Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn

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Author: Sharon Shinn
Publisher: Puffin
Paperback: 276 pages
Series Order: Book 2
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Innkeeper's daughters Adele and Eleda are mirror twins - identical twins whose looks are reflections of each other's, and their special talents are like mirrors, too. Adele is a Safe-Keeper, entrusted with hearing and never revealing others' secrets; Eleda is a Truth-Teller, who cannot tell a lie when asked a direct question. The town of Merendon relies on the twins, no one more than their best friend, Roelynn Karro, whose strict, wealthy father is determined to marry her off to the prince. When the girls are seventeen, a handsome dancing-master and his apprentice come to stay at the inn, and thus begins a chain of romance, mistaken identity, and some very surprising truths and falsehoods.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

I love Sharon Shinn, but I think she should stick to writing adult novels. This is a solid story, with amazing characters, and a great setting, but just like the first book in the series, The Safe-Keeper's Secret, the ending was incredibly predictable.

This book still gets a high rating, because despite the predictability, I did enjoy it very much. I like the world Shinn has created, with people being born with a gift that makes them tell the truth at all times or keep secrets. However, these unique characteristics don't overshadow the narrative. This is a story about two mirror twin girls and their friends growing up together, finding themselves, and figuring out what they want in life. There are broken hearts, disappointed dreams, and many very happy, touching moments.

If you enjoyed The Safe-Keeper's Secret, you will love The Truth-Teller's Tale. For those new to the series, if you like romantic coming of age stories with a light fantasy backdrop, you will love these books.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review: Darkness, My Old Friend: A Novel by Lisa Unger

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Author: Lisa Unger
Publisher: Crown
Hardcover: 368 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

After giving up his post at the Hollows Police Department, Jones Cooper is at loose ends. He is having trouble facing a horrible event from his past and finding a second act. He’s in therapy. Then, on a brisk October morning, he has a visitor. Eloise Montgomery, the psychic who plays a key role in Fragile, comes to him with predictions about his future, some of them dire. 
Michael Holt, a young man who grew up in The Hollows, has returned looking for answers about his mother, who went missing many years earlier. He has hired local PI Ray Muldune and psychic Eloise Montgomery to help him solve the mystery that has haunted him. What he finds might be his undoing.  
Fifteen-year-old Willow Graves is exiled to The Hollows from Manhattan when six months earlier she moved to the quiet town with her novelist mother after a bitter divorce.  Willow is acting out, spending time with kids that bring out the worst in her. And when things get hard, she has a tendency to run away—a predilection that might lead her to dark places. 
Set in The Hollows, the backdrop for Fragile, this is the riveting story of lives set on a collision course with devastating consequences.

My Rating: 3/5

I saw this available for a digital checkout at my library and decided to give it a chance. I'm glad a did, because it's a thoroughly decent story. With all the different viewpoints, I was confused at first, but once I got everybody's story straight in my head, I had no further problems.

Darkness, My Old Friend isn't the sort of thriller mystery that is quite popular with mystery readers. It's a slow read and takes awhile to build up, but the pay off is worth it. In the end, I was so invested in the characters that the lack of action was made up for in my emotional connection to the story and the characters' lives. I liked the multiple viewpoints, because it gives a fuller view of all that is going on in the small town of The Hollows and it helped me to fully understand all the characters' actions and reactions.

While I thought that the story itself was interesting and enjoyable, the way it is written bothered me. I thought that it was trying to hard to be literary. Because of this, the pacing seemed off, and I was annoyed at some parts because I wanted to get into the story and the mystery instead of reading about the characters' "deep" thoughts on life and love. Despite that, however, I thought it was a good read and would recommend you to give it a try.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

Author: Terri Giuliano Long
Publisher: CreateSpace
Paperback: 352 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
The Tyler family had the perfect life - until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn't want to be perfect anymore. 
While Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. 
Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough? 

Overall Rating: 2/5

This book just didn't do it for me, I'm sad to say. I think it does a good job in dealing with issues and questions that come up in the family dynamic. I liked that the point of view switches between each of Leah's family members instead of focusing on just the parents' viewpoint or just Leah's viewpoint. It showed how lack of communication and even miscommunication can create problems for a family. However, I like my fiction to have a balance. This book is just one depressing situation after another. Right after things start to seem a little better, another horrible thing happens. I will venture to say that most of our lives are filled with quite a bit of happy moments among the sad, frustrating moments, and I would have liked to see more of that.

In terms of characters, I think these ones could have been better. Leah's sister was overwhelmingly naive and annoying. Her inner thoughts didn't match her age at all -- she seemed more like an eight-year-old rather than a twelve-year-old.