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Rizzoli & Isles: Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

Title:  Body Double (Rizzoli & Isles series)
Author:  Tess Gerritsen
Length: 339 pages
Loved it!

It’s been a while since my last Rizzoli & Isles novel.  After reading Body Double, though, I know that I will not have as long as a gap before reading the next book in the series!  Once again, Gerritsen kept me guessing and glued to the story.  Before I jump into my thoughts, here is a synopsis of the book:

Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles literally meets her match–and must face a savage serial killer and shattering personal revelations–in the brilliant new novel of suspense by the New York Times bestselling author of The Surgeon and The Sinner.
Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city, she has seen more than her share of corpses every day–many of them victims of violent murder. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression “dead ringer” rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner’s table been her own.
Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her shocked eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura’s home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances. Even more chilling is the discovery that they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura’s mysterious doppelgänger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.
Searching for answers, Maura is drawn to a seaside town in Maine where other horrifying surprises await. But perhaps more frightening, an unknown murderer is at large on a cross-country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the mother that she never knew . . . an icy and cunning woman who could be responsible for giving Maura life–and who just may have a plan to take it away.

This is the first book in the series where the reader really gets a closer look at Maura Isles.  The character from the novels is incredibly different from the character on the television show, but she is definitely my favorite character in both.  So, needless to say, I was ecstatic to see that the book started out from the POV of Isles.

Besides loving this book for being Isles-centric, disturbing, and, well, full of everything that I’ve come to love about Gerritsen’s novels, this book felt even more “Girl Power-y” to me than the preceding novels.  Specifically, there is a lot of focus on motherhood and the question of what makes a mother.  Is it merely passing your genes onto a child?  Is it the fact that you carry a child in your womb for 9 months?  Or is it the instinct to protect your child at any and all costs?

There were times that I choked up while reading this novel and there were many times that I wanted to cheer for the feminine strength being displayed by each of the characters.

I very much look forward to the next installment in the series!

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Filed under Favorites, Series, Tess Gerritsen, Women Writers

Happy Thanksgiving! Books that I am thankful for…

For all of us in America, today is Thanksgiving.  For me, Thanksgiving is a good push to remind me to reflect upon all of the things in this world that I am thankful for.  And, every year, I tell myself that it is vital to keep all of these things fresh in my mind on a daily basis.  The older that I get, the easier it becomes to do this.  So, today, I decided would be the perfect opportunity to make a list of all of the books and/or authors that I am most thankful for.

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

Lord knows how many entries in this blog are now completely dedicated to either one of them and/or their children, but, as we know, Sylvia Plath is my all-time favorite.  Her signature is tattooed on my back.  All of her writing – whether it be poetry, prose, or her journal – inspires me.  She was the first writer that really got my jazzed about writing poetry and, if I’m ever in need of inspiration to write, I just pick up some of her work.

Ted Hughes writes differently than Plath, but thanks to my love of her, I was exposed to his work.  And I love it.  I won’t lie, I tend to prefer Birthday Letters to most of his other work, but all of his work is beautiful.  And this blog is named after a line from one of his poems, after all.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

This was a ‘required reading’ novel my sophomore year in high school.  The length looked daunting, but I started devouring it after getting into the first chapter.  The setting is bleak and the characters are awful to each other, which could potentially make for an entirely dreary read.  But, buried in all of this, there is a love and passion that just won’t cease to exist – no matter what.

As a teenage girl, yet to have a real boyfriend, I thought that the idea of having a Heathcliff in my life was absolutely DREAMY.  However, now, as a 27 year-old woman, I can honestly say that he would be exhausting to deal with.  Not to mention that in present-day, any sane woman would probably slap a restraining order on him as soon as possible, no matter how beautiful and dark he was.

In short, this is my kind of romance.  I revisit this book as frequently as possible.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This book will (hopefully) disturb you, but it’s just so beautifully written, you can’t put it down.  Even translated, the prose writing by Nabokov is far more beautiful than the majority of poetry out there.  I am thankful every day that I made the choice to pick up this book and give it a whirl.  I would recommend this to everyone who loves and appreciates good literature.

Picture from Elle.com

Joyce Carol Oates

If I could meet any one person on the planet, I would easily – without hesitation – choose Joyce Carol Oates.  From the first pages of Beasts (the first book that I ever read by her), I have been madly in love with her work.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I deeply admire her raw, honest writing and her ability to write her work so completely in the voice of her characters.  In addition to being a prolific writer, intelligent, and cutting edge, Oates is hilarious and charming, while not taking any gruff (or crummy interview questions) from anyone.

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July

I already wrote about Miranda July earlier this week, but let us recap, shall we?  Miranda July, and all of work – specifically these stories – are refreshing.  She’s inspiration.  Her words bring me back to life, renew my hope, and get me really riled up to be alive.  Thank you for that, Ms. July.

Virginia Woolf

I am thankful for Virginia Woolf because, well, her writing is there to give me a good kick in the rear whenever I might be feeling a little too full of myself.  All I need to do is read the first page of The Waves and it’s like she’s speaking to me – Megan, now, you’re really not as smart as you sometimes think you are!  Silly Girl!  It’s true.  I own a fair number of her books, but have only successfully read two from beginning to end – To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway.  Some day, though, I hope to read them all.

Paradise by Toni Morrison

Read any book by Toni Morrison and you will be floored.  Her work is honest, raw, and powerful.  Paradise was the first book by her that I picked up to read that wasn’t a required reading book for school.  My praise for this novel is similar to my praise for Lolita – it’s poetic and beautiful.  Every page left me stunned by her power over the english language and left me wanting more.  Her work is a palpable reminder that there are still incredibly talented authors writing in the present-day.

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Prior to reading these books, if you ever asked, I would have told you that I had absolutely zero interest in ever reading a series.  Back to back books written by the same author, featuring the same characters, and, most likely, written in a similar style, didn’t sound like a good time to me.  I’m all about variety.  Right?  Well, at the recommendation of a close friend, I gave these books a try.  I immediately fell in love with Lisbeth Salander and the intricate tales that Larsson was the master at weaving.  I am left wanting many, many more of these books.

I’m sure that after I post this, I am going to immediately think of a slew of other books and/or authors that I should have included.  The above list covers the best of the best, however, in my heart.  I am thankful to be literate and to have access to so many wonderful books – between Amazon, local bookstores, libraries, and my time studying literature in college, I am incredibly wealthy in this regard.

What books are you thankful for?

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Filed under Books, Classics, Collections, Emily Bronte, Favorites, Joyce Carol Oates, Nabokov, Series, Stieg Larsson, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Toni Morrison, Women Writers, Wuthering Heights

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Title:  The Bell Jar
Author:  Sylvia Plath
Length:  288 pages
ALL-TIME FAVORITE!

It’s hard to believe that I have yet to dedicate a post to The Bell Jar, but I just looked back and confirmed it.  What’s wrong with me?  This is my all-time favorite novel.  The only novel that I make it a point to revisit at least once a year.  Every time that I read it, I keep a pencil or highlighter in hand, because I always find some new passage that I absolutely need to make a note of.  Though, there are plenty of passages that are so powerful, that they stuck out from the beginning.  Such as from this past Quotable Monday post:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Antila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above thee figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

The Bell Jar sucks the reader into Esther’s downward spiral.  Plath makes mental illness completely accessible in the pages of this novel – you don’t, for a second, doubt what the character is going through.  At times, perhaps even a lot of the time, you see some of your own fears, paranoia, or thoughts reflected in what Esther is experiencing.

Additionally, the pages are full of memorable scenes, absurd characters, passages that will make you laugh, and some that will make you shiver.  For all of these reasons, and more, The Bell Jar is considered an American Classic.  And, for me, it will always be a personal favorite.

There is even talk that there will be a re-make of the film.  The talk has been going on for years now, but according to IMDB’s page, it’s slated for a 2012 release and starring Julia Stiles and, possibly, Rose McGowan.  All I can say is that it can’t POSSIBLY be any worse than the version that came out in the 1970s.  “YIKES!” is the only word to describe that theatrical failure.

Purchase The Bell Jar on Amazon.

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Filed under Books, Classics, Favorites, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Women Writers

The Babysitters Club, another childhood favorite

The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin Photo Source: http://chillpillbox.com/?p=3427

We all had our favorite books as kids and thanks to my volunteering with Everybody Wins! I have been thinking about some of the books that I read as a tween.  One of the ice breaker questions during my first week volunteering was, quite obviously, What is/was your favorite book? I have a laundry list of titles to choose from for this, but the first book that popped in to my mind is a book that I recall as being able to most vividly visualize the scenes and characters while reading.


I am, of course, talking about The Babysitters Club.  Specifically, Super Special #5: California Girls!  By the time that I read this book, I was familiar with the characters, had chosen my favorite, and had possibly devoured both the television series and movie.  I fancied myself a little bit of a tomboy, so I gravitated to Kristy.  I also took to Claudia, though, as I was drawn to her funky, individualistic, artistic style.

What I loved about this book, though, was that, while reading it, I could feel the plane take off.  I shared their excitement, enjoyed the sun, smelt the sunscreen as they lolled on the beach.  I loved it because their experience was unlike anything that I knew from reality.

A blurb about the story:

Who would believe it-the Baby-sitters have won the lottery! And with their winning money, the girls are all going with Dawn to… California! — What adventures they have. Jessi lands a (tiny) part in a TV show, Kristy gets into a kind-of fight with Dawn’s We Love Kids Club, and Stacey turns into a surfer girl! And in between all that excitement, they still have time for baby-sitting, sight-seeing, and the beach.

How could a girl NOT be totally jazzed to dive into that book?

I don’t know when The Babysitters Club stopped being a popular series, but the child that I’m reading to had no idea what I was talking about.  Well, it was nice to reminisce anyway.

Relive the magic – buy The Babysitters Club on Amazon.

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Filed under Children's Books, Favorites, Series