Adult Book Reviews

Book Review: Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
4 stars = Really Good

Fantastic book! Lots of fun, with great 80s references, as seen from a dystopian future in which most of reality has been supplanted by the far more pleasant world of OASIS (a VR interface). This book will appeal to gamers and fans of 80s pop culture.

There were a few moments where I felt like some elements of the story were being brushed over (without giving away too much, there were some deaths that I felt were not acknowledged much in the text, though this is completely in character with the POV character's detachment from reality). But these were powerful elements that might have been more character-defining and perhaps might have demonstrated more about his motivation. This is why I could not, in good conscience, give the book the 5 stars. It could be just my own personal preferences coming through. Some people might be totally fine with that.

I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Wil Wheaton, who does a great job with the characterizations and is completely believable as the first-person narrator. Not only that, but it really sounded like he was enjoying himself while narrating the book. And of course, that always makes it more fun as a listener.

Book Review: Jane Eyre
Bronte, Charlotte
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This incredible story of Jane Eyre will be a novel you can't put down! I
read this book in twenty-four hours. The writing style draws the reader in. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a "creepy" book, and is appropriate for teens and older!

Book Review: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
Robbins, Alexandra
3 stars = Pretty Good

This book was interesting but took too long to wade through. I read as much of it as I could but it seemed to be repeating itself. Meh. It did make me afraid for my daughter when she eventually goes to school and has to deal with the politics and drama of girl culture. I also didn't think the portion of the book about teacher cliques was necessary, when the title implies a book about students.

Book Review: Divergent
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good

I liked it. It started off a bit slow for my taste and it took awhile for me to immerse myself in its reality, but once I did I quite enjoyed it. It gets good about two thirds of the way through and has a very good ending, although I'm left with a spoiler question I won't address here, except to say, why the heck didn't she...?

The Hunger Games cover
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

i love this book i will read it again
i read the whole series it is amazing

Erica R.
Book Review: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Cahalan, Susannah
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I started out giving this book 4 stars - it is a fascinating inside look at this author's hospitalization for a rare autoimmune disorder which caused her complete memory loss of the time she was ill and could have eventually led to her death had her doctor given up on her.

The more I think about this book, however, the more I liked it - I've found myself talking about it with friends and family over the past few days and marveling at this author's tenacity on recreating her "month of madness" through interviews and tapes. I feel this is a wonderful and well-written book, not only of one woman's experiences with an illness that displayed itself so quickly and violently, but a fascinating look into our brains and how they work (or don't work).

Book Review: Honeymoon With My Brother: A Memoir
Wisner, Franz.
4 stars = Really Good

Franz Wisner was dumped at the altar, but his honeymoon was already paid for. In an attempt to cheer himself up, he takes his younger brother, Kurt, on his "honeymoon" to Costa Rica, and the two brothers connect in a way that they hadn't as adults. Upon their return from Costa Rica, Franz and Kurt decide to quit their jobs, sell their houses, and embark on a year long trip around the world, and this book tells of the adventures. Part travelogue, part relationship story, after finishing this book I called my sister to try to convince her that we, too, could quit our jobs, travel the world, and become better friends!

Book Review: The Book of Air and Shadows
Gruber, Michael
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Do you long for another heart thumping thrill a minute ride similar to the Da Vinci Code? Then, you might consider this excellent book. With narrative lines from 2 different points of view that eventually meet up, this book is a conspiracy thriller with a very personal vendetta. There aren't any huge evil organizations, but there is an unknown mastermind who seems to have an uncanny knack for knowing what all the major players are up to at any given time. This hunt for a previously unknown Shakespeare manuscript is action packed and engaging. Where else will you find the worlds of academia, intellectual property law and Russian mobsters all mixing it up hoping for the big score?

Book Review: The Bonesetter's Daughter
Tan, Amy
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book was really wonderful! It's about a young girl who is embarrassed by the things her mother does. Then she is given a manuscript to read. It is written in Mandarin, written by her mother. She has someone translate it and is taken back to her mothers time and finds out things about her mother she never knew. This story is heart warming and full of interest. I highly recommend it.

Book Review: A Mass for the Dead
McDuffie, Susan
4 stars = Really Good

This exciting historical mystery tale takes place in 14th century Scotland. The Prior of Oronsay, an unpopular and unsavory character, is found strangled on the beach, his mouth stuffed with sand. Muirteach, the crippled bastard son of the Prior is assigned the nearly impossible task of finding out who of the many people who had motives to end this man's life is the murderer. Susan McDuffie, in her first published novel, very successfully introduces her readers, via this suspenseful plot and surprise ending, to what is to become a series of mysteries involving the main character, Muirteach.

Book Review: Notorious Nineteen
Evanovich, Janet
4 stars = Really Good

I have read all 18 of Janet Evanovich's books and this one is the best one in a long time, sometimes her books get a little repetitive, but this one was great. Stephanie Plum still bountying hunting and cant figure out whether shes in love with Morelli or Ranger who in my mind is a George Clooney knockout. Her partner Lulu never seems to fail us with her humor and I read this book in a day and a half. I highly recommend it. And the Grandmother she reminds me of some people my Grandmother hung out with in NJ.

Karen J.
Book Review: Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It
O'Hurley, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This a gently humorous and touching book about an elderly dog and the baby who is brought into his household. The author is an actor and singer, currently hosting the Family Feud. Scoshi, his aging Maltese, has been a constant friend and companion through years of struggle, happiness, and sadness. In the twilight of his wonderful life he is introduced to William, the infant son of the author and his wife. Scoshi, by way of notes scribbled and placed under "the big blue elephant toy", inparts words of wisdom and encouragement to young William. The author "assists" in putting these notes in order for presentation. It is sweet, thought-provoking, and probably will bring the reader to gentle tears. I loved it!

Book Review: The Book of Joe
Tropper, Jonathan
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Joe Goffman grew up in the small town of Bush Falls, where everyone knows your name and the local high school basketball team is made up of demigods. Joe left this town at 17, wrote a best selling tell-all novel based on the town, and hasn't returned until he got the phone call that his father suffered a stroke and was in a coma. While dealing with his sick father, terminally ill best friend, high school sweetheart, delinquent nephew and hundreds of townsfolk who hate him, Joe discovers that leaving Bush Falls couldn't make him forget Bush Falls. Tropper writes a terrific homecoming story that is both funny and heartbreaking, and you will find yourself laughing out loud while crying.

Book Review: The Art Forger
Shapiro, Barbara
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A painter who is shunned by the art world suddenly receives the opportunity of a lifetime, to redeem herself as a true and original artist. She just has to copy one last Degas painting and her dreams will come true. However, is the painting that she is mysteriously given to reproduce a real Degas that was stolen in the Gardner art heist in 1990?

I found this book utterly fascinating. I personally consider a book compelling if it makes me want to learn more, and I found myself researching the Gardner heist, the paintings by Degas, and Isabella Gardner herself.

I feel like I also learned a little more about the interesting process of creating a painting, and will look a little more closely the next time I am in a museum! Very enjoyable read.

The Innocent
Baldacci, David
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

One of the best books I have read EVER. I have like DB for years, but this book grabs you fairly early and everytime you think you know where it is going - - - BAM, off it goes to where you didn't even see it going. Don't start it unless you have time to really hang with it. Every time I had to put it down to do something else my mind had a fit!!

Rod S.
Book Review: Shouting in the Dark: My Journey Back to the Light
Bramblitt, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

After he went blind while in college, John Bramblitt practiced getting around without sight at a Six Flags amusement park. Think about that. He began to paint after he lost his sight, and he made me understand what it means to see with sensors other than the eyes. There’s not an ounce of sentimentality here, but plenty of emotion, drive, and grit. You won’t be able to stop reading until you’re through to John’s singing in the light.

Book Review: Bruchko: The Motilone Miracle
Olson, Bruce
4 stars = Really Good

Before I get very far, I must point out that this book is appropriate for a mature 12-year old, I think. Anyway, this incrediblely true story of Bruce Olson's life, written by Olson, was an excellent source of GOOD-QUALITY reading that is so hard to find in today's world. Bruce is a missionary to the Motilone Indians in Venezuela, South America. He is captured and held hostage by guerillas, and by the Motilones themselves. He describes a night where he woke up and was sandwiched between two large and poisonous snakes. And then there's the tapeworm! I first heard of a book where a man pulls a tapeworm out of his mouth. Don't worry; it's not descriptive there! This is an excellent book that held my attention and encouraged me greatly.

Book Review: The Twelve
Justin Cronin
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is a terrific post-apocalyptic thriller (one of my favorite genres). In my opinion, this was better than The Passage.

My only quibble was that I was not able to remember many of these characters, and their relationships, from The Passage. So, you might want to reread that book prior to reading The Twelve.

I’m anxiously awaiting the third and final book in this trilogy.

Book Review: The Girl With No Shadow
Harris, Joanne
4 stars = Really Good

Having been a huge fan of both the book and the film Chocolat (as well as Joanne Harris' other books such as Five Quarters of the Orange and Blackberry Wine), I was looking forward to reading this sequel to Chocolat. Although I read Chocolat MANY years ago, and some of the scenes have been replaced with scenes in the film, I still thoroughly enjoyed this sequel. The character development is not as strong as the first novel, and magic seemed to be more dominant, but the story was interesting and kept me intrigued to the end. As each chapter is narrated by one of three characters, I originally was confused as to who was "talking," but noticed that each character has a symbol (Yanne is a cat, Anouk is a bunny, and Zozie is a cloud) which identifies the speaker, and this made it a little easier to read. The ending was slightly abrupt, and I'm hoping that she will continue the story in a another novel!

Book Review: The Sword
Johnson, Jean
4 stars = Really Good

A curse and being exiled to a land where women are forbidden should drive any man crazy. In Nightfall Isle, there are eight men, all brothers and all four sets of twins, starved for women's attention. The only problem is that there is a curse looming over their heads that states that if a woman comes into their lives, let alone eight women, it will be the end of the land of Katan. Saber, former Count of Corvis, and the Eldest son of the eight, knows this more than any for it is HIS curse that is supposed to wreak that certain Destruction should he find his Predestined Bride. So when a certain Kelly Doyle, from Earth, happens to magically drop in to their castle, he wants nothing more than to rid him and his brothers of her immediately. Complications rise and feelings twist. Can Kelly Doyle somehow manage to find a place in Saber's heart or will he do EVERYTHING in his power to change destiny and reject his "Predestined Bride?" The first book of the Sons of Destiny is a delightful book with humor, romance and even some serious catty fights. The ending definitely leaves you wanting to rush to your bookstore or library and pick up the second.

Book Review: Sundays at Tiffany's
Patterson, James
4 stars = Really Good

Very sweet and touching novel about a woman who meets her childhood imaginary friend as an adult. Neither Jane nor Michael (the imaginary friend) knows why they've been reunited, and the end has a little twist that is satisfying. This is a quick read (Patterson's books are usually broken up into very short chapters), but you will not want it to end! Also available in Audio Format.

Book Review: The Spellman Files
Lutz, Lisa
4 stars = Really Good

This debut novel introduces Isabel (Izzy) Spellman and her family. Izzy has a history of excess drunkenness, failed relationships and creative vandalism. Izzy is employed by the family business Spellman Investigations. Mom, Dad, younger sister Rae and Uncle Ray all contribute to the family business and eventually live in the family home too. Older brother, perfect human being and man about town David escaped the clutches of the Spellmans by becoming a lawyer. The book is funny and quirky but turns serious quickly when Rae disappears and Izzy has to focus all her talents and energies to find her. Also available in Audio Format and Large Print. Look for the second in the series, Curse of the Spellmans.

Book Review: Zoli
McCann, Colum
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

"McCann has created a stunning work that sets up a resonance between heart and mind that sustains until the very last word. 'Zoli' is a world filled with music alien and remote - yet ultimately as familiar as a mother's lullaby." -Terry Cooper (from Amazon review) This is one of the best books I have ever read. The writing is so beautiful, it made me cry. McCann hits on truths long forgotten and rarely pondered. It is a story of a Romani writer/singer who became famous, but was alienated from her people for it. It is a beautiful story about love, hope, desire, despair, and redemption. Read it!

The Know-It-All : One Man's Humble Quest To Become The Smartest Person In The Wo
Jacobs, A. J.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A.J. Jacobs sets out on a quest (of sorts) to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. His stated objective was to get more intelligent. Over the course of the year it took him to finish this task he revealed a bit of competition with his father, a very accomplished man. His father had started to read the EB in the 1970s and didn't get past the B volume. There may have been a little one-upsmanship in the quest. Jacobs' book gives you the Cliffs Notes Encyclopedia Britannica along with his observations, an introduction to his family, his job and his attempts to prove he is indeed getting more intelligent as he progresses through the hugh task he set for himself. He enters a crossword puzzle tournament, takes part in a debate with a college debate team, joins Mensa and appears on the television game show Who wants to be a Millionaire. The book is by turns funny, thoughful, touching and educational. There were times I laughed outloud. At the end he draws some life lessons from what he learned, but I really think it was about the journey, not the destination.

The Shack
Young, William P.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book had me in tears many times. It is such a clear, unclothed picture of the gospel. I loved it, and I think everyone should read it because it speaks of things that resonate with anybody. It's been called a modern-day "Pilgrim's Progress", and I think that sums it up pretty well.