Category Archives: Contemporary

The Pretenders (Pretenders, #1) by Lisi Harrison

Title: Pretenders
Author: Lisi Harrison
Series: Pretenders, #1
Pages: 293
Publisher: Poppy
Date: October 1, 2013

 

Summary:

It takes place at a high school in New Jersey. Summer is over. Sophomore year begins tomorrow. Outfits are being planned. Lunch buddies are being secured. Texts are flying. All seems normal when…ping! Everyone in the sophomore class gets an email.

SUBJECT: The Phoenix Five: License To Spill.

Attached is a mega document.

A letter from a mysterious student starts the book. It explains that at the end of each year the school yearbook- The Phoenix- names the five most outstanding freshman. She (or he) always suspected that last years’ five (3 girls, 2 boys) were phonies. She (or he) always thought they tried too hard to be popular. But she (or he) never had the proof. Until now. She (or he) stole the secret diaries they were asked to keep by their English teacher. She (or he) has compiled them into a book.

This is that book.

Review:

I don’t even know where to start. There are so many things I didn’t like about this book that it’s hard to pick one.

Let me say first: the book is YA. I can see the appeal to teenage girls and if I was still a high school librarian, I would probably add it to the collection. However, personally, I had a hard time finishing it.

Now, why don’t I like it.

It’s written in first person which I generally don’t like.
Not only is it first person, it is first person from multiple viewpoints. Five to be exact. I never was able to keep everyone straight.
I was waffling between giving it a two or three-stars until I got to the end. It has a cliffhanger ending which I ALWAYS hate. Two-stars it is.

Anyway, as an adult reading this book, I can appreciate the idea that people hide things from others. Whether it is to impress or to stay unnoticed, people rarely if ever tell the truth about themselves. In this book, which is supposed to be a compilation of five students’ private journals, all those truths come out.

And that is the one thing I like about it. I like the idea that teenage readers (and yes, I am talking primarily about the girls) will see that everyone has something to hide. No one’s life is perfect no matter how it looks on the outside.

So, yes, I would put this in a school library, but I am not in the least tempted to read the sequel even though there was a cliffhanger ending.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Blogger Shame

I was supposed to have reviewed this book when it was released and did not.  I am trying to clear up my back log of reviews owed.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1)Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Lost and Found Sisters
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date: June 20, 2017

Summary:

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earth shattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

Review:

Sometimes you read a book that is a great book, but there just aren’t any specific lines that stick out. Sometimes a book has some good lines, but overall it isn’t that great of a book. And then there are the books that are just great: great plot, likable characters, and terrific lines.

Jill Shalvis’ new book Lost and Found Sisters is one of those books. It was an easy five star book. I didn’t have to waffle between is it really a five star or should I just give it a four and a half. This one is a five star all the way through.

I have to admit I was a little worried about this book. Shalvis said herself that it is a different direction for her. I have given up on authors before because they no longer give me what I fell in love with their writing for. Thank goodness, Lost and Found Sisters is just as wonderful as everything else she has written.

Now for some of the quotes that I loved. They either were “laugh out loud” lines or “Oh my god, that’s me” lines. Sometimes both.

“Hey, darlin’, how’s life today?” “Good,” Quinn said. She didn’t want to brag, but she’d totally gotten out of bed today with only two hits of the snooze button.

Now this one really wasn’t me. One thing I have no problem with is getting up in the morning.

So here was the thing. There were days where Quinn surprised herself with her abilities, and others where she put her keys in the fridge.

This one however is a “she must be looking in my window because it is so me” line.

“You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” Skye said. “If it’s got tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble.” Wasn’t that the truth . . .

Enough said.

She pulled back out into the street, and her GPS—programmed to find the town of Wildstone—wasn’t sure what to do with itself now that they were here. “In half a mile turn right,” it intoned in an irritated female voice that insinuated Quinn was an idiot.

I actually argue with my GPS. Unfortunately, she gets the last laugh because I can end up anywhere.

She put a hand over the screen of his phone and he yelped, pulling the phone free to stare at it. “Ah, man. You made me lose a life.” “Want to lose another?”

Definitely me. I love my cell phone. However, I hate when people won’t put theirs down when I am talking to them.

“Are you always so rude?” “Yes, one hundred percent. It’s called sarcasm and attitude, which are both so much cheaper than therapy and bail. What can I do for you?”

Love it! Love it! Love it!

There should be a weather app for people with social anxiety, like “Today life will be partly crowdy with a 70 percent chance of having to deal with people.”

This one makes me think of Anna Cade over at the book blog Herding Cats & Burning Soup. Okay, it speaks to me too.

I made it through the day without beating anyone with a chair. I’d say my people skills are improving.

Not to mention, I don’t look good in orange or stripes.

Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Curious Minds (Knight & Moon, #1) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1)

Okay, this is a redux of a review I posted in July of last year.  I have just re-read this book because its sequel, Dangerous Minds, is due out next week – June 20, 2017.  Let’s be honest though.  I re-read this book because it is great.  I have read it three times now and it deserves the five stars I gave it from the start.  The plot is hysterical, the interactions are hysterical, and it has some of the funniest lines I have ever read.

If you never had a chance to read it, grab it.  It will definitely get you out of any reading slump you may be suffering.  And yes, I’m talking about me.

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Curious Minds
Author: Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton
Series: Knight & Moon, #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Date: August 16, 2016

Summary:

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

Review:

I loved this book – absolutely loved this book. Five stars is not enough. I cannot wait for the next one and there’s not even a title yet on Goodreads. I want it NOW!

UPDATE:  BOOK TWO, DANGEROUS MINDS, IS DUE OUT ON JUNE 20, 2017.

Okay, I have that out of my system.

This is the first book in Janet Evanovich’s new series and it is cowritten with Phoef Sutton. It’s really funny just like the Stephanie Plum books, but for some reason doesn’t read like a Plum book. The zaniness and humor are there, but it just doesn’t seem the same. I can’t really explain it.

The book is written from Riley’s point of view, but Emerson is my favorite character. He is so brilliant and so rich that he doesn’t follow normal societal rules and that’s what makes him my favorite. When he is told he can’t do something, his response is not “why not?”, but “I’m already doing it.”

I don’t normally use a lot of quotes in my reviews, but I’m making an exception for this one. None of them are spoilers and you have to see why I think this book is so great.

“You don’t seem especially worried,” Emerson said. “I drink a lot,” Irene said. “And I smoke dope. It keeps me more or less happy.”

That will do it.

In this next quote, Riley wants her breakfast and has told him she gets irritable if she isn’t fed.

“I like you fine.” “I’m not irritable yet.” “You’re not?” Emerson said with surprise. “Very funny.” “I wasn’t trying to be funny,” . . .

Emerson can definitely try anyone’s patience.

Riley reminded herself that she was a professional, and stabbing Emerson with her nail file wouldn’t be appropriate.

And just throwing this one out there,

“Attempted murder is something a lot of couples can’t get past.”

Emerson is not inexperienced with women.

“You have that look,” Emerson said to Riley.
“What look?”
“Squinty eyes, jaw clenched, shoulders hunched. I’ve seen that look on women before and it’s never turned out well.”

And this is a workout program I could get behind.

Irene Grunwald got up early every morning to work out. And by “work out” she meant have a pitcher of sangria while lying in a lounge chair in her backyard and watching the sun rise over the river.

Read this book. You will not regret it.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Blackout by Marc Elsberg

BlackoutBlackout by Marc Elsberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Blackout
Author: Marc Elsberg
Series: n/a
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date: June 6, 2017

Summary:

One night, the lights go out across Europe. The electrical grids collapse on an epic scale and unleash a devastating chaos in the total blackout. And unbeknownst to the general population, nuclear reactors are starting to overheat…
When a former hacker and activist who knows a thing or two about infiltrating networks starts investigating the cause of this disaster, he soon becomes a prime suspect. As threats to the United States start to emerge, he goes on the run with a young American reporter based in Paris, racing desperately to turn the lights back on. Because if they stay off, tomorrow may be too late.
Review:

Although I rated this book as a three, it is really a 3-4. My main criticism is the multiple points of view. I finally got them mostly straight, but I had no idea who was who in the first few chapters. I’m not even sure if some of the characters were necessary to the plot. I’m still not sure that I didn’t mix characters up, but it didn’t matter in the end.

I had a hard time getting into the book. I thought it was slow to develop, but since it was for review I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be a really fascinating story and the societal breakdown due to an international power outage was not something I had ever considered. I do have a hard time believing that things got as bad as they did in only a couple of weeks of no electricity. Maybe because I live in an area where power outages happen on a regular basis. Nothing like what happens in the book because I can always go somewhere that power is available, but still. I kept thinking that these people were so unprepared. Apparently, no one had more than a day or so of food in the house.

Now, after sounding so smug, one thing I had not thought about was the need for cash. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank if you can’t access it. I don’t ever keep more than a few dollars on me because I just use plastic. Well, if there is no power, that will not work.

And that’s why this book is almost a four. It made me think. We all know that we should be prepared for emergencies, but I am guilty of just knowing I should and not actually doing anything about it. This book has made me think about how dependent I am on the infrastructure and how I need to better protect myself.
So yes, I definitely recommend this book. After the slow start, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next and who the bad guys were. There was a twist at the end that I did not see coming and it made the book even better. This is definitely a great book if you enjoy suspense and to a certain extent apocalyptic themes.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-tastic Monday: A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly

YES!  I SCORED AN ADVANCE READER COPY OF A TALE OF TWO KITTIES!

I absolutely love the Hercules and Owen books.  I know there are other characters in the series, mostly humans, but Hercules and Owen are the important ones.  After all, it’s not everyone who can walk through walls or disappear at will, now is it?

These books are murder mysteries featuring the town librarian Kathleen and the cats who live with her, Owen and Hercules.  Kathleen has the unfortunate tendency of stumbling onto dead bodies which can be very regrettable when your boyfriend is a police detective.

As a matter of fact, stumbling on a dead body is how this most recent book begins.

You’d think by now it wouldn’t bother me to step on a body in the middle of the kitchen floor, but I was in my sock feet and the body — missing its head, no surprise — was damp.

With cat slobber.

“Owen!”  I yelled, hopping on one foot while I rubbed the other against my pant leg.

The cat stuck his gray tabby head around the living room doorway and looked at me, face tipped quizzically to one side.

“Come and get this,” I said, pointing at the headless yellow catnip chicken, aka Fred the Funky Chicken, I’d just stepped on.

Alas, (wow, I’ve never had the opportunity to use that word before) the other dead bodies Kathleen finds are always human and she, somehow, ends up having to help solve the crime . . . with feline help, of course.

A Tale of Two Kitties is not due out until September 5th.  That just gives you plenty of time to catch up on the series.  The first book is titled Curiosity Thrilled the Cat and there are nine total now.

Enjoy!

Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

 

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Quote-tastic Monday: And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor

I have no idea how I first found out about the St. Mary’s Chronicles series, but has become one of my favorite series.  As in, I stop whatever I’m reading when the new book comes out just so I can read about Max.  I always think I like/love them because they are funny and they are . . . hysterically funny at times, but the can also be heartbreaking.  I feel like the characters are members of my family and I hate some of the things that happen.  Regardless, they are still funny and those are the quotes I am going to share today.

First off, Max is trying to get back in shape after a long time in convalescence. She is running around the park at St. Mary’s.

I completed one circuit, chugged back some water and, encouraged to find I was still alive, decided to give it another go.

Actually, that sounds a lot like me, although I wouldn’t have survived even one circuit.

One of the male characters is talking to Max and I can’t tell you which one due to spoilers.

He looked down at me. ‘Surely I can’t be the only person in the world who wants to murder you.’

‘God, no. Sorry to puncture your massive ego, but you’re only one of many. Half the human race is ahead of you.’

This last one is not a funny, but I have had this feeling myself.

‘Max?’

‘I’m sorry. I was thinking about Schrödinger’s Cat.’

Staggeringly, he understood.

I am always astounded when people don’t know about Schrödinger’s Cat.  It’s not that I understand quantum physics.  I don’t!  I do know about the theoretical experiment involving the cat.  After all, it is referenced in literature over and over again.  At least in the literature I read.

And that’s it.  Like always, don’t read these books out of order.  You will not understand, much less appreciate them if you try to do so.

“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

 

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Quote-tastic Monday: Dragon Fall

I know it’s been a few weeks since I have posted, but I have a good reason.  My dad died on April 2nd.  It wasn’t unexpected, but this blog was no where on the list of things I had to deal with.  On that note, it feels wonderful to get back to normal, such as it is.

I am still reading the Sept Dragons by Katie MacAlister and loving them.  I am finally to one that I had not read before which makes it even better.  Aoife (EE-fuh) is human but has accidentally acquired a magic ring.  Kostya, who has to be the grumpiest of all dragons is her mate, although he won’t admit it.

There are Star Trek references in this one, but that is not where I am going to focus today.

Aoife’s feelings are hurt because she believes Kostya is only interested in her because she owns the ring.  He is defending himself and in all honestly doing a good job of it.  And that’s when Aoife gets mad.

“Of course I’m not,” I snapped.  “And stop being reasonable when I’ve got hurt feelings.”

That is right up there with “Don’t confuse me with facts.” and “Listen to what I mean, not what I say.”   And yes, I have used both of these myself.

Anyway, there are only three more books so far in this series and I think I’m going to take a break.  I received two new books this week, one I purchased and one to review, and I think I will give them a try.

I will definitely come back to the Sept Dragons soon.   That’s a guarantee!

“Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Filed under Contemporary, Humor, Paranormal, Ramblings, Romance