Database Part 2

Full House by Janet Evanovich *Audiobook*

Full House (Full #1)

Single Mother, Billie Pearce, is looking for a little excitement in her life, like Polo, but Nicholas Kaharchek the Polo instructor instead brings chaos.

Title: Full House
Author: Janet Evanovich, Charlotte Hughes
Narrator: Lorelei King
ISBN: 
0312983271 (ISBN13: 9780312983277)

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Humor
Series? Yes; Full (can read as a standalone)

Publisher: St Martins
First Publication Date: 1989 (334 pages)

Available Formats on Amazon:

  • e-book $8.99
  • Paperback $1.27+
  • Audio CD/Cassette $5+
  • audiobook available through audible

Why I chose this book: 

I was looking for a single narrator audiobook which I felt would be simple enough to listen to while cleaning. I have enjoyed other books by Janet Evanovich, so I thought I’d give this one a try.

Author Interviews:

TIME

Audiofile Magazine

Significance:

Janet Evanovich is a big name in the industry, popular among women looking for books which will make them laugh. This book is one of the first that she wrote.

Awards: N/A

Synopsis: 

Billie Pearce is a single mother to two children and is somewhat recently divorced. This summer her children are off to Disneyland with their father leaving her alone and since she did not sign up to teach during the summer she is left with nothing to do. Wanting to fill the time and do something exciting, Billie signs up for Polo lessons. Not knowing how to actually ride a horse, will not deter her. She is determined to become exciting so her children will think she is cool. 

Nick Kaharcheck is a decently rich man who teaches lessons regarding horses, including Polo. Billie Pearce is trouble on a horse, but instead of being annoyed, he is intrigued and amused. She represents everything he doesn’t want or need in his bachelor-loving life, but he can’t help but feel attraction for Billie. 

A series of events has Billie putting Nick’s cousin Deedee up in her house to stay until Deedee’s wedding day. Nick ends up visiting often as he helps Billie deal with his cousin and her eccentricities. 

What neither of them realize is that this arrangement is not to the liking to a known killer who is hiding in their midst. 

Evaluation: 

  The story itself is quite simple. This book is more romance and less mystery with the main characters not actually needing or trying to solve a mystery until the last bit of the book, but the mystery elements still surround the characters affecting their actions. Therefore this is a book more for a romance reader and not a serious mystery reader. There are silly moments which the reader will either laugh or roll their eyes at. I feel like the romance was not built at a good pace and almost seemed awkward.

The characters stayed pretty stagnant with only enough change to get them together, but even that seemed iffy to me, since I do not believe everything was addressed. The children did not act their age, either seeming too old or way young. Also, the stereotypes were quite horrible. Given that this was written in the 80s I am a bit forgiving about this. 

Those who listen to Janet Evanovich will be familiar with the narrator, Lorelei King, who narrates most of Evanovich’s work.  All her books sound the same to me at the point with the main characters in every book having the same voice. So, if someone has never listened to Lorelei King, this may not bother them and the different voices may be entertaining to them. I thought some characters (within this novel) sounded very similar which could get weird, mainly Billie’s tween daughter and Deedee. That huge age difference does not come across in the voices.  Other than that, I think Lorelei King speaks clearly and at a good speed. 

One point I very much disliked about the audiobook was that music was put into it. Occasionally towards the end of a chapter leading into the beginning of the next chapter  there would be music — supposedly to help the ambiance, for example there is eerie, mysterious music at a moment when an intruder or the mystery aspect is brought up, again at the end of the chapter. This does not happen at every chapter transition either. The music was loud and, I felt, obtrusive, pulling me out of the story. 

Other Reviews:
 From Macmillan Website: “Will greatly please readers with its rapid-fire dialogue, roller-coaster pace, and unconventional characters.” —Booklist (starred review) on Full Bloom

Appeals:

fast-paced, witty banter, single mother with children, quirky, funny, upbeat

This is a book for someone looking for something light, non-serious that may make them chuckle

“Clues for the Future”

Billie Pearce, Nick Kaharcheck, Deedee (Nick’s Cousin), Max Holt (Nick’s Cousin, Deedee’s Brother), Polo – the one on horses, pest control man, rapid wedding

Rating:

  • Quality: 2★
    There may be more that can be done to improve the writing, story, and the characters. No diversity. 
  • Popularity: 4★
    Popular with romance fans and Janet Evanovich fans and the humor may work with a vast reading population.

Read-alikes

Bet Your Bottom Dollar (Bottom Dollar Girls #1)Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)An Affair to Dismember (The Matchmaker, #1)Hard Day's Knight

  • Bet Your Bottom Dollar by Karin Gillespie
    Both books feature a hard-working woman who falls for a rich bachelor, inspiring many laughs with their banter
  • Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
    This is for the readers who enjoyed the comedy and romance of the novel and even the teacher aspect.
  • An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax
    This is a romantic mystery full of humor and crazy characters
  • Hard Day’s Knight by Katie Macalister
    Both books feature unique characters, humor, and a charming romance

Booktalking ideas: 

I would like to highlight the humor with a quote allowing people to figure out if the humor is to their liking or not. Or I may just read the first chapter abridged since it describes everything one needs to know. 

The romance is more important than the mystery so I would talk more about who the characters are. 

Another idea would be to talk from Billie’s POV about how with just this one Polo lesson her life has become complicated and too crazy for her to handle. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What did you think about the mystery and the villain? The villain is the only person of color in this book and he has mental issues, do you think this is a problem or does the age of the book make this acceptable?
  2. What did you think about the romance and the wedding? 
  3. Towards the middle of the book Billie starts ti say how she dislikes change. Do you believe her? Do you think the author added it on for conflict?
  4. Do you think Billie will move into Nick’s home? 
  5. What did you think about Billie’s children? How about Max? Were they written well? Were they important to the story? 

 

Database Part 2

Feed by Mira Grant *Audiobook*

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)

In 2014, you can no longer get sick. Unfortunately, everyone is infected with a zombie virus. While that is horrible enough, could there be more?

Title: Feed
Author: Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)
Narrators: Paula Christensen, Jesse Bernstein
ISBN: 
0316081051 (ISBN13: 9780316081054)

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction-> Dystopia
Series? Yes; Newsflesh Trilogy

Publisher: Orbit
First Publication Date: May 1st 2010 (559 pages)

Available Formats on Amazon:

  • e-book $7.99
  • Paperback $12.66
  • Mass Market Paperback $8.87
  • audiobook available through audible

Why I chose this book: 

Towards the end of October I was in the mood to read some horrors, a genre I lack in. I picked this one because of the way people become zombies. I also listened to the audiobook because the narrator voice wasn’t too bad and I needed something to listen to while cleaning.

Author Interviews:

Orbit Books


Significance:

The way the zombie virus is written is quite interesting, the bloggers being the news is outstanding, I thought, and the ending is very shocking.

Awards:

NPR Top 100 Killer Thrillers (74)
Hugo Nominee (2011.1|Novel, 2011)
Locus Recommended Reading (Science Fiction Novel, 2010)
Shirley Jackson Award Finalist (2010|Novel, 2010)
Goodreads Choice Awards (Science Fiction, 2010)
 

Synopsis:

In 2014 scientists found the cure to the common cold and were fairly certain on the cure to cancer. What seemed like a great step for humankind, ended up failing… greatly. Now the dead are turned into zombies and people can spontaneous turn into zombies if the zombie virus that now lives inside everyone get too high. 

Twenty years after the Rising, many things have changed. There are more precautions regarding the spread of the virus and regular news sources aren’t trusted. Bloggers and siblings Georgina and Shaun have just won the right to follow the story which will launch their careers: following a presidential candidate on the campaign trail. As the first bloggers to do this, it is a huge step for them. 

Along the way, things start going wrong. Zombie outbreaks are happening and endangering them in places that shouldn’t be happening. What starts of as a crazy notion of someone sabotaging the campaign becomes even more sinister as new evidence comes to light. Will Shaun and Georgina get to the heart of the issue or will they die in the process?

Evaluation: 

I have not cried so much while reading a book in years. This book sucks you in, making your pulse race as zombies break through barricades and the mystery slowly enfolds. The writing is so gripping and entertaining, making the book hard to put down. While the pacing is not fast-paced, the action moments bring the reader back into the story. 

I did listen to about the first 30% of the book. There are two narrators, one for each sibling, but since most of the book is told from Georgia’s point of view, most of the book is that narrator. I felt she did a good job voicing Georgia and getting her personality across while making Shaun sounds almost too stereotypically like a surfer dude. I thought Shaun’s narrator was also really good at expressing his character, although I did not hear much from him. 

The story is much more political than the book synopsis may lead one to believe. Besides that surprise, the book had very good flow. Even the politics became interesting. I was more interested in the political campaign in the book than I have ever been in real life. The inclusion of every day problems (abortion, etc.) along with how to deal with zombies was almost surreal. 

The main characters in the book are Georgia and Shaun with Buffy being almost to the main character point. All three were quite different with no chance of being confused. It helps that they all had different types of jobs (Newsie, Irwin, and Fictional). I will say that Shaun’s character seemed to change from the first chapter, slightly, which was weird. Even the side characters were very distinguishable, expect for the security guards who I sometimes got confused with. 

Other Reviews from Amazon

Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue) picks up a new pen name for this gripping, thrilling, and brutal depiction of a postapocalyptic 2039. Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman’s daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office. Shunning misogynistic horror tropes in favor of genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what’s true and what’s reported.

Bookmarks Magazine:While the past few years have seen no shortage of new takes on the zombie genre, critics thought that Feed broke away from the shuffling horde. They appreciated the care Grant took in building a detailed world, noting how she infused originality into genre elements like the vaccine gone bad. Some reviewers criticized this extensive exposition, and while none of them were ever bored by the world Grant describes, they questioned whether it was realistic for her characters to have such excellent recall of the apocalypse. Nevertheless, critics recommended Feed as a title that should entertain even those who are not normally fans of the SF or horror genre. Stay tuned for the second in the Newsflesh series, Blackout.

Appeals:

 

Zombies, bloggers, campaign, conspiracy, action-paced, fast-paced, suspenseful

This is a great book for people trying wanting to dive into a complex and suspenseful read.

“Clues for the Future”

Zombies, bloggers on the road, different times of bloggers, conspiracy, 

Rating:

  • Quality: 4★
    Sometimes the political aspect of the book did seem to overpower the horror of the book.
  • Popularity: 4★
    People may not know of this book, but I think I could push this one easily

Read-alikes

Reviver (Reviver Trilogy, #1)Nexus (Nexus, #1)The UninvitedMidnight Movie

  • Reviver by Seth Patrick
    These books are fast-paced horrors also feature conspiracies.
  • Nexus by Ramez Naam
    These novels are thought-provoking and action-packed about how society reacts to society changing technology. 
  • The Uninvited by Cat Winters
    Young protagonists must risk everything in these novels involving conspiracies
  • Midnight Movie by Tobe Hooper
    Both novels involve fast-paced and violent zombie stories with new media being used to tell the story. 

Booktalking Ideas: 

 

The setting is very important in these books. Describing the world and the creepy atmosphere could draw people in. 

Another aspect I would want to highlight would be the characters because Georgina and Shaun are both quite cool in their own ways. Talking about how these siblings get along, yet are so different may help people connect to the characters. 

I also really love the beginning of the book and think it can pull an audience in, so I might also read that:

“Our story opens where countless stories have ended in the last twenty-six years: with an idiot — in this case, my brother, Shaun — deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick to see what happens.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you were running a blog as your job in this world, would you be a Newsie, Irwin, Fictional, or Steward? 
  2. While the book didn’t feature romance, the topic of love and relationships came up often around Georgia and Shaun, since they never had romantic relationships. Do you think this was a weird inclusion to continue mentioning by the author? Do you think their sibling relationship replaced the need for a romantic one? Or something else? 
  3. What are your thoughts on Buffy — what she did, her character, and her end?
  4. What are your thoughts on the end of the book? Did you see it coming? 
  5. With how things ended, Shaun will now be the main character. What do you think will happen next? Will you continue reading? Moving from a Newsie POV to a Irwin/Admin POV, do you think this will change the narration?