Fiction · Romance · Sadie J · Steamy

The Perfect Play | by Jaci Burton

The Perfect PlayThe Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
(Berkley Heat, 2011, 324 pages)

Mick Riley is a pro when it comes to playing quarterback for the San Francisco Sabers but he is less than stellar in his personal life. He’s used to having famous women made available to him by his publicist so when he meets Tara Lincoln, a down-to-earth single mother, he is thrown. His feelings for her come fast but he has secrets in his past that might be a deal-breaker for their relationship. Tara has always put her 14 year-old son Nathan first and relationships were never an option for her. But the closer Mick gets to her and Nathan, the harder is it to remind herself that this is simply a summer fling.

As my Romance class is winding down for the semester, one of our last weeks is erotica. I went to a local used bookstore to see what I could find for this week and a worker wouldn’t let me leave the store once she found out what I was searching for and why. And I have to say I’m glad she did. While the relationship between Tara and Mick gets pretty steamy and intense extremely early in the read, they have a great emotional chemistry as well. A bonus is that Mick is extremely close with his family who just happens to be in STL. Although STL was featured just a few times during this book, the next two in the series deal with Mick’s other siblings, including his brother who plays for a St. Louis baseball team.

Classic · Fiction · In the Library · Julia P · Quick Read! · SCC Book Club · SCC Nook Book · Young Adult

The Perks of Being a Wallflower | by Stephen Chbosky

Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(MTV Books, 2012, 224 pages)

This was the final book of the Spring 2013 semester for SCC’s “Between the Covers” book club and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. It’s a quick read; I was able to get through it in two days and I really enjoyed it. Told through a series of letters written by the main character, Charlie, we are taken back to the early 90s as Charlie begins his high school experience. He’s a quiet individual, more prone to sitting back and observing than actively participating. But he starts coming out little by little as he makes new friends at school, primarily Sam and Patrick who love and appreciate him for being exactly who he is.

The reader isn’t sure who Charlie is writing his letters to which leads to some interesting speculation. While I was reading I certainly found myself relating to certain high school experiences and feelings that Charlie was going through. Chbosky did a great job developing Charlie’s voice and leading the reader through this story. I’m glad The Perks of Being a Wallflower was part of our book club so I had to pick it up and see why so many people love it. I am curious to see the movie now… and I can’t wait to hear what other people think about the book tomorrow when we meet to discuss it at our “Between the Covers” meeting!

And don’t forget to check out Sadie’s review of this title 🙂

Audiobook · Fiction · History · Julia P · Page-Turner · Young Adult

Code Name Verity | by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
(Hyperion Books, 2012, 352 pages)

Code Name Verity came highly recommended from a number of different sources. It got starred reviews and is a Printz Honor title so I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. A number of people recommended checking out the audiobook so I decided to go that route. Code Name Verity is set in World War II Europe, primarily in England and France. The story is told from the points of view of two best friends, Julie and Maddie. They have crashed in occupied France – one of the girls has been captured, the other is in hiding trying to figure out a way back to England. Neither Julie or Maddy is aware of what is going on with the other.

The first half of the book is told from Julie’s point of view. She has been captured and imprisoned by the Gestapo. They are having her write down her “confession” as to why she is in France and in the process of writing this confession, Julie tells the story of her friendship with Maddie and we’re given the back story of how the girls came to be in their respective situations. The second half is Maddie’s account which is markedly different, even though she’s in hiding she’s incredibly lucky compared to what Julie is going through.

This was an engaging book, but I wasn’t wowed by it. I appreciated the historical aspects of the book and I liked that the roles women could play in World War II were presented beyond the confines of what people typically think of when they think of women in the war. The audiobook version was good – both narrators did a great job bringing their characters to life.

Fiction · Romance · Sadie J · Young Adult

Pure | by Jennifer Armentrout

PurePure by Jennifer Armentrout
(Spencer Hill Press, 2012, 320 pages)

In the second book in the Covenant series, Alex is up to her same old tricks. She just can’t seem to stay away from Aiden, a pure blood who is completely off limits to half-bloods, or trouble. And hanging out with Seth isn’t helping her rebellious streak at all. Alex has to keep herself under control as her meeting with the Council is approaching and unless she wants to end up in servitude, she needs to be on her best behavior.

My synopsis is extremely vague as I don’t want to give anything away in the series. But I can say I loved this book. With the Divergent series, I started to obsess from the very first book. But with the Covenant series, it’s this second book that really hooked me. The potential storylines that were introduced in Half-Blood were starting to be developed in Pure. The love triangle between Alex, Aiden, and Seth really takes off and the reader really gets to know the relationship between Alex and Seth. I know it’s the Alex/Aiden relationship I’m supposed to be loving and cheering for but I really like Seth because of how defiant and protective he is of Alex. The one complaint I have is that I wish the death of a certain character and the aftermath was explored more but hopefully that will be addressed more in the next book.

Fiction · Romance · Sadie J · Young Adult

What Happened to Goodbye | by Sarah Dessen

What Happened to GoodbyeWhat Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
(Speak, 2013, 432 pages)

There were two things that Mclean loved more than anything, her family and basketball. But after her mom left her dad for their town’s college basketball coach, well everything changed. She chose to live with her dad and that meant being shuffled around because of his restaurant consultant job. Mclean has spent the last two years in four different schools trying to be anything but Mclean. Whether it’s being the popular girl or the involved in everything girl, she’ll be anything as long as she doesn’t have to be Mclean. Now they’re in another new town and before she has a chance to reinvent herself again, she meets the boy next door, Dave, who makes her want to discover who Mclean is again.

I somehow have skipped over Sarah Dessen so when Teen week came up in class, I jumped at the chance to read her latest book. I loved how Dessen developed her characters, especially Mclean. Although it might sound crazy to make yourself into a completely different person every few months, including your name, I understood why Mclean did it and didn’t fault her for it. Whenever she felt angry and annoyed by her mom, I did too, even though at times it was a touch irrational. The bonus was the romance between Mclean and Dave. It was a sweet relationship with an adorable guy that ended with a thoughtful message that wasn’t only for teens.

Fiction · Quick Read! · Romance · Sadie J

Between | by Kerry Schafer

BetweenBetween by Kerry Schafer
(Ace, 2013, 304 pages)

Vivian has always had strange dreams and has been mostly successful in ignoring them. But after a teenager came into her ER talking about dragons before burning from the inside out, she starts to question things. With the help of a new friend she has been destined to meet, Zee helps Vivian discover who she is and what fate has in store for her. A whole new world, or worlds, is opened up to Vivian and the only way to survive is to bring down a powerful sorceress. Oh, and to watch out for those dragons.

I will admit that Urban Fantasy is not a genre I gravitate towards but this was a fun read. Things move fast and since there are three worlds that Vivian can go between, the Wakeworld, Dreamworld, and the Between, you really have to pay attention to where she is. But as fast and as strange as things happen, I never found the read confusing or felt overwhelmed with what was happening to Vivian. My favorite part of this read was Vivian’s sidekick Poe, who happens to be a penguin. At first he seemed a little out of place, but he added a sweetness to an otherwise intense read.

Fiction · In the Library · Julia P · Page-Turner · Quick Read! · Romance

Me Before You | by Jojo Moyes

Me Before YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
(Viking, 2012, 369 pages)

I picked this up on a whim and I can’t get over how much I loved it. Me Before You has a unique story – set in England, Lou (short for Louisa) has recently lost her job. She eventually finds work as a sort of “companion” for Will. Will lives in a world completely different from the one Lou grew up in. He is clearly upper class and was used to living a full, rich and adventurous life as a powerful businessman. Now, however, Will is confined to a wheelchair – a quadriplegic. He’s had an incredibly hard time adjusting to his new “life” and Lou makes it her mission to help show him that his life doesn’t have to end because of his medical condition.

Lou and Will start off on the wrong foot, primarily because Will is already resentful of her presence before she even starts working. Gradually they warm to one another and as a friendship blossoms one can’t help but detect there is something else there as well. Lou has a boyfriend but he’s pretty focused on his own life and goals, marriage isn’t anywhere near the forefront of his mind. Will more or less becomes ingrained in Lou’s life and vice versa. She can’t imagine what her life would be without him, but it turns out this fear might become an all too startling reality when Lou learns that Will already has plans for how he wants his life to go…

This book had me hooked pretty quickly. Moyes’s character development and writing style draw you in almost immediately. There were numerous times while I was reading that I laughed out loud and then there were other times where I literally couldn’t stop myself from crying. This was a great read. A pleasant surprise to stumble across when browsing the book shelves. I should have known I’d like it based on Sadie’s review 😉

Fiction · Jean R · Thriller

Threat Vector | by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney

Threat VectorThreat Vector by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney
(Putnam Adult, 2012, 848 pages)

Threat Vector by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney is a great addition to the Jack Ryan series. In this novel, Jack Ryan is serving his second term as President. Jack Ryan, Jr. still works for the Campus which is a secret operation created by Jack Ryan in his first term as President to combat terrorism. The term “threat vector” refers to computer security and the possibility of a computer breach. In this novel, China is using cyber warfare to expand its empire and to try to defeat the United States.

Threat Vector is one of the best Tom Clancy novels that I’ve read in quite a while. There was plenty of action with twists and turns along the way. The plot felt “real.” In other words, it’s not hard to believe that the computer networks of the United States government could be attacked and controlled by a foreign power. Threat Vector brings back many of the characters that we’ve met in previous novels including John Clark, Domingo Chavez, and Sam Driscoll.

I have read some other reviews of this book. Most of them are positive. However, they did point out some major mistakes that should have been caught. In earlier novels, Jack Ryan, Jr. has an older sister named Sally. In this novel, Jack Ryan, Jr. is mentioned as the eldest child of the President. Also, the middle name of Chavez’s son has changed. These mistakes aside, Threat Vector is an enjoyable read from start to finish.

Fiction · Julia P · Page-Turner · Quick Read! · Romance · Young Adult

Delirium | by Lauren Oliver

DeliriumDelirium by Lauren Oliver
(HarperCollins, 2011, 448 pages)

I can’t get over how quickly I got into Delirium. It’s the first book in the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver and I’m really curious to see where Book 2 goes. Set in the future, the world that Lena, the main character, lives in is a dystopia. The government has complete control and governs the people by administering the “cure” to them on or around their 18th birthday. The “cure” combats deliria, a “scientific” way of classifying love. The sexes are separated from one another while they grow up, matched with a future spouse shortly before their “cure” and then live the rest of their lives as passionless beings sort of marching quietly toward death. Lena is very content in this world and she is more or less ready for the “cure” to be administered. It never worked on her mom who succumbed to deliria when Lena was young, taking her own life.

Lena counts down the days until the “cure” and it is when she goes in for her evaluation that she comes face to face with Alex. They eventually get to know one another and Lena fears she’ll contract deliria. But she knows she has never been as happy in her life as she is know that she has Alex in it. Not only has he introduced her to a new side of herself, he’s shown her that there’s more out there in the world. That there is more to life than living in a dazed fog with no love or compassion to speak of… So will she stay on the path set out for her, or will she give in to the “disease” of love?

I really enjoyed Delirium. Thankfully my husband was watching The Masters this past weekend so I got a lot of reading time in 🙂 I’m definitely going to follow up with the series.

Fiction · Gwen B · In the Library · Page-Turner · Quick Read! · Suspense · Thriller

Alex Cross, Run | by James Patterson

Alex Cross, RunAlex Cross, Run by James Patterson
(Little, Brown and Co., 2013, 407 pages)

Overview:

Detective Alex Cross arrests renowned plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with teenage girls. Now, his life ruined, Creem is out of jail, and he’s made sure that no one will recognize him—by giving himself a new face.

A young woman is found hanging from a sixth-floor window, and Alex is called to the scene. The victim recently gave birth, but the baby is nowhere to be found. Before Alex can begin searching for the missing newborn and killer, he’s called to investigate a second crime. All of Washington, D.C. is in a panic, and when a third body is discovered, rumors of three serial killers send the city into an all-out frenzy.

Alex’s investigations are going nowhere, and he’s too focused on the cases to notice that someone has been watching him—and will stop at nothing until he’s dead. With white-hot speed, relentless drama, and hairpin turns, Alex Cross, Run is James Patterson’s ultimate thrill ride.

Yay! James is back 🙂 Now this is the James Patterson that I’m used to reading!!!!  This is one of the best in the Alex Cross series that I’ve read thus far! A quick read, intriguing, suspenseful, full of twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat just anticipating what was going to happen next. Lives are lost, people Alex loves are in serious danger, and everyone is afraid that they’re going to be next on the sniper’s list. This is another great and addicting tale of murder and mayhem–Alex Cross style! I was hard pressed to put it down!

The past couple of books that I’ve read by James had been somewhat disappointing and not quite up to par.  But this one re-sparked the fire that I’m used to reading by him. He did not disappoint with this one. This is one of his best.  Maybe because he didn’t have a co-writer on this one?? I’m just saying. Whatever it was, keep it up Mr. Patterson. Job well done. Welcome back to the fold 🙂