Monday, August 29, 2016

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

Summary on Goodreads.

"Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next... her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter...and to her captor."

I really like the idea of this book. It is about life after the victim is rescued (or escaped). All other books stop when the villain is caught, thus leaving me to wonder what happened. I am glad this book goes after that. For me, it was like the continuation of Room by Emma Donoghue.

It is not fair that this book is compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train; completely different and unrelated!

I didn't give it the full five stars because I feel like something was missing. Although Lily was the victim I didn't like her one bit. She never got to me. I liked her twin Abbey better.

As I said, I feel like something is off or missing here but I can't exactly tell what. It's just that the story didn't entirely fill me.

I did like the end, though. Just what I always wished people would do in similar cases. Well, I'm vindictive.

I will follow this author and keep an eye for future books because with this story she proved that she thinks outside the box.

Also, some bloggers complained and are disappointed that the book is not about Lily's captivity. Why? The summary never said it was. In fact, the summary specifically says that it is about life AFTER that.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn

Summary on Goodreads.

"17-year-old Arman Dukoff is struggling with severe anxiety and a history of self-loathing when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to "evolve," as Beau, the retreat leader, says.

Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman's not sure, but more than anyone he's ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless..." [+ more]

I was waiting for this book... and waiting...

This is the first book by Kuehn that I don't like; I liked ALL her other books. First, there's no plot here; at least none I could see. This is more like an exploration into the MC's character. Well, I didn't like Arman. In general, I don't like characters who think so, but so little of themselves. I mean, you have nothing positive going on? At all? Fine.

So since this book is about Arman and I already didn't like him, I didn't see the point of finishing. Yes, I DNF a Kuehn (gasp) book!

Also, I have no idea this book is categorized as a thriller and a mystery. ????

She still is one of my favorite authors and I will patiently wait for another master piece by her.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Cabin by Natasha Preston

Summary on Goodreads.

"There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar and Awake.

When Mackenzie treks to a secluded cabin in the woods with six friends, she expects a fun weekend of partying, drinking, and hookups. But when they wake to find two of their own dead and covered in blood, it's clear there's a killer among them.

As the police try to unravel the case, Mackenzie launches her own investigation. Before long secrets start to emerge, revealing a sinister web of sins among the original seven friends. The killer is still free. Every one of them is a suspect. And Mackenzie starts to realize that no one is innocent."

So they are going away to a cabin in the woods for the weekend. Mackenzie, the MC hates Josh, one of the guys, so much that I don't get why she is going on this trip. Specially when the cabin belongs to Josh. At the last minute, Blake, Josh's bother gets invited too... MC's words, "I've never wanted someone I barely knew before, but Blake is different." Yes (sigh) he should be a rebel with a cause (traumatized by his parents' divorce) and she totally gets why he doesn't want to get close to women. That deep are our characters and you can guess where this simplicity is going.

Back to the murder, 2 people get killed and nobody remembers anything because they all were drunk. So the police come in and we get a lot of blah blah blah and the police asking for a confession.

The rest of the plot is about the survivors suspecting each other and little revelations of this and that to make you think that X, Y or Z did it.

Of course one of then did it. By 90% the killer confessed (wow! so original) because obviously it was about time for the lame story to end and the police was never going to find out. And why did he or she did it? The most idiotic reason of all! But what did I expect? Right from the beginning I knew this was bad writing and bad storytelling.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

One was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

Summary on Goodreads.

"Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them. Suddenly it's clear; they're being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion."

I DNF this one because the cliched story didn't spark my interest.

Fist, Sera, the darling MC is 5'2" (insert yawning here). Next, the love interest, Lucas, is insanely tall (I was guessing 7' but it was probably 6' something he he he). Number three, Sera and Lucas have a history but for some silly reason Sera started avoiding Lucas and "can't stand him;" on the surface, the dislike is mutual... and in YA you know how this ends.

The writing is fine, it was just that the main characters didn't interest me so I didn't care why they were targeted in the woods.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Look Past by Eric Devine

Summary on Goodreads.

"Someone brutally murdered Mary Mathison, daughter of a prominent and very conservative local pastor. Whoever it was is now taunting Avery, a transgender boy, with disturbing messages, claiming that Mary’s murder was revenge for her relationship with Avery. The killer’s demands are simple and horrific: Avery must repent for changing his gender identity, or he will be the next one killed. Can Avery deny who he is to catch Mary’s killer? Or will sacrificing himself be the ultimate betrayal?"

I absolutely loved this book. I read The trans-fer student by Elise Himes but the issue was portrayed so lightly that I didn't care and didn't like it.

The main issue here isn't Avery coming to terms with her gender but the mystery of a murder and other people accepting Avery as the boy she feels she is.

This book is heavy on religious zealot. The mystery was well developed and the author didn't hold gruesome details back.

What I liked most is that Avery and his friends didn't try to solve the murder by themselves (as YA authors tend to do).

Thisbook is very real in portraying acceptance and hate towards transgenders. I personally wouldn't know, but I know that in life not everything is black and white and that is what we get here.

Thanks Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Valley by Hellen Bryan

Summary on Goodreads.

"suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint—she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.

What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations..." [+ more]

The story bored me and I DNF the book because the author spent an awful amount of time setting up the scene regarding Sophia's character and personality. I mean, Sophia was different than other girls in that time, I got it.

More than five pages (and I kid you not) were about Sophia's preparation for her first appearance in society. I was completely bored with the details of the dress and why she chose what she chose and yet was the most beautiful girl at the party.

I never made it to the ship or the colonies. Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Undying by Ethan Reid

Summary on Goodreads.

"Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.

By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey..." [+ more]

The story starts with a prologue of the end. So I already know that everybody is dead, the baby taken away, and that she goes to rescue the baby. Then the story goes back to when they were planning the trip to Paris and everything else.

Why invest my time in characters that I already know will die? "The Walking Dead" (as the book is advertised) this is not. DNF because it didn't engage me.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Summary on Goodreads.

"It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game ..." [+ more]

This book just reminded me of the movie "The Condemned" where a bunch of prisoners were thrown on an island to fight for survival against each other while everything is transmitted live online.

I can't even produce a reasonable explanation why I didn't like this book. I just couldn't connect.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Mammoth by Douglas Perry

Summary on Goodreads.

"Mammoth View, California is hit with the news of an attack on a summer morning. It s not clear what happened, but it s bad. And it s not over. As residents panic and leave town, the police chief and his deputy set off into the woods to investigate. The campsite attack is the perfect coincidence for Billy Lane. Looking for the biggest score of his career, he s targeted the local bank. The robbery does not go well and the aftermath goes even worse. Over the next twenty-four hours, chaos descends on Mammoth View. What really happened at that campsite outside of town?"

I couldn't get into it. The writing style was fine and I liked it; I think it was the excessive background/history of the characters that lost me.

During a bank robbery that went surprisingly easy, the town is emptied. People just left or were evacuated because... what exactly? I don't know. Was it an alien invasion, a coup, a zombie attack? I really don't know and I felt that the "mystery" that the author was creating around it was just dragging.

At 50% the story is not really about why people were leaving town or what was going on in town but the lives of some characters (Tori, a runner; Billy, Tori's father and the bank's robber, and two police officers). The story would go back in time to when Billy did this and that, had this or that girlfriend, and so on. I lost interest.

Perhaps the story is really about the lives of these characters and not really what was going on in town. In any case, I became disinterested in finding out the reason the town was suddenly empty.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk

Summary on Goodreads.

"Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who's just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped Alone Terrified.

Now forget her ...

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical, calculating, scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits for the perfect moment to strike. "Method 15/33" is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors."

This is an unusual book because instead of focusing on the kidnapper doing things to the victim, it is about the victim and the things she will do to her kidnapper. Very interested plot indeed.

Based on 5 stars, I will take one star away because of dragging. Yes, I felt the story dragged too much. MC (kidnapped girl) would go on and on about her plan. As she herself said at one point, she could have escaped sooner, but she waited 33 days because (otherwise it would had been a very short book!).

I will take away another star because of the background on the FBI agents. I understand that some other character should be included in the story to give the story a decent length, but I was bored with the FBI plot.

I will also take another star away because of the writing in general. For some reason, the writing was kind of redundant. Unless it is Jose Saramago, this repetitive writing doesn't work for me. Another thing that didn't work for was the first person narration. The story started with "I..." and she is telling what happened 17 years ago. Well, I already know that she is very much alive and kicking it; so, somehow, knowing that she had made it, took away some of the curiosity.

I did like MC and his methodical mind. I liked that she didn't freak out, didn't beg, and didn't cry. She simply plot her revenge.

If you want to read something different, this book is for you!

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Summary on Goodreads.

"Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same."

I read it in one sitting and, for the most part, I liked it. I totally understand why Lisa did what she did; I don't know why they had to tell Solomon, though. I mean, they ended up really liking him so, for me, there was no need to bring up why they became friends. But that's me.

I found Clark's reasons not to have sex very... Unbelievable, but I do appreciate that this books teaches about waiting rather than all teenagers have sex and go to parties where they do stupid things.

I enjoyed Solomon's parts a lot more than Lisa's, but I liked that Lisa was real. She wanted to be the best and she owned that.

Clark was there... but his character was never that important; actually, his character was never explored.

At the end, this was a light and quick read that I enjoyed because of the lack of YA drama (parties, smoking, sex, drinking, and bitching).

I wanted more of Solomon... but I got what I got :-)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Summary on Goodreads.

"Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world. But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists."

What is new in this book? Nothing. I picked it because I loved The Replacement, but when I read this synopsis I pretty much knew this one would be another contemporary cliche. Even Paper Valentine was better than this.

Perfect girl (in the outside) meets bad boy (in the outside too). So two people with nothing in common get something in common...

The story is told in two povs, Waverly and Marshall's; I liked Marshall's voice. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything compelling here to keep me reading.

Although I am naturally attracted to broken characters that are more than they seem (in this case Marshall) I couldn't find a point of reference to make me hold on to the story.

The writing seemed a little elaborated to me; as if it didn't flow naturally. We also have the best friend, the mean girl... you know... the usual suspects in YA high school.

I wished Yovanoff had come up with something more original than this.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Summary on Goodreads.

"Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about. Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life, and—hardest of all—herself."

I really liked it. The only thing I didn't like was the mystery surrounding Francesca's mother condition. Coming from a family where we have open communication, I didn't get why they couldn't just straight tell a 16 year old that her mother was suffering of depression. I didn't get the "I don't want medication" thing either. But I guess some American people are like that.

Other than the above, I loved Francesca and her relationship with everybody.

I had read about Marchetta's great writing style and I agree, it is indeed great; and she knows how to portrait teens. Obviously I now have to read her other books.

I completely get how and why Francesca's mom condition was unbalancing Francesca's life. I didn't get the way adults approached it, though... all very secret and like waiting for things to fix themselves.

But I so enjoyed this book!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Summary on Goodreads.

I am so glad to read this after the whole series is out. I can't wait to start the next book. I loved it! I guess this book is just like Twilight: half of the world hates it and the other half loves it.

I am part of the second half. I never thought of reading this because I read a lot (a lot!) of bad reviews; but then I decided to see what the series is about since the movie came out.

I liked Cassie a lot! She is one of my favorite female characters of all time because she keeps it real and asks questions that I'm thinking about while reading the book, like "where did you get the IV from?" And she worries about clean underwear, deodorant, and tampons. Any ways, the author keeps it real. You know, I had never read any other dystopia book that brought up the issue of hygiene. It's like... women don't get their periods when the world is ending?!

Oh! That first kiss totally got to me (pg. 178). Evan got to me... And later on Ben got to me. I'm totally digging the love triangle here.

I find the romance to be complete normal and plausible. I read a review that said the romance is awkward but I didn't see it that way. Two people alone for a long time.... and they are both cute/pretty/handsome... well! I would fall in love with Channing Tatum too!

Page 300: Oh! Now I just happen to love Zombie too. Yes, Zombie is a name.

In short, I'm just in love with this damn book!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Tour: The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes

Summary on Goodreads.

Release date: July 5, 2016

Available on: Amazon     IndieBound     Barnes&Noble

"Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls—and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autistic boy cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his back door..." [+ more]

I love books about autistic children so much! This one is about March, a an autistic boy who loves to climb trees. One day he sees a new huge tree, The Eagle Tree, and from there on all he can think of is climbing that tree.

I liked March so much because he was the one telling his story, how he processed thoughts, and how he felt... instead of  a narrator. I Think that there was too much information about trees in the story, though. So someone who really likes trees will be able to relate and like it. I kind of skipped those endless descriptions and information about trees. However, I do recognize that it was important because it was March talking about them, not the author.

I found a new view on autistic children in this book. For example, March would get hurt climbing a tree and he wouldn't feel the pain. In fact, he wouldn't know he was hurt is somebody didn't point it out to him.

Autistic children are peculiar, and just when I thought I had read all about them, The Eagle Tree comes along.

March is a lovely character and I had a lovely time reading this one.

Tour Provided by TLC Book Tours

About the Author: 
Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His historical novel, Sinful Folk, was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award. The Eagle Tree is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves. He lives with his wife and children in Olympia, Washington.

More about Ned Hayes can be found at