Thursday, November 26, 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Summary on Goodreads.

"This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra..." [more +].

Well, I must say that the way this book is written is just genius. The story and plot doesn't follow your standard, traditionally narrative. No sir, this one is written exactly as the summary says: a dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more.

That means, that the authors don't need to describe things in the traditional way of "the mountains seemed far away, yet I could make the distinct green of the trees..." because that bullshit narrative is not needed here.

For instance, we get a medical report on Kady where it technically debriefs her: She is more capable than her tests results indicate; does not work well with others; questions authority. There. So simple and without the need of the author to write harmonically about her.

Does this new book format works? For many bloggers it has. Many people just loved the random emails, medical reports, and drawings. Me? Nah! I could do with less documents.

I was digging the interview format, though. Yes, it was fun reading the story that way, but then I got this "Network Security Incident Report" that tells me absolutely nothing and some other random documents inserted that makes the book unnecessary big and damn heavy to carry around.

Our two love birds (well, ex, since they broke even before the beginning of the book) communicate through emails (so far). These emails rambling don't do anything to hold my interest so I skipped them (and therefore missing valuable information that would make me connect with the characters, no doubt).

Can you believe that pages 52 - 63 is an actual list of confirmed casualties? With pictures and all!! Like I'm going to take the time to go through the list of dead people to see if anyone I recognize is there...!? Wow! I hope MY name is not there. Where did they come up with those names? From Brunce Lanky's 60,000 Baby Names book? Or did they purchase a random list from those companies eager to sell your info?

Are the blank black pages of the book supposed to give me an idea of how the universe looked? Empty, dark...

I'm going to stop here. I am sure that there must be some great plot in there but I can't stomach this book any further. Definitely not for me. I loved Kaufman's These Broken Stars, though.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

Summary on Goodreads.

"Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.

But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann's solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted?..." [more +]

Well, first, I have no idea why this book is titled Z for Zachariah because I never found the character with that name.

I think this review will have spoilers so stop if you don't want the story spoiled for you.

I like the story and the plot but I felt that more could have been done with it.

The pace is very slow but somehow I was okay with it. What I was not okay with was Anne's servitude to Mr. Loomis. Why did you keep providing for him after he wanted to rape you?

Okay, religion plays a big part in Anne's character, but the Bible also says "an eye for an eye." Maybe not kill the guy, but let him tend to himself and hopefully he would die in the process.

But maybe Anne didn't really want to be alone anymore and she thought that eventually, Mr. Loomis would come to his senses and they could both repopulate earth like Adan and Eve?

Another question, was the entire planet destroyed or just the U.S.? I kept reading "the world" and "the planet" but it never made references to other countries.

Anne is incredibly smart and I loved that. But she also was an one goody-goody dimensional character that didn't show any type of emotions. She does talk about loosing her family, but I never felt any real feelings there.

Mr. Loomis... A very interesting psycho that we only see from Anne's point of view. So I never knew who he really was.

The end is completely annoying and exasperating because Anne never grew as a person. She presented herself to Mr. Loomis for him to decide to kill her or letter go. So I guess that Anne's survival instincts were off while Mr. Loomis' were spot on.

Nevertheless, the book is a slow but interesting take on survival when you are the only person alive on the planet... or the United States.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Summary on Goodreads.

"Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world." There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm..." [more +]

I loved this book so much that I know I wont do it justice here.

Marcelo has some type of autistic disorder and goes to a special school for children with similar disabilities. Therefore, Marcelo's world is safe and predictable.

When speaking, Marcelo refers to himself in third person and I sooo found this so cute! He also calls her parents by their names.

Marcelo's world is safe and filled with music that only he can hear (in his head). The only thing that bothers Marcelo is that he cannot talk to his father as freely as he wished.

Marcelo father insists that Marcelo is "normal" which makes Marcelo anxious around him. Marcelo would rather his father would just accept that Marcelo is a little different so he wouldn't feel stressed to act as his father expects him to.

So one day Marcelo's father tells Marcelo that he wants him to work in the mailing room at his law firm. Marcelo is terrified because this means deviating from the patterns he knows.

But Marcelo goes to work at his father's law firm and there, Marcelo starts to grow, to move out of his comfort zone, and question the world.

I loved that the author, although of Hispanic background, didn't try to insert useless words in Spanish here and there to try to give diversity to the story. The story is quite diverse as it is.

Quietly, but steady, I saw Marcelo growing as a person and painfully discovering the evil that he had been protected from at his special school.

Mostly, I think this story is a wonderful representation of what a parent could go through when they have a child with a disability but they won't accept it.

Marcelo made a strong point for himself; made some difficult and though decisions and accepted the consequences. But mostly, stood by his own believes and moral code.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Consequences by Aleatha Romig

Summary on Goodreads.

Consequences (Consequences, #1)

"Waking in an unfamiliar bedroom in a luxurious mansion, Claire Nichols is terrified to discover that a chance encounter led her into the cruel hands of her abductor, Anthony Rawlings. Claire has no understanding of why she's there, but it's been made abundantly clear--she is now his acquisition and every action has consequences..." [+]

I was bored out of my head with this book. So Anthony needs sex and for that he needs to hire (or sort of) Claire? Fine. I had no idea this was erotica, I though it would be an abduction/kidnapping thing.

Well, it is abduction, because Claire was taken to Anthony's mansion (the man is filthy rich) without her known and, at first she didn't want to be there. But, predictably, she starts enjoying the sex he takes from her and *gasp in horror or delight, as you wish, starts liking the man. But how not to like Anthony when he is a blend of Brat Pitt, George Clooney and [the Rock?].

On that note, I would really like to see books like this with an Anthony or Mr. Grey who's missing a couple of front teeth, don't take regular showers, have bad breath, belly like a five month pregnant woman, don't buy you expensive cloth, and have you locked up in a room (his vision of a mansion). Why don't you fall in love with that?

So Anthony explains the rules to Claire that included, but are not limited to: never wear underwear, do whatever he wants, be ready for sex because you never know when I might want to take you...

Besides this "romantic" behavior," Claire starts to develop feelings for the man and, as every sensitive woman would think (and dream), she secretly thinks she can "fix him." Clair is also confused because, in clear male behavior, Anthony is sometimes caring and sensitive and some other times he simply takes (rapes) her. What the fuck Anthony? I though my vagina was making you fall for me!

But boomer, the maid is the one that has to break Claire's heart by telling her that Anthony will never admit to having feelings for her because he is afraid of all that shit (plus something traumatic happened to Anthony that will be revealed at the end of the book and make us think, "Aha! That is why he is so adorably messed up. Me wants Anthony too!"

Of course that behind this weird behavior, Anthony is actually a great and generous man who hates injustices, which makes it perfectly okay for him to use Clair.

Meanwhile, Claire's days consist of waking up, exercising, eating, walking, swimming, reading, and getting ready to wait for Tony to sexually please him. Yes, Tony asked Clair to call him Tony as his close friends do. (Hmmm... do these friends perform oral favors too?).

Because who better to attend a charity event with you than your hired sexual slave, Tony takes Claire to public events. Obviously, Claire is refined, beautiful, and they make the perfect couple.

Claire also has all the clothes and make up a woman could possibly want. Not that she needs make up, though, she is extremely beautiful.

So you see where this is going? This book reminds me of The Dumont Diaries (which I actually enjoyed). I read blogger say that the end of this book is unexpected because Claire finally decides to make use of the ovaries that she was born with.

No matter, I'm so bored that I don't care about Claire and Tony at all.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Summary on Goodreads.

I'll be damned Leah! You didn't even go to acting school? I loved her in King of Queens and I also watch The Exes, but that in no way clouds my judgement of appreciating how damn good this book is.

I enjoyed, really enjoyed, reading about Leah's beginnings in acting. Well, the Scientology part was a bonus. I always knew that Scientology is a money sucking cult with the status of religion and reading this book taught me a few thing. Heck! I can even talk about what a SP is!

But I'm going to leave Scientology alone and concentrate in the wonderful delivery of this autobiography. I felt I was hearing Leah reading to me. I appreciate that she didn't sugar-coated things... on second thoughts, I am sure she did because if she wrote everything she really felt she would probably be sued.

But I give to thumps up to Leah for writing something meaningful instead of some bullshit about loving your body like Cameron Diaz did of JLo's SF book about true love in order to sell products.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mini Reviews: Link by Summer Wier and The Bones of you by Debbie Howells

Link by Summer Wier

summary on Goodreads.

Rating: DNF

"For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with he ..." [+]

I was so bored that I could not bring myself to finish it. I didn't feel attached to the characters or the story.

So Kira gets hit in the head and apparently, while she sleeps she falls into another life (some bloggers are calling it black hole, black worm) or whatever. In this other life, we have insta love with some dude who has never seen a girl before. So, he fell in love because of her or because she is the first teenager he saw?

So essentially, we have to stories. One where (or when) Kira is awake and the other one where (or when) she sleeps, blacks out or something and is this other guy (Evan, is the name?)  in another world.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful the story is not.

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

Summary on Goodreads.

Rating: DNF

"When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed..." [+]

I had to DNF it. I didn't find any particular attachment to the characters or the story itself. The dialogue felt superficial and I didn't dig the The Lovely Bones self talk of the dead girl.

As per the book being compared to Gone Girl, does that mean that Rosie is not the perfect daughter everybody thought? *Gasp* Not interested to find out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Seeing Evil by Jason Parent

Summary on Goodreads.

"Major Crimes Detective Samantha Reilly prefers to work alone—she’s seen as a maverick, and she still struggles privately with the death of her partner. The only person who ever sees her softer side is Michael Turcotte, a teenager she’s known since she rescued him eleven years ago from the aftermath of his parents’ murder-suicide.

In foster care since his parents’ death, Michael is a loner who tries to fly under the bullies’ radar, but a violent assault triggers a disturbing ability to view people’s dark futures. No one believes his first vision means anything, though—not even Sam Reilly..
. [+]

Well, this is the first book that I read where the school actually does something for an abused child. 

Tessa is being badly abused by her father, but she would never dare to say something. Fortunately, she didn't hqve to because the school counselor could see the signs.

I really liked that because in all other books I've read school leaders never see anything. It's like the child has to come and say straight out "my father hits me." 

I also liked that although Tessa was being abused she knew that was wrong and she didn't deserve it. 

Now Michael, I kind of liked Michael but I felt that his character was lacking something. So was detective Sam's.

I found the story to be fast paced and it moved along nicely. But in general, I felt something was missing; like it lacked depth.

The bullying part was also well played. The bullied actually did something. And Michael's ability to see people's future seemed to be... well, everybody in the school seemed to know, and I just found that odd. 

But overall, I liked the story.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

Summary on Goodreads.

Rating: 5-Stars

"A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing.

And his wives . . .

Iya Segi—the bride of Baba Segi's youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband's home.

Iya Tope—Baba Segi's second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear.

Iya Femi—the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost.

Bolanle—Babi Segi's fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life's misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives . . . and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all." [+]

This book is so wonderful that I don't know what to say. It is a nice change to all the crime, thrillers and YA that I usually read. 

The story is told in different POVs and at the beginning I had trouble remembering who was who but the family tree at the beginning of the book put me straight and I came to know which wife was narrating before I read her name.

Baba Segi is a traditional Nigerian (or African?) - ha! man who has four wives because he can support them and treat them all equally. And so he does. The problem are the wives, who are treacherous and don't welcome his fourth wife, Bolanle. 

Why? What difference does it make to three wives of four? You will find out in this funny book.

I loved the insight into the culture, the language, the mannerisms....Well, everything!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Detour by S. A. Bodeen

Summary on Goodreads.

Rating: 3-Stars

"On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.

Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself..." [more +]

I liked Bodeen's The Compound and this book seemed to follow the same light, fast pace development.

The Detour touches a few important issues such as bullying, plagiarism, online dating, and thinking you are better than the rest of the world.

From the summary, we know that Livvy thinks she is all that, so be prepared to read about her thoughts of grandeur.... until she is kidnapped. I like that Livvy kept true to herself. I mean, she was kidnapped, but she was still full of herself and willing to fight.

Why was she kidnapped? That is the question! And I won't give the answer :-)

Oh! The story also covers some interesting points about the publishing industry (how books are pushed back) which I found interesting (although it was only a sentence about that).

The story is light and Livvy is annoying at times but I enjoyed it anyways.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mini Reviews: Half of a Yellow Sun - Flesh and Blood - The Shuddering

Flesh and Blood (Red Eye, #3) by Simon Cheshire

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary: I must record the facts that have led me to where I am now. So that, when someone reads this, they understand. Sam Hunter's neighbours are pillars of the community, the most influential people in town. But they're liars too. The Greenhills are hiding something and Sam's determined to find out what it is. As his investigation unfolds, he realizes the lies reach further than he ever imagined - is there anyone he can trust? Uncovering the horror is one thing ...escaping is another.

My Take: I quite enjoyed Sam's character and the way his mind though. He rationalized things in a very teen way (in my opinion). I felt that I was actually reading something written by a teenager, finally! 

Flesh and Blood is the third book as part of a YA series called Red Eye; I had no idea :-)

Why I loved this book? Well, because Sam was a believable teenager for me. This series is supposed to horror and the book should creep you out and all that, but none of that happened to me. 

The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

Rating: DNF

SummaryRyan Adler and his twin sister, Jane, spent their happiest childhood days at their parents' mountain Colorado cabin - until divorce tore their family apart. Now, with the house about to be sold, the Adler twins gather with their closest friends for one last snowboarding-filled holiday. While commitment-phobic Ryan gazes longingly at Lauren, wondering if his playboy days are over, Jane's hopes of reconciling with her old boyfriend evaporate when he brings along his new fiancée. As drama builds among the friends, something lurks in the forest, watching the cabin, growing ever bolder as the snow falls - and hunger rises. After a blizzard leaves the group stranded, the true test of their love and loyalty begins as the hideous creatures outside close in, one bloody attack at a time. Now Ryan, Jane, and their friends must fight - tooth and nail, bullet and blade - for their lives. Or else surrender to unspeakable deaths in the darkened woods.

My take: I loved Ahlborn's Brother but this one I couldn't finish. The beginning is fast pace with Dom running from some creatures but I got bored with the almost-got-him-but-then-didn't. You know, where the character is always almost caught and at the last minute he is not? Well, the beginning was dragging like that.

Then we have four beautiful and some rich people come this place for a vacation where these things come out to eat people (or something like that).

At 50% I was tired of reading about these four characters that I had no interested in whatsoever. So I stopped reading because I really didn't care if they were eaten alive, mutilated, or whatever.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Rating: 3-Stars

Summary: With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.

My take: I found it to be too long, so I got bored (at times) and skipped pages. I was wondering how Ugwu learned to do all the things he did (turn a stove on, clean a bathroom, etc.) because he came from a village where... well, he had never seen modern life or civilization. 

I wonder these things because at the beginning of the story Ugwu was surprised with the size of the apartment, the white floors, didn't know how to open a faucet... So I expected to learn along with Ugwu how things worked. Instead, the story jumped to three weeks after and apparently, Ugwu (somehow learned) already knew how to do things.

Besides that, the story was interesting at times. For me it was too long and I lost interest, but a good piece of writing nonetheless.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Second Captive by Maggie James

Summary on Goodreads.

"Beth Sutton is eighteen years old when Dominic Perdue abducts her. Held prisoner in a basement, she’s dependent upon him for food, clothes, her very existence. As the months pass, her hatred for him changes to compassion. Beth never allows herself to forget, however, that her captor..." [more +]

I didn't particularly like it BUT, this book did offer things that I had been looking in other books on the same subject.

The book is told from the POVs of the victim, the kidnapper, and the victim's mother.

First, from the POV of Beth, we learn about her and how she allowed this to happen to her.

Then we get the POV of Dominic, the kidnapper, explaining why he's kidnapping Beth.

Once Beth is locked up in the basement, the POVs go from Beth to Dominic to show how they both experience the situation. 

Alas! Beth escaped and showed up at her house. Then we have the POV of Ursula, Beth's mom, wondering what happened to her daughter and dealing with a different Beth. 

I didn't connect with ANY of the characters, at all. Not even Beth (and she was the victim). For instance, when Beth returns her keens are bleeding, she is dirty, wearing a man's clothes, and barefoot (almost). She tells the family that she was in London with a friend for the the past two years and that's that. Mom, you don't take her to the hospital despite the condition she came in?

Later, her mom suspects that Beth suffered some kind of abuse, yet she won't take Beth to the hospital or see someone because Beth doesn't want to. And, at one point, she follows Beth and finds out where Beth was being kept captive,  and what does mom do? Confront the kidnapper herself. I mean, aren't you scared of this psychopath? Nope, mom makes several trips to the cottage to confirm her suspicions. Does she tell the police? Nah! let's leave him lose so he can do the same to someone else.

Troy, Beth's brother and 14 years old at the same of Beth's disappearance, knew about this guy asking around for her sister, and saw her go with him the night Beth was last seen. Yet, he didn't say anything because... he was 14 and was scared. Uhum...

What I did like about the story was that I got to read what happened to Beth after she escaped and what happened to the kidnapper. Usually, these type of books leave you hanging after the victim is found and is up to you to imagine what would happen. So on this sense, this is a very throughout book. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

Summary on Goodreads.

Available February 2, 2016

Buy from Amazon

"When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he's trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek's little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris's story won't change. It can't. There is far too much..." [more +]

I cannot say that I didn't like it, but I can't say I like it either. I like that it is a book for boys (we need more of those). I guess this book kind of shows you how the system (life) can mess up sometimes.

It deals with issues of abandonment (as in the father preferring one sibling over the other) and it is very heavy on sibling responsibility. Actually, I felt kind of exasperated with Chris' mom and Chris himself because everything revolved around Chris' brother. Chris gave up his dreams/life to take care of his brother. Well, hello! That's what you mother is for!!

I found kind of absurd that a boy is kidnapped and the police was never involved. Well, maybe Chris told Derek the whole story in two hours? Derek was a very exasperating character. A lot of threads about cutting fingers and never actually did something.

The end was interesting because it aroused some questions that I cannot post because it would give away the plot.

Over all, I didn't find any connection with the characters. Derek's kidnapping of Chris served like a kind of therapy for Chris to come to terms with his father's dead and his feelings. It also served as therapy for Derek so, there, some psychologist just lost two clients.

The story got boring at times with Derek insistence of wanting to know the truth. Hmm? I got it the first time, Chris was to tell you the truth. 

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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

Summary on Goodreads.

Available October 26, 2015

Buy from Amazon

First, this would be an awesome reading for a victim of domestic violence. The story takes the character to the point where I couldn't take it anymore, and then she fights back and rebuilds her life.

That sounds promising... but the trip to get there was horrible. Lily, so smart that she got several full scholarships to the best universities in the country can't, for the love of God, recognize domestic violence for what it is. Okay, her father abused her (not sexually) all her life... This is where I ask myself what schools are there for? Surely being so smart you knew that if talked to the school counselor they would do something for you, no Lily?

After a bad beating, Lily left her father and went to live with Troy, her boyfriend. And how is Troy's home? A repetition of Lily's. Troy's father beats his wife and Lily sees the signs but all she does is ask "are you okay?" "Oh yes, dear, I am fine, I fell off the bed last night." And Lily is like, oh, okay. That happens.

Lily has constantly been told that she is stupid and boy, she is indeed. I would understand if you accept the violence because you don't know where to go or what to do, but "he hit me because I'm stupid. I should do things better so he doesn't get mad. It is all my fault. God! why do I have to be so clumsy?" That thinking, from someone who is in college to become an English teacher is just plain nonsense.

At one point Troy tells Lily she has to leave college because his career is more important than hers and she is all "oh yes, you are right." I wanted to throw up right there.

Several trips to the hospital because Lily is badly beaten and what do the doctors and nurses do? Well, they did ask her if her husband abused her. But I'd expect you to do more than that; like give her mandatory counseling in order to be discharge, maybe?

Oh! Troy beats the shit out of her one day and after several days unconscious in the hospital, when Lily wakes up he tells her that she was assaulted in the  house. Guess what? Lily believes him!! Because, he started beating you when you were conscious, but surely he stopped and then someone broke in and finished you like that.... right?

Finally, one day Lily decided that enough is enough and left Troy. And who does she end up with? A charming rich man! I mean, stinking rich, yes sir. Oh! but Lily does rebuild her life all by herself, finally goes to therapy and learns that she is beautiful, worthy, and not stupid.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Summary on Goodreads.

Available January 12, 2016

Buy from Amazon

"Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping case of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on.

Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the oval office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces..." [+ more]

A pretty decent thriller and espionage book. So Addie was kidnapped and eight years later she returns home. However, Addie is not what she seems.

I liked the plot and suspense. I, however, could not connect with Addie at all. She had her reasons, but they weren't convincing for me. Or maybe the author needed to convince me the way Addie was convinced.

And who was Susan? Something was going down on April 15th in memory of Susan, did Addie ever found out the truth about her?

Addie has the hacking skills of... well, being a fiction book, Addie is the best hacker in the world which didn't come across as believable for me, but whatever. However, for someone so smart she kept acting pretty dumb after she found out the truth about her relationship with her kidnapper.

Maybe the book could have given me more about Addie to make me see her side, but I just could't like her. At the end, things developed kind of in a rush, thus not giving me the closure I was looking for. Like... things were put together to finish it up.

BUT, despite not liking Addie, I couldn't put the book down!

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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Santa; by Nicola Mar

Summary on Goodreads.

Available on Amazon

"Spanning the course of several weeks, Santa; details the physical and emotional deterioration of June, a victim of severe bullying after she survives an attack by her classmates. With no one and nothing to trust but faith, she struggles with the idea that the human spirit may not exist."

I can't believe how pathetically lame and predictable this book is.

First, June is bullied because she is size 8. On what planet is this book set? Is this a town full of people size 0-2 only? Size 8, people; this author thinks being size 8 is fat... moving on.

The captain of the football team and his friends are jerk. Has it ever been any other way in YA? Apparently, cute, nice, and popular don't belong together.

As customary in YA #1, June goes to a party that nobody invited her to, and... (insert music here) gets drunk. Oh yes, fat, ugly chick always get drunk when at uninvited parties.

As customary in YA #2, June gets raped. And then we have the momentary "was it rape? Because I really didn't fight it" bullshit of always. Don't worry, eventually June will make up her mind and call it rape.

Ohhh! But amidst the tragedy that June is living, there is a boy that right when June's naked pictures are posted online comes forward and confesses that he likes her. And what does June do? His prince, this guy John, is there to save me! Finally someone who cares for me. BUT, how long has it been since the rape? I week, I gathered, and June goes to John's house to have sex with him. Well, I'd call that a quick recovery.

But alas!, John is not what he seemed... boomer. Just when I thought June was going to be happily ever after.

So EVERYBODY in June's school, and I mean EVERYBODY seems to hate June (because she is size 8?). Everybody calls her names and makes fun of her and her naked pictures. So, what is poor June to do? Kill herself, of course. But since everything in June's life has to go wrong, she doesn't even do that right.

So we have June back in the land of the living living her pathetic live. Desperate much? Hmmm, I wonder where were the adults in the school when all this was happening. Counseling, teachers, etc. Nope, not in this book.

The author portrays a June so miserable that it was just impossible for me to like her. Some people will eat this right up, I'm sure.

Oh! Of course June has a best friend who is the epitome of beauty. "Why is she my friend? What does she see in me?" wonders poor June.

June also has some lame dreams with an angel (or Santa) and she being someone else that... wow! Poor imagination here.

At the end, nothing changes in June's life but she recovers and learns to be happy with exactly the same house (everybody's house was prettier than June's), best friend, mother, and body she had at the beginning of the story.

Finally, in an attempt to sell this book, the author is donating 10% of the sales to Project Semicolon, an organization providing love and support to those who are struggling with depression, self-injury, and suicide.

The author was trying to rise awareness about bullying and its consequences (suicide). In my opinion, you do not fight bullying by writing about depressed characters that try to kill themselves. So, like in every other YA, being fat or ugly is the basis for bullying? What about you give me normal people that are bullied just because?

Authors, please provide a story where school leaders and the community are actually involved trying to fight bullying. ONE character alone cannot stop being bullied. Writing about fat characters that are bullied and kill themselves is not going to stop bullying. What do you think, that a bully is going to read the story and say 'oh! this could be me causing somebody to kill themselves. I'm gonna stop now."

What the f*%(%, maybe I should write a damn realistic book about bullying myself.

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