Review - On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Publisher: (not listed)
Publish Date: Oct 11, 2011

Barnes and Noble

I kept seeing this book floating around facebook and finally decided that since we were taking a vacation to California, what better book to read there. Sadly, it never made it there. I finished it the night before, reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I think I fell asleep with about six pages left.

Such a good read!!

I cannot say enough good things about how this book is written. The story line made me hesitate a bit because I am not a fan of older and younger, not of age. BUT Tracey handled this situation with the up most care and regard for the situation. I really appreciated the way she detailed it.

I love that Anna has a such a wonderful personality. She is sweet, kind and yet, she still makes her student be the student. She is currently in a relationship with a boy who just can't seem to make a decision and so indecision kind of becomes the decision. She takes this job as a tutor to get away and take herself out of the equation and maybe coming back to make the decision, although we get the taste that she may have already decided.

 TJ is a kid who just wants to live. He has been through much in the way of cancer dealing with all the hardships that come with it. He is finally cancer free so he wants to do what all kids do during the summer, hang with his friends. But no, that will not happen. His parent's make him come on a vacation to study with a tutor to be ready to go back to school.

Sadly their trip to the vacation doesn't go so well as their plane goes down in the middle of the ocean and they land on an island all by themselves. The telling of what Anna and TJ go through is horrific. Just image the daily things we deal with - monthly periods, food cravings, sleeping in a bed, being clean - oh wait and food, water and disease!! And then comes in the fact that TJ has a thing for Anna. She's beautiful, smart and funny. I loved the way their relationship develops. Tracey did such a good job with this! (did I say that already)

Best summer book I've read in a long time!!!

AND I WON A SIGNED COPY!! Yes, I bought the ebook and then won a signed paper copy from A Tale of Many Reviews. So stoked!! I better keep an eye on that, though I am already telling a few people they have to borrow my SIGNED COPY!!

Summary -

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Review - The Exceptionists by David Cristofano

Title: The Exceptions
Author: David Cristofano
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: Aug 7, 2012

Barnes and Noble

I was working the hardcover fiction bay new releases and kept eying this cover. There is something about it that made me want to stare at it endlessly. It made me wonder what it was about. Who was the girl? Why the boy in the background? Sadly, I left that day without even picking it up to read the summary. Yet, I thought about it all the next day, so much so I tried to remember what the title and who the author was. In the end, I waited til the following day at work to check it out. No, I still never read the summary. I am just not a fan of the blurb. I like to be surprised and wonder where this book is taking me. And boy, was I surprised.

It is about Jon, a boy of a mafia family destined to become part of the family business  of pressuring, coercing and killing. The first part talks of his age of six when he knew the power of manipulation and at age twelve, the need for killing. You had me there.

He sees this girl with blond hair who he falls in love with because of her innocence and then inexplicably his naivety is what takes away her innocence. He is then on a mission to protect what is left of her, but at the cost of upsetting his family as he is set to kill this girl.

Amazing. I fell in love with both of these characters. John for his need to be different and choose his own path, but wanting to not upset his family either. Melody for her need to be loved and shown she is worthy, but then surprises me with the funny and irradic things she does.

I was so wonderfully engaged in this book. What a pleasant find!! And now I am off to investigate David Cristofano's other book, The Girl She Used to Be.

WOHOO just realized there is another book after this one about Melody!!!!

Oops, it's actually book 1 in the series. Darn I read them out of order. I'll have to let you know if you should read them in order or if out of order is good.

Summary -
As part of the Bovaro family, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, violence is passed down and becomes a way of life. Jonathan Bovaro always knew he would become a part of his family's legacy, but he never realized how the beautiful little blonde girl he saw when he was ten could change the course of his life forever.

When Melody Grace McCartney and her parents witnessed that legendary Bovaro family violent streak, it was clear they needed to be silenced. But it was too late. The McCartneys joined the Witness Protection Program. Chosen to exterminate the McCartneys and prove himself to his family, Jonathan pledges to do the job. But as he watches her grow into a beautiful but broken woman, he can't get her out of his mind...or his heart. Torn between his duty to his family and his love for Melody-the mysterious, dangerous, yet vulnerable mafioso must choose between the destiny his family carved out for him and a future unlike anything he ever imagined.