Monday, November 20, 2017

The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 4.6

WARNING: This is not for everyone

Medraut, the eldest son of High King Artos, would-be heir to the British throne—if not for an unfortunate circumstance of birth. Instead, his weak and unskilled half-brother, Lleu, is chosen as successor. Medraut cannot bear the thought of being ruled by the boy who has taken what he believes is rightfully his.

This is nothing like Wein's other novels Code Name Verity or Rose Under Fire. There were times while reading this I wasn't sure what I thought or if I was going to stick with it. I am glad that I did. This is a fantasy book with incest and mild S&M (more erotic than explicit) Definitely not what I expected from Wein but she is such a skilled writer and dazzles with her ability write such varied genres - all done fabulously. I will definitely read more in this series.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

My rating: 2.8

Sixth grade Miranda starts receiving mysterious anonymous messages from someone who is able to predict the future.


This is a light book that other than exploring time travel, it really doesn't go anywhere...if that makes sense. I felt there was pointless story lines and a lot of plot holes and, worst of all, I didn't care about any of the characters.. Definitely not the best Y.A. book that I have read.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Second Life by S.J. Watson

My rating: 3.5

When Julia learns that her sister has been murdered, she wants to know why and proceeds to do what she can to research what happened..


This woman makes BAD decision after BAD decision - UGH! If you can get past that, then this is an entertaining book. I am not sure why this book is classified as a thriller as it definitely didn't keep me on the edge of my seat or feel suspenseful. I did like that everything wasn't wrapped up in a bow at the end.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

My rating: 3.4

17 year old Zoe is a musical prodigy. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a piano recital when Zoe's past comes rushing into the present and, by the end of the evening, her mother Maria is dead.


Like so many others, I find it difficult to capture my feelings about this book. I enjoyed it. I liked Zoe and some of the other characters. It didn't feel like a thriller. Being told so early that Maria dies but not having much in between that point and the ending it felt anti climatic.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

11/22/63 by Stephen King

My rating: 3.2

If you could go back in time and change something, what would it be.....JFK's assassination. Jake steps through a portal that takes him back to the era of Ike and Elvis and stop JFK's assassination. Like 'Back To The Future' anything you change has ripple effects on the future.

I felt that this book was written by different authors.  The first portion of the book built the premise of time travel in a very plausible and intriguing way. It taught me things about history/JFK's shooting that I didn't know and yet, every item I googled turned out to be true! I was riveted. Then it felt that the writer changed to someone else and it was horrible. Such minutia of irrelevant detail on characters you don't need to know about and couldn't care less about. The back half dragged horrifically. Where was the editor? This 800+ page book should have been closer to 300 pages. I alternately slogged and skimmed my way through the back half but it never recovered the flow it had in the first half. So sad when the first portion was so enjoyable but I definitely would not recommend.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The River At Night by Erica Ferencik

My rating: 3.4

Four girlfriends go to Maine on a white water rafting trip that goes extremely wrong and turns into them trying to survive. The writer did an amazing job at capturing the white water rafting, the wilderness and try to survive in the woods.

I listened to this book and really enjoyed the voice of the narrator, and the storyline and yet most of the characters felt flat for me. I like the main character Winnie but the rest of them didn't come to life as much for me. While the action does a lot to make up for the lack of character development, I did find that without caring about the characters that the book didn't feel as gripping or suspenseful and I was wanting it to end. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Rating: 4.8

It has been two years since Jessie's mother died. Her father is off on a supposed 'business trip' and returns to tell her he has eloped with someone he met online and they are moving from Chicago to LA. The book opens with Jessie having been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son, and to start at a new school where she knows no one.

She gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?


I have to admit that when Jessie starts emailing with SN, I wasn't sure if I had bought into the premise but, it didn't take long until I was hooked. I absolutely loved the banter, wit, flirtation and the mix of comedy and tragedy. I think every teen would love this book and I will be getting it for my niece. In the epilogue, when the author said she had also lost her mother when she was 14 years old, I understood that this book was written with passion from a place of having been there - and it showed.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Widows House by Carol Goodman

My rating: 4.7

Hoping to rejuvenate their marriage and their writing careers, Jess and Claire move from Brooklyn back to their college home town in the Hudson Valley. They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor.....that is also haunted. Clare soon hears babies crying at night, sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Clare starts exploring the history of the area and the house and realizes this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate seems to be after Clare next.


This had me intrigued all throughout the book and, at the end, I was guessing and second guessing as to the angle of the ending. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line - Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas

My rating: 2.8

Ten years after graduating, Veronica Mars returns to the beach town of Neptune California and is taking over her father's private detective business. It is spring break and when a girl goes missing from a party and Veronica is called in to investigate.


I have no idea what the hubbub is over this book - maybe you have to have seen the movie?  I have no idea but it definitely didn't wow me. It was a very mediocre mystery novel that I don't think you need to read.

Monday, October 30, 2017

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

My Rating; 4.4

Jess is a struggling single mom of her 8 yo math-whiz daughter Tanzie and teenage step-son Nickie who is bullied. Ed Nichols has made a blunder that puts his company and everything he owns in jeopardy as he is accused of insider trading. Each of these four people take turns telling this story from their perspective.

These perfectly imperfect people came to life with all their quirks and dysfunction and I loved each of them. Another thoroughly enjoyable read by Moyes.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Second Girl by David Swinson

My rating: 4.7

Respected cop who took early retirement, Raymond Marr now works as a Private Investigator. No one except the Police Chief knows Ray's dirty secret that would cause him to stop being a cop...his drug addiction. As a P.I., he knows how to make his next score but in the process of raiding a drug house, finds a kidnapped teenager girl naked and chained to a radiator in the bathroom. This sets off a series of events including him reluctantly taking a case for another missing teenage girl


Ray is both dirty and willing to do deplorable things as well as charming and a hero. Also love how it captures D.C. This is a gritty real mystery novel - I believe due to Swinson being a highly decorated Police Officer in Washington D.C....including doing undercover in Narcotics A very 'real' novel and I will definitely read more by Swinson.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bookmarks Magazine Nov/Dec 2017

Have I ever mentioned that Bookmarks is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE MAGAZINE!!!! (sorry for the caps but I do love it!) This issue didn't disappoint.

Bookmarks features authors or themes before they get to the spotlighted books. The first author was Sherman Alexie who I love!

If you haven't read "The Absolutely True Diary Of A  Part-Time Indian" I recommend it...especially on audio. This reminded me of how much I enjoy his writing so I have put these in my queue:

  

Another featured author was Kamila Shamsie who, although I haven't heard of before, definitely appealed to me from their write-up.

I have put these books by her in my queue:
    


For the spotlighted books, these jumped out at me but, as always, I need to spend time combing through this edition for the many hidden jewels that these magazines always contain:

    


     


These were already on my kindle - I just need to move them up in the queue

     

I need to live to be 100 to read all of my queue...what a fabulous problem to have :-) I always love hearing from you so please share what books you picked from this months magazine or what great books you would recommend.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

My rating: 4.6

Eleanor is socially inept and tends to say exactly what she is thinking and doesn't realize why people react the way they do. Eleanor meets Raymond, her bumbling oafish IT guy from work. Together, Eleanor and Raymond save Sammy, an elderly gentleman that falls on the sidewalk and the lives of the three unlikely friends progress from there.


This had me laughing at times....like this description of high heel shoes: "Why are these people so keen on crippling their female customers.  Are chiros and cobblers establishing some fiendish cartel?" It is also very dark at other times. I listed to the audio version and it was absolutely priceless. I can see why this is being compared to A Man Called Ove.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

My rating: 4.8

Rachel and her eight year old son Ben are walking through the woods in a park in Bristol. Ben asks to run ahead and Rachel agrees. When she gets to the spot by the swing where he should be, he is not there. As the hours and days pass and the police search unfolds.


This suspenseful novel make you know how it would feel to be Rachel - everything from her panic over her missing son to being crucified in the press. Absolutely horrifically gripping.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

My rating: 4.6

Nastya and Josh are two complicated individuals who are haunted by their pasts.  Nastya moves to a new town in order to keep her dark past a secret and she wants to hold everyone at a distance. Everyone knowing Josh's dark past of everyone he has ever loved dying by the time he is 17 years old means that most of the kids leave him alone. Their two worlds intersect and they soon find a comfort in just being with the other person.

I enjoyed the character development...I did not expect to end up loving Drew whereas Josh took a while to grow on me. There is some stereotypical bits but also lots of surprising things including the humor. If you like Young Adult books, I think you will love this.