Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes

So I must start out saying that I do love books in the YA (young adult) category. And I may or may not have picked this book because it had the word "liar" in it. I am very much obsessed with both the book series and the tv series  Pretty Little Liars. I also absolutely adored the book We Were Liars to the point where I wish I could immediately forget the ending and re-read it again. I saw this book come up in my Goodreads feed when an author I follow reviewed it and gave it 5 stars. I clicked and read the summary plot and was intrigued. So I added "Liars, Inc" by Paula Stokes it to my list.

Liars, Inc is a fun, thrilling, cute little love triangle, missing friend turned to friend being murder story. The main character is a 17 year old boy named Max. He is a typical bad-boy surfer. He has only 2 close friends (or really 2 friends at all) one being his girlfriend, the other a boy named Preston. Both of them are rich kids and Max is just a typical, adopted, surfer who hates most parts of his life. Preston goes missing, Max is blamed, and of course Parvati (his GF) helps find the truth behind it all. FBI agents, murder, and lies are what fill this book. 

It is a good mystery/thriller. Nothing special. Nothing mind blowing. Just a fun, easy read. I did greatly appreciate that the author, Paula Stokes, made the fact that the book read like a typical teenage boy. This book is told in first person perspective. I have read a few books written by females that just can't make the male perspective believable. The main character, Max, was very believable as masculine. His perspective on things happening around him were sarcastic and often times made me laugh. I might have had a slight readers crush on him. 

Yes, I did say that this book has a bit of a love triangle in it. Like most books it does deal with relationships. Relationships between family, friends, and romantic. It was NOT over-the-top romantic, though I did feel myself rooting for Max and Parvati to work out their issues. 

The plot was simple enough that I enjoyed getting lost in the twist, turns, lies and mystery. Even though I did figure out the ending before I actually finished, it was still quite an enjoyable read and there were even times I was a bit surprised by the twists and turns the author took. If you like a quick, enjoyable mystery than defiantly check out this book! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Her: A Novel" by Harriet Lane

Sometimes it happens. Rarely, but it does. I didn't finish this book. "Her: A Novel" by Harriet Lane was so... utterly boring. I gave up just after I was about half way done (57% according to my Kindle). That's when I realized that nothing had actually happened. It is so slow paced and full of mundane everyday life that I forgot this was labeled as a "psychological thriller". 

I don't really have much to say about this book. It is about two women- one who is a stay at home mother of two. She goes through the routine of taking care of kids, cleaning house, and making meals. I could definitely relate to her and at times found her inner monologue very comical. The other is also a mother, but with an almost grown teenager. She is also an artist (painter) who's husband is never home. She is a sneaky, hateful, bitch. She somehow knows "stay at home mom" from her past, but "stay at home mom" doesn't seem to recognize her or have a clue they have met before.

That's about all I can tell you. Halfway through the book I still have no idea how these two women's pasts are connected. From reading other reviews I can see that not many readers were pleased with the ending. 

To be honest, it was just such slow paced I kind of lost interest. Combine that with the fact that I have a few books that I pre-ordered back in October or November that have finally been released. I just have no interest in finishing this book. Maybe one day I will get the notion to complete it. I suppose it will be right after I finish Gone Girl, which is another book I never finished. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"The Devil In The White City" by Erik Larson

To be honest I am not a huge non-fiction reader. My life is non-fiction so when I read for fun I prefer fiction books. This is, however, the second non-fiction book I have read this year! The first one was "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Sloot. A five star book that you should and must buy here! The current book I have been reading is this: "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. For a couple weeks or so when I get time between family duties and other books I sneak this in. I finally had time to finish today! 

I found this book by searching for info on H.H. Holmes. If you have never heard of Holmes than start researching! I am a true crime fanatic. Mostly in ways of podcasts like Sword & ScaleSerial, and tv shows like Dateline, Snapped, etc. For those who don't know, H.H. Holmes is one of the first documented American serial killers. Around the time of The World's Fair in Chicago, he built and operated a hotel specifically designed so that he could murder (by way of torture- think gas chambers, burn rooms, etc) ,and then try to sell either whole bodies or bleached bone skeletons to medical schools. No joke. Some also believe he might actually be Jack The Ripper. 

This book links the life and happenings of Holmes with a man called Daniel H. Burman- the architect responsible for designing and building The World Fair. He had to overcome so many obstacles to construct the famous " White City" around which the fair was built.  This book will have you searching online to double check and make sure that what you are reading is indeed non-fiction and not some crazy made up crime story.  It tells the lives of these two men. It is all non-fiction. The author does explain that anything between quotation marks comes from letters, memoirs, or other written documents. This book is like two books in one. 

Fact: Architecture, historical politics, and landscape design all bore me. There were a few times in this book where my eyes kind of glossed over and I started skimming the pages to get to something that wasn't boring. Minus half a star for that. The other half star lost was because while both men are interesting (Holmes more so to me than Burman), and they did live near each other, and yes, their lives in some way connected, but this could have been two separate books. By combining the stories the author didn't gain much but lost a lot. I kept waiting for each mans' story to come to union, but they didn't. I think the author should have combined the idea of two types of cleverness found in each man. I think the author was trying to contrast how two men in the same time period, in the same city chose either good or evil to express themselves.  But it was just choppy, and at times confusing when reading these stories together. I am not sure why the author chose these two men together to write a book about.

All in all it was a pretty decent book! Happy Reading! 

*If you are interested in learning more about H.H. Holmes listen to this episode of Sword & Scale Podcast. Episode 30 of S&S interviews and talk to two men, one of whom is the great-great-grandson of H.H. Holmes himself! The other is an author who has spent years researching the links between Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes. Good stuff! I hadn't heard of him until listening to this podcast. 

Find Me by Laura van den Berg

I told you I could read faster when Spring Break wasn't happening and the big kids weren't at home! It kind of makes me nervous for summer vacation that is coming up soon. Will I finish a book this summer? Would I be a mean mom if I required a book review from them every week? Things to ponder...

So you are probably wondering why I gave a book I read in about 8 hours only a 4 out of 5 star review. In truth, it was probably about 3.5 stars. Let me explain:

As stated in my previous review, I love a good "end of the world as we know it" book (try not to get the R.E.M. song stuck in your head for the day). This book is one of those types of books.

Joy is a 19 year old who is currently living in a hospital with about 75 other patients. A virus has swept across the country causing people to forget. They forget so fast that they become like infants until their brain is just mush and they die. Joy is immune. In a world where everyone else is forgetting Joy takes this time to think back and remember her short 19 year old life. Through flashbacks of her memory we learn that her mother abandoned her as an infant, she grew up in foster care, and prior to hospital admittance she lived a boring life addicted to cough syrup. 

The first half of the book (Book 1 as labeled in the book) was very, very good. I really enjoyed learning about the virus and how it effected the country. Even though the entire half takes place in one building the characters surrounding her are so well explained and interesting it pulls you in. I also loved when Joy flashed backed in her memories and we learn bit by bit what her life has been like. There are a couple plot twists that totally kept me reading fast to find out what happens. 

Then the second half hits (Book 2 as labeled in the book). It was like the author went to the local bar, took a handful of shots, smoked some weed, did a hit of acid and then asked every other drunk bar patron to help her write the end of the book. Anybody could add whatever they wanted, even if it was crazy, out of this world, didn't really make sense, or add any value to the story. I honestly am not sure what I read in the second half of the book. I won't give away any spoilers.

I get that Joy was on some "what is life about" journey, but it really was a radical read. I found myself confused and it was very hard to tell whether she was dreaming all of it or if it really was happening in her life. It was hard to know what Joy was truly feeling. Hard to understand her motivation for why she was doing what she was doing. I spent way to much time thinking "why is this happening" and "did I miss something". It just didn't fit with the first half of the story.

 The ending isn't one of those "satisfied" endings either. Very open ended. Not how I like books to end that aren't part of a series. Especially after half the book is dedicated on figuring out "who" Joy is. Give me some closure! 

So, all in all, it was a good read. I wanted to love it. In some ways I did love it. In other ways I feel like I read two different books by two different authors and didn't get the closure to either story that I was hoping for or even expecting. You can buy the book here . It really is a quick read and for the most part enjoyable. Happy Reading! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jean Hegland's "Into The Forest"

I honestly am not even sure how to start this post. OK, let's start from the beginning. I found this book while browsing. I cant remember if I was browsing Goodreads or while browsing Amazon but either way, I was very much swept up in the description of this book and wanted to read it ASAP. As always I checked my library website first. Let's face it, if I bought every book I read I would be broke and my hubby and kids would be starving and probably homeless.

 My library didn't have this book, but my library is AMAZING!!! They have a program called "Interlibrary Loan". Basically, if they don't have the book I am looking for they allow me to connect with a worldwide database of other libraries that are a part of the Interlibrary Loan program to possibly borrow this book from another library. I submit a request and state whether or not I am willing to pay a fee (usually I will put I will pay up to $3 for it) and they ask on my behalf to borrow it from another library. I get a few denials every now and then- either the other libraries say no or the fee is outrageous and it's easier and less expensive just to buy it myself. The farthest library I have ever borrow a book was some library in the UK. Pretty cool! This book I borrow from Kansas State University (go Wildcats)! I was totally prepared to buy this as an eBook because it looked so good and the reviews were amazing! Plus I got around $100 in Amazon gift cards for Christmas so of course I am going to spend them on books! I am really glad I didn't buy this book though. I know a few friends have added this to their "to-read" list. This review has spoilers so read at your own discretion.  

This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world somewhere in the remote mountains of  California. The main characters are two teenage sisters, One likes to dance, while the other likes to study and read. Their parents died, one just before the apocalypse, the other a bit after. So they are left on their own. I was about half way through the book before I realized that nothing has really happened. They are in denial that the world has changed. I could appreciate that the author placed them in such a remote setting that it was easy for them to not fully grasp what was going on in the world around them. For the first 100 pages or so I LOVED the story and they description of the breakdown of the country. Very realistic. 

The two sister just didn't relate to me. They were weird. I get that they were home-schooled and raised by parents who taught them to be self sufficient, but they were so naive and quite frankly, stupid. One does nothing but dance ballet in her makeshift studio  to a metronome (because there is no electricity for music-duh) while the other reads the encyclopedias all day long because the country broke down before she could be accepted to Harvard and she is sure any day the world will return to normal and she can go to college. Boring. So boring. Finishing teen years on an isolated, remote mountain homestead with no parents in a post apocalyptic world has all the makings of a great plot, but no. The girls are alone with each other for most of the book and while this book has all the makings for emotional intensity I found their emotions (or lack there of) to just be basic. Think a junior high or high school essay. Like it was written by a preteen/teen who couldn't fully grasp the emotions and the emotional finale to certain situations. 

The fact that the sisters went from being clueless on having to survive on dwindling supplies and a falling down house, to being super survivors in the wilderness with only the knowledge they found in plant identification book was simply silly. The decision to burn their house down to live in the woods was mind blowing. The ballet sister gets raped (sad, I know) and goes into an understandable shock. However, the way to get over it is to have incestuous lesbian sex with her sister??? What the hell!? So many parts of this book just didn't make sense. The fact that it is written like the 17 year old's journal got old pretty quick also. 

I could go on and on about why this book was a fail for me. But I won't. If you are still interested in reading it you can find it at your library or even here on Amazon. I gave this book 2 stars because I really did love the back story on how the world ended. I also did like certain parts of the book on how the sister's kept up with life without electricity, phones, and certain every day supplies. The dad was also hilarious (he is in memory stories throughout the book). So read at your own risk. Maybe you will end up loving it! Happy Reading! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Legacy Human (Singularity 1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Wow! Sci-Fi is one of my favorite genres. But I never even imagined the world that Susan Kaye Quinn came up with in her book "The Legacy Human (Singularity #1)". I know it took me awhile to read (like a week) but it is spring break and the little humans that live in my house have demanded food, attention, etc.. Otherwise I probably would have finished this book in about a day. 

Her world consists of "ascenders", which are robot/human hybrids of some sort. They are the supreme beings, in a way, that rule the universe. Then there are regular, normal. everyday humans, called "legacies", that live in poverty and struggle just to live in the conditions that the Ascenders impose on them. Eli is a legacy who has the gift of art- painting to be specific. Cyrus is his best friend and a bad-boy rebel. He dislikes Ascenders and everything they stand for. However Eli is given a chance to compete in their version of the Olympics. The ones who win gold are given a chance to ascend along with their family members. Which means Eli and his very sick mother can be healed of all ailments and live forever. 

Of course the twist comes when Eli and Cyrus meet some girls at the Olympic training facilities. The girls are part of the Resistance. They want to better the human race and change the universe so that the Ascenders can't rule and treat humans as pets. There is another twist, but I will leave you to read and find out all on your own! 

This is not my first Susan Kaye Quinn book. She is a brilliant writer. In this book her brilliant use of words had me painting with Eli, dancing with Kamali, wishing I had the gift of speech like Delphina, and loving Cryus' crude, rude, bad boy behavior. 

Right now you can get this book here for a mere 99 cents for the Kindle Edition on Amazon. Do it. Now. If you love sci-fi dystopian books such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, or Legend series you will absolutely love The Human Legacy. Also, check out her Mindjack Trilogy (which I loved) or the Debt Collector Series. I can't wait until the next book in this series! Happy Reading! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Related? Kinda...

So I got my hair chopped. 6.5 inches gone! You can't tell from this pic but the back is shorter than the front. An angled bob.  This post is book related because my head is lighter now, allowing me to hold my head up to read easier! Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Stay tuned! Super Secret ARC review to come in June!

I know I haven't posted a review in a few days. It's not that I haven't been reading. I have. I just finished a wonderful book, but because it is an ARC and the publisher has asked to hold off on reviews until the day of the release, I am unable to comment much on it. I will say it's a wonderful thriller. I really enjoyed it. You must wait until June to know what book it is and read my review. Now I am on to another book! I leave you with a screen shot of my Kindle library. Now to choose what to read next...Happy Reading! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Susan Kaye Quinn Love

So awhile back I read an amazing trilogy of books by Susan Kaye Quinn called The Mindjack Trilogy. 

I love Sci-fi books and this trilogy did not disappoint. If you are looking for something to read this weekend check them out! Or you can start on her newest release "The Legacy Human " which I just downloaded for only 99 cents. Yes, less than a dollar. I am thrilled to start reading it! You can download The Mindjack Trilogy here and The Human Legacy book 1 (for only 99 cents) here . Happy Reading! 

*I seriously do love this author and in no way was I compensated in any way for this book suggestion. I am simply sharing my love in reading! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Adrian Heflin's "Lady of the Manor"

"Lady of the Manor" by Adrian Heflin. I just have to talk about this book. I received a free copy from NetGalley to read, honestly review, and recommend. Those not familiar with NetGalley, it is a website for readers where booksellers, publishers, librarians, educators, reviewers, and bloggers can request books to read and review, often times before the books are published. While browsing through books I came across this one and it sounded really good! I love stories about the south. Especially ones with deep, dark family secrets. This is that kind of book. I was approved to read it and  started yesterday. From the moment I downloaded and started reading I was hooked. Laundry, dishes, feeding children, vacuuming the house, etc was on the back burner (FYI- I am not a horrible mother and did clean house and feed my children yesterday). This book sucked me in from the very first chapter. It has characters you hate, characters you like, and plot twists that will leave you with your jaw open. When I say "dark family secrets" I mean it. Heflin (the author) doesn't mess around! After less than a day I am about 36% through it. And I can't wait to read more today! I highly suggest picking up a copy! Amazon has the paperback and Kindle edition for less than $10 here. I know I'm not finished with the book. I'm not even halfway through it yet. I do have a really good feeling that I will love this book all the way until the end though! 
Happy Reading!

*** 24 hours later and I'm done. Not done with the blog silly. Done reading "Lady of the Manor" by Adrian Heflin. I am so glad I submitted at request for this book on NetGalley. I am even happier that I got approved and was able to read this book! This was such a good read. I love a good mystery/thriller. I love books that take place in the south. I also like when the author takes me to an uncomfortable mental place but the plot is so good that I cant help but keep reading and turning the pages. Adrian Heflin's "Lady of the Manor" has it all. This book is not for those who prefer happy romance novels with good times had for all. This book is raw, gritty, creepy, mysterious, thrilling, and at times uncomfortable to read. What a cast of characters- I liked and hated some of them, often liking a character on one page and by the next page utterly hating them. Twists and turns, secrets and lies, past and present family secrets. Murder, rape, sex, racism and family togetherness (yes, I just used all those words in the same sentence).  All in one amazing book. My kind of story! I don't want to give too much away, but do me a favor and add it to your Goodreads "to-read" list (also add me as a Goodreads friend if you'd like). Then head over here to Amazon and pick up a paperback or Ebook for less than $10. You'll thank me later. After your read the book I would love for you to comment on this post or email me (contact info over to the right side of the page) on your thoughts and feelings. Over an hour has passed since I finished this book. And it's still swirling around in my head. I really hope there is a prequel to this book. I would love to know more about Rosemary... I'll let you readers get to it.

 Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Introduction: Why I decided to book blog.

So I am starting a new blog. Just for books. Let's face it- I love books. I usually read at least a book (sometimes 2) a week. Often times when I go to read reviews before starting a new book there is a paragraph or two of what the book is about. It's annoying.  I already read what the book is about in the summary. I read reviews to find out what others thought of the book. Did it make you cry? Did you want to hide under the covers in fear? Was it too long? Too Short? Not enough description? Too much description? I also hate when reviewers compare the book to other books they've read and then write an entire seperate paragraph about the OTHER book. Write a review for the other book on the other book's page. I just look for simple reviews. Did the reader like it? Why or why not? And maybe suggest, VERY simply, other books like this book that readers might enjoy (without the other book review). That's what this blog is for. Simple reviews. Plain and simple. Happy reading!