Review: Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Never EighteenNever Eighteen by Megan Bostic

  • ISBN-13: 9780547550763
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/17/2012
  • Pages: 204
  • Source: Purchased

Synopsis:

Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.

But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

My Review:

Wow, this was a story that I knew was going to get the tears flowing but I didn’t realize to what degree.  I find that I am having a very difficult time putting together my thoughts on the story, mostly because it was an emotion roller coaster.  The plot is pretty much summed up by the description of the book.  Austin is a teen who will never see this eighteenth birthday and sets out on a journey to fix the things he can that he did wrong in his short life and ensure that he has done what he can for the people he is leaving behind.  Part of this was a little unbelievable for me that there were so many people in his life in such bad situation or events.  I really felt the worst for Kaylee as she makes this journey with him and I realized that soon she will be all alone.  

The hardest part of the story the last 50 pages.  I cannot remember the last book that made me cry like this.  It just all came together was devastating even though I knew what was going to happen.  Megan Bostic writes with a style that is just honest and straightforward.  None of the emotion or pain was hidden and I felt every bit of it.  This is for sure a strong message book and painful but I am so glad I took the time to read it.  It was a pretty quick one sitting read because I just could not put it down.

My Rating:

5 Penguins!  Well done!

Early Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

The WitnessThe Witness by Nora Roberts

  • ISBN-13: 9780399159121
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Pages: 496
  • Source: From Publisher

Synopsis:

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security  systems—and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something—and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller author—and will leave people hungering for more.

My Thoughts:

I have been a long time Nora Roberts fan and I have read all of the books she has written under Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb. This book was by far the best that I have read from her in years.  It was not written in the same pattern that I have become accustomed to where I can almost tell you exactly what is going to happen and in what order.  This was different and refreshing. 

The story actually starts with a young girl who is controlled completely by a mother that expects her to be perfect and follow all of her rules and expectations.  She is just turning sixteen years old and is already in college, her whole future laid out for her.  And like most teenagers she rebels.  Elizabeth finds herself in the mall and has not idea what she is supposed to do there.  She is quickly recognized by  another teen that she attended school with for a short period of time and gets wrapped up in this girl’s plan to have Elizabeth create them fake ids and go out to the hottest club in town.  Even after Elizabeth does some research and finds that this club is owned by men known to be affiliated with the Russian Mob, she is too high on her new found freedom and goes along.  Elizabeth has changed her appearance by cutting and dying her hair and dressing in a completely new way.  Once at the club, the girls are meet and are invited back to one of the owner’s homes.  Liz, as she decided to go by, quick realizes she has had to much to drink and after getting sick curls up on a chair out on deck in the fresh air.  She wakes up to a conversation in Russian, and since she has a mild understanding quickly realizes that something is terribly wrong.  She witnesses the man they came home with shot by another member of the Russian mob and her new friend shot at point blank range.  Liz takes off and calls the police.  The police quickly move her to a safe location but Liz quickly realizes that she will never be safe and they will always hunt her especially once her safe house is compromised and everyone who has taken care of her is killed on her birthday, and the blame is placed on her.  Liz disappears.

Flash forward twelve years.  Brooks Gleason has returned to his small hometown after spending ten years in the big city fighting crime to be the chief of police and be closer to his family after his father suffers some medical set backs.  Small towns come with their own set of problem and in his small town it is the rich couple and their trouble making son and gossip.  There is a lot of gossip about the new woman on the outskirts of town, Abigail Lowery, who runs her own business creating security systems and has a dog that scares just about everyone.  Brooks decides that he is going to stop by and is surprised at how quickly he is attracted to this strange woman who is always armed and has a dog that seems to know commands in many different languages and is completely in tune to his owner.  Brooks can tell that she is in some kind of trouble but just can’t get her to talk about it. 

Abigail knows that she needs to be on her own to stay safe but Brooks Gleason just keeps getting in her way.  And more frustrating than that is she enjoys the time they spend together and has even learned that she enjoys spending time with his family since they have a way of ensuring that she will show up, but she can never give away her secret and she must take the Russian mob family has had her on the run for all of these years down and she is getting so close.  She has begun to get information into the FBI and has create a computer program that will eliminate the mob’s money so they cannot just return to power.  But she is letting Brooks get to close and it could ruin everything. 

Little does Abigail know, Brooks could be the answer to all of the unfinished plans and there is a possibility that she could live happily ever after even if it means that she has to put her life on the life to take down the people that have run her life for so many years.

First, I love all of the high drama and mystery in this book!  It was so unpredictable and emotional.  For awhile now, the normal Nora Roberts book has been all about the romance, that is not the case in this story.  While yes, it is there and in your face at points during the story.  The real story is that of young Elizabeth, the journey that takes her to being LIz, Abigail and being faced with having to be Elizabeth again even though she knows that the Russian mob is going to find a way to kill her once she agrees to testify and close the mystery of what really happened.

Outstanding character and story development.  I hope to see more stories in a similar vain to this one from Nora Roberts in the future.  I love a good solid romance and her series always provide that but I love this new directions.

 

My Rating:

5 Penguin

I highly recommend this story!

Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Catching Jordan

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

ISBN-13: 9781402262272

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated

Publication date: 12/1/2011

Pages: 288

Source: Purchased

Synopsis:

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though- she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?

My Thoughts:

I kept hearing how great this story was and that I had to read it so I finally gave in.  I was not really sure what I expected, sports books are not really my thing.  I was super surprised that I loved the book as much as I did.  This one a one sitting read for me and it has been a long time since I have had one of those.

So what was it about this book at captured my attention, it was a little bit of everything.  First, just the premises of the book and the characters.  Jordan is the captain of her high school’s football team and the quarterback.  Jordan had never had an interest in any of the boys, has never had a first kiss, and has not really thought about it too much, she doesn’t want to lose the respect of her team mates.  Well, all of that is about to change when a new boy in town, Ty, is placed on the football team.  From the first moment she see him, Jordan is distracted and attracted to him.  What Jordan falls to see is that her best friend and teammate has always had feelings for her and her world is about to be turned upside down.  As she suddenly has to learn to deal with her feelings and how to cope with the two boys in her life at odds with each other over her.

This book is about so much more than just this.  Jordan has come from a football family.  Her older brother plays college ball and her father plays in the NFL.  Yet her father never shows up for a game and never asks how things are going, he wants her to give up on her dream.  Jordan’s dream has always been to play for the University of Alabama and it seems like this might become a reality but she quickly realizes that she may only be a poster girl for them and never play the game she loves. 

I understand that Jordan’s father just wants her to be safe and what parent would not worry about their child, male or female, getting hurt playing a sport but there were times during the book that I just wanted to yell at him.  His concern came across as disinterest.  It isn’t until Jordan overhears a conversation her parents are having that demonstrates his fears that I started to understand him more.  And really at that point, he started playing a more active role in the book and Jordan’s life. 

There are a lot of emotional ups and down in this book and really many different points of view to be taken into account.  It was reassuring to watch everyone in the story grow up as the book progressed.  There was one part of the book that really just irritated me and this is probably only because I am from the state of Michigan, so I have a really good beat on Michigan sports.  Towards the end of the book, Jordan’s father decides that he is going to take Jordan and her best friend to Michigan.  For the best friend to visit, University of Michigan and Jordan to visit Michigan State, where he knows the coach and thinks there is a chance that Jordan would actually be able to play.  While at Michigan State, they are preparing for the biggest game of the year, and Jordan is going to get the chance to attend the game.  The problem is the book refers to this game as against Notre Dame, this is so not right.  The biggest game and rivalry is always University of Michigan.  So this just bothered me, most people would not even catch it but because these are my home teams I did.

Regardless, I really like the book and the direction it took.  This was not all about sport and that made it really enjoyable.  I would recommend this book.

My Rating:

5 Penguin 

5 Penguins, a great story.