Friday, September 30, 2016

The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards

Summary on Goodreads.

"It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her."

Okay, at certain points I was really mad at Sophie and was thinking "is she stupid? Because it is obvious what is going on!" But then what I though was going on wasn't going on at all.

I liked the writing and was engaged in the story. The end, however, was a disappointment. Is not that I had wished it a different way, it is more like since I didn't see it coming I thought the events were out of the blue.

Overall, it was a good read and kept me glued to the story if just to find out how much of an idiot Sophie really was (which she wasn't).

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Girl against the universe by Paula Stokes

Summary on Goodreads.

"No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought."

If I wasn't a YA librarian I'd give up reading YA; they are so damn predictable! This one too. Oh! Maguire is tiny and he is six foot five.... Apparently, in YA teens can't be of normal height. The norm is for the girl to be a midget and the boy to be a Gulliver.

The romance started good and unusual - knowing each other at their shrink's office. But then the setting was taken to school and we got back to the predictable track: high school drama aka the bitch who thinks the boy is hers, the girl (Maguire) who is unusually good at tennis but doesn't know it, the boy (Jordy) who likes the different girl (she doesn't have slick straight hair)...

What is new here for teens to learn... Nothing really, other than bad luck doesn't really exist. Although urban teens don't seem to believe in that (only teens in small towns can afford it).

How sweet, Jordy's therapist assigned him to hang out with a normal person... as in not famous person. Why isn't Justin Bieber assigned a similar task? Lots of "normal" girls out there ready to slap him back to reality.

Predictable, really, but I guess that when teens ask me for something romantic I can suggest this one. It checks all the usual YA cliché shit that YA is about. Of course I'll smile and suppress the cursing...

Monday, September 26, 2016

The girl in the red coat by Kate Hamer

Summary on Goodreads.

"Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children's festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realizes that this man believes she has a special gift...While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is - and who she might become."

Oh! I'm so mad and thankful with this book, both at the same time. I thought it was going to be a thriller that would take me into finding Carmel. Instead, it is a sad story from the POVs of the mother and the missing child. Yes, it is sad.

Carmel's disappearance is told from her side and her mother's side. It was interesting to read both accounts. I didn't totally love the book because... I don't know; maybe because I was expecting a different kind of plot to what I got.

It has a happy ending, though, for which I am thankful as I don't think my heart can take more stories of abused, missing children.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Someone Must Die by Sharon Potts

Summary on Goodreads.

"When her six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, Aubrey Lynd’s safe, snow-globe world fractures; it shatters when the FBI’s investigation raises questions about her own family that Aubrey can’t answer. Aubrey picks apart the inconsistencies to expose the first of many lies: a ransom note—concealed from the FBI—with a terrifying and impossible ultimatum. Aubrey doesn’t know what to believe or whom to trust. The abduction is clearly personal—but why would someone play a high-stakes game with the life of a child? The more she presses for answers, the more Aubrey is convinced that her mother is hiding something. Desperate to save her young nephew, Aubrey must face harsh truths and choose between loyalty to her family and doing the right thing. And she’d better hurry, because vengeance sets its own schedule, and time is running out."

I couldn't put this book down because I just had to know who took Ethan. Although it was a page turning, I wasn't totally satisfied with the story. A couple of things were missing and I felt the writing incomplete.

For example, when Diana told Jonathan about the ransom note he said "Good God. Have you shown it to the FBI?" and that was all the reaction I got from him. Was he surprised (probably)? How did he react (besides those words)?

Some other things were easily convenient and the end didn't satisfy/convince me at all. I just hate the criminal who confesses everything to the victim at the end.

Besides that, the plot got me engaged and I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. I enjoyed the story beside the holes in it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Summary on Goodreads.

"Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to. Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to… But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…"

Surprisingly, this book turned out to be good. I though the summary made it too obvious what the story was about but they way it was written made all the difference.

It is told from the pov of Edie and Heather, past and present. Heather is the voice of the past and Eddie's the present.

The story turned out to be nothing like what I was expecting. I enjoyed it very much.

I didn't give it the full 5-stars because I will never understand why people would stay in an unhealthy relationship (love, friendship or whatever). The author made an excellent job showing why, but my mind is stubborn and I just can't get it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Take the fall by Emily Hainsworth

Summary on Goodreads.

"Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?..." [+ more]

Ahhh! A YA mystery done right. Who killed Gretchen? I thought I had the criminal... and then I didn't. And then I thought I did againg but Hainsworth played me. I didn't see it coming.

I liked this book because it had me guessing, and I couldn't stop reading until I found out the truth.

It is very YA in the fact that the pretty, popular girl was really a bitch. And it was going very YA with its usual plot, but the author knew how to play it.

I thought it was going to be the usual: best friend feels guilty and wonders "why her and not me." But it wasn't like that at all.

This is more like Gone Girl than any other book that has been compared to it.

I also read some reviews complaining about the diversity in the story. Hmmm... for me it was fine. The story was set in a small town that could have affluent residents, thus people from different nationalities living there. Marcus himself came from a rich family. Immigrants don't necessary have to work in factories (as it was suggested in a blog). So I don't see why diversity in this story was unbelievable. Unless... the story took place in Salt Lake City?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman

Summary on Goodreads.

"Thirteen-year-old Lainey Emerson is the middle child in a home police are already familiar with: her mother works too much and her stepfather favors his own blood over another man’s problems—namely Lainey and her wild older sister, Liza. So when Lainey does not come home from a Friday night out with her friends, it is dismissed by the Coral Springs P.D. as just another disillusioned South Florida teen running away from suburban drama and an unhappy home life...." [+ more]

I tried but got bored because it was pretty obvious to me what was going. The prologue about the preacher on TV emphasizing the importance of being pure/virgin and the guy watching it left little to my imagination. I kind of reckoned why he was after girls online.

So the main plot here would be to discover this perv. I guess?

Monday, September 12, 2016

IQ by Joe Ide

Summary on Goodreads.

"They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he's forced to take on clients that can pay.
This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes."

I liked the beginning but I was bored by the snippets of the past. Sometimes this back and forth in time works for me, sometimes it doesn't. I wasn't interested in IQ's past or why he became to be who he was in the present.

The story is full action, like one of those Bruce Willis movies. I can picture him playing this character :-)

This is a book would be a good fit for male reader... Despite being fast paced, it wasn't for me.

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

Friday, September 2, 2016

Girl Number One by Jane Holland

Summary on Goodreads.

"As a young child, Eleanor Blackwood witnessed her mother's murder in woods near their farm. The killer was never found.

Now an adult, Eleanor discovers a woman's body in the same spot in the Cornish woods where her mother was strangled eighteen years before. But when the police get there, the body has disappeared.

Is Eleanor’s disturbed mind playing tricks on her again, or has her mother’s killer resurfaced? And what does the number on the dead woman’s forehead signify?"

I didn't find anything 'wow' here to force myself to finish it. I was bored at the very beginning with the endless description of the path the MC was walking leading her to find the first body.

Can somebody tell me who killed her mother and now, YEARS! after wanted to kill her too? I mean, wouldn't have been easier to kill her while she was younger? But I'm digressing.

So, who was it? An uncle, a cousin, a neighbor?

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard

Summary on Goodreads.

"Mark and Maggie's annual drive east to visit family has gotten off to a rocky start. By the time they're on the road, it's late, a storm is brewing, and they are no longer speaking to one another. Adding to the stress, Maggie — recently mugged at gunpoint — is lately not herself, and Mark is at a loss about what to make of the stranger he calls his wife. When they are forced to stop for the night at a remote inn, completely without power, Maggie's paranoia reaches an all-time and terrifying high. But when Mark finds himself threatened in a dark parking lot, it’s Maggie who takes control."

If there was a twist here at the end, I didn't see it. This book was sooo dragging. Perhaps for someone who has been mugged and can't get over it this would be "Oh my God!" book. For me it was boring and I kept reading because supposedly at the end something was going to happen that would make the MC less of a self-absorbed, OCD victim she was during the entire story.

I supposed the couple here is just another normal couple; my problem is that I don't want to read about the boring lives of normal people.

At the end the husbands breaks down and cries and the wife "handles" the situation because she offers him her shoulder to cry.

The only real character here was the dog which wouldn't take shit from the couple; wouldn't pee if it didn't feel like it, and so on. In reality, this couple had no life and was living according to what the dog dictated.

The end was so retarded. I thought that something substantial was going to happen, but it was just a disappointment.

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.