Feb 16, 2017

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

“Knowledge is all. The Library’s motto … it meant that nothing – nothing – was more valuable. Not even lives”

My love for books came a little late in life. At the time, I was a reader of physical books in hand. Since then I have only kept my favorites in print and have adopted various editions of kindle readers. Sure, I love the feel and smell of a book, but I love the convenience of an e-reader more.

The Great Library - illustration
Illustration of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt.
Whether or not you agree with me, Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine will transport you to a world where it is illegal to own real books. Imagine that you’re only allowed to own “blanks” which will provide you with the information and stories approved to be read by “The Great Library” of Alexandria (google for a history lesson). If you are caught in possession of an original work, it is confiscated and you are prosecuted. The wealth of information and knowledge is protected and distributed by The Great Library.

This control of information creates a huge black market for books. This is how we meet our main character Jess, known as a “cutter”, which is a runner of books. People pay high prices to obtain original works, and Jess is one of many kids who must run across the city with the books in hiding and avoid capture. Capture can lead to immediate death for the cutter and all of their connections. Following an unfortunate occurrence where Jess witnesses the destruction of an original book that he treasured, Jess no longer has the grit for being a cutter. He’s offered a reprieve by his unforgiving father but doesn’t realize until years later that it was all just clever scheming by his father for the use of Jess as a spy.

ink and bone by Rachel Caine - bookThe power of The Great Library is maintained by its scholars, obscurists, and High Garda (library army). In Ink and Bone we see how little regard the elder scholars hold for human life. Nothing is more important than knowledge, but said knowledge must be controlled. Innovation is unwelcome. Those who wish to challenge or improve the system are silenced.

While working to become a trusted member of the Library, Jess will face situations where his loyalty will be tested. He faces the chance of death many times. There is heart ache and tragedy in this story but plenty of intrigue and suspense. promise gif I promise, you won’t want to put this book down.

Nov 17, 2016

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Who is donor 3319?
Christine and her husband Marcus utilize the sperm donation of a man known as donor 3319 after a long struggle with fertility. Christine was already worried about her husband moving past his insecurities surrounding his inability to produce sperm. She fully believes that Marcus will be a great father and is their baby's true father. Imagine Christine's emotions when she sees a serial killer's arrest on TV who looks just like donor 3319. She becomes obsessed with identifying her anonymous donor 3319. Is he the serial killer on TV? Will her child have violent tendencies?

Most wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Naturally, this causes a rift between Christine and her husband. The baby is all they've wanted for so many years and now they disagree about what is important and how to proceed. This story brings up the nature vs. nurture debate. One side thinks that violence is learned in their environment while others believe in the "warrior gene" and that people can be predisposed to violence.
What can be done?
Is the sperm bank responsible for not screening a potential sociopath? Lisa Scottoline did some serious research regarding sperm banks for this book. I hope that the actual banks are more careful with screening their donors than the banks in this story. According to Most Wanted, egg donors are more carefully screened than the sperm donors. Imagine that.

It is tough to imagine being placed in this kind of position. I found myself angry at Marcus and thinking he was a total jerk, and then later I was mad at Christine and thought she was acting crazy. I couldn't keep to one side of their marriage. That was part of what kept this story interesting. Of course I was interested in whether or not Zachary (arrested serial killer) was actually donor 3319 but I also was worried about whether their marriage would survive all of these hurdles. Then of course I was embarrassed for Christine as she became a self-made detective/paralegal. I was curious like she was but I couldn't relate to her. I couldn't picture myself behaving the same way in this situation.

All in all, there was just enough suspense to keep you entertained.

Oct 21, 2016

The Beast by J.R. Ward

I’ve loved every book I’ve ever read by J.R. Ward.
The Beast was another winner. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series as a whole may very well be my favorite series of all. It “may” be my favorite because as a bookworm I hate to pick definite favorites.
What is so great about her writing is that she manages to have each book focus mainly on two people, and yet there are at least 3 or more side stories going on that you equally care about. I’ve read several books that veered off the main story line for other characters and it really made me want to skim pages. Ward manages to keep you entertained and caring about EVERY character in a story.
The Beast revisits Rhage and Mary, a love match made in “Lover Eternal“, book 2 of 14. Rhage is one of my personal favorites in this series. He and Mary face new challenges in their relationship that they didn’t anticipate when they got their forever-after together. A life with each other was supposed to be enough, but maybe they were wrong. Even the strongest relationships fall on hard times.
Moving on to the side stories. Will Assail beat his addiction to cocaine? Will he ever get a chance at a life with his human love? Layla is giving birth to twins with Qhuinn and his lover Blay. How will the parenting trio manage this feat when Layla is secretly in love with Xcor, enemy #1 of the brotherhood? Xcor is currently imprisoned by the brotherhood until he wakes from his coma. Will he be allowed to live after nearly killing the king? The odds aren’t good for Xcor, but Layla has discovered something of his lineage that just might save him.
Layla and Xcor will have their fates settled in the next book of this series, The Chosen.
Is it necessary to read this 14 book series in order, plus the 2 from the spin-off “Blood Legacy” series? YES, yes it is. If someone told you to binge-watch a series on Netflix this Saturday, would you start at the last episode? No. Be grateful that you get to binge-read one of the best Vampire series ever written (start here if you’re new to this series). Honestly, I’m jealous of you. I had to wait years for all of these books.

Oct 20, 2016

ASSERTION = a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.

“Poor people are lazy and abusing the system” = an assertion.  There are people in this country who are poor because they work a job that won’t pay them enough to ever be considered rich. They are kind people making an honest living. They’re working the jobs that are beneath many people but must be done by someone. We can’t ALL work the same jobs making big bucks. YES, there are people without morals who will take a free ride on a system meant to help humanity do better in this world. BUT, there are also people rich as hell who also have no morals and cheat different systems. Not everyone looks down on them though. Many people admire them because they did “whatever it took” to get to the top. Trust me, I know good poor people AND good rich people. We are all individuals with our own choices to make. We can’t keep trying to group everyone together. My advice is to avoid making such grand assertions. They are not facts. 

Oct 10, 2016

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Within the first three pages I was hooked into this book. It’s 1916 and Sophie Lefèvre is roused awake by her sister, German soldiers have their young brother outside. What can they do to save him? Instantly Sophie's character shines. She’s brave in the face of danger. It sets the tone for this book. I realized immediately that this book was going to be a pull on my heart strings. While the story is fiction, it too closely relates to the experiences of real people during The First World War.

That first night, the new Kommandant notices a painting of Sophie in her home. It was risky of Sophie to display the painting by her husband Édouard so prominently during a time when troops were known for stealing whatever they wanted from citizens. That decision is what set about her own fate. The Kommandant became overly interested in the painting and Sophie herself. Suddenly Sophie is forced to make decisions she doesn’t want to make to protect her family and friends in their little town. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees that Sophie is acting selflessly to help them. Is she a traitor to her own people?

The painting eventually goes missing and turns up a century later in the home of Liv Halston. A wedding present from her late husband, Liv is rather attached to the painting. In her mission to prove her ownership of the painting we finally learn what truly happened to Sophie Lefèvre through old letters, witness accounts, and historical records. Her story is also completed by flashbacks into Sophie’s own perspective.

Jojo Moyes is an expert at weaving such a compelling story that you absolutely can’t believe that the characters are fiction. In each of her books I’ve felt the emotions of the people so deeply myself. The sorrow that Sophie felt was so real. I found myself crying with Sophie. The Girl You Left Behind is absolutely a must-read for any book lover. I read this book on my kindle but intend to buy it in print for my permanent collection.