Mini-reviews: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult; The Twelve by Justin Cronin; and Pirate King by Laurie R. King

vanishingactsTitle: Vanishing Acts
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: I was six years old the first time I disappeared.

Goodreads blurb: Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it.” In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth – even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you’ve loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you’ve always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life – as we know it – might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat.

This is exactly the type of book I enjoy from Picoult: strong characters, a modern issue, and the exploration of human character. This was a quick read for me – I couldn’t wait to find out how it would end, how Delia’s relationship with her father would evolve, and whether or not she would end up with the right guy. After being unimpressed with a couple of her books, I had almost given up on her work, but now I’m looking forward to reading more Picoult.

thetwelveTitle: The Twelve
Author: Justin Cronin
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Scott Brick
Audiobook length: 26 hours and 26 minutes

Goodreads blurb:
At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.

To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

The Twelve didn’t wow me as much as The Passage, and it got off to a slow start, but it is still very worth reading this second installment in the series. Once it reaches the halfway mark, things pick up considerably, and the ending is amazing. I only hope we don’t have to wait three more years for the final book in the series. Also, if you enjoy audio, this series is read by Scott Brick, whose voice is like the perfect combination of chocolate and red wine. I love listening to him.

piratekingTitle: Pirate King
Author: Laurie R. King
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: “Honestly, Holmes! Pirates?”

Goodreads blurb: In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. Nevertheless, at the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate rumors of criminal activities that swirl around Fflytte’s popular movie studio. So Russell is traveling undercover to Portugal, along with the film crew that is gearing up to shoot a cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. Based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, the project will either set the standard for moviemaking for a generation . . . or sink a boatload of careers.

Nothing seems amiss until the enormous company starts rehearsals in Lisbon, where the thirteen blond-haired, blue-eyed actresses whom Mary is bemusedly chaperoning meet the swarm of real buccaneers Fflytte has recruited to provide authenticity. But when the crew embarks for Morocco and the actual filming, Russell feels a building storm of trouble: a derelict boat, a film crew with secrets, ominous currents between the pirates, decks awash with budding romance—and now the pirates are ignoring Fflytte and answering only to their dangerous outlaw leader. Plus, there’s a spy on board. Where can Sherlock Holmes be? As movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout.

I didn’t realize how much I was missing Russell and Holmes until I picked up Pirate King, and then I wondered why I had waited so long. One of the best things about the series is that each one is very different, while anchored and held together by the relationship between the two main characters. This installment is one of the lightest of the series, with a lot of humor and heart. Now that I’ve finished it, I’m torn between the desire to dive right into the next book, Garment of Shadows, or to hold off since I have no idea when another one will be released.

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9 Responses to Mini-reviews: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult; The Twelve by Justin Cronin; and Pirate King by Laurie R. King

  1. I’ve been debating about reading The Twelve and I guess I liked The Passage enough to keep going – good to know it has a slow start!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Rhapsody – I put it off for a while, too, but I do think it’s worth it.

  2. bermudaonion(Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    Vanishing Acts sounds like a book I’d enjoy too.

  3. Beth Hoffman says:

    I read Vanishing Acts several years ago and loved it. It’s my favorite Picoult book thus far.

  4. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    I never got past page 200 of The Passage so I won’t be reading The Twelve. The Laurie R. King book, however, is on my list.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Candace – I love the Russell/Holmes series, and I found out on Twitter that the next one is coming out next year, so I don’t have to wait to dip into Garment of Shadows. 🙂

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