Book Review - Homer's Odyessy by Gwen Cooper

Title: Homer's Odyssey
Author: Gwen Cooper
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: Sept 7, 2010
Paperback, 299 pages

Barnes and Noble

For those of you who own cats, this is not a book you will want to read in public. I was constantly caught laughing out loud, making odd noises and such because I too have a cat (or two) who do very similar chaotic and hilarious antics. I couldn't help but fall deeply in love with Homer in the first chapter.

I have been fondly stroking this book at work for months now. For whatever reason, I didn't pick it up until this past week. I just felt the need to read something of love and romance, but not the "ruggedly handsome swashbuckling shirtless sex hero." Rather I was in the mood for romance of the hairy kind.

For exactly two days, I have had this insane smile on my face while reading this book. It so warm and affectionate. Gwen writes with such abandonment that I can't help but see each and every detail in her stories of Homer. It begins with a start from the vet who had removed and sewn Homer's eyes shut. I found this heartbreaking and the most perfect beginning to an amazing tale.

Summary -


The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever.” But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night. But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that transformed Gwen’s life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized that Homer had taught her the most valuable lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Review - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: DoubleDay
Publish Date: Sept 13, 2011
Hardcover 387 pages

Barnes and Noble

You know when people use the term "dating up," well, this book is reading up. The level of writing is so poetic and beautiful that it really did feel as if I was reading poetry in another language. It was simply artistic. I found myself mystified by the words, the phrases and use of description that amazed even my 4 year old imagination. It would be a travesty if everyone did not take the time to read this book.

There are two main characters in this book, Celia and Marco, though they are really not introduced for a quarter of the book. Their lives start out as simple side stories that eventually twist and turn to interweave together. Then the last quarter of the book introduces side characters as a sort of main character replacement. Without giving too much detail, as the mystery of this book is much of the magic, it feels a little like six degrees of separation and how each person who enters your life may factor in to the development. People who are behind the scene end up being cataclysmal. One of my favorite characters is Bailey, a mere boy who feels out of place in his own life. His parents want him to run the farm, he feels the need to go to Harvard and then this circus arrives and he is drawn to it and the players inside. A seemingly innocent character with much to give.

This is not a blockbuster book, nor a sad drama filled read. It is simply an intricate weaving of people's life's with the magic and dream-like state of perception. Who's perception, depends on the chapter.

I would love to see this turned in to a movie, but would be surprised if anyone could give it the justice as Erin Morgenstern gave it.

Summary -
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Review - Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed
Matched #2
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publish Date: Nov 1, 2011
Hardcover, 368 pages

Barnes and Noble

I am starting to think I am just not a fan of the second book in a series. I once heard that a trilogy goes something like birth, life and death. The first book in the series is the beginning. The excitement of everything new and wild. There's love and learning and risk. The second book is built on the first. Maybe a few new characters, some new adventures, but it is almost like they are just setting us up for the final book. I feel like the second book is a roller coaster ride that never ends. I feel a bit tired, a bit motion sick, a bit bored mixed with the excitement, happiness and love reminisce of the first book. This isn't sounding like a positive book review, but the fact is, I like this book. The plot and concept are brilliant. The characters are smart, funny, vulnerable and good. There are secrets everyone is keeping, but we know it is for their own safety. It is very much a mirror to life, should we ever have society like this, hence dystopian.

Ally Condie has a very unique writing method that makes me feel I am there and I just love Cassia. If she were real, we would definitely be friends. She makes a great female role model. And Ky makes me sigh. He is romantic and caring and yet determined to be with Cassia. Secretly I like him better than Xander. But I like flaws. Xander seems too perfect, even though they reveal his secret in this book! The development of this society outside the city is fascinating. Meeting the farmers, their life and deaths. Wandering from outside territory and dealing with kids like them only lost. Finding Cassia's and Ky's own ways and wants.


It kills me to have to wait. I get why people say they wait for the entire series to be printing to start reading. I almost felt I needed to reread the first book. Regardless, I fell in love again. And it finished with a very wonderful lesson of "be careful what you wish for."

AND HER THIRD BOOK, yet to be determined, has the words on the pre-book cover "It's her turn to choose. Fall 2012. All will be sorted."

OMG I am so excited to read the ending. I hope she chooses Ky, but then again, the next book should have more about Xander so I will get to know him better. Maybe, maybe I'll like him better?

Summary -

The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

IMM - In My Mailbox

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy (see MY review)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
One For the Money (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich (soon to be a movie)
The Litigators by John Grisham (really for my mom, but I'll read it too!)
Crossed by Ally Condie (review posts Monday)