Monday, April 30, 2012

Erin's Review of Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens

My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.  
Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor
I cried, I laughed, I felt sick, I felt anger. This novel has without a doubt won 5+ stars in my books!!! The best book I have read in a while.

The way the author told the story was compelling. If work didn’t get in the way, I would have read this book all day long. I wouldn’t have even gotten up to go to the bathroom. That’s just how good this novel was.

So many twists and turns. The author had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire book! The character development is strong, you feel the pain, fear and anger the characters experience. The feelings were so strong, and so real…it was as if I was going through it myself. I didn’t know I could feel so much hatred towards a person that doesn’t even exist. It literally made my stomach turn in disgust.

I can honestly say there is nothing in this book that I didn’t like, there is nothing for me to criticize.

Anybody who enjoys a good book by Jodi Picoult would love this book!! I recommend this one to everybody!!! A MUST READ!

Lily's Review of 'You Know Your Way Home', by Suzanne Jauchius

My Rating
didn't like it didn't like it didn't like it didn't like it it was amazing

A true story about a woman with 5 husbands, secretly chasing killers and missing people, until she collides with a brash mystery man, an abrupt therapist in a padded room and a revered Lakota medicine man.

I very rarely pick up anything but fiction, but the synopsis of this one interested me enough. The author generously provided me with a copy for the purposes of review, and I am glad that I bent my 'no non-fiction' preferential rules for a change.

Suzanne Jauchius very bravely put her life down in a book.  I am sure that it was not an easy story to tell or expose to the world. Based on what I read about Suzanne in this book, this must have been a major step in her life to take; one filled with hesitations, I am sure. I commend you for your bravery.

As to the book in question, it was, without a doubt, a very intriguing  and emotional story. Suzanne Jauchius is certainly gifted but still a very normal human being.  I felt a very keen sense of compassion for this woman, reading how she was pressured to supress anything that made her different than others by the people that should have loved her the most.

Yes, this is the story of someone who behaved like a victim, because she was a victim. A victim of a difficult relationship with her unforgiving and intolerant mother. She is a woman who dealt with a multitude of failed relationships with, at times, abusive men who belittled, or disrespected her and fought to control her.  This is a story of a very real woman, just like many other real women, with less than perfect families, in less than perfect relationships, trying to find her way and her place. 

The story did reel me in, and I devoured the first three quarters of this book very quickly, but I do so wish that she had expanded a lot more on her gift of ‘sight’ with a lot more detail. It was there, but the details were almost like afterthoughts, and that did disappoint me. I don’t fancy myself a believer or a disbeliever, but I am at all times, open minded and fascinated. And yes, the psychic aspect of her life is frequently touched upon, but not with a significant degree of focus or as much detail as all the other aspects of her life. Basically, I found myself looking for more stories about finding missing persons, working with the police, etc. 

The moment the mystery man in the synopsis stepped into the story, I was perplexed. I didn't quite know what to make of this man. Frankly I couldn’t really understand his thought processes at all, or his conversations which sounded more like frustrating riddles with no answers. That was the point where the story kind of lost me, but I was invested enough in Suzanne’s story to continue the journey to the end. Even though I didn’t quite understand the mysticism of that part of the book, or what this character was trying to do (or did) for her. 

 It was a very interesting read and worthwhile picking up.
To Suzanne: I am humbled by your journey and understand that it has been a hard one. We can all be victims of others, or of circumstance, until we refuse to be, and learn to expect and demand something different from ourselves and those around us or close to us. I hope you continue to accept yourself and the gifts you were given, and feel comfortable in your own skin. I understand that level of comfort was a very difficult journey, and the apparent result was hard earned. 
All the best!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lily's Review of 'The Truce', by E. Milan

 My Rating
didn't like it didn't like it didn't like it didn't like it it was amazing

 When Aaron and Amber die they will wake in Purgatory. Unable to rest they will do the unthinkable and attempt to walk through Hell itself to find Heaven, and all they have lost, on the other side.

Once in Hell they will spark a revolution 2,500 years in the making.

Instead of waiting in Purgatory, to cross to Heaven, both Aaron and Amber do the unthinkable… they cross into Hell in the hopes of getting to Heaven sooner, and finding and facing their loved ones for the sins that have haunted them in life. Once in Hell, they must face unspeakable and horrible things that test their souls to the limit. In the midst of their own personal battles, another battle rages in Hell. In fact, there has been a war for hundreds of years, as some of the current souls trapped in Hell form a rebellion with a single minded goal of weakening Satan’s hold, in the hope for their own redemption.  And with that hope in their hearts, they bond together to see Aaron and Amber safely across the hellish lands, into Heaven.  The loss of their souls will weaken Satan’s hold, and the Rebellion fight with all their worth to make it happen.

I was not sure what to expect when I picked up this novel to read and review. There was a warning that this was a very dark novel, and so it was. It deals with the most difficult emotions and situations. It is filled with disturbing scenes, where the characters face their utter most guilt and despair given life. And it sure is not pretty. But then, when I think of what Hell could be, if there is such a place, it is in my mind a fitting description. A place where you are tormented endlessly with your own fears, guilt and despair, to relive your past grievous mistakes until you are driven mad.

But this novel was also so inspiring in that it showed the true nature of human spirit and survival. That in the most abysmal of places, and scenarios, where there is hope and determination, there is salvation.  I took with me a big message in this novel that giving up should never be an option. That even the ‘damned’ are still human souls, and no matter what transpired in life, there is hope.   That is the message I enjoyed the most about this story.

It was very well written and imaginative. I am boggled by the level of detail in this novel during the final battle. Every attack, every swoop of the enemy, and counter swoop, was meticulously described on paper in the most intricate detail.  I could visualize every swing of a sword, every move by every character involved in the scene. And the emotion… it was palpable and believable.  You could feel the fear, the utter feeling of hopelessness, and then the refusal to given in, the PUSH for that little bit of strength that got them just a little further in their quest.  

This was a well written novel.  I was very engaged from beginning to end and would recommend this novel for those interested in the synopsis to definitely pick it up.

**Stay tuned within the next few weeks for an author spotlight and interview with E. Milan!!!**


Erin's Review of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis

My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one  who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Holy Frexing Frex!!

I was wary about reading Across the Universe for the simple fact that it is a science fiction novel and I have never gotten past the first 50 pages in one.  This just proves that you shouldn’t say you don’t like something until you try it.  In few words, this book is simply fantastic.

Normally, I find science fiction difficult to follow. This book I just didn’t want to put down. The author is not overly descriptive, but does a great job at making you visualize the scenes, it almost plays like a movie in your head. I loved how she told the story from two different viewpoints. The story becomes a lot more in depth when coming from different angles.

It starts off very interesting with the process of freezing a body to be able to reanimate it at a later time…it is pretty frexing scary if I do say so myself!  I now know that I would never want to be cryogenically frozen.  

After the explanation of how they are frozen the story comes to a bit of a lull…but only for a very short period of time. As soon as the story picks up again, I assure you that you will not be able to put it down. The character development is strong, I feel as if I have a personal connection to the main characters. The author brings you on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the entire novel.

I would love to see this book be turned into a movie, there is so much that could be done with this.  It would be amazing to see the environment and habitat come to life the way Revis describes it in the book. 

I would highly recommend this book to everybody. If it could captivate me - it could captivate you too!
 This book was continued into a second called 'A Million Suns'.  Stay tuned to our blog for a review on 'A Million Suns' coming soon!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Erin's Review of Shades of Grey, by Michael Cargill


My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing

John is not a very nice man. He works for the government. So who has tied him to a chair and what do they want? James is a British soldier during WWII. Tom is a young boy with a terrible secret

Three stories. Three very different people. All of them battling to survive.

All I can say is WOW!  Now, I am not one to read short stories because I get too invested in the characters and don’t want it to end but the author, Michael Cargill, told them with such emotion. I laughed, I cried, got angry, and was sad…all what one looks for in a good book.

The first story starts off with a bang! The way the Cargill wrote the story is quite emotionally overwhelming at times, but for such a heavy story he had me in awe. The constant flash backs from John's life before being captured makes the story well rounded. It is not one you'll want to put down!

The second story in this collection was so detailed it made me tear up. I felt as if I was a part of this story. The war torn streets, the brutal screams as bodies were being torn apart, the description of the rumbling sounds of the fighter planes. I loved every word of this short story! Cargill actually made me wonder whether he writes from experience. 

If you enjoy books on war, you have to read the first two stories!!

The third story was my personal favourite! It's about a little boy who has a father that abuses him.  The father in this story made me SO ANGRY!   It was a sad story at first, but then things started to turn around and I found myself laughing.  Not to give away anything but this is the vision the story left me with….

It was a well written, keep you on the edge of your seat short story. 

I loved all three of these stories! My only complaint is that they were short stories and I wanted more!! Michael Cargill is an amazing author...captivates you with every word!

I highly recommend this collection of short stories to everyone!

**Stay tuned within the next few weeks for an author spotlight and interview with Michael Cargill!!!**

Lily's Review of Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing  

"Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. "

** Update **

Hey how come no one told me that I used the wrong Disney princess pic for my review... Geeez how embarrassing! LOL Thank you Gaby for pointing that out!  

Cinder.. A Cyborg Cinderella?

Ya kinda. There is Cinder, the adopted daughter who is made to toil and work like a slave, and evil stepmother, evil stepsister (one sister that is more sympathetic to her as well), and of course, a handsome prince.

But this book was also very reminiscent of Anastasia as well with a little Star Wars.

The concept of a futuristic Cinderella story did not deter me much; I am quite open to read anything and see for myself, though some of the reviews did give me pause. But not for long, and glad it didn't.

The world building and character development in this story was pretty exemplary. I didn't lose my way through a too futuristic world that I would have a hard time having a concept of. In fact, it was pretty clear to me what it all looked like, and what was going on. The author, though, didn't spend too much time on explaining a complex world, because it really was not that complex. The development of the characters and plot were the focus, and was done well. I immediately sympathized with Cinder and her different plights; she had it rough. Not to mention, not having any memory of your life prior to 11 years of age? But she was still a kind, non-complaining, strong but humble female character that was appealing.

No ending tied in a bow here. The author definitely left it wide open for a continuation. My only complaint is having to wait for the next part of the series so I can find out if there is a Happy Cinderella Ending after all...

So... will they? Hard to tell, but I will definitely be waiting in line to find out.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Erin's Review of Dark Lover, by J.R. Ward

My rating:
5 of 5 stars false

Well, it’s official. I am obsessed with vampires! Not only am I obsessed with them, but I want to have their babies.


This book is SUPER hot! Ladies, your men will want you to continue reading this one, they will also reap the benefits. The vampire brothers are all smokin’ and the sex scenes are amazing.

This story was fantastic.  It focuses on Wrath, who is the leader of the brothers, and his action packed life.  J.R. Ward constantly has you on edge wondering what will happen next. The characters are well developed, I felt as if I knew them all personally. I also thought the action was well written. I could see the story playing in my head, and I loved every second of it.

I would definitely recommend this book to all my fellow ladies. This is definitely not suited for a younger reader.

If you are anything like me, you will become infatuated with the brothers...but not to worry there are 9 more books, each focusing on one of the Black Dagger Brothers.  So stay tuned for more steamy reviews coming your way soon!

Lily's Review of Damned, by Chuck Palahniuk

My rating:
didn't like it it was ok (my current rating) liked it really liked it it was amazing

Hmmmm… Wow…


So… This is my first Palahniuk novel, and frankly I am scared to pick up anything else written by this author, though I have ‘Fight Club’ on my “To-Read” list for April. And I hear from many (MANY) sources, that this guy is GENIUS and ‘Fight Club’ is ridiculously good.  I don’t doubt all these people… but I still have my fingers crossed.

Madison Spencer. A 13 year old girl, daughter of two eccentric famous parents, dies, and ends up in the most strange, weird, ridiculous version of hell I have ever read. 

A hell containing wonderful images such as: towering hills of clipped fingernails, dead skin and dandruff, a lake of wasted sperm, a steaming swamp of (partial??? – I am pretty sure I read that!) abortions and grounds strewed with odd array assortment of candy bars. Not to mention, where the dead have such jobs as making annoying telemarketing calls during dinner time to the unsuspecting living (I knew it!!!).  Where said 13 year old uses the severed and still very much alive head of one of her dead buddies to sexually stimulate a towering demon as it devours said head’s still flailing body?

Well, I will say this. Though Madison Spencer, 13 years old, who ‘might be dead but isn’t stupid!’ (or ignorant, or blah blah blah) is kinda annoying, she certainly is interesting. 

And though I think that this version of hell feels like it was conjured through enjoyment of a certain drug that Madison thinks actually killed her, it was most certainly amusing, and darkly comedic.

And though I honestly cannot rate this novel above the “It’s Ok’ rating (since I neither hated it, nor was blown away by it or even really liked it), I couldn’t close this book and stop reading it.

It was so completely absurd, that I just had to keep reading this to see how much more absurd it could actually get.  This novel was a metaphorical pug. So ugly… it’s actually kinda cute! (Before I get attacked by pug lovers everywhere, let's be clear. I like pugs. How can you NOT like pugs. Please refer to Super Cute Picture below!!!)

Yup... Really Cute!!!!

But maybe this is the Palahniuk genius I keep hearing and reading about. Write something so distorted, so perplexing and ridiculous, that no one that picks this novel up can put it back down until it is finished. That’s PRETTY GENIUS. But it still only get 2 stars out of me.


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