Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Mysteries

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 100!!!

I would like to thank NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

Christmas Mysteries: Ten Excerpts to Set the Season (Plus Three More to Celebrate the New Year) by various authors

Ten excerpts from classic and contemporary mysteries with Christmas themes: Rest You Merry by Charlotte MacLeod; The Fourth Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders; The Egyptian Cross Mystery by Ellery Queen; Not a Creature was Stirring by Jane Haddam; The Midnight Before Christmas by William Bernhardt; Omit Flowers by Stuart Palmer; The Queen is Dead by Jane Dentinger; Killed on the Ice by William DeAndrea; The Shortest Day by Jane Langton; and The Sleeper by Gillian White.  Also includes three bonus excerpts with a New Year's theme: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers; Stress by Loren D. Estleman; and The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth.

My Opinion:
This book wasn't what I expected.  I expected the excerpts to follow a similar layout to what you would see in a magazine - a few lines of backstory to get you settled, a juicy point of the book to lure you in, and a conclusion with information on how to locate the book.  Instead, every one of these excerpts was the first chapter of the book.  Granted, this was still useful to see if I liked the author's writing style, and there were two or three that opened with action, but as far as "teasers" go, the first chapters may not have been the best selections.
As another small note, including books that are 4th, 5th, and even 11th in their respective series could create a further barrier when trying to draw new readers (as I assume the point is with a collection like this).  I read a chapter, liked it, then saw it was the 11th book in the series.  I have to read the series in order (and I can't be the only person that feels this way) so now I have to decide if I liked the chapter enough to commit to 11 books...based on the amount of mysteries available, my answer is probably not.
Of the 13 excerpts, I noted 5 authors I would like to read more from (Sanders, Haddam, Palmer, DeAndrea, and Estleman), I struggled to read 3 of the excerpts (by White, Sayers, and Wentworth), and I was neutral on the remaining 5.

My Favorite Excerpt:
Not a Creature was Stirring by Jane Haddam

A Permanent Member of the Family

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 99.

A Permanent Member of the Family by Russell Banks

A collection of 12 short stories.

My Opinion:
The author has a very quiet poetic way of writing.  Each story was more about human behavior and emotions than big climatic events; I enjoyed it but it's not a writing style for everyone.  As with most short story collections, there was some unevenness but definitely more "hits" than "misses".
I had not read the author before but would definitely read another one of his books.

My Favorite Story:
"A Permanent Member of the Family" (the title story), although "Former Marine" was a very close second.

Undead and Unsure

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 98.

Undead and Unsure by MaryJanice Davidson
Book 12 in the Undead series

Summary (via the book jacket):
It's no surprise to Betsy that her trip to Hell with her sister, Laura, landed them in hot water.  Betsy isn't exactly sorry she killed the devil but it's put Laura in a damnable position: forced to assume to role of Satan (she may have the training but she looks good in red) - and in charge of billions of souls now that she's moved up in the world.  Or is that down?
But Betsy herself is in an odd new situation as well - that of being a responsible monarch suddenly in charge of all things earthbound, like her vampire husband, Sinclair, who has gone from relieved to ecstatic to downright reckless now that he can tolerate sunlight.  And if Sinclair isn't enough to contend with, Betsy's best friend Jessica is in her - hopefully - last trimester.  Considering she's been pregnant for way too many months, Jessica's become a veritable encyclopedia of what not to expect when you're expecting.  Oh, the horror...
Everything comes to a head at Thanksgiving dinner, which quickly - and literally - becomes Hell for Betsy and her family...

My Opinion:
This series gets crazier and crazier with each book.  While it does keep the story interesting since you never have a clue what direction it will go, it's unsettling to read a book that appears to have been written on the fly with no thought to plot development (backed into a corner?  Parallel Universe time!) or cohesion.  This series fell apart around the tenth book, and I hope the author takes a moment to calm down and gather her thoughts before the next book comes out.
Will I continue to read the series?  Of course.  Hopefully with more enjoyment than this book gave me.

Quote from the Book:
"Yes, this was one of the oddest confrontations I had ever taken part in, involving no less than the Antichrist, the beloved aunt of my childhood, an infant, a Civil War scholar, a billionaire, a homicide detective, and a dead physician."

Monday, December 30, 2013

Under the Duvet

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 97.

Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes

A collection of nonfiction essays from author Marian Keyes, some of which were previously published in magazines and newspapers and some of which are published here for the first time.

My Opinion:
I really liked all of the fiction books by Keyes that I've read but it's been awhile since I had read anything by her.  So as I was scanning my books today looking for a light read, I decided to pull this one out (published in 2004, it's been on my shelf for years) and use the opportunity to revisit her writing.
Although her writing style seems to be a bit better suited for her longer fiction novels (just as the story picked up steam, it was over), I wasn't disappointed with this book.  It was a nice reminder for me to see if she's written anything recently that I haven't read yet.

My Favorite Story:
"Till Debt Us Do Part"

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 96.

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

Summary (via the book jacket):
Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder.  Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date.
Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing.  Marlene tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa's sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story.
Marlene desperately wants Noa to reveal the events that led to her daughter's death - events that only Noa knows of and that she has never shared with a soul.  With death looming, Marlene believes that Noa may finally give her the answers she needs, though Noa is far from convinced that Marlene deserves the salvation she alone can deliver.  Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human in this haunting tale of love, anguish, and deception.

My Opinion:
Wow.  This book was outstanding.  I can say nothing else because peeling the layers away at your own pace is such an important part of the experience.  I'm still recovering.  I can't wait for someone else to read this so I can talk about ALL the feelings!

Quote from the Book:
"If I were to offer an explanation of why I did what I did, half of the public wouldn't believe it, and the other half wouldn't think it changed a thing.  The only people who would be transformed by a revelation are related to Sarah, and this so-called revelation isn't going to bring her back.  So why does anyone really need to know?"

Girl Walks into a Bar

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 95.

Girl Walks into a Bar...Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

The longer the title, the shorter the summary.  Rachel Dratch (most famous for her time on SNL) writes about her attempts at dating, her surprise pregnancy at age 43, and new motherhood.
A quote from her book that sums it up pretty well:  "So you're forty-three and think you can't have kids but unexpectedly got pregnant on a trip to Hawaii with a guy you've known for six months who you think is a good guy but the two of you aren't even close to any sort of a commitment".

My Opinion:
A light, enjoyable read.  Rachel made me smile without forcing the funny and she is a great storyteller.

Quote from the Book:
"I was forty-three years old and I was actually seeing the benefits of not having kids and was accepting my fate after all those years of struggling.  Then, I met a guy in a bar."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Lady and Her Monsters

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 94.

The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo

Summary (excerpted from the book jacket):
This nonfiction book recounts how Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein mirrored actual scientists of the period.  Shelley and her contemporaries were artists, poets, and philosophers, united in captivation with the occultists and daring scientists risking their reputations and their immortal souls to advance our understanding of human anatomy and medicine.
These remarkable investigations could not be undertaken without the cutthroat grave robbers who prowled cemeteries for a supply of fresh corpses.  The newly dead were used for both private and very public autopsies and dissections, as well as the most daring trials of all: attempts at human reanimation through the application of electricity.
Juxtaposing monstrous mechanization and rising industrialism with the sublime beauty and decadence of the legendary Romantics who defined the age, Montillo takes us into the world where poets became legends in salons and boudoirs; where fame-hungry "doctors" conduct shocking performances for rabid, wide-eyed audiences; and where maniacal body snatchers secretly toil in castle dungeons.

My Opinion:
I started this book November 5 and just finished today.  The book is less than 300 pages.  That in and of itself is a pretty good indicator of how I feel about this book.
One of the consequences of random reading (and always finishing the books I start) is that a book I pick up on a whim can very quickly turn out to be a book that's not for me.  I can't fault the author.  Well, maybe I can fault the author a little...the second half of the book was very interesting and full of "fun facts" but I had become so bogged down by the details of the first half that I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have.
On the nonfiction spectrum, this is closer to the "textbook" side than the "reads like fiction but happens to be true" side.  This is not a criticism, just a note to those who consider reading it.

Quote from the Book:
"As the weeks passed, the critics continued to speculate that either Godwin [Mary's father] or Shelley [Mary's husband] had written Frankenstein.  In a way, they were right and wrong at the same time.  By birth and marriage, Mary was both a Godwin and a Shelley." ~ one of the things I learned from this book - Frankenstein was originally published anonymously.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Paris Wife

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 93.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Summary (via Goodreads):
A deeply evocative of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.
Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight year old who has all but given up on love and happiness - until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever.  Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group - the fabled "Lost Generation" - that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy.  Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and his circle of friends into the novel that becomes The Sun Also Rises.  Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging.  Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage - a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they've fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

My Opinion:
What made this book engaging was the name recognition of all the characters, but knowing that they were real people added to the overall sadness of this book.  Although fictional, the author appears to have done her research and followed the timeline and events as accurately as possible.
I felt so sad for Hadley.  Hemingway had his demons and would have been impossible to live with at times, but he seemed to truly love her.  Although I don't make excuses for men that cheat, I will say that there seems to be a certain type of man that is very susceptible to women stroking their egos, and the women that deliberately prey on those men make me sick.  I don't like admitting it, but a small part of me was pleased to discover that Pauline found herself in the same position as Hadley as Hemingway overlapped relationships and married four times before ending his life.

Quote from the Book:
"You suffer for his career.  What do you get in the end?" [Kitty asked]
"The satisfaction of knowing he couldn't do it without me." [Hadley responded]

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 92.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Summary (via the book jacket):
When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked.  Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter.
Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension.  Her daughter Amelia is dead.  Despondent over having been caught cheating, Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of impulsive suicide.  At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate.  In a state of shock and overcome by grief, Kate tries to come to grips with this life-shattering news.  Then she gets an anonymous text:
Amelia didn't jump.
The moment she sees that message, Kate knows in her heart it's true.  Clearly Amelia had secrets, and a life Kate knew nothing about.  Wracked by guilt, Kate is determined to find out what those secrets were and who could have hated her daughter enough to kill.  She searches through Amelia's e-mails, texts, and Facebook updates, piecing together the last troubled days of her daughter's life.

My Opinion:
What an incredibly well-written book.  It's hard to say I enjoyed reading it because I felt nauseous the entire time, but it definitely kept my attention and I read it quickly to find out what would happen.  The entirely realistic portrayal of bullying and peer pressure was difficult to read (and made me want to lock my kids, especially my 3 daughters, away in a tower so I don't have to send them to high school).  Although most of the plot points were foreshadowed, it didn't take anything away from the journey and the way everything came together was still a surprise.

Quote from the Book:
"Because in some magical, cosmic way, mothers were supposed to know every important thing about her children.  Kate had worried from the start that she might lack this special motherly intuition, but she'd always believed her genuine closeness with Amelia would overcome any shortfall.  She'd been so very wrong.  That was obvious now."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How To Be a Woman

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 91.

How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Summary (via Goodreads):
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women.  They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians?  Why do bras hurt?  Why the incessant talk about babies?  And do men secretly hate them?
Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.  With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth - whether it's about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or children - to jump-start a new conversation about feminism.  With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

My Opinion:
I love hearing all sorts of opinions, as long as the person sharing them realizes they're just opinions and it's okay to agree/disagree with them.  When opinions are presented as facts and anyone who disagrees is ridiculed, I'm done.  If I want to be preached to, I know where to go; I don't need it to sneak up on me in a book.
While some chapters were better than others (I especially liked "I Am In Love!"), my overall opinion is that I just read a 301 page sermon.
Although her intentions seem to be good, I don't think the author is as doing as much for feminism as she thinks she is.  Giving up the list of stereotypical "do's and don'ts" is a great idea; the problem is that she then inserts her own list of "do's and don'ts".  I admit my instinct was to begin naming the expectations of hers that I disagreed with but that's hypocritical and unproductive, so I will just say the way her opinions were presented led me to feel extremely judged when I disagreed with them.  Since most of the women I know may have similar disagreements, I can't recommend this book to them; feeling judged is extremely unpleasant.

Quote from the Book:
"But the problem with battling yourself is that even if you win, you lose."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Don't Want to Kill You

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 90.

I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

Summary (via the book jacket):
John Cleaver has called a demon - literally called it on the phone - and challenged it to a fight.  He's faced two monsters already, barely escaping with his life, and now he's done running; he's bringing the fight to them.  As he wades through the town's darkest secrets, searching for any sign of who the demon might be, one thing becomes all too clear: in a game of cat and mouse with a supernatural killer, you are always the mouse.
In I Am Not a Serial Killer, we watched a budding sociopath break every rule he had to save his town from evil.  In Mr. Monster, we held our breath as he fought madly with himself, struggling to stay in control.  Now John Wayne Cleaver has master his twisted talents and embraced his role as a killer of killers.  I Don't Want to Kill You brings his story to a thundering climax of suspicion, mayhem, and death.
It's time to punish the guilty.
And in a town full of secrets, everyone is guilty of something.

My Opinion:
This was an excellent trilogy, and this book may be my favorite of the three.  The author does a great job of building suspense, breaking the tension, then building it up again.  And the ending...wow.  Even though it wrapped up really well, there was just enough of the old "The End???" trick creepy movies use to keep me thinking after the book was closed.
It was very visual and I think it would translate well into a movie.  I wouldn't watch it because I hate scary movies, but I think other people would enjoy it.
Recommended to someone looking for quick but dark reads.

Quote from the Book:
"Yes, finding a killer is easy.  Finding someone before they kill is almost impossible."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mr. Monster

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 89.

Mr. Monster by Dan Wells
Book 2 in the John Cleaver trilogy

Summary (via Goodreads):
In I am not a Serial Killer, John Wayne Cleaver saved his town from a murderer even more appalling than the serial killers he obsessively studies.
But it turns out even demons have friends, and the disappearance of one has brought another to Clayton County.  Soon there are new victims for John to work on at the mortuary and a new mystery to solve.  But John has tasted death, and the dark nature he uses as a weapon - the terrifying persona he calls "Mr. Monster" - might now be using him.
No one in Clayton is safe unless John can vanquish two nighmarish adversaries: the unknown demon he must hunt and the inner demon he can never escape.

My Opinion:
John is such an authentic character that I worry about the mental health of the author.  All of the little details, like using "it" instead of "he/she" when referring to people, were spot on.
The mystery was great; it was unusual and the supernatural tinge wasn't overdone.  But what kept me turning the pages was John's inner turmoil (again, perfectly written).  As he relaxes his rules and pushes his limits, will he still be able to control Mr. Monster?  I'm ready to jump right into the third book and find out!
I would recommend this to fans of psychological thrillers, but it is necessary to read "I am not a Serial Killer" first to get the full experience.

Quote from the Book:
"Was it possible to be two people, one good and one bad, or was I forced to be a mix of both - a good person forever tainted by evil?"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Takedown Twenty

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 88.

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
Book 20 of the Stephanie Plum mystery series (not counting the novellas)

More Stephanie Plum shenanigans.
If you're a reader of the series you already know the basics.  If you've never read the series, what the heck are you doing trying to jump to number 20?

My Opinion:
Knowing my dwindling enthusiasm for this series, a friend asked if I was planning to read this book.  My response: "Yes, I commit to series to the bitter end".

Now that I've read it, I can confirm what I knew going in...I'm bitter.  Oh so bitter.

I guess I should say *spoiler alert* but to me these aren't spoilers because NOTHING happened that would surprise anyone that's read this series.
- Although she comes thisclose to choosing (and c'mon, we all know who she's going to end up with anyway), she doesn't.
- A car is destroyed.
- Granny is inappropriate.
- There's a random animal subplot.
- Everything implausibly wraps up in the end through no talent or skill on Stephanie's part.

Normally negative reviews are very hard for me to write but I had no trouble with this one.  The author is an established writer who will end up on the bestseller list no matter what she churns out...it's time to stop phoning it in and wrap this series up already.

Quote from the Book:
"I'd been saving the champagne for a special occasion, and it seemed like seeing a giraffe running down the street qualified."

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Bitches of Brooklyn

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 87.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Chestnut Hill Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

The Bitches of Brooklyn by Rosemary Harris

Summary (via Goodreads):
Four friends from Brooklyn await the arrival of a fifth at a Cape Cod bungalow where they spend an all-girls weekend every summer.  But this time the fifth woman doesn't show.  Instead she sends a note that reads - "I've run off with one of your men".
Fast, funny and filled with Harris' trademark snappy dialog and quirky characters forced to reevaluate their friendships, their marriages, and their memories.

My Opinion:
I'm pretty neutral about this book - neither great nor bad, it didn't generate much emotion for me either way.  I thought the premise was intriguing but it had less bite than I expected based on the title and description.  A quick, light read; I was definitely interested in who the man was but the big reveal didn't knock my socks off.

Quote of the Blog:
*Since I read an ARC of this book, I can't quote directly from it as I normally would.  Instead, I've found another quote that seems fitting.
"Talk between women friends is always therapy..." ~ Jayne Anne Phillips

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I am Not a Serial Killer

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 86.

I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Book 1 in the John Cleaver trilogy

Summary (via Goodreads):
John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.
He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.
He's obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one.  So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him for damnation.
Dead bodies are normal to John.  He likes them, actually.  They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer.  Perhaps that's what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat - and to appreciate what that difference means.
Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

My Opinion:
This book was full of suspense but it doesn't come from guessing who the Clayton Killer is.  That is revealed fairly early in the book, and what a jawdropping twist it was!  The suspense comes as John tries to figure out how to stop [the killer - no pronoun spoilers here!] and the cat/mouse game they play.
This is the first book in a trilogy and I'm jumping right into the second - after the way this book ended, I'm interested to see what direction the author goes.
Not for the squeamish, but not because of the killings.  John works in a mortuary and there are very detailed descriptions of the process of preparing the body, especially embalming.

Quote from the Book:
"The lack of emotional connection with other people has the odd effect of making you feel separate and alien...this drives some sociopaths to feel superior, as if the whole of humanity were simply animals to be hunted or put down; others feels a hot, jealous rage, desperate to have what they cannot.  I simply felt alone, one leaf sitting miles away from a giant, communal pile." ~ John, describing his sociopathy

Monday, December 2, 2013

4 to 16 Characters

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 85.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Lemon Sherbet Press for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

Summary (via Goodreads):
Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling's best friends don't know her real name.  In fact, they don't know anything about her at all.  Jane's life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow.  To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends.  But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person.  With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane's only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues.  The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life's like when the computer is shut off, and that's a reality she's been fighting for years.

My Opinion:
This was a very emotional book, and I felt it.  I hated it for being so real and raw as I read it with sweaty palms, while at the same time I loved it for being so real and raw because it made the book so readable.  It was almost annoying how perfectly the author wrote teen angst.  This isn't a criticism of the writing; the opposite, actually.  She captured teen drama so accurately that I rolled my eyes as I remembered how important and life-changing things felt at the time but looking back now...not so much.

Some may complain about the format (presented entirely through online material like e-mails, instant messages, private blog entries, etc.) but I think it really worked for the story, a girl who spends all of her time online to escape reality.  The private blog entries are just the new version of the "Dear Diary" books I read when I was younger...same concept, updated format.  Also, being able to share her therapy sessions by having the therapist talk to her via IM to make her more comfortable...brilliant.

Two things dampened the overall experience for me.  First, the ending was a bit "Pollyanna".  I'm not a monster and I'm glad things started looking up, but the speed at which everything came together felt a little rushed after I spent the majority of the book praising its authenticity and honesty.  Second, the characters around Jane were a little one-dimensional.  Jane was written so fully and well, I was disappointed that the same thought didn't go into the people she was surrounded by.

Overall, I liked this book.  I would definitely recommend it to high school girls but it could be a little too emo-dramatic to have a big impact on an adult audience (although the writing is great and the emotional appeal is there).

Quote of the Blog:
*Since I read an ARC of this book, I can't quote directly from it as I normally would.  Instead, I've found another quote that seems fitting.
"I'm so much cooler online" ~ Brad Paisley, lyric from the song "Online" (which was running through my mind as I read this book)