Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Number 75

I'm always in awe of two authors coming together to make one novel. I figure it must be a balancing act for the writers. I can't imagine how one would approach the other if they really didn't like his/her ideas or chapter. Sounds like a marriage, but without the benefit of getting to sleep together.

The Novel: Swimsuit
The Authors: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Synopsis (Taken from the author's web page):

A breathtakingly beautiful supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after she goes missing, Kim McDaniels's parents receive a terrifying phone call. Fearing the worst, they board the first flight to Maui and begin the hunt for their daughter.

Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. The ineptitude of the local police force defies belief—Ben has to start his own investigation for Kim McDaniels to have a prayer. And for Ben to have the story of his life.

All the while, the killer sets the stage for his next production. His audience expects the best—and they won't be disappointed. Swimsuit is a heart-pounding story of fear and desire, transporting you to a place where beauty and murder collide and unspeakable horrors are hidden within paradise.

My Thoughts:
Swimsuit is pretty good. It's nice to take a break from James Patterson's Alex Cross novels (which are starting to disappoint).
I liked the premise and I enjoyed the character development. I was expecting some continuity issues, since there are 2 authors, but I didn't notice any so that's a bonus.
I find James Patterson's novels pretty easy reading. I can sit down and get sucked in quite quickly.
I was displeased with how abruptly the novel ended. I felt it could have been done better.

I give "Swimsuit" a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

I'm getting tired of well known authors letting their novels turn to shit at the end. I'm finding this a major issue lately with some of my favourites. The ending is a big part of what makes a novel enjoyable, if it sucks I'm less favorable to the author the next time around.

Book Number 74

When I first started really getting into books as a teen, I focused a lot on the horror genre. I was (and still am) a big fan of John Saul. I feel like I'm taking a step back into my past and revisiting an old friend.

The Novel: House Of Reckoning
The Author: John Saul

Synopsis (Taken from the author's web page):
For more than three decades John Saul has haunted the New York Times bestseller list-and readers' imaginations-with his chilling tales of psychological suspense and supernatural horror. His instinct for striking the deepest chords of fear in our hearts and minds is unerring, and his gift for steering a tale from the light of day into the darkest depths of nightmare is at its harrowing best in House of Reckoning.

After the untimely death of her mother while she is still in her early teens, Sarah Crane is forced to grow up quickly-in order to help tend her family's Vermont farm and look after her grieving father, who's drowning his sorrow in alcohol. But their quiet life together is shattered when her father is jailed for killing another man in a barroom brawl, and injuring Sarah in a drunken car crash.

Left in the cold care of a loveless foster family and alienated at school, Sarah finds a kindred spirit in classmate Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient still plagued by voices and visions. And in eccentric art instructor Bettina Phillips, she finds a mentor eager to nurture her talent for painting.

But within the walls of Bettina's ancestral home, the mansion called Shutters, Sarah finds something altogether different and disturbing.

Monstrous images from the house's dark history seem to flow unbidden from her paintbrush-images echoed by Nick's chilling hallucinations. Trapped for ages in the shadowy rooms of Shutters, the violence and fury of long-dead generations has finally found a gateway from the grave into the world of the living. And Sarah and Nick have found a power they never had: to take control, and take revenge.

My Thoughts:
Well, it was as I expected..... creepy. His characters are likeable in a quirky, scary kind of way. The premise of this novel was really creepy and John Saul does a pretty good job of incorporating the small details that makes a reader feel sufficiently disturbed.
I immediately hated the antagonists, which is how it should be. The protagonists had issues, which served to make them more likeable or at least made me feel for their plight.
Compelling and chilling. This novel had all the elements that I look forward to in the horror genre.

I give "House Of Reckoning" a rating of 3.75 out of 5.

John Saul is the type of author, that if I come across one of his old novels which I haven't read before, I won't hesitate to pick up.

Book Number 73

Another YA series. I like this series in that the focus is more on the story and characters, as opposed to being all about teen angst.

The Novel: City Of Bones

The Author: Cassandra Clare

Synopsis (Taken from the authors web page):

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

My Thoughts:
I liked this novel. It was a nice escape into a fantastical world with all sorts of weird characters.
I enjoyed the plot, and the character development. One thing that I personally didn't love was how so many types (species?) of supernaturals were featured. It seemed to me at the time that there was so much going on and the introduction of so many types of beings kind of took away focus from the main characters for awhile. I understand that it was necessary for plot development to have all these types of beings in the story, but at the same time it was a bit overwhelming. (once I got into the series as a whole it balanced out and made more sense, but in the first novel it was a bit too much). Aside from that issue (which is my issue, I'm sure a lot of people will disagree that it's a problem) I enjoyed this novel and I was happy to continue on with the series.

I give" City Of Bones" a rating of 3.5 out of 5.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Number 72

The Novel: Flawless
The Author: Sara Shepard

Synopsis (Taken from the author's web page):

In the exclusive town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, where the sweetest smiles hide the darkest secrets, four pretty little liars—Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna—have been very bad girls. . . .
Spencer stole her sister's boyfriend. Aria is brokenhearted over her English teacher. Emily likes her new friend Maya . . . as much more than a friend. And Hanna's obsession with looking flawless is literally making her sick. But the most horrible secret of all is something so scandalous it could destroy their perfect little lives.
And someone named "A" is threatening to do just that.
At first they thought A was Alison, their friend who vanished three years ago . . . but then Alison turned up dead. So could A be Melissa, Spencer's ultracompetitive sister? Or Maya, who wants Emily all to herself? What about Toby, the mysterious guy who left town right after Alison went missing?
One thing's for certain: A's got the dirt to bury them all alive, and with every crumpled note, wicked IM, and vindictive text message A sends, the girls get a little closer to losing it all.

Link: http://
My Thoughts:
Meh. Again another teen angsty filled book. But, like the first in this series, the novel isn't too bad...once you get past the teen angst BS.
I like the idea behind this book. The characters each being tormented by one person "A". I'm intrigued enough to carry on with this series (I need to know who "A" is).
The idea is great, and it holds up enough for me to continue to read the series, even with the annoying teenager attitudes....Although it doesn't stop the parent in me thinking that these girls need some major "tough love" and a serious grounding or loss of privileges......OH MAN, I'm turning into my mother.......

I give "Flawless" a rating of 2.75 out of 5.

OK, I was so not like these girls when I was a teenager. I'm hoping that these novels aren't a sign of the times and an accurate example of current teenage behaviour. This cannot be what I have to look forward to when Little Miss becomes a teen...Right?

Book Number 71

A much anticipated novel. I really Love Canadian author Kelley Armstrong. She does "supernatural" well.

The Novel: Frostbitten
The Author: Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis (Taken from the author's web page):

The Alaskan wilderness is a harsh landscape in the best of conditions, but with a pack of rogue werewolves on the loose, it’s downright deadly.
Elena Michaels, the Pack’s chief enforcer, knows all too well the havoc “mutts” can wreak.
When word comes of a series of humans apparently killed by wolves near Anchorage, Elena and Clay are sent to check things out. But they find more than they bargained for among the snow and trees of the savage Alaskan wilderness.

My Thoughts:
I am never disappointed when I read a novel written by my fellow Canadian Kelley Armstrong. (I'm a little patriotic today)
My favourite character in the Otherworld Series is Elena Michaels. Frostbitten doesn't disappoint on any front; character development or plot.
It was great to see Elena back in action and kicking ass. The action was non-stop and thoroughly entertaining.
This book is the 10th (I believe) in the otherworld series, so you have to definitely read the other novels before this one.....but if you've read them before, then there's nothing new I can tell you. It's the same style of well written, entertaining, action packed adventure that Kelley Armstrong is famous for.

I give "Frostbitten" a rating of 4 out of 5.

I cannot wait until August. Waking The Witch will be released and I'm so looking forward to more from this author.

Book Number 70

The Novel: The Visibles
The Author: Sara Shepard

Synopsis (Taken from the author's web page):

When introduced to the concept that DNA defines who we are and forever ties us to our relatives, Summer Davis clings to the idea like a life raft, allowing her to feel connected to her beautiful, aloof mother, who abruptly abandoned the family. Summer's father responds to their loss by descending into mental illness, haunted by a lifelong burning secret and abetted by a series of letters that he writes to make sense of his feelings. As Summer deals with her father's illness, her brother's indifference, and her own relationships from adolescence to adulthood, she begins to question the role of genetics and whether she is powerless to escape her family's legacy of despair. But when she decides to put off a science career in New York City to take care of her great-aunt Stella, bedrock of the family and bastion of country wisdom, irreverent insight, and Sinatra memorabilia, Summer begins to learn that her biography doesn't have to define her-and that her future, like her DNA, belongs to her alone.

My Thoughts:
I liked this novel better than Sara Shepard's YA novels (The Pretty Little Liars series). This novel has the right elements to entertain me without the teen bullshit that her other novels are saturated with.
Summer Davis is a character that is believable and I couldn't help but feel for her and her situation. The character faces many challenges through her journey and I was immediately sucked in.
The building suspense kept me entertained, although the characters inability to progress at points (her independence) left me frustrated...which was exactly how it was intended to come across.

I give " The Visibles" a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

All in all I enjoyed this novel and I look forward to any other non YA novels that this Author may produce in the future.

Format Change

So the reason I decided to change up the format a bit was because I figured that it must get annoying to have to click onto a link to read what the book is about.

That's it. That's my sole reason for changing things up.

Now there seem to be a few cons to my change up.
1. The blog post is so much longer now.
2. It takes a lot longer for me to post my opinion which I think in the long run may have some procrastination issues attached to it.....

My solutions to the cons.
1. Suck It Up Buttercup. If you don't want to read all of it, skip the synopsis and get right to the good stuff (my review, duh)
2. My issue to deal with, and if the past has been any indication...y'all know I'm a whaddaya expect. I "promise" to try.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Number 69

So I want to try a new format with my book reviews. I'm going to give it a go and hope for the best.....

The Novel: Flower Net
The Author: Lisa See

Synopsis (Taken From Author's web page):
In the depths of a Beijing winter, during the waning days of Deng Xiaoping's reign, the U.S. ambassador's son is found dead- his body entombed in a frozen lake. Almost simultaneously, American officials find a ship adrift in the storm-churned waters off Southern California. No one is surprised to find the fetid hold crammed with hundreds of undocumented Chinese immigrants- the latest cargo in the Chinese mafia's burgeoning smuggling trade. What does surprise Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark is his discovery that among the hapless refugees lies the corpse of a Red Prince, a scion of China's political elite.

The Chinese and American governments suspect that the deaths are connected, and in an unprecedented move they join forces to solve this cross-cultural crime. Stark heads for Beijing to team up with police detective Liu Hulan, whose unorthodox methods are tolerated only because of her spectacular investigative abilities. Their investigation carries them (and the reader) into virtually every corner of today's China- from its glitzy karaoke bars, where the nation's new elite cuts deals, to the labyrinthine hutongs, where ordinary Beijingers have lived and died for centuries.

Stark and Liu's search leads them from the Chinese capital to Los Angeles' thriving Asian community and turns up a bloodthirsty murderer at the very apex of China's power structure. Their work together also ignites their passion for each other- a passion forbidden by their respective governments and one that plays right into the hands of a serial killer.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this Novel. I find Lisa See's work to be very entertaining and I immediately become engrossed in whatever she has written.
I found the characters to be interesting, although I preferred Liu Hulan to her male (American) counter-part.
The setting and the little intricacies of the land and it's people really made the plot and characters believable.
I always feel as though I learn something after reading one of Lisa See's novels. Usually cultural historical information. However, with this novel being set in current times, it was nice to get a glimpse into "today's" China from the perspective of a female investigator.

I give "Flower Net" a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

Lisa See did a pretty good job with this novel and I expect I'll enjoy the other novels in this series just as much. That being said I am a much bigger fan of her historical fiction......which is saying a lot considering I used to hate historical fiction before I came across Lisa See's brilliant novel "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". I am a changed woman. I can now look at historical fiction on the shelves of my library and not cringe.