Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pretty Wicked by Kelly Charron

Title: Pretty Wicked (Pretty Wicked, #1)

Rating: 1-Star

Summary on Goodreads.

"The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects.

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price..." [+ more]

Firstable, this is book #1? Seriously? What will be the next books about, more psychopath teenagers?

The idea of this book was good but the execution was very, very! poor. Ryann killed four people in four weeks. Damn! Not even real serial killers kill that often.

The reasons to kill were very unsubstantial, but then again, I guess you don't need to have elaborate reasons to kill somebody. For instance, Ryann killed her teacher because he asked her to leave the classroom because she didn't brought in her homework. Next thing you know, she goes to his house and burns it down with him in it. Nothing planned, but it was successful because that's the way that it had to be for the sake of the story... except that somebody saw a teenager that looked like her coming to his house and she had to leave her bike on his yard. Pretty dummy; I expected more from this highly intelligent teenager.

I mean, more planning on the murders would had been more realistic; but everything was left to chance, to luck. So I was rolling my eyes at how lucky Ryann was.

With four murders in four weeks, everything felt rushed. I didn't have a chance to "enjoy" her killings and the police's chase because one body wasn't even cold when another one was found.

At some point, somebody finds a bag of evidence that Ryann had buried and starts texting her "I have your bag," "What would daddy do if he knew your secret?" I liked this taunting and I had no idea of who the person doing it was! That was the only thing I liked about this book.

Oh! And Ryann has some sort of something going on with a police officer. Seriously? A police officer with a minor?

Oh! And after Ryann gets caught fingerprints (hers) are found and pictures from surveillance cameras come forward... Where were those pictures before?

Frankly, I would rather read about wicked Ryann in prison; that would be interesting!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pennance by Kanae Minato

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later. Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren't able to accurately describe the stranger's appearance to the police after the Emily's body was discovered. Asako, Emily's mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter's murder.
Like Confessions, Kanae Minato's award-winning, internationally bestselling debut, Penance is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless..." [+ more]

Definitely not for me. The first chapter was okay but after that I completely lost interest in knowing what the other girls were doing with their lives.

The first chapter starts with one of the girls telling how she viewed the murder and what has become of her life. Next we go into a different character (another girl) and what's up with her. So goes the story until all is tied up together.

For some reason, I didn't have the patience for that type of plot with this book. It could be that the characters go around a bit to say what they really want or need to say... I don't know! I just was not enjoying it so I DNF.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

Rating: 2-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It’s not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who’s been their guardian since Mom took off is…eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old book about reading tea leaves and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows—and hopes everyone else does too—that none of it’s real..." [+ more]

Not worth reading. Too many good books out there to waste your time with this one.

This book did nothing for me. The interesting part for me was the leaf reading and I admit it was done nicely. Marnie (the main character) never fully believed in it either, she just gave the meaning of the symbols she saw.

And although tea leaf reading had something to do with solving the disappearance of Andrea, the book relied in your usual YA 101 to solve the mystery: the teens do it. Now, Marnie was always directing Matt to the police and at one point she went to the police herself; so for that I give the book 2 stars (the author kind of kept it real here).

On the other side, Marnie is poor and she is constantly aware of it. Well, I guess that living surrounded but rich people would make you think twice before inviting someone to your house. But the "he is not supposed to want to kiss someone like me" made me roll my eyes.

The other rich characters were not bitches - thank God! They were nice girls with flat personalities that I didn't care about. There was nothing to distinguish one character from the other except their names.

As always, instead of going to the police, someone prefers email Matt hints about a dead body (no indication that he was going to be Sherlock Holmes). So Matt and Marnie take upon investigating in such an unappealing way that I almost DNF the book. I kept reading it because it is a short read.

I don't know what the point of Noah, Marnie's brother in the book is other than to make her look even more low class because he had overdose. And Noah went from "I haven't talk to him (another character) in a long time to "he would call me out of the blue and I would talk to him." So did you keep in touch yes or not?


Suddenly Andrea comes back (she was not dead after all). And that is that. Someone else died and that is the reason she dissapeared. She was scared; but obviously not any more. Hmmm...

Some other kid died at a party at one of the rich kid's house and they hid the body because they didn't know how he had died (while being insanely high on drugs). But for some reason one of them thought it was time for the body to turn up and was emailing Matt with clues that were further revealed through Marnie's readings. Apparently, after all this time, they were all being consumed with guilt.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Rating: 1-Star

Summary on Goodreads.

"Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers..." [+ more]

I thought I was going to enjoy this book because Inside the Mind of a Bibliophile recommended it. Unfortunately, this book was not for me.

Don't keep reading because this review is FULL of SPOILERS!


From the very first chapter I knew that something was wrong with Lauren, Kacey's sister (stupid or something like that). So what happened to Bailey? Well...! Her best friend, Jade, killed her because Bailey would move out of town and Jade wanted Bailey all for herself. Question #1, where did this obsession come from? Okay, some people are sociopath just because.

So... stupid Lauren believes that some 'Red Woman' exist (a ghost or something, I didn't get it) and told her to kill Bailey or Lauren's entire family would be killed. Now, mind you, Lauren is 13 so, unless she had some type of mental problem (which was never mentioned) I don't know why she would believe this bullshit.

AND...!!! The best part, Bailey kept a diary where she wrote everything (bout wanting to kill Kacey) which was (obviously) found to solve the mystery.

Lauren gets 8 years in a psychiatric institution because "Jade had preyed on a young girl who was vulnerable to manipulation." Psychiatric evaluation suggested that "Lauren had experienced a psychotic break as the result of the stress in her life. She didn't know right from wrong at the time of killing." Question #2, Where did Lauren's stress come from? Why was she stressed? Because she wasn't invited to a party and her mean friend was texting her pictures of the party she was missing?

Seriously, this plot, story, and characters are just ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And..." [+ more]

This was a pretty good thriller/mystery. I never figured out who the killer was because unlike other thrillers where the killer turns out to be someone out of nowhere, the killer here was always present (in a way).

I enjoyed this book very much. I loved all four characters and the way the book as written: four point of views for each character to narrate their part of the story.

I will never understand or agree with the stupidity that you leave somebody you like because "I'm going to screw this up so I better leave you now." I mean, if I like somebody I don't care about stupid things like 'we are different,' 'I am a screw up and you are not.' But that's just me.

Also, for the end, I felt that the story was finishing too HEA (happily ever after), but this is fiction so, why not?

I like how the character grew and changed and I definitely loved the writing.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys..." [+ more]

Okay. What did I just read? By 25% I was wondering if there was a plot at all; a tragedy, an event; something that would need solving in this story. But 35% I didn't care anymore.

I don't know what to say about this book. That I loved it wouldn't make justice to the things this book made me feel. That is just perfect and perfectly written don't really express how perfect and wonderful and EVERYTHING this story is.

I picked this book because I liked A Man Called Ove (which has been made into a movie), but Beartown... Jesus! I don't remember reading anything like it in a while.

How many characters are in this story? A lot. And while I couldn't put up with Paula Hawkins' Into the Water because of its 10 point of views, Beartown left me wanting to know more about its people, more voices, more characters...

It took me a while to finish it because I didn't want it to really end. It put me in some sort of 'right' mood every time I read a little bit. As if the universe suddenly made sense.

I have liked many books because of the plot, the twist, the topic... but I loved this one because the way it is written. I even went to YouTube to look at hockey games to see on the screen what this book described and was making me feel. I must say, I will never watch or think of hockey the same way again.

The actual plot, the actual issue addressed here, I have read before. However, the way it is approached gave it a new meaning, a whole new perspective to me.

The book is complete. From beginning to end. I have never felt so satisfied reading a book lately.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"Days before Corey is to return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger. Corey knows something is wrong. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter..." [+ more]

After This Is Where It Ends, I thought I was going to like anything by Nijkamp. I was wrong. I couldn't even finish Before I Let Go. I wasn't expecting the same plot but I was expecting the same intensity.

Before I Let Go is well written, it just wasn't appealing to me. This book is about a girl (Kyra) who is dead and a friend (Corey) who goes back to town to find closure, and little by little discovers that her friend's death wasn't just an accident.

I didn't like the back and forth in time: 2 years ago; a year and a half ago.... I understand that this was done to show the type of relationship between the two friends and why Corey cared so much. But then again, Corey left town and never again communicated with Kyra which to me means that she didn't care all that much. Perhaps she was feeling guilty.

The setting is in this remote town where even Internet connection is kind of a miracle which allowed the absurdity of the plot to take place.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival..." [+ more]

Is there a way to fairly portray a school shooting? Probably not as every shooter ends up killing himself. So there's really no way if telling why or how the shooter decided to do it.

I liked this book because it kept me entertained and engaged. I was ansiously reading to find out what would happened. The author doesn't. get into the how the shooter got guns and ammunition. Rather, the story takes place in the auditorium and through some flashback.

I was not happy with the death of some character because for me, I don't really see the need to willingly play the hero; especially when you are already out of the shooter's range. Maybe I read that wrong?

Anyway, this is an interesting YA that would definitively give teens something to think about.

The plot also covers LGTB but since I don't really think that is what this book is about, so I'm not going to get into that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Rating: DNF

Summary on Goodreads.

"A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she'd never return..." [+ more]

On man! I loved The girl on the Train but I couldn't put up with this book. So many PoVs! Ten, I read someone said? That is A LOT of people to keep track of for me.

I didn't like any of the characters; they were all bland, meh. I wasn't interested in reading so many points of views because they were insipid. Unlike Beartown by Fredrik Backman which has a lot of characters (I think more than Into the Water) but each character is distinctly different from each other. I enjoyed reading that one. I know the plot/story is not about a particular character per se, so maybe that is why nobody is given too much depth.

Lena is accusing her aunt, Jules, of not caring about her dead mother Nel. How does Jules react? Well, she didn't react at all. I wanted to see some spark, some emotion. Why is Lena mad at an aunt she didn't even have contact with? Could be a British thing but I think that in real life people must have more emotions than what shown here.

So yes, I got bored with so many characters. I wasn't interested in reading so many points of view.

I wasn't expecting this to be another "girl on the train", no. I read it because I liked The Girl on the Train, thus this one should be equally good. Well, it wasn't for me. But if you don't mind reading so many points of view you might find this "mystery" enjoyable.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Title: The Good Daughter (The Good Daughter, #1)

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night..." [+ more]

First, a reviewer gave this book 1-star because, according to him, of graphic violence against children... Wtf? Grow a pair man; you are an adult and this is an adult book. Didn't you read the blurb? If you are sensitive about the subject of the book because you experienced it or whatever other shit, don't read it.

Now, with that out of the way....I couldn't put this book down. Damn! How well thought, organized and written it is. I think that Slaughter publishes too many books in a year so she obviously hires ghostwriters; and although I usually stay away from famous authors who use ghostwriters, this time I didn't mind at all.

By the way, I've seen some Stephen King's books now that say "with such and such author." I think it is wonderful that he is giving other people the chance to make a name out there instead of taking all the glory (after all, he is still being well paid for having his name on the book).

But back to The Good Daughter, this book is not what I thought it was going to be about. I doesn't matter what I thought the book was about, what the plot actually is about is equally good. I am completly satisfied with this book. Yes, I obviously never saw the culprit coming.

This book is part of a The Good Daughter series so I wonder who the good daughter actually is. Is it Sam or Charlie? Which one of them would the future books be about?

Monday, August 7, 2017

How Dogs Love us by Gregory Berns

Full title: How dogs love us: A neuroscientist and his adopted dog decode the canine brain

Rating: 1-Star

Summary on Goodreads.

"After his family adopted Callie, a shy, skinny terrier mix, Berns decided that there was only one way to answer that question—use an MRI machine to scan the dog’s brain. His colleagues dismissed the idea. Everyone knew that dogs needed to be restrained or sedated for MRI scans. But if the military could train dogs to operate calmly in some of the most challenging environments, surely there must be a way to train dogs to sit in an MRI scanner..." [+ more]

I wish I could give this book 5-stars because I understand the work involved in doing a MRI on a dog's brain. The book is 248 pages; up to page 180 it is all about how the idea of the book/MRI came to be and how they trained the dog to be still during the MRI. It is not that these parts were not enjoyable, but personally, I didn't care about them. I wanted to go right into what the MRI revealed about what a dog thinks (if that was possible to learn through MRI).

So finally, by page 181, the first results are in: dogs' brains have a reward system, and dogs understand hand signal. I'm sorry, but, didn't we know that already?

Do dogs love us? Well... yes, and I don't need MRI scan to prove it. So, to address the title of the book, How Dogs Loves Us I would say that by letting us scan their brain to find out if they have feelings.

At the end, this book did not tell me how my puppy loves me (other than by letting me feed him, wash him, pet him, take him to walks, sleep with him, pick up his shit, wipe his ass, and yes - even rinse his mouth).

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Right Behind You (Quincy & Rainie #7)

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters. Is he a killer?..."[+ more]

First, you can totally read this book by itself without reading the previous 6 which is what I did. After trying to read to other books bu Gardner and not being able to finish them, I couldn't put this one down. I finished in one day because I was obsessed!

As you know, Gardner is a New York Times best selling author so there's nothing to say about her writing style or anything like that. The plot was interesting and the delivery was perfect.

No lose ends. Everything explained (although I think the epilogue was not needed). This book got with the prologue and it kept me interested all through the book.

Was Telly on a rampage killing or was he being framed? Would this story have a happy ending? I am very satisfied with it.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"A Nigerian girl is allowed to finish her education because a diploma will enhance her bride price, but she then rebels against traditional marriage customs..."[+]

I so enjoy book about another culture! At some point I could even identify with some of the customs described here. This book reminded me of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives which made me laugh out loud. The Bride Price cracked me a few laughs too. I was definitely cracking up with the scene at the funeral!

Full of superstitions this is another book that takes inside the world of Nigerian culture. At 15, Aku-nna is waiting to be given in marriage to the man who pays the higher bride price. The problem is that she is in love with someone else. Also, according to culture, if the man doesn't pay the bride price, the bride will die while giving birth to her first child.

So what is Aku-nna to do? And how strong is the psychological hold over the mind? Would you really die if the bride price is not paid? I guess you will have to read the book to find out!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Ex by Alafair Burke

Rating: 4-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart..." [+ more]

I liked it enough to give it 4 stars. I love these type of thrillers and anything that has to do with the law.

At first, it was so obvious that Jack was framed that I thought if the author was really going to make it as simple as that. Then, as I was reaching the end, Jack didn't seem innocent anymore and once again, I thought if the author was going to actually make him guilty! The point is, that the plot kept me guessing and I never saw coming who the real culprit was.

I will never get tired or ranting about this stupid comparisons to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Why God, oh why? The MC in this book was someone completely different!!! Arghhh.

Okay, back to the book, I so enjoy all the tricks of collecting evidence and court jargon (even if I don't understand it).

So yeah, the ending was unexpected, specially with the romance that was thrown in there in the last page (it made sense though).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

All is not forgotten by Wendy Walker

Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factua..." [+ more]

Damn! This book was so good. If you have problems with rape, descriptive language, or you are extremely moralist don't read it.

There is a reviewer who called this book repulsive. My question is, why did you keep reading it?

Moving on, I loved everything about this book, especially the narrator. The format this book is written... I think I hadn't seen it before.

For a moment there, I hated the narrator just because I believe in justice, fairness, and ethics. But what the hell, this is a work of fiction.

I just loved the psychological tangles of this plot. I thought the author must be a psychiatrist or something like that; but no, she is (or was) an attorney.

I must say this is a well thought plot. I hope she keeps writing and I wouldn't mind reading another book with the same narrator.

I simply abhor plots that are about memory loss that have the character to remember everything at the end. When I started reading this book I thought it was going to be like that. I am glad I didn't stop reading it because I was able to enjoy an amazing book.