Saturday, January 31, 2015

January in Review

January has been great month for books and reading and a great start to my reading year.  Not only did I read eleven books, which might be a personal record, I read some really great books.  My top three favorites this month were Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed, What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund, and The Circle by Dave Eggers.  I was also introduced to the Lords of the Underworld series by a Goodreads friend.  On the upside there is now a whole new series to explore; on the downside this new series has made my TBR pile even bigger.

Speaking of the TBR pile, eight of the eleven books I read came from that pile, but I also bought at least twelve new books so my TBR grew overall.  This was not entirely unexpected.  Even as I resolved to reduce my TBR pile in December, I knew several books I have been waiting to come out in paperback would finally be available in January.  Luckily there aren't any book I've been waiting for coming out in February (that I know of) so hopefully my TBR pile will shrink next month.  That being said I came across this great video titled How to Bust TBR Guilt on Book Riot and feel better about my TBR pile overall.


Let's see what February brings.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar  It is often harder for me to write about books I loved versus those I merely liked or didn't like at all.  I loved Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar and so not surprisingly, am not sure if I can adequately describe why.

Dear Sugar was (or now is asThe Rumpus has resurrected the column) an advice column through which an anonymous writer eventually revealed to be Cheryl Strayed dispensed advice.  The questions people asked were rarely simple, easy, or straightforward.  Many times after reading a letter I was eager to read Strayed's answer in part because I couldn't imagine how anyone could answer it.  Even the seemingly simple questions were revealed to be more complex as Strayed dug deeper in her answer, nudging people to examine why they felt the way they felt or acted the way they acted.  In letter after letter she encouraged people to set and respect boundaries, to go when it was time to go, to be kind and accept kindness but at the same time to realize that at one time or another we can all be petty, mean and ugly because that is part of being human.

...boundaries have nothing to do with whether you love someone or not. They are not judgments, punishments, or betrayals. They are a purely peaceable thing: the basic principles you identify for yourself that define the behaviors that you will tolerate from others, as well as the responses you have to those behaviors. Boundaries teach people how to treat you, and they teach you how to respect yourself. (A Glorious Something Else, page 227)

About twenty pages into the book I opened up a word document so I could keep track of the letters and quotes that particularly moved me.  Ordinarily I would underline and flag the book but the copy I have is from the library so I couldn't do that.  I plan to buy a copy of this because this book was that good and know I will want to reread certain letters again.  Actually I have already reread some of the letters.  There were times when I just sat and thought about the words that had just entered my brain.  This is the kind of writing that can stop you in your tracks.

Forgiveness means you've found a way forward that acknowledges harm done and hurt caused without letting either your anger or your pain rule your life or define your relationship with the one who did you wrong. (No is Golden, page 189-90)

I never read the Dear Sugar column when it was out, never even knew it existed.  I wish I had, in fact I wish it had been around when I was 20.  People often give books like Oh, the Places You'll Go! to high school and college graduates.  From now on I think I will give any graduating person I know Tiny Beautiful Things, for this is the kind of book that could causes one to take a hard look at one's own thoughts and actions.  It provides a different perspective than one might have had, or perhaps one always had it but didn't fully pay attention to, and in any case a change in perspective sometimes leads to change in one's life.

This is how you get unstuck...You reach. (How You Get Unstuck, page 22)

It is only January and I'm wondering if I just read the best book I will read all year.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious  Victor and Eli are college roommates.  They're both top-of-the-class brilliant, a bit arrogant, and interested in the possibilities of EOs, that is people with extraordinary abilities.  With some research and experimentation the two friends find a way to create an EO.  One of the men quickly comes to see the potential danger of EOs .  The other man sees their potential usefulness or at the very least, doesn't see EOs as inherently dangerous or evil.  Soon the former friends find themselves on opposite sides of an escalating battle.

With short chapters that jump between different time periods - when Victor and Eli were college students to the present day and various points in between - Vicious was a quick, fun, and thoughtful read.  It started out a little slow, but once I got into the story I was hooked and wanted to see who would win this battle of wills, and more importantly, how.

Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human. (page 289)

In the 2000 movie X-Men there are people who want to annihilate the X-Men simply because they are the X-Men.  Most of the EOs in Vicious aren't quite as flashy as the X-Men but a similar thread of fear flows through this story, sometimes warranted and sometimes not.  Aside from the superhero related tropes, quotes like the above made me thing about war and killing and who gets labeled a hero and who gets labeled a criminal or a terrorist.  There is clearly a bad guy in this story, at least in my mind, but there isn't necessarily a good guy. Victor and Eli are both arrogant and vindictive.  Both kill but their motives are different.  Perhaps that is what separates heroes from villains, their motivations, or maybe heroes are just few and far between.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Silenced (Alaskan Courage Series #4)  Silenced is the fourth book in the Alaskan Courage series, a Christian romance thriller series by Dani Pettrey.  The romance in this book centers around Kayden and Jake.  The thriller part of the story starts when Kayden discovers a dead climber while rock climbing, but then turns into something else when Kayden starts getting death threats.  Jake, a former detective from Boston, is deputized and put on the case and in a totally unrealistic plot move, Kayden, who is no way close to being a police officer, is allowed to help with the investigation simply she because she discovered the body.  Together the detective and the not-a-detective set out to solve a murder.

The romance between Kayden and Jake has been a long time coming.  Up until this book Kayden has been mostly rude and dismissive of Jake.  He's not from Yancy, the Alaskan town where Kayden and her siblings grew up, and he hasn't shared much about his past.  Kayden seems to consider this a good enough reason to not trust Jake and treat him like a criminal.  In book three (Stranded), Jake's past is revealed and it turns out he's a pretty good guy.  It was easy to see why Kayden eventually falls for Jake.  He's handsome, kind, always there to help her family when they need it.  It was less easy to see why Jake falls for Kayden given the way she treated him in the past, but he does and pretty quickly too.  They both are pretty tentative in the beginning but eventually it all comes together.

What I like most about this series is the Alaskan setting.  In every book people are climbing, hiking, diving, or otherwise enjoying the natural wonders of the 49th state.  The thrillers usually involve some aspect of the outdoors as well.  I also enjoy the familial relationships of the McKenna family - Cole, Gage, Kayden, Piper, and Reef.  After their parents died the older siblings stayed to raise the younger siblings.  They're a tight knit family, which is something I don't see in many books that I read.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld Series #1)  One of the things I love most about Goodreads is discovering books I would have never otherwise known existed.  It is how I found Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, a paranormal romance series involving immortals and the women they fall in love with. 

The central concept of the series revolves around Pandora's box.  Back in the day there were immortal warriors whose job was to protect and serve the Greek gods (why gods would need protecting and what from I'm not sure).  One day the gods charged Pandora with the responsibility of guarding a box of demons.  The other warriors, all except one being men, were offended that the gods chose a woman to guard the box and not one of them.  The one female warrior was pissed she wasn't the woman that had been chosen.  So the jealous warriors decided to steal Pandora's box and thereby prove Pandora was not the best person for the job of box guarder.  Something went wrong, the box was opened and the demons escaped.  The demons were eventually captured but the box was lost, so to contain them the gods forced each of the warriors to carry a demon inside him or her.  As I understand it, each book in the series focuses on one of the warriors.  The Darkest Night is Maddox's story.  He contains the demon of violence.

Ashlyn Darrow hears voices.  In any space she's in she can hear all the past conversations that took place in that spot.  She reminded me a bit of Sookie from the True Blood/Southern Vampire series.  Ashlyn doesn't know who or what the warriors are at first but has heard that they might be angels and hopes they can help her get rid of the voices in her head.  On her way to the fortress in Budapest where the warriors live, Ashlyn runs into Maddox who is in the process of trying to battle the hunters whose life mission is to kill the warriors, thereby ridding the world of demons and evil.  Like Sookie, Ashlyn is pleasantly surprised find a place where she can't hear voices because it turns out that when she's around Maddox all the voices disappear. This is a romance so not surprisingly Ashlyn and Maddox are instantly attracted to one another, like two seconds after they meet they're dreaming of ripping each other's clothes off.  The ways they explore that attraction are described in the book multiple times. 

I signed up for yet another reading challenge, Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge, and one of the categories is guilty pleasure.  The Darkest Night definitely qualifies.  It is hot and steamy, but also the kind of story where a part of me couldn't help but wonder what the hell was wrong with these people.  I mean, as the keeper of violence, Maddox constantly battles not to hurt everyone, and I mean everyone, near him.  With Ashlyn he turns into a caveman, referring to her as "mine" or "my woman," as if she were a toy he picked up at the store.  Early in the relationship he tells her that she can never again leave the fortress.  She protests but then forgets about it when he starts kissing her.  It is kind of romantic, I guess, but also disturbing. Ultimately The Darkest Night is a dark fairytale with a super happy ending in which true love saves all and even ends curses.  Definitely a pleasure to read, but also kind of crazy.  As crazy as it is, I will probably read every book in the series.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle  Secrets Are Lies -- Sharing Is Caring -- Privacy Is Theft
The story centers around Maebelline “Mae” Holland who has left her dismal job at a utility company for a job at the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company – think Google, Facebook, and Twitter rolled into one.  The Circle’s headquarters are located in northern California on a massive campus has nearly anything an employee might need or want.  Mae, whose duties in the Customer Experience department initially entail answering queries from customers, loves her new job.  She feels like she is part of something spectacular, something important.  It is easy to see why.  The Circle is at the cutting edge of everything.  It provides the best healthcare, having come up with a bracelet that monitor one’s every bodily function.  It has developed a GPS enabled chip enabling parents and law enforcement to find a missing child quickly and easily.  No wonder Mae is so quickly and so completely infatuated with the Circle.  

In the world the Circle and its three wise men seek to create, information, no matter how trivial or personal or how it was obtained, belongs to anyone and everyone.  Because no one owns knowledge, to keep a secret is a form of theft.  Further, not revealing every aspect of yourself keeps people from knowing you, from helping you, and perhaps you from helping them.  If you are not willing to reveal every aspect of your life it must be because you are committing a crime or are doing something shameful.  Ergo, revealing all and being transparent and "clear" prevents crime and other bad acts.  It compels people to be their best self because you know someone somewhere is watching.  Privacy is a crime.  At this point of the book I was reminded of the concept of a panopticon, which is a prison constructed in such a way that a guard can see all parts of the prison at one time and where the prisoners do not know when they are being watched and so assume they are always being in watched.  Usually people are put in prison because they have committed a crime.  No one has committed a crime in the Circle but still everyone is being watched. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars  I've had this book, The Fault In Our Stars, for awhile but just now got around to read it.  It is a quick, sweet read centering around two teenagers who fall in love and who both happen to have cancer.  Hazel has been dealing with the prospect of her death since she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13.  A miracle drug has prolonged her life but she still feels like a grenade about to blow up the lives of the people she loves.  Then Augustus Waters walked into the support group for cancer kids that Hazel attends and well, some things change and others stay the same.

Mostly The Fault In Our Stars is a love story with cancer as a backdrop.  Hazel and Augustus are witty and funny.  They bond over books and video games.  Cancer sucks and they don't pretend otherwise.  Reading about two people falling in love is almost always sweet, and this was no exception.  There is nothing particularly surprising about this book but that may be in part because I'm old enough to have read and seen multiple stories about couples in love where one or more has a life threatening illness.  Still this was a good read.

This is the second book by John Green I've read.  I can see why people like this (especially teenagers), though this isn't my favorite John Green book.  I liked Looking for Alaska more.  In any I will definitely be reading more of John Green's work.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year   Just One Year is the second half of the story that began in Just One Day.  In the first book Willem and Allyson, or as Willem knows her, Lulu, met and spent a romantic day together in Paris.  It was all very spontaneous – Allyson ditched her tour group and followed Willem on a whim.  In Just One Day Willem was this mysterious guy who performed Shakespeare in a rogue traveling theater and was maybe a little bit of cad when it comes to the ladies.  In Just One Year we learn that Willem is more complicated than he first appeared.  He is mourning the loss of one family member and feels abandoned by another.  He was adrift when he met Lulu/Allyson and she centered him a bit, then he lost her just as quickly as he found her and found himself once again alone and adrift.

Willem and Lulu/Allyson’s romantic day ended semi-tragically with Lulu/Allyson waking up alone after spending the night with Willem.  She figures he simply left her and understandably she is quite upset about it.  Lulu/Allyson’s time with Willem impacts more than Allyson’s romantic outlook.  It compels her to reevaluate her entire life, which up until her impromptu decision to follow Willem, had been largely planned out by her mother.  Semi-spoiler alert, Willem didn’t just walk out on Lulu/Allyson.  He left to get breakfast for the two of them and was attacked while running his errand.  Like Lulu/Allyson, Willem wakes up alone only he wakes up in a hospital.

During their magical day together, Willem and Lulu/Allyson hadn’t yet gotten around to exchanging contact information.  Worse, Willem doesn’t know Lulu’s actual name.  I forget why exactly but the two of them had this thing where Allyson went by the name of Lulu in reference to a movie starlet from decades earlier.  Just One Day ends with Allyson going back to Europe a year later to find closure.  It isn’t until then that Allyson learns that Willem was attacked and did not simply walk out on her.  Here, in Just One Year, we find out what happened to Willem during the year after the life-changing day he spent with Lulu/Allyson.

I loved this!  I really liked Just One Day, but this might be better.  Just One Day is mostly a young adult romance.  Just One Year may begin and end with a love story but in between it is so much more than that.  As with Allyson, their one day in Paris prompts Willem to reevaluate his life.  He has much to think about, between mourning the loss of a family and trying to figure out where to go next and what to do once he gets there. 

My only complaint is the ending.  It ends just as Just One Day did, too abruptly.  I wanted more of their reunion.  It didn't necessarily have to be a perfectly happy ending, but some hint of where they were going from there.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Broken (Women of the Otherworld Series #6)  Broken is the sixth book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series.  This entry finds Elena pregnant and bored.  Clay and Jeremy hover other Elena like panicky, mother hens.  To break up the boredom Elena takes on a job.  It was suppose to be simple: steal a letter allegedly written by Jack the Ripper and deliver it to the client.  It all goes well until Elena accidentally opens a portal to Victorian England allowing various undesirables to pass through and wreak havoc on twenty-first century Toronto. 

Each of the books in the Otherworld series is lead by a woman of a supernatural nature.  So far there has been a werewolf, two witches, a ghost.  There is also a necromancer but she hasn't led a book of her own yet.  Elena and the werewolves have long been my favorite so I was glad this book got back to them.  Elena is pretty kick ass as usual, all be it a little slower and off center what with the pregnancy throwing off her balance.  I can never decide if Clay is controlling or romantic, perhaps a little of both.  What I was most interested in was Jeremy and...Jaime.  Jaime and Jeremy met in prior book and the sparks were flying, at least on Jaime's side.  Jeremy is harder to figure out.  He's quiet and reserved, and reluctant to let others in, especially woman.  I want them to hurry up and happen.

The Jack the Ripper storyline was fine but definitely not the best part of the story.  It didn't shed any light on werewolf mythology or the relationships between them and that's really what I like most about this series.  The culprit behind the Ripper mess was pretty obvious but I still enjoyed the twists and turns.   This was not my favorite in the series but it was good enough.

There are thirteen books in the series plus various novellas, short stories, and the like.  I am determined to get through them all before 2015 is over.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Random Stuff I Stumbled Upon on the Web

I love falling into rabbit holes and finding new and interesting stuff.  Here are a few things I stumbled upon recently.

Austin Kleon's 33 Thoughts on Reading

These 33 thoughts were posted in October 2014 but it reads like it could be a list of New Year’s reading resolutions.  I especially like thoughts 3, 4, and 5.  Thought 8 is something I continue to struggle with – it is hard for me to not finish a book.  It feels like giving up. Thought 24 I do too much already; it’s why I’m doing the Mount TBR challenge this year.

Kleon also wrote a post titled No More Guilty Pleasures The post is all about liking what you like.  One of the challenges I’m doing this year is Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and one of the categories is guilty pleasures.  I’ve been trying to figure out what type of book would be a guilty pleasure.  Probably romance, especially the steamy ones!

Saturday, January 24, 2015 is National Readathon Day

Penguin Random House (do companies ever consider coming up with a completely new name rather than combining their old names when they merge?) and the National Book Foundation have come together to launch National Readathon Day.  It is a fundraiser to support the National Book Foundation's "efforts to create, promote, and sustain a lifelong love of reading in America."  I love the idea of readathon although I have to admit I am slightly mystified by the notion of having to sustain a lifelong love of reading, but then maybe that's because I am a reader and have been for as along as I can remember. 

English Pen: Writers in Translation

One of this year's reading resolutions/challenges is to read more books by authors from other countries.  Of course that means I have to figure out who these authors are and what books they published.  Thankfully there is this handy World Bookshelf website with information about books from around the world.  I can even filter by country or region to make sure I visit different areas of the world.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

What We See When We Read  What We See When We Read is Peter Mendelsund’s written and pictorial meditation on the act of reading.  It asks the question, aside from words on a page what do you see when you read?  How clearly can you picture the character or the setting you read about? Sure you know the character has big brown eyes because it says so in the book, but what does the nose look like?  After reading this book I think the answer to the question of what I see when I read is both more and less than I thought.

If you asked me what I see when I read before reading this book I would have said I see vividly.  In fact, that is one of the reasons why I love reading.  It is why if there is a book and a movie, I want to read the book first and create my own mind pictures.  With movies it feels like someone has done all the imagining for me and while it’s cool to see another person’s idea of a story, I prefer creating my own version (at least at first).

What Mendelsund points out is that I probably don’t see as vividly, or perhaps a better word would be literally, as I think.  Authors gives us far fewer adjectives that we may realize.  Readers usually get hints of a person – blue eyes, raven hair, caramel skin, ivory skin, long hair, curly hair, plump, rail thin, slender fingers.  Or in lieu of bodily characteristics an author might describe how a character moves through space or is positioned in space – gracefully, clumsily, at breakneck speed, or slumped over.  An author might describe a person’s personality or effect – stately, wise, talkative, or shy.  Rarely do we get a full portrait.  Our visions are far hazier than we might realize.  To the extent I as a reader form a complete picture of a character, a setting or whatever, it is likely that I have pulled an image out of my memory bank and have based my mental picture on that.  This is definitely true in my case as I consciously do this.  One of the things I use Pinterest for is to stockpile of pictures I want to remember for the purpose of imagining later. 

I recently listened to a podcast where one of the speakers was talking about a book called The Lobster Kings.  The podcast speaker said how while reading this book he could smell the salty sea and the fish on the coast of Maine.  I added this book to my Goodreads TBR purely because of that description.  I wanted to know what Maine smells and feels like.  In addition to sight Mendelsund writes about our other senses and how readers again, do not literally smell what they read but I guess the important part is that books make you feel like you can.  Readers smell the freshly baked bread and the day old fish.  They taste the bitterness of the lemon and the sweetness of the cake.  They fell the smoothness of the silk and the cold wetness of the lake.  They flinch at the slap.  They hear the irritation in a speaker’s voice and the eerie quiet of the haunted house.  Good writing evokes the senses.  It is why we read.

The main thing I got from this book, which I enjoyed immensely, is that readers are incredibly imaginative and that reading is itself a creative act in that the reader creates the images in their own mind that go along with the story.  To an extent writing and reading is a collaborative process between an author and a reader, with the author making suggestions and the reader filling in the blanks.

I would recommend this book to those who love books because it will make you think about how and why you read as well as reminding you of the creativity that is inherent in being a reader.  I would also recommend this book to non-readers because it may help them to understand why us readers love reading so much.

Simply Sexual by Kate Pearce

Simply Sexual  This year I’m going to read more romance, all kinds of romance for no particular reason other than I feel like this is a hugely popular genre that I don’t pay a lot attention to.  Not that this is a new genre to me, it just isn’t one that I have devoted concentrated attention to.  My first romance novel of the year was Kate Pearce’s Simply Sexual and I can say it is definitely not like anything I’ve read before.  I would describe it as a historical erotic romance set in regency England.

The couple at the center of the story are Sara and Lord Valentin Sokorvsky.  Valentin arrives at Sara’s father’s house, with the purpose of wooing one of the younger daughters.  In her 20s, Sara is already past her prime and content to be a spinster aunt (her term not mine).  She is smart and outspoken at a time when such adjectives would not be considered a compliment when applied to a woman.  Valentin rather likes Sara’s boldness and they are quickly married.  Once Sara and Valentin get together the story shifts gears.  A couple of plot threads arose, none of which held that much tension.  The main thread concerns Valentin's past and his reluctance to tell Sara about it.  Readers already know all about Valentin’s past before the first page because it is revealed in every description of the book one might come across.  When Valentin was young he and his friend Peter were kidnapped, sold into slavery, and forced to work in a Turkish brothel.  The boys were eventually rescued and as one might imagine, carry certain emotional and physical scars from their experience.  Sara is aware that her husband was kidnapped as a child but doesn't know the details of his experience.  Another thread concerns Valentin's business.  In the year following their rescue Valentin and Peter started a successful business.  Now someone is out to ruin them by spreading rumors about their past.  Lastly, there is still lingering tension between Valentin and his father who didn't exactly welcome his son back with open arms when Valentin returned to London.  This all seems like it would make for a complicated, serious, but sexy story.  It doesn't.  At least, it isn’t all that complicated or serious, but then I suppose complicated and serious is not what one expects to find in a book whose title is Simply Sexual.

I am not entirely sure how to rate or what to think of this book. In a typical romance novel the central tension is whether, or really when, the main couple will come to the realization that they are meant to live happily ever after together.  There is often some sort of obstacle that keeps them apart, but eventually they figure it out and push those obstacles out of the way.  Here Sara and Valentin were celebrating on their honeymoon by page 50.  With still 200 pages to go I wondered where this story could possibly go from there.  The answer was not very far, at least in terms of plot, but then plot isn’t usually what one looks for in a romance, right? 

So without a plot, what else is there? I read a post on another blog awhile back that asked what was more important: plot, character, style or theme.  My answer in part was that in depends on the type of book.  Romances, at least the ones I’ve read, usually follow an established pattern so plot isn’t usually the main draw.  Instead, romance is all about the characters and perhaps the writing style.  In terms of character development, Sara and Valentin learn to trust each other but otherwise don’t change all that much between the first page and the last page.  The writing style was fine.

I can't recommend this to everyone.  You have to understand what you're getting into when you pick this up.  It is clearly intended for adults who have an open mind.  Consider yourself warned.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line  Veronica Mars is back!  In book form!  Could this get any better?  So many times when I have loved a tv show or a movie I have wished there was a book series because as I much as I love watching a well written story be well acted on a screen, I really love reading a good story.  And I not talking about the book adaptions that sometimes come out where an author basically rewrites a script as a book - those generally suck.  What I want is for a great movie or show to have been based on a preexisting book.  The Thousand Dollar Tan Line is the next best thing, maybe even better as Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham have taken a story usually told visually and continued it in literary form.  It is all sort of perfect.  

Enough gushing, let me get to the actual book.  The Thousand Dollar Tan Line picks up right where the movie left off.  Keith Mars is still recovering from his injuries.  Logan Echolls is at sea.  Best of all, Veronica Mars is back in Neptune and back on the case!  Mac and Wallace are around too to help out.  Even Weevil makes an appearance.

The case at hand concerns two missing girls.  It's spring break and hundreds of college kids have descended onto the beach side town marshmallows know as Neptune.  A girl goes missing.  Sheriff Lamb is as corrupt and inept as ever, insisting it is nothing more than another case of a girl gone a bit wild.  Then a second girl disappears and things get serious.  Not to worry Veronica Mars is there to poke around and ask the questions the police won't ask.

This was classic Veronica Mars and fans of the show are sure to love it, but even for those who never saw the show this is a great story on its own.  It definitely helps to have seen the show to have a sense of who the main characters are and the relationships between them, but the mystery works even if one hasn't seen the show.  I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series.  Luckily the next one will be out in a few weeks.