Category Archives: california

Mr. Kiss and Tell

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Mr. Kiss and Tell

Mr. Kiss and Tell is the second novel in the Veronica Mars spin off books by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. The plot centers around the brutal attack of Grace Manning, a character from season 2 of the TV show. The Neptune Grand, the hotel the girl was attacked in, hired Veronica to investigate the girl’s claims and decide what the culpability of the hotel was after Manning accused one of the staff of being her attacker. Veronica takes the case and is soon surrounded by misleading evidence and non-existent leads. The writing is thick with the dark, sardonic humor from the TV show and is intensely fun to read.

I found it difficult to stay objective while reading this book because I’m already a fan. I’m that ideal audience the book is seeking. The person who wants to know what happened to these characters after the show went off the air. I loved that the series brought in characters that had such a short shelf life on the show and expanded upon them. For me, this aspect has been the best part of the book series. Because the show ended so abruptly many plot elements were left dangling and the books have given the creators another outlet to tie up those loose ends. All of the characters have evolved from their time on the show and yet remain somewhat the same, still driven by the same desires and needs that fueled them throughout the series.

The actual case is solved very early on in the novel with the remainder of the book trying to figure out a way to catch the criminal. It does drag in places but the characters make up for the lack of a tight plot. Not too many twists and turns but serviceable as a mystery. I love that Veronica is still the same mix of idealism and spunk. She’s still a bit jaded but never strays from the fight. She’s like a tiny Phillip Marlowe in the present day world. And that’s really the reason fans are reading these novels is the powder keg character Veronica Mars, to see where she ends up and what changes are coming her way.

Overall, this was a fun read, especially for those who loved the TV series. It would be fascinating to hear from people who have never seen the show and read the books from a fresh perspective. There would be the real test.

Rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading and stay tuned for the next read in Book Battle 2015!

One Wild Ride

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One Wild Ride

Before I watched the movie and read this book I, like many people I’m sure, never even heard of the Pacific Crest Trail, or PCT. The full trail spans from Mexico to Canada and took many decades to enact and build. Just imagining how large the trail spans is more than my mind can encompass. The thousands of miles is an incredible feat to hike let alone the differences in terrain and climate. Yet, that’s exactly what author Cheryl Strayed did. She didn’t hike the entirety of the PCT but instead chose to hike from the Mojave Desert to the Bridge of the Gods on the Oregon/Washington border. Strayed hiked a whopping 1100 miles in total!

Wild chronicles Strayed’s hike of the PCT and the reasons she decided to hike the trail in the first place. Following her mother’s death and her divorce from her husband Paul, Strayed portrays the desperate downward spiral she found herself caught up in. In order to pull herself out of this downward spiral, she made the decision to hike the PCT to heal herself. To me, this novel read almost as a confessional. The last phase in her journey to heal the wounds of the past and move on. At times hilarious and heart wrenching, I found myself unable to put the book down. I loved the imagery of the PCT that Strayed evokes in her writing. I could imagine the desert and it’s vastness as well as the Oregon forest and it’s cocoon of trees. The animals and the people Strayed meets on her journey, both friend and foe.

The biggest thing though was how complete the book felt as compared to the movie. The movie, as I mentioned in my previous post, was filled with so many holes I was left a bit confused as to the timeline of things. The book filled in those holes and presented an almost completely new timeline of events. The movie combined different events from different parts of the book to make a scene and I think this was the reason I was so confused. Some of the mash-ups just didn’t quite go, especially now that I know their rightful place in the timeline of events. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie but the old adage remains, read the book first. It will make a whole lot more sense.

Final rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next book in the battle. It’s a classic!

Wild

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Wild

The next book up in the battle is Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild. Now I admit I’ve already seen the movie which is unusual for me because I usually like to read the book before the movie, but alas that’s not the case this time. It will be interesting, though, to do the reverse of what I usually do and compare the movie to the book instead of the other way around. One thing I do hope is that the book fills in some holes left ambiguous by the movie. There were particular scenes in the movie where I guess it was presumed you’d just know who people were and in which state things were happening. The flashbacks and flash forwards in particular weren’t all explained they just kind of happened so I’m hoping the book will make sense of those scenes.

Now, some of my friends have already read the memoir and loved it so I have pretty high expectations for this book. The last memoir I read was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and I absolutely fell in love with that book. I even considered breaking the rules of the Book Battle to re-read it because it was that good. But I stuck to the guns of the Book Battle and chose something new. And I must say I’m pretty happy with my choice even having just read the back cover of the book. It sparked my wanderlust. I’ve always wanted to go on a backpacking trip but have yet to do it. Perhaps this book will inspire me to take action and just go for it.

What’s next on your reading list?