Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Days of Grace by Catherine Hall

days of graceTitle: Days of Grace
Author: Catherine Hall
Publisher: Viking Adult; 1 edition
Date of Publication:(May 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0670021768
Pages: 304

Synopsis: (from Booklist) Nora Lynch is at the end of her life, and she intends to die alone. When she takes in a young, unwed mother, however, her plan is interrupted, and she begins to relive the time she spent with the Rivers family during WWII. Among the many London children evacuated from the city during the Blitz, Nora landed in Kent, where Reverend Rivers, his wife, and daughter, Grace, gave her a life she never dreamed of and, in the end, never wanted. Hall's debut captures the stagnation of the Rivers family, hiding behind the seeming tranquility of their lives to shield themselves from painful memories. Even the war feels far away. Planes flying overhead are muffled by the stifling calm of the English countryside. When Nora falls for Grace, she is tormented by loving someone she can't have, and her descent into isolation and bitterness is intensely evoked. The prose, flitting between the present and wartime Kent, is as crisp, efficient, and quietly moving as Nora herself. Her attempt to find redemption and her struggle to forgive herself will engage readers to the end.

About the Author: Catherine Hall was born in the Lake District in 1973. Now based in London, she worked in documentary film production before becoming a freelance writer and editor for a range of organizations specializing in human rights and development.

Interview with the Author: A CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE HALL from Penguin.com website

My Review: Days of Grace by Catherine Hall starts at the beginning of World War II in 1939 with a twelve year old girl, Nora, being evacuated from London to the countryside for safety. She is chosen to live with the Rivers family by the daughter, Grace. Nora loves living in the country and has a close friendship with Grace. Nora enjoys a better lifestyle in the country than she did in London with her mother.

Days of Grace alternates between chapters, going between present and past events as told by the young and older Nora. Generally, this type of alternating is distracting to me as a reader. In Days of Grace it is an integral part of the story. The secrets unfold between the telling of the past and present in a way that is very compelling. Nora’s past does a wonderful job of explaining the present and her feelings. The story of Nora’s past comes to a pivotal point in the story with VE Day, on May 8th, 1945. This is when World War II ends with the formal acceptance of the surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany, ending Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

There are many themes within this story: such as the power of secrets on shaping one’s life, the strength of the bond of friendship, the power of unrequited love and the lasting impact of one’s decisions on their future.

Main characters in the past are the young Nora, an evacuee from London and the Rivers family that takes her in, consisting of the Reverend, his wife and their daughter Grace. I loved the free spirit that is Grace. She was my favorite character, leaving a lasting impression on many lives. My least favorite character was Nora as an old woman. She seemed selfish to me and not mindful other’s long-term happiness.

I thought the title; Days of Grace could be taken a number of ways. It could represent the carefree youth of Nora and Grace running and playing in the countryside. The cover of Day’s of Grace by Catherine Hall reminds me of this. It could also represent the days that Nora has Grace in her life before they part ways. The title could represent all the days of Nora’s life that are filled with thoughts of Grace and the impact of that. Lastly, Grace could be taken not as the name of a person, but the ability to live one’s life with grace, as to live with a disposition to kindness and compassion.

My Rating: 4/5 - I would recommend this book to others. I was interested in this time in history as I was not that familiar with it. I found the book very suspenseful and revealing bit and pieces of the story is a very masterful manner. I ended up going to work very tired a day or two due to this book. I would have given Days of Grace a 4.5 rating, but ending was not my favorite.

Other Bloggers Reviews:

The Girl from the Ghetto

The Book Bag

What Women Write

Curled Up with a Good Book

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book review: Mothers & Other Liars by Amy Bourret

Mothers & Other LiarsTitle: Mothers & Other Liars
Author: Amy Bourret
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Web: www.stmartins.com
Date of Publication: August 2010
Pages: 288

Synopsis: (Publishers Weekly) Ruby Leander and young daughter Lark, the abandoned baby she took as her own at a truck stop years ago, when she was a runaway, are living happily in New Mexico. Ruby is pregnant with boyfriend Chaz's child and everything is going well until she sees Lark's picture in the newspaper as a missing child. Ruby realizes that to do the right thing and return Lark means losing everything she loves. When Ruby comes up with a way to keep Lark, her plan involves an untenable choice. The revelations aren't surprising and though the characters face weighty moral questions, the resolutions seem inconsequential. Bourret does manage to present an alternative to the standard family drama, and the writing is crisp despite a plot that moves along to a predictable conclusion.

About the Author: 

Helen Keller said, “Life is an adventure or it is nothing at all.” My own adventure has been a raucous ride through Denver, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Houston, Lubbock, New Haven, Dallas, Santa Fe, and Aspen. Now, I split my time between Dallas and Aspen, where I am working on my next novel.

Along the way, I earned diplomas from Yale Law School, Texas Tech University and Miss Julie’s School of Dance. One of my favorite clients liked to say that Yale told him I was real smart, but Tech told him I was real. I’m not sure what the other diploma tells anyone, other than that most of the time I can walk and chew gum at the same time and there are some black-mailable photographs of me in god-awful costumes.

The passion that fuels Mothers and Other Liars was sparked through my child advocacy work, as pro bono counsel in law school and in my practice, and as adviser to advocacy, foster care and child rescue organizations. Among other esteemed activities, at various times and in no particular order, I have also been corporate lawyer, gymnast, event planner, student, civic volunteer, judicial clerk, official neighborhood bee catcher, corporate communications director, and flower girl at a tadpole funeral. What I have always been is a writer, from treacly childhood poetry, to college and graduate school theses, to legal briefs and contracts, and, oh yeah, to Mothers and Other Liars, my debut novel. What I have never been is a mother or a liar.  Well, at least half of that last statement is true.  (http://amybourret.com/about-amy/)

Author Interview:  What Women Write hosts interview with Amy Bourret

My Review:

The title and cover of this book really is what made me grab it off the new fiction self at the library.  In reflecting on the title, Mothers & Other Liars, I am left wondering who the other liars were.  This book started off good for me, got a little slow in the middle, but picked up again towards the end.  Mothers & Other Liars reads a bit like a book by Jodi Picoult.  It is an emotional read that in the heart of it examines the debate of Nurture vs. Nature.  The book though not very long it is comprised of 117 chapters.  I really disliked the way the book was written in very short chapters.  I felt this distracted from the flow of the story and left the story with a choppy feeling.    

Mothers & Other Liars did have me thinking about what I would do if I found an abandoned baby.  I have never been in the situation that Ruby was in, but as a mother I am not sure I would make the same decisions she did regarding her solution to her problem.  As I was reading the book, I was yelling at Ruby and saying, “A mother would not do that”.  My hubby thought I was crazy!  It just wasn’t realistic to me and it bugged me.  I do believe that Ruby loved Lark and would do anything for her.  Once the twists are revealed the conclusion of the story became very predictable.  The ending of Mothers & Other Liars was all tidied up and presented as a happy little package with a bow on it. 

My Rating: 3.5/5 - I would have given Mothers & Other Liars a 3 rating, but emotionally the story did grip me.  I may have even shed a tear or two, but parts were just too unrealistic for me.  This book did not have me missing my beauty sleep. 

Other Bloggers Review:

Book Hooked Blog

Alexia’s Books and Such

All About {n}

HMG – Book Reviews

Kinda Sassy

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Secrets of Eden – Chris Bohjalian

edenTitle: Secrets of Eden
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Publisher:  Broadway;
Date of Publication:
  February 1, 2011
ISBN - 13: 978-0307394989
Pages:  400 pages

Synopsis: (From Publishers Weekly)  Bohjalian (Law of Similars) has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjects—homeopathy, animal rights activism, midwifery—and his latest surely won't disappoint. The morning after her baptism into the Rev. Stephen Drew's Vermont Baptist church, Alice Hayward and her abusive husband are found dead in their home, an apparent murder-suicide. Stephen, the novel's first narrator, is so racked with guilt over his failure to save Alice that he leaves town. Soon, he meets Heather Laurent, the author of a book about angels whose own parents' marriage also ended in tragedy. Stephen's deeply sympathetic narration is challenged by the next two narrators: deputy state attorney Catherine Benincasa, whose suspicions are aroused initially by Stephen's abrupt departure (and then by questions about his relationship with Alice), and Heather, who distances herself from Stephen for similar reasons and risks the trip into her dark past by seeking out Katie, the Haywards' now-orphaned 15-year-old daughter who puts into play the final pieces of the puzzle, setting things up for a touching twist. Fans of Bohjalian's more exotic works will miss learning something new, but this is a masterfully human and compassionate tale.

Related Media:

About the Author:  Chris Bohjalian is the author of thirteen books, including his most recent novel, Secrets of Eden, which debuted at # 6 on both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before You Know Kindness, The Law of Similars, and Midwives.
Chris won the New England Book Award in 2002, and his novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, a Publishers Weekly "Best Book," and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. His work has been translated into over 25 languages and twice become movies ("Midwives" and "Past the Bleachers"). You can see some of the international covers on this web site.
He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, and has been a Sunday columnist for Gannett's Burlington Free Press since 1992. Chris graduated from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Author Website:  Chris Bohjalian –The Official Site   Reading Group Guide

My Review:

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian raises awareness of the devastating effects of domestic violence on families. The story starts out with the deaths of George and Alice Hayward in a murder/suicide situation. A few members of the small town in Vermont are aware of the spousal abuse that Alice suffered at the hands of George, but many were not.  There are many secrets that come to light throughout the book. 

The story is told in four parts by four different narrators.  Part one is told Stephen Drew, the local minister of the church in which Alice Hayward is baptized shortly before her death.  Stephen’s perceptions of the events are clouded with guilt.  The second part is told by Catherine Benincasa the deputy State Attorney.  The third narrator is Heather Laurant, an author who writes about angels and is familiar with the effects of domestic violence within her own family.  I am not sure that the character of Heather really added to the story.  The final part of the story is from the perspective of Katie Hayward, daughter of George and Alice Hayward.  This was my least favorite of the parts,  I did not feel the voice of Katie came across as a realistic portrayal of a teen girl.  The truth comes out in the end and makes for a satisfactory ending. 

I enjoyed Secrets of Eden, but I was not a fan of the story being told in parts.  It made the story feel a bit disjointed to me.  I did not have strong feeling about any of the characters in particular, but if I had a preference it would be for Katie Hayward.  She was a strong young woman who was managing a very difficult situation the best she could. 

My Rating: 3/5 - good read , but not my favorite of Chris Bohjalian’s books.  He does a nice job of raising aware of spousal abuse and the emotions surrounding it. 

Other Bloggers Reviews:

Constance Reader’s

Mostly Fiction Book Reviews

Serendipitous Readings

Chew and Digest Books

Lynne’s Book Reviews

Happy Reading!

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Library Loot: March 12th, 2011

badge-4Library Loot Event is a weekly event hosted by Marg at The Adventures of a Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader. This weekly event encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library. I always find many new books to add to my reserve list!

If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Marg has Mr Linky this week

This last week I finished the following books:
I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells (my review)
Garden of Eden - Chris Bohjalian (my review)
Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourret (my review)

This week only a couple of books found there way home with me from the public library. I just read that they are going to be doing some updating to our local library. Hoping this will be a good thing!

My Library Loot for this week:

7944988 hungry-for-happiness-james-villas-paperback-cover-art whistling

What did you find at the library this week???? Stop by and share your Library Loot !! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!!

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

serialTitle:  I Am Not A Serial Killer
Author:  Dan Wells
Publisher:  Tor Books
Date of Publication: First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0765327821  
Pages: 272
Category:  Young Adult

Synopsis: I Am Not a Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial killer. He sets strict rules to keep himself “good” and “normal,” but when a real monster shows up in his town he has to let his dark side out in order to stop it–but without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he’s trying to kill.

Related Media:

My Review:

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells is a shift from the type of books that I usually read.  I have never seen the TV series Dexter, but I am told this book is very similar.  I might have to check out a season of Dexter from the Library to see the similarities.  

The main character John Wayne Cleaver (what a name!) is a 15 year old boy who is diagnosed a sociopath.  He has a disturbing interest in everything about death and serial killers.  So of course he is very interested when a serial killer seems to be rampant in the town in which he resides.  John lives in a mortuary and assists his mother and aunt with embalming.  He really enjoys being able to assist.  His mother is not sure this is really a good idea.  I am thinking it isn’t.  The details of embalming are well described. 

Excerpt: “I’d been helping Mom and Margaret at the mortuary since I was a little boy, back before Dad left. My first job had been cleaning up the chapel: picking up programs, dumping out ash trays, vacuuming the floor, and other odd jobs that a six-year-old could do unassisted. I got bigger jobs as I grew older, but I didn’t get to help with the really cool stuff—embalming—until I was twelve. Embalming was like . . . I don’t know how to describe it. It was like playing with a giant doll, dressing it and bathing it and opening it up to see what was inside. I watched Mom once when I was eight, peeking in through the door to see what the big secret was. When I cut open my teddy bear the next week, I don’t think she made the connection.”

While John communicates very well to the reader that he thinks about killing people and could easily be a serial killer.   I found him to be a villain that I had sympathy for.  He was struggling with his own demons, but was determined to figure out who was the Clayton Killer.  I don’t think he really wanted to kill people, he just felt he was destined to do it.  He had rules in place to make sure he kept his “monster” caged.  Why would be do that if he wanted to kill people??

The book is fast pace and keeps the reader’s attention.  I read the book in a little over a day.  I stayed up WAY too late last night to finish it.  I did find I was a bit unsettled to sleep initially after finishing it, but no bad dreams!  The story does have a bit of a supernatural edge to it that I am not sure I cared for.  It did not detract from the story in any major way. 

I was surprised in researching this book that in the UK it was published as a Young Adult novel.  I did not feel that was the case at all.  In the US it was published as Adult Fiction, which I thought was more appropriate due to some of the more gory details.  I am not a Serial Killer is the first book in a trilogy by Dan Wells.   The next books in the series are, Mr. Monster and I Don’t Want to Kill You.  Those are certainly titles that jump out at you! 

My Rating:  4/5 – anything that keeps me up in the wee hours of the night has to be good!   I would recommend this title to others. 

Other  Reviews:

The Book Smugglers

It’s All About Books

Book Chick City

Wondrous Reads

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

glassTitle: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Publisher: Scribner;
Date of Publication: 1 edition (January 9, 2006)
ISBN-13: 978-0743247542
Pages: 288 pages

Synopsis: (From Publishers Weekly) Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."

Related Media:

Video of Jeannette Walls on “The Glass Castles” with her mother. 

About the Author:  Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in the southwest and Welch, West Virginia. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, a triumphant account of overcoming a difficult childhood with her dysfunctional but vibrant family, has been a New York Times bestseller for over three years. A publishing sensation around the world, The Glass Castle has sold more than 2.5 million copies in the U.S. and has been translated into twenty-two languages. Walls is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Christopher Award for helping to "affirm the highest values of the human spirit," as well as the American Library Association's Alex Award, and the Books for Better Living Award. The Glass Castle was chosen as Elle magazine's book of the year. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

( From: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jeannette-Walls/19723841/biography)

My Review:   The Glass Castle: A memoir by Jeanette Walls

In The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls tells the story of her unconventional, nomadic upbringing as a child.  Her father, Rex was a very intelligent and charismatic man, who spent time teaching his four children.  His alcoholism keeps the family in unimaginable poverty.  Rose, the mother of the family was an artist who really could not be bothered to provide basic care to her children or maintain employment as a teacher.  Jeanette and her siblings did well in school and learned to fend for themselves at a very early age.  What struck me most about this book was not what happened to the children/family, but how the author’s voice when telling about these events of her youth contained such love and compassion for her parents.  In many regards the children had to parent themselves as well as their parents. I did not pick up feelings of resentment in reading The Glass Castle.  Rex promised to build the family a Glass Castle for them all to live in.  The promise to me showed the hope this family had, which unfortunately never became a reality. 

Jeanette is able to preserve and maintain hope throughout The Glass Castle.  This is what makes The Glass Castle different from other memoirs I have read about dysfunctional families.  I was not left with that “icky” feeling when reading this.  The children were terribly neglected, but this was not done with malice.  I believe the parents loved their children. 

Jeanette and her siblings are able to escape.  One by one they go to New York to start a new life for themselves.  Three of the children seem to fair well as adults and maintain a relationship with their parents.  Then the parents move to New York to be with the family.  They chose a life of homelessness, which is hard to understand.  But the children seem to accept their parents and who they are. 

My Rating: 4/5 – I would recommend this book to others. 

Other Bloggers Review:

Lit and Life

A Fanatic’s Book Blog

Book Chatter

Happy Reading!

Review: In The Woods by Tana French

in the woodsTitle:  In The Woods
Author:  Tana French
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics);
Date of Publication:  Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-0143113492
Pages: 464 pages

Synopsis: (From Publishers Weekly) Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut. When Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl from Knocknaree, a Dublin suburb, is found murdered at a local archeological dig, Det. Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, must probe deep into the victim's troubled family history. There are chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and the disappearance 20 years before of two children from the same neighborhood who were Ryan's best friends. Only Maddox knows Ryan was involved in the 1984 case. The plot climaxes with a taut interrogation by Maddox of a potential suspect, and the reader is floored by the eventual identity and motives of the killer. A distracting political subplot involves a pending motorway in Knocknaree, but Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma.

Related Media:


About the Author: Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover.

My Review:  In The Woods is Tana French’s debut novel.  French won the 2008 Edgar Award for the best first novel with In The Woods.  Ok, ok…true confessions here.  This book is very suspenseful and I just could not take it, so I read the ending.  Don’t do this!    Even though I knew part of the mystery, the book was still a very good read. 

In the Woods was a monthly selection for  my book group.  The group’s discussion was very good.  I was very surprised by the different theories the members had about the ending of the book and what really happened.     The characters were very well developed.   We all really liked Cassie Maddox and Sam.  Ryan received mixed reviews.   Everyone agreed that Tana French did an amazing job in describing the setting.  The village of Knocknaree, a suburb of Dublin, has a life of it’s own.   A few of us were even a bit frightened by the woods.  If you like a nice ending all wrapped up, you may be disappointed in the ending.   We all were a bit frustrated by the ending, but are looking forward to reading the next book.   This is not a quick read.  The complexity of French’s descriptions/voice has the reader reading closely as to not miss anything.  

My Rating: 4/5 – would recommend – had me staying up late reading a couple of nights.  I am looking forward to reading the next book, The Likeness.  

Other Bloggers Review:

Rhapsody in Books

Literary Sluts

Reading is My Superpower

The Booklady’s Blog

Happy Reading!

Library Loot: March 5th, 2011

badge-4Library Loot Event is a weekly event hosted by Marg at The Adventures of a Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader. This weekly event encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library. I always find many new books to add to my reserve list!
I have not been participating lately in Library Loot, but have been heading to the library every week.  I have been finding a lot of titles and covers that catch my eye on the new release shelf.  I have also been getting back into listening to audio books on my way to and from work.  So many books…..so little time. 
This week was a very quick dart into the library as I had to get over to my in-laws to run errands for them and clean a bit.
The following found their way home with me this week from the public libraryr:

broken hearts   days of grace 


imperfectionists the-passage-image the-widowers-tale1 weissmanns-lg

What did you find at the library this week????  Stop by and share your Library Loot !!   Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: Saving Max

Title: “Saving Max”
Author: Antoinette van Heugten
Publisher: Mira Books/Harlequin
Date of Publication: October 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2963-3
Format: Trade Paper
Pages: 384
Category: Fiction/Suspense
Synopsis: Max Parkman—autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive—is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder. Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse—using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous. Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death. Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer? With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.
Related Media:

About the Author:   Antoinette van Heugten is a former international trial lawyer who retired to pursue a full-time career as a novelist. Saving Max is based upon her heartbreaking and joyous journey as the mother of two autistic children and one who has run the gamut of medical and psychiatric professionals. She lives with her husband in the Texas hill country. Saving Max is her first novel.

My Review: I stumbled upon this book at the library and was drawn to the cover. I only read the front cover which said “What would you do if your son were accused of murder?’. I thought sounds interesting, so I threw it into my library bag.

I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and the book was about a child on the autism spectrum. Being a social worker that works with many children with that diagnosis as well as a parent of a child on the spectrum, I am always interested in stories like this and how the syndrome is portrayed to the public.

Overall, I think the diagnostic information was very good. I felt initially the Psychiatrist working with Max jumped to sending him off to Maitland a bit prematurely. I don’t believe that would have been how that would have played out. I could relate to Max’s mother, Danielle and her desire to help her son. But after the murder, I felt some of her reactions were a bit unrealistic. Though I could understand the emotions associated with her reactions, a mother’s love for her child is a force not to be reckoned with. I was disappointed that the author did not develop the character of Max more. I didn’t feel as great as an attachment to him as I would have liked. I did enjoy the lovable private detective with a foul mouth.

Some readers may have some difficulty with the graphic description of the murder scene and other items. I personally am not greatly affected by that. I felt up until the murder took place, the book seemed to be a bit boring. Once the murder finally happened the book picked up and was much better. So the last portion of the book had me very engrossed and the ending was not predictable for me.

My Rating: 4/5 – I would recommend this book, but it didn’t have me missing my beauty rest until the last ¼ of the book.

Reading Group Guide and Discussion Questions

Other Bloggers Review of Saving Max:

Mom Knows Everything

My Reading Room

Just Stacie

Book Hooked Blog

Jandy’s Reading Room

I really enjoy reading others reviews after I have written my review.  I am always finding new book blogs to follow this way that have similar taste in books as myself.   

This review was written based on a copy of Saving Max checked out from the library.

Happy Reading!