Thursday, September 29, 2016

"IQ" by Jo Ide

A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores. 
East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood's high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can't or won't touch. 
They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he's forced to take on clients that can pay. 
This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes. ~taken from Netgalley

Well, that was quite a read, and I'm not quite sure what my exact rating is. I guess I will type out this review while I ponder on how many stars to give it. 

 I did really like the main character, Isaiah Quitabe (aka IQ), who lives in a rough L.A. neighborhood and acts like a community detective, of sorts. He is a modern day Sherlock mixed with Shawn Spencer of the tv show Psych, and a little bit of Robin Hood mixed in as well. 

This book is told in third person perspective and jumps back and forth between two times- 2005 and 2013. Really, it's like reading two separate stories. There are times I wished the story from 2005- the "how IQ came to be" was a separate book than the rest of the story from 2013. It was all over the place and confusing. Just as I was getting a good flow reading the main story, I was taken back to a previous time in the character's life. It was so distracting and annoying. There were just too many flashbacks and the back story was too slow to unfold, making it somewhat boring. 

The character dialog is clever and authentic. There is quite a bit of cussing, so if that is something that bothers you, then I would recommend avoiding this book because it is a constant. The scenes and characters are believable and the crime itself was interesting and unique. The urban setting was very interesting and felt authentic to me. It was a change for me to read about gang-ridden war zones and drug dens. I can honestly say the book kept me interested.

Overall, it was a decent read. I think the timelines jumping back and forth were just too much for me. I understand the need to know the back story, but I feel it could have been done without causing so much chaos and without taking away from the main story. I did enjoy the characters, but I think this book just isn't for me. I give it 3 stars.

"IQ" by Joe Ide is set to be released October 18, 2016. If you are looking for a unique, modern-detective, urban- fiction, suspense novel than I recommend pre-ordering it now.  

Thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for allowing me the egalley in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reading! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

"The German Girl: A Novel" by Armando Lucas Correa

I just adore historical fiction novels. Especially the era of WWII. I have read plenty of WWII fiction novels and this book was different. 

In 1939, before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost. ~excerpt from Netgalley

This was a novel from a WWII point of view I hadn't read before. Based loosely on the true story of the voyage of the St Louis, a German transatlantic liner that sailed from Hamburg, Germany to Havana, Cuba in 1939. Carrying almost 1000 passengers, mostly Jews who were fleeing The Third Reich, the majority were approved for US visas and planned to stay in Cuba only until they could enter the United States. The two week voyage forever changed their fates, as Cuban officials decided not to allow all passengers entrance onto the island once it arrived, forcing many to return to Europe. 

Told through alternating characters both past and present, this story tugs at heart strings and brings unexpected smiles while sharing a little known story about German Jews who left Nazi occupied Germany for the chance of a life in Cuba.

This was a phenomenal debut novel by author Armando Lucas Correa and I absolutely enjoyed every word he wrote. He has a vivid, raw, and effortless style of writing. The words he chose made me feel like I was in the story. I had no issues imagining the scenery and no trouble knowing exactly what the characters were feeling. This was a believable, fictional account, and I was happy to get swept away in the story.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for allowing me the egalley for free in exchange for my honest review. It was a 5 star read for me! The German Girl is due to be released on October 18, 2016 so pre-order it now! You won't be disappointed!

Happy Reading!

"Truly Madly, Guilty" by Liane Moriarty

I know it's been awhile since my last blog post. The older 2 kids have started school and my youngest had surgery recently and has another surgery next month, so I have been a busy mother. I am not apologizing because they are more important than book reviews, but I have not forgotten about my book review readers! Thanks for sticking around!

This was not my first novel from Liane Moriarty. I really enjoy reading this author! I have committed to a few ARC reviews, but I just had to sneak this book in! Truly, Madly, Guilty was a fun read and I'm glad I made time for it.

It all starts at a barbecue...

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm. ~taken from Goodreads

So, right away we know something happened. By the way all the characters are acting it had to be something bad. The reader of this book MUST BE PATIENT!!! Because I am not a patient person and just had to know what happened, I plowed through this book. 

At first, it was a bit hard to keep all the characters straight. The chapters in this novel flip flop from past to present, as well as switch between the points of views of several characters. I think the flip flopping gives this story a complete point of view. I enjoyed reading about the same situations the way different characters experienced them. 

The characters were also well developed. I truly enjoyed every single one. They were all different. I think Moriarty has a knack for taking everyday life and making it interesting. I caught myself reading about a certain character and thinking "I do that too"! Moriarty really had a knack for writing relatable characters. 

I, of course, will not give much more away about this book. It is a mystery that requires patience. It is a complex story of family, relationships, and getting through life during hard times. I have read quite a few reviews that suggest this is not a very good book. I disagree, I really enjoyed it. It is not my favorite Liane Moriarty book, but it was a good read. I give it 4 stars! 

Happy Reading!