Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson

If you look through the books I read, you won't find many story collections. I'm not really a fan, but Kevin Wilson may have changed my mind. If he keeps writing them, I'll keep reading them. He rocks! This adult collection of stories has eleven stories that aren't connected, other than the fact that they are all good. They are so *different* and almost unbelievable, but he makes everything work. There's a guy who sorts letters in a Scrabble factory. A cheerleader who has no pep. A woman who is paid to be a grandmother for other families. And all sorts of interesting people in interesting situations.

Chuck out your reader's digest and make this your short-term reading material.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fall by Colin McAdam

First off, a disclaimer. I love the book cover, the author's name, the book title, and the awesome photograph. On the back jacket, a quote from the Aryn Kyle (author of The God of Animals) praises the book. So, um, I was a little biased before I even started reading.

The adult novel mainly alternates between the voices of two teenage upperclassmen at an elite boarding school. Both are sons of ambassadors/diplomats and used to a priveleged life. Julius is handsome, friendly, athletic and dating the hottest girl at school. Noel has a lazy eye, was bullied as a youngster, and has anger issues. The two boys end up rooming together on a lark and a friendship ensues. Noel is falling in love with Fallon (Fall for short), too. But Fall disappears, Julius falls apart, and Noel starts picking fights. The mystery is intense. I couldn't help but think about my fav YA novel, Looking for Alaska, as I read this one since the plot is very similar.

I'm still contemplating this one. I think I really enjoyed it, even though the ending wasn't satisfying. I wanted to keep reading and I felt like I knew silly Julius and starnge Noel pretty well. The author really gets you inside their heads, which is great. Fall is an object, of course, but that's how the two boys see her. How about you? Have you read it? What do you think?

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

So glad they changed the hardback cover on this one. I'm read the ARC and it's the shadowy picture of the back of a girl's neck. I like the bright pic much better!

This is an adult novel, but it doesn't read like one. I kept thinking, "This seems like a movie script!" Melody Grace McCartney has been in the Witness Protection Program most of her life (since she was six) because her family witnessed a murder at a local restaurant. Unfortunately the mob continued to come after her family, murdering her parents and constantly forcing her to be on the run. But, now that Melody is 26, she finds herself running just because she can irritate the Witness Protection Program. They have ruined her life, after all. So when the son of the mafia guy shows up to "rescue" her, she figures that's better than nothing, which is what she has had her entire life. Melody is sucked into the world of day spas, hotel suites and convertibles and finds herself in love with her worst enemy. Maybe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Mystery of Grace by Charles De Lint

I've always heard of Charles De Lint but never read any of his books (that I can remember) until this one. It's his latest adult novel and luckily a stand-alone. Grace is in an unusual position because she's dead. But she learns that she can cross over twice a year and return home. She does, and finds herself in love with John, and living life like she never did when she was alive. And so Grace and her best dead friend decide to figure out why they are stuck in the afterlife. With a little bit of luck, a lot of faith, and some magic, Grace straightens things out, but not without a lot of philosophy. Honestly, my attention wandered in the last half of the book because I didn't like all the discussions about the afterlife, blah, blah, blah. I want action!

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell, Read by Mary Stuart Masterson

I was a huge fan of Cornwell, but her last few books have been rather disappointing, so I decided to listen to the abridged version of her latest novel. I think that's the route I'm going from now on. I picked the bad guy out before the Pete Marino did, and I really think his character is smarter than me. ;)

Kay Scarpetta is married to Benton now and the two of them are advising the NYPD on an important case involving murdered women, a slanderous blog, a dwarf, and a multiple aliases. heehee. Basically it's another twisted tale of someone out to get Scarpetta, so her niece Lucy, Benton, and Marino have to come to her rescue. Haven't we all read this plot before in earlier Scarpetta novels? Maybe it's time to write a novel based on Lucy. I think she rocks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling

Sometimes there really are reasons to listen to your mother. A few months ago, my mom (a h.s. librarian in central Illinois) told me to read this young adult novel. So, when I saw it in May while completing inventory, I added it to my "to read" collection. Heehee. I'm glad I did. Poor, poor Abby lives in a family that most people would call white trash. I, um, saw a lot of similarities between her life and some of the people around me. I'm not naming names. But Abby's step-dad is the father of her sister's baby. And her step-dad dated her other sister, too. And Abby is worried that her cute admirer could be the father of her sister's baby, until a blood type lab at school puts her at ease. Take into account her mothers rusting Benz and the fights in the front yard, and Abby has quite a life. Oh, and don't forget her male best friend who finally figures out that he's gay and decides to come out. This book is hilarious and a must-read YA chick book for the summer!

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

Words can't explain how disappointed I was in this young adult book. First YA book of the summer that I picked up and I stopped on page 159! Argh! I was expecting an epic tale of a young girl during the French Revolution and instead was bored and trying to figure out what age level this book was for. I wasn't engrossed and I'm 33. How exactly to 12 year old girls find this book engrossing? Did I miss something? I guess I am engrossed by the cover.....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

I was excited to see the third book of the Spellman series in my public library last week. It came out in March and somehow I forgot all about reading it. I have to admit that this one read a little bit slower for me, but you can't help but love the Spellman family.

Isabel Spellman is rebelling against her family's private investigation firm by being a bartender and bascially a bum. Isabel is in a state of arrested development and her parents finally give her an ultimatum--run the business or you get nothing. With court-mandated therapy and the help of her friends, Isabel matures enough to solve a case, find a place to live, and get at least some of the things in her life straightened out. Her love life is another story!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

When was the last time you read a science fiction novel with doppelgangers? Yeah, that's right, I didn't think so! Do you know what a doppelganger is? It's your parallel self that lives in an alternate universe. The main character of this adult novel is John Rayburn, who is your typical Ohio farm kid. But then he meets himself from another universe and is tricked into strapping on a device and skipping to the next universe. There are thousands of universes in this world and John Rayburn is in everyone. Sometimes he's successful, sometimes he's a troublemaker, and sometimes he's a physical laborer in a stark world. John is stuck with the device and determined to get back to his original world. So he has to skip ahead and learn some physics. He gets some money from selling the concept of a pinball machine in his new world, but finds other universe travelers who are determined to steal his device. Of course, things work out in the end, but the Johns must work together to out-smart the evil ones.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Being Elizabeth by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Read by Katerhine Kellgren

Well, this was the cheesiest thing I've listened to in quite awhile! But I couldn't stop because it was the only audiobook I had in the car!

Elizabeth Deravenel is the CEO of her family's company and fighting to keep it in her possession. Of course, she's an awesome businesswoman, but I feel like I'm missing something. The entire book is very distant and the posh British accent of the narrator doesn't help. I really didn't like Elizabeth that much and her adultery ticked me off. I don't really care that they ended up marrying--he was still married. I guess I now know to stay away from Barbara Taylor Bradford books--she's not my type.