Saturday, November 5, 2016

"Columbine" by Dave Cullen

Genre: Nonfiction/ True Crime/ Psychology/ History
Publication: April 6, 2009 by Blackstone Audio
Format: Audio Book
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars

From Goodreads: "The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . . " So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.

What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.

My Thoughts: I've just recently gotten into the True Crime/ Documentary genre in the last year or so after watching Netflix's Making a Murderer (which I highly recommend to everyone). But when I ran across Columbine on my rec list I knew it was going to be something that I wanted to read. Like most people my age, this was where school shootings began. That's not necessarily true, but for us, it was the first. You just say the word Columbine and it evokes the grainy photos of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold standing in a lunch room with a gun. I didn't think of a school or a community. I thought of the  massacre that happened there instead.

I actually didn't read this book, instead I listened to it on Audible Channels. It wasn't easy to listen to. Not because Don Leslie didn't do a FANTASTIC job of narrating (he totally did), but because this was real to me. I remember exactly what I was doing when the news broke about the school. I remember the fear in the days after. This was something that shook our country as a whole. Listening to the vivid account of it was just heartbreaking.

What really shocked me though, was that I didn't really know what happened when it came down to it. The media that swarmed this story was filled with gossip, half-truths, and even lies. It took me a while to accept that what I had believed about Columbine really just wasn't true.

Dave Cullen is a fantastic journalist and superb writer. He covers everything about this story as far as I could tell, giving the reader an up close and personal with the killers as we may ever get. But at the end, he shows us the hope through the survivors. I no longer picture the massacre and the fear when I hear the word Columbine. Instead, I picture a community of people who survived something terrible and came out on the other side. I picture the survivors like Patrick Ireland and the hope they inspire.

Bottom Line: Overall it's a really hard book to read emotionally, but I think it's well worth it and I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication: September 1, 2015 by Delacorte
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.



My Thoughts: There are bad books, okay books, great books, and then there are books that make my fingers tingle while I'm reading them because I just want to devour every single word off the page. Everything, Everything is the later. I'm a mom to a 19 month old. My time is precious. I don't get a lot of alone time to read a book in one sitting any more, but believe me I did for this one. From page one I knew I was going to be addicted and end up late into the wee hours of the morning finishing this book up, and I wasn't wrong.

I fell in love with these characters SO HARD. Maddy and Olly are just simply amazing and I wanted to know all about them. Their story was so unique and their characters so real, I didn't want to let the go. Madeline's mother... good Lord in some ways I could totally relate to the intense amount of love she has for her daughter. There were so many quotes and passages I highlighted in this book. Honestly I could sit here all day gushing over it, but I won't. If you're a fan of books like Fault in Our Stars, or basically any great YA Contemp then you will fall in love with this one like I did.

Bottom Line: I HIGHLY recommend this one. Going on my favorites shelf.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

"Inspire" by Cora Carmack

Series: The Muse #1
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Publication: December 14th, 2014- Self Published
Format: Kindle
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too. 

My Thoughts: I love Cora Carmack. Really, I do. Her books are funny and sexy and I always end up liking them. So I was super excited when I found out she wrote a New Adult PNR- like I said before, there's so few good ones out there. I'm not going to lie to you guys though, I almost didn't finish this one. ALMOST. I loved Kalli and I loved Wilder, but I hated their insta-love. They literally met in a grocery store line, said about five words to each other and BAM! That was it for them. Head over heels. ...Okay, it wasn't exactly that way, but close. Here's the thing though, I pushed through it and I'm really glad I did. Yes, there's insta-love, but there's also this really cool, amazing, original story too. If you can get over the fact that these two characters felt love at first sight (or more probable are just destined for each other), then you will enjoy this story.

What's even more crazy was that even though I wanted to give up on it in the first half, by the second half I wanted the next book ASAP. Unfortunately, it looks like the book's publication was put on hold for good reason. After stalking the author I discovered through her blog that she was experiencing some health issues at the beginning of this year and that for now, the second book Inflict, is on hold. It was supposed to be published sometime this year, but so far I haven't read anything saying that's going to happen. Which really sucks because I think the second book is going to be even better than the first. BUT we all need our favorite authors to take care of themselves first so they can write later. Cora is one of those authors like JLA that just spins out books like magic, so I have a feeling it's probably really hard on her to delay a book. Either way, I hope she feels better soon and I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Bottom Line: I would recommend this book to all friends of PNR and Romance, but with a warning about the insta-love.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars