Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shelter (Blood Haze, 1)

What I thought:
I received this book from the Member Giveaways at Library Thing. 
This book was quick and easy to read however, being the pessimist that I am, do not believe that someone can be "so in love" with someone they just met to the point where they are all clingy and crazy about it--almost to the point of being obssessive. And to have 2 guys fall in love with Alice at the same time was reaching...then again, we are talking about a book about vampires.
I thought that the main character was naive a bit but Kai was ANNOYING. I have never met a guy like that, even though I know he had been through a lot. I have known several women like that though--so kudos to Ms. Shuler for turning the tables.
I would be interested in seeing how things turn out for all of the main characters. I think it was great to have a cast out friend who was a little overweight.
Anyway--the character development was good and the writing wasn't phenomenal, but there was nothing wrong with it at all. I think my biggest problem was the unbelieveable love story.
Sigh--I long for the days when I believed in fairytales!

(and by the way...the people on the cover are  hot!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

What I thought:

UNBELIEVEABLE.  I loved this book.  I loved the character development, the writing style, the entertainment value, and the twists and turns.  I never knew which way I was coming and going.  I read this in a day and did not get any work done.  None.  I was in a trance because I just had to see what was going to happen next...who was the bad guy...who was behind the madness.  The ending was one that I really didn't see coming until I got closer to the end...and by then I was guessing because I knew something had to go down.
Wonderful debut novel from Mr. Watson

Rating: 5

A Witch is a Witch

Enduring the teasing and ridicule of her school mates, Sadie struggles through life as a pre-teen on the eve of her 13th birthday. Three years ago, a car crash took her mother, but Sadie never saw her body. She refuses to believe her mother is really gone. Holding fast to that feeling earns her the nickname "Crazy Sadie."

Despite her one wish to be normal, Sadie only finds solace with a small group of unusual characters. These unlikely friends give her a “semi-normal” life outside of school in a bookstore where strange and mystical things seem to happen. In fact, if Sadie entertains her deepest suspicions, her friends are a little mystical.

When her birthday arrives however, Sadie finds herself whisked into a magical world that swirls just under the surface of normal, everyday life. Not only does she learn she’ll soon become a witch, but she also discovers she must battle The Syndicate to save her new world.

Faced with fantastical encounters, unexplainable transformations, and startling fears, Sadie struggles against an unknown evil – all while searching for her real identity.

What I thought:

I feel as though there was a LOT going on on this book and it was sometimes a little bit confusing because no clear answers are ever given. However, it was a cute read. I enjoyed the character development and the story line. The ending was also a nice twist I, for once, did not see coming. SPOILER ALERT: Sadie's mom was a little weird, I must say. It didn't seem like she was that excited to see Sadie after not being with her for 3 years. I don't know...she seemed "Luna Lovegood-yI feel as though there was a LOT going on on this book and it was sometimes a little bit confusing because no clear answers are ever given. However, it was a cute read. I enjoyed the character development and the story line. The ending was also a nice twist I, for once, did not see coming.
It was a quick read and enjoyable

La Gioconda

What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting?
The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left behind—Paris. There he assembles his team of con artists for their final and most ambitious theft, one that will enable them to leave the game forever: The Mona Lisa.

But when a member of the team turns up missing, and Mr. Hart shows up in Paris, Valfierno and his crew must stay one step ahead of a relentless police inspector, endure a devastating flood, and conquer their own doubts to keep the priceless painting in play—and survive.

Based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, and published on the 100th anniversary of the crime, Stealing Mona Lisa is a sophisticated, engaging caper, complete with a richly imagined group of con artists and a historical mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

What I thought:

I won this on Goodreads First Reads.
This book was really good. I loved the mix of fiction and non-fiction and the development of the characters. I found myself reading the book in their "language" and imaginging the long pretty dresses and the prim and properness of it all.
The writing was great and the descriptions of the landscapes were phenomenal.  I enjoyed it all.

Rating: 4

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Still Alice...

I don't really know what to say about this book.  You can see the plot summary on Goodreads so I won't get into it here.  I was in awe.  When the NBC started the monthly discussion of it, I wanted to read it but I was a little hesitant because something like this usually tends to bring the ugly cry--and I HATE crying.  I'm emotional enough as it is.  There aren't many words.  What a provoking novel.  I cannot imagine myself going through early on-set Alzheimer's disease and it scares the tar out of me!  To be successful and have everything you need to not even  having a clue who your children are.  It's an awful thing to say, but I think death would be easier than looking into my three year old's eyes and not knowing who she is or how she got there. 
I remember from the discussion how some people hated the husband in this.  I have to say, I can see where he's coming from.  Sometimes it's easier to walk away than to face the reality of the situation.  It's not like their marriage was strong--it did seem like they were distant in life, so it was easy for him to want to run like hell.  I wouldn't blame my husband for doing the same thing.  I would hate someone to have to take care of me at such an early age.  I would feel like he deserved better than that--especially since I may not remember him in the end.  How awful to go through that. 
The book was extremely well written.  I loved the flow and the way the time line was laid out.  She made Alice come alive in my heart and in my mind. 

Rating: 5

Buried Secrets

Received this through Goodreads First Reads.
Absolute awesome heart-thumping suspenseful novel.  I honestly couldn't put it down, even though some aspects were extremely predictible.  I enjoyed the faster pace of it as well as the main character, Nick.  For some reason, even though he was a bit shady, I liked him...he was a likable character and you could tell that he just wanted to do what was right by the girl.  Who can fault him for that!
I wish I would have known this was the second in the series.  I'd like to read the first one, for sure.  It was definitely "up my alley" in terms of genre and speed. 
Rating: 5

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The First Victim

I received this free through NetGalley!
From Goodreads:

She was like all the other victims. Naked, flawed, helpless...
Fifteen years ago, Emily Wright barely escaped from a serial killer dubbed the Baby Doll Strangler. She wants nothing to do with the small town where she was abducted, but when her father is hospitalized she reluctantly returns home to care for her teenage sister.
When her sister's friend is killed and left in front of Emily's house, Emily begins to relive the nightmare she endured long ago. Soon she realizes that her sister, too, is in danger from the killer—and the only person who can help is the man Emily left behind: Deputy Bailey O'Neil. Together, Emily and Bailey must discover the killer's identity before he claims his next victim...

What I thought:

Wow...this book made me double check the locks on my three year old's bedroom window.  Seriously.  It freaked me out.  It was well written with a hellacious amount of suspense and thrill.  I have seen on several other reviews that they had a problem with Emily being described as strong but her actions proved otherwise and I have to disagree.  The fact that she was able to reason through the ordeal and come out on the other side says a lot about her.  Usually, in those types of situations, it's so easy to forget what you're supposed to do.  She never lost sight of that.  She always had in her head the logistics of it all.  Kuddos to her for not wanting to be another victim. 

Also, what a tangled web we weave!  I have to say, without adding too many spoilers that if I knew the person responsible had anything to do with my romantic interest--I wouldn't want to have anything to do with him...given the fact that the apple never falls too far from the tree, in some cases. 

Great book!

Rating: 5

Gravity, by Abigail Boyd

From Amazon:
One summer night in the town of Hell, Ariel Donovan's best friend goes missing. Everyone else believes Jenna ran away, but Ariel thinks something more sinister may have happened. She dreams of Jenna running to the abandoned orphanage in town, and then the building catching on fire. What does the orphanage have to do with Jenna's disappearance?

To complicate matters, a handsome new boy named Henry Rhodes has arrived in town, plaguing her with unwarranted attention. Even though she tries to stay away, she's drawn to him despite her best efforts, and can't help giving in to her attraction to him. Though he doesn't believe in the supernatural events that Ariel begins to witness, she enlists his help to figure out what is going on.

But when she discovers the truth, it's much worse than she ever feared.

What I thought:

I received this book free from the author through Member Giveaways on Librarything!
First of all, this book gave me the heebie-jeebies...and I'm not sure why because I don't usually spook that easily when it comes to ghosts.  I think it was the whole Orphanage part.  Those places freak me out.  Anyway, I digress.  This book was a great YA suspense novel.  I fell in love with the main character, Ariel, who had to go through losing her best friend--and that had to be hard.  I can, however, relate to her, a lot actually.  I was always the odd man out and didn't have many friends, so if I had to go through high school with losing my best friend, being blamed for it (which I'm not sure why Ariel was blamed for it--that wasn't explained) and then starting to see things--and you can't talk to anyone about it...shew! That would make for a tough ride!

 I do feel as though the ending was WAY too much of a cliffhanger!!!  I was like "this is getting good!" and then BAM-SHA-BAM! It's over.  I do hope that the second novel ties in the significance of the Orphanage as well as the principal because that really wasn't covered at the end and I wish that it was because as is, it makes sense, but it isn't in a pretty little package.   I felt it was well written though, and I have faith that all will be made right again with the second in the series.

Rating: 4

The Thread was indeed a little Twisted

From Goodreads:
When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it.

Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying.

At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.
With The Twisted Thread, Charlotte Bacon has crafted a gripping and suspenseful story in the tradition of Donna Tartt s The Secret History, one that pulls back the curtain on the lives of the young and privileged.

What I thought:

First of all, I liked the book and I loved the main character.  I think the main problem I had with this book was the misplaced character development.  There were such long spaces between the action parts while the author was trying to introduce the characters, I felt the sometimes the focus was on the wrong details and it left me hanging and wanting to skim, and I don't typically like doing that.  I feel as though some of the details about how the detective likes his coffee probably could have been left out.  Plus, with all of the descriptions in the middle, I was forgetting some of the things that were happening that tied it all together at the end and made it make sense. 
I will say that it's a shame that a lot of private schools have the same image as Ambridge and that students get ridiculed for being a bit different.  It's a sad and hard truth.  I am glad that this book brought that to attention.  Like I said, the plot was good and I fell in love with the main characters but maybe the writing could have been re-sectioned--if that makes sense.

Rating: 3