Showing posts from August, 2011

Book Review of Family Album by Danielle Steel

Name of book: Family Album

Author Name: Danielle Steel

ISBN:  0-440-23686-X

Publisher:  Dell

Type of book: Adult, family saga, 1940s-1980s?

Year it was published: 1985


Through forty years—from Hollywood's golden days in World War II to the present—Faye Price would create first a career as a legendary actress, then a family, and finally she would realize her dream of becoming one of Hollywood's first woman directors. But nothing was more precious to Faye than her five children. In a changing world, a milieu where family values are constantly challenged from without and within, the Thayers would face the greatest challenges and harshest test a family can endure, to emerge stronger, bound forever by loyalty and love. It is only when Faye is gone that they can each assess how far they have come, and how important their family album is.


For the most part characters are not very consistent, and she only gives surface to them. Everything else about them is constant rep…

Book Review of #1 O Pioneers by Willa Cather

Name of book: O Pioneers

Author Name: Willa Cather

ISBN: 0-486-27785-2

Publisher:  Dover Thrift

Type of book:  Young adult to adult, Prairie, Nebraska, immigrants, old way of life, new way of life, 1880s?-1900s?

Year it was published: 1913 (version I have 1993)


Set on the Nebraska prairie where Willa Cather (1873-1947) grew up, this powerful early novel tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and of the lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra's long fight to survive and succeed, O Pionners! relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier. Evoking the harsh grandeur of the prairie, this landmark of American fiction unfurls a saga of love, greed, murder, failed dreams and hard-won triump. In the fateful interaction of her characters, Willa Cather compares with keen insight the experiences of Swedish, French and Bohemian immigrants in the United states. And in her absorbing narrative, she di…

Book review of #3 My Antonia by Willa Cather

Name of book: My Antonia

Author Name: Willa Cather

ISBN: 0-553-21418-7

Publisher: Bantam classic

Type of book: Young adult-adult, prairie, immigrants, Nebraska, late 1800s-early 1900s

Year it was published: 1918 (version I have 1994)


Antonia Shimerda returns to Black Hawk, Nebraska, to make a fresh start after eloping with a railway conductor following the tragic death of her father. Accustomed to living in a sod house and toiling alongside the men in the fields, she is unprepared for the lecherous reaction her lush sensuality provokes when she moves to the city. Despite betrayal and crushing opposition, Antonia steadfastly pursues her quest for happiness-a moving struggle that mirrors the quiet drama of the American landscape.


Some characters always described Antonia as special and whatnot, but maybe its me, but I didn't understand how and why she was special. The characters are all interesting, although the author chose to get rid of some interesting characters, (t…

Book Review of Cowboys are my Weakness by Pam Houston

Name of book: Cowboys are my weakness

Author Name:  Pam Houston

ISBN: 0-393-03077-6

Publisher: Norton

Type of book:  Adult, nature, cowboys, western, self discovery, 1990s

Year it was published: 1992


"I've always had this thing about cowboys, maybe because I was born in New Jersey," says the narrator of the title story in this marvelous new collection. Set in the West, and sometimes in Alaska, these twelve tales are about women who are smart and susceptible to love, and men who are wild nad hard to pin down. Our heroines are part daredevil, part philosopher, all acute observers of the nuances of modern romance. They go where their cowboys go, riding rapids and hunting Dall sheep, dancing the two-step at the Stockgrowers' Ball. They meet cowboys who don't look the part-even Zen cowboys who image nuclear war away-and they have staunch friends who give them advice when the going gets rough. These are strong, shrewd, and very funny stories that first get your hear…

Reading History Part IX: How Not to Write Using Anne Rice's books

First of let me say that Anne Rice has potential to be a talented writer with her research, her lush descriptions of and about life, as well as interesting and fascinating characters, as well as eroticism. (When I read her stories not once have I felt horror, but instead the stories struck me as extremely erotic.) I haven't read her books in a very long time. (I only read six perhaps, four vampire stories and two witch stories.) If you ask me what stands out about her novels, I would say the same background of the main character, or characters, the religiosity of Catholicism, and that some of her male characters are possibly closeted (what's the PC term for homosexuals?) I read these books ten years ago, a teenager in middle school and I was trying to read The Witching Hour, before I realized that I could not get through it. While reflecting on what was wrong with the novel, I realized it could provide a number of things not to do when writing a story. Let's begin.

Anne Ri…

Planned Books

Books I'm Reading:

By Invitation Only-Lori Wilde, Wendy Etherington, Jillian Burns 40/218

My Antonia-Willa Cather 183/289
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather 99/122
The Moonstone-Wilkie Collins 140/434
Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoevsky 281/522
Just Surrender...-Kathleen O'Reilly 67/218
The Tale of Genji-Murasaki Shikibu 215/1090
Tailspin-Cara Summers 72/216
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab-Flower Club 213/582
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
2. The Russian Concubine- 239/517
The Elven Nations Trilogy-Douglas Niles, Tonya Carter, Paul Thompson
2. The Kinslayer Wars 60/314

Books that are waiting for reviews:
Cowboys are my weakness-Pam Houston

Future Books:
Caddie Woodlawn- Carol Ryrie Brink
To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee
The Monk- Matthew Lewis
Once upon a river of love- Andrei Makine
A Sicilian romance-Ann Radcliffe
The Italian-Ann Radcliffe
Family Album-Danielle Steel
Fine Things-Danielle Steel
Kaleidoscope-Danielle Steel
Come toy with me-Cara Summers
The Story of the S…

Book Review of Camille, the lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils

Name of book: Camille The lady of the Camellias

Author Name: Alexandre Dumas Fils (The son not the father. In other words, THIS IS NOT THE AUTHOR WHO WROTE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO OR THE THREE MUSKETEERS!)

ISBN: 0-451-52398-9

Publisher: Signet

Type of book: Adult, France, "Kept women" 1800s, prostitutes, consumption

Year it was published: 1848 (one I have 1984)


She was Marguerite Gautier, beautiful, brazen and a courtesan of Paris. He was Armand Duval, handsome, prominent, and hopelessly headstrong. Their love was a sensation, a scandal, and to some, a sin. Their story is as old as time, and timeless as love itself.


I'm pretty sure that whoever read this book would have wanted to know more about Marguerite's character rather than what was given, (which was my feeling.) Although Dumas fils attempts to create three dimensional characters, they do not grab me unfortunately and they aren't read like that. Yes, the characters exhibit changes and whatnot, b…

Book Review of #1 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Name of book: Little House in the Big Woods

Author Name: Laura Ingalls Wilder

ISBN: 0-06-44001-8

Publisher: Harper Trophy

Part of Series: Little House series (9 original books)

Type of book:  woods,1872?-1873? semi-autobiographical, memoir

Year it was published: 1932 (version I have 1971?)


 Deep in the woods of Wisconsin...Wolves and panthers and bears roamed the deep Wisconsin woods in the 1870s. In those same woods, Laura Ingalls lived with her Pa and Ma, and her sisters Mary and Baby Carrie, in a snug little house built of logs. Pa hunted and trapped. Ma made her own cheese and maple sugar. All night long, the wind howled lonesomely, but Pa played his fiddle and sang, keeping the family safe and cosy.


Most of the characters are one dimensional or else there was not enough screen time to form opinions about them. Laura's Ma and Mary as well as Carrie do not exhibit a lot of personality. (Perhaps it might change in future series.) Laura and Pa on the other hand are d…

Book Review of Are You there God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

Name of book: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Author Name:  Judy Blume

ISBN: 0-02-710991-7

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Type of book: Young adult to Adult, Girls, religion, christianity, Judaism

Year it was published: 1970 (Have recent version though)


 Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She's just moved from New York City to Farbrook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends- Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their firs periods, Margaret is happy to belong. But none of them can believe that Margaret doesn't have a religion, and tha she isn't joining the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don't know is that Margaret has her own special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything-family, friends, even Philip Leroy, the best-looking boy in sxith grade. Margaret is funn…

List of Books I have (Non-fiction)

Right now my book shelves are going through a LOT of changes, heck, I'm going through a lot of changes, thus its hard for me to keep up with which books I have and which books I decided not to keep. Once things settle down, I'll post the list of Fiction and Non-Fiction I have.

Planned Books

Books I'm Reading:

By Invitation Only-Lori Wilde, Wendy Etherington, Jillian Burns 28/218
Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz 42/524

My Antonia-Willa Cather 13/289
O Pioneers! - Willa Cather 12/122
The Foreign Student-Susan Choi 106/325 
The Moonstone-Wilkie Collins 134/434
Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoevsky 72/522
Camille-Alexandre Dumas fils 73/254
'Till Morning Comes-Suyin Han 446/620
Cowboys are my weakness-Pam Houston 42/171
Just Surrender...-Kathleen O'Reilly 58/218
The Tale of Genji-Murasaki Shikibu 185/1090
Coyote Dream-Jessica Davis Stein 210/364
Tailspin-Cara Summers 63/216
The Story of the Stone-Xueqin Cao
2. The Crab-Flower Club 194/582
The Russian Saga-Kate Furnivall
2. The Russian Concubine- 119/517
The Elven Nations Trilogy-Douglas Niles, Tonya Carter, Paul Thompson
2. The Kinslayer Wars 20/314
Little House Series-Laura Ingalls Wilder
1. Little House in the big woods 83/238

Books that are waiting for reviews:
Are You there God? It's me Margaret

Future Books:

Book Review of When my name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

Name of book: When my name was Keoko

Author Name: Linda Sue Park

ISBN: 0-618-13335-6

Publisher: Clarion Books New York

Type of book: Young adult to Adult, Japanese occupation of Korea, World War 2, Korea 1940-1946

Year it was published: 2002


For Kim Sun-hee's whole life, Korea has belonged to Japan. Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, have grown up studying Japanese and speaking it at school. THeir own language, Korean, can be spoken only at home, and some Korean things-like the flag-are not to be spoken of at all. When teh Emperor of Japan decrees that all Koreans must take Japanese names, Sun-hee and Tae-yul become Keoko and Nobuo. It is just one more step in a familiar process, but somehow it changes everything. THen World War II comes to Korea. No battles are fought on Korean soil, yet soldiers are everywhere. At school, teh students have war preparation duties instead of classes. But makng Koreans take Japanese names has not turned them into loyal subjects, ready to f…

Book Review of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Name of book: A Tale of two cities

Author Name: Charles Dickens

ISBN: 0-451-51076-3

Publisher: Signet

Type of book: Young adult to Adult, French revolution, 18th century, France

Year it was published: 1859 original. Version I have 1960


The storming of the Bastille...the death carts with their doomed human cargo...the swift drop of the guillotine blade-this is the French revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures in his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities. With dramatic eloquence, he brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. With insight and compassion, he casts his novel of unforgettable scenes with unforgettable characters: the sinister Madame Defarge, knitting her patterns of death; the gentle Lucie Manette, unswerving in her devotion to her broken father; the heroic Sydney Carton, who gives  his life for the love of a girl who would never be his.


Very one dimensional charact…

Book Review of #4 Louise de la Valliere by Alexandre Dumas

Name of book: Louise de la Valliere

Author Name: Alexandre Dumas

ISBN: 0-19-282389-2

Publisher: Oxford

Part of Series: D'Artagnan Series by Alexandre Dumas Sequel to Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, Vicomte de Bragelonne, prequel to The Man in iron mask

Type of book: Adult, French, 17th century, Louis XIV

Year it was published: this version 1995 (Original version in France 1847-1850)


Louise de la Valliere is the middle section of the Vicomte de Bragelonne, or Ten Years After. Against a tender love story, Dumas continues the suspense which began with The Vicomte de Bragelonne and will end with The Man in the Iron Mask. It is early summer, 1661, and the royal court of France is in turmoil. Can it be true that the king is in love with the Duchess D'Orleans? Or has his eye been caught by the sweet and gentle Louise de la Valliere? No one is more anxious to know the answer than Raoul, son of Athos, who loves Louise more than life itself. Behind the scenes, dark intrigues are…

Book Review of The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Name of book: The Castle of Otranto

Author Name:  Horace Walpole



Type of book: Young adult to Adult, supernatural, Gothic

Year it was published: 1764


First published pseudonymously in 1764, The Castle of Otranto purported to be a translation of an Italian story of the time of the crusades. In it Walpole attempted, as he declared in the Preface to the Second Edition, "to blend the two kinds of romance: the ancient and the modern." Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos, the novel was an immediate success and Walpole's own favorite among his numerous works. The novel is reprinted here from a text of 1798, the last that Walpole himself prepared for the press. (From


There really is not much to tell the characters. Hippolita, Manfred's wife is kind of a martyr and loyal, while Manfred is way too passionate. Despite the actions and events, as menti…

Reading History Part VIII: Amy Tan

Part VIII: Amy Tan

Three words. You hear me? Me say three words. Me good American because me say three words. Wah! You no listen? You bad bad daughter! Joy luck club. Well, I'm relieved I can start talking normally now.

Who hasn't heard of Joy Luck Club book and movie that depicts the "struggles" that Chinese women suffered in this mystical and far away place called China? Who hasn't had in their heads about the things these women go through at the hands of these evil and horrid men? Oh, we say sympathetically, clicking our tongues and shaking our heads at the poor immigrants. Those evil men and poor women. We must rescue them from these horrible forced marriages that happen in China. They are free, in America!

First of all I do not mean to make light of immigrant situation. Although my family and I are fortunate, many people are unfortunate, so the sympathy is correct. In China, by the way, only the most ignorant and poor still do forced marriages. Most of Chine…

Reading History Part VII: The Revolution of Forever by Judy Blume

Part VII: The Revolution of Forever by Judy Blume

While I was reading Forever by Judy Blume, I couldn't help but wonder why Katherine's parents encouraged her to explore other options instead of just staying with her boyfriend for forever. While pondering that point, only then did I realize how revolutionary this book was for its time.

Let's say that Katherine's parents were born in 1930s. Twenty years later, possible around the time they may have become married, it was 1950s, the time of conservatism and encouragement  to marry soon after high school. Most likely that was the case for Katherine's parents.

So, one can't help but think that despite their happy marriage, both have regrets that they hadn't had chance to date or to be with many people. Perhaps they secretly regret becoming married so early. By my estimates, Katherine herself was born in late 1950s, if the story does take place in 1975. If it was a time of conservatism, then of course people wil…

Book Review of The Secret Life of the Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Name of book: The Secret Life of Bees

Author Name: Sue Monk Kidd

ISBN: 0-14-200174-0

Publisher: Penguin

Type of book: young adult-adult, 1960s, racism, South, white female/black male relationship, interracial relationship, coming of age, bees

Year it was published: 2002


Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's firece-hearted black "stand-in mother", Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolin-a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an  eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and apss on to their daughters for years to come.


Book Review of Coyote Dreams by Jessica Davis Stein

Life's Treasure Name of Book: Coyote Dream

Published by:  NAL Accent
Author Name: Jessica Davis Stein
ISBN: 0-451-21315-7
Type of Book: Adult
Year it was published in: 2004


For Sarah Friedman, the chance to journey to the Southwest to buy Native Indian art for her family’s successful New York store comes at a time of personal transition. Determined to put aside romantic disappointments, she seeks new perspectives in the serenity of the vast desert landscape. Then her car breaks down near the home of a solitary artist on the Navajo reservation… After years of turmoil, Ben Lonefeather has finally gained control of his life. He devotes his days to his work and caring for the coyotes he rescued as pups. When Sarah Friedman shows up stranded, he grudgingly offers her a room. Their practical arrangement deepens into a connection that leaves them both passionately alive, profoundly changed…and shattered by circumstances that will separate them. As Sarah and Ben seek to build meaningfu…

Book Review of 'Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han

China's Modern History Name of Book: 'Till Morning Comes

Published by: Bantam book 
Author Name: Suyin Han
ISBN: 0-553-23270-3
Type of Book: Adult, China, World War II, 1944-1971? Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Interracial Relationship, Asian Male White Female
Year it was published in: 1982


Alone in exotic Chungking, beautiful foreign correspondent Stephanie Ryder is warned to keep silent about the atrocities she witnesses in the city’s teeming slums. Defying a brutal Kuomintang officer, she is swept to an electrifying first meeting with Dr. Jen Yong, a handsome, dedicated and compassionate Chinese surgeon. For Yong, a sexual liaison with an American woman could mean a death sentence. For Stephanie, an affair with an Asian man would cause an irreparable breach with her Texas millionaire father. But just when danger threatens to separate them forever, their passion bursts into flame…and carries them on a fabulous romantic journey from the stormy depths of fear and …

August 2011

By Invitation Only-Lori Wilde, Wendy Etherington, Jillian Burns
SR: July 31st, 2011

Are you there God? Its me, Margaret-Judy Blume
SR: July 31st, 2011
FR: August 6th, 2011
Caddie Woodlawn-Carol Ryrie Brink
SR: August 22nd, 2011
My Antonia-Willa Cather
SR: July 31st, 2011
FR: August 28th, 2011
O Pioneers-Willa Cather
SR: July 31st, 2011
FR: August 25th, 2011
The Foreign Student-Susan Choi
SR: July 8th, 2011
FR: August 14th, 2011
The Moonstone-Wilkie Collins
SR: December 7th, 2010
A Tale of Two Cities-Charles Dickens
SR: July 1st, 2011
FR: August 3rd, 2011
Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoevsky
SR: July 1st, 2011
Camille-Alexandre Dumas fils
SR: July 31st, 2011
FR: August 14th, 2011
Cowboys are my weakness-Pam Houston
SR: July 31st, 2011
FR: August 18th, 2011
The Secret Life of the bees-Sue Monk Kidd
SR: June 1st, 2011
FR: August 4th, 2011
To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee
SR: August 22nd, 2011
Once upon the river love-Andrei Makine
SR: August 22n…