What is your reading goal this year?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Night of the Purple Moon

Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "Space germs wipe out virtually everyone who has passed through puberty....For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon. But nobody predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure. On a small island off the coast of Maine, a group of teens and children struggle to survive in this new world, but all the while they have inside them a ticking time bomb--adolescence."

Just thinking about this actually happening freaks me out. Can you imagine? I can't imagine my ten-year-old having to take care of his siblings and fight for their survival. Crazy. I liked this book. It is an interesting and different concept, which is good, and it definitely gets your attention. I felt so bad for these children and wished I could help them. Mr. Cramer's character development is really good, and I felt like these kids lived in my neighborhood, like I have always known them. I can't imagine having to bury my friends like they did. They took it surprisingly well and did a pretty good job of keeping life as normal as possible. I liked how each of the kids kind of ended up with a specialty, just like adults do. The book is well written and flows well. The story is captivating and draws you in. It's a fast, easy read.

I didn't like the language in the book. I like to live in my dream world and think that children ages 14 and younger shouldn't use bad language. One of the worst offenders was an old man at the very beginning, and I was disappointed. This book is about children this age, and yet, I am not going to allow my ten-year-old to read it. Mr. Cramer took a book that could have been great for the late elementary school readers as well as the early junior high kids, and made it inaccessible to them because of some language.  It wasn't filled with language, but enough that I'm uncomfortable recommending it for elementary age kids. It also ended quite abruptly, and left me hanging, but it is a trilogy, so what do you expect? Of course I'll need to read the next one because I have to see what happens to these cute kids!

I liked it, though, and would recommend it with the previous warning.

Rating: PG-13 (Language)

Recommendation: 14-15 years and up. As usual, parents should read it first to judge for their children.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coming Home

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

(Summary taken from inside the book jacket) "This is a novel to be savored, a curl-up-under-the-covers kind of old-fashioned reading experience hardly anyone knows how to write anymore. In telling the story of Judith Dunbar and her loved ones, Rosamunde Pilcher writes with warmth, wisdom, and clear-eyed insight about every family. This is a totally involving story of coming of age, coming to terms with both love and sadness, and, in every sense of the words, Coming Home."

This is a really long book. There are 728 pages in the version I read. I did enjoy it, though. I haven't read a "classic-type" book like this in a long time, so it took me about 150 pages before I got into it and could read it a little faster. The language is beautiful. I loved the descriptions and pictures that Ms. Pilcher paints with her words. I could almost smell the sea and feel the cool breezes.The character development is well done as well. I love Judith and feel for her. It felt like she could be my cousin or neighbor. I love Nancherrow and the people that live there. I also really like Aunt Lavinia and Judith's aunts and uncle. The story is about Judith's life growing up and how her family and those around her are affected by the war, and how they each end up "coming home." It has a cozy feeling to it, and it does make you feel like you are home. It's familiar.

I didn't like the transitions at all, however. You'll be right in the middle of a story with one character, then there is a little symbol on the page and all of a sudden you are reading about someone completely different. It threw me off every time. It takes a second to figure out who you are reading about and what he or she is doing. I also thought it ended quite abruptly. For having 728 pages I thought it needed about 30 more to finish it. There is some language in this book, including the "f" word a few times. There is also quite a bit of promiscuity. For some reason I had in my head that people living at the time of WWII wore chastity belts or something. Hahahaha. Nope.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I don't know if it is considered a classic, but it has a "classic-type" feel, which I enjoyed because I haven't read one in so long. I would recommend it with the previous warnings.

Rating: PG-13+ (Language, "physical intimacy," and some war atrocities.)

Recommendation: 18 and up

Monday, September 24, 2012

Linked Through Time

Linked Through Time by Jessica Tornese

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "Fifteen-year-old Kate Christenson is pretty sure she's about to experience the worst possible summer at her grandparents' rural farm in Baudette, Minnesota. Without cable, cell phones, or computers, she is headed for total isolation and six tedious weeks of boredom. Until the storm. A freak lightning accident has Kate waking up in 1960. But she is not herself. She's the aunt she never met but has eerily resembled her entire life. Thrust into living a dirt-poor, rural farm existence, Kate struggles to make sense of her situation--a boyfriend with a dark side, a "townie" who steals her heart, and the knowledge that 1960 is the very summer her aunt drowns in the local river. But was the drowning an accident or a suicide...or something much worse?"

This book was a fun surprise. I really enjoyed it. I like Ms. Tornese's writing style because it is easy to read and flows well. Her character development is well done and she hooked me almost from the very beginning. I really liked Kate and her dad, and I really liked Sarah and her siblings. If I had older brothers I think I'd want them to be like Sarah's. They had their moments, but for the most part they were loving and protective. I felt for Kate as she tried to figure out what had happened when she woke up in the past, and as she tried to get used to everything that had to be done. It would be hard to jump into someone else's life.

There were some great lessons to be learned in this book as well. Some of them included: a hard work ethic, learning to live without technology, not taking the things we have today for granted, and loving your family and watching out for them. Also, being a strong woman who can say "no" and get out of an abusive situation. Kate (Sarah) is a good role model for today's girls. She knew the situation was out of hand and knew she needed to get out of it. And, I love that she did it thinking of her aunt.

There was a little bit of language, here and there, but the worst of it was the domestic violence and the abusive boyfriend. There were a couple of attempted rape scenes that were difficult to read. There was also the murder of a character. Overall, though, I enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, the story, and the lessons learned.  I would recommend it with the previous warnings.

Rating: PG-13+ (A little bit of language, domestic violence, attempted rape, and the murder of a character)

Recommendation: 16 and up. As with any book, parents may want to read it first to see if it is appropriate for their child. A mature 15 yr-old may be ok with the attempted rape scenes, while an immature 17 yr-old may not be.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Deep Connections

Deep Connections by Rebecca Graf

(Summary taken from an email the author sent me) "It is the story of a woman who finds herself falling in love and being stalked at the same time. She has no idea why the stalker is obsessed with her. The man she is falling in love with risks his life to protect her. As the stalker becomes more obsessed, more deaths occur. It is only when she discovers why she is the target that she realizes that she has to make a decision that will impact everyone around her. A sacrifice is demanded of her."

This book is full of romance, action, suspense, sacrifice, and surprises. What could be better? Although the premise of the book is somewhat violent and a little graphic, I really enjoyed it. Ms. Graf's character development is really good, and I felt like Brenna was my good friend. I also liked the whole Lightfoot family. The evil in the "bad guy" just oozes from him. I did not like that guy at all, in fact, I could say I hated him. He creeps me out just thinking about him. And his purpose in stalking Brenna is pure evil. I liked the chemistry between Brenna and Slaton, and felt bad for poor Eaton.

This is not a story to read by yourself at night, in a dark and quiet house. Believe me, I tried it, and I actually got a little nervous. It has a good amount of suspense and scariness, and I just couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened.

There are a few typos and grammatical errors in this book, but I got an advanced copy, so they may have been fixed by now. They definitely didn't stop me from reading it. There is language, violence,   death, and attempted rape. Some of the scenes are quite graphic. With all this, I still really liked it. There are enough happy and light-hearted parts that it make it enjoyable to read, and they make you really care about what happens to the characters.

Rating: R (This does not follow the movie ratings exactly, it's just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) There is language, violence, the deaths of a few characters, and a couple of attempted rape scenes. The choice she needs to make is also a very grown-up decision.

Recommendation: 18 and up. I recommend it to the correct age group. It is not appropriate for younger readers. As with anything, if a parent is worried, she should read it first to see if it is appropriate for her specific child.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.