Ah, Mister Max. What an intriguing young fellow he was. I have to tell you that, although most will list this as Middle Grade, I think it bridges the...moreAh, Mister Max. What an intriguing young fellow he was. I have to tell you that, although most will list this as Middle Grade, I think it bridges the gap. It's true that our hero is a mere twelve years old. However he's wise well beyond his years and, I won't lie, his personality is infectious. Max Starling is one of those characters who is going to cause a lot of readers to smile, no matter what their age.
I'm sure you're wondering why, if I loved Max so very much, I rated this book as I did. Let me explain. The characters in this book are superb. Every single one, from Max's grandmother right on down to Pia, Max's would be apprentice, is well fleshed out. Each character has their own set of quirks. Each has their own distinct personality that makes them instantly likable, or unlikable, as the story calls for. I can't deny that I was impressed by Cynthia Voigt's characters. Max and his comrades were great fun to follow.
Sadly, it was the story line itself that fell short for me. Max's back story is fascinating enough. Raised by theatrical parents, left alone due to mysterious circumstances, and trying to manage all by himself at only twelve years old. I was excited by the prospect of what he might get up to. Still, as enjoyable as some of the situations he found himself in were, it all read very slowly. It takes a long time for anything exciting to happen in Max's story. When it did, I read eagerly. Then I'd be left waiting for the next bit of excitement. I can't say for certain, but if I was left wanting I'm sure that a younger reader would be as well.
The ending also threw me for a loop. There isn't so much a cliffhanger as there is an abrupt end to it all. I was happy to glimpse at least some of what was to come, but I really wish more had been tied up. Despite everything though, I know I'll come back for more. Max was able to peak my interest, and I want to see what happens to him, and his family, in the next book.(less)
I've mulled this book over in my head for a few days and I've come to a conclusion. Buying In just wasn't a book for me. It's well-written. The charac...moreI've mulled this book over in my head for a few days and I've come to a conclusion. Buying In just wasn't a book for me. It's well-written. The characters are extremely realistic. Unfortunately it's that extreme realism that made it a tough read for me. Buying In almost seems to read more like non-fiction than fiction at times, and that's something I wasn't expecting.
I can honestly say I did learn a lot while reading Sophie's story though. I'm sure we all have a basic idea of how tough it is to be a woman in a male-driven industry. We all understand that it takes a lot of sacrifice. Laura Hemphill creates a character who is living this first hand. Sophie has given up her social life, her love life, and even her family for this career. She constantly has to make difficult choices between the career she wants, and the life she already has. Sophie's life felt real to me, and I felt for her because of it.
What was tough for me is how much of this book is actually industry based. There were quite a few times where I just felt like I was reading a handbook on finance. Discussions of projections, mergers, and plenty of other field related jargon made it so that I had a tough time getting through some portions of this book. I liked Sophie's story. I even felt for her coworkers. Still, I couldn't get past the fact that I had no interest in what they did for a living.
I know that there's definitely a reading group that this book will target. Laura Hemphill knows the industry like the back of her hand, and it shows in her writing. Readers who enjoy learning about the high-stakes world of finance will be drawn in by the cutthroat nature of Sophie's world. As I said, this is a really well-written book. Sadly, it just wasn't my cup of tea.(less)
There are still shivers running down my spine, and I can place the blame squarely on Night Chill. The book starts strong, drawing you in with a glimps...moreThere are still shivers running down my spine, and I can place the blame squarely on Night Chill. The book starts strong, drawing you in with a glimpse into the madness to come. A sinister man. A kidnapped girl. Mind reading powers? Paranormal and horror elements blend together to make Night Chill something to be reckoned with. With its well-written, lightning fast plot it's hard not to be sucked in.
Jack is just an average guy. He loves his wife and his daughters. Like any great father, he'll do whatever it takes to keep them safe. But how do you fight against what you can't understand? I was rooting for Jack with each page that I read. Despite the guilt hanging over his head, he was such a good guy. He's one of those characters that you can't help but want to succeed, even when he isn't sure he will.
In fact, what I really liked about this book was that it showed the way humanity reacts to events they can't explain. Shrugging off odd occurrences, jumping on any explanation that comes their way, and unintentionally skewing events to suit their needs. It was so heartbreaking to see a family slowly understand that something more was at stake. Jack's story wasn't only terrifying because of the paranormal aspect, but because it dealt with a real life family.
I actually can't even pinpoint what made this a four star read for me instead of a five. It's quite possible that I have standards that are entirely too high right now, because honestly? This book is pretty fabulous. If you're a fan of Horror novels, of the kinds of books that keep you up at night, this is a read you'll love. I'll leave you with that.(less)