Friday, April 26, 2013

The Percussionist's Wife by Monica Lee

Book:  The Percussionist's Wife: A Memoir of Sex Crime and Betrayal
Author: Monica Lee
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Monica Lee's first husband was accused and convicted of raping a teenage student, but it didn't stop with that action. This is Ms. Lee's story of that period time. 
My rating: A very generous 2 stars
My opinion: I must admit that I had a very difficult time reading and reviewing this book for multiple reasons as a result it took me forever to get through it. It was a memoir...I get it. However, I have met this author. She is clearly an intelligent, insightful woman. However, I must disagree with other reviewers who have stated that she was self-blaming. I read that everyone else, including religion, being blamed for the occurrences in her life,even those instigated by herself. I don't think this is intentional, but I don't think it can't be dismissed simply for being too "naive" as mentioned by one reviewer.

Normally I enjoy true crime, which is another genre that this book could technically be classified under. This book was sad to me, but not sad for the reasons that readers would feel sadness for. It seemed to me that the author simply bypassed the fact that there were teenage victims in this mix (not to mention other victims of this duo) and simply focused on her own pain and victimization. There were moments that I truly felt myself feeling ill reading this book.
Source: Author for review
Would I recommend? : No. I can tell you that there will be an audience that eats this stuff up though. However, I couldn't walk away from this book without feeling like I needed a shower.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Unhallowed Ground: A Novel by Gillian White

Book: Unhallowed Ground
Author: Gillian White
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Georgie is trying to battle demons in an incident involving the beating death of a 5 year old that has driven her to the English countryside and to a cottage owned by her deceased brother whom she never knew. Problems continue to plague her when strange occurrences and unfriendly neighbors welcome her to the village. Those incidents are minor compared to what Georgie is facing.
My rating: 3 Stars
My opinion: This is a book that I should have enjoyed. The premise of the storyline was great. Problem, you ask? It took too long for the book to take off. I almost felt that the author went overboard with developing the storyline that by the time it came to get to the "blood/guts" of the book, I was lost. I just wanted to get it done and over with. This is evident by the length of time (2 weeks) it took me to read a 300 page book.

I must admit that I still get chills when I read the book description. 
Source: Netgalley for Open Road Integrated Media   
Would I recommend? : Normally I recommend books from this publisher. I have to say that this one is iffy to me. 
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Book: Orphan Train: A Novel
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: 17 year old foster child, Molly, is caught attempting to steal Jane Eyre and is given community service. Her boyfriend's mother partners her with Vivian who has a history of her own. Can Vivian connect with Molly and help her into adulthood using a connection of their own painful pasts?
My rating: 2 Stars
My opinion: This book was TOO MUCH for me. Told in 2 different periods of time, the present day story was nothing but drama central. I could barely get through it. Not to mention, the author used this book to "voice" her political bigotry which just came off looking stupid, inappropriate AND unnecessary to the storyline. I must admit that in the beginning I did enjoy the story of Vivian, but it wasn't enough to save the book for me.  Even that soon dwindled down to a book that I simply wanted to get through. What could have been a book on a very important event in our history was lowered down to a lot of drama central to support a weak story. 

I must admit that I finished this book several days ago and have already forgotten a chunk of it. That is how memorable it is.
Source:   Library
Would I recommend? : No
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Frozen Solid: A Novel (Hallie Leland #2) by James M. Tabor

Book: Frozen Solid: A Novel
Author: James M. Tabor
Narrator (if applicable): Paul Michael

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Microbiologist Hallie Leland is called to the South Pole to continue the research of a friend who has died from either a suicide or drug overdose. What she finds is that things aren't all that they seem to be when the body count continues to rise. Who or what has an agenda to unleash destruction on the world? Can she trust anyone in a station located in the loneliest place on earth?
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: I was shocked how much I enjoyed this novel. Normally, a medical thriller or world destruction thriller would do nothing for me, but I didn't find that with this novel. If you are looking for a heavy sci-fi novel, this book isn't for you, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

This audiobook kept me on the edge of my seat in how the story was unveiled.  The characters were fascinating and I found this to be an incredibly intelligent read. The twists were plentiful and the ending shocked me.  I must add that there are some reviews on Goodreads that are stating that the information/setting isn't totally correct. I must admit that I am not as educated on this as some of these sci-fi thriller readers so I am unable to give information on this. It wasn't that important to this reviewer.

Normally, I am pretty compulsive about reading books in order. I agree with a Goodreads friend who stated that this book would do well with being a stand alone book.
Source: Library
Would I recommend? : Yes
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Part of series

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Elias and The Legend of Sirok by Edward G. Kardos

Book: Elias and The Legend of Sirok
Author: Edward G. Kardos
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Elias, a young Hungarian artist, who is resistant to working his family farm, is forced to make a decision about his future that his loving grandmother helps him to make. Elias is off to fight demons. Will he survive? Will he be successful?
My rating: 3 Stars
My opinion: This book is definitely targeted towards a younger audience- I would say middle school or early young adult. However, I read this as an adult and still enjoyed it. 

When I was approached to review this book by the author, I immediately jumped at it. I am in the process of doing a genealogical search on my great grandparents who came to the US from Hungary and am very proud of my Hungarian heritage, so I have been thirsty for anything that is set in or can teach me about Hungary. On that note, I was disappointed that the story didn't offer a deeper imagery of Hungary. I really felt that it could have been set anywhere. Imagery in any novel is incredibly important to me, particularly if I love where it is set and I really found this to be lacking. I can't see this impacting a pre-teen's enjoyment of a novel though. 

My overall impression of the book was that it was a wonderful read for a young male reader. This story a nice introduction to fantasy literature with no swearing and clean writing is one that I would let my young reader gladly read. I do agree with another reviewer who felt that the writing could be a bit tighter in his writing, but have to say that I think most young readers would miss this. Another point is that there is a bit of religious/biblical reference in this book. Just be forewarned if that isn't your thing, but young Elias is fighting demons.

Source: Author for Review
Would I recommend? : Yes
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone