Friday, October 26, 2012

Book review: Missing You

Missing You by Meg Cabot

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Ever since a walk home on a particularly stormy day, Jessica Mastriani has had an ability like no other. She became known worldwide as Lightning Girl a psychic who could find the location of anyone, dead or alive. Jess finally had no choice but to embrace her newfound talent, and ended up lending her skills to the U.S. government.

But her work for them has taken a terrible toll, and Jess resurfaces months later a shadow of her former self, her powers gone, Lightning Girl no more. Her only hope is starting over in a new place, a big city where nobody knows her. It's only when Rob Wilkins unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep that she's forced to face her past. Rob, all the way from back home, needs her help. But how can Jess, her powers gone, find anyone, let alone the sister of a man she once loved . . . when she can't even find herself?

Missing You, the fifth and final book in the 1-800-Where-R-You series.

I loved this series. I read it when I was younger and it's one of those that I never forgot about. I even started rereading it earlier this year.

But then I realized there was a final book in the series I'd never read, so I skipped ahead to that one -- Missing You.

Missing you takes place a few years after the preceding book in the series. Jess is at college, away from her hometown, when her ex-bf shows up and asks for her help, thus dragging her home.

It's always great to revisit characters you love. I love Jess and Rob and her family and the whole cast of characters. I think they're what really makes any of the books in this series.

That being said, this book kind of felt like it was written just because everyone kept bugging her to write another one. It seemed like she just wanted to wrap up all the characters' lives and storylines and give it a big pretty bow.

I liked it; it was fun to read. Definitely not the best book everrrr. Or even the best in the series. But I guess it is nice to see all the characters get their happy ending.

Have any of you read this book or series? What did you think?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book review: Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday. Holy long description, Goodreads! I shortened it a bit.

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

I really really liked this book.

I have a friend who tried to read it and I guess she didn't get too far. It doesn't start fast and is never really full of action. It's more a story of relationships, of friendships, and of figuring out what you want in life.

But I identified very strongly with Kate, from beginning to end. She starts out as not a cool kid, which was me. And she has a very solid family. (Hi mom.)

The book takes place over 30ish years, I think. That's rare for a book, and maybe even rarer that it's well done. 

As Kate grows up, we see that she's not overly ambitious or competitive in her career, which is also me. She wants to have a family and she loves to write. I kept relating to Kate very strongly. (not that I don't want a career; I'm just more people-focused than ambitious)

These characteristics play out in an interesting and awesome way for Kate. See, she's part of a generation in which women were finally empowered to have a career and want something other than a family. So deciding you didn't want a career at that time was kind of considered going backwards as far as women's rights.

Anyway. This book is thick and it is slow and it is lovely. I really enjoyed it and I cried at the end.

Have any of you read Firefly Lane? What did you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I loved this book.

I loved loved loved loved loved this book.

But I'm having a hard time reviewing it. So, here are some thoughts:

1. This book does better than maybe any other book I've ever read of showing how meaningful everyday interactions really are. Yes, there are huge things going on, like, you know, World War II and book burnings and Jews being marched through town. But it's all shown through Liesel's everyday life, the relationships she builds, and the way people treat each other.

2. The Book Thief also has some of the most excellent characters I've ever read. I think I fell in love with every one of them. Even the bad guys are so well written that you love them while you hate them.

3. This is not a quick read. Or, it wasn't for me. It is a long book and not overly full of action. But there is a steady, driving desire to know what happens. Make sure that when you pick this up, you have some time to invest in it.

4. I've never read a WWII book told from this perspective before -- just an average German girl. Not a soldier or a  Jew in hiding. Just a girl. I liked it.

5.One thing I wasn't sure I liked was that it often gives away things that will happen several chapters ahead of time. Heck, some of the stuff that happens in the end of the book, it tells you in the preface. I'm not sure I liked knowing what was going to happen.

6. The voice is very unique -- the story is told by Death. This caused the first chapter/preface (not sure which it was) to be confusing for me, and I had to listen to it a couple times. I know I say this a lot, but I'm not sure I've ever meant it more -- push through it. Give this book a full hundred, maybe hundred and fifty, pages before you put it down. Because these characters and this story are worth it.

Have any of you read The Book Thief? I gave it 5 stars and highly recommend it. Loved it. What did you think?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book review: Me, Myself and Why?

Me, Myself and Why? by MaryJanice Davidson

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Sweet and innocent with a twist of girl-next-door, Cadence Jones is not your typical girl and certainly not your typical FBI agent. Just ask her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. (Wait. . . best if you don’t ask Adrienne anything.) But it’s her special “talent” which makes Cadence so valuable to the FBI and it never comes in more handy than when she and her partner, George, get tagged to bring down the Threefer Killer. A serial killer who inexplicably likes to kill in threes, leave behind inexplicable newspaper clippings, and not one shred of decent forensic evidence, soon starts leaving messages that seem to be just for Cadence and her sisters. Could it be that this killer knows all about Cadence’s special “talent”?

In the meantime, love blooms in the most unexpected place when Cadence meets her best friend’s gorgeous brother who is in town visiting—and she discovers that he knows her secret too! When attraction burns hot between them, her best friend isn’t thrilled with the romantic development and this time Cadence just might agree!

Suddenly Cadence finds her unbalanced life turned even more upside down as she tries to date a baker who wants to get in her heart and in her bed, dodge a pesky psychiatrist, keep a leash on her sociopath partner, while trying to catch a serial killer who’s now fixated on her.

Some days it’s not even worth getting up in the morning.

Me, Myself and Why was a little hard for me to get into. I think I was well over 50 pages in when I finally started enjoying the story.

From that point on, though, it was pretty good. It was funny and different from anything I've read  before.

The focus is a lot more on Cadence than the crimes, so if you have a weak stomach, I think you'd still be pretty ok. Cadence begins dating her friend's brother (who I was convinced was the killer, although I won't tell you if he actually is...), so there's a lot of focus on that relationship and how her "sisters" affect her ability to date. Personally, I thought the guy was a creep, even outside of thinking he was the killer, just because of the way he treats her when they're dating. But maybe that's just me...

The plot wasn't overly enthralling, but Cadence's "talent" was enough to keep me reading. It's another light, fun book, good for the beach or a road trip or when you've just had enough of reading about higher education administration... but maybe that's just me. :) I gave it three stars.

Have any of you read this one? I know someone who posts book reviews in this linkup did! Tell me what you thought!


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