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Alison's "Alison's Book Marks" RSS Feed (Asbury, NJ, United States)

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UGG Women's Coquette Slipper, Black, 10 B - Medium
UGG Women's Coquette Slipper, Black, 10 B - Medium
Offered by What's Hot
Price: $119.95
29 used & new from $119.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the same, October 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are not the Ugg Coquette slippers I have grown to love. Every so often, I replace my slippers after they've become too worn. I sent back this replacement pair. They are not as soft, the new "security tag" is itchy, and they just weren't as comfortable. New Ugg slippers should feel like your feet get a nice warm hug at the end of the day...I miss my hug.

Nanny Diaries
Nanny Diaries
Price: $7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Read the book!, August 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nanny Diaries (Amazon Video)
Not nearly as good as the book.

The Bone Season: A Novel
The Bone Season: A Novel
by Samantha Shannon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.89
239 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Imaginative, and Brilliant!, October 17, 2013
The first in a seven-book series, THE BONE SEASON is a must-read! Samatha Shannon flexes her literary muscles as she gives readers a solid first installment.

The year is 2059 and Paige Mahoney lives in the alternate future of London, where anyone with clairvoyant talents are illegal and hidden away. She is part of an elite underground crew of voyants called the Seven Seals. Her particular talent is rare and coveted. She is a dream walker who is forced into a situation where she kills her assailant. She is captured, drugged, given an identification number, and brought to a prison-like society on the campus of what was once Oxford University. This society has a caste system in itself, where the inmates must prove their allegiance to the new order. She draws the attention of the Warden himself, one of the most powerful members of this society.

She is torn between wanting to save herself, save her friends on the outside, and learning what is really going on both here and back home.

An intense book that might overwhelm the casual reader, The Bone Season is intelligent and complex. There is an army of characters in each geographical section. Each character has a real name, a nickname, and an identification number. There are different factions and a hierarchy of government as well as in clairvoyant society.

The world-building is brilliant! If you take a little Margaret Atwood, the Matrix, The Hunger Games, and Macbeth and shake them all together, you might find yourself with The Bone Season stew. Paige is a strong female character that I can't wait to learn more about - she's tough, smart, talented, flawed and has room to grow.

At times, The Bone Season felt like it could have been tightened up a bit. There was a lot to learn about this world, the characters, and the systems in place, but Shannon also left too many unanswered questions dangling out there, many introduced with little relevance other than to let readers know more would be coming regarding those topics in later books. I can certainly see how she could build six more books simply on the questions she poses in the first. I just wish they had been more selectively opened. As I said, the first installment might be overwhelming for some. Even though I am excited to read the rest of the series, I do feel like I would need the first book fresh in my mind to fully appreciate the details in the upcoming books.

For the good and the bad, this is an ambitious work for such a young author, and The Bone Season is something I highly recommend to readers who appreciate intelligent, complex story lines and kick-ass characters who have room to grow.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2014 8:34 AM PST

Help for the Haunted: A Novel
Help for the Haunted: A Novel
by John Searles
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.04
119 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars chills up your spine!, October 17, 2013
To be devoured with the lights on!

The story starts with a phone call in the middle of the night. These types of phone calls were not unusual to the Masons, who happened to be religious ghost hunters, but this call was different. Rose Mason, the elder of their two daughters, was troubled and difficult, and had run away. She called her parents asking them to meet her in a church on the other side of town. Sylvie, the younger sister, was taken for the ride and left in the car to sleep, only to be woken by the sound of gunshots. At first, all readers know is that the parents were killed that night, but the truth of how it happened remains a mystery.

Told from the perspective of the younger sister, Sylvie, the two Mason girls are left on their own after their parents' murder. The Masons' odd profession caused much unwanted attention, from both believers and nonbelievers. By slowly peeling away the chain of events leading up to the night their parents were murdered, and taking readers through the aftermath, John Searles creates the perfect level of tension, suspense, and intrigue.

Rose and Sylvie are typical siblings, opposite of one another, each fulfilling their dutiful roles as rebel and rule-follower, and coming from a strangely dysfunctional family made them all the more interesting. Their characters are so well thought-out and so genuine. As much as Rose wants to put the events of that night behind them and move on, is how much Sylvie is nagged by the desire to find out the truth, no matter what it might uncover.

John Searles has a particular talent for adding subtle details that bring this novel to life, adding to the eerie mood and dark mystery. Help For the Haunted is not all ghosts and rattling chains in the basement, for there is a softer, more emotional element that draws readers deeper into Sylvie's narrative, making it all the more absorbing.

I highly recommend Help For the Haunted. Perfect for the season!

The Fifth Assassin (Beecher White)
The Fifth Assassin (Beecher White)
by Brad Meltzer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.80
213 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining!, October 17, 2013
A conspiracy theory regarding all four Presidential assassinations? Add the librarian hero and I was hooked before I even started the book!

At the heart of The Fifth Assassin is Beecher White, who is essentially an important librarian and historian at the National Archives in Washington DC. He, along with a small group of mysterious characters, is a part of The Culper Ring, a secret spy organization formed during GeorgeWashington's time.When information is discovered that each assassination was planned and carried out by yet another clandestine group, Beecher is not only determined who is behind the assassinations, but races against the clock to prevent what might be the fifth assassination.

Although two characters (Beecher and the Knight) in The Fifth Assassin had made appearances in Meltzer's previous work, readers can jump into this story and enjoy a wild ride. There are several storylines going at once, maintaining the quick tempo and begging pages to turn. Even though I had no trouble following the plot at hand, I believe I would have gotten more from the book had I known more of the back story of each Beecher and the Knight. For this reason, I recommend you go back and read the first two books before picking up The Fifth Assassin, if only to enjoy the story as intended.

Sure, there were parts of the book that were so far fetched readers might want to chuckle, but it's fiction, entertaining fiction that keeps you guessing.

This was my very first Brad Meltzer book, and I'm sure it will not be my last. If his loyal fans are telling me this was not his best, I have some fantastic books ahead of me!

I listened to the audio, and it was certainly one of those books that kept me circling the block in order to listen more before pulling into my driveway. The narrator came close to adopting a melodramatic tone early on, but quickly rebounded.

Recommended after reading The Inner Circle.

Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel
Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel
by Jamie Ford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.00
257 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written!, October 17, 2013
The year was 1934 and twelve year old orphan, William Eng, takes a trip to the movies with the other orphan boys and girls to celebrate their birthdays. All the orphans celebrate their birthday on the same day, as many of them did not know when their actual birthdays were. Their birthday treats were the same every year: church, letters from home, a nickel for candy, and a moving picture.

In the movie theater with his fellow orphans, including his best friend, Charlotte Rigg, William was convinced he saw his mother on the silver screen, the beautiful actress, Willow Frost. Convinced the movie star was his mother, Liu Song, William was determined to leave the orphanage and find her. What follows is a journey full of heartbreak and hope.

Back when women had few choices in life, especially when fate dealt them difficult cards, they had to make awful sacrifices to save the people they loved the most. SONGS OF WILLOW FROST is the story of sacrifices one makes in the name of love. Jamie Ford reveals the journey of Liu Song's life, and the series of events that lead up to William's time in the orphanage, as well as some brutal snapshots of the other children who were in the orphanage with William.

A heartbreaking novel from an author who knows how to slowly peel back the stories of multiple generations to help his readers understand the ones that came after. Readers share in the stories of the pain and suffering of so many families, especially children, and then see a mother's sacrifice in hopes of ending a cycle of horror.

I was completely consumed by the hope and love that shine through this heartbreaking story. Not really thinking it was possibleI am glad to say that Jamie Ford has written a novel even more compelling, and more beautiful than Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Both are in a league of their own, but if you are a fan of Jamie Ford or any historical fiction, Songs of Willow Frost is not to be missed!

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns
Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns
by Lauren Weisberger
Edition: Hardcover
315 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, October 17, 2013
Andy and Emily, two former assistants to the editor-in-chief of the most powerful fashion magazine in the world, have taken the last ten years to shift their focus from Runway fashion to Wedding fashion. They have started their own wedding magazine, The Plunge, and Andy is about to marry into publishing royalty. All seems to be blissfully in place, until their little magazine captures the attention of the Devil herself...Miranda Priestly.

I was very much looking forward to the sequel to Devil Wears Prada (2004), a fabulous fictional inside look at a fashion magazine's mogul through the eyes of her abused assistant, Andrea Sachs. Unfortunately, Revenge Wears Prada picks up ten years after the last book ended, and has little to do with Miranda Priestly, the deliciously evil character we all loved to hate, but couldn't take our eyes off her all the same!

Where The Devil Wears Prada had me rooting for Andy throughout the book, the first half of Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns had me rooting against her. The last ten years had apparently turned her into a whiny, ungrateful, miserable pain in the ass. She should be content with everything she's ever dreamed of - new husband, great apartment, and a magazine where she is in control. Maybe she was waiting for the other shoe to drop, because she never seemed satisfied with her happiness...that is, until her happiness was threatened by Miranda Priestly.

By the time I got to the last few chapters, I understood why Andy spent so much time whining about her husband and her best friend...but only then. I don't want to give away the end of the book, but I am not sure the author was effective in getting us there on good terms.

While Revenge Wears Prada was a light, fast read with entertaining moments, I'm afraid fans of the original Devil Wears Prada will be disappointed.

NOTE ON THE AUDIO: I was thrilled to receive this as an audiobook. Not only was I looking forward to reading Revenge Wears Prada, but it was narrated by the very talented Megan Hilty, of TV's "Smash" fame. She owned that show with her voice, and I could listen to her sing for days on end. She has a voice that is so pleasing to the ear, I am sure this will not be her last audiobook, nor should it be! There are times I wished she would have differentiated her voice a bit more between the female characters, especially when there was a lot of back and forth banter, but all in all, she did a great job.

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy
Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy
by Lacy Crawford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.01
121 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!, October 17, 2013
Anne is a private college applications consultant. For those of us who have no idea what that is, Anne is hired by wealthy families (because who else could pay such a fee?) to help put together their high school seniors' college applications packages, including help with the essays, personal statements, Common Application, deadlines, freak-outs, frantic phone calls, and everything in between.

Anne's clients are wealthy, powerful, and leave nothing to chance. "They refuse to play with a deck that wasn't stacked."

Early Decision follows Anne during a typical applications season and five high school seniors. Readers bear witness to the parents' reactions and overreactions of their children's essays, which are printed within the text of the book so readers themselves can see the progression from trite and uninspired, to complex and well executed. Not only do the essays grow and mature in this story, though. The students themselves go through a transformation, in spite of, or thanks to, their parents' pressures.

Anne's feeling is that students must make the switch between the people they are, having always been told what to do, to the students and adults they will become, taking ownership of their futures, and making their own decisions. Ideally, once that switch is made, it comes through in their essays, admissions committees fall in love with the applications, and the students make the most of their four year colleges. At least in an ideal world...

Early Decision definitely had me thinking and questioning this entire process. I am the parent of two young boys, and college seems like a distant, enigmatic, trial. My own college applications process was random and chaotic, as I had zero guidance from parents and counselors. I was a kid that needed, that begged, for a push. Unfortunately, Lacy Crawford did not seem to agree with parents that pushed their floundering children; nor did she agree with the parents who overestimated their child's abilities, as they pushed too hard. As you can imagine, I had a difficult time agreeing with the judgments of Anne, the college applications expert.

Since Lacy Crawford presents this college application process from several dramatic points of view, Early Decision will give book clubs something to sink their teeth into!

Thinking about my own book clubs, and the different stages of schooling our children are in - some of us have young children, others have sons and daughters in colleges, and the variety of colleges among the groups is overwhelming, especially considering all of these kids all grew up within a few miles of one another - there is so much we could discuss. Were the parents too hard on their kids? Were the kids too coddled? Were the working moms (once again) crucified for not being around more? Would you hire a college applications consultant? I should also point out that one woman in my book club actually works for the admissions office of a college - I can't wait to hear what she thinks of Early Decision!

Applying to college is a fiercely competitive business. Readers who see college as part of their children's future will find this book fascinating, enlightening, as well as a bit frightening.

P.S. Even though Lacy Crawford spent 15 years as a college applications counselor, she insists that this book is a work of fiction

The Other Typist
The Other Typist
by Suzanne Rindell
Edition: Hardcover
118 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for book clubs!, October 17, 2013
This review is from: The Other Typist (Hardcover)
Highly stylized mystery wrapped in noir.

Rose Baker is the typist for a police precinct on the lower East Side of Manhattan. The scene is set in the early 20s, the time of Prohibition, speakeasies, and bobs. Rose Baker, is a rule follower, keeps her hair long, and enjoys her job. She might even enjoy her job a little too much - typing up the gruesome details of homicides and assaults.

Rose gets a thrill on the power she holds at her fingertips. With one small change to her report, she could decide the fate of any man whose statement she types. The control she wields is on steady ground until a new typist walks into the precinct, and Rose's world is thrown off balance. Odalie is radiant and attracts attention with her high fashion and nightly escapades. Everyone at the precinct is swept up by Odalie's energy, but Rose is torn between disliking the attention Odalie receives, and joining in on the newest obsession.

Rose Baker is not a likable character, yet readers cannot help but get swept up in her fascination with Odalie. There is something "off" about each of these women, and author Suzanne Rindell does an amazing job and hinting at the darker side of this story, dropping hints and suggestions, until the mystery takes a dramatic turn. Once this happens, readers will not be able to tear through the pages fast enough.

The Other Typist has more than one gasp-worthy scene and the surprise ending will leave you breathless.

You will want your book club to read The Other Typist with you, because you'll need someone to discuss these characters with!

Freud's Mistress
Freud's Mistress
by Karen Mack
Edition: Hardcover
147 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, October 17, 2013
This review is from: Freud's Mistress (Hardcover)
Great read!

Inspired by a real-life affair that Sigmund Freud had with his sister-in-law, FREUD'S MISTRESS gives readers a fascinating view of the most famous psychoanalyst in history.

The first line of the book sets the dark mood and pulls readers in: "The season for suicides had begun."

Set in 1895 Vienna, authors Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman introduce a woman who has, lost all of her prospects at becoming anything more than a ladies' maid or servant. Even though Minna Bernays would like a job in which she could support herself and live alone, while maintaining her reputation and self respect, it was not done and ends up at her sister, Martha's, home, helping with her six children. Embarrassed to be calling upon her sister for help, she lands on her doorstep with no money and no plan.

" these static times women either kept servants or were one."

Despite her sister's failed attempts to marry her off, Minna expected the living situation to be temporary, until she entered into a relationship with Martha's husband, the not-yet-famous, Sigmund Freud. The man was elusive, and even rude, to many, spending hours locked in his study and with patients. His attention outside of his work was given to a select few, a tenuous prize to be held close. So when he began paying attention to Minna, she was understandably flattered.

Anyone who took Psychology 101 in college knows that Dr. Freud was a bit obsessed with human sexuality and its effect on one's psychosis. He felt all problems related back to sex - desire, satisfaction, frustration, pain, hysteria, or depression. In Freud's Mistress, the Dr. used Minna as a sounding board, a confidante, and possibly, a test subject.

Even though there was a section of the book that seemed a bit slow to me, the characters in the book were extremely compelling, especially that of Martha, Freud's wife and Minna's sister. I don't want to give too much of the book away, but this character surprised and fascinated me throughout the book.

Add FREUD'S MISTRESS to the list of compelling novels shining a light on the women behind famous men, Loving Frank, Hemingway's Girl, and the Paris Wife. If you enjoyed any of those books, you should definitely read FREUD'S MISTRESS.

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