Dark Places (Review)
reviews* / November 18, 2014

Title: Dark Places Author: Gillian Flynn Narrators: Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, Robertson Dean Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 368 (audio length: 13 hours 43 minutes) Genre: Fiction, Mystery Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived – and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her. The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details – proof they hope may free Ben – Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to…

The Graveyard Book (Review)
reviews* / October 24, 2014

Title: The Graveyard Book Author: Neil Gaiman Publication Year: 2008 Pages: 336 (audio length: 7 hours 47 minutes) Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: It takes a graveyard to raise a child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy — an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack — who has already killed Bod’s family. This was the second of Gaiman’s books that I read (after American Gods and before Coraline), and it basically convinced me that I had to continue working through his backlist. First of all, who can beat the premise of the story? A kid growing up in a graveyard? That’s just plain awesome. And the way that Gaiman tells it, Bod seems to be having just as good – if not better – of…

Jumpstart the World (Review)
reviews* / September 27, 2013

Title: Jumpstart the World Author: Catherine Hyde Ryan Publication Year: 2011 Pages: 192 Genre: Fiction, Young Adult Source: E-book purchased from the Apple store From the cover: Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because now she has to move out of her apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her. Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door to her new place. Being with him is impossible: he’s a grown-up and has a girlfriend.  Still, Elle can’t stop thinking about him.  Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard. Then Elle discovers that Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. Elle’s head and her heart explode; her world is turned upside down.  But when an accident nearly takes Frank’s life, Elle must search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world. I’d heard a lot of good things about this book before I picked it up for the Literary Others reading event. Somehow, though, I’d never managed…

The Night Circus (Review)
reviews* / September 25, 2013

Title: The Night Circus Author: Erin Morgenstern Publication Year: 2011 Pages: 528 Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy Source: Purchased from a bookstore in Geneva From the cover: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance. This book was such a gorgeous read that I’m not sure where to start. So unsure where to start, in fact, that I’ve been putting off writing this review for over a year. The Night Circus is a book about magic, yes, but also…

Long Walk to Freedom (Review)
reviews* / September 23, 2013

Title: Long Walk to Freedom Author: Nelson Mandela Narrator: Michael Boatman Publication Year: 1995 Pages: 528 (audio length: 27 hours 43 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. I have to admit that I never really knew that much about Nelson Mandela. I knew he was an important world figure, and I vaguely knew that he had been in prison and had helped change the face of South Africa, but I was really short on the details. A little over a year ago, I visited South Africa over a school break, and learned a bit more about him, and that influenced me to pick up this book and listen to it during a subsequent holiday. Long Walk to Freedom is definitely a good primer…