Sunday, September 28, 2014

Landline by Rainbow Rowell


Landline is a story about a marriage in crisis.

Georgie Mccool is a sitcom writer. She is given the opportunity to make her dream come true but in order to do this she must sacrifice time with her family over Christmas. Her husband, Neal is fed up with, Georgie and her antics and he gathers up their two daughters and flies back home to, Nebraska to spend the holiday with his family.

Georgie begins to ponder the status of her marriage, especially when Neal fails to return her calls. In a state of distress about the pending failure of her marriage, she becomes distracted at work and returns to her childhood home. She hunkers down in her childhood bedroom grieving for her marriage. Her cell phone won't hold a charge so ..... she picks up her old, yellow rotary landline phone, and is connected to her past.

Each phone call connects her to her past life with, with colleg
e aged, Neal. Georgie begins to wonder if conversations with the past will impact her present time and future. Will, speaking with, Neal unravel time and take away all she has?

I've heard a lot of hype in regards to, Rowell and while I haven't read any of her other books... I can't say that I was terribly impressed. This story isn't anything new or extraordinary. There is no explanation in regards to this "magical" landline and none of the characters are sympathetic, however this is a light, fun read and I will give another one of her books a try.

Grade:C+
 



Friday, September 26, 2014

Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America

Sometimes, truth is better than fiction --- this is one of those times.

I thought a book about a celebrity, hitchhiking across the country would be interesting... especially, when that celebrity is, John Waters. I was wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

The first 2/3rds of this book consists of fictional stories about hitchhiking. Each story is more peculiar and outrageous than the previous. That isn't to say that some of them aren't interesting because there are a few (2 to be exac..................0t) that are worth reading however the fictional stories are so ridiculously absurd that I had to push myself to read them so, I could get to the nonfiction portion.

 Waters, actual experiences hitchhiking (even though he cheated) are intriguing. Some people recognize him, some don't and he successfully makes his journey.

Be prepared for crudity, morbidity and strong sexual language. Expect a few laugh out loud moments from this "meh" book.

Grade: C






Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Three: A Novel by Sarah Lotz


Four plane crashes. Four continents. Three survivors.

The survivors are children and they are acting peculiar.  Conspiracy theories run amok and religious fanatics quickly come to the conclusion that these three children are harbors of the apocalypse. Pervasive rumors suggest that a fourth survivor exists.

Lotz writes in a documentary style using excerpts from the interviews of various characters, giving the book a case study feel, almost sociological. Very, similar to Max Brooks, World War Z.

The book starts of in a spectacular fashion. It follows the plane crash of, Pam Donald who leaves behind a very cryptic message, which is the start of the four horse men of the apocalypse theory. This plane crash is the MOST interesting part of the entire novel....it all goes downhill from there. That's not to say there aren't interesting passages because there are, it's  just that, the story never reaches the height of the first chapter.

There is no actual resolution, no answer, no definitive explanation. It is left to the reader to determine the outcome, which is just wrong.

This book is a challenge...in that for the first time in years, I had to look up the definition of words and learned about very interesting places in the world. I didn't know what necklacing was, or what sushi-mitsus' were. Sushi- Mitsu are, Japanese ghosts and necklacing is a pretty f-ed up way to kill someone.

Then there's yuki-onna, hikikomori, obfuscation, prurience and capgras syndrome. Look them up...because they are very, very interesting and don't get distracted by Aokigahara, or the Suicide Forest or Sea of trees like I did. I was much more distracted and intrigued by small details in the story, rather than the story itself. 

If you don't get bogged down with small details and researching the unknowns like I did, you might enjoy this book more because you won't realize how much more interesting, Aokigahar and capgras syndrome is then the entire story. With that being said...know that this book had so much promise but it veered off course and falls flat. 

Grade: C

















Friday, September 19, 2014

Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie


Every child in the world is dead. Every single one. Herod's Event has decimated the entire population of prepubescent children. It starts in one small town and spreads like wild fire through out the entire world.

Parent's are left grieving. They are no quick answers to the sudden loss of their children. There are mass burials and just as parent's are coming to terms with the death of their child, children begin to rise from the dead.

The children smell like decay and are rotting from the inside out. They are former versions of themselves. They can't speak, they don't play, the sit and stare. Parents find a solution but not a cure-all.

The remedy gives them minutes or hours of time with a more animated version of their child. With each passing day, children become violent versions of themselves and parents must choose whether or not to continue or cease treatment.

The story starts of with a bang and draws you in. The portrayal of grief is real. The creep factor is at an all time high. The premise is disturbing, yet simple ---- however I felt no connection.

 I wanted the dead to stay dead. I couldn't fathom why one would want to live with and continue to nurture a parasite with the face and body of their child. I couldn't get around the idea of sacrificing all for short, fear fueled moments with a stinky, bad tempered, angry, malicious thing. The end is predictable and this read was left unimpressed.

Grade: C-


Monday, September 15, 2014

After I'm Gone: A Novel by Laura Lippman

 After  I'm Gone is one of those books in which the premise is good but the execution falls short. It is modeled upon the disappearance of a real life, Baltimore gangster who vanished without a trace in the 1970s.

Lippman's character, Felix Brewer is the most interesting character in this entire novel and he is in it the least. The other characters are bland and weak. I really really...struggled to get through this novel and am surprised I continued to read it rather than give up. I guess, I was just hopeful.

Sandy Sanchez is investigating two cold cases. He is investigating the 1976 disapperance of, Felix Brewer and the death of his mistress, Julie. Julie disappeared 10 years after, Felix did and it has been specualted that she had left to be with him but when her body is found in the woods, the investigation takes a different turn. Members of, Felix's family become suspects, false confessions are made and the least likely person is the guilty party.

The plot is overdone, the twists and turns are far from believable and I think, Lippman wanted to wrap up this subpar book more than I wanted it to hurry up and end. Skip this book and pick up something else -- you will thank me for it.

Grade: D














Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison

The Banks of Certain Rivers starts off slow and then builds up into a story worth reading, however the ending is a bit too tidy for my liking.

A freak accident has left, Neil's wife, Wendy in a permanent, vegetative state and he is left to raise their son on his own. His mother-in-law is descending into dementia and he has secretly been seeing her caregiver for the past two years and then .... an unexpected development throws yet, another curve ball, Neils way. Neil has a lot on his plate, more than he ever bargained for.

If things weren't bad enough, Neil abuses alcohol as a means to cope, a secret he thinks his son knows nothing about. 

This is a character driven novel. The emotions are real and raw. The relationship and scenes between Neil and his son, Chris are by far my favorite and the most moving. A major theme in this book is the relationships between sons and fathers. This is a story about love, loss and family. I look forward to more books by, Harrison.

Grade: B-







Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Joss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale and Nathan Fillion


This long, entertaining biography is jam packed with information, giving you tidbits of Joss Whedon's life before and after BTVS (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) the series not the movie. It is my opinion that BTVS is his best work.  The whendonverse is in its prime, the pop culture is superb and the story lines are fantastic.

This biography details both his success and failures. His works on BTVS, Angel,  Serenity, Firefly and Dollhouse are examined, much of the attention give to BTVS. His movies such as the original BTVS and Cabin in the Woods are also explored.

This "behind the scenes" look into, Whedon's life is well written and thoroughly researched, however some parts of the book didn't hold my interest and I found myself skimming pages. Joss Whedon is a master storyteller and this is a great read for his fans.

Grade: B+







Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle



The Last Breathe will be released, September 20, 2014

Gia Andrews has reluctantly returned home to care for her ailing father who has been released from prison to die at home. It has been sixteen years since he was tried and convicted of brutally murdering his wife. He has been adamant about his innocence and Gia and her siblings are forced to be face to face with the man whom they believe killed their step-mother. A man they have abandoned and no longer trust.

His arrival will test family bonds and the town will be divided. In an effort to prove her father's innocence, Gia begins an investigation that will reveal long ago buried secrets.When, Jake the town bartender and Gia's love interest enters the picture, life becomes a bit more bearable and complicated. Everyone has their own secrets and as they are revealed a major shake down will occur changing the lives of everyone.

Belle switches back and forth effortlessly in past and present time to tell her story. It's a story of intrigue and suspense. Nothing is as it seems. This is an emotionally charged read, full of well developed characters. The book starts off with a bang and slows down but I promise once you plow through those slower parts and the story unravels you will be happy you took the time to  read it.

Grade: A-


Friday, September 5, 2014

Always Watching by Chevy Stevens

Always Watching is perhaps the weakest novel written by, Chevy Stevens. I didn't find it as engaging as her previous books and found myself struggling to read it. The subject matter was interesting and the character's were well written but their wasn't an emotional driving force.

Stevens tends to write fast moving, intense psychological thrillers and this one -- was slow paced and predictable. 

Nadine Lavoie is the main focus of this novel. She is an attending psychiatrist at then Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in Victoria, British Columbia. A patient named, Heather Simoen is put in her care after attempting suicide. Heather and her husband were members of a cult run by a man from her past. A cult that she, along with her mother and brother lived with for 8 months.

Memories from, Nadine's past start flowing and she can't connect the dots. She knows that opening the doors to her long ago buried past might cause more harm than good but it's a a chance she is willing to take, in order to heal herself and prevent harm to others. The investigation she partakes on becomes treacherous and preposterous and the final resolution may be more than she bargained for.

Grade: C-

If this is your first novel by, Stevens, skip it and pick up another one. Reviews of her other books can be found here:  STILL MISSING
                         NEVER KNOWING
                         THAT NIGHT







The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The more time he spent around her, the more he realized how rarely he thought anybody else was actually good. Nice, maybe, but niceness was ...