Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

I was such a big fan of Unwind that I'm afraid I might be judging this book unfairly. Book #2 in a series rarely survives the hype of #1, but usually the author redeems the awesomeness in Book #3, right? And I think Shusterman will pull out a winner in Unsouled, due out in October 2013.

Connor is struggling with running the escape camp for Unwinds, Lev is becoming a man, and Risa has some important decisions to make. The government/bad people/corporate evil people are still out to kill teens for body parts, and I thought there was way too much talking about it in this book. I guess I'm a sucker for action and not talk when I'm reading YA. I have a feeling the action will pick up in the next book.

Monday, April 22, 2013

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman. performed by Linda Emond.

This is one of those quiet books--I kept waiting to figure out what the main conflict in the story was going to be. Is someone going to die? Will the main character Heloise be arrested? Blackmailed? When the conflicts came up, I wasn't too enthralled. The suspense just wasn't there for me like it was in some of Lippman's other books. I finished the audiobook, although I was kinda secretly hoping that Heloise would be struck by a car.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris

I'm a huge fan of Zoe Ferraris (see my reviews of Finding Nouf and City of Veils) and was really looking forward to reading her third book.

Katya is back and not satisfied just working in the forensics lab. She wants to help solve murders, but it's difficult for a female in Saudi Arabia to be accepted into the fold of male detectives. She has some help with Lead Inspector Zahrani--he's more liberal in his views of females and Islam. However, he isn't the perfect inspector that we might expect.

The core mystery involves the bodies of 19 murdered foreign women found in a Saudi desert. Someone is killing housekeepers--the women with no rights in Saudi Arabia. They can be used by their "owners," discarded, and no one really cares. But now the Jeddah police force knows about the crime and is determined to solve it. After all, they have a 90% murder case solving rate to uphold.

What amazes me about these books is how much I learn about the culture while being completely sucked into the setting and characters. I really want to know Katya and try to understand how she wants to be a detective, but wants to get married to Nayir, too.

If you like mysteries, please, please read Finding Nouf if you haven't already. I really don't think you'll be disappointed!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dark Horse by Tami Hoag. Read by Blair Brown.

I've read all of Dick Francis's books because they combine two of my favorite things to read about--horses and mysteries. Somewhere I saw a review of this series about Private Investigator Elena Estes and I thought I would give it a listen.

Estes is a former cop who isn't an official P.I.--she now works for a wealthy horse owner. But when a twelve-year-old wants Estes to help find her missing step-sister, Estes can't help but get involved. Soon she is meeting a sexy police detective (of course), suave foreigners who might be sexual predators, and other people who are more interested in money than the welfare of others.

It wasn't the best mystery I've read, but I'm intrigued and will continue the series.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Performed by Luke Daniels.

I was pleasantly surprised that I loved this audiobook, even though the Admiral sounds just like Sean Connery....

The worldbuilding is what makes this book unique. This dystopia is scary--parents have the option of "unwinding" their children if they want to. In other words, they can give them away and let the government re-use their kids' body parts for transplants. Just don't call "unwinding" killing, because the kids are still alive in other people! Isn't it fantastic?

Shusterman took the pro-life/pro-choice debate to a whole other level. Abortion isn't legal, but storking is. If a woman doesn't want a baby, she can legally drop it on ANYBODY's doorstep and the people HAVE to raise the child. So some people are "storked" with extra kids that they don't want. Gee, guess who will get unwound when they are old enough?

I like these kids of cautionary tales.  Watch out, extremists! You keep going and you might create a world like Shusterman did....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

There has been tons of buzz about this title, so I was a little worried about finally receiving it through my library's interlibrary loan.

I gotta admit that I'm not a fan of how it was written. Chapters alternate between Amy Dunne and her husband Nick Dunne.  Amy is missing and each chapter reveals more clues to whether she is dead or missing.

I have to admit that I was a sucker for the first half of the book and suspected who the author wanted me to suspect. But after the plot was revealed, I didn't care too much about what happened to the couple. Honestly, I didn't like Nick or Amy and hoped that they just imploded on each other.

I'm still not sure why this was the buzz book--maybe adults like reading about crazy people and wanting to kill your spouse?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Reviewed from ARC.

I enjoyed this author's first read, Between Shades of Gray, so I was looking forward to reading this one, especially since the setting is New Orleans. Guess who spent just spent her spring break in New Orleans? This girl!

Opening line: "My mother's a prostitute."

Josie's mother doesn't want her. So Josie moves into a Royal Street bookstore in exchange for working. She's a smart girl, but can't escape her family tree. Josie's mentor is the whorehouse madam, who is trying to keep Josie clean and straight, but she doesn't want Josie to leave New Orleans.

I'm having a difficult time judging the audience for this book.Most of the time it reads very tween, but Josie is around whorehouses and lowlifes. She's not innocent, but she sees the world in a hopeful, innocent way. That's the biggest problem for me. Can a street-smart girl who carries a pistol on her leg really think that going to Smith College will change her world? Can she be that hopeful? Can she not see what kind of a man her friend Patrick is? The ending wraps up so nice and clean that it seems like a middle grade novel. And I really don't see the significance of the birdcage on the cover--did I miss something in my reading?

Amped by Daniel H. Wilson. Read by Robbie Daymond.

I'm still waiting for this author's movie to come out--Robopocalypse!

Here's what Entertainment Weekly has to say about it:

"The movie was set to begin filming with a script by Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard, and Anne Hathaway and Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth planning to star. Spielberg says he’s just pumping the brakes — not turning the car around, and certainly not junking it.
“We found that the film was costing a lot of money and I found a better way to tell the story more economically but also much more personally,” Spielberg said. “I found the personal way into Robopocalypse, and so I just told everybody to go find other jobs, I’m starting on a new script and we’ll have this movie back on its feet soon.”
I'm hoping Spielberg continues to work on it--the book was fabulous. This book was no exception. It was difficult to read at the same time as Fuse--both books have "amped" or "enhanced" people. 
In Amped, the government and scientists have figured out to "amp" people to improve them. At first, it's the wealthy who decide to have their memory or smarts improved, but then the government decides to improve poor disadvantaged kids. Everything is happy until the amps begin taking over. And the rest of the country can't handle that. And so laws are changed until amps are a sub-species. They are discriminated against, pushed into concentration camps, and hurt. 
Owen is an amp, but he was told that it was only to control his epilepsy. But then he finds out that his scientist father has a secret. So, hold on!
Recommend this to fans of fast-action sci-fi. 

Fuse by Julianna Baggott. Book 2 of the Pure Trilogy

Sequel to the Alex Award winning book, Pure!

The action continues in this 466-page adult novel.  Pressia is still trying to figure out the secrets of her parents--why is there a dome? How can they reverse the effects of human enhancements? Where are the secrets hidden?  Partridge is still battling his father--is his father as evil as he seems? Is the dome really trying to destroy everyone? If so, why?

Best supporting character? El Capitan. He rocks.

It took me forever to read this book--I thought the middle sagged a bit too much for me. But I'll still look for the final book in the trilogy.