Saturday, August 23, 2014
Thank you so much to William Morrow for allowing me the opportunity of reading this ebook.
TITLE: Murder 101
AUTHOR: Faye Kellerman
I have read everything by Faye Kellerman. She has really grown as an author and I love that she writes the same characters in every book - giving us the opportunity of growing with the "Decker" family.
Addtionally, I am so grateful that Kellerman has substantially toned down the religious aspect of her stories. I have no problem with incorporating some religion in the story if it will make it move forward, but at some point, she was spending so much time telling us about Rena's beliefs and myriad of traditions that it seriously took away from the storyline - after all, this is a thriller - not a book on religion.
Why I liked this story so much? The combining of Decker and Harvard was perfect. At first, I wasn't sure, but by a few chapters, I was loving the back and forth between the two partners. It was amusing and engaging and I felt myself rooting for them to remain partners......
The whodunit is mild enough - a theft of art that ends up being a homicide which Decker investigates through NYC and Boston (great way for Kellerman to get Decker back in the big city for a bit).
A word of warning, when you start reading this book pay very close attention because there are so many people "involved' in this "art" theft/murder that you are going to lose the thread if you don't pay attention. Ditto on the details about which country stole what heirloom. I think Kellerman could have toned it down a bit here.
However, in true Kellerman style, while there is a bit of action, the story is mostly about solving the mystery with brains and good old fashion investigating.
The one thing that Kellerman still needs to do is tone down the propaganda when it comes to Rina. Wow, between Decker, Harvard and absolutely everybody else in this story, Rina is made out to be a saint. She never says anything wrong, every person around her loves her instantly, she is welcome at meetings where she should clearly not be and she is the center of absolutely everyone's world. Its getting old and it feels fake and takes away from the rest of the story.
Honestly, I think the future stories would highly benefit from reducing Rina's role SIGNIFICANTLY or better still, remove her completely.
Overall though, this was a strong book.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster for letting me read this book.
TITLE: Charlie Glass's Slippers
AUTHOR: Holly McQueen
GENRE: Chick Lit
RATING: 4 Stars
Okay, first off, this book had me with a) its wonderful cover and b) the fact that its chick lit and is proud of it!!!
Unfortunately, the genre has really gotten a beating in the last few years and I am just so happy that some authors have not decided to "jump ship" but rather, continue to write amazing stories in the genre.
Charlie Glass's Slippers is a new and chick "litty" take on the Cinderella story and I loved it.
Charlie has had a rough life, including a sick parent and serious body image issues. However, she gets "lucky" and comes into some $ - this is her chance, with this money her life will become what she wants it to be and now, she can get slim and everything will be perfect.
While I loved the fluffier parts of this story, I really engaged in the back story - the one where Charlie finds out that life is not neat and perfect if you get rich and slim - in fact, it doesn't fix what is hurting inside.
Told with voice that makes you want to embrace Charlie, I found myself hoping that Charlie would actually decide NOT to end up in a relationship and to keep discovering who she is and how strong she can be on her own.
The writing was fun and engaging and unlike many novels I have read in the recent past, does not fall flat with too many boring details.
This book is written for all lovers of chick lit - yes! but also for anyone who has always wondered if it is greener on the other side (watch what you ask for, you might get it!).
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Thank you to SourceBooks Fire for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.
TITLE: Some Boys
AUTHOR: Patty Blount
I very rarely give a book 5 stars, but this book blew me away. Blount writes a hard and raw story of what date rape can do - not only to the victim, but also to the people around the "accused". From the opening paragraph, the voices of Grace and Ian are represented, but what makes this book unique is that while Grace is the victim, Ian is actually a friend of the boy who is accused of having raped her. In fact, not only are they friends and Lacrosse team members, Ian was the one who found Grace after the rape. While I am not usually a fan of the alternating voice style, it really works here - mainly because the book puts in clear view how one incident (and then a series of smaller ones) can be experienced by two different people who then interpret the incident in very different ways, each putting their own slants and bias on the event. Of course, Grace is completely cast aside when she accuses one of the high school's most popular jocks of rape. From then on, life becomes a nightmare for Grace, because she was drunk and because she dresses seductively and because and because and because. I found myself so mad - why was Grace treated so horribly by both adults and the YA in her life? soooo frustrating and more so because this is the harsh reality of many rape victims. I also found myself wanting to whack Ian in the head for being so wishy washy at times, it was sooooo annoying, but I think it also accurately represented the struggle he was going through trying to progressively find excuses for the horrid behaviour of his friend. I think this book would have worked better if the "romance" aspect was removed, in fact, this story can easilly stand on his own without it. I loved, loved, every word written and, if I did not always like Ian (and definitely hated Zac) Rachel was a star here. Very well done.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I was thrilled when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for this book as I am a big fan of memoirs.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.
TITLE: Good Chinese Wife
AUTHOR: Susan Blumberg-Kason
Ah, the things we do for love. This is what kept popping into my mind as I read this book.
Thanks to the fact that we can now move about freely and meet a variety of people, gone are the days (for the most part) of marrying the boy next door. As we travel about the globe, people meet and experience things that were unheard of in the past and nowhere is this more obvious than in this book.
Susan is a shy girl living in the USA who has always been fascinated by China - she gets the opportunity to make her dream come true by heading to Hong King to study. There, she meets her soul mate - Cai who is Chinese.
From the first sentences of this memoir, you can immediately feel the clash of personalities brought on by so vastly different cultures. In the beginning, Susan pushes away her fears and her thoughts, making herself believe that everything is just fine. This made me want to scream at her,, although I guess as a bystander without a horse in the race, it was way easier for me to see what was happening than for Susan to admit it to herself.
Told in a very frank and honest way (Susan does not always portray herself in the best light either), this book is a road map for all things that can go wrong when two people who are wayyyyy too different in every way get married.
Cai is unlikeable and frankly, annoying from his first appearance in the story and Susan spends much of the early book making me want to strangle her, but that is the strength of this novel - that it can actually elicit so many different emotions in the reader.
Through the story, we also learn some interesting things about Hong Kong and how truly different their cultures seem to be.
Written in a clear voice that doesn't go too overboard on details (although at times, I found myself wishing there was a tad less of it in some spots), the overall story and writing are first rate.
I truly enjoyed reading this memoir.
I truly enjoyed reading this memoir.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book.
TITLE: Ice Shear
AUTHOR; M.P. Cooley
For those who read this blog regularly, you know that I am not a big fan of mysteries, rather, I prefer the thriller/legal genre, however, I have to admit that when I saw this book (and yes!!!! the cover was at least 50% of the reason I wanted to read it) I felt that I could not pass this one up.
Set in NY state with a witty, entertaining and SMART main character by the name of June, this mystery turned out to be a well written, well crafted book.
June has had to make some tough choices and thanks to these choices, she is back in her home town. She finds herself the low man on the totem poll walking a beat. Until she ends up smack in the middle of a murder that takes on larger than life status.
Dealing with her personal issues, as well as cops who don't like her (or her retired police officer dad), she must find the murderer.
I love how the author makes June so smart and strong. She definitely made the whole book for me and I was rooting for her. The plot is well crafted and I love some of the "detours" the author took, but, for me, this book was all about June.
Smart, fast paced and well written.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Yes, I know this posted on Wednesday, so work with me here okay LOL
A few people around the blogger sphere have been doing Top Ten Tuesday and this week it features your top ten tv shows, so I thought it would be fun to participate.
Finding my top ten TV shows was actually harder than I thought it would be.
TV shows I watch religiously
- 24 - The newest abbreviated version of a season just ended, but this one is a top favorite when it is actually in production LOL. Kiefer Sutherland nails the character of Jack Bauer perfectly;
- The Blacklist - this is a new show - the first season just ended but, wow!!!! this show has me on the edge of my seat ALL the time and you never know what they are going to do. They are never afraid to do something that will alter the direction of the show. ANDDDDD damn it, is Red really Lizzie's father??? its driving me crazy.
- Mom - this is also a new show and for some reason, was on the bubble as a possible cancellation. Really??? this show is fantastic and the two leads are terrific.
- Under the Dome - another new show that I find captivating. Yes, it does move at a verrrryyy slow pace, but I like the premise.
- Bates Motel - Terrific, terrific, terrific. The actors are amazing and the setting is creepy as hell.
- The Good Wife - I was starting to drift off this show in season 3, but it has really bounced back and anything with Chris Noth in it gets my attention.
- The Mentalist - yes, I felt very let down by the conclusion of the "Red John" story arc, but no matter, Simon Baker IS the show and now, we have a whole different ball game between him and Lisbon.
- Big Bang Theory - this show feels old and new at the same time. The casting of Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler was genius - made me want to keep watching.
- Law & Order, SVU - Mariska Hargitay is a strong, independent, fifty something lead actress, who is not model thin with no brain in her head. SVU is the terrific show it is because of her.
- Storage Wars - yep, my guilty pleasure.
I also want to mention a few TV shows that I loved and that I feel were cancelled wayyyyyyy too early.
- Breakout Kings - A&E really screwed up when they cancelled this series. It was high octane fun.
- The Cleaner - another show on A&E that got cancelled. For some reason, A&E keeps putting on ridiculous reality shows like the horrible Duck Dynasty (can you say redneck???) and they cancel shows like The Cleaner which actually had a story to tell about addiction (guess that is just too much reality in the end)
- Medium - grrrrrr. This show was wonderful and not only did they cancel it, they gave the viewers a horrible, horrible series finale that was so bad, I actually reviewed it on this blog.
Well, that's about it. I am looking forward to the new TV season. Patricia Arquette (Medium) will be back with another series called Cyber and Madame Secretary looks like it might be good.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster for offering me a copy of this e book.
TITLE: After I Do
AUTHOR: Taylor Jenkins Reid
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
I have never been married and, to be honest, I have always kind of wondered if the people who have been married for a long time are still happy and in love or just staying where they are out of habit (read: boring).
Well, this novel focuses on exactly that. Lauren and Ryan are struggling in their marriage and instead of just divorcing they decide to live apart (different lives) for a year and re-evaluate at the end of this year. Honestly, I don't know if I would have gone this route personally, but the year that followed certainly made for an interesting read.
It is hard to write this review without giving away spoilers, but I loved the story - once these two separated. Both experience the fear, ups and downs, freedom, insecurities and every thing else that comes with leaving someone behind and trying to find yourself and ultimately if you still love that one person.
The writing felt honest to me and while there were a few instances where I found myself rolling my eyes a bit, I did really, enjoy this novel.
In the end, I wasn't sure if I was rooting for them to get back together or not - but I will leave it at that as I don't want to give away the ending.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Thank you to the people at SourceBooks for sending me an e-galley of this book.
TITLE: The Dare
AUTHOR: Hannah Jayne
RATING: 3.5 stars
The Dare turned out to be a book about a lot more than I thought it was.
Bryn survived and Erica did not - why? because of The Dare. Two best friends - one lives and the other one doesn't leaving Bryn with so much guilt (and with good reason in many ways) that she now thinks she is being "followed" by Erica.
I have to say that this book had me fooled until almost the end. I kept asking myself "is this Bryn's survivor's guilt? or did Erica somehow manage to escape her fate?" I even wondered if this book was a horror story with "Erica coming back to haunt Bryn" - so, I have to admit that getting to the end for the answers was a big relief to me.
I rated this book 3.5 stars because the plot line was, for the most part, one that made me guess to the end, or at least have my suspicions to the end, which is always a sign of a good book to me.
However, I found myself skimming over some of the lines. When I read this type of book, I need the whole story to maintain a quick pace and, unfortunately, this book did not do that consistently.
The ending was great though and made the whole story worth it.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Thank you to the people at Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book.
TITLE: A Sixteenth Summer (Pulled Under)
AUTHOR: Michelle Dalton
RATING: 3.5 Stars
I was looking for a "fun" book to read and summer approached (if it ever got here!) and when I saw this one I thought "perfect" a summer romance.
While I may not be a YA anymore, I do remember my summers up in our country house and my romances with the boy next door (who has stayed in my life wayyyy past those summers). How I longed for those wonderful days of sun, summer and budding romance - they were perfect, although at the time, I did not really appreciate the freedom of it all.
With this in mind, I started reading A Sixteenth Summer. Small town girl Izzy meets city boy Ben and find themselves attracted to each other. What follows is a cute and romantic story of young love. However, the part I found the most interesting is how the characters deal with the fact that, at the end of the summer, Ben will be gone.
In fact, I was fascinated by the fact that Izzy acts as though this event will not happen. She simply chooses to ignore it and instead focuses on the present moment - not a bad thing, if you can do it!
I rated this book a 3.5 because it is a bit typical of your "summer" romance books. It is an easy, enjoyable read if you are looking for a summer/beach/pool read.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Praise for YOUR PERFECT LIFE
“Has all the ingredients that I love in a book…a delicious page-turner.”
“I loved this from the very first line (which will go down in history as the funniest, bravest first line ever). Hilarious, honest and truly touching, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke are two important new voices in women's fiction who write about life in such a real, relatable way.”
-Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of The Violets of March
“Sassy, heartfelt, and smart, Your Perfect Life is a clever take on switched identities that will make you think hard about the choices you've made in your life and what matters most to us all in the end.”
-Amy Hatvany, author of Safe with Me
“For every woman who's ever wondered about the path not taken, Fenton and Steinke mine—with tremendous humor and insight—the mixed blessing of unexpected second chances.”
-Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, New York Times bestselling authors
Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book.
TITLE: Your Perfect Life
AUTHOR: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
GENRE: Chick Lit !!!! (YEAH!!!)
I am an unapologetic lover of chick lit and, unfortunately, there is too little out there now. However, authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have stood up for chick lit and between the two of them have championned the chick lit writing genre for many years and I thank them for that!
Your Pefect Life, with its Perfect Cover (so bright and colorful) has reminded me why I love chick lit so much.
I admit that the plot line of "switching lives" has been done in the past, but with these two authors creating Rachel and Casey, the plot line does work and it propels a story of longing, looking back, wishful thinking and ultimately of gratitude ahead at a great pace that makes this book feel wayyyy too short.
The notion of always thinking the grass is greener on the other side, is one that I am particularly fascinated with and these authors thought of everything, right down to how Rachel's baby seems in tune with what is going on with this "fake mommy" as opposed to everyone else who are clueless.
I also like the fact that this book is seriously chick litty (yep! my word) bringing me back to my core love of all things chick lit.
Written with love for their readers, this book is a little gem.