Thursday, October 11, 2018

Katerina by James Frey

Katerina is Frey's newest novel and flips back and forth between 1992 (Paris) and current day Los Angeles.  It's a story about love, betrayal, sex and the emotions that flow through your body as your are consumed by them in particular during youth when you are "finding" yourself..
While fictional the characters clearly mirror Frey's life. The main character is Jay and his story flips back and forth to his youth as a writer living in Paris who falls in love with a woman named Katerina and his life in current day Los Angeles as a married man, father and successful author. 

It all starts with an anonymous message pushing Jay's mind into the past and reminiscing of his prior life, including the controversy surrounding an infamous novel Jay had written. The writing is full of emotional highs and lows.  The sex scenes are hot (unless you are a prude), F words are abundant and  the story flows however at times the layout of the writing can be a bit maddening to read. 

The read is worth your time and energy. 

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist Book by Eli Saslow

I can't stop talking about this book and recommending it to everyone book reader I know especially those who, like me have a difficult time wrapping our minds around racism, white supremacy and in general hatred towards someone because they are "different" from us.

This book is about Derek Black, the son of  Don Black ( of the white nationalists). Derek Black was raised in the white nationalist movement. He became the face of it. He was raised to become the future of it and coined the phrase "white genocide".

Derek is incredibly intelligent, well mannered and when he leaves home to attend a liberal college, he easily blends in and seems like everyone else until --  it is revealed who he really is. Many students are outraged but others seek him out, those who he befriended before and over time dialogue flows between them and Derek. Derek slowly begins to see them in a different light.

Derek starts to have in depth conversations with a friend (who becomes more) and pull away from Stormfront. He eventually publicly denounces the white nationalist movement, changing the course of his life.

This is by far the most important book I have read this years and I encourage you do read it. Get insight into the hatred and discover what  a strong character Derek Black has.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Monday, September 24, 2018

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: October 2, 2018

Jodi Picoult is no stranger to tackling tough subjects.  This particular one deals with abortions, women and guns. It is set in a reproductive health clinic. Staff and clients are being held as hostages. Negotiator, Hugh McElroy arrives at the scene and finds out that his sister and daughter are in the clinic. This further complicates the situation and Hugh is going to do whatever it takes to make sure his daughter and sister make it out alive. 

Picoult gives the reader information on who the characters are and why they are at the center that day. Their perspectives and stories are just as important as the main characters. They were well developed and left me wanting to know more about them. I want to know more about what happens to them and their plight in life. I particularly liked the major twist. It left me wanting to know more! 

This book is a bit different from, Picoults others in that is starts with the ending. Picoult has definitely done her research and presents a well written story. This book is emotional and shows both sides of the story. It's a powerful and thought provoking read.

My only complaint was the cover of the novel. I don't care much for it and had it not been a book by Picoult, I wouldn't have given in a second glance.

* I received  a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Cross Her Heart pulls you in from the first page and keeps you turning page after page.
It's suspenseful  and very intense. It's full of secrets and lies that eventually find there way to the surface.

Lisa is a single mother who is raising her teenage daughter, Ava on her own. Ava tired of her mom's being overprotective hides a secret that is dangerous and proves to be a pivotal to the story line. Lisa has her own secrets and when they are revealed it's easy to understand why.

I didn't see the end coming. The story is told through multiple point of view characters and is well written. This is a chilling read that I can't recommend enough.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliot

A captivating read full of dark twists. This is one thriller you don't want to miss.

Elena is grieving the death of her mother, when she meets Nicholas. Nicholas is also grieving the death of his wife. Together the find solace in one another and their whirlwind romance moves at lightning speed. Elena quickly moves into Nicholas's home and things start to turn.

The story is told from the perspective of Elena and Amelia (Nicholas deceased wife) and as more and more is revealed the darker and more sinister the story and lives of both of these women becomes.

Then twist is slightly obvious but the unraveling is exciting and beyond entertaining. This is a psychological page turner that you won't want to miss out on.

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Marriage Vacation by Pauline Brooks

I am a fan of the television series, "Younger" but not a major fan of this novel. It was very average and while I found it entertaining - I couldn't get past the self loathing, self absorbed,  incredibly selfish main character.  Her character does grow as a person and while that is redeeming it doesn't it isn't enough to change the book from average to fantastic.

Kate Carmichael life seems perfect but after meeting up with old friends at a wedding and agreeing to meet a friend in Thailand she discover something is lacking. Her friend is a no show and Kate goes into a self discovery mode. She puts her life back home in the States on pause, leaving her husband she claims to love and children to carry on without her so that she can "find" herself.

Kate is privileged, spoiled and not a likable character. The writing isn't bad and got a strong reaction from me but sometimes it's hard to like a book when you loathe the character. I also didn't care much for the ending but just because I don't like it doesn't mean you will.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Man Who Didn't Call by Rosie Walsh

Sarah Mackey has been ghosted. She just spent 6 glorious days with a handsome man, a man who she thought was perfect. The connection was real and deep or did she just imagine it?

They had fallen hopelessly in love and then the promised phone call never comes. Sarah begins to worry that something tragic has happened to, Eddie. After several failed attempted phone calls she reaches out to him via social media. Messages go unanswered and then -- one is marked read. Sarah is beside herself and driving those around her mad with her constant chatter about Eddie.

Sarah is obsessed and I had second hand embarrassment for her. She is self involved and it can be rather annoying. You want to shake her and say, "Get over it!" I was most definitely annoyed with her but super intrigued with her story line and discovering what exactly was going on.

Eddie's backstory is finally revealed and it is interesting! This caused some unexpected twists and turns, which pulled me back into the story and turned it into an engaging tale I couldn't put down until the final reveal.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

I first read, "Lone Wolf" back in March of 2012. My review of it can be found HERE.

Living among wolves and caring for his wolves has always been important to Luke Warren. His passion has cut him off from others as he feels most comfortable and at home among his wolves.

Luke is passionate, active and when him and his daughter Cara are in a devastating car accident that leaves him on life support life and her injured, his estranged son Edward and ex-wife Georgie are forced back into his life. Edward returns home to help his sister Cara decide on what actions they need to take regarding their father.

Evidence points to no hope for Luke but Cara is strong willed and wants to keep her father on life support. Edward disagrees and like the majority of Picoult's books a law suit comes into play. The old age question of when does life start and end comes into play.

The story is told through different characters and Luke's living among wolves and becoming part of the pack is by far the most interesting and educational part of the novel. I was left wanting to know more as I felt it was a far superior story than the family dynamic portion.

This book has an emotional punch to it and a twist that you don't exactly see coming.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

The Lies We Told is an explosive thriller that keeps your head spinning and your fingers turning the pages. There are more twist and turns than one can simply imagine. This deliciously dark novel will entertain you for hours and keep you guessing.

The book  jumps from past to present with a variety of story lines weaved in. The story consists of two families who each have very unique story lines.

In the first story we have Clara and Luke. The have just moved in together and everything seems perfect. Clara wakes up one morning to discover that Luke never came home and all his belongings including his cell phone are in their dwelling. Is, Luke cheating, did he change his mind or are sinister things afloat?

In the second story we have Beth and Hannah. Beth is a wife and mother to, Hannah. Hannah is a troubled child and makes life challenging. Hannah's antics and increasingly bad behavior leave Beth fearful and the tension is causing havoc on her marriage.

You just know somehow these stories are going to intersect and if you're a decent detective you'll figure out some of the clues but not all.

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest revie

Saturday, August 11, 2018

As Wide as the Sky Jessica Pack

Amanda Mallorie's son is dead. He has been executed. He was the perpetrator of a heinous mass shooting. It's been four long years since the shooting and in a matter of minutes his life has been extinguished. Amanda needs to start rebuilding her life and the first thing on the agenda is repairing the broken down relationship she has with her daughter.

The movers have arrived and her home and she is going through the last few items, while shifting through Robbie's belongings she comes across class ring that doesn't belong to her son. She makes it a quest to get it back to the original owner in hopes that they can learn more about her son.

The story is told in alternating chapters with a "countdown" clock. The character's have their own voice. This novel is very unique as we usually hear the story from the other side and forget that the family of the perpetrator is also a victim. This novel "shows" us the other side of the story.

This is a touching and thought provoking novel. Be prepared to be captivated.

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth is deliciously disturbing. 

If you are familiar with and enjoyed "The Bad Seed" (book and movie) and/or Lionel Shriver's, "We need to talk about Kevin" this book is for you. 

Hanna is a selective mute, deeply disturbed and has been kicked out of numerous schools. Suzette is forced to home school her. Hanna's tricks are becoming more dangerous and Suzette is her target. 
Suzette's sanity and health are at risk and she has nowhere to turn. 

Alex is blinded by the love he has for his daughter and Hanna only shows him her sweet side, playing the perfect, sweet daughter whenever he is around. 

Hanna hates her mom and wants her gone and she will do anything to make it possible but will her father, Alex open his eyes before it's too late?

Baby Teeth is a good read. I struggled initially but once I found the flow of the novel, I was mesmerized and turning pages in anticipation of what would happen next. The book is told from alternating points of views and it's absolutely intriguing to see the side of " evil" when Hanna "speaks". This creepy story about this malevolent child will keep you entertained. 

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Katerina by James Frey

Katerina is Frey's newest novel and flips back and forth between 1992 (Paris) and current day Los Angeles.  It's a story about love,...