Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In the Woods by Tana French

Can we just talk about this book for a minute?  I had seriously high hopes for In the Woods because of all the fantastic reviews I had read.  And even though I did enjoy it, I was left so completely unsatisfied and frustrated by the time I finished it, that I wanted to scream.  I mean seriously??!?!?!  There's 2 murder mysteries that are investigated throughout the book - but ONLY ONE OF THEM is solved?!!  Who does that?! I mean really?  Tana, you're killing me!  I can only hope that in the following books of this series that the author revisits that unsolved mystery, because I'm so utterly annoyed that I don't know what happens and was left hanging.  Ugh. 

The storyline itself was very intriguing and I very much enjoyed the banter between Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox.  When I finished In the Woods, I read the preview first chapter of the second book in the series (The Likeness) and I think my interest is piqued enough to keep reading - BUT if the author pulls any more stunts like that, I'm seriously going to lose my mind and drop the rest of the series. 

Description:  As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones. And look for French's new mystery, Broken Harbor, for more of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Rating: **** (It would have gotten 5 stars if I would have found out what happened!!)

Recommend: It is a great murder mystery, so if you're into those - then yes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Whoa.  Like seriously, I'm not even sure what else to say other than whoa.

I genuinely didn't think I would like this book.  I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction or memoirs - so a nonfiction, historical novel?  Ugh.
But that's the awesome thing about book clubs!  In our book club, we each get a turn to pick 3 books from totally different genres and styles and let everyone vote on which one they would want to read.  Unbroken ended up with the most votes.  AND I was a good book club member and decided to go along with everyone and give it a shot. 

Oh.my.word.  This is one of the best books I've ever read.  It was hard to get through some of the gruesomeness at times, but in the end it's all worth it.  I just couldn't understand how one man lives through all that????!!!!!  It's unbelievable, truly.  And I'm almost as blown away that this is only the author's 2nd book (the first being Seabiscuit) and that she managed to so thoroughly research her subject and historical documents.  Un-freakin-real.  I'm already thinking of picking up a few copies for some folks.  If you haven't read this yet - READ IT.  End of story.

Description: On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

Rating: *****

Recommend: To anyone & everyone.