Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Don't Know by Leah Hager Cohen

Started: 10/14/13
Finished: 10/26/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 114
Genre: Psychology
Grade: B
Reason for reading: received through Early Reviewers on
Blurb (from back cover): "In an enlightening narrative, Leah Hager Cohen explores why we so often attempt to hide our ignorance, and why we'd be better off coming clean. Weaving entertaining, personal reporting with eye-opening research, she considers both the ramifications of and alternatives to this ubiquitous habit in arenas as varied as education, finance, medicine, politics, warfare, trial courts, and climate change-as well as casual social interactions. She considers how race, gender, age, power, and privilege may influence our ability to confess knowledge or ignorance. But more than jut encouraging readers to acknowledge their ignorance, Cohen argues that we have much to gain by celebrating uncertainty. These three little words can in fact liberate and empower, and increase the possibilities for true communication. So much becomes possible when we honor doubt and embrace a natural part of being human: not knowing."
Opinion: As someone who isn't afraid to admit that I don't know something, I truly appreciate this candid look at why some say it. The research behind the few reasons why is solid. The research is reinforced by the several personal stories that the writer and others have given to why they have said those three words. When one is trying to save face by saying I don't know, Cohen shows why it is just better to open yourself to the vulnerability of not knowing everything. Cohen also states when it is better to not say I don't know so it is fair on both sides of the spectrum. Overall, a fun read with the personal stories mixed into the quality research.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Growing Up Psychic by Chip Coffey

Started: 10/19/13
Finished: 10/25/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 155
Genre: biography
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "No one knows more about psychic kids than Chip Coffey and no expert on psychic kids is better known throughout the world. These kids are widely misunderstood, misjudged, and misdiagnosed. In Growing Up Psychic, Chip Coffey offers indispensalb einformation for anyone who interacts with these extraordinary youngsters-parents, educators, medical professional, mental health clinicians, members of the clergy, paranormal investigators-and adults who faced the challenges of growing up psychic."
Opinion: Some good advice to parents and kids themselves in how to handle being psychic. I wanted more stories about his life and dealing with being psychic instead of advice.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey

Started: 9/11/13
Finished: 10/19/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 370
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Alex is failing as a father. Ian keeps dangerous secrets. Jenn is pining for adventure; Mitch is pining for Jenn. Four friends just scraping by, finding comfort in each other and the hope that things will get better. But as their twenties fade in the rearview mirror, none of them are turning out to be who-or where-they hoped.
"In a time when CEOs steal millions while their employees watch savings dwindle, these four are tired of the honest approach. They've decided to stop waiting and start taking.
"But a supposedly victimless crime has become a bloody nightmare. People have been killed. Ruthless men pursue them. Tensions they thought were long-extinguished are flaring. As their world unravels, each will have to choose between their life and the lives of others.
"And for four people pushed to the ragged edge, the only thing more dangerous than the men chasing them might be their best friends."
Opinion: I don't understand how there are not more fans of Sakey. This book takes readers on a rollercoaster ride with twists and turns. I found myself asking what I would do if I was ever put into a situation like this and my answer is I have no idea. Great book.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman

Started: 9/6/13
Finished: 10/18/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 378
Genre: mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale LA neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant's body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter, in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Heading LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologsit Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor's vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case-and draw out the disturbing truth.
"Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation-all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface-a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacriface."
Opinion: Not as good as Kellerman's previous Delaware/Sturgis books. Still interesting and I could only imagine the research that he did in order to write this book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The End of Alice by A. M. Homes

Started: 10/15/13
Finished: 10/17/13
Year: 1996
Pages: 270
Genre: Literature
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "Only a work of such searing, meticulously controlled brilliance could provoke such a wide range of visceral responses. Here is the incredible story of an imprisoned pedophile who is drawn into an erotically charged correspondene with a nineteen-year-old suburban coed. As the two reveal-and revel in-their obsessive desires, Homes creates in The End of Alice a novel that is part romance, part horror story, at once uncerving and seductive.
Opinion: I'll admit it, I got lost throughout the book. What was flashback? What was his story? What was the coed's story?  When I could tell what was what, it was well written and graphic. Not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The October List by Jeffrey Deaver

Started: 10/11/13
Finished: 10/15/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 308
Genre: Mystery
Grade: DNF
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter. At last, the door opens. But it's not the negotiators. It's not the FBI. It's the kidnapper. And he has a gun.
"How did it come to this?
"Two days ago, Gabriela's life was normal. Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She's given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the 'October List' within 30 hours or she'll never see her child again."
Opinion: Great idea of having a book done in reverse. However, this just did not grab me. It takes a lot for me to not finish a book and this is one of the few that I've never finished....and even more rare, one done by one of my favorite authors.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Started: 8/12/13
Finished: 10/11/13
Year: 1998
Pages: 304
Genre: Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. That they eat, sleep, and work side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls only increases the tension. And just when it appears things can't get any worse, Amy's sexuality beings to unfold, causing a vast and icy rift between mother and daughter that will remain unbridgeable unless Isabelle examines her own secretive and shameful past."
Opinion: Many mothers and daughters don't get along at some point during their lives. This book does a great job in describing how both sides feel about the other, especially when certain stories are told. Overall, well written and it causes readers to care about Amy and Isabelle-perhaps to go as far as routing for one or the other.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dexter's Final Cut by Jeff Lindsay

Started: 10/5/13
Finished: 10/10/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Thriller
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It all start with Hollywood. A major new police drama is set to be filmed in Miami-and blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is told he will be shadowed by Robert Chase, the brooding heart-throb actor who will star as...a Miami blood spatter analyst. Life may imitate art, but Dexter is none too pleased by having someone scrutinize his job and his life...or be anywhere near his dark hobby.
"The mood around the production turns suddenly serious when the body of a brutally murdered woman is found in a dumpster in the heart of the city. As police investigate and the Hollywood crew is aflutter with the excitement of a 'real' crime, Dexter gets a particulary sinister feeling about this killer, and what the act may signify. Meanwhile, a curious thing happens: Dexter is spending time with his new Hollywood counterparts-observing the ease with which they fake the most basic human emotions-and he realizes he may have finally found His People. He also gets closer to Jackie Forrest, the sexy star who is cas as the tough detective (and who is tailing his sister, Detective Deborah), and soon he's tempted by the luxury of the five-star life...and possibly by Jackie herself. Dexter is suddenly on a personal journey that leads toward the dark question...of who he really is...and, more alarmingly, on a course that will alter his life forever.
Opinion: Even though I predicted who the main killer was early on in the book, I still found it enjoyable to read. Dexter's relationship with his true self and everyone around him is still fascinating to me.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Preservationist by Justin Kramon

Started: 9/30/13
Finished: 10/4/13
Year: 2013
Genre: Suspense
Grade: A-
Reason for reading: asked by author to review
Blurb (from back cover): "To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has happened to him.
"Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships, he'd been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, 'a great beast of a birthday,' as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam's attention. But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia."
Opinion: If you have read "Finny" by Justin Kramon and are expecting the same type of literary story, then you will be disappointed. "The Preservationist" is a contrasting difference which shows Kramon's ability to write in more than one genre. Like as in "Finny," "The Preservationist" has strong character development. Through this character development, Kramon is able to make readers feel the suspense and fear that the main characther, Julia, feels throughout the story, especially at the end. Kramon allows for readers to get conclusions of certain plot twists in a subtle way. It isn't spelled out like in many other stories. Overall, I really enjoyed this and I hope that Kramon continues the path to either writing another psychological suspense or surprise me again and go in a different direction with his talent.