Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

Summer Rental
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Published: June 7, 2011
Genre: chick lit
Hardcover: 402 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds--has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.  And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina's Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs. Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he's hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he's ever cared about. Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity.  Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs? Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness.   Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them. 

My Thoughts: When the weather starts warming up, I start longing for those great summer reads. Books that take you away but aren't too much. For me, Summer Rental was one of those perfect summer reading books. A bunch of old friends renting a place at the Outer Banks for an entire month, a hot landlord, a little embezzlement, and you have a great summer read. While not a literary masterpiece, I loved every moment of this book and it left me wanting to keep on following these four women to know what happens next.

The three main characters are old childhood friends, all in their mid-30s and needing to reconnect. Julia was a great character and I wish that she had been featured a little more throughout the novel. Dorie reminded me a lot of a 15 year old girl and that became very old, very quick. Ellis reminded me a bit of myself, but I felt like she was taken to an extreme. I just wish that Mary Kay Andrews had flushed the three leading ladies out a bit more. The fourth woman in the house, Madison/Maryn, was interesting. I do wish that she had been featured more, especially together with Julia. They had a few interactions together, but those were some of the best moments in the book.

I will definitely be adding more of Mary Kay Andrews' books to my summer reading list. This book was a perfect summer read, and I cannot wait to go outside and read another one of her books.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Blog Hop and TGIF (6-29-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Having a good summer? We are in the midst of heat wave here in western Pennslvania ... yesterday was 95, today is supposed to be 93. No fun to be had outside. Hopefully, it will cool down a little before the 4th so we don't sweat while waiting for the fireworks. Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

Do you have a keeper shelf for books you loved? What 
books are on that shelf and why?

Well, I tend to keep all the books that I love. I have a small bookshelf that is in my room, and when I love a book, I put it right on there after I finish it. Other books are typically left in a hallway closet or in a stack next to my bookcase, so when my library has a book drive, I can just grab them and drop them off.

GReads asks:

Best I've Read So Far: We're half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you've read so far this year?

Great question! This year, my faves thus far would be:

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigani (audiobook ... review up soon!)

So, where do you keep those books that you love? What are the three best books that you've read in 2012? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (6-27-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to Domestic Affairs by Bridget Siegel (release date: July 10, 2012).

Synopsis (from When twenty-something political fundraiser Olivia Greenley is recruited by her close friend Jacob Harriston to join the Presidential campaign of Georgia Governor Landon Taylor, she is intoxicated by optimism and opportunity. Taylor’s commitment to social equality and economic responsibility in the post-housing-bubble era is palpable. Sacrificing her sleep, comfort and income are certain to help make the world a better place. Right? 
Domestic Affairs: A Campaign Novel vividly captures the fervor and idealism of campaign life—as well as the disillusionment staffers feel when told to make the inevitable compromises. Leaving a meeting with foreclosure victims to hop onto a private jet is one thing, but how to justify dining at a $2,000-a-plate dinner knowing how many lunches the money could buy for at-risk kids? How far does one go when the ends appear to justify the means? And what’s a girl to do when the most charming, erudite, capable and ostensibly honorable man in the free world wants to take her to bed (but he’s married and her boss)? How does it feel to keep the biggest secret of her life from her best friend and coworker, even as the three of them spend every waking hour together? The tension between characters, right and wrong, and between success and implosion are taut.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (6-26-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In 

Real Life

1) Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird) - I can't quite place my finger on it, but there is something about Scout that just reminds me of myself.

2) Valentine (Valentine Series by Adriana Trigiani) - I love Valentine. She reminds me so much of myself. Wanting to focus more on her career than her love life. Cannot wait for the third book in this trilogy to come out.

3) Maggie (Maine by J.Courtney Sullivan) - Maggie reminds me of me, somewhat (although I've never been pregnant). Just how she carries herself and her thoughts, they remind me of myself.

4) Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear) - another woman who is more concerned making her own way in the world than about finding a man. 

5) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series by JK Rowling) - I always loved Hermione. A girl more interested in reading and learning than anything else. 

6) Skeeter (The Help by Kathryn Stockett) - Skeeter reminds me of myself in the unruly hair department (true story) and how she cannot understand why her mother sent their maid away with getting to say good-bye. I definitely identified with Skeeter throughout the entire novel.

7) Winona (True Colors by Kristin Hannah) - she is the oldest of three girls (as am I) and she always feels like she must do the right thing (which is how I feel too). 

8) Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling) - this is a memoir, but I was laughing so hard while I listened to it because Mindy reminds me so much of myself. And, I wish that I was her.

Well, that's all I could come up with for this week! So, which characters remind you of yourself, or someone that you know? Let me know!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: A Good American by Alex George

A Good American
Author: Alex George
Published: February 2, 2012
Genre: historical fiction
Hardcover: 400 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): It is 1904. When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new? Originally set to board a boat to New York, at the last minute, they take one destined for New Orleans instead ("What's the difference? They're both new"), and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together.
Beatrice is populated with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who helps the young men in town learn about a lot more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf. A Good American is narrated by Frederick and Jette's grandson, James, who, in telling his ancestors' story, comes to realize he doesn't know his own story at all. From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies, the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, James's family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American. And, in the process, Frederick and Jette's progeny sometimes discover more about themselves than they had bargained for.

My Thoughts: Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good piece of historical fiction, so when I found this book, I knew that it would be something that I enjoyed. I always love reading about the immigrant experience to America in the early 1900s, but this one is different from any of the other books that I have read. Instead of going to Ellis Island, the main entry for immigrants to the US, this family arrives in New Orleans and ends up settling in Missouri. I felt like this was a great way for Alex George to differentiate himself from other immigrant tales. Frederick and Jette are introduced to a whole slew of characters in Lousiana and Missouri, and that really helps to add a richness to the story.

The book is narrated by James, Frederick and Jette's grandson. He proves to be a great narrator, especially as he discovers who he is. I was surprised by the end of the book and thought that George did a great job in making sure that the reader was surprised but did not take away from the story. For me, part of what makes America so great is that our country was built by immigrants. We all moved here and formed a great nation, and Frederick and Jette contributed to that growth. George brings new life to the American Dream and shows how infectious that spirit of America was at this time. Frederick loved his new country so much that he was willing to go to war for it and risk his life. Jette may have been homesick, but she never threw in the towel and continued to persevere. Their children contributed to the dream, as did their grandchildren.

This is a great retelling of the American Dream and Alex George put a new spin on the immigrant's tale. He did note at the end of his book that it took him six years to complete this work, but I certainly hope it doesn't take him as long to finish his next one. I am eagerly anticipating it's release!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Audiobook Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author and Narrator: Mindy Kaling
Published: November 1, 2011
Genres: memoir, humor
Audiobook: 4 CDs (4.5 hours)
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

My Thoughts: There is something that I have probably neglected to mentioning here on my blog, which I will go ahead and tell you now: I am a HUGE fan of The Office. I have loved it since the first day that it came on the air and will continue to watch it until they can it (which is hopefully never). Mindy Kaling in one of the writers for the show and she protrays a character called Kelly Kapoor, a ditz in every sense of the word. I think that Mindy is a great actress and she has written some of my favorite episodes from this series, so it was only a matter of time until I got around to reading her book. I stumbled upon the audiobook and figured, "Everyone loved Tina Fey's book in audio form, so the same must be true for Mindy's Book." (This is how I think about things in my head sometimes) And, let me just say, it was hilarious. Like, I spit pop out of my nose at one point as I was driving because it's so funny.

Mindy takes you through her life, from growing up with successful parents and how they raised her all the way to her present success. I felt like I could be best friends with Mindy after listening to this book because she is pretty unaffected by her fame (except for her chapter on giftbags at awards shows, but it's still funny). She is down to earth and tells her story with humor. She doesn't bash anyone, but just looks at the world as a great place to have a laugh. This was a great audiobook to listen to and definitely kept me entertained on my 6 hour drive. I hope that Mindy will continue to write in the future because these books are relateable for every woman, regardless of age.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (6-22-12)

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that you are enjoying your summer and getting lots of reading in. For some unknown reason, I seem to be in a reading slump. I like the books that I read, but I have no motivation to read. Ugh, how frustrating! Well, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

Do you immediately write a review upon finishing a book or do you wait and write multiple reviews at once?

I prefer to write them right after I finish reading a book so that the book is fresh in my mind and I can write a thorough review. However, sometimes life gets in the way and I might have to wait a few days to write my review.

Parajunkee asks:

If you could “unread” a book, which one would it be? Is it because you want to start over and experience it again for the first time? Or because it was THAT bad?

Definitely Harry Potter series. Every few years I reread the whole series, but to be able to go back in time and read it for the first time? How magical that would be!

So, when do you write your reviews? Which book would you want to unread? Let me know, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (6-20-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to Gold by Chris Cleave (release date: July 3, 2012).

Synopsis (from KATE AND ZOE met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling—a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair.
Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.
Kate is the more naturally gifted, but the demands of her life have a tendency to slow her down. Her eight-year-old daughter Sophie dreams of the Death Star and of battling alongside the Rebels as evil white blood cells ravage her personal galaxy—she is fighting a recurrence of the leukemia that nearly killed her three years ago. Sophie doesn’t want to stand in the way of her mum’s Olympic dreams, but each day the dark forces of the universe seem to be massing against her.
Devoted and self-sacrificing Kate knows her daughter is fragile, but at the height of her last frenzied months of training, might she be blind to the most terrible prognosis?
Intense, aloof Zoe has always hovered on the periphery of real human companionship, and her compulsive need to win at any cost has more than once threatened her friendship with Kate—and her own sanity. Will she allow her obsession, and the advantage she has over a harried, anguished mother, to sever the bond they have shared for more than a decade?
Echoing the adrenaline-fueled rush of a race around the Velodrome track, Gold is a triumph of superbly paced, heart-in-throat storytelling. With great humanity and glorious prose, Chris Cleave examines the values that lie at the heart of our most intimate relationships, and the choices we make when lives are at stake and everything is on the line.

Since the Olympics are coming up, this book is something that sounds like the perfect book to read in the weeks leading up to the Games. So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (6-19-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Books On My Summer TBR List

1) any Adriani Trigiani novel - I have fallen in love with this author over the past month and cannot get enough of her work. So, I'm hoping to get to most of her books this summer.

2) Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey - I read the first book in this Marie Antoinette trilogy last summer and LOVED it. I have been anxiously awaiting this release for the past few months, so my copy is on hold for me at my library!

3) Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead - a novel set in New England around a wedding. Sounds like a good summer read to me!

4) The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner - I love Weiner's books and this is her latest one. Definitely looking forward to spending some time in the sunshine with this one!

5) Where We Belong by Emily Giffin - I love Giffin's work but haven't read any of her books while having a blog. This one comes out at the end of July, and I cannot wait to read and review it!

6) Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand - to me, Hilderbrand is quintessential summertime reading. This is her book that came out last summer. I have felt like it has been staring at me the past few months, daring me to read it, but I have managed to resist so that I could sit outside, next to the pool, and devour her work.

7) Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella - I love Kinsella's work but have avoided continuing with the Shopaholic series for some reason (don't ask me why). So, a few days ago, I decided that it was time to continue with the series. Hopefully, I can get to this one in the next few weeks.

8) That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anne Sebba - my summer can't be filled with all fluff, can it?!? So, I've wanted to read this one for a long time now and hope that I can get to it this summer. I'm fascinated by Wallis Simpson and would like to learn a little more about her.

9) Home Front by Kristin Hannah - this one is her latest book and I have been waiting for a few months to read it. 

10) My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock - one woman loses her job and spends the next year living by Eleanor Roosevelt's advice of "Do one thing everyday that scares you." I would love to see how this woman spent that year of her life and what all she did.

So, what's on your summer TBR list? Let me know!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Best of Friends by Susan Mallery

The Best of Friends
Author: Susan Mallery
Published: September 28, 2010
Genre: chick lit
Audiobook: 8 CDs
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In high school, studious Jayne Scott and wild child Rebecca Worden became unlikely best friends---a tie that endured even after Rebecca fled her family to live overseas. After Jayne's mother passed away, she became part unpaid assistant, part surrogate daughter to the wealthy Wordens. But now, ten years later, Rebecca is coming home to L.A. to cause havoc for Elizabeth, the mother who all but rejected "her". And Jayne finds herself pulled deeper into the Wordens' complicated family dynamics---especially when Rebecca's brother, David, returns as well.David is the man Jayne always wanted and knew she could never have. But when he gravitates toward her in spite of Elizabeth's protests, her vow to escape the family's shadow is put to the ultimate test. And as lies are shattered and true feelings exposed, Jayne must decide where loyalty ends, and love begins . . . 

My Thoughts: Now, if you have been on my blog for the past few months, you know that my favorite audiobooks are the ones by Sophie Kinsella. However, I realize that there are a finite amount of those books available (please, write faster, Sophie!), so I like to branch out and try new authors. I have a Susan Mallery book waiting for me in my TBR pile, but figured, "Why not try her out as an audiobook?" Let me just say that I was hugely disappointed. I think this may be a case of the real book does not transfer well to being an audiobook. There were some jumps in time that weren't explained, but you wondered how you jumped ahead so quickly (I think that would have been more easily understood on the page.) I also felt like all the characters were one dimensional. Jayne, the main character, basically has no personality. Her best friend, Rebecca, is whiny and annoying. Same with her mother, Elizabeth. The father doesn't care, and David, Rebecca's brother and Janye's new boyfriend, just keeps on professing his love for her and how badly he wants to marry her, even though they have only been dating for two months (I hope I'm not alone in saying that this guy, in the real world, would be labeled as a creep).

For the most part, the plot was weak. There were moments when I was like, "Finally, this book is turning around and will finally pull me in." Nope, Mallery just went back to having Rebecca act like an awful human being and her mother being nosy. I will try Mallery on the printed page, but I will never check out one of her audiobooks again.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: The Pact by Jodi Picoult

The Pact
Author: Jodi Picoult
Published: May 6, 1998
Genre: contemporary fiction
Paperback: 389 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty-- they've grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other's lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born. So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet-- a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

My Thoughts: This was the first Jodi Picoult book that I've read (and I know that's heresay to some of you), and I can't believe that I have resisted reading her work for so long. I just stumbled upon this book as I was meandering through the library and figured, "Why not give it a chance?" I fell in love with this book within the first few pages and was sad that it had to end. The story is a bit Romeo and Juliet, but so moving that it's hard to put down. The characters are rich and Picoult writes in such a way that you are able to sympathize with nearly everyone of them (the defense lawyer was the only person who I didn't really like). It was just such a good book!

Picoult allows you into each of the main characters lives, showing you what it is like for them to go through this experience. Each character is well developed and thought out and each goes through some kind of growth. I won't go into detail because I would end up writing pages of my thoughts down, but every character is changed by the experience and takes something out of it. While I am disappointed that it took me so long to discover Jodi Picoult, I am just as excited to now read her other works. If you do read her novels, which ones are your favorites? Please let me know!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (6-12-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Books I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads

1) Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan - one summer, three generations of women, and lots of issues to deal with. Not a hilarious book to read, but a great book to sit and get lost in.

2) A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand - known for her great beach books, this is the first of her books that I read and I loved it! Perfect book to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine!

3) One Day by David Nicholls - a great love story, one that wraps you up with Dex and Emma and takes you on a great ride.

4) If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster - Jen is hilarious and this book had me laughing out loud at the antics. A great book to relax with.

5) The Help by Kathryn Stockett - now, this isn't your typical beach read. However, I read this one last summer and thought that it was a great summer time read. Maybe it was sitting outside in the heat reading about the heat of Mississippi that pulled me in, but the great writing is something that pulls you in and won't let you go.

6) Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah - a great story of two women and their friendship. 

7) Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen - I read this last summer, lying out in the sunshine, and I couldn't get enough of it. I love the time period and the setting ... it really does take you away from the real world.

8) Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner - a mother and her two daughters reconnect amidst a political scandal. Based partly in reality but just juicy enough to make you think that it's fiction.

9) Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - I read this book at the end of summer and it was perfect. Filled with romance, travel, and a hot leading man. What more could you want for a day at the beach?!?

10) Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - such a guilty pleasure and a book that would make a great beach read. Actually, any Kinsella novel would be perfect for a day at the beach!

Well, my beach reads may not always be typical, but there is a bit of variety thrown in there! What books do you think are perfect for a day at the beach? Let me know!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Turn of Mind
Author: Alice LaPlante
Published: July 5, 2011
Genre: thriller
Hardcover: 307 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from Is the perfect murder the one you can't forget or the one you can't remember? Dr. Jennifer White, a brilliant former surgeon in the early grips of Alzheimer's, is suspected of murdering her best friend, Amanda. Amanda's body was found brutally disfigured — with four of her fingers cut off in a precise, surgical manner. As the police pursue their investigation and Jennifer searches her own mind for fractured clues to Amanda's death, a portrait emerges of a complex relationship between two uncompromising, unsentimental women, lifelong friends who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries.

My Thoughts: When I read the synopsis for this book, I was a bit confused on how to it would play out on the page, so of course, I just went ahead and borrowed it. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure how to describe this book. Dr. Jennifer White is your narrator, a former orthopedic surgeon who had to retire early once she was diagnosed with dementia. Since the narrator has dementia, it's not always an easy story to follow and it takes a lot of effort on the reader's part to make sure they know what is going on. But instead of being lost in some woman's man (which is what I expected), Alice LaPlante pulls you into this woman's head and you are able to understand her disease and how difficult it is for her.

I have never read a book like this before and I'm not sure that I will ever read something like this again. It was such a unique point of view for a narrator! LaPlante makes you realize how awful this disease is and how to can distroy a person's mind. Add this into the plot of a murder mystery, and you have a very interesting story. As I said before, you have to really be on top of it while reading this book because if you zone out for a few pages, you may miss something important to the mystery. I thought that the ending was unexpected and really enjoyed the twist in the story. If you are looking to try something outside your comfort zone, I would recommend this book to you. It's different from anthing else that you've ever read and something that you will find hard to put down.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs #4)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: August 22, 2006
Genre: mystery
Hardcover: 322 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): London, 1931. On the night before the opening of his new and much-anticipated exhibition at a famed Mayfair gallery, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police declare the fall an accident, but the dead man's twin sister, Georgina, isn't convinced. When the authorities refuse to conduct further investigations and close the case, Georgina - a journalist and infamous figure in her own right - takes matters into her own hands, seeking out a fellow graduate from Girton College: Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. The case soon takes Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, as well as the sinister underbelly of the city's art world. And while navigating her way into the heart of the aristocratic yet bohemian Bassington-Hopes, Maisie is deeply troubled by the tragedy of another, quite different family in need. In Messenger of Truth, Maisie Dobbs again uncovers the dark legacy of the Great War in a society struggling to recollect itself in difficult times. But to solve the mystery of the artist's death, she will have to remain steady as the forces behind his death come out of the shadows to silence her. 

My Thoughts: Another great story in the Maisie Dobbs series, Jacqueline Winspear takes the reader into the London art world as Maisie tries to figure out if an artist's death was an accident or murder. As in the previous novels, the first World War plays a part in this story, as the artist fought and then created propaganda art for the war effort. But, as more time has passed between the crime and the war, Winspear starts exploring more of the social issues that are rampant in London. Focusing the poor (we are in the Great Depression during this story), the welfare of the poor, sickness and death among children, Winspear pulls the reader into London in the 1930s and, I feel, creates a stronger bond between the reader and the characters.

I really did enjoy this book, but I was a bit distracted during the reading, so I felt as if the story was choppy, that could also be attributed to my lack of reading everyday. Maisie is definitely growing as a character and learning more about herself. I enjoy the way that Winspear is developing Maisie, which doesn't make this seem as if it's a washed out series. I do hope that Winspear continues to use the issues that were occurring during the 1930s to continue with this series, because I feel that it's becoming harded to write about the war when we are now so far removed from it. I can't wait to see what the fifth book in this series is about and continue reading more of Maisie Dobbs.