Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Alexandra Sokoloff”

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Review #41: Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

I’ve been putting off this review for several weeks now, mainly because I’m burning out a bit towards the end of the Run, and partially because I really wish I loved this book more. A quick aside, for the first time in my life, while sifting through Kindle books (after finishing Stuff) I thought to myself “ugh, I don’t feel to read.” This has literally never happened to me. I read everyday, even if it is just a page or two… so yeah, I think the “necessity” of the Run is having some effects, but it’s all good because I’m on a Jonathan Kellerman now, and those I never tire of!

Anyways, back to Huntress Moon (LOVE the title). So, as I mentioned before, Alexandra Sokoloff sent me two books (one e-book, one hardback), after I reviewed the first book of hers I read, Book of Shadows. Then I read her debut, and wasn’t super in love with it, but it was a debut, so no biggie. Huntress Moon is her most recent work, and while I vastly prefer it over The Harrowing, I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as Book of Shadows.

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

— From GoodReads

The book’s narrative trades back and forth between Matthew Roarke and “the mysterious young woman” (all in third person), and while we get a really deep understanding of Roarke and his motivations, I felt that I never fully understood the woman. At one point she befriends a single father and his young son, striking up a very strong bond with the son (who lacks a reliable mother figure), yet it is never quite clear why she went so deep with them so quickly. It’s implied she has major mental health issues (borderline personality disorder, if I’m remembered correctly), which could explain her quick draw to the man and his son, or it could be as part of a larger mission. We do eventually find out her larger mission, and again I wish I knew more about that. How did she find out about what was going on? Did she deliberately bring Roarke into it? I really enjoyed all the parts with Roarke, but at the end of the book was craving more answers about the woman. I also felt the ending felt a bit sudden, and again left me wanting more (which is a good thing I think!).

Overall, a nice suspenseful read with some exciting and interesting moments, and a somewhat out of the blue ending and resolution. I am still excited to keep reading more of Alexandra Sokoloff’s books.
Read more of my reviews (and other stuff) here!

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Review #38: The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff

From Wikipedia, “The Harrowing is a horror novel by Alexandra Sokoloff. It was first published in 2006 by St. Martin’s Press, and is the author’s debut book, following a screenwriting career.” I must say that this little blurb is not remotely surprising, as I kept thinking that the book seemed more like a movie than like a book. I really enjoyed the previous Alexandra Sokoloff book that I read and reviewed this had such great reviews on Amazon that I figured it would be another out of the ballpark hit for me. Well, I must say that Sokoloff has really stretched herself and improved as an author since this debut.

The Harrowing (I really like the name) is a ghost story set in a co-ed college dorm on a grand Gothic-style campus. Five students come together over the Thanksgiving weekend, the only ones to not go home. Robin Stone is the anchor of this story; she is sad, lonely, and briefly suicidal until she meets the other four who decided to stay. Each of the five have a reason for not staying, mostly because of their miserable family lives, and after drinking and getting high in the lounge they decide to play with a found Ouija Board. A spirit named Zachery communicates with them, and quickly creepy things start to happen to the group even after Thanksgiving is over and all the other students return. The group must figure out what type of supernatural force is at work, what it wants, and how to stop it before it kills them all.

I am not certain if this story is meant to be a young adult novel, but it certainly seemed to be designed to appeal to a younger audience. The characters are somewhat stereotypical (jock, nerd, brooding boy, slut, depressed girl), and the glimpses we get at deepening them are variable. The setting is also a bit stereotypical, and some of the dialogue a bit rote. I did enjoy the twist of the character who opened up to the spirit the most, as this is the person we would expect to lead the fight against it. I thought the use of Kabbalah and pulling from the Jewish faith was fairly inspired as many stories of good vs. evil tend to be told from the point of view of the Christian (specifically Catholic) faith. This offered a unique perspective on an ancient archetype and definitely helped grab my interest at a point when it was waning a bit. Some of the imagery is quite powerful, especially as the spirit enters the human world. I think it was a bit of a shame that by the time the story really found its legs and broke away from sterotypes, it hit the climax and ended.

This is a bit nitpicky, but there were also some errors in the story that pulled me out of it. For example, on my Kindle the spelling of “Luis Vuitton” was incredibly distracting. Also, I believe the college is in the U.S., yet mid-terms happened after Thanksgiving when the return from that holiday usually signals the move towards finals. At one point the police are looking for the characters, yet never try to reach them on the cell phone they have. The constant use of the phrase, “the Net,” was also quite distracting since it is a bit old-timey.

I wish that I loved this book more as I have had some truly lovely interaction with Alexandra Sokoloff since I published the review for Book of Shadows. She sent me an e-book (Huntress Moon) and a hard cover (The Price), both of which I am dying to read. I am happy to say that this was a debut, and she was switching a very different style of writing than she had previously been doing (screen-writing), so I am sure there was a huge learning curve to translate ideas and concepts into novel-form. Either way, I still enjoy Sokoloff’s focus on the supernatural and experimenting with it in different ways, and I am excited to read the two books she sent me.

Read the rest of my reviews at my blog!

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Review #35: Book of Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff

Alexandra Sokoloff brings a unique, supernatural twist to the traditional crime thriller. The story is an overall success, with some truly excited and interesting moments.

Read the rest of my review here at my blog!!!

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