Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

September 12

Comments: 3

Review: Hannah (Daughters of the Sea, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky

by Ann-Katrina

Hannah Cover

Back Cover of Hannah

Hannah wants to be normal, but she’s not. The sea calls to her, and she can see a delicate tracing of scales on her legs. Billowing waves soothe her, but flat land makes her sick. She knows there’s something wild in her that’s different, wrong–and deeply thrilling.

Only one person seems to know who–or what–Hannah is. He’s a guest in the house where she works as a scullery girl, and his fascinated gaze follows her. She doesn’t understand his terrifying allure, or her longing. But even as the mystery deepens, Hannah is sure of one thing. A sea change is coming.

Three Quick Points About Hannah

  • Point 1: Deus ex machinas abound! Hannah’s problems were all too easily resolved.
  • Point 2: The intended audience must be precocious children or idyllic teens. In general, too superficial for an audience over 12 with words too laborious for an audience under 15.
  • Point 3: It’s the book equivalent of Chinese food.

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3 Comments, add yours...

June 9

Comments: 2

Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

by Ann-Katrina

Dark Places Cover

Back Cover of Dark Places

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—famously testifying that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details, she hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings…and maybe admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her across the Midwest, the narrative flashes back to the events of that day, replayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner who’d recently begun a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

Three Quick Points About Dark Places

  • Point 1: Multiple personality disorder. The book alternates between three different perspectives, the main character Libby Day (in first person), and Patty and Ben Day (in third person).
  • Point 2: A twisted Jerry Springer episode. None of the characters had any redeeming qualities, but on some level, they were truly human. And the situation, as it unfolded, was truly out there but on some level you have to wonder could this possibly happen?
  • Point 3: Smartly written. I am surprised and delighted at Flynn’s smart and fluid writing style.

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2 Comments, add yours...

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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22 Comments, add yours...

December 10

Comments: 1

Review: The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michele Ann Young

by Ann-Katrina

The Lady Flees Her Lord Cover

Back Cover of The Lady Flees Her Lord

She’s desperate for peace and safety…

Lucinda, Lady Denbigh, is running from a husband who physically and emotionally abuses her because she is unfashionably plump and has failed to produce an heir. Posing as a widow, she seeks refuge in the quiet countryside…

He’s returned from the wars, wounded and tormented…

Lord Hugo Wanstead, with a wound that won’t heal, and his mother’s and Spanish wife’s deaths on his conscience, finds his estate impoverished, his sleep torn by nightmares, and brand his only solace. When he meets Lucinda, he finds her beautiful—body and soul—and thinks she just might give him something to live for…

Together they can begin to heal, but not until she is free from her violent past…

Three Quick Points About The Lady Flees Her Lord

  • Point 1: The descriptions were lush and beautiful. I felt as though I were in the 19th century countryside along with them and experiencing everything they were experiencing.
  • Point 2: There were huge flaws in the character development. Lucinda (Lady Denbigh) is an intelligent and strong-willed woman who somehow manages not to do the first thing most intelligent and strong-willed women would do after fleeing Lord Denbigh and it rang false. Hugo has the weakest “fear” that rang even more false than Lucinda’s actions.
  • Point 3: This book was written and edited in stages. As I was reading, I’d go through long stretches without a single noticeable grammatical or spelling error, then I’d come to a patch where there was literally one every other page. It was quite easy to figure out which sections were done at different times.

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November 10

Comments: 5

Review: Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott

by Ann-Katrina

Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott - Book Cover

Back Cover of Dating da Vinci

A gorgeous young Italian, with nowhere to go…

His name just happens to be Leonardo da Vinci. When he walks into Ramona Elise’s English class, he’s a twenty-five-year-old immigrant, struggling to forge a new life in America—but he’s lonely, has nowhere to live, and barely speaks English…

She knows she shouldn’t take him home…

Picking up the pieces of her life after the death of her beloved husband, linguist and teacher Ramona Elise can’t help but be charmed by her gorgeous new student. And when he calls her “Mona Lisa” she just about loses her heart…

Three Quick Points About Dating da Vinci

  • Point 1: Leonardo da Vinci is hot. Really hot. I have to admit that his character was well-crafted to make the ladies (and possibly some men) drool. Drool like a rabid mangy mongrel and make no apologies for it. Up until he peed the bed.
  • Point 2: Unfortunately, the remaining characters (except a few) had trouble finding their voices. For the most part, they’d be traveling along quite nicely when a piece of stray dialog that rang absolutely false for the character would present itself.
  • Point 3: Feel good at its finest. Despite the ending being highly predictable, it still elicits that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

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5 Comments, add yours...

 

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