Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

Heading Out to Wonderful
Author: Robert Goolrick
Published: June 12, 2012
Genre: fiction
Hardcover: 304 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): It is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, recently back from the war in Europe, shows up in the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village of a few hundred people, nestled in the Valley of Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains his few possessions, including a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. A lot of money.Finding work at the local butcher shop, Charlie befriends the owner and his family, including the owner's son, Sam, who he is soon treating as though he were his own flesh and blood. And it is through the shop that Charlie gradually meets all the townsfolk, including Boaty Glass, Brownsburg's wealthiest citizen, and most significantly, Boaty's beautiful teenage bride, Sylvan.This last encounter sets in motion the events that give Goolrick's powerful tale the stark, emotional impact that thrilled fans of his previous novel, A Reliable Wife. Charlie's attraction to Sylvan Glass turns first to lust and then to a need to possess her, a need so basic it becomes an all-consuming passion that threatens to destroy everything and everyone in its path. Told through the eyes of Sam, now an old man looking back on the events that changed his world forever, Heading Out to Wonderful is a suspenseful masterpiece, a haunting, heart-stopping novel of obsession and love gone terribly wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.

My Thoughts: A few years ago, I read Robert Goolrick's A Reliable Wife and fell in love with his writing. It was such a good story, layered and deep, that I couldn't wait to read his next novel. I had to wait a few years, but the wait was definitely worth it. In his latest novel, Goolrick takes us to rural Virginia a few years after World War II. This is sleepy little area, where the people who have lived there have lived there for generations. Few people leave and even fewer people move in. A man named Charlie Beale moves to this town, looking for someplace different than where he's been. He moves in and gets a job with the town butcher. Charlie is taken in by the butcher's family, and the son becomes like Charlie's own boy. Charlie falls in love with a woman, Sylvan, but there's one issue: she's married to the wealthiest man in town. A passionate affair takes place between the two, resulting in despair. Goolricks slowly weaves his tale, leading you into the twisted world of these two lovers.

I liked the character of Charlie. He seems like an everyman, someone who you might know. I do wish that there was more background on him, such as what his life was like before that made him want to move to the middle of nowhere. I thought Goolrick might give me a little bit, but there was nothing. In fact, until his brother shows up all of a sudden, there is no mention of Charlie's family! I didn't particulary like Sylvan, but if there had been a bit more about her included in the story, I might have felt differently. The cast of characters in this story is rich and diverse, with everyone contributing something to the story of Charlie Beale. 

Robert Goolrick is a great writer, introducing us to worlds and characters that I find few authors exploring today. If you are looking for something different, something that you that isn't like most books out there today, then give Goolrick a try. He's a great writer and an even better storyteller.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (9-28-12)

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that you are having a great week and looking forward to an even better weekend. Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

Hosting a giveaway? Tell us about it! Write a great discussion post this week? Promote it! This is the week to pick ONE POST from the past week to highlight for the Hop!

Well, this is actually from a week and a half ago, but I really loved this book and hope that it comes across in my review: The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear. It's a Maisie Dobbs novel and I really enjoy this series, and this might be favorite that I've read (so far) in the series.

Parajunkee asks:

What is the BIGGEST word you’ve seen used in a book lately – that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

I'm currently reading Dearie: The Remarkable Life Story of Julia Child and there are so many French cooking terms that it makes my head swim at times (and I took French for over eight years!) I don't look them up because I know that they relate to food in some way, so I'm content in my ignorance.

So, what's your fave post from the last week? What's the biggest word you've seen in a book lately? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (9-26-12)

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 In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helprin (release date: October 2, 2012).

Synopsis (from Amazon): Mark Helprin’s enchanting and sweeping novel springs from this deceptively simple question, and from the sight of a beautiful young woman, dressed in white, on the Staten Island Ferry, at the beginning of summer, 1946.

Postwar New York glows with energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, has returned home to run the family business. Yet his life is upended by a single encounter with the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale, as they each fall for the other in an instant.Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood and eventually threatens his life. In the end, it is Harry’s extraordinary wartime experience that gives him the character and means to fight for Catherine, and risk everything.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (9-25-12)

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:

Series I Haven't Finished

1) The Irish County Doctor series by Patrick Taylor - I love this series but have fallen a few books behind. I'm trying to catch up, though!

2) The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear - I found this series a few months ago and love it, it's just taking me time to work my way through it.

3) Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny - I haven't even started this series yet, but I really want to. It's just I always manage to let other books get in the way (maybe this should be a reading resolution for the New Year!)

4) Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella - I love Kinsella's novels because they are so light and fluffy! The Shopaholic series definitely makes me laugh out loud (I have some Becky Bloomwood shopping tendencies), so I can't wait to finish this series!

5) Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani - I love Trigiani's novels but for some reason, I just couldn't connect with these ones. I finished the first one and got about 10 pages into the second book before giving up.

Well, that's all I could think of for this week! What series haven't you finished (or even started?) Let me know!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Paris In Love by Eloisa James

Paris In Love
Author: Eloisa James
Published: April 3, 2012
Genre: memoir, travelogue
Hardcover: 272 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: she sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow or cars to park, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as Marina overfeeds Milo, the family dog). 
Paris in Love invites the reader into the life of a most enchanting family, framed by la ville de l’amour.

My Thoughts: I enjoy a good travelogue and when I heard that this one was set in Paris, the one place on earth that I am dying to go, I just had to read this book. Eloisa James tells about her year in Paris, about how she made the decision to move her family across the ocean and start over. The book is broken up into chapters, with most chapters starting with a short essay followed by little blurbs (things that she had posted on Facebook). She uses this format throughout the entire book, which I thought was odd. There were the amusing little thoughts that she would write down, but I felt like huge chunks of the story were missing.

I always say that I cannot judge the basis of a memoir because it's not my life, and it's hard to judge. In this book, my one gripe was what James chose to put in her book. In blurb form, it's hard to build a cohesive story about what was happening to them. When she would talk about her children and their difficulties in school, I felt like she didn't tell us enough about how difficult it was for them to transition to a new school and city. I felt like there was so much that was missing from the book, which is what made me give it a lower rating.

I did enjoy her shopping adventures and those alone make the book worth reading. If you enjoy Paris and memoirs, then it might be worth it to check it out. It just wasn't everything that I hoped for.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: January 1, 2001
Genre: chick lit
Paperback: 325 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky’s biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. And worse, figuring out how to “pack light.” But packing takes on a whole new meaning when Luke announces he’s moving to New York for business–and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say “Prada sample sale,” Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury department stores. Surely it’s only a matter of time until she becomes an American TV celebrity, and she and Luke are the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky’s bills miles away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line! Shopaholic Takes Manhattan–but will she have to return it?

My Thoughts: About 10 months ago, I read Confessions of a Shopaholic (well, I listened to it). It was my first introduction to Sophie Kinsella and I fell in love. I loved the character of Becky Bloomwood and I love Kinsella's writing style. I was hooked on her books after that, but hadn't read any other books in the Shopaholic series. I decided to remedy that situation and read the next book in the series, where Becky Bloomwood goes to Manhattan. To say it was hilarious would be an understatement. I was laughing so much while reading this novel! From Becky and Luke's weekend away to her few days in Manhattan, Becky had me laughing hysterically with her antics. 

All of the characters in this novel are so well developed. Becky is funny but you also witness her grow as a character. She realizes what it is that she must do to change her situation. Luke, Becky's boyfriend, is a great foil to Becky. Where she is serious and banking on everything working out in the end, he is a workaholic, throwing himself entirely into his job. They make a great couple and balance one another throughout the story.

While not great literature, Kinsella has written a novel that pulls you in and makes you never want to leave Becky Bloomwood's world. If you feel like you are in a reading rut, then check out this series. It will have you laughing outloud!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (9-21-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoying September? It's starting to cool down here (going into the low 40s at night), which I am loving. A few months from now I am sure that I will be over it, but for now, it's wonderful. Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

Blogging Question: What is one thing that your blog readers probably do not know about you?

I cannot think of anything that's really out there, so I will tell you a few things:
1) I love The Office. My favorite TV show, ever.
2) I also love Gossip Girl and Glee. I promise you, I am not a 12 year old girl.
3) I really wish that I could knit. I can, but anything beyond making a scarf is too difficult for me!

Parajunkee asks:

What hyped up book do you think was worth all the talk?

Well, Harry Potter, obviously. For the unobvious choice, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was an amazing book and one that I didn't think I would like, but it definitely lived up to the hype!

So, what don't we know about you? What hyped up book was worth all the talk? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (9-19-12)

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 The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (release date: October 2, 2012).

Synopsis (from “What are you reading?”
That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.
This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.
Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (9-18-12)

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:

Bookish People I'd Like to Meet

1) JK Rowling (author of Harry Potter) - just because she seems so interesting!
2) Tina Fey (Bossypants) - I just love Tina Fey. I feel like we would be best friends if we ever met, so I definitely want to meet her.
3) Steig Larrson (author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy) - I want to meet him just to know how he dreamed up this amazing trilogy and how he views his succes. Unfortunately, we will never know since he passed away.
4) Kristin Hannah - I love all of her books (well, the ones that I've read so far) and would just love to sit and talk with her. I follow her on Facebook and she seems so nice and down to earth.
5) Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken) - I want to meet her just to ask her how she finds her topics to write about and how she takes all of her research and compiles it into these great books.
6) Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic - I love Alexis' blog and it was one of the first ones that I discovered. We have similar interests in books and it would be cool to talk about them in person!
7) any book editor - I would just want to sit and ask them questions about their job and if they ever get sick of reading!
8) Sophie Kinsella - I just think she would be awesome to go and get a drink with. She seems like she would have me laughing!
Well, that's all I could think of for this week! Who do you want to meet? Let me know!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear

The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs #7)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: March 23, 2010
Genre: mystery
Hardcover: 338 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): August 1914. Michael Clifton is mapping the land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, certain that oil lies beneath its surface. But as the young cartographer prepares to return home to Boston, war is declared in Europe. Michael--the youngest son of an expatriate Englishman--puts duty first and sails for his father's native country to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed among those missing in action.
April 1932. London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs is retained by Michael's parents, who have recently learned that their son's remains have been unearthed in France. They want Maisie to find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among Michael's belongings--a quest that takes Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love. Her inquiries, and the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his trench, unleash a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to engulf the soldier's family and even Maisie herself. Over the course of her investigation, Maisie must cope with the approaching loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and her growing awareness that she is once again falling in love.
My Thoughts: This is my favorite Maisie Dobbs novel so far. Once again, we follow Maisie on case of an American family wanting to know about their son's love during World War I. Letters were found with him when his body was discovered, and his parents would like to know who it was that he was writing to. However, everything is not as it appears, with the medical report showing a blunt force trauma to the back of the head, indicating that Michael Clifton was murdered, not killed in the line of duty. Maisie is working with Scotland Yard again, but she is in control of the case this time and asserting herself as someone who can handle a case on her own. This novel had the best plot of any of Winspear's novels, with the mystery going on, Maisie's new romantic interest, Billy Beale and his family, and Maurice, Maisie's mentor, becoming ill.
After reading this novel, it's apparent that Winspear is really coming into her own with character development. In the past books in this series, I have sometimes felt like things were a bit stilted or there might not have been enough information on someone, but not so with this one. Each character and plot line is fully developed, creating one of the most well-rounded books I've read in sometime. Maisie is continuing to grow and mature, which she acknowledges several times throughout this book. Billy and his family also provide a nice little story line, as we see how someone in the lower classes might have been living during the Great Depression. I also thought that Maurice Blanche was at his most complete as a character in this book. He explained himself fully and every thought was drawn out for the reader. 
I love Jacqueline Winspear's work and this novel makes me all the more anxious to run to the library and pick up the next book in this series. If you like historical fiction and myseteries, then you need to check out this series! It is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to read.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Audiobook Review: Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

Deep Dish
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Isabel Keating
Published: February 26, 2008
Genre: chick lit
Audiobook: 12 discs, approximately 13 hours
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Chef extraordinaire Gina Foxton doesn't expect anything to be handed to her on a platter. After years of hard work, the former runner-up Miss Teen Vidalia Onion is now the host of her own local Georgia public television show called Fresh Start, and she's dating the show's producer.
But when her show gets canceled, and she catches her boyfriend in flagrante delicto with the boss's wife, Gina realizes that she's meant for bigger and better things. The Cooking Channel is looking for its next star, and Gina is certain that she fits the bill. Trouble is, the execs also have their eye on Mr. "Kill It and Grill It" Tate Moody, the star of a hunting, fishing, and cooking show called Vittles. Tate is the ultimate man's man, with a dog named Moonpie and a penchant for flannel shirts. Little does Gina know, though, that she and Tate are soon to embark on the cook-off of their lives.

My Thoughts: This is my second Mary Kay Andrews audiobook and I truly enjoy listening to her work. While it's chick lit and nothing thought-provoking, it's no nice to just get lost in a novel and it's characters and see how everything unfolds. Andrews novel centers around two chefs competing for their own show on the Cooking Channel. A series of challenges are presented to them and the two are forced to work together to complete these challenges. Not a brand-new plot idea, but it was still engaging and wonderful to listen to Gina and Tate work together to complete the tasks.
As far as the characters go in this book, my favorite had to be Tate. I thought he was a perfect Southern guy. Laid back but knowledgeable about the land and how to live off of it. Plus, he was incredibly handsome, so that always helps. Gina was a bit too wishy-washy for me. She came across as weak, which always hate in a female character. Also, she didn't like her mother for some unknown reason. Andrews never explains why she continually avoids her, but it seems like her mom is a bear of a woman. And when she is introduced, she seems quite nice.
Isabel Keating did a good job with the narration. She provided distinction between all the Southern accents and didn't overdo it. I think that she made her voice a bit whiny at times, but it didn't ruin my listening experience. I really enjoy Andrews audiobooks and look forward to listening to more of her work in the future.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (9-14-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoying the beginning of September? It's still a little warm here but it looks like it will start cooling down next week. I've even had a couple pumpkin spice lattes to welcome September and they were delicious! Now, if only work wasn't so hectic, I could enjoy my lattes more and get some more reading in! Anywho, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

Highlight one of your favorite reviews from the past month!

Brava, Valentine was my favorite review from the past month! It was a great audiobook listen, one of the best I think I'll ever listen to!

Parajunkee asks:

What hyped up book do you think was not worth all the talk?

The Hunger Games trilogy. Just wasn't what I thought it would be after all the hype.

So, what's your fave review from the past month? What book just didn't live up to the hype for you? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (9-12-12)

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 Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan (release date: November 13, 2012).

Synopsis (from Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.” Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one. Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (9-11-12)

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 That Make You Think (about the world, people, life, etc.)

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - one of the best pieces of literature ever written, it forces you to think, whether you want to or not.

2) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - this one just made me think about all those men and women who served in the US Armed Forces, specifically during World War II. The sacrifices that they made astound me and make me feel so grateful to be an American.

3) The Help by Kathryn Stockett - another book that forces you to think about equality and just how long it took for America to become an equal oppprtunity land.

4) Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi - de Rossi's memoir chroncling her struggle with eating disorders. It's harrowing and difficult to read at times, but it definitely makes you think.

5) The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb - following a husband and wife who live in Littleton, Colorado, with the wife working at Columbine High School when the horrific shooting occurs. Lamb is such a gifted writer and really makes you think about humans and how we handle life's struggles.

6) A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard - Dugard recounts her time when she was held captive by her kidnapper. It's scary but makes you think about how someone could do all those things to a child and how flawed our law enforcement officers are.

7) Faith by Jennifer Haigh - focusing on a family dealing with the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal, Haigh tells the story of a family struggling to deal with this. It makes you think about how twisted some individuals are and how far a person can be pushed.

8) The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman - Friedman's memoir of travel and self-discovery makes you think about how important it is to see the world and experience different cultures. 

Well, that's all I could think of for this week! What books make you think? Let me know!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Exposure by Therese Fowler

Author: Therese Fowler
Published: May 3, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 384 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all. 

My Thoughts: I found this book while wandering around my library and, after reading the synopsis, thought that it would be something I really enjoyed. I already felt like it would be a bit like Testimony by Anita Shreve (which happens to be one of my favorite books), and thought that I would probably like this one. I was glad that I did decide to read this book because it was a gripping read and one that made me think about the role technology plays in our lives and how it should be handled.This is a story of young love, starring Amelia and Anthony. They are high school seniors and ready to start their lives together, even though Amelia's parents are against her dating anyone. What unravels is a story of two people who are in love but not yet of age, and parents who believe that they always know what is right for their children.

For me, the best part of this story was the characters. Therese Fowler wrote every character so well, each of them fitting into the story like a puzzle piece, where they might not be right on their own, but when added together, make a complete picture. Amelia and Anthony are so well-written for teenage characters; they are acting like 17 ang 18 year olds, but they are also flawed. Amelia resents her parents involvement in her life but she doesn't over do it with the pouting. Anthony realizes the errors that they have made and tries to determine a way to get them both out of the predicament they are in. Amelia's father, Harlan, is prefectly written. He discovers the pictures and decides to call the cops. When he doesn't feel like enough is being done, he reaches out to the media, granting interviews about how innocent her daughter is. Kim, Anthony's mother, questions her knowledge of the relationship and what she should have done. The only character I wish had a bit more to contribute was Amelia's mother. I thought that she was just sort of shoved into a corner and we never really saw her or learned more about her background.

The topic of this story is so relevant, with social media becoming bigger and bigger everyday and more kids getting into trouble because of what they post online (whether or not it is pornographic or bullying someone). I'm continually amazed at what people post online and how they are surprised by the aftermath of those decisions. While Amelia and Anthony didn't post their pictures online, this novel demonstrates how technology is becoming ever more present and a part of our lives and how we must continually be aware of how we are using it. I thought that Fowler wrote a wonderful novel, showing how technology must be used resposibly or their maybe dire consequences. The only downside of this novel for me was that it reminded me so much of Shreve's novel, Testimony. I do plan to read more of Fowler's work in the future and more novels that center on technology and the downside of overusing it.