Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Blowout

by Claire Cook
Read by Angela Brazil
242 pages

Bella is a recently divorced beautician who is still a little bitter about the divorce.  Hers was not a typical divorce--her half-sister slept with her husband.  Because Bella's family is very close-knit and runs a small chain of hair salons, Bella is in constant contact with her half-sister.  A new man randomly enters her life...and from there a very predictable plot ensues.

I was not a big fan of this book.  The supposed "blowout" really wasn't much of a "blowout" at all.  I could not at all relate to the main character, and I felt the whole story was contrived.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


by Kristin Cashore
539 pages

Bitterblue is an 18-year-old queen trying to help her realm recover from her father's reign.  Leck had psychologically tortured and controlled many in the kingdom, and many people were still trying to recover from the atrocities committed during Leck's reign.  Bitterblue feels like her advisors are hiding things from her, and strikes out on her own to discover what life is really like in  Monsea so that she can better serve her people and rectify the wrongs of the past.

I did not enjoy Bitterblue as much as I enjoyed Fire and Graceling.  Bitterblue was not quite as action-packed as the other two novels and focused more on the psychological and political aspects of running a kingdom.  I also thought they could have gotten to some of the action a little sooner, but the pacing was okay.  I was disappointed that Bitterblue did not have romantic closure like Fire and Katsa did.  I feel like the trilogy would have had more continuity if Cashore had chosen a different love interest for Bitterblue and allowed that romance to develop more fully.  Don't get me wrong---strong women don't have to have a man...but the romance factor was something I really liked about the other two books in this trilogy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"The Stuff That Never Happened" by Maddie Dawson

336 pages

In her head, Annabelle knows that she's lucky. She has a faithful husband a career that she loves, and two loving grown children. Her heart, however, can't let go of a man she loved more than twenty-five years ago. Her feelings for Jeremiah never really left, but they've intensified as her husband, Grant, has begun writing a book and become completely engrossed in his work, leaving Annabelle lonely and isolated. Then Annabelle leaves their home in New Hampshire to take care of their daughter in New York during her high-risk pregnancy, putting even more literal and figurative distance between Annabelle and Grant. And when Annabelle runs into Jeremiah on the streets of the city, she's forced to confront her past with him and decide where her future will take her.

This isn’t the type of book I normally read, but I enjoyed it. I myself often feel paralyzed when making big decisions that will affect the rest of my life, so I sympathize with Annabelle as she struggles to figure out what to do about her marriage. She seems like a real person, as do her daughter and son. Grant and Jeremiah, however, seem very two-dimensional to me. One of the big problems I have with this book is that neither of the two men Annabelle feels torn between is really as wonderful as she’s made them out to be in her mind. Grant is so obsessed with writing his book that he’s downright neglectful, and Jeremiah just seems completely selfish. I also didn’t like the repetitiveness that comes up occasionally—Annabelle rehashes the same thoughts over and over, which is realistic but not fun to read. Still, I thought it was nice to read a book that describes marriage as it is in real life, with problems and flawed people, instead of the fairy-tale stuff that we often find in fiction. 

Monday, June 4, 2012


by Stephen King
847 pages

Jake Epping is a 35-year-old divorced English teacher.  He lives a pretty normal life in Maine--until he gets a phone call from the owner of a local hamburger joint.  Al, the diner owner, is dying of lung cancer (though he appeared to be fine yesterday) and has one last request for Jake.  He wants Jake to step through the time portal in the diner's pantry and go back to 1958 to prevent the Kennedy assassination.  Since the time portal only goes to one particular day in 1958, this means that Jake will have to give up 5 years of his life to this mission.  And as King puts it, "the past is obdurate," so Jake will have to fight against the past in order to change the future.  Much is at risk in this high stakes game--more than Jake ever realized.

I enjoyed this book.  There was this unsettling tone to the book that was just perfect for what King was trying to convey.  King deals with the consequences of time travel and changing the past in an intriguing way.  This book has a bit of everything and is sure to appeal to a wide audience.