Book Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1)Image
Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
P.I. Mystery, Crime fiction
Published: March 25th, 2014
5/5

 

                Ten years after graduating highschool in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back and in the land of sun, sand, crime and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
                Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

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                Not going to lie to any of you, but I was extremely excited that Veronica Mars was turning into a novel series in fact I’m still extremely excited about it.
                Veronica Mars was an important character to me when I was younger, she was fierce independent, strong and didn’t require saving from some guy every five minutes. She was very inspirational to me when I was younger. Not to mention I thought it was pretty cool that she got to do so many ‘interesting’ things and when I was older I hoped I would be like her in high school too, which for obvious reasons didn’t happen and for more obvious reasons I’m very thankful.
                The novel takes place shortly after where the movie wrapped up. What was really enjoyable to me about this was that though minor plot points were spoiled in the book the major plot points of the movie were not discussed in too much detail. I had read the book before I had seen the movie and was very pleased to find that it did not ruin the movie for me at all and neither the movie nor the book really ruin the original plot line of the TV show either which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
                I thought they did a great job of transferring Veronica Mars from the screen to the pages of a book. They managed to keep her sarcastic, biting humour alive and fresh, and her character matched perfectly which the other medias.
                The progression of the plot was done well, I didn’t find myself getting bored and the story didn’t drag needlessly on. It’s very short, and sweet and written in the typical Veronica Mars style of crime solving. I didn’t find the story predictable or annoying which is great and sometimes a little hard to do when you’re writing a story based on crime.
                There were a few things about the novel that I didn’t like however. I felt pretty sad that Veronica Mars was still stuck in Neptune California, I had always imagined her moving on and being involved in the FBI as a criminal profiler or some kind of government investigator because she seemed to have such an obvious knack for her. I also was pretty put off by the arrival of her mother into the story, I’m not her biggest fan and I continue to still not like her or want her in Veronica’s life because I truly believe she is one of the most selfish characters in this series.
                The cover of the book also kind of makes me sad, it’s really simple and really, painfully boring. I don’t mind the font but the picture and word placement makes no sense to me and comes across as awkward. Plus I really, really dislike that shade of yellow.
                Over all really happy to see this series continue on and I am very excited to read book two when it comes out.
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Book Review: The Humans

The HumansImage
Matt Haig
Science Fiction
Published: July 2nd, 2013
5/5

                The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his frist impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge
                He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, and their capacity for murder and war, and he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he had been led to believe. Disguised as martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, and develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family and in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfections and to question the mission that brought him there.
                Praised by The New York Times as a ‘novelist of great seriousness and talent,’ Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject – ourselves.

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The Humans was a delightful surprise for me. I had not heard much discussion about the book in the community that I’m involved with online but I found the synopsis intriguing. An Alien takes over the body of a mathematics professor that has just solved the most important Mathematical question to humanity to date. He is expected to destroy all evidence and halt the advancement of humanity. However, along the way he begins to develop a sort of infatuation with humanity and strives to discover what exactly it means to be ‘human.’
               I thought that the character development of the unnamed Alien was fascinating and refreshing. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and to begin to question what he thought he knew. Despite the advancement of his society the primitive nature of human emotions stumped him and the social queues often left him quite confused.
                The humans is extremely funny and entertaining, the chapters are very short and that makes it really easy to read in short bursts. The story also gets quite dark at times, and I felt that helped counteract the unrealistic nature of some of the scenes.
                Overall this was an insightful, touching and completely original story. I’m extremely happy I took a chance with a book that I had not heard much about and I am greatly looking forward to reading more books written by Matt Haig.
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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: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & ParkImage
Rainbow Rowell
Young adult Contemporary
Published: 2013
5/5

                Two Misfits.
                One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough… Eleanor.

Park… He know she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs as her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-old – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

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                It’s not often that a book touches me in the way that Eleanor & Park has. The simplest and realistic nature of their relationship was both heartwarming and beautiful. Rainbow Rowell has managed to deliver a love story that is timeless in its content and in its tenderness. Despite not having been born when this book took place, it easily reminded me of my first love, and all the heartbreak and confusion that came with it when I was sixteen.
                Rowell has delivered realistic characters with realistic obstacles. The beginning middle and end made perfect sense and I personally wouldn’t have wanted to see it written any differently. I liked the open ending, because life is open ended. Just because something happens or someone leaves or comes back doesn’t mean that’s how it’s always going to be. Even if someone has hurt you in the past that doesn’t mean that person won’t be your best friend someday or maybe even the person you marry of course the story won’t always end perfectly either. I’ve seen this story happen so many times in my life with my friends and of course, with my own life. This story is truly heartwarming and heartbreaking.
                Worth all the hype, completely and with honesty.    

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Book Review: This is Not a Test

This is not a TestImage
Courtney Summers
Young Adult
Published: 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
4/5

 

                It’s the end of the world…
                Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is of little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
                To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
                As the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in a startling way and soon the groups fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more, and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life – and death – inside.
                When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

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               This is not a test reads more like a contemporary novel than zombie fiction. You never really find yourself too worried about the threat of the zombie hordes outside of the school, your concern really lies within the confines of the school. You learn really quickly how fast what you believed in can fall when your life is at risk and your survival is at stake. What you’re capable of, is truly unknown until you’re faced with the unknown.
                Sloane Price is a deeply wounded character. She is probably one of the most damaged and broken characters I’ve ever read in a young adult novel. She’s just so sad and you feel her despair pouring out of the pages, bleeding form chapter to chapter and even when she’s happy or seems better you can’t actually be sure.
                This is not a Test calls this into question, “What do you do when you survive something when you never wanted to exist at all?” This is an extremely fascinating character study. Who could imagine surviving the zombie apocalypse and not because you’ve been trying to but because fate seems to want to keep you around for a little bit longer.  Sloane actually went out of her way many times throughout the novel to succumb to the zombie plague and each time she is saved or it plain does not work out.      
                All of the characters are great, they all have unique voices and each give something valuable to the plot. None of them are who they seem to be, and I’m sure none of them are who they thought they were either.
                For such a small novel it is action packed, it’s not dull and everything rushes by quickly. It isn’t in a bad way, but in a good way because you get down to the nitty gritty and you don’t have to wade through useless fluff/filler.  
                This is Not a Test also has one of the most intense endings that I’ve ever read in a young adult stand-alone novel! It almost felt incomplete because the ending was rather left up to interpretation. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who ‘writes off’ young adult fiction and to those who enjoy it. I guarantee you’d be happily surprised by the quality and depth of this story.

               

               

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: Salem Falls

Salem FallsImage
Jodi Picoult
Adult Contemporary
Published: 2002
Publisher: Washington Square Press
4/5
A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: Once a teacher at a girls prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student’s crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Dinner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart.
Amid the rustic calm of Salem falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbor dark secrets – and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the center of a modern-day witch hunt, Jack is forced once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray, and to the woman who has come to love him.
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Salem Falls is a fast-paced page-turner with more plot twists than a rollercoaster. Jodi Picoult is not timid with those taboo topics such as the short comings of the legal system, people’s harsh judgement, rape, incest, etc.; in fact Jodi Picoult often tackles subjects that most people don’t want to think about let alone write about. Her stories don’t always have happy endings and they’re so full of truth that it’s almost painful to be a witness too. It’s true that the good guy doesn’t always win, sometimes evil does, and sometimes what we all believe to be right really isn’t in the end.
Salem Falls really calls into question what we believe and why we’re inclined to believe those things. That’s what I really love about Jodi Picoult’s books: I love that they’re filled with interesting characters and situations. I love that there is always two sides of the story and I really, really love that sometimes the side that you’d believe was wrong isn’t really as bad as you think it would be.
This isn’t one of her stronger books despite how much I love what she calls into question. The characters lack some realism and dimension which is why I’ve only rated this four stars instead of five.  There are definitely aspects to the main characters that have left me wanting more. Jack and Addie’s relationship falls flat in a lot of places and though it’s sweet and romantic they’ve found each other I just find that they don’t fit well together. However, that being said, Addie’s faithfulness and righteousness are very heartwarming. I love it when you have a main female character that hasn’t fallen apart and become a complete mess on the floor, however there are definitely aspects to her story that don’t make much sense and parts were I seriously questioned her mental sanity!
Also, wow! What an ending, I definitely did not see the interaction between two of characters at the end. I also wasn’t expecting to be so creeped out and disgusted by the behaviour of some people more than I already had been at that point. Though part of the ending made me feel slightly uncomfortable in the wake of its truth it was important to the story and to the understanding of intent of one of the main characters. It definitely help explains why what happens happened.
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