I’ve Got Your Number

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella October 2014

Published By: The Dial Press

Year of Publication: 2012

Categories: Non Fiction, Chick Lit.

Pages: 433

Summary (from goodreads.com):

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Review:

You know when you need that fun, light, easy to read book to just relax with and not thing about? Well this is one of those books. While I love my historical fiction, thriller, and non fiction books, I also like chick lit once in awhile. It’s almost like a guilty pleasure.

Poppy was a great main character. I could see bits of myself in her (maybe that’s why I liked her). She wants to make everyone happy, which ends up being impossible and leads to some interesting situations. You see her grow a lot throughout the book, from wanting to impress Magnus’ family to figuring out what will make her happy. It would have been easier for her to go with the flow, but she decides to be authentic to herself by the end of the book.

Dating is never easy, and it’s certainly not easy for Poppy. It’s always fun to hear about dating horror stories from my friends and coworkers. There are definitely a few cringe worthy parts in I’ve Got Your Number. I know I’ve had a few bad dates, so it’s always kind of comforting to read about someone else’s awkward moments even if they’re not real.

I love Sophie Kinsella books, and this one was no different. If you’re looking for a quick read that’s fun, this is the book for you.

Connect with the Author:

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Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

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The 6th Extinction

The 6th Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

Published By: Henry Holt and Co.

Year of Publication: 2014

Categories: Non Fiction.

Pages: 319

Summary (from goodreads.com):

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Mastodon’s Molars, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Review:

I really enjoyed reading The 6th Extinction. Although I usually go for fiction books, I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone to try this one. The writing was great considering it covered a lot of ground, and I learned a lot.

First off, I can’t believe that people don’t care about the earth, it’s plants, and it’s animals. Reading this book make me want to do even more for the environment. It’s pretty sad when you realize how many animals are going extinct. It’s happening way faster than I thought. It’s sad to think that once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. I work with native plants, and I’ve come to appreciate them so much since I started this job. They grow almost effortlessly outside, yet we put so much effort into growing them in the greenhouse. I can only imagine how much effort goes into researching animals and trying trying to protect them.

Every chapter focused on one topic – everything from frogs to Neanderthals. Elizabeth Kolbert also travelled the world to make her points – from the Amazon rainforest to Siberia. It was great to get a worldwide view. At the same time it was also kind of scary to know that no part of the planet is safe from having animals disappear forever. Reading it also made me kind of angry with people who would pay for a horn or tusk, knowing that they come from endangered animals, and that those animals were killed in the process of getting them.

I know I’ll be more aware of how I treat the planet after reading The 6th Extinction. While I know there are something things that are harder for people to change, I know I’ll be making a bigger effort to do my part. I take transit to school, but once in awhile I’ll drive. I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore. I’m usually pretty good at recycling and reusing things as well, but I’ve noticed since I’ve started reading this book I’ve been even better at it.

If you’re at all interested in how humans impact our planet, you should definitely give The 6th Extinction a read.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Published By: Penguin

Date of Publication: 2008

Categories: Adult, Food, Non Fiction. 

Pages: 205

Summary (from goodreads.com): Michael Pollan’s last book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, launched a national conversation about the American way of eating; now In Defense of Food shows us how to change it, one meal at a time. Pollan proposes a new answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

Review: Awhile ago I put this book on hold at the library. I forget what made me want to read it, but when I got home with it and read the summary, it sounded pretty good. I was excited to read it.

While I thought some of it made a lot of sense (eating as much as you can unprocessed), some just didn’t make sense to me (don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients). Um, most of the salads I make have more than 5 ingredients. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make them unhealthy.

Something I’m going to try really hard to do it eat more local produce. Generally that’s only something that can happen during the summer here. 6 months out of the year there’s snow on the ground, so that makes growing things here pretty hard. But there’s a farmer’s market that’s pretty close to me during the summer that I can buy all kinds of veggies at. While I’ve made trips there previous summers, I’ll try to get there most weeks this year.

Another thing that it really made me think about is the processed food I eat. I’ve found myself reading ingredient lists more and trying to pick things that have the least amount of additives. At least it’s a start, right? I think I’m going to try making things at home rather than always buying the grocery store version just because it’s quicker and easier.

All in all I thought this was a good read that makes me think more about what I eat. Have you read it? What did you think?

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina

Published By: Viking Adult

Date of Publication: April 6 2006

Categories: Adult, biography, genocide, humanitarianism, non fiction.

Pages: 207

Summary (from goodreads.com): An Ordinary Man explores what the Academy Award-nominated film Hotel Rwanda could not: the inner life of the man who became one of the most prominent public faces of that terrible conflict. Rusesabagina tells for the first time the full story of his life-growing up as the son of a rural farmer, the child of a mixed marriage, his extraordinary career path which led him to become the first Rwandan manager of the Belgian-owned Hotel Milles Collines-all of which contributed to his heroic actions in the face of such horror. He will also bring the reader inside the hotel for those one hundred terrible days depicted in the film, relating the anguish of those who watched as their loved ones were hacked to pieces and the betrayal that he felt as a result of the UN’s refusal to help at this time of crisis.

Including never-before-reported details of the Rwandan genocide, An Ordinary Man is sure to become a classic of tolerance literature, joining such books as Thomas Keneally’sSchindler’s List, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, and Elie Wiesel’s Night. Paul Rusesabagina’s autobiography is the story of one man who did not let fear get the better of him-a man who found within himself a vast reserve of courage and bravery, and showed the world how one “ordinary man” can become a hero.

Review: This was definitely a hard book to read, but it’s a book that should be read. Paul Rusesabagina writes about how he survived the Rwandan genocide and was able to protect almost 1300 people hiding in his hotel.

If you’ve seen Hotel Rwanda you know the jist of how things happened. I really enjoyed the details in the book though. There was a lot of history which helped to set up how a genocide could happen. It put things in context. It’s pretty shocking to think that friends and neighbors would kill each other, but with the history of colonialism and racism in Rwanda, it was easier to understand how it could have happened.

It’s amazing to think that Rusesabagina was able to keep 1300 people safe with just money, liquor, and the ability to talk. He never picked up a gun but he was able to fight against the genocide.

It’s shocking to think the international community could have cared less about a nearly a million people. The UN and the western world had more than enough information to stop the killing, but they decided not to. They let people be killed, traumatized, and pushed from their homes to become refugees.

All in all if you’re wanting a great non-fiction read, go with this book. If you’re looking for something else to read about the Rwandan genocide, I would definitely recommend Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire, the head of the UN mission in Rwanda.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I bought this book.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

Published By: Touchstone

Date of Publication: October 24, 2005

Categories: Adult, Historical Fiction, Series.

Pages: 393

Summary (from goodreads.com): Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both kings and crusaders. At the age of three, she is betrothed to Prince Arthur, son and heir of Henry VII of England, and is raised to be Princess of Wales. She knows that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land.” “Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable. Unexpectedly in this arranged marriage, a tender and passionate love develops.” But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is indomitable. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.

Review: I have to start off by saying that I’m a little obsessed with the Tudors. I loved The Tudors TV series with Jonathan Rhys Myers and Henry Cavill. It was amazing and I highly recommend it. It’s so incredibly good.

It was interesting to see how the book started with Katherine as a child, though it made sense as the book went on – it helped the explain the decisions that Katherine made and where her motivation came from. I thought it also gave a fuller picture of what was going on in Europe at the time.

Getting to see Henry as a young prince who was never really meant to be king was something that I really enjoyed. I never really thought much about where he came from before, but his decisions later in life definitely made more sense with his childhood as context.

The pacing was great, I never felt bored while I was reading, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.

It was interesting to get Katherine’s point of view as well. I liked hearing about a strong woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to do the hard work to get what she wanted.

While I know there’s a lot in this book that isn’t true, I think that’s the fun of historical fiction.

I’ve read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and after reading The Constant Princess, I’m really looking forward to reading The Other Boleyn Girl again, this time with the foundation of knowing more about Katherine.

Image: goodreads.com

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Published By: Dell

Date of Publication: October 31, 2006

Categories: Adult, Fairy, Series, Urban Paranormal, Vampire 

Pages: 342

Summary (from goodreads.com): MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death-a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone-Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed-a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae…

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane-an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women-closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book-because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

Review: I just finished reading Darkfever and to be honest, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. A friend of mine lent it to me. She’s really into fantasy. I’m not so much. I like at least a little reality in my books. So I was thinking I’d read Darkfever and tell her that the rest of the books in the series weren’t for me. Boy was I wrong.

I think once I had read the first chapter I knew I was going to l like it. Mac is a very likable character. She’s spunky and does what she wants. I like that. She kind of reminded me of Sookie Stackhouse at first, another character that I really enjoy.

I’m still not sure what to think of Barrons though. I’m not sure if I like him or if he’s out to use Mac for her abilites. It’s unusual that I can’t make up my mind about a character – usually I either love them or hate them right off the bat.

The novel is set in Ireland, a place that I’d love to go to, but haven’t traveled to yet. Reading Darkfever I almost felt like I was there. I love books like that. It draws you into the story and you can picture yourself in the middle of the action. The setting added a lot to my enjoyment.

I think this series if off to a great start and I’m excited to read the next one in the Fever series, Bloodfever.

Image: goodreads.com

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Published by: Dutton Adult

Year of Publication: September 28, 2010

Categories: Adult, Historical Fiction, War.

Pages: 985

Summary (from Goodreads):The first novel in The Century Trilogy, this book follows the fates of five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh-as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage. Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man’s world in the Welsh mining pits…Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House…two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…Billy’s sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London…

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

Review: I have to start off my saying that I’ve only read two other books by Ken Follett – Pillars of the Earth and World Without End – and I absolutely loved them! The characters he creates are compelling and believable. They bring the time period to life, I feel like I’m right there with them. So I was pretty excited when I got Fall of Giants for Christmas.

I wasn’t disappointed, even though I had high expectations. It was exactly what I was expecting – rich descriptions, unforgettable characters, and plot twists.

Fall of Giants takes place before, during, and after WWI. It takes a time period when a lot happened, and there were a ton of players, and make it easily understandable. The large cast of characters made it possible for Follett to give many points of view, something that I really enjoyed. It’s easy to put labels on people, but because you got to see things from so many different points of view, it made it a lot harder to do that. It definitely gave me a better understanding of WWI.

This is the first book in a trilogy that will span the 20th century. I can’t wait til the next one is released – seriously CAN’T WAIT! I’ve now fallen in love with the characters and desperately what to know what will happen to them next.

If you’re looking for a historical fiction novel that centers on WWI, this is definitely the pick for you.

Connect with Ken Follett:

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Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.