Book Review: Plain Truth

Plain TruthImage
Jodie Picoult
Fiction, Crime
Published: November 1st, 2004
4/5

                The small town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, is a jewel in Lancaster country – known for its picture-postcard landscapes and bucolic lifestyle, but that peace is shattered by the discovery of a dead infant in the barn of a Amish farmer.
                A police investigation quickly leads to two startling disclosures: The newborn’s mother is an unmarried Amish woman, eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher and the infant did not die of natural causes. Although Katie denies the medical proof that she gave birth to the child, circumstantial evidence leads to her arrest for the murder of her own baby.
                One hundred miles away, Philadelphia defense attorney Ellie Hathaway has achieved an enviable, high-profile career, but her latest court victory has set the sands shifting beneath her. Single at thirty-nine and unsatisfied in her relationship, Ellie doesn’t look back when she turns down her chance to make partner and takes off for an open ended stay at her great-aunts home in Paradise.
                Fate brings her to Katie Fisher, Suddenly, Ellie sees the chance to defend a client that truly needs her, not just one who can afford her. But taking on this case challenges Ellie in more ways than one. She finds herself not only in a clash of wills with a client who does not want to be defended but also in a clash of cultures with a people whose channels of justice are markedly different from her own.
                Immersing herself in Katie Fisher’s life – and in a world founded on faith, humility, duty, and honesty – Ellie begins to understand the pressures and sacrifices of those who live plain. As she peels away the layers of fact and fantasy, Ellie calls on an old friend for guidance. Now, just as this man from Ellie’s past renters her life, she must uncover the truth about a complex case, a tragic loss, the bonds of love – and her own deepest fears and desires.
                Moving seamlessly from psychological drama to courtroom suspense, Plain truth is a triumph of contemporary storytelling.
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                Plain Truth is a thought provoking and intriguing read. Vastly original the ending will surprise you and you’ll either enjoy the deceptive plot twist or you’ll hate it. Fast paced and filled with colorful characters, Plain truth will grab your attention until the very last page and the very last sentence. The amount that Jodi Picoult must have put into studying the Amish culture had to have been enormous because everything fit together so seamlessly and seemed extremely believable. However, as she isn’t Amish I can only imagine that it was not completely correct.
                I really enjoy how Jodi Picoult takes cliché’s and twits them, giving them a new spin. You can almost guarantee that what you think is happening isn’t the truth. I really, really, love that about her writing, and Plain Truth doesn’t fail to deliver on my favorite aspect of Jodi Picoult’s writing.
                You can’t help but feeling for poor Katie Fisher, and the very real, and very ‘English’ problem that’s she has found herself faced with. You spend most of the book wondering what the heck is going on with her. She seems dazed and confused most of the book, spending time talking to a dead sibling and wondering alone in the night time often. She has her heart smashed open and is betrayed brutally by the last person you’d expect.
                Often times I found Ellie a little annoying, I did not enjoy her side romance at all and found it was a needless addition to the plot. However, like with most movies, most books need to have a romantic sub-plot line. It gives us something to root for.
                Thought the storyline shifted easily between the court-room and the dramatic events taking place outside in the main progressive part of the story line. Blended great and didn’t feel like an abrupt change.
                Really looking forward to reading my way through all of her books, and discovering different ways to look at things.

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Book Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)Image
Charline Harris
Adult Paranormal Romance
Published: 2001
Publisher: Ace Books
3/5

 

            Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, she keeps to herself and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty, because she is, but because Sookie has this sort of ‘disability.’ She can read minds, and that doesn’t make her too dateable.
            Then along comes Bill, he’s tall, dark, handsome – and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…
            But Bill has a disability of his own; he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of –big surprise- murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next…

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Dead until Dark is a super popular series, at least I think it is. It seems to be at any rate Aand despite my interest I’m actually pretty glad I didn’t invest an actual money into reading this book.
            Sookie is immature, flat, boring, and really inexperienced in all ways of the world which I find hard to believe given her upbringing and her ability to read minds. In my opinion after a life time of hearing people’s thoughts you would think she would be more hardened, more modest and less… well just less like the way she is.
            It’s hard for me to feel any pity for anyone in this book, or feel any kind of sadness because she bounces back so quickly. Oh! Someone’s dead well big deal, I’d better go moon over the creepy vampire.  She also falls in love way to easily for someone who has heard the lusty thoughts of other people her whole life. She’s extremely trusting for someone who has so much knowledge. Also on a side note, if I was the American President I would have her on my staff as some type of spy. Obviously she’d be a great asset in discovering whom in your staff had intentions that were for anyone other than yourself. Talk about learning who is actually loyal and who is actually just looking out for themselves or in some cases someone else!
            Also, Bill, bleh, ugh, ick! Not my kind of tall dark and handsome! He’s also flat, boring and utterly predictable. They both suffer from a serious case of insta-love and it’s the kind of insta-love that really doesn’t make much sense.
            I found myself confused a lot by who the characters were and by what was going on because Sookie jumped around so much in terms of who she knew and how she knew them. Also there is just a slew of character introductions right form the get go witch I find is usually an auto fail for me in most books.
            despite all these falls it was an extremely easy read, it’s not highly detailed, nor is the plot thick and devious, in fact I almost feel like I could skip ahead two books and would be able to fallow along with realitive ease, other than not knowing who anyone was of course. I also was able to finish the book which is rare for me, usually when I really dislike a book I don’t even bother finishing it, which is why I post so many 4 and 5 star reviews. It’s not very often I’ll stick through something like this, which in the end is probably why I gave it three stars instead of two, I was feeling generous.
            Anyways, this book was a great disappointment for me and I am fairly positive I won’t be bothering with the rest of the series. My Library doesn’t have the next book anyways.

            What book have you read that’s left you feeling disappointed!?

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Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone GirlImage
Gillian Flynn
Contemporary Mystery
Published: 2012
Publisher: Crown
4/5

            On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, Nick and Amy Dunne celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. The presents are being wrapped and the reservations have been made when suddenly Nick’s clever and beautiful wife suddenly disappears from their rented mansion on the Mississippi River.
            Husband-of-the-year Nick hasn’t done himself any favors whilst daydreaming about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary have revealed that the alpha-girl perfectionist could have been put anyone dangerously on the edge.
            Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades and endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is definitely oddly evasive, and he’s bitter – but is he really a killer?
            As the cops closing in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is if Nick didn’t do it then where is his beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
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            This book has more curves than a roller coaster, you think you know what is going on and then bam! You’ve found a whole new story line. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read in this genre for a very long time. 
            Gone girl was a great read, easy to follow and exceedingly clever. The characters are very twisted however and I can honestly say I didn’t like a single one of them. They were all bitter, stuck on themselves and every single one of them needed to take a good long look at themselves in a mirror and revaluate what it means to be a human. That being said, the characters were twisted enough to suck you in and the story was crazy enough to keep you hooked ‘til the very last page.
            I had never read anything by Gillian Flynn before and I was quite nervous about all the hype surrounding her novels. Often times things that have been really hyped fall flat for me so it was a great pleasure to discover that she did not fail in delivering a great story for me. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future and have high hopes that all her stories will be as great as this one.
            A must read for people who enjoy mysteries, surprises and stories with lots of twisty turns.
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Book Review: The Witches Daughter

The Witches DaughterImage
Paula Brackston
Fantasy, Historial
Published: 2010
Publisher: Thomas Dune Books
3.5/4

               In the spring of 1628, the witch finder of Wessex finds himself a true witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree, she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
                In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, surviving plagues, wars and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her own better judgement, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan. But will she soon be able to stand against Gideon – who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul – in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?
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                I really enjoyed reading ‘The Witches Daughter’.  I thought it was extremely well written, though I found it tended to drag at some moments, however over all it was an engaging and lively read.
                Elizabeth’s history was fascinating, and it was so interesting to learn about her life, or lives rather throughout the book. She is strong, and deep inside is good though she is flawed and at times selfish. She’s wanted her whole life to be loved, to have a family and despite the years she’s lived she’s never attained any of these things until she meets Tegan. She adopts Tagen in kind of a surrogate manner, teaching her the craft, helping her develop and become more strong in who she is and independent. In Tegan she finds someone who speaks to her soul and she hasn’t experienced anything like it since her sister passed away.
                Tegan is also an interesting character; she’s bratty, doesn’t listen and clearly is in desperate need for a friendship. It’s not clear why she is so drawn to Elizabeth, or why she keeps coming back when Elizabeth is clearly trying to push her away but she perseveres anyways, looking for someone to build her up when the world seems to be cruelly tearing her apart.
              Gideon is evil, wow is he evil. He literally dances and consorts with the devil. He’s so obsessed with Elizabeth that he literally follows her throughout time. Tracking her and tricking her all in a vain effort to convince and capture Elizabeth’s affections, desires and to claim what he deems is rightfully his and I must daresay perhaps he has in a way. The poor woman has spent the majority of her life trying to escape from him and the darkness that shrouds him.
                 I will be quite honest with you; there is almost zero romance in this novel which is highly disappointing as the synopsis clearly indicates that there is a romantic story line. Unless you count Gideon’s creepy obsession with Elizabeth, which I for obvious reasons don’t. However, I suppose they could be talking about the kind of love that is found between two friends, the kind of love that a family holds for each other or even perhaps the love a mother has for her child. Elizabeth’s mother literally did everything she could have possibly done to save her daughter, even things I’m sure, she’s ashamed to admit.
              Overall, The Witches Daughter is a great read and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more novels by Paula Brackston. She clearly enjoys writing about witches and I clearly love reading about them!

Book Review: FEED

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy Book: One)Image
Mira Grant
Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2010
4/5

 

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we had created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
                                NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives – the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will come out, even if it kills them.

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                Feed is not a horror novel, although the things that happen inside these pages are indeed horrifying. Feed is a political thriller with zombies filling in the sub-story line. Zombies fill the political agenda, how to treat zombies, how to ‘deal’ with them, but most importantly how to keep humanity safe and out of their reach.
                The Zombies in Feed are also intelligently written, they have more development than your average Zombie that eats brains. They’re smart when they’re in packs, the bigger the pack the more dangerous and lethal they become. They know the land better than the average traveler and thus are able to lure people into a false sense of security and then BAM! They’ve got you and you either join them, or they demolish you with their decaying mouths.
                Mira Grant does an amazing job weaving all the elements of this story together, creating fascinating characters that you both cheer for and yet cannot always stand either. However, my only real issue with this novel was the main character Georgia, there was something about her character that didn’t seem very realistic and I honestly cannot put my finger on it. Georgia was harsh, often anger, extremely emotionally strong and able to do all that she needed to do without flinching. Perhaps Georgia’s flaw is that because she is so emotionally strong that you don’t feel like you can understand her or get where she’s coming from. Despite the fact that the majority of the story is told from her point of view, I don’t feel like I really got to know her at all.
                  The other characters in the novel also faced a bit of the same problem for me, I don’t feel like I really know or feel ‘connected’ with any of them and again this may be in part that Georgia is the main character and she doesn’t seem to ‘emotionally’ connect with any of the other characters. However, the other characters do seem to be vibrant with interesting personalities, abilities, and backstories; I am looking forward to getting to know more of them in the next two novels in the trilogy.
              This is not a happy story; it’s cold hearted factual truth most of the time. It is however an amazing story and if it weren’t for my disconnect with the main character this story would have risen to five star level for me. The twists and turns near the end had me on the edge of my seat practically and if it weren’t for sleep, work and life I would have raced through this novel waiting eagerly for the next development in the plot.

               

Book Review: Inferno

InfernoImage
Dan Brown
Mystery Adventure
Published: 2013
Publisher: DoubleDay
4/5

                Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital in the middle of the night. Disoriented and suffering from a head wound, he recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there… or the origin of the macabre object that his doctors discover hidden in his belongings.
                Langdon’s world soon erupts into chaos, and he finds himself on the run in Florence with a stoic young woman, Sienna Brooks, whose clever maneuvering saves his life. Langdon quickly realizes that he is in possession of a series of disturbing codes created by a brilliant scientist – a genius whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written – Dante Alighieri’s dark epic poem The Inferno.
                Racing through such timeless locations as the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Gardens and the Duomo, Langdon and Brooks discover a network of hidden passageways and ancient secrets, as well as a terrifying new scientific paradigm that will be used either to vastly improve the quality of life on earth… or to devastate it.
                In his most compelling and thought-provoking novel to date, Dan Brown has raised the bar yet again. Inferno is a sumptuously entertaining read – a novel that will captivate readers with the beauty of classical Italian art, history, and literature… while also posing provocative questions about the role of cutting-edge science into our future.

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                Dan Brown gets a lot of negative comments in regards to his overall story plots. They are the same in the sense that James Bond movies are the same. There is a basic formula that he uses to write his stories and in all honesty the formula works wonders for him. Inferno is a great example how a basic outline can be buffed up, and turned into something tantalizing, entertaining and easy to get involved with as you read. The twists and plot turns contained in Inferno were without a doubt fantastic, engaging, and in general written very well. If you can only look the basic plot dynamics you will indeed find yourself engrossed in an original story.
                Inferno is a great improvement over Dan Brown’s novel ‘The Lost Symbol’ which was released in 2009. Though I did enjoy ‘The Lost Symbol’ I would actually now consider changing the rating in regards to comparing the two novels. There was more suspense; action and mystery within the pages of ‘Inferno’ than there were in ‘The Lost Symbol’.  This book was a real winner for me, I’ve enjoyed Dan Browns work since I’ve read ‘Angels & Demons’ (The first book in the Robert Langdon series) and was very pleased that he seems to be back on track with his latest edition to the series.
                The scientific possibilities that were regarded within this book was really eye opening and made me do a lot of research on my own. Despite the drastic measures that were taken by Characters part of me really started questioning near the end if they were wrong. The issue portrayed is a real crisis that we as a race are currently facing, and there needs to be some kind of solution. I’m not advocating what the Characters do in regards to this issue or even the end results but I do agree that our world is floundering and we are in dire need of change. Obviously I won’t get too far into this as this is a book blog and you personally do not likely want to know what my person views are on current events.
                Definitely recommending this novel however, it is very eye opening, interesting and well written. Dan Brown writes likeable, identifiable and relatable characters and in all honestly that is sometimes what can make or break a novel.
                Check it out; it’s worth the read even if you’re a little unsure about it. If you don’t enjoy it at least it will inspire you to read ‘Dante’s Inferno’ in the future.

Not Yet Released

Wishlist #2
-What’s on you wishlist?

1. Dr.  Sleep written by Stephan KingImage
            Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
            On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
            Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
                                                                       
Release Date: September 24th, 2013

2. Lost Lake written by Sarah Addison Allen ****
   Image         This book does not even have a description but it really doesn’t need one because I love Sarah Addison Allen, she is by far one of my all-time favorite authors and I’ll buy anything she writes… ANYTHING because everything I’ve read that she’s written has been amazing and I’ve re-read all her books a hundred times. Trust me when I say that I am sooooo overly excited for this book that I’m practically counting down the days!
                                          Release Date: February 11th, 2014

 

3.  Omens: Cainsville Series written by Kelley ArmstrongImage
            Olivia Taylor Jones, 24, seems to have the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech-firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia’s world is shattered when she finds out that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers, each still serving a life sentence.
            The news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, and Olivia thinks the best thing she can do for herself and for them is run away from it all. She ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her decision to uncover the truth about her birth parents. Olivia decides to focus on the Larsens’ last crime, the one Pamela Larsen swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel Walsh, Pamela’s former lawyer, start investigating, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. There are dark secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

                                                                        Release Date: August 20th 2013

4. These Broken Stars  written by Amie Koufman
         Image   It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury space liner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone; with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
                                        Release Date: December 10th 2013