Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Bright Before SunriseBright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We learn about Brighton and Jonah's lives as they count down to two important but very different incidents in their lives. Jonah is forced to leave his hometown, friends, and girlfriend, to move in with his mom, his stepfather, Paul and little baby sister, Sophia. He hates living in Cross Pointe and wants nothing to do with any of the kids in his new school. Jonah just wants to see his girlfriend, his friends, graduate and go to college. Brighton is popular, mourning the loss of her father, showing the world she is happy and well adjusted and will be able to make it through her father's memorial. When Brighton tries to get 100% participation in community service, she can't get the new kid, Jonah to commit to volunteer. What's more, he is really angry and mean to Brighton and she doesn't understand why. What I really LOVED about this book was Brighton and Jonah's journey toward each other. I enjoyed seeing Jonah's old life through Brighton's eyes. I liked seeing Brighton's depth (even while she was conflicted and insecure) and Jonah's reactions as he spends a night with Brighton and he realizes he likes the REAL person she is. Brighton and Jonah will surprise you and melt your heart. Tiffany Schmidt does a great job getting these two together, what a great romance! Highly recommended.

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Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum, #20)Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were so many times I laughed out loud as I read this book--I also kept reading passages (most of them were Lula's rants, oh is she hysterical) to my niece on the beach. Grandma was in rare form with her swinging single dating; she was such a hoot! Stephanie Plum has been charged with apprehending Uncle Sunny and this is no easy job since he is beloved all over Trenton as well as being part of Joe Morelli's family. Stephanie does not disappoint and even quits bail bond apprehension and tries to become a butcher - but she is really just trying to find out who is killing all the old women and stuffing their bodies in dumpsters. Lula and Stephanie keep seeing a giraffe running around the Berg but no one else seems to know or see this giraffe. A totally enjoyable 20th Stephanie Plum novel!

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I savored thinking about this book for the last few days. There is so much to talk/argue about, I can’t say enough! This book came highly recommended by so many friends, I am glad I didn’t leave it in the middle of my TBR pile! Jojo Moyes did an excellent job with the characters, plot and setting in this novel. Taking place in a small town in England with a famous castle, it was interesting to read why Louise Clark loved this place and why Will Traynor finds it suffocating and limiting. The characters of Lou and Will are so different; Lou’s life is circumscribed and she has no thoughts about what she wants to do in life. She hates her sister, loves her mother and father. She is chatty, loves people, and needs a good job to help her family. Will Traynor was a privileged, daring, rich man who meets with a tragic accident and is now a quadriplegic. His mother hires Lou to care for Will and it is into Will’s world (his families’ house and bedroom) that Lou learns what really living is, to want more out of life, and get a better education. It is also through caring for Will, talking and arguing with Will, that Lou finds her feelings changing as she falls in love with Will. What will happen when Lou shares this with Will? Will she be able to change his heart and mind? The other characters, like Treena, Mr & Mrs Clark and Will’s mother and father and his caregiver, Nathan became integral to the depth of this book and story. I couldn’t put this book down. I do have to find out a little bit more about what the title means, but I highly recommend this book---yes it is sad, but I found out so much about quadraplegics, family dynamics, love and friendship in this book!

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Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Still Life with Bread CrumbsStill Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ahhh, I so enjoyed this latest book by Anna Quindlen! Rebecca Winter is 60 years old; an artist turned photographer, mother, and divorced. At 30, she became famous for her Still Life With Breadcrumb photos and her Kitchen Counter photos which really speak to women about life…now she is supplementing her parents in a Jewish nursing home, battling her agent, and counting her pennies. Rebecca decides to rent out her NY apartment and flee to the country subletting a rundown old cabin,“finding” a dog and a roofer, Jim Bates. The photographer, Rebecca Winter at age 30, and at age 60, create and produce very different photographs. It is this change in a remarkable woman I loved seeing. Rebecca Winter blossoms from the disillusionment in her past and present; manifests change with humor, friendship, and love. Quindlen does a great job with her characters and setting to weave a fascinating look at a woman who makes a calculated change in her life and becomes energized with her photography and new “country” life. Highly recommended!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The City by Dean Koontz

The CityThe City by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Bantam Dell for the ARC, The City by Dean Koontz, a mesmerizing read about lies, murder, magic, and the power of family and friends. Told by Jonah Kirk (age 9), at the urging of his best friend, Malcolm, the reader is catapulted into Jonah’s city, during the tumultuous 1960s, his family’s love of music, and the effect of his relationship with Miss Pearl, a supernatural being who is described as the soul of the City, which is both beautiful and evil and part of the grand plan of life. Jonah is much older, looking back telling the story of his life at the urging of Malcolm. And oh what a life it was. Miss Pearl visits Jonah just a few times when he is young and imparts important events (in his dreams) that scare him and cause him much distress. He withholds this information from his mother and grandfather, but confides in a Japanese neighbor, Mr. Yoshioka. What begins as a friendship between Jonah and this tailor will also involve murder, bombs, and evil characters (one of whom is his father). But the outcome of Jonah’s friendship with Mr. Yoshioka will involve a network of heroes, friends, and family who save Jonah when he most needs it. I loved Koontz’s characters and his descriptions (from the nine year old Jonah point of view as well as the fifty seven year old Jonah) were so melodic, terrifying, sentimental, and laugh out loud funny. I recommend this book to many audiences- those who love Koontz (naturally), young adults, and adults. There will be much discussion after reading this real, heart pounding, sizzling book with well-drawn characters and a plot that does not disappoint!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The final novel in the Mortal Instruments series was awesome! Jace and Clary did not disappoint as partners, fighters and lovers. Their family and friends all band together as Sebastian is intent on destroying the Shadow Hunters and taking Clary as his queen and ruling together from Edom (another name for the underworld). I could not put this book down; I loved the many evolving relationships with Alec and Magnus, Isabelle and Simon, Jocelyn and Luke, Maia and Jordan, and so many more. Clare’s depth of character and settings make for a can’t put it down, exciting read. A very satisfying end to a suspenseful supernatural thriller; I look forward to more Cassandra Clare series; she is a superb storyteller! Highly recommended.

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Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop TownCop Town by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Bantam Dell for the ARC, Cop Town by Karin Slaughter, a riveting adult police crime mystery taking place in 1974 in Atlanta, GA. Unwelcome change has been permeating the police force in Atlanta and there are many “old boy” cops who hate seeing women, blacks, and other minorities, infiltrate their ranks. There is a cop killer on the loose and hostility and fear is rampant. The Lawson family is thick in the police force with Uncle Terry, Jimmy, and Maggie as the most current members. With The first cop killing, Eddie Spivey, was rounded up quickly with tangible evidence as the shooter. But Uncle Terry’s manufactured evidence hurts the solid case and the jury frees Eddie Spivey. In separate chapters, the reader follows Wolf (the killer), Maggie Lawson, and Kate Murphy as they fight (against their brothers in arms) to solve the cop murders and affect justice without losing their sense of self and jobs. But the force is corrupt, and as Maggie and Kate push forward to follow the clues, the Atlanta Shooter is calculating his next sick, deliberate “execution,” all the while continuing to be obsessed with rookie, Kate Murphy . Karin Slaughter’s characters are real, deep, and full of contradictions in a tumultuous period of Atlanta’s police force. I particularly enjoyed the depth of the female characters Maggie, Kate, Dehlia, Oma, and Lisbeth. Almost all of the male cops and men were very flawed but this catapulted the storyline forward. As the Atlanta police force grapples with the murders of their own; women in the police force will use their wits to go against the macho police and their good old boy tactics. A superb tour de force, I highly recommend this suspenseful mystery.


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