THE CAVE was one of those books that I just discovered pretty semi-randomly -- in this case, some klutzy guy, trying to show off for a group of high s...moreTHE CAVE was one of those books that I just discovered pretty semi-randomly -- in this case, some klutzy guy, trying to show off for a group of high school girls studying for their SAT's, fell against a book cart, knocked a few books over, then haphazardly stuck them back on the shelves wherever he felt like it, I guess. One of them he stuffed onto the display of books suggested by the librarian, which ended up being this one --- THE CAVE. I decided that an accidental recommendation was as good as a reason as any other, so I borrowed the book without reading any of the blurb on the back.
Now, the back cover compares this novel to a James Patterson story, and I must admit that I'm not all that familiar with Patterson's work -- or with this whole suspense/creepiness genre as a whole. The gist of this one is that a therapist decides to escape from the chaos of her work life in a secluded cabin that her husband enjoyed before he died, several years earlier. Instead of this excursion being one of relaxation and peacefulness, the therapist soon discovers that a masked shadow is lurking in her cabin -- with a detailed and devious plot to kidnap her, manipulate her, and ultimately make her one of his hundreds of prized murders.
However, the therapist (whose name I can't even remember, which unfortunately highlights the fact that this story ultimately just isn't that remarkable and memorable for me. If I hadn't already returned the book, I would find the name -- but it's really not THAT important in the end, I guess!) feels that she has the upper hand on the situation, since she can psychoanalyze her captor and get to the bottom of what REALLY makes him tick. This way, she can subtly lead him to the freedom she deserves -- and the jail sentence that certainly awaits him in the near future.
But, her captor is infinitely more prepared than she ever expected, and he can oddly anticipate her next move before she even understands her direction. So, who will win this deadly game of cat and mouse, since both of these characters have made a living out of influencing the minds of others?
I think THE CAVE was an interesting enough premise, and I loved the idea of a therapist as the victim (first, because clinical psychology is my ultimate career path, and second, because I thought it would be fascinating to see the internal conflict between the psychological control she exhibits in her daily life with the unfamiliar vulnerability she displays as the victim). And, I do think that there was a lot of insight and sensitivity displayed through the inner workings of the main character. But, I can also see where a lot of the internal dialogue could just feel like endless psychobabble, since it did seem to go on a bit excessively at points.
I liked the perspective of a strangely unreliable narrator, as she became less attached to reality the longer she was in this desperate situation -- and it was especially interesting contrasted with the unreliability of the captor as well -- since he could been seen as either excessively advanced or madly childlike in his actions. That said, I was expecting a LOT more from the ending, which just felt like a disappointment somehow -- and it seemed a little odd that THE CAVE, of the title, didn't come about until the very last few chapters of the book.
For those who love the idea of a creepy, disturbing story of suspense, but who aren't overly saturated in the genre or detracted by the possibility of ongoing psychobabble, I think THE CAVE is probably worth a shot. I doubt I'll remember much about this book a few months down the road, but it was worth the time the first go around, I suppose!(less)
I have read a lot of books about the relationships between mothers and daughters, but I don't think that I've really ever read one with quite the hone...moreI have read a lot of books about the relationships between mothers and daughters, but I don't think that I've really ever read one with quite the honesty and straightforwardness as I found in ALL WE HAD. There is no sugar coating within these pages, and the writing style shows such clarity and thoughtfulness that it really makes this a fresh and interesting read that I expect will be fairly memorable among the stacks of stories that I have reviewed this year.
But, backing up a bit, ALL WE HAD highlights a life of hardship and growth from the perspective of Ruthie Carmichael, a girl who has been moved from home to home as her mother, Rita, ropes in a string of dead end men and low wage jobs that keep their lives anything but stable. This time around, the duo has landed in Fat River, a tiny town that seems no different than the rest -- but one that can hopefully offer comfort from the storm of life that always seems to meet Ruthie and Rita with each move and each lifestyle change.
This time around, Rita has a job at a small diner with a cross-dressing waitress, called Peter Pam, who soon becomes a fast friend for Ruthie -- while her mother, of course, lands a new boyfriend who may be the key to a better future for the two of them. Fat River has a small town feel, full of mom-and-pop businesses that are slowly shutting down against the financial struggles that seem to plague the town as a whole. Yet, through it all, Ruthie and Rita try to maintain the relationship that has always been so important to them both.
There are always new challenges around the corner in Fat River, and every turmoil makes a new dent in the rock solid relationship between mother and daughter. But, with honesty, sarcasm, and wit, Ruthie narrates a story of growth and development of love through the hardest of struggles.
I loved the way the author integrated humor into her sensitive portrayals of the hard times in the lives of her characters -- and I think that her skill in conveying a story with such honesty and wisdom is really what kept this story so interesting. I can definitely appreciate a story that abandons overdone cliches and exhaustive sugar-coatings in favor of a straightforward approach that really just tells it how it really is.
I appreciated the opportunity to preview an advanced reader's copy of ALL WE HAD, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read, for sure!(less)
Ten year old Joey Flores did not expect this day to be much different than any other day. He would do a few tricks on his skateboard, show off a bit t...moreTen year old Joey Flores did not expect this day to be much different than any other day. He would do a few tricks on his skateboard, show off a bit to his friends, and hope that his mom didn't embarrass him again by suggesting to everyone that he needs a baby-sitter, of all things!
Little did Joey know that a massive earthquake would soon rock his world, and separate him from his friends and family with little warning at all. Can Joey find his best friends and his parents among the chaos and destruction? Of course, you'll have to read this one to find the answer!
Fast paced and fun, EARTHQUAKE SHOCK is first in a new series for young readers, geared most likely for those just beginning to read chapter books. There are several illustrations to add to the story, and the chapters are relatively short, which should keep younger minds engaged.
I did receive this book in an advanced reader's e-galley for purposes of providing a review.(less)
Sam Graves really didn't want to be the hall monitor at Eerie Elementary. The bright orange sash was embarrassing enough -- but now he has to watch hi...moreSam Graves really didn't want to be the hall monitor at Eerie Elementary. The bright orange sash was embarrassing enough -- but now he has to watch his classmates to make sure they really go to class on time? No fun at all!
But Sam never expected the job of hall monitor to be something so dangerous that it would actually threaten to kill him! One day, Sam discovers quicksand on the playground, and he is nearly drowned as something in the sand seemed to grab him and pull him under the sand into the darkness. The next thing he knows, Eerie Elementary actually turns out to be ALIVE! And, the school seems to be MAD -- and ready to really hurt (or maybe kill?) all of the students!
Sam is the only one who can sense when Eerie Elementary is about to attack -- but can a little hall monitor really stand up against a big, evil school?
THE SCHOOL IS ALIVE is the first in a new Scholastic series called BRANCHES, a series intended for younger readers who are ready to enjoy their first easy chapter books. The story is fast paced enough to keep young minds enthralled, and the adorable illustrations really added a special something to the overall story.
This was a cute, quick read, and I'm sure I'll pick up others in the future if I happen to come across them in my library.
(I did receive a free advanced reader's copy of this novel in order to provide an honest review. All thoughts are my own and are uninfluenced by the manner in which the book was received)(less)