Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: The Naturals #1
Pages: 308
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: November 5, 2013
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

My Review:

I was quite taken with this book, it took me some time to really get into the story and everything that was happening but once things started coming together the book truly got interesting. I felt this book was similar to an episode of Criminal Minds with teenagers. This book had a great supernatural type element to it, but Jennifer Lynn Barnes also adds in the creepy aspect with chapters titled YOU that seem to be the person that is on a killing spree.

To be honest, when I first started reading this book I really didn't think I would enjoy it all that much, but as I saw Cassie learn more about her ability and really grow up a little more I began to like her as a character. The characters in the book all have their own special ability that when they work as a team, help them be able to track down serial killers. It is interesting to see how Cassie trains, she learns to track habits of people and work backwards to learn the behaviour of a person.

What really kept me interesting, was the underlying mystery of the murder of Cassie's mother. Cassie believes that by joining the program she will be able to find her mother's murderer, I felt that it added a great backstory to Cassie's life and why she would jump at the chance to join such a special program.

If you are a fan of mystery/thrillers, or CRIMINAL MINDS, this book would be a great one to pick up. I'm interested to see what is next for these characters after everything that went down in this book. It was a great start to a series, that I believe will become darker as the books continue on. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 272
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibín, Tessa Hadley possesses the remarkable ability to transform the mundane into the sublime—an eye for the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. In Clever Girl, she offers the indelible story of one woman's life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today.

Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an Englishwoman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley's involving and moving novel follows Stella from childhood, growing up with her single mother in a Bristol bedsit, into the murky waters of middle age.

It is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley's observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles, pressing us to exclaim with each page, Yes, this is how it is.

My Review:

I truly had an amazing experience reading this book, Tessa Hadley truly brings Stella's life out in the pages of the story. Not only do readers experience Stella growing up but it also shows how the environment affects people, as Stella grows up in the 1960's and moves through time.

Stella has a difficult life and she seems to fight back when she can, this story shows that some people will not let all this drama get to them and they will keep climbing and adapting to the changes around them. Readers meet Stella as a young girl who has a bright mind, but through many troubles she grows and learns about herself. This is a story about a smart girl who has some difficult decisions to make, and the people she meets throughout her life really change her experiences.

This is a book that truly shows the challenges of life that many people go through, and Tessa Hadley truly brings out an experience in her story. The relationships that Stella has through her life truly define how she turns out as an adult. I really enjoyed seeing the different people that come in and out of Stella's life and those that really help her learn how to do things. These people truly make a difference to Stella helping her get back on her feet after many troubling times.

It is nice to read a book that deals with such realistic situations, it is what truly kept me going with this story. I wanted to read about someone who has to deal with tough, real life problems, and seeing that they can get through life and fight through problems and come out stronger than before. Truly, this was an amazing book that I recommend to many people!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Haze by Paula Weston

Publisher: Tundra
Series: The Rephaim #2
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from Tundra Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gaby Winters' life used to be pretty normal. She lived with her best friend. She worked in a library. She was slowly getting over the death of her twin brother, Jude. And then Rafa came looking for her.

With him, her blood-soaked nightmares stopped. But now they are reality. She is one of the Rephaim - a wingless half angel, descended from the Fallen. Demons exist and they are hunting her.

She knows she's alive when she's meant to be dead. And that means maybe Jude is too. So why isn't she out there looking for him?

My Review:

Around this time last year I was asked to take part in the blog tour for the first book in this series SHADOWS and I enjoyed everything that was happening. There was mystery and action, so when I was offered the chance to take part in the tour for the second book I definitely jumped at the chance. HAZE begins right where SHADOWS leaves off, if the first book had a good amount of mystery and action, this book picks up right along with that.

Throughout this book Gaby is still reeling from the revelations that were brought about her life and she is still trying to come to grips of the person she was in the past. As the demons continually hunt for Gaby, she begins to believe that her brother Jude may be alive. This book attempts to answer some questions that readers have from the first book, but there are still so many questions left, which will definitely keep readers coming back for more from Paula Weston.

There is still so much going on, and I wonder how long this series will go on for, there is a good amount of action, but I feel like the story is still a bit slow and there is a lot of information still being thrown at readers. Paula Weston adds in a little more history that adds more to the danger of the Rephaim, making readers want to see more and really get deep into the memories of what has happened with Gaby and Jude in the past.

The characters are still just as amazing as I thought in the first book, each of them is tough, especially some of the newer characters, and yet they have a vulnerability to them as well, making them very well-rounded. I am interested to see if things will heat up in the next book, and I hope I don't have to wait too long for more of all these characters.

Also as a part of this tour, I took a character quiz and I ended up with Maggie. I definitely loved hearing that. Check out the books to learn more about her and everyone else!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Claudine by Barbara Palmer

Publisher: Penguin Canada
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Maria Lantos has a secret. She’s a post-grad student researching early erotic literature at Yale who puts her studies to work after hours as a courtesan named Claudine specializing in erotic role play. Her allure and stock of sexual tricks command top dollar from international clients. When Maria receives anonymous text messages filled with chilling threats, she knows her secret is out, and someone is hunting her—someone who knows a lot about her past and who’s intent on playing a starring role in her present.

As Claudine, she loves the brief anonymous liaisons that allow her to explore the darker side of power and desire. But now it’s Maria’s turn. Two men—charismatic Yale professor Reid Whitman and her business manager, Andrei Barinov—will test the limits of her sexuality and safety, forcing her to discover the depth of the dark places within her.

Claudine combines the pace of a thriller, the deep emotional connection of a romance, and the heat of a beautiful woman’s sexual discovery.

My Review:

This book is so far out of my comfort zone, but it just sounded so intriguing I thought I needed to try something different. I am very glad I got my hands on a copy of this story because it was intense but I loved every minute of my experience with this book. Maria Lantos is someone who is still growing up and learning about life experiences, but she has a secret life on the side to help her pay her way through school. When all of a sudden her secret is on the verge of coming out and Maria is being threatened by someone who knows more about her than they should.

What I absolutely adored about this book was how the mystery became so intense and there were so many suspects, you could not figure out what would come next. Palmer really knows how to draw her readers into the story, she breaks up the mystery and romance giving readers a good amount of both. I was very interested in Maria's life outside of her courtesan side. Maria is so used to this life that she has closed herself off to those people that want to get close to her, it is best for her not to get close because she has a troubled past.

I don't want to go into too much detail because it would give things away about this book, but Barbara Palmer definitely knows how to write scenes that will creep you out and go into a scene a few pages later that is hot and very sexy. This is a story about a woman who is learning more about herself and learning to let go of certain parts of her life. Maria lets two men truly test her ability to not only truly love herself but to let someone else love her. This was a beautiful story that I'm glad has taken me out of my comfort zone and I really hope this book opens me up to discover new authors in a genre I have been previously hesitant to pick up.

Don't let the romance aspect of this book fool you, it is a beautiful book with a thrilling mystery added in. I believe that people will be talking about this book for awhile. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Forget Me by K.A. Harrington

Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 288
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 7, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

An edge-of-your seat psychological thriller with a romantic twist

On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as "Evan Murphy." She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.

Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents' involvement in this massive web of lies.

My Review:

This story really caught my attention after reading the synopsis, I really wanted to know what secrets would come out in the end. I found myself immersed in the story as Morgan is trying to find out what happened to Flynn and why Evan looks to be the exact same person. This book has a great creepy, mysterious feel to it and I just wanted to keep going to find everything out.

I really enjoyed the mystery Harrington has going on in this story, as Morgan and Evan dig into the mystery of who Flynn is, many secrets are revealed that delve far deeper into the town then Morgan could prepare herself for. Many more people are involved, and Morgan begins to question what she truly knows about her parents and what happened in her town to bring it down.

Morgan's best friend was a great addition to the book, she is the opposite of Morgan and is the one pushing her to really dig into things. It was great to see someone get Morgan out of her room after dealing with the death of Flynn, it doesn't seem like many people are there for Morgan. There are many great characters that help make up this story, but the plot is what really kept my attention, as Morgan and Evan get closer to the truth, things seem to become more dangerous.

K. A. Harrington has written an intriguing story that I believe will catch the attention of many readers. I did not want to put this book down, and at a time where I am having trouble getting through a lot of books this one went by quickly. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Pages: 640
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 3, 2014
Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

A post-apocalyptic literary epic in the tradition of The Handmaid's Tale, Divergent and Cloud Atlas, and a breakout book in North America for a writer of rare and unconventional talent.

From Guardian First Book Award finalist Sandra Newman comes an ambitious and extraordinary novel of a future in which bands of children and teens survive on the detritus--physical and cultural--of a collapsed America. When her brother is struck down by Posies--a contagion that has killed everyone by their late teens for generations--fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star pursues the rumour of a cure and sets out on a quest to save him, her tribe and what's left of their future. Along the way she faces broken hearts and family tragedy, mortal danger and all-out war--and much growing up for the girl who may have led herself and everyone she loves to their doom.

My Review:

This book took me quite awhile to get through, it was a difficult story to wrap my head around at certain points. The most difficult part of this book was the writing style, the way Ice Cream Star speaks is hard to understand sometimes. It is interesting to see how Ice Cream Star tries to save her brother, she will do anything to save her family from this disease that has been killing everyone. When a rumour comes around that there is a cure for what is called "Posies", Ice Cream will do anything to find it.

That is the one thing I truly loved about this book, for such a young girl she is a very determined person. It is interesting to see a girl like Ice Cream try to grow up in a post-apocalyptic world as is seen in this book. The world that Sandra Newman has created is one where children do not usually grow older than twenty, so it is a world full of young looking after the young, it definitely makes for some difficult conversations.

I am having trouble describing everything that happened in this book, it is a long story where many things happen to Ice Cream as she gains perspective on the world and the people around her. There are a lot of secondary characters who are in and out of Ice Cream's life throughout the book, and each of them have a huge impact on her future plans. I have to say that this is a book I would like to go back and reread in the future because I believe I missed out on a lot of information the first time around since it took me so long to get through. This book is one of a kind and I see it being a popular book, readers will just have to have the time to invest in reading this. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: June 3, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Upstairs, downstairs, and in which lady’s chamber?

On the brink of World War II, two girls are sent to  the grand English country estate of Starkers. Hannah, the half-Jewish daughter of a disgraced distant relative, has been living an artistic bohemian life in a cabaret in pre-war Germany and now is supposed to be welcomed into the family. Anna, the social-climbing daughter of working-class British fascists, is supposed to be hired as a maid so that she can spy for the Nazis. But there’s a mix-up, and nice Hannah is sent to the kitchen as a maid while arrogant Anna is welcomed as a relative.

And then both girls fall for the same man, the handsome heir of the estate . . . or do they?

In this sparkling, saucy romance, nearly everything goes wrong for two girls who are sent to a grand English estate on the brink of World War II—until it goes so very, very right!

My Review:

Well, this was an interesting enough book, but it took me some time to get through everything that was happening. Through an honest mistake two girls seem to get mixed up when they are sent to the same house under different circumstances. There are so many little mistakes that make this book what it is, a cute and funny story about unknown identities.

I really can say that I adored Hannah in this story, she is a cute girl who is very new to this world, and it really shows in the way she acts. What really makes everything in this story is the joy that Hannah brings to everyone around her. Hannah is such an upbeat person, who is always found singing whenever and wherever she can. I enjoy how Hannah just says what is on her mind, she is very open, yet at the same time very naive to what is happening around her. Anna on the other hand is someone who is difficult to like, she seems to be a bit stuck up, but I can see why she is so hardened to the world around her. Anna does not truly understand everything that is happening during the war, and is really only taking cues from those closest to her.

The romance aspect in this book is fun and so cute, I enjoyed how both of these girls fall in love with the same man, and yet their stories are so different. The romance for both of them starts off in a similar way and yet each of them take a different turn, they are always meeting in the dark of night and their discussions are so brilliant and cultured.

Though I could see where things were going with this story, it was enjoyable. One of those books where things just seem to get worse and each mistake leads to another, yet despite these small things there is a good amount of humour to everything that happens, with all the drama you have to have some cuteness added in. I can guarantee this is not a book for everyone but it is a quick read that fans of a writer like Sophie Kinsella will enjoy. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...