Saturday, July 9, 2011

Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Right up front I'll say that this is one of James Patterson's better books.  Honeymoon was both horrifying and intriguing.  While I wanted to know a little more about what drove Nora to be the way she was, I was still satisfied with the ending.

The story begins with Nora juggling a husband and fiance.  Through crafty computer skills and a little bit of luck, she manages to get wealthy off of these men, which in turns makes them expendable.  Nora has little regret as she ends their lives.  The story is also told from the perspective of John O'Hara, an FBI agent who is suspicious of Nora.  Despite his job and his knowledge of the woman, he becomes too close. 

I liked both the characters!  I know I'm not supposed to like a murderer but she was so matter of fact about it all.  I couldn't help but want to know what she would do next.  John was smart and sarcastic, which to me means he was quite lovable.  It was a quick and easy read that kept me reading to the end. 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Okay.  I really like this book!  Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater is unique and yet comfortable all at the same time!  It's very much girl meets boy who isn't quite human, yet the story behind it all takes it all in a new and unique direction.

Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam.  Grace is a fairly typical high school student who is drawn to a wolf that lives in her woods.  That wolf happens to be Sam, a human for part of the year and a wolf for the rest.  When Grace finds the human Sam injured on her porch, they quickly fall in love.  It's not overly corny or overly romantic, it is just right.  Time is against the couple as the time is coming for Sam to become a wolf again.  They struggle against nature to stay together.

This is the first in what is so far a trilogy.  I'm anxious to start reading Linger, the sequel.  While this is definitely a young adult book, I know a huge number of adults who enjoy books in this genre.  If you are one of those people, you won't be disappointed.  I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and highly recommend it. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

I had high hopes for Matched, by Ally Condie.  For the most part, they were met.  It's a bit of a formula now with one girl torn between two guys.  Fortunately the plot is different enough for the story to be interesting.  The story takes place in a future where everything is controlled.  People are told what activities they can choose from, what job to take, what to eat and how much, what to wear, etc.  Any step out of line, and there are problems.  Even death is controlled

The story starts with Cassia attending her Matching Ceremony.  At this formal dinner, she finds out who she is to marry.  To her relief, she is to marry Xander, her best friend.  Due to a glitch in data, she finds herself wondering if she was actually supposed to be matched to Ky.  She finds herself drawn to him and he begins to challenge the life she knows. 

The story moves quickly but, like many young adult novels, it doesn't have a clear ending.  It's a good thing there is a sequel coming!  It's really getting frustrating!  I didn't love the book like I wanted to, but it certainly kept me reading.  It's a solid young adult novel.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If You Were Here, by Jen Lancaster

For those who read my blog (anyone?), you'll know that I am a big fan of Jen's.  I'll read pretty much anything she writes, from her memoirs, to her blog, to her Twitter feed.  I jumped right into If You Were Here, right after it was released (I'm just late with the review).  This is Jen's first novel and it is just a ton of fun. 

Mac and Mia buy a house.  Not just any house, Jake Ryan's house.  If you are around my age and female, your heart gave a little thump at the mention of Jake's name.  Right?  Mac and Mia buy the house used in the movie Sixteen Candles.  Unfortunately the house has seen better days and can use some help.  It does have a panic room so that's a bonus.

The story is about a couple, a house, and their attempts to make it a home.  Anyone who has done construction on a home knows the things that can go wrong and in this book, it all goes wrong.  If You Were Here, is not a literary masterpiece but it's a hilarious look at real people and real situations.  It's typical Jen and if you love her, you'll love this.  It will make you laugh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Behind the Gates, by Eva Gray

Behind the Gates, by Eva Gray, is the first in a new series for children, called Tomorrow Girls.  It looked interesting as it's a dystopian novel for kids, which as far as I know is fairly unique.  The young adult shelves are full of them but for ages eight - twelve, I don't see as many.

The story starts with Louisa and Maddie heading toward a special boarding school.  They anticipate freedom and activities, but they find that the school is very different than expected.  They are taught survival skills and have all of their electronics taken away.  Louisa loves it but Maddie wants to go home. 

The girls, along with some new friends, discover that things aren't quite what they seem and they begin to wonder about the school's intentions.  With the world at war, are they being taught survival for a reason?

The story ends just as the story gets going.  It will be interesting to continue the series eventually.  I enjoyed the book but was not blown away by it.  It will probably appeal more to its intended age group but I can see where kids might not be patient enough to wait for the second book.  It might be an idea to get the entire series!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Don’t Breathe a Word, by Jennifer McMahon,  is a story that grips from the start.   The introduction of a missing child is one that strikes fear into anyone who has loved a child.  Lisa is missing and her brother, Sam, is just as much a victim.  He grew up always wondering what happened to Lisa, never knowing that the truth was very close.  

Phoebe, a broken woman herself, is in love with the now adult Sam.  They are planning a future together when Sam gets a call from someone who claims to be Lisa.  The story really gets going as deception and memories of literal fairy tales are brought to the forefront.

The novel is cleverly written.  We get to know Lisa and her story before she disappears.  She believes in fairies and her fairy king who will make her his queen.  Sam never does believe but when things start spiraling out of his control, he has to question the truth.   The twists and turns the story takes, kept me very interested and although the ending was disturbing, it made sense.  It’s definitely worth a read.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

I have mixed feelings about The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.  It’s the story of Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump Stratton, known to most as Vinnie or Mrs. Tom Thumb.  She was only thirty-two inches tall as an adult, having the condition known as proportionate dwarfism.  While Vinnie was in fact a real person, the story is a novel told from her perspective.

Vinnie’s small size does not mean she had a small personality.  Vinnie had plans to see the world and have everyone know her name.  When a “cousin” invites her to join his traveling show, she anticipates that she would be performing.  She had no idea her size was to be the show.  The story follows Vinnie’s life in show business, both at the beginning and later under contract with P.T. Barnum.  

I enjoyed the first part of the story a great deal.  I enjoyed Vinnie as a child and a young adult learning her way in a big world.  The story takes place in a fascinating time in history, so interesting that I found myself doing research into some of the people and places mentioned.   
I had trouble with the story when I started disliking Vinnie just a little bit.  Her marriage to Charles Stratton (General Tom Thumb) was never real to her and I felt that Vinnie became hard and cold after that.   Ms. Benjamin does an excellent job of story telling but I have to wonder if the real Vinnie was that hard or not.  I liked the innocent Vinnie a little bit more.   This is worth a read but I can't recommend it like I want to.