Monthly Archives: June 2014

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is waaaaaay off the path of my usual reading material.  A thriller – what??

But it was so good! And gripping!  And twisty!  And unexpected!

I feel like I can in no way describe what this book is about, so I will quote the cover:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

This book takes you through a chilling and frighteningly realistic portrayal of psychopathy and a love story gone wrong.  The story is stunningly well written, and the characters deep and developed.  It leaves you on the edge of your seat – asking both What happened? and How did we go from here to there?  I got so into it and anxious about the story that I had to put down the book a few times. And – I admit it – I peeked ahead at the ending.  It was the only way I could finish the book, knowing what direction it was going to take.  I’m weird like that. (Yes I enjoy knowing the ending – it decreases my anxiety about what is coming).

If you’re in the mood for a suspense / mystery / thriller then I would highly recommend this one!

5/5 (for it’s genre!)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Progidy

Prodigy

From Goodreads:

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

OMG.

So good.

So much anxiety and action and unexpected twists.

So much emotion and character depth.

So excited to read the last one!!

5/5

1 Comment

Filed under Dystopian, Young Adult Books

Enchanted

Enchanted

Enchantedby Alethea Kontis was SO GOOD!! A perfect blend of a multitude of fairy tales, mixed with fun characters and of course a love story! This was a fantastic book!

Sunday Woodcutter is the youngest of seven sisters, each named for the days of the week.

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

This rhyme seems pretty apt, and Sunday’s sisters each have their brushes with magic, adventure, love, or tragedy.  Sunday aims to be average –  she loves to write stories, but they have a discomforting tendency to come true so she sticks to stories about things that have already occurred.

One day, Sunday meets an enchanted frog and the two become fast friends, with deeper feelings on the way. One night, Sunday kisses her frog goodbye, and rushes off before realizing that this kiss has transformed Grumble back into the crown prince Rumbold. Unfortunately for Rumbold and for Sunday, the Woodcutter family has no friendly feelings toward the prince or his kin.

Rumbold returns to his former life with determination.  He will woo Sunday, and help her love him as a man and not as a frog.  The task is not as easy as Rumbold would hope, and Sunday must confront not only secrets from her past but also her strong feelings for a man her family hates and whom she barely knows.

Sunday is full of stories and hope.
Rumbold is charming and smitten.
Both are a bit naive and so sweet.

Love love love!

5/5

5 Comments

Filed under Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult Books

Across a Star Swept Sea

across a star swept sea

Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund is the sequel or companion book to For Darkness Shows The Stars. It is based in the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved this adaptation – set in a dystopian world where humanity was ravaged by both the horrible consequences of genetic manipulation gone wrong (the reduction) and a subsequent world war, the book introduces a whole new cast of characters. Gender-bending the cast of the Scarlet Pimpernel, the book is predictable yet original. I was swept up by the story and characters. Love, love, love!! It’s so great to find a great book!

New Pacifica consists of two nations – Albion and Galatea. Galatea is in the midst of a revolution, and the revolutionaries are using new Reduction Pills as their guillotine. The Wild Poppy is an Albion spy who is determined to save as many Aristos and Regs against the revolution as possible, in the face of incredible danger.

Thoughts:

  • Such a compelling setting! So different from For Darkness Shows The Stars but the same world (just another aspect of it).
  • The technology is creative and fascinating.
  • The characters are well rounded and believable. I loved Persis and Justen! I also thought the secondary characters were fantastic supports, if less focused on.
  • I LOVED the appearance of a few familiar faces.

No complaints! 5/5!

Leave a comment

Filed under Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult Books

The Chase (Fox and O’Hare #2)

The chase Evanovich Goldberg

Following The Heist, this is the second book about con-artist Nicolas Fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.  Although I like Janet Evanovich, I have to say that this book is refreshing and I credit that all to Lee Goldberg.  Evanovich doesn’t vary much from her set themes in other books, or her stereotypical characters (like the funny old lady, the thirty-something feisty heroine, and the yummy-but-somehow-problematic love interest.  This book felt like it broke out of that mold a bit – thought not completely.

Kate is secretly working with master felon, Nicolas Fox, to bring down bigger names than he – the world’s most wanted but trickiest criminals.  This time, Carter Grove, ex-chief of staff at the White House and heartless leader of a private security agency, is their target.  Carter has in his possession a stolen and very rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, and one that needs to be recovered ASAP, to save relations between the U.S. and China.

Nick and Kate put together another random crew, including a few members of their previous con, and a few fresh faces including a Geek Squad techie and buddies of Kate’s dad.  Together they must pull off multiple scams, switches, heists, and robberies in order to nail Carter Grove.

My initial thoughts:

  • Fast, exciting, suspenseful.  It left me thinking “how are they going to pull this off??” several times, so of course it’s a bit unrealistic.
  • Kate is the epitome of a strong character.
  • Nick is charming and cunning. He clearly has a lot up his sleeve.
  • Jake (Kate’s Dad) is mysterious and awesome. He clearly is bored with retirement.
  • Just enough humour to get over the stereotypes.  I will admit that I love bad jokes and puns, so I probably fit the target audience.  Someone less tolerant might find the jokes inane.
  • Exactly what you’d expect – a clichéd action-packed good-guys-working-with-questionably-bad-guys-for-the-greater-good type of novel.  This is not a thinking book, it’s chick-lit mixed with action (but mostly a chick-lit).

I’d give it a 4/5 for being exactly what I was looking for in that kind of book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Action, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit

Book of A thousand Days

Book of a thousand days

I seem to be reading books based only on their covers or authors and before actually reading their descriptions.  This was one of those books.  I loved the Books of Bayern series (see Goose Girl etc. etc. etc.) and I was intrigued by the title, thinking that it might be an Arabian-nights type of tale (I was mistaken, it is not).  It was a great read, however!

Loosely based on a Grimm tale that I haven’t read myself (the tale of Maid Maleen), this is a story about loyalty and love.

Dashti is a Mucker, and comes from the steppes where she and her family lived off the land and their animals.  This book is a record of her tale, written as a journal. Dashti becomes a lady’s maid, and pledges her loyalty to Lady Saren.  Saren, as her father’s youngest daughter, has been pledged in betrothal to a man she does not love.  With her refusal, Lady Saren and Dashti are locked in a tower, to be kept for seven years in exile.

Imprisoned in the tower with her limpid, weepy and clearly depressed mistress, Dashti struggles to look on the bright side.

When she and Saren finally escape, they discover that the outside world is much changed.  These two girls are bound together by loyalty, lies, and life.  Together, they can weather the storm.

The characters:

  • Dashti is a fantastic character.  Optimistic (for the most part), strong-willed, caring, and loyal she remains true to herself and her believes and I admire her for it.  I also admire her patience, particularly with Saren.
  • Saren grew on me – slowly.  Initially I had little use for her simpering and silliness, but gradually I was less annoyed by her displays and more sympathetic.  I love how Saren finds her own feet to stand on at the end, yet remains true to her character.
  • Khan Tegus is the love interest in this story (since there obviously needs to be a love interest).  I like that he seems like a real person.
  • Lord Khasar is the antagonist – a loud, terrifying, evil man. Bad to the bone, one might say.

The story:

  • Moved along at a good pace, despite the years it spans.
  • Slotted little bits of magic and folklore in, weaving it pretty well and giving you subtle hints of the flashier bits to come.
  • Is clearly intended for a middle-ages / young adult audience, so is not super sophisticated. It’s sweet but still deals with some nice themes (like loyalty, friendship, and courage).

I would definitely recommend giving this one a try!  4/5

1 Comment

Filed under Fairy Tales, Tween Fiction, Young Adult Books

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone

I sometimes feel that stumbling upon multiple great books in a row is a little bit like winning a raffle draw – you always hope for it, but never quite expect to win.

Shadow and Boneby Leigh Bardugo was intriguing, magical, serious, and enthralling.  I’m so happy that it’s part of a series!

Alina and Mal are both orphans, who grow up together on a Duke’s estate.  Once grown, they join the army and as part of their tour must cross the Shadow Fold.  The Shadow fold is a rift that crosses the country of Ravka, where they live.  It is a huge band of complete darkness, inhabited by terrible monsters who feast on human flesh.  There, Alina reveals a unique magical power, marking her as one of the magical elite (Grisha), which may be the key to saving Ravka from the Shadow Fold.  The Darkling, the ruler of the Grisha, quickly sweeps Alina off to be educated and trained. Ripped from her former life, Alina must learn how to unlock her power and decide her feelings for the handsome and beguiling Darkling.  Whom should she trust? And, more importantly, will she ever see Mal again?

Alina is a great character, who shows flaws and also growth during the book.  She starts as a weak girl who lacks self-confidence and slowly transforms into a strong female character.  She’s realistic and flawed, and you sympathize with her desire to belong, to be wanted and loved and to fit in.

The Darkling is a mysterious, handsome, and powerful figure.  As the realms most powerful Grisha, the Darkling provides a sharp contrast to cocky, common Mal.

The Grisha, magicians who specialize in one of three areas, are a stratified and unexpectedly commonplace bunch (in the sense that they, like regular people, suffer from snobs and social divisions).  I loved how they were viewed in different lights as the book progressed, and as Alina went from the outside to the inside of their circle.

My only criticism: the writing style was a bit simplistic, and the story was carried more by the plot, characters, and underlying themes than by the descriptions and language used.

This was definitely a gripping read, and if you’re in the mood for a young-adult fantasy book that explores power (and the struggles that inevitably arise from power) and a sprinkle of romance, this would be a great pick.

4.5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult Books