There’s plenty to like in this bewitching NA novel by Ann M. Noser. The title alone is enough to make you pick upEver wonder “How to Date Dead Guys”?
There’s plenty to like in this bewitching NA novel by Ann M. Noser. The title alone is enough to make you pick up the book. The misty forest and beguiling lass on the cover draw you in farther. And then there’s the gripping story: shy college girl, Emma Roberts, falls for sporty Mike Carlson. Concerned about his safety, she follows her drunken crush for a midnight swim across the Chippewa River. Emma is the only one who makes it to the other side alive. Blamed for Mike's death, Emma quickly becomes the campus pariah.
Shattered by grief and guilt, she seeks solace in a witchcraft manual called the Book of Shadows. Under a full moon, Emma casts a spell to claim Mike from his watery grave. Unexpectedly, her power-packed incantation resurrects five men for the price of one. The greedy river is NOT happy, and neither are the killers of one of the drowning victims. Both parties are out to get Emma—for different reasons.
This story exemplifies the old adage: be careful what you wish for...you just might get it. I liken this book to a bag of Lays Potato Chips; the chapters are so crisp and delicious, you can’t stop devouring them. That’s because Noser writes in a refreshing straightforward manner AND she knows how to end each chapter on a hook—thus the Lays phenomenon.
At the start of this story, Emma is a delightfully snarky but unhappy bookworm. The five men she resurrects each have issues to resolve before the river reclaims them. As Emma helps each soul, her confidence blossoms and she grows as a character. I like that quality in a protagonist. This story is fine for the PG crowd as well; there’s plenty of witchy humor and romance elements, but no gratuitous sex scenes or cursing.
This author has plenty of imagination. For one: she weaved this tale around the controversial Smiley Face Murders (a police theory that applies to a string of suspicious drownings of college-aged men in the Chippewa). I also like how Noser imbued the river and the Book of Shadows with distinct personalities. That really ramped up the tension and added supernatural depth.
I was fortunate enough to be around when “How to Date Dead Guys” was in it’s infancy. It was an honor to be part of Ms. Noser’s critique group and watch her hone this manuscript into the gripping urban fantasy it has become. Lucky for us, she’s already hard at work crafting the sequel: “How to Ditch Dead Guys”.
Although Christianity has a large following, the New Testament is mute about what Jesus of Nazareth did between the ages of 12 and 30. Not to worry...Although Christianity has a large following, the New Testament is mute about what Jesus of Nazareth did between the ages of 12 and 30. Not to worry...his cheeky best friend Levi (known as Biff) fills in the missing years in this hilarious "gospel" called LAMB.
In an effort to escape the wedding of their secret crush (Mary Magdalene), teenage Jesus (Joshua) and his buddy Biff set off on a quest for the three magi. The journey leads them to China, and Kabul, and finally India. Under the tutelage of the first magus, they study Chinese medicine, healing, and fireworks. The second magus: Buddhism, kung-fu and meditation. The third magus: Asceticism and yoga. While Joshua perfects his skills, Biff enjoys the local cuisine and hangs with some really hot babes. At the age of 30, they return to Jerusalem.
I loved the bawdy, irreverent tone of this book even though everyone knows the story is going to end BADLY. The glue that holds everything together is Biff's undying loyalty to his friend Joshua. Like a Jewish Sancho Panza, Biff is there every step of the way as Joshua trains, works miracles, and builds his following. Plus Biff gives us the low down on all the disciples. As Joshua incurs the wrath of the pharisees and the Roman army, Biff struggles to protect Joshua from his fate, but ultimately fails. But that doesn't stop him from dealing with that crackpot, Judas.
The author did his biblical research. I love how Moore tied Jesus' well-known miracles to his training in China, Kabul, and India. And I like how he handled Joshua's human fears, struggles, and weaknesses. (Reanimating the dead was always a challenge for the messiah; Lazarus had a perpetual ripe smell months after returning from the dead.)
Anyway...if you'd like a fresh, imaginative twist on the New Testament, LAMB is the gospel for you. Enjoy.
Thirteen-year-old Madison Spencer dies of a pot overdose (?) and is damned because of the lavish Hollywood lifestyle of her parents (thinly veiled verThirteen-year-old Madison Spencer dies of a pot overdose (?) and is damned because of the lavish Hollywood lifestyle of her parents (thinly veiled versions of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt). Or perhaps her damnation is due to a mistake? Or a technicality? According to DAMNED, it's just so easy to end up there. Use the f-bomb 701 times and BOOM, you're have a one-way ticket to Inferno.
But little Maddy Spencer refuses to let Hell get the best of her. She keeps her optimistic spirit, makes new friends, and rallies the damned to improve the general conditions of Satan's Dump. Where to begin? The Sea of Roiling Insects? The Mountains of Toenail Clippings? Or the Marshes of Rank Perspiration?
Despite her pampered upbringing, it's easy to like Maddy because of her indomitable spirit. While improving Hell, she unravels the mystery of her death, and kicks some major demon butt along the way.
Reader impressions in a nutshell: Great, graphic, (and sometime disturbing) descriptions. Good voice. A few plot holes. While the first half is snarky humor and hilarious world-building, the second half is more gripping (Maddy confronts her killer(s)).
"Damed" is one sarcastic, quirky, strange little read that raises a very interesting question: How can a soul make the most of his or her eternal damnation? Will you cling to your earthly identity until you're a blithering idiot with black flies crawling over your face? Or will you continue to grow?...more
Keeping this one short: While the TV series was wildly entertaining, I liked the book more. Kerman's take on her experiences in women's prison was refKeeping this one short: While the TV series was wildly entertaining, I liked the book more. Kerman's take on her experiences in women's prison was reflective and inspiring--a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the fact that necessity is the mother of invention. Her fellow prisoners leapt from the pages, but rocketed into hyperdrive in the TV series....more
Warning: Do not read these humor essays in bed at night while your spouse is sleeping. Your guffaws will wake him up. Sedaris admits to being shallow,Warning: Do not read these humor essays in bed at night while your spouse is sleeping. Your guffaws will wake him up. Sedaris admits to being shallow, but the breadth of his musings is expansive and delightful. The pigeon French conversations with his fellow students in Paris is wickedly funny. As well as the chapter where Sedaris claims his boyfriend's African childhood as his own because battling pythons is so much more exciting than slurping ice cream at a suburban mall. Need something upbeat and refreshing? This is the read for you....more
In a South American capital, terrorists hijack a birthday party at the mansion of the vice-president. They keep over forty hostages, one of whom is thIn a South American capital, terrorists hijack a birthday party at the mansion of the vice-president. They keep over forty hostages, one of whom is the world-class soprano, Roxanne Coss. Negotiations drag on for months. What results is a fortress driven by political intrigue, opera music, and secret romances...until the bloody finale. Patchett's characters are well developed through her masterful use of the omniscient narrator, multiple point of view. The reader experiences the hostages and terrorists' thoughts, dreams, and regrets. I like how the opera singer becomes the sun around which all the characters orbit. Her music brings out the best in them. The result is an unlikely bond of sympathy with the terrorists. Throughout the story, I kept thinking: how will this limbo ever have a happy ending? There were a few points during negotiations where I skimmed, but overall, Bel Canto was a powerful and enjoyable read....more
This story is set in Rome at the end of the 15th century when Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way to the papacy, becomes Pope Alexander VI, and plantThis story is set in Rome at the end of the 15th century when Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way to the papacy, becomes Pope Alexander VI, and plants his four illegitimate children in his court: Cesare, Lucrezia, Juan, and Jofre. I was totally captivated by Dunant's portrayal of the scheming, power-hungry Borgia clan. This author is a master at presenting historical figures in a way that readers can connect with them emotionally. She gets into the heads of all the Borgias, their motivations, weaknesses, and desires. Ruthless Cesare set out to conquer the Italian city-states (just like his namesake); Lucrezia wanted happiness and love; vain Juan wanted more jewels for his doublets; and Jofre, well, he was whiny and largely cast aside. Dunant weaves in beautiful details of court life (and the horror of the French Pox) without it feeling like an info dump. The only thing that slowed me down were a few chapters dedicated to Cesare and Alexander's war strategies. The rest of the story was heartbreaking and mesmerizing. Poor Lucrezia was their chess-piece to be moved on the board of history, to fortify alliances through matrimony--three times! And Juan paid the ultimate price for his father's greed. A satisfying read for lovers of historical fiction. Enjoy! ...more
10-yr-old Auggie Pullman is an ordinary kid with a severe cranio-facial anomaly that renders him frightening to most people. He's about to "mainstream10-yr-old Auggie Pullman is an ordinary kid with a severe cranio-facial anomaly that renders him frightening to most people. He's about to "mainstream" into 5th grade at Beecher Prep. Over the academic year, Auggie will make friends and enemies, but no one will remain unchanged by his wit, charm, and tenacity to overcome prejudice. The story is told though multiple points of view: Auggie himself, Olivia--his overprotective sister, Jack--his initially reluctant best friend, and Summer--a remarkable girl capable of recognizing beauty in the beast. Auggie's journey from social isolation to acceptance is ultimately a story about the exponential power of kindness. "Wonder" flows well and is beautifully written. I easily slipped into each child's point of view. I can see why librarians and teachers are pushing this book to the middle school crowd, but there is an important lesson here for EVERYONE: choose to be kinder than necessary. This book will make you smile AND it will reduce you to tears. By the end, you will feel like a better person for having read it. "Wonder" packs a positive emotional punch equal to "The Little Prince", "The Art of Racing in the Rain", and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". If I were Queen, "Wonder" would be required reading for the populace....more