Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN: 0439023491

Notes: Second book in The Hunger Games Series


Everyday is a Revolution - 4 stars - a book review

Catching Fire continues right where The Hunger Games ends, with the victory of Katniss and Peeta in the defiance of the powerful Capital. It seems their win has started some of the Districts to think that there may be a better way to live other than the complete control that The Capital has for them. Without giving away too much, there is plenty of the good stuff that readers enjoyed from The Hunger Games and more character development of the characters that made The Hunger Games so memorable.

Returning home from The Hunger Games is only the beginning, and as victors, Katniss and Peeta travel to all twelve districts and get a feeling that there is the beginning of a revolution. However, their lives will never be the same as The Capital pulls another fast one, putting them in another situation that they just may not be ready to deal with yet.

As mentioned, everything that was enjoyable about the first volume is back: compelling characters, sticky situations, a vicious enemy, and of course, blood thirsty killing. The beginning of the book starts a little slow, but ramps up in the intensity at about the halfway point and I wish there would have been more detail in the final setting. Although Catching Fire is not near as good as The Hunger Games, it is a worthy sequel and should be read by fans of the first book.

Good reading,

Plants and Books.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Top Producer by Norb Vonnegut

Title: Top Producer
Author: Norb Vonnegut
Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 0312384610


Good Financial Mystery - 4 stars - a book review

Although I do not consider it a thriller, Top Producer was an enjoyable experience. The opening chapters set the stage as Grove O'Rourke and 500 other people watch as Charlie Keleman is gruesomely killed by sharks in an aquarium. Obviously Charlie was not as well loved as everyone seemed to believe.

Vonnegut displays his knowledge of Wall Street with skill, and against all odds, paints an exciting and interesting picture of high finance and a world where money is king. Traversing Charlie's accounts becomes a tiresome and mind boggling task for O'Rourke as he helps Charlie's wife reclaim the money that has been invested. Along the way, O'Rourke has to deal with the police and friends/associates whose business it is to not share secrets. However, the secrets do come out, and the mystery of Charlie's death becomes as tangled as a politicians income tax returns.

The characters in Top Producer are top notch. They are completely believable and well depicted as everyone has an agenda and keeping their jobs and making money is the might be more important than solving the mystery of who killed Charlie Keleman. Although Top Producer is filled with financial jargon and countless explanations of the business, Vonnegut writes it in such a way that it flows nicely with the story and provides the reader with exactly what is needed to know without going over the top. Not only is Top Producer a good mystery; but also a nice education lesson in accounting, investment, and Ponzi schemes.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Review: Bloodroot by Bill Loehfelm

Title: Bloodroot
Author: Bill Loehfelm
Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Putnam Adult
ISBN: 0399155929


Couldn't Put it Down - 5 stars - a book review

I just adopted a puppy, so my reading time has been significantly less (read: none). However, Bloodroot really got me back in the fold and I could not stop reading it. For those of you who know how time consuming a puppy is this should mean a lot.

Bloodroot examines the idea of brotherhood and what people would go through in order to save those closest to us. Bloodroot follows Kevin who has recently come back in contact with his recovering heroin addicted brother, Danny. All seems well until Kevin gets involved in some of Danny's "business ventures" which begin to unravel the past to the harrowing end. How far will Kevin go to help his brother and his family? Does he have it in him to do what is necessary, no matter how right or how wrong it seems to him?

Bill Loehfelm has crafted a magnificent tale of family and brotherhood, with darkness around every corner. The plot may seem to some to move slowly at times, but in these moments are the most significant in terms of character development and personal insight. Following Kevin and Danny is a journey into the heart of family values, brotherhood, and sacrifice with stops in the darkest corners of their souls. The way Loehfelm unravels these characters is nothing short of perfect, weaving a tale that is impossible to resist.

If you liked Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley then you will most certainly enjoy Bloodroot.

Good reading,

Plants and Books
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