Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Review ~ Lost by Michael Robotham

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I must applaud Robotham once again. I am so enjoying making my way through his books. This one follows Detective Ruiz with Joseph O'Loughlin making guest appearances along the way. I liked learning more about Ruiz and ended up enjoying the fact that I had read some of the later books before reading this one.

Detective Ruiz cannot remember the events that led up to him being found in the river having almost bled to death from the gunshot in his thigh. Like the good detective he is, he follows the clues until his memory starts to unfold. Even as he begins to remember the events leading up to being shot, there's still an unsolved underlying mystery. Ultimately, Ruiz must determine if the little girl, Mickey, who disappeared from her apartment building a few years ago, is really dead or was she kidnapped?

I highly recommend this and any other Robotham you can get your hands on-they're mystery/thrillers that keep you guessing and are filled with characters with heart.

Book Review ~ The One I Left Behind: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

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This was a decent mystery/thriller filled with lots of twists and turns and suspects. The back and forth from Reggie as a kid to Reggie as an adult started to get a little tiring about halfway through-I always consider just reading all of the flashback material first and then going back and reading the present when authors alternate by chapter. I wouldn't rush to recommend it to anyone, but wouldn't urge someone not to read it either.

Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow Paperbacks for access to this title.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review ~ The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

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The idea of someone's new boyfriend having a stalker seemed like it could be a rather interesting premise, so I was excited to read this book. There were a few events that were predictable yet unexpected at the same time. You could guess that the stalker would (pretend to) be one of the hypnotist's clients, but you weren't sure which one she was. What was troubling about this book was that it was somewhere between disturbing and on the edge of being scary but was presented in such a matter of fact way that it lacked suspense. Perhaps this was the author's intent and the fact that the hypnotist's boyfriend had a stalker gave her a thrill, rather than a scare was more the point of the story.

I had to struggle a bit to get through it, but could imagine that others may be swept up in the story in a way that I was not. So overall, I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this book to anyone, but wouldn't tell you it was the worst thing I've ever read, either.

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons, An imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. for sending me an ARC.

Book Review ~ Red Rain by R.L. Stine

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I was really disappointed with Stine's Red Rain, really disappointed! I don't remember reading Goosebumps as a kid, but my students love them (and Fear Street too). I figured if he had that many kid followers, then an adult novel would be a slam dunk! What a disappointment! I highly recommend he stick with writing for kids.

If you took out the sex, this one could've been for kids. It felt almost like he did write a creepy kids book and then decided to market it to adults, so he added in some R-rated content. The story itself was creepy, but was hugely lacking in its delivery.

The twins were creepy, and just annoying. Stine may have intended their accent to be a clue, but it fell short, "don't you know?" None of the characters were developed beyond a superficial level and everything they did felt predictable.

If you're seeking a thrill, you're not going to get it by reading Red Rain.

Thanks to Edelweiss & Touchstone for access to this title.

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Book Review ~ Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

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Cold Light was a struggle to get through and I almost gave up on it a few times. I kept waiting for it to get better, but was repeatedly disappointed. All told, it was a rather depressing book that fell flat in its delivery. While I'm usually intrigued by the back and forth between the past and the present, much of what was occurring in the present was boring and dragged out the story rather than contributing to it. The relationships between the characters lacked depth and some should have been developed more or eliminated completely. I'd like to say that the fact that it was set in the UK may have had some impact, but the teenage experience is universal and should be easily translatable, regardless of location. I was hoping to have found a book I could recommend to my students, but I don't think they'd make it through this one. It was difficult for me to finish, so I can only imagine that most students would give up after a few chapters. Thanks to William Morrow Paperbacks and Edelweiss for access to an advanced copy of this title.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review ~ Every Day by David Levithan

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Every Day
Wow! Just saw the word brutal in some reviews, very appropriate, such raw feeling, it totally blew me away. Just brilliant! The premise intrigued me and once I started reading, I just could not stop. I wanted, no I needed, to know what was going to happen next. You must read this! Get ready for little glimpses into people's lives, rooting for them to have the means and capability to be hijacked for the day, but wanting to know about their lives too. Really questions the idea of loving someone for what's on the inside.

Thanks to Random House Children's Books, Alfred A. Knopf BFYR and NetGalley for access to this title.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Review~The Three Day Affair by Michael Kardos

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A yearly golf, reunion weekend for three friends goes terribly wrong when they find themselves holed up in an old recording studio holding a cashier from a local convenience store hostage. They quickly realize that even though they have no reason to keep her, they can't just let her go. All of their lives would be ruined when she goes to the cops. They frantically watch for news that the clerk has gone missing, but nothing is reported on TV. The realization that their hostage is not, and probably will not, be missed leaves them wondering how far they will go to keep this secret.
This was a good read, filled with lots of action and a nice little twist at the end.

Thanks to Grove/Atlantic, Inc., The Mysterious Press and NetGalley for access to this title.

Book Review~Dark Magic by James Swain

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Dark Magic If you're a fan of magic, wizardry, and that sort of thing, this one will hook you in. It's not particularly well-written, but has enough suspense to make you want to know how it'll all work out.

Peter Warlock's parents were murdered when he was just a young boy, so he's been raised by his Aunt Milly. He now has a successful one man magic show in New York City where he does some respectable magic tricks while also using his psychic abilities to do some mind reading. Every Friday night, he gathers with a group of psychics to conduct a seance. When he sees a future where Times Square is filled with people falling to their deaths, he is led into a dangerous battle with the Order of Astrum. Peter soon discovers his evolving powers are not only linked to the Order, but to his parents' death as well.

Thanks to Tor/Forge and NetGalley for access to this title.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review~All He Saw Was The Girl by Peter Leonard

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McCabe and Chip, two college students studying abroad in Italy, end up in jail one night after a drunken Chip steals a taxi for a little joy ride. Luckily, Chip's wealthy father bails them out, but the escapade doesn't go unnoticed by the press. McCabe soon finds himself mistaken for Chip and kidnapped by the Italian mafia. That about sums it up. Unfortunately, there's really not that much more to it. It wasn't the most horrible book I've ever read, but the writing was amateurish, the story was predictable, felt forced and fell flat. I was surprised by all those who were impressed with it, saying the apple didn't fall far from the tree with his father being Elmore Leonard.

Thanks to The Story Plant and NetGalley for access to this title.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review~The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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Four orphan boys find themselves bought by a nobleman named Conner, and they are unsure of what he has planned. While traveling to Conner's home, they discover their lives are on the line when suddenly there are only three of them left. The nobleman soon lets the boys in on his plan--he wants to try to pass the boys off as the long, lost Prince Jaron in two weeks time.

The story is told by Sage, a strong-willed, defiant, boy who does not want to be prince, but does not wish to be killed either. He befriends one of Conner's men and a kitchen maid named Imogen who pretends she is mute to avoid Conner's advances and only speaks to Sage.

It's a cute story and I enjoyed it. It was a refreshing change from all the dystopian and paranormal books that are being published right now. Seems that it would appeal most to middle-aged readers, maybe in the 8-12 year old range.

Much thanks to Shelf Awareness and Scholastic for providing an advanced copy.