Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Truth And Other Lies by Sascha Arango

I had the pleasure of reading this book back in May thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books. They were very clear not to post reviews of any kind until the release date. Now that this book is available for purchase I can finally post my review!

The Truth And Other Lies is Sascha Arango's debut thriller. 

"On the surface, Henry Hayden seems like someone you could like, or even admire. A famous bestselling author who appears a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous friend and coworker. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. No one besides him and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

For most of Henry’s life, it hasn’t been a problem. But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, he tries to find a permanent solution, only to make a terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past—which he has painstakingly kept hidden—threatens to catch up with him as well. Henry is an ingenious man and he works out an ingenious plan. He weaves lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. But bit by bit the noose still tightens."

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, here is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss."

While the start was very slow, once I was past the first 25% it actually became very enjoyable. I was eager to read as fast as I could to figure out the twists and mysteries. The characters are very well developed and at a times likable and relatable. The mysteries and plot were sometimes confusing. I know this is a thriller, but I felt left out of huge secrets that only the characters knew and it just threw off my reading and left me annoyed. 

The character's inner thoughts, at times, dragged on and on making for extremely boring reading while not giving any real relevance to the main story and ultimately just distracting me from the plot. 

From the start I wondered what the main character was hiding. I plowed through pages just sure it was something crazy and evil. Then the end comes and I got nothing. It was a mangled, cliffhanger ending.

I give this book 3.5 stars. Not on my list of top thrillers, but not a complete waste of time. I am interested to see if the author writes anymore thrillers. Also, this book was a German to English translation, which sometimes can be a bit of a mess, but this book actually translated great. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"The Good Girls (The Perfectionists #2) by Sara Shepard

Sometimes you just need an easy read. For me I like YA books that take me back to before I had bills to pay, laundry to fold and dinners to make. I love books that take me back to life as a high-schooler. The Good Girls by Sara Shepard is book 2 in a series that did just that. It took me back and wrapped me up in gossip, lies, and lip gloss. Oh, and in this book (and series) there was also murder.

I loved the Pretty Little Liars book series. All 17 of them. I also am a huge fan of the show. I have yet to dabble in The Lying Game Series.

The Good Girls is the second and last book in The Perfectionists series. That being said I will try not to spoil anything for readers who haven't even read the first book, simply named The Perfectionists, but plan to read it someday. 

Basically the series (duo? pair?) starts out with a group of girls that all seem to be perfect on the outside. A group project brings them together and at first they all think they have nothing in common. Until they start talking about hypothetical killings. People they want out of their lives. They all realize they have hatred for a fellow classmate, a boy named Nolan. 

In the first book they discuss who and how they would hypothetically like to wind up dead. They end up devising a plan to humiliate Nolan at a party except the plan goes terribly wrong and Nolan ends up dead in the exact way they hypothetically talked about it. It freaks them all out, of course!

This book starts where the first left off. Their teacher (and who they thought killed Nolan) winds up dead the same night they were there to try and get him to confess. Then another person they named winds up dead also. Coincidence? Did someone overhear their conversation? Who is trying to frame them for murder? Are they in danger of being murdered also?

I know it sounds totally cheesy, but I totes love books like this! It was a fun, quick, easy read that actually ended okay. I didn't see it coming. Like not at all. I like that even though I thought and thought about who the murderer(s) was I still didn't guess the ending. I was a bit disappointed but I won't spill the beans. I'll let you decide about the ending.  

Perfect for a fun summer weekend read or a book to sit by the pool with! A solid 4 stars. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Spelled" by Betsy Schow

"If it looks too good to be true, it probably is." ~ Gretel from Candy Kills: A True Story

"Rule #68: When you're afraid, hold your head high and whistle a happy tune. This remedy is also known to increase dwarf productivity by a multiple of seven." ~ Definitive Fairy Tale Survival Guide, Volume 1

This book is filled with adorable, witty little quotes and rules taken from other fairy tales. It's also filled with lots of plays on words such as:

an ebook- the e short for enchanted
a spellpone (cellphone)

I am telling you, Spelled was a very fun read! It was over-the-top outrageous fun following the adventure of Dorthea- the bratty, spoiled, and cursed Emerald Princess. Pixed (pissed) off that she is being forced to marry Kato, a not-so-charming prince of another kingdom, she wished on a cursed star and it backfires, turning her whole world into mad chaos. 

She then sets out on a weird adventure through magical kingdoms to try and save her parents and restore the magic that she mixed up. Along the way friends are made, enemies are fought, and Dorthea grows from a bratty princess who was only concerned about herself, to a princess who looks out for others in her kingdom. 

There were so many references to other fairy tales that this book truly was interesting throughout. It is laugh out loud funny at times with all the puns and character's you probably have forgotten since your childhood. 

I admit that this YA book was VERY young adult-ish. But it was such a fun, easy read that it didn't bother me. It was a mental vacation in a magical kingdom that I looked forward to reading after the kiddos went to bed. 

This book ends in a cliffhanger. Searching Amazon and Goodreads I found no reference to this being the start of a series, but rumor has it that on her Twitter page she references a possible second book. I combed through her Twitter profile but it was so full that I got tired of searching. 

All in all I give this book a solid 3.5 stars! It kept me entertained with exciting plot twists and fun references to the fairy tales I grew up reading.

A special thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me a digital copy to read and review. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Andy Weir's "The Martian"

I already know this will cause a discussion. I have friends who absolutely loved this book. For me, lover of Sci-Fi, this book was just "eh". This review may contain spoilers so read at your own risk. 

Sure, this book takes place in space. Mars to be exact. There are spaceships, rovers, and astronauts. But I think the bulk of this book is an immature, nerdy guy's journal. 

So here is a short description of the plot:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive.

Let's start with my biggest issue- character development. There is absolutely none. Here's what I know about the main character. He likes to use exclamation points. He likes to make what he believes are funny jokes and is 95% a smartass. He hates 70s tv and disco. He also loves math and science equations. That's about it. 

My second issue is the plot line. Andy Weir has a plot line in this book that goes like this: Problem, think of solution, act out solution, and then celebrate the solution. Repeat this through the ENTIRE book. It was so boring and repetitive. Not everything can go right the majority of the time in a situation like this. The ending was as expected. Worked out just like in the Hollywood movies. <<<--- See what I did there? Oh great the horrible humor in this book has worn off on me! 

My third issue was all the equations. Science and Math were not my favorite subjects. Reading about science and math equations does not make for fun reading. This book is 75% equations. No joke. At first I really tried to follow and work it out in my head along with the character. Then I just started skimming paragraphs. By the end of the book I was skimming whole sections of a chapter. I guess if you are a math or science geek this book is right up your alley. 

In regards to the previous paragraph I also have to give props. Reading the interview with the author at the end of the book verified that these scientific equations were actually legit. Mr. Weir actually wrote and solved these problems just for the book. It's scientifically correct. Bravo man, bravo. Still boring as hell though. 

There were times when I was fascinated with the story. When I was rooting for Mark (the main character) and was hoping he would pull through. But the story overall just fell flat with me. I prefer my Sci-Fi unrealistic I guess. This was all just too "real" for my liking. 

I am sure I am one of the minority who only gives this book 3 stars. It just wasn't my thing. I am interested to see how this will play out on the big screen though. Honestly, picturing Matt Damon throughout the entire book is the only thing that kept me reading.  

Let me know what you think! I am sure it's on everyone's to-read list! 
Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Disclaimer" by Renee Knight

Well, Renee Knight's "Disclaimer" certainly had a lot of hype didn't it? Hailed as "the next Girl On The Train" or " this season's Gone Girl". It was supposed to be a thrilling, psychological, page turner. I honestly liked The Girl On The Train. I can't say much for Gone Girl because I never finished it despite trying to get through it 3 times. "Disclaimer" was just an okay read.  

I wouldn't describe it as thrilling. The only reason it was a page-turner for me is because the pace was so slow that I skimmed most parts of a chapter because I was so bored. I kept thinking that the next chapter would lead the way to more excitement. Something, anything, that would make the time I was spending reading a "thriller" worth it. 

For as slow as 90% of the book was, the ending came so fast! If you blink, you miss it! Let me back up...

This story is told between alternating perspectives and alternating time periods. 40 something year old Catherine starts reading a book and realizes it's about her. A deep, horribly dark secret she has been hiding from everyone.  She is shaken to the core wondering who the author is. 

Stephen is a retired teacher who's wife passed away. Come to find out he is the one who wrote the book. Switching back and forth between these two characters, we very slowly find out what the book is about and how these two became "obsessed" with each other. 

I liked Stephen and his story much more. He seemed more relatable than Catherine. Throughout most of the book I was just willing Catherine to talk to someone about it all. She was very annoying. Most of her chapters were inner monologue of being scared and confused which got repetitive and boring. 

Getting through this book was a struggle. Way too slow for my liking. I am probably going to be the minority with my 3 star rating. It seemed like people loved Gone Girl and this book was just a step above for me. I think I gave The Girl On The Train 4 stars if I remember correctly. 

I won't give away the ending (what kind of a book blogger would I be if I did!). Although it was rushed and a bit "too perfect", it was very satisfying. I wasn't let wondering. I didn't feel like I wasted time reading the book. The author has a great writing style and the book was (at times) entertaining. This book just didn't suck me in. After a few chapters I felt it was more of a chore to finish the book and wasn't really all that excited to dive back into the story.

I expect that this will be on most people's list for summer reading. I also expect that everyone will love it. I am interested to hear from friends and fellow book bloggers what they thought about the book as a whole. 

Happy Reading!