Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shari Lapena: The Couple Next Door

 
In her debut in the suspense/mystery genre Shari Lapena asks the question, how well do you those who are close to you: 

Anne and Marco are invited to a dinner party, only problem is their new baby is not invited. Good thing you live next door to the dinner party, at least that is what Anne's husband, Marco tells her and that between the baby monitor and checking on Cora every hour Marco is convinced. Everything is not fine, when they return home in the early morning hours to every parent's nightmare, the crib is empty, the baby is gone. What ensues is panic and every parent's nightmare. Will they get Cora back, who could have taken her, why did they leave her alone, did Anne do something to Cora? All of these questions are racing through everyone's mind as they try to find out what happened and get Cora back before it is too late.

This was a good debut for Lapena in this genre and really touched home on some points for me. As a new mom, this book starts out as my worst nightmare. Going in to the baby's room and finding they're missing would break anyone's heart but as a parent now, I cannot even imagine how I would react. I liked that Lapena had some aspects of postpartum depression and symptoms in the book and highlighted how things can be difficult for a lot of new moms out there. You really feel for Anne as she is struggling with it but it feel like she has no one to talk to it about and it seems very little understanding from her husband ans so call friend. I personally wanted to go through the book and grab the so called friend, Cynthia, who was next door when she made comments about how much Anne had changed after the baby and how she was no longer fun and interesting....All i can say is she ruffled more than one of my feathers lol.

I think that throughout the book I am most drawn to Anne and her struggle to come to terms of her child missing and all the walls crumbling down around her, especially when she and Marco are suspects right off the bat. You can really feel her emotions and struggle and I think that Lapena did a really good job in her characterization. I did feel like Anne was the main character in this book, I know that Marco has quite a bit from his point of view but I felt like everything really was centered around Anne. I also liked the police officer in this book, and I wish there was more from his point of view as he seemed like the tough as nails type of guy.

What I did not like about this book is that you as the reader know more than the characters and you are waiting for Anne to figure it out. I'm not a fan when main characters are behind what the reader knows, it takes out the suspense and mystery aspects of the book. I also felt that the book lacked any major twist or turns and I found it very predictable in the way that the plot unfolded.

This is a good book and I think that I enjoyed it more as I was able to feel some sort of connection with Anne. I do not think I would have liked this book as much if I had not felt this connection as I found the plot/mystery/suspense aspect a little lack luster, full of drama sure, but not normally the type of drama I'm drawn to (think Lifetime movie). However, I would read another book by Lapena as there were aspects in this book I liked and I think there is some real story tell talent here.

Enjoy!!!
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ezekiel Boone: The Hatching

With his debut novel and the start of a new series Ezekiel Boone takes a more creepy crawly stand to the end of the human population:


In the jungles of Peru Americas appear to be devoured by a moving black mass, there are unusual seismic activities in India and in China the set off an Atomic bomb in one of their most remote regions and claim it was an accident. All levels of government are trying to figure out what is going one.  All these events at first glance do not appear to be connected but humans will soon find out than a long dormant species has began to hatch and they need to feed, breed and spread and humans are the perfect target.

I was really impressed with Boone's debut novel. I found it interesting and against the norm in regards to his end of the world scenario which is extremely refreshing (too many zombie or the like out there now). I do not think I have read or watched a movie that was so spider heavy since Arachnophobia when I was younger (Yes I'm aware that there were spiders in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings but they were not constant throughout the book). If you have a fear of spiders you probably won't want to pick this book up unless you like being scared then this one is for you. I can probably guarantee even if you are not scared of spiders you're going to start feeling something crawling on your skin, or in my case having dreams about spiders. I think this speaks to the fact that the book is well written and that the details of the spider's in action makes you feel like you are there with them.

I appreciated that you could tell that Boone had done some research on Spiders, knew the difference species as well as how they interacted with each other and in the wild. Additionally, Boone has done some research in the ability for insects to be dormant for long periods of time and only emerging when conditions are right. What I think I liked best about Boone's spiders is that they were not these large scary for just being large kind of spiders, sometimes things that are small and in large numbers are that more terrifying. They were smallish (I believe it was stated they were quite a bit smaller than the Goliath bird eating spider) and they used their numbers to their advantage. How some of the spiders reproduced was just crazy (in a good way) and extremely smart, I like the ingenuity and research of this type of breeding that Boone brought to the book.

There are quite a few different view points in the book but I didn't really find myself caring that much about the all the character, it was all about the spiders for me. I mean I liked the Dr. Melanie Guyer and FBI Agent Mike Rich, who I would say are the main characters in this book as they seem to have the most chapters from their point of view but they were just part of the plot really. I'm glad that Boone included a spider expert (Arachnology) in the book, as she is a key player in figuring everything out. The one thing I did not like about Melanie is that she thinks about sex and sexual acts a little bit too much for me, but that is just a personal preference. I will say that some of the point of views feel like one offs in this book, but as this book is part of a series they may be developed more in the next book.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series and have some high expectations for it too. Can't wait  to start feeling the creepy crawly feeling as I read again (well maybe I can wait a bit, its not the best feeling in the world, lol).

Enjoy!!!
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mary Kubice: The Good Girl

In her debut novel Mary Kubice explores two sides of what happens when someone is kidnapped:

Mia was supposed to meet her boyfriend at a bar and when he doesn't show, again, she does something reckless and stupid, she leaves with a stranger. Little does she know he is there for another reason, he was there specifically for her. Colin takes Mia to a secluded cabin in the woods instead of delivering her to his employers both their lives are now in trouble. Mia doesn't know why she was taken, Colin doesn't know why he decided to go against the plan, but their lives and that of Mia's mother, Eve, are forever changed.

Kubice has been an author that I have seen a lot of lately and I decided to try her book (and not because it is hyped as the next gone girl....it is not). I will say that it took me two readings in order to get in to this book, as I was unable to get in to the book the first time and I am really glad I picked it back up. This was a really good book and it was even better once I realized that this was her debut novel. It was an interesting twist that the who the book is about does not have parts told from her point of view. All the information we get about Mia / Chloe is through another person, mainly her mother Eve and Colin her abductor, with the police officer in charge of the investigation in to Mia's abduction Gabe every once in awhile Although Gabe's parts were my least favourite in the book as they did not really add anything to Mia's story, they added a bit to Colins', but I found the investigation part a bit lackluster and definitely secondary.

I really enjoyed the format that Kubice and it really helped tell the story of Mia and how she became Chloe. It also added to the suspense of trying to figure out when and how Mia was able to get away from Colin. Like I said Kudice was very very successful in using this format to her advantage. It was addicting at times as you want to figure out how Mia became Chloe, how she got away, Colin's motivations and what job he was originally hired to do.

It was interesting seeing Mia go through the stages of being the victim of a kidnapping and eventually turning in to Chloe. Stockholm syndrome is very present in this book and it appears that Kubice had good knowledge about the syndrome. Though I do wish we could have been inside Mia's head at the time it was occurring by the end of the book you know why Kubica refrained from doing this. However, even seeing what happened to her second hand was enough for you to understand what she was going through both during the kidnapping and after. Don't worry I did not spoil the book you find out basically right away that she is returned to her family.

Not going to lie sometimes I surprise myself when I am able to figure out a books big twist well before the book has ended. All the info is there it is just whether you can put all the pieces together or not. That said I really did enjoy this book and how Kubice wrote it, as I said above it was addicting at time. I look forward to reading another book by Kubice and I have high expectations now as this was her debut novel.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, February 27, 2017

Rick Yancey: The 5th Wave



Rick Yancey has a lesson for the people of Earth, an invasion is coming and they are going to use any mean necessary to take Earth:


The first wave was darkness, they took away electricity; The second wave they used mother nature against humans; The third wave a plague where only a few survived; The fourth wave you cannot trust anyone but no one was prepared for the fifth. Cassie was one of the "lucky" ones most of her family was able to survive the waves but not everyone made it. Now with her brother and father they make their way through the world to a camp where everything is about to change.


I will admit that I watch the movie before I read this book, so I knew basically how things were going to play out and true to form there were things in the book that did not make it to the movie, but overall I think that the movie was a fairly good representation of the book. It was an interesting premise and I how smart the Aliens were in their approach to eliminating the human, really I cannot think of better ways in the end. Although, typical that the invading species underestimates the other.


I never felt really attached to any of the character like I think Yancey wants you to be. I will say that Cassie was the biggest disappointment for me. I did not mind Cassie in the beginning, I actually thought that she was going to be the strong female lead in this book, but I could not be more wrong. The further I read in the book I found she became a weaker character, she relied way too much on Evan and went against her gut feeling too many times. She does have some redeeming qualities in that she is loyal to a fault especially towards her brother and she does have times of bravery, but the whole middle portion of the book really just had her portrayed as a weaker character. Overall, she was not the strong female protagonist that I wanted her to be.


This leads me to the wish that there was a point of view from Ringer as she is who I wanted Cassie to be. She is tough, at time ruthless and smart enough to know there is more going on and she does not second guess her gut like Cassie does. She also has a compassionate side that is under played at times due to the situation but you can see that it is there.

Although I liked the Alien invasion aspect of the this book, I really could not get invested in any of the main characters in any way. So I do not think at this time that I would continue on with this series, although I might consider it if the next book had Ringer point of view.


Cheers!!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pippa DaCosta: Hidden Blade



Pippa Dacosta takes the Gods of old and transports them to our time, where they indulge and rule like never before:


The Gods call him the nameless one, others call him the soul eater, both would be right. Kicked out from the underworld and cursed to walk the Earth for eternity, Ace does everything he can to stay away from Gods. Ace tries to spend his time helping people avoid Gods and demons, but not even he can avoid the callings of his ex-wife, Bastet Queen of Cats. Bastet hires Ace to find out who is slaughtering her blessed women and Ave finds himself caught in-between more than one powerful deity.


I picked up this book as I wanted to read something with a Male lead. I really enjoyed this book as it was a lot darker than I thought it would be. I also liked that I had not heard of  of the Gods in this book, so their evilness and calculating manners were refreshing. I believe I read in another review that the Gods are from Egypt, which makes since with Bastet, so this now makes them even more interesting to me as I really know nothing about Egyptian Gods. However, I do think that the underworld part of the look was lacking in world building. "Above ground" it is normal with demons and gods roaming around so I was hopeful that DaCosta would expand the underworld. Hopefully in future books in the series she will take us back to the underground and expand on not only the world but the Caste system that appears to be in place there. Really even after this book I feel like the underworld is still a blank slate for her to play with and create.


I liked Ace as a main character, he is almost the anti-hero as he has some dark points of views, really he likes to play if off that he is just out for himself, but he has the ability to see the light of people's souls and he does not want to hurt those who have that lightness. However, he has no qualms with people that he feels need to be killed but due to some unfortunate circumstances some innocents are murdered along the way. His struggle is very interesting in regards to the curse that he is under. He is unable to refuse the bidding of one of the Gods and the pain he goes through when he is forced to do something that he is very much against is very real. You can tell that not all of Ace's powers are displayed in this book and I look forward to learning more about them and his sword.


Did this book need a sex scene? I do not think so, as it did not add anything to the story. I understand why DaCosta had some sex in regards to the Gods, as one was the God of fertility and was just wielding his power over a pitiful human but I do not think that there needed to be one between Ace and Bastet. You could tell where there relationship was before and where it was going with out the scene. As this book is on the shorter side, I can only think that it was included in order to make the book longer.


I liked the darkness that this book has and the interaction between Ace and the Gods, however, I found the world building severely lacking. That said this book was able to keep me entertained and I'm looking forward to continuing on in the series.


Enjoy!!!
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Friday, February 3, 2017

Amy Schumer: Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

I do not read a lot of biography or autobiography books, however, Amy Schumer has been and up and coming comic/actress for awhile now and I personally find her hilarious so I thought I would give her book a read. If you are looking for the top ten Amy Schumer jokes, move along, this is not what this book is about. If you are looking for just one joke or funny story after the other, this is not the book for you, move along. If you are looking for all of those things go see her live (this based upon what I have heard and a bit from her book. When she was in my town I could not afford tickets to her show...but next time look out), as this is what her shows are about.

What this book is a more in depth look into Schumer, her beginning, her life, how she became a comic and the things that she has triumphed and struggled with along the way. It is by no means a full inclusive story but just a glimpse in to who she is, people have a right to keep some things to themselves even celebrities, but Amy does shine a light on several topics throughout her life. I never would have known that she was an introvert and all the anxieties that come with that especially when it is your job to perform live and in front of thousands of people as well as mingle with people at events when all you really want to do is sit in the corner (I share that trait with her on some level, though I would like a book in the corner with me, lol).

I appreciated some of the life lessons that Schumer discusses in her book, from her Dad's illness, to being in an abusive relationship to being raped. The latter two listed are not violent or as explosive physically as those words bring images to mind, but they do happen in this way and people need to know that in whatever form they take it is not okay in any relationship.  Many of those topics are common in autobiography, biography or memoir; I found that Schumer discussed these topics not only with class but with some humor in a way that did not minimize the experiences that she had gone through (something that is very tough to do). Is Schumer crass at at different point in the book, I think you'd be surprised if I said No. Of course she is Crass and proud of it, this is what people would expect from her book, but I think more importantly Schumer shows that Yes she is human, Yes she has and does make mistakes, Yes she is happy with what she looks like and F you for thinking she needs to lose weight and Yes she probably does not want to talk to you all that much at a party. These things all make her human; we are all flawed, we all hate ourselves at some point in our lives but eventually we accept who we are and what we look like and I think this is one of the most important messages that Schumer has in her book..

There were some things in the book that felt like she was just trying either a little too hard or just trying to make the book longer, especially the lists. I did not really find that there was any interesting information in them that Schumer does not talk about in the book.

This is the first book that I have read by a comedian and I know it will not be my last, there are a few out there now that I would like to pick up. Even though I have not read a lot in the genre I still really recommend this book, it was really enjoyable and I enjoyed the little peek that Schumer let us have in to her world.

Enjoy!!!

Side Note:
While reading this I had no idea how many female comedians these days were writing this type of book. Maybe I was in my own little world here but I really had no idea that this was now the "IT" thing to do. If you have any you have read and recommend please let me know.