A BOOK: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

B L O G M A S  D A Y   19

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I would classify The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia as just plain and simple fun. It’s set in St. Louis (hurray Midwest!) and is about a girl who doesn’t really have her life together given a mission to solve a mystery. Why is she chosen out of all of the real life detectives and non-detectives of the world? Dahlia isn’t really sure. But she’s getting paid, so she’ll take it!

This is a pretty straight forward mystery as she starts with trying to solve the first issue (who stole a super-powered sword in the online game Zoth?), which eventually leads down a very tangled mess that involves MURDER. Dun dun dunnnnnnnn

What’s unique to this book is all of the gaming references. Because it deals with a mystery that deals inside of the virtual game as well as bleeds out into the physical realm, some of the story also takes place in the game which is neat. Also you get the fun and interesting tension of how the characters in the book do or don’t overlap with the characters they play in their game. In that aspect, there is a little bit of similarity with The Guild where you explore the group dynamics.

On top of the mystery, there is a little bit of romance thrown in, plus super strange characters that you aren’t sure are strange because that’s who they are or if it’s because they have SECRETS!

So if you like mysteries that are a little bit more cozier, like millennial characters, and/or are interested in online gaming… The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss might be for you!

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A BOOK : Conversion by Kathrine Howe

18667792Conversion
Katherine Howe
Published July 1, 2014

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.
 
First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.
 
Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .
 
Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?

Summary and Image from Goodreads.com

Do you ever read a book where you just kind of want to talk about it in ALL CAPS? For some reason, that is this one for me! I just find this novel so dang interesting and as a result I have been pretty much talking about it to everyone and anyone who will listen. Which is why I am now back to blogging. BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS INTERESTING.

-I like that it is based on a true story while taking large fictional leaps. In the last few pages Katherine Howe explains how she was inspired to write Conversion and as a result she mashed together these two separate stories that might seem different, but have more in common than we think.

-The mystery element is what kept me reading. I NEEDED to know what was going on with these girls, and yes– you do find out so you aren’t left hanging!!

-It’s all about girls and society– their role in society and how they are treated by society. This would make a great discussion book for that topic alone. I loved that Howe explored that and I loved how she did it in an artful way.

-A lot of the book centers around Colleen, and something about her– her obsession with getting into school, the comfort she finds with her friends, her voice in general– made me really enjoy reading about her. I think part of it is because she felt like a complete person with flaws that drove the story and endearing qualities that made me want to root for her.

So if you are looking for a book to really sink into (this one is longer clocking in at 432 pages) that will grab your attention, make sure to add Conversion to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.com!

A BOOK : The Silent Wife

Here is a book.

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn:

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I have no clue why, but I picked up The Silent Wife this weekend and read it. I have not been a part of the Gone Girl craze, although I am starting to think I have a thing for these types of books. By these type of books, I mean books with mystery! intrigure! killing!

This is a novel about a woman, Jodi, in her 40s who has been with this man, Todd, for 20 years. Although they have never gotten married, for all intent and purposes they are pretty much married. She is a therapist and really into psychology. She also realizes that men aren’t perfect, and even though Todd is a complete and utter philanderer as long as they don’t talk about it it is all going to be okay. Other than staying faithful, he is a wonderful partner in all of the other ways. So there relationship steadily plods on, she immerses herself in her own routines and he immerses himself in other woman. It’s all cool.

Except it’s not going to be. You want to know why? Because you find out on like the second or third page that this seemingly normal woman is somehow or other going to reach the point where she is going to kill a man.

This is a slow study of a woman’s decent to a snapping point. The amount of details in this novel are incredible, and is one of the reasons why I think the novel is quite successful. How do we get to where we are? Those little details add up. It is told in two viewpoints, Todd’s and Jodi’s, so we get to see their relationship morph from both sides. Also, Harrison does a really good job truly using her characters’ unreliable viewpoints to tell the story, which is one of the reasons why I like the two narrations– you get more of a sense of reality (whatever that may be) as a result.

Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads.com

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns
by John Green
Published Sept, 2009
by Puffin
Young Adult

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Photo and Summary from Goodreads.com

So based on the summary I most definitely did not want to read this for some reason.  The whole Margo being a mystery thing sort of turned me off– I kind of thought it would step into paranormal or wild insane plot territory.  I’m glad I threw away my judgments because it ended up being ffaaabbbulous.

I like books to have layers so you can read the same story and get something different from it.  This is exactly how this book is!

Here’s what you have:

1.  The basic plot– it’s all about a boy liking a girl and having to solve a mystery to get to her.  The mystery that is of Margo.  Of course there are side adventures on the way, which include getting to know Quentin’s best friends and his “enemies”.  The characters are all likable and funny and actually made  me laugh out loud, which I don’t often do in books.

2.  There’s this great line one of the characters says at one point: “What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.” In the end, every single of us is just that– a person with all of our downfalls and… up falls(?).  Nothing more, nothing less.  Something that I have often found evident in my own life is I tend to focus too much on who I think people are rather than who they really are.  This book deals with realizing the constraints and capabilities of the people we know and responding to that.

3.  What I also found interesting is John Green actually addresses carpe diem in this.  One of the characters goes on a spiel about living for today saying, “Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years?   You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right?  There was no planning for retirement.  There was no planning for a career.  There was no planning.  No time for planning.  No time for the future….. And now life has become the future.  Every moment of your life is lived for the future.” Personally, I always love “live in the moment” type things even if they tend to get a little corny (and props to J. Green, he didn’t even come close to corniness).  But anyway, I’ve never took the time to think realistically about this– what would that truly and completely look like if you just lived for today?  Paper Towns gave me a unique opportunity to see my own reaction at seeing carpe diem being lived out.

4.  There are a lot of interesting thoughts about some concepts in here that I thought were worthwhile to read– most of them being literary.  One of them being how important it is to chose your metaphors for life 9and other things) and what that metaphor really says.  I like that J. Green discussed this among other literary things, because I feel like it gave me a good hint as to how I could read the story to see what he’s truly saying.

5.  Now this *may* be a stretch, but this book got me thinking about obsession and love.  When is obsession a good thing?  When is it a bad thing?  And where does love tie in to obsession?  It’s just an interesting pair of sunglasses to put on while you read the book.

Ultimate Review: I lllliiikkkkeeedddd it.  Enough to want to elongate all of my words.  I am officially jumping on the John Green train!
Random fact: Reading this book TOTALLY helped me win a Final Jeopardy question on Jeopardy Wii.  That’s how good this book is.  Just saying.