Book Review: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
2 Stars , Fiction / February 28, 2011

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion. My rating for Beatrice and Virgil – 2 About: “Beatrice and Virgil” (book website) by Yann Martel is a fictional book, a follow up to the author’s wildly successful “Like of Pi”. A strange story which is suppose to be an allegory for the Holocaust. Purchase “Beatrice and Virgil” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on: Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK Thoughts: I really didn’t know what to think about “Beatrice and Virgil” by Yann Martel. I didn’t like it yet didn’t hate it either. I was impartial to the book, I wasn’t offended, I wasn’t touched and I didn’t learn anything from it. Maybe it was because I looked forward to reading it. The narrator of the book is Henry, a famous author, who is taken by a play sent to him by one of this fans. The play is about a donkey named Beatrice and a monkey named Virgil. The author turns out to be a taxidermist who might have been a Nazi collaborator and the play is suppose to be an allegory for the suffering in the Holocaust. The taxidermist even…

Book Review: The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbø
4 Stars , Fiction / February 24, 2011

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion. My rating for The Devil’s Star – 4 About: “The Devil’s Star” by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø (Website | Facebook)is the third in the Harry Hole series. This novel  was published in Norway in 2003, but just recently arrived in the USA. Purchase “The Devil’s Star” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account From: Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK Thoughts: The Devil’s Star” by Jo Nesbø has a very complex hero. Harry Hole is a tormented alcoholic who is losing his relationship and sanity. Harry would have lost his job as a police officer if he didn’t have the uncanny ability to solve complex crimes. The book deals with a Norwegian serial killer, who we are constantly reminded is a rarity in Norway because it’s an American disease. Along with the killer, Harry Hole also has to prove that a standout officer is corrupt and battling the bottle. The novel introduces a sophisticated plot which, to be honest, had me scratching my bald head several times trying to remember who are the characters, what did they do (or didn’t do) and their relationship to the…

Book Review: Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli
4 Stars , Biographies & Memoirs / February 21, 2011

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion. The publisher has made available two (2) copies of “Radio Shangri-La” to be given out- enter at the end of the post. My rating for Radio Shangri-La – 4 About: “Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth” by Lisa Napoli is a memoir starting in 2007.  The author volunteered to go to Bhutan and help launch  their first radio station. Purchase “Radio Shangri-La” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account from: Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK Thoughts: When I first started to read this book I thought “not again”.  A woman, in mid-life crisis, flies thousands of miles and changes her life forever.  I hated “Eat, Pray, Love” (book review) and didn’t want to go through pages and pages of whining again. What I discovered, however, was the fascinating chronicle of a country moving in a breakneck speed towards change (and yes, a woman’s search for happiness – but Ms. Napoli doesn’t whine). The book made me want to go visit Bhutan, although I doubt my beloved wife and Mr. Wallet will agree to the $200 tourist fee, charged per…

New Blog Features
Uncategorized / February 18, 2011

Today I debut a new feature I have been working on for some time.  If you take a look at the menu bar on top you’ll see a new category “In a Glance”.  Underneath you’ll be able to gain easy access to book reviews either by title or author’s last name as well as the author Q&A feature. I hope this feature will help you (and me to be honest) navigate the blog.  After all, we are still reading books from the 1800’s so I figure these posts will never go out of style (I hope). Let me know how you like the new features, if something is not working correctly or if you’d like to see anything else implemented.

Book Review: The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia
5 Stars , Historical Fiction / February 17, 2011

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion. The publisher has made available one (1) copy of “The Fifth Servant” to be given out- enter at the end of the post. My rating for “The Fifth Servant” – 5 About: “The Fifth Servant” by Kenneth Wishnia (Website) is a fictional mystery set in 1592 at Jewish Ghetto in the city of Prague. The book is rich with Jewish culture and the tensions between Jews and Christians. Get a discount on “The Fifth Servant” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on: Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK Thoughts: “The Fifth Servant” by Kenneth Wishnia is told through the eyes of Benyamin Ben Akivah, a Talmudic scholar who follows his disgruntled wife from Poland to Prague. The book takes place over three days and two nights when Benyamin tries to solve a blood libel incident which weighed down the Jewish communities up until the 20th Century. This is a clever book, filled with excellent research, vivid imagery, and good writing sprinkled with humor. The medieval ghetto life is convincing and rich in detail, city of Prague comes to life even though it wouldn’t be a…

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
3 Stars , Fiction / February 14, 2011

I borrowed this book from the local library. My rating for Sundays at Tiffany’s –3 About: “Sundays at Tiffany’s” (movie website) by James Patterson (Website) & Gabrielle Charbonnet is a romance (appropriate for Valentine’s Day).  My wife actually borrowed the book and I picked it up after she was done. I believe it took me about a day to read it. Get a discount on “Sundays at Tiffany’s” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on: Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK Thoughts: Does James Patterson even writes these books? The foundation of the story sounds very promising. Jane, poor little rich girl has an imaginary friend as a young girl; her imaginary friend leaves her as she turns the ripe old age of nine – but she never forgot him. As a grown up, Jane is now a poor big rich girl cowering under her mother’s shadow and acting as a doormat for her jerk of a boyfriend until she meets her long lost imaginary friend. Is she crazy? Is he an angel? You’ll have to find out for yourself. This isn’t a great work of fiction, the adjectives are numerous and sprinkled around generously – but it’s a…

Cover Gallery: The Graveyard Book
Cover Gallery / February 12, 2011

Like many bibliophile I am also somewhat enamored by book covers.  I don’t judge a book by its cover, but I certainly pre-judge it as many of us do (but that’s the topic for another post).  I am also a comic art collector (well, before kids that is) and have about 10 reviews of graphic novel in my “draft” folder (at the time of this post) – so yes, I like pretty pictures. After reading “The Graveyard Book” (Book Review) by Neil Gaiman I noticed that there are many alternate covers.  The contrast between them is striking and one could almost tell where they were published without the byline. Hardcover – this is the cover I’m most familiar with. Wraparound cover by Chris Riddell – the text is just a sample. This picture was used for the Danish, Spanish & Swedish editions Denmark Spain Sweden This is a wonderful cover by Dave McKean which really captures the essence of the book.  I love the baby reaching for the moon. Another cover by Dave McKean.  I like the illustration but I don’t think it captures the story as much as the one above.   China Finland – This cover does scream…

Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
4 Stars , Fiction / February 11, 2011

I bought this book. My rating for the Graveyard Book – 4 About: “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman (Website | Facebook | Twitter) is the winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal award. This is a fictional book which takes place in a graveyard. Mostly. Get a discount on “The Graveyard Book” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on: Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK Thoughts: “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman is a bit of a departure for me. If you notice most of the books I like to read are not even close to the YA and/or supernatural genres. Alas I will read whatever Neil Gaiman writes because he is … well … he’s Neil Gaiman dammit! The novel starts off in a terrifying fashion – a man murders a whole family sans the toddler who somehow escapes. However, there is very little violence in the book, granted it is implied but not described so children (let’s say fourth or fifth grade) should have much of an issue with the book. The book itself is exciting and witty, some of it turns sinister but the tenderness which Gaiman builds into his characters and their interactions makes up…

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