Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Final Piece by Maggi Myers & Book Giveaway

Beth Bradshaw hasn't had the easiest life. From the time she was five years old, Beth was sexually abused by a family friend.  Her drug abusing parents didn't notice what was happening and Beth kept it to herself for years.  Beth finally decides to tell her mother, who chooses not to believe her.  It isn't until her uncle and his best friend Tommy come to visit that she finds someone who will.  Surrounded by comfort and love from her extended family, Beth slowly begins to come out of the shell she has hidden in for so long.  While spending that summer with her grandparents, Beth also gets to know  Tommy's nephew, Ryan, who becomes her first love. 

Years later, Beth finds that she is still struggling to pick up the pieces from her broken life.  When another tragedy strikes, Beth is forced to look back at her life and face all that she has been running away from.

My Thoughts:
I met Maggi Myers a few years ago, but wasn't aware that she was a writer.  When I heard that she had written a book, I was eager to get my hands on a copy.  I was not disappointed.  I fell in love with her characters from the beginning.  Beth is a character who struggles deeply and I found myself rooting for her to heal and find love. Beth's extended family members were her safe haven and a beautiful picture of love in the midst of tragedy.  I read this book in less than two days and wanted to read it again after I was finished.  Be sure to put this one at the top of you summer reading list! 

A Final Piece Giveaway:
Since I enjoyed this book so much, I got in touch with Maggi to see if she would be willing to sign a copy of the book for us to give away. She was more than willing to do so and is also going to do an author interview in the next few weeks.  That being said, one of our lucky readers will get an autographed copy of The Final Piece. Enter below by first liking fictionfinders on Facebook. You can receive an additional entry by letting us know what book you are currently reading!  The giveaway ends at midnight on June 4th.  Good luck!

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Blond haired, blue eyed Sookie Stackhouse lives in the small southern town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.  While she may appear to be an average southern girl, Sookie has a very unique talent; she can read minds.  Most of the local townspeople consider her to be a little crazy because of this quirk and Sookie has become somewhat of a recluse.  Dating has been especially difficult for her because she always knows what her dates are thinking.  While working at the local Bon Temps bar, Merlotte's, Sookie finally meets a guy whose thoughts she cannot read.  Bill is tall, dark and handsome, but he has an affliction of his own; he is a vampire.  Bill and Sookie begin dating and things are going great until multiple women known to associate with vampires are murdered.  Sookie then begins to see her telepathic ability as more of a gift than an affliction as she tries to read minds to discover who the killer might be. 

Erienne's Review:  
Since this has been one of my favorite series, I thought it was about time to post a review.  Dead Until Dark is the first book in a thirteen book series by Charlaine Harris.  The final book, Dead Ever After, was just released this month. These books have been the basis for the HBO tv series, True Blood.  While the characters are the same, the storyline is very different.  If you have seen or heard anything about the tv series, you are probably thinking that the books are all about vampire killing and sex.  While there is a some of this in the books, HBO made sex and blood the focal point for the television show.   I attempted to watch the first few seasons, but found that I liked the books much better.  Charlaine Harris does a fantastic job of portraying life in a small southern town while also adding a supernatural twist.  Sookie is a very lovable character and her adventures continue to be intriguing throughout all thirteen books.  This is a series I highly recommend!  

Sarah's Review: 
If you haven't read this series yet, you don't know what you're missing. While I actually had a hard time getting into the first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, something told me to push on. I was so glad I did! From the second book, the series took off and I found myself transported to Bon Temps. As the series comes to a close, I feel as if I'm saying goodbye to some very good friends. Sookie and the other residents of Bon Temps are so well-written that after thirteen books you really feel you know them well. Even if you're not a huge fan of vampires or are a little tired of all the vampire-mania, you will enjoy this series. There's a little bit in there for everyone, humor, action, romance, and since they are all out now you won't have to wait to read the next book. You can plow through all thirteen!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

14 by Peter Clines

When Nate Tucker moves into his new apartment he begins to notice strange things about the building. All the apartments are just a bit odd. The building is wrapped in mysteries, from the padlocked apartment 14 to the apartment with no doorknob. The building manager has repeatedly warned the tenants not to ask questions, but Nate and his new friends can't seem to stop investigating. What they unravel may be the end of them. It may be the end of everything.

14 is a fast-paced apocalyptic novel that takes the reader on a wild adventure.  I've been seeing this book on popular reading lists, so I had to give it a try. It was well-worth it. As the tenants of the Kavach building got to know each other and embarked on this adventure I felt that I was right there with them. The characters were witty and interesting.  I hesitate to call this a science fiction book (though it definitely is) because so much of the story is spent unraveling the mystery. I think people that are not into science fiction will enjoy the story just as much as those that are. If mutant cockroaches don't give you the heebie-jeebies, then you will probably love this book!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Storycatcher by Ann Hite

Sixteen-year-old Shelly Parker works as a servant girl for the Dobbins family. All her life she has had the gift of "sight". She is constantly accompanied by the dead that roam Black Mountain. Then one day the spirits begin to warn Shelly of a danger that lies ahead.  Pastor Dobbins is an evil man with a dark secret, and Shelly finds that she is the one that can unravel the stories, uncover the truths, and save them all.  Set in the south during the depression, The Storycatcher travels from the hills of Black Mountain to the Georgia coast. Told from multiple points of view, Ann Hite does a remarkable job of weaving the story together and connecting all the pieces.

It has been a while since I have read a book so fast. I devoured this book. The Storycatcher has all the right elements: a vivid setting, well-developed characters, a mystery that will pull you in, and just a touch of magic. The pace of the book moves in such a way that you feel like maybe you could just get in one more chapter before bed, and then find yourself huddled in for fifty more pages. I hesitate to use the word haunting since it is a story about spirits, but the story lingers in the shadows of your mind even as you try to put the book away. Ann Hite captures the voices of her characters and the voice of the south brilliantly.  This is a story that you will not soon forget.

**The Storycatcher will be released on September 10, 2013. I suggest you go ahead a pre-order a copy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Out of Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Seventeen year old, Josie Moraine, lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the 1950s.  Her mother is a prostitute with little regard for Josie's well being. Josie lives in a room above the bookstore where she works and also cleans the brothel where her mother resides.  The brothel is run by Willy, a strict madam who loves and takes care of Josie more than her own mother.  Despite her circumstances, Josie refuses to feel sorry for herself and desperately wishes to attend a girl's college away from New Orleans. As she saves money to leave "The Big Easy," Josie finds herself dealing with mobsters because of her mother's criminal dealings.  She also becomes entangled in a number of her own lies and isn't sure if she will be able to escape.  

My Thoughts:
I always forget how much I love historical fiction until I pick up a book like Out of Easy. This novel by Ruta Sepetys is full of New Orleans history.  While I love the characters, I was most intrigued by everything I learned about New Orleans during the 50s. I went to New Orleans a couple a years ago for a conference and as I read this book, I felt like I was back walking the streets in The French Quarter.  Fans of historical fiction will love this one!  I have also heard that this novel could possibly be a contendor for the Printz Award.   

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Moving back home after acquiring an undergrad and multiple master's degrees, Lincoln finds that he still doesn't know who he is or what he wants.  He lives with his mother and has a very limited social life.  The most interesting thing about his current situation is that he works nights at The Courier as their internet security officer.  As the "tech guy" for his company, Lincoln is also responsible for monitoring company wide email accounts.

Beth and Jennifer are aware that their emails are being monitored, but have yet to receive a warning.  The become more and more at ease with sharing their lives via company email.  Beth tells Jennifer everything about her life, including her deep desire to be married, and Jennifer shares her anxieties about becoming a parent.

Lincoln plans to send Beth and Jennifer a warning when their emails are first flagged, but he quickly becomes intrigued by their conversations. When he finally realizes that he is falling for Beth, without ever actually meeting her, he has been reading her emails for far too long to be considered normal.

My Thoughts:
After reading two novels by Rainbow Rowell, I have decided that I am definitely a fan. Her writing is witty while exemplifying real life struggles and relationships.  In both Attachments and Eleanor and Park, I have immediately bought into her characters and the problems they face.  Her novels are both serious and hilarious at the same time.  If you liked Eleanor and Park, this one is also great!  Looking forward to the release of her next novel, FanGirl, on September 10, 2013.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Pi Patel is a very likeable Indian teenager who chooses to actively practice three religions:  Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.  As the son of a zoo owner, Pi is also very knowledgeable about animals and their behaviors.   The family zoo is located in the southern Indian city of Pondicherry and its animals and their habitats are described in detail.  In attempts to escape civil unrest in India during the 1970s, Pi’s family decides to move to Canada. While some of their animals are sold in India, many have been sold to zoos in America and Canada.  Pi and his family therefore set off on a Noah’s Ark type adventure when they board the ship, Tsimtsum, with their remaining zoo animals.  Not long into their journey, the Tsimtsum sinks and Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger (whose name is Richard Parker).  After Richard Parker kills the other animals, Pi attempts to stay alive by training the tiger as a lion tamer might tame lions in the circus.  

My Thoughts:   
I have to admit that this is not a book I planned to read.  I found it hard to imagine that a story about a boy being stuck on a boat with a tiger would be worth reading.  I finally picked up the novel when it was chosen as a book club selection.  While there is a little more detail and description than I would prefer, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. By far, my favorite parts of the book are before Pi and his family board the ship.  Pi spends a good amount of time describing his life in India.  He tells why he chose to practice three religions instead of choosing just one and he paints beautiful pictures of the animals and their lives at the zoo.  There is also a bit of a twist at the end of the novel that I was not expecting.  After experiencing this story in print, I am definitely looking forward to seeing the movie!