Most of the books I read these days are chosen on the basis of online recommendations.
Here are some which I bought or borrowed on the basis of recent reviews:
Jellicoe Road (2006) by Melina Marchetta was reviewed by Janine at Dear Author. I went through a phase of reading Young Adult fiction last year but I’ve only read one so far in 2009.
Blurb: Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn’t a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.
Water for Elephants (2006) by Sara Gruen. This book has been recommended to me by several people but I was convinced I’d already read it. When I saw Heidenkind’s review, I realized I must have mixed it up with Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate. Oops!
Blurb: Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It’s the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets the freaks, grifters, and misfits that populate this world. He introduces us to Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; to August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus’s animal trainer); and to Rosie, the seemingly untrainable elephant Jacob cares for. Beautifully written, with a luminous sense of time and place, Water for Elephants tells of love in a world in which love’s a luxury few can afford.
Rock Star (2006) by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb was reviewed by Senetra at Avid Book Reader.
Blurb: How does a hedonistic, hellbound L.A. sophisticate like bad boy rock star Bryan Spencer woo young, gifted and black sweet home Alabama belle Callie Lawson? What type of magical voodoo draws him to her magnolia-scented bosom? Seduced by the unhurried pace and a lifestyle that is the antithesis of his own, he finds that he cannot break away from the seductive spell of a woman who soothes the deepest recesses of his tortured soul. Bryan, guitar godextraordinaire, is compelled to retreat to the small town when he is devastated by the loss of his best friend and band mate. The peaceful tranquility, not to mention unaccustomed celibacy, is slowly driving him mad until he meets Callie Lawson, budding tycoon, aficionado of black entrepreneurship and owner of the local bookstore. He quickly discovers that Callie is one of the few people he’s met who doesn’t have her own agenda for befriending him. Far from the cloying adulation he is accustomed to, Callie is totally focused on her own career goals and is reluctant to have anything to do with a ‘long-haired rocker from California.’ Bryan overcomes her misgivings with an old-fashioned courtship that belies his L.A. rocker origins. He introduces this Sunday School girl to some truly high-powered sex and decadence. The question is which one wins: Southern Sunday School or L.A. sin? Just when they’re certain everlasting love is firmly in their grasp; they are rent asunder by treachery and betrayal of the most staggering kind. They must defy egregious stereotypes and false perceptions to embrace their own sweet Alabama love.
Ride the Fire (2005) by Pamela Clare. KristieJ recently reviewed this for a Re-Read Challenge. It’s one of her all-time favourite books. I’ve read several of Pamela Clare’s books, but not this one.
Blurb: There was only one rule on the frontier—survival. So when wounded, buckskin-clad stranger appeared at the door of her isolated cabin, Elspeth Stewart felt no qualms about disarming him and then tying him to her bed. Newly widowed and expecting her first child, she had to protect herself at all costs. And Nicholas Kenleigh threatened not only her safety, but her peace of mind. The terrible scars on his body spoke of a tortured past, but his gentle touch and burning gaze awoke longings she had never expected to feel. Bethie had every reason in the world to distrust men; the cruelty she suffered at their hands had marked her soul, though her blonde beauty showed no sign of it. But little by little she found herself believing in Nicholas, in his honor, his strength. As he brought her baby into the world, then took both mother and daughter into his care, she realized this scarred survivor could heal her wounded spirit, and together they would… Ride the Fire.
How susceptible are you to impulse buying when you read a review of a book which sounds interesting? I know I have to keep myself in check, otherwise my monthly credit card bill would not be pretty!