Saturday, August 11, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Meet Hanna.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all..." [+ More].

This is the second book I read where the little psychopath is a girl named Hanna. Hmmm... I'm gonna have to look into the meaning of that name.

I really like Hanna deviousness and the ways she uses to upset her mother. What I don't like is the way Hanna's mother, Suzette reacts. Hanna is only 7 for God's sake, but Suzette acts like if Hanna is an adult! I mean, slap the little bitch into sense! And if you already know your daughter is a little demon, why the fuck don't you take pictures and have your phone ready to record things? Seriously, you would think that is the first thing that a parent would do.

Okay, some parents don't believe in hitting their children... Well, good luck with that. I come from a third world country where my mom used to beat the shit out of me (withing reasonable force) and I turned out fine. No, I was not abused, I was disciplined. But Suzette is even scared of punishing Hanna because it might hurt her feelings!

Is this family relationship for real?

Alex, the husband, it is obviously oblivious to what is going on, but that is fine; he is not important in the story. He just comes home from work and spends a little time with Hanna.

I don't know what is this bullshit of apologizing to Hanna to make her feel better. Suzette, you know your daughter is a little crazy bitch, stop being so stupid.

Hanna, so careful all along, finally does something that leaves evidence behind. And what does Suzette do when Hanna finally does something that makes Alex, the father, see her for who she really is? Well, she downplays Hanna's actions! "Maybe I should apologize to her," "maybe she was upset about something and was acting out," "oh! it's nothing, I'll be fine tomorrow." Woman, hadn't you been looking for something to make your husband believe you about your bride-of-Chucky-child? And now that you finally have proof you try to dismiss it?! Damn!

I like how the author gave Hanna's behavior a setting. That is, she was only seven so she was only a child, thus she could not be evil for the same reasons adults are evil. Hanna had a fantasy, a delusion that made her hate her mother. Oh! Yes, she also lacked empathy and all that.

I liked the ending and, the way Stage left things, I would love to read another book about Hanna and her stupid mother (hopefully not so stupid next time).

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"When Clara's boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he's left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he's been kidnapped. Then Luke's older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened--even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke's mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected..." [+ More].

I was fully engaged in this book! I was even biting my nails!! I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed Way's previous book Watching Eddie.

I found The Lies We Told very interesting. It is told in two narratives (past and present) and at the beginning they seem to have nothing to do with each other. But, being the smart bitch that I am (also because, why would the author narrate two different scenarios if they weren't related? Duh!) I knew the past and present were linked, I just didn't see how.

I liked the twists and I totally loved Hannah; at the same time, I wanted the psycho to pay for her... "crimes."

One of the characters was full of righteousness (at the age of 18 or 19, mind you), that despite the wonderful upbringing her parents gave her, she couldn't look pass the mistake of one of her parents and she chose to leave home and never contact her parents of brothers again. I was like, seriously? That is for your parents to fix between them, not you. But anyways, this is the only thing that I disliked.

The ending was satisfying for me and at the same time it was a cliffhanger; does this book have a second part? If it is so, it better comes out soon before I lose all interest in the characters.

All in all, a good mystery/thriller that I very much enjoyed.

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

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own..." [+ More].

Oh! How I loved this one. When I finished it I went to Google the author and found out that she is the same author of The Child Finder, another favorite.

Is it possible to get to love a killer on death row? In this book it is; the way Denfeld portraits the criminals really made me feel for them. Hell, I almost cried at the end! Almost - because I am a hard bitch. But damn it, I did tear a bit.

I love when the bad guy gets what is coming to him, and in this book, at least one of the bad guys, got it. Oh! How I liked that.

Some people complained about the lack of names of the characters but this is one of the things that I really liked. The Lady didn't need a name for me.

Someone also said "is this book written by a 5 years old?" Really? Wow!

And another one, "the writer seriously needs to take some creative writing classes and learn structure, flow and depth," and wow! - again.

I couldn't put the book down until I finished. It was hypnotic for me.

Some little things here and there I didn't like, but nothing to make me love the book less.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"A congressman's daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who's tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who's done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion.

They couldn't be more different, but before the morning's over, they'll all be trapped in a school that's been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they'll also be looking to one another for answers..." [+ More].

I think this book might have too many characters for me. The story starts with the rich, nice girl, then the Muslim boy, Rasheed (or Rashid?); some other boy that is being evicted (is he Black?); the gay guy (not black not white), the fat girl who is bullied, and 2 more characters that I have no idea who they are because by the 4th character I wasn't interested in learning about more people.

Well, if you wanted diversity, here it is!

I just lost interest. The story is not bad as it has a little bit of everything; I think teenager will dig it.

Me? I have read these characters before (the gay quarterback, the overweight girl....) so I didn't find anything compelling here to keep me going. They are all misunderstood, lonely, and want the world (or somebody) to notice them. they want to teach teach the world a lesson (or so it seems).

Well, at least I know that the bomber is NOT going to be Rasheed because it would be too stereotyped, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Full title: Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1)

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop..." [+ More].

Holy crap! This book was good. I had always wanted to read about what happened after the serial killer/murderer/kidnapper etc. was caught, and here I have it.

I thought Gina was a little paranoid having to move around so many times but at the end it made sense.

I love all the twists in the plot. By the end I was wishing this was a series, and it is!

I really liked Gina's character (well, Gwen), and her children too.

When I started reading I got a little bored with the set up of the new home and all that, and I was thinking "oh oh, this is not for me" but because I really liked the subject of the book I kept reading it. I am glad I did because I enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late..." [+ More]

I really liked this book... until the end! I enjoyed the writing style, I loved the twist, and I specially liked how so call psychic abilities were handled. The only thing I didn't like was the end. So Skye recorded a conversation on her phone and gave it to the police; that is how the culprit was caught. Hell, I even liked that the real murdered got away with it!

But seriously, you hide a phone in your jacket (hoodie or whatever) and it records perfectly? I am sorry if I don't believe that because I have tried to record some conversations with my phone carelessly placed on my lap with no success. But here, the conversation carried out loud enough to be recorded. Damn! After everything was developing so credibly Cook threw this cliché. It reminds me of That Night by Chevy Stevens and the phone recording resources for solving the plot.

Oh! And I forgot to mention, at the end, Skye decides to change her name from Candi Skye Thorn to, yes, this is right, Cate Skye Thorn. Wow! What a big change!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"Six years ago, Moss Jefferies' father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media's vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift..." [+ More]

I didn't like the writing style. I found the writing forced and the characters fictitious. Also, too many things were going on in this book, from panic attacks to gay and lesbian love (God forbid I'm offending anyone by not using the right term here) to racism to... I don't know I got lost.

The book is 450+ pages and the font is tiny which also made it difficult for me to read. I have read tiny fonts before, it is just that this book had so much text! that I just felt overwhelmed.

I just didn't find the conversations and character "real" but more like "made" for the story.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips..." [+ More].

I picked this book because Sassy Sarah Reads gave it five stars. So I took time to read some other reviews for this book and I wonder what must be wrong with me that I didn't like it. I liked Final Girls just fine, but The last time I lied? Nah!!

It all started with the prologue. Emma wakes up to find her roommates missing. That is, they are not in the cabin where they are supposed to be sleeping. So she goes around looking for them but can't find them. When she finally gets outside and see the "so much water, so much land" she pictures her friends lost and began to scream. Well, for me, you can't find your friends and you go to the management office and ask for them. Why would you start screaming like a crazy person if don't even know if actually really happened?

The second thing that gets me with this type of mysteries is that, 15 years later, Emma is able to find a clue that, well, well, well, the police missed! Yeap, you would think that police would swipe that cabin and whole camp up and down a thousand times. Yet, there was this picture that Emma found when she came back, tucked in one of the girl's trunk that everybody missed.

Well, obviously, Emma is now to solve a mystery that the incompetent police couldn't solve 15 years ago.

I didn't like the back and forth in time. The story line alternates between the present (Emma back in the camp discovering what really happened) and the past (when the girls were alive). I really didn't care for those girls because they were dead at the beginning of the story, so I wasn't interested in knowing who they were before.

Lastly, Emma didn't know these girls before, they just became friend that summer at camp; but when they disappeared and Emma's world collapsed? I mean, it is not like you found them murdered or so something horrific happened to her. They were just here today, gone tomorrow; so I really didn't feel why Emma was so traumatized by this disappearance.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack..." [+ More].

Oh! I really like this book. It wasn't preachy and Jus wasn't romanticized either. It gave me a few things to think about that I already had thought about but this time from another perspective.

I think this story could've been taken from the newspaper. It felt real because it was well written.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

Available on Amazon on September 25, 2018

"Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness..." [+ More].

Oh! How I liked this book. It didn't make cry like Us against you by Fredrik Backman, and it did not send me into deep thoughts or anything profound like that. I simple liked it because it was a damn good read and well written. The plot twists were on point!

I loved Elizabeth because she was deceiving character and I knew that from the very beginning. The story of Frankenstein from a different point of view... so refreshing! I mean, I never read the original book and I don't intend too; with Elizabeth's version of it is enough for me.

I loved the author's writing as well. Nothing here seemed odd or unbelievable; words seemed to sing together... I hope the books gets translated into Spanish so I can buy it for my mom.

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cheaper to Keep Her #2 by Kiki Swinson

Cheaper to Keep Her #2

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Lynise Carter has been released from jail and she's not happy. In fact, she's ready to get revenge..." [More +].

This book was as good as the first one but I had two major concerns.

First, the story perpetuates the stereotype of women being bitches who still other women's men. Lynise wants to have sex with Bishop because she likes him; she also knows he has a woman. Does she respect that? No, her though was "maybe I'll fuck him so good he will leave her for me."

Really? Is that how women want to get a man? I mean, I know Lynise is supposed to be gettho but, come on! Maybe we could send another message?

The other thing that bugged me was that Lynise advised the detectives to say that the guy who died got killed in a gunfire with them. "Of course they jumped at the opportunity" (pg. 265). Well, don't some type of bullet test need to be done? Don't they need to mat h the bullets to the guns? I mean, I don't know anything about how the police operates but I ha e watched enough CIS and read enough crime books to know that Lynise advise didn't sound right.

So other than those two minor points, the story was good and entertaining.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

In Her Skin by Kim Savage

Rating: 2-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest scam of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine. When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late... [+ More].

I didn't enjoy the POV in which the story was told but that is not what killed it for me. The story is told in the voice of Jo (now Vivi) talking to her now sister Temple (but without Temple being there). For instance, "I saw you come in and my talked to your parents..."

Anyway, I found this story too slow for me. A lot of blah blah blah and no actual action. The mystery of what actually happened to Vivi was interesting, though but the way the plot was played out didn't work for me.

Vivi disappeared when she was 9, was in third grade, and was "gone" for seven years. Why was it expected that she remembered her friendship with Temple, the Lovecrafts, her teacher? Seriously, are you supposed to remember so may details of when you were nine years old? Because I don't remember shit of when I was younger.

I found Temple to be Amy from Gone Girl and I was excited thinking that the story would pick up but I was disappointed.

And Jo, so street savvy and a con artist at impersonations, turned out to be a disappointment too; bland and a goody two shoes. So much you could've done with all that "street smart" but did nothing?!

At the beginning I was like "so Vivi is back and two days later they take her to the symphony?" I don't know how people would actually behave in a situation like this, but I sure expect more emotions and real actions (and conversations too). The way the Lovecrafts reacted to her return seemed off, but given the developments of the second half of the book (and the discovery of what happened to Vivi) it now made sense (but I still didn't like it).

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cheaper to Keep Her by Kiki Swinson

Rating: 5-Stars

Cheaper to Keep Her #1

Summary on Goodreads.

"Cheaper to Keep Her series takes you into the life of Lynise Carter and her male companion Duke Carrington living their lives in the fast lane until the day Duke decides he wants to trade Lynise in for a woman. But, he's unaware that Lynise has no plans to let him go that easy..." [+ More].

Damn! Finally something worth my time. A few days ago I was depressed wondering whether something was wrong with me or just bad books were being published because most of the books I'd been reading lately sucked!

But, Alas! It looks like I just found a new genre! As a librarian, I've been asked for Kiki Swinson's books a couple of times and, bored out of my mind two days ago, I was like "let me see what's up with this author," although that type of books are not my type. Well, they are now! They are way more realistic than the crap I had been reading lately.

Okay, back to Cheaper to Keep Her, no, the book was not perfect because at one point I was like "bitch, how can you be so stupid?" But thank God Lynise realized her stupidity too and is going to make up for it.

Urban fiction seems to be, well, actual urban language and actions. So refreshing from the "literary" staff I am used to read. Yes, descriptive sex is involved too, so I just killed two birds with one stone.

I just ordered the next book in the series and can't wait!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?..." [+ More].

I knew when I read "Amber doesn't remember what happened to her" that this would be another case of the usual main character not remembering what happened, then remembering bits of it, and finally remembering everything at the end of the story. God! Why do authors keep writing this predictable plot?

This book was not for me. Amber is in the hospital and her life is told in three ways: past, a diary from when she was a child, and now- the present. I liked the present, but I was not interested in the past and definitely not the diary. I read another blogger say that the diary was the most interesting part, though.

This book was just boring for me. Period. The end.

Monday, May 21, 2018

My Whole Truth my Mischa Thrace

Rating: 2-Stars

Available on Amazon on August 2, 2018.

Summary on Goodreads.

"Seventeen-year-old Seelie Stanton never wanted to kill someone. She never wanted to be invisible in her own family, never wanted to crush on her best friend Alyssa, and she definitely never wanted to know how effectively a mallet could destroy someone’s head.

But the universe doesn’t care what she wants. Shane Mayfield doesn’t care what Seelie wants either. When the former high school basketball star attacks her, she has no choice but to defend herself. She saved her own life, but she can’t bring herself to talk about what happened that night. Not all of it. Not even when she’s arrested for murder...." [+ More].

I guess authors think that if they give unusual names to their characters, the story would be more memorable... What is the name of the MC here, Seelee, Selee? I don't know and I'm not going back to check.

Anyways, why was the MC so angry at her mother? She didn't want her mother present in anything because according to the MC, her mom was always busy at the restaurant. I think that this whole mother-daughter relationship should've been left for a story of its own. I just disliked the MC because from the very beginning she disliked her mother but I didn't see a reason why.

And why was the MC angry at the world, at large? Is like she hated or didn't care for anybody but her 4 friends.

So she killed in self-defense but then she is acting all shy and crying about it. That did not go with the strong character that she was at the beginning.

I liked that there was some type of trial going on (I love that type of books), and then the MC saved an information-bomb to throw it out during the trial. I think it didn't make sense but it did have a nice shocking effect. Who would thought that a 17 year would be so clever and know so much about the consequences of holding evidence?

The school... why were they bullying the MC when the guy she killed didn't even go to that school anymore? The guy was 20 years old! That means that nobody knew him there any longer. Ah yes, the brother; I guess he was the one vandalizing the MC locker and stuff.

Over all, I liked the plot because I had always wanted to read about the aftermath of a situation like this. Usually, a plot ends when the bad guy is killed. This story is the opposite, it starts with the bad guy already dead and then it takes us through what happened to the surviving victim.

This surviving victim, AKA MC or Seelee, I didn't like one bit. She was a strong girl who didn't want to show weakness and I got that, but she just came across like someone angry at the world for no reason.

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