Thursday, March 31, 2016

review: living like a runaway by lita ford

As one might imagine, Lita Ford has quite the story to tell. From her days in The Runaways to her solo career, Ford has experienced many of the stereotypes of a rock star's life. In relating tales from the early days, Ford shines. The first few years of her rock career were filled with exciting times as well as rivalries and discrimination as a female musician. Unfortunately, the tone changes significantly as Ford begins relating her romantic relationships. Although Ford paints herself as a strong woman, her romantic entanglements are frequently with abusive men. Ford's bitterness about the father of her children (from whom she is estranged which she claims stems from their father's brainwashing of them) oozes from the pages. Despite saying she will not go into the details out of respect for her children, the hostility she harbors is all too apparent and difficult to understand without the details.
3/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Dey Street Books.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

review: the killing jar by jennifer bosworth

Kenna lives a fairly isolated life with her very ill twin sister and their mother. Despite the isolation, Kenna does have a sort of boyfriend, but she fears getting too close to him because of a scary incident that happened when she was a child. Kenna killed a boy with her mysterious powers. After a night out with Blake, Kenna returns home to discover the father of the boy she killed has brutally attacked her mother and sister and is now after her. In the aftermath of that attack, Kenna’s mother realizes she can no longer hide the truth from Kenna and takes her to the commune where Kenna’s grandmother lives. While there Kenna learns about her powers and starts to question her mother’s motives, but then Jennifer Bosworth wisely inserts a twist that leaves Kenna with even more questions.

The Killing Jar initially seemed to be a fairly standard tale of a teen discovering paranormal powers and struggling to still be a typical teen, but Bosworth changed things up about halfway through. Although the twist still aligns with known mythology, it raises the stakes so that Kenna’s choices are more compelling. The one downside here is that the paranormal elements aren’t explained. Even when Kenna is learning about her powers, the origin is never revealed.

About the audiobook: Jennifer Bosworth’s second novel is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld. Although Maarleveld’s voice is excellent and she changed tone to distinguish between characters, there were times when it was difficult to tell if Kenna said something out loud or if it was part of her thought process (Kenna has extensive inner monologues). Dreamscape Media released The Killing Jar in January 2016 and runs 8.5 hours.
4/5
Review copy provided by Audiobook Jukebox.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

review: no grey areas by joseph gagliano

College basketball fans are likely familiar with the point-shaving scandal that rocked Arizona State University in the 1990s, but one of the members of the scheme had not shared his story until now. During his second stint in federal prison (this time for falsifying loan documents), Joesph Gagliano decided to write about his part in the scandal as well as what led to him being convicted of another crime years later. While the story is incredibly interesting, the writing is fairly simplistic and could have used an editor. It’s also clear that Gagliano skips significant details as, for example, there’s no explanation about the breakup of his marriage or the split between him and girlfriend Tracy. While the ending of No Grey Areas indicates Gagliano likes to think of himself as redeemed from his past bad acts, the tone of his writing leads one to believe he still doesn’t feel he should have had to do any prison time even though his own descriptions of the events clearly detail his criminal actions.
3/5
Review copy provided by the publicist, The Cadence Group.