Archive for the ‘GUEST REVIEWERS – FICTION’ Category

WEDDING NIGHT by Sophie Kinsella

Posted: March 3, 2014 by BA Dillon in GUEST REVIEWERS - FICTION

WEDDING NIGHT by Sophie KinsellaReviewed by Emmie

From the writer of Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella, comes a fun, easy to read, cute and quirky love story titled Wedding Night – no worries, it’s not nearly as risqué as it seems.  The story is about a woman named Lottie and the dynamics of her love life.  The story starts with a poorly communicated engagement or lack thereof with Lottie’s main man, Richard.  The humiliation of this confusion leads Lottie to a surprising decision.  She rekindles with an old flame, Ben, after 15 years apart and makes a hasty and stupid decision – MARRIAGE.  Her sister, Fliss, refers to these kinds of decisions as “Unfortunate Choices”.  We can all connect with those, especially in times of emotional despair.  The book flip-flops between Lottie’s perspective and Fliss’s perspective.  Fliss is dealing with her own turmoil – taking care of her son as a single parent, going through a nasty divorce, and trying to manage the decisions of her sister.  Fliss is determined for Lottie to get an annulment of her sudden arrangement which means she must prevent her sister from having sex with Ben after the vows have been exchanged.  Her prevention plan leads to an entertaining scenario of unfortunate events on Lottie and Ben’s honeymoon.   Throughout the story, the characters all learn important life lessons not only about themselves but also about respecting the life choices of others.  Overall, I enjoyed the story, but was a tad disappointed about something Lottie does at the end.  I don’t want to give it away, but I was hoping it would be more traditional – you’ll understand when you read it.

ERAGON by Christopher Paolini

Posted: February 17, 2014 by BA Dillon in GUEST REVIEWERS - FICTION, Young Adult

ERAGON by Christopher PaoliniReview by Ameena Z.

Eragon, a young farm boy, finds a beautiful blue stone in the nearby mountains he so frequents and hunts in. Before he can find a suitable trade for the rock, the stone hatches a majestic sapphire-blue dragon, Saphira. From that moment on Eragon becomes a Dragon Rider and is ushered into taking on a role; a role that will lead him to either partner with King Galbatorix, the tyrant who rules all of Alagaseia or the Varden, comprised of human, dwarves and elves. Eragon and Saphira are the last hope for the Varden but can Eragon overcome the power that Galbatorix yields? Paolini paints a vivid tale of friendship, adventure, love, and magic.

This is the first installment in the Inheritance Cycle Series by Christopher Paolini. What makes this tale even more magical is the fact that Paolini wrote it at a ripe age of 15. He took pen to paper and let his imagination soar. After three years of polishing and editing it was published, thanks to his parents. His parents realized the potential when they came across his final manuscript and had their own small publishing company put it out. Through Paolini touring and readings, Alfred A. Knopf picked up his book and republished it in 2003. Since then he has completed the Inheritance series and it is truly a compelling work.  He is now 30 years old and working on other novels.

The Divergent Series by Veronica RothReviewed by Lori D.

I’ll admit that I hadn’t even known about Veronica Roth’s Divergent series until seeing a movie trailer for the upcoming film based on the first of the books, Divergent. Being young adult fiction, all three books make for an easy read, and are fast-paced, dystopian thrillers that will keep you turning pages. Just be prepared for a few awkward love stories, inconsistent personalities, and stereotypes that make you cringe.

In Chicago in the future, people are divided into five factions, each committed to a particular virtue – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent) and Dauntless (the brave). At the age of sixteen, the society’s children take a drug-induced, halucinative aptitude test that aids them in choosing the faction they’ll spend the rest of their lives in. Beatrice (Tris) Prior, finds out she is a rarity – a “divergent” – someone who is a mixture of traits and not welcome in the society. She leaves her life and family in Abnegation and joins the Dauntless, where she transforms from a selfless, monochromatic “stiff,” to a bad-ass, tattooed, butt-kicking Dauntless who goes on to discover the secret behind their civilization, overthrows the government, and saves the world.

Filled with plot twists, evil people (whose personalities can always be altered with all the drugs these people use – or can just be shot…), and an underlining warning not to trust those we put in charge, it makes for a fun read. Don’t expect a fairy tale ending, though. I was a bit distressed with Roth’s final twist, but you’ll have to read all three books to find out why.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorReviewed by Kathleen B.

For my first ever book review, I have chosen my absolute favorite book of the last year.  In fact, it has been at least ten years since I have gotten so absorbed in, so in love with, and so excited about a story and its characters.  Never have I been this enthralled with a book that falls squarely into the fantasy genre, and although I read a lot of young adult fiction as a middle school teacher, I have not loved a book that could be called young adult with anything resembling the ardor I have for this one.  However, I feel I must add a caveat.  This was not a love at first reading situation.  For the entire second half of the book, I could not decide whether or not I liked it, but for some reason felt the need to keep reading.  It was not until I finished, put it down, and could not bring myself back to the real world for two days, that I realized how engrained in my soul this book had become.  I have now recommended this book to four other people, none of whom have loved it as I have.  Two enjoyed it, two really did not, for reasons of “too high fantasy” and “just really not my thing.”  Which got me wondering why it was so very much MY ideal book.

I find that I am often very drawn to styles that end up with a cult following.  I loved Buffy and Angel, Firefly, and more recently, Dr. Who.  I crave a fantasy world that borders on reality, but carries with it a uniqueness that cannot be defined by typical rules of vampire-zombie-dragon-werewolf-ness, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone is exactly that.  While the main character is a 17 year old girl, this story reads more like adult fiction than YA.  The characters Taylor has created dance through a most incredible reality built beautifully by Taylor’s imagination, with just enough humor to balance its intensity.  If you are the type of reader that enjoys uniqueness, epic love, and strong female characters, this book delivers.  Nuances of family and loyalty, good and evil, and friendship and love reside in abundance in the pages of Smoke and Bone.  Since that first reading, I have read it twice more, read the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, furthering my love for Taylor and the bravery of her writing, and am looking forward with bated breath to the release of her final book in the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, to be released in April 2014.

Ermilia

Guilty Wives

by James Patterson and David Ellis

genre: thriller

This is the book that inspired my post, “Now Rewind” Plots: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em. It opens in the middle of the drama, then skips back several months to the beginning of the story, which is actually my one complaint about the novel, particularly because it’s a thriller. Some people on Goodreads labeled it a mystery, but what’s the mystery when you’re told what happens right at the beginning?

Synopsis from Goodreads

Guilty Wives by James PattersonOnly minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. For four days they’re free to live someone else’s life. As…

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FOR ONE MORE DAY by Mitch Albom

Posted: November 22, 2013 by BA Dillon in GUEST REVIEWERS - FICTION

for one more dayReviewed by BA Dillon

When most people think of Mitch Albom, they think of his New York Times bestsellers, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, or Tuesdays with Morrie. But this one – it struck a chord with me. Today, I write this review on the anniversary of my own father’s death. What I wouldn’t give for just one more day …

For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and the relationship that lasts a lifetime and beyond. It asks the question – what would you do with just one more day with that loved one you miss so much? Charley Benetto is a broken man. The father he worshiped, disappears and Charley is raised by his single-parent mother. As an adult, Charley’s life is crumbling around him. He’s an alcoholic, and he’s lost his job. He leaves his family, and learns his only daughter has excluded him from her wedding. So he makes a decision to take his own life – but fails at that as well. Staggering back into his hometown he stumbles into his boyhood home and makes a startling discovery.

This 200+ page book is a quick and easy read with a simple message of love. Albom is a gifted storyteller who creates characters who are real and flawed. This is a dialogue drive story that I laughed and cried through, all while wishing that I too – had one more day.