Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Eleanor and Park By: Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I so wanted to give this 4 or even 5 stars and that could have been if not for the rush of an ending that seemed to go against the build up of the book.
Eleanor is the new girl, the misfit, the one who doesn't fit in - yet by chance sitting by Park on the bus a slow relationship grows. It begins very slowly without talking, without speech, with only an understanding, and the author goes back and forth within each character into the development of what is happening in their head and personal lives to make such three dimensional beings. The relationship goes from speaking to something more and although Eleanor is ridiculed at school, Park is on the other spectrum; Park comes from a loving family, Eleanor huddles in a corner and debates crawling out to neighbors to call the police. There is a underlying situation and although I knew immediately who was responsible for the notes, maybe other readers won't be, but this is something I was also surprised was rushed in the ending. The teenage angst and emotions are high, the "drama" that only remind one of first love and that is why this is very good, but oh, how I needed more pages in the end.

View all my reviews

Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Sixth Grave From The Edge By: Darynda Jones

Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, #6)Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVE this series! What isn't to like - Charley Davidson is the Reaper, the love of her life is the son of satan, Reyes Farrow, her best friend Cookie keeps her supplied with coffee -- and although she might find a naked dead man riding shotgun in Misery (her Jeep), find herself mixed up with her Uncle's love life, trying to unravel ancient prophesies, and work on getting people's souls back from The Dealer (a soul eating former slave demon)... it's all in a day's work, everything else thrown in - like the Mexican mob, is cake.
And I did not give ALL of the action/adventure/romance away in this installment of the book series. Charley is the best heroine - smartass, badass, yet vulnerable, she is part crazy and brilliant (depending on the day and moment it could go 70/30 or 60/40), there is a lot of heart in the book and the character too. This is the book to lose yourself into, think, cry, laugh, be surprised, and be waiting until later this year for the next one devour!
On a side note - Darn you, Ms. Jones -- I want all of those t-shirts!!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: The One By: Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection, #3)The One by Kiera Cass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The conclusion of The Selection Series is a NOT to be missed. All too often, I am let down by a series as it continues or by the time the last book finalizes the adventure that I have been on --- not this one. Ms. Cass has definitely thought of her readers and her characters - you will not be disappointed.
The Selection is down to the final four, Prince Maxon is taking his time, the rebels from the south are killing, the rebels from the north want an agreement, and America knows that if she allows herself, all she will want is the prince himself - but what about the ties to Aspen.
It seems as though America is also making the King only angry at what she has to say and the public fall more in love with her -- since finding those diaries, is it possible to change everything and bring about a new system, one that will be good for everyone. Too soon the clock is ticking not just for the Prince's decision but on the rebel opposition and their thirst for change, a race against time, against death, for love
Hopefully, you have enjoyed the other books in this series - this one will not let you down and is a great way to finish. I just will miss them all.

View all my reviews

Review: The House on Blackberry Hill By: Donna Alward

House on Blackberry Hill (Jewell Cove, #1)House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know, I know - a romance novel gets 5 stars --- well, it is well deserved. It is original, not redundant in so many ways that others are, it is fun, gripping, well written, and I really loved it.
Abby Foster didn't know one side of her family, when she comes to sort out the inheritance, the big Foster House aka the House on Blackberry Hill, in the small town of Jewell Cove - maybe she has more than she bargained for.
Tom Arseneault has dreamt of working on the house and restoring it to it's former glory, being the best contractor in town, brings him to the door within hours of Abby's arrival and right through the veranda. He might be a little pushy when it comes to getting this job, but he has had his heart broken and for all he knows destroyed - leaving him a bit of a recluse and his family divided.
Abby wants to sort the house, put it on the market, there are no ties here. She has had no ties and no love for so long that she wouldn't know what to do. As the house begins to unveil the beauty of the wood, so does it begin to show itself in the form of a ghost and a mystery that needs to be solved to bring rest and peace.
There are wonderful secondary characters and this is a part of a series that I am sure going to be looking forward to losing myself in - the ending added a bit to the second mystery that will be in the next book. I loved the characters, the depth, I loved the town, the imagery, I could close my eyes and I was in Jewell Cove and felt everything. You will cry, laugh, and root for these people.

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

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Empire Girls By: Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

Empire GirlsEmpire Girls by Suzanne Hayes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Rose and Ivy Adams have just buried their father, found that their home is in arrears, and that they have a secret half brother in New York City. Rose, the eldest, who took the place as the adult long before her time once their mother passed, now sees the only hope of her life, the only home she has ever known going to an unknown - whereas, Ivy, the wild eyed, live in the moment, daughter who favored her father finds this as an adventure that can only bring her a piece of him at least in a way to keep him alive, and a way to get away from the sleepy town and into the big city.
With only small clues to guide them, they find themselves at Empire House, a boarding house of misfits and people with secrets of their own - some of which seem awfully close to the Asher Adams that they are in search of, but why all the secrets. The city seems too big and small, seems to draw out each one of their strengths and weaknesses, and it will either bring these two together or snap them apart forever.
Each chapter varies each girls point of view and the development is good of each one, but sometimes there is something missing, a depth - I understand the drive, but there is a skimming of time, or the character's feelings or actions. I enjoy the mystery, the sisterhood element, the time period, the secondary characters. This is a nice, quick read, a little two dimensional, but nice for easy reading.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: The Wolf By: Lorenzo Carcaterra

The Wolf: A NovelThe Wolf: A Novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vincent 'The Wolf' Marelli let his guard down once and had his wife and daughters killed in what was a supposed terrorist attack on a flight, he knew better, he knew they were the target. Vincent oversees a crime empire, working with different crime bosses and making a few enemies that he refuses to, this wasn't just business though - this was personal. He turns to the bosses and asks for help to kill those behind this and stop the terrorist group that seems to be rising, to begin a war. He knows they will help him and knows the traitor will show their true colors sooner or later. Now 'The Wolf' can hunt.
This is a fast paced who done it, race against the clock, revenge type of novel. From the crime syndicates of the Italians to Yakuza to Greek to the battle against the Russian and terrorist organizations - very detailed. The setting mostly in Italy and written as if you were watching from a piazza all the interactions. And the ending has me hoping for another book with The Wolf.
Now I did read an ARC -- there was a bit of disconnect at times, I don't know if this was due to the author's own personal life and struggle during the writing of this novel or the over editing of it. Some of the interactions were forced, almost unnatural - as were some of the "shoot outs". But this is a good book, worth reading, delving into the world, and especially into the mind of the main character - the ending was great, just proving a point from the beginning. You will enjoy this.

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

View all my reviews

Review: How to Survive Life (and Death) : A Guide for Happiness in This World and Beyond By: Someone Who Died Three Times Robert Kopecky

How to Survive Life (and Death): A Guide for Happiness in This World and BeyondHow to Survive Life (and Death): A Guide for Happiness in This World and Beyond by Robert Kopecky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had to read this one twice!!

Aloha! This is not the average spiritual book or book about a near death experience (or three), it is more about the lessons of life for your soul and going forward from here and now onward.
The author writes plainly and reaches the reader with something greater than common sense, more aligned with soul understanding. Love is the lesson behind life and what can we do to make it happen, to do it present, to make us present in it - it is here in these pages. Concepts of radical kindness, radical forgiveness, radical surrender (see a pattern) are discussed, using the energy of love to heal the different types of pain we experience through life, being aware of those things that extinguish the potential in life, coming back to the Source... there is so much to gain within these pages.
I didn't know what to expect when I began this book, after reading it, I had to go through it again- this time with a pen, highlighter, and notebook next to me. It is not complicated, it is simple, yet wonderfully written and the message is one that is a gift to have and to share.

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

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: Delectable By: Adrianne Lee

DelectableDelectable by Adrianne Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

I think that this could be a 3 1/2 stars.

Callee McCoy has bundled up her life, ready for a divorce, and set to leave town when as fate should have it her soon to be ex comes back from one of his many fishing trips and his mother (whom she adores) has a massive heart attack in front of her. Losing her father in law was hard and left her husband Quint emotionally detached from life, but this time something seems to be bringing them back together ... and it is not all about taking care of Quint's mother, Molly, and her pie shop.

This is that guilty pleasure. The book that you can read in an afternoon and feel good as you reach the last page. This is part of a series, the first book, which introduces us to a town and some characters sure to show up in some future novel. Also, don't miss out on the recipe that is included!

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review: Things Remembered : A Novel By: Georgia Bockoven

Things Remembered: A NovelThings Remembered: A Novel by Georgia Bockoven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Karla Esterbrook finds that in order to move forward on must face the past. Her past consists of being the oldest of three girls that suddenly lost their parents and were shipped between family until finally going to their maternal grandmother Anna, of which she has a very complicated relationship with, she has an ex husband that has left her in debt and a store she always dreamt of owning. Karla finds herself being in charge of preparing the estate with Anna and start settling all the affairs. Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and the walls that were built long ago come up, but soon as Karla opens her heart to listen she is able to open her heart to love - hopefully it isn't too late to make up for all the years wasted.
I loved this book. The complicated story of female relationships, the family ties that bind us, the gift of love through the generations, traditions, the gift of forgiveness - especially for yourself. So many themes and this is the book that is PERFECT to share with your sister, mother, grandmother, cousin. A great beach read, good for discussion, but mainly for that feel good feeling for the women in your life and how strong their importance lingers.
***** This is a First Reads, Thank You Goodreads *****

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before By: Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved BeforeTo All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lara Jean Covey has been in love, at least from afar. And when she finds the need to purge that out, she writes each boy out of her system a long love letter, from the heart, tears, empty dreams flow and now as each envelope sealed and addressed hide in her hat box - a memory. That is until her sister Margot decides to go away to school in Scotland and her dad decides to clean house, and soon mysteriously those letters are now in the hands of the ones that were never meant to see them - including her sister's ex boyfriend and boy next door, Josh. To complicate matters, Peter, her former friend's recent ex, got his and now has an idea that might help both of them - a fake relationship. Lines blur for everyone and the complications of what once was felt and what is now happening ripple, maybe Lara needs to stop the fantasy and hold on the possibility of reality.
This is a cutesy type of book, some of the "drama" seemed forced and didn't necessarily flow with the book, and the ending wasn't as climatic as I wished it would have been - but overall, I liked it, predictable, sweet, and something to enjoy for a couple hours when at the pool.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review: Going Vintage By: Lindsey Leavitt

Going VintageGoing Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mallory thought things were great between her and her boyfriend until she went onto his computer, clicked on the history, and found a whole other life and girlfriend there. It was on that moment that she felt betrayed, not just by him, but by technology in general and made the decision to swear it off, at least until she checked off a list she found that her grandmother wrote when she was her age. Should be easy, no phone, no internet; become pep squad secretary (first, must create a pep squad), host a fancy dinner, sew a dress (maybe learn to sew on a button), find a steady, and do something dangerous.
I loved Mallory, her sister Ginnie, Oliver and other characters - they came right off the pages and literally into life, like a 90s Freddie Prinze Jr movie. Is this a cute book, yes - sweet, yes - does it hold a few lessons of growing up in the pages, of course and the value of loving yourself above all else -- But I must tell you, that it is the way it is written that swallows you and makes you dive head first into it and fall in love and glimmer over again about first loves and heartbreak and finding your worth. This is the book to curl into and share with your daughter, keep on your shelf and pull out before you take out the old yearbook.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: World of Warcraft War Crimes By: Christie Golden

War CrimesWar Crimes by Christie Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All the leaders of factions of both the Alliance and the Horde have gathered before the August Celestials to hear the trial of Garrosh Hellscream.
From the beginning, with wounds raw and tensions tight, twists and turns occur - the introduction of The Vision of Time, but most surprisingly, High Chieftain Bain Bloodhoof is serving as the Defender and High Priestess Tyranda Whisperwind as the Accuser. Each must bring their case forward doing their upmost and best. Witness after witness is brought forth, vision after vision used, and as the trial goes on the question of all - Alliance and Horde - is brought to trial and just who has clean hands of any war crimes?
There are those that plot to kill, those that plot an escape, and time is ticking as the trial comes to an end, posing the great question - is it possible for someone like Garrosh to change given a chance?
Warning: Great surprises and A cliffhanger that will have you wanting for more

I could not put this down!!! This book I read in one sitting, it was engaging and I was on the edge of my sit! If not left in check, do we all have the capability to have Garrosh inside of us?

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

View all my reviews

Review: Tease By: Amanda Maciel

TeaseTease by Amanda Maciel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Sara Wharton finds herself re evaluating her actions that lead up to another classmate taking her life. It does help that she is forced to do this considering that she is facing some major charges in the actions that lead up to the death of Emma Putnam. Taken straight from headlines and the epidemic of bullying, this book explores the the build up and aftermath the the eyes of the perpetrator and is supposed to ask the reader to see through the black and white and into the grey.
Sara is a mean girl and her "best friend" Brielle is even worst - how is it that these people are the hierarchy of high school truly begs to wonder and adds to the belief of the dumbing down of society. I was horrified to think that a whole school would be behind these school girl antics and not stand up to them, never, not once, throughout the book, did another student hold any integrity to put these two into their place... is this how it works now?! Let me say this, never would I nor have I stood back and allowed another human being to be bullied in my presence (or even rumored about - are you a coward, say it to their face to find the truth, if you care). I am sure that the self-involved Sara would not be an easy character for any one to like or find any qualities to keep on reading. The reason for the bullying, Emma is too pretty, has too many male friends, has stolen Sara's boyfriend Dylan - yeah, a "real" keeper there.
Don't look for something deep within these pages, shallow, mean people, without boundaries that come across page after page, actions left uncheck by even adults that lack responsibility, and a rushed ending that seems as false as a tv evangelist selling redemption for the price of $17.99 - I really loved the documentary Bully and recommend it if you are looking for insight.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: A Long Long Way Down By: Nick Hornby

A Long Way DownA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Topper House is the highest place in London and popular for one thing, suicide - jumpers, that is. It is on New Years Eve that four people collide with the same idea, finding themselves on the roof, with the same idea, and now find themselves forever linked in each other's lives.
Martin, used to have a wife a successful career, a relationship with his two little girls; he has also slept with a fifteen year old, gone to prison, and knows that this is the punishment that he deserves.
Maureen, has no husband, never did, but has a full handicap son which has given her no life, taking hers would make no difference in the world.
Jess, is mercurial, having a missing sister, a famous political father, an ex who won't explain just what happened, well, maybe all this comes and goes but the feeling is rather passionate and necessary just to stop going on.
JJ, had a band, had a girl, had the possibilities and then it ended, everyone moved on but him and the depression has gripped him and labeled him as a waste and loser.
Mr. Hornby writes with humor and honesty about these characters, making them very real, vulnerable. I think that this was his finest and best work that I have ever read! Switching the point of view between characters, allowing the reader to gain more insight into each one and way others seem outside of themselves - brilliant!
Perfect to read on your own, to read with a group (imagine the discussions to had with one!!!), I am sure that you will want to share this one.

View all my reviews

Review: 396 Pure, Unadulterated, Dyed-In-The-wool, 100% Made-Up, Completely Fake Disneyland "Facts" By: Horatio Q Liar

396 pure, unadulterated, dyed-in-the-wool, 100% made-up, completely fake disneyland 396 pure, unadulterated, dyed-in-the-wool, 100% made-up, completely fake disneyland "facts" by Dominick Cancilla
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

The "Magical" place on earth - apparently there are others that have the same observations as me and are not afraid to list the insanity that occurs once you enter the turnstiles or talk to those who eyes that glaze over, a dopey smile washes across the face, and a tirade of the wonder of the theme park is spewed in your direction and then wish for the hours of your life back.
How many "facts" can be found in a place where you pay to wait in line to ride three rides the whole day - 396. These are fake facts, that when you go back into the trauma of the experience, you can laugh. I found them filled with the kind of dry humor, a bit tongue in cheek, that I can appreciate. Keep this book handy - this is the one you want when family wants a reunion at the park, or the kids/grandkids want a trip - a simple reminder of the insane and that you are not alone.

View all my reviews