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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Cellar by Minette Walters


Summary on Goodreads.

"On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s young son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Muna’s fortunes change for the better. Until then, her bedroom was a dank windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. Over the years, she had grown used to being abused by the Songoli family—to being their slave...." [+ more]

Here is a book that fully satisfied me. Finally, bad people get what they deserve. I so enjoyed the frankness and crudeness of this one.

Nothing was left hanging. Punishment and revenge was brought upon those who deserved it. If the author's style is like this, I intend to read her other books.



Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez


Summary on Goodreads.

"Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey and his five favourite books – so he makes sure he has packed both after his father, distinguished publisher of Craftsman & Co., sends him to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine, Librarte. When nobody has heard from him in three months, his father knows something must be very wrong..." [+ more]

Ohhh how I loved this book. I read every single word. So funny. The Spanish version is titled La felicidad es un té contigo which I would never have guessed by the title given to the English version.

This is not a romance read, although romance is found at some point. I enjoyed each one of the characters; all distinctive and quirky. Apparently thee book has been translated into different languages. Well done. Everybody deserves a copy of this one.

So Atticus goes to Spain to close the literary agency of the family. His father becomes concerned because six months have passed and he hasn't heard from his son. The father goes to the police and has to deal with inspector Manchego, a whole different kind of inspector who has a particular line of investigation.

In Spain: Atticus is overwhelmed by the five women that run the literary agency, and taken by a sudden carnal desire for one of the woman that he doesn't know how to handle. After all, he is only English and the Spaniard passion might be to hot for his cold body.

The writing here is just exquisite. Lyrical and all that. I was surprised to find such beautiful writing and such delightful plot. I will totally buy the Spanish version for my mother to read. She cannot die without reading this!

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title, and sorry it took me so long to read it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gone Again by James Grippando


Gone Again (Jack Swyteck #12)

Summary on Goodreads.

"Sashi Burgette vanished three years ago on her way to school. The night after the teenager’s disappearance, ex-con Dylan Reeves was stopped for drunk driving. An article of Sashi’s clothing was found in his truck, and a police videotape of his drunken explanation under interrogation sealed his fate at trial. Now, just days from Kyle’s execution, Sashi’s mother visits Jack Swyteck, doing pro bono work at the Freedom Institute, and delivers shocking news: “Sashi called me..." [+ More]


I had no idea that this book is part of a series; and book number #12 for that! I grabbed the book at the library, and you know how publishers are: they refuse to include that the book is part of a series on the cover. However, this one reads as a stand-alone. I didn't need any previous knowledge to get into this one. And I like it so much that I'm going to go back and read the first one. Yes sir!

What I liked is all that death row/who did/I'm innocent thing. But I especially liked that most of the story took place in court. I am a sucker for that "overruled/sustained" thing.

Story: Sashi is an adopted teen from Russia but she has a condition called RAD. Something like she can't get physically and emotionally close to anyone. Sashi is also a compulsive liar and trouble maker.

Now, this wealthy American couple who already have a teen decide to adopt Sashi and her brother. Well, Sashi made their lives a living hell.

One day Sashi vanishes, a man is found guilty, sentenced to death and that is where Jack comes in: trying to prove that the man is innocent and doesn't deserve to die.

So go ahead, skip all 11 previous books about Jack and just read this one. It is worth it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Tour: Clarina Nichols by Diane Eickhoff


Available on Amazon

Publication date: March 25, 2016

Summary: "Everyone knows about the ''Votes for Women'' campaign that led to the 19th Amendment in 1920. Few know just how long the struggle really was. Decades earlier, brave women began breaking the taboo of remaining silent at gatherings that included men. No one represents this early struggle -- the small triumphs and discouraging setbacks -- better than Clarina Howard Nichols (1810-1885), the Vermont newspaper publisher whose speeches made a powerful case for equality. Victim of a failed marriage, Nichols was a magnet to abused and mistreated women and was their advocate at a time when her sex was just beginning to speak up..." [+ more]

This is a nice biography into some of the history of women's right to vote (and be taken into account). The best part of this book is that it is YA so the writing is not heavy but easy to follow. It also has pictures! Which I liked because it gave me a better sense of Nichols and the time period.

Eickhoff describes Nichols' life in a way that it makes it easy to understand without dwelling into too many details. For example, Nichols first husband one day just took off with their children and Nichols went to her in-laws for help. They helped her get the children back and that was that.

I was surprised to learn that Nichols, now a single mother of three, later married a wonderful man. Even more, in a time where women had no voice and their opinions didn't really matter, she became a newspaper publisher.

She really is an inspiration for women today and Eickhoff summarizes extensive research in this brief biography that will appeal to YA.

This book tour was brought by TLC Book Tours
About the Author
Diane Eickhoff grew up on a farm in Minnesota, taught school in Appalachia and New York, and

helped edit a newspaper for an anti-poverty program in Alabama. She has written widely for publications aimed at high school and younger readers. Her biography, Revolutionary Heart, from which this book is adapted, was named a Kansas Notable Book and the winner of ForeWord magazine’s Book of the Year competition in biography, among other honors. She lives with her husband, author Aaron Barnhart, in Kansas City.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Seventh Child by Erik Valeur


Summary on Goodreads.

"On September 11, 2001, on a desolate beach on the outskirts of Copenhagen, police begin investigating the strange death of an unidentified woman. Surrounding the body are what appear to be offerings to the deceased: a book, a small noose, a dead golden canary, a linden tree branch, and a photo of the Kongslund Orphanage. As the police puzzle over their bizarre findings, the Twin Towers fall in walls of flame and the case is quickly overshadowed by the terror half a world away..." [+ more]

Okay, I'm reading the Spanish version of this book and it is 750 pages. Not really a problem if the story wasn't so slow! This is killing me. Paragraphs and paragraphs and pages and pages of nothing. A lot of words that mount to nothing at all. Something that could be told in one sentence "I received an anonymous letter" takes two pages here. The state of the letter, the stamp, where the letter came from, how it was placed on the desk, how he picked it up from the desk (right or left corner)... this sea of words is just endless!

So the story is about a period where being a single mother was a disgrace, and yet, knowing that, women would get "accidentally" pregnant. The solution, God forbid abortion, was to give the baby for abortion. The thing is that not only low class women got played and got pregnant, prominent families had daughters to succumb to the temptation of the flesh and accidentally become pregnant. So children from rich and prominent families ended up in this orphanage as well. One of these children, the 7th child to be precise, becomes a person (or child?) of interest.

The rest of the story is to find out who this child is, where he is, who the parents are/were, and so on. A thriller, let me tell you, this book is not. A mystery, yes: it is a mystery to me how this author could write so much nonsense.

Of course the story is not only about the child, there is some murder involved too. I really don't know if they are all connected or not because I couldn't keep reading which is a shame because I love Scandinavian thrillers.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Punch of Color by Hannah Lynn



Available: Hannah Lynn Art &Design
Publisher: Self
Artist: Hannah Lynn
Price: $8.50 and free shipping
Art Rating: 5-Stars
Paper Quality: 5-Stars
Pages: 10


Last night I colored my first face/portrait ever, and I loved it! I think I might have just discovered my
true coloring interest. I am tired of coloring animals and flowers.

This set of Punch of Color comes with 10 individual single-sided pages of beautiful illustrations. The paper is coverstock.

Now, I'm not literate about coloring and different types of paper, I just do it because I like it. But I found that if you use makers the coloring will look a lot better than colored pencils.

I particularly did the first layer with a Copic marker, then used a similar Prisma colored pencil, and finally went over it with a colorless blending pencil.

For the spheres, I mixed Jacquard Pear X powder mixed with Vaseline to make it stick.


Friday, March 4, 2016

The Missing by Melanie Florence


Summary on Goodreads.

Available: Amazon

Rating: 2-Stars

"After a girl she knows from school goes missing and is found dead in the Red River, Feather is shocked when the police write it off as a suicide. Then, it's Feather's best friend, Mia, who vanishes -- but Mia's mom and abusive stepfather paint Mia as a frequent runaway, so the authorities won't investigate her disappearance either. Everyone knows that Native girls are disappearing and being killed, but no one is connecting the dots..." [+ more]

This would be like any other missing girl story but with aboriginal girls. I liked that the story was simple and straight forward.

Because the author is trying to call attention to the missing of aboriginal girls, at times I felt as it was preaching. But that was okay too, in a way.

What I didn't like was that I didn't feel any type of connection with the characters and the story. Are they special just because they are Indians? Why exactly should I care?

I think that I (personally) needed background on the community. I didn't even know where these aboriginal people were until I read in another review that this is in some town or city in Canada.

Overall, I get the author's effort regarding this topic. Perhaps a non-fiction book about these disappearances would've been better.

As I said before, the book is easy to read and the author doesn't try to show off that she swallowed a dictionary which makes the story go fast.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Whipped: A Delectable Adult Coloring Book by Rudy Fig



Available: Amazon
Publisher: Blue Star Coloring
Artist: Rudy Fig
Price: $8.99 (at the time of this review)
Art Rating: 4-Stars
Paper quality: Poor
Pages: 74

Besides reading, I am obsessed with coloring books and crochet. I am a good crocheter, but colorist.... I haven't finished one project yet! Yet, I keep buying and buying and buying coloring books because... I must have them all.

Yesterday, I received Whipped: A Delectable Adult Coloring Book. It is very cute. The drawings are kind of cartoonish for my taste but I have seen what other colorists have done with cartoonish kind of drawings and I love it. So I'm willing to give it a try.

Drawings are on one side only, and they have thick, black lines which makes it more for teens and children than for adults.

The paper quality is bad (there's no other way of saying it). The paper feels sandy and is thing, so if you decide to use markers be careful, because it will definitely bleed trough the page. I'm giving it four stars because, despite the bad paper quality, the designs are pretty cute and different.





Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Tour: Ginny Gall by Charlie Smith


Summary on Goodreads.

Available: Amazon     Indie Bound    B&N

Rating: 4-Stars


"Delvin Walker is just a boy when his mother flees their home in the Red Row section of Chattanooga, accused of killing a white man. Taken in by Cornelius Oliver, proprietor of the town’s leading Negro funeral home, he discovers the art of caring for the aggrieved, the promise of transcendence in the written word, and a rare peace in a hostile world. Yet tragedy visits them near daily, and after a series of devastating events—a lynching, a church burning—Delvin fears being accused of murdering a local white boy and leaves town..." [+ more]

Violence in the Jim Crow South seems like a far away tale... that Charlie Smith nicely brought alive in Ginny Gall. Brutal and honest, I felt as if was living in that period, while at other times I would shake my head and just think "nooo! tsk, tsk, tsk."

In Ginny Gall we follow Delvin from birth to manhood when he is accused of the rape of two white women. Now, the consequences of raping a white woman are very different if: a) the woman is white, and b) the man is black. So basically, the quest for justice for the victims would be different as seen, for example, in A Time to Kill by John Grishan and here in Ginny Gall.

But back to Ginny Gall, here we have a brutal portrait of the south back then. I was both horrified and smitten by the story. This is definitely a book that should be in any African American history collection.

This book tour was bought by TLC Book Tours  



About Charlie Smith:
Charlie Smith, the author of seven novels and seven books of poetry, has won the Aga Khan Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, Harper’s, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Nation, and many other magazines and journals. Three of his novels have been named New York Times Notable Books. He lives in New York City and Key West.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward


Summary on Goodreads.

"Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn't so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can."


What this book is NOT about: A bleeding earth; or why the earth is bleeding.

What this book IS about: a girl in love with another girl.

So, if you want to read this book because of the girl-to-girl romance, go for it. BUT, if you want to read it because it sounds apocalyptic, well, skip it.

Why was the earth bleeding? Not even the author could come up with an explanation for that. This bleeding business was weird. First the ground was oozing blood, and next thing I know Lea is talking about floods. When, how did that happen? In NYC transportation stopped because the trains got blood flooded. At some other point Lea talks about walking with rain boots and the blood running like a river. And people were out and about driving in this... river of blood!?

Wait a minute... where did so much blood come from? Again, not even Ms. Ward knows because she couldn't give an explanation in the plot. Next thing we know, hair is found in the blood, and then bones. Meaning? None whatsoever. Just to give you an idea of how disgusting the world was becoming.

But the best part is that as sudden as the blood appear, it disappeared. That's right. Next scene and Lea wakes up to find no blood and that earth is going back to normal.

So, why was humanity punished with this blood flood? The book mentions the Bible and Noah but it doesn't really say anything about it. So I guess the blood was an act of God to.... (feel free to fill in the blank). Although according to Lea, the blood united her parents who seemed to have grown fond of each other again. Yeah, maybe the blood was an act to unite couples worldwide.

Scientific explanation about the blood? Of course not. So that leaves with the religious explanation that you will come up with because no freaking explanation is given!!!

And did we need the lesbian romance? Not at all; but since there is a lack of same sex romance in YA, the author thought that mixing a bleeding earth with lesbian love would be a good idea because you couldn't really say that you hate the book because that would mean you are homophobic.

Well, guess what. The plot sucks, the romance was lame. The sex scene was unnecessary, and this entire book was just a waste of paper. Thank you Adaptive Books (the publisher) for helping kill more trees.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

After the Crash by Michael Bussi


Summary on Goodreads.

"On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?..." [+ more]

I loved this mystery! Just when I was convinced that the survival child was Lyse-Rose something would point to Emilie. I also developed another theory that turned out to be right, but I wasn't sure of it. It was more like "what if..."

This book is a translation from the French version, and just like the translated work of Pierre Lemaitre, I think that French authors got it right!! Just like their movies :-)

While reading, I was thinking "Hello! DNA testing." Well, this is also explained in the story, thank God. 

The story is told in different point of views, but mainly through Marc reading the journal that the detective left behind. So, if you are not a fan of different POVs, you can simply skip them and read the diary entries.

This book was definitely a good detective read for me. Looking forward to other books by the same author.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Insomnia by J. R. Johansson



Summary on Goodreads.
Title: Insomnia (The Night Walkers, #1)
Rating: 2-Stars

"After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can't take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he's made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker's furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he'd go. And when someone begins to terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker's memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence."

Decent, original idea. But I had three issues with the plot.

So, Parker lives the dream of the last person he makes eye contact with before going to sleep. Cool! But:

1) What about sleeping in the afternoon? Parker hasn't slept in four years which means that his brain is about to give up and Parker is going to die. What I didn't get was, why couldn't parker nap in the afternoons? Oh! Once he told his friends about this curse, they found a way for him to sleep for half an hour between classes. I just don't get why the hell he couldn't sleep in the afternoon and then be the darn Watcher at night!?

2) The villain, as always, came out of no where. All of the sudden there was this guy who had an inferiority complex that never manifested until it was time to solve the plot.

3) When Parker told his friends about his condition, he had to tell his friends about their previous dreams so they could believe him. For instance, before telling Addie, he watched her dreams for a few days and then told her what she dreamed of. My issue here is, who remembers what they dreamed of three nights ago, not to mention six years ago? Because Parker told Finn about dreams Finn had had six months ago! And Finn was like, "dude! how do you know that?!" Really, Finn? You remembered what you dreamed of six months ago? I can barely put together my dream from last night!!!

Now, is not like I don't have a general sense of what I dreamed last year. For instance, I know that couple of times in 2015 I dreamed of making out with Channing Tatum, but the specifics of those dreams? Nah! But here, this teenagers were able to remember what they dreamed a year and six months ago. So for me, that was so unbelievable that I just rolled my eyes and kept on.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty


Summary on Goodreads.

"Ella doesn't remember what it's like to be human; after all, she's lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it's like to taste, to breathe...to love.

She watches the professor create other dolls, but they don't seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn't like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?..." [+ more]

Lovely! A new idea nicely executed. I loved every moment of it. Who was Ella? Why is she a doll? Well, the answers were not what I was expecting at all. The book is well written and I was engaged in the story. It has intrigue and mystery.

My copy had an excerpt of the second book in the back. I read it and I can tell it is equally interesting.
I will definitely read the next book in the series.

I can't remember which one of the blogs I follow recommended this book with five flying stars and that's how I got to read this one, but you were right! The book is quite...cute [?]

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

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Seventh Mother by Sherri Wood Emmons


Summary on Goodreads.

"A young girl searches for a mother's love amid unfolding secrets, in this riveting and emotionally complex novel from acclaimed author Sherri Wood Emmons.
The summer that her father falls in love with Emma, Jenny Bohner is just turning eleven. Jenny was three when her mother died, and since then Brannon Bohner has traveled with his daughter from one seasonal job to another..." [more +]

Don't read if you don't want spoilers.

*** SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS ***

This book is soooo retarded. It started okay but then the father turned out to be a serial killer out of nowhere. Excuse me? Six women who had dated him had gone missing and the police is not asking him?

How was he found out? Well, besides the obvious confession in the last pages, it turns out that after killing those women he kept their driver's licenses and other memorabilia. Why? Apparently, so his daughter could find the box with the incriminating evidence.

What was his MO? None, he pretty much killed those women by chance, like, they would speak in a tone he didn't like to his daughter so they had to go.

At the end, his daughter asked him if he killed them and he is like "I had to." Aha...

Really, nothing really happens in here and that plot was totally lame.


Monday, January 18, 2016

14 Days to Die by A.B. Whelan


Summary on Goodreads.

"Stay-at-home mom Sarah Johnson has the perfect family—a handsome, hardworking husband and two healthy and beautiful children. At least, that’s what she’s been telling herself for years. After the tragedies in her youth, Sarah deemed living a lie easier than dwelling on the past and facing her everyday failures. To avoid any kind of confrontation at home she doesn’t read her husband’s emails or spy on him like most jealous wives do. She wouldn’t jeopardize her comfortable but dull life for anything..." [more +]

This book definitely had a weird inconclusive ending. Not what I was expecting.

Over all, I didn't like Sarah because she complained too much that her husband sucked the life out of her; that he took her career, her youth, and her beauty. I mean... He didn't force you to be a stay-at-home-mom, so I don't know why complain about that so much.

So she receives a phone call from a hit man that her husband hired to kill her and she doesn't take the time to look into it and analyze it. Go to the police? Of course not, what can the police possible do if you tell them that a guy is calling you asking for money and - now - he says he would kill you and your husband both? Obviously, the cops are trained to do nothing.

Sarah repeat over and over that she is going to kill her husband bad does nothing until, FINALLY, I saw her act on it. Mostly, the story is about Sarah complaining and plotting to kill her husband and changing her mind. But I did like some other things that took place with Sarah. Like, how he became a more independent person once she made up her mind to live a little and not care about her husband.

Things turned out differently that were I saw it going and I didn't like it because that is not the usual way that I see a story finish. But I guess this was a valid ending too if just frustrating.

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