Friday, February 24, 2017

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen


Petula De Wilde went from a girl who enjoyed life to a girl who is scared of everything after tragedy struck her family. In her mind something bad could happen at any time. She has withdrawn from her friends and no longer enjoys what she use to. Because of her grief she must attend art therapy class with others that she does not connect to. That is until Jacob arrives on the scene, and he just may be able to help Petula overcome some of her fears and enjoy life again.

I don't think this book lived up to what I had in my mind, but it was still an enjoyable book. I did like seeing into Petula's mind even though her anxiousness touched a place in my own. So if you are in a place where your anxiety and fears come easily you may not want to read this at this time. Even though I did feel where Petula was coming from I was able to enjoy the book without my own anxiety plaguing me. I do think this story was a good one for showing the fears that some people have. I still do not believe it would convince those who refuse to believe anxiety is real, but I thought it was a good portrayal of someone who has faced tragedy and the aftereffects. This book also touched on alcoholism and other methods of dealing with tragedy. I liked all the characters that were presented in the art therapy class and their contributions to Petula's story.

I rated this 3/5 stars.

I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma by Larry Millett


Sherlock Holmes at 66 years old is depressed and diagnosed with emphysema. Sherlock goes to America to be diagnosed, and before he leaves he receives a note from the Monster of Munich, the killer that Sherlock tried to catch in 1892 in Munich. He follows the Monster to Eisendorf, a strange, gothic town that is slowly dying. It is here that the Monster toys with Sherlock, and Sherlock doubts himself in his age and health.

I hate to say it, but I did not really like Sherlock in this story. I did not connect with him at all and didn't care what happened to him. I felt even more disconnected towards the end of the book when Watson becomes the narrator. I struggled in finishing the book but pushed myself to the end just to be revealed the Monster. I remember thinking that I wanted to stop reading within 10% of the book. I was not pulled into the story and felt disconnected from all of the characters. I just kept wishing for it all to be over.

I rated this 2/5 stars.

I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Swiss Vendetta by Tracee de Hahn


Agnes Luthi has just transferred over from Financial Crimes to the Violent Crimes unit and is now on her first case. A body has been found lying by a bench and is getting covered by ice from the blizzard of the century raging over the landscape. Agnes is now stuck at a chateau where the murder took place because the ice and snow has made the roads impassable and there is no phone or electricity. She is finding it difficult to get the answers she needs from those in the chateau. Agnes worries for her own safety as she begins to wonder if the crime will ever be solved.

This was a good story about a Swiss-American detective who is stranded at a chateau with the killer. The fact that it took place in Switzerland and that she was stuck with the killer made me want to read this. I found the story to be slow for most of the book. The majority of the book is Agnes and her team trying to find clues to help solve the case with little action. The last 10% of the book is where all of the action took place. It was an enjoyable plot, but I was really in the mood for a more intense story. If you decide to read this book keep in mind it is a slower paced mystery but still a decent one.

I rated this 3/5 stars.

I received this from Netgalley free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau


    Argyle Fox wants to play outside on a spring day, but the wind keeps interfering with his plans. He tries to use his imagination several times as he plays throughout the day just to have his toys blown away by gusts of wind. Finally, Argyle Fox gives up. He tells his mom he'll never play in the wind again, but Mother Fox tells him to keep thinking and he will come up with something that would be perfect for the windy day. Argyle Fox takes his mother's advice and begins to think and use his imagination to come up with fun for a windy day.

     I absolutely loved this book! First, the artwork is fabulous! It's perfectly whimsical and fun! The story is very well written and is wonderful about showing young children all about using imagination. Also, towards the end the book presents not only imagination but determination. Between the art and the lessons behind the story, it has made me decide I will purchase this book in physical form for my children when it comes out on March 14, 2017.

     I rated this 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

     I received this free from Netgalley for an honest review.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Traveler by L.E. DeLano

Traveler (Traveler #1)

     Jessa is a writer, and all her material comes from what she dreams at night. Or at least that's what she thinks until one day Finn, who plays a role in her every dream, shows up one day and asks Jessa to have coffee with him. He explains to her that they are both Travelers who can go through any surface they can see themselves in to alternate realities, and this seems like an amazing talent until Jessa is told that her other selves are dying one by one in each reality. Finn is here to make sure that this Jessa stays alive.

     Can I just say that I fell in love with this book?! I haven't had a book hangover like this one in a long time. I was mesmerized by every alternate reality that surfaced, wanting even more details and time in each than was allotted in the plot. The realities ranged from fluffy goodness to dystopian extremes, all pulling the reader in to its own place. I loved reading about all the different Jessas and their own stories. And of course, falling in love with Finn all the way. This book not only offers romance but adventure and a feeling of desperation for it all to work out. Traveler left me wanting more, and I cannot wait to lay my hands on book two.

     I rated this 5/5 and highly recommend.

     I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Gilded Cage by Vic James


     I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

     In Gilded Cage, the Equals, who are aristocrats with magical powers called Skill, rule the world. Commoners that do not have money or Skill must enter a time period called Slavedays. This period of time is 10 years in length and is a time where each person loses their identity to become chattel. Abi is the eldest in the Hadley family and has arranged for her family to spend their Slavedays at an estate rather than a Slavetown, but something goes wrong and her younger brother, Luke, is sent to Millmoor, a Slavetown where he is met with violence. Abi and Luke are trying to change the world right where they are, but things don't always go the way it is planned.

     I was so glad to read this book and actually enjoy it after reading a flop. Abi was a character that wasn't surprising but yet one that was enjoyable. She is a strong and self-possessed until she meets a man that stirs her heart. Luke was written very realistically for a teenage boy except for when he is walking around the Slavetown thinking things are sweet or cute. Besides those few moments, Luke presents himself as a strong and independent thinker that is able to fight for what he believes. The Equals are even likable and if not completely approved are still entertaining to read about.

     The book does not end with a bow on top so a second book will be on the way. I cannot wait to read the next book to see what happens to all the characters even those I'm not sure about.

     I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

     I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

     The Girl Before is about 2 women that have lived through tragedy and move into a highly advanced technological house. Emma is the first to move in to this strange house after answering very interesting questions on the application. The first question is, "Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life." And the questions seem to become stranger still.

     Jane moves into the house after Emma is no longer there. She is fleeing her own personal tragedy, but soon after moving in she finds out that the previous tenant who had an uncanny likeness to Jane died in the house. Jane finds herself racing to find out how the other girl died. Then, she begins to experience the same things as the other girl.

     I can truly say this book was devoured. I loved the pacing as well as the mystery. Yes, I did suspect who the bad guy was, but I still enjoyed the whole journey to the end. A realistic mystery thriller is usually such a good choice for me, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to read this delectable morsel of a thriller.

     I rated this 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bizenghast: Volume 1 by M. Alice LeGrow


I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A young girl moves to a town called Bizenghast, and she is haunted by visions and fits while she is there. She and her friend stumble upon a cemetery where they find lost souls that they must help set free.

This is a manga that I truly enjoyed reading. I was so upset when it ended since I only received Volume 1. I need more!

There is a gothic feel to the whole setting and the artwork is done in perfection with that theme. Now, in honesty, there are some places where I was not sure what I was seeing in the image because it is a little dark, but I still enjoyed the story and plan to read the rest to find out how they help the lost souls become free.

I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky


     I received this free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

     Nicole and her husband have arranged a house swap with a couple in London. Nicole hopes that time away from LA and time together in London will help their rocky marriage.  Once they get to the house in London things go awry. The couple that they swapped with never arrive at Nicole and her husband's condo in LA, and she cannot even reach them by phone. She begins to notice people following her which progresses to threats made against her. Nicole thinks that her husband will believe her when she tells him of these threats but he does not and neither do the police. Nicole is in a lot of trouble, and she will have to face it alone.

     I truly struggled through this story. I kept pushing myself not to discontinue reading.

     First, I really dislike Nicole. She is the main character, and it is hard for me to read a story about someone I don't like and hope that they will be ok. I would catch myself saying quite often, "She is so stupid!" I was so frustrated with the foolish decisions that Nicole made through the whole story.

     And as if Nicole's decisions weren't enough, I had to come face to face with every cliche that could be written in a thriller/mystery. It's no fun to know what's going on the whole time you are reading a story that you are supposed to be guessing at. I need some mystery, please!

     And to top off the whole thing, the romance in the story was distasteful and unrealistic. I won't go in to too much detail because I don't want to spoil anything.

     Overall, this was just a very disappointing read that I had been excited about. It all fell flat.

     I rated this 2/5 stars.