Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (316)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


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"Not Fair" (p.8) [Short Story from the world of Three Shoeboxes
    -Steven Manchester

"Everyone gets scared or feels anxious at times, Beans," he continued. "The trick is not to let it stop you from doing anything, or taking over your life." As soon as the words left his lips, he felt like a fraud.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Mind Me, Milady

38085332Jane Larson is an attorney on the Upper East Side of New York City, and the Gentleman Rapist has chosen her to receive his calls announcing each conquest. He also reminds her in chilling terms that he will one day twist his wire around her throat and bend her to his will.

Jane has professional and personal problems of her own, but she is forced to try to catch this monster when he stalks her newest client. Susan is a sweet young woman who cannot remember large time periods of her past and who has dreams about a prior life in which she was raped. Soon, the Gentleman escalates to murder, and Jane wonders if he was involved in Susan’s forgotten past, or if Susan is simply a means to get to Jane. Either way, Jane is caught in the deadly game of stopping the Gentleman before another woman feels the wire at her throat and hears his sinister whisper to Mind Me, Milady.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Jane Larson has returned with an array of new clients in Mind Me, Milady, by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. In this mystery, a young woman is targeted for memories of a past life while Jane is also fighting back against a serial rapist who soon ups his crime spree to include murder. If Jane can figure out how it's all related, then maybe she'll have a chance at stopping the monster who keeps her informed of his every misdeed. 

Jane Larson was first introduced to me in Weave a Murderous Web and her character is just as persistent and determined as before. Maybe even more so now that she's cleaning up her mother's client list. What connected me most to Jane was her emotional realization that she was both proud of her mother and more inclined to be like her mother in terms of being a lawyer. As the book progressed, so did Jane's emotional evolution. She learns that she likes helping people who need it rather than helping businesses or people who are assigned to her by her boss. And in this story, there are lots of people who need help. Jane's emotional strength and intelligence work in her favor as she tries to help the young and inexperienced Susan. Though Jane can be a little harsh, she has her client's best interests in mind. Couple that with her other likable personality traits and Jane becomes a character that can be respected. 

The storyline of this novel begins with Jane finishing her mother's cases after her death. While doing so, Jane becomes entwined in several plot lines that do get a bit confusing at times. There is a wide cast of characters that frequently come and go, making them a bit hard to remember. The main story involves Susan and the inheritance of her Aunt's estate and a serial rapist who keeps contacting Jane after every incident. Jane feels the two are related somehow but doesn't know exactly. The only thing a bit bothersome about the book was it's incredibly heavy focus on detail. I usually like having all the details but I felt bogged down by the systematic info dumps that didn't seem to contribute to the plot of the book. I feel like that kept me from seeing this book as un-put-down-able. The main reason I think this bothered me so much was because when the criminal was revealed at the end, I didn't remember him being a part of the book. That disappointed me the most. 

Though I would recommend this book to lovers of the mystery genre and to those who have read the previous books about Jane Larson, I think I'd accompany the recommendation with a warning that it moves slowly because of the heavy explanations. I'd also include that the Kindle version (at least the one I received) did have a few errors in it that were a bit distracting, like Jane being called Kate, just to point out one example. Overall, I did feel the connection with Jane initially established in the previous novel was built upon and that the storyline was intriguing, while just confusing enough to not be predictable.

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Read the review of Weave a Murderous Web
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (104)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

39152061

I'm looking forward to... 

Summer in a Cornish Cove by Kate Ryder. Hopefully, I'll be putting this on my reading list soon! After a couple of serious reads, I'm ready to switch back to something easy and fun. Obviously, I like to keep my reading list guessing! haha. Seriously though, love stories and summer adventures are a great switch up after murder mysteries and dramas. In this book, a popular film star meets a widowed mother of two and it may just end up changing his, and her, life. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (315)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


38085332

Mind Me, Milady
 (Kindle 33%)
    - Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

"Did it work? Were you able to learn anything?"
...
"Your name was Sarah. You lived as some sort of servant, many years ago, at the time of the American Revolution." 

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Kite Runner

77203Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

*May Contain Spoilers*

I should have known after I read And the Mountains Echoed that The Kite Runner would be a great book. Khaled Hosseini does an amazing job crafting a story that is both hauntingly beautiful and powerfully terrifying. To be honest, I was nervous to read it before because I'd heard about the brutality that moves the book forward, but overcoming that uncertainty rewarded me with a story that will stay with me. 

The main character, Amir, isn't the most likable or relatable, but for half of the book, he is a child who doesn't know better. Or, at least, I found myself giving him that excuse. He's a little cowardly, yet intelligent. He's a beautiful writer but suffers from selfishness. He loves his best friend, Hassan, but still recognizes that, in society, Hassan is beneath him. However, I think Amir's best trait is his guilt. Though it takes Amir a long time, years actually, Amir does get the chance to make up for everything wrong that he believes he did as a child. Emphasis on the 'as a child' phrase. As a reader, there's not as much blame to cast on Amir as his character thinks. In the face of adversity and evil, a young boy doesn't have much of a chance. And this is what is haunting about Hosseini's writing: the morally gray area that his characters live and die in. As Amir shares the truth of his childhood from a present-day point of view, readers will see that as a child, he didn't have as much power as he thought. Therefore, his lack of bravery and courage won't be seen as marks against his character, but rather as traits that had not developed yet. When those traits do appear, as an adult back in Afghanistan charged with rescuing another young boy who is being abused, Amir would choose death over inaction, demonstrating that he has evolved into the man he always wanted to be. 

The plot of this novel begins with Amir's life as a young boy and how he grew with feelings of personal disappointment. When Afghanistan becomes really dangerous, Amir leaves the country with his father to make a new life in the U.S. After he marries and settles into his adult life, Amir learns that his favorite family friend from childhood is dying and travels back to his home country. There he learns of his childhood best friend's death and the tragedy of his son. With everything to lose, Amir chooses to try to save the boy in order to pay for his past sins of not saving the boy's father. The combination of Hosseini's writing style with the realistic nature of this book, marking it as almost autobiographical, gives The Kite Runner a power that condemns, forgives, and overcomes. Though I want to say I'd recommend this book to everyone, there are a few graphic scenes that make it inappropriate for all readers. Though it truly is an extraordinary book of friendship, love, and atonement. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fallout Girl (Hollywood Lights #5)

38205327The day she buries her mother, Miranda George jumps on a plane from North Carolina, telling no one where she’s heading. She wants to disappear and start over. She arrives on the Los Angeles doorstep of college friend Daphne Saito, and even though Miranda hasn’t seen Daphne in years, Daphne welcomes Miranda into her home and her makeshift L.A. family.

The problem is, Miranda is on the run from family. All family. Family, in Miranda’s experience, can get you killed.

Miranda takes off again, but this time her plan is much more sinister. She certainly doesn’t expect her friends to track her down. When they bring her back from the edge, the question remains: will Miranda be able to save herself and her newfound friendships? Or will she remain strangled by the past?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Fallout Girl, by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, introduces a strong female lead who suffers from a mental illness to the series and to the group of Hollywood friends. Miranda George was raised by a mother suffering from bipolar disorder and is now aware that she, too, has the mental illness. With firsthand experience from trying to care for her mother, Miranda is determined to stop her illness from hurting anyone she cares about, but that doesn't include herself. 

Miranda is portrayed as a blunt, brutally honest, and incredibly intelligent young woman. However, her bipolar disorder also makes her reckless, overly adventurous, and prone to push people away. When she arrived in L.A., Miranda thought she was escaping to an old college acquaintance who wouldn't care enough to try to save her. Luckily, she was way off base. Miranda, instead, finds a group of people who are caring, loyal, and willing to accept her as a friend. Through these personality traits and the events of the book, readers will, without a doubt, connect with Miranda. Though her mental illness isn't discussed at length, the author demonstrates the symptoms through Miranda's actions. This gives readers an in-depth, realistic look at bipolar disorder and how it can affect those who have it. Readers will not only understand why Miranda is acting the way she is, they'll witness moments when her mental illness takes over. With that kind of openness, readers will form a strong bond with Miranda and want her to heal as the book continues. 

The plot of the novel begins after Miranda has already arrived in L.A., where the series takes place. Miranda is determined to escape her mental illness using drugs, danger, and sex while she forms a plan to take her own life. Yet, the people she meets while crashing at Daphne's apartment (an old acquaintance from college) begin to care about Miranda and notice that something is happening to her. With good intentions and help from Miranda's brother, the group tries to help Miranda accept her mental illness and move toward a life that allows her to control it. 

Though Fallout Girl has a very serious storyline, it is an incredibly entertaining and interesting book. The mental illness aspect is represented as realistically as it can be while still allowing the book to have an enjoyable air. There is a romantic aspect of the book that will also have readers cheering for Miranda, even though her destructive nature threatens her chance at a relationship multiple times. With various layers of interaction, shifting point of views, and serious undertones, Fallout Girl is a book that seriously represents living with bipolar disorder and presenting friendships that grow and evolve with the people who are a part of them. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (103)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

38085332

I'm looking forward to... 

Mind Me, Milady by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. Switching gears after my current read to another thriller/mystery. In this book, an attorney has been chosen to be the social contact of a serial killer, with the promise that one day she'll also be his victim. I'm excited to get to this one but I feel like it's going to be one of those books that demand breaks because of the fear factor. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (314)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


38205327

Fallout Girl
 (Kindle 74%)
    - Katie Rose Guest Pryal

"I needed a job. I have one now."
"You don't need a job. People like us don't need jobs."
"Never say people like us. It induces vomiting."

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The French Adventure

37868273Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents' beautiful house in France for a much-needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.

Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents' adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn't expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist...

*May Contain Spoilers*

The French Adventure is certainly a perfect springtime getaway! Lucy Coleman gives readers a strong female character who decides to completely rebuild her life after she realizes that the path she's on isn't right for her. 

Anna is a very intelligent webpage designer who realizes that her current relationship isn't going in the direction she'd like. Because her beau is a co-worker, that means her job is out too. With nothing else to lose, Anna decides to join her parents in France for the summer on a working holiday. Though it turns into much, much more. Anna's decision to rewrite her life is one that requires courage and bravery. It's hard to let go of something you worked so hard for when you realize it's not what you thought it would be. Anna's struggle between what she feels her life should look like and what she wants it to look like is an experience that readers will relate to. Her determination, focus, and diligence will also have readers feeling connected to her character.

This book has a few simultaneous plot lines that weave in and out making this novel a fun, realistic, and romantic read. The first storyline that seems to underline the entire summer adventure for Anna is that her ex-boyfriend wants her back after she leaves London. It's almost harassment how badly he wants her back and Anna struggles to balance her feelings and actions while she's in another country. The second storyline that added a layer of depth to the novel was the mysterious box Anna finds while working at her parents' B&B. As she goes into search mode to find the owner, she connects with the town's people as well as adventures across France to uncover more and more details. The final plot line and perhaps the most intriguing to readers is the love story between Anna and Sam. It's a bit unconventional, as Sam is unconventional with a haunted heart, but it's surprising, interesting, and connects two people who challenge each other in a positive way. 

With three different plot lines intersecting, there's something in this novel for multiple types of readers. Though I think this book would be best recommended for those who enjoy a love story, the mystery aspect of the lost box also intrigued me as a reader. Thus, the connection of the two genres turned into an enjoyable read and The French Adventure become a provider of both escape and entertainment. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (102)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

77203

I'm looking forward to...

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. My final class of grad school is here! Therefore, I'm prepping for my Master's Thesis. That means that up next on my reading list is this book, which I have never read before. I know, I know. I'm also shaking my head. :) But! I'm reading it now and paying very close attention to every detail. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (313)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

38205327

Fallout Girl
(Kindle 9%)
     - Katie Rose Guest Pryal

She reached into the very bottom of the backpack and pulled out three prescription pill bottles. She held them, contemplated them... She thought about a diagnosis that might as well be a death sentence.