Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nightime by Mark Haddon

I admit it, I didn't read this book until now.  Yes, I know it has been out for 8 years.  Yes, I know it's been on all sorts of bestseller lists and book club lists and must read lists, but it didn't pique my interest until about a week ago.  That's when I was at a PD session with a bunch of other teachers and on our break we started discussing books worth reading and got on the topic of books written well that centre on exceptional learners.  I mentioned Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen and someone brought up this book.  So, I got it and was totally hooked.  I can't believe I took so long to pick it up.  This is an extraordinary book.  For other like me who haven't touched this one yet, the story is told from the viewpoint of Christopher, a teenager with autism who comes across a neighbour's dog, killed with a garden fork.  Christopher decides to solve the mystery of what happened to Wellington.  Haddon does such an amazing job of getting into the mindset of how someone with autism thinks and acts, it's quite incredible.  Fantastic read!

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

If you haven't tired of Stephanie's bumbling mystery exploits, her knack for blowing up cars and her indecision between Morelli and Ranger then by all means sink into this one for an evening or two of guilty pleasure reading.  I hadn't read a Stephanie Plum book in quite a while so I really enjoyed it, though I must admit that I often wonder how both Morelli and Ranger put up with her and could she just pick one and stick with one already?  Of course not, coming up, Explosive Eighteen.

Even Now and Ever After by Karen Kingsbury

I picked up these 2 books in a special bound set from the library.  Even Now is the first and Ever After is the second.  Even Now tells the story of Emily Anderson, a teenager raised by her grandparents, searching for the parents she never knew.  Her mother disappeared shortly after her birth and her father lost contact with the family. The mystery surrounding Emily's birth and her parent's disappearance, as well as her search for them is told beautifully.
The second book picks up where the first left off.  I really don't want to say much more than that as I believe it may spoil the enjoyment of reading these books for yourselves.  They are both well done and are worth reading.

A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury

A Thousand Tomorrows may just have validated why I pick up a Karen Kingsbury novel.  This is the best of hers that I've read.  This is the story of Cody Gunner a bull rider in the rodeo circuit and Ali Daniels a barrel racer.  Each carries their own secret hurts and demons.  It's a really fantastic story.  One I've never read the likes of before.  The background topic was interesting (I've never read a story set on the rodeo circuit before) and I understand that Kingsbury spent quite a bit of time visiting with and talking to rodeo circuit riders as part of her research.  It was well worth it.  I look forward to reading the sequel to this one, Just Beyond the Clouds.

Ten Thousand Charms by Alison Pittman

Ten Thousand Charms is the first book in the Crossroads of Grace series by Alison Pittman.  The story held promise for me as one of the descriptions compared it to a cross between Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love and a Jeanette Oak saga.  It pairs an ex-prostitute and an ex-boxer together.  Each has the challenge of raising a new-born in pioneer Oregon and decide to join up to help each other out.  Unfortunately, this book is so predictable, I just didn't enjoy it like I thought I would.  I would much rather have re-read Redeeming Love (again) as that is a story with much more depth and grace.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This is the third and final book of the Hunger Games trilogy.  Rebellion against the power of the Capitol.  As I was reading, I thought back to where this all began and you just can't believe where these books have taken you.  They are a powerful statement of the sinful nature of humanity, while still drawing out what is good.  I highly recommend this series to adults and young adults alike.  Fantastic!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This is the second of the Hunger Games Trilogy.  It opens with a withdrawn Katniss Everdeen.  She has been affected by the Hunger Games and is feeling lost at home.  Her relationship with Peeta is strained.  Her relationship with her best friend Gale has changed.  As she approaches and begins her time of touring for the Capitol, she finds herself in deeper than she ever expected.  She knows that she has defied the Capitol, the only question is what retaliation will they take upon her.
This book is simply fantastic.  I could not put it down.  Just when you think you know what's happening, the book takes a turn you weren't expecting.  It's highly readable, highly entertaining.  I jumped right into it from the first book and from this one into the third.  Fantastic reading.