Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book 42: THE RECONSTRUCTIONIST Review


The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin
ISBN: 9780061995163
Publication date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers


One instant can change an entire lifetime.
As a boy, Ellis Barstow heard the sound of the collision that killed Christopher, his older half brother—an accident that would haunt him for years. A decade later, searching for purpose after college, Ellis takes a job as a forensic reconstructionist, investigating and re-creating the details of fatal car accidents—under the guidance of the irascible John Boggs, who married Christopher's girlfriend. Ellis takes naturally to the work, fascinated by the task of trying to find reason, and justice, within the seemingly random chaos of smashed glass and broken lives. But Ellis is harboring secrets of his own—not only his memory of the car crash that killed his brother but also his feelings for Boggs's wife, Heather, which soon lead to a full-blown affair. And when Boggs inexplicably disappears, Ellis sets out to find him . . . and to try to make sense of the crash site his own life has become.
Raising a host of universal questions—Can science ever explain matters of the heart? Can we ever escape the gravitational pull of the past?—Nick Arvin's novel is at once deeply moving and compulsively readable.


There probably aren't very many people that can create a story dealing with the minutia involved with vehicle accident reconstruction and make it interesting. Thankfully Nick Arvin is an author that can take the mundane and often gruesome details of vehicle accident reconstruction and weave it deftly around the life of a man. Ellis Barstow is just that man.

Ellis, and his boss, John Boggs, travel around the country reconstructing motor vehicle accidents. It seems as if Ellis believes that by reconstructing other fatal motor vehicle accidents, he'll better understand his half-brother's death in a car accident. The story line becomes even more twisted when it is revealed that John Boggs has married the girlfriend of Ellis' deceased sibling. To make matters worse, Ellis has begun an affair with John's wife. After John learns of the affair, he threatens to kill himself and disappears. Ellis embarks on a journey to find him, by traveling to former accident sites, and along the way discovers truths about himself as well as what really happened with his brother’s fatal accident.

The Reconstructionist is a unique story that allows the reader to journey along with Ellis and witness his self-discovery or "reconstruction" of his life. Ellis learns that vehicle reconstruction is much easier than delving into the mysteries of his past as they impact on his future. The Reconstructionist is not a light or quick read, but it is a great story that provides quirky, yet all-too-real characters and their lives that grabs the reader’s attention from beginning to end.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Available at:
Indiebound.org

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Book 38: JANE VOWS VENGEANCE Review


Jane Vows Vengeance by Michael Thomas Ford
ISBN: 9780345513670
Publication date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group


In sleepy upstate New York, Jane’s wedding preparations have taken on a bloodsucking intensity. So when Walter suggests they ditch it all and combine their marriage and honeymoon with a house tour of Europe, Jane jumps at the chance to flee Lord Byron and the lingering threat of Charlotte Brontë. But to Jane’s chagrin, more than one secret from her past is about to resurface.
 
From an Agatha Christie–style murder mystery to a wedding interrupted by the ghosts of the Princes in the Tower to a shocking revelation about Walter’s mother, nothing about this trip is less than pure mayhem. And when a chance encounter puts Jane on the trail of a legendary device reputed to restore a vampire’s human soul, will our beloved heroine finally be able to vow her love and devotion—or will a vampire hunter’s vengeance drive a stake through her eternal life? 


Jane Vows Vengeance is the third book in this series by Michael Thomas Ford. Jane Fairfax (a.k.a. Jane Austen) is a bookseller and a best-selling author. She is engaged to Walter Fletcher, an architect, and continuing to deal with his mother, a dedicated vampire hunter, Miriam. To make matters worse, Jane's been given an ultimatum by her soon-to-be mother-in-law, tell Walter the truth about her vampirism AND get pregnant. Jane isn't even sure the latter is possible, but since she loves Walter, she's willing to endure almost anything to make this possible. Or so she thinks . . . 

After Walter announces that they should go on an architectural tour of Europe and combine it with their honeymoon, Jane agrees. But who goes on a honeymoon tour with their mother-in-law? You guessed it, Jane and Walter . . . because his mother wants to be there to witness the great event. Things are going reasonably well on this tour until the so-called wedding day when another "surprise" awaits Jane . . . her husband . . . whom she hasn't seen for more than 150 years. Needless to say, this puts a damper on the wedding and subsequent celebrations. 

Jane Vows Vengeance has moments of comedic relief and continues to provide the reader with a better understanding of the quirkiness of all of the characters. This story features less romance and much more intrigue centered on a myth that may allow Jane to become fully human after 200 years of being a vampire. As Jane struggles to have her previous marriage "annulled," she is also on a quest to find the mythical object that may restore her humanity. (I forgot to mention, she is also trying to find the right moment to tell Walter who she really is and what she has become . . . piece of cake!) Jane Vows Vengeance seemed a little less light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek as the previous stories. This wasn't a bad thing and provided a new experience in the series (definitely a good thing as some series become mired down by trying to duplicate the look and feel of previous titles). Jane Vows Vengeance is a quick and enjoyable read that provides a different perspective into the lives of Jane, Walter and Miriam. Let's hope this isn't the end of the Jane Fairfax series.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Available at: 
Alibris.com



Indiebound.org

Barnes & Noble