Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Time - Sharp Objects


*SPOILER ALERT: If you are planning on reading this book, and don't want to know what happens, then wait until later to read this post!  I wouldn't want you to find out what happens before you read it :)

I just finished reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  I mean, I literally finished it an hour ago.  It was so compelling that I just couldn't put it down.  The first thing I thought when I read this book was: the gal in my book club who said there was a twist ending was right!  The second thing I though when I was done was: Oh lord, this book was so much creepier than Room (and that was a creepy book!)

At the beginning of the book, Camille - the long gone daughter of a Missouri pig farm owner - gets an assignment from her editor: to return home to the town of Wind Gap, MO and write about the murders of two 13 year old girls.  Cubby, her editor, believes that she can provide a hometown feel to the article, and wants her to finish it before a larger paper gets hold of the story.  

So, Camille, hesitant to go back, takes the assignment.  She arrives in Wind Gap, feeling the weirdness of her past come up as she gets to town.  Her mother, Adora, got pregnant with Camille when she was 17.  We learn later in the book that Adora hoped that would be the thing that made her mother love her.  

Some important things to know about Camille are:

*She had sex for the first time when she was 13, and slept around - a lot!
*She drinks more alcohol in her two to three week stay in Wind Gap than most people do in a year.
*Her sister Marian died when she was a child.  (I'll tell you why in a bit.) 
*Camille recently got out of a psych hospital.  She stayed there because of her issues with cutting.

After Camille was born, Adora met Alan and they got married when Camille was three.  However, she was not allowed to call him dad.  Ever.  She also was not allowed to talk to him unless Adora was in the room.  During the course of their childhood, Marian keeps getting sick and having to stay at the hospital.  This is relevant to the other two children who've died - I promise!  So, after Marian passes away, Adora and Alan have another child - Amma.  Camille was old enough when they had Amma that by the time Amma was 5, Camille had moved out to college.  Camille doesn't see Amma again until Amma is 13.

Now, to the heart of the matter.  Camille returns home to Wind Gap, thinking she'll be there a few days.  It turns out that she's there for almost three weeks.  She spends the first night in a hotel.  The next day, she stops by her childhood home - a mansion built in true southern style.  Her mom is the owner of the local pig factory and it is proudly declared that she brings home a hefty salary every year!  Anyway, Camille asks to stay at the house for a few days, and her mom, not ever wanting to upset anyone, says yes.

Now, I don't want to give too much away.  So, allow me to tell you a few things about the characters, and give a few details about the book that might just get you hooked.

The Characters you need to know about:

* Totally, completely batshit crazy.  There is really no other way to describe this woman. 
* She keeps lots of "special" medicine in her house.
* She likes her kids best when they are sick.
* She hates Camille.  No, really, she does.  She even tells Camille she hates her.
* She tutors Ann and Natalie - the two girls who got killed.
* When Adora gets upset about stuff, she rips out her eyelashes.  Thus, she almost always has the look of someone who is constantly crying.

* This kid is a bully.  There's really no other way to describe her.  She is a complete bully.  
* She feels like her mom doesn't love her.
* A lot of her behavior is attention seeking.
* She likes to drink and do drugs.
*She's only 13.

* A police officer from Kansas City, Richard is, to put it nicely, kind of a dick.
* He woos Camille - so he can find out information about Camille's mother.

Some of the Details you need to know:
* Camille and Amma both have some serious psychological issues.
* Adora is obsessed with manners, but doesn't really have any herself.
* Amma spends some time living with Camille
* Some people lose their teeth - because somebody rips them out.
* John is the favored one to be the killer.  His sister Natalie is one of the girls who gets killed.

I hope you've read or are planning on reading the book.  If you read this post before the book - I hope I didn't give to much away!  (Hey, I told you there were some spoilers.)  Now, if you haven't read it, this is the time to do so!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coming Up in the Land of Books...

Well, it should come as no secret now that I love to share the books I am reading and the books I have coming up.  So, here are the fun reads I have on my pile right now:

Sharp Objects: This is the book I am currently reading for my book club.  So far I am really enjoying it!  I'll definitely have a review of it up in the next couple days!

 A Discover of Witches: A book I accidentally stumbled across while browsing around Good Reads, I am going to read this after I finish Sharp Objects. 

 Shadow of Night: The sequel to A Discovery of Witches, I'm really excited to get to this book!  It might be a few days, however, because A Discovery of Witches is almost 600 pages long.

American Gods: Chosen by me, this is the book my book club is going to read for August.  I actually bought this one on my Kindle instead of checking it out, because I am just such a huge Neil Gaiman fan.  Since I probably won't start this book for at least three or so more weeks, it might be a while before I review it.  But I think the wait will be worth it.  It is by Neil Gaiman, after all!

Gone Girl: Recommended over and over again by the people in my book club, I am finally going to read this book.  I am very excited to read what happens, as I have heard nothing but good things about this book! (If you've read it, don't spoil it!  I plan on getting to it within the next two to four weeks.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Time - Drink, Slay, Love

*SPOILER ALERT* If you plan on reading this book, but don't want to know what happens, then you shouldn't read this post until later!

I just finished reading the book Drink, Slay, Love - by Sarah Beth Durst.  I was looking for something that was easy and that I didn't have to think about because I am also reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - which is a real thinker of a book.

So, this book was one I just happened to find as I was walking around my public library.  I checked it out and read through it real quick.  Compared to other teen vampire novels (Twilight) this book was cute. 

The main character, Pearl, is a 16 year old "born" vampire.  She and her Family live together in a large house where they, naturally, all spend the day sleeping and the night drinking human blood.  Her mother and daddy (her calling) are sort of the heads of the house.

Other Family characters include:
Antoinette: Pearls clothing obsessed, 1980's movie loving cousin
Uncle Felix: Likes to play chess.
Jeremiah: The slow cousin of the family.  The Family believe he is slow because he was created, not born.
Jocelyn: Cousin, chatty, fun
Aunt Rose: Not mentioned much, quiet character
Aunt Lianne: Again, another quiet character. Chimes in only when necessary.
Charlaine:  She is a vicious cousin
Jadrien: Not really a part of the Family, he's Pearls boyfriend (for now) so he's around all the time

Some of the high school characters that Pearl meets (and eventually befriends) are:
Bethany: So Perky you almost expect her to be a cheerleader.  She's not.
Evan: He's got some secrets of his own.
Tara: One of the 'in' crowd types.  She's one the prom committee.
Ashlyn: Hates Pearl from the get go, until she meets Pearls Parents (more on that later).
Kelli: Another "queen bee" prom committee type.

And of course, the members of Evan's "family":
Donald (dad): total vampire hunter
Sandy (mom): again, vampire hunter
Lizzie: Loud, Opinionated
Melinda: Doesn't talk a lot
Marcus: hates Pearl the moment he sets eyes on her

The book starts with Pearl charming Brad, the local Dairy Hut employee, getting him to eat some mint ice cream, then drinking from him.  She charms him every time she drinks from him, so he never remembers who she is.

After Pearl has finished drinking from Brad (in a dark alley behind the Dairy Hut) she turns around to see a unicorn standing behind her.  Apparently, in this vampire novel, unicorns and vampires are natural enemies.  The unicorn stakes Pearl.  She wakes up the next night laying on her couch with no idea how she got there.  We find out later that the unicorn that staked her with his horn also heals her and carries her home.

Pearl leaves the next morning and walks around in the daylight - something no other vampire has ever been able to do.  When she tells her mother and daddy about it, they decide to send her to high school - so she can entrance the students and bring them as a feast for the king at the upcoming Fealty ceremony.

While in high school, Pearl meets Bethany and Evan on the first day and becomes friends with them, mostly because of Bethany's unrelenting chattiness.  Pearl also makes a quick enemy of Ashlyn.  Later, however, Ashlyn and her parents are made into a meal by Pearls parents, thus improving the relationship - if only because Ashlyn no longer has the energy to be mean to Pearl.

Throughout the rest of the novel, there are many interesting things that happen, including the following:

*Pearl finds out that Evan is a were-unicorn.  He is, in fact, the unicorn that staked and healed Pearl. 
*We learn that all of Evan's adopted siblings are were-unicorns and that their goal is to make vampires friendly.
*Were- Unicorns have a special sort of power in their horns - which is what allows them to "heal" vampires.
*Pearl joins the prom committee - because she wants to serve up the entire junior class as food for the king.
*Later, Pearl realizes that it was, in fact, a mistake to serve up the entire junior class as food.  So she and some other students come up with an attack plan to heal as many vampires as possible.

So, if you want something fun and lighthearted to read, pick this book up.  It's fun and funny, and although it's no Anne Rice book, it is a lot better written than Twilight!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Talk - The Changelings

*Warning: This review contains Spoilers.  If you are interested in reading The Changelings, but don't want the story to be ruined, wait until later to read this post.*

So, I have this friend who posts a lot of things on facebook about Elle Casey.  She is always talking about what a great author Elle Casey is.  Well, you know I love me a good book.  So, I decided to give this Elle Casey a little look see.  I got the book The Changelings on my Kindle.  It is a book written for the YA crowd. But believe me when I tell you that if you read this book, you won't feel like a teenager.

The books main character, Jayne, is a fowl mouthed teenager who lives in a family that is, at best, dysfunctional.  Her stepfather is, for lack of a better word, a total douche.  Her mom is kind of not all there in the sense that she doesn't really seem to have a clue about what is going on in Jayne's life.  At the beginning of the book, Jayne talks about how she became best friends with Tony, a nerdy boy who doesn't have any social contacts outside of other nerds.  He likes math, wears big glasses and basically looks like what you would imagine a nerd looking like.

One day, while Jayne and Tony are sitting outside, they get into a confrontation with a school bully and it leads to Tony pulling a gun out of his bag and pointing it at the bully.  He and Jayne then flee town and go to Miami.  While at the bus stop in Miami, they meet Jared, the leader of a group of teens who have all left home for various reasons.  Tony, trusting lad that he is, thinks that Jared's offer to help is great. 

When they get back to the warehouse where Jared and his friends are staying, they meet several new characters.  They are:

Samantha - she hates Tony and Jayne.
Spike - Jayne thinks that Spike has great teeth and she wants him bad.
Chase - Quiet and pensive, you don't really get to learn much about him in this book
Finn - Finn is chatty and fun
Becky - Loud and Cheerful, it is really hard for anyone to dislike Becky.

When they get to the warehouse, Samantha flips out because she doesn't think that Tony and Jayne should be there.  She is happy with the way things have been to that point.  While they are all sitting around talking, Spike comes in with pizza - he is the one who has regularly been bringing them food.  They all go to sleep later, and the next day they learn about a test being offered by the One Eleven Company.  The prize is $500 to each person who completes they test. 

Jared has given Jayne and Tony the chance to be a part of their group permanently, but has left them to make the final decision about whether they will be part of the group.  They decide to hang out with the group until the test then decide if they want to stay with them permanently after the fact.

When the group arrives at the hotel where the test is being offered, everyone has to take a written test, then do an oral test with a man named Mr. Dardennes. 

Well, you know I don't like to give *too* much away, so let me leave you with a few more thoughts:

*There are vampires
*There is a lake spirite
*There are werewolves
*Jayne swears - a lot!
*Samantha doesn't get into the main test
*They have to fly on a plane to get to the woods where the main test occurs.
*Becky almost dies.
*Finn almost dies.
*Everyone gets some big surprises when they get to the fourth way point in the woods.

Now, get out their and get this book!  You won't be disappointed.