Friday, October 14, 2016

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Summary on Goodreads.

"An English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl..."[+ more]

It was a hard book for me to read but I couldn't put it down. I just had to know how Anna was surviving without food! Oh, the trick...! This book is by the same author of Room which I also enjoyed. Just after I finished the book and red the commentary in the back, did I realize this was a work of historical fiction.

I loved The Wonder: the plot, the setting, the outcome, Lib (the nurse), Anna... but for some reason the book was so hard for me to read!

Was it the writing style? I don't know, but I had trouble linking one word to the next. It was as if the writing wasn't flowing. Some reviews have cataloged the story as boring, and I can say that at one point it was boring just because I couldn't get into the writing/words. Yes, it was kind of slow, but I feel that it had to be that way in order to get the ending we get.

I am amazed by this story - the idea and the development. Just when I thought there was nothing new in literature comes this story so different from thrillers, crime, and high school drama.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Summary on Goodreads.

"Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before."

Totally loved it. The story is told in 2 povs, now: Jane, and then: Emma. As the summary says, Jane seems to be living the life that Emma lived (or kind of). Will they have the same ending?

Different POVs is a tricky technique; sometimes it works (for me) and sometimes it doesn't. Well, this time it worked.

I didn't see the ending coming! I was so immersed in the story. At times I was like "can't you see he is a psycho?" Because, you know... we readers can always see better than the character :-)

I loved the writing too. It is interesting how I always have little to say about books I like.

Oh! Right, this one is also compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, why God? Oh why? I didn't see the similarity but I am sure that if I think hard about it I could find something to link the three together then!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

Summary on Goodreads.

"Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family..."[+ more]

I think this is my third celebrity book and I loved it too. At the beginning I found it cheesy; well, I still think it is a bit cheesy but that is because I read Ronda Rousey's memoir and she is tough.

As I said, first I was like "really, is this written by a child?" And when she mentioned that this book is her gift to all children of deported parents out there I was about to DNF and thought "for real girl? Are you giving them the book for free or will they have to buy it?"

But then I moved past that initial AND unexplained reaction and got to really like her story.

Unlike other celebrities, her childhood dream wasn't acting. But like other celebrities, she had it rough and survived.

I always imagined that having your parents deported must be heartbreaking, but now I really see what it does to a child. Without your parents you lose your balance. And that is what happened to Guerrero. At first she was tough but eventually hardship sucked the life out of her.

This is definitely an inspiration. Will you end up acting in two famous TV shows? Probably not. On the other hand, if that is what you really want, it might as well happen.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

Summary on Goodreads.

"Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun. Could you survive the Call?"

This one wasn't for me. At first it was kind of difficult to get into it but then I got it. Nessa had polio and has bad legs; she also will have to fight for her life because some other race "call" humans to torture them and kill them. While this "call" lasts three minutes and four seconds on earth, in the other world is more like a day or two.

So teenagers are... abrutly raptured into this other world where they have to fight for their lives.

By half way of the book, Nessa still hadn't been "called." So all this time the story has been an introduction of different characters and Nessa training at some school to learn how to fight and survive.

I got bored of the sudden "calls." I mean, this other race were taking teenagers almost every day, yet the academy seemed to have plenty of supply. My question was, how come there were so many teens if they were being killed faster than humans could make them? By my count, in a couple of months the academy would be without kids... So these "callings" were too fast which for me, then, didn't make sense. What were they going to do when they ran out of kids?

Anyways, I didn't click with this one.

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.