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Sarah Dessen isn’t the queen of Young Adult literature for nothing, and this new title just proves her worth as both a writer and a storyteller who understands her audiences in an almost sixth-sense way. She meets her readers where they are and crafts genuine characters who are wholly realistic and struggling with very real problems. In Sydney’s perfect world, everything is not as it seems. She’s the quiet younger sister who’s always lived in ...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

Short stories require an entirely separate kind of reader. Believe it or not, they’re incredibly difficult to write because you simply don’t have the time to waste or the space on the page to spend creating dramatic back story or crafting a deep character. What you see is what you get, and that’s why some readers adore them while others can’t stand them. Somehow, though, in true Gaiman-esque style, the author manages to complete an entire coll...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

This book gets five stars just for the risk, if not for the great writing and the imaginative format. This is definitely going to be one of those “loved it or hated it books,” with very little room for a “meh” response from anyone. The story starts out well enough. The main character, Hannah Martin, has bounced around over the years since college, living in different cities, working different jobs, never really tying herself down to a full-fle...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

I’m being generous with the three stars here, mostly because writing historical fiction based on true people and events is incredibly difficult. You basically have to take the little information that’s actually known about an important figure and craft an entertaining and engaging story while still never stepping outside the bonds of truth. You fill in the blanks that history forgot to record, but can’t do or say anything that calls into quest...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

Everything that’s great about Sara Gruen’s writing (think back fondly to the masterpiece that was Water for Elephants) comes through in At the Water’s Edge in the completely believable characters and realistic depictions of the Scottish setting. When Madeline and Ellis Hyde are all but disowned by his wealthy parents for a society faux pas involving far too much champagne at a party, they embark on an otherworldly plan to hunt down the Loch Ne...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

History books tell us all about war. They reveal the events that led up to the war, the battles, the treaties, the winners and losers. But history books, especially the ones used to teach people about the past, quickly move on to the next war. It’s as if the fighting had to rage on somewhere else before the ink was even dry on the armistice. But Leaving Berlin refuses to let the reader think the war ended as quickly as the world leaders stated...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

I wasn’t sure I could read this book. After all, it took months to recover from reading and then watching Schindler’s List, also by this author, and I really didn’t know if I had it in me to go through human suffering on that scale again. I’m glad I decided I did. Where Keneally’s other famous tale of World War II suffering focused on the horrors of being the unfortunate victims of a madman’s whims—and the human kindness of individuals and the...

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Reading this book was a really strange experience. I really didn’t want to give it five stars, either. Weird, huh? My basic problem with the book is it’s full of whiners, at least at first glance. Wah, Rachel rides the train every day past her old house where she had her heart broken. Wah. Now she’s a pathetic shell of a woman who drunk dials her ex from time to time. Wah. But then something real happens. The writing pulls you in even though y...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

I really wanted to give this book a fair shake, but I simply couldn’t. Let me explain myself. When I first read the book that started it all, I admit that I was okay with it. It was thinly veiled Twilight crap, which the author has already admitted. It wasn’t until I let the interwebs and people’s opinions influence me that I decided I really didn’t need to read any of the other books. I also didn’t need to see the movie, because I rarely like...

No Comments Mercy Pilkington Read More

You know you’re good when I can still care about your main character when we’re fifteen books in. Silva has long been known as a master storyteller; he’s almost the anti-author, the quiet man who’s simply sitting at his desk, penning his marvelous stories without a care in the world about sales or audiences. Every time I read one of his books I feel like I snuck into his office and read his personal writings, mostly because they lack that pand...

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Books-to-Movies / December 9, 2016

It’s so easy to screw up a film adaptation. To be honest, there has been one book-to-film conversion in the history of either books or films in which the movie far outshines the piece of literature, and that’s Last of the Mohicans. Otherwise, there have been good adaptations, mediocre adaptations that I could live with, and downright “ought to be a crime to do this to the book” adaptations (I’m looking at you, To Kill a Mockingbird, ...

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
New Releases / December 5, 2016

Sarah Dessen isn’t the queen of Young Adult literature for nothing, and this new title just proves her worth as both a writer and a storyteller who understands her audiences in an almost sixth-sense way. She meets her readers where they are and crafts genuine characters who are wholly realistic and struggling with very real problems. In Sydney’s perfect world, everything is not as it seems. She’s the quiet younger sister who’s always...

The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier
Fiction / December 3, 2016

This third title by the author of both Creep and Freak delivers more of the same heart-stopping horror writing that Hillier has become known for. Focused on what may or may not be the capture of the notorious serial killer almost thirty years ago, the Beacon Hill Butchers, the title delivers not just the spine chilling plot that horror fans crave, but also a number of intricate twists and turns. Of course the grandson of the cop who ...

8 books to help you rebound from a breakup
Featured / November 29, 2016

A friend of mine once told me, as I was huddled over my fifth tumbler of rye bourbon with a cigarette in hand, that enduring a breakup from a long-term relationship is a lot like being born. You’re crying a lot, your emotions are not in check, you lack certain sensibilities and you’re learning how to be an independent person again. I’d say a lot of those similarities hold up. But remember you are not an infant, you’re an adult. So yo...

An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman by Clipston, Fuller, Chapman
Best Sellers , Fiction / November 26, 2016

Told in four separate novellas by four different authors who are at the top of their craft, An Amish Cradle carries themes of family, love, romance, fear, faith, and acceptance throughout each of the stories. In the first story, veteran Amish romance author Beth Wiseman spins a tale of a young Amish couple struggling to understand and accept their first born son’s diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. In the second, “A Son for Always” by Amy...

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Best Sellers , Books-to-Movies / November 23, 2016

It really isn’t Divergent’s fault that it isn’t The Hunger Games. Nor did it try to be, at least not in the book sense. Unfortunately, the movers and shakers of the film adaptation decided that what America was really missing from its “dystopian, kill the teenagers” films was romance. They completely missed the mark. For the record, the Hunger Games trilogy has romance and plenty of it. But that wasn’t what the book was about, so the...

Trigger Warning: Short Stories and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
New Releases / November 22, 2016

Short stories require an entirely separate kind of reader. Believe it or not, they’re incredibly difficult to write because you simply don’t have the time to waste or the space on the page to spend creating dramatic back story or crafting a deep character. What you see is what you get, and that’s why some readers adore them while others can’t stand them. Somehow, though, in true Gaiman-esque style, the author manages to complete an e...

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
New Releases / November 17, 2016

This book gets five stars just for the risk, if not for the great writing and the imaginative format. This is definitely going to be one of those “loved it or hated it books,” with very little room for a “meh” response from anyone. The story starts out well enough. The main character, Hannah Martin, has bounced around over the years since college, living in different cities, working different jobs, never really tying herself down to ...

Death Falls by Todd Ritter
Fiction / November 16, 2016

What’s not to love in Ritter’s latest installment in his Kat Campbell series? As the second generation police chief of Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania, Campbell has inherited more than just her father’s job in this town, especially when her good friend (from previous titles) Nick comes to town to help one of its famous former residents solve a crime decade’s old. In 1969, when world famous mystery author Eric Olmstead was only a newborn, ...

Cyber Attack by Marty Gitlin, Margaret J. Goldstein
Fiction / November 12, 2016

This work of non-fiction is aimed at middle grade and young adult readers, and that’s a really good thing. Considering the senior adult population falls victim to online identity theft where they unknowingly allow information to be stolen (such as falling for phishing scams), the language level and writing style are actually appropriate for anyone unfamiliar with this type of crime. Not to make this review read like an industry repor...