"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Book Review Club: BLISS by Lauren Myracle

Welcome to my very first contribution to the Book Review Club organized by the fabulous Barrie Summy, author of I So Don't Do Mysteries. Barrie had this great idea to organize a monthly roundup of book reviews posted on the first Wednesday of each month. And seeing as how today happens to be that Wednesday, and seeing as how book reviews are one thing I wanted to add to this blog...well, here you go.

Up this month: BLISS by Lauren Myracle

A girl (Bliss), who grew up on a commune, goes to live with her grandmother. She begins the new school year at a private academy which used to be a convent and soon finds out a girl died by flinging herself out of a third story window many years before. And guess what? The dead girl is now communicating with Bliss.

BLISS is set in 1969 which, though a brave choice, totally worked for me. Every few pages, insert pages were added to texture the timeline around us. These included clips from the Andy Griffith Show, landing on the moon, Charles Manson murder trials. Having the novel set back in time gave it a fresh feel, like something that hadn't been done before.

And on the note of being fresh, I'll be totally honest about something. I knew nothing about this book going in. I didn't even read the jacket flap. All I saw was the cover with a blond girl and the word "bliss" written in blood. So when girls and blood and scary things were first mentioned in the book, my initial thought was, "oh, is this a vampire book?" And I was a little disappointed, because let's face it, there are a ton of vampire books out there. Not that there isn't room for more, just that it wasn't what I was expecting. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out a chapter or so later that it was not in fact a vampire book at all, but a spooky ghost story with blood and occult and scary voices speaking in people's heads.
Way cool.

The girl on the cover is not the main character of the book. This is not Bliss. She's not even the second main character. Throughout the book we start to become fairly confident we know who the cover girl is, but it isn't solidified until the end. Though I do love the cover, I wonder how this decision was made. This may just stem from the fact that I am highly interested in cover stories.


So the author leads us down a certain path in the book. We go with it, and we believe it because we have no reason not to. We're intrigued by it and are waiting to find out more.
But then, all of a sudden, we're given a clue—a very small clue—that what we'd been led to believe may not be the case. So we skim back to check if we read something the way we thought we did and find out we did.
And here's what I really like. As soon as this clue is given, the author does not treat us like we are stupid at all. She knows at this point that she's given us a clue, and we've started munching on it. And so she continues on that path and starts to reveal more clues rather than treating us like we didn't pick up on it. Truly it's done masterfully.

Also Voice. The Voice in BLISS is exemplary. Read it for that alone.

Honestly, I'm coming up short on this one. It's that good.

In short, I loved reading BLISS. It's a fast read, much due to the fact that the author stays on track with the plot and also due to the many inserted pages of quotes and journal entries. I highly recommend BLISS to anyone who's into paranormal fiction, though I would not suggest it to anyone under 12 as there are a few creepy, weird elements. But all in all, go buy BLISS, read it, and recommend it to a friend.

And if you're interested in being part of the monthly Book Review Club, contact Barrie Summy!


Barrie said...

What a great review, PJ. I've been meaning to read Bliss and you've convinced me to make it sooner rather than later. BTW, I didn't read the quasi-spoiler. Thanks for the alert. ;) And thank you so so much for joining in!

Christina Farley said...

Thanks for the summary. Looks like a good book. I read Myracle's 'Fashion Disaster' and wasn't too thrilled with it. I thought the characters a little shallow. But maybe I should give this one a try.

beth said...

Great review!

I'd been hesitant about this one--I really thought the cover looked cheesy. But I think I'll check it out.

Keri Mikulski said...

Loved this book! And the review. :)

This was a novel that stayed with me for a long time.

Carrie Harris said...

How cool! I've been wanting to read this one ever since I saw it in the bookstore, and now I'm definitely sold.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks so much for organizing the reviews, Barrie! And definitely read BLISS!

This is the first Myracle book I've read, Christina, and the only one I've had the desire to read. And it was great!

The cover is certainly different, isn't it, Beth. I think you'd like it!

So true, Keri! I do keep thinking about it. Which is a good sign of a book well done.

Glad you're sold, Carrie! It's a great book!

Have a great Wednesday!

adrienne said...

The fact about the cover got me curious.

PJ Hoover said...

I kept thinking it was the MC, Adrienne, and wondering how the crown and all was going to fit into the story. But the MC has dark hair!

Kelly H-Y said...

Great review!
By the way ... love the new look of your blog ... how in the world did you add that 3rd column?! I've never seen that as an option with blogspot?! Looks great and it's very handy!

Tabitha said...

This is too funny! I have a review of BLISS scheduled for tomorrow. :)

I loved this book, *except* for...well, don't want to spoil the review. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Great review, PJ. I haven't read anything by Lauren Myracle but now you have me interested.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Kelly! And thanks on the 3 columns. It was trial and error plugging around in my HTML template. I had to add a bunch of stuff.
If you ever want to do the same, you can Choose menu View->Page Source and snoop on my code!

I can't wait for your review, Tabitha. I'm curious to see your "Except" and see if I think "oh yeah" :)

It's a great book Sherrie! If you have time, you should add it to your list!

D.A. Riser said...

Hi PJ. Barrie pointed me your way. Your blog looks wonderful, and I loved your clever review of Bliss. I don't know when I'll get to it, but I'm going to go read The Emerald Tablet. It looks like something I'd really enjoy.

How'd you come up with the "Roots in Myth" name for your blog?

PJ Hoover said...

Hi D.A.! Glad you stopped by! And thanks for the nice Emerald Tablet words!
Roots in Myth - I love all things myth. And BTW, your book sounds great!

Marcia said...

Wow, this is my second review of BLISS this morning! I have it on hold at the library and can't wait to get it now. I want to know what I think of it. :)

Stacy Nyikos said...

Awesome review, Trish. You did a bang up job. Now I want to read it!

PJ Hoover said...

I want to know what you think of it, too, Marcia!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Stacy! You did, too!