Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Lost Girl

First, this isn't Janine. I'm her mom and she's asked me to contribute a few book recommendations to her blog. And I agreed because she's my favorite daughter and also she's paying me in cookies.

I just finished The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
From Goodreads:
Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray.

So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready. But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this. Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself.

Interesting and creative. Eva's voice felt very authentic and I found myself swept along with her, worried about the Weavers and grieving with Amarra's family. I did find some logic problems. I'm not sure Mandanna ever fully justified a seemingly normal family believing in the idea of an Echo.

For all that, this was an quick, engrossing read and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to all ages.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Books to Read: Every Secret Thing

Guys. I read an actual book. Words on a page. Well, screen (ah, my beloved nook. Best gift ever.). I don't have as much time to read as I'd like, so when I do it is crushing to not to enjoy it. Luckily, that didn't happen with this book.

I'd seen Susanna Kearsley's book, The Winter Sea floating around goodreads and an to-read lists, so I finally picked it up. And I loved it. Loved the historical mixed with present, loved the emotion, loved the characters. It was a carefully researched and fully realized story. If you haven't picked it up, I totally recommend it.

I went to Susanna's website and discovered she has tons of books. I am late to this party! So I picked one at random--or technically, the library picked for me--and started.

From Goodreads:

Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had approached her wanting to tell her about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder. The crime was old, he’d told her, but still deserving of justice. Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother’s mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man’s footsteps. Finding out the truth is not so simple, however, as only a few people are still alive who know the story…and Kate soon realises that her questions are putting their lives in danger. Stalked by an unknown and sinister enemy, she must use her tough journalistic instinct to find the answers from the past – before she has to say goodbye to her future.

Wow. First, I love historical novels because I realize how little I know about history and it makes me want to learn more. Second, Kate Murray is someone I want to be friends with. A great mystery which didn't commit the cardinal, I'll-just-take-a-night-shower-while-I-wait-for-the-serial-killer sin. When Kate made a rash decision I was behind her, following her logic and hoping she was making the right call. And then at the end it wrapped everything up neatly and in a way I didn't see coming. Though caveat: I am terrible at predicting outcomes.

Definitely recommend especially if you like historical fiction.