I thought this series is not something I would enjoy..since I love reading this kinds of books with complicated plot as well as psychological analysesI thought this series is not something I would enjoy..since I love reading this kinds of books with complicated plot as well as psychological analyses of the criminals. Boy I was so wrong. My friends introduced me to this series, telling me how they laughed out loud reading the series. Now I know why, the characters are all one of a kind! It's about jobless turned bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, learning her job and skills on the way, while her family (with an unforgettable grandma) just want her to land an easy job, like a bank teller...and marry a nice guy. Believe me, very, very funny. I read books 1 to 3 in one night!...more
This book deserves a 3.5 stars. As I said, as a long time Crichton fan, I probably came equipped with an overly high expectation. The book started outThis book deserves a 3.5 stars. As I said, as a long time Crichton fan, I probably came equipped with an overly high expectation. The book started out slow, with lots of loose ends that needed to be tied together, but came together nicely at around 30%. Without giving too much away, I'd have to say Crichton's high-tech, breakthrough technology is here, as well as the thrill factor, so the book is a page-turner. The general idea of the plot was good, and the story could be easily adapted into a movie like all his other books.
What I did not like about the book, is that the characters, especially the few graduate students, blur together a bit in the beginning. I had a hard time telling them apart, and I had no idea who the main characters were, until the very end; since once I developed the liking and understanding of one, she or he gets killed off. The villain is a bit too unrealistic and inhuman.
Preston was good in given reliable and descriptive scientific facts throughout the book...but weak in story telling and character development. I was quite surprised about this since his non-fictions, "The Hot Zone", and "Demon in the Freezer" read almost like a great fictional story. However, for readers who thrive on facts, you would learn a lot about insects, plants, as well as toxins in this story. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I think all Crichton fans should read it, but wait for the price drop first....more
My review came wait too late, since this is one of those “must read” books, as The DaVinci Code, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and The Kite Runner… I usuMy review came wait too late, since this is one of those “must read” books, as The DaVinci Code, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and The Kite Runner… I usually stay away from books with a lot of hype, so I was one of the last of my friends to read it.
This book could have been a 5-star book; too bad the last few chapters ruined it.
Gone Girl has two narrative voices, the husband’s, and the wife’s. Nick and Amy, supposedly a perfect couple, have been married for 5 years, and on their 5th anniversary, Amy disappeared. Over the next few days and chapters, clues were discovered, witnesses interviewed, and Nick became the prime suspect from the loving husband overnight. Adding to the complexity, Amy is also the one with the money. It’s always the husband, right? You have no idea.
The chapters alternated between Nick’s voice narrating the present situation, explaining how he thinks he was set up by his wife, since Amy has been unhappy about their marriage and “something else;” and the voice of Amy in some prior diary entries in the last 5 years leading up to the day of the disappearance. The chapters contradicted each other. At a few times I thought I have an idea what has happened or who’s guilty, the next chapter changed my mind. This happened quite a few times in the book. The author was great with plot planning, human characteristics and twisted/evil minds. The book was still a roller-coaster ride for me, although I’m the kind of people who is extremely logical and takes every evidence and clue with a grain of salt. I’m also good at predicting plot twists and this story line took me by surprise a few times.
The last few chapters were the breaking point of the whole well planned story. Both Amy and Nick were quite good in their monologues, self-reflections and thoughts; their conversations with each other were pale and stiff in comparison. It almost seemed putting the two main characters together dampened their sparks while alone. Amy’s last move was quite unbelievable and predictable as well (at least for me). It also contradicted to what she has planned in the whole marriage, her whole life, or the whole book.
Overall, I think it’s quite a great thriller and an entertaining read. ...more
"I have told stories, in fact, that were elaborate-you could say-fictions, and although these fictions were not meant to defraud or to injure, I alway"I have told stories, in fact, that were elaborate-you could say-fictions, and although these fictions were not meant to defraud or to injure, I always knew-I knew in fact-that they would."
The book is narrated by Eric Kennedy as an apology letter to his estranged wife Laura, after being put in jail for abducting their daughter Meadow during a regular supervised parental visit. They were deeply in love before, but sometime during their marriage, like 50% of other marriages in the US, it fell apart. He then lost custody of the person he loves most. During that particular visit, Eric suddenly had a spontaneous urge to spend more time with Meadow, whom he deeply loves. He decided to take her for a prolonged trip, without consulting his wife Laura, who would have just said no to the request anyway. The complicated part is, Eric Kennedy was not a man he claimed he was, so the deceit was much more than a simple prolonged visit.
Eric's real name was Eric Schroder. He emigrated from East Germany with his Father when young. He had a harsh childhood that he has been trying desperately to forget. During a summer when he was applying for a prestige summer camp, he changed his last name to Kennedy. He got in. The name also got him into college with scholarship. When he met Laura, he was still a Kennedy who grew up somewhere near Hyannis Port. After marrying Laura, to protect his identity that he loved so much, he decided to stop visiting his Father.
From the first few pages of the book, we knew all about Eric and everything I mentioned above. We knew how the book was going to end and how unlikable Eric is. We knew that he was caught, thus the apology letter. We also knew that Eric was an emotionally non-existent husband, an unreliable Father, a pathological liar. He leaps before he thinks; he had no concern about anybody else but himself. Knowing the plot ahead of time, the fact that I actually finished the book, and gave it 5-stars, indicates how brilliantly this book was written.
This book falls into the strange book category that I can't classify simply, which includes The Death of Bees, Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, and Where'd You Go, Bernadette: brilliant writing, unforgettable characters and even thought-provoking questions. Since this whole book is narrated in Eric’s voice, one could only understand the other characters from glimpses in his narration, which is unreliable since he’s a liar. However, we did understand Laura’s frustration when he described his life with her. We knew Meadow is exceptionally intelligent from his conversations with his daughter. We got how irresponsible, unreliable, lack of common sense, extremely self-absorbed, spontaneous, unpredictable Eric is. The strange part is, due to the talented writing, we somehow started rooting for him or rather, his voice, regardless of all his faults. We found his love for his wife and daughter genuine, his pain substantial, his lies…somewhat understandable. His narration was so powerful that sometimes the readers need a break to recuperate from their emotions. We even found him brilliant in his study of “pauses.”
”I’ve always been fascinated by – and uncomfortable with – pauses. My research forced me to see that short pockets of silence were everywhere and that even sound needs silence in order to be sound. There are tiny silences all over this page. Between paragraphs. Between these very words. Still, they can be lonesome. So for all my project’s shortcomings, I’d say the worst is that I haven’t shaken the lonesome feeling that pauses give me. Sometimes I still wish there weren’t any silences at all. And so it is with some reluctance that I give you this one.”
The author did an awesome job on this wonderfully and beautifully written book. I don’t normally re-read books, but I might re-read this one just to roll those words and phrases on my tongue again.
I'm always on the look for interesting YA series, for my daughter and son mainly, but also for myself. Although the writings of YA boA 3.5 stars book.
I'm always on the look for interesting YA series, for my daughter and son mainly, but also for myself. Although the writings of YA books are a bit less sophisticated and there's always a love with such childish teenage angst (not to mention the consistent appearance of love triangles), some recent YA books are beautifully written with a wonderful plot and/or great prose. Some well written YA series that I loved are Delirium, Divergent and Seraphina. This book falls into the great plot category, but I definitely will not call the writing great, or the characters unforgettable.
A girl, recovered from a plane crash site, who does not remember who she is, or where she's from - does the plot sound familiar to you? The Jason Bourne plot line has been used over and over again in modern literature. In this case, the mystery is that she was not on the original passenger list. It later turned out that she was also great with numbers, strong, fast and intelligent, but lack human emotion that we all possess naturally. The girl has beautiful, inhuman purple eyes, and a tattoo on her wrist that later turned out to be some sort of a tracker. She was then adopted by a foster family that appeared only in one or two chapters. During this time, she was constantly approached by a boy who she has no memory of, but his appearance always triggered a bit of recognition in her subconsciousness. He insisted her to trust him, and that there are people, bad people, after her. She was amazed by her own strength and intelligence, but also the lack of will power to face danger instead of fleeing every time. Is she human?
"What makes us human? Is it our hearts? Our brains? Our senses? Our limbs? Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred different answers."
The book is a page turner, with a good (yet a bit familiar) plot. However, the character development is a bit weak compared Delirium or Divergent. Although the physical descriptions were there, I could not visualize them as someone likable or grow to empathize them. They blindly believe in the love between them, and think it will triumph over every other obstacle...and that they will find each other even if one's memory is erased, which I found a bit unbelievable. In addition, the writing style is a bit bland compared to the other books, and quite lacking in prose. A phase from a Shakespeare sonnet was used throughout the book, and it was, sadly, the most beautiful writing in the book:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove."
I wished the characters are as attractive as Romeo and Juliet, but they are not. However, I will still read the second book when it comes out. I love how the author integrated lots of technology, math and science facts into the story. I can't reveal too much, or I'll be giving the plot away. The plot is quite intriguing, so, if you ask me if this book is worth reading - yes, it is....more
I read this books straight through without stopping, so...literally, I couldn't put this book down. However, It wasn't that this book was extremely weI read this books straight through without stopping, so...literally, I couldn't put this book down. However, It wasn't that this book was extremely well written, but the plot was definitely above average, and the topic engaging.
I've noticed that some readers gave this book a low rating since all the characters were unlikeable. I totally agree with the unlikeable characters part. Everyone in the books seemed to be a liar, a cheater, influenced greatly by how others view them, and weak at making the right decisions. However, I still think the author should still receive credit for creating such terrible characters. They are annoying yet believable; unlikeable yet memorable. A few years from now, I could probably still remember some of the characters in this book. They reminded me of some unpleasant people in real life.
The book begins with Kate Baron, a successful lawyer and single Mother, receiving a call from her daughter's private school notifying her of her daughter Amelia's suspension, and asking her to pick up her daughter. It came as a surprise for her since Amelia is an achiever and well behave student. If not counting all the extra hours she spends work, Kate also have a very close relationship with Amelia and spends enough time together. However, when Kate arrived at the high school, Amelia was dead. Knowing how she mostly put her work before her only daughter’s needs, Kate was heartbroken.
A few months after the incident, Kate received an anonymous text telling her that Amelia did not kill herself. She embarked on a journey to find the truth for herself and her daughter. The things that she discovered were all unpleasant with lots and lots of betrayal and lies. The discoveries did not only involve secrets of Amelia, but also those of Amelia's best friend, classmates, teachers, and even long buried secrets of Kate herself. Having a teenage daughter myself made me broke out in cold sweats a few times, and wanted to grab a brick and kill someone at other times during the reading of this story. High school is way too cruel for teenagers to handle alone.
The organization of this book needs a little getting used to, especially for "older" readers like myself. The chapters include texts, Facebook posts, letters, a blog called Gracefully, entries from Kate’s old journals, and two POVs: Kate and Amelia. The chapters also jump back and forth in time from before to after Amelia’s death, and from Kate’s journal. It was particularly difficult to tell which time of her life Kate was talking about. I learned to differentiate her POV by looking at the year on the first page of her chapters. Once we get over this hurdle, the story will become so much easier to read.
Although some of the pranks were quite impossible to be planned by 15 year-olds girls but more of the style of a professional criminal, and the logic of the story left me with a quite few questions (For example: Amelia was narrating up to the last minute of her life), this book was quite an fast and enjoyable read. ...more
Before I start my lengthy book review to explain why we need to read another YA dystopian tale, here’s the short version of it.
The Testing is good, reBefore I start my lengthy book review to explain why we need to read another YA dystopian tale, here’s the short version of it.
The Testing is good, read it.
I usually stay away from copycat books and like authors who think outside the box and come up with their own unique ideas. Harry Potter inspired thousands of witch and wizards books, Twilight: vampires and werewolves. The Hunger Games: Post-apocalypse dystopian with children fighting each other. After going through Divergent, Legend, Delirium, Daughter of Smoke and Bone…especially the disappointing third book after an amazing first book in the Delirium trilogy, I just wanted to say, “Enough already!”
So, after I received the ARC of this book with it’s very Hunger Game inspired cover, I put it aside, and read about 15 other books, none young adult. A few nights ago, I was looking for a fast and easy read, and decided to give it a try. The story pulled my in from the first page, three hours later I reached the ending, and finally took my first breath. Okay, the breath was an exaggeration, but this book was a joy to read. The Testing proved that a certain “formula” would still work with the right creativity under the hands of a talented writer. The reader sometimes needs to have an open mind in these situations.
So, among hundreds of reviews (mostly of 1-2 stars due to the fact that it’s similar to The Hunger Games), I will focus on why this book is worth a read, even though you think you have read your share of similar books.
The story is definitely inspired by and similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent, and it also reminded me a little of City of Ember. There were quite a few similarities…and I admit, some were so similar to The Hunger Games, the I kept telling myself, “Don’t go there; do NOT go there.” One particular scene was her descriptions of the eyes of some wild creatures in a war scene. And, of course, I also glimpsed the possibility of a future love triangle.
The story took place in the post-apocalyptic America. The country was divided into colonies. When a teenager graduates from local school at 16, the Commonwealth government will send an invitation for the crème of the crop to join the Testing. All those who passed the testing will be attending the University and become future leaders of Commonwealth, and will focus on improving present living conditions for all people because the multiple wars had left the land dry and infertile, all living structures broken or destroyed. However, before Cia left for the testing, her Dad told her, “Do not trust anyone.”
The main character, Cia, came from a loving family, a family with 4 boys and a girl. The family work and play together, and also love and feel deeply for each other. This brings a bit of normalcy to the chaos of the outside world. I really enjoyed reading everything about Cia’s family and herself, and I loved her more than any other female characters in the books I mentioned above. Her character is realistic, strong, likable, smart and well developed. The author also did researches, or she actually knows facts on engineering, math, history…as well as current events. All the technical and historical bits were fascinating to read, as well as believable. I think she should receive some credits for writing YA fiction with something more than just a plot and likable characters. For example, here’s a question and answer in the testing process:
Q: Explain the cause of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Stages of War and their impact on North America. A: Use of nuclear and biological weapons increased the pressure near fault lines. This sudden rise of pressure caused earthquake swarms and aftershocks that began in what was once the state of California and traveled across the continent. Earthquakes also disrupted the ocean floors, triggering the first of the floods that signaled the start of the Sixth Stage and submerged what remained of the coastal states, destroying most of the population. The Seventh Stage was marked by a shift in the weather patterns, Tornadoes, radioactive windstorms, and droughts caused the population to decrease even further and tainted all but the hardiest of plants, animals, and food sources. When the weather calmed, those who survived could finally begin to rebuild.
If you don’t like the long wait for the sequel, “Independent Study," there’s actually a free prequel/novella available in the Amazon Kindle store available to purchase. Here’s the link: