Archive | June, 2011

Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick

9 Jun

 

"I'd fallen apart in his arms. I'd melted like butter. Right before I told him he should go, I was pretty sure I'd made a sound that was a cross between a sigh of sheer bliss and a moan of ecstasy."

Here’s my story with this book.  I was in a car at the tail end of a long road trip.  Sitting in the passenger seat without access to a new book, I started downloading sample chapters on my Kindle app.  I read the beginnings of several books because it was free entertainment.  Then, I read the free sample of Hush, Hush and really wanted to keep going with it.  This is the first book I’ve opted to purchase and read completely on my tiny iPhone screen.  I read it in a day and a half; it was an easy and fun read.  I’m very curious about what will happen next in this series.

So I should be raving about it, right?  Well, I’m pretty torn.  I actually recently promised myself that I would be less wishy-washy in my reviews.  It’s like sometimes I’m afraid to admit if I loved a book or if I hated it.  It’s too bad, though, that I then promptly chose to read this young adult novel about teenage romance with a fallen angel.  It’s truly putting to the test my new resolve to improve my posts.

While reading, I debated putting together a list of all reasons that this was a knockoff of Twilight.  There are a ton of them!  Take away a vampire and put in a fallen angel and you’ve got the romance premise in Fitzpatrick’s novel.  I also kept running into situations that had me asking myself if I missed something.  The main character, Nora, often drew random conclusions that didn’t make sense.  I had to forgive a lot of issues with the plot.

There’s a lot to criticize in Hush, Hush.  Yet, I was very drawn into the story.  The bottom line is that I enjoyed the way bad boy Patch strutted his stuff and arrogantly pursued Nora.  He’s an enigma, strong and self-assured.  It’s the kind of guilty pleasure that I can read quickly and enjoy, despite the many reasons it’s just plain not good.

My decision is to give it two stars.  Readable, with many flaws.  Still, I won’t be embarrassed to admit that I’ll be reading the rest of this series in the future.  The amount of fun makes up for the issues it has!

 

Five Best Books that Take Place During a War

6 Jun

Cassandra at Indie Reader Houston hosts a weekly “Best Five” list.  This week’s theme, Books that Take Place During a War, threw me for a loop at first.  But I’m excited to sort out my thoughts and create my list!  You should check out her blog, and the top five lists.  They’re very fun!

I don’t  often read historical fiction.  War stories aren’t of much interest to me.  However, I found a way to make this list work for me!

1) The Diary of Anne Frank is the very first book that came to mind.  When I read this book in high school, I was taken by the fact that Anne’s life didn’t revolve around the war.  The book was literally about a young girl’s life, not about a war.  That’s what made it so impactful.

2) The Keep, by F. Paul Wilson is a fictional book about Nazis and vampires.  When an SS squad take over a castle, something starts hunting them down, one by one.  The only person who can help them is a Jewish man.  It’s an intriguing premise, very creepy, and vampires kill Nazis.

3) Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, isn’t a book I really enjoyed.  Still, it’s epic, and I love that it has a Southern perspective of the Civil War.

4)Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, is another gem set during World War II.  It seems as though, of the war books that I do read, I lean toward World War II.  This book reminds me a bit of Anne Frank’s diary, except a fictional read.

5) I’m going to cheat with the last one and choose World War Z, by Max Brooks.  This is a very interesting book about a futuristic war against zombies.  It’s written as though the author interviewed various survivors of the war to create a documentary.

The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry

3 Jun

“I turned my head toward the wall and stared at the trees.  For weeks I stared.  I stared at them as the leaves finally fell away and they revealed their lacy black branches underneath.  I looked for Jack in the web of lace.  He wasn’t there.  I looked for Lyndley, too, but she was nowhere.”

Cover for The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader begins with an introduction to Towner Whitney.  She admits right away that she’s a liar and she’s crazy.  She doesn’t seem crazy, though.  Definitely confused, and a little odd.  But Towner has been through a lot.  Her twin sister Lyndley, committed suicide fifteen years ago, and she was admitted to a mental institution shortly after the event.

Towner talks about a pillow used to make lace. It probably looked something like this. (found at http://dianelaces.wordpress.com)

When we meet Towner, she receives word that Eva, a grandmother-like great aunt, has died.  Towner has to face her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, for the first time since the tragedy.  Although she prepared for a quick trip for a funeral before returning home to San Diego, Towner faces unfinished business, mystery, and a little bit of romance.

The Whitney family is mysterious, unique, and full
fascinating characters.  The characters overall were the best part of this novel.  I loved trying to figure them out, distinguishing everyone’s quirks and their histories.  Author Brunonia Barry meticulously wrote this book interspersed with details that hint at the truth as the reader attempts to solve the multiple mysteries in Salem.

The near downfall of this novel is in the clunky way that the story changes perspective.  I have no problem with a change in point of view, and it works for the telling of this story.  I just wish it had been done more smoothly.  Towner is the narrator until about the twelfth chapter, and then it suddenly switches taking me completely by surprise.  I wish that this concept had been introduced earlier on.  It also would have helped if it at least stayed in first-person.  It felt strange to have things narrated by Towner, and then be in third-person but from someone else’s perspective.

Overall, the story was amazing!  At first, I hesitated to give it such an incredibly high recommendation.  But now, days later, I find myself desiring to read it again, looking more deeply into the lace and uncovering even more of its secrets.  As someone who seldom re-reads, I have to rate this one Five Stars!