Book Review: “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart

we were liars

Title:  We Were Liars

Author:  E. Lockhart

Pages:  225

Synopsis (from bn.com): 

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

My thoughts:

What can I say about this book but . . . WOW!

I was enjoying the suspense, mystery, and thrill of the book . . . and then BAM I was hit with the ending.  It smacks you across the face and as the reader you mouth drops open and you find yourself saying “what did I just read?”  Loved it!

Before the ending – which of course I will not say one thing about – the book was solid in plot and characters.  I enjoyed the pace of the book and found the plot just the right amount of twisty, suspense, mystery, and drama.

This book really addresses the themes of lifelong friendships, change, family conflict, secrets, and ultimately the price of those conflicts and secrets.

I am not a huge fan of books to movie adaptations at all as of course usually as a reader the book is almost always much better – but in the right hands, this book could make a very, very interesting movie!

Overall a book I really, really enjoyed!  Fast read, solid plot, strong characters, and of course an ending that at least blew me away!  Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Everything Everything” by Nicola Yoon

Everything Everything

Title:  Everything, Everything

Author:  Nicola Yoon

Pages:  352

Synopsis (from bn.com): 

Risk everything . . . for love.

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Everything, Everything will make you laugh, cry, and feel everything in between. It’s an innovative,  inspiring, and heartbreakingly romantic debut novel that unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more. 

My thoughts:

As I sit here on the couch recovering from a trio of “itis”s – pharyngitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, I figure there is no time like the present to get caught up on my book reviews – and I am really, really behind at this point – WOW!

I am normally a cozy mystery/mystery/psychological suspense reader, but ever since joining the “Thirteen Reasons Why” craze recently (the review on that is coming later as I really have to formulate my thoughts on that one), I am completely addicted right now to Young Adult Fiction of a certain kind.  I’m not even sure what to call it – it is those books based on characters that are dealing with a particular problem such as a medical issue, mental illness issue, death/dying, grieving, drug problem, etc.  I am not interested in normal “boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl” fiction or any science fiction/dystopian type of young adult fiction.   Totally addicted to lets call it young adult problem literature right now – so if you are reading this and know of great books, please comment as I’m looking for more!!

Now on to Everything, Everything.  I saw a commercial that this was going to be a movie, read what the theme was about, and knew I needed to try it.  I am glad that I did.

I truly enjoyed almost all of this novel.  I loved the plot line of a young girl dealing with a disease that basically kept her inside, isolated away from the world, and how she dealt with this along the way.

I loved the themes in the book of resilience, isolation, relationships, and risk.

What I didn’t enjoy at all was the overall pace of the book particularly toward the end.  I thought the way the story ended was fantastic, but right before the end the book felt like it went from 0 – 60 mph not in any good way.  For me I felt that the book was rushed at the end with little explanation or closure for me – I wanted much,, much more in depth about this storyline.   I was left wanting more – again not in a good way – but feeling as if I had been cheated of a great story.  Perhaps the author can do a sequel so I feel more satisfied 🙂

Overall, a strong book worth reading in my opinion.  Great plot, great themes, and I want a sequel for that great ending twist.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

 

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Book Review: “While My Pretty One Knits” by Anne Canadeo (Black Sheep Knitters Mystery #1)

whilemyprettyoneknits

Title:  While My Pretty One Knits

Author:  Anne Canadeo

Series:  Black Sheep Knitters #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):  The Black Sheep Knitters—Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne, and Phoebe—meet once a week without fail, sharing the varied and colorful skeins of their lives as much as knitting tips, recipes, and small-town gossip, and creating an intricate, durable pattern of friendship. Now a shocking murder has peaceful Plum Harbor, Massachusetts, in knots —and the Black Sheep women must herd together to protect one of their own from a scandalous frame-up.

Maggie Messina, beloved owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is thrilled to be hosting a workshop for one of her former students, now a celebrity in the knitting world. But the celebration is upstaged when Amanda Goran, the owner of the rival Knitting Nest, is found dead in her shop on the other side of town.

Maggie had reasons to dislike Amanda, a thorn in her side ever since Maggie’s shop surpassed Amanda’s in popularity. Then again, it wasn’t hard to dislike Amanda—the contentious woman, whose marriage was on the rocks, seemed to specialize in causing misery all over town. But the pointed evidence has a detective casting a suspicious eye on Maggie. She may be a whiz at knitting, but can she keep the police from needling her before her shop, her reputation, and her circle of friends become unraveled?

 

My thoughts:  This first book in the Black Sheep Knitters series offers some hope for another great cozy mystery series.

I must admit I’m not going to label this my favorite new cozy series by any means at this point.  I of course will read the rest of the series – because well that is the kind of reader I am, I can’t leave my characters hanging even after one book, and let’s face it I already have the rest of the series on my bookshelves 🙂

This series is going to take me a little while to get into.  I am just starting to know the characters, but they seem a bit blah and dull to me.  None of them stand out – they need a bit more kick at this point.  I am certain reading further into the series will correct this issue for me.

I did have the mystery figured out long before the end of the book which is a huge problem since I am NEVER the type to do this when I read.

I am going to continue to give this series a chance – it just doesn’t seem to have the cozy spirit and wonderfully memorable characters as some other series I’ve read.

Overall, an ok cozy series that needs some more memorable characters and a little bit more spunk.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Silent Creed” by Alex Kava (Ryder Creed

silentcreedTitle:  Silent Creed

Author:  Alex Kava

Series:  Ryder Creed series #2

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Ryder Creed and his K9 search-and-rescue dogs return in the second installment of an exciting new series, teaming up once more with FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell in their riskiest case yet.

When Ryder Creed responds to a devastating mudslide in North Carolina, he knows that the difference between finding survivors and the dead is time. He and his sturdiest search-and-rescue dog, Bolo, get to work immediately, but the scene is rife with danger: continued rainfall prevents the rescue teams from stabilizing the land; toxic household substances spread by the crushing slide fill the area with hazardous waste; and the detritus and debris are treacherous for both man and dog to navigate. But most perilous are the secrets hidden under the mud and sludge—secrets someone would kill to protect. For this is no ordinary rescue mission. Among the buildings consumed by the landslide was a top-secret government research facility, and Creed has been hired to find what’s left of it.

Then rescuers recover the body of a scientist from the facility who was obviously dead before the landslide—killed by a gunshot to the head. The FBI sends Agent Maggie O’Dell to investigate, and she and Creed are soon caught in a web of lies, secrets, and murder that may involve not only the government facility, but decades-old medical experiments that are the subject of current congressional hearings. As more bodies are found under even more unusual circumstances, they come ever closer to exposing the truth—but with unknown forces working against them, Maggie, Creed, and the dogs are running out of time.

 

My thoughts:  For a series that I was quite leery about given the overall dog trainer theme, I am loving this series.   This second book in the series allows the reader a deeper dive into the life of somewhat mysterious dog trainer, Ryder Creed, and his background.

I am also enjoying getting to know the characters a bit better and seeing the relationship between Ryder and my old favorite character from Alex Kava’s first series, Maggie O’Dell, continue to develop.

I liked the overall storyline and plot of this story, but I wish the author would have spent a bit more time discussing and delving into the story of the lab/the experiments and the secrets behind that.  It was a good part of the story and felt a bit rushed for me.  A better balance between the story of the actual dog searches and this would have added some intrigue and excitement to the read.

Overall, another great series from a favorite author.  I will no doubt be getting book #3 in this series as soon as I get my lazy butt to the library.

And remember,

Books are life

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

smallgreatthings

Title:  Small Great Things

Author:  Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

 

My thoughts:  My ladies book club wanted to start getting more back to books (I know that sounds odd doesn’t it, but we all know how those ladies book clubs turn more into dinner and wonderful conversation and not about books . . .but anyway I digress), so this is what they chose.

I had mixed feelings at first as I have a love/hate relationship with Jodi Picoult’s books but I jumped right in with excitement.

I would love to say I absolutely loved the book as most reviews I have written say, however all I can say is that my love/hate relationship with this author continues.

First off, I think reading this particular book right now in the current political climate was just bad timing for me.  I’m burned out on social media posts, negativity, fighting, and all such things and this book about racial tensions didn’t help.

Overall the book was a very fast read, the story was intriguing and of course made you think and stretch your mind throughout which is of course paramount for a Picoult book.

On the more negative side, I must say being a healthcare worker I found much of the premise of the story a bit unbelievable and kept saying to myself – “first off this wouldn’t happen”.

One of my major issues with Picoult’s writing is that in my humble opinion she always attempts to touch on every single hot social issue in one book and it always seems quite a bit biased and stereotypical to me.  This book was very much the same – the characters were overly stereotyped I thought.

To top things off I found the ending absolutely ridiculous!  Talk about typing things up in one chapter in a nice, pretty, unbelievable bow.  Not good for me!

Overall a fast read that of course makes you think – but overly stereotyped characters and an ending that just made me scratch my head.

And remember,

Books are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Fireproof” by Alex Kava (Maggie O’Dell Series #10)

fireproof

Title:  Fireproof

Author:  Alex Kava

Series:  Maggie O’Dell series #10

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

New York Times bestselling author Alex Kava returns in a blaze of glory with a gripping, action-packed thriller featuring special agent Maggie O’Dell,who is leading the search for a serial arsonist whose crimes threaten Maggie dangerously close to home.

When a building bursts into flames on a cold winter night in D.C., investigators see a resemblance to a string of recent fires in the area. There is one difference, however: This one has a human casualty. The local team insists they’re looking for a young white male, suffering from an uncontrollable impulse to act out his anger or sexual aggression. But when special agent Maggie O’Dell is called in, everything she sees leads her to believe that this is the work of a calculating and controlled criminal.

 

My thoughts:  Well it seems as if I am working my way through the Alex Kava series and now new Ryder Creed series  . . .

This is another great novel in the wonderful Maggie O’Dell series.  Main character Maggie O’Dell is of course fabulous . . . fast-paced storyline . . .

I do have one significant complaint about this book – the killer was so entirely obvious I had the book figured out by about a quarter of the way through it, which I never, ever am able to do.  I am in no way the type who ever figures out the mystery before the end, but this one was obvious.  It really was just too obvious and of course took quite a bit away from the book as there were huge holes in the storyline that just made the killer entirely too obvious.

Overall, another great Kava book . .. and I’m off to start Ryder Creed series #2.

And remember,

Books Are Life

Heather

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Book Review: “Breaking Creed” by Alex Kava (Ryder Creed series #1)

breakingcreed

Title:  Breaking Creed

Author:  Alex Kava

Series:  Ryder Creed series #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):  From the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie O’Dell novels comes a thrilling new series featuring an ex-marine turned K9 rescue dog trainer…

Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines. They’ve intercepted several major drug stashes smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention.

When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel off the coast of Pensacola Beach, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartel’s latest shipment isn’t drugs. It’s human…

Meanwhile, FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is investigating a series of murders she suspects to be the work of a brutal assassin. By the time she uncovers a hit list with Creed’s name on it, it might be too late to help him. For someone is already on the way…

 

My thoughts:  I have been an Alex Kava fan for years – I absolutely love the Maggie O’Dell series.  I was a bit disappointed to see that she stopped writing the Maggie O’Dell series exclusively and had moved to a new Ryder Creed Series.  I was extremely reticent about the new series and honestly had no intention on starting the series as a story about a rescue dog and his trainer just didn’t fit me . . . but . . . WOW!  I was SO WRONG!

I absolutely loved this book and look forward to starting the next one already.  I really love that this series continues bringing us Maggie O’Dell and now Ryder working together on cases.

This new series has a great new main character in Ryder Creed – sexy, young, tough K9 trainer.

The story line is intriguing, fast paced, and gives the reader a super fast read.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

 

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