Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: Catherine by April Linder

I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I'm so taken with the signature covers of this author's novels. I have the first one, Jane, on my Nook and I still have to get to it. When Little, Brown offered me the opportunity to read an advanced version of Catherine, I hurried to get it read. Linder's thing seems to be the re-telling of classic stories: Jane is a modern take on Jane Eyre and Catherine is a modern version of Wuthering Heights. Check out the description...

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad's famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years -- a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn't die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her -- starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

The story alternates between mother, Catherine and daughter, Chelsea. Even though there is a 20 year time difference in their stories, they are both teens as they're telling their tale. Initially I got a bit mixed up with which one was which. This is a minor problem, though. It did not impede me from enjoying the story. It's a mixture of romance and suspense. The characters in the story are so complex and interesting; there are no generic, cookie-cutter characters here! As one who likes to dabble in writing myself, I was fascinated with how the author arranged the story and plotted it. As a romance junkie, she fulfilled that desire by exploring the coming-of-age saga of first loves of both the mother and the daughter. I had to know if these romances were going to come to fruition and have a happy ending, but underscoring that, was the mystery of what happened to Catherine, Chelsea's mother. That's the running theme of the story throughout and it's a real page turner. 

I thought of all sorts of possibilities. The ending shocked me. I came close to figuring it out, but I didn't quite make it. I don't want to say anything that will spoil the surprise, but for all of us who has had a mother...let's just say the ending stuck with me for a while after the last page was turned.

I understand the author is in the midst of writing another one-name book: Lucy, based on A Room with a View. I know I'll be checking it out and I have to make time to read her first book too! It's waiting for me....

Catherine released 1/1/13 by Poppy (Little, Brown and co.)

Toodles, ya'll!
Linder's debut novel

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I've been trying to see WARM BODIES since it first came out, but the weather was so crummy last week, I couldn't stand to leave the house. Then BEAUTIFUL CREATURES came out and I was behind schedule with my movie watching. I do love going to the theater, so for Christmas, a couple of folks gave me $100.00 worth of movie gift cards. Yipee!!!

This past weekend, I decided to see BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. I read the book, so I was very interested in seeing the movie. I was disappointed they didn't show that weird dog/human-like creature called Boo Radley (I think that's his name. It's been awhile since I read the book). The name was mentioned, but they never showed the creature.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It was a bit low on tension and drama, somewhat more on the quiet side, but I felt it was very consistent with the book and made for an interesting evening out.

It wasn't my intent to see WARM BODIES the same night, but since it was starting shortly after BEAUTIFUL CREATURES ended and it was a fairly warm evening, I decided to hang out a little later and see it.

OMG! I LOVED it! Of all the paranormal creatures, I don't care for zombies, but I'm making an exception. This movie was so absolutely sweet, adorable, funny, scary, a bit disgusting...It was awesome, okay? You had to root for the zombie boy to find love. He was so lonely and sad with his "life". There were so many girls in the theater squealing and making ooh's and ah's. There was a lot of good natured laughter too. I didn't know this was a book. I want to know if it's as good as the movie. You cannot NOT enjoy this movie. WARM BODIES is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

So, the winner is...WARM BODIES of course! Duh! Lol...

Toodles, Y'all

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy Release Day! UNRAVEL ME, book two in the SHATTER ME Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi

Book two

Unravel Me is Tahereh Mafi’s second book in a dystopian trilogy. It picks up directly where the debut, Shatter Me, left off. Juliette has escaped from The Reestablishment and thwarted their efforts to use her unique abilities as a weapon. Taking refuge at Omega Point, the headquarters of the rebel resistance, offers Juliette hope and the chance at a new life. It also gives her an opportunity to explore romance with her fellow escapee, Adam. But if she thinks The Reestablishment is going to give up on her that easily, she’s mistaken, to say nothing of Warner, son of The Reestablishment leader. He has acute, raw feelings of his own in regard to Juliette. He’s not above letting her know how he feels. Things are heating up in more ways than one.

Mafi certainly didn’t suffer a “sophomore” slowdown in this second novel. She does an excellent job of fleshing out her characters as the saga continues. There’s a good dose of the psychological. The author peels back the layers of their psyches and lets the audience in on what makes them tick; what drives them. Interspersed between the first novel and the second, Mafi released a short ebook named Destroy Me. I think it only cost $2.99 and it was so good, I wish it were longer! It’s written from Warner’s perspective and is a surprising look into the feelings of a boy that appears hell-bent on destruction. It whets your appetite for what you know will be an explosive meeting between him and our heroine, Juliette in Unravel Me.
In the midst of learning more about the inner lives of the characters, the action and the forward momentum of the story is not neglected. The action and emotional components, indeed the romance, are all seamlessly blended. The author utilizes the device of repeating words or phrases, sometimes in triplicate, when Juliette is in a particularly emotional or stressful state of mind. It can work, but it can also become redundant. I began to skip over the extra phrasing.

Unravel Me is a novel that works. The story and character arcs are glorious and well thought out. The conclusion will leave you hungry for that third book. You have to learn how Juliette comes into her own and resolves her relationships with Adam and Warner. The connections between all three are rich and complex. Tahereh Mafi has proved herself to be a masterful plotter and storyteller.