March 31, 2012

Jodi Picoult's Lone Wolf

Recently, I attended a book talk given by Jodi Picoult for her latest book, Lone Wolf.  If you ever have a chance to see her speak, take it, she's a wonderful person with a great sense of humor.  Lone Wolf is a complex novel about family.  Jodi did a lot of research regarding wolf packs and you'll learn a great deal more than you ever thought about wolves. 

Leaving behind his wife and children, Luke Warren enters the wild to live with a wolf pack.  After two years without any human interaction, Luke walks out of the woods and back into his home.  His life just isn’t the same after and his family is torn apart by inexplicable reasons.  Years later, Cara and her father are involved in a car accident leaving Luke in a coma and Cara seriously injured.  Luke’s estranged son, Edward, is contacted in Thailand where he escaped after a fight with his father six years prior.  Edward immediately flies home.  As the oldest he must make difficult decisions regarding his father’s care even though 17 year old Cara has a much stronger connection with Luke.  Their very different relationships with Luke pit the children against each other although each of them believes they know what their father would want. 

March 27, 2012

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Every Soul a Star is geared toward children however everyone can enjoy the storyline and the astronomy knowledge the author brings to readers.  I highly appreciate learning a new topic or finding out more information on a subject I am interested in when reading fiction.  In alternating chapters (something else I love), we follow three thirteen year olds as they are brought together at the Moon Shadow Campground to observe a total solar eclipse.  Ally lives at Moon Shadow and loves her home-schooled, secluded life; it’s all she’s ever known.  Bree, on the other hand, believes she must have been “switched at birth”.  With her love for the mall and all things glamorous she doesn’t seem to fit in with her physicist parents.  Then we meet Jack, who chooses to assist his science teacher on an eclipse tour headed for the campground, rather than attending summer school for a failed class.  The teens' lives change remarkably as they interact with one another and learn more about themselves during the time period leading up to the eclipse and after. 

Mark your calendars for the next total solar eclipse visible from the mainland U.S.: August 21, 2017! 

March 19, 2012

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward

Lisa Lutz is one of my favorite authors (so I’m heavily promoting her Spellman series as well) and the humor I have grown used to from her definitely didn’t disappoint in Heads You Lose.  Lutz and Hayward each write alternating chapters about a brother and sister attempting to solve the mystery of the headless body found on their land.  Unable to contact the authorities due to their marijuana business, the two dump the body in a remote location, only for it to resurface.  The hijinks begin from there as odd characters and twisting plots are worked out between Lutz and Hayward. 
The authors agreed not to undo anything the other had written and to collaborate only in a way that builds upon each others' work.  At the end of each chapter the authors write notes for each other and bicker about the direction, or lack thereof, the story is going.  Their snide remarks and disagreements become an addition to the book, almost as a second story.  I personally think the beauty in this novel is the argumentative behavior the author’s exhibit towards each other and how it changes the novel.  For some reason it works so well.   

March 9, 2012

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

If you haven't made a friend out of Mindy Kaling (if only imaginary) you need to read her book. By the end you'll be on a first name basis and saying things like "Mindy said...".  Mindy talks about what it's like growing up a chubby child and her hatred for exercise and sports.  Which leads to a hilarious depiction of an early dance audition of hers and the video that may still be floating around.  Every few chapters Mindy throws in lists (Mindy's a huge fan of lists) one of which is all her awesome movie remake ideas.  I'd really love to see her version of Ghostbusters!  You'll also see a little glimpse of what it's like to be on and write for The Office and how to get kicked out of work for being difficult. My new friend Mindy is just hilarious.