Monday, April 27, 2015

Find Me by Laura van den Berg

 “Hope is a seductive thing," he says. "Hope can make people lose all sense.”
― Laura van den Berg,
Find Me

Find Me wasn't anything like I suspected. I wasn't impressed. I was bored, annoyed and frustrated yet oddly insistent on finishing a book, I had such high hopes for! The premise was great but the execution failed.

Joy Jones was abandoned on the door steps of a hospital. She shuffles from one foster home to another and then an then a pandemic hits. The virus is strong and wipes of multitudes of individuals, causing them to lose their memories. Joy and some other individuals found to be immune or asymptomatic are being held captive in a hospital that is trying in vain to find the cure.

A bunch of stuff happens in the hospital but the only part that was worth reading was when a resident came down with the virus and how it impacted not only him but Joy. 

The cast of characters are forgettable but the virus is frightening! The story is unresolved and events are never fully explained.

Grade: D

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

 “it’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.”
― Paula Hawkins,
The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train is an excellent psychological thriller that will keep you on edge! 

Rachel is an alcoholic who has had more than her fair share of loss. She rides the train back and forth and makes up life stories of the inhabitants of select individuals of her old neighborhood. One day she witnesses something out of the ordinary and when she finds out that the woman in one of the homes is missing, she decides to share her insights with the police. They don't believe her and she makes it her mission to find out just exactly what happened to, Megan.

Megan is the other half of the "golden"
couple, Rachel has made up stories about in her head but Megan is far from perfect and has secrets of her own, secrets that just might explain her death.

Anna is connected to, Rachel and Megan. Anna and Rachel have a history together ---  one based upon transgression, fear and anger. 

The lives of these character's are  intertwined and complicated. The reader has to decide who to trust, the alcoholic, liar or cheater but everyone is suspect.

They story can at times be complicated. I personally confused dates and had to periodically turn back pages of entire chapters to figure out what was going on. Was is present or past date?  What is it months or years ago?

I become obsessed with the characters and figuring out who'd done it! This book has been touted as the next, Gone Girl but the comparison is overused. Don't go in expecting Gone Girl because that isn't what you are going to get!

Grade: A

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

 “I needed to hate someone and you’re the one I love the most, so it fell on you.”
― Gayle Forman,
Where She Went

Where She Went is the sequel to,  If I stay. My review on If I Stay can be found HERE.

Where She Went is told from Adam's point of view. Him and Mia have long ago broken up, yet he still pines for her. Adam is a superstar, a musician and leading the life of the rich and famous yet something is amiss and he is falling apart at the seams.  His deep rooted pain and resentment towards, Mia is evident and pours out of the pages. Mia is a top rate cellists and playing at some of the most prestigious places in the world but her grief is still strong.

Life sometimes puts you on  a path that can change the very essence of your soul and one fateful night in New York City,  has put Mia and Adam on the same path. Adam notices a billboard showcasing Mia's performance and he attend the performance. Mia notices him and the spend the rest of the night reconnecting, closing forgotten chapters and making amends.

Where She Went is a far superior novel to, If I Stay and one that should not be missed. Sit back and follow Mia and Adam on their journey of life.

Grade: A+

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

 “We love until we do not. For us, love doesn't fade gradually. It snaps like a branch bent too far.”
― Holly Black, The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest if the story of Hazel, her brother, Ben and the boy enclosed in the glass coffin. They are residents of,  Fairfold a place in which humans and folk coexist together. A place that is dangerous to visitors as they often go missing.

The book starts of strong and the story lines are intriguing. You become completely absorbed into the story, the fairy tales and the characters. The flashbacks are revealing and perhaps the most intriguing part of the entire novel. Approximately midway through the book, the storyline drags and almost falters however, Black finds  grisly ways to pull you back in.

The characters are well developed and the story is unique but it just doesn't deliver the way you expect it to. Overall it is a middle of the road read that I would skip unless I had no other book to read.

Grade: C+

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bernard Slade's Same Time, Next Year [ 1978 ] a novelization by Linda Stewart

  - the measure of a relationship is not how long it lasts but how happy it makes you. - Linda Steward, Bernard Slade's Same Time, Next Year

 If you haven't figure it out yet -- this little gem of a book is based upon Bernard Slade's,
"Same Time, Next Year" play.

 Having been very active in the theater community in High School and University (I was a theater major for 2.5 years) I was surprised, that I had never run across this particular play.  A late night conversation with a dear friend, stirred me in this direction of this novel and I was transfixed from start to finish.

The plot focuses on a couple, who get together every year at the same time, same place despite being married (but not to each other!).  Their tryst, affair, rendezvous, whatever you want to call it spans decades. The connection between the two characters is deep and oddly sweet.

The love and intimacy Doris and George develop over time fills the voids in their marriages. Their yearly romantic retreat is filled with laughter, love and tears!

Grade: A

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Ruby Circle: A Bloodline Novel by Richelle Mead

“I told you before, we’re the center,” she said. “And the center will hold.”
― Richelle Mead, The Ruby Circle

The Ruby Circle is the sixth and final installment in the Bloodlines Series.

The Alchemist are still after Sydney and Adrian. They are living within the walls of the court. They only place in which they are safe from the hands of the Alchemists. Their lives inside of the court is bland, trite and not exactly conducive to the lives of a newlywed couple.

A surprise visitor pops into the court and relays information to Sydney and Adrian that puts them on the road to an epic, magic filled, treasure hunt adventure. An adventure that might cost them their freedom but save the world of the Mori, who are in danger.

Expect a big, yet cheesy reveal and some cameos from some favorite characters (and some not so favorite).

Mead's conclusion to this series is bittersweet but done quite nicely. I could have done without a major change in a storyline but I suspect it is going to result in a new set of characters and books.

Grade: B

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

The Stranger delivers secrets. Secrets that can change your life. Secrets that can result in tragic consequences.

Adam Price's life is about to change in ways he can't begin to comprehend. His life appears to be idyllic. He is married,  has two sons and earns a decent wage but on an ordinary day, The Stranger delivers a secret that sends his life spiraling out of control.

The Stranger knows things about, Adams wife that he himself doesn't know --- when he confronts her, she flees and Adam is left wondering what to believe, who to believe and when he becomes suspect in his wife's disapperance, he makes it his mission to find out exactly what is going on.

The Stranger delivers secrets to other characters and Coben ties them all together in a neat little package. You will be guessing until the very end. Everyone becomes suspect. Coben layers his story together like a a delicous five layer cake.

Grade: A

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars, Book 4) by Sara Shepard

Unbelievable is the fourth installation in the Pretty Little Liars series. 

It picks up seamlessly from where, Perfect ended!

 “There are some remedies worse than disease.”
― Sara Shepard, Unbelievable

 Each girl has their own issues to contend with along with there collective issue of dealing with the elusive "A". 

 Hanna is recovering from her accident. She has suffered some memory loss and Mona is using it to her advantage.

 Aria is essentially homeless until she moves in with her father and his girlfriend, Meredith. This results in a whole different set of issues.

 Emily has been shipped of to, Iowa to live with her religious and strict Aunt and Uncle in hopes to "cure" her of her homosexuality but her cousins prove to the old adage of you shouldn't judge a book by its cover!

Spencer is having flashbacks and could she have possibly be the one who killed, Alison? She is also dealing with the ramifications of stealing her sisters paper and becoming a contender for the Gold Orchard Award.

This book finally reveals who "A" is or at least who we think "A" is.

This book is all fluff and my guilty pleasure. It's not the greatest, American novel but its a fun way to pass time!

Grade: B-

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Things Half in Shadows by Alan Finn

 Things Half in Shadows is set in Postbellum America. The city is haunted by memories, ghosts, murderers and mediums. 

Edward Clark is a crime reporter and his investigation into false mediums and the murder of a young  woman puts him on a path to his past --- a past he has fought long and hard to forget.

Edward teams up with Lucy Collins to debunk false mediums and together they end up being suspects in the death of a well known and respected medium. They scour the city to prove their innocence but it might cost, Edward more than he ever bargained for. 

Be prepared to be intrigued. I don't tend to become completely enthralled by mysteries but this one had me turning pages long after I should have been asleep! The characters, plot, scenes and writing are riveting.

Grade: A+

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Sixteen year old, Aysel is depressed and obsessed with plotting her own death. Her fathers crime rocked the small community she lives in, her mom seldom looks at her and teen angst is getting the best of her.

She teams up with another suicidal teen she meets on an online website called, suicide partners.  Aysel and FrozenRobert make a pact to die together but as their deadlines gets closer, she begins to question if taking her life is really the answer to all her problems.

The relationship between Aysel and FrozenRobert blossoms into something beautiful, reminding you that sometime the most beautiful things can result from tragedy.

Warga's writing pulls you into this dark, depressing world. You can feel the character's pain flowing off the pages. Warga does not romanticize suicide. She tackles this sensitive subject with finesse and compassion.

Grade: A

If you are suicidal, don't hesitate to reach out for help. YOU matter. YOU are loved. YOU count!

National Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a crisis hotline call for support. 1-800-273-TALK

You can also visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website. Click HERE for more info.

Sing you Home by Jodi Picoult

Zoe and Max have spent thousands of dollars in trying to conceive a child. After Zoe's most recent miscarriage her life starts to fall ...