Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Mother, Mother By: Koren Zailckas

Mother, Mother: A NovelMother, Mother: A Novel by Koren Zailckas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my! This is quite a thriller! One that I could not put down, one that I had to devour in one day, that I also found that I had to put down occasionally and pace around the book with the energy that was surging through the pages. And yet I returned over and over unable to any solace until the last page was turned and a night of rest was behind me. This is one to discuss, to have in a book reading group, **not necessarily to be read with family members in mind ** especially if you have some dysfunction.
Joan Crawford maybe took lessons from Josephine Hurst, but couldn't touch the crazy with a capital C. The story is told through two points of view, that of prepubescent youngest son Will and the middle child Violet. The family dynamics are revealed through their eyes - their father- distant, recovering alcoholic; their eldest sister Rose - a runaway, perfect until she went against mom, an actress, the favorite; their mother, Josephine - through Will's eyes she is perfect, she is the moon and stars, although she has certain moments he will always live up to whatever she wants - through Violet's she sees the evil, the vindictiveness, the sneers, the controlling nature and that since she sees she will be labeled and put away.
That is where Violet finds herself, in a mental ward accused of attacking her little brother. She knows this is not true. She also finds that her sister that ran away over a year ago has reached out to her. Will is at home being visited by CPS and trying to explain his seizures and Asperger's and lack of memory of the attack and Josephine is busy making everything perfect and as it should.
This book is a must read. I really loved it.

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Review: Don't Try To Find Me By: Holly Brown

Don't Try to Find MeDon't Try to Find Me by Holly Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is told in two points of view chronological in nature. From mother, Rachel Willits point of view, her daughter has run away or something worse has happened. What was it that she missed, how was she consumed in herself, what made her run? Now her marriage is not perfect and neither is she, but now that everything is being made public just how much can she keep secret and how much can she let out in order to get her daughter back.
Marley was unhappy and found that moving made her even more isolated. She found someone online, made a plan, and stuck to it. Once there nothing was as it seemed, cracks began to show, lies began to unravel and she found herself in a situation quite possibly worse than she could ever run from. She didn't want to be found, but now maybe no one will find her, including herself.
Ms. Brown has written an intense book about runaways and the family dynamic, the predator online and the predator we sometimes trust in the form of a friend or doctor. She develops the characters in ways where you see others through only certain points of view, which at times are very skewed, and as the filter or cloud is removed and the characters develop into their own - a new insight and new take is given - very nice, shows talent. Worth the read.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Landline By: Rainbow Rowell

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think that this book can be more 3.5 stars, but I rounded up.

Georgie McCool has made the decision to work through the holiday rather than go with her husband and children to Omaha. That decision begins to unravel what she once thought was a strong marriage and has her reevaluating everything that she has done that has gotten them to this place. Rather than return to her empty home she goes to her mothers, after repeated attempts of calling her husband's cell with no answer she finds an old telephone and calls his mothers landline -- wherein she connects with him, in the past.

What if we could connect with someone in the past, would it have changed anything, what would we tell them, what we want to let them hold on to over the years to come as the truth in their knowledge? With the ups and downs of marriage and how two different personalities came together, will the love they once had be enough to hold them through today and will the lessons of the past teach them a big one about who they are and what they truly want? Suspend your belief for a moment, sometimes the way forward is the way back. Although Georgie is a flawed character, as a reader I appreciated it in some ways because it made her much more realistic.

An easy read, but one that will grab at your heart and have you thinking and wanting to discuss -- so think book club or grab your sister for this one. It also has a nice message to it that keeps long after the last page.

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Review: The Oversight By: Charlie Fletcher

The Oversight (Oversight Trilogy, #1)The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Oversight watches over the Law of the supranaturals, they are the protectors of the balance for mankind and the order. Their numbers have dwindled and their enemies have multiplied.
A mysterious girl lands on the doorstep of their safe house and the beginning of good versus evil with strategic enemies that will only stop with death and destruction begins.

A wonderful fantasy and thriller wrapped into one. This is a beginning of a series - so be warned, you will be sucked into the amazing world and characters, and you will have to hold your breath for the next book - and, yes, you will want to devour that one as quickly as it is published!

Mr. Fletcher has an amazing writing pen and has opened up a new world in London that few can see. The battle has just begun and the dangerous players are only beginning to show themselves. Within the first few pages I fell into this world and did not find it easy to crawl back out, I think you will experience the same feeling. Enjoy!

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Review: Red Rising By: Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)Red Rising by Pierce Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Darrow is a Helldiver on Mars. He takes risks, questions as he goes, goes against the color system society has labeled (he is a lowly Red). When his wife is killed, he commits a crime and is - but, he doesn't die. Instead, he is taken by rebels, that have shown him the truth of the colony - that the Golds have been living like kings on the backs of Reds that they treat and care for as slaves. Darrow works with the rebels by undergoing painful surgery, having lessons on how to behave, so that he can enter and train at the Academy, where future Gold leaders of the galaxy come from. He passes. The Academy encourages brutality, even as far as the first test for him to kill his friend. Is he losing his true self as he trains or just gathering skills to turn upon his enemy? Is this what he wanted to become?

This is a complicated book and I must say that I had complicated feelings throughout about whether I liked it or not, whether I would recommend it or not...I am still feeling torn.
The sellers likened it to The Hunger Games -- maybe for a more adult audience. They likened it to Ender -- a little, but again, I would think that you would want an reader that was 17 or older. Even at my age (cough, cough) some of the brutality and the themes were very hard. I love a good rebellion, a great revenge novel and this is here -- this is the beginning. Do I want more, yes! Would it have been better without a preconceived idea or comparison of other novels - hell, yeah! I would be aware of themes and open for discussion if you are going to read this with or before your child.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: The Accident By: Chris Pavone *This is A Can't Miss Read For Summer*

I could not put this book down!                                                               5/5

A manuscript has made it's way into the hands of literary agent Isabel Reed, the title The Accident by anonymous and the story has her now looking over her shoulder. It tells the tale of Charles Wolfe, of Wolfe Worldwide Media, his father, the CIA; the story of murder, of cover up, of working to topple governments. There is a clue to who the author could be, but he died, and she finds she is in a race not to join him.

 A perfect spy thriller that takes you from Europe into the publishing world where in one day some learn the truth of a cut throat business and the price to hide the truth comes. 

 There are amazing characters throughout, the build up in the storyline leaves you on edge - you will finish this book in one sitting, great twists, simply wonderfully written, and will leave you craving more from a talented writer. You will thank me for this turning you on this one.

 I did receive this book for a fair and honest review from Blogging for Books

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: The Achilles Heel By: Karyn Rae

The Achilles HeelThe Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think that this book is between a 3 and 3.5 star rating.

Annie Whitman finds herself a widow to a man with secrets. From the moment her husband's car and body were consumed by fire in a one man accident to the pre paid arrangements, followed by the reaction of her brother in law at the will reading and mysterious lockbox and keys that lead her to St Criox. Those secrets came with the price of her husband's life and it is possible that it might come to hers before she uncovers everything that was left behind for her to find. The one thing she didn't count on was finding love on the island.
Kessler Carlisle was tired of the music scene and ready to retire. He finds that he wants more from life and heads to a tropical paradise to hide away. There he finds something special, though at first he hides just who he is, and realizes that he wants to make a go at it - but something dangerous is lurking about, hopefully, this won't end before it gets started.

I found at times the book was very intense and thrilling in it's writing style, other times (just a few) it lagged. A great story, had me wanting to reach the end. The love story did happen a little too quickly, but the mystery was well drawn out. I think this is just the book to read on the beach on by the side of the pool this summer.

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

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: The Actress By: Amy Sohn

The Actress: A NovelThe Actress: A Novel by Amy Sohn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New to the scene, Maddy Freed finds herself being whisked away - from the indie film she co wrote and starred in, from her boyfriend, from all she knew - to the world of Berlin openings, directors in Europe, and the famous actor Steven Weller. Like in the movies, he saw her from across the room and moved everything to have her - but their lives were real and not the movies. Enter the world of Hollywood, paper moons and cardboard seas, agents that manipulate and sell their own children - how can a genuine emotion like love be felt and survive in a place that feeds the disingenuous? After a year of marriage rumors of Maddy's marriage spew the tabloids, even old friends think her marriage is not real, yet as she works harder she feels as if she is failing and sinking further.
Written sections of the relationship as Acts, spanning years and keeping the characters growth or non growth in part of not just the main characters story, but also the secondary and very minor - the reader develops time, heart retching and joyous, but the naivety that once was there is no longer and what the soul now sees and experiences can not be undone. (Kind of like the lesson of Bluebeard, even to the bleeding key) Are we all acting in a role, and just who prepared us for it?

This one would be great for Book Group especially for discussions, but you will not want to put it down and will read in one sitting.

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Review: Treasured By: Candace Camp

Treasured (Secrets Of The Loch, #1)Treasured by Candace Camp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isobel Rose has just found out that her brother has lost their family estate, Baillannan, in a card game to an Englishman, Jack Kensington. To make matters horrible, she had to find out from the man himself. The Rose name has held this property and it's people safe, now all is in jeopardy, and the solution Isobel offers is marriage.
Jack Kensington was expecting to sell the property that he found himself with, until he found it came with a sister and aunt attached to it. An attraction to the lady helped quite a bit and the tales of buried treasure only made him think of the treasure he found in her. He came from nothing and the offer of marriage comes as a big surprise. Hopefully he can marry and stay alive long enough to enjoy married life, for these "accidents" that are befalling him might end his life.

I really enjoyed the characters, their banter and their chemistry. The secondary add dimensional qualities and have lives of their own sure to be seen in upcoming books. There is a bit of mystery, that hasn't yet been completely solved, leaving the reader wanting more and some of that Scottish whimsical lyrical type writing that makes storytelling breathtaking, even if it is a romance.

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

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life By: Marc Leepson

What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A LifeWhat So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life by Marc Leepson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

A well researched biography of Francis Scott Key. The author touches on Key's life and accomplishments. Key's life was complicated in some ways, and yet can be summed up as religious, patriotic, and conservative. One of the first lawyers to provide free legal services to to enslaved and belonged to American Colonization Society, he also owned slaves. He belonged to the American Bible Society, helped begin the Lancaster Society for the Christian system of education. Key in an earlier life decided not to join the priesthood and to go into law, yet the the love of religion and God was forever present in his life til his death.
The information of Dr Beanes and the dangerous assignment that lead Key to write The Star Spangled Banner and it's rather immediate publication is visited in the book. Also included briefly is the poet Key and that interesting fact that he was tone deaf and the Star Spangled Banner was put to a song that was being sung in pubs, "To High Anacreon in Heaven".
The book jumps a bit and filled with facts and dates and can be a bit tedious at times to get through, some interesting things that you, the reader, might have noted will have gone by the wayside, for the author felt it more important to tell the tale of Key, slaves, and the roles they played in each other's lives, which makes you miss the whole picture of the man him himself - although I am glad I got a glimpse.

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Review: The Vacationers by: Emma Straub

The VacationersThe Vacationers by Emma Straub
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Getting your family and best friends together under one roof in another country two weeks for a vacation looked like a good idea on paper for Franny Post. That was before her husband, Jim, lost his job for sleeping with an intern a few years older than their daughter. They are not the only ones coming with baggage that can't be checked - Sylvia, their daughter, is depressed and has made some serious mistakes of late; son, Bobby, is bringing his older long term girlfriend, Carmen, for a serious request of his parents that he found himself in trouble with; closest friends, Charlie and Lawrence, despite a bump in their marriage have filed for adoption wonder if they are all in.
When alone in another country, family is the one thing you can't escape, no matter how hard you want and the problems you can't vacation away.
Filled with a bite of humor, real situations, and wonderful characters - this is a great beach read to escape into.

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Review: The Beach Quilt By: Holly Chamberlin

The Beach QuiltThe Beach Quilt by Holly Chamberlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

The Kanes and The Bauers, two families, friends, children that are friends, even co workers, but when one of their daughters become pregnant, secrets of the past resurface, bonds get tested, and each member has to grow in their own way.
Ms. Chamberlin evaluates not just the relationship between the families, revealing their innermost thoughts and private discussions, but those within the family structure, between adult friends, and between the adolescent friends and siblings. Although at times the book seemed a bit too long, those relationships and thoughts I think were essential for the story, especially for the ending. Some characters were harder to relate to, like Cordelia in her self absorption which was similar to her mother's, whereas Sarah's character was so painfully well written that your heart reaches out of your chest.
This is a good weekend read. Get some Kleenex ready.

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