Archive for June, 2008

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

Well again I’m coming late to the party – the vampire sub genre is hot, whether it’s Twilight or other paranormal romance. Wicked Game received a great review in Library Journal so I decided to check it out and I was not disappointed.

The summary from the back: Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, where the DJs are vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station — and the link it provides to their original Life Times — the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around — next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher and more dangerous than any con she’s ever played.

I liked the take on corporate radio takeover. Plus as a public relations major, I appreciated the marketing stuff. Also, Ciara is a spunky fun character and her romance with Shane is believable. There are some fun twists that keep you guessing and the ending is satisfying, although I think the author could do an interesting sequel. All in all a satisfying foray into the world of vampires.

June 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm 1 comment

Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

I listened to this, instead of reading it. Audiobooks provide such a different experience than reading and I really enjoy the different perspective. This story was so good that I had to bring the CDs in and listen all afternoon as I cleaned house because I wanted to know how the story was going to end and what would happen next.

Josie, at 27, lives at home and caters to her mother. Then one day Della Lee Baker appears in her closet, determined to live there until she escapes the trouble she’s in. Della Lee starts offering Josie advice, and soon Josie once closed world opens up. This is a magical tale where the color red has magical properties, candy provides comfort and books magically appear.

I think this is a new favorite of mine. It’s not your typical romance. It’s about family secrets, finding your true self, love and friendship. Delicious as the candy that titles each chapter!

June 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm 2 comments

Beach House by Jane Green

Another author I love. Must be the weekend for it.

Set in Nantucket, The Beach House, tells the interconnected stories of Nan, who at 65 is considered eccentric by the local residents; her son Michael, a jeweler who’s on the Island to escape his life; Daniel, who is struggling with his secrets; and Daff, a recent divorcee who wants to find her true self.

When they all come to Nan’s rambling house, Windermere, they form a family of friends and as each discovers their own true self.

I enjoyed the characters, the sense of place (now I’d love a summer vacation to Nantucket) and the epilogue, because I enjoy knowing what happens to my characters after the big event of the novel is resolved. I love a good epilogue.

June 28, 2008 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

I love books by Jodi Picoult and I was in a rush to read this because Lifetime is airing a movie based on the book tonight. I checked it out a few weeks ago and honestly, couldn’t get into it at first, but once I pushed past the first 30 passages and got drawn in by the real characters that Ms. Picoult writes, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.

Tenth Circle is about parenting, marriage, and teen sexuality. Oh and Dante’s Inferno. Daniel is a comic book artist and his wife is a college professor who teaches Dante’s Inferno. Here is the synopsis from jodipicoult.com:

When Daniel Stone was a child, he was the only white boy in a native Eskimo village where his mother taught, and he was teased mercilessly because he was different. He fought back, the baddest of the bad kids: stealing, drinking, robbing and cheating his way out of the Alaskan bush – where he honed his artistic talent, fell in love with a girl and got her pregnant. To become part of a family, he reinvented himself – jettisoning all that anger to become a docile, devoted husband and father. Fifteen years later, when we meet Daniel again, he is a comic book artist. His wife teaches Dante’s Inferno at a local college; his daughter, Trixie, is the light of his life – and a girl who only knows her father as the even-tempered, mild-mannered man he has been her whole life. Until, that is, she is date raped…and Daniel finds himself struggling, again, with a powerlessness and a rage that may not just swallow him whole, but destroy his family and his future.

I appreciate how she’s able to shift viewpoints and yet still remain a sense of action and mystery unfolding. Sometimes to me the shifting viewpoints ruin the story for me or confuse it. Also, she always has a great twist in the novel and when it comes – wow – it always surprises me and I like to be surprised.

The ending didn’t have the complete resolution I was looking for. I’d like to know more how this family fares.

June 28, 2008 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

I’m Not Julia Roberts by Laura Ruby

This is a set of interconnected stories of the ex-wives and new wives of a set of men. Each vignette offers a glimpse at the life of a blended family. The title comes from Lu’s post, which got her banned from secondwivesspeakeasy.com, complaining that Stepmom is not a realistic portrait of a blended family.

This was humorous at times, but because the narratives shift in each chapter/short story, I was left feeling dissatisfied by the entire book, asking myself – what’s the point?

June 26, 2008 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Another fun beach read about the adventures of Stephanie Plum.

These are just like candy – fun but not filling.

Nothing new in the development of Stephanie’s relationships with either Joe or Ranger. Just another silly story of her bungled attempt to solve a crime. Although this time I did sense some new maturity from Stephanie, it seems she’s finally internalized the mistakes from her past mishaps and learned some real detecting skills. She was much smarter at the end of the novel.

Although I wish there’d be some resolution to the love triangle.

June 23, 2008 at 8:41 am Leave a comment

Converting Kate by Beckie Weinheimer

Kate and her mother recently moved to Maine so her mom can help run her great aunt’s bed and breakfast. Kate uses this fresh start to join the cross country team and visit a non-denominational Christian Church instead of the Church of the Holy Divine, which has influenced every aspect of her life.

This YA novel covers a lot of ground including religion, friendship, sexual orientation and first love; however it’s quite realistic and believable as Kate discovers her own way in the world.

I enjoyed Kate’s character and her development from finding a friend to learning what she believes about religion. After her mom removes all of her books (due to religious beliefs) Kate memorizes passages and they’re interspersed in the second part of the narrative which is pretty cool.

Also, at the end there’s an author’s note saying that the Church of the Holy Divine is based on her experiences with a restrictive church, so that made the book more credible to me.

June 23, 2008 at 8:03 am Leave a comment

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