Monday, June 29, 2009

Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

I absolutely loved Gillian Flynn's first novel,
Sharp Objects, so I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on this one.

In this book, Libby Day is a survivor of a mass murder of her family - and her brother Ben is still serving time for the murders of her mother and two sisters. She lives in almost paralyzing inertia, living off a trust fund that started with donations for her care after the murders. The novel begins 25 years after the murders. Libby's money has run out and she's contacted by a man who wants to pay her for memorabilia and a personal appearance with his "Kill Club" - a group who has been attempting to solve the mystery.

As Libby begins to finally face what happened that night, she begins to question her own memories - as well as her own testimony that her brother had committed the murders.

I highly recommend this book - and if you haven't read Sharp Objects, be sure to pick that one up as well!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recent Reads

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

From Amazon /
After 20 years in the Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC) and eight aliases, Melody Grace McCartney hardly knows who she is. On the run since she and her parents stumbled on a gruesome murder by mobster Tony Bovaro when she was six years old, Grace saw WITSEC’s promised protection fail her mother and father when they were killed 12 years later. Now she feigns personal danger to be relocated just because she’s bored and wants a change. But before her new case officer can move her from suburban Maryland to rural Wisconsin, Tony’s son, Jonathan, tracks her down to present an alternative: protection from his family and a life of more safety and freedom than she has ever known. While federal officials pressure her to stay in WITSEC and show her Jonathan’s violent side, her attraction to him grows, and she must decide a course for the rest of her life. This is a compulsively readable, skillfully constructed first novel with well-drawn characters and a plot that twists and turns to what seems the best possible conclusion, marking Cristofano as a writer to watch. --Michele Leber

I read this book in about a day, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's always a joy to read such a well-crafted novel. I thought it was such an interesting idea of a character who couldn't be herself - literally! Melody hasn't been able to be "Melody" since she was six years old, and when Jonathan calls her by name, she can't resist listening to him and his proposal. It did make me think about how closely tied we are to our name and hometown as a big part of our identity - to have those taken away would make me feel very lost in the world.

I look forward to more books by Mr. Cristofano.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Vision in White (The Wedding Quartet, Book 1) by Nora Roberts

From Amazon:
Two out of three isn’t bad, right? Mackensie “Mac” Elliot had the perfect job and the best friends in the world, Emma, Laurel, and Parker. Together, the four were Vows, Connecticut’s hottest wedding-planning company. So what if Mac hadn’t found her own Mr. Right yet. Then Mac literally bumps into shy, scholarly, yet surprisingly sexy Carter Maguire when he turns up for his sister’s wedding-planning meeting, and Mac quickly discovers exactly what is missing from her up-until-now satisfactory life. After blending paranormal and fantasy elements in her last four romance trilogies, consistently engaging Roberts returns to basics and her literary roots. The result is a thoroughly charming contemporary romance that neatly showcases this reigning romance author’s flair for sharp, clever writing and realistically complicated characters in a compelling celebration of the power of friendship and love. --John Charles

OK - Normally I'm not a big Nora Roberts fan, but I really enjoyed this book! It's not great literature, true, but it's not meant to be. I liked the characters, I liked the story, and I liked reading about wedding details. It's fun chick-lit, and great summer reading.

Like the description says, this book was about Mac - the photographer who meets a great guy. Unfortunately, he's just not her type. Well, of course we all know right away that he's exactly her type, and fortunately she soon realizes it too. There are few surprises in this book, but that's ok - it's a nice comfy sweet ride.

I plan to continue this series - the next one comes out in December!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See

Product Details Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See

Lisa See has an amazing gift for making the history of Chinese women come alive. Her novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is still one of my favorite all-time books.

In Shanghai Girls, we are introduced to Pearl and May, sisters living in Shanghai just before World War II. Through a series of frightening events, they eventually come to America and live in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The novel takes us to the 1950s, when they experience the fear that the communist witch hunts brought about.

I'm normally not a big "historical fiction" reader, but when a book is as well-written as this one, where the history is so expertly woven with the story, I am entranced by it. This is a definite must-read!