Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review: Perfect Nightmare by John Saul

Title: Perfect Stranger
Author: John Saul
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: April 25, 2006
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: Purchased
Rating: 2/5
Find it Here: Amazon // Goodreads

If you open your house to strangers, who knows who might come in. And what they might be after. Or whom. Now, ponder the unthinkable and surrender to your darkest dread, as sinister storyteller extraordinaire John Saul weaves a heart-stopping tale of lurking terror and twisted intent.

Every parent’s nightmare becomes reality for Kara Marshall when her daughter, Lindsay, vanishes from her bedroom during the night. The police suspect that the girl is just another moody teenage runaway, angry over leaving behind her school and friends because her family is moving. But Lindsay’s recent eerie claim–that someone invaded her room when the house was opened to prospective buyers–drives Kara to fear the worst: a nameless, faceless stalker has walked the halls of her home in search of more than a place to live.

Patrick Shields recognizes Kara’s pain–and carries plenty of his own since he lost his wife and two children in a devastating house fire. But more than grief draws Patrick and Kara together. He, too, senses the hand of a malevolent stranger in this tragedy. And as more people go missing from houses up for sale, Patrick’s suspicion, like Kara’s, blooms into horrified certainty.

Someone is trolling this peaceful community–undetected and undeterred–harvesting victims for a purpose no sane mind can fathom. Someone Kara and Patrick, alone and desperate, are determined to unmask. Someone who is even now watching, plotting, keeping a demented diary of unspeakable deeds . . . and waiting until the time is ripe for another fateful visit.
My Review:

Perfect Nightmare was this month's (July) book club pick by a member of my book club. I usually try to read the book club pick first, just in case I don't like it, I can get it out of the way and spend the rest of the month reading books that, hopefully, I'll enjoy. Which is the case this month. I really wanted to DNF this book but I'm actually kind of glad that I didn't because the ending was so shocking!

One of the reasons that I didn't like this book is that I just didn't really care for the characters. All these awful things were happening to them and I was more interested in the story line and figuring out who was responsible for all these horrific things instead of caring about the victims feelings.

I thought a little of what happened was unrealistic. I find it completely plausible that someone would target victims through open houses, coming in as a potential buyer but then hiding and kidnapping their target. But the other tragedies that happened in the midst of everything else just seemed unrealistic.

The other reason I didn't like the book because there were some parts that were from the perpetrator's perspective. Normally I don't mind that because it can be a little creepy. But these little pieces of perspective made me feel dirty because he wanted to touch a teenage girl and he was smelling her underwear. That just felt wrong and I am not down with that.

This is only the first John Saul book that I've ever read so I don't know if all his books are like this or not. I've actually heard that some of this other books are paranormal so I'm not going to completely write this author off until I give another one of his books a try. I was going to give this book only 1 star but that ending was so shocking that I decided to bump it up one more. If you want to try John Saul I would recommend picking up one of his other books. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Strange Practice

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme featuring the books that we're eagerly waiting to be released! It's hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings.

Title: Strange Practice
Author: Vivian Shaw
Series: Dr. Greta Helsing #1
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Find it Here: Amazon // Goodreads

Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.
Why I want this: I love books with creepy atmospheres and have a little bit of the supernatural to them. I also want to blow that cover up and put in on the wall in my book room. It's so amazing!! Even though it comes out next week, Strange Practice seems like one of those great books to read around Halloween time. And I love to plan my Halloween reads way in advance! What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Let's Discuss: Negative Reviews

As a blogger, I have found that writing or giving negative reviews can be a hot-button topic. Everyone loves to write glowing reviews and fan-girl over the books we love. And when it comes to the YA a community, a lot of books and/or series have very dedicated followers. But what if you didn't love that book? What if, actually, you though it was really boring or just plain bad? What do you do?

I have no problem writing a negative review. I'm always very honest on my blog and I will never pretend to love a book that I don't. If a book interests me enough to finish it, I will most likely post a review, whether positive or negative. I like to read other blogger's negative posts as well because I really want to know what I'm getting myself into before picking up a book.

Goodreads is a great example of where you can find great reviews and negative reviews of the same book. I like to see both sides of it. I want to know why people love the book and why some people didn't connect with it. And I will always let you know if I didn't connect with a book.

As a blogger, do you post negative review? Do you like to read negative reviews? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Review: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Title: I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry & Holt Co.
Release Date: February 03, 2015
Genre: Contemporary YA
Length: 388 pages
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5/5
Find it Here: Amazon // Goodreads

If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.
Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.
What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.
Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.
My Review:

LOVE LOVE LOVE! I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is one of those perfect contemporary novels that I would recommend to all readers no matter what genre they prefer. The story is wonderful and the romance is absolutely beautiful!

"If you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspaper and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages-no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered." -pg. 103
I’ll Meet You There has, what I like to call, the perfect love story. There’s no insta-love, there’s no I-just-met-him-but-I-know-we’ll-be-together-forever type thing and there’s no “perfect” characters in this novel either. Skylar and Josh are somewhat like acquaintances when we first meet them. Two years prior, Josh had graduated high school and went off to Afghanistan and Skylar had just started her junior year. Now Skylar has graduated and Josh has come home and their paths seems to cross no matter what. Which is good cause they’re getting to know one another and they have this tension between them that just keeps building in the best way possible! They take the time to build this strong foundation of friendship before anything crosses the line.

Josh has experienced all kinds of tragedies because of the war and Skylar has a lot of home problems with her mom which has made her wise beyond her years. They are just the perfect match for each other! They’re both learning how to cope with a major life change and they lean on each other for their support. They couldn’t have been brought together at a more perfect time! Everything about this story and Josh and Skylar’s relationship just seemed so perfect to me! It was friendship and then is was a little something more and then it was intense and learning to trust each other and learning to be vulnerable and learning how to cope and being open with each other. It’s a great example of how a healthy relationship can start out small and grow to become more!

Heather Demetrios really hit it out of the park with I’ll Meet You There! And, like I said, I recommend it to everyone!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser

Title: The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice
Author: Rebecca Musser
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction
Length: 14hrs and 10min
Source: Purchased (Audible)
Rating: 3/5
Find it Here: Amazon // Goodreads
Rebecca Musser grew up in fear, concealing her family's polygamous lifestyle from the "dangerous" outside world. Covered head-to-toe in strict, modest clothing, she received a rigorous education at Alta Academy, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' school headed by Warren Jeffs. Always seeking to be an obedient Priesthood girl, in her teens she became the nineteenth wife of her people's prophet: 85-year-old Rulon Jeffs, Warren's father. Finally sickened by the abuse she suffered and saw around her, she pulled off a daring escape and sought to build a new life and family.
The church, however, had a way of pulling her back in-and by 2007, Rebecca had no choice but to take the witness stand against the new prophet of the FLDS in order to protect her little sisters and other young girls from being forced to marry at shockingly young ages. The following year, Rebecca and the rest of the world watched as a team of Texas Rangers raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a stronghold of the FLDS. Rebecca's subsequent testimony would reveal the horrific secrets taking place behind closed doors of the temple, sending their leaders to prison for years, and Warren Jeffs for life.
THE WITNESS WORE RED is a gripping account of one woman's struggle to escape the perverse embrace of religious fanaticism and sexual slavery, and a courageous story of hope and transformation.

I've always been fascinated with religious cults especially the FLDS Mormons and their polygamous ways. After reading The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner I knew that I would pretty much want to read anything that had to do with women escaping this harmful and dangerous cult.

I listened to The Witness Wore Red on audio book and I actually think that was a disservice to the book. It's read by it's author, Rebecca Musser, and she's not exactly a trained voice actor. While I know that all audio book narrators read the book off the page, most of the time it doesn't sound like they're just reading it off the page because they're pretty good a voice acting. Rebecca Musser sounded like she was just reading the book off the page and it made the narration sound forced.

As far as the validity of this book, I have no doubt that all of the horrors and atrocities actually took place just like Rebecca Musser says they did. But as far as remembering all the details from many years ago and which dresses each of her sister wives wore and the exact words from all the conversations she had with Warren Jeffs and the other various leader of the FLDS church, there was probably a lot of filling in the blanks. I can't remember what I had for lunch last week much less a word for word conversation that I had with my mom over ten years ago.

Rebecca Musser is so brave and courageous for being able to just escape the church and lie low much less to go public to testify against Warren Jeffs and then write about book about her experiences in the church. There are a lot of personal details and her personal experiences of being married to a man who was more than fifty years older than her. She truly is an inspiration to those who are in a bad place and want to change their life.

If you interested in more information on the FLDS Mormon Church I highly recommend both The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser and The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner. Both are great and encouraging stories of women who would not all themselves to be oppressed or held back any longer! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Little Fires Everywhere

Waiting on Wednesday is my favorite weekly meme because we get to talk about all the books that we are eagerly waiting to be released. This weekly feature is hosted @ Breaking the Spine.

Title: Little Fire Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Find it here: Amazon // Goodreads

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Why I want it: I loved Celeste Ng's debut novel Everything I Never Told You. It was so much more than just the mystery of this teenage girl's death. She is so great a writing what everyone thinks is the perfect idyllic town with so much more lurking beneath the surface. I expect Little Fire Everywhere to hold that same quality. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Let's Discuss: DNFing Books

Reading is one of the true joys in my life. I can spend hours lost in a book without any thought of the world around me. But let's be honest about the books out there; they're not all created equal. I enjoy most books that I read because again, being honest, I'm pretty easily entertained! But there are a pretty good amount of bad books out there and I have no problem with not finishing them. In other words, I DNF books and I am so much happier that I do. 

When I DNF a book, I usually have very specific rules. Not a lot but for me to officially DNF a book and never pick it up again or possibly get rid of it, it has to meet these specifications: 
  1. Read a least 100 pages of the book
  2. Don't connect with or am very irritated by the characters
  3. Don't feel like I'm invested in the story
  4. Don't really care what happens at the end
I don't think book blogger and readers in general should feel bad about DNFing books. There's nothing wrong with it. My philosophy is that not all books are going to connect with all readers. You have to find what works for you and quickly move away from what doesn't. 

Since it's July and half of 2017 is now gone, I though I would share the books that I've already DNFed this year.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet: I really wanted to love A Promise of Fire. And I almost read the whole book. I really love the banter between the main character and the guy who was obviously her love interest. I just could not get over her immaturity and the cheesiness of this book.

Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood: Sometimes Atwood's writing style just doesn't mesh well with my reading style. I found most of these short stories to be bland and the whole book itself just could not hold my interest.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell: Another collection of short stories. I actually really loved how weirdly fantastic the first two stories in this collection were but third one was literally a 180 difference and I didn't understand how they could be part of the same collection.

There you have it, the three books that I've DNF this year so far. I'm actually shocked it's only three because I feel like it should have been more. What are you thoughts on DNFing books? Let me know in the comments!