Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review - The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong


 
 
 
Book Summary

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.  Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn't dare reveal. 
    
The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with "issues." But that's exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.
 
The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree. 
 
Riley and Max know that if they can't get out, they'll be next--but they're about to discover that even escape doesn't equal freedom.
 
 
Published October 2015
 
My Review - 4
 
I saw this book  on a few Top Ten lists and thought I would try it.  I haven't read a Kelley Armstrong book before so I didn't know what to expect.  A thriller, yes, it had me on the edge of my seat at times, completely engaged.  I am not a YA fan and didn't realize it was but the author did a great job in my favourite genre of choice, thriller.  A great way to end the year of reading.
 
The book started with a BAM and I couldn't think how is this going to be executed, obviously it is way more to it than the summary, the thrill starts early.
 
Riley is babysitting when killers come in and murder the child's parents.  She is now going to therapy to deal with the anxiety, survivors guilt they also call it.  She then goes to an overnight camp for a few teenagers to do joint therapy.  Well before they get started masked men come in to overtake the therapy session as a hostage overnighter, it all turns deadly, bloody, scary, quickly with everyone running around an old building for survival.  Max, another teenager grabs hold of Riley and forces her to run with him. 
 
Teenagers in therapy now watching each other get injured and dying, really feels like a mind game of madness, how could some be going through this kind of thing again. Max has found a way to calm himself, he is a little bit of a wordsmith.  Always has words in his head, coming up with their meanings.
 
Gregarious: fond of company.  Convivial: cheerful and friendly; jovial. 
 
Gregarious but not too convivial.  Yes, there was a difference.
 
Max realized this also distracted him from focusing and making him wonder if he is in control of his thoughts or not.  I am not sure if it is because I do not read YA often but I loved Max and Riley.  They become partners to watch over each other.  They reminded me of Hazel and Augustus in the Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  Just something special about them.
 
You are only half way done in the book it looks like a glimmer of hope and then the whole book changes.  Who is the unreliable character, Riley or Max or is the author manipulating you to think the way she wants you to.  Brilliant execution, really well done, I didn't know where she was going with the story but I can't say anymore but the Masked Truth is revealed.  A remarkable thriller, I wish it was an adult thriller but not a deal breaker.  I enjoyed the ending overall also, not all tidy, real life.
 
 
Happy New Year Bloggers,
here is to an amazing 2016 year of books for us to read and share. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review - Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


 
 


Book Summary

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household―but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years
 
 
My Review - 3
 
I thought this would be a beautiful and potential emotional read, but I wasn't impressed with the execution.  I finished it which is why it gets a 3 but I really didn't enjoy any of the characters, the parents I really despised, how can anyone feel that entitled with family, be that selfish, just shocking.  And due to the foundation and morals they lacked, the entitlement was passed on to siblings, putting all the responsibility on the oldest daughter Jules.
 
What a fool she had been - so blind, so driven to be a good daughter and get her parents' approval, to prove she was a better person than either one of them.  Children took care of their aging parents, didn't they?  Mustn't they?
 
I am pleased that the author didn't try to make us like the characters and I didn't feel like it was for shock appeal but the term dysfunction does not do this family justice.  The mom was manipulative and inappropriate in every way, looks meant more than common sense, love and life.
 
 The whole way through I felt sorry for Jules.  There is always that sibling that takes the meaning of caring for parents, family to the extreme without knowing it, is it an obligation?  Jules hits bottom before understanding what makes her happy and who her obligation should be to.
 
Once you have your own family, husband and children, who becomes first?  This would be a great discussion.  I have had many conversations with friends on this topic.  How much do you sacrifice financially, mentally and personal happiness to give to your family you was born in vs the family you have created? 
 
As an adult, it is still hard to make decisions when it is your parents even though it would be best for all.  I cannot say how much I didn't like the parents, terrible in every way.  The daughter Joanne tried to be like the mom.  Andrew tried his best to distance himself, he probably did the best with balance but he had a historic secret that wasn't completely revealed but I definitely knew.
 
It is a worthwhile story if the premise intrigues you.  You may appreciate the execution more than me but you won't like the parents I'm sure.
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday, excited..... Calia Read



When this book by Calia Read came up on my Amazon, wow, I haven't experienced that kind of excited in a long time.  I have also included my Review of her 1st book again below.

Unravel is only 99c at the moment.........

Book Summary

Published January 12, 2016

In Calia Read’s electrifying and steamy novel of psychological suspense, a handsome stranger shatters a beautiful young woman’s picture-perfect vision of her past.

Hold your breath and count to ten. Soon it will be over before it ever began.
 
No matter how many times Victoria Donovan repeats that phrase to herself, she’s still trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. Once upon a time, her life was like a fantasy: Wes, the handsome fiancĂ©, followed by a storybook wedding and a white picket fence. But then a picture-perfect marriage twisted into something sinister. And as Victoria’s world warped from dream to nightmare, her husband’s obsessions pushed her beyond the breaking point.

At first Fairfax Mental Health Institute seems like a safe place for Victoria to heal with her baby, Evelyn, and to hide from Wes, presumed dead by everyone except Victoria. Her husband is still alive, she has no doubt: He slips into her room at night to torment and tempt her. One smoldering kiss and she’s powerless. Of course, no one believes her about these visits. When she meets a sexy, mysterious stranger intent on helping her recall her past, Victoria isn’t sure she can trust him. But deep in her heart, she also knows that the only way out of Fairfax is to remember the way she came in.

Unhinge is intended for mature audiences.







Book Summary

Six months ago, I was happy. I was simply Naomi Carradine. 

One month ago, I was admitted into a psych ward. 

Yesterday, Lachlan visited me. Kissed me. And told me that I’m starting to lose my mind. 

Hours later, Max haunted my thoughts, reminding me I’m not crazy and that he needs my help. 

A few minutes ago, I drifted further from reality, trying to unravel the past. 

And now...everyone thinks I’m insane. But, I know he's real, and I know he needs me. 

Do you believe me?

My Review 4 1/2

When I came across this on Amazon I just had to read it, the summary and cover draw you right in, I was completely intrigued.  This is labeled Novel Adult genre which I haven't completed figured out. (Have you?) I will recommend to all Psychological Thriller fans that do not mind a few good detailed sex scenes. Warning - there is an incest rape scene, please proceed with caution when reading this amazing book.

One of my favourite styles of a character is having the unreliable narrator, wow wow wow.  I seem to read an amazing book every year with this style, so many great books I can recommend but not during the review as it will give away delicate details, just go into the book knowing less.  This book kept me up late, totally unputdownable. It takes me a week to read a book and this took me 3 days, reading at lunch, late nights, while watching a movie with daughter (naughty I know) I just didn't want to be torn from the rock climbing book journey of the characters and miss the view at the end.

Naomi and best friend Lana.  New love Max and first love Lachlan.  I was so taken away, the characters captured my emotions and didn't let go.  Early on I was trying to figure it out, it is what I love to do, I didn't want to believe and thought it has to be the reason why but the ending still was shocking, I had a little but not the full mystery and it was brilliant.  Seriously I felt like I was floating on a cloud that was surrounded with lightning, a total living on the edge moment.

This doesn't get a 5 star because I wanted more, Calia Read answered the important questions but the supporting characters played a huge role and I wanted closure and the person that abused to receive justice.

My favourite genuine heartbreaking but amazing scene was when Lachlan's mom was talking to him and Naomi overheard it all, memorable and real. The chapters each had a word that marked the importance of the part of the story, very nice touch.

This amazing quote by Paul Auster which I think is perfect for the book but also for us as readers and book bloggers.  "When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear.  For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists."

Favourite Quotes

But never does a kiss combust into something so powerful that even your heart feels it.  Every touch, every moan, every breath becomes electrified.  Kindle 20%

It's the fact that she has a level of need for you that is so intense and powerful that nothing can shake it.  I just don't think you realize how much of yourself you'll have to give to be with her.  Kindle 83%

Monday, December 21, 2015

What are you reading? Happy Holidays




Book Date now hosts I'ts Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own Te Be Read List.

Only a little over a week back to blogging and I am so inspired.  I feel like just talking about leaving my book club has released some stress and guilt. 

I'm currently reading.......

I was excited to read this but it is just okay, i'm 50% in



Book Summary

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household―but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.


I reviewed.......  A Man called Ove




What is next........  I thought maybe a Christmas read but I am feeling a Thriller.




Book Summary

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.  Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn't dare reveal. 
    
The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with "issues." But that's exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage. 

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree. 
     
Riley and Max know that if they can't get out, they'll be next--but they're about to discover that even escape doesn't equal freedom.


Happy Holidays, cherish the time with family and friends and smile when remembering those we have lost.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review - A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman





Book Summary

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet lovable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window.  He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse.  People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpeted friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul.  All of which will change one crank old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew's Last STand, Fredrik Backman's novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

Published - July 2014

My Review - 4

I read this book for my book club and was not happy with it at all.  I was only at 60% when we met this week but had only started to enjoy it a little.  Well what a turn around, I enjoyed this little gem, the characters really grew on me and a beautiful message - do not wait for what you can do or say today with or for those you love.  We must let it go to embrace and cherish future memories.  Loved it.  For those that enjoyed the character of Ove immediately, I can see a 5 star but it took me half of the book which is why I can't go beyond a 4, this almost became a did not finish, which would have been a shame.

Each chapter started with A Man Called Ove..... so fitting as it all begins and ends with Ove.  His wife has passed away and so we meet Ove who wants to kill himself, he is unable to continue living without her and has a few attempts which really are a little comical.  During one of his attempts comes a knock at the door with the new neighbors, bloody brilliant.  I was cracking up as Ove in his own way always swore, bloody this bloody that.  He was only 59 but seriously he came across as an old grandpa, approximately 80 years old.

The neighbor next door, Parvaneh which means butterfly was a symbol to me of new beginnings.  She was the beauty in Ove's black and white world without realizing it.  Parvaneh, her partner, 2 little girls and a baby on the way.  They had no boundaries which drove Ove crazy but in the end they were exactly what he needed in order to understand there is more to life once you feel your life has ended, very touching story.

There is a cat in the story and I know the cat symbolized something also but I still can't put my finger on it. I could have done without the cat story to be honest but I think maybe one day it will hit me what he symbolised, maybe also a new beginning.

Ove is what we called old fashioned, completely goes by basics and his principles.  A sign is a sign and who dears disrespect it.  The Chief neighbourhood watch you hate but love.  He wakes at 6am every day to check everything.  He would write letters of complaints continuously, over years to get his point across to "the white shirts".  These were the one's who made the last decisions, the  government etc. He went on and on about the white shirts, it was the pain in his backside which made him not trust anyone. He never lied but had no filter which you just had to learn to love.

Parvaneh was my favourite character, she figured out exactly who Ove was and became his angel watching over him for his late wife Sonia.  Just a beautiful story. I really would have lost out on this one, glad I didn't abandon it.

If you have read it, what do you think the cat and Parvaneh symbolized?



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Top Book Club Reads - Great Discussion



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can!
 
A little discussion on Book Clubs and Blogging
 
It has been a full year, almost 1 1/2 years since I joined a book club.  Well, I believe my lack of reviewing and blogging is due to the book club..... and not in a good way.

The choices, in my opinion are horrible for a book club.  Some have been good books, All the Light We Cannot See, great book but what is there to discuss, conversation is minimum.  Many I put down and felt tortured to have to pick up again, I just didn't care about the characters such as  The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Boston Girl and others I can't even remember.

So book club has made me read out of my comfort zone and I have NOT enjoyed it.  I want to get back to enjoying what I read and reviewing again, searching for another blog that has read the book and network that way.  This part of blogging had me on the edge of my seat, knowing someone else is reading it, waiting for their review or the rewarding comments on 'great review, adding to my list, etc'.  
 
Blogging has definitely made me realize my love of reading, reflecting and networking HERE.  So unfortunately, I haven't read one amazing, edge of my seat, want to shout from the roof  tops books, sigh.  What I decided to do is create a Top 5 of the best Book Club reads.  In my opinion this means the best discussion from a chosen book.
 
 
My Top Book Club Reads - Best Discussions
 
 














If you are in a Book club, what has been your favourite discussion book?
 
If you enjoy Suspense and Thrillers, what has been your favourite read, desperately need recommendations to get back to my passion.
 
I can't wait to read your 2015 Top Reads and add to my Wishlist and TBR list.
 
 
 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Monday - What are you reading?





Book Date now hosts I'ts Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own Te Be Read List.

Happy Monday

I'm currently reading a book club read



For the first time no one in book club completed it, eek.  I was the only one that said I didn't love it but was trying, I was finally at 60% and starting to enjoy the characters.  I will finish it. 




If you haven't read Rebecca, the classic Daphne duMaurier is famous for, it is a must read.  I'm slowly getting through all her books, this was my 3rd. 


Are you in a book club?  I did a post on should I stay or should I go - have a read and give your opinion please.


I am trying to decide what is next, maybe one of these.........





Friday, December 11, 2015

The Scapegoat by Daphne duMaurier




Book Summary

By chance, John and Jean - one English, the other French - meet in a provincial railway station.  Their resemblance to each other is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John falls into a drunken stupor.  It's to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, Jean has stolen his identity and disappeared.  So the Englishman steps into the Frenchman's shoes, and faces a variety of perplexing roles - as owner of a chateau, director of a failing business, head of a fractious family, and master of nothing.

Gripping and complex. The Scapegoat is a masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self.

My Review - 4

Daphne duMaurier is definitely an artist of writing.  Her book Rebecca is in my top 3 of all times, it is a must read, recommend to all, there is something for all lovers of books to enjoy.  The Scapegoat would be my third book by her.  This one had more of a Agatha Christie feel to it at times.

Imagine walking in a place and stopping short seeing yourself, I had to think is he drunk, imagining things, having a mental break or is there really a twin in the world for everyone.  I enjoyed trying to decide throughout the book which it was. I guess it is easy to trust the face of yourself  and decide to spend an evening with each other but what happens when one of you steals the others identity?  Now it gets interesting....

The Englishman decides to explore the double life but he didn't know what he was in for.  The resemblance is so great, his own family doesn't realize the difference except the family dog.

It seemed to me now that I wanted Jean de Gue' to have been a different sort of man.  I did not want to discover at each step that he was worthless. 

Going along with this escapade we had the delight of him giving gifts to all from his trip.  Only an initial to assist who to give them to.  Of course giving gifts would be a fun, beautiful moment but no sarcasm and bold betrayal at the highest degree.  His daughter advised against giving them at the dinner table together but he didn't listen.  What a funny but most inappropriate uncomfortable scene.  I'm sure the true Jean would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall.

So much family history, betrayal and sadness, the modern word would be drama.  No wonder he wanted to escape but it seems he bought it onto himself.

Even when you look alike their is still a personality style and you cannot pretend to be who you are not.  His way helped to rebuild what the true Jean had broken.  The story takes place over a week and it is a courageous story.  It gave both man another chance, looking for the meaning of life but who learned the most or is it a story of split personality......... you decide.

Initially it may seem you have to choose to believe but it is a play with the mind story that will have you thinking.  Daphne du Maurier has a way of taking you back to her world, you can picture the scenes without the long descriptions, she is a master of suspense.

My other reviews of Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier






Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Are you in a Book Club?



Blogging Friends,

Are you in a book club?  How long have you been in it and how are the choices?

It has been a full year, almost 1 1/2 years since I joined one.  Please hear me out, this is not a venting post, I just want to share my experience and get feedback.

I will start with the main positive, the ladies are beautiful spirits and have embraced me fully.  They are all over 60, retired or about to retire and I am only 40.  The diverse general conversation is quite fulfilling actually. I work with one of the ladies and we always discussed books, she recommended 3 of mine to the group, Glass Castle, We Need to Talk about Kevin and Trans-Sister Radio.  I was invited as a guest one evening and then they asked if I would join.  I love books why wouldn't I say yes.

Wellllllllll, a year and half later.  I believe my lack of reviewing and blogging is due to the book club..... and not in a good way.

The choices, in my opinion are horrible for a book club.  Some have been good books, All the Light We Cannot See, great book but what is there to discuss, conversation is minimum.  Many I put down and felt tortured to have to pick up again, I just didn't care about the characters such as  The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Boston Girl and others I can't even remember.

One book was ok but the translation was terrible which took away from the book, Happy are the happy.

The ladies read a lot, just as I used to but the books they are passionate about they don't choose for Book Club, it's annoying.  The lady I work with says some books I don't want to debate, I only want to discuss with others that enjoyed it or understood it.  Well what is the point of a book club, I ask......

Also, shouldn't you read a book first before recommending, who doesn't like their own choice?

So book club has made me read out of my comfort zone and I have NOT enjoyed it.  The ladies are amazing, they have been together over 10 years but I want to get back to enjoying what I read and reviewing again, searching for another blog that has read the book and network that way.  This part of blogging had me on the edge of my seat, knowing someone else is reading it, waiting for their review or the rewarding comments on 'great review, adding to my list, etc'.  I feel like I will let them down but one to many unfinished books, torture of reading, instead of a book a week I feel like I waste 3 weeks on the book club read and then I get 1 book that I want to read in.  The book I choose is always my normal approx. 5 days complete. 

What would you do, please give me honest feedback and what has worked for your book club?

We are currently reading A Man Called Ove........ again in my opinion it is the first choice were I have said OMG this is for retirees to read, smile.  It is kind of sweet but I'm only 25% in.

If you think, suck it up for the experience, I am open to hearing that also.

Thank you for any comments on this, I am truly thankful.

Blogging has definitely made me realize my love of reading, reflecting and networking HERE.  I miss you guys.  I may have to make a hard decision for myself.