339: Switchcraft

Usually, in my reviews I say that the book started off good and then recedes into a horrible mess. This is not one of those reviews or books.

Summary:

“Best friends since back in the day, Aggy and Nely are as different as two women could possibly be. Aggie’s slim, stylish, and owns an upscale boutique and a long history of no-strings relationships. Nely has a busy baby, a metiche mother-in-law, and some extra post-pregnancy pounds she can’t quite shed. And when they reconnect at a New Age spa, each friend finds herself wishing just a little that she had the other one’s life.

Big mistake!

Thanks to the metaphysical meddling of a somewhat grumpy guru, Nely is now Aggie and Aggie is Nely–switching bodies, love lives, families, closets . . . everything! The grass may not be quite as green as it originally appeared. As luck has it, they’ll be stuck this way until the next full moon! And with a husband, his very suspicious mama, a temperamental tot, a business on the brink of disaster, and a sort-of boyfriend–not to mention a sleazy stalker–thrown into the mix, Aggie and Nely suddenly find they’re not just walking in each other’s shoes . . . they’re running!”

The Meh 

Switchcraft started off okay. I knew from day one that this book was going to be one of those books that I could not stop and think about. Stopping and thinking about it would mean that all the wrong things lined up like janga would all come tumbling down.

The Bad

The writing. I was confused a large amount of the time. Such as who was who and  what was happening in a scene. Albeit, it might be in result of my reading this book in two days. Then, a lot of the time I would ask myself why is this character acting like this. For example, why would you tell your best friend who recently had a baby she is fat. Then again that was probably supposed  to be funny. Was the book funny? I find it hard pressed to remember me laughing.

The Good

After seeing so many terrible relationships and marriages it was nice to see a good one. To be excited to see a relationship not marred by infidelity or absence of love is a gift.  So the romance is probably the best part of the story. I also really enjoyed the tidbits of insightful things about parenting, relationships, and friendship that  would seep through.

Overall: It was a good book sometimes reaching great but not holding onto it. I find it really weird that Switchcraft seems like it was her first book. While, Hot Tamara is actually her first book which was way better by the way. Switchcraft was two star most of the time but the romance and tidbits give it a half star. I gave Hot Tamara three stars and Swtichcraft is not on the same level. So 2 1/2 stars.

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340: Pope Joan

It is coincidental that the Pope resigned around the time I was reading this book. Pretty cool actually.

Summary:
“For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die–Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept.

Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn. When her brother is brutally killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak–and his identity–and enters the monastery of Fulda.  As Brother John Anglicus, Joan distinguishes herself as a great scholar and healer. Eventually, she is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion, and politics. Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest office in Christendom–wielding a power greater than any woman before or since. But such power always comes at a price . . .

In this international bestseller, Cross brings the Dark Ages to life in all their brutal splendor and shares the dramatic story of a woman whose strength of vision led her to defy the social restrictions of her day.”

Expectation: Feminism in religion and a historical time period. In a way I did get that.

The Good

When Joan was a little girl she was awesome. By awesome I mean she would best grown men in debates. Joan was really well-developed. She probably was the only one in the book however.

The Bad

I do not know if it because of my big book reading. But, I just feel that everything could have been developed more.  Everything was going really amazing in the story until the romance came. The romance while not necessarily killing the story really brought down the story. I would have cared about the romance if it did not spring up out of nowhere for one thing. If it was not creepy too that would have been nice. For a while I thought it was The Thorn Birds part 2. It was still one of those romances to end all romances that makes like nobody else matters. It was a point that he put Joan before his kids. Joan did not put him before him. But, I can not help myself from feeling Pope Joan did not fully reach her potential.  This book did not reach its full potential either.

The Meh

The latter part when she became Pope Joan was ehh.The ending was something not good. Mythology says that is how it all ended so yeah. The villains or bad guys in the story were lackluster. Actually reminded of Pillars of the Earth which handled this so much better. I spent half the book not knowing what the villains purpose was since the author just put them in randomly.

Overall: I liked it. There was so much missing though to make me  really enjoy it. I kind of still want to see the movie.

Bookish Week 2/10-16

Finished
Pope Joan- I liked it. I just feel that the story and Joan did not reach their full potential.
Switchcraft- It left much to be desired.

Updating the Queue

  • Balzac and the little seamstress-  Dumped. I was not feeling it.
  • Deep in the Heart of Trouble { The Trouble With Brides}- I think the story for this one is better so far than Courting Trouble.
  • A Game of Thrones-not into. Just need to read it in March when the commercials will give me Game of Thrones fever.
  • Anna Karenina-good.
  • Fools Die – surprised by how good this book started off.

Thoughts/Phases

  • Thinking about how much holding on to books under the excuse of giving them a chance. It is time to be ruthless and get rid of more books.
  • If I get in the 200s for books left to read, I would be so happy.
  • I find it weird that I heard about the Pope retiring while reading Pope Joan.
  • Giving away books is fun. I gave my little cousin some books. I feel like I am helping a fellow reader. I wish people I knew some people who actually read. So I could get and give books.
  • 24 hour book break. I was not into reading and wanted to watch my Taiwanese show, Love me or Leave Me. ( I did not finish seeing it because Hulu started acting up. I started watching Temptation of a Wife.)

Plans for next week

Finishing two books this week makes me want to finish more books. Strange Addiction is back. I want to read something that corresponds to the commercials on there. There are 12 commercials since there are two episodes. That is 120 pages if I read ten pages each commercial break. Honestly, I have a feeling that my plans are not going to work out. I feel like a reading slump is coming along. That is going to be so fun.

Bookish Week 2/3-9

Main Read

Hunchback of Notre Dame

Updating the Queue ( I have been misspelling it for weeks now)

  • Sacajawea- good but feels like something is missing. I think it is feels rushed, the author does not make me care about the characters, and a lot of things happen that make no sense. I am excusing all of this because the Lewis and Clark part is going to be long. I hope that is why the author is not spending that much time making me relate to the characters. All was okayish, interesting at times.Then something happened that made me hate every character except Sacajawea. I’m going to be honest do not get creeped out. I hope Lucy from Elfien Lied or Carrie  comes and just annihilates the entire village leaving Sacajawea by herself. I thought about it. It is getting dropped. 100 pages and no character investment in a 1300ish book. I just cannot stop thinking about what was I feeling 100 pages into Lonesome Dove, Roots, Les Mis, or even Pillars of the Earth. I have so many books on my shelf. I don’t have time to question should I, shouldn’t I. It probably would have been better as a non-fiction book. That was the only interesting part of the book the customs and stuff.
  • Snow Falling on Cedars- I do not like how it is written.
  • Life of Pi- I don’t like how it is written. So it is put to the side tell next month when the movie comes out on dvd.
  • Tale of Desperaux- I don’t care about the characters so it is dumped.
  • The Secret History of the Pink Carnation- seems like average historical fiction fare. The main characters need something to stand out. Put to the side until further notice.
  • Twentieth Wife- It is really good. The main character seems to get favor easily which is kind of annoying. Put to the side until further notice.
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame (THOND) – awesome. I somehow always amazed at the readability and action in classics. Victor Hugo, I love your books but please stop doing entire chapters about the architecture of France.
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day-okay. Not a memoire person so that might be it. Put off to the side.
  • A Dark Thin Line- good prologue. I felt like I was missing something. I realized it is part of a series.Put off to the side until get first book.
  • Vampire Lestat- Its cool. I think I need to commit to read instead of reading it here and there to get the enjoyment out of it.
  • Anna Karenina – Really good. I find myself reading it even though I am supposed to be taking a break from it.
  • Sultans Wife-okay. It probably suffers from me starting 4 other historical fiction novels. Put down for later.

Random Thoughts/Phases

  1. How many books can I finish in a month? I had this brilliant (and by that I mean was going to fail before it got started) idea of pick 15 books to read a little bit of everyday. So that I could read at the least 11 books a month. That would be 122 books at the least at the end of this year. The main problem is that I felt pressured first of all. Second reading  a little bit of 15 books could make up my entire day. Thirdly, I just did not feel like it after picking 7 or 8 books.
  2. I looked at my reading number in 2011, to see if I am behind or head of myself in books finished. I am actually on track which makes me laugh. I need to chill it out with worrying if I am behind.
  3. Is this what ya readers think all adult literature is like? ( in response to trying to  reading Life of Pi and Snow Falling on Cedars) I just want to pick up a good adult book and put it into their hands. This is not all of adult literature. We can do better. I can do better.
  4. I am still infuriated/sad by there not being enough people of color in historical fiction.

Bookhaul: 25 books, do not worry. This book haul has made me realize I have been being too nice with a lot of these books. It is time to drop some books like there is no tomorrow.

Plans for next week

I am going to finish Pope Joan and Balzac and the little chinese mistress.  I have only under 200 pages left for these books. I’ll listen to Anna Karenina on audiobook. So that means Hunchback of Notre Dame is probably going to be put down until next week.

Bookhaul 2/8/13

My blog decided not to show most of the pictures.

Historical Fiction 
  Native Americans
Even though just yesterday I was thinking  that I do not like Native American stories. I just feel that I need to give Native American stories another chance.

Let the Drum Speak by Linda Lay Shuler- This one is apart of another series.

And in usual fashion I did not find the first book in either of the series.

Latin American

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

 Spain

The Time In Between by Maria Duenas

England

Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson

Italy

The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella

China

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See- To find this book after going on my rant about historical fiction is pretty nice.
Authors Liked in Past
Beauty’s Punishment by Anne Rice.-I just realized that my cover is very naughty. This cover is the clean version. I’m not probably ever going to read this. I want to collect all of Anne Rice books.

Late Child by Larry Mcmurty-turns out it is a sequel

One Piece volume 3 by Eiichiro Oda – I need to find more manga to read.

Switchcraft by Mary Castillo  – I did not realize until later this is by an author I read before. I hope it is good. A lot (at least the ones I have read so far)  of the body switching books are okay at best.

Mystery

 Blood On The Vine by Jessica Fletcher and DonaId Bain-(written based on off of  Murder She Wrote) read a book in the series I think last year. It was okay. I hope this one is better.

Anatomy of Murder by Imogen Robertson- I did not realize until I got home that it is an arc. The book was to be release last year on February 20th. It would be awesome to read this book before it reaches its first year anniversary. I probably won’t though. I need to take a long break from historical fiction. Oh, wait turns out it is a sequel also.

Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell- apart of a series that I do not have the first of. These sequels and series are killing me.

Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

Fantasy

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley- This book is nicely designed. I’m going to be honest. I do not think I will like this book. It seems to be about popularity and school. I’m completely not into that. I like the book design. Yeah, I only got this book for the design.

Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand

Special Interest

All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot – Animals are awesome!

Gypsy Lady by Shirlee Busbee – turns out she is not a gypsy. So that interest will not be fulfilled.

Action

The Town by Chuck Hogan

Fools Die by Mario Puzo

Depressing?

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

Why isn’t there a gisaeng?

I do not know if I have already said this but I love asian culture and  historical fiction. One of my hobbies is looking at asian dramas, specifically Korean. One day after watching an awesome historical korean drama, I had a thought. It would be awesome to read about a gisaeng, a more or less korean geisha.

So I went on google and excitedly looked up gisaeng. What I found made me mad and sad. It sad because asian dramas and culture shows so much more. There is an entire place that is not getting reported on. It makes me so mad because I know for a fact that Korea has so much rich culture. To all historical fiction authors we know that you have all the English families covered can we move on now. I like historical fiction set in England but to realize that is ALL there really is to the historical fiction genre is very annoying/boring.

My Historical Fiction Wishlist

  • Korea ( with a gisaeng would be nice )
  • African America that is not slavery or civil rights movement
  • Africa
  • Anywhere in South America
  • Asia in general really
  •  African-Americans in foreign countries ( like France)
  • Poc in foreign countries
  •  Anywhere outside of America ( that has nothing to do with world wars)
  • Exception: native americans,  it can be in america but just not dealing with any of the world wars, maybe showing the history of a race that is not the average players

Here are some sites if you are like me and have a historical fiction wish list. If you have a historical wish list please comment or post it.

http://www.historicalnovels.info/Asia.html#KMTN

http://blackteensread2.blogspot.com/2010/01/lack-of-people-of-color- in-historical.html#comment-form  (ya/mg recommendations)

http://nisababepraised.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/it-isnt-black-history-month/  (accurate description of how black history is represented)

http://www.bookssetin.com/BookMap.aspx  (find book using a google map)

Bookish Week 1/27-2/2

Finished This Week

Roots  – The beginning was beautiful. Then as the story went on the beauty kept fading. It is still powerful. I just find myself not feeling that sad or emotion toward it now.

Bookhaul

  • Our Old World Background (inherited it from my great-grandfather)

Updating Que

    • Anna Karenina– putting down for a while. Not feeling it right now.
    • Exiles (Ruins of Ambrai)-  the work that the author put into creating the world is cool ( graphs and stuff in the back of book) but feels wasted because… feels like style over substance,characters are not built ( do not understand why characters did what they did), and still don’t exactly understand the world. I thought of other fantasy books that I’ve read so far that did/does it better. Verdict: DUMP. Overall it just felt like nothing was happening.
    • Pope Joan– really good but not on the level of when it first began.The annoying love took the magic out of the book.
    • World Without End–  the problems with putting books down for a long time and picking them back up. It is really good so far but I do not remember exactly who every character is and their story.
    • King Arthur and His Knights -DUMP maybe. I want to get another edition that is not confusing.
    • Courting Trouble –putting it down because it is romance. It is good. I just want the building of the romance to be better.
    • Alyzon Whitestarr– putting down because it is ya. It is actually not bad but I am taking a break from ya for a long time.
    • Before I go to sleep– good so far. I kind of want it to be a mystery novel but it is a psychological thriller.
    • Hunchback of Notre Dame– Victor Hugo’s birthday is on February 26th so I’m hoping to finish it by that date. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to get into most classic books. I listened to the first two chapters which made the book feel disjointed. I’m going to have to read this book for the most part. I do not want to do the same thing I did with Les Miserables.
    • Mythology by Edith Hamition- all the awesome supernatural creatures and gods. Awesome!
    • A Game of Thrones (AGOT) -read some more still not into it. I will put it down for a while again. I wanted to finish it before Game of Thrones Season 3 comes out but that does not seem like it is going to happen now.

Random Realizations

  1. I have been reading a lot of historical fiction.
  2. The 100 book challenge was not the only factor in my reading all the time versus doing any other hobbies. I am not all that into my other hobbies right now. This week there were so many people who came over to my house so I could not get on the computer and watch my Korean dramas. So the only thing I could do most of the time is read.
  3. I need to read more nonfiction
  4. I have so many books. First, when my mom helped me organize my room.  She had to help me find places to put my books. I only have two shelves ( a small one and a tall one). Second, when my shelves on my tall bookcase were about to break.