Showing posts with label lisa scottoline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lisa scottoline. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Title: Most Wanted
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Source: copy provided for an honest review by the publisher

Summary from Goodreads

When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps. Since it is the husband who is infertile, the heroine decides to use a donor. And all seems to be well. Three months pass and she is happily pregnant. But a shocking revelation occurs when she discovers that a man arrested for a series of brutal murders is her donor - the biological father of the child she is carrying. Delving deeper to uncover the truth, the heroine must face her worst fears, and confront a terrifying truth.

My Review:

This is my third Lisa Scottoline novel, and the third one I've given 3 stars to on Goodreads.  I went through the exact same experience with this book as I did with the other two of hers that I've read.  Let me lay out my typical Lisa Scottoline chain of events for you, and maybe this time I will actually learn something from it...

1. Read book description, instantly be like "OMG I must read this NOW."
Done and done.  I found the book on NetGalley and despite the fact that I've been trying (note: mostly failing) at controlling my impulses over there, I took one look at the description for this book and knew that I HAD to request a review.  Serial killers and infertility and marital strife, oh my!!

2. Begin book, love explosive intro!
The novel opened, and I was fascinated by hot-button topics that Scottoline introduced: confidentiality of sperm/egg donors (especially interesting for me as I was thisclose to applying to be an egg donor when I was in college), the impact of nature vs nurture in psychological disorders, coping with male infertility, etc.  This is cool.  I'm on board.

3. Middle of book. Female protagonist is annoying. Completely unbelievable series of events start happening. Losing faith in my ability to choose good novels.
First, things got slow.  Christine was spending so much time debating what her next step should be that the entire plot hit the brakes for a bit too long.  Then things got moving again, and Christine proved herself to be absolutely insufferable and she continued to make one ridiculous decision after the next.  Not only did I find Christine's choices questionable, but their resulting odd consequences felt so far-fetched at times that I just couldn't play along.

4. Ending: good but not great.  Three star book for interesting concept but subpar execution.
I was pleased that the ending did not turn out as I predicted.  That said, I had trouble embracing Christine's "heroine" status after it was caused by so many flighty decisions beforehand (see above).
Plus...I don't want to give anything away, but suffice to say that there is one person in this book who brings the phrase "wrong place, wrong time" to a whole new (completely implausible) level.

In the end, Most Wanted was a solid 3 stars for me.  Great concept, but the execution left a lot to be desired.  I WANT to love Scottoline's novels so badly!!  She comes up with such compelling topics!  But I've had the same middle-of-the-road reaction to each of her books that I've tried so far, unfortunately.

Do you have an author that you keep trying over and over, in the hopes that maybe THIS time will be different??

Monday, June 10, 2013

Big NEWS, and May 2013 In Review

There is a reason May rhymes with cray.  CUZ THAT MONTH WAS CRAY CRAY, Y'ALL.  As I alluded to earlier this week, I have two big pieces of news to share, and the time has come to grace you with one of them.

The Well-Read Redhead (and family) are moving!  

And not only are we moving...but I am taking on a new and much-wanted job title: CEO of Domestic Affairs.  (Stay at home momma, to the layperson.)  


My husband applied for a really great job a couple of months ago, but we didn't have our hopes up for it even a little.  Two months and many interviews later, he was offered the position.  Needless to say, our shock was GREAT.  However, shock was immediately replaced by excitement (great career step!  Kelly gets to stay home!) and also terror (we have to sell our house!  We have to buy a new one!  IN LESS THAN 2 MONTHS!  Please kill me).  But mostly excitement.
Jessie Spano, so wise.
The offer happened during Armchair BEA, so this greatly explains my absence at that time.  We are now steeped in the mucky muck of the home buying/selling process, among all the other wonderful things that come with moving 4 hours away to a town you know nothing about.  Chaos for sure, but we are really psyched about this opportunity, both for my husband and for our family as a whole.

(In related news, any book bloggers in the greater Rochester, NY area?  I need friends!  I promise I'm not (too) weird.  Maybe.)

So, that is Part 1 of my news.  Part 2 is forthcoming...soon.  (Suspense, I HAZ IT.)

Onward to May in review (book-wise).  First, as always, a photo depicting the month.  Despite all the insanity, Small Fry and I also took heavy advantage of the summer-like weather.
Small Fry at the water table, Mom in the kiddie pool, everyone's happy.
Now, the book-related goodness!

The May 2013 Fave/Least Fave honors go to:

May 2013 Favorite:  The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting  by Bunmi Laditan
May 2013 Least Favorite:  Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline

In total, I read/reviewed 7 books:
Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff
The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan
The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard
Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline
The Bridge of Years by May Sarton
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
Mama's Child by Joan Steinau Lester

I also posted one new Small Fry Saturday Review of Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?  by Eric Carle.

I didn't do a lot of other book talk last month (preoccupied!) but I did flash you back to my star-studded engagement anniversary.  Good times.  And my participation in Armchair BEA was basically the equivalent of going to actual BEA and sitting in the hotel room the whole time.

June is going to be nutty around here as we try to get things in order for The Big Move before my husband's official start date (August 12!).  Plus, we have a vacation scheduled mid-month (much needed under the circumstances, though it also feels somewhat poorly placed now, time-wise...ah well).  I have a few book tours scheduled, so I promise not to disappear!  And I'm hoping to get a little beach reading done on vacation anyway.

Have a lovely month, readers...and stay tuned for more excitement!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Audiobook Giveaway Winner!

Morning, my dear readers!  Just a quick post today to announce the winner of the audiobook CD copy of Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline.

And the winner (chosen randomly by Rafflecopter) is...

Jennifer from The Relentless Reader!

Woot woooooooot!  Congrats Jen!  Check your inbox for an email from me.  And readers, if you've never been to her blog before, check it out, because it is bookishly fabulous.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 13, 2013

GIVEAWAY and Audiobook Review: Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline

Title: Don't Go
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin's Press/Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Source: CD copy received from the publisher for an honest review

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Lisa Scottoline's  Don't Go  introduces us to Dr. Mike Scanlon, an army doctor called to serve in Afghanistan, who is acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will bring his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparently freak household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. He’s a stranger to his baby girl, and his medical practice has downsized in his absence. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

Grief-stricken, Mike makes decisions upon returning to Afghanistan which will change his life forever.  It’s not until he comes home for good that he grasps the gravity of his actions, and realizes he must fight the most important battle of his life, to reclaim his life and his daughter. Along the way, he discovers that everything is not as it seems, and he learns ugly truths about those he loves the most, as well as the true meaning of heroism.

My Review:

One of the first reviews I ever did on this blog was for Lisa Scottoline's Look Again .  While I didn't give it a roaring endorsement, I was left feeling like I needed to give her work another shot.  Read the plot summary of any one of her books (this one included), and I think you'd be hard-pressed not to want to pick it up like NOW.  She comes up with some truly unique and twisty plot ideas, and since most of them fall into a "women's fiction" category, my interest is always piqued.

Her latest release is Don't Go, and I decided it was high time for me to give her novels another shot.  Overall, I'm glad I did, though this book had its high and low points for me as well.

The best thing about this novel is the sense of mystery surrounding it, right from the first chapter.  It's told from Chloe's perspective as she dies, and there's a cliffhanger ending to the chapter that left me saying, "Okay, I'm committed to reading this entire book now, WELL PLAYED."  As with Look Again, I often thought I knew exactly who was involved in each part of the mystery--in fact, at one point I was not looking forward to writing this review, because I was going to have to call the book out for being so predictable.  However, SMUGNESS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.  Learn from me.  My predictions were totally wrong, and the ending took a turn that I truly did not see coming.  I love it when a book can completely unravel my super-sleuthing skills, so this was certainly a big advantage for the novel.

The flip side to this is that, at times, the details of the plot seemed carelessly handled--and in one place, they were downright wrong.  I never do this, but I have to throw in a SPOILER ALERT right now so that I can illustrate my point.  Did you see it?   I SAID SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILERS ALL UP IN THE PARAGRAPH BELOW!  You have been warned.

Okay, so when Mike returns from Afghanistan, he finds out from Chloe's autopsy report that she was 4 weeks pregnant.  OH MAN, major downer, because in the words of Maury Povich, he is NOT the father since he was in Afghanistan at that time.  Mike then finds some emails between Chloe and a mystery suitor proving that they had sex while Mike was away.  Here's the detail that (really REALLY) bothered me: Chloe died December 15.  The emails show that she had sex with Mystery Guy around November 11.  THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU 4 WEEKS PREGNANT ON DECEMBER 15.  It makes you roughly 6-7 weeks pregnant.  This is biology, people, so get ready for some knowledge.  The first two weeks of pregnancy, you're not really pregnant.  You conceive at around the 2 week mark.  If she was 4 weeks preggo on December 15, she conceived around the end of November.  This was an absolutely GLARING mistake, and since it plays a significant role in the mystery around Chloe's death, it bothered the heck out of me.


There was also a point in the novel where Mike got in a fight, the cops were called, and the cops showed up and immediately arrested him without interviewing him OR the person he fought first.  This is another example of a head-scratching detail that detracted from the reading/listening experience for me.  I just wish a little bit more care had been given to finer points such as these.

Okay, enough of my overzealous attention to detail.  Let's talk about the narration on the audiobook.  Jeremy Davidson did a really excellent job voicing this novel.  He's a perfect pick as the main character (Mike)--especially because many of you may recognize him from the TV show Army Wives.  However, he also had an impressive array of other voices that he had to portray, and he did a great job making each character distinct for the listener.  I'd say the only one I was iffy on was Mike's friend Jim--he was supposed to have a Philadelphia accent that came out more like a southern California surfer dude.  But that aside, Davidson does excellent work here, and lends an appropriate air of drama to the entire story.

Overall?  Don't Go is a fantastic pick if you want a family drama with lots of unpredictable twists.  Scottoline definitely excels in making readers second-guess their ideas about a plot, and I think that's a huge plus in her novels.  However, the details weren't always handled well, which led to a clunky reading experience for me.  Readers who are less hung up on nitty-gritty plot points may, admittedly, have a smoother ride than I did!

Other reviews of Don't Go:
An Unconventional Librarian
Ramblings of a Marine Wife
Robin Reads and Writes


I have one audiobook CD copy of Don't Go to give away to a lucky reader.  It's been used (once, by me!) and is in great condition.  Just enter using the Rafflecopter below (US entrants only please).  Giveaway closes May 20!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cannibals and Coasties and Cooking, oh my...

Hope you all had a great weekend!  What's everybody reading today?

I'm a busy reader these days.  Here's what I'm steeped in right now:

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals  tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.” He and his stalwart girlfriend Sylvia spend the next two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life).   (from Goodreads)

I'm reading this for April's Around The World challenge (South Pacific), and LOVING it.  It's a hilarious travel memoir that's teaching me a lot about an area of the world I am unfamiliar with.  Oh, you thought all islands of the South Pacific were idyllic gems like Fiji?  Not so much.  Troost's travelogue is leaving me in stitches and I can't wait to review it.

Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff

On November 5, 1942, a U.S. cargo plane on a routine flight slammed into the Greenland ice cap. Four days later, a B-17 on the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on the B-17 survived. The U.S. military launched a second daring rescue operation, but the Grumman Duck amphibious plane sent to find the men flew into a severe storm and vanished.

In this thrilling adventure, Mitchell Zuckoff offers a spellbinding account of these harrowing disasters and the fate of the survivors and their would-be saviors. Frozen in Time places us at the center of a group of valiant airmen fighting to stay alive through 148 days of a brutal Arctic winter by sheltering from subzero temperatures and vicious blizzards in the tail section of the broken B-17 until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen attempts to bring them to safety.
But that is only part of the story that unfolds in Frozen in Time. In present-day Greenland, Zuckoff joins the U.S. Coast Guard and North South Polar--a company led by the indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza, who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck's last flight--on a dangerous expedition to recover the remains of the lost plane's crew.   (from  Goodreads )

I'm at the beginning of this book, and already HOOKED.  I'm a bit of a Coast Guard groupie (both my brother and stepbrother currently serve) so this historical account of a World War II search-and-rescue mission is fascinating to me.  Plus, I love that the author got involved in the more recent search for one of the planes that was never found.  Adds a unique twist the story.

Weelicious by Catherine McCord

After her son was born in 2007, Catherine McCord sought out resources to teach her how to prepare fresh, healthy, appealing meals for young kids—but she came up empty. With culinary school under her belt and a hungry baby to feed, Catherine started, a website that has since grown into a comprehensive offering of kid-friendly family meals.

Complete with beautiful color photos, tips and tools, lists of pantry staples, feeding plans, and more than seventy new recipes never before seen on Weelicious .com,  Weelicious  makes it easy to get kids eating healthy foods from their first bite. Catherine teaches parents how to turn their kids into great eaters who appreciate food and are open to exciting new flavors.  (from Goodreads)

You guys know I love Small Fry to pieces.  He's the shizzle.  But seriously, one of the hardest things IN LIFE is trying to feed him.  He is the world's pickiest eater, hands down.  I have been on a desperate quest for the last year to find foods that will appeal to him (other than PB&J and fruit...which in themselves are not terrible, but a good diet they do not make).  I heard amazing things about Weelicious and decided to give it a try.  It's been an interesting journey.  I only have the book for 2 more days from the library, so will soon be reviewing it and sharing my saga with you...

And my audiobook is still Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline--should be finishing up this week!

What will be coming up next?
The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan.  I've been trying really hard to delay this awesomeness until close to its release date, and that is quickly coming upon us, so this is next in my queue!  Others on the horizon include Jordan Freeman Was My Friend by Richard White (for this month's Keyword Challenge: friend), The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard (for an upcoming book tour) and Fly Away by Kristin Hannah (ARC that I'm pretty excited to review).

What are you reading this week, friends?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Whatcha readin'?

Did you get any good reading done this weekend, friends?

The husband, Small Fry, and I had a nice relaxing weekend at home.  Hubs and I finally watched Argo on Friday night, which was awesome.  And then we watched Syracuse lose on Saturday night, which was EXTRA AWESOME.  (UConn may not be tourney-eligible this year, but that doesn't mean my disdain for Duke and Syracuse has waned.)

The temperature continues to slowly chug its way upwards, so we spent a good amount of time outside.  All fun, except for when Small Fry took a big digger in the driveway.  Now he's got a nice case of road rash on his face.  Ah, the life of a toddler boy.  I told him to tell all his friends that he got in a fight with a 3-year-old.  You can't start the street cred too early.

Between all that and playing way too much Candy Crush (that game WILL be the end of me), I did get a good amount of reading done, finishing up Found Objects by Peter Gelfan (review to come tomorrow!). 

As for what I'm reading now:

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. (from Goodreads )

Yes, I am finally reading one of the food books I got from the library!!  I have been dying to read Samuelsson's memoir (released a few months ago).  I adore many of the Food Network stars, including Samuelsson, and I've heard that his road to food glory was a unique one.  I just started this, can't wait to share with all of you.

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7” when—while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints—his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman—and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison—taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability— and navigate his wavering Mormon faith—to find love and create a life worth living.
Goodreads )

Just starting this interesting memoir as well!  I have an ARC from NetGalley that I couldn't resist, because Hanagarne's story sounds so intriguing.  The book is released next month, and I've already heard a lot of great reviews.

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline

When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left - his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

Ultimately, Mike realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front and he’ll have to put it all on the line to save what’s dearest to him – his family.
Goodreads )

This is my current audiobook.  I had a somewhat lukewarm reaction to my first Lisa Scottoline read last year ( Look Again ), but I do think she comes up with twisty, unexpected plots, so I decided to give this one a shot.  It's definitely keeping my interest so far as I try to figure out what happened to Chloe, and how Mike is going to work through it.  Kind of a women's fiction novel from a man's POV, which is cool.

What will be coming up next? 
My two top contenders for my next read: Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff, and The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan.  Words cannot do justice to how FREAKIN' STOKED I am about that book.  Review coming soon!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

August 2012 Reads (and other stuff)

On my old personal blog, I used to do a monthly post recapping all of the books I read that month.  I figured I'll continue that here, because even though I'm reviewing every book on the blog as I go, it's also nice to see what kind of progress I made over the last month.  Here's what I read in August (three were pre-blogging, so I included Goodreads review links):

The Other Woman by Jane Green (here's my Goodreads review)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Goodreads review)
Still Alice by Lisa Genova (Goodreads review)
Gold by Chris Cleave (blog review)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (blog review)
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline (blog review)

Definitely one of my more productive reading months this year!  I know that's not much compared to many other bloggers, but I think many moms of babies/toddlers will agree that reading habits inevitably get harder to maintain when you have a crazy (though adorable) banshee running through your house 24/7.  (Speaking of which, I saw this excellent post on Book Riot last week; mom book bloggers, check it out!)

I used to average about 75 books/ I'm closer to 50.  But I'll trade those 25 books for time with my little banshee, no questions asked.  Also, since this is still a new blog, I should warn you that I am also an obsessive mommy photographer, and any mention of my son requires me to immediately share a heart-melting photo of him (well, it melts mine, and so I naturally imagine it melts all others).  Ooooo, here it comes!

Le sigh.

Anywho.  I'll end here by saying that I'm quite enjoying this book blogging venture so far.  Thanks to all those that have welcomed me to the blogging community (book bloggers and book readers alike!).  If you haven't yet, follow me on Twitter @TheWRRedhead...I'm still working on being witty in 140 characters or less.  Twitter is not for the verbose.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Labor Day to all my fellow laboring (and non-laboring) Americans!  I was hoping to do a few other posts this weekend, but it's just been way too beautiful outside to be at the computer.  Never fear though, I've got lots o' reading going on, and a few new reviews should be coming your way this week.

What Are You Reading? is hosted weekly by Book Journey.  Here's what's been on my reading plate (and will be soon):

Read This Week:

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline (see my review here)

Reading Now:

The Confession by John Grisham (audiobook, currently finishing up the last CD)

The Beach House by Jane Green (awesome so far!)

Sometimes It Snows In America by Marisa Labozzetta (ARC from Guernica Editions, almost done)

Reading Next:

Mystic River, and A Drink Before The War (both by Dennis Lehane)
My local library is holding a reading/signing with Lehane on 9/24, and I got a seat!  So I want to hurry up and read these beforehand (already own both but never read).  The only book of his that I've read so far is Shutter Island, which was fan-effing-tastic, so I am looking forward to these.

So, what are YOU reading?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Title: Look Again
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: April 14, 2009
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library

The summary from Goodreads:
"When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves."

My Review:
Can you see why I was dying to get at this book?  I remember reading the back cover of it in a Borders (OH SNAP, dating myself!) when it first came out, and frantically writing a note on my hand so that I wouldn't forget to put it on my TBR list when I got home.  I finally got around to borrowing it this week.  Believe it or not, this is a tough one to review.

Let me start with the good things.  The plot will rip your heart out and stomp on it at multiple points throughout the novel, especially if you're a parent.  It's tough not to get emotionally attached to three-year-old Will.  There were a few times that I threw the book down and ran into my son's room to stalkerish-ly watch him sleep, because I was terrified at the VERY THOUGHT that something like this could ever befall a mother and child.  For that alone, Scottoline gets big points.  She does a great job with the emotional side of the plot.

I also loved that there were several twists that I did not see coming.  A few times I thought (quite smugly, I might add) that I had it all figured out, only to be proven horribly wrong ten pages later.  And I'm pretty sure that the only time I LOVE being wrong is when I'm predicting book plots.

But alas, this book was not 100% full of awesome.

One issue for me was with the writing style.  There were several times that Scottoline used young, "hip" conversational terms that felt extremely forced.  Phrases like "mos def", "we cool?", and "hold the phone" peppered the dialogue at times, and they were painful to read (even on younger characters).  This made the chatter between characters feel way too clunky.  Plus, Scottoline seems to have a burning desire to end every chapter with a dramatic one-liner, which got old quickly.  Choppy sentences like "She felt a catfight coming on." or "As if she would forget it." dangled dramatically at the end of every chapter (of which there were 96, so yes, it happened a lot).  It felt kitschy and didn't fit the tone of what was happening in the novel.

My only other issue was the romantic relationship that Ellen develops between all her super-sleuthing.  It was odd (strangest May-September romance ever), completely misplaced given the adoption/kidnapping situation, and totally unnecessary to the plot.  It was clearly thrown in there solely to keep the attention of the 50 Shades set.  I could have done without it.

Overall?  Look Again is based on a great concept, and certainly keeps you guessing.  But the writing leaves a lot to be desired, and at times, takes away from the enormity of the topic at hand.  It's Jodi Picoult-ish, but with a less serious writing style.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A quick and dirty survey.

I saw this brief book survey on The Broke and the Bookish today, and I had to repost.  An easy way to give you some insight into my latest reading habits.

The book I'm currently reading: Look Again by Lisa Scottoline.  I saw a brief summary of this book a year or two ago, and have been dying to read it ever since.  Unfortunately, it's not all that I thought it would be, but I have another 100-ish pages for it to change my mind (I'll keep you posted on how that goes). 

I'm also listening to The Confession by John Grisham on audiobook, and it's been an excellent way to spend my commutes these last couple of weeks.

The last book I finished: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman--you saw my happy-customer review here.

The next book I want to read: I am hoping to get my hands on a copy of Emily Giffin's new one, Where We Belong.  I'm a big fan of her other work.  I've been on the library wait list for a while now, I should be up soon!

The last book I boughtCommencement by J. Courtney Sullivan--I do indeed have a professional life in higher education (book bloggin' JUST DON'T PAY), so books about colleges/universities, undergrads, recent grads, etc. always catch my interest (I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe is one of my absolute favorites, all-time).  I haven't read this one yet but it's on my Kindle and I'm looking forward to it.

The last book I was given: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova.  Cari gave me this book a few months ago, and it was an excellent recommendation for me.  It's about a high-powered working mom whose life is turned upside down when she is in a terrible car accident, leaving her with a traumatic brain injury.  The physical and emotional changes she goes through in the novel are amazing.  A great read for anyone who loves Jodi-Picoult-style family dramas.
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