Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Moonlight in Odessa:A Novel

Synopsis/Book Blurb Description:

A tragic-comic look at the flourishing market for e-mail order brides, Moonlight in Odessa is a novel about the choices and sacrifices that people make in pursuit of love and stability, and the lengths that we will go to to help - and hinder - each other in search of a happy ending. Odessa , Ukraine is the humour capital of the former Soviet Union, but with prices rising and employment prospects falling, there is little for Odessans to laugh about. After months of searching, Daria, twenty-five and armed with an engineering degree and perfect English, is offered a plum job as a secretary at a foreign company. But there's a stone in every plum, and in this case, it's her new boss Mr. Harmon, who makes it clear that sleeping with him should be the first item on her to-do list. Loath to give up her newfound perks (the taste of real coffee, a new apartment and a salary she and her grandmother can actually live on), Daria manages to evade Harmon's advances by recruiting her neighbour, the slippery Olga, to be his mistress - a plan that ends up working only too well And so Daria finds herself moonlighting as an interpreter at Soviet Unions , a dating agency specializing in finding gorgeous Odessan brides for lonely Americans. Daria - so adept at spotting the cracks in the relationships she facilitates - soon discovers that she is not immune to the temptations of the American dream herself. An email correspondence with an apparently shy and sensitive American teacher who offers her a new life in San Francisco, leaves her facing a choice between her beloved city - not to mention the attentions of Vlad, a worryingly attractive mafia gangster - and her long-dreamt-of escape to the land of the free.

My Thoughts:
My overall impression of this book is postitive. I feel like the writing was strong, good use of detail and atmosphere. My conflict about a more postive review is due to plot. I found the first half of the book really enjoyable. I loved Daria and her grandmother. Really strong, likable characters. I felt less enamoured with who Daria became and how the plot and writing reflected that. I think what I really liked about the first half was the palatable mix of dark and humour. It was candid writing about the more sinister and bitter side of her life, without sacrificing infusing humor and love and warmth into the narrative. As the plot progressed, I simply did not care as much what happened to Daria. I felt the plot veered into a conventional framework that I was so enjoying seeing toyed with. I still think it was a good book. It was a good lighter read when in my opinion, it could have been much more than that. I still look forward to further writing from this author. Did not turn into the kind of book I could love, but still a book I liked

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In my mailbox recently....

I love mail. Truly I feel like letters are a lost art. I still send care packages. I still love "real" mail. Getting books in the mail is the ultimate treat. Its like chocolate covered mail. Here are some of my recent books I have recieved in the mail either as early review ARC books, bought books, and books won through other beautiful bloggers ( I amend my earlier statement, winning books is like mail with chocolate AND sprinkles)..ok i'll stop.

  1. Patricia Harman's The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife’s Memoir
  2. The Maze Runner by: James Dashner
  3. Sworn to Silence by: Linda Castillo
  4. Moonlight in Odessa by:Janet Skeslein Charles


Sorry for not keeping so many things I am dying to gush about. School is officially in session and it takes me a while to adjust to a new time schedule so I have been a little frantic and busy as of late. Upcoming reviews and book news is coming....really it is.

Items/Bookish things I am dying to gush about: some of them at least, any comments as to what I should persue first?

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (because I feel conflicted about it and always LOVE Jonathen T. so....)

The GIRLS by Lori Lansens (currently reading
the new Faye Kellerman is out...anyone out there read it yet? Is it a good installment to the series or wait for paperback one...heard some things...any comments?

The Maze Runner ( recieved an ARC, really enjoyed this one..I think)

Upcoming release of
Her Fearful Symmetry (by the author of Time Travelers Wife)

Some excellent library finds in their annual giveaway of "unwanted/unusable" dangerous for my shelves

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Ok, I know there's a million other things I have been meaning to post about like....joining The Japanese Literature Challenge...and reviews...and new arrivals in the mail...and a library announcment.....but hey, I'm fickle like that ( especially since, for all I know, no one reads this anyways)

so without further extroplication, isn't this just the best picture ever? Made my morning when I stumbled upon it on anothers site, had to post it post haste. RAINING books, I want this in my living room.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Review Copy Arrival

Fear the Worst Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553807161
ISBN-13: 978-0553807165

Recieved my ARC copy yesterday in the mail, and am eating this one up so far. I can be picky about my thrillers, but something about this one has taken hold right quick.

Here is the publisher provided description:

That’s what Tim Blake finds himself asking when his daughter Sydney vanishes into thin air. At the hotel where she was supposedly working, no one has ever heard of her. Even her closest friends can’t tell him what Sydney was really doing in the weeks before her disappearance. Now as the days pass without a word, Tim is forced to face not only the fact that Sydney is missing but that the daughter he’s loved and nurtured, the daughter he thought he knew as well as anyone, is a virtual stranger. As he retraces Sydney’s steps, searching for clues to her secret life, Tim discovers that the suburban Connecticut town he always thought of as perfectly ordinary has a darker side. But what he doesn’t know is just how dark. Because while he’s out searching for his daughter, questioning everyone who might have known her, someone is watching him. For Tim isn’t the only one who’ll do anything to find Syd. Whatever trouble she’s in, there’s a lot more on the way…and it’s following in Tim’s footsteps. The closer Tim comes to the truth, the closer he comes to every parent’s worst nightmare…and the kind of evil only a parent’s love has a chance in hell of stopping

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Blogger Love

It is that show our love. It is book blogger appreciation week. So give a mental head pat, frantic embrace, yelp of excitement towards your favorite book blog. If you feel compelled to wax poetic in the literal way you can do so in the form of listing it here. Tell us why you so enjoy that blog in paticuliar if you feel so inclined. I know I love the book blog world. It is addictive and beautiful and full-o-fun.


Oh, the horror and joy in ending a good book and deciding what to persue next. Gotta itch that newly born to be read shelves, as previously mentioned, are toppling with goodies.
What should I read next? Any input? Here is what seems to be calling me the most:

  • Outlander by: Gil Adamson
  • Born Standing Up by: Steve Martin
  • Swanns's Way by:Marcel Proust ( as translated by Lydia Davis)
  • The World Over by: Julia Glass


The setting is 19th cent. America, and retired New York City Police Detective Agustus Landor is called in to discreetly investigate a cadet that has apparently hanged himself on the premises of the newly installed West Point Acadamy. The case is complicated by further cercumstances, the body is found the next day to have had its heart removed.Landor finds a strange ally in his investigation in the form of Cadet Poe, who ads an element that is everything one might associate with Poe. Instilling into the narrative the caress of poetry, a sense of beaitifully wrought melodrama in the form of romantic love and its dangers, and...distinctly gloomy inquiry as to the elements of the heart, both literal and not, of those that people the narrative.This book was as wholey satisfying as "MR. Timothy." Every bit as dark and witty and full of fully fleshed out characters and scenery as his other book, Pale Blue Eye brings fourth the character of a young Edgar Allen Poe with an almost eery conviction, ease, and thoroughness. The language of the story is brooding and dark and yet full of sentiment that reminds one of the Poetry of Poe with the plot twists and depth of character that is uniquely Bayard. A mystery, yes, but also indeed a book that has so much more to it. So full of life are those that we meet along the way, that I was disturbingly invested in their actions.The story builds quietly and dangerously. With much appreciated humor , the plot sneaks up and grabs you with further offenses and feignts of hand that are entertaining and delightlful to no end. The book is intense.It grips you, and then holds you captive untill the verylast.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I am curious as to whether or not readers out there experience book guilt when they can not bring themselves to finish....or even begin a book.
I myself have struggled with this my entire life. I do my utmost to tell myself
"You should never feel like you HAVE to read a book as a point of duty or obligation or personal recrimination." But, alas, I find I still feel like I am making an orphan of a book when I stuff a book in my to come back to pile....while feeling that nagging knowledge that I don't really mean it with the sincerity I often place books in that pile with.
Do you think there are certain books that as a homage, or a duty, or as a point of respect to an author's life work or creation we should attend to, even if we find we are not enjoying the experience? Moby Dick? War and Peace? Is it a matter of respect to tackle the monoliths of literature.
I am indeed frightened the answer is yes. Still, why do I feel that way about any and all books that I exile to the shelves.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BOOK REVIEW - Mr. Timothy by: Louis Bayard

Book Review

Mr. Timothy by: Louis Bayard

I must confess, I went into this novel with mediocre expectations. I looked forward to a mystery with perhaps a sincere but brief nod towards the Dickens spirit and the language of old England. I encountered, to my immense delight, something far better. I found myself involved in an immensely satisfying novel.

The book takes us into the confidence of A Christmas Carol's Tiny Tim as a grown man known in his later years as "Mr. Timothy."

A complex man with a decidedly interesting back story, is our Mr. Timothy.
I was at once wrapped up in the world created, it nearly brought my senses to their knees. Wrapped up in a damp foggy air and assaulted with smells wood fires, burnt skin of butterscotch, pipe tobacco and the like, I loved the journey as much for the plot, which grows increasingly macabre in nature as it progresses, as for the language and dialogue used to bring the reader along for the ride.
The voice of Mr. Timothy and those he encounters is clever and witty and surprisingly funny.
Entertaining and recommended by yours truly. Be prepared to close the book, smile contentedly....and then almost at once start to fidget and begin to hunt for more of this authors work. ( I myself have already sought out and begun to read "The Pale Blue Eye" for which Bayard takes us into the company of a young Edgar Allan Poe.)

My book itch was indeed scratched.

Monday, July 27, 2009