Saturday, July 30, 2011

Then Came You: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner

Then Came You, is not one of Weiner's finest novels. It is neither fantastic or dissapointing.

It is written in a Jodi Picoult style, each section which its own "voice" and narrative point of view.
This story brings together four women, from different walks of life. They have very little in common with one another yet some how manage to put differences aside for the love of a child.

Some of the character's are realistic but the storyline seems farfetched. It had a difficult time believing the resolution at the end.

Grade: C

Overview [B&N]
An unexpected love story…
Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior with a full scholarship, acquaintances instead of friends, and a family she’s ashamed to invite to Parents’ Weekend. With the income she’ll receive from donating her “pedigree” eggs, she believes she can save her father from addiction.
Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother to two boys. After years of staying at home and struggling to support four people on her husband’s salary, she thinks she’s found a way to recover a sense of purpose and bring in some extra cash.
India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), has changed everything about herself: her name, her face, her past. In New York City, she falls for a wealthy older man, Marcus Croft, and decides a baby will ensure a happy ending. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to technology, and Annie and Jules, to help make her dreams come true.
But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Marcus’ daughter Bettina, intent on protecting her father, becomes convinced that his new wife is not what she seems…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 2) by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials in an excellent addition to the Maze Runner Trilogy. Middle books in a trilogy tend to be anti-climatic and stiff but this one was absolutely intriguing.

There is an entirely new setting, a few new characters and a new mix of dangers. The characters remain strong, consistent and believable.

The storyline is gripping and full of suspense. Another cliff- hanger ending which leaves you all that more anxious for the release of the final installment, The Death Cure which comes out October 11, 2011.

Grade: A

Overview [B&N]
The Scorch Trials picks up where The Maze Runner left off. The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet.
And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Can Thomas survive in such a violent world?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Left Neglected is Lisa Genova's second novel --- and while it is not as good as Still Alice, it is still pretty remarkable.

Her book follows the ups and downs of Sarah, a 37 year old mother, wife and high strung career women who is in an car accident that leaves her with an brain injury called, Left Neglect. Left Neglect is a brain dysfunction that leaves an individual without the ability to see, recognize or feel the left side of the body.

The character's are well written, the plot is inspirational and the writing is superb. Genova has the ability to put you in Sarah's shoes and experience left neglect and the frustration that comes with it.

Left Neglected is an eye opening, interesting and an enjoyable read, however if you are familiar with Genova's novel, Still Alice you will notice a huge different in her storytelling and while it isn't bad it is different --- so you need to look past it so that you can enjoy this particular book.

Grade: A

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard

Jaycee Dugard isn't what one would call a great writer or even an excellent storyteller however her ability to be honesty and forthcoming more than make up for it.

She is an inspiration. She is a survivor and she is unbelievably strong. She lost 18 years of her life to a horrible, horrible man who abused and degraded her.

This memoir is more than just her "story" but it is also about her ability to overcome --- "move" on and integrated herself and her children into society and out of her tormented backyard world.

This book is a bit difficult to read at time --- due to the material and some of the writing. It is hard to imagine that one person could endure so much.

This book will not be graded.

Overview {B&N]
In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen.
For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse.
For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.
On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim. I survived.
A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me (A Chelsea Handler Book/Borderline Amazing Publishing) by Chelsea's Family, Friends and Other Victims and Chelsea Ha

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told me is written by her friends, family and colleagues. It is essentially about the pranks, lies and odd situations she gets them into.

Expect to laugh aloud at this fast, entertaining and light read. This is a perfect read for a down in the dumps day!

Grade: A

Overview: [B&N]
"My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate."—Chelsea Handler, from Chapter 10 of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang
It's no lie: Chelsea Handler loves to smoke out "dumbassness," the condition people suffer from that allows them to fall prey to her brand of complete and utter nonsense. Friends, family, co-workers—they've all been tricked by Chelsea into believing stories of total foolishness and into behaving like total fools. Luckily, they've lived to tell the tales and, for the very first time, write about them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson (

Robopocalypse just isn't my cup of tea. It has taken me nearly a week to read, which for me is an excessively long time. I got to the halfway point of the book and even though it was tedious, I had already invested so much time in it, I had to finish it.

I hoped that it would improve ---- but it didn't. This book has been called or referred to as
Crichtonesque --- to compare the writing and story line to Crichton is a travesty. This book reads like a script, the characters are flat and all eerily similar. The narration is dry.

Each chapter is narrated by a different character but the narration and characters are so dull it doesn't really make reading the book more enjoyable. The book is way to plot driven --- characters have very little depth.

This book is unsatisfying. There are a lot of excellent apocalyptic and post apocalyptic books out there ---- so it's best to leave this one alone.

As a side note this book, is being made into a movie directed by Spielberg.

Grade: F

Overview [B&N]

They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies…Now they’re coming for you.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Silver Girl: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand

Another delightful read by Hiderbrand!

Connie and Meredith had always been childhood friends --- Years had passed without them truly speaking and then suddenly Meredith finds herself in a situation in which she needs Connie and solace.

Meredith husband was involved in a ponzi scheme and his dirty deeds have consequences that might take Meredith and their son down with him. Think, Bernie Madoff and his wife. Connie is widowed and estranged for her daughter.

These two women take refuge in Connie's beautiful home in Nantucket to heal and retreat. They are faced with new and old relationships that change their perspective on life and living.

This is a perfect beach read and with only one minor flaw --- a fantastic read. The flaw itself is minor and may only be bothersome to a few, myself included. Hiderbrand using the word jail throughout the book rather than prison.

This is annoying because jail and prison are quite different things. Jail being a place in which an inmate is awaiting trial, waiting for transport to prison or serving time for a misdemeanor. While prison is a place of long-term condiment for those convicted of serious crimes (such as --- Meredith's husband.)

Grade: B

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush is all consuming. The character's and relationships are realistic.

This book is a breathe of fresh air. A paranormal read that does not involve, vampires, werewolves or zombies!

The story is thrilling, exciting, dark and even a little bit sexy.

This is a forbidden love story (not mushy) that will keep you reading till the wee hours of the morning!

This is a fantastic debut novel, by Fitzpatrick. I'm sorry, it took me so long to get into this series and look forward to the next book, Crescendo and Silence.

Grade: A

Overview [B&N]
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Awaken is one of those books that can go either way. It is neither incredible or terrible. The concept was great but the actual story didn't leave an impression on me.

Awaken is the story of a teenage girl named, Maddie who lives in a futuristic society in which everyone is plugged in. Her fathers is the man who has made this digital society popular. Maddie is content living her life --- until she meets Justin. Justin is a young man who wants a change, he wants to bring back face to face interactions, public schools and the end of an age in which people are dependent upon computers and other digital formats for everything.

Justin shows, Maddie what she is missing in life --- such as actual dates, touching, tasting real food and interacting with others face to face.

While the idea for this book is great --- since we live in an age in which we are heavily dependent upon our own electronics --- the story falls short.

The romance is unrealistic and silly. It takes away from the plot.

It feels as though, Kacvinsky had a great idea but wanted to jump on the dystopian bandwagon before the popularity fell, she didn't take the time to make stronger relationships between characters or develop a story that isn't so formulaic.

However --- she does an excellent jog at describing the actual world in which, Maddie and Justin live.

This is one book that can easily fall in between the cracks because there are so many other great dystopian novels out there however if you were interested in this particular book before this review -- go ahead and take a chance with it because you might end up liking it more than I did.

Grade: C

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Graveminder takes place in the tiny, little town of Claysville and it is no ordinary town!

There are restrictions and odd dealings with the dead. No one gets sick or dies (unless by accident) until age 80.

Marr's character's are enchanting and the plot is spooky --- The book is dark, creepy and fun!

I will have to look into reading Marr's others books.

Grade: A

Overview [B&N]
Three sips to mind the dead . . .
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."
Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.
Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard

Sara Shepard is best known for her Pretty Little Liars Series and when I was given the opportunity to review an upcoming fiction book of hers I was ecstatic.

Everything We Ever Wanted hits the shelves on October 11, 2011.

It starts with a late night phone call that changes the lives of the Bates-McAlister family. Sylvie's family founded a prestigious school and her adopted son might just be involved in a hazing scandal that may have lead to the death of one of the students at Swithin.

The Bates-McAlister family is a complicated bunch. Sylvie is a widower, her biological son and adopted son have complicated relationship and her daughter in-law has issues of her own, within the family and outside of it.

I initially thought the book would focus on the hazing incident but to my surprise it focuses on the relationships between the family members and how the past has a way of haunting you when you least expect it. The family is full of secrets -- secrets kept to protect one another from heartache and secrets that could possibly destroy an already fragile family.

As, the secret unravel you are compelled to keep reading. The epilogue ties up some unanswered questions and leaves new ones --- Perhaps a set up for a sequel?

Overall a good read but one must put aside preconceived notions of Shepard's writings since this book is quite different from her, Pretty Little Liars series.

Grade: B

Sing you Home by Jodi Picoult

Zoe and Max have spent thousands of dollars in trying to conceive a child. After Zoe's most recent miscarriage her life starts to fall ...