Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
( Sept. 2010)
Hardcover: 224 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Author/Publicist
Rating: 4 Stars
ISBN-10: 0805090053
ISBN-13: 9780805090055

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

MY THOUGHTS: I really adored Girl, Stolen. This is the first book that I've read from April Henry and I had been looking forward to reading it for a while and it did not disappoint. The story is well thought out, smart, fast-paced, with suspense and action, and a twist towards the end. And with the added strain of a teenage girl’s blindness and pneumonia, this accidental kidnapping is unlike any other I’ve read, so it definitely peaked my interest. It is fresh and original.

The characters are believable, with Cheyenne being my favorite. I liked how despite her handicap of being blind and sick, she is not portrayed as weak and helpless. The author focuses more on Cheyenne’s strengths than her weaknesses and utilizes them to the fullest extent. Don’t underestimate her. In fact, she is quite an extraordinary, remarkable, and brave young girl. The amount of strength and fight in her to try to survive this ordeal is just incredible and inspiring. Even though this is just a work of fiction, it still gives you a testament of what a blind person is capable of overcoming when faced with obstacles. Cheyenne never gives up hope. Her intelligence as well as her methodical planning and strategic ingenuity make up for her blindness. Cheyenne finds the strongest weapon in the most unlikely place - through communication - which I thought was interesting. But she also uses her handicap to her advantage, trying to evoke sympathy, in hopes of gaining some leverage in her situation. So she really leaves no stone unturned.

Griffin, the teenage boy who accidentally kidnaps Cheyenne when he steals her stepmom’s car, is another character who, while I shouldn’t like him because he is one of the bad guys, kind of grew on me once I got to learn more about him, as his damaged layers were slowly peeled back as you read through the book. He is torn between doing what’s right and doing what his father expects of him, so his vulnerability is easily visible. The book does a great job of detailing the internal conflicts and thoughts of the kidnappers. For me the story was just as much about Griffin as it was about Cheyenne. I felt that it was just as important to try to “free” Griffin as it was to free Cheyenne. There are certain parallels in their lives that allow for them to relate - or seemingly so - which you have to decide, is it a genuine connection or a strategic one? You’ll have to make up your own mind about this if you read this book.

I found myself caring about what happened to the characters. And I was rooting for Cheyenne the whole time. The exciting part about reading this book is that it’s unpredictable - to me at least - because it could go either way, good or bad. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, which made the journey more thrilling and suspenseful.

Money is such a powerful incentive for some of the captors that they are willing to selfishly hold Cheyenne for ransom despite never being kidnappers before. Even though Cheyenne is literally the blind one, for me it felt like her captors were also “blind,” being blinded by money. You get to see the extent to which some people will go for money and how greed can affect some people in a negative way by clouding and overpowering rational reasoning and good judgement in the weak-minded. The book has a lot of underlying depth, dealing with themes and issues of peer pressure, morality, trust, the handicapped, overcoming obstacles, courage, and hope.

While there is definitely some tension throughout the book, I wish there had been a little more conflict between Cheyenne and her captors. But this is understandable as her captors were not natural kidnappers. I also wish the story would have taken place over a longer period of time, as it only spanned a few days. It would have allowed for the story to not feel so rushed towards the end. And the search for Cheyenne isn’t highlighted as much as I would have liked, only briefly mentioned in the book. But overall, I was very impressed and satisfied with the book. The plot is solid from beginning to end. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 2010)

Hardcover: 352 pages
Reading Level: Adult
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 Stars

ISBN-10: 0312595670
ISBN-13: 978-0312595678

Synopsis (From Goodreads): On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old Realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor of the day pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive of a sadistic psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered spirit back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

My Thoughts: Still Missing is a raw, honest, and intense read that will hook you from the very beginning. No sugar coating here, that's for sure. The way the story is told, through sessions with Annie's psychiatrist, was a smart thing to do and added much more realness for me. I was able to really connect and feel for Annie as she was pouring her whole heart out and I felt like I was right there with her in the cabin with her captor, re-living the horror that she went through. I was very repulsed by her captor who she nicknames The Freak.

Annie's voice is a strong one and gives a powerful narrative. She's a true survivor. The story is very captivating and there is a huge twist towards the end, which was very shocking and disturbing. I love twists in stories and this one definitely brought the story to a whole other level. However, I felt like the reasoning behind it wasn't a satisfying one and wasn't convincing enough. I wish it had been more believable. This was the only time I felt that something was lacking.

Overall, a great read for a debut novel. The last line of the book is probably one of my favorites. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Winner Announcement: Halloween Themed Book Giveaway

I have a winner's announcement to make.

Out of a total of 61 entries (the number of postcards being sent by you guys), random.org chose #35, who is..........


Her spooky book of choice is We Hear The Dead.

Congrats April! I sent you an email and you have already confirmed. For those of you who didn't win, you should all still expect some cool postcard(s) in your mail!! I'm looking forward to this myself. I am sending 3 postcards out. I have already sent out the emails to you guys with the names and mailing addresses of the people you'll be sending your postcard(s) to. Try to get them in the mail by the end of this week or at the latest, early next week. And once you've sent your postcard(s), let me know by sending me an email to: bookishdelightsblog at gmail dot com. This way I can easily keep track of things. Thank you all for participating in the postcard swap! Hope you enjoy the postcard(s) you get! I know I will!

Postcard Swap Facts (If You Are Interested):

25 Participants...

Sending a total of 64 Postcards(includes the 3 I'm sending)...

From a total of 8 Different Countries...

Of which...

4 people are sending out 1 postcard each and...

3 people are sending out 2 postcards each and...

18 people (the majority) are sending out 3 postcards each.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

International Postcard Swap Update & Other Stuff

Hey guys,

For those of you participating in the postcard swap, continue being patient. I know I said I would email you the mailing address(es) of the people you would be sending your postcard(s) to by today, but I'm a little behind. Sorry about that. My internet wasn't working all day today until now. It was unexpected. But I will email you all the information by tomorrow(Wednesday Oct 6). It would be ideal if you could get the postcard(s) sent out by the end of this week. And I will be announcing the winner of the Halloween themed spooky book tomorrow as well! Every participant in the postcard swap was automatically entered. The number of postcards you are sending was the number of entrants you got.

Also a participant in the postcard swap mentioned if she could send some swag in addition to the postcards. That is ok to do if it's something you are interested in doing. But this is not required.

If you have any questions/concerns, you can email me at:
bookishdelightsblog at gmail dot com

And I am also posting my first book review on my blog this Friday! I will start posting my book reviews every Friday and possibly even more frequent than that. So come back to check out my reviews sometime! I will be reviewing both Young Adult & Adult books.

Well that's all for now. Hope you are having a great week so far!