Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Shorts

The Taming of Annabelle by M. C. Beaton
first published 1983
e-book on Kindle

Synopsis from publisher -

From the moment honey-tressed young Annabelle meets her sister Minerva's intended, Lord Sylvester, she develops a secret passion for him that obsesses her. Now she is determined to take him away from Minerva - no matter what.

But Annabelle hasn't reckoned on Lord Sylvester's best friend, Peter, who falls in love with her and decides to tame her growing passions for the wrong man!

My thoughts -

Aaaand, I think this is the end of my foray into the regency romance. I don't mind a little fluff, but I found this heroine to be particularly annoying, and had a hard time forcing myself to care enough to finish the novel. I was planning to finish the whole series, but I don't think I will be revisiting the Six Sisters after this. I definitely remember now why I don't very often read romance novels - they just are not for me.

Finished: 11/21/12
Source: Kindle lending library
MPAA rating: PG-13 - pretty tame for a romance novel
My rating: 4/10

Straightjacket Memories by Jonathan Nelson
published 10/26/12
e-book on Kindle

Synopsis from publisher -

Jonathan grows up fighting “the beast,” but he has no idea that what he’s actually struggling with is bipolar disorder, which can make him feel despondent one moment and allow him to accomplish great things the next. He also suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and his Christian peers say he lacks self-control. Some even claim his behavior indicates a lack of Christian faith and say he won’t be saved.
It isn’t until seven years into his marriage that he is finally diagnosed; by then, bipolar disorder has taken a severe toll on his life. Divorce seems to be the only solution, but faith, love, and a devoted wife point him in a different direction.

My thoughts -

Full disclosure - I have known this author for as long as I can remember. We both grew up going to the same small, conservative Baptist school. His mom played the organ for my wedding. He and his family are just some of those "good people" that you are so grateful to have as part of your life.

That being said, I was completely impressed by this book. It cannot be easy to lay bare such a deep and personal part of your life, and Jon is painfully honest about so many aspects of his past. I remember several of the incidents he writes about, and to hear them recounted from his perspective was sometimes difficult. His struggle also hits close to home because of some of my own extended family, and hearing about his diagnosis from his point of view helped me to understand those family members better.

This is certainly a first book, by someone who hasn't had training in writing, but I thought it was well written and edited, and found the account to be completely engrossing. If you know someone who struggles with mental illness, I would certainly encourage you to pick this up, as it might give you insight that you hadn't previously found. Jon and his family are people of great faith, and his Christian beliefs do permeate the book, so I know it won't be for everyone, but I found it to be a personal and powerful read. I have to admit I'm proud to know this guy!

Finished: 11/24/12

Source: my Kindle
MPAA Rating: PG for adult situations
My rating: 8/10

The Twelve by Justin Cronin
published 10/31/12
audiobook read by Scott Brick

Synopsis from publisher -

In the present day: As a man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos, desperate to find others, to survive, to witness the dawn on the other side of disaster. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, has been so broken by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as "Last Stand in Denver," has been forced by loss of electrical power to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a minefield of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned — and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

A hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia, and the others introduced in The Passage work with a cast of new characters to hunt the original twelve virals... unaware that the rules of the game have changed, and that one of them will have to sacrifice everything to bring the Twelve down.

My thoughts -

Holy cow, Justin Cronin. Holy cow. I have to admit you almost lost me at the beginning - I couldn't find it inside myself to care about these new characters, and I just wanted to know what was going on with Alicia, and Amy, and Peter. But then, when you started drawing the threads together, I was hooked just as tightly as I was in The Passage. I am amazed by the depth of your work - how can a vampire novel be  so thoughtful, and have so much to say about the human condition, and the life of the spirit, and the different faces of love, and the lengths people will go when they don't think they have any other choice.

I believe your novels will be read 100 years from now, and readers then will find as much to astonish and delight them as I have now. You are a master of your craft, and I cannot wait to find out where your story will end. Holy cow, Justin Cronin.

Finished: 12/1/12
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language, and adult situations
My rating: 10/10


Zibilee said...

I don't often dabble in romance, and I just finished one that was touted to me as a fantastic read, that I found overly romanticized and flowery. I don't think the sisters and I would get along!

The second book is right there on my radar though, and sounds like something that I would love to read. I really love stories where the characters struggle, either with perceived differences, or real ones, so I will be on the lookout for this one.

And since I am in the middle of The Passage, I couldn't read your review yet! I hope it's worth the wait!!

bermudaonion said...

Wow, a 10 out of 10 for The Twelve? I think I need to rethink Cronin's work.