Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers by Louise Rennison

Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers by Louise Rennison

Georgia Nicolson is back, worrying about her love life, looks, and friends. When she learns that she's going to the USA (Hamburger-ago-go land, as she calls it), she invites her friend Jas and then tries to come up with a plan to find her love, Masimo, who is in the USA playing music. What she doesn't realize is that she's going to Memphis and Masimo is in New York City.

True to all other Georgia Nicolson books, Georgia is incredibly rude to her friends. Why any of her friends would want to be friends is completely beyond me because she's so self-absorbed and rude. Despite there, there are still funny moments in the book and they usually involve Georgia's sister and/or the cats Angus and Gordy. Overall, not that great but still mildly entertaining.

First Line: "Sun shining like a big yellow, warmey planet on fire thing."


Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Carl Mørck is a Danish homicide policeman. He was considered one of the best. In his last case he was shot in the head, another officer died and his partner is paralyzed and suicidal. He is feeling guilty. Mørck is now disgruntled, morose and abrasive. The other officers want nothing to do with him.

Copenhagen police have been instructed to set up a Department Q which will look at cold cases of national interest. Mørck is promoted and set up as the department chief in the basement of headquarters. Mørck thinks this is his dream job where he does not have to do anything but put his feet up, smoke and dream his life away.

Mørck finds out that along with the creation of the new department is a large budget which the homicide department is intending to use. He bargains and gets an assistant, Assad, a car and some needed equipment. Ah, life is so easy!!

However, Assad who is really the janitor prods Mørck to actually do his job. Mørck selects the five year case of Merete Lynggaard who is missing and presumed killed. Lynggaard was the head of the Social Democrat party and a bright and shining star on the political scene.

In a parallel story the novel traces Lynggaard who is held in a pressure chamber and her torture over the past years.

Mørck is be-leaguered, difficult and disliked by his colleagues but the reader sees through this and understands his flaws which makes this protagonist one of my favourites. There is an aura of mystery surrounding Assad which I hope will be probed further as this series progresses.

An excellent read.

First Line: "She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands."


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Julie and Romeo Get Lucky by Jeanne Ray

Julie and Romeo Get Lucky by Jeanne Ray

Julie and Romeo have worked past their decades-old family feud, falling in love, and combined their two flower shops to one business. Julie's biggest concern is her granddaughter's obsession with watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory until Romeo blows his back out and is stuck in Julie's bed, unable to move. Then her daughter becomes pregnant with triplets and forced to bed rest, which she decides to take in Julie's home. Suddenly, Julie has a house filled of people stuck in bed plus her regular guests of her other daughter's entire family.

How Julie has enough patience to deal with all the demanding people in her house is beyond me. I would have snapped on the first day. This book was cute, but the continuous mentions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory started grating on my nerves. Despite that, I think this was actually better than the first book. I'm not sure if there's a third one yet but I could see it easily following this book.

First Line: "I heard the Candyman's voice as soon as I opened the door."


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen is a teenager living in District 12 of a land once known as North America, now known as Panem. The Capitol runs the land, surrounded by 12 districts and an area where the 13th was but was obliterated when an uprising occurred. As part of the punishment for the districts rebelling, every year a Hunger Games is held where two teens from each district are selected as tributes to compete in a gruesome game to last person standing. Each tribute is tasked with killing the others until they is only one left and it is televised for all to see.

When Katniss' younger sister Prim's name is pulled to join the Games, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Peeta, the baker's son, is picked to go with her and he has had a crush on Katniss for a very long time. The two play up the lovers angle trying to get sympathy from viewers because gifts can be given during the Games. When thrown in to the Games, the two require a lot of strength, courage, and determination to get through one of the worst experiences of their lives and make sure they come out alive.

I had a lot of trouble putting this book down at night because I needed to know what was going to happen to Katniss and Peeta at the end of the book. I was continuously surprised that there wasn't more anger from all of the tributes at being thrown in to this situation by the Capitol and the parents of the tributes didn't seem to care much either. The Games have been going on for over 70 years, why wasn't there another uprising to stop their kids from being slaughtered?

I really enjoyed Katniss as a character. She's just what young girls need as a literary character to look up to. I'm sure this will make a great movie.

First Line: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke

Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke

Fritz Malone is the bastard son of the former police commissioner in New York City and knows a thing or two about the job. Rather than becoming a cop though, he became a private investigator. Fritz goes out to get his girlfriend some bagels and finds himself in the middle of a Thanksgiving day massacre at the parade. He takes a gun from a fallen cop, chases the shooter, and shots him in the arm before police take him and the gunman in to custody. Fritz finds himself in the middle of a blackmail scandal of the mayor that the police don't want the media to find out about. He's asked to quietly investigate when another bomb goes off and another note is received from the blackmailer. Fritz needs to find this guy, and fast, to stop more people from getting hurt.

Fritz has a great dry sense of humor that easily enamors him to the reader. Even in stressful situations, he always has a comeback or a quip. I really enjoyed him as a character and felt that his relationship with his girlfriend was quite believable.

In terms of the mystery, it was a fast-paced thriller. Hawke leaves clues for the reader throughout the story but the twist at the end is still surprising. I would pick up Hawke's next novel for Fritz Malone.

First Line: "If she had known she would be dead in another five minutes, maybe she wouldn't have swatted her son so hard."


Monday, January 02, 2012

Home Front

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Michael and Joleen Zarkades are an average American couple. Michael is a criminal defense lawyer and Joleen is in the National Guard and flies a Black Hawk helicopter. They have two children, Betsy, age 12 and Lulu, age 4. They have been married for twelve years but are now facing a difficult patch in their marriage with the big D (divorce) looming.

Betsy has just entered middle school and is at the, to borrow a term from the book, frenemy stage. Her best friends are friends one day and enemies as cruel as they can be the next day. She is obnoxious to her mother and her father has distanced himself from his family so Betsy is anxious for his attention.

All their lives are changed as Joleen is called up for deployment to Iraq. She is duty-bound to go but what happens to her family and how does she cope worrying about them as they are worrying about her

This book is about duty, honour, love, forgiveness and surmounting the difficulties in one's life. PTSD is the main topic and is well-researched. This book is about American forces but could just as easily be written about our Canada forces in Afghanistan. There is a strong message and one that should be read. Our forces need our consideration and help even when they have returned from these countries. These men and women have given up their lives for us and even though some of us may not understand this level of commitment one has to admire what they go though over there and upon their return.

To say this book is emotional is a vast understatement, I spent the greater part of it in tears. Another winner from this great author

First Line: "The way she saw it, some families were like well-tended parks, with pretty daffodil borders and big, sprawling trees that offered respite from the summer sun."

Video in which Kristin interviewed helicopter pilot and mother, Warrant Officer Teresa Burgess, who was an advisor to Kristin for HOME FRONT

Buy this Book