel Zoe Insler, owner of Bespoke Chocolates. I was drooling so heavily over the descriptions I went so far as to try and find her online… only to find that her business had actually closed earlier this year. I was one seriously sad puppy. (If I had simply kept reading I would have realized the author spoke of the business closure at the end of the chapter haha). At the end of each chapter, she also tells where to find some of the best cupcakes, macarons, truffles, etc. in New York and Paris. Definitely made me want to take note and write down more than a few for when I eventually make it to each city.

I found myself using Google Translate often and searching for Frenchie terms that I had no idea the meaning (Vélib’ is a bicycle sharing system, fish are sold at poissoneries, and there are twenty arrondissements (or districts) of Paris. I think normally this would have irritated me having to stop every few minutes to figure out what exactly I’m reading, but being that I personally have a crush on anything Paris and cannot wait to go there personally someday, having to search for unknown items and words was actually quite a fun experience for me.

I also quite enjoyed taking a look at the author’s two blogs Sweet Freak© and God, I love Paris. If she didn’t do a good enough job in her book describing all the delicious goodies, the pictures she posts on both blogs are bound to get you. Sure makes this gluten-free girl quite sad (but has me definitely contemplating getting off my butt and at least trying to find and modify recipes for goodies that I can eat too. Inspiration! :D)

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Book Review – Unveiled (Turner, #1) by Courtney Milan

December 19, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Unveiled (Turner, #1) by Courtney MilanUnveiled by Courtney Milan
Series: Turner #1
Published by HQN Books on January 25, 2011
Pages: 381
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Unlocked, Unclaimed

four-half-stars

He was her bitterest enemy...

Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family, and at last the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom, and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But when he arrives, he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance.

And her dearest love.

Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy—the man she’s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion...

Unveiled focuses on Ash Turner, a man in desperate need of revenge after the Dalrymple family ruined his life. After he propositions to have the current Duke removed and have Ash replace him, he ends up affecting more lives than he intended. Margaret is a seemingly innocent party but more closely involved in the scandal than Ash is aware of, even after he finds himself falling love with her he still doesn’t know the truth.

Margaret is actually Lady Margaret, the daughter of the current Duke and was declared a bastard when Ash sought to take his place. She originally planned on finding out any and all information that she could in order to get Ash’s case thrown out, but she begins to realize that her feelings are beginning to have an impact on her loyalties.

I love the intricacies of the characters and how they’re written. Each and every character I’ve read in a Courtney Milan book is detailed, original, and one of a kind. Not only are they unique as people, but the passion and romance between the characters is also quite tangible and incredibly authentic. Ash had his own little quirk that I thought was a great addition to an already fabulous story.

Oh I love a good romance and I continue to be amazed at how much I enjoy Courtney Milan’s books. This is the first book in Courtney Milan’s Turner series, but the 3rd book in the series that I have read. (Read 1.5 then 2 and now 1) Obviously it’s not a requirement to read them in order as the stories are intertwined yet still work as stand-alone books.

With this story, I was immediately drawn in and intrigued at how the author planned on making this storyline ‘okay’. Here’s this girl who basically falls in love with her enemy, and if she decides to be with him she’s essentially betraying her family. Pretty black and white, or so I thought. I loved Courtney Milan knotted everything up only to have everything untangle quite gracefully. The only book I have left in the Turner series is Smite… I intended on hanging on to it for a little while because I’m not looking forward to finishing the series, but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to wait. She is becoming one of my most favorite authors to date.

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Book Review – Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer

December 1, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob MayerAgnes and the Hitman by Bob Mayer, Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Press on August 26, 2008
Pages: 430
Genres: Chick-Lit, Funny-ha-ha, Mystery, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Take one food writer named Cranky Agnes, add a hitman named Shane, mix them together with a Southern mob wedding, a missing necklace, two annoyed flamingos, and a dog named Rhett and you've got a recipe for a sexy, hilarious novel about the disastrous side of true love…

Agnes Crandall's life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she's staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane, no last name, just Shane, and he has his own problems: he's got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking him to protect some little kid named Agnes. When he finds out that Agnes isn't so little, his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes's house, and his last hit was a miss, Shane's life isn't looking so good, either. Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hit men show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with intent to throw more than rice. Agnes and Shane have their hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and--most dangerous of all--each other. Agnes and the Hitman is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and salty--a novel of delicious proportions.

The Storyline
Agnes is not your normal chick-lit heroine. The fact that she’s known as ‘Cranky Agnes’ could give you an idea. The fact that she’s used a frying pan in more ways than just cooking (I’ll give you a hint, one guy now has a metal plate in his head) could also give you another idea. There’s also an incident with a meat fork but I won’t spoil the fun for you. Or maybe it’s the mental conversations she has with her therapist.

”Fuck you,” Agnes said, bent over the edge of the cake.
Angry language, Agnes.
Fuck you, too, Dr. Garvin.

I think it’s a combination of everything, actually.

Agnes leads a quiet, simple, life as a food writer engaged to a quiet, simple man named Taylor. Her quiet, simple life takes a sharp 180° the day that she’s held at gunpoint for her dog. Yes, she’s held at gunpoint because they’re trying to steal her dog. Her life is soon thrown into even more upheaval when a hitman, Shane, is sent to protect her. People keep coming after Agnes, trying to steal her dog, trying to kill her, but who’s sending them? What follows is a rollercoaster ride that’s entirely way too much fun.

“Somebody might be coming to the house who might be dangerous.”
“Really?” Agnes said. “Because that almost never happens here. With advance notice. Should I get my frying pan?”

Final Thoughts
Agnes is going down as one of my favorite book characters of all time, definitely. She’s a single girl, who loves to cook for her friends, she’s preparing to hold a wedding at her house, and she’s a food writer… I mean, at face value she’s just a normal girl. Agnes cannot be taken at face value and that’s what I loved most, the fact that I was completely surprised at how crazy and lovable she was all at the same time.

This book was downright hilarious, was extremely enjoyable, the characters were all amazing (I especially loved Shane), and… why exactly have I never read anything by this author before? Will definitely be correcting this, pronto.

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Book Review – The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

November 27, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 2 Comments

Book Review – The Lover’s Dictionary by David LevithanThe Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
on January 21, 2011
Pages: 229
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Every Day, The Lover's Dictionary

five-stars

basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

corrode, v.
‘I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.’

This was a delightfully unique story of a relationship’s major occurrences told by short entries in dictionary format. I gave major points for the originality of the entire concept of the story; I’ve never read anything like it before. The writing was beautiful and the story bittersweet and poignant.

dispel, v.
‘It was the way you said, “I have something to tell you.” I could feel the magic drain from the room.’

The story was told from the point of view of the male in the relationship who remains unnamed throughout the entire story. It was also an extremely quick story and could easily be read in a single sitting but I ended up reading it bits and pieces at a time. I went into this story thinking that this would be a traditional story that followed a standard timeline; however, it seemed that the dictionary entries flip flopped around in time and you don’t end up getting the ‘bigger picture’ until the end when you can sit back and contemplate the entries. This was troublesome for me at first and I had a hard time understanding it, but by the end I was completely sold; the author’s execution of the story was brilliant.

ineffable, adj.
‘These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there, there will never be enough.’

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Book Review – The Collector by John Fowles

November 23, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 9 Comments

Book Review – The Collector by John FowlesThe Collector by John Fowles
Published by Vintage on October 21st 1998 (first published 1963)
Pages: 305
Genres: Classics, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Mystery
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.

’I am one in a row of specimens. It’s when I try to flutter out of line that he hates me. I’m meant to be dead, pinned, always the same, always beautiful. He knows that part of my beauty is being alive, but it’s the dead me he wants. He wants me living-but-dead.’

The Collector is the story of Frederick Clegg, an extremely odd and lonely man who also collects butterflies. He’s obsessed with a middle-class art student named Miranda Grey and as he continues admiring her from a distance a plan slowly starts developing in his mind that he would like to have her; like one of his butterflies. He makes preparations by buying a house out in the country, purchasing assorted objects and things he knows she will need, convinced that if he can only capture her and keep her that she will slowly grow to love him.

The first part of the novel was told from Frederick’s point of view and it was rather alarming at his thought process. In his mind, there is nothing morally wrong with what he intends to do (and what he actually ends up doing). He recognizes that Miranda is a human being as he takes care of her and provides her everything a human would possibly need, but she’s inevitably nothing more than an object or a collectible item to him. He doesn’t mean to harm her at first; however, it’s evident that as time progresses, he enjoys having power over her and almost finds humor in her attempts to escape.

The second part of the novel was told from Miranda’s point of view through diary entries that she hides underneath her mattress. She writes about G.P. often, a man she met and who ended up having a huge impact on her thoughts and ideals. To Miranda, G.P. was everything she wanted to be and his opinions and thoughts became a set of ‘rules’ for her. At first I had a hard time determining the relevancy of these recollections, but it essentially just became another disturbing piece of the story to see how influential G.P. and his ‘rules’ really were to Miranda.

’He’s made me believe them; it’s the thought of him that makes me feel guilty when I break the rules.’

It was almost expected, however still just as shocking when it becomes glaringly obvious that Miranda slowly begins to take pity on her captor. She starts feeling bad for the harsh things she says to him and she also unconsciously prevents herself from doing him excessive harm during an escape attempt as she feels that if she does she’s descending to his level…It was as if she had simply accepted her situation, and that was the most heartbreaking part.

’And yes, he had more dignity than I did then and I felt small, mean. Always sneering at him, jabbing him, hating him and showing it. It was funny, we sat in silence facing each other and I had a feeling I’ve had once or twice before, of the most peculiar closeness to him—not love or attraction or sympathy in any way. But linked destiny. Like being shipwrecked on an island—a raft—together. In every way not wanting to be together. But together.’

The third and fourth parts of the novel were the most disturbing parts of the entire book. Suffice it to say, it gave me goosebumps. It was not the ending I had anticipated, but I still felt that the author was successful in creating the everlasting effect I believe he intended. Obviously, you understand the severity of Ferdinand’s actions; however, not until the end do you fully understand just how abnormal he really is. This was certainly not a happy book, but one that I’m glad to have read and one that I will likely not forget.

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Audiobook Review – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

October 9, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 3 Comments

Audiobook Review – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken KeseyOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Narrator: Tom Parker
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on 1962
Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes
Genres: Classics, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

In this classic 1960s novel, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy. You've never met anyone like Randle Patrick McMurphy. He's a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the ward of a mental hospital and takes over. He's a lusty, profane, life-loving fighter who rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Big Nurse. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and at every turn, openly defies her rule.

The contest starts as sport, with McMurphy taking bets on the outcome, but soon it develops into a grim struggle for the minds and hearts of the men, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Big Nurse, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Big Nurse uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story's shocking climax.

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books. And another book that I apparently failed to be given as a reading requirement when I was younger.

I don’t have much to say about this series as I know the vast majority of you have already read this, but I will say that I was most definitely thrown by the story as I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. ‘Wow’ was the most used word while reading/listening to this book, for sure.

The setting of this story is in a mental institution and you’d never think that you’d find yourself laughing, but you do. Patrick McMurphy really makes this story what it is, he was such an influential character: funny and rebellious and being in a mental institution certainly doesn’t stop him from doing whatever he damn well pleases. The one part that cracked me up (as wrong as the situation was) was following one of his electro-shock therapy treatments:

’…he just laughed and told me Hell, all they was doin’ was chargin’ his battery for him, free for nothing. “When I get out of here the first woman that takes on ol’ Red McMurphy the ten-thousand-watt psychopath, she’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars!”’

As the story progressed I got so caught up in loving these men that I practically forgot that they were all in a mental institution… and because my mind glazed over this fact, by the end, my heart broke for them. This is a really powerful tale that I’m glad I finally read.

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Book Review – White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black

September 19, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly BlackWhite Cat by Holly Black
Series: Curse Workers #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on May 4th 2010
Pages: 320
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Red Glove

four-half-stars

Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

The Storyline
Cassel was born into a family of curse workers; however, he’s the outsider of the family… the one born without magic. Not to say he’s perfect…he’s become quite the con man at school and plus he did kill his best friend Lila and has lived with the guilt for the past 3 years. While at school he begins having dreams where he’s visited by a white cat that obviously wants to tell him something but Cassel isn’t paying that much attention… I mean it is just a dream, right? And there’s something stirring within his own family but he’s kept out of it because he isn’t one of them. Everyone’s keeping him in the dark and as he realizes they’ve been lying to him, he starts determining what exactly they’ve been keeping from him.

The Family
I found this whole aspect to be quite sad, yet a vital part of explaining why Cassel is who he is. His mother is in prison for ‘working’ a man into giving her thousands of dollars. His brother Phillip pretty much works for the mob because he has the power to break bones and hurt people simply with the touch of his finger. His brother Barron is the one he’s most close with but throughout the novel they grow distant. Cassel is literally the outsider in the family and is left out from all conversations regarding curse work because he’s technically not one of them.

My Thoughts
This is one brilliantly original novel and I loved it! I read this quickly and loved every minute of it. The characters were great, I loved the overall sense of humor, and the overall story is just completely unique that I couldn’t help but fall in head first. Cassel was my favorite character. I loved his sense of humor, I loved how he handled his own business, I loved how he wasn’t your typical whiny teenage boy, but I also loved that he came across as completely unpretentious. Quite rare, I’ve found, in YA novels that the characters in the end feel as if they were real people (regardless of all the magic involved.)

Overall
Well I’m starting Red Glove right away if that’s any indication. 🙂

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Book Review – Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera

August 15, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Craving Perfect by Liz FicheraCraving Perfect by Liz Fichera
Published by Carina Press on July 25, 2011
Pages: 241
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

A Life Less...Hers

Grace Mills craves being perfect almost as much as she craves raspberry scones. In fact, her life would be perfect if only she could lose ten more pounds, if only the pastry café she co-owns with her sister would turn a profit, if only the hottest guy at the gym would look her way...

And then "if only" comes true. Grace is suddenly straddling two lives: an alternate reality where she's a size two, weathergirl celebrity and being chased by the hot guy. Only Mr. Gorgeous isn't very nice.

In her other life, she's starting to realize her sister is less than happy running the family café, and hunky Carlos, the gym's janitor, seems to have a secret crush on her. Maybe there's more to him than meets the eye...

Grace is living two lives and it's beginning to cost her. Is there a way to pick one...that's perfect?

I was totally in the mood for something different and since I rarely read chick-lit I opted to give this one a shot. Reading the summary it sounded like your typical chick-lit but with enough originality to make it interesting plus there’s even…

Magic Treadmills!

I won’t expand upon that… I’ll let you all read about that interesting funny tid-bit. 🙂

Craving Perfect tells the story of Grace Mills, a baker in a pastry café that she co-owns with her sister Kathleen. Grace and Kathleen are quite close considering they are the only family each of them has left after the deaths of their parents. Grace is constantly ‘craving perfection’ and is always trying to lose more weight so that she can hopefully catch the eye of the hot guy at the gym, Max, that she’s been ogling over for several weeks. Which kind of turned me off from this novel and Grace in general because it’s more than a little obvious that Max is a superficial jerk, but don’t worry, you’ll end up loving Grace just like me.

One day when Grace is at the gym she hops on one of the brand new treadmills (Yes! The Magic Treadmill!) and proceeds to black out and wake up as someone completely different. She comes to and finds herself the spitting image of perfection (read: Barbie) and engaged to Max. But is what she’s always dreamed of actually what she wants in the end?

This book was GREAT and I loved it… super quick, fun, light read that took me maybe 24 hours to read. (Yes I slept). I loved how the author developed the characters and I loved how I ended up loving Grace in the end. Carlos was plain adorable and I loved how infatuated he was with Grace even with the extra weight she always said she needed to lose. The writing was spot on and completely enthralling. It was an interesting and extremely original story!

The one and only low point in the novel that made me cringe (but still didn’t manage to lower the 5-star rating) was the professions of love after the very first date. You just don’t say I love you after the first date. It’s corny, clichéd, and it totally makes me flash back to my junior year of High School and how I agreed to go on a date with this guy because I totally loved his car and he told me he loved me after the first date. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did learn my lesson.

One word of warning there is a lot of talk about raspberry scones. You will end up with a massive craving for them… I know I sure did. To make matters worse there is even a recipe at the end. I’m running to the store to buy raspberries right now.

Don’t miss out on this little gem of a novel. Highly recommended as a light summer read.

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Book Review – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

August 9, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

Book Review – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick SüskindPerfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Published by Penguin Books on September 12, 1986
Pages: 272
Genres: Classics, Horror, Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Pigeon

five-stars

The year is 1738; the place, Paris. A baby is born under a fish-monger’s bloody table in a marketplace, and abandoned. Orphaned, passed over to the monks as a charity case, already there is something in the aura of the tiny infant that is unsettling. No one will look after him; he is somehow too demanding, and, even more disturbing, something is missing: as his wet nurse tries to explain, he doesn’t smell the way a baby should smell; indeed, he has no scent at all.

Slowly, as we watch Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cling stubbornly to life, we begin to realize that a monster is growing before our eyes. With mounting unease, yet hypnotized, we see him explore his powers and their effect on the world around him. For this dark and sinister boy who has no smell himself possesses an absolute sense of smell, and with it he can read the world to discover the hidden truths that elude ordinary men. He can smell the very composition of objects, and their history, and where they have been, he has no need of the light, and darkness is not dark to him, because nothing can mask the odors of the universe.

As he leaves childhood behind and comes to understand his terrible uniqueness, his obsession becomes the quest to identify, and then to isolate, the most perfect scent of all, the scent of life itself.

At first, he hones his powers, learning the ancient arts of perfume-making until the exquisite fragrances he creates are the rage of Paris, and indeed Europe. Then, secure in his mastery of these means to an end, he withdraws into a strange and agonized solitude, waiting, dreaming, until the morning when he wakes, ready to embark on his monstrous quest: to find and extract from the most perfect living creatures—the most beautiful young virgins in the land— that ultimate perfume which alone can make him, too, fully human. As his trail leads him, at an ever-quickening pace, from his savage exile to the heart of the country and then back to Paris, we are caught up in a rising storm of terror and mortal sensual conquest until the frenzy of his final triumph explodes in all its horrifying consequences.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance and the haunting power of a grown-up fairy tale, Perfume is one of the most remarkable novels of the last fifty years.

‘Perfume’ tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille a boy who grew up on the streets of Paris. Jean-Baptiste was no ordinary boy, he had a gift… a sense of smell that could not be rivaled. Naturally he found his niche by becoming an apprentice to a master perfumer who teaches him the art of making perfume. He excelled at this and people were scrambling to buy his product. As he branched out and started searching for new scents to include in his perfumes, his fascination with trying to find the “ultimate perfume” takes a morbid turn when he finds that ultimate scent is coming from a beautiful woman, and he has to capture it by any means necessary.

I picked this book up on a whim at a used bookstore one day simply thinking that I’d like to read something different for a change. ‘Perfume’ managed to root itself so deep in my mind that I still remember this novel in vivid detail to this day; I must have read it at least ten years ago. The story is disturbing in so many ways yet so unbelievably brilliant and fascinating that you can’t help but be enthralled.

The novel is extremely graphic at times but that’s what really makes the story. Highly recommended, I love this novel it’s one of my absolute favorites.

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