Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Naughty Nicky: Why Gone Girl Should be on your Summer Read List

Gone Girl is the definition of thriller. It is smart and well crafted. But there are a lot of books that fit this definition, so why should you read this particular thriller?

Okay, first let me get this out of the way. I am 34, so I was all over Nick's character. I got him. Sure, a lot of the time I wanted to slap him upside the head, but really, I couldn't blame him. Nick is smart. Nick is dumb. Nick is screwed.

The novel shuffles between Nick's present and Amy's diary, with Amy slowly catching up to the present.

Nick's present keeps the action going. This day is also known as the first day gone, also known as Nick and Amy's 5 year anniversary. Happy anniversary!

Amy's diary is the beating heart of the thriller. The unknown. She tells us about her life with Nick from the beginning to the end. It is interesting to say the least, and casts horrible suspicion towards Nick.

The story is a very Scott Peterson, Nancy Grace train wreck. If you don't remember Mr. Peterson, he was the beautiful man who murdered his pregnant wife. Such a gentleman.

I loved Flynn's casual writing for Amy's character. Amy is a trust fund, only child, prep school, New York nightmare. Though we are supposed to like Amy, I kept getting the feeling that she was really quite terrible. Flynn's ability to give you just enough is pure art.

Flynn feeds the reader kibbles through the story followed by horrible revelations. It makes for a fantastic ride.

I did not give the book five stars because I felt that the end was not as well crafted as the first 3/4 of the book. Without spoiling the ending, I would just say that things are said by characters that are damning, and nothing comes of it. It's a frustrating conclusion, but not a total miss. Not everyone is snowed, but it's enough to leave me frustrated.

Gone Girl is wicked good.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh, wow! You need to read Wool

Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool, #1-5)Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was zipping around on Amazon the other day wondering what I would read after having experienced Pat Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man's Fears, when I stumbled upon Wool.

I'm an adventuresome sort of reader, so it comes as no surprise that I picked up the Omnibus for my Kindle. Hey, any book that gets a rating of four or five stars by everyone and their brother cannot be bad.

The hook in the first part of Wool kept me coming back, but I wasn't sold on the characters. I was intrigued by this post-apocalyptic world of the silo that Howey created. What would it be like to live underground, to never know if a sky should be blue or grass green? If I'm honest, by the second night of reading Wool, it infiltrated my dreams. It's a very convincing world. A scary and convincing world.

At the heart of Wool is a struggle for control. Who controls the knowledge? Who decides the punishment, when the punishment is ALWAYS death? If an injustice occurs, who can you rely on? In Wool, the system is broken. Those in control have overstepped their bounds, and the push back in an enclosed silo, can be catastrophic, as you might imagine. I know I did!

I enjoyed Wool because like all good stories there were points where I felt out of control. I didn't like what was happening. I was angry at the blatant corruption of it all. Of course, that's the point. Well played, Mr. Howey, well played. But seriously, I wanted to hit something I was so upset.

As I said, it took me a bit to attach to the characters, mostly because there were so much big bad going on, I didn't want to attach to someone who might die. Yeah. People die. Lots of good people die and each death hurt. So, I was reserved about Jules at first. Oh well. It happened anyways. I LOVE YOU, JULIETTE!

Yes, our protagonist is a girl on the right side of the law. She is whip smart, and a free thinker. Just the sort of person to throw a wrench in the silo's gears. Get it? Wrench? No? Don't worry, you will.

Overall, Wool is a must read. You should read it NOW, before it blows up and all the wonderfulness is ruined by spoilers.

Favorite quotes:

"These buildings," he pointed to what looked like large white cans sitting on the ground. "These are silos. They hold seed for during the bad times. For when the times get good again."

"I'm not sure what you are trying to say," she told him.

He pointed at her. Pointed at his own chest. "We are the seeds," he said. "This is a silo. They put us here for the bad times."

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Deadlocked Review

Published May 1st 2012 by Penguin Publishing (first published 2012)
edition language
                                                                                    Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie’s heart… Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on there were things she’d rather not know. And now that she’s an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she’d rather not see—like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one. There’s a thing or two she’d like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet—Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric’s front yard—especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank. Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down  

My Review:

Short on Story, Harris' Newest Book Fails Again***
**Or, How Harris Let Alisha Down (who loved Sookie forever and ever)**

Rating details: At first I was tempted to rate the book higher based merely on my love of the previous books, but that would be wrong. If I am honest, I would give this newest installment a D.

I'm about to lay down the harsh on the newest installment in a series I adore and it isn't going to be pretty because quite frankly, I'm pissed. If you want to disagree with me, please do so. I have a lot to complain about and I didn't put it all down, so please, tell me HOW AWESOME this book is. Just try.

First, there wasn't much story. My head was NOT spinning with new info to absorb as some readers have expressed. Harris does not succeed in pulling her series out of a nose dive. It wasn't better than the last book. Those that maintain the opposite seem to have come by an advanced copy of the book. Perhaps you gave the book a few pity stars because you love Sook? Or maybe, you are like I was, HOPEFUL. Hopeful that the story would advance? Hopeful it would improve? I get you.

I'm sad that Harris is letting this series die, as Sookie has been much loved. I'm sick of her though. I'm sick of Harris too for all she complains about Sookie; in her 20+ years of writing she's never had a character that's been so popular.

**Warning--side rant about the TRUE BLOOD EXCUSE**

Too many times I've read the excuse that because It-Was-Made-Into-True-Blood-the-Work-Suffered. That line of BS does not follow, folks. Harris is the author of her books. Alan Ball is the creator of True Blood. Harris' book have lost their way. True Blood is HBO's biggest money maker since the Sopranos. If Harris was unable to continue quality story lines for the series, she didn't need to accept the contract. Instead, she accepted the contract, and punished her fans. That's right Charlaine, I'm feeling punished for having loved the previous books. It's quite cruel.

**Back to the book**

The plot did contain a mildly interesting mystery, but there wasn't much push to solve it. As a reader, I wasn't concerned the way I ought to be. For example, mysteries like Who is Plotting to Bomb The Pyramid of Giza Hotel?, Who Killed Maria Starr?, or Where the Hell is Bill? made me read on. Too many glossed over days left me skimming for actual story. Harris falls back on her standby Sook went to the store, picked up her mail, cooked dinner, and washed her hair because there were no great revelations today BS. Listen, you can't do that. It's cheating. There's no story. I'll let you do it once, maybe twice, but by the fifth time, if it weren't on my Kindle, I would have chucked the book across the room. Where's the beef? There was relatively zero Eric, and what was there became horribly flat. Bill has more moments, which are nice, but again, there's not much there either. What we are left with is head time with a character that needs a script for Zoloft. Being in Sookie's head isn't a pleasant place.

**Relationship Gripes**

If we are to buy that Sookie is in love with Eric, I'd expect more passion. Yell, fight, screw, but do something! If she were in love with Sam, I'd expect more than vanilla. I don't buy any of it. Rather than tell Eric where he could stick it, Sookie hung up on Eric or told him to go so many times I lost count--and what's worse is that in most cases, he'd only been present in the scene for a page give or take. Even if you don't like Eric, Sookie runs from nearly all confrontation, which makes me dislike her, and made me ask, why? I have a few theories, but the most plausible is that Harris simply didn't want to write it. Gosh, that would take effort! As an author, one doesn't need to destroy characters just to end a romance between them. Leave us with something, please, even if we end up hating Eric, at least we'll feel something for him, other than tired.

Absent from book 12
New and fresh descriptors
Physical attraction to anyone that is exciting
Fun, humor, anything interesting
Engrossing mystery

Present in excess
Cooking, picking up mail
Second tier characters doing boring town stuff

**WARNING: Bon Temps is a snooze, move to Monroe**

Harris spends too much time in Bon Temps with D characters. I don't care about Tara and JB. I don't care about Jason and Michelle, or Holly and Hoyt, get the picture. Harris fails badly. They don't advance the plot. WAIT, Alisha. Isn't there a point to all the babies and weddings? Yes, but there are better ways to let us know that Sookie wants a family without Tara and JB--who are the poster couple for surrender-to-any-nice-man-so-you-can-have-kids message that is becoming all too familiar in this series. Gag! What a pessimistic point of view on love and marriage! Should Sookie settle for less like Tara, who married JB because she wanted kids and he loved her? Dear God, NO! In many ways, this is the most demoralizing aspect of book 12.

 Harris created a world of fantasy and romance, but is bull dozing it with a level of reality I find concerning. I miss Eric wearing leather, Sookie running from potential kidnappers and hiding in Bill's hidey hole--naked. I miss Sam turning into a lion. I miss Claudine showing up to a fight in pajamas. I miss the silliness and fun.

Listen, just get it over with. Send Sookie to Sam, send Eric away, leave Bill pining as he always has. I don't care anymore what happens to her and neither does Harris. D