Monday, December 11, 2017

The Cool Kids by Jason Pellegrini


Summary:


     Growing up, Kevin Ford was never considered one of the cool kids. He was the unathletic son of a father who had been the star of his college football team and the scrawny younger sibling of two brothers who loved to torment him. To his peers, he was far from being considered popular.

     Kevin had two best friends, though. One afternoon in the summer of 1994, they showed up unannounced at his front door with a secret mission. What Kevin figured was going to be an average summer day with his friends turned into an adventure like no other. The three of them entered the woods and sought out a forgotten ancient myth.

     Now, nearly a quarter century later, Kevin finds himself reminiscing about that August day. As he’s about to enter a new stage of his life, he looks to his past to help give him the strength to face what lies ahead.




My Thoughts:

 

     At first, when I started The Cool Kids I thought this is going to be an adventure story involving a few preteen boys/best friends reminiscent of Stand By Me with a little fantasy thrown in. While this is true in a way, the story turned and still surprised me. 
     What followed was a story of childhood and friendships and how even though you may grow up (and apart) that bond is always there.  Kevin and his two best friends aren't considered "cool" but they grow to realize that doesn't matter.  I think we can all relate, in some way, to the boys.
     This story is short, around 100 pages, and I tend to not enjoy short stories but this story of Kevin and his buddies was funny, touching, imaginative and nostalgic. 4/5 stars




Favorite quotes:


"I lived through an era before the technology boom.  I know what kind of world exists without technology, and how wonderful and boundless it is."

"It's something about that bond of friendship you share with your lifelong friends that can't be matched.  No matter who you befriend later on in your life, it's just not the same."



Author's site:  http://www.jasonpellegrinibooks.com/

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Finding Grace by Warren Adler


Summary:


The chilling new drama that gets to the heart of brainwashing and its power to corrupt and control.

When their twenty-three-year-old daughter goes missing, divorcees Harry and Paulie are forced to leave behind their newly constructed lives to track Grace down. But Grace isn’t lost, not physically at least. They find her seemingly unharmed in California on a sunny farm the other residents call “Camp Star.” But nothing is as it seems…

Sinister motives lurk behind the smiles of those at the camp and the two soon learn that Grace is in the clutches of a notorious cult. Under the spell of mind control, she denies Harry and Paulie as her family and shuns their love, leaving them to search for answers in the most desperate of places. 

Scrambling to piece together their shattered lives, Harry and Paulie race against the clock to bring Grace back home – but will she ever be able to return? How do you help someone who doesn’t know they’re lost?



My Thoughts:


     I was intrigued initially by the premise of this book.  I thought reading about a girl taken in by a cult and her parents struggles to get her back would be an excellent read and it would have been had this book actually been about cults and parental love.  Unfortunately, Finding Grace was more about her divorced parents and their bizarre, obsessive love for each other and how their relationship came about and then fell apart.
     I found all of the characters to be immature, self absorbed and truly unlikable.  I forced myself to read about sixty percent of this book before I gave up hoping that the story would actually turn into what I thought it was going to be, it never did.  This was a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me!



Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2xgoWLN 

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen







Summary: 
 


A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.



My Thoughts:


     Hmmm, where to begin....this is definitely a page turning thriller with plot twists that will make you do a double take but for some reason it didn't click with me quite as much as I had hoped.  Good Reads is filled with rave reviews and I was very excited to read this one but I never really connected to Nellie and it left things feeling flat to me.
      Nellie comes off  as naive and trusting. Vanessa seems bitter and delusional. The dual narration makes the story very interesting but unreliable narrators and an attempt at an ambiguous ending left me wishing the story had ended a few chapters earlier.
     Don't get me wrong, this will be a hit with many and will probably turn into a huge hit on best seller's lists.  I feel like the first 75% of the book is on point for a great thriller but the wrap up is twisted so many different ways it ends up being Too Much.  3/5 stars.


Link for more info like audio sample and video promos:


https://us.macmillan.com/static/smp/wife-between-us/




*Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the promo materials!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Reads

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     November is gone and I am partially happy. Happy because the holidays stress me out but now we are into December and the biggest, busiest holiday is coming. Oy, I'm tired already!
     As predicted I did not get much reading done this month and I just know that December will be even worse BUT, I am about to hit my Good Reads Reading Goal of 75 for the year! So there's that to be happy about reading-wise.

November's books:


The Lying Game by Ruth Ware: I loved her other books but I am not sure how I felt about this one.  I was still thinking about it days later but it was a little predictable and not as thrilling as the others. 3/5 stars
















My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall:  A childhood favorite's memoir that had me giggling and misty-eyed.  My full review can be found here.
















Without Merit by Colleen Hoover:  A crazy family with crazy secrets that explode from hiding.  All my thoughts are over here.


















Origin by Dan Brown:  Another author that I have greatly enjoyed in the past but their latest didn't thrill me like it has before.  Full thoughts and info here.


















 

Coming in December:


I'm about to finish this one.....
 
and then there will be this one....


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Origin by Dan Brown


Summary:

     Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.
     As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.
     Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.





















My Thoughts:

    I have been a big fan of Dan Brown for years.  I loved The DaVinci Code (one of my all time faves) and have read it multiple times. I think it is because I've always been very interested in learning about religions and the history stuff they didn't teach us in school.  Art intrigues me but I don't know much about it but Mr. Brown always brings in the history behind pieces which make it more meaningful to me.
     I recently got to see Dan speak during his tour for Origin and he spoke a lot about the research for the book and it was very interesting. He is very intelligent and articulate and very passionate about his subject matter.  You can look on his website for a video and more info on some of the sights mentioned in the book.  He said the basis for this book came down to "Can God survive science?" and that is a very timely question.
     Origin is very intriguing and you will learn a lot but while it is interesting, and kept me turning the page for more, it was not as thrilling as his past works.  There was a lot to take in and occasionally the story is bogged down by very heavy science.  The science is deep and definitely a learning experience but at times it was over my head and I admit that I skimmed.  I do still love the character of Robert Langdon and hope for more stories with him.
     I think this was a good story but not great. And while I never would have guessed what the big scientific part of the mystery was I did figure out the rest fairly easily so that was a bit disappointing.  Again, learned a lot about modern art and the history and beautiful architecture of Spain but I felt overwhelmed at times by the deep science.  3.5/5 stars


Favorite quotes:


"Well science and religion are not competitors, they're two different languages trying to tell the same story.  There's room in this world for both."


"Love is from another realm. We cannot manufacture it on demand. Nor can we subdue it when it appears.  Love is not our choice to make."

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."


Author's site: 

http://danbrown.com/



P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover


Summary:


Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.
 





My Thoughts:


     Colleen Hoover has no problem tackling tough issues but she weaves her story so well that you sympathize instantly even if you have no experience with the topic.  Just like her last book, It Ends With Us, you are reading and loving it but you also can't help but to think about the story long after you put the book down.  She makes you think and feel as if this were happening to you.  
     I also think CoHo is the only author I know who can take totally bizarre families and/or situations and make them enthralling and completely believable.   The Voss family is a hot mess and full of issues yet you don't really ever doubt their crazy situations.  The most unbelievable thing was this entire group of people with the most bizarre names you'll ever hear.   I don't know who she does it but she pulls you in from the start every time.  I  am not much of a YA reader but I always enjoy Colleen Hoover! 4/5 stars


Author's site: http://www.colleenhoover.com/



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Rock Solid, an all-new sexy and romantic standalone by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde is LIVE!!

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Rock Solid by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde Publication Date: November 14th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Connor Prescott doesn't do one night stands (yes, ladies, he's an anomaly) so when he meets a beautiful woman during a snowed in night at the airport who wants to forget her heartache, he makes an exception. Their night together is incendiary, and by morning Connor wants more . . . except his sexy stranger is gone. He's pretty sure he'll never see her again, until three and a half years later she finds him, and changes his entire world with three little words . . . You're a daddy.
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Read Today!

Google Play http://bit.ly/2g0PYAY
Add to GoodReads http://bit.ly/2wTv7Tg

RockSolid_Teaser3-AN.jpg Meet Carly Phillips:

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

Connect with Carly Phillips:

Sign up for Carly’s Newsletter at: http://www.carlyphillips.com/newsletter-sign-up/ Sign up for Blog and Website updates at: http://www.carlyphillips.com/blog Sign up for Text Updates of New Releases: http://tinyurl.com/p3upm5s Friend Carly on Facebook: www.facebook.com/carlyphillipsfanpage Hang out at Carly’s Corner! (Hot guys & giveaways!) http://smarturl.it/CarlysCornerFB Instagram: https://instagram.com/carlyphillips Twitter: www.twitter.com/carlyphillips Website: www.carlyphillips.com
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Meet Erika Wilde:

Erika Wilde (aka Janelle Denison) is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances for multiple print publishers.

Connect with Erika Wilde:

Sign up for Erika's Newsletter at: http://smarturl.it/ErikaWildeNewsletter Join Erika's Private Fan Page - Books & Exclusive Giveaways! http://smarturl.it/ErikaWildeFanPage Friend Erika on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ErikaWildeAuthorFanPage/ Twitter: www.twitter.com@erikawilde1 Erika's Website: www.erikawilde.com