This one had so much Promise!! :(

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Germany, 1943: Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer’s parents are gone, and her husband Gregor is far away, fighting on the front lines of WWII. Impoverished and alone, she makes the fateful decision to leave war-torn Berlin to live with her in-laws in the countryside, thinking she’ll find refuge there. But one morning, the SS come to tell her she has been conscripted to be one of Hitler’s tasters: three times a day, she and nine other women go to his secret headquarters, the Wolf’s Lair, to eat his meals before he does. Forced to eat what might kill them, the tasters begin to divide into The Fanatics, those loyal to Hitler, and the women like Rosa who insist they aren’t Nazis, even as they risk their lives every day for Hitler’s.

As secrets and resentments grow, this unlikely sisterhood reaches its own dramatic climax. What’s more, one of Rosa’s SS guards has become dangerously familiar, and the war is worsening outside. As the months pass, it becomes increasingly clear that Rosa and everyone she knows are on the wrong side of history. (From Goodreads)

I was hyped that I got this book for review. It had such an interesting historical point of view and a lot of promise. However I was a bit disappointed with the way it was written and the entire plot of the book wasn’t really what I was expecting.

Perhaps it is because this was translated from its’ original language (Italian) so there may be several instances of the writing being ‘lost in translation’. I just found the writing style filled with so much ‘fluff’. Fluff in a sense where there was so much rambling and wordiness. This is where it feels like the author is trying to make the story more ‘lyrical and poetic’ and you’re left with a very slow drawn out plot, a very uninteresting main character, and it feels like you’re watching one of those black and white art movies where some parts just don’t make sense. I was left after some chapters wondering what was I reading and why was this even in the story. It didn’t make sense and it’s taking up space in the story where there should be more interesting things mentioned.

The chapters were sometimes written out of order, there were moments of how Rosa and Gregor met and their first moments of marriage, then it shifts back to Rosa being taste tester for Hitler. Then it goes back even further to Rosa’s childhood, or her past moments in Berlin, and then as the book ends there’s more time jumping. It’s not cohesive and it doesn’t let the plot flow. It also makes you wonder what the purpose of it was. So if it weren’t for this, the plot would have been more smooth and easier to read.

The plot was flat and I was expecting a lot more. There were key moments in the plot where there were moments of interest. Such as the bombing of the Wolf’s Lair, and Ziegler’s confessions of ‘working’ in Eastern Europe. It was things like these that saved the story from becoming a did not finish for me.

The characters in the book were uninteresting and bland. Rosa wasn’t much likeable. I rather preferred Elfriede because she had more character and substance to her. Other than Elfriede though, the other characters don’t really stand out much. The plot including Elfriede really stood out to me. Unfortunately it was over rather quickly.

I wish I could like this book better, but I couldn’t. The writing was too much for me, the plot was flat and lacked flow. I wish knowing the outcome of some of these characters, as it would have satiated my curiosity and would have made a good amount of closure in the plot and characters. Sad to say, this was a disappointing read for me.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Thank you Flatiron Books for the review copy!

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Late to the Party on this one..

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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. (From Goodreads)

Pardon me I’m extremely late to the party for this one. There’s so much love for this series and now that I finally had the opportunity to read it, I know now why there’s a lot of talk about it. It’s a magnificent start to what looks like a really good series.

It can be somewhat on parallel with Hunger Games except on a fantasy setting and sans the dystopia. Celaena is quite the character to like. She’s witty, smart, she’s got the talk and has the walk to prove it, she’s everything you like in a strong female character and more. I love her sass and overall personality.

The plot itself was good and engaging to read. There’s a mix of everything. Mystery, intrigue, action, and romance. I’d have to say it’s a little bit too much of a mix. I was really more into reading about the competition and Celaena’s skills. The mystery aspect did not really capture my attention and didn’t think it was very exciting. Sure, it did keep you guessing but it wasn’t filled with any twists and turns one might expect in a mystery.  The romance was all right although I also didn’t think a love triangle was necessary in this one. (It was pretty hard to choose which one of the two were better. They both had their qualities that made them likable so I’m going to sit on the fence and be neutral on this)

I also enjoyed reading into Celaena’s and Nehemia’s friendship. I rather liked the bond they shared and Nehemia can hold her own as well so I liked how the two of them shared some common ground.

The ending was excellent and I’m going to be reading the rest of this. I hear it gets better! So I’m looking forward to getting the second.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Fiona Barton Nails it…

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When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared? Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth–and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…  (From Goodreads)

Even though this is the third one of the Kate Waters series, it looks like it doesn’t need to be read in order. There are some references to things in the second and first book but it’s not so much you’ll be lost. So these can be read stand alone. (That being said, I will definitely get the second one. I read The Widow and thought it was pretty good)

I liked how this one has several different points of view in the book. I’d have to say I preferred reading about Kate as she was the most affected. You might see it as her getting the just desserts as she now knows how it feels to be on the other side of the news story instead of Kate herself asking the questions, but it shows a real human quality to her and also gives her a reality check as to what she’s been doing her whole life (mainly, her job) You do see the human side of both Kate and Bob Sparkes. They each have their own problems and issues to overcome.

The plot itself is pretty good and the different points of view really help it come together. I got a little frustrated with Alex because I wanted her to drop Rosie as soon as possible. But Alex was just one of those too nice girls and she just couldn’t let it go. Although you rather figured out who was behind the crime it was the build up towards it, and there were some surprises here and there that made it quite the enjoyable read! The writing is seamless and the ending, well I can only think that might come back to haunt our characters sooner or later (maybe?)

I enjoyed reading this one, and I’ll be reading The Child to complete the series. I’m looking forward to more of Barton’s work. They’ve proven to be consistently enjoyable to read. I recommend these definitely.

Thank you Berkley/Penguin for the review copy!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Tough topic to read about, but it’s an excellent one

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgAnna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day. (From Goodreads)

This book was definitely a page turner and it didn’t take me long to finish it. The writing is excellent, the characters are ones that stay close to you, and the overall theme is sad but there’s glints of hope as well.

It’s not an easy theme to read about, definitely but, it’s all too real and definitely something to be aware of. As you follow Anna throughout her journey and as she meets the rest of the girls, you silently want to support and help them as it’s almost they’re trapped in this vicious cycle that they can’t get out of and there’s an overall feeling of helplessness that’s prevalent. Especially moments between Matthias and Anna, you can feel the tension and almost subtle frustration Matthias feels as he tries to understand Anna and her disorder. I loved the moments between Anna and her father, however. Their interactions were meaningful and the love between them was what kept Anna going.

There is no actual plot in the book, you just follow Anna’s journey through how her disorder started, how it spiraled out of control, and how she’s attempting to treat it. It’s by no means an easy read but it’s an accurate picture of what these people go through with this disorder. It may seem trivial to some people, how Anna laments on eating full meals and being fiercely resistant and panicking over the meal portions, but it’s a real reaction to someone who’s used to eating and counting each single calorie intake throughout their day. It’s excellent writing on the author to portray this behavior and feeling throughout the book.

I do recommend this read when it’s due out in February. It doesn’t sugar coat the disorder, it blatantly tells it like it is, and we can only hope Anna can get herself out of the cycle.

I give it a 10 out of 10.

Thank you St Martin’s Press for the review copy!

 

A Subject to Never Forget About…

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When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself. One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.  (From Goodreads)

I noticed a large trend in these kinds of books where it’s half in the present, and half in the past. It’s not a trend I particularly like as I adore historical fiction and mixing it with things happening in present day takes away the historical aspect, but I gave this book a chance. This one grabbed my attention because of the subject which interests me. I have not heard of the Tulsa Race Riot until I grabbed this book. It was an eye opener, and definitely something that can’t be ignored or forgotten.

The switch between Rowan and William is seamless and flows throughout the novel. Rowan attempts to figure out the mystery behind the skeleton while William’s story not only gives you the background information but also gives you the sense and the climate on how it was for African Americans back in those times. The historical aspects of the book is well written and gives you a good general idea.

At first, William doesn’t seem that all a likable character. As the plot progresses though, you change your mind as his behavior and outlook changes to something much  more favorable. Rowan’s side of the story is interesting too. She’s been pretty much sheltered in a good, privileged life who is also suddenly awakened by recent events affecting herself and others around her. She’s a well written character as well, but I’d have to say I prefer reading William’s side of the story more as I found Rowan’s point of view dragged in a few areas of the story.

The plot overall is well done and interesting. The mystery and historical elements of the story also keeps the plot engaging and it’s a good educational read.  Definitely something to read more into and a good subject to write about.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Mediocre Plot, Was Disappointed in this one…

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When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly. (From Goodreads)

In a nutshell, this book has three not so very nice characters in one setting and they’re all trying to outdo each other in the art of being a sly crafty villain.

While the plot is interesting to read at first, because you’d like to find out what Jess got herself into, at the same time, it’s so so and falls flat. The characters themselves are rendered unlikable. Well, I should say two of the three are unlikable, the one that sticks out for me is Dr Shields. Now that’s a pretty good villain to read up on.

I found myself rooting for her throughout the book. She’s cold, she’s calculating and she’s always prepared with a plan B in case things don’t work out. I love it. She was playing the mind games like a pro. I had no like for Thomas (well, self explanatory) and I started disliking Jess more as the plot carried on. Maybe it was because she thought she was the smartest cookie on earth. Or maybe it was because she thought her stuff didn’t stink. Either way I just started not liking her so much and didn’t care too much for her behavior. By this time, I was pretty much just finishing the book just for the sake of finishing and my interest in the plot waned.

Which is unfortunate.  I read The Wife Between Us and absolutely loved the book and loved the twists that was provided. The twists here were minimal, the mind games were great but hardly anything suspenseful or to be surprised about. Maybe I got spoiled by The Wife Between Us, but this one didn’t really live up to it.

I’m hoping if they do future releases that they’re better than this one. Sadly this one disappoints for me.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Thanks St Martin’s Press for the review copy!!

Best Book of 2018 So Far…

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When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck he’s chased for years, he never expected he’d accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he’s killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin, a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. The Line That Held Us is a story of friendship and family, a tale balanced between destruction and redemption where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching to those you love. What will you do for the people who mean the most, and what will you grasp to when all that you have is gone? The only certainty in a place so shredded is that no one will get away unscathed.  (From Goodreads)

I was very surprised to like this book immensely. This easily has to be one of my favorites for 2018. I read this in almost one sitting and the plot grabbed me from the very first page. It’s dark and moody, somber and serious, but it’s worth to read from cover to cover in one sitting.

You can take a guess things weren’t to go very well once things hit the fan, what you probably didn’t expect is the snowball to get big enough that it affects a larger group of people. Yet once you get to know what kind of a person Dwayne is, he’s quite the man of extremes. On the other hand, can you really blame him though? After what he’s gone through and his childhood, he truly has no one else but his brother. Now it doesn’t excuse him for what he did, but it goes to show at what extremes people would get to because of people or things being taken away from them.

I just loved the overall mood and tone of the book. It’s quaint because it’s set in a small town. Everyone knows each other since childhood, certain family names stand out and are prominent due to reputation or how long they’ve been in town. It’s a great setting and the characters are realistic. Although each had their own ghosts and secrets, it provided more realism to them and they’re not so perfect and they’re all pretty much flawed. This is what made the book so good.

The plot was good and provided easy reading. You’d want to know what happens and the ending wasn’t what I expected, it was a great ending however it would have been nice to hear about the outcomes of some of the characters featured. Definitely recommend this book. I enjoyed it absolutely from start to finish.

I give it a 10 out of 10.