Friday, December 21, 2012

good news network

Well, the world did not end today.  So that's a good thing. 

And Patrick Ballesteros added to his kids drawings with an ode to The Princess Bride (which is almost as good as the Firefly one) so that's also good.

I've stayed away from the news of the events in Newton.  I know the gist of it, I know what happened and that is enough.  My heart continues to ache for everyone.  Everyone.  I think of how Ray let me sleep in that morning and I didn't get to see Emma before he took her to school.  I just can't imagine.

And so here we are, so close to Christmas and a New Year.  The news is full of people being awful to one another or complaining about insignificant things.  Still, hidden behind all the selfishness you can find the gems.

So here's a collection of good news stories.  I'm not saying they won't make you cry.  Some of them are good in that way too.  But I hope all of them bring a little bit of your heart some peace.

Stranger Buys a Car for Teen with Cancer 
Hana Berg has been going to cancer treatments off and on for a year and unable to attend school.  One of the teachers assigned to help homeschool her, Lea Mattson went online to ask friends if anyone could help out with rides after the family car died.  One of her friends asked her to come over and pick up some money and go buy a car.  So that's what she did.

Anonymous Donor Pays Off 43 Walmart Lawaways
Someone donated $10,000 to pay off Christmas layaways at a Walmart in Hastings, Michigan.  $7,800 was used to pay off the layaways and rest was given to a local charity.

Boy with Cancer Gets a Visit From Heroes  
So far this one is my favorite.  Five year old Nathan Norman is battling a rare form of cancer.  He was asking for Christmas cards from heroes.  He thought that would cheer him up.  A group of police officers, firefighters and first responders went a step further and delivered the cards in person.

Alec Baldwin Donates Thousands to Save Library
The headline pretty much says it all!  A year after donating $10,000 to save the Central Falls Memorial Library in Rhode Island he donated another $5,000 in response to an end of the year fundraising effort.

Eastman Student Gets a Tuba Surpise
Did you know that tubas cost around $13,000?!?!  I did not!  Tara Fayazi has played the tuba for years and is at Eastman School of Music as a Performance major.  She's always borrowed the school's instrument until her friends went behind her back and created a Facebook page to help raise money to buy Tara her own tuba!

Deaf Dog Learns Sign Language
After her Dalmation passed away, Jill Chanel knew she'd want to adopt another and decided to adopt a rescue dog.  She found a group that saves deaf Dalmations from being put to sleep and knew that was the dog for her.  Her other dog is a therapy dog and she was determined that Whitney would be too so she started training her using American Sign Language!

Awesome, Awesome Kids
Three kids who show us that it doesn't take a lot to make a huge difference.  Maybe this is my favorite story now.

Puppies Rescued From Storm Drain
Seriously.  Puppies.  Rescued.  Enough said.

3000 Bags of Food Given Out
The Latin American Chamber of Commerce hands out 3,000 bags full over everything needed to make traditional Noche Buena dinner to the needy in Little Havana.

Wounded Soldier Receives Keys to New Home
During his second tour in Iraq Sgt. Kenneth Harker was wounded by a bombing.  After recovering at Walter Reed Hospital for three years he returned to a home that was difficult to get around in with cramped hallways and narrow doors.  Four years later, thanks to Homes for Troops he and his family now how a wheelchair accessible home to celebrate the holidays in.

12-Year-Old Girl Saves Bus
When 12-year-old Rana Kraftson noticed her bus driver was unconscious she ran to the front of the bus and pressed her hand down on the brake, saving the bus full of kids from hitting a tree on their way to ski practice.  The bus driver had suffered a stroke and has since recovered.

So there's a few articles and I know there's more out there.  When I find them I'll share.  Happy Friday everyone!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

guilty wives

guilty wives
james patterson & david ellis
little brown & co.
published 2012

Abbie Elliot gave up her life to follow her diplomat husband to Zurich. Now, she and her three best friends are in desperate need of a weekend getaway and decide it's the perfect time for a fling in Monte Carlo. They surrender themselves to every temptation: fine dining, high-stakes gambling, and gorgeous men. But the fun comes to a screeching halt when two bodies are found, and they become the police's prime suspects. In a dramatic trial, the women's lives are laid bare. It becomes clear that they have been framed, but one question remains: Who is trying to lock them away forever? 

I've complained quite a bit about James Patterson books.  I've found that most of the books he co-writes (in which I believe the newbie author writes and he just slaps his name on) to be awful.  They are usually full of annoying italics and horrible catch phrases.  I pick them up out of habit and I'm usually angry that I wasted my time on them.

This one was much better than the others.  Abbie was both likeable and obnoxious at the same time, but no matter, you still respected her.

I finished the book in a couple of hours.  Like any Patterson novel it was a super quick read.  The only real problem I had was that it starts out 6 weeks into Abbie prison sentence and they call that the 'Prologue'.  After a few chapters they go back in time to the infamous trip to Monte Carlo and then the circus on a trial resulting in the prison scene we saw in the beginning.  Throughout the entire trial section I was incredibly bored.  I already knew they were going to jail because they revealed that in the first few chapters.  Sure, it's a little interesting to see the interrogation part, but really, I couldn't care less about the trial.

So things didn't really get interesting until you caught up with the beginning of the story and even then you're pretty sure you know what happened.  Nevertheless, out of the last few co-authored books Patterson has done, this one is probably one of the best.

No doubt about it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


sarah dessen
penguin group
published 2000

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real.  Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known.  He's magnetic.  He's compelling.  He's dangerous.  Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else - her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life.  But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

There are some books that you read that you can hardly get through because it hurts so much to read the words printed there so permanently.  You hold your breath and try to get through it like you would something physically painful, but necessary.  You truly want to stop reading because you cannot stand stand to see where it's going, but you can't stop for fear of never knowing where it ends.  Books that tear out your throat and leave you with tears brimming in your eyes.  Tears that never spill, but are there for the entirety of the ordeal.

You either feel like this because you know what it feels like to be there or because you can't imagine what it feels like to be there, but it's so scary that you have a visceral reaction to reading the experience.  You touch the pages, fingering each word hoping for .... comfort.

Those books are neither pleasant or fulfilling.  They leave you raw and unsure if you want more or if you're just glad it's over.  Those books break you into a thousand tiny little pieces and your remain too exhausted to pick those pieces back up.  Your skin crawls, you feel nauseous and your heartbeat remains irregular for the duration.

You cannot ever say that you 'liked' those books.  You don't recommend them because they're a good fireplace or beach read.  You simultaneously want to forget you ever read them and relive every word of every page.

But you do recommend them.  You do love them.  Someone told your story or narrated your fears.  The writing is poetic and insightful.  There is beauty in the ugliness and it shines so brightly that you can't ever forget.  They fill a hole in you that you had always looked to fill and spoke words you never could articulate on your own.

This is how Dreamland is.

I won't go into any detail.  I won't spoil the book for anyone, but I will leave you with only my favorite line in the book which can only be your favorite line if you read the book.

"And when I was finally ready to take a picture of a face, it was hers I chose, sitting on the green grass on a blanket where we'd just finished a picnic of grapes and chocolate chips."

paper towns

paper towns
john green
published 2009

One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin "Q" Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q's neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.

Going through my list of books I've read this year there are quite a few that I really enjoyed.  If I had to pick just one that was my ultimate favorite book of the year it would have to be this one.  I truly loved this book.  It was so realistic and crazy all at the same time.  The characters were incredibly fun.  Q was believable in his barely there angst and well adjustedness.  Radar & Ben rounded out the threesome nicely.  I laughed so hard at some points and was on the edge during others.

I couldn't put the book down.  I couldn't.  I was both afraid and excited of what the ending would bring.  Would Q find Margo Roth Spiegelman?  Would she be okay?  Was she human?  Did anyone in the adult world care?  What brought her to this point?  It was just nerve wracking and I loved every single word of it.


giver series #4
lois lowry
houghton mifflin harcourt
published 2012

Nearly 20 years after first introducing young readers to Jonas in The Giver Lois Lowry brings us the fourth and final book in the series with Son.

In my opinion, The Giver and the subsequent books (Gathering Blue & Messenger) paved the way for the modern YA dystopian novel.  Lauren Oliver's Delirium & Ally Condie's Matched series borrow quite heavily from Lowry's world and ideologies.  And back in the early 90's Lowry got plenty of flack for writing children books that spoke of themes other adults didn't think kids would understand.  But they did.  So much so that she revisited the series again to finish the story she began so long ago.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Giver series you should immediately go out and get familiar with it.  It's stunning.  It's honest and raw and simple, but complex.  It tells a story that must be told and it's beautiful and ugly all at the same time.  I loved them more than I thought I would.

In Son we get to close the circle.  I really can't say much more about the plot than that without spoiling everything.  I loved this just as much as the rest of the books, but I did feel like there were some parts that she took so long on that she had to compromise with parts I thought should have been more detailed.  It gets a little hokey near the end, slightly deviating a bit much, but you can forgive Lowry because everything else is just so brilliant.

kill you twice

chelsea cain
gretchen lowell series #5
st. martin's press
published 2012

Another grisly murder scene, another implausible connection to Gretchen Lowell and another opportunity for Susan to get in trouble somehow.

But there's something different.  Archie is harder, more determined to break free from Gretchen's hold on him.  He's stronger.  Even Susan is different.  While still remaining slightly scatterbrained and quite immature most times, of course.  In fact, for much of the series I forget that Susan is a bone fide adult.  But here something turns her into a grown up.  The universe gives her something to protect.

This could be called Gretchen's origin story (if you were into comics like me).  Archie is bound and determined to find out where she came from and what made her the way she is.  Chelsea Cain's writing is unflinchingly gruesome as usual.  There is no taboo.  She drags Archie through one hell after the other, but he doesn't falter.  Or at least not right away.

The only disappointing thing about this book is that I am finally caught up on the series and this book just came out this year.  Best case scenario I've got 8 more months to wait until the next book.

It's going to be a long 8 months.

the night season

the night season
gretchen lowell series #4
chelsea cain
minotaur books
published 2011

I love Chelsea Cain. Love Love Love Her!

I also loved that Gretchen Lowell was barely in this book. Although I certainly liked the other books this was a refreshing change!  Generally, the books tend to revolve around Gretchen and Archie's relationship and how that one has redefined every other relationship Archie has had or does have.  Whatever homicide they are investigating inevitably circles back to Gretchen somehow.  But in Night Season, Cain barely acknowledges Gretchen.  She's there in the outskirts of the story, her presence is too large to completely ignore, but for once we get the story without any Gretchen drama.

We learn about Portland as a history, as a city.  Find a killer with a new and interesting way of dispatching his victims.  We find that Cain is unafraid to do anything, to write anything.  While I'll say that some of the story seemed missing I still found it thoroughly engrossing.  Just when I figured something out Cain turns the story into another direction and leaves you surprised and a little breathless.

I started to be kind of irritated with Susan for her Daphne-like situations but forgave her because, well, she's Susan.  And she brings along with her her naked yoga practicing-dreadlocked-hippie mother.  Bliss Mountain is the best.

Chelsea Cain - she knows how to write a good book!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

women make the difference

One thing that the GOP will probably never understand is that women matter.  And tonight, in the polls, that was clear.

You're welcome Mr. President.

Friday, November 2, 2012

beautiful redemption

beautiful redemption
caster chronicles series #4
kami garcia & margaret stohl
little brown publishing
published 2012

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.

This series has been one of the ones I wanted to finish, but I wasn't dying for the last book to come out.  The first book I enjoyed quite a bit.  Mostly because the story was from a male POV and the whole mythology was somewhat new and different.  The second and third books I liked a little less.  The third I felt seemed to drag on a bit and there was so much going on in quick, short bursts.  But we've finally come to the end of the series and Garcia & Stohl have not in anyway let us down.

If you haven't read the series yet you should definitely start.  Totally worth it.  Besides the mortal world setting of Gatlin County, South Carolina, the Caster world is mesmerizing and rich.  The characters are surprising, layered, heroic and deeply flawed.  The first book has been made into a movie that will be out in February of 2013 so you definitely will want to read these before that happens!

If you haven't read the series yet then you should probably stop reading this review right

We start out almost directly after the events in Beautiful Chaos.  Ethan has jumped from the water tower and is dead.  He's found himself in the Otherworld and surprisingly, or maybe not so much so, with his mother.  He finds Aunt Prue who holds the answers to returning back to Gatlin and Lena.

The book is split into three parts.  The first from Ethan's POV again until the story is shifted to the mortal world and then it's told from Lena's perspective.  The last part is Ethan again.  Strangely, that did take a little getting used to.  I was more familiar with Ethan's voice than Lena's so when the switch happened it didn't go as smoothly in my head as I would have thought.

The book is quick and you know, now that I think about it kind of sloppy.  Enemies that were almost impossible to beat in previous books, enemies who are the reason things are the way they are seem to be dispatched rather easily this time around.  I guess the point is that the enemies aren't the ones standing in the way this time.  It's the rule of the Caster Chronicles?  Nonetheless, I didn't want to put the book down.

Chapter Seven: Crossword completely and utterly broke my heart.  Amma is by far my favorite character in this series.  She is ornery, but loves Ethan as much as any mother could love her child. 

I feel like even though this book is written for the young adult set it was written with the knowledge of how a mother loves.  The underlying theme throughout the whole series is the sacrifice both Amma and Ethan's mother have made to keep Ethan safe.  I think the books have so much more emotion and meaning if you can relate to that.  I wasn't sad for Lena.  I didn't feel her emotions, but Amma's very raw and obvious heartbreak just broke me.

I guess it's a true sign of getting old.

Taken one by one I'm not sure I would like the books that much.  But the story as a whole, all four books (five if you count Link's short story Dream Dark) was wonderful.

Friday, October 19, 2012


divergent series #2
veronica roth
harper collins
published 2012

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable — and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

There was just so much death in this book.  While reading I realized how many of these YA books center around dying and war.  It's depressing really.

Tris is different now, changed. Frantic and somewhat lost after the death of her parents.  She clings to her brother and at the same time clings to Tobias while pushing him away.  She's constantly wounded in this book.  I don't even know how she continues to go on.

There are so many characters, so many people to keep track of that at times it's difficult to follow along.  Off the top of my head, Tris, Caleb, Tobias, Marcus, Lynne, Shauna, Hector, Uriah, Zeke, Christina, Tori, Joanna, Jeanine, Fernando, Cara, Marlene,'s exhausting.  But each character does bring something important to the story so it works. 

We're left with another cliff hanger type ending, but this time everything has been completely destroyed so I can't even begin to guess at where the beginning of book 3 will take us.  And it's not scheduled to come out until Fall of next year. 



delirium series #2
lauren oliver
harper collins
published 2012

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

I liked Lena a lot more here than in Delirium.  She's harder, but it hasn't stifled her compassion.  She comes into the Wilds broken, hurt and ready to die but she soldiers on and make the resistance a priority for herself because she knows it's the right thing.  The 'now' and 'then' flip flopping of the chapters was great,  It felt like everything moved faster although it did leave little room for suspense because you basically knew the future when you were in the 'then' parts.

I dread Alex returning.  While I don't think that what Lena may have found in Pandemonium is deep, I dread the 'you hurt me' boy all butt hurt and acting like she betrayed him.  It's a character that's been done too many times in too many different novels and I was hoping this would be different.  Of course, I could be wrong.  We'll find out in March when Requiem comes out!

wondrous strange

wondrous strange
wondrous strange #1
lesley livingston
harper teen
published 2009

Kelley Winslow is an actress. her dreams are finally coming true. However, she takes on the role of a faerie princess and soon discovers that she actually is one. Her father is King of he winter realm and is on a mission for world domination. then, later, she discovers that her mother is queen of the summer realm and is completely evil.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book.  It was really short, for one, so it didn't feel like there was enough meat to the story.  The characters were all just kind of touched upon so you got the gist of it.  Even Kelley and Sonny were kind of passed over.  And when did they fall in love?  I don't even know, but they are.

Even at the end there was this almost-happy-ever-after vibe, but there wasn't any explanation for it!  But it wasn't a bad book by any stretch.  It was entertaining, slightly humorous in some parts with short bursts of suspense thrown in.

Here's to hoping the next book will bring us some better character development!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

evil at heart

evil at heart
gretchen lowell series #3
chelsea cain
st. martin's press
published 2011

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose and Archie Sheridan is still in the hospital.  It's been a couple of months since Archie tried to capture Gretchen and kill himself and he's doing better, but far from healed.  When eyeballs start turning up everyone's pretty sure Gretchen has killed again.  That means, it's time for Archie to check himself out and find her, but he gets sidetracked by a victim's family who think maybe their son has something to do with the most recent murders.

Once again Archie is the nutcase who does everything he's NOT supposed to do.  I'm starting to notice a pattern here.  Gretchen summons Archie, Archie goes, Susan follows, Archie gets hurt, Henry yells and Gretchen gets away.

It might have happened before, but it's still fun to read about it.

This time though there's a group of psycho Gretchen fans out there who may or may not be responsible for a new wave of terror in Portland.  Susan is determined to become a bona fide journalist and writing fluff pieces on what color Gretchen's hair might be isn't going to get here there.  She spends every morning sitting outside the hospital where Archie is hoping he'll finally see her so she can get his permission for her book. 

And Henry.....poor Henry just can't catch a break.  The next time he tells Archie and Susan to stay put he'd be better off just locking them up in a cell until they're out of danger cause they're never going to listen to him.

Chelsea Cain has no qualms about writing stuff that will make your stomach turn.  None.  At.  All.  And that, my friends, is good writing.


the chemical garden trilogy #1
lauren destefano
simon & schuster bfyr
published 2011

After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

Of course, it's not quite as simple as that.  At some point in the past scientists were able to cure all disease.  No one gets sick anymore.  No colds, no flus, cancer has been eradicated.  And then the children of these first born healthy humans known as the First Generation started dying.  Middle age was 10 and 12 and people frantically began searching for a cure.  No one was safe except for the Firsts.

Rhine's parents were some of those scientists who were working on a cure until on days, Pro-Naturalists bombed their laboratory and they were killed.  For years it's been Rhine and her twin Rowan keeping each other safe until Rhine is taken and sold off as one of three new brides for a wealthy architect named Linden.  On the surface the new life looks wonderful.  Every whim is catered to, the brides want for nothing.  Nothing, that is, except for freedom.

The book is gripping.  Rhine is determined to escape the gilded cage and return to her brother.  She is both careful and careless.  You forget at times what the whole theme means.  Girls as young as 13 being sold as wives and having babies so young, only to die before their children can really know them.  Heartbreaking.  Rhine is strong and stubborn, but she is compassionate and nurturing despite herself.  Her sister wives are all endearing in their own ways as well and there's times when you root for Linden and then want to slap him two seconds later.

Vaughn is mysterious and wickedly creepy.  The perfect antagonist in this house of horrors that Rhine has been confined to.

I give the book a good solid GO READ IT! recommendation.  So glad I picked up the second book and way too impatient for the last book to come out next year!


seven kingdoms trilogy #3 (graceling realm #3)
kristin cashore
dial books for young readers
published 2012

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

This one was so bittersweet for me.  I loved it, don't get me wrong, but is it really the end?  I wish it weren't.  I definitely loved how she finally tied everything together.  

I enjoyed just about every character, especially the returning ones, but Death was definitely my favorite.  The ending list of characters was hilarious and I think I laughed out loud at least twice!

The story itself was slightly long.  There were times when I wasn't sure if anything was actually happening, but in the end it all made sense.  At the same time it felt like the ending was rushed.  Everything was packed in the last few chapters and I just wanted to see more of what happened afterwards!

Still, I loved it.  I loved Bitterblue, Katsa, Po, Giddon & Death.  They were wonderfully written characters and I'm definitely going back and reading Fire again!

Monday, October 8, 2012

in the blink of an eye

it goes by just about that fast.

my tiny little baby, born a little too early and just a little bit small.  you're already a year old now.

i just can't believe it.

sometimes you're kind of lazy.

but you're quick to smile.

a little messy when you eat.

just enough chubbies.

a tad of an attitude.

the best little sister to the best big sister there is.

you made our little family complete and i'm so happy every day that i get to wake up and dance around with you.  but don't grow up too fast...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

birthday extravaganza

doesn't she look thrilled?

it was 1st birthday funday this weekend!  she had no idea what was going on, but she was excited to see friends and family and even more so to see cupcakes & cake pops!

my first pinterest project.  saw this & thought it looked easy enough for me to try and it worked!  they turned out really cute.

thanks to my sister and Jen we had little owl cake pop favors!  they turned out so cute and delicious too!

luckily the baking fairy has blessed both sides of our family!  my sister-in-law has done the cupcakes for every single one of emma's parties and now she keeps the tradition going with olivia's first party with these way too cute owl cupcakes!

olivia had no idea why everyone was singing to her and didn't know what to do with the candle.  she's lucky to have big sister around to help her blow it out.

she loves her food, but she's generous enough to share with cousin.

not too bad, but it was straight into the bathtub for her!

she was much more interested in opening presents than emma was at her age.  though the cards seemed to be much more fun than the presents until emma got them open for her!  she's clapping her thanks for all her great gifts.  she's one lucky girl!

we were able to get her down for a nap in the morning before the party and then one in the afternoon, but i think there was too much cupcake in her tummy.  she woke up in the evening pretty unhappy with all of us!  but today she was eying the leftover cupcakes already!

thank you to all of our friends and family who came out to help us celebrate!  we're so incredibly lucky to have all of you!

Monday, October 1, 2012


emma donoghue
little, brown & co.
published 2010

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Because the book is told completely from Jack's perspective at first it was hard for me to get into the rhythm of the story.  The first few paragraphs I thought 'this sucks' and considered putting off reading Room again.  But I stuck with it and am so glad I did.  The book is quick, I read it in about 4 hours, but it is mesmerizing.

Jack is logical in a way that only a child can be.  Somehow though you get a perfect sense of everything that's happening, how he's feeling, how Ma is feeling even though we're never privy to the thoughts in her mind.  She's fiercely protective of her child while at the same time needing him to be away so she can heal.  He doesn't have the same abhorrence to Room because he was born there.  He knows nothing else and Ma always made him feel safe and loved.  Now in this huge Outside everything is different and there are so many 'hes and shes'.

My favorite character surprisingly was Steppa.  He understood Jack in a way that Jack's grandmother and Ma couldn't.  He didn't flutter around him and worry, but he didn't dismiss fears that Jack couldn't even express.

Emma Donoghue's writing is brilliant.  Part of me wishes she would write the story from Ma's perspective, but then I think not.  It was perfect the way it is.  There's nothing more we need to know.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


gretchen lowell series #2
chelsea cain
minotaur books
published 2008

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland’s Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the last time they found a body there, more than a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. This body can't be one of Gretchen's—she’s in prison—but after help from reporter Susan Ward uncovers the dead woman's identity, it turns into another big case. Trouble is, Archie can't focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison. Archie hadn't seen her in two months; he'd moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he's relieved. He knows he's the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all.

When I picture Gretchen in this series I picture Alice from Luther except with blonde hair instead of Alice's red.  She's beautiful and dangerous, yet it's more than beauty that draws you to her.  She's intelligent and wicked.  She is the perfect killer.  She's abhorrently vicious, admitting to having killed at least one child.

Secrets are thrown out into the open in Sweetheart.  Archie has promised his ex-wife Debbie that he will stop visiting Gretchen in jail, but he is no longer cut out for a normal life.  He yearns for any kind of contact and when she escapes from jail he begins planning.

Susan also returns in this installment.  She's working on a huge story of corruption and sex scandals, but when her co-worker and mentor turns up dead everything starts spiraling out of control.

Cain doesn't disappoint with the shocking twists and turns as well as the stomach churning moments of terror.  I'm glad I picked up the other books in the series because I have got to find out what happens

the search

the search
nora roberts
putnam adult
published 2010

Talented search and rescue dog trainer Fiona Bristow escaped the clutches of a serial killer several years before, but not before he murdered her fiance and her beloved dog. She has retreated to a cabin in the wilderness and is wary of forming bonds with anyone, but handsome newcomer and talented carpenter Simon has an unruly puppy to train and soon man and dog charm their way into Fiona's life. But just when she starts to relax, it becomes clear a copycat murderer is on the loose, and making his way closer and closer towards her with unfinished business on his mind ...

This book, while it still follows Nora Roberts usual style was just a tad different.  I noticed the shift when I read Chasing Fire.  Fiona is a little more self aware.  There really doesn't seem to be a self conscious bone in her body.  She admits to being afraid when she should be afraid and she gets it when her anger is misdirected.  She does what needs to be done and she's pretty calm and cool about it.

Simon is pretty much a grumpy old man without the old.  And seriously, that's about it for that guy.  She doesn't delve into his head as much as she has her other male characters in the past.

The bad guys are kind of boring and when it all ends I wonder how they'll stop Perry from doing the same thing again.  I doubt she's setting up for a sequel.  The only time we see multiple books come out of her is when she's set up the characters beforehand quite obviously in the first books.

It was a good read.  The research was exceptional as usual.  Learning about training dogs for home & search and rescue was interesting, but nope....still don't want a dog.

Friday, September 28, 2012

new york to dallas

new york to dallas
jd robb (aka) nora roberts
putnam adult
published 2011

From Shelfari: 
Twelve years ago, Eve Dallas was just a rookie NY cop when her instincts led her to the apartment of Isaac McQueen, a man she discovered to be a sick murderer and pedophile, who was keeping young girls in cages.  Now a homicide Lieutenant, Eve is one of the most distinguished officers in the city - and then she learns that McQueen has escaped from jail. Bent on revenge against Eve, and with a need to punish more 'bad girls', McQueen heads to Dallas, Texas - the place where Eve was found as a child. The place where she killed her own abusive monster when she was only eight years old. With Eve and Roarke in pursuit of McQueen, everything is on the line and secrets from Eve's past are about to be shockingly revealed.


This one was both a relief and an eye roller for me.  A relief because I'm hoping from here on out there won't be this shadow of Eve's childhood hanging over the books.  

We all know that Eve was brutally raped, beaten, starved and routinely tortured by her own father until she killed him when she was eight.  We knew that she had no name and we knew that she made something of herself afterwards despite having all the odds stacked against her.  The one thing we didn't know was what happened to her mother.  She knew that her mother left, left her with that monster.  We also knew that she had fleeting memories of a woman who exuded hate towards her, beat her just like her father did.  But we didn't know what had become of her.

Now we do.  She moved on and was still a horrible human being.  And she teamed up with Isaac McQueen somewhere along the way.  To me, it was just a little too easy.  Eve and her team assumed that McQueen knew what happened to her in Dallas, Texas and that's why he brought the hunt from New York to Dallas, but they don't know for sure and he never talks about it.  It would have been interesting if he knew and sought out Eve's mother to partner up with, but of course even that would be a stretch.  I felt like it was a little too easy for her to find her mother after all these years, by coincidence.

That being said, this was still a good book.  Still follows the pattern and still delivers a nail biting (though maybe a little predictable), sexy, dark story.  Now I'm just waiting for the book where she gets preggers!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


karin slaughter
grant county series #2
published 2002

From Shelfari:  Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton -- the town's pediatrician and medical examiner -- finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy. What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn. The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister's death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it's going to happen again...

This book is not for the faint of heart.  Karin Slaughter returns us to Grant County and it's citizens both troubled and not so much.  Sara Linton is probably the most centered character of the bunch.  She struggles with the choices she's made, the biggest being dating her ex-husband who had cheated on her and who also happens to be the chief of police Jeffrey Tolliver.  And out on a date at the skating rink Jeffrey makes a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

That decision sets into motion an investigation that uncovers things that just should never happen.  Ever.

At the same time Lena is still struggling with her feelings leftover from her abduction and rape.  It's almost a separate story.  What Lena is going through seems set apart from the main plot.  Lena is a hard character to like.  She was even before the events in the first book.

The story is interesting, keeps you reading and on your toes....but in the end you are left feeling dissatisfied.  There is no 'happy ending'.  I wonder if this story will continue someday in another Grant County book.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

heat wave

heat wave
richard castle
nikki heat series #1
published 2001

From Shelfari:  A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light. Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

From me:  This book sucked.  I really wanted to like it because I love Castle, but I just couldn't.  The writing sucked, the story sucked, the characters' names just sucked.  The only reason why I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 is because since the characters were based on the TV show characters it did make me nostalgic for the show, but other than that I almost wish I could've given it 0 stars.

amy & isabelle

amy & isabelle
elizabeth strout
vintage publishing
published 2000

From Shelfari:  Amy Goodrow, a shy high school student in a small mill town, falls in love with her math teacher, and together, they cross the line between fantasy and reality. When discovered, this emotional and physical trespass brings disgrace to Amy's mother, Isabelle, and intensifies the shame she feels about her own past. The two retreat into silence. This conflict is surrounded by other large and small dramas in the small town. And with Amy and Isabella as her main focus, Stroud attends to them all.

At first I didn't like anyone.  Actually, for the first two thirds of the book I hated both Amy & Isabelle.  To me, Amy seemed like the biggest brat in the world and Isabelle was completely unyielding and harsh.  There didn't seem to be a loving bone in that woman's body. 

I started to understand Isabelle.  She was lonely.  She had, at one time, big plans for her life.  She put those plans aside and changed the course of things.  She ended up in this small town and began to make new big plans for her life.  Now, sixteen years later she realizes that none of those big plans have come true and she has been sitting there waiting...for something.

Now something has happened and even though it's not the thing that she wanted to happen it's something.  Something that has once again altered the course of her life and forced her to choose to do something.  And from this awful moment she has finally made a life for herself.

As I got to the end of the book I didn't care for Amy anymore than I had in the beginning.  She was still a selfish, delusional little brat.  But afterwards, I wondered, aren't all teens?  Or at least the majority of them?  It got me thinking....have I crossed that line?  That line in adulthood where you can no longer easily relate to teenagers anymore.  Quite possibly I have become that adult.  *sigh*

Anyhoo, that book was tough.  Barrel through it if you can.  There are some truly magical moments near the end if you can make it there.  And Fat Bev is awesome.  I loved Fat Bev. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

dissecting the games, ch 7 thru 9

Remember....don't read these posts if you haven't read The Hunger Games!

There's a lot going on in now.  The Games are getting closer and closer and now it's time to show the Gamekeepers what they're all about.  It's also the chance for tributes to see each other up close & personal before they start killing each other.
  • Peeta's mother is even more of a bitch than originally thought
  • Peeta & Katniss fight over how great he thinks she is
  • Haymitch, waaaaay smarter than we thought??
  • we meet Rue - kind of
  • two of my favorite quotes
  • maybe Effie isn't as horrible as we thought?
  • Katniss beats Peeta
  • And it makes him feel bad?
  • Gale makes life happier
  • Katniss is like a dead slug
  • Cinna makes Katniss real
  • Katniss turns herself into a girl
  • Peeta's big reveal
The training begins.  We find out just how truly awful Peeta's mother is when he reveals that during their 'goodbye time' she says that maybe District 12 will have a winner again - and she doesn't mean Peeta.  Haymitch wants the two to stick together like their friends.  Keep up appearances as best they can.  Does he already know Peeta loves Katniss?  Was his plan in place before or after Cinna had them hold hands during the opening ceremonies?  At this point, it's clear that Peeta knows he will die in the Games, but he's determined to make sure Katniss doesn't.

There's a point where they're trying to keep conversation going and Katniss tells Peeta about the time she was chased by a bear.  He laughs, looks engaged and she thinks he's better at this (faking business) than she is, but I think he is actually interested in what she has to say.

We get to see the steel in Katniss's spine when she goes in for her private training session and shoots 'at' the Gamemakers' table hitting the apple in the roasted pig's mouth.  Then she concludes with 'Thank you for your consideration.'


Of course, afterwards she freaks out 'cause she's pretty sure something bad will come of that.  And when she finally comes out of her room to join the others for dinner we finally get to see a side to Effie that shows she's not as idiotic/awful/useless as we thought.  But everyone is surprised and rewarded by Katniss's number and even Peeta's number is better than expected.

After this scene Katniss runs through how she met Gale.  They were both so young, but already heads of their households.  She says how being out in the woods with Gale she was sometimes actually happy.  And of course she was!  This was the only time she not only felt that she was doing something, but she also got to do it with someone who knew how she felt and she could be herself with.  She didn't ever have to be strong for Gale.  She just had to be herself.

So in the wake of their number shockers Peeta tells Haymitch that he wants to train separately.  Katniss's first feeling is betrayal, but she doesn't believe that feeling because how can you be betrayed by someone you never trusted.  Dun-dun-duuuuunnnnn....

A bit of comedic relief is injected as Katiss gets a charm school lesson from Effie and leaves in a huff holding her dress up to her thighs.

Then back down to business as Haymitch and Katniss try to determine how she's portray herself to the masses.  Well, Haymitch tries to decide while Katniss fumes.  My favorite line is here where Haymitch says they want to know about her....'But I don't want them to!  They're already taking my future!  They can't have the things that mattered to me in the past!'

After all this gets them nowhere Katniss holes up in her room where she throws a full on tantrum.  One of the things I just don't like about her.  Don't get me wrong, I can't imagine what she must feel like.  Basically, she knows she's going to die.  It IS unfair and all these lessons and training are annoying, but dang it girl, suck it up.  This is my dilemma with Katniss.  Yes, I admire her.  Her strength and determination to keep her family from starving.  Her honesty and her grudges.  Yes, I admire her.  But I don't like her.  And I know it's not fair.

And then Cinna tells her to be herself.  During her three minute interview with Caesar it's as if she becomes the person she would have been had her father not died.  If all the responsibilities of life on the Seam hadn't rested on her shoulders.  She answers honestly still, but she revels in her beauty, in the dress & the attention.  She giggles and all of a sudden you see Katniss as a girl, not as a provider or a fighter or the daughter of a dead coal miner.  To me, it is truly one of the best scenes in the book.

Now it's Peeta's turn and he has everyone rolling in the aisles until....Caesar asks him if he has a girl back home and he tells everyone in Panem that the girl he's in love with he's going to have to kill.

And then it's onto the Games.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

dissecting the games, ch 5 & 6

And on we go.  Remember if you haven't read the books, don't read this post!

Stuff in chapters 5 & 6:
  • Cinna is awesome
  • Peeta & Katniss have their first real moment together
  • Katniss becomes The Girl of Fire
  • Katniss gives Peeta a kiss on the cheek - for strategic purposes?
  • Effie is an idiot
  • Katniss meets an Avox and the room stands still
  • Peeta comes to Katniss's rescue
After quickly meeting Katniss's styling team we begin to wonder if everyone in the Capitol has fluff for brains, but then we meet Cinna.  Katniss notices right away that he's different.  He talks differently, dresses differently and acts differently than everyone else she's met so far.  We learn that this is Cinna's first games and that he requested District 12.  It makes me Cinna's part in the revolution something he was already a part of or was he a part of it because of Katniss?  hmmmmm

We all know that Peeta loves Katniss, but mostly because we already read the books.  Katniss has no idea because she isn't thinking like that.  She's thinks that Peeta is just trying to keep her off balance so it will be easier to kill her later.  They have their first real moment together while laughing at Haymitch during the opening ceremonies.  It's during these moments where I wish she would just let go and trust, but to be honest, would you?  I can't even imagine the insanity she's a part of at this moment.

So yeah, Effie is an idiot.  And she's power hungry, or at least image hungry.  She's been irritated to be saddled with the poorest district with the most pathetic victor ever.  When she begins to see a glimmer of hope that maybe these aren't the weakest tributes yet she gets a little more interested.  I'm not sure if her helping them is solely for her own gain or because she cares about them.  There are moments when you think her care is genuine, but those moments are few and far between.

And then there's the Avox.  Someone convicted of a great crime gets their tongue cut off and is then a servant to the Capitol.  The movie doesn't really go into this at all.  Katniss makes a comment to Peeta about how they'll cut off their tongues, but it doesn't sound like she's serious, like it's a real punishment.  When Katniss recognizes the Avox serving them dinner the adults in the room (Haymitch, Effie, Cinna & Portia) all freeze.  Haymitch and Effie insist there's no way she could know the Avox and Peeta jumps in with the name of a girl who Katniss must've been thinking about (who looks nothing like the girl here).  They both know he just covered for her, but it does the trick and the adults back off.  Katniss later tells Peeta how she and Gale saw that girl and another boy outside the fence.  She saw the girl get sucked up by a hovercraft & the boy get speared.  While the whole thing is brief and seemingly unimportant, as a whole in hindsight it has more bearing on the story.


Monday, September 17, 2012

dissecting the games, ch 3 & 4

I can't keep up with the twitter business.  Yeah, I suck.  Oh well.  I'm still reading the tweets Lauren posts & reading along so I guess maybe I don't suck that bad?

Remember, if you haven't read the books, don't read this post.  If you don't want to read the books (cause you're crazy) but do want to see the movies, don't read this post.

Anyhoo....let's move on to chapters 3 & 4.  Here's what we know:
  • Katniss is already preparing for the games - no crying
  • despite her bitterness she loves her mother
  • doesn't really trust her to take care of Prim
  • Peeta's father is much better than his mother
  • the mockingjay pin comes from Madge
  • Gale's goodbye was the worst - made me cry - again
  • District 12 is in the Appalachians
  • the Capitol is in Colorado
  • Madge starts the revolution?
  • Katniss's birthday is May 8th
  • she's named for a plant
  • Haymitch might not be as useless as thought
 So the names have been called and Katniss & Peeta are whisked away to the fancy(er than they're used to) rooms where they'll say goodbye to family & friends.  Katniss wastes no time in instructing her mother & Prim how to take care of themselves while she's gone.  And despite her inner monologue insisting that she's not going to return to District 12 she begins taking steps to fight, like making sure she doesn't cry so cameras can't catch it and people think she's weak.

Peeta's father comes to her and gives her a bag of cookies and tells her that he will make sure that Prim is taken care of.  Madge arrives to give Katniss the mockingjay pin.  And finally, Gale.  He does what Katniss did to her mother & Prim, his best to make sure she can survive the games.  And he too promises that her family doesn't starve.

On the train ride to the Capitol we learn that the Capitol is somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and District 12 is in the Appalachian Mountains.  While the Appalachians span from eastern Canada through 18 US states we can assume from the fact that District 12 supplies coal that they're somewhere in the Coal Region of Northern Pennsylvania.

Katniss studies Madge's mockingjay pin for the first time and realizes that the pin is sort of a slap in the face to the Capitol.  Does this mean that it was Madge, not Katniss who really starts the revolution?  And maybe even more so as it seems to be deliberate whereas Katniss seemed to stumble upon rebellion?

We learn a lot more about Katniss's father here and the sting of losing him is harsh.  She recounts the months after he died again and the moments after Peeta's offer where it seemed hope had finally taken flight.  She finds katniss, the plant she's named after, growing in a pond and remembers her father's joke 'As long as you find yourself, you'll never starve.'

Finally, Haymitch starts to become the mentor he is supposed to be for Katniss & Peeta.  He makes them a deal after the a quick fight at the breakfast table.  If they don't interfere with his drinking he will stay sober enough to help them.  There's some 'controversy' about Haymitch in the movie when it comes to his drinking.  Though I believe Woody Harrelson did a great job as Haymitch, he did seem to get - and stay - sober really quickly.  There wasn't much discussion and it didn't seem like he was the alcoholic in the movie that he was in the book.  I'm not sure I necessarily agree with this.  Though there are certain points where it's mentioned that he takes a swig out of his flask after the vomiting on the train incident he seems to keep everything under control.

And there we are at the end of Chapter 4...

Friday, September 14, 2012

dissecting the games

I mentioned here that I was going to be rereading The Hunger Games with Busy Bee Lauren.  I've actually even tweeted....twice I think.  I thought about writing as I went along here, but wasn't making any promises.  I'll try's mostly going to be a lot of comparison to the movie, but also just trying to recapture that feeling from the first time I read it.  It's been long enough since the last read that everything starts to feel a little new again....if you haven't read the books (first of all, you're nuts - go out and get thee to a library please) then you should skip over these posts for I'll be holding nothing back.

There's so much information in chapters one and two that never really made it to the big screen.  Already at the end of chapter two we know these things:
  • Katniss loves Prim fiercely
  • She pretty much despises her mother
  • Her mother came from 'wealth'
  • And is pretty much useless 
  • Katniss is hard, bitter & older than her years
  • We know what tesserae is (and it's not a tile)
  • Katniss's father died in the mines
  • There was a revolution
  • District 13 existed and was obliterated
  • The Capitol sucks
  • Gale is important
  • Gale is more vocally passionate about his hatred for the Capitol
  • Peeta basically saved Katniss & her family's life
  • Peeta's mom is an asshole
  • Peeta loves Katniss
That's really a lot of info for 33 pages.  And think of how much of that wasn't really in the movie.  Big stuff too like District 13.  I guess that it will be talked about in the next movie??  I mean, you can't leave them out, right?  But really, they were a big part of the first revolution so you'd think they'd get a mention.  Did they even really explain the reason for the Hunger Games in the movie?  I don't even remember.

Little things, like Haymitch groping Effie and falling off the stage.  It's small, but it was part of a portrait.  Katniss doesn't find the mockingjay pin at The Hob.  She sells strawberries to Madge.  Little things....

It doesn't matter how many times I read it I am still hopeful that another name gets pulled out of that glass ball.  How silly is that?  Rereading just reminds me of what a talented writer Suzanne Collins is. There are so many things I love so quickly.  The crowd going silent while Effie is trying to illicit applause for Katniss's volunteering.  The three fingered salute that begins the revolution though no one really knows it at the time.  Peeta taking a blow to the head to feed Katniss.  Despite her grudge against her mother, the hopeful little girl in her comes out for a moment when she sees the dress her mother has laid out for her for The Reaping.

I want so badly to love Katniss, but it's hard.  I respect her.  She's smart, resourceful, tough and honest, but she is not loveable.  And I guess that's the way it should be.  Not that there weren't moments that I didn't get glimpses of the person underneath all that hardness.  I did, but in the book so far we haven't gotten there yet.


Every month I get four emails from the library.  It's their list of suggested books based on genre.  So I get one for YA, one for Horror, one for general fiction and one for Thrillers/Suspense.  I never read them, but I save the emails for a time when I feel like I might need a new author to read.

Three days ago I got the Thriller/Suspense email so I thought, hey, I'm not loving anything I'm reading right now so let's take a gander at what my good friend the library suggests for me.  The first book was by Chelsea Cain and it was called Kill You Twice.  The first sentence of the description said something like 'In this fifth installment of the series featuring Archie Sheridan (and serial killer Gretchen Lowell)....'  Basically, they had me at 'serial killer Gretchen Lowell'.  A female serial killer?  I'm in.

Of course, you know me, I have to start at the beginning.  So I went to the library and picked up Heartsick.

I read it in about 3 hours. 

Totally worth it.  Of course, you don't read about female serial killers too often.  Everyone knows who Aileen Wournos is and if you do hear about a female SK she poisoned her victims or like in Wournos's case claim self defense.  Rarely, do you hear of a female who tortures her victims and that's where Gretchen Lowell comes in.  

The only part of the book that bugs me is Archie Sheridan.  Yes, female SKs are rare, but burned out, addicted, broken detectives are not.  Granted, Sheridan's reasons for being broken are way different, still I didn't fall in love with him.  Didn't really feel sorry for him.  He was my means of getting to Gretchen.

There are basically two stories here.  One is the present day story.  Someone is kidnapping teenage girls and dumping their bodies along the river in Portland, Oregon.  The mayor wants a task force convened and he wants Archie to head it.  Why?  Because Archie is the hero cop who broke the case of the Beauty Killer.  Albeit, he broke it when she kidnapped and tortured him for ten days, but nonetheless, he survived and she went to jail.  Barely functioning he knows he needs to get his shit together to find out who is killing these girls.

The second story comes and goes.  It's the ten days of torture that Archie suffered at the hands of Gretchen.  And here is where you start to understand why he is the way he is and more importantly, who Gretchen is.  

I've read some reviews in which people said that the present day story was pale in comparison to learning Gretchen and Archie's past, but I disagree.  Though at first, there doesn't seem to be anything truly shocking about The After School Killer (stupid name) there are ties that bind both stories together.

Cain doesn't spend a lot of time on other characters.  There's Susan, the writer from The Herald who is sent to profile Archie.  Susan is damaged goods so it seems she recognizes in Archie more than the people who love him do.  Susan's role is a little coincidental, but everything seems to come full circle.

Seriously good read.  It's when you read a book like this that you realize how crappy some of the authors out there really are.  The authors that grace the NYT Bestsellers list twice a year with their manufactured books with no grip, no hook, you buy the book because you've been buying their books forever.  I'm not saying their books are total crap (*coughJamesPattersoncough*), but how is it that everyone raves about them and yet I had never heard of Chelsea Cain?  It's a travesty I tell you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

what am i reading now?

I'll give you one guess.

The other day I was feel nostalgic for books that I have read multiple times and loved every second of reading them.  I'm trying to slog through the books that have been sitting on my tbr shelf, but I'm just not feeling it.  I did pick up a book by a new (to me) author and so far am loving it, but everything else just isn't exciting so far.

Yesterday I decided that I was going to reread The Hunger Games.  Then I picked up this new book (Heartsick by Chelsea Cain) and got into that so I put it off.

Then today Ms. Lauren over at Busy Bee Lauren wrote this post about rereading The Hunger Games together so I thought it must be meant to be.  If you want to join in the reading happiness you can participate in the tweeting madness that will occur starting tonight.  I'm @knowitnotsomuch and Lauren is tweeting specifically about the book here @TheLaurenGames Of course, you can follow me on twitter, but I'll warn you that my previous attempts to keep up with that junk have been grossly unsuccessful.  For this group reading thing it's best if you follow Lauren.

Maybe I'll post about each chapter as I go along, but I'm not making any promises 'cause I pretty much suck at bloggie follow through.  *sigh*

So get your books out and your favorite HG bookmark & let's get to reading!

Monday, September 3, 2012

the affair

Quite simply this Jack Reacher story is about both beginnings and endings.

It's 1997 and Reacher is sent out to Carter Crossing, Mississippi to investigate undercover.  A woman has been found, throat cut and suspicion has fallen on the local base.  Only, it can't.  The Army can't afford to have the spot light on this base and they can't afford for an investigation to prove what they already have an inkling about.  So Garber sends Reacher in to find out what's really going on and how best to protect the Army.

Of course, Reacher isn't going to assist in some kind of cover up.  He's too good for that and maybe that's why Garber sends him.  But this story, even though it takes place almost 15 years ago, shows a much more decisive Reacher. 

Here and there you'll find little Easter egg facts inserted for those who have read the series in its entirety.  Neagley makes an appearance and the story certainly does set up the events that will happen in the first Reacher novel, The Killing Floor.

This book doesn't disappoint and in fact, I'm slightly sad that certain characters never show up in the series, but then that's not surprising considering Lee Child's style.  The book answers a lot of questions about Reacher and why he really mustered out.  I let the book lead me along the whole way and kept changing my mind at every single turn.

He's still my favorite book hero.

shock wave

Virgil is sent out to a small Minnesota river town after to find out who is trying to stop megastore Pyemart from moving in.  So far two bombs and two people have been killed and Virgil is tasked with stopping the bomber from killing any more innocent people.

I just really enjoy Virgil Flowers.  Almost more than Lucas Davenport.  He's hilarious.  Easy going and smart, but not afraid to throw a punch when it's needed.  The difference between Lucas and Virgil is that while Lucas does step outsides the lines of the law quite often, Virgil doesn't so much but he still feels like he's not so straight laced.  He also tends to be more down to earth and uses the community to help him find answers.

Pyemart is basically a WalMart and the small town of Butternut just can't sustain a huge superstore like that and support its local mom and pop businesses.  Then there's the possible pollution into the river that runs through the town and brings trout fisherman from all over.  So there's plenty of people who don't want PyeMart to move in and plenty who believe that the city council was bribed.  Plenty of mad people in this town, which means plenty of suspects for Virgil to wade through when the bombing start.

Great series, great book.  You don't necessarily have to read these in order, but there are references to characters from previous books.  Either way, this is one not to miss.

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