Published by Viking Adult on 03 May 2007
Genres: Adaptation, Adult, Historical, People & Places
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Place(s) Traveled to: Paris, France (1880)
First Line: He rode the awkward steam-cycle along the ridge to catch glimpses of the domes and spires of Paris to the east, then turned west and careened headlong down the long steep hill toward the village of Bougival and the Seine.
This review will be a short one as this was one of those rare books in which I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. There was a time that no matter what I would finish every book that I picked up – no matter how boring or how long it took. Then a few years ago I had a revelation…life is too short to waste on uninteresting books.
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland definately feel into that catagory for me. I had a hard time even making it up to my 50 page minimum. The few characters I met were uninteresting. The descriptions seemed a little too wordy and drab.
A few years ago I had read Girl in Hyacynth Blue by the same author and the pages just flew by. So I was very disappointed when the same thing didn’t happen with this book. Perhaps the author is letting fame get to her head and when she used to write interesting books of ~250 pages she’s taken to trying to take a single painting and turning it into a long drawn out 500 page story.
Series: Harry Potter,
Published by Scholastic on 21 July 2007
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Place(s) Traveled to: London, England // Godric’s Hollow, England // Hogsmeade, Scotland
First Line: The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.
Today marked the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the 7th and final book in the series by JK Rowling. Today was a day that I both longed for and dreaded. I longed for this day because ever since I read the last word of Half-Blood Prince (HP 6) I have wondered what was next for the boy who lived and his friends. I have dreaded this day because it also marks the end of an era. The final chapter of a story over ten years in the making.
I came under the influence of Harry a little late, starting to read the series shortly after the publication of Goblet of Hire (HP 4) but the moment that I first stepped foot on Privet Drive and followed Harry to platform 9 3/4 I was hooked. Like so many others I was standing in line awaiting the midnight release of Deathly Hallows and after dropping off the friend who kept me company I eagerly began to read the final chapter of the Hogwarts world.
Book 7 opens like the previous 6, it is summer and Harry is at No. 4 Privet Drive with the Dursley’s. Harry should be preparing to leave for his final year of Hogwarts and worrying about his upcoming NEWTs and what he wants to do after graduating. However, The Dark Lord has also risen and is swiftly taking back the power that he had prior to his run in with Lily and her year old baby. Also, this year Harry is just about to turn 17 and with his birthday marks the end of the protection given to him by his mother when she gave up her life to save his. Without this protection then if Harry is caught by the Dark Lord then it will almost certainly result in his death. So rather then return to Hogwarts, Harry goes on the run accompanied by his two best friends Ron and Hermione. Together the three of them must work together in order to follow the last task that Headmaster Dumbledore set for Harry. Find the remaining Horcruxes that Voldemort used to hide his soul and destroy them. For while they are intact Harry will have no chance in winning a battle with him.
What follows next is a fast paced journey in which Harry and his friends suffer many ups and downs while they search for the Horcruxes and at the same time avoid getting captured by the Death Eaters or Scavengers. The Death Eaters search for Harry in attempt to gain favor with the Dark Lord. Scavengers hunt for Harry and all wizards who are not of the pure blood in order to collect the reward money. And if Harry didn’t have enough to worry about but Rita Skeeter is about to publish a book entitled The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore which causes him to begin to doubt the man that he loved and trusted as a mentor and father.
This book has it all love, loss, adventure and brings the reader to both laughter and tears. (Those who have finished the book know what I mean). Like all the books that came before it I was unable to put this book down and loved almost every word. My only disappointment came with the very end, the epilogue. To me the epilogue seemed a little hurried and the phrasing just didn’t seem to mesh well with all that came before and while it answered some questions it also left many unanswered. As much as I want to know what happens to the surviving characters I feel that I think the better ending would have been to leave off the epilogue. Or at least leave off this epilogue.
Overall, I thoughly enjoyed this book and the series. I have loved getting to know Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Ginny, Neville, Fred, George, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Snape, Draco and all the other characters in this series. In turn they have all made me laugh, cry or gotten me so mad that I could spit. I am glad that I got to know them and while there may be no new adventures about Hogwarts these stories will always live on in my heart and I look forward to one day introducing the boy who lived to any kids and grandkids that I might have.
Published by St Martin's Press on 09 January 2007
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Espionage, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Social Issues, Suspense, Thrillers
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Place(s) Traveled to: New York City, New York // London, England // Israel
First Line: Two men shoveled the sand under cover of darkness.
The premise of this book is simple, into every generation there are 36 pure souls (lamed koviks) that are born who through their existence keep the earth together. If any of these souls die then bad things start to happen – war, famine, earthquakes, etc. Way back when in Biblical times Adam, bright boy that he was wrote down the names of every living creature including who all the lamed koviks in all the coming generations.
As you can guess with all these pure souls running about there are those people who will stop at nothing to destroy them. People who want to disrupt Gods plan and remake the world in their image. They somehow manage to break the code of Adams book of names and start to kill off the lamed koviks. The world slowly moves to turmoil as they do.
Enter the reluctant hero, David Sheppard, who do to an accident in his youth has somehow managed to tap into a higher existence and is somehow able to come up with the names of various lamed koviks. David has no idea at first the meaning of these names that keep coming to him, just that when he searches for some their names many of them have died in weird accidents or unnatural causes and all he really wants is to stop the names from coming. Until one name that pops out matches that of his ex-stepdaughter who he loves as his own child.
Enter beautiful sidekick who helps David to realize the power of the names and just what is happening in the world because someone is killing them off. She convinces David to join her fellow Israeli’s in tracking down the remaining names to try to stop the ultimate evil from taking over.
What follows is a fast paced read about the ultimate battle between good and evil. As David rushes to save his stepdaughter and with her the fate of the entire world a reader can’t help but to swiftly turn the pages to see just what will happen next. This book is right up there with Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell in that its a good read though unrealistic. However, I found this novel to be slightly more realistic then those two previously mentioned books. This books is a fast adventure that I didn’t want to put down – well once I got through the first 20 pages that is. I admit that I almost put it down at first for those first few pages didn’t thrill me…..but I always try to read at least 50 pages or so before turning away from a book and I am so glad that I didn’t.
Published by Grove Press on 10 June 2007
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
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Place(s) Traveled to: California
First Line: Please state your name.
I picked this book up at the bookstore recently because I thought that it had an interesting premise: a teddy bear that comes to life and finds itself on the wrong side of the war on terror. The idea brought to mind times when as a child I used to wonder if any of my dolls or bears ever came to life when I wasn’t around.
In this book a stuffed bear who after years of neglect is miraculously gifted with life. Winkie then goes out into the world, experiencing its ups and downs for the first time. When he is suddenly surrounded and accused of being a mad bomber. What follows is an overly long and drawn out trial interspersed with memories of Winkie’s past. How he started as a bear named Marie and belonged to a girl named Ruth. How she passed to Ruth’s children and was eventually renamed Winkie and became a he.
This book serves to highlight in an often humorous (and sometimes tedious) way just how ridiculous the justice system in America can be. Especially when it comes to people who are accused of terrorist acts. When the word terrorist is used it almost seems as if any atrocity can be used against the person and people turn a blind eye because it is all in the name of justice.
There were times when I found this book very moving and times in which I wondered if I would ever finish it. Overall though this isn’t a bad debut novel and it will be interesting to see what Chase comes up with next.
In Short: An interesting if not overly memorable read.
by Joseph Heller
Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word “paradox” for millions of
Published by Harper Collins on 01 August 2006
Genres: Adaptation, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
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Place(s) Traveled to: London, England (1796, assumption)
First Line(s): It is a consequence of possessing an income of ten thousand pounds a year that a man may order his life to his own liking, and choose his own society.
Almost 200 years ago Jane Austen wrote and published Pride & Prejudice, a novel that would stand the test of time, winning the hearts of new fans with each passing generation. For even though the novel was written so long ago its themes and characters have withstood the test of time. I first fell in love with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy several years ago by chance. Stumbling across the book one day in the bookstore not realizing that it would soon become a most beloved friend. It didn’t take long to read Austen’s novel and it was a book that I have revisited often over the years. Throughout all my readings I have always wondered about Mr. Darcy. What was he thinking? As well as what happened after the story ended. (Which was much to soon in my humble opinion!).
Despite my wanting to know what happened afterwards I have steered away for all the various “sequels” to the story that people have written over the years. I read some of the reviews and they were always mixed from those that loved them and those that thought they were horrible additions to a beloved story. Therefore I stayed away from them all so that P&P wouldn’t be tarnished for me in any way.
That is until this past weekend when a friend of mine recommended a new novel, Darcy’s Story by Janet Alymer. This wasn’t a sequel but a companion novel told from the point of view of the enigmatic Mr. Darcy. Others have tried to recommend books to me based on P&P but I never really paid them much attention since there was always a little criticism mixed in with the praise. This friend was different. She admitted that while, at the time, she hadn’t read much that she thoroughly enjoyed all that she had. That made me curious and so I bought the book soon afterwards.
It was instant love. Alymer uses a lot of the dialogue that Austen herself wrote which adds so much realism to the story for which there has been much criticism. In my opinion, the transcribed dialogue only helps in creating a seamless transition between the original story and the new additions. I don’t think that I would have enjoyed this book half as much if she hadn’t used the original text. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Alymer captures the essence of Mr. Darcy and all the other characters in the story. One can tell that Alymer is a true fan and took time and care with how the events were laid out. I loved all the added scenes that were only alluded to in Austen’s story. They played out as I had pictured them. There has also been criticism about the length of time that Alymer spent on the various scenes between Darcy & Mr. Wickham. However, Austen herself never spent much time on them so why should Alymer do any different. Mr Wickham was only a minor character, the story revolved around Elizabeth and Mr Darcy to dwell on events not involving the two of them only takes away from their story. Reading Darcy’s Story brought me back to the time when I first read Pride & Prejudice I loved every moment of it and as with P&P hated when it was over. So many people have tried over the years to emulate Austen’s style with mixed results based on all the reviews that I have read. However I find that Alymer has succeeded in channeling Austen and created a novel that will stand the test of time as a worthy companion novel to the original. I think that Jane Austen would be very proud of what Janet Alymer has done with her characters. In conclusion, I am very thankful to my friend Chris, because without her heartfelt recommendation I never would have picked up this book.
Published by Dutton on 20 March 2007
Genres: Adolescence, Adult, Fiction, Historical
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Place(s) Traveled to: London, England (1792)
First Line: There was something humiliating about waiting in a cart on a busy London street with all your possessions stacked around you, on show to the curious public.
I just recently finished reading Burning Bright, the latest novel by Tracy Chevalier. This is her mostly recent novel and to be honest the only reason that I read it is because it was chosen for my next book club. I have read other books by Chevalier in the past and have have mixed reactions on them. So, I wasn’t super enthused to read this book…and while it didn’t suck. I wasn’t in love with it either.
This novel primarily takes place in London, England in the year 1792, focusing around 3 teenagers: Jem, Maggie and Jem’s sister Maisie. Jem & Maisie have recently moved from to quiet life in the country to the bustling city of London with their parents and are learning how to adjust. One their first day in the city they meet Maggie, a street wise girl who likes to be the one who knows everything and tend to delight in the mistakes that Jem and his sister make while they are learning to adapt to city life. Thrown into this group in none other than William Blake. Who has got to be one of the most aloof, vaguely written characters that I have ever met in a book.
In some ways Mr Blake is always there for the teenagers idolize him and his beliefs. Yet, even when he is in the presence of the teens he seems to be off somewhere else. He speaks in metaphors and doesn’t seem to be bothered by anything. Even when there is a mob outside his door he just stands there limply and only reacts after Maisie starts to recite one of his poems…..or songs as they are referred to in the book. Even then his reaction isn’t quite what the reader expects. There are times in which I think that Blake’s character is more of an after thought. Someone famous that the author tosses into the mix in an attempt at trying to accomplish……something. What exactly I am not sure. The characters of Jem, Maggie and Maisie are all pretty underdeveloped as well. There seems to be no real purpose to any of them and I found it hard to care what happened to them.
I initially struggled to get through this book. Its not a hard read I just found it to be boring and lacking in plot. I was often more drawn to the various descriptions more then what was going on with the main characters. Where the major events of their lives seem to be swept aside and barely discussed while pages and pages are spent on them watching a circus procession going by. I finally had to give myself a shake and force myself to read the novel any time I had a chance because I just wanted it done.
In Short: This novel flickers more then it burns.
Mary Schmich once said that ‘reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.’ There is much truth to that. Through books one can travel to any place or time without limits. There are no pesky lines to wait in while trying to get through airport security or the whole difficulty of trying to invent a way to time travel. With a book all you have to do is pick a comfortable spot and spend a few hours losing yourself in another world.
Growing up my parents taught me and my siblings a deep love of reading. When we were very small they were always reading to us. As we grew they taught us how to enter those mysterious worlds ourselves by teaching us to read. Books were always a gift. A treat.
Where some parents might promise a child a new toy if they behaved during an outing of errands, mine would get us a new book. I still remember entering the bookstore with a sense of wonder and awe knowing that I would be able to bring one of the many volumes it contained home. And unlike with library books I wouldn’t have to return it. In many ways I still feel like that when I enter a bookstore. For inside a bookstore the entire universe…..the past, the present and future…..are all within my grasp. As a kid we had no limits on what we read. We were only limited by what we were capable of understanding. But because we could chose any book it allowed us to learn things that we may not have learned if we were limited to a specific section or age group.
I have carried this love of reading and books into adulthood and I am never without a book. Sadly the time that I have to spend reading them isn’t as much as I would like. Although I do try to read a little bit each day. Usually right before bed almost as if its a reward for making it through another day…..something to look forward to when work is slow or life is a little dull.
With all that in mind I thought that I would start a blog of the books that I read going forward. It is my hope that by doing this I will have some incentive to find more time in my day to read so that I can make my way through more books.
With this blog I also hope that others stumble across it and maybe get some ideas on books that they might enjoy……or ones to avoid…..and even to give suggestions for me to read. For I love to share my love of books with others and love it when others share their love with me.
I like to read all different kinds of books and so there will probably be a wide variety of different genres. Currently I am reading Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier. Right now I’m only about 100 pages into it, there are ~300 in total. Which isn’t a lot, but I’ve only been reading a chapter or two a night so it might take a little while to get through. So, I ask anyone who might read this to please be patient with me.
Hello and welcome to my little corner of the interwebs! Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to get to know me and my blog. If you would like to contact me about a potential review opportunity I can be reached via email at: Irisheyz_5 AT yahoo DOT com.
My name is Gail although many people know me as Irish based on my preferred screen name of Irisheyz77. I started Ticket to Anywhere in June of 2007 as a way for me to express my thoughts on the books I’ve read. Blogging has been an invaluable tool in helping me to better remember not just what I’ve read but what I thought about a particular book after reading it. I was blogging quietly for about a year before really starting to become active in the book blogging community and its a choice that I am so glad that I made as I’ve come across so many wonderful blogs and have met so many amazing people who share my interests. When not blogging I work as a Quality Assurance Specialist in the biotechnology/medical device industry. I currently live in Central Massachusetts. I read, shop, watch tv, craft, hang out with friends and do all the normal things that people do.
My Book Blogging Resume:
- Operator of Ticket to Anywhere since June 2007
- Book Blogger Conference Attendee for 2010, 2011, and 2012
- Book Expo America Attendee for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (Power Reader Day), and 2014
- American Library Association Midwinter Conference Attendee 2010
- American Library Association Annual Conference Attendee 2013
- NEIBA Fall Conference Attendee 2010, 2012 and 2013
- Amazon Vine Participant
- Over 2200 Twitter followers
- Purchased my blog’s URL in July 2010, previously http://tickettoanywhere.blogspot.com
Where can I be found on the Interwebs?
As of October 2012, I have a Google Page rank of 4 and a Global Alexa rating of 2,353,877. For the most up-to-date follower count and page view stats please email me.
Book Subjects of Interest:
I am an eclectic reader but I do seem to go through phases of preferring certain types of books over others. The genres that I read the most are (in no particular order):
- Young Adult/New Adult – contemporary, historical, paranormal, (witches, magic, vampires, etc) fantasty, sci-fi, dystopian, fairy tale retellings, coming of age, etc. Pretty much anything goes here though I am not really into books about werewolves.
- Middle Grade – I don’t read a lot of middle grade but see above for genres that would be of interest for this age group.
- Science-Fiction – I enjoy a good futuristic or science based book.
- Fantasy – Urban, Paranormal, High, et al.
- Romance/Erotica – Historical and Contemporary
- Non-Fiction – Preference goes to books that deal with 1940s/WWII, Middle Ages, the 1920’s, astronomy/space age or science based books
- Biographies/Memoirs – Political leaders, famous literary people, astronauts/space age pioneers, et al.
- Mystery – I love a good mystery especially those that are forensic/science based. Nothing to gory/scary please.
- Historical – love books that take place in the middle ages, Renaissance, 1940s/war years, 1920s, et al.
- Graphic Novels/Manga – a genre that is fairly new to me so open to all while I learn what I like and don’t like.
- Dual Time Period – love books that have connecting stories in two different time periods
- Multiple Points of View (POV) – another style of story telling that I really enjoy
- Self Published/Indie – Opening up to limited submissions based on the categories mentioned above. (Click here for a list of bloggers who accept Self Published titles on a regular basis)
Please note that this list is a work in progress while you might not see your book category specifically listed above if you think that your book might be similar than feel free to pitch it and I will consider.
I prefer to read a series in order. If when pitching a book in the middle of a series if you could also provide the books that came before I would appreciate it. If not then please allow time for me to obtain the books and read them. Although I will most likely turn down a pitch if the book is far into the series.
Book Subjects That I am **NOT** Reading at this Time:
- Self-Help – I’ve tried to read this genre several times and its just not for me
- Picture Books – I don’t have any small children so can’t really give an accurate review. Any picture books received will be donated to my local library or my niece.
- Horror – accepting on a limited, case by case basis
- Business/Marketing books
- Cook Books
- Novels in verse.
- Finished review copies
- ebooks – epub, pdf or anything else that is compatible with the Kindle/iPad.
- audio – CD or iPod compatible
When sending me a review inquiry please include, at minimum, the following:
- Description of book
- Book Cover
- Your expectations of when you would like a review posted
I am not usually swayed by blurbs or quotes from reviews in a pitch so while you can include them know that I usually just skim over those sections. If I do not respond to your pitch that that particular book may not have been of interest or your email may have been attacked by my spam folder. I don’t go into my spam folder very often so if you don’t get a response then please resend me your pitch. Also, if the first book you pitch isn’t of interest please don’t hesitate to send me pitches for different books or send me your catalog so that I can chose for myself the books that interest me most.
Unsolicited books are welcome as long as you feel that they will fit with my blog content (see above for genres accepted.) However due to the number of commitments I currently have I can’t promise that all unsolicited books will be read. If I can’t read a book in a timely manner then I may pass it on to another person for review.
Typically I need two to three months notice when accepting a book for review. I can be a moody reader and don’t like to force myself to read a book in a short amount of time. Therefore I like to have plenty of time to read the book and be able to give it a fair and honest review. Reading is my hobby and my escape from the real world and I don’t ever want it to feel like work. As with all rules though there are exceptions. Just let me know in advance when you would like to see a review posted and I will do my best to comply but I do not make any guarantees.
Blog Tours / Interviews / Guest Posts / Giveaways:
Yes please! I am interested in all of the above.
- Blog Tours – please give me at minimum one month from receiving the book to review. Preferably two.
- Interviews – I love to host both author and character interviews on my blog. I do prefer to read the book prior to asking questions. So please allow time for me to receive and read the book. I will post the interview around the same time as my review but on a separate day.
- Guest Posts – These can be about anything that the author prefers. I will post around the same time as my review but on a separate day.
- Giveaways – I love to host giveaways on my blog so if you are willing to donate a book for this purpose then please let me know.
I review almost every book that I read in what I hope is a fair and honest manner. I can not guarantee any book a positive review but when I don’t like a book I will say why this particular book doesn’t work for me. Books that I don’t finish will generally not be mentioned on my blog unless I have read at least half of the book. I also like to try and post a review on or around a books release date whenever possible but I can not promise this will happen. I will not post a review months before a book will be available although sometimes I will post a small teaser to let my readers know I just read a fabulous book and to watch for the review closer to release.My review format generally includes: basic book information (i.e. ISBN, Release date, publisher and format I read the book in), Links to where the author can be found on line (website, blog, twitter), the location/time period of where the book was set, and my rating. I sometimes will post a synopsis (usually from GoodReads or Amazon) but have been trying to get away from this as I am trying not to read too much about a book prior to reading it. I will also sometimes include key background of the book while writing my thoughts on the story.
My reviews are my honest thoughts on a book at the time that I read it. They are not influenced by how I received the book or how well I might know the author or publicist. All reviews are based on the book itself and in know way reflect my opinion of the author or publisher. Even though I accept a book for review it doesn’t mean that I will review the book on my blog. If I can not get into a book then I will put it aside until such time when I can. If I do not finish a book or if I find a book is not for me then I will try to find another blogger to review the book in my place.
I rate books on a 5 star system including 1/2 stars basically this means the following:
- 5 stars – loved loved loved it! I will become a book bully for this book
- 4 stars – liked it didn’t love it but will recommend
- 3 stars – varies – but more of a middle of the road reacting. didn’t love it or hate it. May not recommend to others
- 2 stars – didn’t like it, won’t recommend it
- 1 star – hated it
- DNF – Did not Finish (these may not always be mentioned on the blog)
Where else do I post reviews?
I will often post reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, and LibraryThing. I have also been known to post reviews on Powells and Barnes and Noble as well. My blog feed is also imported to Twitter and Facebook. If you would like my review posted in any other locations then please don’t hesitate to ask.
I am a member of the affiliate programs with Amazon, Indiebound, and Wellesley Booksmith. When you click on a link in a blog post and it brings you to that site and if you make a purchase then I will receive a small portion of the proceeds if you purchase that item. Any money earned form these programs will go to supporting this blog.
What Happens to a Book when I am Done with It?
I keep many of the books that I read. Unfortunately, I can’t keep every book. Final review copies may be donated to my local library or given to another person to read/review. I do not sell any ARCs/galleys but they may be given to other bloggers or librarians. If I do not have the time to read an ARC/galley then I will try my best to find another person to read/review the book in my place. This may be done through a contest held on my blog or through a private transaction.
All content (with exception of book covers, author photos, and movie stills) is my own and belong to me unless otherwise noted, and I hold the copyright on this information. If you would like to post my reviews on another site, please contact me first. At the very minimum you must link back to my blog as the source of the information that you are quoting from me.
Publishers/Authors: You are welcome to short quotations to use on your blog, website, book jacket or other promotional material. I would ask that when you do to please credit my blog as Ticket to Anywhere and my name (Gail or Irish) as well as link back to my review when possible.