Month: January 2014

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

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Rating: 3.5 / 5

Quentin Jacobsen has spent the majority of his life in love with his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Although they are next door neighbors, they are more acquaintances than friends.  But that all changes one night when Margo invites Quentin to an adventure of a lifetime.  While Quentin thinks this is a turning point in his nonexistent relationship with Margo, the next day Margo disappears.  This isn’t the first time Margo has runaway, and while her parents have finally had enough and changed the front lock, Quentin is sure that Margo has left clues for him to find her.  As Quentin unravels the clues Margo has left behind, he realizes that the Margo he’s pined for might not be who Margo really is. (more…)

Book Review: Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford


Rating: 4 / 5

William Eng is a Chinese American boy living at the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Seattle during the Depression era.  One day during a group outing he sees actress Willow Frost, and convinced she is his real mother, Liu Song.  With the help of fellow orphan Charlotte, the two escape Sacred Heart to reconnect with Willow.  With William’s journey to reunite with his mother and find out once and for all why she left him at the orphanage, he learns of Willow’s tragic past and hopes for redemption.  (more…)

Book Review: Brilliance by Marcus Sakey


Rating: 4.5 / 5

Beginning in the mid 1980s, an exception 1% of children born in the US were exceptionally gifted.  These “brilliants” although small in number, were seen as threatening to “normals.”  There is a small sector of the US government, known as the Department of Analysis and Response, and its smaller subset, Equitable Services, were born from the need to deal with brilliants who became terrorists.  Nick Cooper is the top agent at Equitable Services, and is also a brilliant, also known as an abnorm.  For the last several years, his main target has been John Smith, reportedly the leader of a terrorist faction of abnorms.  After the bombing of a financial Exchange, Cooper realizes that the only chance he has to hunt down Smith is to pretend to go rogue, and hopefully attract John Smith’s attention.  His payoff for doing this would be that his daughter, who he already knows is a brilliant, will never be sent to an academy, but will get to live out her childhood as a normal. As Cooper dives into the underworld, events occur which make him question the price of loyalty and faith, and the lengths parents will go to protect their children. (more…)

Book Review: The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

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Rating: 4.5 / 5

Mickey Haller latest client is Andre La Cosse, a digital pimp accused of murdering a prostitute.  La Cosse has requested Haller since his alleged victim, Giselle Dallinger, mentioned that Haller has helped her out in the past.  It turns out that Giselle used to be known as Gloria Dayton, and Mickey not only represented her in court, but thought he had given her enough money to leave her life in Los Angeles and begin fresh elsewhere. La Cosse maintains he is innocent of murder, even though he confessed to authorities that he was at Dallinger’s apartment the night she was killed, and they had an argument. As Haller investigates the incident, he not only begins to believe La Cosse, but realizes that Dallinger’s death is tied to the last time he helped her, almost seven years ago. (more…)

Book Review: All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg


Rating: 4 / 5

Brooke is a Greenwich Connecticut stay-at-home mom who knows she has been lucky with her husband, Scott, and their twin children.  To celebrate Scott’s upcoming 40th birthday, Brooke decides to surprise him with nude photos, and enlists the help of a local photographer and dear friend.  Samantha just married Robert, an up-and-coming politician.  On their honeymoon in Hawaii, Samantha discovers that her new husband has been unfaithful.  The third female protagonist in All You Could Ask For is Katherine, the highest paid female Wall Street executive.  Although Katherine has successfully climbed the corporate ladder and has become fairly wealthy in the process, her life is incomplete because she has no one to share it with.  The guy she thought she would spend forever with left her for another woman, and although that was 20 years ago, Katherine still has not moved on.  It doesn’t help that the guy also is her boss and the CEO of the company she works at.  All You Could Ask For is the story of these three women, separately, and when they find and lean on each other for love and support while they each battle cancer. (more…)

Book Review: The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman


Rating: 4.5 / 5

Josef Kohn is at the rehearsal dinner for his grandson, Jason.  At the dinner, he notices a woman who reminds him of his first wife, Lenka, but it can’t be Lenka because Lenka, her younger sister Marta, and their parents perished at Auschwitz. Although Josef, also Jewish, made it safely to America, for the past six decades he has been haunted by regret over leaving Lenka behind.  The Lost Wife is the love story of Josef and Lenka during World War II.  It is told from both points of view; Josef’s struggle to find out the fate of Lenka, and then his struggle six years later to accept the fact that she did not make it out of the war alive, and Lenka’s struggle at Terezin.  Josef’s life is filled with longing and dwindling hope.  In America, he married Amalia, another war survivor, but both have secrets and hidden heartaches, and the marriage is about staving off loneliness rather than love. Lenka’s life is purely about survival.  Terezin was a city constructed solely to house Jews, but the facilities are overcrowded and filthy.  There is never enough food, most are overworked, and on a daily basis many of them are shipped off, never to be seen again. (more…)

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

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Rating: 3 / 5

Sunny and her husband Maxon met when she was six and he was seven.  They both come from different backgrounds that have made it easy to relate to one another but more difficult to relate to other people.  Now living in Virginia, this couple seems to have it all.  Maxon is a wealthy Nobel prize-winning scientist who has just gone to space in an attempt to colonize the moon and Sunny is the perfect Stepford wife.  A fender bender in her neighborhood, however, exposes their facade. (more…)