Saturday, January 31, 2015

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

Daisy is only 27 years old and not long for this world. Her cancer has returned and she has six months or less to live.

Daisy had decided that she needs to find her husband a new wife before she dies. Unbeknownst to him, she signs him up on an Internet dating site. What once seemed a easy task becomes daunting.

Daisy and Jack's relationship is crumbling. They have stop communicating. Instead of building memories and expressing love, they become a kink in what they once believed was an unbreakable chain.

Daisy isn't the most like able character I've ever come across but that makes her real. She is flawed and realistic. Oakley delivers an emotional read. Her characters are well developed and relate able.

The emotional impact doesn't come with punch (or at least not for me).  This does not mean it isn't a good book, It really is! Expect to examine your own life and mortality. Ask, yourself, what would you do in, Daisy's place. In Jacks, place?

Grade: A

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Saint Odd (An Odd Thomas Novel) by Dean Koontz

-"In greek mythology, the amaranth was an undying flower that remained at the peak of its beauty for eternity but the dream did not begin with the flower." -  Saint Odd - Dean Koontz

Saint Odd is the final installment in the, Odd Thomas collection. 
Dean Koontz has taken us on a a ride, from a monastery to an apocalypse. Odd has, had many ghostly encounters from faithful loving dog to Elvis Presley! We have been frightened by bodach's, cannibals and mankind. A few favorite characters make cameos and evil vs. good is at it's height. Odd Thomas is headed back to his home town of Pico Mundo and he doesn't expect to make it out alive before the nights over. I'm not giving anything away -- go out and pick up this book but make sure you read the books before it or you will be lost. This book does NOT stand alone.

Odd Thomas is perhaps one of my favorite character's by Dean Koontz and I'm sad to see him go! If you haven't read this series. Pick it up, sit back and enjoy. Click the links below to see my reviews on the rest of the books in this series.

Grade: A


Friday, January 23, 2015

Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich

Rebecca has been selected. The machine that determines who will be a future criminal, a menace to society has chosen her. It was unexpected -- She has never broken a rule, where did she go wrong, what will become of her, will she survive? The PIT is full of criminals and they all lived behind barbed wire fences. The food is bland at best, shelter is shoddy and death seems almost imminent.

Rebeca joins forces with a few other teen misfits and together they try to break out of the system. Friendships are forged, a love triangle is created (how cliche') and a life is lost. Each character is intriguing and the plot builds, slows then builds back up! Overall a fairly decent read that will keep you interested however.... a bit of information was lacking, information, I hope is devulged in the next book.

There is a high level of predictability and a cliffhanger ending one, I hope, I haven't forgotten by the time the next book comes out.

Grade: B+

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T. J. Mitchell

 "Don’t jaywalk. Wear your seat belt when you drive. Better yet, stay out of the car, and get some exercise. Watch your weight. If you’re a smoker stop right now. If you aren’t, don’t start. Guns put holes in people. Drugs are bad. You know that yellow line on the subway platform? It's there for a reason. Staying alive, as it turns out, is mostly common sense. Working Stiff - Judy Melinek

 Working Stiff is well written and full of interesting statistics. You will learn about how and why death certificates are filled out. How deaths are filled: accident, homicide, suicide, medical misadventure, etc. You will squirm at times over the gruesome details of death or be morbidly curious like me!

The majority of this memoir deals with "typical" deaths in NYC. The last 25% of , Working Stiff, details Milinek, works on victims of 9/11. This was one of the most difficult parts to read, it easily brings you back to that tragic day over and over again especially when you learn about the victims and what they endured.

I only had one issue with this book and it was her view of suicide. She thinks it's selfish and I won't go on a disquisition about  my thoughts on it but I will say this --- Suicide is a desperate act by someone who wants the pain to stop. It is not selfish or cowardly. Suicide is tragic and everyone becomes a victim, including the deceased. 

Grade: A-

If you are feeling suicidal click SUICIDE PREVENTION for help or call  1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

After Auschwitz: A Story of Heartbreak and Survival by the Stepsister of Anne Frank by Eva Schloss

     None of us could imagine what was to come".
  - Eva Schloss, After Auschwitz: A Story of Heartbreak and Survival

A profoundly moving and emotional read.

Eva Schloss chronicles her life, before, during and after, Auschwitz.

Before the, Nazi's captured and arrested, Eva and her family on her 15th birthday, she lived in, Amsterdam. She was a casual acquaintance of, Anne Frank. They lived in the same development and knew of one another but tragically their lives were about to change. One young girl would perish and the other would survive and eventually become the step-daughter of, Otto Frank. Anne Franks, father.

Both families would be sent to Auschwitz but only three members would survive. After liberation, Eva and her mother move to, London. Eva meets a young man and they get married. Eva's mother forms a friendship with, Frank Otto. They fall in love and together work on preserving and passing along, Anne Franks legacy.

Eva, eventually finds the courage to share her accounts of her life in, Auschwitz. This is her story, her life, one that should be shared and remembered so that this will never happen again.

Be prepared for an emotional journey. You will weep with sadness and cry with joy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Saving Grace is, Jane Green's newest novel. 

Ted and Grace Chapman have been married for over twenty years. They have their own system of making things work. Ted is a writer, well known in the literary circle, however his writing isn't what it use to be. Their long time assistant has given notice and things are about to change in the, Chapman home.

Beth, the new assistant enters the picture, at first she  appears to be the perfect assistant but looks can be deceiving. Beth has some tricks up her sleeves. Sweet, plain looking, Beth is changing her looks and metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly.  Grace is forgetting simple things, which is wrecking havoc in her personal life and making her question her own sanity.

Beth has wiggled her want into every aspect of the, Chapman's life and it might prove to be their undoing.

A fast, entertaining read. I could have done without all the recipes but I'm sure someone else will appreciate them.

Grade: A-

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes

"she wanted to be a victor and not the victim." 
  - Steena Holmes, Stillwater Rising 

A school shooting has left twelve children and two adults dead. The foundation of a small town has been shaken and Mayor Charlotte Stone is trying to put her town back together.

Jordan Stone, principal of the school is being touting a hero but he is reluctant to accept that title. Jen lost her son and is using anger and alcohol as a means to suppress her guilt. Julia the mother of the shooter is holed up in her home, shutting herself out from her community and friends. Select members of the community are doing everything they can to make, Julia's life miserable.

The entire community is at odds about what should and shouldn't be done with the school. Charlotte needs to put her community back together but she can't do it alone. Friendships and marriages are falling apart and a long ago buried secret, might just be the straw the broke the camels back.

School shootings are a tragic part of life, something we see more often then we should in the news. Stillwater Rising is about the aftermath of the shooting and how people handle grief differently. The story is told in multiple points of view. This can cause confusion until you get the characters names and stories straight in your head. The premise is great but I felt as though something was missing, as though I open up a book in the middle and started reading. It missed the mark and didn't pull me in.

I did a bit of research because the book felt really off and I learned that it is actually the second book in a series. I strongly suggest you read, "Before the Storm" first.  I think if I had, my interpretation would have been quite different.

Grade: C

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2) by Aimée Carter

“If you had something to tie you back to your old life, would you keep it or destroy it?” 
― Aimee CarterCaptive

Captive is the second installment in, The Black Coat Rebellion and it does NOT suffer from the dreaded second book syndrome. One might even say it surpasses, Prawn.  It is action packed and many new characters are introduced. Elsewhere is revealed and it's nothing like I imagined. Expect a darker more violent read.

Captive picks up, where Pawn left off.  August is dead, Daxton knows, Kitty's secret and Knox continues to secretly help with the rebellion. Kitty is still living as Lila Hart and as you may or may not remember, Lila Hart is the niece of the Prime Minster and is in hiding.  The world thinks Kitty is Lila and she has no choice but to continue her life as her. The other choice is death.

A series of events has landed, Kitty in, Elsewhere. Elsewhere is bleak and dangerous but it has hidden secrets. For nearly every person who has lost hope there is one who is ready to fight for freedom, even if it means their own death. Kitty makes enemies and allies in Elsewhere and together they must determine to fight of flight. 

It starts off a bit slow but once it picks up you won't want to put the book down! You must read, Pawn, this book does not stand on its own.

Grade: A

Read my review of Pawn here.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

“It all boils down to the same thing: are you going to play the cards you got, or are you going to fold?” 
― Lauren Oliver Rooms

Rooms is Lauren Olivers first novel geared for adults and it doesn't disappoint. Reality and paranormal mix together to weave an entertaining and multi-layered story. It is told in seven different voices, three dead, four alive. Each character has their own obstacles to overcome. 

Richard Walkers is dead. His estranged family has come together in their old family home to plan a funeral and read the will. The family home is inhabited by 3 ghosts, each with their own unique and interesting issues, problems don't cease to exist just because your dead. The living breathing characters are, Connie, Minna and Trenton. 

Connie is the alcoholic ex-wife and the mother of Minna and Trenton. Minna is addicted to sex and pills. Trenton is a suicidal teen. Secrets are slowly unveiled and everyone has something to hide, some much more tragic then others. The life stories of the ghosts are the most interesting of all. 

The build up is slow and there is some level of predictability. This is not a ghost story in the sense of haunting but one about the  horror of humanity.

Grade: A-

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Dear Readers,

            This year I am going to do things a teeny tiny bit differently. Most of you won't even notice a difference but a few of you might. The following is an example of what to expect:

1. I will be re-reading books, some that I have blogged about before, some that I haven't. It has been over 6 years since I've  re-read any novel. Life experiences and age can changed your perspective of things, so I'm going to make it my goal to re-read at least 20 books or more this year!

2. Not all the books, I am re-reading will be blogged about, so expect fewer posts (hopefully not too many).

3.  Don't fret, I will continue to read and review Advanced Readers Copies (ARC).

4.  I will be making a list at the end of each month of the books I was unable to finish reading. This happens more than you think, for a variety of reasons but it usually comes down to me not liking the book and not wanting to waste my time finishing it. I read about 20-50 pages of any book before I give up on it. I do give it a fighting chance however maybe one of you can push me into picking it back up and giving it another opportunity! I just might be missing out on some great books, simply because I have no patience to trudge through mud without expectations of relief.

5. I tend to just focus on books, after all it is a book blog but expect a bit more personal insight.

6. I will be leaving the comment section open. In the past, I closed it off due to spam, negativity and not having time to moderate it. I will be leaving it open for the time being, however this is subject to change at any time. I encourage you to engage in conversations about books with me and other bibliophiles.

7. In the past 7 years, I have averaged 129 books per year. There has been a steady decline in this and I anticipate that this year, I will not hit triple digits. Over a year and a half ago, I left my job at the library and now work at a  higher paced, much more demanding job. I work more hours then ever before and as a result of this I have less time to read. This year I will be adding some classes to the mix and suspect that my reading will decline further. Please be patient, there will be less posts but hopefully they will be better quality ones!

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...