Archive | July, 2010

The Search, by Nora Roberts (narrated by Tanya Eby)

26 Jul

The Search book coverI don’t often listen to audiobooks, but whenever I take the long drive home or to visit friends (I find that most drives from central Iowa tend to be long), I enjoy an audiobook to pass the time.  Most recently, I completed this unabridged version of The Search, by Nora Roberts.

Fiona is dog trainer enjoying her quiet, organized life on the island of Orcas in the Pacific Northwest.  She lives alone with her pack of dogs, teaching obedience classes and responding to the occasional search and rescue calls.  Simon is a carpenter/artist who is new to the island and escaping a high-profile, volatile relationship.  He and his new puppy Jaws show up on Fiona’s doorstep and Fiona sets right to work training them both!

Of course, romance ensues, but Fiona’s life isn’t as quiet as it appears on the surface. Her past is catching up with her as someone wants her dead–again!  Fiona and Simon fight to embrace their unexpected love throughout not only the normal pitfalls of a relationship, but also through deadly circumstances.

Since I am biased as a dog lover, I think I was able to forgive a lot of things in this book.  First, it fits a tried-and-true formula that is definitely no stranger to Nora Roberts.  Romance blooming in the face of danger is a popular plotline.  I personally don’t often begrudge an author for following such a formula, as long as it stays interesting.  Fiona’s search and rescue responses are definitely helpful in keeping things fresh.  I also love her dog stories; the dogs become supporting characters.

The dialogue occasionally felt awkward to me, but I am willing to place some of that blame on the narrator, who often used a patronizing voice that didn’t feel real for the characters.  Fiona seems kind of timid about some things and very fierce about others. She outright confronts Simon about their love on a regular basis.  This couple talks out their issues like no other couple I’ve read about!  Simon can be a bit annoying.  Fiona loves his winey, grudging admissions of love, and at first I thought it was cute but it did get a little old.  For example, here is how a discussion between the two of them goes once they first meet:

“You’re not beautiful.”
“There you go again, Mr. Romance.”
“You’re not, but you grab hold. I haven’t figured out why.”
“Let me know when you do.

Still, I laughed out loud a lot in this book, and rooted for them to catch the bad guy.  Because I’m a dog lover, I give this romance suspense novel four out of five stars.

Advertisements

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

25 Jul

The release of Mockingjay, the third in The Hunger Games Trilogy, is one month from today!  In anticipation of this release (I can barely wait), I’m rereading the first book this weekend.  It’s a really fast read!

The Hunger Games Cover“Peeta looks me right in the eye and gives my hand what I think is meant to be a reassuring squeeze.  ‘Oh well,’ I think.  ‘There will be twenty-four of us.  Odds are someone else will kill him before I do.’ “

Katniss lives in a future America, now called Panem, which is divided into 12 districts surrounding the Capitol that rules them all.  Because of a past failed attempt at revolution, the Capitol rules with a vicious iron fist.  Every year, as a reminder of the Capitol’s strength, each district gives up two children, a boy and a girl, to participate in The Hunger Games.  Winning The Games means much-needed food and riches, but the winner survive by killing off the competition.  Katniss knows what is at stake when she volunteers to represent her district.  She knows how to hunt and how to watch her tongue, but she also needs strategy if she is going to get out alive.

This novel fits my somewhat obscure love of post-apocolyptic, dystopian literature.  I just love reading about different versions of our future world at its worst.  Sounds creepy, and yes, this book is just that.  I had crazy dreams about survival for a month after staying up one night reading.  I love how so much of the story happens in Kat’s head.  She’s sixteen years old; because of her life, she has maturity beyond her years.  Still, the reader can’t forget that she’s young and naive in many ways.

Of course there is action and violence in the arena.  There’s also a political battle simmering under the surface, and a coming-of-age story told under the most undesirable of circumstances.

My absolute favorite book is The Long Walk by Stephen King.  This book has all that good stuff that King’s book provides.  Since it’s a Young Adult fiction, it’s much easier and faster to read.  Also, it starts the trilogy so the fun isn’t over when the book ends.

Second in the trilogy is Catching Fire.  You have to immediately seek this out when you finish the first!  Five Stars for sure 🙂

The Mercy of Thin Air, by Ronlyn Domingue

20 Jul

The Mercy of Thin Air “Why, it beats so I can love you.”

Young Razi Nolan is at the cusp of a life-changing decision when she dies suddenly at the age of 22 in 1929.  Now, as a ghost, Razi has access to all of her life memories, as clearly as if they all happened yesterday.  After all, time no longer has much meaning.  Razi shares her memories, centering on life as a young woman in love in the 1920s.  Razi intertwines her story with the story of the young, modern-day couple with whom she now “haunts.”  While Razi gathers hints and learns more about the couple she is living with, they are doing the same.  The result is a hint of mystery that keeps everything moving with a forward momentum.  We are also given two passionate love stories made real with challenges and pitfalls along the way.

I loved the patchwork story telling in this novel.  I learned about New Orleans in the 1920s and the book has motivated me to learn more about the women of this era and how they fought for women’s rights.  The Mercy of Thin Air is, on the surface, a love story that brought me to tears several times.  It’s the mysticism, however, that makes it a stand-out read.  That love lasts beyond death is a touching theme.

I found this book a year ago for sale for a quarter at my hometown library.  Even though it was highly recommended by a friend, I just now got around to reading it.  I’m sorry I delayed.  I highly recommend this as a summer read. Five Star!