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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Misdaventures of Oliver Booth by David Desmond


Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
ISBN: 1929774567
Pages: 224 pgs
Genre: Humor
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 





Synopsis from the Publisher
Oliver Booth wants nothing more than to join the ranks of Palm Beach's high society. But with his arrogant personality, garish wardrobe, and incompetent stewardship of an antique shop filled with gaudy reproductions, he doesn't have a chance. Oliver's luck takes a turnabout when the society doyenne Margaret Van Buren sends him and his assistant, Bernard, to Paris on a shopping spree to furnish her new estate. What ensues is a series of hilarious, Voltaire-esque misadventures as Oliver bumbles his way through the milieu of the elite. A satirical look at the lengths some people will go to in order to enter the insular circle of the privileged, David's Desmond's novel is a witty glimpse into a world few of us know.

My Review:

To tell you the truth when I first picked up this book I was sure I was not going to like it. I found myself pleasantly surprised. “The Misadventures of Oliver Booth” presents a witty and sarcastic portrait of a desperate social climber.

Oliver Booth seems to be an amalgam of all the pesky, ambitious and abrasive social climbers and hangers on that Desmond surely has come into contact with. Oliver is obese, foul smelling, and petulant. He is not a character most people want to find themselves seated across from at dinner. He runs an antique shop filled with overpriced Mexican reproductions of Louis XIV. He hoodwinks a poor, sensible French waiter named Bernard into working at his antique shop. He demands first class treatment and throws a fit worthy of a petulant four year old girl in a toy shop. He is also one of the most engaging characters I have ever come across. I could not put this book down once I started reading. I was waiting to see what kind of situation Oliver got himself into next. He is not a character you will like. If you meet a person like Oliver, your faith in the general goodness of humanity will be greatly diminished.

Desmond’s writing style is also one of this book. He is witty and sarcastic. His writing will draw you into this zany and wacky tale. You will get to the end of the book and not know how you got there. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good laugh.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell

Publisher: NAL Trade
ISBN: 0451224914
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Chick Lit/Women's Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 





Synopsis from publisher:

 
Nestled among Manhattan University’s faculty housing, there is a garden where four women will meet—each with a scandalous secret that could upset their lives, destroy their families, and rock the prestigious university to its very core.

With its maple trees, iron gate, and fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U’s garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah much needed refuge from their problems. But as Mary’s husband, the power-hungry dean, plans to demolish their beloved garden, these four women will discover a surprising secret about a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript—and realize they must find the courage to stand up for their passions, dreams, and desires.



My Review:

This book is not my usual fare. I never like modern chick lit. I usually skip over books like this when in the bookstore. I am so glad that I was chosen to receive this book because I would be missing such a gem of a book because of my own prejudice. The Professors Wives’ Club is one of the most engaging and entertaining books I have ever read.

Mary, Ashleigh, Sofia and Hannah are some of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered. The minute I began reading, I was completely invested in their lives and relationships. I felt I could identify with something in each and every one of them even though I have very little in common with any of them. These women could have easily developed into realm of the “annoying female character” (overly perfect, super-woman complex or weak-willed, dependent, water-works) without a writer as skilled at weaving a plot as Rendell. Her writing is crisp. She captures each woman’s voice perfectly and weaves their stories together seamlessly.

The fact that the book centers around the world of academia was also a strong draw for me. The internal politics and conflicts of University life are especially interesting to me because I went to a university in New York where internal protests and strikes were a familiar and almost everyday occurrence. Rendell displays the internal conflicts and tensions very accurately.

Once I started the book, I could not put it down. This is not your typical chick lit book to use for easy reading on vacation. This book will distract you and get you so embroiled in the story, you will spend your vacation inside reading the book. I absolutely love this book. I will be anxiously awaiting Rendell’s next book which comes out in 2009.



*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Napoleon's Gambit by Eric Goldman



Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 0595528430
Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Thriller
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 







Synopsis from the Publisher
A modern sailor is recruited by the Royal Navy and finds himself on the deck of HMS Impérieuse in 1813, as she sails into battle against overwhelming odds. At stake are $5 billion in gold and the fate of the modern world. Think of it as Captain Kirk meets Captain Jack Aubrey: a moral tale, light-hearted and filled with action, yet rich in authentic historical and nautical detail. Napoleon's Gambit is set in exotic locations aboard the world's most advanced yacht and on old wooden warships. Its love-story, sword-fights, sea-battles, pirates and storms at sea add tension to an unpredictable and satisfying plot.
My Review
Napoleon’s Gambit was the perfect combination of naval history and time travelling adventure. As a fan of both H.G. Wells and Patrick O’ Brien, it was of particular interest to me. The combination of these genres resulted in a very unique reading experience. The book was a very quick and enjoyable read.  It is definitely a page turner.  I often found myself engrossed in the story to the point that I forgot my surroundings.  I particularly enjoyed the last half of the book where Josh Rick is in 1813 and educating these prominent historical characters about the nuances of modern technology.  The battle scene at the end was excellent. You really did get the feel of the chaos and brutality of battle. 

The one aspect of this book that I did not like was the romantic relationship between Josh and Ses. I perhaps wouldn’t have minded the relationship so much if Ses had been a more likeable character. She just seemed too pretty, too perfect, too intelligent. This, however, was not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book. The historical characters of Captain Lord Thomas Cochrane and Dr. James Guthrie were excellent additions to the story. I almost forgot that they were historical characters. They fit into the story seamlessly. This book requires a basic knowledge of historical events and nautical terms. For readers who are lacking in this knowledge, visit www.napoleonsgambit.com for a glossary and other helpful materials. 

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
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