Thursday, December 30, 2010

Planned Books

Books I'm reading:
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
1. The Jewel of St. Petersburg 79/250
The Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
3. The Fires of Spring 80/378
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
1. The Golden Days 414/525
The Elven Nations Trilogy- Paul Thompson, Tonya Carter, Douglas Niles
1. Firstborn 39/305
D'Artagnan Romances-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise De la Valliere 338/671
The Decameron-Boccaccio 169/833
The Moonstone-Wilkie Collins 66/434
Sisters of the black moon-F.J Pesando 34/414
Books that are waiting for reviews:
Tigress Sextet-Jade Lee (Will not get or read Desperate Tigress and Corned Tigress)
6. Tempted Tigress
Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
1. The year the horses came
2. Horses at the gate
The Chosen-Chaim Potok
The Promise-Chaim Potok
Tell me your secrets-Cara Summers
Coyote Dreams-Jessica Davis Stein
The Secret Life of the bees-Sue Monk Kidd
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
North China Lover-Marguerite Duras
The Mysteries of Udolpho- Ann Radcliffe
Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell
The Kitchen God's wife-Amy Tan
Future Books:
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
2. The Russian Concubine
3. The Girl from Junchow
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer Wakes
D'Artagnan Romances-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise De la Valliere Unpublished information
5. The Man in the iron mask
The Elven Nations Trilogy-Douglas Niles, Paul Thompson, Tonya Carter
2. The Kinslayer Wars
3. The Qualinesti
Chronicles Trilogy-Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman
1. Dragons of Autumn Twilight
2. Dragons of Winter Night
3. Dragons of Spring Dawning
Legends Trilogy-Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman
1. Time of the twins
2. War of the twins
3. Test of the twins
Possibly The Funny Guy-Grace Hogarth

Book Review of The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

Name of book:  The Hundred Secret Senses

Author Name: Amy Tan

ISBN: 0-8041-1109-X

Publisher: Ivy Books, Ballantine Books

Type of Book: Adult, fantasy-history china, contemporary

Year it was published: 1995

Summary:  From amazon: "Olivia, the narrator of this story, was born to an American mother and a Chinese father. She meets her 18-year-old Chinese half sister, Kwan, for the first time shortly after their father's death. Kwan adores "Libby-ah" and tries to introduce her to her Chinese heritage through stories and memories. Olivia is embarrassed by her sibling, but finds as she matures that she has inadvertently absorbed much about Chinese superstitions, spirits, and reincarnation. Olivia explains, "My sister Kwan believes she has Yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin..." Now in her mid-30s, Olivia, a photographer, is still seeking a meaningful life. The climax of the story comes when she and her estranged husband Simeon, a writer, go to China on assignment with Kwan as the interpreter. In the village in which she grew up, Kwan returns to the world of Yin, her mission completed. Olivia finally learns what Kwan was trying to show her: "If people we love die, then they are lost only to our ordinary senses. If we remember, we can find them anytime with our hundred secret senses." The meshing of the contemporary story of Olivia and the tales Kwan tells of her past life in late-19th century China may confuse some readers. "

Characters: While the characters of Kwan and Olivia are kind of drawn out and tend to be somewhat complex, other characters like that of Simon or Olivia's parents aren't drawn out and are one dimensional. (Sure the father has died when Olivia was but a little girl, but certainly the mother must have mentioned or talked about the father often.) Oh wait, the mother is Caucasian and the father is Chinese, thus the mother is disloyal and tends to be a bad mother when compared to Chinese mothers in her other books. Olivia also creates drama and whatnot on purpose and often doesn't really say whats in her heart. Its very difficult to understand her and what motivates her. She is also mean to Kwan and Simon and her change at the end feels very contrived and forced.

Theme: From p.399 "I think Kwan intended to show me the world is not a place but the vastness of the soul.. And the soul is nothing more than love, limitless, endless, all that moves us toward knowing what is true. I once thought love was supposed to be nothing but bliss. I now know it is also worry and grief, hope and trust. And believing in ghosts-that's believing that love never dies. If people we love die, then they are lost only to our ordinary senses. If we remember, we can find them, anytime with our hundred secret senses. 'This is a secret,' I can still hear Kwan whispering. 'Don't tell anyone. Promise, Libby-ah.'" The message itself is profound but from this impression, I would assume that hundred secret senses deal more with memory than anything else and I can't help but remember Lain Serial Experiments, where at the end of the episode, one of the characters said that if you're not remembered then you no longer exist, but, I assume, at the end the characters remembered Lain on a deeper level which is what the book is attempting to convey. Even if a person is gone physically, then in someway they're not gone at all and one can still see them.

Plot: The plot wasn't written well at all and one of the problems I had was the lack of resolution. The readers, for instance, don't learn much about Kwan's and Olivia's present lives such as whether or not Kwan was telling the truth about their father, or about Buncake. To me those were pretty important plot points and I didn't care about the past lives they had or what they were about. The ending doesn't seem to be satisfying and one would like to know if perhaps Kwan's power has passed down or not.

Author Information: She was born in Oakland California in 1952, lived in Switzerland, returned to America and married a lawyer. There is a claim that I found that she used to go to a psychiatrist who several times fell asleep while listening to her, so she wrote a novel dealing with mother-daughter relationships. Her first novel is called The Joy luck club. Her other novels were titled Hundred Secret Senses, The Kitchen God's wife, Bonesetter's Daughter, and Saving Fish From Drowning. She is married to an American by the name of Louis DeMattei who was a lawyer.

Opinion: When comparing this book to Kitchen God's Wife or The Joy Luck Club, it feels far more polished and less traumatic. The problem, yet again, is the female character's neurosis and likability. I had a hard time liking or understanding or believing any of the characters. I also felt that the last name and Kwan disappearing subplot was pointless since it wasn't resolved. (If you have no plans on concluding the plot then don't bring it up please,) and the ending was cheapened and pointless.

1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Book Review of Jewels by Danielle Steel

Name of the Book:  Jewels

Author Name: Danielle Steel

ISBN:  0-440-21422-X

Publisher: Dell, Bantam Doubleday Dell

Type of Book: Adult, historical

Year it was published: June 1993

Summary: 

"On Sarah Whitfield's seventy-fifth birthday, memories take her back to New York in the 1930s. To a marriage that ends after a year, leaving Sarah shattered. A trip to Europe with her parents does little to raise her spirits, until she meets William, Duke of Whitfield. In time, despite her qualms, William insists on giving up his distant right to the British throne to make Sarah his duchess and his wife.

"On their honeymoon, the newlyweds buy an old French chateau, but not long after, the war begins. William joins the allied forces, leaving Sarah, their first child, an infant, and their second child on the way, in France. Sarah survives the terror of the Occupation, unwavering in her belief that her missing-in-action husband is still alive.

"After the war, as a gesture of goodwill, the Whitfields start buying jewels offered for sale by impoverished war survivors. The collection becomes the prestigious Whitfield's in Paris.  Eventually, their jewelry business expands to London and Rome, as their family grows. Phillip, prideful and stubborn; Julian, charming and generous; Isabelle, rebellious and willful; and Xavier, the final unexpected gift of their love. They each will find their own way, but will be drawn to the great house of gems their parents built.

"In Jewels, Danielle Steel takes the reader through five eventful decades that include war, passion, and international intrigue. "

Characters:



The characters tended to be on the flat side without changing at all. Sarah's eldest son, Phillip, still remained spiteful and hateful of his younger siblings and unfortunately nothing changed his mind about his brother in particular. Julian remained a playboy character and the audience is supposed to sympathize with him but the way he treated his ex wife destroyed any like or sympathy I had for him. Isabelle, the only girl in the family is the one that showed a change somewhat although her problem was resolved a little too quickly for my liking. The last child, Xavier, is barely known in the book and there is not much focus on him. Sarah and William remained themselves through the book and despite the World War II, children, the jewel shop, injuries, etc, little has changed with them.

Theme: I am not very good at extracting the reason why I think this novel was written, maybe so readers can appreciate jewelry, although the author bothered to remind everyone of the things from history that were popular. (Chanel No 5 for instance,) or perhaps another reason is that it meant to show the strength of a woman, (pretty much all her novels deal with that idea,) Sarah literally had gone through a heartbreak, being the first in the family to divorce, etc. but she still remained strong and did what she could for her family.

Plot: The first almost 75% of the book is spent on William and Sarah and very little is dealt with the family and then it switches to the kids' point of views, particularly on their marital problems. It would have been nice if business wise the characters would have made bad decisions once in a while, but instead in this instance every decision they make is correct.

Author Information:

From wikipedia: " Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel (born August 14, 1947, New York City) better known as Danielle Steel, is an American romantic novelist and author of mainstream dramas.

"Best known for drama novels, Steel has sold more than 800 million copies of her books (as of 2005) worldwide and is the eighth best selling writer of all time. Her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks[1] and 22 have been adapted for television." Link. 

Opinion: When comparing this book to the recent one I read, Star, it is much better written although her focus on what people thought of William and Sarah is irritating. (Everyone thought they were a good match.) Danielle Steel's writing has a strange addictive quality to it, although the plot is pretty unbelievable in more ways than one. (The soldier that takes care of Sarah and Phillip and Elizabeth, I doubt that in real life he would have been sent to France or even been noticed Fuhrer.) I am not saying that all Germans were inhuman killing machines, but I have doubts that someone like he could have existed. (The whole conversation of why war is wrong between Sarah and Joachim rang false to me.) Most leaders supported the spread of Germany, and were nationalistic at the time of World War II. If they had objections, I am pretty sure that they would be locked up or sent to concentration camps. (Yes, concentration camps were also for political prisoners as well.) The only ones that did protest were the ones that had to kill civilians or Jewish women and children. The second half of the book moved rather quickly and was contradictory. (One passage is that Sarah and Jane were no longer close, yet she contradicts by saying that they were close and wrote to one another. Also I would have liked more updates about Jane.) Overall, I thought it was a boring book although slightly better than Star. This takes place from 1930s-1992?

1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reading History Part IV: Danielle Steel

When I was in middle school, I used to be a fan of Danielle Steel and read a lot of her books such Jewels, Daddy, Fine Things, Kaleidoscope, Family Album, Zoya, Star, etc. How I got involved reading her books is a curious story. This part will discuss how I got involved reading Danielle Steel, along with some books I read, consistencies along the books, and what I wish she would do in the future with her books.

In the year of 2000, she published her fiftieth novel Journey. (Which I hadn't read and will not read.) About the time she published her novel, I would guess that the publishing company she works for makes a choice to make all Danielle Steel novels free. Perhaps because they were free, my mom brought three books; Family Album, Kaleidoscope and Fine Things. About that time, I guess I was in seventh grade and of course beyond Judy Blume, R.L Stine, Lurlene McDaniel I believe and maybe few other authors I was not familiar with good authors. (Possibly later on I might have read Anna Karenina, and also around that time I took a plunge into the Harry Potter Mania.) To my mind they were pretty good books and so started my reading journey with them. From personal experience, I don't recall that I had discriminating tastes. Obviously my mind seemed to say 'all books are good' and the books that I think are good now, such as Gone with the Wind, I remember thinking how boring the book was. Now I'm much more pickier about the books I like and read. I look for different things and I notice inconsistencies and mistakes far more easily. Its odd that almost eleven years ago the things I notice and care about now, I didn't care about back then.

As of Tuesday, December 20th, 2010, she has written 63 novels, and in few novels I've read, there are some noticeable consistencies: all women are unearthly beautiful (most common are variety of hair colors and variety of eye colors. I can only think of one instance where a character is brown haired and brown eyed and that's in A Perfect Stranger.) Other novels include women with brown hair blue eyes, black hair blue eyes, blond hair and blue or green eyes. She does do a book where a minority character is of Japanese ancestry and one where the character is Jewish (I believe I've heard that the Jewish character converts to being a Catholic so technically she's not Jewish and I don't see her as Jewish.) I am not sure if in other novels she has  about an African American woman or Latino woman characters in other novels but highly unlikely. One other consistency across her books is the favorable young female paired up with much older male. (Star: Crystal Wyatt and Spencer Hill with a fourteen year difference, Jewels: Sarah and William with thirteen year difference.) There are also no minority men as leads or lovers for the women. (Not in religion terms but in race; that is I can't think of a single book where the pairing might have been white female and an African American man, or perhaps an Asian male and a white female and so on and so on.)

What I wish that Danielle Steel would do with her books is to have minority men be the leads instead of giving victory all the time to either European or American men. I also would wish that she'd write a novel with a Jewish female protagonist and that the character would not convert to Christianity. Also in some amazon reviews, many mentioned her lack of historical research. I remember reading Zoya by her long time ago, and I remember that a former member of the aristocratic class married a Jewish American guy. Being a history major and few years back taking a Modern Russian history class, in real life no Russian former aristocrat would marry or associate with Jewish people. First of all, back then a lot of Russian were anti-Jewish, and unfortunately the Russian royalty was killed off by people of Jewish origin. In real life, Zoya would have prejudices and hatred against Jewish people and wouldn't have married or been with one. (Also, Russian aristocrats were in a White Army, while many Jewish people supported Communism and were in Red Army, and both armies were enemies.) She also would have been raised with ideas that support pogroms and whatnot. There are rare instances where a person defies their class or thoughts, but I felt that Danielle Steel should have addressed the point considering the fact that Zoya does end up with a Jewish guy. (If she doesn't end up with a Jewish American, then I wouldn't go into this, and frankly overcoming hatred would have made a much more interesting story.)

Although I have low hopes of having my words heeded and of things changing, I do hope that Danielle Steel will be more braver in experimenting with interracial couples and would fix her flaws so she can become an enjoyable read for the adults.

Book Review of Star by Danielle Steel

Name of the Book: Star

Author Name: Danielle Steel

ISBN: 0440205573

Publisher: Dell, Bantam Doubleday Dell

Type of Book: Adult, historical, romance

Year it was published: March 1990

Summary:

Young, innocent and strikingly beautiful Crystal Wyatt was an outcast, envied and resented by all but her devoted father, with whom she shared a deep love for their remote California ranch. When her father dies, Crystal is alone and unprotected. Devastating events shake the once peaceful valley. With nothing but her dreams, her beauty, and her awe-inspiring voice, Crystal escapes to embark on the career that will ultimately make her a star. But stardom itself is shadowed by danger and violence and haunted by a memory that must be resolved before Crystal can find happiness and peace.

Characters: The characters are on the flat side, women more so. There are two main women in the novel: the beautiful and innocent looking Crystal Wyatt and the smart intelligent Elizabeth Barclay Hill. Spencer Hill, on the other hand, is a round character, although he often ends up trying to please everyone but himself. In the end he develops courage and leaves Elizabeth for good and goes to live with Crystal. Unfortunately the characters are more of 'told' than 'show' variety. That's not a problem, but if almost every single page you're constantly told about why you should love Crystal, then it becomes a problem. "She knew there was no one to watch her as she stood gracefully in the stream, totally unaware of how startlingly beautiful she was." (3) "There was no artifice to the girl, there were no wiles, there was only that staggering natural beauty she was still unaware of." (4) and if unaware of beauty is still not bad enough, then there is constant reminder of how Crystal is different from everyone and of how she looks along with how much she loves the land fare more than anyone else. In reading novels, I would think that actions and events are far more memorable than looks.

Theme: Really, what is the message? That people are as innocent as they appear? When I think of the novel now and whatnot, I kept getting the feeling that Crystal Wyatt is supposed to be the a Marilyn Monroe type. (Anyone remember how beautiful and striking she was? This might as well have been titled 'The Ideal Marilyn Monroe.') One real theme of the novel is the idea of destiny. If its destiny to be with someone, then eventually you will be no matter what. If its destiny to be famous then you will be famous. ('Till Morning Comes and other novels demonstrate the idea far better than this novel does.) Also another one is that if bad things happen to you its because of the way you look. (I'm not kidding.) Rape, estrangement by family and friends and even being taken advantage of happened to Crystal because of the way she looks. "It was impossible to explain to him that she had few friends, that the girls hated her because of her looks, although she herself didn't understand it." (51)


Plot: There are minor twists in the plot but overall its linear and is told from 1946 up until 1963 and details Spencer's and Crystal's lives and loves. The ending will be satisfying (if your brain is still functioning by the end of the novel.)

Author Information: From wikipedia: " Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel (born August 14, 1947, New York City) better known as Danielle Steel, is an American romantic novelist and author of mainstream dramas.

"Best known for drama novels, Steel has sold more than 800 million copies of her books (as of 2005) worldwide and is the eighth best selling writer of all time. Her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks[1] and 22 have been adapted for television." Link. 

Opinion: As mentioned, if Danielle Steel didn't repeat herself constantly or try to force the reader to like the characters, perhaps I might have liked this book. But as it is, I can't stand the characters and felt irritated by them. The age gap is also disturbing. (Thirteen years!) Not bad if for example Crystal would have been twenty while he was thirty three, but she is fourteen and he is twenty-seven and both fall in love with each other instantly. In the novel, its not until she is nineteen or something that she and Spencer actually end up doing things. If you are interested in reading this novel but dont' want to spend money, here is a nice reading guide for you which will take a short time to read: Reading Guide to Star

0 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review of #3 the Burning By R.L Stine

Name of book: The Burning


Author Name: R.L Stine


ISBN: 0-671-86833-0


Publisher: Archway Paperback, Parachute Inc


Type of book: Kid to young adult, attempt at being historical, horror


Year it was published: October 1993


Summary:



Simon Fear thought changing his name would stop the evil. He was wrong-dead wrong.
After generations of unspeakable horror, it is up to Daniel and Nora, brought together by their fateful love, to unite the feuding families. But is their forbidden love strong enough to withstand such awesome evil?
Poor Nora-desperate to tell the truth and bury the family curse…before it buries her.



Characters: Again the characters are interesting and somewhat fascinating for one dimensional characters. I do have problem with Angelica though. In the novel we get a chance to get a glimpse at her thoughts and actions and behavior. In thoughts, there is no indication that she thought Simon was her soul-mate until later on in the novel when he confesses his deeds to her, and its hard to believe that any character would be so cold blooded about everything, but at least in future Fear Street Sagas her character in The Burning matches up to House of Whispers and Daughters of Silence.


Theme: s Novel-wise, I am not sure of the message the author is trying to send. This book is written more for entertainment and continuity than for anything else in my view.


Plot: Okay, so in the previous review I mentioned some inconsistencies in plot that the series suffered from. One of those will be what is mentioned The Secret, which is that one of the characters is the last of the Goodes. If that person is the last of the family, then that means no descendants or relatives or anything of the sort. Wrong though. In second section of the book, about the Fear family, a maid named Goode joins the household. How is that possible? (The character from the previous book is in his teens I believe, and didn't marry anyone.) Also, if one is to continue reading Fear Street Sagas, which is kind of a continuation of The Fear Street Saga, there is another inconsistency: in beginning of the first book of the second series, Nora is pregnant, but throughout The Fear Street Saga she never once indicated or mentioned that she was pregnant.


Author Information: R.L Stine was born on October 8th 1943 and is most famous for other Fear Street series along with Goosebumps series and Nightmare Room. Goosebumps and Nightmare Room were made into TV series ages ago.  


Opinion: s This is probably more entertaining than previous The Fear Street Saga novels and like in previous book, the title refers to the events in the book, but besides that there is not much else I can say or mention. I sometimes feel that the author writes purely for the money than for anything else. 

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review of #2 The Secret by R.L Stine

Name of book: The Secret


Author Name: R.L Stine


ISBN: 0-671-86832-2


Publisher: Archway Paperback, Parachute Inc


Type of book: Kid to young adult, attempt at being historical, horror


Year it was published: September 1993

Part of the series:  The Fear Street Saga


Summary: 



What is the secret of Fear Street?
Why has its horror lasted for so long?
Ezra Fier wants to find out. He searches for the answer among the rotting bones in the ghostly town of Wickham. But he finds only betrayal and death.
Elizabeth and Kate are in love with the same boy. How can they know that they too are caught by the evil that will haunt this family forever?




Characters: The characters are a little far more unique and entertaining; in beginning two sections of the book you have Jonathan who is good and doesn't desire or want the father's power; then you have the mother who confuses her youngest daughter for her eldest, (the sisters don't even resemble each other, etc.) in a way, character-wise, this is good when compared to The Betrayal.  


Theme: I am not sure of what the theme should be for this book. I certainly didn't learn anything from reading it, except that evil never really does die.


Plot: (By the way, the summary is very misleading...) This is yet again told in flashback. Nora's surroundings are a little more clear now and she doesn't appear often in the book. The years 1737, 1743 and 1843 are covered. I am not certain of the title though; The Secret. What does it relate to? What is the secret? If there is a secret, then its not mentioned in the book. Also, while the characters improved a little more, the plot really suffered and I would have wished to know more about the Goode side of the family. (At least in beginning so to speak...) And when reading the last book, The Burning, some events don't match. (I will mention that in the next review. By the way, at the start, Ezra goes back to Wickham not discover why horror lasted so long at Fear Street, but to get his revenge on the Goode family.)


Author Information: R.L Stine was born on October 8th 1943 and is most famous for other Fear Street series along with Goosebumps series and Nightmare Room. Goosebumps and Nightmare Room were made into TV series ages ago. 


Opinion: While this is a much more entertaining book than The Betrayal, the plot suffered as well, and I think its best to read The Betrayal before reading this novel. (Although the author does fill you in on some details of the previous book.)

 2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review of #1 the Betrayal by R.L Stine

Name of book: The Betrayal


Author Name: R.L Stine


ISBN: 0-671-86831-4


Publisher: Archway Paperback, Parachute Inc


Type of book: Kid to young adult?


Year it was published: August 1993


Summary:


Why do so many horrifying things happen on Fear Street? Nora knows.
She knows how the terror began. She knows about the young girl who burned at the stake-and the bloody feud between two families that caused the unspeakable horror that has lasted 300 years! 
She knows, and she wants to tell.
Are you sure you want to hear it?



Characters: The characters are one dimensional and have very little personality distinguishing them from one another. The story is mostly focused from female perspective and supposedly it takes place from witch hunts in Salem until 1725. The characters were also victims of circumstance and although they attempted to stand up for themselves, (as in the case of Susana who tries to deal with the mob that wants her and her mother to be burned.) I am not sure what to think of the characters; are they one dimensional on purpose or do one dimensional characters tend to appeal to children?  


Theme: If there are possible themes to this book they are this: revenge, eventually destroys everything and leaves with nothing, it is also never ending. Don't do bad things to others, treat others how you would like to be treated, etc. Personally though, there are doubts that these books have any sort of meaning and they might be published to make money and not for any value.


Plot:  The plot was highly simple and for the most part was told in flashback, sort of, from 1900 there is reminiscence back to 1692, 1710 and 1725. The powers that the author kept mentioning that the characters possessed barely made an entrance, and I would have liked to know more about the Fiers background besides what the author states what happened to them. The violence in the book is purely for entertainment purpose rather than anything else.


Author Information: R.L Stine was born on October 8th 1943 and is most famous for other Fear Street series along with Goosebumps series and Nightmare Room. Goosebumps and Nightmare Room were made into TV series ages ago. 

Opinion: As a teenager I remember how much I loved and read the series over and over again. My mind at the time wasn't able to comprehend that this wasn't a good book. Its simply filler. The title itself is self explanatory so to speak, at least in how it pertains to the beginning of the book. Out of the three book series, this is far more consistent and the power is far more visible. 

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Planned Books

Books I'm reading: 
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnival
1. The Jewel of St Petersburg 54/250
Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
2. The Horses at the gate 353/408
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
1. The Golden days 324/525
D'Artagnan Romances- Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise de la Valliere 292/671
Tigress Sextet-Jade Lee
6. Tempted Tigress 201/346
Star-Danielle Steel 205/474
The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tan 138/399
The Moonstone-Wilkie Collins 39/434
The Decameron- Boccaccio 96/833
The North China lover- Marguerite Duras 123/231
Books that are waiting for reviews:
Tell me your secrets...-Cara Summers
The Mysteries of Udolpho- Ann Radcliffe
The Chosen-Chaim Potok
The Promise-Chaim Potok
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
The Secret Life of the bees-Sue Monk Kidd
The Kitchen God's wife-Amy Tan
Coyote Dreams-Jessica Davis Stein
Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell
The Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
1. The Year the horses came
The Fear Street Saga-R.L Stine
1. The Betrayal
2. The Secret
3. The Burning
Future Books: 
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
2. The Russian Concubine
3. The Girl from Junchow a.k.a Concubine's Secret
Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
3. The Fires of Spring
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer Wakes
D'Artagnan Romances-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise de la Valliere Unpublished Information
5. The Man in the Iron mask
The Elven Nations Trilogy- Paul Thompsons, Tonya Carter, Douglas Niles
1. Firstborn-Paul Thompson Tonya Carter
2. Kinslayer Wars-Douglas Niles
3. The Qualinesti-Paul Thompson Tonya Carter
Chronicles Trilogy-Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman
1. Dragons of Autumn Twilight
2. Dragons of Winter Night
3. Dragons of Spring Dawning
Legends Trilogy-Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
1. Time of the twins
2. War of the twins
3. Test of the twins

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reading Guide to Danielle Steel's Star

I have to admit that the book is pretty bad and repetitive. I will do my best to make this a short version without any descriptions of Crystal's beauty or whatnot. What will I do? Try to make chapters and just give main points. (Checks book, notices 44 chapters) wow this will be long... and also, since this is chapter by chapter, I will purposely include spoilers and plot twists so beware as you read it.

Chapter 1
Basically this chapter begins with Crystal swimming and singing and how she loves the land. Her older sister Becky is getting married and it deals with preparations for the wedding such as food, the clothes she will be wearing for the wedding, etc. This also gives some background of the family and discusses their distaste towards foreigners, in particular for Boyd and Hiroko Webster. (This possibly takes place in 1946?)

Chapter 2
Becky and her husband, Tom Parker marry, but Tom begins to flirt with Boyd's sister Ginny. A commanding officer, Spencer Hill shows up; he is twenty-seven while Crystal is fourteen I think. He and Crystal talk, the wedding is concluded, there is mention of the difficulties that Boyd and Hiroko have, and how Spencer in the end have supported them. At the end of the chapter, both Crystal and Spencer have fallen in love with each other.

Chapter 3
Okay, here are the main events: 10 months later or so, Becky gave birth to a son, there is rumors that Ginny Webster is possibly pregnant.  Hiroko is also pregnant and Crystal became secret best friend of Hiroko. She and Spencer meet once again where she sings in front of the crowd (takes place at a christening of Becky's son.) and the two get to know each other a little more and think they are in love with each other. At the end they part.

Chapter 4
More history of Spencer Hill is given; he had a brother named Robert who died in Guam and left behind a widow and two daughters and that he is planning on being a lawyer, although his father is hoping for him to become a congressman. He goes to dinner at his father friend's house, Judge Barclay and meets eighteen year old Elizabeth Barclay with whom he develops an attraction for, as she does for him. The chapter finishes with him leaving the house and thinking of Crystal.

Chapter 5
Spencer returns home and feels that his family expects him to become his dead brother. There is a hint of matchmaking towards the widow Barbara and himself. He also is uncertain and doubts the choice of studying law. It is also revealed that his father wants him to take up politics.

Chapter 6
This chapter gives more focus to Crystal and its from 1947 until spring of 1948. Crystal and Hiroko's friendship deepened even more. Jared has a girlfriend in another town and Becky is pregnant again. Tom is a poor ranch manager and its probable that he's abusive towards Becky. Ginny Webster was indeed pregnant and got married to someone around the time she was seven months. Crystal's father becomes sick and drifts in and out until he dies in his sleep with Crystal by his side. He tells Crystal to see the world and come back to the ranch once her mother is gone. Crystal's mother becomes angry and at the end of the chapter accuses Crystal of sleeping with somebody.

Chapter 7
On April 3rd, 1948, Hiroko finally gives birth to a baby girl named Jane Keiko Webster.(Keiko after Hiroko's sister who died in Hiroshima.) At first she has difficult time with giving birth but Crystal manages to help her out all because of her knowledge of delivering horses. The relationship between her and her mother has been deteriorating and her mother has been on her case a lot.

Chapter 8
Crystal also takes care of Becky and Tom's son Willie and again there is mention of endless chores by her mother and Becky. Tom begins developing an attraction towards Crystal. Crystal also becomes Jane Keiko Webster's godmother and its revealed that Ginny, Boyd's sister, is having an affair with Tom. In the same year, 1948, Crystal turns seventeen years old and her sister has a baby girl.

Chapter 9
Spencer's parents do attempt to set him up with his brother's widow but aren't successful.  Spencer begins to enjoy working for the law firm and he even gets invited to Elizabeth father's Supreme Court induction where he meets up with Elizabeth and the two begin to talk and get to know each other. Elizabeth is pretty ambitious and isn't sentimental, while Spencer is. He also takes out Elizabeth on a "date" and thinks about possibly calling her.

Chapter 10
Spencer decides not to call her, but instead, Elizabeth makes the first move and invites him to a party with her brother and his wife. He has a fun time and begins to be more involved in Elizabeth's world, and even starts to date her. She attempts to propose to him but he refuses her advances although they start being lovers in the book. He leaves the state then and promises to call her.  (Possibly 1948-1949?)

Chapter 11
Everyone turned against Crystal and blamed her for everything. Becky blamed her flirting with Tom, Jared, her brother, threatened to tell their mother about her visits to Hiroko. In January of 1949, Crystal started working as a waitress and saved up 400 or more dollars. At a restaurant she is liked by the owner. Tom visits her and harrasses her though. In March of the same year, Tom finds Crystal, tells her that her sister Becky is pregnant once again and proceeds to rape her. Crystal gets inside the car and drives out to the Websters in the state she is in and that's where the chapter ends.

Chapter 12
The Websters brought Crystal back and Crystal's mother is filled with hate and doesn't believe her and accuses her of being a tramp.  Crystal, being angry at everyone and hating them as well picks up the gun and along with her brother Jared runs outside. Jared tries to stop her but doesn't succeed. Meanwhile Tom also grabs a gun. Crystal arrives, takes shots and misses him, while Tom makes shots as well and kills Jared.

Chapter 13
Jared is buried and Crystal's mother chases her from the ranch. She tells her mother that she'll never come back and the chapter ends with her singing songs to Jared.

Chapter 14
Crystal briefly stays with Hiroko and Boyd and realizes that she can't finish school so she boards the bus, tells the Websters goodbye and with 500 dollars leaves towards San Francisco.

Chapter 15
Crystal gets to San Francisco and rents a room with Mrs. Castagna in Italian? District. She and Mrs. Castagna like one another and Mrs. Castagna allows her perks that she doesn't let others have. Few weeks later, Crystal gets a job at a restaurant called Harry's and becomes friends with another waitress named Pearl.

Chapter 16
Crystal practiced with Pearl for her debut until June of 1950? and when she made it, everyone enjoyed her singing. She also met the owner Harry. Mrs. Castagna asks Crystal to sing for her and when she does, Mrs. Castagna tells Crystal taht one day she'll be famous and that she'd better remember that she is the one who said it. Crystal is also beginning to like San Francisco.

Chapter 17
Spencer is continuing to be involved with Elizabeth and even invited her to his firm's party. Elizabeth and her family expects more of him but he can't give her that. (He is thirty while she is twenty-one,) He claims of being a dreamer while Elizabeth is a realist.  At the end they make plans to go to Lake Tahoe and Spencer has hopes of possibly visiting Crystal.

Chapter 18
In the end Spencer does fly out to California and spends his only week with Elizabeth and her family. He confesses he's in love with her and then proposes to her. They agree to get married in June (1951?) ten months from the proposal. He never visits Crystal or Hiroko and Boyd.

Chapter 19
Spencer and Elizabeth's family got along very well and when he flew again to California, they went out to a club. There Spencer recognized Crystal but wasn't able to meet up with her. Elizabeth noticed he recognized the girl but Spencer lied about it.

Chapter 20
Spencer lies to Elizabeth about visiting a friend and instead visits Crystal. He gets brief updates about her dead father and brother although she doesn't tell him about being raped by brother-in-law. He asks about the Websters and is told that Hiroko is expecting another child. He walks her to the apartment and they kiss briefly and confess their feelings for one another and Spencer makes up his mind to get Crystal no matter what.

Chapter 21
Spencer makes an attempt to break up with Elizabeth but she convinces him that he has cold feet and assures him its normal while he thinks its something else. He tries to talk to a partner, George Montgomery who also tells him that its a case of cold feet. Crystal sees the news of Spencer being engaged and she is upset and they decide to break things up now. He tries to send her a letter but the letter comes back unopened.

Chapter 22
In 1951, they finally got married and everything went well for them. Elizabeth was nostalgic about the dress and couldn't believe that it was only one time thing. McCarthy hunts began as well. Crystal was upset about seeing the wedding in the local papers. Spencer, however, didn't withdraw from reserves and when troubles began in Korea, he was called in and left Elizabeth behind. Elizabeth's father arranges for her to go back and finish Vassar and Elizabeth is upset at the fates. In the end she ends up staying with her parents.

Chapter 23
While waiting to be called up, Spencer stays in Barclays' house and is lonely. Crystal turns nineteen meanwhile (1951) and Harry's becomes popular. She is still staying with Mrs. Castagna; Tom is still carrying on with Boyd's sister Ginny. Boyd and Hiroko's baby was in breech position and had died. The midwife did save Hiroko's life however. Spencer drives out to where Crystal is at and meets up with her. He stays the rest of the time with her, even has sex with her. Crystal also tells him that Tom raped her but he is supportive of her.In the end he leaves and promises to write her letters.

Chapter 24
Spencer went to Korea and only talked with Elizabeth when he had to. Meanwhile Crystal's grandmother Minerva passed away, Tom Parker, her brother in law went to fight in Korea so Becky and her mother are now running the ranch. Crystal also decides not to go back to the funeral. Also, despite Crystal's attempts to hide Spencer, Mrs. Castagna found out but ignores it because she likes Crystal.

Chapter 25
1951-1953? Spencer debates on the decision of Crystal vs. Elizabeth and grows spiteful and hateful of the war in Korea. Elizabeth sells of the house and gets a new one in Washington and starts a job for House of Un-American Activities. She has no sympathies towards Spencer. Soon Spencer stops writing to both of them. Meanwhile Crystal visits the valley and stays with the Websters. Becky has three children, and her husband was killed in Korea. Crystal is also visited by Hollywood agents and after Spencer stops writing, she visits the agents, meets Ernesto Salvatore aka Ernie and says goodbye to Pearl. She spends a magical week in Hollywood, signs a contract that she doesn't understand and goes to Brown Derby with Ernie. He drops her off and Crystal then prepares to work on a movie without a singing part.

Chapter 26
Ernie begins his seduction of Crystal by doing little things for her and eventually inviting her to his house. Crystal accepts the invitation without knowing where they are going. In there Ernie seduces Crystal into having sex with him which Crystal enjoys. She tells him about when she was raped and he is a charmer basically. Eventually she returns to work feeling that what she is doing is wrong.

Chapter 27
Ernie manages to seduce Crystal, even coercing her to moving in with him. They begin to "date". Eventually Ernie gets a good offer of the movie for Crystal and she begins to work on it. Spencer finally writes to her, his letter forwarded by Pearl to Crystal. Crystal never responds to it though. The Korean war is over then at last Spencer can return home.

Chapter 28
Spencer returns home and is continued to be tormented by the thought of Crystal vs. Elizabeth. Elizabeth is too busy with her job and politics, having no desire for domestic life, while Spencer seems to be opposite. Plus Elizabeth's brother and his wife don't want children. He drives over to Crystal's previous haunts and finds out that Crystal no longer lives with Mrs. Castagna who passed away shortly after she moved,  and learns that she is in Hollywood.

Chapter 29
Spencer begins to feel annoyed with Elizabeth and her family. His father attempts to talk to him about staying with Elizabeth, reminding Spencer of the fact she waited three years for him. Elizabeth isn't receptive to his needs or desires by constantly getting to go to parties while he wants to be alone. He at last makes up his mind and goes to Hollywood. He meets Crystal and learns that she lives with Ernie and still loves him. She is also in the middle of filming a movie. He is concerned with the contract that Salvatore had her signed and still wants to marry her. He tells her that he will divorce Elizabeth, but Crystal asks for few more months before being with him and he has no choice but to comply with her desires. With promises of together forever they look toward the future but Ernie spies them and thus ends Chapter 29.

Chapter 30
Spencer travels to Nappa Valley to pay tribute to what Crystal was before the changes. The year is still 1953. He drives back home then and attempts to reason with Elizabeth on getting divorce but she's stubborn and refuses to do so despite the fundamental differences between. In the end he has no choice but to be with her. Meanwhile,  Ernie found out about Spencer, raped Crystal and threatened to kill her if she even dared to go back to Spencer. He reminded her that he owned her.

Chapter 31
Spencer again makes attempts to convince Elizabeth to divorce but again no luck. This time she will drag him to a party where he will meet her father's friend who offers him a job. Crystal is again threatened many times by Ernie and when Spencer calls her, she breaks things off. Ernie listens in to the conversation and feels proud of her and then they go to her premiere party.

Chapter 32
1953-1954. Spencer attempts to move on with his life and begins to like politics. The damage to his and Elizabeth's marriage has already been done for the worse and they pretended to like one another. In November of 1954 when Spencer turned thirty-five years of age, Crystal calls him and tells him she's in jail. Ernie has be murdered and she is the suspect because she has no alibi and he was killed in the house. Spencer tells her he'll be out in Los Angeles to get her out and Elizabeth threatens to divorce him if he goes to her and reminds him that he's not a criminal attorney. Spencer doesn't care and flies out.

Chapter 33
1954-1955. Spencer grills and regrills Crystal about Ernie and finds out lots of bad details about him. Elizabeth is still nonchalant and all about saving face ratehr than marriage. The trial takes place, Crystal is found innocent of murder  and the two of them leave Hollywood.

Chapter 34
They spend time rediscovering one another and talking to each other about everything. Crystal has no one now, while Spencer is tied to Elizabeth. Spencer longs to back to the valley along with Crystal to see how things are. Due to the spectacle, he loses his job in Washington, although he gets a mysterious call from a minor senator whom he doesn't even know.

Chapter 35
Crystal and Spencer drive out to the valley where Crystal sees her old friends Hiroko and Boyd and both are happy to see one another. Crystal gets news that her sister Becky has remarried and has two more kids and lives in Wyoming while her mother is dying. By accident she and Boyd drive on the wrong road past the ranch and Crystal comes inside where her mother makes a confession to her that her father left her everything of the ranch. Crystal thinks that at last she understands why everyone hates her. Crystal's mother dies shortly and Crystal feels home at last.

Chapter 36
1955. Spencer and Crystal spend time at the ranch where they get to know one another again. He calls the senator who followed the trial and wanted Spencer to work for him. Spencer is doubting and refuses to leave Crystal. Crystal then forces him to leave her by telling him that she doesn't want to settle down with him yet. In the end he flies to Washington while Crystal remains at the ranch.

Chapter 37
Crystal faints several times and is forced to go to a doctor's office who tells her she is pregnant and that the baby will be due in November. She makes a decision to keep the baby. Spencer's wife Elizabeth continues to refuse to divorce him and Spencer loves his new job. He calls Crystal now and then but Crystal is rude to him and tells him that she found someone else.

Chapter 38
Elizabeth continues to stay married to him because he is someone important now and she suspects some truths about Crystal and Spencer such as that Crystal forced him to come back to Washington knowing it would be good for him and she is determined to stay married to him. Spencer buries himself in work and Elizabeth is busy finishing law school. Spencer abandons his romantic notions of romance and now begins to see things the way Elizabeth sees them.

Chapter 39
In November of 1955, Crystal's son Zebediah Tad Wyatt is born through much struggle and difficulty. Crystal also lives with Boyd and Hiroko and at last people begin to accept and forgive Hiroko for being Japanese and start to treat her differently. They beomce Zebediah's godparents and Jane becomes his adopted "aunt".

Chapter 40
November  26 1956-1960.  Due to some problems with the ranch Crystal makes a choice to go back to Hollywood. There she runs into some trouble due to her past until she runs into someone who respected her, Lou. He gives her two directors and she calls them both. She does a screen test and meets with Brian Ford a dignified director who gives her a chance and she becomes an actress once again. She makes good movies, becomes involved with the director who is a far cry from Ernie and eventually wins an Academy Award. Spencer sees the show, hears the name Zeb and thinks its Brian and regrets the decision to let her go, although he suspects that its because of his career that she gave him up.

Chapter 41
1960.  Crystal is invited to a Presidential Ball and while there she meets with Spencer who confesses his feelings to her. Brian figures out that Spencer is the father of the baby, although Spencer himself doesn't know that yet. Elizabeth is happy that she is married to someone important and is thirty one years of age. They have no children. Spencer does promise that he will see her.

Chapter 42
1961-1963. Crystal and Brian end their affair although they remain good friends. She and Spencer began their affair though for two years until Jack F Kennedy is shot. Spencer, who is one of his aids is fine and Crystal begins to cry for the bygone days.

Chapter 43
1963. After Kennedy's death, Spencer realizes he loves Kennedy and at long last he finally leaves Elizabeth and tells her goodbye. Elizabeth is thirty-four and he encourages her to be in politics while he will be going to California and to Crystal.

Chapter 44
He surprises Crystal by flying over to the valley and sees Zeb and realizes the truth taht Zeb is his son. At last the two lovebirds are together. There are hints of future children in the children and that at last they are happy.


THE END
Finished writing: December 16th, Thursday, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Review of The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith

Name of Book: The First Wives Club

Author Name: Olivia Goldsmith

ISBN: 0-671-79705-0

Publisher: Pocket Books Fiction division of Simon and Schuster Inc

Type of book: adult, revenge, contemporary

Year it was published: 1992

Summary:

Elise, Brenda, and Annie were all first wives. A movie star and heiress, Elise had connections that paved the way for her lawyer husband. Brenda’s “family” business lauched her husband’s home entertainment empire. And good girl Annie sustained her spouse on his rise in the advertising world. But when their husbands were at the pinnacle of success, they abandoned their mates for “trophy wives”-younger, blonder, sleeker models.
Lunching at Le Cirque, Annie, Brenda and Elise decide that the time for self pity is over. Now it is time to get even. How they conspire to give each man his due-in full view of tout New York society-makes for the smartest, sexiest, most wickedly funny blockbuster in years.

Review: 

Characters: The characters had no depth to them beyond the surface; that is their thoughts are hidden from the readers and although she makes attempts to give them depth, the author fails miserably at that. Beyond the basic interests not much is known about them; Elise is a potential alcoholic, Brenda curses and loves food, while Annie lets people walk all over her and is into Japanese culture. The men (husbands) themselves were portrayed all the same and there was no saving grace for them. That is, they were all bad. The author did a lot of tell and not show when it came to the book. (Lesson is this: Don't say the character is sad or mad, show how they are sad or mad.) This book, in other words, is not memorable.

Theme: Why was the novel written? I think the author was blowing steam. The author herself was the three characters, while the husband or ex husband was the four husbands in the novel. Perhaps another reason is because she wants to let other women know that they're not alone. Kind of a revenge fantasy so to speak. As mentioned, this is a very shallow novel and doesn't explore the depths, and somehow I have a hard time believing how much these characters are shallow and vapid. Really, would the husbands abandon their wives when they made it? The women are all virtuous and the ex husbands are all evil. It takes two to tango so to speak, two to cause divorce. Surely there must be other reasons that the husbands abandoned their wives?

Plot: The plot is pretty straightforward and there is nothing new in it or twists. I don't see the characters change for either better or worse. The introduction to the problem was immediate from the start and I felt that it wasn't handled well. The wives' role in their husbands' downfalls was not much and the story was predictable from start to finish.

Author Information: From wikipedia: "She was born Randy Goldfield in Dumont, New Jersey, but changed her name to Justine Goldfield and later to Justine Rendal.[1] She took up writing following a divorce in which she said her husband got almost everything (including her Jaguar and the country house).[2] A graduate of New York University, she was a partner at the management consultants Booz & Company in New York prior to becoming a writer.

Many of her books can be described as revenge fantasies; a constant theme is the mistreatment of women by the men they love, but with the women coming out the winners in the end." She also wrote Flavor of the Month, The Bestseller and and Young Wives, which is about younger women dealing with bad husbands.

Opinion: "Hilarious, smooth and sexy." a praise from Cosmopolitan were the first words to greet my eyes  when I picked up the novel. At the time my sister started to read it and raved about it so I thought I'd give it a try. I found a used copy and began. Not once have I laughed while I read the novel, for it was more depressing than hilarious. The basic premise is this: three women form First Wives Club and take revenge on their ex-husbands including trying to avenge their dead friend. While the story was clever to an extent and it had potential to be good, I wasn't sold. In someways the story was confusing and I couldn't really understand what they have done to take revenge on their husbands short of one thing that's clearly stated in the book. It would have helped earlier if the actions are shown such as doing something to a company or whatnot. The Wall Street stuff and whatnot was pretty confusing for someone who is not familiar with it at all.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Planned Books

Books I'm reading now:
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
1. The Jewel of St. Petersburg 16/245
Earthsong Trilogy- Mary Mackey
2. The Horses at the Gate 221/408
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
1. The Golden Days 229/525
D'Artagnan Romances-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise de la Valliere 241/671
The Tigress Sextet-Jade Lee 
6. Tempted Tigress 21/346
 The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tan 30/399
The North China Lover-Marguerite Duras 13/231
Tell me you secrets...-Cara Summers 200/245
The First Wives Club-Olivia Goldsmith 426/513
Books that are waiting for reviews:
The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe
The Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
1. The Year the horses came
The Fear Street Saga-R.L Stine
1. The Betrayal
2. The Secret
3. The Burning
The Chosen-Chaim Potok
The Promise-Chaim Potok
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
The Secret Life of the Bees-Sue Monk Kidd
The Kitchen God's Wife-Amy Tan
Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein
Gone with the Wind-Margaret Mitchell
Future Books:
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
2. The Russian Concubine
3. The Girl from Junchow
Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
3. The Fires of Spring
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer Wakes
D'Artagnan Romances-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise de la Valliere Unpublished Information (More on that later)
5. The Man in the iron mask

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Planned Books

Books I'm reading now:
Tell me your secrets...-Cara Summers 90/245
2. The Horses at the gate-Mary Mackey 116/408
1. The Golden Days- Xueqin Cao167/525
The First Wives' Club-Olivia Goldsmith 359/513
4.Louise de la Valliere-Alexandre Dumas 202/671
Books that are waiting for reviews:
The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe
The Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
1. The Year the horses came
The Fear Street Saga-R.L Stine
1. The Betrayal
2. The Secret
3. The Burning
The Chosen-Chaim Potok
The Promise-Chaim Potok
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
The Secret Life of the Bees-Sue Monk Kidd
The Kitchen God's Wife-Amy Tan
Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein
Gone with the Wind-Margaret Mitchell
Future Books:
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
1. The Jewel of St. Petersburg
2. The Russian Concubine
3. The Girl from Junchow
Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
3. The Fires of Spring
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer Wakes
D'Artagnan Romances-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise de la Valliere Unpublished Information (More on that later)
5. The Man in the iron mask
The North China Lover-Marguerite Duras
The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tan

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Planned Books

Not that anyone cares or reads, but due to school taking up my time, I am unable to write or post reviews at this time.

Books I'm reading now:
The First Wives' Club-Olivia Goldsmith 338/513
Louise de la Valliere- Alexandre Dumas 189/671
The Mysteries of Udolpho- Ann Radcliffe 591/620
The Golden Days- Xueqin Cao149/525
Books that are waiting reviews:
The Kitchen God's Wife-Amy Tan
The Chosen- Chaim Potok
The Promise-Chaim Potok
The Fear Street Saga-R.L Stine
1. The Betrayal
2. The Secret
3. The Burning
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
The Secret Life of the Bees-Sue Monk Kidd
Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein
Gone With the Wind-Margaret Mitchell
Future Books:
Earthsong Trilogy-Mary Mackey
1. The year the horses came
2. The Horses at the gate
3. The Fires of Spring
Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer wakes
The man in the iron mask-Alexandre Dumas
The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tan
The North China Lover-Marguerite Duras
Tell Me Your Secrets-Cara Summers

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Planned Books

Books I'm reading: 
The Kitchen God's Wife-Amy Tan 399/532
The Mysteries of Udolpho- Anne Radcliffe 528/620
Louise de laValliere- Alexandre Dumas 140/671
The Chosen- Chaim Potok 255/291
The First Wives' Club- Olivia Goldsmith 273/513
Story of the Stone Vol 1. The Happy Golden Days-Xueqin Cao 66/525
Books/Sagas I decided to drop
Fear Street Saga Books 1-16 by R.L Stine
1. A New Fear
2. House of Whispers
3. Forbidden Secrets
4. The Sign of Fear
5. The Hidden Evil
6. Daughters of Silence
7. Children of Fear
8. Dance of Death
9. Heart of the hunter
10. The Awakening Evil
11. Circle of Fire
12. Chamber of Fear
13. Faces of Terror
14. One Last Kiss
15. Door of Death
16. The Hand of Power
Books that are waiting for reviews
The Fear Street Saga
1. The Betrayal
2. The Secret
3. The Burning
The Promise-Chaim Potok
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
The Secret Life of the bees-Sue Monk Kidd
Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein
Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell
Future Books
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab-Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer Wakes
The Man in the iron mask-Alexandre Dumas
The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tam
The North China Lover-Marguerite Duras

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Planned books

How far I am along:
Books I'm reading:
The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe 473/620
The secret life of bees-Sue Monk Kidd 189/302
The chosen-Chaim Potok 149/291
The kitchen god's wife-Amy Tan 237/532
Louise de la Valliere- Alexandre Dumas 85/671
The First wives club-Olivia Goldsmith 196/513

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Planned Books

Books that are awaiting reviews:
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell
Coyote Dreams-Jessica Davis Stein
The Promise-Chaim Potok
Books that I'm reading:
The First Wives Club-Olivia Goldsmith
Louise de la Valliere-Alexandre Dumas
THe Kitchen God's wife-Amy Tan
THe Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe
The Chosen-Chaim Potok
THe Secret life of bees-Sue Monk Kidd
Books I'm planning to read:
The eternal enemy-Christopher Pike
The hundred secret senses-Amy Tan
D'Artagnan Romances- Alexandre Dumas
5. The Man in the iron mask
The north china lover-Marguerite Duras
The story of the stone-Xueqin Cao
1. The golden days
2. The crab-flower club
3. The warning voice
4. The debt of tears
5. The dreamer wakes
R.L Stine:
Cheerleaders Trilogy
1. The First evil
2. The second evil
3. The third evil
Silent Night Trilogy
1. Silent Night 1
2. Silent Night 2
3. Silent Night 3
99 Fear Street: The house of evil
1. The First horror
2. The second horror
3. The third horror
The Cataluna Chronicles
1. The evil moon
2. The dark secret
3. The deadly fire
The Fear Street Saga
1. The betrayal
2. The Secret
3. The burning
Fear Street Sagas
1. A New Fear
2. House of Whispers
3. Forbidden Secrets
4. The Sign of Fear
5. The Hidden Evil
6. Daughters of Silence
7. Children of Fear
8. Dance of Death-Read that
9. Heart of the Hunter
10. The Awakening Evil
11. Circle of Fire
12. Chamber of Fear
13. Faces of Terror
14. One Last Kiss
15. Door of Death
16. The Hand of Power

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review of Whisper of Death by Christopher Pike

Name of book: Whisper of Death

Author Name: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-69058-2

Publisher: Archway Paperback, Simon and Schuster

Type of book: Young adult, horror, contemporary, science fiction

Year it was published: December 1991


Summary: 

Roxanne and Pepper are a teenager couple with problems. They leave their small town for a weekend to try and solver them. They don’t really succeed, and when they return home they find their town empty.
They call other towns.
They find the whole world empty.
But eventually they discover three other kids their age who are still alive in the town. They cannot imagine why the five of them seem to be the only ones left of the entire human race. They have only one thing in common. They were each directly or indirectly involved in the death of Betty Sue-the plain, shy girl who committed suicide only a short time ago. Betty Sue-the quiet, brilliant girl who wrote short stories about each of them. Stories of hate, of revenge, of death in a dead world.
It makes them wonder who Betty Sue really was.
Or what Betty Sue was."  

Characters:  This is written in first person and it's from Roxanne Wells' perspective. Roxanne's manner and speech struck me as a bit ignorant and humane. That is she tends to speak like others speak. She is reminiscent of someone who knows herself well. Roxanne and Pepper live in a poor town and both don't have plans or know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. The characters, although slightly round and could easily be related to, seemed to lack the necessary change as the novel progressed. Despite the feeling, the characters are unique and highly enjoyable. 

Theme: Why did Christopher make a choice to write this novel? This will take a lot of deep thought to talk about. I think the theme is best expressed as Betty Sue's question towards the end of the novel. "'What would this world be if one child who was born had never been born? Would it be the same world?'...'That is the mystery. It would not be the same at all. It would be nothing.'" (164) The symbolism can also be used in this way; the deaths can be seen as failed abortions or miscarriages, the emptiness of the world can be seen as 'what if everyone, not just Roxanne, had abortions?' and I often now link the climate of the desert to the idea of a womb that kills instead of nourishes. 

Plot: The plot is very interesting and has a lot of twists that a reader will not expect. I would say that the plot is the main strength of the novel. The idea itself is very unusual; Roxanne and Pepper decide to abort a child, and then change their minds. So when they come back, they realize that the whole world is empty except them and few other teens. One by one everyone dies. The reader is instantly introduced to the characters and the "apparent" conflict. The climax of the novel is unexpected and so is the ending. The ending itself desires a sequel, although I will argue that the sequel will spoil the first novel. 

Author Information:  Christopher Pike wrote 30+ novels mainly for young adults, the most famous or well known one is The Last Vampire Saga, Final Friends and Remember Me, and his real name is Kevin McFadden. One of his books, Fall Into Darkness was created into a movie. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a website, but there is a fan club that is devoted to him. (http://www.christopherpikefanclub.com/ ) 


Opinion: This is the second Christopher Pike novel I have touched many years ago. This is actually one of my favorites, perhaps due to unusual plot or the suspense in it. I used to always imagine that it took place in 1950s (don't know why,) and one thing that I always thought about was this sentence: "'We are born dead,' she says. 'It is just a matter of time before we realize it.' She touches her belly. 'The rare one realizes it even before emerging from the womb.'" (162). Whenever I read this novel as well, I felt that I was a teenager again in middle school, sitting in the class, liking a boy from afar while in front of me sat his ex girlfriend, (for some reason she always reminded me of Betty Sue, maybe its because of red hair or the fact she also always wrote in front of me and carried a binder,). The novel itself is a puzzle that I can't understand no matter how many times I read it. 

5 out of 5 
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Planned Books

Books that are awaiting Reviews:
Gone with the Wind-Margaret Mitchell
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
The Promise-Chaim Potok
Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein
Books that I decided to drop:
Red and Black-Stendhal
Books that I'm reading:
The Secret life of the bees-Sue Monk Kidd
First Wives Club-Olivia Goldsmith
Louise de la Valliere- Alexandre Dumas
Mysteries of Udolpho- Anne Radcliffe
The Kitchen God's wife- Amy Tan
The Chosen- Chaim Potok
Books that I'm planning on reading:
D'Artagnan Romaces- Alexandre Dumas
5. The man in the iron mask
Dream of the Red Chamber-Xueqin Cao
1. The Golden Days
2. The Crab-flower club
3. The warning voice
4. The debt of tears
5. The dreamer wakes
The chosen-Chaim Potok
R.L. Stine Fear Street Saga and The Fear Street Saga
The Hundred Secret Senses- Amy Tan

Book Review of The Foreign Student by Susan Choi

A Diamond in the Rough
Name of Book: The Foreign Student

Author Name: Susan Choi

ISBN: 0-06-092927-8

Type of Book: Adult, historical, 1940s?-1956, South, South Korea, Korean War, interracial relationship white female/asian male

Year it was published in: 1999


Summary:


Highly acclaimed by critics, The Foreign Student is the story of a young Korean man, scarred by war, and the deeply troubled daughter of a wealthy Southern American family. In 1955, a new student arrives at a small college in the Tennessee mountains. Chuck is shy, speaks English haltingly, and on the subject of his earlier life in Korea he will not speak at all. Then he meets Katherine, a beautiful and solitary young woman who, like Chuck, is haunted by some dark episode in her past. Without quite knowing why, these two outsiders are drawn together, each sensing in the other the possibility of salvation. Moving between the American South and South Korea, between an adolescent girl's sexual awakening and a young man’s nightmarish memories of war, The Foreign Student is a powerful and emotionally gripping work of fiction. 

Characters: There are two main characters in the story; Chang Ahn (Chuck) and Katherine Monroe, who are both well rounded characters and have a lot of dimension in them. One can literally see their thoughts about problems, and walk inside the characters. Although the author attempts to show why Katherine and Chang are the way they are, I have a hard time figuring it out, despite reading the novel four times. It takes great work to read this story, and even then, in the end, you realize you didn't understand it. With that said, let's attempt to describe Katherine's and Chang's personalities. Katherine is best described as a lonely woman who sees herself as having only one purpose, and in beginning of the story she is shown as the idler who does odds and ends for the town of Sewanee. In her childhood she was fearless and often thoughtless, but her personality changed and she struck me as the type who cares very little in her adulthood and just lives day by day. Chang can best be described as more of a follower than a leader, often letting outside forces sweep him away from life and from himself. He is also a repressed character and like Katherine also lives day by day.Numerous times Chang makes attempts to become a leader but never quite can. What is most remarkable is the roles they tend to switch in the end; Chang becoming a leader and finally doing something instead of being passive, while Katherine decides to become a follower and lets the forces sweep her away. 

Theme: I tend to agree with the author's message about how people have to struggle with allowing the events to take hold of them so they are no longer themselves, and how passivity tends to be more negative than positive. I also agree with the message taht before one can find happiness then one needs to take care of the wounds. 

Plot: With this novel I often have difficulty saying what is the story about. Simply told, this story has three plotlines; Chang's life during Korean War, Katherine's life when she became an adolescent, and the years 1955-1956 when the two met. Introduction isn't immediate, that is, Katherine's and Chang's lives are told throughout the novel instead of right at the start, so in beginning, when Chang is escaping, nothing is really certain about Chang. Katherine, on the other hand, gets an introduction right away. Possibly the conflict was with themselves so to speak. Is it possible to move past their pasts and reach out for happiness? Do events define us or do we decide how events define us? The climax of the novel is unexpected, and so is the resolution. (At first I thought it happened one way, then I realized that I was wrong, that it happened another way.)

Author Information: Susan Choi was born in Indiana and grew up in Texas. She lives in New York City. The novel is based from an interview with her father and grew from an incident. She is also married and has two sons. 



Opinion: Unfortunately I forgot how I have heard of this book, possibly few months prior to March. I read about it and when half price books had a fifty percent sale I took a risk and got it. The first time I read it was confusing, not only because of the vocabulary either. The style was complex, the story was as well. But I still fell in love with the novel and have read it three or four times. Subsequent times became less confusing, although it takes a lot to visualize and to understand it. Personally speaking, I'd like to see a sequel to this novel so I could see if the happiness might be within their reach. 

5 out 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

 Chinese Fairytale Gone wrong
Name of book: The Joy Luck Club

Author Name: Amy Tan

ISBN: 0-8041-0630-4

Publisher: Ballantine Books New York

Type of book: Originally an adult novel, now young adult-adult, fantasy china, historical, contemporary

Year it was published: October 1989


Summary: 

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

Characters: The characters are all one dimensional and although Tan tries to make them distinguishable from one another, she fails miserably at that. (The reason I wrote down the chapters and stuff that's discussed in them.) If one is to ask me to differentiate between them, I couldn't. I don't know which one of the girls has a daughter, or which one has the 'equal' husband, or which mother got married when she was a child to an impotent guy. The problems seemed to be the same for all characters. The daughters all have husband problems, or rather guy troubles, and the mothers mourned the loss of culture or how they are unable to reach their daughters. Basically, despite the seven person narrative, only two voices are alive; the mother and the daughter. What was the point of even creating seven narratives? Wouldn't two suffice? Also, the daughters are all married to white men, and with one exception are all childless and have good jobs. (Wow, very distinguishable isn't it?) The mothers bear the stereotype of a "China doll" (The Asian women are submissive docile creatures who need help from the West.) The Chinese men that are given a lot of space in the book are portrayed negatively, while American men have more of a positive portrayal. 

Theme: I think that the overall theme that was meant to be portrayed in this novel is losing the culture and how if you are born something then it never escapes you no matter what. While I agree with that from personal experience, I don't like the path it took to accomplish this painstakingly and wish the characters could have felt more realistic. The whole novel was reminiscent of a stereotypical movie of China and its people, one of the old martial arts movies in my opinion. 

Plot: The plot is literally messed up. The chapters or vignettes as they are called are out of order. (First section are the mothers, second are the daughters, third are the daughters, fourth are the mothers,) and if that's not bad enough, the plot constantly jumps around and one has a hard time figuring out the order. (In order to get who's who in the book, I had to write down the mother's/daughter's name and their stories which didn't help me out at all.) 

Author Information:  She was born in Oakland California in 1952, lived in Switzerland, returned to America and married a lawyer. There is a claim that I found that she used to go to a psychiatrist who several times fell asleep while listening to her, so she wrote a novel dealing with mother-daughter relationships. Her first novel is called The Joy luck club. Her other novels were titled Hundred Secret Senses, The Kitchen God's wife, Bonesetter's Daughter, and Saving Fish From Drowning. She is married to an American by the name of Louis DeMattei who was a lawyer. 



Opinion: I've heard of Amy Tan briefly as a teenager, and always wanted to read her books. (She was and still possibly is kind of popular.) I came to read her novel when my ex boyfriend was taking an honor's English class and they were reading her. I think he might have let me borrow the book, I'm not sure, but I read her at last. At first I liked the novel to be honest, because she was writing about the first generational women and their Americanized daughters. (Similar to me and my family, I'm 1.5 Generation while my parents are First generation.) So I could relate to the conflict and whatnot. Later on, when I read it a few more times, I felt and still feel angry at her portrayal of Asian men. (Just because the women in her stories married 'good' Asian men, they didn't play a visible part as the 'bad' Asian men, so of course if the part isn't very visible or noticeable, then people are more likely to remember the bad rather than the good.) My subsequent readings of The Joy Luck were boring. The book itself became boring and the character voices aren't distinguishable from one another. (The Mothers all sounded like, teh daughters as well.) The characters were all cut from cardboard and there was no depth or motives to them. (For example, why is Waverly so snooty?) My opinion? Read it when you have to, but please stay away from it. 

0 out of 5 
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Planned Books

Books that are awaiting reviews:
The Joy luck club-Amy Tan
Whisper of Death-Christopher Pike
Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell
Foreign Student-Susan Choi
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
Coyote Dreams-Jessica Davis Stein
The Promise-Chaim Potok
Books I decided to drop
Savage Conquest-Janelle Taylor
Books I'm reading now:
Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe
Red and Black-Stendhal
The First Wives' Club-Olivia Goldsmith
Books I will be reading eventually:
The Dream of the Red Chamber-Xueqin Cao
1. The Golden Dreams
2. The Crab Flower Club
3. The Warning Voice
4. The Debt of Tears
5. The Dreamer Wakes
D'Artagnan Saga-Alexandre Dumas
4. Louise De la Valliere
5. The Man in the iron mask
The Kitchen God's wife-Amy Tan
The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tan
The Chosen-Chaim Potok

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Planned Books

Books that are awaiting reviews:
Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell
The Foreign Student-Susan Choi
Whisper of Death-Christopher Pike
'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin
Coyote Dreams-Jessica Davis Stein
The Joy luck club-Amy Tan
Books I'm reading now:
Red and Black-Stendhal
Savage conquest-Janelle Taylor
The First Wives club-Olivia Goldsmith
The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe
Books I will be reading: (Not all at once)
Dream of the red chamber Quintet-Xueqin Cao
Louise de la valliere- Alexandre Dumas
The man in the iron mask- Alexandre Dumas
Kitchen God's wife- Amy Tan
Hundred secret senses- Amy Tan

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Planned Books

Books that need to be reviewed:

Whisper of Death-Christopher Pike

'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin

The Joy luck club-Amy Tam

The Promise-Chaim Potok

Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein

The Foreign Student-Susan Choi

Books that I'm reading:

Savage Conquest-Janelle Taylor

Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell

Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe 

First Wives Club-Olivia Goldsmith

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Planned Books

Books that need to be reviewed:

The Promise-Chaim Potok

Coyote Dreams-Jessica Davis Stein

The Foreign Student-Susan Choi

'Till Morning Comes-Han Suyin

Books I will read or am reading:

The Joy Luck Club-Amy Tan

The Fellowship of the ring-J.R.R Tolkien

Gone with the wind-Margaret Mitchell

The First wives club-Olivia Goldsmith

The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe

Savage Conquest-Janelle Taylor

Whisper of Death-Christopher Pike

The Joy Luck Club Help Guide

Characters


Warning: Spoilers alert. 


Daughters:


Jing-mei "June" Woo: daughter of Suyuan Woo


The Twenty Six Malignant Gates


8. Two Kinds


June begins to describe how America presented unlimited opportunities for her mother. Her mother desired for her to become a prodigy and both attempted through various methods to choose one for her. At first June was eager for the idea, but then she hated it and attempted to resist it. Finally the mother forced her to learn piano. June does everything she can to ruin it by not practicing properly. At the talent show she cared more for her appearance than skill and embarrassed herself and the mother by playing badly. Years passed and the mother gave the piano as a present for June and June briefly mentions how in other ways she has disappointed her mother. June decides to retune the piano and finds a song that she played at the recital, 'pleading child' and then discovers another one called 'perfectly contented' and she called both of them the same halves of one song. 


American Translation


12. Best Quality


June begins the chapter by saying the pendant that her mother gave her and how at first it had no meaning for her, but then later on became important and how she notices other people wearing similar pendants as well and seem to belong to a secret covenant of sorts and that no one knows the meaning of the pendants. Then she moves back to the year before her mother's death when they went shopping for crabs and the dead crab that they bought, and the tenants that accused her mother of eating a cat they owned. The scene then moves on the celebration and how Waverly's family came over and the fact that others chose the best or second best crabs for themselves and June almost ends up with the worst crab. She and Waverly exchange various barbs with one another. Then her mother gives June the pendant and the scene moves to present day and finally concludes where June makes a dish for her father and sees the cat that was accused of being eaten by her mother. 


Rose Hsu Jordan: Daughter of An-Mei Hsu


The Twenty Six Malignant Gates


7. Half and half


Rose discusses how she feels that her mother will want her to fight for the marriage that is falling apart and then launches into how she met her husband Ted and the "tragedy" that bound them together, how she doesn't make decisions for herself, and then launches into the childhood memory of the time the family went to the beach and she lost her youngest brother Bing to the sea, how Bing never returned despite the mother's attempts to get him back. The mother that used to be faithful and believed in faith, after the loss of her son wasn't so faithful as before and is now using the bible to prop up the table leg. She ends the chapter of saying how she knew things and seen signs yet at the same time she allowed for it to happen. 


American Translation


11. Without Wood


Rose begins the chapter with the discussion of the old "Mr. Chou" who haunted her dreams as a child and how her mother told her about words having power, and the nightmares she had as a child. Then the story moves on to the time she met her mother at a funeral of a friend and mentions the check and the papers that her husband Ted sent over to her. Her mother told her that Ted is cheating on her. Rose doesn't think so and disagrees. She then moves forward to when she talks to her therapist and others about her problem. She stays inside the house until her mother attempts to reach her unsuccessfully at first, and then Ted who admits to cheating on her. She invites Ted over and shows him the messy garden and tells him that she is staying in the house. After standing up for herself she ends the story by finally having a good dream about Mr. Chou and the garden spilling everywhere. 


Waverly Jong: Daughter of Lindo Jong


The Twenty Six Malignant Gates


5. Rules of the Game


Waverly begins by saying that her mother taught her strength of silence, then proceeds to get into the discussion of how this helped her out and how she began to play the chess games. There is also a description of a Chinatown street where she lived and various things that were there. Her brothers got the chess as a christmas present and she learned how to play. She read the chess books in the library and did whatever she could to absorb and allow for the chess game to become part of her. She participated in and won many tournaments. One day however she got fed up with her mother constantly showing her off and told her as much. Then the chapter ends with her imagining that she and her mother are playing chess and that her mother wins. 


American Translation


10. Four Directions


Waverly's mother seems to be in ignorance that Waverly will be marrying Rich, a Caucasian American male, despite Waverly showing the things around her house, then Waverly recounts what happened after she stopped playing chess, how her mother played tricks on her and she no longer was a child prodigy as she used to be. Later on she recounts the story of her first marriage to Marvin Chen and how they ultimately split up because of her mother's constant criticizing and then how she got Shoshana and didn't want her at first. The chapter begins to die away with the description of dinner that didn't go well at all and that ultimately Waverly's mother accepts her new relationship and that Waverly and Rich will be off to China for their honeymoon, the mother will travel back to China afterwards, not with them though. It also ends in understanding between mother and daughter. 


Lena St. Clair: Daughter of Ying-ying St. Clair


The Twenty Six Malignant Gates


6. The Voice from the wall


Lena begins the chapter by discussing the 'thousand cuts' story that her ancestor sentenced a man to go through and begins to describe what it is like to live with her mother, how her mother is a psychic of sorts. Her mother married an English-Irishman and went through a still-birth. Then afterwards a strange family, the Scorcis begin constantly arguing and Lena always imagines the mother cutting up her daughter little by little. The still birth incident changed them all, especially Ying-ying and their sufferings were silent. The chapter ends with her meeting the girl she constantly imagines as dead and the girl returning back to her mother, except this time she imagines that it ends differently, by saying that once the worst is over, then there is nothing to be afraid of. 


American Translation


9. Rice Husband


Lena begins by saying that her mother can foresee events in her family's life and then move to the "present" day of the place she and her husband Harold found a new place and invited Ying-Ying to it. Harold and Lena don't have a positive relationship and then Lena mentions that her mother once predicted that she would marry a bad man. Because Lena refused to finish rice bowls, her mother told her she'd marry a bad man. Lena then develops anorexia sort of and thinks because she didn't eat rice she "killed" a boy who teased her mercilessly in high school. Then she mentions how she and Harold work at the same firm, how they met and how she was instrumental in helping him get started in his own business, and the equality, that everything is split in half, although that part made no sense to me. Lena and Harold, after dinner, get into the fight and the story ends with a noise and Lena running to her mother's room to find out that the vase had fallen and a question asked about why Lena is being passive. 


Mothers:


Suyuan Woo: Mother of Jing-mei "June" Woo (Dead at the start of the story, June Woo narrates for her mother.)


Feathers from a thousand Li away


1. The Joy Luck Club


The friends invited June Woo to play with her and she reminisces about her mother, in particular how her mother is very critical of her and how she told other women that she will go back to college. There she also reminisces about the story that her mother told about creating the Joy Luck club while living in Kweilin with other women, how she escaped from Kweilin and was forced to abandon her twin daughters and other obstacles. At the end of the chapter, it is revealed that the mother discovers where her daughters live and the aunties give the money to June to visit China and her sisters. There is also discussion of how the Chinese-American daughters have no appreciation for the Chinese culture. 


Queen Mother of the western skies


16. A pair of tickets


June describes the trip and the plan at the beginning of the chapter, as well as mentioning how she asked Lindo to write a letter that her mother was dead. (Lindo wrote at first a letter pretending that the mother was alive.) She then moves onto tangents of a conversation, how the mother knows that everyone is gone. Her father reunites with his aunt and the family travels to a hotel which looks like a rich resort rather than a cheap sensible one. She then takes a shower, thinks some more, and the story moves a little to the future. She learns a little more history about how her mother left twin daughters behind, as well as the meanings behind the given names. "Spring rain and spring flower." She also learns the meaning of her mother's name. "Long cherished wish," her own name means "good leftover sister." She also learns why her mother abandoned the daughters, as well as how she met June's father. She also learns how the sisters were found as well as the family that finds them and how they were discovered by somebody. The chapters ends with the sisters meeting one another at last, and how they watch the photo develop.

 

An-Mei Hsu: Mother of Rose Hsu Jordan


Feathers from a Thousand Li away


2. Scar


An-Mei and her younger brother live with their grandmother whom they call Popo and An-Mei remembers that she was ordered to think of her own mother as a ghost. Popo also tells her stories that at first made no sense to An-Mei, but afterwards finds meaning for them, and she also found out that her mother married somebody while widowed and became a third concubine to a man. Later on Popo gets sick and An-Mei's mother returns. An-Mei then remembers the time her mother is chased out of the house by her family and a soup is spilled all over her body and she nearly dies. This chapter finishes up on An-Mei spying as her mother makes a soup with herbs and whatnot, and then cuts up her arm and puts the flesh from her arm into the pot and attempted to save Popo in that way. The remedy is unsuccessful and in the end Popo dies.  


Queen mother of the western skies


13. Magpies


The chapter begins a little prior to Popo's death where the daughter and mother have their first meeting with one another and the mother tells her daughter about how she must not cry, for other people will feed off her sorrows. She gives the lesson through the use of a wise turtle and the magpie eggs that fall from its mouth. An-mei makes a choice to follow her mother and is warned that she can't lift her head again. She is able to. Her mother changes in front of her eyes and she is told that she will live with a new father and lots of new sisters. The family is out, but then returns and the husband gained a new wife. A wife gives An-Mei necklace and the mother proves that the jewelry is not real by crushing it. An-mei then learns of the family's history and how her mother got involved in it by being forced to get married because of the man raping her and learns that the "brother" is actually her half brother instead of by law. Her mother kills herself few days before lunar new years and concludes the chapter by saying that psychiatrist just wants you dream and not to wake up. 


Lindo Jong: Mother of Waverly Jong


Feathers from a thousand Li away 


3. Red Candle


Lindo starts the chapter with the discussion of how promises are meaningless to her Americanized Chinese-American daughter by discussing a movie she had seen, and then moves on to talking about how, when she was two years old, a matchmaker came over to her village and matched her with Tyan-yu. There is a description of the house that the family lived in, and how eventually flood damaged it and at twelve years old Lindo moves in to her husband's house. Lindo is ordered to be a good wife and obey her husband's family. She claims to almost lose her identity to the family's thinking. At sixteen she officially marries Tyan-yu and the marriage turns out to be a waste. The matchmaker lights a red candle and during the night it goes out while it is raining. The candle still turns to ash. After the marriage, Tyan-yu makes his wife sleep on the sofa and is afraid of having sex with her. Her mother in law, desiring a grandson confined her to bed and she meets a woman she likes who is having a baby out of wedlock and creates a plan that allows the girl to become Tyan-yu's wife. In the end, Lindo ends up in America and to remind her of her worth, which is twenty-four carats, every few years she buys bracelets. 


Queen Mother of Western Skies


15. Double Face


Lindo starts this chapter by discussing how American circumstances and Chinese character do not mix by using an example of her own daughter who wants to be Native Chinese instead of American. The scene changes and she is at a hair stylist's and goes back in past to when her mother compliments her appearance and how much she liked it, then moves on to the time she moved to America and was trained at how to hide herself, that she must seek an American citizen (Not Caucasian but Chinese who is citizen,) or if that fails, then she must have a baby although she must lie to the authorities. Apparently Waverly tends to exaggerate or not tell the truth about circumstances, such as fortune cookie or else her mother arriving differently than what Waverly says what happens. With some success Lindo arrives to America, finds an apartment and a fortune cookie job and there she meets An-Mei Hsu. An-Mei tells her that people think fortune cookies are of Chinese influence which isn't true, including the sayings. (To be honest, I read that fortune cookies are of Japanese origin, not Chinese origin.) She then describes the courtship she had with Tin Jong who is Waverly's father and how she chose an appropriate fortune cookie to ask him to marry her. She mentions why she named her children the way she did, and knows that Waverly would leave her soon. She leaves the chapter with thinking of asking her daughter what was lost and finally found. 


Ying-ying St. CLair: Mother of Lena St. Clair


Feathers from a thousand Li away


4. The Moon Lady


Ying-Ying St. Clair begins the chapter with a lesson on how she is taught to be silent and never express her inner desires, then proceeds to discuss a special event, the time she told the moon lady her wish is finally revealed. She and her family, during the Moon Festival, rented a boat and went swimming. She recounts various things she sees while on a journey, how she ruined her clothes, and falls overboard. She gets picked up by a boat and is left at a dock for her family to find her. While waiting the moon lady comes onstage and recounts the tale of how she and her husband are separated for an eternity. Someone also asks for a monetary donation, and although she doesn't have anything, Ying-ying makes a wish, and just as she does, it is revealed that the moon lady is in fact a man. Her family does find her in the end, and she remembers her wish, which is that she wishes to be found. 


Queen Mother of the Western Skies


14. Waiting between the trees


She tells the story of how she gained her gift of foresight, of the time she was at an aunt's wedding and eventually marries the "evil" man six months after the wedding, and she also describes how vain and thoughtless she always was. Lena isn't aware of the previous marriage. She again knows when she becomes pregnant with his son, although she is unaware that her husband was cheating on her until it becomes too late. Eventually her husband abandons her and later on she learns of  his cheating and that he lives with an opera singer. She has an abortion of the baby. (The term that was used was taking out.) Then Ying-Ying moves on to describing that she was born in year of the tiger and how it has two stripes. Afterwards she moves back to the real narrative where she went to the city, worked for a store and met Lena's father Clifford St. Clair who bought her presents and in 1946 when she learns of her husband's death, she marries Clifford St. Clair and moves to America and admits that while he lived she does not feel anything for him, but as soon as he dies they are equals. She then decides to tell her daughter everything and throws a vase that crashes on the floor. 

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