Tuesday, July 14, 2020

(All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
373 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Imprint 

What a fun story! There were so many elements to this story and the surprises just kept coming. I never would of guessed the story would have ended up the way it did, very engaging and addictive read. 

There are several levels to this story that keep you intrigued throughout. I love a good adventure story and this one starts off immediately and just keeps going. After Amora flees she travels the seas to different islands throughout her kingdom. There are interesting creatures, people, magic systems, unexpected romance and twist after twist just kept coming. I really enjoyed this story and the world that I was drawn into. 

Amora is being chased by her own guards as well as those who want to rage war against the kingdom. She has to learn to trust others as well as hold their trust. A heroine that is both empathetic and true to her word. A person that you really want to see win in the end.
Highly recommend if you enjoy high fantasy YA. 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez

                                                     Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez
The classic procedural meets cutting-edge science in this runaway international bestseller

A breakout bestseller in France, Syndrome E is a taut thriller with cinematic echoes—from The Manchurian Candidate to the Bourne series—that uncovers a shocking chapter in the history of neuroscience.

Lucie Henebelle, single mother and beleaguered detective, has just about enough on her plate when she receives a phone call from an ex-lover. Lucie’s old friend has developed a case of hysterical blindness after watching a mysterious film from the 1950s. Embedded in the movie are subliminal images so heinous that Lucie, with the help of brooding profiler Inspector Franck Sharko, is determined to get to the bottom of it—especially when nearly everyone connected to the film starts turning up dead.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After bodies are found in a construction site, the psychotic Inspector Franck Sharko is called in to investigate the unusual state the corpses were found in. Soon sending him off to Egypt then Canada to track down similar cases and the unusual film that connects them all. Detective Lucie Henebelle, who is a struggling single mother is in possession of the film and working on uncovering the chain of who shot and encrypted the grotesque footage, ultimately they are thrown together to work on the case and find an unexpected friendship.

An anonymous film from the 1950's and cases of unusual mass murders in several countries, what's the link? The two have both international laws and the passage of time against them. Somebody is watching them carefully and they must find the connection before more people are harmed or themselves killed.

The novel is written from different perspectives and we get to know each of them in detail, from what drives them to what holds them back from both their personal lives and professional. Between the two investigations there is very little downtime and interesting information provided about the film that could have been complicated but written in a way that was easy for the reader to grasp.

Overall I enjoyed the story, I found it an interesting and at times a horrific read.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cadaver & Queen #1 by Alisa Kwitney


Cadaver & Queen By Alisa Kwitney

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Harlequin Teen

When Lizzie Lavenza enrolled at Ingold as its first female medical student, she knew she wouldn't have an easy time. From class demands to being an outsider among her male cohorts, she'll have to go above and beyond to prove herself. So when she stumbles across what appears to be a faulty Bio-mechanical--one of the mechanized cadavers created to service the school--she jumps at the chance to fix it and get ahead in the program.

Only this Bio-mechanical isn't like the others. Where they are usually empty-minded and perfectly obedient, this one seems to have thoughts, feelings... and self-awareness.

Soon Lizzie realizes that it is Victor Frankenstein--a former student who died under mysterious circumstances. Victor, it seems, still has a spark of human intelligence inside him, along with memories of things he discovered before his untimely death.. .and a suspicion that he was murdered to keep that information from getting out. Suddenly Lizzie finds herself intertwined in dark secrets and sabotage that put her life, and the lives of Victor and their friends, in danger. But Lizzie's determined to succeed--even if that means fighting an enemy who threatens the entire British Empire.
After giving  myself time to process what I would want to say about this book, I am still finding it hard to put my thoughts into words. For this post you'll have to excuse me for some of my random emotions that are still scrambled.

I was drawn to the series because of the Frankenstein connections, as well as the first female medical student. Lizzie is intelligent and a very caring person. I especially enjoyed that she and her room mate show two different sides of caretakers in a hospital setting. The roles a doctor plays versus those of a nurse. It is a concept that most people are aware of but I enjoyed the way it was written about in this setting. 

The Bio-mechanical cadavers is what drives the plot. As the reader is being introduced to the self awareness that these beings have, initially something that the doctors are unaware of, we begin to care more for them and their situation. On the other hand we are learning about how they continue to live each day, by being injected with a special serum. Along with the fact that the bodies were in fact deceased at some point, made me only become a little more creeped out each time a "romantic" situation arose.  Personally I just felt that these moments were a bit gross, because of the situation and the state of the deceased body..did not exactly put me in any kind of romantic mood. I feel that I would have been more interested in that aspect if it were introduced at a slower pacing, that they would have had a more firm connection than just doctor and patient. At the end of the book perhaps, when they had experienced more together to build a deeper attraction to a ...cadaver. In all honesty I felt that each of these characters had a more important issue to be dealing with in their "lives" than any kind of sexual attractions. A bit forced so early on in the series. 

I enjoyed the mystery and the danger of the situation they found themselves in. The struggles that Lizzie had to deal with being the first and only female in the medical school. The hidden secrets and actions of those who are plotting against the Empire. Even surprised at the ending and love a good conspiracy story. I didn't love the story, but I did like it. It looks like the next book in the series follows the nurse Agatha DeLacey, as I really enjoyed her part in this book I am very much looking forward to following her perspective in the continuing storyline of the Bio-Mechanicals and their role in the British country's future. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary Friend
Leaving your house in the middle of the night.
Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she's just as scared as you.

Starting a new school, making friends.
Seeing how happy it makes your mother.
Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Following the signs, into the woods.
Going missing for six days.
Remembering nothing about what happened.

Something that will change everything...
And having to save everyone you love.
Hardcover, 720 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

By leaving the man the first time he hits her, Ms. Reese is doing what she thinks is right for her son. Life is already hard enough without his father, he deserves a happy, healthy childhood. They travel until she finds a nice out of the way town to settle down.  Christopher is just seven years old quiet boy with a learning disability trying to find his place in his new surroundings. Then he goes missing. 
 Six days later he is found safe and healthy, but a series of small occurrences begin to change their lives. Positive effects from winning the lottery to Christopher becoming one of the smartest of his class, to more negative beginning with Christopher talking about The Nice Man and the finding of a child's grave in the woods. 

This story encompasses the whole town, using Christopher as our doorway into the darker side of the invisible world, a Good vs. Bad battle between the Hissing Lady and The Nice Man. Some of the story is told from other townspeople's perspective, but the majority is told by a very young Christopher. Who becomes able to see and feel the innermost thoughts of those around him through is ever enhancing abilities. The story continues to build until the events begin to involve all the members of the town ensuing in chaos and hell on Earth. 

I felt that the pacing of the story could really be felt at times longing for something eventful to happen again, but I always kept coming back to the story because of the great imagery. Whenever we are presented the darker imaginary world that Christopher continues to find himself in I am glued to the pages. It's horrific, brutal and gives me what I was hoping for in this book. I enjoyed the story and the writing, it is one I will be reading again. I give it 4 stars. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Review: dr.a.g. bookthefilm edition

"Drag has become a diverse form of expression that challenges, entertains, and educates by pushing boundaries, while embracing beauty, comedy and glamour. The performers in this book are evidence of that diversity, captured by some of the top photographers working in the world today. "

 As a long time fan of Rupaul Charles and his tv show Rupaul's Drag Race, I find the art of D.R.A.G. to be an exciting form of expression, art and personality.

Whether is music, literature, politics, clothing, makeup, or cars..we all have our own preferences. We have an opinion of everything, even things you never thought you might have an opinion on.

The first time I looked through the book of photographs in d.r.a.g. bookthefilm edition I found myself thinking about how I would have liked more variety of models (some having more than one photo in the book) for example Acid Betty. She has two photos but they are the exact same make-up and outfit, just different angles, how I would have preferred a different picture of her in another outfit and make-up.

I realized I kept hearing myself say "it's not drag enough" for some models and finding a couple photos not appealing at all. But that is just the thing, like any other artistic outlet in life, there is variety, I just had to turn the page/change the station/buy a different color lipstick...etc.

This book definitely has variety, and the most appealing part to me was the details in the majority of the photos, these are up close and personal. Like with Acid Betty you can see the details, colors, angles that went into the look to make it a whole. And like everything in life sometimes  you get loud, and sometimes you get subtle. No matter your taste you will find it here.

d.r.a.g. bookthefilm edition  is really well put together photo collection of some very talented Drag artists. It would make a great coffee table book, or something to display on your shelves. It is full of color, beauty and some questionable visuals, but something for everyone....I still wish there was more!

The book celebrates top drag stars from Rupauls' Drag Race, the New York Strip, Las Vegas, Belgium, Australia, Canada and the UK.

Amazon Link  https://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Logan/e/B0072XMIFS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 Christopher Logan was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and studied acting as The Stella Adler Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, California. He has appeared in over 40 television shows and films and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia where he produces events and books to raise funding for independent film. (from Amazon.com)

Monday, June 4, 2018

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Classics have always had a certain affect on me. It is not how many pages there are, nor is it the subject matter. It always comes down to the fact that I find them intimidating because of the language. They always remind me of high school, and the idea that classics are to be studied and read slowly to fully understand.

I was wrong. Frankenstein proved to me that not all classics are difficult reads, or hard to understand.

I flew through this one and found it entertaining, smart and completely understood without having to look up a single word in the dictionary.

So thank you to Frankenstein to making me more confident, as I feel I am no longer tentative about picking up other books I have also felt intimidating as well.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur

The Secrets of Lake Road

A haunting story about the destructive power of secrets, this accomplished and gripping suspenseful women's fiction debut is perfect for fans of Lisa Scottoline and Heather Gudenkauf

Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published August 4th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books  I received a review copy from readingteen.net
What I loved most about this book was it reminded me of one of my favorite movies A Walk on The Moon (Diane Lane). The whole atmosphere of living in cabin by the lake and the summertime laziness is very well portrayed in this story. The story is told from multiple perspectives, mostly from 12 year old Caroline. A story I would only recommend to older teens and adults. It covers a lot of serious issues and is definitely not a light summer read. (Although I couldn't stop turning pages!)
It begins with the drowning of a young girl that closes the beach for several days for recovery. With the atmosphere set for the story of loss that reminds the whole area of other drownings in the past. And when bones are found while searching for Sara, secrets, lies and an old case of drowning re-opens in the hearts of the community. Caroline's family is the focus of the story and the behavior of those living in the cabin for the summer gets her searching deeper into the the last drowning, 26 year old Billy Hawkes.
Caroline has to do a lot of growing up over this summer. With the main source of entertainment (the lake) being closed off, the kids must find other ways to keep busy. This seclusion also has Caroline realizing how different she is than her friend Megan and she beings spending more time alone or with the boys.
Jo, Caroline's mother has had strained relationships with all of her family members. She is constantly on the run from her past and present, easily scared off. This summer causes her to re-analyze and re-build her relationships, especially when they are all directly confronted with the past.
I loved this story, the prose and atmosphere of the setting was very well done and had me longing for more. At it's heart it is a story of family and growing apart from each other. It covers a lot of adult topics, as well as a coming of age story. A lot of mystery, secrets, heart break and healing. It was a really touching read.  I gave it 5 stars