Review: Picturing Perfect by Melissa Brown

                                                                                                    
Author: Melissa Brown
Publish Date: June 11th,2013
Available at Amazon.com in paperback & Kindle versions. Also available at Barnes & Noble in Nook version.
  
Synopsis: Jason Kelly and Hadley Foster have known each other since they were children. Hadley has been best friends with Jason’s sister Auden since they were kids. Hadley has been in relationship with Tucker for nearly 7 years.It isn’t until she gets some unexpected news that she realizes just how wrong Tucker is for her. Jason is a writer but after a chance encounter with Hadley,his work begins to suffer.Will Jason and Hadley find their way to each other and realize that the feelings that each of them have are shared by the other person.
Review: I happened to get this as a freebie and I was happy because I needed something “fluffy” to read. I almost wish I hadn’t wasted my time on this one. Yes it was a quick read but this formula was exactly like almost every other “fluffy” book I’ve read lately.
I really loved how Hadley worked at a day center for mentally challenged adults and I really wish we had seen more of that.I loved Hadley’s back story. Jason was aggravating.He was uncomplicated which can be a good thing but when characters are uncomplicated it means that the writers didn’t delve into them enough. Tucker was a straight up asshole and I wanted to pound him into the ground as soon as humanly possible. I loved seeing the evolution of Hadley’s mom.She started off still in a depression over her husband’s death that had happened years ago and she slowly emerged from the dark cloud of depression.I tried to connect with Auden but I really couldn’t.
The editing and flow of the book were fine. No editing issues at all which was a relief.I really detested how quickly Hadley jumped into a new relationship. I was annoyed because I think everyone needs to take time in between relationships to make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes in the new relationship.
Would I recommend this book to someone else? Unfortunately I have to say no.It was boring and predictable. For that reason I have to give it 2 stars.Of course this is merely my own opinion and someone else may absolutely adore this book.It just wasn’t for me.

Review: Always Watching by Chevy Stevens

Author: Chevy Stevens
Release Date: June 18th, 2013
Available for pre-order at Amazon.com & Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: When a new patient by the name of Heather Simeon arrives at the hospital,psychiatrist Dr. Nadine Lavoie senses something about her but she has no idea how similar their lives are until Heather begins to open up bit by bit.Dealing with a runaway daughter by the name of Lisa,Nadine must confront the memories of her horrific childhood.She begins to remember with more clarity the horror that she,her mom & brother experienced when they went to a compound on Vancouver Island. Now Nadine must find out what really happened and why the name Aaron Quinn still scares her.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: I wasn’t expecting to get this book. In fact this was the first unsolicited book that I have received. Nonetheless I was in between books and this one came at the right time. As soon as I read the synopsis of the book, I knew that I had to read this.It’s been a long time since I have read a book that kept me up half the night and made it difficult for me to put down in order to sleep.I managed to finish this book in under 24 hours and a 6 hour sleep.

I really liked Nadine.She was compassionate towards her patients without becoming too involved in their personal lives.She was personable and likable. I had a feeling I knew what she was going to find out about her time on the compound but I was so hoping I was wrong. I wish we had gotten to see more of Nadine’s brother.I found him to be very compelling. I never quite believed that he knew nothing about what Nadine had gone through at the compound.

My heart ached for Heather.She seemed so damaged. I don’t think she was like that before she had spiraled downward. Daniel adored her but I knew pretty quickly that there was more to him than met the eye initially. I knew he was somehow tied to the mysterious Aaron Quinn.I also knew that if there was a connection,we wouldn’t discover it until the book was almost over.

Lisa was such a troubled young woman and I knew that could pose a problem for her as the compound leaders seemed to be very adept at convincing the troubled people to join them.I found myself hoping against all hope that Lisa would escape her demons as unscathed as possible. I had a feeling I knew what had driven Lisa into drugs but again I was hoping I was wrong

Books about these religious cults that begin in a compound have always been interesting to me. Even though I am not of the religious sort,I find the complete trust in a leader compelling.This book held many secrets in it and every chapter would unveil yet another layer of secrets. Some were compound related,some weren’t.

This book gets 5 stars.It was a thrilling read that made me feel so many things. By the end of the book I was full on crying.I had gone through so many emotions while reading this book. Of course this book isn’t for everyone,but it was right up my alley. I plan on buying the previous books that this author has written and all future books that she writes.

Review: Too Much Blood-A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro

Author: Jane Bennett Munro
Published: 2012
Available: Amazon.com in both paperback & Kindle varieties.Available at Barnes & Noble in paperback & Nook varieties.

Synopsis: Pathologist Toni Day receives a call in the middle of the night informing her that a local attorney by the name of Jay Braithwaite Burke has been found dead in his Mercedes. This attorney was known because of his elaborate hedge fund that he had managed to get the entire hospital to invest in. The only ones who didn’t invest were Toni and her husband Hal.Jay disappeared shortly after it was discovered that his hedge fund was actually a Ponzi scheme.

When Toni discovers that Jay bled to death,she’s ready to rule this as a homicide.Before she can do that,his partner Lance dies in similar circumstances. This is quickly followed by a series of house fires that leave both Jay & Lance’s wives and children homeless.

Toni is already dealing with some personal issues of her own.Her marriage is on the rocks. She fears that the emotional distance that she is experiencing with her husband could lead him to an affair. Her suspicions only grow when she sees him with a young,blond twenty-something woman.

However,concerns about her husband’s faithfulness must be put aside as a mysterious illness begins to threaten the lives of those she knows and loves. Can she solve the mystery in time?

Review: Despite seeing that this book had some not so great reviews, I was elated when I got a copy from the author and the following day I dove head first into the book.Mystery books have always been a favorite of mine so I had high expectations for this book.

My expectations were definitely met.This book was an awesome book. Yes there were some issues mainly surrounding the HIPPA laws that I know are in place to protect the patient. As someone who has spent a ton of time in hospitals,I was expecting to be bothered by the violations of HIPPA but I found myself not even caring. That’s how engaging I found the book.

This book kept me guessing the entire time. I really liked Toni and she seemed to have everything all put together even though her personal life was unraveling. I wish I had a better feeling about Hal but I don’t feel like his character was developed as much as I was hoping.Then there was Bambi who I didn’t like initially but I grew to absolutely adore her. Let’s not forget the awesomeness that was Toni’s mother,Fiona. She was full of spunk that was so similar to Toni.

The finale scene with Ruthie and Toni was pure perfection. My heart was racing as I read the pages.It was so suspenseful that I could barely wait to read the next page and the next one.

I would give this book 4 stars. The only reason it’s not getting a full five stars is that I don’t feel like I got to know all of the supporting characters as well as I wanted to. I think she could have tapped into them a bit more,especially Hal.

Review: The Obsessive Chronicles by Josh Greenfield

Synopsis: This is a story told in first person by Jordan Fineman. It tells the story of a seemingly ordinary American Jewish teenager who evolves into a very troubled and dysfunctional young man.The story picks up when Jordan is on a trip to Alaska.He is in Alaska to do seasonal work since he cannot hold down a steady job. We follow him back to New York where he has a complete mental breakdown and is forced to spend some time in a psychiatric facility.

Jordan has severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and he also has Bipolar Disorder. With the ups and downs of Bipolar Disorder also come fits of rage.He has a very supportive father who must support Jordan both financially & emotionally.Jordan also sees a psychiatrist several times a week.

Review: I wanted so much to like this book because I find the topic of mental illness so fascinating. One of the problems that I found was that the OCD issues & the rage issues were talked about but not fully explored in the way that I was hoping they would be.It didn’t feel like the author totally committed to the subject matter. I wanted to like Jordan but I found myself very indifferent to him which was strange considering how likable the author was clearly trying to make him.

I really didn’t like the opening of the book.It felt way too wordy and like the author was trying too hard to make it sound interesting.That them of being too wordy carried on throughout the book and that was probably why I couldn’t get into it as much as I wanted to. There were also too many misspellings and grammatical errors that a good editing session would fix rather quickly.

This book gets 3 stars from me. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.

About the Author


Josh Greenfield is a graduate of both Phillips Andover Academy and Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences. He holds two masters degrees from the City University of New York, one in History and one in English Literature. He also completed the better part of a doctorate in English at Fordham University. His desire in writing is to tell a entertaining and engaging story, to look for laughs in dark places.



Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Author: Lauren Graham
Published: 2013
Available: Amazon.com in hard copy & Kindle varieties.Barnes & Noble in hard copy and Nook varieties.

Synopsis: 

Frances “Franny” Banks is bound and determined to make it as an actress in the cutthroat business in New York. 2 1/2 years ago she set a deadline of three years. If she doesn’t make it as an actress in those three years,then she will give up her dream. She now has six months until her deadline and she still hasn’t made it. She has a fan club of Jane and Dan but even she knows that,that’s not enough.

A pretty important showcase is coming up in her acting class and she cannot afford a mistake. Not if she wants to get into this business. Throw in a very attractive man by the name of James Franklin and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.

This book is about finding yourself even when you think you’ve lost sight of who you are. It’s also about friendship and love.

Review:

I gotta be honest. When I found out that actress Lauren Graham had written a book, I was extremely hesitant to give it a try. I had watched her on Gilmore Girls and then on Parenthood and I had totally enjoyed her. However reading a book written by an actress was an entirely different ball of wax.

I needn’t have worried. Someday, Someday, Maybe was a joy to read. I could feel Lauren Graham’s persona really emerge in this book.It was definitely quirky,but a good quirky. Not the obnoxious quirky.

Franny Banks was awesome. I was rooting for her to succeed through the entire book. I wish we had seen just a bit of of Jane. Jane had her moments of comedic brilliance but I wish there had been more of it. Dan was SUCH a sweetheart and I knew almost immediately that he was interested in Franny despite him being engaged,James was definitely stereotyped as the cute guy who turns out to be an ass. That was a bit of a disappointment. I wanted him to be different and he wasn’t.

Honestly I’d give this book 4 stars. The only reason it’s not getting a full five stars is that I had an issue with the ending. The ending felt unfinished which I really didn’t like.

If you’ve read this one,comment and let me know what you think.

May Wrap-Up

May was certainly an interesting month. I continued my new venture as a book blogger,entered FAR too many giveaways and connected with a TON of book bloggers & authors on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads & even Instagram.

  • I reviewed If You Stay by Courtney Cole and gave it five stars.
  • I created three mini-reviews for books that weren’t terrible but I didn’t have a lot to say about them.Tuesday’s Child,Indelible Love: Emily’s Story & The Job Offer.
  • I wrote about how much I loved my Kindle and how I had been attempting to do some more reading on it.
  • I wrote about how I had jumped right in with two feet into this book blogging thing.Also how crazy I was with these giveaways.
  • I reviewed Deceived:Part One New York. This was an erotic book written by Eve Carter.I gave this one two stars. The editing was stellar but the actual content of the book was not very high quality.
  • I wrote about how I was already having to turn down review requests.I hadn’t expected to be doing that,right off the bat. I had figured it would take awhile for my name to get out there
  • I wrote about my book haul that I had bought for myself and how I didn’t know which book I was going to read first.
  • I reviewed Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson and I gave that one a glowing review as well.It was different,but good different and written well. This one is now on my list for favorite books that I’ve read in 2013.
  • I reviewed The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard.This one was yet another stellar one that earned it’s place on my favorite books of 2013 list.
  • My final post of May was on how Mental Illness is depicted in books. I did a few very short reviews on some of my favorite books on the subject.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publish date: February 5th,2013
Available at Amazon.com in hard cover & Kindle versions. Barnes & Noble in hard cover and Nook versions
Synopsis: Unravel Me is the 2nd book of a series that started with Shatter Me. Juliette is now at Omega Point and away from the Reestablishment who is trying to use her as a weapon. Omega Point is for others like her. Others who have special abilities just like her.She’s free to be with Adam. However Warner is not who he seems and Juliette begins to wonder just who is Warner. Juliette must now make a choice and that choice can either save Adam’s life or break her heart.
Review: I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the second book. Second books are notoriously weaker than the first so I was apprehensive about it.I had adored Shatter Me so much that the thought of Unravel Me being subpar just broke my heart. But I didn’t need to worry. Unravel Me not only matched up to Shatter Me, it EXCEEDED Shatter Me by a landslide. Very rarely are 2nd books better than the first one but this one was.
I kind of fell in love with Kenji in this one. He tried so hard not to get into anyone’s business but he found himself worming his way into my heart. I really wish we had seen more of James. I think James is adorable and I just want to hug him every single time he’s mentioned in the book. From what little we saw of the other secondary characters such as Winston,Brendan and the girls I loved them and they were all likable.
Of course I’m gonna have to talk about the three main ones. I never thought I’d say this but Adam was aggravating nearly the entire book.His strength that I admired SO much in Shatter Me,had completely disappeared in Unravel Me. Juliette was awesome. She was stronger and friendlier and happier. I could see the natural progression of her personality changes and it wasn’t unexpected or weird. I loved that she had become less independent. I loved that she interacted with others and especially that she came to view Kenji as a friend.I loved watching her try to figure Warner out.
Oh Warner, Warner. He was easily my favorite male character in this book. He is definitely flawed but this time we got a whole new insight into who he really is. Maybe he’s not the creep that scared the hell out of me in Shatter Me. In this book we learn that Warner and Adam share a connection that I sure as hell never saw coming.
This book gets a five star rating from me. It was perfection.Actually better than perfection and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Not liking a fellow book blogger’s book recommendation

You ever have that moment when you’re reading a book that a blogger friend recommended to you and you really don’t like it?

Yeah, that has happened to me.

Of course I understand that not everyone is going to like the same books. That would make the world quite boring. However I feel disappointed when I can’t gush about the book like I wanted to.It’s kind of hard to explain but I do feel disappointed and let down. Yes a part of me wonders “were we really reading the same book?” because basically every single other book that has been recommended to me recently,I adored.

Have you had an experience like this? What book was it?

Review: Entanglement by Dan Rix

Author: Dan Rix
Published date: 2012
Available: Amazon.com in hard copy & Kindle versions

Synopsis:

Hot-headed Aaron Harper is scheduled to meet his half in 29 days-on his 18th birthday.Except he doesn’t buy this entanglement crap.He makes an unspoken vow to stick to brawling with the rugby team. Then a new girl arrives at school who changes everything.Amber Lillian is gorgeous yet cold and she can’t seem to get away from the growing similarities between Aaron & herself. Except for one teeny detail,she is supposedly another man’s half.As the story moves on,Amber & Aaron learn more about themselves and why they FEEL like halves. They just can’t prove it. If they can’t prove it by their 18th birthday,then Aaron is destined to live without a half and Amber must be with a man who plans to possess her in every way possible.

Review: 

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this one. It looked too good and on occasion when books look too good they usually fail in the writing department. Not Entanglement. It was beautifully written throughout the book. Dan Rix used the type of descriptive language that is really lacking in a lot of books today. He made me feel like I was in the book and that really is the best feeling.

Amber & Aaron were likable & relatable which I loved. Despite Amber’s coldness you felt empathy for her.Especially once you met Clive her supposed half.Not only that but Amber’s family holds a few dark secrets of their own as well.Secrets that could change the course of Amber’s life.Clive reminded me of some jerks I had gone to high school with so it was impossible to feel any sort of positive connection with him.

The other characters we met were hard for me to connect with. There were so many and the names so odd. Yet the one character outside of the two main ones, that I liked,was Emma Mist.Her half had died prematurely and that meant that her time was nearly up as well. Halves cannot live for very long without each other.

I really want to give this book a full five stars but I can’t. Because of the underdevelopment of some of the supporting characters.So I’ll give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was a great book and one that I will likely read again.