Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Perfect Nany by Leila Slimani

Rating: 2-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"When Myriam, a mother and brilliant French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work, she and her husband are forced to look for a caretaker for their two young children. They are thrilled to find Louise: the perfect nanny right from the start. Louise sings to the children, cleans the family's beautiful apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late whenever asked, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on each other, jealousy, resentment, and frustrations mount, shattering the idyllic tableau..." [+ More].

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would because Eustacia recommended it. I was looking forward to this one but I just got bored with the story.

The opening was interesting; it started with the kids already dead (or dying), so what was left for me to read was why had this perfect nanny done that.

Somehow I lost interest in the reasons for the nanny to go wacko; and here I am just assuming that she indeed went crazy for God's know what or why.

The plot seemed interesting but it didn't hold my attention.

This book is a translation from the French version and I didn't find anything wrong with it. It is just that some books click and some don't...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

Available on June 5, 2018.

"She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed..." [More +].

What type of crap is this? Such an interesting title for a book but nothing to do with the story. The MC (Ari?) wakes up in well or something like that because she has been kidnapped. From there, up to 40% where I could manage to read, NOTHING happens.

Nobody is lookinh for her. Hell, nobody even knew she was missing. Pages go on and on about Ari remembering her life and back to the present to "where am I?"

Back to remembering happy timea with friends and shit. Back to the same hole and shit. Back to remembering... you see my point. I could not continue torturing myself with story.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass..." [+ More]

I usually devour Holocaust stories like hot bread but this one didn't click with me. I found Sarah to be detached and couldn't feel for her. The plot seemed to be dragging. For instance, at the beginning Sarah has to run away from the Nazis, so the author keeps repeating Sarah's mother last words to her, lauf, run - over and over. I was just bored with it.

I didn't like the way the author introduced snippets of the past so Sarah could move forward (just my personal choice).

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this title.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Rating: 1-Star

On sale July 10, 2018

Summary on Goodreads.

"When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica's nine-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had..." [+ More]

I was very uninterested in these characters. They seemed to be on autopilot and just acting and reacting to add pages to the book.

My dislike started with the mother showing up to the door of the alleged father to demand he helps her find their missing dauther. Wait, for ten years you have kept this daughter hidden but you chose this moment to tell him he is a father? Is he FBI or something that he will be able to do what the police can't?

Father, your 10 year ex shows up and tells you that, surprise! you are a daddy, and you just believe her and go on a chase to find this child. Uhummm....

There really was no depth to this story. I was concerned about this fictitious child because I am a whimp, not becuase the author did something to get emotionally involved in the story.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Daddy Darkest by Ellery Kane

Title: Daddy Darkest (Doctor of Darkness, #1)

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"A month after her high school graduation, small-town-girl Samantha "Sam" Bronwyn boards a plane with her best friend, Ginny. Destination: San Francisco. But when Ginny disappears inside an airport bathroom wearing Sam's letterman jacket, it doesn't take her long to figure out she was the intended target. Alone in a strange city, Sam's on a run for her life--drawn into a dark past she never knew existed. A past where secrets aren't all that's buried and where revenge comes at the highest price. Who is Sam really--and who can she trust? The mysterious stranger in 4A who secreted a gun in his backpack? The guilty ex-con? The disarming FBI agent? Her own mother?..." [+ more].

This story felt anti-climatic; I didn't feel what I was reading. The MC was just annoying the hell out of me. And the love interest... at the beginning he is posing as a 21 year old but it turned out that he was kind of a seasoned cop so... that made him a lot older. And the "random" encounters with the MC were so not obvious coincidences that I just rolled my eyes.

The wrong girl is kidnapped so the rest of the plot is dedicated to find out why the MC was the target. Well, right away the author takes you to the past and starts narrating MC's mother story of how she got pregnant, thus revealing why her daughter was wanted. A psychological thriller this book was not. When the narration went back to the past I knew right away what was coming.

The story felt flat, rushed and unappealing. I could not finish it. And it is a series?! Well, if you are looking for a light "psychological thriller" (no depth), this book might be for you.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this title.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

Release date: May 15, 2018.

"Mara and Owen are as close as twins can get, so when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn't know what to think. Can her brother really be guilty of such a violent act? Torn between her family and her sense of right and wrong, Mara feels lost, and it doesn’t help that things are strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie. As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie come together in the aftermath of this terrible crime, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits into her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault..." [+ More].

This story is well written and the subject it covers right to the point. I did't not like it, but is not like I liked it either.

I liked Charlie's character but I didn't completely liked Mara (and I don't even know why).

Is it rape if you are heavily making out with your boyfriend and then you just don't feel like going all the way and ask him to stop but he doesn't and puts it in anyways? Isn't that what our president, Donald Trump did with his ex wife; had sex with her even when she didn't want to?

Anyways, some people will say that men should stop anyways... but that is not the issue here. I liked how Blake linked what happened to Mara to Hanna. Why would you believe one girl over the other?

Exploring what happened to Mara could be another whole book by itself!

Blake even takes on this whole new trend of I-don't-know-what-I-am (male or female), so I'm binary. But that's not really what this book is about either.

I will never understand how you a person can break up with somebody because "I don't want to lose your friendship." What the heck is that? Especially coming from a teen. If you didn't want to ruin the friendship you shouldn't have started dating in the fist place. And since when do teenagers see so far ahead? 17 year old breaking up because she doesn't want to ruin their friendship...

I think these teens in this book acted a lot more serious than their age. I didn't feel as if I was reading something from the perspective of a teenager but an adult.

Anyways, this is a nice book for a book club as it has a lot of points that can be taken up for discussion. Very well written, just that the characters didn't sound their age to me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"Macy's school officially classifies her as "disturbed," but Macy isn't interested in how others define her. She's got more pressing problems: her mom can't move off the couch, her dad's in prison, her brother's been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn't speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms..." [+ More].

Does this story have a point? At 35% I don't see it yet. What is this Macy chick so angry about? Is there even a plot here? Why does she curse teachers off, throw chairs and tables and doesn't get expelled? Is this a school for crazy kids and I don't know about it?

Oh yes, Macy is crazy, disturbed, has attention deficit disorder, was born in jail, is poor, and has parents that are physically and mentally absent. So of course her life is shit. Is she doing anything to change that? No. On the contrary, she takes advantage of her "mentally disturbed" status to tell teachers to fuck off and get away with anything. I do not have a problem with cursing but I haven't heard of a student cursing a teacher off and getting away with it. Oh! yes, Macy is sent to see the principal. Hmmm... how many times?

Macy has mental problems and she knows it so she acts extra ghetto because she knows that she can get away with shit.

I didn't like Macy at all. Maybe not everybody wants to do and be better in life. Maybe some people are perfectly happy living the shitty lives they got; well, this is the sense I got from Macy.

Not all books must have a happy ending either, but at least the story should move towards something. What is the point of this book? What is it that Macy wants in life? It's not clear yet; maybe it will be revealed towards the end of the book but I am not interested anymore.

No, I did not connect with this one. DNF at 35% because there are other books out there about diversity, minorities, poverty, abuse and all that crap that make more sense than this one.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this title.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Us Against You (Beartown #2)

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

Release date: June 5, 2018

"After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach..." [+ More].

When I finish crying I'll come back to write a review.

*** Okay, five days later I can think about this book without having a sense of longing in my heart.

What did I just read? Just like the book before, Beartown this book is flawless. Man, Backman can write!

The characters have the same depth as before. I was so into it that I felt I was from Beartown too. Benji... has a more perfect character ever been written?

I am not going to go into details about the characters and the plot because the story picked up where it was left in the previous book. Do you need to read Beartown first? Not necessarily; enough background is given to engage in Us Against You without having to read Beartown.

The only thing that I felt was dragging were the parts about Peter and his wife. It could definitely have been shorter.

Is there a third book coming? I hope so! Maybe about Alicia?... I don't think Benji's character could be exploited any more. Lol!

I don't know what to write to express how much I loved it. I fucking cried at the end. Jesus! It is fiction!!! Yeah, well, tell that to Us Against You. It felt very real to me.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this title.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bring me Back by B. A. Paris

Rating: 1-Star

Summary on Goodreads.

Release date: June 19, 2018.

"A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he's engaged to be married; he's happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She's turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love..." [+ More].

I still can't believe I wasted one day of my life reading this crap. "Addictive" and a "page turner" it is not. I just wanted to stop reading this stupidity, but if I actually stopped I wouldn't be able to fully tell how much of a bad story this book is.

So Layla disappeared one night and 12 years later she is... like back. Fine. The problem is the ridiculous chat conversations that she has with Finn (the ex); they are so absurd that I decided not to read that part anymore. So Finn chatting with Layla, a person that has been gone for 12 years, and no emotion is shown. Hello! A "where the fuck have you been?" is in order!

Oh! He still loves her! Holy crap.

So now Finn is going to marry Ellen (Layla' sister) and that is what apparently has brought Layla back from the dead.

The story is told in the past and present. The past consists of events that took place between Layla and Finn before she disappeared, I guess to show us how deep their love was...? Unnecessary crap.

Anyways, the real reason of why Layla had been gone 12 years came like a sudden slap that just made mad. Yes, I was mad at reading something so wacky (not the reason itself but the way it was played out).

The best part is that Layla leaves an email explaining EVERYTHING! Isn't that convenient? I suspect that written evidence is the prefer method of A. B. Paris for solving a story. (The same happened in The Breakdown but instead of an email it was text messages (like people discuss their crimes over texts...).

Anyway, everything was nicely explained here in the form of an email and that was that.

I wanted to see real emotions but these characters acted like robots.

This is my last Paris book. I am not wasting my time anymore with this author.

Thanks Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

I liked her in the movie Girls Trip so I wanted to read her story. Well, it is all the same: from poor to fame. But to be fair, I don't see me reading a book, for instance, about how Madonna's daughter became a model. So I guess that just people with poor upbringings have something to tell.

The book is very fast to read; unfortunately, it has no depth at all and it is haphazardly written. At least she is not playing the victim here. She talks about her foster years, some bullying and this and that with a light heart and I liked that. What is past is past.

You could say that rather than being a victim this book is about being a survivor and making it but it didn't feel like that to me. It feels like she rushed to write this book to take advantage of the little fame she got to do what celebrities do: write a book.

I think the writing in the book is her voice, but it feels so rushed and lacking in so many departments that I didn't find anything funny in here. There is no setting for any of the small scenes described here. She talks about Will Smith and Jada and I felt she was talking about aliens.

She learned to read in ninth grade, yet at the end of the book when she is 35 years old, she mentions that she can barely read. Not a big, just that now what she said before is unreliable for me.

She also mentions some encounter with Mary J. Blidge that rather than funny sounded awkward. I mean, without some little background and set up, your conversation with Blidge is not going to make laugh (assuming that was the point).

Haddish shows such an unbelievable level of ignorance at some points that it was just unbelievable. You don't know what a Bar Mitzvah is? come on! You just made up that shit to sound funny because I even know what it is (and I wasn't even raised here).

I guess that she went for most stereotypes about black people here because that is what she sells. So if you've been to some of her shows then you will get that in this book.

She definitely has (had) a story to tell, but for me, it didn't come out right in this book. What I was reading was bad acting and all over the place thoughts and sporadic dialogue that delivered empty words for the sake of making some simple souls laugh.

To write a funny book, Haddish needs to get her thoughts together in order to write a book with some coherence. 

I am so glad I checked this book out of the library! When I requested it, there were about 40 patrons ahead of me and I was just about to buy it when bam! I got it. Good; it saved me a trip to the post office to return it.

Monday, January 22, 2018

We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson

Rating: 3-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.

Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor...." [ + More]

I enjoyed this book because the POVs between Josh and Beth were distinct. I like how things developed but the story left me with kind of an empty feeling. First, I couldn't relate to the prose of 14 year old Josh. The way he expressed himself was more like a grown up. But maybe that is the way that kids talk here in the USA. Where I am from, no way a 14 year old will speak like that.

I didn't like that Beth didn't want to know, or didn't want to ask, about what happened to her brother. I get that her mother told her to let it go for now, but after a while, why won't you talk to your brother about what he went through? And she even said that she didn't want to know.

Also, the parents never talked about what happened or showed any... emotion. It was like them didn't want to know either. But I wanted to know. I mean, not the details (although I'm sick like that - and then spend a week depressed wondering how people can be that cruel) but at least I wanted to know more.

Will he ever tell his parents why he didn't escape? His attachment to the kidnapper was not explain, but I have read so many books about this subject that I know what is Stockholm syndrome by now.

As the end of the book was approaching I was getting desperate because too many things were left int he air. Maybe the author didn't want to explain every single thing so... I just wanted more.

But as I said, I enjoyed the beginning a lot (although Beth's life bored me after that).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Creep by Jennifer Hillier

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren’t, she knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. After all, she’s finally engaged to a kind and loving investment banker who adores her, and she’s taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won’t let her walk away..." [+ More].

So Ethan, 23, becomes obsessed with his professor, Dr. Sheila Tao (16 years older) and if he can have her nobody can. Well, yes, we older women usually have that effect on younger men (lol).

What I did not buy in this book is that this professor is a doctor, a psychologist, yet she allowed Ethan to record them having sex. Seriously? Even I know better. But hey! The book was published in 2011 so maybe that is why such thing would fly.

The second turn off was that there is a website, which publishes "outrageous gossip and nasty comments about all things involving the university" yet it hasn't been shout down? No, the existence of this site is no secret, even Dr. Sheila Tao herself clicks on the site to see what's going on. I need to return this book and read something more believable.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia..." [+ more]

Another superb novel from Allende. It follows the same scheme of her previous works as it follows a character (or characters) from their native country to the US. In the Midst of Winter is another immigration tale of courage, struggles and hope. As always, the writing is captivating.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hidden in Plain Sight: America's Slaves of the New Millennium by Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"What types of human trafficking crimes are being committed here in the United States? Who are the victims of traffickers? How do we all unknowingly consume the services and products of slavery? And why are human traffickers able to maintain their illicit operations with relative impunity--indeed, with less than .01 percent of human traffickers ever being held accountable for their crimes?..." [+ more]

Very well written and researched. I'd have never thought that kids that go door-to-door selling might be subjects of human trafficking.

This book opened my eyes to different forms of human trafficking (some I knew). The saddest part is that the perpetrators rarely get convicted or get convicted for a very short time.

The book is easy to read.I wonder if this was the author's dissertation turned into a book? Very well done.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one..." [+ More]

This is one of those books where is better not to say much God forbid you offend someone. I found it interesting that some people out there consider themselves neither female not male but just a being. Well, I understand that but, when it comes to having sex, you will have to have sex as a gender. So if you are agender, what are you when having sex? Female for a bit and then change to male? Hmmm... confusing.

So here we have Sasha, a teenager who considers himself or herself to be agender Then Sasha has an accident on the 57 Bus and the kid who causes it goes to jail.

I won't say more not to spoil the plot. I found this book was more about how an agender person feels  and how the system treats some teenagers that get in trouble. Unfortunately, I never felt sorry for Richard. As explained in this book, it wasn't about who did what to Sasha but the state of mind of Richard when he did it. If it goes to that, then every teenager (and every person) who does something is in some type of state of mind when they do it. Is that an excuse for what they do?

So I think this book is more about trying to teach you a little bit about this new agender and pansexual thing that is going on today. I guess some people might really be born this way (not feeling sexual or romantic desire either way or toward any gender), others... I feel like promiscuity makes them claim these status (like Miley Cyrus). I don't really need a label to have sex with whoever I want to have sex.

Anyway, it was an interesting book.