Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Slow Moon by Elizabeth Cox


Sophie and her mom moved to small-town Tennessee after her father's death. The two quickly make friends in the town and Sophie, being as beautiful as she is, attracts the attention of more than a few teenage boys. Despite there being much interest from other guys, Sophie finds herself attracted to Crow and the two start dating. One night, during a party, they slip out into the woods deciding this will be the first time they have sex. Unprepared, Crow quickly heads to his car to grab protection and Sophie is raped multiple times and left for dead. Crow knows that he will be to blame, but who really did this?

There's quite a sense for foreboding over this entire book which makes it a page turner. I wanted to figure out who did this and whether they were going to get away with it. You know from the start that Crow wasn't responsible but he is charged and no one comes to his aid. This event not only permanently changes Sophie, but seems to change the entire dynamic of the town which was interesting to read.

While I enjoyed this novel, I found that there were way too many male teenage characters to keep track of, some that added no value to the story whatsoever. By the time we were told who was responsible, I couldn't even remember the names of one of them.

This is not world class literature. The writing isn't fantastic (just look at the first line from the book), but the story is compelling.

First Line: "So on that April evening in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, with spring just beginning, a copper moon rose, balanced like a huge persimmon, and two young teenagers, Crow Davenport and his girl Sophie, left a party and walked into the woods towards the river to be alone."


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Watership Down by Richard Adams


In a warren of rabbits, Fiver sees that it is no longer safe to stay in their current home. He tells his brother Hazel who knows by now to trust Fiver's instincts. They gather up as many rabbits as they can and wind up with an interesting group because the strongest won't listen to Fiver. The group sets out on their journey, encountering elil (animals that want to hunt them), people, other rabbits, farms, and finally Watership Down. They start to make their home there and then need to start worrying about how to sustain their home without does to mother new bunnies.

When you think of a book about rabbits, you may think children's book. This is definitely not a book for young ones. Though it's an incredibly endearing story of survival, there are some pretty violent and scary parts of the book for young readers.

The characters in this book are what makes it. In the new warren, all the rabbits balance each other out. I really liked seeing some of the less physical rabbits taking charge and other rabbits relying on them for their smarts. The more physical rabbits know how to pull their weight and don't have any problems talking through problems and coming to consensus. Imagine if the business world worked like this book. All businesses would be making billions!

There were times where I thought this book was a bit slow. Rabbits are story-tellers and some of the stories they told, though they parallel what is happening in the book, I felt to slow the pace of the book down a bit too much.

This is a lovely book. Everyone should read it at some point.

First Line: "The primroses were over."


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Last Book Ever Written by Jonah Kruvant

Science Fiction

Victor Vale is a detective in the future, many years from now where you need only insert a needle into your arm to be connected to the virtual reality internet, art and expression is not allowed, and robots are part of every day life (Vale has a robot housekeeper... Jetsons anyone!?). His boss tasks him with taking down a group of creators, which are artists and not allowed in the world. Using future technology, Vale changes in to his alter-ego as a reporter and visits this forbidden underground world. He quickly realizes that perhaps these creators aren't as bad as society makes them out to be. Don't we all have a bit of creator in us?

The concept of this book is fantastic. It's the future, things have changed a lot, and there's a lot of cool technology. I always enjoy reading how others envision the future in these types of books. There were some interesting gadgets so I was more than satisfied in this part of the book.

There were some plot items in this book that didn't add up for me and left me with questions at the end of the book. The first that Victor's alter ego was requested for an interview by the leader of the creators. He gets to the office, they chat for a bit, and then Victor gets up to leave. The interview was only one or two questions, which doesn't equate to much of an interview to me. It was a way for the author to get his main character in to the epicenter of the action but it isn't believable because of the execution. The other issue was that creators are not allowed but there are movies and plays. Who writes the movies and plays? Even though some is propaganda, perpetuated by the government, don't creators write plays and movie scripts?

I almost never say this, but I feel like this book could have used more pages to flush out some of these issues a bit better. Arguments are resolved too quickly and characters accept their fate too quickly. A few extra pages to make these items feel more like a struggle and more real would have helped.

That said, there's definitely an audience that will really enjoy this book. It's got a cool factor to it that sci fi fans would enjoy.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this book tour!

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First Line: "It all starts when we're born."


About the Author
A writer, teacher, and student of the world, Jonah Kruvant received his Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College, his Master’s degree in Teaching from Fordham University and his MFA degree from Goddard College. After living abroad in four different countries, Jonah lives in New York.

Check out his Website

Friday, May 08, 2015

Orient by Christopher Bollen


Orient is a small island at the end of Long Island, which has seen its tightly knit community start to erode as rich people try to move to the island as an alternative to the Hamptons. Those that grew up on the island don't want to see this happen and the community board is doing everything it can to stop the influx of cash. Paul Benchley is one that grew up on the island, though he left to become an architect before returning when his mom was sick. The locals find out that Paul is bringing home a kid from the city to help clean out his mom's house and it doesn't go over well. Mills Chevern is that kid, one that's hopped around from foster home to foster home, and has had drug problems in the past. Mills' arrival sets of a chain of events that change the island forever. The local care taker is found drowned in the water and a mutant animal washes up on the beach.

This book is a long book (600+ pages) and has a lot of characters, so it takes a bit of time to get in to and remember who is who. But the upfront investment is definitely worth it. You really get to explore the characters in this book and find out what makes them tick. Granted, a good chunk of them grated on my nerves. There were many self-righteous local villagers who have tunnel vision and there's Beth who hits it off with Mills but finds out she's pregnant and can't make a decision on whether she wants to keep the baby. It takes Beth at least 350 pages, if not more, to make that decision! All of this helps build a great base for a pretty interesting mystery.

Looking back, having finished the book, I felt like there were chapters were not much happened, and yet at the time of reading I didn't seem to notice. The mystery of this book was good and there were lots of items to try and put you off the trail of who was responsible. There were a few times when I wished more was revealed sooner in the book but I was happy with the ending. Not the type of town I'd want to live in!!

First Line: "This is how I first saw you, Long Island, on a map in the front seat of Paul Benchley's car."

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour.

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About the Author
Christopher Bollen is an editor at large for Interview magazine. He is the author of the novel Lightning People, and his work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, the Believer, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York.

Check out his Website