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March 5, 2011

Stories of Troubled Teens Intrigue Me: Old Wounds

Old WoundsOld Wounds by N. K. Smith
Paperback, 409 pages
Published December 2010 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
ISBN13: 9781612130040
Read December 2010

I don't know what it is about stories of troubled teens that always catches my eyes. I can remember the school book fairs and I always bought the most depressing books - such as The Face on the Milk Carton. It seemed if the main character wanted to run away, was kidnapped, attempted suicide, etc I wanted to read the story. It seems that even now as an adult these stories still intrigue me.

I was lucky enough to read a very early draft for N. K. Smith's series Old Wounds. I fell in love with her characters and the hardships they endured endeared them to my heart. I was excited to see her series be picked up by a publisher and eagerly read the release of the first installment.

I enjoyed the changes that she made; a new scene opens the story. The first book in the series does a good job of introducing the characters of the Friday Freak Club (Sophie's language is a bit more colorful than mine and she calls the group she is forced to be a part of by a slightly different name). Knowing what is to come makes me anxious for the next in the series. I look forward to seeing what other changes and new scenes where added since the early draft I read.

This story is considered young adult as it carries important messages for teens that find themselves in similar situations, but it will also be enjoyed by adults. Though I grew up with an ideal childhood, I know not everyone does and Old Wounds examines some darker aspects of humanity. Just as the stories that captured my attention at book fairs, the characters are not left in their misery, but learn to overcome the obstacles and maybe even thrive. I am intrigued by what the human spirit can endure. Smith captures well the struggle that Sophie and Elliot have in overcoming their past and realistically explores the vices they have taken up in order to survive, but now must learn to overcome in order to heal. I look forward to their journey in finding healing and love as the series continues with Little Battles, which is due out in April.

March 2, 2011

A Suspenseful Mystery: Skeletons

Cover of "Skeletons: A Novel of Suspense&...
Cover of Skeletons: A Novel of Suspense
Skeletons by Kate Wilhelm
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 2002 by St. Martins Minotaur
ISBN13: 9780312300753
Read January 2011

It has been a busy week, but I still wanted to tell you about a book I read over the Christmas break. As you know I like to go to library sales where I can buy as many books as I can put in the bag for a set price. Well, let me tell I might be a bit addicted and have more books than I know what to do with. Since I am usually getting the books for a quarter or less a book, I am not too discriminatory in what I put in the bag. If the cover looks interesting, a comment on the jacket catches my eye, a new genre that I haven't tried, or just about anything will lead me to put the book in my bag. Some times I get good books, and other times well let's just say painting drying might be more interesting.

So it was while on my week break for the Christmas holiday that I decided to try one of the books from a bag that hadn't found a place for yet. It was following my Dekker kick I was on (well I am still on it) and a small statement on the cover said "'One of the masters of psychological fiction in America' - San Fransisco Chronicle". So I was intrigued.

Kate Wilhelm's writing reminded me a bit of Mary Higgins Clark, but maybe not as scary. (I might be a bit biased, the last Mary Higgins Clark was one my mom gave me right after I moved into my own house. The book had a young girl - about my age - that was attacked while living alone. I couldn't even look at the book for months after reading it, it scared me so bad.) Anyways, I digress. I enjoyed Skeletons.

There were a few problems with the story line that kept me from giving it 5 stars on Goodreads.com, but I was hooked enough on the story to finish it within a couple of days. Also, I want to check out a few of her other books (she's been published since the 1960s) as another review on Goodreads.com said that Skeletons wasn't Wilhelm's best novel.

All the way through I was guessing who was who and what was what. There were enough plot points that I could guess correctly that kept me thinking I could solve the mystery before the main character, but enough twist to tell me I wouldn't. All in all it was a good novel of suspense and anyone looking for a good mystery without being so scary that it gives you nightmares I would say try Skeletons.
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February 27, 2011

And the Winner is...

I had 10 people leave comments on my reviews of K. B. Hoyle's The Gateway Chronicles series. I put the names in the hat, closed my eyes, and drew out ... MAUREEN!!!! Congratulations on winning a signed set of these two great books. I hope you family enjoys them as much as I did. Thank you to everyone that read my reviews and left comments. I hope to have more giveaways in the future.

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