29 April 2014

Review: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 327
Rating: Pretty awesome. I really never feel comfortable with ratings and books like this.

Summary (thanks Goodreads): I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. 

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this novel...like a lot. I wasn't sure if I would because my grandma told me to read it. Okay, she sort of forced me to. She actually threw it at me. Thank heavens I have good reflexes...sometimes. I thought I'd die but I read the book anyway!

Before I read this novel, I knew of Malala. I knew she had been shot and I sort of knew why. I knew nothing in comparison to the real story. Sure, I've traveled to more of the world than other people my age. I've seen a lot of things and I've met a lot of people but Malala really paints a vivid picture of the word she lived in. Honestly, I never really considered what it would be like to live somewhere like Swat. I live a very nice, happy life in Canada. I don't have to worry about bombs or the military breaking down my door in the middle of the night. I have never even in my darkest dreams had to worry about seeing dead people on the side of the road. She really shows you how some other people live.

Yet, she was always upbeat. Malala always thinks positive thoughts. She really works to make a good difference in the world. What she is fighting for is another thing I've never had to worry about. In Canada, I am allowed to go to school. In fact, it's law that I do until I'm 18. I never even gave a second thought to my going to university. I knew that if I wanted it, I would be able to work something out. Where Malala lives, it has not been like this. They are not as lucky as I am here.

This novel made me rethink my view of school. School has always been something I have had to do. I never thought of it as a true blessing until I read this novel. I can't just think about myself. I have to think about what people go through in other countries. 

Another thing I never considered is how much one person can make a change in the world. She really has and continues to do so much to make the world a better place. It's incredible to see how much one person can do. She really is an inspiration. I would love to meet her and I will definitely be following her in the future to see what she does next.

So: This was a very interesting book. It really makes you think about how you view your world and things that you expect to always have available to you. I would love to meet Malala. If she, by some unlikely and random event ends up reading this, I'd like to thank her for all she's doing. Even if she never accomplished another thing, her spirit of positive change would live on in those, especially girls, which she has and is inspiring by her work. Keep up the incredible work.

28 April 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 29

A book everyone hated but you liked

Are there really books that everyone hates? Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano only has a 3.8 rating on Goodreads...I loved that. Honestly, I usually just read what Kristen tells me to or novels by authors I've read before. I never read a book that everyone complains about...

~ Kelsey

P.S. Deal with my cop out answer.

To be totally honest with you, I usually am in agreement with what majority of people think when it comes to books. Hmmm, lemme take a gander at my goodreads list. Okay, I'm pulling a Kelsey. I really, really, really loved Flawed by Kate Avelynn, and it has a pretty decent standing on goodreads, but it is simply not high enough! 

- Kristen 

23 April 2014

Review: Ruins (Partials Sequence #3)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Dan Wells
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 464
Rating: 7 out of 10 (This makes me so sad but it's true)

** This is the third in this series. Start with Partials. Read the review here **

Summary (from Goodreads): Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

The Story of My Copy: I need you to understand my pain so that you can understand my disappointment. Thus begins the saga of my copy...
March 11, 2014: Release date. After school, I race to the book store. Now, I've been waiting for this novel for too long. I'm so excited to get it. Kristen joins me at the book store to share in my joy. We head straight back to the Teen Section. I find Partials and Fragments in five seconds flat. Alas, where is Ruins? IT'S NOT THERE! I run to the fancy, new-fangled computer thing that tells you where the books are in the store. Guess what? THEY DON'T HAVE IT IN YET! Kristen and I wander around the store while I try to contain my tears. Of course, she mocks me by telling me that it's the final book in the series and she reads the summary to me, just to be mean, I'm certain of it. Now, I'm basically crying as I go up to a worker and ask her about the novel. She messes around on the computer for like an hour before telling me to try again tomorrow. What happens the next day? A HUGE SNOW STORM and I can't leave my house. The next day? I have school and my parents get home from Cuba. I called home to tell them I wasn't going to home until I got my book because I needed it. I go back to the book store after school. Now, it's getting close to closing time thanks to my night class on Thursdays. I run to the back but it's STILL NOT THERE! I find a computer that says they are in stock but I can't find them anywhere. I find a worker guy instead and I flirt my face off. I literally tell him that he will be my favourite person in the entire world if he will get my this novel from the stock room. He goes off and is gone for so long that I fear he won't come back with it. He finally returns with an "I guess I'm your favourite person in the whole world." I considered kissing him. He even offered me my choice between two copies in case one was bent or something. Then, I run to the line...where I stand for 30 minutes thanks to the attractive man working the register. I could've murdered him right then and there. So now I finally have my novel but can't start it because I'm going away for the weekend and have no time to read it. I thought I was going to die.

Thus we come to what I thought of the novel that took an entire week of my life: It was such a let down. I mean, it mostly tied everything up but it took forever to get there. There were plot points that seemed to come out of nowhere, and I don't mean that in a good way. They were suddenly just in my face with no build up to them and they were a big deal. There were too many plot points to just have them all show up suddenly at the end. The worst one was the thing with Kira's dad which just happens and isn't explained all too well. It was like plot overload.

I'm glad that from the first novel, we were able to get a glimpse into many of the character's heads. This novel focuses a lot more on the other characters, not just Kira. It's a good thing too because so much is happening and she is no longer at the center of it. I find it interesting that so many people came to the same conclusions about all their problems at the same time when nobody else considered these solutions for years.

The most upsetting part was the end. It ends alright. It ends rather suddenly I felt. What it really needed was an epilogue. I need to know that they survived. I want to know what the world is like after the novel ends. Do things change? Do they stay changed? Do the characters survive the winter? I just want to know if it ends happily ever after. All it did was end and I'm so sad because of it. I am happy with where all the characters ended up, I just wish we could see farther into the future than just the last moment of the novel. For all I know, they all died within the next two months and I hate that.

I don't know what to do with where the reader is left. I'm just sad. Ask me again in a few months. Oh but, can this please be made into a (really good) movie (that doesn't mess up the plot or the characters), please? I'd go see it.

So: Getting this book was a pain in my ass and it let me down. It might slip from my favourite series. I almost regret all of those book challenge answers where I call it my favourite. I'm so sad. I'm taking a break from reading. Finish the series if you've started. If you haven't started it, it's a good read and worth your time but the ending might disappoint you like it did me. I mean, maybe it won't. Let me know what you think. 

21 April 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 28

Favorite title

This is a great and easy question because I can say anything and you can't complain that it's a bad answer. Kathy Reichs does this cool thing with her Temperance Brennan novels where they all have the word 'bone' in them. There is Flash and Bones and Bare Bones. If I were her I would run out of names for the books. She has so many. They make it hard to remember which ones you've already read though.

~ Kelsey

Lemme go look at my bookshelf real quick. I have hmm'd and haa'd for days (only a half lie. I actually wrote the first part of this probably weeks ago... the only reason I'm coming back is because Kelsey reminded me that I never actually answered...) AND I STILL DON'T KNOW. So, because it's right in my line of vision, I'm going with Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. 

- Kristen 

18 April 2014

Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Format: Paperback
Pages: 433
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Summary (hunted down on Goodreads): Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

What I Think: I picked this book up because it had a cool cover and a movie to match it. I didn't expect what it would turn out to be. I didn't have high expectations for it either. I went into it with an open mind. Perhaps, my mind was too open. The novel starts out by stating the "facts". Yes, I realize that this novel is fiction and nothing more but constantly during my time spent reading this novel, I caught myself questioning reality. The author did a wonderful job of making it seem real. It was unbelievable. 

I love that the novel goes back and forth between diary passages and the author's comments. The author puts himself in the story as the narrator. He's almost like a lawyer arguing his case. It's like he's trying to prove that it's real and the passages are his proof. It's fascinating. I've never read anything that presents the story in this manner. I enjoyed it a great deal. It does however make the pages seem longer or...something. The novel isn't as long as it seems because of this back and forth and formatting changes. It's not distracting however.

There is enough fact woven into the fiction to make you pay attention. It also makes you feel bad for Lincoln. He had a lot of heart break and pain in his life according to this novel. It's really amazing that the character of Lincoln (not the real one, this review is confusing me) survived all that he did. The sudden dreams really through you off so watch out for those; the author is sneaky. 

There were some annoyingly large time gaps. I understand that I don't really want to read about 50 years of a life, I just wish that the time gaps would have been stated clearly and more often than they were. There were also a lot of characters that the reader has to keep straight. I eventually gave up trying and just started hoping for the best but between the number of characters and the amount of death in this novel, it's not an easy feat.

This was a fairly easy and fast read for me. I'll go with it not being a waste of time. It's not exactly a young adult work though. It's definitely a real grown up novel. I still love my young adult fiction to have thrown myself fully into this story. I wish I could. Maybe when I'm older, it'll get a reread just to see if the rating goes up.

Basically: I enjoyed this novel and it was really good at trying to trick you into thinking this is really how history went down. I love the novel for that. I thought this was interesting. If you like vampire stuff (Twilight excepted) or action novels then I recommend you at least give this book a quick scan as you walk past it in the book store. I liked it.

Movie: I have yet to watch it though I have it here at my house. I'll get back to you on it. I have to credit with the movie for spiking my interest in this novel in the first place. Without the movie, I would never have heard anything about this novel nor would it have had the cool movie cover that made me pick it up (I do judge books by the cover). I hope the movie is good.

14 April 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 27

The most surprising plot twist or ending

I constantly forget how hard these questions are. Well...What's happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen wrapped up in a way I was both prepared for and unprepared for. It's not a hardcore plot twist though. I think I'm going to go with the Wither series because that series likely to kill people and it hurt a lot.

~ Kelsey

Definitely Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Or, Catching Fire, when I read it the first time. I totally should have seen it coming. I just... didn't. 

- Kristen

13 April 2014

Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: William Shakespeare
Format: Paperback - Play
Pages: 209
Rating: (as if what I say about Shakespeare will count for anything in this world) 6 out of 10

Summary (I doth need Goodreads): Unique features of the Signet Classic Shakespeare An extensive overview of Shakespeare's life, world, and theater by the general editor of the Signet Classic Shakespeare series, Sylvan Barnet A special introduction to the play by the editor, Wolfgang Clemen, University of Munich A note on the sources from which Shakespeare derived A Midsummer Night's Dream Dramatic criticism from the past and present: commentaries by William Hazlitt, John Russell Brown, Frank Kermode, Linda Bamber, Camille Wells Slights A comprehensive stage and screen history of notable actors, directors, and productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, then and now Text, notes, and commentaries printed in the clearest, most readable type Up-to-date list of recommended readings.

...Well, thanks Goodreads...that really makes me want to read this book. Are you kidding? That's what I get? That's less than useful. What am I supposed to do with that? Urg, Goodreads, you have LET ME DOWN!

We are just going to move on then...

My Quick Thoughts: This is another one of those books that some people read in school so a lot of people don't consider giving it a read. I think it's worth the time. It's a play so it doesn't require all that much time. That said, I'd much rather see the play than read it. If you like Shakespeare and understand the language without help from the book (my copy didn't have many notes but I always understood Shakespeare in high school so I did fine) then maybe this would be a good novel to read. 

I loved that we saw what was happening even when the main characters didn't. That happens a lot in Shakespeare but it was especially important in this play. The beginning was a bit confusing as far as who loves who and I had to glance a couple times at the Dramatis Personae, I won't lie to you. Eventually, you catch up and no longer need that. It was funny too. I managed to laugh at a few of the jokes or situations. It really did get all screwed up. The ending was a bit random even with my background knowledge into Latin myths, but whatever. Shakespeare is king and can do whatever he wants to do. 

So, yeah, if you liked Shakespeare in high school, give this one a try. It's not as exciting as Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet (which remains my favourite thanks to David Tennant in the version I watched) but it's still good.

9 April 2014

Review: Unhinged (Splintered #2)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: A. G. Howard
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 400 (not enough)
Rating: 10 out of 10 

** Spoiler Alert: This is the second in this series. The review for Splintered is HERE **

Summary (without Goodreads, I'd be Unhinged): Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

My Thoughts: I was so excited for this novel to come out. When it finally did, I was out of cash and couldn't get it right away. I cannot explain to you how sad I was to be forced to read everyone else's reviews for this novel while I waiting to get it. It was the most heart breaking thing I've ever been through. Just kidding...this novel was the most heart breaking thing I've ever been through.

I love this series. I don't know why. Alyssa is nothing like me. Usually, I fall in love with characters that I can see myself in but this time I love that she's so different. She's unique. I've definitely never read a novel where the main character dresses like she does. I'll admit that my brain can hardly imagine what she really looks like. I guarantee that the author's vision of her is very different than my own. I know I tone her down a lot more than I ever have with a character. I can't help it. Yet, I love her so much still. I feel so bad for her. Her life kind of sucks most of the time. She really can't escape when her stupid ancestors caused. 

Now, as for this love shenanigans...this series just drives me crazy. I love both love interests but I also hate both love interests. Morpheus is the most annoying and amazing character I've ever had the horrible luck to read about. He makes me so mad. I hate him so much. I really do. Sadly, I am also madly in love with him. Can't he just be nice and stop lying and stop plotting and scheming and ruining Alyssa's life. Yet, he also saves her life and pulls out her true self. I'm so conflicted. It's so painful. Like I said, it's the most heart breaking thing ever. Then there is Jeb, he's nice enough. He's smart. He's a good match for Alyssa, except for the fact that she spends a great deal of this novel lying to him because he doesn't remember Wonderland. That is painful too. She can't fully be herself around him. He's a bit more distant in this novel too which makes her upset. Both love interests make me crazy. I'm so conflicted. I ship her with both of them and I want them both to be endgame. 

I feel bad for Alyssa's father. I hope that whole issue gets resolved in the next novel. 

This author is amazing. They paint a wonderful picture of the world and of their characters. I see it all so clearly in my head. It's amazing and I love it. The author has this amazing ability to make me feel the character's pain. I've never seen anything like this. I've never felt anything like this. I could read this author for forever. I hope she keeps writing. She could easier be my favourite author. I've never been so conflicted with characters or plot points. It's...I can't even describe my feelings to you. I sound like an idiot I'm sure.

The end of this novel is a total killer. I warned you. You read it right there. I damn near threw my book. Kristen constantly puts novels in "time out" when she can't handle the plot. I've never had to do this with any novel. This is the closest I've ever come. I swore quite a lot upon reading the ending. It hurt so bad. It's just not far. I can't even tell you. No seriously...

I just love the idea of this series so much. It takes something that so many people know about and builds it up. I've read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I can't imagine the research that Howard put into this series. I can't imagine how many times she read the Wonderland books. I wish I could have her imagination. I have a pretty good imagination but I'm so jealous. This world is an incredible one. It's real to me like almost no other novel is. I can't tell you enough how good this series is. It surprised me. I picked Splintered up because it was on sale! It may have been the best buy of my entire life.

Go right now and buy this series. Buy both books. I promise you won't regret it. If you do, tell me why so I can argue with you. These novels are amazing.

If I could do one thing, I would thank that author for giving me a world to run away to. She offers a place to escape too. It's dark but also beautiful. Thanks, A. G. Howard and keep writing. I wish I could tell them myself. I aspire to write like they do.

Final Thoughts: I WANT THE NEXT NOVEL SO MUCH, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. I NEED IT! You should read this series. It's so much better than I thought it would be and this author is amazing. I hope this novel catches on big. I wish the author/publisher would send me the next one. HEAR THAT HOWARD AND AMULET AND ABRAMS? I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER IF YOU DO!

Stop reading here to avoid a spoiler

The novel makes it so they both can be endgame which I think is equal parts brilliant and a cop out on the side of the author. Yet, if it doesn't happen I will hate my life. I want it to happen. I want it so bad. I can't wait for the next novel.

7 April 2014

The Epic, Extravagant, (Evil), and Elastic Examination Day 26

A book that changed your opinion about something

Yeah...I have less than no idea. I guess Dracula made me enjoy vampire novels more than Twilight did...

~ Kelsey

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout made me think that aliens are pretty cool (you know, if they're super hot and sassy like Daemon). I have a feeling that's not what the question is actually asking me though. 

6 April 2014

Review: Animal Farm

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: George Orwell
Format: Paperback
Pages: 140
Rating: I'm going to skip this again. Don't hate me.

Basically, this review is only meant to give you a glimpse at Animal Farm. Many people read it in high school; I was not one of those people. I bought this and was curious. It wasn't at all what I expected but after reading the Introduction, I see that the author was trying to do. I think can be applied to people as a whole so please don't think I'm focusing on a specific group. I realize this is probably a horrible time for me to be bringing this novel up. I simple read a lot of 'Classics' while in Florida...

Summary (brought to you buy the back cover of my copy as Goodreads only has commentary posted and nobody wants to read that): A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned - a razor-edged  fairy tale for grown-ups [...] Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell's masterpiece has a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

Thoughts: I thought that this novel was pretty interesting. I tried not to deconstruct it too much because everyone seems to do that with this novel. I felt that in that sense, I didn't need to think for myself as I could simply read what other people had said about the novel. While I admit that I did read the Preface and the Introduction, I haven't spent much time looking into either the back ground of this novel nor of it's politics. I simply don't care. After all, this wasn't a high school read for me. I think too many people focus on that the author says about it instead of gathering their own opinion. My opinion is that this is scary and I can totally see it in the world. I consider myself very good at drawing parallels between novels and real life. I do it constantly in random novels and I even write it into my own work. That's what makes this novel so terrifying and yet interesting. I see parallels in everyday society but even within the education system (as that's the main focus of my life right now and I'm not enjoying it, I like picking at the injustices that exist within it...sue me).

Anyway: I think this novel is an interesting book to read for a few reasons. Take away what the author and the world focus on and it's an interesting commentary of all people and society as a whole. Take away the commentary and it's just funny, entertaining, and plain bizarre. Take all that away and at the very least you are reading a Classic that millions of other people have also read and invested their time in. Did I mention that it's only a novella and, therefore, it's short and won't take too much of your time? I don't see a real downside in reading this novel. I liked it. I would consider reading it again just to look deeper into its meaning.

4 April 2014

Review: To Heaven and Back

Reviewer: Kelsey (Kristen is MIA...)
Author: Mary C. Neal
Format: Paperback ( ? )
Pages: 148
Rating: Let's skip this. It was good.

Summary (to Goodreads and back): Dr Mary Neal, an orthopedic surgeon, was on a kayaking holiday in Chile. Skeptical of near death experiences, she was to have her life transformed when her kayak became wedged in rocks at the bottom of a waterfall and was underwater for so long that her heart stopped.To Heaven And Back is Mary's faith-enriching story of her spiritual journey, her first-hand experience of heaven and its continuing life-enhancing effects.

Quick Thoughts: I don't feel comfortable writing a full review for this so I'll just tell you what I liked about it and you can decide what you think for yourself. 

First, this novel wasn't too long to read in one sitting. How many times have you given up or not even started reading a novel because it was too long. That doesn't happen here. She gets right to the point and tells it like it is. Near the end she kind of goes off topic for a bit but she comes back around.

I felt that this novel was more about the power of prayer than about Heaven. It really focuses more on the author than on the actual near-death experience part. It talks a lot about her family and about her faith. In fact, it talks about those things more than anything else.

I loved that there were Bible passages at the beginning of the sections/chapters. They definitely managed to sum up the majority of what she was trying to say within the chapter in those small phrases. It's amazing the wealth of knowledge that can be found out in the world even outside of the realm of pure science.

One of my favourite things about this novel is that she is an intelligent woman and can obviously tell fact from fiction yet here she is with this tale. She explains it all in a way that makes sense. It also really makes you think about life and how everything fits together. Even people fit together and change the lives of those around them. Most of the time we don't realize this or we don't think about it.

I really enjoyed this novel. It's short and you can get it in eReader format s what's the downside. If you are religious or not, if you have an open mind than this book might be good for you. What's two hours of your life for a novel that will make you look at the world differently?

1 April 2014

Review: Swan Peek (Dave Robicheaux #17)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: James Lee Burke
Format: Paperback
Pages: 402
Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (peeking at Goodreads): "James Lee Burke's new novel, Swan Peak, finds Detective Robicheaux far from his New Iberia roots, attempting to relax in the untouched wilderness of rural Montana. He, his wife, and his buddy Clete Purcell have retreated to stay at an old friend's ranch, hoping to spend their days fishing and enjoying their distance from the harsh, gritty landscape of Louisiana post-Katrina." But the serenity is soon shattered when two college are found brutally murdered in the hills behind where the Robicheauxs and Purcell are staying. They quickly find themselves involved in a twisted and dangerous mystery involving a wealthy, vicious oil tycoon, his deformed brother and beautiful wife, a sexually deviant minister, an escaped con and former country music star, and a vigilante Texas gunbull out for blood. At the center of the storm is Clete, who cannot shake the feeling that he is being haunted by the ghosts from his past - namely Sally Dio, the mob boss he'd sabotaged and killed years before.

My Thoughts: So, I didn't really realize what I was getting into with this novel. It's one of those novels that somehow manage to sneak onto your shelves without you noticing. Eventually you look at it and think "I don't know where you came from" so you pick it up and look at it for a minute. You proceed to ignore it because it isn't your top priority then suddenly you have free time (you bring it on a trip with you so you have to read it) and you finally read the book. This is the first novel in this series that I've read but it didn't bother me. The author provides enough information on the characters and whatever back story is needed that reading the others wasn't important. That's good because this isn't the usual novel I read and I don't plan on buying that other 17+ novels.

This story is less character focused and more plot/action oriented. It really just tells you the story. It gives you the information and expects you to keep up. I thought it was interesting. I liked the mystery and how it was all tied together. I enjoyed that I followed along trying to get ahead. It didn't bother me too much that it wasn't super excited. I managed. 

I found myself rooting for characters. Other characters I totally hated. It worked out how it should have been in that area expect that so many times I wanted to smash Clete upside the head.

For me, I don't consider this very high on the reread list. My being stuck mainly within the interest of the young adult genre kind of keeps my interest elsewhere. This was a bit like CSI novels though, if you like that. Let me know what you think about this novel.

Finally: I doubt that I would turn down another in this series but I'm not going to search for them. This novel isn't really my thing but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I enjoyed the mystery of it. If any of the labels speak to you and your favourite type of novels then check this one out!
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