THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman Book Review
Publication Date: April 10th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Rating: – Dreadful
Book Summary: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.
But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman Book Review Overview:
- I liked the Latin, but there is a lot of translating and not much action
- Flimsy romance; no spark at all
- The twists and turns of the plot were predictable
I first tried to listen to THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman over a year ago when I first got into audiobooks. The length of the audiobook is quite intimidating, and in the end, I just couldn’t get into it. I put it aside, and I hoped that I would pick it back up one day because I liked the concept. A year later, I decided to try again. Now that I listen to more audiobooks, I thought that I would have more patience for a really long book such as THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman. Unfortunately, the book still was not my cup of tea.
MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal Book Review
Publication Date: June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary:What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal Book Review Overview:
- Mystery that keeps you guessing
- Convoluted ending that made it a little unsatisfying for me as a reader
The last thing Cassidy remembers is her birthday party. But when she wakes up, she realizes that she is no longer living. Trapped as a ghost in the living world, Cassidy tries to piece together the events that led up to her death. MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal is a page-turning mystery about lies and first love.
I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal. I just have a hard time with the fact that Cassidy cheats on her boyfriend of three years. I don’t think she ever justifies the fact that she cheated, but it was hard for me to like her as a protagonist. I like the chemistry between Cassidy and Ethan, but I can’t forget what Cassidy did. I feel bad for both boys who were affected.
I found the mystery to be really enticing at first. Bethany Neal kept me guessing throughout the entire book. But the mystery got a little too convoluted in the end. I can’t believe I’m saying this but there were just too many twists and turns towards the end, and it got tiresome. I just wanted to know who was behind the murder. I think that the red herrings were too close together, and I think I would have liked them spaced out throughout the book instead of all in one go at the end.
The ending felt a little abrupt, and I would have liked to see a little more resolution. Unfortunately, because the book is told from Cassidy’s perspective, the story ends when her friends solve the murder. The secondary characters are never fully realized and we are left hanging in the middle of their grieving process.
The mystery in MY LAST KISS by Bethany Nealis a page-turner, but the ending left more to be desired.
About the Author
You can find her locked in her Writertorium for insane amounts of time. But, hey, insanity is fun! My Last Kiss is her first novel.
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CATHERINE by April Lindner Book Review
Publication Date: January 2nd 2013 by Poppy
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.
Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?
Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.
Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.
Catherine by April Lindner Book Review Overview:
- Fun contemporary with an intriguing mystery
- Likeable protagonists but Catherine is more of my favorite
- I never read Wuthering Heights: I can’t judge on how successful it is as an adaptation.
I picked up CATHERINE by April Lindner without any knowledge of Wuthering Heights. As much as I itched to search up a plot summary, I really wanted to read CATHERINE without any outside influences. CATHERINE by April Lindner is a fun contemporary with an intriguing mystery told from alternating perspectives set nearly twenty years apart.
When Chelsea finds an old letter addressed to her from her missing mother, Chelsea leaves home in search of her mother in New York City. She is determined to find out what has become of her mother after all these years. Once in New York, Chelsea starts to find out more about her mother as a teenager when she discovers her mother’s old diary. Chelsea hopes that this will be the clue to help track her down.
Chelsea is likeable enough as a protagonist. Her determination is infectious and you want nothing more to find her mother. Of the two, Catherine is probably the one who is more likeable because it is her character that has a questionable future. Catherine’s happily ever after was more in question than Chelsea’s. Catherine had a lot more forces going against her, so I tended to sympathize more with her character.
I wasn’t a fan of how New York City is portrayed in the story; it was like reading a novel from the eyes of a tourist. As someone who lives in the city, it was quite a disappointment.
The romance in CATHERINE by April Lindner is inevitable. It isn’t necessary to the plot and I thought it filler than anything else. I would have been fine if Chelsea had gone through the novel without a romance. It was more of her mother’s story that I found interesting.
Guest reviewer, Loreal, also had a chance to read CATHERINE by April Lindner. I asked her to co-write a review with me, but she said that she loved the book so much that it would be impossible for her to write anything coherent. I should also add that she loved CATHERINE by April Lindner even more so than the original.
CATHERINE by April Lindner succeeds as an engaging contemporary mystery with a touch of romance. But because I have not read Wuthering Heights I can’t judge on how successful it is as an adaptation. However, CATHERINE by April Lindner did not convince me to pick up Wuthering Heights unlike how Lindner’s Jane immediately got me to pick up Jane Eyre.
About the Author
April Lindner is a young adult novelist and poet. Lindner is a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She is the mother of two sons, plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets–two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs.
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