Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

September 1

Comments: 2

Review: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

by Ann-Katrina

A Certain Slant of Light Cover

Back Cover of A Certain Slant of Light

Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.

In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen–terrified, but intrigued–is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

Three Quick Points About A Certain Slant of Light

  • Point 1: Classic voice wrapped in a contemporary setting. It felt more like reading historical literature than contemporary fiction, despite its 21st century setting.
  • Point 2: James and Helen (once she gets a body) are bunnies. And I don’t mean cute. I mean they like to get down and dirty. A lot. And passionately.
  • Point 3: More questions than answers. After the final page is closed, a lot of questions about the meaning of life and death are still lingering in the air, unanswered.

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June 18

Comments: 1

Blacklisted by Gena Showalter Book Notes and Sunday Sketch (yes, I know it’s not Sunday yet)

by Ann-Katrina

Blacklisted by Gena Showalter I finished reading Gena Showalter’s Blacklisted on Tuesday, and I wanted to publish a few book notes. Think of this like a flash review until I can publish the extended edition.

When I was about 9/10ths of the way through this book, I realized that it was a sequel to Red Handed, which was sitting on my bookshelf—unread. That was definitely a *facepalm* moment if I do say so myself. So, if you already have Red Handed, read that one first.

Aside from reading the book out of order, I enjoyed my little detour.

  • The action never stopped. It seemed that Camille and Erik were always being chased, shot at, and when they weren’t Camille was getting a little action of her own. (There were a couple scenes which would definitely place this book on the 16+ list.)
  • The characters were well-drawn, if not a little stereotypical. I would have preferred, however, if Camille’s cowardice and goodie-two-shoes-ness was shown more clearly in her actions before we got to see the brave, strong Camille that she never realized she could be. But it was no big. I also wish the bad guys had been a little badder. (Eh hem, I’m looking at some of those A.I.R. agents.)
  • Reading it made me reminisce about old Alien Nation episodes that I used to watch as a kid. Yes, folks, I just admitted that I watched Alien Nation. The concept of aliens inhabiting the earth alongside humans has always been intriguing to me and the thing that I loved about both the series and this book was that it didn’t sugarcoat it. It showed some of the tribulations that different species might encounter as a result of simply being different.
  • There were more editing mistakes than I’d expected. The book started off strong, with an easy flow, then all of a sudden, errors started cropping up. The errors seemed random and gave the book the feel that it was a rush to complete and get to print. While it didn’t detract entirely from the story, there were more than a few moments when I had to stop and re-read a sentence because I thought my mind was playing a trick on me.

Put plainly, I had no idea what to expect with this book, but was pleasantly surprised. It’s a great lazy day read when you just want to kill a few hours.

And since I won’t be reading this title for my Sunday Salon post, I won’t be able to use this sketch for my Sunday Sketch. Rather than let it languish, I’ve decided to include it here.

This is my interpretation of Kitten, one of the A.I.R. agents that took on Camille and Erik.

Kitten - AIR Agent from Blacklisted

I have no idea why I chose to draw Kitten—in fact, I didn’t even know I was drawing her until I was done. I really wanted to draw Cara or Erik, but never quite got around to it…maybe while I’m reading Red Handed.

(Sorry about the image bleed-through. I sketch in my Moleskine notebook and these particular pages are thin.)

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March 10

Comments: 22

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

by Ann-Katrina

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Cover

Back Cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

Three Quick Points About The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  • Point 1: Love square surrounded by zombies. You’d think there would be plenty of drama when you have two guys in love with the same girl and another girl being in love with those two guys without throwing zombies into the mix, but you’d be surprised.
  • Point 2: Storytelling lost to the ages. One thread throughout the book was the stories Mary’s mother told her, yet we the readers aren’t told these stories, only their synopses.
  • Point 3: So many unanswered questions. Such is life. You’re presented with a question, but you become sidetracked and you don’t realize you never received an answer until it’s too late.

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October 21

Comments: 43

Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

by Ann-Katrina

From the back cover of Wake

She is floating. Not the falling dream again, she thinks. She is sick to death of the falling dream.

The scene changes immediately. Now Janie is outside. It’s dark. She’s alone, behind a shed, but she can hear muffled voices. She’s never been alone before, and she doesn’t know how people can have dreams that they are not in. She is curious. She watches nervously, hoping this isn’t somebody’s nightmare about to explode through the wall of the shed, or from behind the bushes…

Three quick points about Wake

  • Point 1: It’s rather short. With abrupt, sometimes awkward, sentence structures.
  • Point 2: This is either a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ book, yet somehow I managed to be squarely in the middle, loving some aspects, craving more definition, and hating others.
  • Point 3: The characters remind me of Bella Swan and Eward Cullen in their inexplicable love that just somehow seems to work for the story.

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