30 January 2012

Flash and Bones

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Kathy Reichs
Pages: 271
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan's office to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble's sister, Cindi, then a high school senior and aspiring racer, disappeared along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with a group of right-wing extremists known as the Patriot Posse. Could the body be Cindi's? Or Cale's?

At the time of their disappearance, the FBI joined the investigation, only to terminate it weeks later. Was there a cover-up? As Tempe juggles multiple theories,the discovery of a strange, deadly substance in the barrel alongside the body throws everything into question. Then an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes missing during Race Week. Tempe can't overlook the coincidence. Was this man using his lab chemicals for murder? Or is the explanation even more sinister? What other secrets lurk behind the festive veneer of Race Week?

My Take: I really like Kathy Reichs books because she has the science but she also has the people. The novels that she writes are full of just enough action and just enough drama to keep you focused while at the same time, teaching you something that you didn't know or telling you how something works. She thinks about things and adds things that I would never even think about had it not been for her novels. She's great.

I've read all Reichs novels so now I'm just trying to keep up with the character, Temperance. I want to know what will happen to her, I want to know how she will solve what seems to be an unsolvable mystery. I'm curious to know how it ends and that it what propels me to finish these books.

I said before that there is just enough action to keep our interest and that's true. It isn't over loaded with useless detail but uses the action to move through the story. Each one of her novels has something happen to Temperance. She always gets herself into some kind of trouble and I find that as I read I get excited to find out what she will get herself into next.

Since Kathy Reichs is a real forensic anthropologist, the science is real. You really do learn some things. I think that's great because it makes the whole thing seem much more real.

Final Thoughts: If you like science, mysteries, racing, and just a touch of good drama, than this is a good novel for you. one thing that I love about Reichs' novels is that you don't have to read them all. She always gives an introduction so if you want to read only this one, you could. It's all around good.

P.S. Fun Kelsey factoid: Next year I will be going to school for anthropology and Kathy Reichs is the reason. ☺ Also, if you have read any of Kathy Reichs novels and haven't already than you should check out the Television show, Bones. It airs on Global and Fox (cable).

(This season is done but whatever!)

24 January 2012

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and I thought it'd be fun to take part of. This week is a freebie, so I get to pick my top 10 anything... so since it's my first one, I think I'll do my top ten books!
 If you've read this blog, or any of my (Kristen's) ramblings, you should totally be expecting my top three books...
1.)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2.) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
3.) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4.) The Last Song by Nicolas Sparks
5.) My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult 
6.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
7.) The Maze Runner by James Dashner 
8.) A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar 
9.) The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting 
10.) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I find it so hard to come up with my top books, I'm not sure why! - Kristen.

I also just wanted to add my "Tune in Tuesday..."
Not many people have heard of them, but their sound is so distinct and I'm in love with it! Illuminated by Hurts

Trial of Tears

Trial of TearsReviewer: Kristen
Author: Chris Semal
Pages: 193
Format: eBook (AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 1st)
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (from Goodreads): Pete Watts is a former undercover narcotics cop who got way too close to his job. He now runs a music rehearsal studio that draws the underbelly of the industry: violent drug gangs, a strange assortment of hangers-on and a gorgeous ex-mercenary who wears makeup in the form of multi-colored tears running down her face. These tears are, in fact, decals on which different poisons are concealed. Some survive the Trial of Tears, some don’t. The story’s taut climax is set in a posh townhouse in which only the courageous will emerge unscathed. 
An action-packed love-letter to New York City, it’s a story of friendship and redemption, that provides a roller-coaster of laughter, drama and suspense, leaving the reader wanting more. 

MyThoughts: This book wasn't at all what I was expecting it to be, and surpassed a lot of my expectations. Being a little bit "musically challenged" the music rehearsal studio undertone was a little intimidating, but Chris Semal explained it perfectly. In regards to the characters, it's set up that they all kind of have their mini stories. For a while you didn't know how they relate until the end of the book. The beginning of the book was a bit confusing for me, but I found my way through it pretty easily after that. The mob and NYC scene are different from what I'm used too, but I loved it. The conversations were funny and a relief to the story. Each character was different, and that led to it being so intriguing. Drugs, poison and crime were all connected, and I thought that Chris Semal did it flawlessly. 

Final Thoughts: Beyond a shadow of a doubt, check this book out. This is not one that you want to miss. It's a shorter novel, but it has such a plot driven story line, you'll be wanting more. 

23 January 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I thought it would be fun to take part in this, so it's my first first "It's Monday! What are you reading?" It's hosted by Sheila on her wordpress blog.
This week: 
The Sausage Maker's DaughtersThe Sausage Maker's Daughter by A.G.S Johnson
Synopsis (thanks Goodreads!): The sausage maker's youngest daughter is heading for the fight of her battle-scarred life. But twenty-four-year-old Kip Czermanksi is nowhere near her home in California. She's in a jail cell in her hometown in Wisconsin awaiting a court appearance in the mysterious death of her ex-lover, who happened to be her brother-in-law. Distrusting her legal team, her rebellious history well known, things both personal and legal spiral out-of-control. It doesn't look good for Kip Czermanski.

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia 
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski
The Annihilation of Foreverland                                          Synopsis (via Goodreads): When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds. Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane. Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works? Together, they discover what it’s really doing to them.

Upcoming Reviews: 
Trial of Tears by Chris Semal posted  here!
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 

- Kristen

19 January 2012

Anna Karenina

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Pages: 754
Format: Paperback
Rating: 2 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): The sensual, rebellious Anna renounces a respectable yet stifling marriage for an affair that offers passion even as it ensnares her for destruction. Her story contrasts with that of Levin, a young, self- doubting agnostic who takes a different path to fulfilment.

My Take: Thought it began interesting enough, with its multiple love stories that were all woven together, it quickly grew confusing and complicated. I was interested to know how it ended and I truly did want to finish it but I just couldn't do it. I got lost in the Russian names that I couldn't pronounce and the many nicknames/short forms of names that each character had. There were many characters and each had at least three different names. Also, my mind couldn't decided which characters I liked and which I didn't. One second I liked one and the next I couldn't stand them. It drove me crazy.

The plot was good when I could keep track of who we were talking about. The switching between the different story lines had no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes one character got two chapters and other times they got five or six in a row. I didn't like that. Soon I was skipping chapters so that I could just read the parts about Anna because I was the most interested in her but in the end I gave up on the story all together. I ended up googling the ending because I still wanted to know. One day I'll try reading it again but for now it sits on my shelf with the bookmark hanging out of it.

Final Thoughts: It has a good but slightly very confusing plot. You really have to be paying attention and have a long attention span because not all 750 pages are filled with action but are all filled with words. On the upside, you may make it all the way through it. It has a interesting ending according to google. I hope you can get through it.

P.S. How do you make it through really long books? Any tips?

UPDATE - Kristen

It's kind of funny that Kelsey decided to post this today, because I literally recommended this to someone today! Though I'm still trudging through it, I kind of like the changing chapters though I do wish Anna herself was more focused on. I'm determined to finish this, no  matter what.
My rating thus far isn't has low as Kels', probably a 7 for me.

17 January 2012

Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield

HuntedReviewer: Kristen
Author: Cheryl Rainfield
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback - ARC version.
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (From Goodreads): Caitlyn, a telepath, lives in a world where all paranormal talents are illegal. She is on the run from government ParaTroopers. When Caitlyn falls for Alex, a Normal, and discovers dangerous renegade Paranormals, she must choose between staying in hiding to protect herself or taking a stand to save the world. 

My Take: At first, I found it hard to get into the book. It's not that it was dull, or there were to many little details. It started so fast, and I almost couldn't keep up. There was some terminology that I wasn't sure of what it meant, but I quickly got familiarized. I thought that Caitlyn was incredibly easy to identify with, you know, besides the only paranormal talent that she had. Plus, she mentions how great The Hunger Games are at one point, and I was actually lamely excited about that. I also think that Cheryl did a great job at perfecting what a teenage girl would be thinking. Caitlyn was confused, angry and happy in all the right places. Caitlyn's relationship with her mom was strained at best, and with the rest of her family, it was interesting to see the roll's reversed. Cheryl took twists that I didn't at all expect, and it made for an interesting read. I can't stand when I can guess what happens half way though, but with this, I couldn't. Once I thought I had figured it out, Cheryl would throw something in there that would completely derail me. 

Final Thoughts: If you like The Hunger Games, or any other dystopian set novel, I'd recommend this. I loved this book, and am so grateful for the opportunity to have read it! 

16 January 2012

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Larry Peterson
Pages: 285
Format: eBook - emailed for book tour. 
My Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (From Author's website - link below.): Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s

Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.

They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles

My Take: This book is one of those books that could be a complete hit or miss for me. To my surprise however, it was a complete home run. I don't know why I connected so well with this book, but I did. I could relate to the characters and found myself excited to keep reading and finding out what happened. This novel has a Christian undertone which I could easily relate too as it's the religion I subscribe too, and I liked that it was continually brought up throughout the story. Little morals and beliefs from Christianity were present. The story is bittersweet, and once or twice I found myself choked up. But, it's laced with quick humour and wit which is a relief to the seriousness this novel exudes. 

As random and weird as it sounds, one thing that kept this book from a perfect score was the names. I don't know why, but the nicknames drove me nuts. Another little thing was the setting. I couldn't exactly picture how the author intended to be pictured, but I saw my own kitchen for example. I'm not sure that it worked for me, per-say, but I also don't know if that's a criticism or a tribute to Larry Peterson. 

Final Thoughts: I'll definitely look to re-read this book in the future. It's a story that I'll remember and definitely recommend to anyone looking for a young adult novel, but with a serious undertone. 

Kindle buy link

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15 January 2012


Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Gregory Maguire
Pages: 406
Format: Paperback
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (From Goodreads): When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

My Take: Can I just take a moment to say...What an incredible imagination. Not only did the author write a good book but he also flawlessly sewed two stories together. This book fit perfectly with what we already knew from The Wizard of Oz. I've never seen the musical Wicked so I'm sure that if I had I would feel a bit differently about the story, maybe I would like it more though I am aware of some differences. I hate it when they change the story!

I loved the characters, I mean, a green person? There was such a wide array of them in this story. I was really mad to lose one that I liked. Also, I'm a fan of imaginary places. I love falling into a new world. I think that any author that is willing to take the time to make up characters, match story lines, and invent places deserves an A+. Another great thing is that they didn't try to give us the whole Witch's life but we got a piece of every stage of her life. Plus, who doesn't love the irony of having a house fall on you?

Final Thoughts: If you saw the musical you should read the book. You like magic? Read it. If your favourite colour is green, read it. Actually, you know what, just read it.

10 January 2012

Don't forget us!

Don't go anywhere, we are still here. It's hard to get back into the swing of everyday life after such a long break but we are still out here reading, getting ready for more reviews. Just hang in there a little bit longer! Thanks for sticking around.

The Back to Books team!
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