Sunday, June 29, 2014

Brutal Youth: A Novel by Anthony Breznican

Brutal Youth has been given  high accolades. When authors such as, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Stephen Chbosky, James Dashner and Jason Reitman give a book high praises you expect top notch.

The cover is phenomenal and the first few chapters are absolutely riveting. It's disturbing, dark and full of unlikeable characters. There is no loyalty between teachers, staff , students and parents. You will be hooked and then cliches and stereotypes start popping up left and right making you feel as though you are in the midst of another teen angst novel. The plot is a bit on the weak side and slightly predictable. This book is "Dazed and Confused" meets "Mean Girls."

Brutal Youth takes place in 199? at St. Michael's Catholic School. The school is literally falling apart from the inside out. The staff are at odds one with one another and the seniors have raised the bar on the traditional hazing of freshmen students. This story follows three students through out their freshmen year and the violence they are subjected to.

The ending is anticlimactic. This book doesn't merit the praises it has receive it. It is a disappointingly "ok" read.

Grade: C

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mr. Mercedes: A Novel by Stephen King

People often lump Stephen King into the horror writer genera but he is so much more then that.  They immediately conjure imagines of ghosts, monsters, killer clowns and things that go bump in the night.

When, I think of Stephen King as a writer, I picture, sociological experiments, psychological thrillers and good writing. I expect to go on a journey with his characters. I know his story won't be formulaic and that, I will be entertained. I'm not saying every book he has written is a winner but you have to have an appreciation for his craft because it tends to have well developed characters and thought out plots.

Mr. Mercedes is a classic, King novel. It has realistic characters, minor characters that play pivotal roles and twist and turns that keep you turning the pages.

Mr. Mercedes starts of with a bang. A madman intentionally plows into a group of job seekers causing death and injury. A year passes and no one has been apprehended. The lead detective on the case, Hodges retires and then --- he receives a letter that lures him into a cat and mouse game with the killer.

King is at the top of his game with this book. Set some time aside because once you start reading you won't want to stop.

Grade: A+

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard

Ruby is a well respected florist in the small town of Creekside, Washington. She knows the inns and outs of the town residents and can make the perfect floral arrangement for the recipient. She uses the meanings behind flowers and their names to bring peace, love or comfort to the person on the receiving end.

Ruby has closed herself off from others. She is grieving the death of her sister and isn't interested in letting anyone into her life or heart , other than her dog, Clementine. When, Will a 10 year old boy and Captain Dan enter the picture, she is forced to reevaluate things and take a chance on opening up her heart.

I have to be honest and say that it took quite some time for me to really get into this novel.  I almost gave up on it but forced myself to read one more chapter and I'm glad that I did.  Once you get past the lyrical descriptions of flowers and get down to the character development and storyline the book takes a turn in the right direction.

Grade: C+

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything Lost by Stephanie Elliot

Stephanie Elliot has created a realistic world with flawed characters. Flawed characters are among the very best because they are real, they are relate able and they have traces of who you are inside of them.

I can't remember the last time a novel had me so captivated that, I finished it in under 24 hours. It was the last thing, I thought about before I went to bed and the first thing in the morning. I just had to know what happened!

Marine's story is of lost love and what ifs. It is told in present and past tense, moving seamlessly through, Marine's youth and present time. Elliot holds nothing back. The sex scenes will make you blush and you might learn and thing or two. She also tackles difficult subjects with finesse and compassion.

Marine was only 19 years old when she met Joe. Their relationships was intense and what one would call "crazy love". Marine was head over heals in love and then Joe dropped out of her life as quickly as he entered it, shattering her and putting her in an emotional downward spiral. Fast forward 15 years later and Joe re-enters her life, making her tackle past and present issues.

This is one book you don't want to miss. I have never  linked back to an authors book before but I feel compelled to do so with this one. You can order, Stephanie's book here.

I loved every single part of this book and can't wait to see what, Stephanie has in store for us next. I just hope that the next book I get to read is one I pick up off the book shelf at my local bookstore.

Grade: A ++

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Heiresses: A Novel by Sara Shepard

Sara Shepard took aspects from her Pretty Little Liars Series and her Lying Game series and created this book. This isn't necessarily a good or bad thing --- it just gives you a hint of what is to develop.

This book is full of deceit, secrets, beautiful people and money.  The Saybrooks are beautiful, filthy rich and have a family "curse" hanging over their heads. Aster, Corrine, Poppy, Natasha and Rowan are heiresses to the great Saybrook jewlery empire. When one of them dies, a  gossip site publishes a headline saying "One heiress down , 4 more to go" . This prompts an investigation to open on the death of an heiress, an external and internal.

Major secrets are revealed. Some bring family members closer and others might destroy what the family has built up over generations. 

This book is entertaining, suspenseful and slightly predictable. It is written in, Shepard's usual craft. I suspect this will become a series. The book does introduces a ton of characters in the first chapter and it can take a bit of work to keep them all straight. You have to "dig" into the book a bit to get fully immersed but once you do you will be hooked.

I must add that this is NOT a YA book, it is for an adult audience (not in an erotic way). 

Grade: B-

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott

The Fever is set to be released on June 17, 2014

A popular high school girl has a seizure in class and is rushed to the hospital. Her situation is dire and then other girls start to experience similar symptoms.

Could it the a side effect of the HPV vaccine ? Could it the the glowing Lake or something else more sinister? 

This is one of those books that starts off great! There is a lot of build up and excitement and then it just falls apart and becomes anti-climatic. You keep expecting a epidemic than a majorly frighting pandemic but you get  neither. The title, cover and synopsis are misleading .... pass on this read and pick something else up.

Grade: D

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Safe Keeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Safe Keeping is  a roller coaster, emotional journey that the Lebay family is on. Tucker Lebay is once again being considered a person of interest in the murder of a woman. The modus operand is the same and his family has to consider the possibility that he is a murderer.

Family relationships will be tested and a twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.

Emily and Roy has a difference of opinions when it comes to their son, Tucker and Lissa will do anything to "prove" her brothers innocence. What would you do if your son or brother was suspected of murder?  Read this book to find out what the Lebay family does --- the ending will leave you speechless.

A perfect read for a hot summer day!

Grade: B

The Embalmer by Caillé Anne-Reneé and Mullins Rhonda

The Embalmer is a short book around 80 pages or so. It's not as macabre as I was hoping but it is rather interesting. The book centers a...