Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: A Feast For Crows By: George RR Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will rave about George RR Martin over and over again. I will say things like how brilliant he is, amazing, how Tolkien-esque - Of course if you have not discovered him yet, GO NOW, Run, lose yourself within Game Of Thrones, Westeros, and The A Song Of Fire And Ice Series. You will not be the same. Fantasy novels will no longer look the same, they have a new bar.
This is book four in the series and it does not slow down. The manipulations and games that all will play to survive to sit upon the throne. Some see only today, see their territory, while others have a grander vision that will take marriage and unveiling. Mr. Martin will continue with surprises and heartbreaks (which I think makes him also a marvelous storyteller, not afraid). The action is only half of the vision that is occurring, the rest is in the next novel, A Dance With Dragons.
I don't like to give spoilers, but the title of the book is referenced multiple places within, one place is "The crows will feast upon us all if you go on this way, sweet sister." Now that should get your attention have you rushing to read this book.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Elizabeth Is Missing By: Emma Healey

Elizabeth Is MissingElizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time seems to tick and go forward and in reverse in this original, amazing, beautiful novel about a woman who is suffering from alzheimers/dementia and the possibility of two crimes locked inside of her mind, one fairly recent the other from the past. Told in Maud's point of view, the reader gets lost inside the mind, within the panic, the memory, the confusion, the ongoing need to never forget and find the truth.
Slips of paper help Maud remember, each slip reminds her that Elizabeth is missing, that she hasn't called, that she hasn't been by. Maud knows that Elizabeth's son is no good and rations her, practically starves her, never visits. There is something about Elizabeth that brings about all the memories of long ago, when her sister Suskey went missing, about the mad woman that cursed her and birds flying about her head. How is it that she can remember so long ago, when her daughter's face no longer is recognizable, streets no longer are the same, when in a blink she has become the mad woman in the street.

I LOVED this book!!!!! It is hard to believe that this the author's first novel - for it is truly a talented piece. Original, brilliant, emotionally gripping, for lack of a better word - beautiful. Many twists, turns, surprises - this is one that you will enjoy, that you will want to share, and you will want to re read.

Now, I will divulge, that I have family members that have suffered and that currently suffer with ALZ and dementia -- this book was truly heartfelt from someone that had that experience, written I think with honor, love, and respect. It would be a great tool maybe to help open dialogue with some that are beginning their journey into your world of experience, to talk about the disease.

****** This is a First Reads, Thank You Goodreads *******

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Great By: Sara Benincasa

GreatGreat by Sara Benincasa
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Naomi Rye plays "Carraway" character in an updated retelling of the tale of The Great Gatsby. Sent for the summer to her mother's in the Hamptons, she rekindles her acquaintances with the likes of the whose who of the trust fund generation. The mysterious newcomer that has rented the property next door, is the famous fashion blogger Jacinta Trimalchio, who has a past, dark and secret and links to the people that she covers.

I love F Scott Fitzgerald and I love The Great Gatsby, I thought I would give this book a try and found - something, well, okay. It might appeal to to an eighth grader, but I would think it was glorified fanfiction that one could find on Wattpad. The plot virtually stolen from Fitzgerald brick by brick, updated by blogs, technology, girl crushes. Why mess with a good thing, be inspired, make your own road - unfortunately, you won't find it here. The redeeming quality is that it might get a generation to pick pick up the real thing and enjoy the true work of a great writer, Fitzgerald.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Ruin Falls By: Jenny Milchman

Ruin FallsRuin Falls by Jenny Milchman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

***** This is a First Reads, Thank You Goodreads *****

Elizabeth Daniels has woken up to a nightmare. The vacation that her husband and kids set for yesterday seemingly hours behind her, as she awakes in the hotel to missing children and later to the realization that Paul, her husband, has taken them and disappeared. The man she once thought she knew had secrets long hidden away and she will stop at nothing to uncover who he is and what those secrets are to get to her children. There are also people that want their own secrets protected and Liz is getting too close to messing with the grand vision.

I was on pins and needles. The complexities of relationships of featured strongly, especially throughout the mother - Liz's relationship with her children, her friend Jill with her son Andy, Paul's mother Mary and her relationship regarding Paul and even with Liz, some of the secondary characters are defined by the relationships that they held with their mothers. What is the scariest case for a mother, than to lose their child - to have them ripped away, kidnapped, overnight, with no indication, by their own father (thereby, the law can only do so much) - the betrayal, the pain.

The next steps come to Liz as strange people and incidents occur - she investigates, she searches, and she digs. This is where the primal need comes, where a mother will not stop, nothing will come in her way, when there seems to be no hope she will find it, and when someone says back off she will fight further.

This is a great book for a book club, wonderful for discussion! Once you pick this one up, you will not put it down, Enjoy!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Above By: Isla Morley

AboveAbove by Isla Morley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At the age of sixteen Blythe Hallowell is taken. She is put into what once was a missile silo, forced to live underground by a man she knew, a survivalist, the librarian, Dobbs Hordin. Forced to endure the rantings of coming of the end, the belief that she was "chosen" because she was special, as she spends years beneath the surface, years fighting off the madness, with the ember of hope trying never to go out that one day she will be free. Over the years, she has a son, and when the opportunity presents itself (after approximately eighteen years being below) - they can escape to above, but what is there, may not be what she remembered the world being and the true nightmare may have just begun.

I went back and forth with this book on loving it so much to feeling aggravation. Some details may not be for the faint of heart, and the ending doesn't answer the book, rushed a bit, feels like it belonged somewhere else, like it was chopped up - most of the second half was that way. Original, interesting, strong depth of character keeps the theme of hope and the strength of the human spirit throughout. Part thriller part dystopian this one might keep you up to finish, but you will want those hours of rest back.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: Safe Keeping By: Barbara Taylor Sissel

Safe KeepingSafe Keeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

****** This is a First Reads, Thank You Goodreads *****

I think 2 1/2 stars would be more accurate in my rating to be fair.

The story surrounds a family in Texas; Emily, the matriarch, who has her own pains and regrets in life as she blindly carries and sweeps her family's clean or bakes her way in a false stepford smile; Roy, the patriarch, wounded in war, came back with ptsd, did damage to his family in more ways than one, the night terrors sometimes keep in the day, questions was it all worth the pain; Emily, the daughter, the oldest, the one who has kept things running, married right, keeps the company going along with her husband, blindly loyal; Evan, Emily's husband, the son that never was, the silent strength; Tucker, the son, the lost child, the one who in one of his father's moments became an enemy and never grew out of it, and the one who is now the suspect in a murder - again.

Can lightning strike twice and it still be a mistake? Tucker is the suspect again in a murder of woman, another one he knew, another one found where the last one was, in the same fashion of death. Why does this keep happening? Can't people see what the rest of the family can? That he is good, that he is kind, that he has emotional problems that make him wonder off for days, but he is also the type of person the would spend his paycheck on saving a dog that was run over on the side of the road that he found. This is where the nightmare only begins for the Lebay Family, with their family history with each other and with the small town secrets that slowly creep up there are a bit of twists and turns.

Why only 2 1/2 stars - I didn't connect with any of the characters. I struggled to keep reading and finish the book, which thankfully I did, because finally 250 pages in is when the action began and it got exciting - sadly that left only 50 pages to wrap it up, which was plenty. There was a disconnect that not only I felt with the characters, but they had with each other, everything seemed very surface - a facade of love, of care, of a marriage, of a relationship with each other, I don't know if that was the author's intent.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Lakeside Cottage By: Susan Wiggs

Lakeside CottageLakeside Cottage by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate Livingston doesn't expect much this summer - it already has started on such a high note, being fired, her son Aaron getting testy, the rest of the family not coming to the lake home, a handsome stranger bailing her out at the grocery store when she was short of cash. Although, a big surprise of a homeless girl living in the empty home greeted Kate the moment she began unloading groceries, maybe this is where Kate should have realized the summer was going to be much different than any other.
Kate has been burned by people, has kept men away. Her son, Aaron never has had a father in his life and not much in the male role models. Aaron also has a quick temper, emotional outbursts. Kate has a big heart and her son is flawed but forgivably so. The young homeless girl, Callie, also comes with a broken past. Callie is damaged, broken, her heart, her pain, her rawness is there (I think that she is the most believable and real character in the book), yet she is a survivor, one who understands the glimmer of hope and is wise beyond her years.
JD Harris, AKA American Hero Sergeant Jordan Donovan Harris, is looking to hide away. He wants to escape the media, the backstabbers, the people that were in his life that were willing to sell a private moment to the public, the feeding frenzy that fed off of him. In one moment he became a hero and lost all rights to his life and privacy, as soon as he could, he escaped to a secluded lakeside home of his best friend where no one could find him. He was looking forward to the alone time, the anonymous life, what he didn't plan on was a beautiful redhead, her buoyant son, and an insightful girl making a summer filled with possibility if he could allow himself to dream and open up.
A great read. I found the characters had dimension, I really enjoyed the depth of some of the secondary characters and the deep honesty within them. A beach read definitely or jump start your celebration into Spring - the imagery flows off the page!

******* This is a First Reads, Thank You Goodreads *******

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