Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Giveaway/Beach Read Alert! Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon


Title: Mystic Summer
Author: Hannah McKinnon
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.

But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a New England summer when past and present collide, Mystic Summer is a gorgeous novel about looking back, moving forward, and the beauty that blooms when fate intervenes.


My Review:

I haven't read a lot of beachy romances lately, but when I saw the title of Mystic Summer and realized it was set in Mystic, Connecticut, there was NO way I could turn it down!  Nothing like a hometown (well, almost hometown...I grew up in next-door Groton, but spent a fair amount of my youth hanging around Mystic) read to kick off the summer.

Even though my main attraction here was the setting, I ended up loving the story itself.  Maggie is a great protagonist--she's a smart woman, but makes a fair amount of mistakes as she navigates this uncertain time in her life.  I appreciate that she isn't a perfect character who never fumbles or questions her decisions.  She also finds herself in a rather messy love triangle, the results of which I found satisfying without being corny or predictable.  There may not be anything groundbreaking or heart-stopping to this novel, but it's got BEACH READ written all over it.  Fun characters, summer flings, high school nostalgia, and even a wedding thrown in--what else could you ask for?  I was able to read this in a few small sittings, and it was a great choice at a time in my reading life when I really needed a smartly-written, yet lighthearted novel.

As a local, I'll say that McKinnon's ability to bring out the atmosphere of the town was admirable.  I loved all the shout-outs to nearby shops and landmarks (Bank Square Books, Harp and Hound, the drawbridge, woohoo!).  However, I am morally obligated to point out a few inaccuracies, though I'll keep the list short in order to not sound TOO picky: based on where Maggie lives, she and her friends should be alumni of Fitch High (GO FALCONS!!) not Stonington High, the Naval Base is in Groton (not New London), and there is NO local resident who eats at Mystic Pizza nearly as often as Maggie and her friends do (tourist trap! haha).  Okay, I'm done.  Told you I was being picky.  ;)

Anyway, since today is the second official day of summer, I'm recommending this one for your poolside read list for sure!

As always, much thanks to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour.
Want to find out more?  Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE. And connect with Hannah McKinnon via Twitter and Facebook.
GIVEAWAY TIME!!
The publisher has made 1 copy of Mystic Summer available to be won by one of my lucky readers.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below!  US/Canada entrants only please, giveaway ends 6/28/16.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 13, 2016

He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker


Title: He Will Be My Ruin
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of Maker’s Mark, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.

On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.


My Review:

I haven't jumped into the mystery genre in a while, but I was happy to give this one a shot after reading that description.  I'm new to K.A. Tucker's work, but recognized her name, and this was a great first novel of hers to jump into.  He Will Be My Ruin combines a sassy protagonist, several shady suspects, and of course, a few good red herrings along the way.  I was pleasantly surprised by the end result.

At first, I thought for sure that I had this mystery all figured out from the get-go.  I had it narrowed down to two possible suspects, and couldn't see how Tucker would manage to have it NOT be so predictably one of them.  However, even though I kept going back to my two main targets, by the end of the book I had suspected EVERYBODY (except maybe Maggie) at least once.  Tucker builds just enough oddity into each character that it's easy to concoct a motive for nearly any of them.  Plus, she creates unexpected side plots that flesh out the mystery more and more as the novel goes on.  I won't give away the ending, but I'll say that it was a spectacular finish that left me happy to have gone on the journey to get there.

This review is about as straightforward as it gets: if you love a good whodunit, with lots of quirky characters and a little bit of romantic spice thrown in, then He Will Be My Ruin is a good bet.

As always, much thanks to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
Want to find out more?  Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE. And connect with K.A. Tucker via her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nonfiction Mini-Reviews x3!

I didn't mean to do it, but my last 3 reads have all been nonfiction...and now that I've realized it, I'm pining for more!  Send me all your latest nonfiction recommendations, if you please.  In the meantime, here's some snapshots of what I've been reading lately:

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
W.W. Norton, 2016
received from the publisher for an honest review


If you didn't see my review of Mary Roach's Packing for Mars a few months back, let me tell you that she specializes in hilarious, science-based nonfiction.  She generally chooses unconventional topics (the particulars of space travel, the science of human cadavers, etc), researches the minutiae behind them, and peppers her findings with off-color humor.  Now that is MY brand of nonfiction.

In Roach's latest release, the topic is war, but not in the way it's covered via politics or military strategy.  Instead, she's delved into the oft-not-discussed ways that our military uses science to provide for our soldiers at home and overseas.  For example: what happens when a Navy SEAL really, really has to poop during a mission?  (I'm dead serious.  She actually ASKED A NAVY SEAL THAT.)  How are military hospitals providing for soldiers that lose not just limbs, but also their genitals, during combat?  How do submariners in the Navy prepare for undersea conditions?  (Nice shout outs to my hometown of Groton, CT (Submarine Capital of the World, say heyyy) in that section!)  These are the questions that you didn't even know you had, but now you want them answered.

Overall I enjoyed this one, because Roach's humor was on point (as expected), and the research was interesting.  However, as a whole the book did not click with me quite as well as Packing for Mars did.  I felt like the chapters were a bit disjointed from each other, which disrupted the flow between topics.  Plus, I found it harder to laugh at her humor on this particular subject.  Giggling over space toilets is one thing, but finding the humor in genital reconstruction for wounded soldiers was a bit tougher.  Perhaps my humor has it's limits?  I never thought I'd see the day...

Anyway, this is worth the read for followers of Mary Roach, and I think anyone connected to the military would find it intriguing.  It's not my favorite of hers, but I'm still interested in reading her other work.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Knopf, 2012
borrowed from the good ol' public library

The latest read for my MOMS Club Book Club!  This is Cheryl Strayed's memoir of when, after dealing with her mother's sudden death, her own divorce, as well as a descent into drug addiction, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  The trail runs from Mexico to Canada via California, Oregon, and Washington.  Strayed tackled the trail with no previous backpacking experience, in the hopes that she would find something to allow her to get her life back on track.

There is a ton of hype about this book (especially since the release of the Reese Witherspoon movie), but I understand why.  This is a very moving memoir, and Strayed is startlingly honest about her childhood, her failed marriage, and her ups and downs on the trail.  I found many of her experiences to be inspiring, even in her weakest moments.  The interesting cast of characters that she encounters during her trek will (mostly) raise your faith in humanity.  Plus, it's excellent hiking inspiration for the outdoorsy readers--I already told my husband that we must put the PCT on our bucket list!

Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon by Ed Caesar
Simon & Schuster, 2015
borrowed from the good ol' public library

Love me a good running read these days!  In Two Hours, Ed Caesar discusses exactly what it would take for a professional marathoner to eventually break the coveted 2:00 mark.  The current world record is 2:02:57, and while 2 minutes and 57 seconds doesn't sound like a long time to most, to elite marathoners it is an enormous divide.  Caesar looks into the science behind it--there are researchers who have done a variety of tests in order to estimate what they believe to be the absolute limit for how quickly a human can run 26.2 miles.  But alongside that, he follows the marathon pursuits of Geoffrey Mutai, an elite Kenyan runner who has his sights set on both a world record and the 2:00 wall.  This combination of scientific and personal perspectives on the upper limits of marathoning made for a fascinating book.

One of my favorite tidbits from this book is the discussion of how modern day road races do not provide favorable conditions for runners to get the fastest marathon time possible.  Many are hilly, provide very little shade, and don't allow the runners to employ pacers (non-racing runners who are hired to pace them at exactly what they need to hit a certain finish time--one racer will sometimes use a few different pacers throughout a race, if it is allowed).  Plus, they are weather dependent--you could be in the best shape of your life, but if you wake up and have to run your marathon on a sunny 80 degree day, the chances of a good time are nil.  This is just one of many fun discussions that got my brain turning in this book.  Two Hours is a quick read, and excellent brain food for anyone with running interests!

What are your current reads?  Any new nonfiction on the docket for you lately?  What's the best memoir you've read lately?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Let's Talk About The Incredible Virtual Run!


Hey, remember when I signed up for that 10K virtual race back in March?  Yeah, I ran that!  Let's talk about it!

To refresh your memory, the race was The Incredible Virtual Run, organized by Level Up Runs.  This was the first virtual run I ever participated in, and it was a unique experience.  I signed up for the 10K option because I thought it would be easy-peasy to fit in a 6-ish mile run during the last couple weeks of training for the Flower City Half.  (This run was supposed to be completed between April 15-30, and Flower City was the 24th.)  Um, that was not a good plan, because I kiiiiind of forgot to factor in the pre-race taper, so I wasn't running a whole lot the week before Flower City.  That meant that I had to save the run for the last possible day--April 30, because it was far enough from Flower City that I felt recovered and was able to put in a good effort.

Even though this race wasn't "officially" timed (beyond what I saw on my Garmin), I still had a goal to try to beat my current 10K PR of 55:55.  Because I was making up my own race course, I could have totally cheesed out and done a flat/downhill route, but I didn't!  I purposely worked in some of the bigger hills in my area, because I wanted the challenge.

Long story short: goal achieved!  I finished in 54:16.  :)

Not a huge gain on my PR, but a gain nonetheless!  And I considered it a win, given the hills I threw in and the fact that I was only 1 week post-half-marathon.

So, given that this was my first virtual race, what did I think?

Pros: I loved that I had a big window in which to fit the race--you can plan around various weather conditions and scheduling conflicts to find a time that works for you.  You also get the advantage of running your race on whatever surface or route you prefer.  I liked that I was "racing" without all the pre-race adrenaline/pressure that comes from racing in a large crowd.  I was more in control of my pace than I usually am at a big, chaotic starting line.  And because there was a (pretty awesome!) medal coming to me at the end, I was motivated to hit my goal, even without the cheering crowds.
(As predicted, my kids are totally jealous of this medal and have already tried to steal it from me 5,462 times.)
Cons: I don't feel like I can call this race time a true PR, because it wasn't done with an official timing chip, and because I got to set my own race conditions--something that is not reflective of a "true" race setting.  Not a huge deal, but something to consider if you really want 100% confirmation of a PR goal.  My only other caveat is that, other than the race medal, the other swag I received was a $25 gift certificate to SLS3--something I was very excited about.  However, when I received it, I was bummed to find it was more of a coupon than a gift certificate--I can't use it in conjunction with any sales (and they are having a ton of good sales right now), or other promotions, and it does have an expiration date.  I wish they had referred to it as a coupon (granted, a high-value coupon) rather than a gift certificate, because it was a letdown to find that all these stipulations were attached to it.

Overall, this was a fun experience, and I think if I find myself between road races and need a motivational boost, another virtual race could be a great option.

Have you ever done a virtual race?  What other races do you have coming up??

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Well-Read Runner: Right to Run 19K RECAP!


It's time to tell you about one of my most fun race experiences EVER!  Settle in!

I ran the Right to Run 19K in Seneca Falls, NY on May 7.  I registered way back at the end of 2015, when I first heard about it, even though I was already committed to the Four Seasons Challenge for 2016.  It just sounded too unique to pass up.

This was the inaugural year for the race, which celebrates women's rights (and women's running in particular), hence the 19K = 19th amendment.  The race was co-ed though, and I saw just as many guys as girls at the starting line!  The proceeds from the race benefit the National Women's Hall of Fame (in Seneca Falls), and the spokesperson for the race was Kathrine Switzer.  All of this put together...how could I NOT run it?  Especially when it's so close to home??

Race start was at 9am, and I live about 75 minutes away, so I got up at 5:30 and left my house at 6:45 to get there with plenty of time to spare.  The 19K and the 5K (the other race option) had starting lines in two different places (but finished in the same location), so I headed out to the farmland beyond Seneca Falls for the 19K start.  Plenty of parking available and lots of port-o-potties--we were off to a good start!  I got all my stuff together and left my drop bag at the registration table--this was a nice perk, as they transported the drop bags to the finish line in downtown Seneca Falls, so you could pack up your flip flops/extra layers/snacks/etc and have them waiting for you at the finish.

Just before 9, I walked down the street to the start line, and was delighted to find that Kathrine Switzer was there to help send us off!  I was hoping I'd get to meet her at the finish, but seeing her at the start was a HUGE inspirational boost for me.  (In case you missed my review of Marathon Woman earlier this week, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967, and is an enormously important running idol of mine.  FANGIRL ALERT!!)

There were technical difficulties with the national anthem, so the race director had all the runners sing it together, and it MIGHT have been the best race national anthem ever!  Right after that, we got ready to go and Kathrine started walking through the start line crowd, giving high fives/hugs and sending us off.  I was like, "OH HELL NO, there is no way I don't get a selfie right now."  And I did, with 90 seconds to go before start:
I WAS A LITTLE EXCITED.
And so the gun went off as I was posting to Facebook, with an enormous grin on my face.

Race conditions: low 60's and full sun.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Not to mention that I was feeling so awesome after that amazing start line experience. I shot off the line and had to curb my enthusiasm a bit.  I will admit that I didn't prepare as well for this race as I should have--I had no solid goal in mind, and because I ran Flower City Half only 2 weeks before, I hadn't done much as far as training in the last 14 days.  Plus (and this feels dumb to admit), because I had just done 13.1 miles recently, my brain kept telling me this race would be easy-peasy, because it was ONLY 11.8 miles.  (In hindsight...that it NOT that much shorter than 13.1!!  What was I thinking??)  Despite all that--I just wanted to have fun with this race, so after the first couple minutes of running, I felt good and decided to hold my half marathon goal pace (9:00/mile) as long as I could, and see how it went.

The course itself was very beautiful, and very flat.  Like, so flat.  If you hate hills, this is the run for you.  That said, there was also ZEROOOOOO shade.  NADA.  For the first 6 miles.  Nothing but open farmland as far as the eye could see:

No shade, and full sun?  I was dying from the heat by mile 4.

I started pulling back a little at that point, but I realized quickly that I had pushed too hard in the heat for the early miles.  There was a water stop at the 6 mile marker, and right after it I walked for about a quarter mile.  Got my breath back, had a Honey Stinger gel, drank a bunch of water.  Then kicked it back up again feeling MUCH improved.  At this point, I vowed to stop looking at my Garmin so much, and just run for comfort.  I mean, it was a 19K, I was going to PR no matter what, right??  :)

Thankfully, at this point we got close to Cayuga Lake, as well as some treed areas, so we had a bit more shade and wind coming our way.  Crowd support was not big for this race, but the enthusiasm of the runners was high, which helped a lot.
Me and Cayuga Lake. I am honestly dying a little bit here (see: red face), but I smiled for you anyway.
The later miles were, admittedly, a mental battle for me--I knew my legs were okay to keep it up, but my head was berating me for going out too hard at the start and losing steam.  That, paired with the fact that I desperately needed to pee from mile 9 to the finish (couldn't find a portapotty anywhere!!), made the last 3-4 miles pretty tough.  But I hung in there as best as I could, walked when I had to, and kept on.  Plus (and I'm not saying this to be cheesy), I kept thinking about Kathrine Switzer being at the race, and how much adversity she had to push through in her running career, and that  helped me refocus and get my groove back more than once.

Crowd support picked up in the last mile as we headed into downtown Seneca Falls, which provided a great boost.  I passed a woman who runs a Facebook group for westside (of Rochester) runners/walkers, and her cheering sign had my name on it, which was fun and unexpected!  Despite the tough go in the last few miles, I crossed the line with a smile on my face at 1:55:36 (roughly 9:47/mile).
Insert self-deprecating remark about using watermarked race photo here.
Afterwards, I was happy to note that my stomach felt okay (I knew if I'd pushed too hard, I'd have my usual nausea problems).  I drank some chocolate milk, ate a granola bar, and hydrated like crazy.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but any race that ends with me being able to eat/drink ANYTHING without feeling like vomit is a reeeeeeally good race.

I got in line to meet Kathrine Switzer again (a bit more formally this time), as I wanted to say hello, thank her for all that she's done, and (in true book blogger fashion) get my copy of Marathon Woman signed.  Switzer is incredibly gracious and funny, and I was so happy for the opportunity to chat with her!  She signed my book and my race bib, and I also picked up a copy of 26.2: Marathon Stories, which she co-authored with her husband, Roger Robinson.  (Because I need more books, yes?)  Plus, I bought a Marathon Woman shirt, which I have told myself I am NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR until I finish the marathon in September--good motivator, right??  :)

Despite the fact that the race itself was a hard one for me, I still chalk this up as one of the most fun and unique races I've ever done.  They've already announced the 2nd annual Right to Run for May 13, 2017, and I hope to be there!

Have you ever run a race with an unusual distance?  Ever met one of your running idols?  Any races coming up??

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2 Mini-Reviews and They Are Both AWESOME.

So busy around here these days, reader friends!  In the last couple of weeks, I've run 3 races (if you include my virtual 10K--recap coming soon!), we road tripped to Connecticut to watch my stepbrother graduate from the Coast Guard's Officer Candidate School (woot!), I had a busy/excellent Mother's Day with my crew, and (most importantly) my husband successfully defended his doctoral dissertation after 7 LONG years of hard work!!!  I am beyond excited for him, and we are gearing up for the graduation this weekend.
Me, my brother, and my stepbrother at OCS graduation.  I am a proud seester!  Go Coast Guard!
Then we have all the things on the horizon: Small Fry's last couple weeks of preschool, planning for my mom's 60th birthday celebrations in June, gearing up for a beach vacation in July...

These are all great reasons to be busy, but my head is spinning and it leaves little time for bloggy activities.  Luckily, I am still reading, because I have so many good books on the docket right now that I'm having a tough time choosing between them!  And for my running friends--my marathon training starts on Tuesday (the 17th), so I'm getting ready to fit that into my life as well.

If you want to stay up-to-date on my reading/running activities, your best bet is Instagram (@thewellreadredhead), because a quick snap from my phone takes way less time these days than a blog post.  ;)  But lucky you, I did manage two mini reviews for today...and both of these books rocked my socks!

Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer
Da Capo Press, 2007
personal purchase



I hope that Switzer's name is, at the very least, ringing a small bell for you, but if not: she was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967.  (Roberta Gibb ran it before her, but "bandited" the race--ran it without registering--whereas Switzer actually registered (as K.V. Switzer) and ran it with a bib.)  Because she registered with her initials, race officials did not realize she was a woman until the race was underway and the press trucks started following her.  One of the officials was so furious that he actually tried to attack her/rip her bib off during the race--a now-famous confrontation that she was able to escape, as she went on to finish the race.

Switzer's story was incredibly inspiring to me well before I read her memoir, but after I finished Marathon Woman, I had a whole new respect for her journey.  After that first marathon (Boston was her first!), she went on to cut over an HOUR from her marathon PR, win the NYC Marathon, and organize an international series of women's races that showed the world that women are just as capable of running (and competing) in distance races as men.  All of these things had an integral role in making women's running a respected sport (leading to the eventual addition of the women's marathon to the Olympic games) and helped make it the mainstream activity that it is today.  If you are a woman who runs, for fun or for competition, Kathrine Switzer is someone you should thank!

To top it off, Switzer's voice in the memoir is wonderfully candid and funny, while still emphasizing the lasting importance of her work in women's sports.  (I also had the AMAZING opportunity to meet Switzer at the Right to Run 19K in Seneca Falls, NY last weekend, and can tell you that her demeanor is every bit as inspiring and lighthearted in person!)  This book is NOT just for runners!  If you want a memoir that inspires, I can't recommend this one enough.
My copy of Marathon Woman. Now featuring extra awesomeness!
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Simon & Schuster, 2016
copy received from the publisher for an honest review

The #1 reason I picked up this book was because of its author.  I've not found a Chris Cleave book yet that did not agree with me (and/or was downright amazing--Gold is one of my favorites).  That said, I was a little unsure about the subject matter in this one, as WWII era historical fiction novels have been hit-or-miss for me in the past.  I know that's a real broad genre to comment upon, but still.  I had my reservations.  To give a very general synopsis, Everyone Brave is Forgiven is set in WWII London during the Blitz, and focuses on three (okay, the description says three, but I think it's more accurate to say five) extremely different characters that are thrown together in the desperate circumstances created by the war.

WHY DID I HAVE RESERVATIONS?  This is likely on my favorites list for 2016. You know how sometimes you're reading a book, and things are happening that are making you get very emotional, or at the very least are causing your blood pressure to rise, and it all just gets to be TOO MUCH and you have to set the book down for a while so you can catch your breath and recoup?  This is that book.  And I just love a book that can leave me breathless for a bit, don't you?

In addition to being in awe of the events of the story as they unfolded, I was also impressed by the writing.  Cleave's prose is insightful and incredibly quotable (thank goodness I read this on my Kindle, as the highlighting was fast and furious), and the dialogue (especially Mary's and Alistair's) is amusing and snappy.  Even if you're unsure if this story is right for you, genre-wise, the novel is worth reading just so you can steep yourself in such excellent wordsmithing.

Read. Enjoy. Thank me later!

What are your current reads?  Have you met any authors/gone to any book signings lately?  What recent read of yours has had the best/most enjoyable dialogue?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline


Title: Most Wanted
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Source: copy provided for an honest review by the publisher

Summary from Goodreads

When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps. Since it is the husband who is infertile, the heroine decides to use a donor. And all seems to be well. Three months pass and she is happily pregnant. But a shocking revelation occurs when she discovers that a man arrested for a series of brutal murders is her donor - the biological father of the child she is carrying. Delving deeper to uncover the truth, the heroine must face her worst fears, and confront a terrifying truth.

My Review:

This is my third Lisa Scottoline novel, and the third one I've given 3 stars to on Goodreads.  I went through the exact same experience with this book as I did with the other two of hers that I've read.  Let me lay out my typical Lisa Scottoline chain of events for you, and maybe this time I will actually learn something from it...

1. Read book description, instantly be like "OMG I must read this NOW."
Done and done.  I found the book on NetGalley and despite the fact that I've been trying (note: mostly failing) at controlling my impulses over there, I took one look at the description for this book and knew that I HAD to request a review.  Serial killers and infertility and marital strife, oh my!!

2. Begin book, love explosive intro!
The novel opened, and I was fascinated by hot-button topics that Scottoline introduced: confidentiality of sperm/egg donors (especially interesting for me as I was thisclose to applying to be an egg donor when I was in college), the impact of nature vs nurture in psychological disorders, coping with male infertility, etc.  This is cool.  I'm on board.

3. Middle of book. Female protagonist is annoying. Completely unbelievable series of events start happening. Losing faith in my ability to choose good novels.
First, things got slow.  Christine was spending so much time debating what her next step should be that the entire plot hit the brakes for a bit too long.  Then things got moving again, and Christine proved herself to be absolutely insufferable and she continued to make one ridiculous decision after the next.  Not only did I find Christine's choices questionable, but their resulting odd consequences felt so far-fetched at times that I just couldn't play along.

4. Ending: good but not great.  Three star book for interesting concept but subpar execution.
I was pleased that the ending did not turn out as I predicted.  That said, I had trouble embracing Christine's "heroine" status after it was caused by so many flighty decisions beforehand (see above).
Plus...I don't want to give anything away, but suffice to say that there is one person in this book who brings the phrase "wrong place, wrong time" to a whole new (completely implausible) level.

In the end, Most Wanted was a solid 3 stars for me.  Great concept, but the execution left a lot to be desired.  I WANT to love Scottoline's novels so badly!!  She comes up with such compelling topics!  But I've had the same middle-of-the-road reaction to each of her books that I've tried so far, unfortunately.

Do you have an author that you keep trying over and over, in the hopes that maybe THIS time will be different??
 
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