Category: Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon
AUDIOBOOK

Published: July 31, 2003
Dates Read:  March 7-14, 2017

My Rating: 5 stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind.

And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.

Review:

Christopher is our narrator for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. For the rest of the review it will be referenced as The Curious Incident. Though not mentioned by name in the novel, Christopher has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. He is fifteen and one day he finds his neighbor’s dog has been killed. The Curious Incident is his journey to find the dog’s killer, but it becomes much more than that: It is a tale of a boy trying to find his place in our very complicated world.

Mark Haddon used to work with autistic individuals and his writing perfectly shows us how a person with Asperger’s may think. Haddon really gets us inside Christopher’s head. I became fully involved in the journey and was with Christoper every step of the way.

I chose to read this book as it is next in a book club I have joined. Since my reading list is very full I had to listen to it on CD versus actually reading it. This review is for the audio version. I knew there were pictures throughout the novel, so I was prepared to get the actual book as well. I was worried I might miss something by not seeing the pictures. The narrator did a great job in his narration and I do not feel that I missed anything by listening to the audio version. I was actually able to get a copy of The Curious Incident at my local library book sale, so I was able to see what the pictures looked like in the novel.

One thing I was confused about as I started listening to the CD were the chapters. The novel did not begin with chapter one. They are instead numbered differently with prime numbers. Once that was explained I was fine. At first I thought the first chapter was skipped in the CD I was listening to!

Some other things to keep in mind if you are going to read The Curious Incident. Christopher is very detail driven in his narration. At times it could be seen as if it was dragging on, but this is who Christopher is and he can’t help it. He is very literal in his thoughts and explanations. Math is mentioned a great deal in The Curious Incident. For those of us that are not mathematically inclined, this can seem to keep going like the Energizer Bunny.

Christopher also doesn’t like jokes as he can analyze them, but he doesn’t understand them. He is writing a book on his mission to find out who killed the neighbor’s dog, and he says the book will not be funny, but he is so literal in this thinking that at times he is funny without realizing it and you can’t help but giggle a time or two.

This was a very enjoyable read for me. It is a shorter novel around 220 pages that could be read very quickly, though it may not be for everyone. It seems The Curious Incident is either a love it or hate it kind of novel.

The Curious Incident is highly recommended.

Release Day Review: Never Let You Go

Author: Chevy Stevens
406 pages in hard back

Published: March 14, 2017
Dates Read: February 26 – March 11, 2017

My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

My Review:

Still Missing is Chevy Stevens’ first novel and is my favorite of hers. You feel every emotion Annie has and Chevy’s writing is compelling! With Never Let You Go, Chevy really does showcase that she is a master at what she does.

Never Let You Go is about Lindsey and her daughter Sophie. Lindsey is in an abusive marriage and wants to get out but isn’t sure how. Eventually she leaves with Sophie and her husband Andrew goes to jail. Eleven years later, Andrew is released from prison and Lindsey begins to feel that she is being constantly watched. She believes it is Andrew even though he says he has changed.

Never Let You Go is narrated by Lindsey and her daughter Sophie. In addition to both narrators the novel also takes place in the past when Lindsey was in her marriage and present day. Both transitions of the points of view between Lindsey and Sophie and past and present are seamless. They merge together well and there is no confusion when each chapter occurs or who the narrator is.

As with all thriller/suspense novels there are twists that you may or may not see coming. My suspicions were narrowed down to two characters as to whom I thought was stalking Lindsey. I just was not sure why they might have been doing it. I was excited to see that one of my suspicions was right! I normally do not like it when I guess who the guilty party is, but I think because I was not sure of the motive, that was why I still had my mind blown. When I read who was stalking Lindsey and why I had two reactions: “I knew it! and OMG!” The OMG thought was the motive that I did not see coming.

Chevy Stevens does a great job with you having empathy for Lindsey. At the beginning you really want her to get away from Andrew. Chevy pulls you in and takes you for quite a ride with Lindsey and Sophie. You want Lindsey and Sophie to come out fine at the end.

This is a very intense book that I never wanted to put down!

I must give a couple of warnings to readers:

  1. If you have issues with domestic violence you may want to stay away from this book. Some scenes are very intense.
  2. If you are an animal lover there are a couple of scenes that may bother you. I had a hard time reading those scenes, but a lot of the feeling was fear as to what was going to happen next.

With Never Let You Go Chevy Stevens shows how superior she is with her writing in the suspense/thriller genres. With this book, she is becoming a favorite of mine!

Never Let You Go is very highly recommended! If you have not read her novels and interested in reading them, then start with Still Missing and then move onto Never Let You Go!

**Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my e-arc via NetGalley and my print arc copy!

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The Weekenders


Author: Mary Kay Andrews
AUDIOBOOK

Published: May 17, 2016
Dates Read: February 14- March 7, 2017

My Rating: 2 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends, and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it becomes clear that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Now Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

My Review:

I first want to say I am a Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) fan. She is also from Georgia, and I love to support authors who live in my state. I have read some of her books that I have loved (Beach Town and Save the Date) and others that were passable. I hate to say it, but The Weekenders was of the latter.

MKA books are women’s fiction/chick lit/beach reads. They make for a quick and easy read. The Weekenders is about Riley Griggs and her daughter Maggy. Riley and her daughter are heading for Belle Isle to stay at their vacation house. While on the ferry Riley is handed some papers by a process server. Riley is not happy about those papers and her husband not showing. From that point on there are a few mysteries that occur in The Weekenders. A body shows up and it also appears that Riley’s husband has a few secrets of his own. Also entering the picture is Nate, who was involved with Riley in the past.

I can’t say too much more about the novel without spoilers. I did not become that attached to the characters, although I did like Maggy. She is a twelve year old with a serious attitude problem, and she also has juvenile diabetes. She causes drama, along with a lot of family drama in Riley’s family. I really did not have any feelings about Riley. I know you are supposed to root for her with everything she goes through, but some of that could be considered problems the wealthy have. I am far from wealthy and I suppose that is why I did not identify with her.

I admit I kept listening to the audiobook as I wanted to know about the murder. Once we find out who the murderer was I couldn’t help but giggle. I was not expecting this particular character to be the murderer. It is unrealistic as to how and when we find out who the murderer is: A conversation where the character admits to the murder right before a hurricane coming to the island. Closer to the end of the novel it just seemed like the hurricane was thrown in to make an already long book even longer. It was a bit ridiculous and far-fetched in my opinion.

I know beach reads are for fun and to throw all belief out the door, but in this case The Weekenders was a bit excessive. For me the best part of the book was the Epilogue. Everything was concluded in a nice way.

Overall, I would say skip The Weekenders and read another of MKA’s book. I would recommend the first book of hers I read, as it is what put her on my radar: Save the Date.

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