Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Synopsis

The ClosingThe Closing by Ken Oder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre:  Adult fiction, legal thriller, suspense, mystery

The Closing is a legal suspense novel. The main character is Nate Abbit, a commonwealth attorney in rural Virginia. Abbit is on a downward spiral. He has ruined his career, his personal life, and his marriage. He almost dies in a car accident. With help from a Judge who also has his secrets, Abbit begins to redeem himself in his legal career. He's changed sides from prosecutor to criminal defense attorney. He is asked to work on the appeal of an inmate whose attorney has died. In the process, he uncovers a chain of lies, deceit, false evidence, obstruction of justice, and other corruption in the small county where his new client's trial was held. As it turns out, the deceased lawyer did not attempt to put on a defense for his client which leaves Abbit to wonder if the man is guilty or innocent, as he claims. Thus begins Nate Abbit's journey, one which very well could lead to his own incarceration for a murder he didn't commit.

This is the only book I have read by Ken Oder. His writing style is very straight forward. The book is easy to read, and the author keeps the reader hooked. Just when you think you've figured out the truth, a new twist is thrown in keeping you guessing at what may happen... until the end where it becomes somewhat predictable. Abbit's motivations also seem clear up until the reader reaches the near end of the book, then some of his actions seem incongruent or illogical based on the character's intelligence and experience. But it was a good book, and I would recommend it. I really liked it.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thursday Thirteen

With three kids in college, it got me thinking about things I know now that I didn’t know then but wish I had learned then. (Thursday Thirteen)

1. How to be successful in an interview. Many colleges offer “mock” interviews now, but 30 years ago, they didn’t, at least not in the education department. Perhaps they did in the business department, though.

2. How to begin saving for retirement. It would have been so much better to learn it then than to wait until I was married with kids to figure things out.

3. Lessons about interest charges… credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and so on. Again, maybe they did this in the business department, but I think it should be required to graduate.

4. How insurance works.

5. What a healthy relationship looks like.

6. How to solve a Rubik’s cube! Hahaha!

7. How to deal with difficult people. You shouldn’t have to wait until you’re on the job to learn some techniques to deal with the inevitable “unable-to-be-pleased” co-worker.

8. And along those same lines, conflict resolution.

9. What jury duty is REALLY like and why it's important.

10. Self-defense – at least for females. I know that a lot of colleges offer these courses for women now.

11. The real-life consequences of not meeting deadlines. It’s not just a grade anymore.

12. How to set up a household.

13. How to find true happiness in your life!

Have a great weekend!

Several images courtesy of free images

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


That Moment...
When you just know!

Linking up with Image-in-ing, W W on TWW Create with Joy and WW.
Follow the links for more amazing photos!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sunday Synopsis

The Selection (The Selection, #1)The Selection by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre:  Young adult fiction, dystopian, science fiction,

(Some Spoilers, but still worth reading,)

America Singer lives in a dystopian world where all people are classified by castes, with 1's having the most desirable vocations. She is a 5 (on a scale of 1-8). The boy she is secretly in love with is a 6, and girls are not supposed to marry someone in a lower caste. When her name is chosen for the Selection, she only agrees to participate because the boy she loves wants her to go. Her mother wants her to go as well, so America allows her mother to "bribe" her into participating although America had already told her love, Aspen, that she would go. America truly wants no part of the Selection.

The Selection is a competition, so to speak, in which 35 girls are chosen, one from each province in the country, to live at the palace and "date" Prince Maxon. This is how he will choose his wife and  future queen.

At first, America only wants to stay in the Selection because her family is getting benefits they would not get if she were sent home. She is only one of three 5's who was selected, but America easily develops a bond with Maxon. They are only friends, and he agrees to allow her to stay so that her family won't have to struggle so much. She will also have some time away from home to get over her lost love.

She is his confidante; however, Maxon begins to develop deeper feelings for her. Can she forget Aspen, who broke up with her the day before she left for the Selection, and can she also be developing feelings for Maxon? Can she give up the luxurious lifestyle and exquisite food and return home to a normal life? And what happens when Aspen is drafted for service and becomes a guard at the palace pledging that he still loves her?

I see this as a cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor. The similarity to the Hunger Games lies in the type of society that exists in the book, castes, a central government that controls all aspects of life, and a contest. Those chosen for the selection are similar to the tributes who go to the Hunger Games. It is similar to The Bachelor because the Prince must get to know the Selected and choose his bride from this contest.

The book is interesting and contains vivid descriptions. It has a futuristic appeal as well as some suspense, war threats, romance, and a smidgen of comedy. While not as sophisticated as my usual taste in books, teenagers, especially girls, are the target audience, and I know many of my students will enjoy it.

I must end with a negative. I finished the first book today, and I feel cheated because there is no resolution to the conflict. Instead of creating three books, the author could easily have created one long book rather than leave the reader with a major cliffhanger. If this was a ploy to make more money, it worked. I'm on to the second book. I need closure!

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