Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I'll be kicking it all off Friday, July 1st with a review of Eden Baylee's book FALL INTO WINTER, which is hot enough to melt the polar ice caps. Don't miss it!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
I can't review A Walk In The Snark by Rachel Thompson - better known as Rachel in the OC - without reviewing the author herself. A Walk In The Snark is a collection of the best-of-the-best from the author's wildly popular blog. In this best selling eBook the reader gets a wonderful taste of different aspects of her writing - from gut-wrenching hilarious, to the quiet seriousness of the authors heart. Rachel is relentless as she deconstructs the mysteries of men, women, relationships, and the perfect martini.
In this loosely autobiographical set of short vignettes the author uses humor and a snarky attitude to tackle issues that are serious and silly with equal gusto. She skillfully explains the mancode to clueless women while helping us guys understand the maddening complexities of chickspeak. Her insightful walk-throughs guide the reader boldly across minefields like "I'm fine," and into advanced areas of training such as shopping. There is no subject, controversial or mundane, Rachel is afraid to take a swipe at.
A Walk In The Snark isn't all pokes and tickles, however. At times the author lays herself bare with heart rending candor. We are graciously allowed to share her sorrows along with her joys. The humor is often self-depreciating with the author laughing as much at herself, and her gender, as she does the men she dearly loves. Rachel likes to present the image of a snarky bitch, but she is one of the sweetest, most generous people I've met. Just don't call her cute.
I am somewhat reminded of famous columnists from the past such as Erma Bombeck, but Rachel in the OC is very much a woman of today. Her humor and delivery are fresh and new. The confused friction between men and women isn't a new source of humor, but Rachel gives it a hard backspin. Buy the book, read until you fall out of your chair laughing, then follow her blog. The snark never stops, it just keep going and going and going...
**WARNING** Do not visit Rachel in the OC, or read A Walk In The Snark while drinking any type of beverage. This will cause damage to nearby electronics when you spew said beverage from your mouth and nose. You have been warned.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Ellery Mayne isn't paranoid, she really is being followed--and watched. To a shy, socially awkward seventeen year old girl, who looks closer to twelve than twenty and is struggling to survive a broken heart, being the center of attention is rather uncomfortable--particularly when she has no idea who is watching her or why. Lucky for her they seem benign enough, even helpful on occasion, and when she finally gets a glimpse of one of her watchers, he turns out to be absolutely dreamy. What's a girl to do?
In her debut novel Mayne Attraction - In the Spotlight, the first book in the Mayne Attraction series, author Ann Mauren weaves an intricate story from the naive, though incredibly resourceful and intelligent perspective of young Ellery Mayne. Determined to discover who these people are, and why she is being watched and seemingly protected from harm, our wonderfully self-sufficient heroine devises some rather devious strategies of her own to spot her surveillance team.
What struck me most about this beautifully written work was its intelligence. While many popular books, especially YA romances, seem written to a middle-grade reading level or lower in style and substance, Mayne Attraction assumes much of the reader. The main character is highly intelligent, well read, and has a stellar vocabulary. The narrative reflects that. I have a fairly extensive vocabulary and there were more than a few words I didn't know. But the author, or Ellery herself, graciously explains the hard ones. But their use comes naturally to Ellery, often to the confusion of her friends, and the PhD vocabulary doesn't seem contrived at all. It flows naturally throughout the narrative.
I enjoyed Mayne Attraction - In the Spotlight immensely and cannot wait for In the Smoke and In the Shadow. All three books planned in the series will be written from a different POV. I visited Ann Mauren's website and read excerpts from Main Attraction - In the Shadow to see how that very interesting concept worked (Spoiler Alert - if you read the excerpts, the story is very much the same as In the Spotlight from a different POV). The new POV adds powerfully to the story, revealing events and perspectives unknown to Ellery as well as giving the reader a look at the beloved heroine from other points-of-view. It is a very effective concept both as a literary and a marketing device.
I will hazard to predict Mayne Attraction will be thought of as a groundbreaking piece of modern literature if it can receive enough exposure. I highly recommend it on all levels - story, writing, and style - and for all audiences. This work just topped my 2011 fiction reading list. It will be difficult for anything else to surpass it. I can't give it enough stars. And the author is giving away the eBook version of Mayne Attraction - In the Spotlight on Amazon. So download it and see for yourself. You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle eBooks.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Oliver Olson is a law student from a working class family who lands a position working as a summer associate at a prestigious law firm. He went to law school because he wanted to help people, but quickly finds himself in a world of extreme opulence, power, and greed. The skillfully crafted narrative is reminiscent of classic hard-boiled mysteries, and like many pulp novels of the past the mystery plot is at times stilted and contrived, but the overall story is so well written we can forgive a few shaky elements.
Though hardcore mystery readers might find some mystery elements a little weak, the back story of a young man on the threshold of losing his soul to the corruption inherent in money and power makes the work a worthwhile and spellbinding read. The characterizations are rich and believable, the settings detailed and alluring, and the protagonist Oliver Olson is endearing even in his deepest plunges into the dark side. The reader easily sympathizes with his ethical battles and eagerly cheers and scolds him along the way.
The writing itself is one of the most stand out elements of this book. Fingers Murphy is a master of the well turned phrase and is able to speak volumes with only a few words. In one early scene the author describes the opulence of a party thrown at the law firm. A centerpiece is described as an ice sculpture of Lady Justice, the scales filled with caviar. Later, as Mr. Olson is torn by guilt over his conflicting desires and ideals he references the sculpture - "...the clear droplets running down the side of Lady Justice's icy face as she strained to hold those scales aloft."
Another beautiful example of the authors mastery of prose comes as Olson wakes after a drunken night - "My head pounded and I went frightfully still. I was only two more foolish moves from vomiting. Nearly checkmated by my own hangover, I paused and planned my next motions with care." The narrative is filled with such gems, keeping the reader joyfully engaged. Anyone who loves good literature will enjoy Mr. Murphy's writing, whether you are a fan of mysteries or not.
I heartily recommend FOLLOW THE MONEY to anyone who enjoys fine literature, young adult to senior citizen. It is a very well written and satisfying summer read. I look forward to future works by the author.