Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

May 17

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Memorable Scenes Monday (1): Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

by Ann-Katrina

Every so often I come across a scene that is so potent that it lingers long after I’ve finished reading it. That’s where the idea for this feature came from. Each Monday I intend to share with you a memorable scene from one (or more) of my reads.

If you like the idea I invite you to join me in sharing a memorable scene on your blog and link to it in a comment or just share the scene it in the comment itself. (Please remember to include the book’s title and author so our wishlists and TBR piles can grow. Also, if your scene is a spoiler, please clearly mark it as one.)

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens Without further ado, my first installment comes from Still Missing by Chevy Stevens—the story of a woman, Annie O’Sullivan, who was kidnapped and held captive for a year.

The Freak was careful with the books—I was never allowed to place them facedown when they were open or dogear a page. One day when I was watching him carefully stack some books back on the shelf, I said, “You must have read a lot as a kid.” His back stiffened and he slowly caressed the binding of the book he was holding.

“When I was allowed.” Allowed? A strange way to put it, but before I could decide whether I should ask about it, he said, “Did you?”

“All the time—one of the bonuses of having a dad who worked at the library.”

“You were lucky.” He gave the books a final pat and left the cabin.

When he paced around, ranting about a character or plot twist, he was so articulate and passionate I’d get caught up in it and reveal more thoughts of my own. He encouraged me to explain and defend my opinions but never flipped out, even when I contradicted him, and over time I began to relax during our literary debates. Of course, when reading time ended, so did the only thing I did that made me feel like a human being, like myself.

–page 68 (from the ARC)

Up until this moment, I kept thinking of The Freak as a monster (and in a sense, he truly was), but this scene painted him in such a human light and it shocked me when I felt a little bit sorry for him. It also gave me a glimmer of hope that Annie’s situation wasn’t completely hopeless.

My Still Missing review is officially online (and it mentions how you can read the first two chapters of the book for free).

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May 14

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Book Notes: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

by Ann-Katrina

Stolen by Lucy Christopher For a while I’ve been wanting to read Stolen. I can’t remember where I first learned about it, but I know it was another book blog. I read the description, then went to Amazon and saw it had a few glowing reviews and decided I needed to read it. But, it wasn’t due out in the US for a few months.

By some miracle I received an ARC for the US release (due this month) and started reading it straight away. From the first few pages I had high hopes it would be a smooth read. Right now I’m at the end of page 84 and all I can think is, Man this is a painfully slow read. (It took me hours to get that far.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because the writing or story are bad, but there’s just something about the unfolding of it all that’s stalling my reading. In other words, it’s not holding my attention in the least.

The story so far is about a girl named Gemma who, while is on a layover in Bangkok with her parents, meets and has coffee with a random strange man, and then she wakes up in the middle of nowhere Australia. Basically, she’s kidnapped and is trying to piece together what happened.

Indeed, the subject matter is rather disturbing, but I do love a good psychological study. For whatever reason, though, I’m just not feeling Gemma’s emotional distress. Sure, I can envision what she’s going through, the descriptions are clear and all, but it’s all so scattered it almost feels disingenuous. Maybe someone who’s read the book could clue me into what I’m missing.

I hate to say it, but I need to set this book aside and read something else. (This is the second time I’ve had to do this while reading this book.) There are a few books that have May publication dates, so I’ll probably start on one of those, but I’ll eventually come back to Stolen. I just hope it begins to pick up.

Update July 29, 2010: I’ve finally finished reading the book and have posted my review.

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