Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in C.K. Kelly Martin's blog tour by reading her newest book - The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing.
In full disclosure mode, I love, love, love all of this author's books and, over the last few years, we have become nice FB friends - having quite a few things in common. I am hoping to meet her at some point, since she lives in Canada. In the meantime, I am thrilled to read The Sweetest Thing You Can Sign.
TITLE: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sign
AUTHOR: C.K. Kelly Martin
I am a huge fan of Martin's writing and I absolutely loved this book.
Let's start with the fact that Serena has body image issues - which is something that is very close to my heart. Being overweight plays with your head and your emotions and everything else (some of it you don't even realize is being affected) and let's say that it will lead you to do things that you would never do, if you didn't feel so bad about yourself. Oh and did I mention "things that you would not normally do if OTHER people didn't make you feel so bad about yourself".
So, I am not surprised that Serena showed some singularly poor judgment which, now is coming back to bite her in the ass. "Watch what you ask for, you might get it" popped into my head and just would not leave throughout this entire book.
Body images are not the only thing Serena is dealing with and through all of it, her little voice keeps telling her there is better - which she finds in Gage.
What follows is a touching friendship/relationship with ups and downs - which serves to help Serena grow.
This book is touching because it deals with a young girl who is struggling on so many levels. Having said this, however, I have to admit that C.K. Kelly Martin's books are always deep and touching. But I especially identified with Serena who is just trying to figure out where she fits in this life.
The writing is down to earth and sensitive and I love, love that Serena is flawed. So often, authors try to make their characters either too perfect or horrible and Serena is neither.
Yes, there are other characters in this story, but Serena is the story for me.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at Bantam Books for letting me read this book in ebook format.
TITLE: Bones Never Lie
AUTHOR: Kathy Reich
I have a love/hate relationship with Kathy Reichs. I have said this before, I find she can be hit or miss, but for some reason, I still cannot stop reading her books compulsively. I think this has something to do with the fact that I am really attached to the characters in her books, which is testimony to how well Reichs can engross her readers into her make believe characters. Bones Never Lie is good because Reichs has focused the bulk of the story on her characters and their various dynamics. Sliddell is back - one of my favorites and Reichs needs to give him (and her readers) the "skinny" on this guy. I like the relationship between him and Tempe, but I would also like this character to have more dialogue than the myriad of grunts and shoulder shrugs. SPOILER ALERT!!!! Ryan is back and figures somewhat prominently in this book. I like that the author did not bring him back "fixed and ready to go". Something to develop in future stories. Tempe's mother is brought into the forefront here which gave me another view into the Tempe character. Finally, the story itself is a bit slow - there is not a lot of suspense in this one, but that's okay, because the story itself was interesting. No need for car chases and such. I liked this installment - more Birdie please would be great.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book.
AUTHOR: Caroline Kepnes
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction/Thriller
Okay, full disclosure. What first drew me to this book was the "bookstore" aspect. Yep, I am sucker for any book set in a bookstore, although to be fair, the bookstore is simply the basis where the two main characters meet.
I haven't been reading many thrillers (if I can use this term here) for a while now because so many of them are predictable. Well, this book is anything but predictable and actually, the first word that came to mind is creepy, but not in a horror/supernatural way - rather, in a "this could happen in real life and scares me" kind of way.
Joe Goldberg works in a bookstore and he meets Guinevere Beck. What should have simply been a brief encounter between two random people quickly turns into an escalating game of stalking which left me feeling scared as hell.
Its amazing to me that a book like this can even be written - but it makes sense. It has become so easy for people to "follow" other people now and this book takes this aspect of our "social media" driven life and turns it on its ear but pushing to the brink of just how scary and horrible it is to actually put your life on display for everyone to read about.
Yes, I am conscious of the irony of my last sentence, considering I am posting this review on a public blog - but this book made me think and it made me scared. Saying this book entertained me would be wrong because this kind of deprivation can hardly be called entertaining, but it was completely compelling and an engaging and commanding read.
I hated it for being so possible and loved it for being so "true".
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Thanks to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book on Net Galley.
AUTHOR: Kim Firmston
Once again, another wonderful, wonderful book in this series.
Martin loves to film things and ends up in an abandoned building where he meets someone who will help him find direction in his life.
Firstly, I have to say that the author does a wonderful job of describing the abandoned building (one of my personal favorite things to read about). I actually felt as though I was there. Secondly, as I am reading this book, I keep thinking "god, I am so happy I am not a YA today" between the over medication and the bullying, its tough out there and this book tackles this topic.
Martin finds a kindred spirit in Stick and together, they forge a bond that helps both of them figure out how to move ahead without screaming in frustration.
As always, well written, incredibly researched and sensitively presented, this book is a perfect read for everyone.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
A huge thank you to Random House for reaching out to me with this book.
TITLE: The Buy Side
AUTHOR: Turney Duff
I love, love reading memoirs that are honest and offer me an "all access" pass to a place or person that I would not normally be able to gain any info on. The Buy Side delivers this and more.
This memoir, written about Wall Street truly exposes all the dark secrets that we may have suspected, but could never "put" our fingers on.
Author Duff obviously knows his stuff and, if he doesn't, he did a thorough job of investigating, except that this book is so well written and the stories (and people) are so well and thoroughly depicted that you just know that this memoir is about hands on experience and not about any information gleamed through research or found in any book.
I love that this book gives us a dirty but reality based looked at what the people on Wall Street really think about the rest of us and its scary as hell.
Well written, riveting, frustrating and even maddening, this book is a must read.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Thank you so much to William Morrow for allowing me the opportunity of reading this ebook.
TITLE: Murder 101
AUTHOR: Faye Kellerman
I have read everything by Faye Kellerman. She has really grown as an author and I love that she writes the same characters in every book - giving us the opportunity of growing with the "Decker" family.
Addtionally, I am so grateful that Kellerman has substantially toned down the religious aspect of her stories. I have no problem with incorporating some religion in the story if it will make it move forward, but at some point, she was spending so much time telling us about Rena's beliefs and myriad of traditions that it seriously took away from the storyline - after all, this is a thriller - not a book on religion.
Why I liked this story so much? The combining of Decker and Harvard was perfect. At first, I wasn't sure, but by a few chapters, I was loving the back and forth between the two partners. It was amusing and engaging and I felt myself rooting for them to remain partners......
The whodunit is mild enough - a theft of art that ends up being a homicide which Decker investigates through NYC and Boston (great way for Kellerman to get Decker back in the big city for a bit).
A word of warning, when you start reading this book pay very close attention because there are so many people "involved' in this "art" theft/murder that you are going to lose the thread if you don't pay attention. Ditto on the details about which country stole what heirloom. I think Kellerman could have toned it down a bit here.
However, in true Kellerman style, while there is a bit of action, the story is mostly about solving the mystery with brains and good old fashion investigating.
The one thing that Kellerman still needs to do is tone down the propaganda when it comes to Rina. Wow, between Decker, Harvard and absolutely everybody else in this story, Rina is made out to be a saint. She never says anything wrong, every person around her loves her instantly, she is welcome at meetings where she should clearly not be and she is the center of absolutely everyone's world. Its getting old and it feels fake and takes away from the rest of the story.
Honestly, I think the future stories would highly benefit from reducing Rina's role SIGNIFICANTLY or better still, remove her completely.
Overall though, this was a strong book.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster for letting me read this book.
TITLE: Charlie Glass's Slippers
AUTHOR: Holly McQueen
GENRE: Chick Lit
RATING: 4 Stars
Okay, first off, this book had me with a) its wonderful cover and b) the fact that its chick lit and is proud of it!!!
Unfortunately, the genre has really gotten a beating in the last few years and I am just so happy that some authors have not decided to "jump ship" but rather, continue to write amazing stories in the genre.
Charlie Glass's Slippers is a new and chick "litty" take on the Cinderella story and I loved it.
Charlie has had a rough life, including a sick parent and serious body image issues. However, she gets "lucky" and comes into some $ - this is her chance, with this money her life will become what she wants it to be and now, she can get slim and everything will be perfect.
While I loved the fluffier parts of this story, I really engaged in the back story - the one where Charlie finds out that life is not neat and perfect if you get rich and slim - in fact, it doesn't fix what is hurting inside.
Told with voice that makes you want to embrace Charlie, I found myself hoping that Charlie would actually decide NOT to end up in a relationship and to keep discovering who she is and how strong she can be on her own.
The writing was fun and engaging and unlike many novels I have read in the recent past, does not fall flat with too many boring details.
This book is written for all lovers of chick lit - yes! but also for anyone who has always wondered if it is greener on the other side (watch what you ask for, you might get it!).
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Thank you to SourceBooks Fire for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.
TITLE: Some Boys
AUTHOR: Patty Blount
I very rarely give a book 5 stars, but this book blew me away. Blount writes a hard and raw story of what date rape can do - not only to the victim, but also to the people around the "accused". From the opening paragraph, the voices of Grace and Ian are represented, but what makes this book unique is that while Grace is the victim, Ian is actually a friend of the boy who is accused of having raped her. In fact, not only are they friends and Lacrosse team members, Ian was the one who found Grace after the rape. While I am not usually a fan of the alternating voice style, it really works here - mainly because the book puts in clear view how one incident (and then a series of smaller ones) can be experienced by two different people who then interpret the incident in very different ways, each putting their own slants and bias on the event. Of course, Grace is completely cast aside when she accuses one of the high school's most popular jocks of rape. From then on, life becomes a nightmare for Grace, because she was drunk and because she dresses seductively and because and because and because. I found myself so mad - why was Grace treated so horribly by both adults and the YA in her life? soooo frustrating and more so because this is the harsh reality of many rape victims. I also found myself wanting to whack Ian in the head for being so wishy washy at times, it was sooooo annoying, but I think it also accurately represented the struggle he was going through trying to progressively find excuses for the horrid behaviour of his friend. I think this book would have worked better if the "romance" aspect was removed, in fact, this story can easilly stand on his own without it. I loved, loved, every word written and, if I did not always like Ian (and definitely hated Zac) Rachel was a star here. Very well done.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I was thrilled when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for this book as I am a big fan of memoirs.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.
TITLE: Good Chinese Wife
AUTHOR: Susan Blumberg-Kason
Ah, the things we do for love. This is what kept popping into my mind as I read this book.
Thanks to the fact that we can now move about freely and meet a variety of people, gone are the days (for the most part) of marrying the boy next door. As we travel about the globe, people meet and experience things that were unheard of in the past and nowhere is this more obvious than in this book.
Susan is a shy girl living in the USA who has always been fascinated by China - she gets the opportunity to make her dream come true by heading to Hong King to study. There, she meets her soul mate - Cai who is Chinese.
From the first sentences of this memoir, you can immediately feel the clash of personalities brought on by so vastly different cultures. In the beginning, Susan pushes away her fears and her thoughts, making herself believe that everything is just fine. This made me want to scream at her,, although I guess as a bystander without a horse in the race, it was way easier for me to see what was happening than for Susan to admit it to herself.
Told in a very frank and honest way (Susan does not always portray herself in the best light either), this book is a road map for all things that can go wrong when two people who are wayyyyy too different in every way get married.
Cai is unlikeable and frankly, annoying from his first appearance in the story and Susan spends much of the early book making me want to strangle her, but that is the strength of this novel - that it can actually elicit so many different emotions in the reader.
Through the story, we also learn some interesting things about Hong Kong and how truly different their cultures seem to be.
Written in a clear voice that doesn't go too overboard on details (although at times, I found myself wishing there was a tad less of it in some spots), the overall story and writing are first rate.
I truly enjoyed reading this memoir.
I truly enjoyed reading this memoir.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Thank you to the wonderful people at HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book.
TITLE: Ice Shear
AUTHOR; M.P. Cooley
For those who read this blog regularly, you know that I am not a big fan of mysteries, rather, I prefer the thriller/legal genre, however, I have to admit that when I saw this book (and yes!!!! the cover was at least 50% of the reason I wanted to read it) I felt that I could not pass this one up.
Set in NY state with a witty, entertaining and SMART main character by the name of June, this mystery turned out to be a well written, well crafted book.
June has had to make some tough choices and thanks to these choices, she is back in her home town. She finds herself the low man on the totem poll walking a beat. Until she ends up smack in the middle of a murder that takes on larger than life status.
Dealing with her personal issues, as well as cops who don't like her (or her retired police officer dad), she must find the murderer.
I love how the author makes June so smart and strong. She definitely made the whole book for me and I was rooting for her. The plot is well crafted and I love some of the "detours" the author took, but, for me, this book was all about June.
Smart, fast paced and well written.