Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Secret Doorway Beyond Imagination by Paul Hutchins

Title: The Secret Doorway Beyond Imagination
Author: Paul Hutchins
Publisher: Imagination Publishing
Publication Date: March 2009
Format: Hardcover, 198 pages
Age Group: Adult, non-fiction

In The Secret Doorway Beyond Imagination author Paul Hutchins uses images from the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes to discuss the origination of our universe and what he calls its Grand Design. While the numerous pictures in this book are beautiful and awe-inspiring, I had great difficulty reading the text. As I did not actually finish reading the book this is not going to be a typical review but instead a guide to more information about the book.

An obvious place to start is the main website for the book - The Secret Doorway.

There are also several reviews of this book on various book blogs. Here are just a few of those:

Book Pleasures review
Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books review
Coffee Time Romance and More review

The review at Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books sums up my feelings on this book better than I probably could at this point. The other two reviews are more positive.

One thing noted at Book Pleasures that I found to be true as well is that, although this book is hardcover, the interior spine split very easily and I'm sure if I had continued reading the pages probably would have started falling out. At a cost of $34.95, I would be very upset about this.

Thank you to Shelby at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for sending me a copy of The Secret Doorway Beyond Imagination.

Random Thought: When my husband saw this book sitting on the end table, he thought it was a fiction book and was quite disappointed when I told him it was non-fiction. He thought the cover and title would be great for a science fiction or fantasy book and I completely agree!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way...

of reading and blogging. We've had a busy, busy summer here. July was filled with traveling and we had lots of company in August. Add my daughter learning to crawl and having trouble settling down for her afternoon naps and I just haven't gotten a lot of reading done.

I would love to be posting on here regularly, at least three times a week. But the reality is that I have much less time to read these days and I have other tasks that also must be completed while my daughter naps. My hope is to get us in a bit more of a routine now that things are settling down a bit and to start posting about once a week again.

I have quite the stack of books to read and I'm really hoping that some of them will be great books that I will be excited to share with you.

I appreciate all of my readers and hope that I can once again provide some regular content for you soon!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine

Title: Heat Stroke
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: August 3, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Age Group: Adult
Series: Weather Warden (Book 2)

Spoiler Alert: Please do not read this review unless you have already read the first book in this series, Ill Wind. The events of this book are strongly based on the ending of the last and I would hate to give anything away. I do have a review of Ill Wind that I posted in July.


Heat Stroke essentially picks up right where Ill Wind left off. Joanne Baldwin was transformed from a human Weather Warden to a Djinn in order to preserve her life. Now she must learn to use her new abilities while navigating in social circles where she does not understand the rules. There is also a new, unknown rift threatening to tear the world apart.

Heat Stroke is another fast-paced book. Joanne barely has time to cope with one crisis when another strikes. She is again unable to gain her footing and often acts impulsively on whatever little information she has to go on at the time. Joanne is definitely not a big-picture girl and fails to see how all the pieces fit together until it is nearly too late. In this, she is a very flawed heroine. However, without this impulsive nature most of the action in these books would not take place.

I am enjoying the Weather Warden series as quick, entertaining reads. I am not strongly invested in the characters, although I am hoping to see some growth from Joanne in future books. Although both books in the series so far have focused on disasters of large scale significance. the books have enough light moments to keep from becoming too heavy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Age Group: Adult
Series: The Buckshaw Chronicles (Book 1)

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce has a curious nature, desiring to understand the workings of the world through chemistry. She also has an affinity for poisons. So when a bird is found dead on the doorstep, a stranger argues with her father in the middle of the night, and she witnesses the last breath of a murder victim in the cucumber patch, Flavia is determined to solve the mystery and prove her father's innocence.

I really wanted to like this book but it just didn't hold my attention the way I had anticipated it would. Perhaps it was the setting - the English countryside, or the time period - 1950, that caused me to feel uneasy as a viewer of this tale. I found Flavia's character to be a bit over the top as she dashed here and there trying to connect all the pieces of the puzzle. Her flashes of insight seemed forced at times, although I did understand all the bits of the mystery at the end.

At times this book felt like it was more of a young adult novel, with an eleven-year-old as the narrator, yet it was a very adult book at the same time. Flavia exudes both the excitement and innocence of her age and a wisdom far beyond them.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first novel to feature Flavia but it will not be the last as Bradley has at least two more books planned for the Buckshaw chronicles. Bradley won the Debut Dagger Award in 2007 for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

While the book was enjoyable, it did not hold my interest well enough for me to continue on with the series. I have seen many favorable reviews for this book and I am sure it would fit other reading tastes better than mine.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie through the Member Givewaway Program at LibraryThing.

2009 Reading Challenges

1st in a Series Challenge