Oh Peter Heller the way you write words and use words and arrange words. Darker and more cynical than The Dog Stars, even though it's set in our world...moreOh Peter Heller the way you write words and use words and arrange words. Darker and more cynical than The Dog Stars, even though it's set in our world and not a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Though that hopeful optimism just really can't be contained, can it? Less language rules are broken here, though there are bursts of it, delightfully.(less)
Despite the abilities of its male protagonist, this is a book that focuses much more on the budding love story of its two young leads rather than the mechanics of their meeting. For better or worse, I spent much of this book – particularly in the first half- being reminded over and over again of how similar it is to “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer. Yes, that’s a title that’s uttered with a lot of baggage nowadays, but I really enjoyed reading the first book back in 2007, so this isn’t necessarily to be taken as an insult to “Time Between Us.”
There are a lot of similarities in the way the romance unfolds between Bennett and Anna, our couple here, and Edward and Bella from “Twilight.” (view spoiler)[Bennett spends a lot of time trying to stay away from Anna for her own good, wildly swinging from being warm and kind to cold and distant. Anna gets put into a dangerous situation which forces Bennett to reveal his powers in order to save her life. The two play a question-and-answer game over a long day-date in order to get to know each other. Bennett uses his powers to make his family wealthy, the way the Cullens do. (hide spoiler)] I even felt there were scenes that were written in direct opposition to some of the more controversial aspects of Edward and Bella’s relationship. For example,(view spoiler)[ when Bennett appears in Anna’s bedroom without being invited (something Bella found utterly romantic in Edward), she is outspokenly creeped out by it. (hide spoiler)] Whether it was intentional or not, whether I’m just bringing too much of my own baggage to it or not, the ghosts of Twilight were there throughout much of the book.
But I digress. Reminding me of “Twilight” is, as I said, not necessarily a bad thing. Like Edward and Bella, there was something very sweet about Bennett and Anna and they complemented each other well as a couple. Where things got shifty for me were the thinly drawn and not altogether believable mythology behind Bennett’s time-traveling abilities. The hows and whys are barely touched upon, and a subplot (view spoiler)[involving his former time-travel buddy sister (hide spoiler)] was rushed to an off-page conclusion. The obstacle that stands in the way of Bennett and Anna’s happy ending is, too, not very well articulated, but for the most part, I enjoyed reading Stone’s quiet and understated debut. Though there is nothing groundbreaking contained within these pages, it’s readable and engaging with a cast of likable characters, and should please YA fans who enjoy a story that’s heavy on the romance and light on the sci-fi.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book has been on my radar since it was optioned for film several months ago, and the ironic thing is, now that I’ve read it, it’s become obvious that the film version will probably be too gory for me to see. Think sawed-off skulls, gouged-out eyes and oh, throw in some animal torture. But hey, in book form, that stuff isn’t too bad. Much like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, this European mystery thriller is an intense and scary page-turner, but its highlight lies in the two compelling, broken detectives on the case.
Lucie Hennebelle is a single mother of two girls who has clearly lost too much in her young life, due in large part to her dangerous job. And yet, for sometimes incomprehensible reasons, she simply loves her work, and would rather spend time poring over evidence and solving mysteries than spend time at the hospital with one sick daughter while the other is sent off to camp. The drive Lucie has for her work is an obsession, almost a sickness, so it’s probably not surprising she’s drawn immediately to Franck Sharko, the chief Inspector who literally is sick as a result of his work. He’s schizophrenic, a bit OCD, and has nothing left in his life outside of his work, until he meets Lucie. The bond they form – though fast – is believable and tender and almost a relief as more details from both of their tragic pasts are revealed. No one deserves a bit of happiness and security more than these two.
As for the mystery itself, it engages the reader from the very beginning as a friend of Lucie’s goes inexplicably blind after viewing the mysterious film, and it’s all downhill from there as others who come into contact with the reel meet much worse fates. Beyond just a simple murder mystery, the ideas surrounding the case are widespread and draw in various facets of study: film (obviously), neuroscience, politics, war, and Thilliez even manages to tie in real historical events. The manhunt also expands globally in a refreshing fashion, with Lucie and Sharko traveling everywhere from France to Belgium to Egypt to Canada, though there are some horror cliches, such as characters dying just as they get a bit too close to the truth, and a shocking “AH-HA!” moment reveal of who the killer is.
One final footnote: This novel is apparently the convergence of two series that Thilliez has written in French about Lucie and Sharko, respectively, though the two are meeting for the first time in “Syndrome E.” Because those books are similar in tone and scope, yet I never read the books themselves, it did come off a bit overly dramatic as Lucie and Sharko confided in each other about their pasts. It’s kind of amusing to think about how much fictional characters go through over their lives when it’s told not over several books but in just a few short paragraphs. On that note, Penguin USA, we must talk about when Thilliez’s next two novels about Lucie and Sharko are going to be translated into English because I’m dying over that cliffhanger!(less)
The strangest book I've read since 1Q84. More accessible (hello, less than 200 pages) but probably no less confusing. I just really love unique, weird...moreThe strangest book I've read since 1Q84. More accessible (hello, less than 200 pages) but probably no less confusing. I just really love unique, weird books that don't follow any rules.(less)
The lesson here is that when a movie adaptation is done so well, it may not be a good idea to go back and read the book. This happened with Daniel Woo...moreThe lesson here is that when a movie adaptation is done so well, it may not be a good idea to go back and read the book. This happened with Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone, but is even more true here. Portis' writing style is simplistic, almost Hemingway-esque, which unfortunately does not work for me. I won't rate this because my main issue with it stems from the fact that I vastly prefer the Coen Brothers' 2010 film version.(less)
Well, I was not expecting that. I read this because I wanted to have read the book before seeing the movie, and really didn't think any more of it. I...moreWell, I was not expecting that. I read this because I wanted to have read the book before seeing the movie, and really didn't think any more of it. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. Comedy tinged with tragedy is just about my favorite thing ever, and it's so hard to get right, to really make the reader laugh and cry in turn, but Quick absolutely did the job. I love these characters so much: Pat with his childlike, hopeless optimism, the misguided, messed-up Tiffany, the awesome therapist Cliff.
The movie is supposedly only "loosely" based on the book, and I have to say I'm glad it won't be trying to replicate exactly what made this read so engrossing and lovely. That bar's set pretty high.(less)
I think it's more apt than ever that I called Prisoner of Azkaban the Empire Strikes Back of Harry Potter because Goblet of Fire definitely felt like...moreI think it's more apt than ever that I called Prisoner of Azkaban the Empire Strikes Back of Harry Potter because Goblet of Fire definitely felt like Return of the Jedi, a bit silly and a bit too long. The pacing of these books are sometimes rather frustrating, with things of little consequence dominating the first 2/3 and then a really great, action-packed finale. In Goblet of Fire, the first 2/3 felt much, much longer and of much, much less consequence than usual. Perhaps this is due to it suddenly doubling in length from the first three. It didn't really feel like it needed it. However, that really great finale was really great. The body count went from 0 to 60 in 1 book flat! Things are starting to feel very real and very dark and very grownup and I look forward to the increasingly serious tone as we go on.
Advertised as a modern retelling of Jane Eyre that read more like a modern retelling of Cinderella, Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre rolled together. The be...moreAdvertised as a modern retelling of Jane Eyre that read more like a modern retelling of Cinderella, Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre rolled together. The best compliment I can give is that I enjoyed it more than Bronte's original. Gemma is a compelling protagonist and the prose was readable and engrossing. While it was set in the 1970s, the atmosphere had the timelessness of "Never Let Me Go", which I also loved.
It was great getting to spend so much time in Gemma's younger days, and though I enjoyed them together very much, I was glad that only about a quarter of the book deals with her relationship with the Rochester character, Hugh Sinclair. Her struggles and coming-of-age are thoroughly modern, much more about her search for her family history, her identity and purpose in life, than whether she would end up with a guy. (less)
An engrossing, magical adventure that film history buffs will especially enjoy. An easy read filled with gorgeous illustrations; only took me an hour....moreAn engrossing, magical adventure that film history buffs will especially enjoy. An easy read filled with gorgeous illustrations; only took me an hour. Looking forward to Scorsese's film version, tons of imagery seem made for the 3D screen.(less)
This was my first DeLillo so I'm not completely sure I "got" it all, but I loved the themes he presented and the things it made me think about as I wa...moreThis was my first DeLillo so I'm not completely sure I "got" it all, but I loved the themes he presented and the things it made me think about as I was reading. The entire middle section detailing one single football game was hard to get through as I know nothing about the sport and it really went right over my head. Despite that lengthy passage and how much Gary needs football, I didn't get the sense the book was about the sport at all. If anything, having a football team seemed like a convenience to get a bunch of guys in the same place who were all suffering from different forms of existential angst and could vocalize it to each other as avatars of DeLillo's own rambling, stream-of-consciousness ideas.
I added this book to my to-read list after reading and loving The Art of Fielding and hearing the author, Chad Harbach, mention DeLillo's book as another sports novel that featured clever writing and banter between guys on a sports team. Needless to say, the two novels could not be more different and "End Zone" may not have been what I was expecting or looking for going into it, but I treasure it for what it ended up being. DeLillo is certainly an author I will be reading again. On to "White Noise."(less)
Cute and clever and Don is an incredibly endearing character. Rosie, though. Slightly problematic, slightly MPDG? Oh well, this was a very enjoyable r...moreCute and clever and Don is an incredibly endearing character. Rosie, though. Slightly problematic, slightly MPDG? Oh well, this was a very enjoyable read. Can't wait to see what Gregory Peck lookalike they cast in the movie.(less)