Curious Minds

curiousmindstldrCurious Minds is a fun read full of mystery and snappy dialogue.    synopsis Riley Moon just started a new job for a prestigious banking firm when she’s tasked with handling a difficult client, rich boy Emerson Moon. Riley’s boss has been missing for months and when Emerson finds out, he decides to launch his own investigation with Riley in tow. What follows is a fun and silly unlikely detective story filled with murder, gold, and conspiracy theories.

thoughtsI read a good chunk of the Stephanie Plum series, written by Evanovich, so I thought I’d give her new series, co-written with Sutton, a shot. One of my favorite things about the Plum series is how funny it is, and also how sexy. This one was funny and there was obviously some sexual tension between Knight & Moon, but it wasn’t quite up to the same level. It was funny, but not as funny. Sexy, but not as sexy. Maybe it’s just missing Lula as a sidekick.

Riley Moon was an ok character. She’s smart and driven, with a desire to escape her small Texas town by way of success in the business world. But she went along with the whole thing a little too easily. I think someone with her brains would have put the breaks on this detectiving thing early on as it was clearly on the road to derailing her career. Emerson Knight is portrayed as a sort of super hot Sheldon Cooper, ridiculously smart and socially inept, but also gorgeous with enchanting eyelashes. The chemistry of the two was on fire, but I wanted more long stares and temperatures rising between them. Maybe Evanovich and Sutton are trying to dangle a carrot for the next book?

The story itself is also just ok. I won’t give too much away about the mystery involved, but it all seemed a bit far-fetched. I know, this isn’t a genre you apply too much logic to, but it still rubbed me as implausible. I also don’t really buy Knight and Moon continuing to team up for more detectiving in future novels. Buuuuuuut, that doesn’t mean I won’t still pick up the next one.

prosLight and fun

Funny

A new series to get into with my Mom

consA little too unbelievable for my taste

quotes“‘I thought perhaps you were succumbing to my eyelashes.’ Riley took a moment to think about it. ‘Maybe a little.'”

“I think she lived to get even. In the end, she didn’t live at all.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

My Girl

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My Girl is a tragic tale of grief and a disturbing story of obsession and control that left me very uneasy.Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AM

Paige Dawson has lost everything. Her daughter was murdered 10 years ago and her husband took his own life a few months past. She’s been in an alcohol and pill-fueled haze for years as the loss of her family torments her. One day she stumbles across a gun that she didn’t know her husband owned and tumbles down a path to finding the truth. Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.23.23 AM

So, this is a tough one to review. I liked the book for MOST of it, but what I didn’t like, I hated. Let me explain. The story quickly dives into Paige’s daily life as she struggles to cope with her losses. This is a heartbreaking story of grief and loss and what happens when we have nothing left. Once the story turns into things-are-not-what-they-seem territory, I was firmly along for the ride. I wanted something good for this woman, some truth or closure for her. The problem is that when you find out that truth, it’s a freaking slap in the face of story-telling. I feel as though Jack Jordan sat at his desk and thought, “What’s the most awful thing I can come up with that will truly horrify my readers” and went with that. I think he stopped serving the story, and his characters, and went balls-out for shock value. I was disgusted, and not because I can’t handle an uncomfortable story line, but because it served no purpose other than to be disgusting. It’s a shame really, the book has so much potential that was sadly squandered.

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Well-developed character that feels very real

Engaging story, up until it wasn’t

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I’m sorry, but a bedroom won’t hold a persons scent for 10 years

Jordan doesn’t seem to understand how memory repression works

Story takes a plunge off the deep end and drowns

Climactic scene felt like it took place in a bad horror movie

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM“For the first few seconds after she woke, Paige Dawson lived in a world where her husband Ryan was snoring lightly beside her, and her daughter Chloe was sleeping peacefully in the next room. When reality slowly trickled in, she instantly wanted to return to sleep – to forget they were dead – to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

Dark Matter

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Dark Matter is a gripping Sci Fi novel that grabbed me from page one and didn’t let go. Not even after I finished the book did it release its hold on me.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AMJason Dessen is a man content with his life. He hasn’t done anything extraordinary, but he’s happy with his job and loves his family. One night he’s abducted and when he awakens in a lab, his life has been turned upside-down. His wife isn’t his wife and his son was never born. He’s not a teacher but an accomplished scientist. He has to find his way back to his family, and the truth, while being hunted. A poignant look at the path-not-taken and what-ifs in life.

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I’m a big fan of Crouch’s Wayward Pines series so I was excited to pick this one up. The premise is very similar – a man wakes up somewhere and has to find the truth – but they go completely different places from there. This book was so effing good ya’ll. I mean I could NOT PUT IT DOWN. While I figured out pretty quickly what was going on, there were still plenty of surprises in store. This book is not only Sci Fi at it’s best, it’s also a great look at life, how we got where we are, and how well we really know ourselves. Have you ever wondered how different your life could be if only you’d made a few different decisions? If you could go back and change things, would you? This book offers up great answers to these questions. It’s not too heavy on the science part, so it’s accessible to fans of all genres. I seriously recommend you go out and buy this book. And buy 5 more copies for your friends.

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Engaging story and exciting twists and turns

Excellent portrait of humanity and how we became who we are

Really cool scientific theories

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Nothing. It’s perfection.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM“I can’t help thinking that we’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

“‘Are you happy in your life?’ In the shadow of this moment, my life is achingly beautiful.”

“No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting.”

“Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. Then end of everything I know, everything I love.”

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book Review: Ink and Bone

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.46.35 PMInk and Bone by Lisa Unger is not to be confused with Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, which was also released this year. Although, the book by Caine DOES sound interesting so I might read that one too…but for now I’m talking about Lisa Unger’s new book. Ink and Bone is a supernatural thriller about Finley, a young woman who uses her psychic powers to solve the case of a missing girl. The book follows the people living in and affected by the town of The Hollows after a young girl is abducted. Months pass with no leads so the desperate mother turns to a private detective and his psychic friend as a last ditch effort. This is Finley’s first time trying to use her ability so she’s filled with insecurity and doubt. Unger vividly paints the portrait of a small town where everyone knows everyone. The abduction of this girl has rocked her family to the core and made a mess of their lives. They’re unable to move on even though there’s little hope of finding her alive.

I’ll start with the things I liked about the book. In general I thought it was well written and enjoyed the story. It kept me engaged enough that I finished it in a day when I had a hard time putting it down. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child, but it seemed like the marriage of the parents was well written. It was flawed and shaky and seemingly always on the verge of completely breaking apart. I particularly resonated with the line, “More than anything else, resentment was the death of love. It killed slowly.” I typically would not be drawn to a story with a supernatural element but this one handled it well. Skepticism was acknowledged and the visions never seemed to overwhelm the narrative.

There were however, a couple of things about the book that bugged me. Finley herself seem like a bit of a cliche. A girl with pink hair who rides a motorcycle and covers her body in tattoos to “make the outside match the inside.” The ending managed to mostly catch me by surprise but in retrospect, it didn’t really seem to make sense. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. Also, Unger seems to have some serious disdain for millennials. There are a couple of times in the book where they’re harshly maligned such as with this gem, “People of her generation were all about texting, which was just one example of their soullessness.” I mean, I get it, everyone hates millennials, let’s move on please. The texting dialogue between young characters was also a bit over the top and she was constantly referencing apps like, “with a flashlight app on his phone” or “she typed the coordinates into an app on her phone.” I don’t know anything about Unger but it seemed like she was either an older person trying to write like she’s hip with this generation, or she was writing for an older generation that would need these things to be explained. I know this is totally nitpicky, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes in these moments.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It was gripping and fast-paced. I thought the story was well done and the characters felt like real people, outside of the Finley cliche that is. I’d recommend this as a light and quick read if you like thrillers and don’t mind the supernatural.

 

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Book Review: The Last One

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I had the pleasure of reading Alexandra Oliva’s debut novel about a woman who joins a survivoresque reality show for some adventure, and finds herself fighting to survive for realsies. In this show 12 people are left to survive in the woods and face challenges that have been set up before them. The producers have given all the contestants nicknames that boil each person down to their profession or stereotype. There’s Biologist, Black Doctor, Tracker, Rancher, Asian Chick, and so on. The book is from the POV of Zoo, a young woman looking for one last adventure before settling down and starting a family. What the contestants don’t know is that while they are traipsing around the woods, a real tragedy has struck the world. As the weeks progress Zoo finds herself coming across increasing evidence that maybe the devastation she’s been stumbling upon isn’t all a setup for the show.

While the premise itself isn’t anything groundbreaking, I found this book to be a fascinating look into media, the internet, and reality TV. In some of the chapters we witness what takes place in the editing room as the producers and editor tailor the show and it’s characters to what they want the world to see. These chapters also often end with the comments section of a Reddit like forum discussing the show. The rest of the time we travel along with Zoo as she tries to survive in the wild. As things around her get crazier and crazier she stretches further and further to convince herself that it’s all a part of the show. At times it becomes frustrating, almost unbelievable that she hasn’t figured out that what’s happening is real. But you come to realize that people often would rather live in denial than face the truth.

I saw a lot of myself in Zoo, as I’m sure many readers will. I also drew a lot of parallels with her marriage and my own. As she Lord-of-the-rings it through the wild she reflects on the life, and husband, she left behind. She feels real, as does many of the other characters. Even the typical useless-but-hot girl, Waitress, has enough time to show some depth and nuance. While the show has broken them all down into one-dimensional cartoons of humans, they still come across as people.

This book is already showing up on lists of great beach reads, but I think it’s much more than that. I think beach books don’t usually make you think too hard about the world in which you live. While The Last One doesn’t say anything we don’t already know about reality shows and the media, it still weaves it into the narrative in a way that opens your eyes to it without hitting you over the head. I read the book in one sitting so it’s definitely a quick read. And I’ll admit, there was a point that I ugly cried. Like UGLY. CRIED. HARD. But I’m so glad I read it. It’s one that will be sticking with me for a while.

 

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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