Publisher: Henry Holt
Release date: Hardcover August 2008, Paperback Sept 2009
One sentence summary: Marika travels to Papua New Guinea to track down the truth about a war correspondent, Robert Lewis, who supposedly committed suicide.
First sentences: The black waters of Elobi Creek show no sign of current. It is another dead waterway, Marika tells herself, one that will breed only mosquitos and crocodiles. Another waterway that somehow reflects - in the darkness of the water, in its stillness - all of her failings.
First chapter review: Marika is presented as a very ususual sort of woman - one who found fame in war zones, doing the one thing she felt competent at, namely facing the unpleasant. And in Papua New Guinea she endures much discomfort on her months long search for Robert. Finally Tobo, a medicine man in a remote village, claims to know where Robert is. As the chapter ends, Marika is left behind by her guide but is still determined to continue her quest. The setting is exotic and Marika is so far interesting enough to want to keep following.
Verdict: Keep in TBR. I'm intrigued and want to know if Marika ends up finding what she's looking for.
Release date: May 2008
First sentences: People die of love. I'm one of the few who'll admit it. That doesn't mean it isn't true.
First chapter review: There are three short diary entries before the start of chapter 1 which introduce Theresa's fragile mental state and her not-so-nice therapist. Chapter 1 flashes back to before James' death and shows how Theresa took advantage of his crush on her. It's fine, but not particularly exciting. I'm assuming now that James kills himself because Theresa teases him too much, but I'm not hooked. Sorry.
Verdict: Unless someone can convince me that the story gets compelling fast, I'm going to ditch this one.
One sentence summary: One handed orphan Ren is picked up at the orphanage by someone claiming to be his long-lost brother who then takes him on a series of adventures that may hold the key to discovering his parentage.
First sentence: The man arrived after morning prayers.
First chapter review: I liked the scene presented here - a man coming to the orphanage to pick out a child, avoiding those too small to work and those too old to be pliable. At first, he picks Ren, until the priests reveal Ren's missing hand. It makes you yearn for Ren to be picked up quickly by the "brother" mentioned in the summary.
Verdict: I'm hooked! Looking forward to making some time to finish this one.
Release date: Hardcover August 2008, Paperback Aug 2009
One sentence summary: To avoid having to move during her high school years, military kid Lucy decides to attend super-exclusive Van Pelt boarding school in Switzerland.
First sentence: Imagine a school with endless gilded hallways that rival Versailles.
First chapter review: I actually read 3 chapters (and could have read more - they are very, very short). The first chapter sets up why Lucy is attending such a fancy school. The second introduces her to the resident snobs (two of the three are princesses). The third has Lucy afraid her super-rich classmates will find out she's there on scholarship. It's kind of mindless, trashy fun. And it reminds me of my summer project between 8th and 9th grade. I wrote an outline about students at a fancy Swiss boarding school. I got out my baby name book and a stack of Seventeen magazines and created about 50 character profiles. I wonder if I still have it somewhere?
Verdict: I'd give this one a few more chapters at least. Keep for now.