Friday, December 7, 2018

Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"10PM: Closing time at Cafe Flores. The door should be locked, but it isn't, Scott Bradley and Winsome Sommervil are about to become hostages.

TEN MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING: Scott's girlfriend breaks up with him over the phone while he's in the cafe's basement storeroom because he's late picking her up for the big end-of-the-year party. Now he can't go to the party, but he can't go home, either--not knowing if his dad will still be in a drunken rage. Meanwhile, Winny wanted one night to let loose, away from her mother's crushing expectations. Instead, she's stranded at the cafe after her best friend ditches her in a misguided attempt at matchmaking..." [More +]

Not a fan of this one. I thought the story was gonna be more about the hold up and less about the drama going in the lives of the narrators.

The timeline jumps between "X minutes after closing" and "X minutes before closing (actually hours)". I didn't care about what went on before closing, at all. And what was actually going on after closing was extremely... Slow and uninteresting for me.

Right from the beginning, the author tells you who is doing the hold up and why. So what was left was to find out if anybody who worked there was actually going to be killed.

Ohh! There is also romance in here. Why, didn't Scott's girlfriend just break up with him? Well, I guess YA without romance is not really YA...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Competition by Cecily Wolfe

Rating: DNF

Summary on GoodReads.

"For Mary Sofia, The Penultimate writing competition is more than a chance at a free college education; she wants to show her younger siblings that they can all rise above their violent family history. For Raiden, the pressure to succeed comes from within, although he knows that family traditions play a part in his determination. For Camara, writing fiction is almost compulsive, but her own dark secret may be the best story she can ever tell. For Michael, swimming and writing fit his introverted personality perfectly, but meeting a smart and beautiful girl at The Penultimate makes stepping outside of his comfort zone easy. All four will compete against each other along with 96 other high school juniors for the chance of a lifetime: a full scholarship to a prestigious private college. Some students will do anything to win, but others may pay the price...." [+ More].

A book about a writing competition would engage all writers out there, right? Unfortunately, the plot didn't hold my interest. Starting with the poor and rich students (Jada and Mary Sofia), and the boy (Michael) who looked at Mary Sofia differently on the bus (is romance coming already?), and the typical "I don't care how he looks at me" line... It is all too bland and predictable.

And why is a rich girl (Jada) competing for a full scholarship, anyway, thus probably robbing the poor student (Mary Sofia) of the opportunity? Obviously, Mary Sofia is a much better writer and there is no way that the author is going to give the scholarship to a rich girl, but still...

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

My sister, the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Rating: 3-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer."

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they're perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that's as fun as it is frightening... [+ More].

I liked it even thought didn't like any of the characters, but I liked the writing and the little bit of cultural integrations in the story.

So Karode (the plain sister) helps her serial killer sister Ayoola (and the beautiful sister) by cleaning up after the murders and getting rid of the bodies. Well, doesn't that make her a serial killer too?

There was no insight as to why Ayoola likes killing men... But I guess that is what psycopaths do.

Apparently, Korode is happy to live her life j Ayoola and Karode ended up being the same characters they were before.

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

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Collector’s Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro

Rating: 2-Stars/DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"It’s the summer of 1922, and nineteen-year-old Paulien Mertens finds herself in Paris—broke, disowned, and completely alone. Everyone in Belgium, including her own family, believes she stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiancé, George Everard. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she creates a new identity, a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby, and sets out to recover her father’s art collection, prove her innocence—and exact revenge on George..." [+ More].

I enjoyed the beginning but then things started to rush and the story lost its charm.

For instance, Vivienne finally sees her ex and in about half a page she discovers that he is not who she thought and sends him away. I was expecting a little more drama to the moment.

If you love impressionism (or post) you will enjoy this book.

I just got bored, maybe because of the 3 storylines: present (how the story started), near past (how Vivienne made it to the US and found herself in the situation she was in), and distant past (how Vivienne met her fiance before she became poor and met the collector who brought her to the US). Ah! And I also saw some chapters about Vivienne's ex and his activities which I didn't care about.

I like historical fiction and enjoyed the writing; the story, unfortunately, didn't hold my interest.

Monday, October 29, 2018

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Rating: 4-Stars

Available on March 26, 2019.

Summary on Goodreads.

"Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We're your neighbors, the parents of your kid's friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder..." [More +].

Oh! This turned out to be a good one! The summary doesn't say much though; it turned out to be much better!

At first I was interested, then (like any good reader) I thought I knew where the story was going and was about to lose interest. But then it turned around and surprised me! Mainly, I enjoy two evil people doing evil things to each other to see who wins.

One thing I didn't like at all was the wife's name, Millicent (I even looked it up) because every time I read the name I would read it "Maleficent" so the name for me was like, hello! The woman is maleficent!

Anyway, I also liked (very much) the voice of the narrator (the husband).

I can't say more because then I would give it away but, despite minor things, this was a good read for me.

At 90% I couldn't see how this was gonna get solved so I thought that a second book was coming, and I was already looking forward to it. But somehow, the author managed to wrap it up in a couple of pages and not ruin it.

I did not like the hobby the couple shared but I so liked the characters!

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

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Version of the Truth by B. P. Walter

Rating: 1-Star

Available on February 7, 2019.

Summary on Goodreads.

"2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.

1990: Sophie is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and..." [+ More]

I couldn't put it down but it wasn't because I was liking it but because I wanted to see what Julienne was going to do. God! Her son had more sense than her.

The story alternates between the past (when they were in the university) and the present. I wasn't interested in the past so I skipped most of it, mostly because I knew what was coming.

The present was interesting but I felt that the characters were bland. James seemed to have no blood running through his veins!

The concept of the story, rich people satisfying their low and dark sex appetites with the poor and underprivileged, is something I had read before but here it was played... Without emotions.

When everything comes down during a Christmas dinner, things are said and revealed as a matter of fact. This had no effect on me and I just thought that it was an inefficient way of reaching the climax.

All of the sudden, Julienne realizes that the girl she "saw" her husband having sex with in college was actually raped. Really, after 20 years that revelation just comes down on you?

And what does the title have to do with the story? I didn't see the connection.

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

A simple favor by Darcey Bell

Rating: 3-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time..." [+ More].

I was really enjoying it until the end. I started reading it during lunch and couldn't put it down but the end really ruined it for me.

Mainly, I was intrigued by Stephanie; was she really that stupid or was she pretending? A few of Stephanie's actions suggested some type of intelligence but, can somebody really live their life in a bubble like that?

So just went I started liking Stephanie and was about to make up my mind that she wasn't that stupid the end kicks in and the maxim of stupidity happens.

After everything Emily has done to prove her... Deviousness, Stephanie believes her when Emily says that her husband abused her (as in beat the crap out of her "making sure he hit the right places not to leave a mark"). Ok, fine. Emily kills a guy and asks Stephanie for help to hide the body and frame her husband, Sean. Well! For somebody so rightgeous like Stephanie, it didn't take her 30 seconds to agree to the crime. Really? Not even a thought about what would happen to your incestuou child if you go to jail? Nope. Not even a reaction to the dead body.

And why exactly did you believe Emely now after she proved to be, well, a lier?

Things are nicely tied up at the end and, I guess, Stephanie went back to her previous pious life.

Oh! So I made my mind about Stephanie: at the end, she really is that stupid because the author didn't know what to do with her. Wouldn't had it been great if both of them turned out to be cruel bitches? Then it could really be compared to Gone Girl.

I was gonna go watch the movie because I like the actresses in it but now I won't even watch it on DVD.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"It is 1976 and Mikey, eight-years-old and street-wise beyond his years, is looking forward to a summer of freedom, roaming the creeks and the mud-flats of Canvey Island. But violent emotions are rumbling beneath the surface, about to destroy all that he thought he knew.

When Mikey’s neighbours, the Freemans, win a great deal of money, the old couple become the targets of a criminal act that leaves Peggy Freeman dead and her husband, Bert thirsting for revenge. Believing that young Mikey’s family is responsible, Bert devises a highly unusual but devastatingly effective form of reprisal. But where does the guilt really lie, and will there be punishment or redemption?" [+ More].

Oh! How I liked this one. For some reason, I am a sucker for sarcastic, witty, British humor and S. Lynn Scott's writing is just my type of thing. I enjoyed it so much that it took me almost a week to finish it (yes, I take my time when I like a book).

From any angle I look at it, I can't find anything wrong with this story! I wouldn't mind reading more about Michael at boarding school ( like the book Spud by John van de Ruit).

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Snowhook by Jo Storm

Rating: DNF

Available on January 26, 2019

Summary on Goodreads.

"At first, when a massive ice storm traps fourteen-year-old Hannah and her family in a remote cabin, it feels like a game to practise the survival skills she's been learning. That all changes when an accident leaves her mother desperately low on insulin. With no power and no way to contact the outside world, Hannah steals away with the four family dogs tied to an old dogsled..." [+ More].

So there is a massive storm coming and the father is called in to work to help in the storm (he must have been some type of coast guard or something). Despite of being with his family in a remote cabin, the father chooses to go to save people rather than stay and protect his own. Wow! I guess his sense of duty was bigger than his sense of family. But fine, in YA parents have to be gone for the teenager to be a hero. However, something more convincing wouldn't hurt.

So the family stays trapped in the storm and our little hero, Hannah, suggests to go for help but mom says "no" because the wind is too strong. However, a couple of hours later (or maybe just later) she is allowed to go for help because... The wind is stronger? Again, write something that makes sense!

But, what am I saying? This book is for tweens and teens so there is a chance that they will not catch these little inconsistencies.

Lastly but not least, Hannah has to save, not only herself, but also an inept adult. Was there more people to be saved? I don't know as I DNF it.

However, I see how this blqnd survival nonsense could appeal to a young audience.

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

Friday, September 7, 2018

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.

Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.

Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request..." [+ More].

Pretty bland and boring. So after an accident, Olivia wakes up in Morgan's body. So now everybody thinks Olivia died and Morgan survived. While alive, Morgan was dating Clay and Olivia was dating Clay's brother, Nathan. Oh oh, who will Olivia stay with?

Duh! That's no brainier because, how is Olivia in the body of Morgan choose Nathan (dead Olivia's ex boyfriend and Clay's brother)? That would be like "whaaaaat! The accident messed up with you!"

At the same time, there is a little mystery to solve that the real Morgan left for Olivia in case she died (because, you know, that is what teenagers think about and prepare in advance). Anyways, the new Morgan has to expose the real Morgan's mother ex boyfriend who probably killed her. Once again, that is what teenagers in YA do best, solve crimes that the police are too stupid to solve.

I DNF this book because new Morgan/old Olivia had no personality, the story was simple and not engaging, and I am tired of the poor-rich-girl-character (Morgan is rich but lonely). Damn! I wanna be lonely like that!

Obviously, Olivia is/was a better person so now living as Morgan, she will give this new body meaning and purpose.

And what about Olivia's family? Well, now Olivia (in the body of Morgan) is for them like the daughter they lost. She goes to have breakfast with them every morning and is constantly present in their lives. They are happy to have her because she "fells like a daughter" to them. Duh! And how can you replace a dead daughter with a friend? Only in YA...

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

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The XY by Virginia Bergin

Rating: DNF

Available on November 1, 2018.

Summary on Goodreads.

"She's been taught to fear him. He's been taught to fear her. What if they're both wrong?

In River's world, XYs are a relic of the past, along with things like war and violence. Thanks to the Global Agreements, River's life is simple, safe, and peaceful...until she comes across a body in the road one day. A body that is definitely male, definitely still alive.

River isn't prepared for this. There's nothing in the Agreements about how to deal with an XY. Yet one lies before her, sick, suffering, and at her mercy.

River can kill him, or she can save him. Either way, nothing will ever be the same...." [+ More].

This book is a complete mess and so confusing. The first page when River found the body was okay, but after that nothing made sense. Who is talking? Is it the boy? I guess... Well, not really talking but speaking in his mind. And he too is surprised by River. Why? Didn't he know they existed? I think the story would've been more interesting from the boy's point of view.

All this people acting surprised because of the boy but without a real explanation of why he was so amazing just annoyed me; I was like "it is just a person like you." But obviously he was not.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Current by Tim Johnston

Rating: 3-Stars

Available January 22, 2019.

Summary on Goodreads.

"When two young women leave their college campus in the dead of winter for a 700-mile drive north to Minnesota, they suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives in the icy waters of the Black Root River, just miles from home. One girl’s survival, and the other’s death—murder, actually—stun the citizens of a small Minnesota town, thawing memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may yet live among them. One father is forced to relive his agony while another’s greatest desire—to bring a killer to justice—is revitalized . . . and the girl who survived the icy plunge cannot escape the sense that she is connected to that earlier unsolved case by more than a river. Soon enough she’s caught up in an investigation of her own that will unearth long-hidden secrets, and stoke the violence that has long simmered just below the surface of the town. Souls frozen in time, ghosts and demons, the accused and the guilty, all stir to life in this cold northern place where memories, like treachery, run just beneath the ice, and where a young woman can come home but still not be safe..." [+ More].

I liked the beginning but somewhere towards the middle I felt the story was dragging. It kept me very interested in the plot, though. I just found the writing kind of heavy for me. But I definitely liked the story. The character I liked most was the ex Sheriff, Sutter.

I also liked Audrey because she did not act stupid; and Caroline was a character that deserves a story of her own.

I am so not into paranormal things so I guess that is why I didn't enjoy the story more. Not that it is paranormal, but it has just a little bit of it here and there.

At the end, I didn't find out if they were actually murdered. Did somebody push their car into the river? I guess I missed that part as I skipped some pages here and there.

All in all a very nice story, and if you dig the writing, then you might just love it.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson

Rating: 5-Stars

Available on January 8, 2019 on Amazon

Summary on Goodreads.

"A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.

When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.

But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other..." [+ More].

Oh! How I liked this one. And what is wrong with me? Because I cried! Again. I must have an excess of hormones or something.

Anyways, I found this book deliciously wonderful. I like the writing, the voice of the MC, the development of the romance (specially the development of the romance). I hate romance and all that insta love crap, but this story was not like that.

I liked that I knew what Brooke was thinking all the time and her reasons to do whatever she did. At first I was like, "what is wrong this family?" But I get that not all families are savages like mine.

I completely felt the emptiness that Brooke was feeling and the her need to feel a human touch. I was also thinking "why are people so stupid? His brother is murderer, not her or her family!" But I guess just a small part of the population would think like that. Most people are vicious and just waiting for an opportunity to show it.

There is nothing in this book that I did not like. Everything came together nicely; there was no quick, stupid fixes (like recording a conversation when someone confesses). This story was well thought and planned. I just loved it.

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

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

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

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

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

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

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

Is this family relationship for real?

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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