Monday, March 24, 2014

Divergent VS. Hunger Games

I have read all of the Hunger Games (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins and really enjoyed them.  I  just finished Divergent by Veronica Roth and can say I liked that too.
But what I want to know- what is with all the guns and killing?  I understand teen novels tend to have more angst than say, adult fiction. Both had a bit of that in them.  But the whole teen as killer thing seems to be a new trend in Young Adult Fiction.

I've read other series (My Fair Assassin by Robin LeFever, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare)-all with strong female leads, who also happen to be deadly.

Earlier series like The Enchanted Forest Series by Patricia Wrede or Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce had kick-butt heroines but violence was minimized. Both were written in the 1980's so that may be the difference.

I just wonder if I am just showing my age or has the world become so desensitized to violence that it is prevalent in today's teen stories as well as adult. Has literature written for young teen males always had that edge to it (sorry- I was raised in the 60's and 70's but in a conservative small town.)  What am I missing? 
I know teen girls want to be/deserve to be portrayed as strong, independent people. I get that and like that. I like that girls can solve problems. But when a girl has to shoot a classmate in the head to save herself and "the world as she knows it"-is it the right thing to do? 

I would love to hear what others think of this trend.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals.
Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills of their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad. 
A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

I really enjoy this caper novel. It was fun, fast moving and had some great dialogue.  I've read Janet Evanovich for years and enjoy her By the Numbers series. This was my first time reading Lee Goldberg's work-I plan on looking for more.  
I liked the character development. I liked that I could follow the plot without having read the first in the series, The Heist,  
One of the things I liked about the book was that it was plot driven. It had some violence (you were dealing with a corrupt former politician-it's gonna happen) but no real bad language or sex. I can recommend this to everyone- A win-win in my job as a librarian.

I am sure you will  enjoy the book too.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Preservationist by Jason Kramon

From the first chapter, Jason Kramon creates a carefully crafted suspense story. I really enjoyed it and was impressed with the way he created characters, and setting, and let them tell a good story.
You've probably read that this is a story centered around Julia, a college freshman, with  a big secret in her past. She starts a relationship with a fellow student, Marcus, that she breaks off when complications arise. Complications in the form of Sam, an  older guy she meets off-campus.
What Jason does in the story is to take a familiar plot line and turn it into something a little more dark, a lot more creepy, and filled with more moments of holding your breath while you wait for the suspense to end-and it doesn't.
Family relationships are examined, a few stereotypes exposed, and scenarios shifted just enough to make you wonder.
I really enjoyed the book and was thrilled when I got a copy in exchange for an honest review. I am glad I can give a positive one.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Best of 2012

Here are my favorites for 2012.
They appear in the order I read them-not necessarily how well I liked them or which was the absolute favorite. I hope you have a chance to check some of them out.

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah

Wanna Get Lucky by Deborah Coonts

So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas 

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose 

A Wish and a Prayer by Beverly Jenkins

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Jack:1939 by Francine Matthews

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elizabeth McNeal


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma
Publish date: March 21, 2013

A debut novel from a new author (ok, novelist-he has had articles published in several literary magazines) that is outstanding.  The book is about a novelist who loses and re-writes the same novel over the course of several years and almost as many locations.

It is a great story but one that ebbs and flows through the narrative. I loved it and I was at one point, a bit out of patience with it. It is that moving.
The main character, whose real name is never mentioned in the book,  always seems to find someone else's life more fitting than his own. Perhaps that is what makes him an interesting character. Perhaps it is because he is telling the story and you don't need to know what his real name is, he just is. He falls in love easily but leaves the girls almost as easily.

Our story teller has a counterpart, Jeffrey Oakes, who has a best selling novel. Jeffrey is the narrator's friend and nemesis throughout the book. A great exaggeration of a writer; egotistical, manic, addictive personality, and generally unhealthy-Jeffrey is quite interesting and a lovely foil to the narrator.

Of course, there is the one girl who got away, a fairy tale princess who is the third angle of the triangle of Jeffrey and the narrator's youth.

I loved the way the story started with a young boy reading from Kipling's "Just So Stories" and ends in almost the same place.  Lovely way to round out the conclusion of the story.
And I liked the way the story made me feel good to read it.  It is literary fiction, something I read but not regulary.
Really quite good.

An advance readers copy was provided by Viking for review, no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Other Woman

The Other Woman by Hank  Phillippi Ryan

This was an amazing book!  I read alot and was enthralled by the plot twists that just kept coming.

It's the story of Jane Ryland, a reporter, who has been forced by circumstances to switch from TV to newspapers. She catches what should be a routine story but all of a sudden, turns into the political story of the year.  Maybe not all of a sudden. Jane has good instincts and alot of perseverence-qualities that make a good reporter. Like Hank Phillippi Ryan- still an award winning journalist in Boston.

I won't say much more about it- too many spoliers possible but once you start this, you will be hard pressed to put it down. I can't wait to see what happens next in "The Wrong Girl"

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Nights by Susan Mallery

I loved the story of Annabelle, the feisty librarian and Shane,the horse whisperer.
In fact, I have loved all the Fool's Gold books.

Fools Gold is a town in California that is run by women because there has been a man shortage for a long time. The town is working on that and the quality of the men that have been moving in is quite impressive. Not to say that there haven't been a few hiccups-but that is what makes thing interesting.

Take Shane Stryker-the hero of this story. He comes off as a bit of a jerk in the beginning because he has been hurt before and really doesn't want to let another woman make a fool out of him-or break his heart.

So when Annabelle enters his radar, he can tell she is trouble. Which is funny because everyone KNOWS how mild mannered and untempermental librarians are, right? Well, speaking as a member of the profession, no. We are all different and Annabelle is no exception. Warm, funny, smart, and endeared to the town by her willingness to get involved, she is an outstanding person.

But will Shane figure that out?

You'll have to read the book to find out- I wouldn't want to spoil the ending-even if it means you miss out on the opportunity of fantasizing about Shane (big, buff, handsome Stryker brother) clad only in a loin cloth at the end...