Saturday, July 30, 2011

Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory

Raising Stony Mayhall

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move.
The family hides the child—whom they name Stony—rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret—until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

I had no idea that this book was about zombies when I started to read it.  If I had, I might not have read it.   I am really tired of the vampire, werewolf, zombie books that have been published since the Twilight series .  I avoid these kinds of books without hesitation.  None of them seem to have an original plot idea and feature the same type of characters.  Boring!

I am happy to report that this book has something new to offer!  

The character of Stony is well written with a unique quirkiness that endears him and his family to the reader.  The story follows Stony through a childhood and adolescence in seclusion with only a few close friends aware of his existence.  As he reaches adulthood, the plot gets a little weird, but I found that I was able to accept the strange twists in the plot because the character of Stony was so believable.

This book also includes some interesting social commentary and really made me think about some issues that I have not encounter in other books of this genre.

Stony is a character that stays with you long after you finish his story.

I would recommend this book for young adults as well as adult audiences.

The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff

The BeginnersThe chilling, hypnotically beautiful story of a girl whose coming of age is darkened by the secret history of her small New England town. 

Theo and Raquel Motherwell are the only newcomers to the sleepy town of Wick in fifteen-year-old Ginger Pritt's memory. Hampered by a lingering innocence while her best friend, Cherry, grows more and more embroiled with boys, Ginger is instantly attracted to the worldliness and sophistication of this dashing couple.

But the Motherwells may be more than they seem. As Ginger's keen imagination takes up the seductive mystery of their past, she also draws closer to her town's darker history-back to the days of the Salem witch trials-and every new bit of information she thinks she understands leads only to more questions. Who-or what-exactly, are the Motherwells? And what is it they want with her?

Both a lyrical coming-of-age story and a spine-tingling tale of ghostly menace, The Beginners introduces Rebecca Wolff as an exciting new talent in fiction.

Initially I gave this book to my 15 year old daughter to read.   She returned it. Am I glad she did. She said she just didn't get it and I agree with her. 

This book is portrayed as a YA book that combines coming of age with the Salem witch trial/paranormal. Sounds like a great combination! It just never went anywhere. I kept reading, waiting for more information, more plot, more anything... It never materialized.

The 15 year old main character did not come across as a 15 year old, even a gifted one. Her thought were more adult than many adults I know. The Motherwell's, the new couple in town spoke as it they were paranormal philosophy majors. They weren't really all that paranormal. I'm not sure what they were meant to be, other than pedophiles.

Which brings me to the sex scenes. I am not opposed to graphic descriptions of sex in a novel if the sex enhances the plot, character motivation or in some way fits into the context of the story. The sex scenes in this book were none of the above. It includes descriptions of anal and oral sex that seem to be random and unrelated to the plot.

I am still disappointed in this novel. I really wanted to like it. I hate to write negative reviews. One positive: The cover art is beautiful. This is definitely not a YA book and I doubt that most adults would care for it. 

Thanks to LibraryThing for the opportunity to read and review this book

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives: A Novel by Lola Shoneyin

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives: A Novel

Meet Baba Segi . . .
A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing.
And his wives . . .
Iya Segi—the bride of Baba Segi's youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband's home.
Iya Tope—Baba Segi's second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear.
Iya Femi—the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost.
Bolanle—Babi Segi's fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life's misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives . . . and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.

This book has been in my" to read" pile for sometime.    I am not sure what  made me less than excited to read it.  Possibly the cover art and title implied that it would be a tedious folk story.  I did pull it out of the pile because it was smaller than the rest and would fit in my luggage as I packed for an out of town job.  I am glad I packed it!

This book is not a folk story.  

 If you can read this book without judging the polygamist life style and making any assumptions you will find it to be a very enlightening, brutally truthful  story.  

This is a  story of life in Nigeria.  A place most Americans know little about.  It is the story of four Nigerian wives and their polygamous  husband.  It brings some a very different view points to light. 

The characters are will written and three dimensional.  The writing style retains some of the African flavor  of the Nigerian language with many proverbs and colorful sayings throughout the book.  

Each chapter of the book is told by a different character.  At times, it was a bit confusing, because the character
 that was speaking was not immediately  identified.  As you read it became apparent who the chapter was about.  It kept me from becoming a lazy reader.

If you are looking for a change of pace, put this one on the top of your "to read" pile!
Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Before I go to sleep by SJ watson

Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.
Published June 14th 2011 by Harper
0062060554 (ISBN13: 9780062060556)

really didn't have any idea what to expect form this novel. I was very pleasantly surprised. The comparison between this story and the movie," 50 First dates” is inevitable. There is really no comparison, other than both main characters have amnesia and forget everything when they sleep. They awake each day with no memory. The similarities end there. This novel has believable characters and an interesting plot. The plot has some surprising twists that I did not anticipate. The confusion that is created in the main character related to her amnesia was very effective and totally believable. This book is set in the UK and many times I feel like the blond at the party when reading British novels, I just don't get it. I did not experience that “blond” feeling at all while reading this novel. This is easily one of the better books I have read recently. I highly recommend it!
Many thanks to GoodReads  and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review this book.