Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dead Man: Hell in Heaven

Goodreads Summary:
Third book in the series about Matt Cahill, a man who'd died, but didn't, now wandering the country looking for answers. He sees the evil in people that others don't, possibly infected by Mr. Dark, the entity that he alone sees, that takes great delight in taunting him.

My Review:
This is book #3 in the series and I loved it just as much as the first two. The main character, Matt Cahill, is finally fully realizing that he is dead and he's taking on the role of saving the world quite well. In fact, he glories in the power a little bit in this installment and the result of that is endearing and funny. I love this character because he never seems to realize quite how good he is, and watching him struggle in an effort to do the right thing makes for great entertainment. How these authors created such a likable, out to save the world, good-natured character who also happens to be going down on women, whether in remembrances of things past, or in the present, in almost every book I'll never know. It does make it interesting and I'll admit it's done well. It's smoothly weaved in without mushy or overly sexual scenes. What can I say, these boys know how to write!

So Matt finds himself in a town called Heaven in this installment. It's exactly what it sounds like as it's the last stop for many. Matt is stuck in the middle of a feud that he must fix before he can continue on his mission of scouring the country to find the people who can shed light on who he is and his greater purpose. Once again, between a cyst filled evil, intestine leaking woman, and men fighting with animistic-type power, there are more than a few bodies left in Matt's wake, which after all, is why we're reading this to begin with. It's graphic in a good way and has just enough adult humor to make it a perfect mix and a perfect supernatural thriller in this reader's opinion.
4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Truth About Dating

Goodreads Summary:
Lifelong introvert Quinn Malone was sick of spending her evenings at home, doing crossword puzzles and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-runs. Successful, smart, and funny, 38-year old Quinn embarks on a quest to find a man, using blind dates, speed, and internet dating to get things moving. Quinn overcomes her shyness to suffer through dates that are so bad, they're funny (see the chapter on hunchbacks). With the help of good friends, she successfully transitions through the seven stages of dating: excitement (I've still got it!); infatuation (he makes me feel beautiful); disappointment (he looks nothing like his online photo); anger (why is he online if he's married?); fatigue (I can't bear the thought of another date); depression (I'm going to grow old and die alone); and acceptance (dating: it is what it is). Through the triumphs and heartbreaks of dating, and of life in general, Quinn uncovers the resilient, dynamic person she's always been. The question is, has Mr. Right been waiting in the wings all along?

My Review:
I can't even say how much I loved this book. I got it through and wasn't in the mood to read it really and then I read the first paragraph...and couldn't stop until I'd read the last. It was funny and so truthful. Actually I thought it was a true story until about halfway through and if you told me it was true I'd believe you.

The main character, Quinn Malone, is bound and determined to find a man she can marry and have kids with because her biological clock is ticking. She's 38 when the story opens. It follows her through speed dating, online dating, and all of the nightmares a woman or man has to go through in the messiness that is dating in your 30's or 40's in this day and age. It's utterly entertaining and painfully true.

What makes this story so unique, in my opinion, is the fact that Quinn is intelligent, educated, and totally down to earth. She isn't looking for someone to take care of her, but someone that shares her hobbies and likes that she can genuinely love. When she finds men that might be good marriage material, but that she knows deep down she wouldn't be truly happy with or love, she passes. I think that's what makes this character so endearing, she is searching more for true love than anything else and her support staff of friends makes for an entertaining and fun read.
4/5 stars

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Dead Man: Ring of Knives

Goodreads Summary:
BOOK #2 in the THE DEAD MAN, the new monthly action/horror series that readers and book critics alike are already hailing as "an epic tale" that compares to the best of Stephen King and Dean Koontz...

Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld that nobody else does. Now for him each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about, a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.


Matt believes a madman may hold the secret to defeating Mr. Dark, the horrific jester with the rotting touch. But to reach him, Matt must infiltrate a lunatic asylum, where he is soon caught up in a spiral of bloodshed and madness. His only chance of escaping with his life and sanity intact is to face the unspeakable terror that awaits him deep in the asylum's fog-shrouded woods...within the Ring of Knives.

My Review:
This was an excellent book. Literally breathtaking. Book 2 branches over into the supernatural more than the first one, but it's done in an interesting and believable way...if the idea of walking death can be believable. However, I think in this novel it is, although I'm still uncertain if the main character, Matt Cahill, has figured out yet whether he's good or evil. It's clear from the reader's point of view which one he is.

This story is about a man in search of his own identity. He went through a near death (and possibly just death) experience in the first book and he's trying to figure out exactly who he is and what his purpose is in this second book. This leads him on a search to an insane asylum where he wishes to interview a man who went through the same thing that he did in hopes of unraveling this mystery.

This series is a must read for anyone interested in mysteries, thrillers, or horror. The main character is trying to save the world and himself, one decaying corpse at a time, who could ask for more?
4/5 stars

You Can't Stop Me

Goodreads Summary:
From "New York Times"-bestselling author Collins and his writing partner on the bestselling CSI novelizations comes a page-turning, serial-killer thriller with a unique twist--the plot unfolds through the lens of America's hottest reality TV show. Original.

My Review:
This was a really good mystery. I liked how he used a TV reality show for the basis of the novel, but turned it into something good. Sheriff Harrow lost his wife and child to a murderer many years ago and now this serial killer seems to be back killing others. Harrow works on a reality show that tracks down killers and he recruits the best of the best in forensics, chemistry, computer science, etc. and with this crack team he turns this season's show into a search for the murderer of his own family and the families of many others who died at the killer's hand. It's a page turner, yet it's fun and light. I would recommend this book.
3/5 stars


Goodreads Summary:
Twenty years after surviving a school shooting Tanner Khan and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion. Although they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray, the troubled teen who killed many of the students.

Once they're inside the school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt long overdue and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears, putting the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare? Find out in this suspenseful thrill ride that will keep you guessing and engaged with a lovable cast of characters.

My Review
This was an interesting read and very unique. Quite unlike any book I have ever read. It was a supernatural thriller that also had several romantic subplots.

This book is about a school shooting and the survivors who are still trying to piece their lives together. Years later they meet at a class reunion and realize the horror has just begun.
4/5 stars

Monday, April 18, 2011


Goodreads Summary:
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.

An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.

Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother’s words— Simply to endure is to triumph—and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?

Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.

My Review:
This is the story of a 13-year old poor girl from Nepal who lives in a hut. Her and her mother are making due, but her stepfather gambles away the little money they have. He finally decides to send her off to make money cleaning houses in the city. This is what the girl, Lakshmi, and her mother believe and they have heard wonderful stories of the riches to be made and seen the benefit of those living close by who've done the same thing. However, the stepfather knows he's selling her off into prostitution.

What makes this story so powerful is the ignorance and innocence of Lakshmi. The reader sees everything from her perspective, almost like a diary. The story is written as a long string of vignettes. It is haunting and brings to life the reality of children sold into prostitution. The author visited this area and did extensive research before writing this book, which is what makes it so powerful and realistic.
4/5 stars

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

Goodreads Summary:
“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”

Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.

Recently honored alongside Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice as one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, Nujood now tells her full story for the first time. As she guides us from the magical, fragrant streets of the Old City of Sana’a to the cement-block slums and rural villages of this ancient land, her unflinching look at an injustice suffered by all too many girls around the world is at once shocking, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable.

My Review:
This was a powerful story not not only about a young girl forced into marriage, but about a community plagued with young abused girls. They are married without their consent, turned into indentured servants, and beaten oftentimes by their husbands as well as other new family members they are forced to live with.

This specific story is about one girl's courage in speaking out against this travesty. She takes it upon herself, after being married to a man three times her age without her consent, to go to the courthouse seeking a divorce.
4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Goodreads Summary:
My name is Katniss Everdeen.
Why am I not dead?
I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.

My Review:
The last in the Hunger Games series. This one was really slow going. At first I was disappointed, but the ending made up for it. It really gave closure and I thought was quite fitting for the series. I'm glad I finished it as it was a very rewarding read.

Here Katniss is the face of the rebellion and she must figure out who is friend and who is foe. All the while she must decide what role she wants to play as well as what life she wants to lead. She has two love interests and must decide as both would bring her down very different paths.
4/5 stars

Catching Fire

Goodreads Summary:
Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.

My Review:
The second book in the three book Hunger Game series. Even though it's the middle book, it's by far my favorite. Loose ends are beginning to get tied up. Love interests are heating up and the games are getting exciting. There are so many twists and turns in this one it's almost impossible to put down.

I really don't know how to review this one without giving out spoilers for the first, but I want to try my best and I implore anyone who wants to read this series to not read the blurbs on the books after the first one. I was really upset to discover that the blurb on the back of the last book, Mockingjay, totally ruined Catching Fire for me by giving away the biggest and most important plot point in the book.

Anyway, this is a continuation of The Hunger Games and you get to follow the main characters as they become central to a rebellion they inadvertently started as well as becoming pawns for the capitol. Katniss is the main focus throughout and she never loses momentum and continually finds a way to provide for her family. This character is quite endearing. I wish there were more positive female role models like her. She is strong, focused, and more mature than most adults, which makes this book so powerful and ultimately so fulfilling.
4/5 stars

The Hunger Games

Goodreads Summary:
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

My Review:
Oh this was like Twilight as far as me getting sucked into the story and the lives of the characters. And it wasn't like Twilight in the sense that it talks about important issues, has a strong female lead with very concise, tight writing. I really loved this one and highly recommend it.

This is about a North America of the future, one in which there is a capitol that rules the 12 districts that the people are divided into. Each year two children, one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district to fight to the death. The one survivor is the victor and these games take place to remind the residents of the districts that the capitol is in control. Those in the districts are poor, and conversely those who are better off live in the capitol. The story revolves around Katniss, who after her father's death, provides for her mother and sister by hunting. She is an intricately woven character who is a joy to follow through the series.
4/5 stars

While My Sister Sleeps

Goodreads Summary:
Molly and Robin Snow are sisters, and like all sisters they share a deep bond that sustains them through good times and bad. Their careers are flourishing --- Molly is a horticulturist and Robin is a world-class runner --- and they are in the prime of their lives. So when Molly receives the news that Robin has suffered a massive heart attack, she couldn't be more shocked. At the hospital, the Snow family receives a grim prognosis: Robin may never regain consciousness.

As Robin's parents and siblings struggle to cope, the complex nature of their relationship is put to the ultimate test. Molly has always lived in Robin's shadow and her feelings for her have run the gamut, from love to resentment and back. The last time they spoke, they argued. But now there is so much more at stake. Molly's parents fold under the devastating circumstances, and her brother retreats into the cool reserve that is shattering his own family. It's up to Molly to make the tough decisions, and she soon makes discoveries that destroy some of her most cherished beliefs about the sister she thought she knew.

My Review:
This one was pretty good, but not great. I thought there was a shallowness to the characters and while it moved pretty fast, I didn't feel much for any of them. It would be a great beach read, though.

This is about sibling rivalry in many ways. It is about a family who caters to Robin, the daughter who is in the running for the Olympics (in running, of course). The other daughter, Molly, tends to the family business, which is a very large nursery. Her passion is for plants and she loves her work, however, the entire family is devoted to Robin's Olympic dreams. The son creates a subplot as he struggles to hold his marriage together. The story begins with Robin having a heart attack during training and the family learning to cope as well as placing blame on each other for this event. As we weave through the adult lives of these children we learn the meaning of family and what we are willing to sacrifice for others.
3/5 stars