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FUN & GAMES & CONTESTS > BEST REVIEW CONTEST (WINTER 2009-2010)

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message 1: by Cynthia, The SCM (last edited Dec 18, 2009 01:59PM) (new)

Cynthia (PandoraPhoebesMom) | 1378 comments Mod
This is thread where you can submit reviews for the Best Review contest. I will open the thread for submissions on December 1, 2009 and it will close at Midnight EST on February 13, 2009 - voting will start the next day and run until the end of the day on the 23rd. The person whose review gets the most votes will get to design a 20 point task for the Spring Challenge. Just a reminder that each person can only submit one review - but you can make edits to your review up until the end. The review does not have to be any particular length and doesn't have to be a positive one (i.e. you can choose to review a book you didn't like). PLEASE DO NOT comment on people's reviews in this thread - this is for submissions only - you will be able to comment when voting begins.


Deirdre (deirdre04) | 102 comments The Road To Forever by Ron Felt is an intriguing mystery/thriller/psychological suspense novel with well-developed characters and a fast-paced story. Once I picked it up, I found that I couldn't put it down, finishing it the same day I started it.

Felt tells the story of a ruthless serial killer who gets his thrills from watching the life flee from his victims' eyes as he's killing them. Jackson, the head detective assigned to this case, is training Edwards, an over-eager rookie who still has a lot to learn. While taking in the crime scene, Jackson can "see" through the eyes of the killer, getting a good idea of how the crime played out; but this killer is intelligent, leaving very little evidence for the detectives to go on. Meanwhile, the killer is growing increasingly more needy and must satisfy his urge to kill quicker and quicker after each new victim. The plot speeds along to a surprise ending.

The thing I liked most about this book was that Felt took the time to really develop his characters--all of them. We get to delve into the mind of the serial killer himself, learning about the path that led him to this brutal lifestyle. We also learn about the detectives, Edwards and Jackson, and the experiences in their past that make them who they are today.

Felt is a Goodreads author currently writing his second novel, a sequel to The Road to Forever. I love finding new authors who write well!

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good thriller and a quick read. Most chapters are fairly short, so you can always find a good stopping place...but I don't think you'll want to.


readinghearts (Lyn M) (lsmeadows) Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements is a YA book about a teenage boy who wakes up one morning invisible. The book was recommended to me by one of my son Joe's best friends, Caitlin Hernandez, who happens to be blind. I originally was looking for a book with a positive blind character to read for a challenge regarding a book with a person who has lost one of their five senses. The only book I know of is Caitlin's book, which isn't published yet, so I couldn't use that. Since she is always telling me that portraying a blind person as helpless and weak is a cop out, I asked her what she would recommend. She recommended this book and Things That Are, which has the same blind character in it.

In short, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would, and I am giving it 5 stars, which is unusual for a YA book. I was sucked in right from the beginning by the main character, Bobby Phillips, and his descriptions of his parents. As the book progressed, I really enjoyed the storyline, the characters introduced, and Bobby's character development. I thought that the combination of an invisible character and a character with a disability was an interesting and fresh way to illustrate the feeling of aloneness that many teenagers experience at some point. Both Bobby and Alicia feel that no one gets what they are going through, especially not their parents. The author strengthens his position with the addition of Sheila, another invisible character, at the end. The difference in the way she and Bobby handle their invisibility is genius to me.

I thoroughly recommend this book, and can't wait to read the other two books in the series.


Bridgit | 384 comments My review for Lolita.

I read this while on the beach in the Caribbean at my friend's destination wedding. Boy did I get a lot of stares. I'm pretty sure that made me enjoy it all the more. There is something sort of thrilling about laying on a beach surrounded by people telling them how you are reading a book about a 12 year old having sex with a 35 year old and then watching their faces...

On a serious note, the language and writing style Nabokov uses was really seductive. He brought you in and made you, if not sympathize, at least understand HH's obsession with his step-daughter. I had a visceral reaction to numerous portions of this book and that is a rare thing. Obviously the subject matter played a role in that, but i think it was more to do with the fact that the writing wrapped you up in the story and made you feel like you were a part of it, almost like you actually were HH and were struggling to control your own locked up desires.

Lastly, I was really impressed with how Nabokov was able to convey such salacious sexual behavior without ONCE ever actually getting graphic in print. I think that that is something that a lot of today's writers can learn from. The power of suggestion is really much more effective then spelling everythign out for the reader.


Manday | 311 comments Beware: this review contains spoilers for The Host and The Twilight series.

My review is for The Host

If you liked Twilight, chances are you will like this, because it uses all the exact same mechanisms as Twilight and has practically the same characters.

Replacing Bella we have the Wanda/Melanie character - a first person female who cannot lie (or really hide her emotions at all), who is into self sacrifice, and who desperately loves someone who has reason to try and resist returning feelings of love. She is also weak and must depend on the males around her for protection, and she ultimately holds the special key to saving the family she loves.

Replacing Edward we have Jared, who is just as emo as the original, conflicted about his feelings towards the main character (admittedly for different reasons), and of course ultimately comes around in the end. Oh, and he is older than the main character and feels the need to not "take advantage" of her.

Then there is "Jacob" - played by Ian - A second male lead who is infitely patient and understands the main character better than anyone (evan perhaps herself), who falls in love with her inexplicably and who it seems is destined to get a broken heart but miraculously doesn't.

Other themes it shared in common was the obsession with mortality versus immortality and the inherenent evil in mankind.

I am not saying there are not differences, but some lines in it could have been taken straight out of Twilight.

That said, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. After all, I did enjoy Twilight quite a bit!


Rach | 137 comments My review of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five has never appeared in any episode of Lost, but owes its place on the Lost Lit List due to the distinct similarities between Billy's moments of being "unstuck" in time to those Desmond experiences throughout Season 3 of Lost. The main difference between their time travelling moments is that Billy accepted the Tralfamadorian view of time, that you can see all past and future events but cannot change them, while Desmond was intent on changing his visions of the future.

This book differed greatly from my expectations - I assumed it was entirely about war. That is true, it is about war - the inhumanity of sending children off to die, the ridiculously arbitrary unfairness of who lives and who dies - but in the end, it is about way more than just war. Simultaneously funny, sad, and shocking, Billy's travels through time become a coping mechanism to help him deal with the tragedy and injustice of his wartime experiences. And it's not just in his head - how could he has predicted his own death otherwise? The ability to see all the events in your life and choose to live in the happy ones is a vitally important part of Billy's psychologically well-being, and is a good lesson to all of us on how to survive through difficult times. This is a frankly truthful tale of war, but the uniqueness of the telling seems to cushion the sharp edges of the actuality of war, life, and death.


Krista (kacey14) Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

This book is fast paced, and action packed with a touch of the supernatural thrown in to heighten the suspense. It is in a genre I don’t usually read, Christian Suspense. For me it was a relief that the first mention of a Christian precept didn’t appear until about halfway through the book.

Jeneal Mikkado, is a 17 year-old member of a gypsy ‘kumpania’ (community). She is thrust in the middle of a struggle between her father who is the leader of the camp and a drug kingpin, Salazar Sanso. A fire breaks out at the camp when Sanso confronts her father about his double dealing with the DEA. Jeneal is forced to make a wrenching decision in the midst of scenes of a violent massacre. Everyone is led to believe that there are no survivors of the night’s violence.

Fast forward fifteen years. Jeneal built a new life for herself under an assumed name using money she wrested from Sanso the night of the inferno. But she hasn’t found peace in the ensuing years. She is thrown back into chaos when Robert, the boyfriend she thought had perished in the fire, captures Sanso during a DEA bust. Without giving away all the plot twists, from here on out it is a fast and bumpy ride for everyone involved.

Evil, in the form of Sanso, is drawn with a heavy hand. He’s a character with no redeeming qualities. Jeneal struggles with her ongoing attraction to him when they meet again after his arrest. Ultimately, she’s given a chance to make a different decision than the one she made on the night of the massacre. Will she choose the dark or the light this time? The storyline was engaging and kept my interest throughout. However, I wish the story wasn’t drawn so starkly in black and white; evil versus good. I believe that for most people the choice would be easy if the only options presented were good or evil. It’s those gray areas in between that are harder to sort out.


Amy | 95 comments My review of The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

I found this novel to be so interesting, so wonderfully fascinating. I’ve read the ‘companion’ novel, Oryx and Crake which I also enjoyed. However, this book took the world created in Oryx and Crake to an entirely different level. I love the idea of a second companion book that takes a different view of the world introduced in the first one. Although I enjoyed the introduction to this world through Snowman’s memories and experiences in Oryx and Crake, I was utterly fascinated with the view shown in this novel via Toby and Ren.

The world of God’s Gardeners was so interesting. Learning about the intricacies of the nature cult was a highlight of this book for me. Atwood’s ability to take that which can appear at first blush to be silly and make it into a realistic part of a distant world amazes me. Her creativity and thoughtfulness about this world she’s created makes the novel read so easily and effortlessly. I was able to suspend disbelief much easier than I would have expected. And, before long, the world she creates comes alive with each and every word. And, the silliness and irony take a back seat to the amazing realness that Atwood is able to create with her words. Atwood is funny, she is clever, and she is a fantastic writer. Combine all of this with her incredible ability to think outside of the box and you have an amazing reading experience.

Does every single thing work in the novel? Well, no. But, I wouldn’t expect it to. And I think that a world like the one Atwood creates lends itself to a bit of the crazy as well as a bit of the silly. There is chaos and it isn’t pretty. It’s not easily tied into a pretty bow. As a result, there are flaws in the novel. However, they were not difficult for me to overcome as a reader. In fact, there were times when they made the novel more ‘real’ by making the characters and their experiences feel very close and making me, as a reader, uncomfortable. This is something that I believe Atwood is amazing at – this ability to show us an alternate reality which makes us think. A world that makes us analyze human nature and what possibilities there are for good and bad. It’s one of my favorite things about the Atwood experience – you know that you will be given great writing, creativity and that it will ultimately be a great ride!


message 9: by Cynthia, The SCM (new)

Cynthia (PandoraPhoebesMom) | 1378 comments Mod
This contest is officially closed for entries.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Road to Forever (other topics)
Things That Are (other topics)
Things Not Seen (other topics)
Lolita (other topics)
The Host (other topics)
More...

Authors mentioned in this topic

Ron Felt (other topics)
Andrew Clements (other topics)
Erin Healy (other topics)
Ted Dekker (other topics)
Margaret Atwood (other topics)