Friday, September 17, 2010

The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark

Title: The Shadow of Your Smile
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Year of Publication: 2010
Category: Fiction

Story Line:
When a deceased nun, Sister Catherine, becomes a candidate for sainthood, Monica Farrell, a 31-year old Manhattan pediatrician, becomes the target for those who don't want her to inherit what's left of the fortune created by her unknown grandfather, Alex Gannon.

Alex Gannon and Catherine had a secret love child before she became a nun. Their child was given up for adoption. The adoption records were sealed and even though he tried to find out about his biological parents, he never learned anything about them.

Now Monica, unaware of Sister Catherine's relationship to her, must now testify whether two boys become cancer-free due to prayers to Sister Catherine so she can qualify for beatification.

Meanwhile, Olivia Marrow, Catherin's 82 year old dying cousin who knows about Monica's heritage, ponders over the question of whether or not to tell Monica the truth. When Olivia finally gets in touch with Monica, people around her start to die.

Throughout high school, I was a big fan of Mary Higgins Clark. I used to devour everything she ever wrote and loved each and every single one of her mystery novels with smart & beautiful yet lonely heroins. I still remember most of the stories that she wrote. She is such a brilliant writer and she knows how to make her characters come to life and hook the reader from the word GO!

Or I should say knew. While reading this book, I kept comparing it mentally to all the other stuff that she has written over the years and this book fell very very short. The characters and dialogue was flat and uninteresting...I was almost bored reading this book! The whole time I kept thinking, 'really, is that all you can say to each other!?"

It was quite a disappointment especially since I was expecting something much better from Clark based on her previous performance. She does a great job in keeping you guessing as to who the killer is but the romance between the two main characters was uninteresting, the characters were too flat and it just wasn't a book you could loose yourself into.

But if you like easy reads and stories that don't require you to think too much, this is the book for you.

The Decline of

I signed up on this website a couple years ago becuase I needed to cut down my budget and a considerable portion of it was my impulse book buying habit! 

This was an excellent alternative to buying books because allows its members to trade books. It works on a point system and once you sign up, you post what books you own and want to give away as well as create a wish list of books you would like to mooch.  There is no cost to join and you only have to pay for books you ship. The more you trade, the more points you collect which you can use to mooch books from other members.  

When I first joined, it was wonderful and I mooched several great books and all of them were lightly used. But lately I've noticed that there aren't any decent books availabe for least in the United States.  Every time I search for a book I want, it's not availabe or someone in India has it and won't ship it to me (understandably, of course). 

I still have some great books availabe for mooching on my account and I just mailed three of them last week. Now I have all these points saved up but nowhere to spend them! Maybe I'll just donate them to some charity and deactivate my account...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Beans Movie

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Beans Movie:
"Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Beans. All of us at one time or another have experienced a difficult situation, had setbacks, or dealt with our share of disappointment. Most things that happen to us on a daily basis we can’t control and I can honestly say (with conviction) that it is not what happens to us that matters but rather, how we choose to respond."

It is a slow video but totally worth the watch. Click on the title above to view the video.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Star Wars Subway Car

I just found this video online & couldn't stop laughing! I'm a huge fan of Star Wars so this just made my day! Oh how I would've loved to be on that subway car!!

Well, there's always next time! ENJOY

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Steig Larrson
Year of Publication:2008
Category: Fiction

For the past year, I kept seeing this book everywhere! I saw posters in bookstores & libraries but I never knew what it was about & the tittle wasn't really catchy for me so I never bothered to read it. Then, one of my coworkers read the book and told me that I would enjoy reading it too.

When I started to read the book, I thought it was kind of boring. I wasn't able to get into it and I was already half way through the book--there were too many facts that seemed inconsequential and way too many names that I wasn't familiar with (this books takes place in Sweden and was originally written in Swedish). But, right when I was ready to give up, the book started to pick up and got interesting. I was so engrossed by the story that I ended up reading all three of the books within 3 weeks.

Story Line:
This series revolves around a petite young girl, Lisbeth Salandar, who, although declared incompetent by Swedish Authorities, is a computer Genius & hacker and works as a private investigator for Milton Security. There is an air of mystery surrounding Lisbeth as she has no friends and does not seem to want any. She gets pulled into an assignment for Mikael Bloomkvist who is investigating the murder/disappearance of a wealthy heiress to the Vanger Corporation. As the duo digs deeper into the mysterious event, their friendship evolves and we begin to learn some of Lisbeth's deep secrets. The Secrets continue to unfold in the consecutive novel and are finally brought to light in the 3rd book, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest".

The "Hornet's Nest" was the last book Steig Larrson completed before his untimely death. There is a forth (and I believe a final book) which Larrson never completed. According to his publisher, Larrson had completed the beginning and ending of the last novel but still had some minor plot lines to resolve. There's currently a legal battle between Larrson's estate and his partner over who own the right to the lasts novel. Hopefully that issue can get resolved soon & the book can be published posthumous so Larrson's fan can enjoy his very last book.

If you enjoy reading thrillers and suspense novels which also contain personable and interesting characters, you would love this book.

For those of you not so gung-ho about reading suspense novels, there is a movie out for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". It is of low quality and in Swedish with English subtitles but it's worth a watch*. A Hollywood version is also in it's planning stages and Daniel Criag will be playing the main character, Mikael Bloomkvist.

Some parts of the books are quite disturbing and may make some people sick but they're not superfluous scenes to add sex appeals to the book--they're essential to the development and integrity of the story line. These scenes are also depicted in the movie.

Further Reading:
The Girl who Played with Fire
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

2010 Reading List

The Lost Symbol Dan Brown Feb-10
Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson Mar-10
Man's Search for Meaning Victor Frankl May-10
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold Jun-10
The Girl Who Played With Fire Steig Larrson Jul-10
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Steig Larrson Jul-10
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Steig Larrson Aug-10
The Shadow of your Smile Mary Higgins Clark Aug-10
The Island of Blue Dolphins Scott O'Dell 10-Sep

The Magic of Thrift Stores

I recently discovered a little thrift store a little less than 2 miles from my house & I'm in LOVE! Although I'm not a big fan of buying used clothing--blame my superstitious upbringing--this store caries so many used books & sells them for $1.00 or less. If you end up going there on a "sale" day than they're all 50% off! Who can beat that!

I've found such great titles there & am even thinking of selling some of the great finds online thru Amazon or All the books that I've bought are in excellent conditions.

As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure! I love this thrift store because it allows me to fulfill my crazy needs to collect LOTS and LOTS of books while not hurting my budget. The first time I shopped there, I bought 26 books for about $3.00 (yes it was all on SALE & everything was $0.10!!)

Some of the great tiles I've found there are:
"The Kite Runner" Khaled Hosseini (I'm going to go back to see if I can find "A Thousand Splended Suns"!)
"The Dangerous Fortune" Ken Follett
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" J.K. Rowling (I was SO excited to find this in hardcover because I only had it in paperback and it is falling apart)
"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" Kim Edwards

I can't wait for my next trip there!