Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Department of Lost & Found by Allison Winn Scotch

The Department of Lost & Found is perhaps the best book I've read that deals with cancer, relationships and family.

The characters are well developed, the story line moves smoothly and there is a little bit of Natalie in all of us thereby making her easy to relate to. There are several story lines but they are so well written and entwined with such ease that following along is simple.

You will be emotionally moved whether or not you've had cancer or know someone who has. The author does such an excellent job you feel as though your reading your best friends story.

Grade: A


It didn't start out as the worst day of Natalie Miller's life...
As the top aide to New York's powerful woman senator, Natalie's moving rapidly up the political ladder. She works hard, stays late, and enjoys every bit of it. Then her neglected boyfriend announces he's leaving. But that's only the beginning. Her doctor tells her she has breast cancer—and raw ambition and ruthless determination alone are not going to cure it. Suddenly the life Natalie needs to change is her own.
The time has come for her to take a tough look at the choices she's made. She'll start by tracking down the five loves of her life in order to assess what went wrong. And by revisiting her past, Natalie just might discover exciting new paths to unexplored places—and learn how to stop barreling through life long enough to really embrace it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

Werline, tells a tale thru the eyes of a teen age boy. Matt is only 13 and has more responsibilities than a grown man. He cares for and protects his sisters from the vicious antics of his mentally unstable mother.

The characters are so realistic your heart aches for them as your anger builds towards their mother, Nikki.

This book is about determination, fear and hope. This is an emotionally strong book. It won't shake you to the core like David Pelzer's horrific memoir's but it will make you stop for a moment and think of all the children who suffer from abuse sexual, verbal, physical and/or emotional.

Grade: A

If you know or suspect someone who is abusing a child or children please take the time to call, Child Protective Services. Be their unheard voices.

Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

Somebody Else's daughter was a huge let down. The build up is slow and antagonizing. It is full of cliches, Aids, adoption, molestation, murder, eating disorders, adultery, drug abuse, pornography and on and on....

It is as if the writer felt the need to address all the issues wrong with the world in one book, making generalizations in a poor attempt to captivate the reader.

I struggled through this novel and nearly put it down, unfinished a handful of times. The character development is mediocre. There is nothing thrilling, inspiring or thought provoking about this book.

I wanted complexity and suspense. I got boredom and aggravation. If your interested, borrow the book, don't purchase it.

Grade: C-

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Woods by Harlan Coben

The Woods, suspenseful, exciting and quite a page turner. There is a good mix of mystery, twists and questionable truth.

The plot is well developed and all loose ends are tied up, you will not be disappointed! This is the first book I've read by Coben, but it won't be the last. For the first time in ages, It took till near the end of the book to figure out all the twists and one truth left me surprised.

Grade: A

Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp walked into the woods at night. Two were found murdered, and the others were never seen again. Four families had their lives changed forever. Now, two decades later, they are about to change again.For Paul Copeland, the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, mourning the loss of his sister has only recently begun to subside. Cope, as he is known, is now dealing with raising his six-year-old daughter as a single father after his wife has died of cancer. Balancing family life and a rapidly ascending career as a prosecutor distracts him from his past traumas, but only for so long. When a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to Cope, the well-buried secrets of the prosecutor's family are threatened.Is this homicide victim one of the campers who disappeared with his sister? Could his sister be alive? Cope has to confront so much he left behind that summer twenty years ago: his first love, Lucy; his mother, who abandoned the family; and the secrets that his Russian parents might have been hiding even from their own children. Cope must decide what is better left hidden in the dark and what truths can be brought to the light

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan

Songs for the missing is nearly impossible to put down and the need to figure out what happened to Kim builds with each chapter.

O'Nan writing style allows for ease and comfort. You easily fall into the story line and feel the anger and frustration of her parents and sister. This book is emotionally charged and suspenseful.

This book is NOT about Kim's murder but about how her family and friends mourn the loss of someone they cherish and love. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster and the fear that you too may go missing.

Grade: A

There's a New Name in School (The Ashleys, Book 1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa De la Cruz does a great job and keeping you entertained with this novel. Her witty writing will make you laugh aloud and her mean girl attitude will make you cringe.

De La Cruz does a great job at capturing the relationship between young girls. All the characters are well developed and capture both the insecurities and securities that these girls have.

You will not be surprised by the viciousness that these girls perpetuate on, one another and others. This book is a bit of Heathers meets Mean Girls.

Grade: A-

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

The book, Interview with the Vampire is much better than the movie. I tried watching the movie three times and fell asleep each time, so you can only imagine my apprehension reading this novel.

However all turned out better than expected. The book is far superior to the movie but the over-the-top descriptions did get the best of me. Had it not been for the compelling story line and passages I would have skimmed through many parts of this novel.

I wouldn't' go as far as to say that, this is the "best" vampire story ever but it tells an interesting, emotional and compelling story. Rice is overrated and long winded yet her main character is so well developed and likable that you can't help but want to read the tale he has to tell.

Grade: C

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen

Loose Girl is a hard and honest look into the promiscuous life of Kerry and her quest to find love and be loved.

This memoir will make you angry, sad, frustrated and confused. Kerry's self destruction and path to finding acceptance is a long and torturous one.

This books is difficult to put down. It hooks you in and keeps you intrigued. Don't expect it to have explicit stories of sexual conquests because it is about a lot more than sex. Not until this novel did I get an understanding of why some women become promiscuous. It isn't because she is a "slut" but because she is fragile.

Grade: B+

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Truth about Diamonds Nicole Richie

Not a huge fan of Nicole Richie however since I'd been told this book was pretty good I thought I'd give it a try.

I was neither impressed or disappointed. The book was rather decent and surprisingly entertaining. The read is extremely simple so don't expect too much.

Grade: C

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

Starts off pretty interesting but then somewhere along the way the writer must have lost train of thought or gotten distracted because it suddenly changes and loses energy along the way.

The end fails to conclude, there is nothing there. You are left with far more questions than answers, which does not work in the case of this novel.

Check it out from the library don't buy it!

Grade: C

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz

Sole Survivor will keep you up into the midnight hour (or well past it). Koontz thrills, excites and builds momentum keeping you on your toes.

Koontz once again leaves you spellbound. This well written novel shows that he has the ability to write outside his typical realm while making the scenes leap off the pages. The details and descriptions are gruesome at times but it is necessary to aid the story line.

This suspenseful plot will keep you hooked.

Grade: A

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Secret Society Girl: An Ivy League Novel by Diana Peterfreund

This novel is about friendship, college life, secret societies, belonging and gender equality.

An easy read with semi- relatable characters. As a reader you will move effortlessly thru this book. You don't need to have belonged to a sorority or fraternity to relate.

Secret Society isn't necessarily original but it will captivate you.

Grade: B+

Monday, November 10, 2008

Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery by James Patterson, Hal Friedman, Cory Friedman

Against Medical Advice is an intense and moving novel. It takes you onto a heart wrenching journey as Cory and his family attempt to find a "help" for his Tourette's and OCD that have plagued him from a young age, making his life at times unbearable.

His degree of honesty gives this story a personal feel and allows for an intimate look into his life. This bone chilling and haunting novel will keep you up way past your bedtime.

Go out and purchase this book NOW.

Grade: A+

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Thin Pink Line by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Thin Pink Line borders on being a complete and total mess. It is difficult to get through and I was soon skimming pages so that I could finish it and move on to something better.

The character is suppose to be british but appears much more American (in her speech and traditions). This takes away from the setting and character development because is disrupts the flow and continuity.

The characters with the exception of David have no redeeming qualities and the further you get into the story line, the slower it drags. The ending is contrived and nothing is resolved.

Skip this book.

Grade: D

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward

Thought provoking and engrossing. How do you forgive the unforgivable? The lives of three women are intertwined due to the callous actions of one.

The novel details the lives of women on death row and briefly discusses the actions that caused them to get there (many of which we have seen in the headlines) along with giving a visual of the friendship and life of being an inmate on deathrow. Ward draws you into her novel and makes you anxious to turn the page to see what will transpire next.

Her writing and story lines give you a view on the death penalty. It might not change how you feel but it gives the person in the cell waiting for the eventual execution a degree of humanity.

This novel tells a tale of sadness, loneliness and hope.

Grade: A-

Monday, November 3, 2008

Little Children by Tom Perrotta

Little Children was neither good nor bad. Initially it captures your attention and then it slowly fades away only to pick up rather quickly as the end draws near. Everything ends rather fast and a bit to "pretty" with a large degree of predictability leaving much left to be desired.

This book has many central themes to it, which enhances the interest of the reader while maintaining some degree of reality. This along with, Perrotta's excellent use of words and writing skills help to keep one interested rather than fling the book across the room.

Expect a contrived and disappointing end along with stereotypical characters.

Grade: C+

The Embalmer by Caillé Anne-Reneé and Mullins Rhonda

The Embalmer is a short book around 80 pages or so. It's not as macabre as I was hoping but it is rather interesting. The book centers a...