Adult Book Reviews

A Grown-Up Kind Of Pretty
Jackson, Joshilyn
4 stars = Really Good

Every 15 years, major issues crop up in the lives of the Slocumb women. The author writes from three points of view, highlighting the trials and tribulations of three different generations of women as they overcome life obstacles.

World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War
Brooks, Max
4 stars = Really Good

Just so we're clear on this, zombies totally freak me out. I do read a considerable amount of horror and suspense fiction, but there is something about zombies that just push me into panic (I cannot handle "The Walking Dead"). That being said, this book kept the gross-out factor (the one that gives me the willies whenever I see TWD featured on Sci-Fi magazine) to a minimum, and focused on the world impact, and the human element. This book was about the survivors, how humanity managed to make it through. I really enjoyed it.

Slaughter, Karin
4 stars = Really Good

I was looking for a suspense book to read and I was drawn to Karin Slaughter. I was engrossed right away into the story of a murder at the home of a wealthy couple. I was also drawn to Will Trent and how good of a detective he is, despite having dyslexia. I plan on reading the rest of the series. I really want to know how Will develops over time. A great suspense/mystery book that is character driven!

Book Review: Kushiel's Dart
Carey, Jacqueline
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is a fantastic debut by one of the best authors around today. Her use of language is fantastic, and the end makes you want to run right out and pick up the second book-regardless of the fact that the first one is over 900 pages!! I devoured this series, and have now read everything that this author has ever put out. I've not been disappointed by her yet, though this trilogy is still my favorite of all her works.

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes And How We Can Do Better
Ripley, Amanda
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The Unthinkable, by Amanda Ripley, is one of the All Pikes Peak Reads books based on a survival theme. The author examines disasters from 9/11 to Katrina to lesser known events, and attempts to analyze who survives and why. This is fascinating stuff! I couldn't put it down. Though it's painful to revisit such events, the psychology of those who made it through, as well as the responses of many victims, first-responders, and eye witnesses is stunning. Of course, the inevitable thought process that occurs is "How would I respond in such an unthinkable situation?" No one knows for sure, but it's a mesmerizing scenario to consider.

The Tortilla Curtain
Boyle, T. Coraghessan
4 stars = Really Good

Although this isn't a "new" book it's still current today. It contrasts an immigrant family that lives in a canyon ditch to a rich American family.

T.C. Boyle really did a great job of showing both sides of the story. I had to read the last couple of pages a few times ... I just couldn't believe how it ended. I highly recommend it!

Winter Of The World
Follett, Ken
3 stars = Pretty Good

Winter of the World is the second of three volumes in Ken Follett's fictional history of the twentieth century. The story begins in 1933 and ends in 1949, and traces the interlocking story of people from Britain, Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union. As is often the case with Follett's novels, the villains are almost all irredemably bad and the heroes make poor choices but never abandon virtue. Eventually there is a (more or less) happy ending.

Given the years it covers, you won't be surprised to know that the Nazis and World War II feature prominently in the book. Follett does attempt to explain how Hitler and his gang were able to take over a modern comopolitan country like Germany and how both Hitler and Stalin clamped down ruthless tyrannies on their unfortunate peoples. He also concentrates on the spies who tried to resist the Nazis, often recruited by and working on behalf of the Soviets, disguised as the brotherhood of all mankind.

There is a large cast of characters, so large I had to keep referring to the cheat sheet at the front of the book to remember who is who. also, although the novel stretches around the planet, the characters keep meeting each other in ways that really strain a person's sense of disbelief after awhile.
Finally, even though the book is more than 900 pages long, there is a feeling it was edited from an even longer manuscript by removing all the adjectives and adverbs.

Follett has a reputation for including a sizzling sex scene in each of his novels, but there was really nothing too hot here.

If you have a grounding in the history of the period and enjoy this kind of panoramic novel, go ahead and borrow a copy. Otherwise, let it sit on a library shelf.

Book Review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Brontë, Anne
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Anne seems to be the Bronte that time forgot and I can't imagine why. This novel is absolutely stunning from start to finish. The heroine is a newcomer to this small hamlet and keeps herself and her son very isolated to the annoyance of the townsfolk. A young landowner named Gilbert Markham, however, takes a liking to her. She doesn't fall in a faint at his feet which he finds unusual plus there's an air of secrecy about her that appeals to him. The more he gets to know her, the more he genuinely appreciates her grace and her upstanding character. Little does he know she has a secret more terrible than he could ever imagine. This book is gothic literature like all of the Brontes and deals with some heavy issues like spousal abuse. That would have been an amazing topic for the time in which it was written. Plus, I enjoy that most of the book is from the hero's perspective, a rare viewpoint from the female authors of that time. I literally gulped it down. I just couldn't stop reading. Before I read the book I loved the miniseries but now I realize that miniseries simply does not do Anne Bronte's marvelous work any justice at all. The book is a gem.

Peretti, Frank E.
4 stars = Really Good

Frank Peretti is one of the most outstanding inspirational authors of his generation. He first began in the 1980s with two smash hits "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" and progressed from there. However, it had been 7 years since his last book was published, a co-effort with Ted Dekker. Imagine my pleasant surprise at discovering not only had he finally written a new book but that it deviated from his more recent tendency towards Christian horror.

"Illusion" is a blast back to Peretti's original imaginative writing style.
More of a sci-fi/supernatural tale, this book follows the story of two Christian magicians who met and married during their youth. After Mandy dies in a fatal car crash, Dane retires from society until one fateful day when he encounters a young female magician that could be the spitting image of his wife, right down to the types of tricks she performs. In this world of Peretti's nothing is as it seems and miracles are possible. It's good have him back writing for the fans that love him so much. And for his first full-length novel in 7 years, "Illusion" really delivers.

uiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking
Cain, Susan
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Excellent book for introverts, extroverts and everyone in between! It lays out the science and psychology behind introversion, give pointers to introverts and parents of introverts, and it's just a nice feel-good book for people like me who've been told their whole lives that being an introvert is an undesirable trait. The author Susan Cain has done amazing research into the topic and really relays both facts and personal opinions very logically and well-rounded. I can't recommend this book to everyone enough.

Kinky Gazpacho
Tharps, Lori L.
4 stars = Really Good

A quick read that is part memoir and part travelogue. I really enjoyed this book. Lori Tharps has an easy going writing style. She describes growing up in Milwaukee and eventually living in Spain. When she was in junior high, she began studying Spanish. In a way she became obsessed with Spanish and all things Spain. Eventually Lori became an exchange student first with AFS (American Field Service) in Morocco and then her junior year in Salamanca, Spain. Anyone who wants to be an exchange student or was an exchange student, will love Kinky Gazpacho!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Simonson, Helen
4 stars = Really Good

This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I was immediately drawn into the characters and the emotions they were experiencing. I loved the fact that the Major went with his feelings even though everyone was against him. He didn't succumb to peer pressure or society expectations. The book is character driven and some people in my book group didn't like it because they felt it was too slow. But I thought it was just perfect! I do hope this is made into a movie.

Book Review: My Friend Dahmer
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Wow. Just wow.