Saturday, November 22, 2014

Atlantia by Ally Condie

 “So much of life is in the smallness of moments...but they are harder to mark. So we need the grander celebrations and occasions. People like to feel significant”
Ally Condie,  Atlantia

 The world has been divided into the above and below. Those who live in the above have shorter life expectancies due to pollution and those who live in the below live longer, healthier lives. These worlds need each other in order to survive. They rely on one another and have for many generations.

 During the annual ceremony in which the time of the divide is celebrated, those in the below can make a choice to leave and go above if they meet the requirements.  Rio and Bay are sisters who live in the below, in a city called, Atlantia. Rio has always dreamed of going above and Bay loves her life in the below however, Bay makes a choice to go to the above. This leaves Rio stunned, angry and stuck in, Atlantia forever.

 Rio makes it her mission to find out why her twin has made the choice to leave and not tell her. She uncovers many things about her sister, mother, aunt and life in, Atlantia.

Atlantia starts off really slow and then builds up but it never quite reaches its full potential. The premise is unique but it lacks execution.  The characters are rather flat and difficult to connect to, the exception to this is one minor character named, True.  The ending is too neat and tidy.

Grade: C-

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

I think it is time to retire, The Shopaholic series. It has been on a steady decline and this is by far the poorest book of the entire collection. I love, Sophie Kinsella and writing a not so stellar review has been difficult for me but I have to remain true to my thoughts, opinions and reviews.

Becky, Luke and Minnie are in L.A. They had made the temporary move so that, Luke can work more closely with actress, Sage Seymour. Becky of course finds herself getting into a variety of mishaps, each more intense than the previous one. Becky has made it her personal goal to become a personal assistant to the stars, Sage in particular and things go awry rather quickly. A few characters from previous books make appearance adding to the plot line.

My main issue with this book is that the  characterization of Becky has changed. She use to someone likable. She was vibrant, funny and naive and now she is a bitch. Harsh but true. She is self absorbed, narcissistic and boring! I expect characters to change and mature but the opposite has happened. What has happened to lovable, Becky?

There is no true resolution to the book and it ends on a cliffhanger.

Grade: C-

Friday, November 14, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult has written another stellar book! I was completely captivated from page one! The characters, the storytelling and the writing are top notch. It is quite obvious that, Picoult not only did a lot of research on elephants but also became quite passionate about these intelligent creatures.

Leaving  Time centers around, Jenna and her quest to find her mother, Alice.  Alice went missing when, Jenna was a baby, disappearing from the, New England  Elephant Sanctuary. Jenna's father is alive and living in a psychiatric hospital. Jenna's grandmother refuses to talk about what happened to Alice, so she enlists the help of a psychic and private detective.  Together they unravel the mystery of Alice's dissaperance.

It's been quite some time since I've become so heavily emotionally invested in a book.  The plot line surrounding the elephants put me through the wringer! A huge portion of the book discusses elephant behavior, which is intriguing and educational.  Set a couple of hours aside because this is one book you won't want to put down.

Grade: A+

The Odyssey Of Falling by Paige Crutcher

Audrey or Odd as she is known as has been struggling to come to terms with the death of her best friend. One day she finds her best friends, diary in the car of her crush, who also happened to be her best friends love interest.

Audrey decides to follow through with a list, Meredith and written down in her journal as a way of honoring her. This takes her on a journey of self discovery. Which, doesn't go unnoticed by her friends and crush. Audrey also learns quite a bit about Meredith and the secrets she was hiding.

This is a well written debut novel. It is a fast, easy read however it felt short on a few things, in particular, Audrey's  passion for music and the signs she uses to decipher things.

Grade: B-

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Sometimes family secrets stay buried and sometimes they resurface. Riley learns more about her families past then she ever bargained for when she returns home to clean up her father's affairs after his death.

 Riley has spent nearly her entire life believing her older sister, Lisa is dead, however she uncovers information telling her otherwise. Riley makes it her mission to find the sister she never knew.

Lisa and Riley both narrate their own life stories. Chamberlain, does an excellent job at giving them distinct voices and keeping the reader entertained!

There are a few plot twists along the way and despite figuring things out before they are divulged, I enjoyed the read and suspect you might too.

Grade: B

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Whispers: A Whispers Story by Lisa Unger

The Whispers is the first of three short stories by Lisa Unger.

It's about a woman named, Eloise who is given the gift of psychic visions and warnings. These visions do not appear to her until after the unfortunate death of her husband and child. At first, Eloise ignores them --- that is until she feels that her dead husband and daughter are guiding her into helping those in need.

Eloise slowly begins to help detectives solve the mystery of missing girls, while at the same time dealing with the court case surrounding the man who is responsible for the death of her loves ones.

Unger has created dynamic relationships between her characters. The story lines are intriguing and when you first reading this short story you will be left wanting more! Sit back and enjoy this quick read. It shouldn't take more than an hour!

Grade: A

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...