Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I Found (#3)

Friends and family are always commenting on my morbid taste in books. I like books about serial killers, psychological disorders, and dead bodies. When I was in high school, I actually wanted to be a medical examiner, so I love shows and books about medical examiners.

After reading the first book in the Body Farm series, I had to get the second one. I got Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass but have yet to read it. I'm starting to notice that I get all excited about books, get them, and then don't read them. This needs to stop.

From Goodreads: Anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton founded Tennessee's world-famous Body Farm—a small piece of land where corpses are left to decay in order to gain important forensic information. Now, in the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, he's called upon by Jess Carter—the rising star of the state's medical examiners—to help her unravel a murderous puzzle. But after re-creating the death scene at the Body Farm, Brockton discovers his career, reputation, and life are in dire jeopardy when a second, unexplained corpse appears in the grisly setting.

Accused of a horrific crime—transformed overnight from a respected professor to a hated and feared pariah—Bill Brockton will need every ounce of his formidable forensic skills to escape the ingeniously woven net that's tightening around him . . . and to prove the seemingly impossible: his own innocence.

My Thoughts: I really need to read this book. I also really need to visit the Body Farm.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a great way to share what you've read, what you're reading, and what you're planning on reading.

I don't have a lot of time for reading with a new baby, but I still manage to get around to it. Last week, I finished Without Tess. It was a fantastic book. I just started The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks. I haven't read enough to determine how I feel about it yet. Actually, I haven't even made it through the first chapter. Hopefully, Baby H will give Mommy some downtime today to get some reading done. 

I have so many books that I want to read. I'm thinking that these books will be tackled soon:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: Without Tess

Title: Without Tess
Author: Marcella Pixley
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 5/5

From Goodreads: Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess’s battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.

My Thoughts: Fantastic. Heartbreaking. Magical. Those are just a few words to describe Without Tess. The story started out a little slow for me, but the writing began to draw me in. Tess was one of those enchanting people who others found themselves drawn to. I could feel this happening to me as I read.

Tess talked a lot about magic, and it seemed to fit her personality. She was a magical person. At first, she seemed like a child with a powerful, creative imagination. This can be refreshing, especially considering how most children nowadays are more interested in video games and the internet and rarely use their imagination. Under the surface, though, was a dangerous mental illness. This was evident in how Tess never broke from her imaginary world. She truly believed in the magical world she had created.

Without Tess was beautifully written. I loved how the poetry intertwined with the story. The poems themselves were beautiful and lyrical. The story was also an interesting spin on mental illness in children. There was very little talk of therapy, medication, or treatment. The story wasn't focused on getting Tess better. It was focused on who Tess was, which I think was what Lizzie wanted to remember most.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Found (#2)

This week's pick for What I Found is Conversations with the Devil by Jeff Rovin. I found this book at a discount bookstore a few years ago. Our local Borders had closed and been replaced by a Bradley's. Their selection wasn't that great, but I found this book and thought it looked interesting.

From Goodreads: New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin has held readers in breathless suspense with his Tom Clancy’s Op-Center novels.  He has created compelling characters with vividly rendered emotions and actions.  His page-turning thrillers have addressed questions of good and evil in our times.   Now, Rovin confronts the question of Good and Evil on the ultimate battleground.  A human soul hangs in the balance, and thousands of years of religious teachings depict only the beginning of the fight for dominion over man.   Psychologist Sarah Lynch is stunned when one of her young patients hangs himself.  Evidence reveals that Fredric had become a Satanist.  Intending to solve the puzzle of Fredric’s death, Sarah attempts to conjure the devil—surely then she will understand what the teenager was thinking. Sarah knows that belief in God and the Devil is a construct of the human mind and that people contain within them both good and evil.  Her own family is the perfect example.  Sarah’s mother is still in denial about her dead husband’s alcoholism, but acts as a wonderful grandparent to the son of the family’s live-in housekeeper.  Her alcoholic brother bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend and job to job, but is always there when Sarah needs him.  And Sarah herself?  She lost her faith more than a decade ago, during a personal crisis.  But she is dedicated to giving others the help she did not receive.  Even the nun who is Sarah’s best friend cannot break through Sarah’s shield of cynicism.  But Satan can.  The Devil himself rises in Sarah’s office, sometimes a being of dark smoke and sometimes a creature of all-too-perfect, seductive flesh.  Most disturbing is Satan’s claim that only by following him can people find real happiness.  In the Devil’s theology, God is a brutal, jealous bully.  And as God and Satan battle for Sarah’s soul, Sarah comes to believe him.  She forgets that he is the Master of Lies . . .

My Thoughts: I still think this book looks interesting, but I'm a little worried it might be a little too religious for my taste. I wouldn't say I'm eager to read it, but I'd like to read it eventually.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: The Sleepwalkers

Title: The Sleepwalkers
Author: J. Gabriel Gates
Publisher: HCI Teens
Release Date: October 3, 2011
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4/5

From Goodreads: A chilling and masterfully crafted teen horror novel guaranteed to keep the pages turning, the mind reeling, and the lamp on any reader's bedside table on long after midnight.

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb's childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine's long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an a.m. radio. The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.

My Thoughts: This is one creepy book! Even though I was eager to finish, I couldn't read too late into the night without feeling uneasy. At one point, I went into my basement and felt like the sleepwalkers might come after me. Lol! It didn't take long for me to be sucked into this story. There were so many clues that Caleb followed, and I found myself trying to figure out what was going on in that small town. Twists and turns along the way kept the book fresh and exciting. I thought the writing was done well, too. Most of the books I read have a female main character, so it was refreshing to read a book with a male main character. I received this book from NetGalley to review, but I'm probably going to buy a copy. I'm thinking I'll want to read it again and again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What I Found (#1)

As I walked into our home office earlier today, I noticed that my bookcase is out of control. Books are stacked and scattered all over the place. I caught glimpses of titles that I didn't even know were there. I decided that it's time to sort through my books and rediscover the ones that have gotten lost on the shelves. I'm going to do a weekly post sharing a book that I find on my shelves that I've forgotten about. Hopefully, I'll also get around to reading them.

The first book I pulled from my bookcase was A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I've had this book for years but haven't read it. Honestly, I didn't even know what the book was about when I bought it. I just liked the cover.

While writing this post, I read the synopsis from Goodreads, and I'm really looking forward to reading this book now. I feel like I may be able to relate to the author in some ways. There's a good chance I'll be starting this book soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Eve (Eve #1)

Title: Eve (Eve #1)
Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4/5

From Goodreads: The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

My Thoughts: The synopsis of Eve intrigued me, and the beginning of the book pulled me in. The separation of the genders and the lessons the girls were taught about men reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale. I enjoyed seeing Eve's thoughts grow and morph as she came to realize that less and less of what her teachers taught was true. She went from a submissive follower to a brave rebel. It would be difficult to realize you must question everything you've ever known, especially when you find yourself alone and running for your life.

Eve's relationship with Caleb was kind of predictable. It was like a lot of the YA books I've read recently. One of my favorite pieces of the story was how Eve became close with two young boys, Benny and Silas. She became like a mother to them, which meant a lot considering children who survived the plague were orphaned.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The writing was easy to follow. Carey did a great job at creating and describing this new world, conveying the emotions of the characters, and showing the growth of the characters. The ending completely surprised me, and I'm eager to read the next book in the series to find out what happens to Eve, Caleb, and Arden.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: Evermore (The Immortals #1)

Title: Evermore (The Immortals #1)
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: February 2009
Source: Own
My Rating: 3/5

From Goodreads: Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste . . .

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

My Thoughts: I've been reading a lot of paranormal books lately, and I think it's starting to wear on me.  I've had Evermore for quite awhile and decided to finally read it.  After picking it up a few times before, I would put it down after just a few pages.  The synopsis interested me, but I found the book to be just okay.  It wasn't amazing, but it wasn't terrible. 

Ever was a realistic and genuine character.  Despite Ever having paranormal abilities, she was still plagued mostly by the loss of her family and the feeling that it was all her fault.  She was easy to relate to because of the "normal" teen troubles she faced.  There were a few times that I wanted to smack her for getting all worked up over Damen, but then I remembered what it was like to be a teenage girl and like a boy.

I didn't love this book, but I think that was only because I'm a little burned out on paranormal YA. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: The Awakening (Darkest Powers #2)

Title: The Awakening (Darkest Powers #2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 2009
Source: Own
My Rating: 3/5

From Goodreads: If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

My Thoughts:  Quite some time has passed since I read the first book in this series.  I remember being eager to read the next one and find out what would happen to Chloe and her friends.  I have to say, though, I was a little disappointed.  The Awakening didn't excite me and keep me in suspense like the first book.  There were some developments in the next installement of the series that I found interesting, but I just felt like the story was lacking.  The relationships between Chloe and her fellow supernaturals are changing and becoming more dynamic, and this book seemed to highlight the awkward transition between strangers and close friends.  I'm hoping the third book in the series is more exciting than this one.