Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (Finished 3/7)

The Lovely BonesSo, I am pretty excited because this movie came out recently, and the previews looked really good.  I am a total skeptic when it comes to movies that are based on a recent best seller (My Sister's Keeper...Dear John...need I say more???), but this looks GOOD.

So, we meet the main character Susie Salmon, when she is already in heaven.  She has disappeared mysteriously, and her father is determined to figure out what happened to his little girl.  Susie gives us all the horrible details of her death, from the moment she began walking into the field, until she knew she was dead.  Her neighbor (a complete creep--obviously), has built this underground room, where he takes Susie.  In the underground room, he rapes and kills Susie, and dismembers her.  He is careful to not leave any evidence (not even the underground room), so he is not really looked at as a suspect.  

After a few months, the police recover one of Susie's bones, and that gives some closure to the Salmon's.  Susie's father is convinced that the neighbor is responsible for Susie's death, and puts a lot of time and energy into proving this.  Susie watches from "the inbetween" as her family struggles with her death, and the fact that they might never know who actually committed this horrendous crime.  

Susie's sister even gets involved in proving that the neighbor was responsible, and breaks into his house to find proof.  She finds a journal that he writes/draws in...which has a drawing of the underground room he created.  Once the neighbor catches wind that he is being suspected he flees.  

The reader finds out just how creepy this guy is -- a serial killer of young girls (ugh...).  Susie finally gets her revenge near the end when she kills her killer. 

Great read! Four out of Five Stars!!!

Happy Reading!

The Innocent - Harlan Coben (Finished 3/5)

The InnocentOkay, so of course, to typical Harlan Coben style, this book was filled with twists and turns I never expected.  You would think that after reading a few of his books, I would realize nothing is as it seems....but alas....you got me Harlan! 

So, the main character, Matt has recently been let out of jail.  When he was in college he tried to break up a fight between his friend and another college student.  He was a little stronger than he thought, and maybe a little too forceful which resulted in a broken skull, and a dead college student.  Matt has to do hard time in a maximum security prison, and like they say, when he comes out he isn't the same man he was when he went in. 

Matt decides that he wants to start fresh again, so he ends up falling in love and marrying a woman that he had met several years earlier in Vegas.  Matt and his wife have just found out that they are expecting, so they decide to get camera phones so they can always be in touch, and send each other pictures throughout the day.  Olivia, Matt's wife, has to go out of town the day after the camera phones are purchased.  Matt receives a picture message from Olivia's phone.  The picture is of a strange man that Matt doesn't recognize.  After receiving the picture message, Matt receives a video message.  The video is of Olivia (in a blonde wig) and the same man from the picture message.  The two are in a hotel room, and Matt instantly thinks that Olivia is cheating on him. (Why would she cheat on him and send him proof???) 

Matt ends up finding out that it is much worse than his wife just cheating on him.  In Olivia's "past life" she was a stripper in Las Vegas (where Matt originally met her).  She was young, and had a daughter and put her up for adoption.  After having the child, Olivia realizes that this isn't the life that she wanted for herself.  Her pimp/manager is abusive, and treats all the women poorly (not that this is surprising...).  Olivia fakes her own death, and gets out of town.  No one knows (not even her best friend, that was a stripper with her).  

With many twists and turns, Olivia finds herself back in Las Vegas in search of her daughter.  The whole thing is a set up, in order to get back some black mailing videos that her manager/pimp had created way back in the day.  Olivia almost winds up dead, to find out that she has been set up by her best friend.  

Honestly, this was a great read.  It was quick, suspenseful and kept me on my toes.  

Four out of five stars!

Happy Reading, 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger (Finished Feb. 28)

I read "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger a while back, and I really enjoyed that, so I thought I would give this book a try.  She has an interesting writing style, and I really like it.  

The story starts off with the death of a woman named Elspeth, who is a twin.  Elspeth lived in England, and was a rare book collector.  Her twin sister, Edie, lives in the states with her twin teen-aged daughters, Julia and Valentina, and her husband.  Once Elspeth has passed, the girls receive her will, in which everything was left to them.  They were required to live in the flat she owned for 1 year before selling it, and the girls were not allowed to have their parents in the flat at all.  

The girls are eager to spend some time away from home, and are excited about staying in London.  Once they arrive in London, they find that the flat is haunted.  Things are misplaced or moved all the time, and they are unable to figure out what is causing it.  Their upstairs neighbor, Martin, is paranoid and suffers severely from OCD (to the point that he is unable to leave his own house), and their downstairs neighbor, Robert, was Elspeth's lover. 

There is a very interesting dynamic in the relationship between the twins and their dead aunt.  The girls end up communicating with Elspeth by first using a ouiji board, and then by asking questions out loud while Elspeth moved a pen and wrote on paper.  There is a lot of mystery surrounding the communication, and Robert seems to spend a lot of time doing this.  He is still very in love with Elspeth, and is almost lost without her.  Through this communication he is almost able to still be with her. 

The twins find a cat outside, and lure him into the house.  The cat enjoys playing with the girls, and it seems like maybe the cat can sense that Elspeth is there too.  One day, while playing with the cat, Elspeth runs her fingers through the cat, and accidentally removes the cats soul.  After many attempts she is able to get the soul back into the cat.  Julia has been struggling with her relationship with Valentina for a long time.  She is tired of being a twin, and wants to be her own person, but Valentina won't allow that.  Julia watches the soul get ripped from the cat, and then placed back into the cat, and forms a plan.  She wants Elspeth to remove her soul, so that everyone will think she is dead, and then put it back a few days later so that Julia can start a new life.   Elspeth is completely against the plan from the get go, but with a lot of persuading, she finally gives in. 

The plan doesn't work out as well as they thought it would.  Julia's soul is taken from her body, and Elspeth takes care of it while everyone goes through the motions of Julia's death and funeral.  When trying to get the soul back into Julia, it doesn't work, and Elspeth ends up hopping into Julia's body.  The reader starts to realize that this is what Elspeth had planned on from the beginning.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming.  At the end, the reader finds out that Elspeth and Edie had switched places a long time ago.  There was a crazy love triangle between Elspeth, Edie, and Edie's husband.  Through all of the craziness, the husband had actually gotten the other twin pregnant.  Edie and Elspeth decide to switch places, just to make things easier.  

A few things about this book I didn't really care for -- first of all, I thought the twin gene skipped a generation...I also wasn't too fond of Julia or Valentina, although I felt like I should have connected with one of them.  

I think the story was great, with a little bit of weirdness, but still enough to keep me hooked.

Four out of five stars.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No Second Chance - Harlan Coben - Finished Feb 19

Love love me some Harlan Coben! Every book I've read by him is FANTASTIC -- I just can't get enough (PS - I just downloaded Caught on my Kindle...can't wait to start it!!).

This book was great, all of the twists and turns kept me hooked, and I couldn't put it down.

Marc, a doctor, wakes up in the hospital, and realizes he is on the wrong side of the bed.  He has no memory of anything happening to him, and he is completely confused.  12 days prior to this, Marc was shot in his own home.  His wife was found dead in the house, and their 6 month old daughter is missing.  Some investigators come to the hospital to check in with Marc and see if there is anything that he can remember that might be able to help them find Marc's daughter.  Marc's best friend, Larry, is an attorney, and he strongly advises Marc not to answer any further questions.  As it always goes, the first person that is suspected in the murder of a married woman is the husband. 

There was no ransom note, or really any sign of a struggle, so the cops believe that Marc did this for some reason.  A few weeks later, a ransom note shows up, and demands that Marc follow all of the rules, or his kid is as good as dead.  Lost and confused, Marc turns to Larry, who advises him to let the investigators in on the news.  He does, and it turns out poorly.  Once he gets to the drop location, there is a white van waiting on him.  The money is exchanged, but there is no kid, the kidnappers just run with the money.  Marc is extremely upset, and spends a lot of time trying to figure out what happened to him and his family. 

Marc is visited by a young woman he used to go to school with.  He is actually currently living in the house she grew up in.  He had always heard rumors growing up about how the girl was physically/mentally/sexually abused by her father, but didn't know if it was true or not.  She has been lurking around his house, and when he is finally able to catch up to her, he questions her.  She tells him that the house still haunts her, and she's been visiting for quite some time.  He asks her about his wife, and she says that she had met with her previously.  She is unable to give a lot of information on the matter, but does lead him to a hidden day planner in the basement, where he finds a disc that contains information that will help him figure out what is going on.  The disc is password protected, but he finds out that it is from a private investigators firm.  When he gets there, he is unable to get any information from them, as they claim that there is a confidentiality agreement that they cannot break.  So dead end...he thinks.

Another ransom note comes out, and the outcome is just as bad.  No money, no kid.  Through more investigating Marc is able to find out what happened the day his wife was murdered.  She had thought that Marc was cheating on her, so that is why she got pregnant in the first place -- to keep him (what a bitch...).  She then hired a private investigator to follow him and figure out what was going on.  The private investigator got some photos, but they were misleading, and incorrect.  Marc was not cheating on his wife, but he was being contacted by an ex girlfriend.  Marc's wife had decided to kill him, but everything went wrong.  Marc's sister ended up showing up, and a lot more damage was done.  

Larry had walked in on the crime scene and thought both Marc and his wife were dead.  His only thought at that point was what to do with Marc's daughter.  He had heard of a "doctor" that basically sold children, and thought that would be the best option.  He took Marc's daughter to the agency, and cleaned up the crime scene as best as he could to make it look like it had been a robbery gone wrong.  Marc finds all this out, and also finds out that Larry had been behind all of the ransom notes as well.  Larry had wanted to make some money off the deal, and knew that Marc's wife came from a lot of money.  He didn't see any harm in it, but Marc is unable to forgive Larry. 

Marc is able to locate his daughter, and when they are reunited, he notices how happy she is with her new family.  He knows that he will not be able to provide for his daughter as well as this new family is, so he decides to have a sort of joint custody with the other family.  This works out well, and life goes on happily for all.

5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading!



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