Sunday, December 30, 2012

My musings on New Adult fiction

Today on The Broke and the Bookish, I talk about my feelings about New Adult literature and why I think separating out a section in the bookstores and libraries of the world is unnecessary. Check it out!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book review: "The Bridge" by Karen Kingsbury

Title: The Bridge
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Howard Books, 2012

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, living far below her means, as she is the heiress of an enormous corporation. Her job as head of a charitable organization is all she has, along with her cat; and every Black Friday, she has Ryan.

Ryan, once the guitarist for a famous country band, has found himself out of work since the band broke up. He has no idea what to do with his life now, but is sure he can find something. His father wants him to come back home to be the school's music teacher, but the memory of Molly keeps him from settling.

Both never forgot each other, and both thought the other married who they were expected to get married to. When the bookstore and its owner that brought them together is in dire trouble, they know they have to act. And it will bring them together again.

Okay, so if you're looking for a Christmas book that is pretty much exactly like a Lifetime Christmas special, this is it. I would classify it as religious fiction, since Christianity is a major theme. Personally, I enjoy that sort of thing, but I know it's not for everyone so if you don't like that, I'd skip this one.

There are really no surprises in this book, but I don't think anyone who reads this is looking for twists. It's predictable and comfortable, just like the Hallmark movies many of us watch during this time of year. There are misunderstandings that are spelled out for all of us readers, leading to major dramatic irony until the very end.

Oh, and there are also some Christmas miracles.

I don't know if I would have been able to finish this one if it hadn't been so short, but it was short. I was able to race through this in about a day or two, maybe 3 hours total of reading, so if you're looking for a safe, heartwarming, Christian story about the miracles of Christmas this is what you're looking for.

Disclosure: I received a e-book for review from the publisher via NetGalley.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Audiobook review: "Safekeeping" by Karen Hesse

Title: Safekeeping
Author: Karen Hesse
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners, 2012 (print available from Feiwel and Friends)
Narrator: Jenna Lamia

It's an unspecified year sometime in the near future, and the American People's Party has taken over the US government. When the new president is assassinated, the government starts to take control of everyone, arresting any person who expresses some form of rebellion or disagreement with the government. When all this transpires, Radley is volunteering in an orphanage in Haiti, but despite everyone else's warnings she desperately wants to get home to her parents to make sure they're all right. And so begins her journey.

After no one arrives to pick her up at the airport, Radley must think of a plan b, and soon. She decides to walk home, and what would normally be a 2-hour journey becomes one that lasts for days. She arrives home, only to discover a house that look abandoned. Her only option seems to be what she promised she'd do if she came to trouble: head north to Canada.

Radley begins as a naive, spoiled girl, only because everything she's ever needed or wanted has been provided to her by her parents. I have to be honest, at first I was irritated by her constant refrain of how her parents usually took care of everything, but it quickly becomes clear that she is willing to do whatever it takes to survive.

Eventually Celia comes into the picture. She is a loner too, though she has a dog named Jerry Lee, and the two form a tenuous and wary bond when Radley nurses Celia back to health from a fever. The two begin traveling together, slowly becoming friends. I honestly wasn't a big fan of Celia, but I appreciated the extra character and how their friendship leads to both of their growth and sense of family.

This is a very quiet book, despite the occasional tense scene. It's not the page-turner dystopian novel we've all come to expect, but for a patient teen, or perhaps one who isn't ready for the more violent novels in the genre, it may be worth it. I will say that since I listened to this on audio, I was deprived of the photography in the print version. They come in a pdf on the last disc, but clearly it's not the same as seeing it as you read it.

Speaking of audio, I'm sorry to say I am not a fan of Jenna Lamia. Period. I'd previously listened to her narrate Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and didn't like her then either. That's not to say she doesn't do a good job narrrating; I just really don't like her voice. It's too high-pitched for my taste, making her sound much younger than she or her characters actually are. I found her voice for Celia especially grating, which may be part of the reason why I never really connected with her as a character. That said, it wasn't awful, and I listened to the whole thing without many problems.

I am glad I listened to this, as it's a quietly powerful story of survival and hope, but I have heard better productions.

Disclosure: I got this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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