Thursday, February 27, 2014

Red Rising

Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown’s relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Darrow is from Mars, where he works underground. All his life he has been told his job is to prepare the surface of Mars to become habitable. When he learns he has been deceived and at the same suffers the loss of a loved one, he becomes entangled in a plan to overthrow the powerful and entitled.

WOW! Did I ever get caught up in this story. This is book one of a trilogy, and it is loaded with political maneuvering and betrayal. Darrow learns the hard way that not everyone plays by the rules and that it is often not what you know, but who you know. I liked watching Darrow grow into his role and learn leadership skills. At the end, we are left wondering if these skills will help in in the next step in his attempt to free his people back home. I can’t wait for the next book!

My thanks to Random House Publishing - Del Rey, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Missing You

Harlan Coben

It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancĂ© Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancĂ©, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

NYPD Detective Kat Donovan has a lot going on in this story. She is still haunted by the murder of her father that happened many years ago. A friend gives her a membership to an online dating site, where she finds hew ex-fiance. A young boy comes to her because his Mom has gone missing. How could all of this possibly tie together?

I always get excited when I first open a Harlan Coben book . I know I’m going to be in for an exciting ride and this book did not disappoint me. There was a new twist around every corner. The clues are given to us slowly. It made me think about putting together a puzzle for the first time. Piece by piece, the picture of all that is going on in Kat’s life fall into place, but it takes that last piece for everything to become clear.

Mr. Coben always gives us believable characters and story-lines. This one really spoke to the potential dangers of online dating sites and how the internet has become the new focus for committing crimes. The suspnse went right down to the wire, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Many thanks to Penguin Group - Dutton, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: March 18, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lost Lake
Sarah Addison Allen

The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.

That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.

It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.

Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she’s all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer… and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago.

One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren’t sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it’s too late?

At once atmospheric and enchanting, Lost Lake shows Sarah Addison Allen at her finest, illuminating the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts
This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Allen and my - what a treat. I loved her characters and how she developed them. Every one who is at Lost Lake for what could be it’s last season has some sort of past issue or some level of quirkiness. The author weaves in a little bit of magic, which made the story all that more interesting. I was truly interested in what would happen with each individual. There were those I liked right from the beginning, those who evetually I grew to like and well.... on character I never did like, but I think that was the author’s intent.

An extremely enjoyable read. Definitely an author I will look to when I want a nicely told tale.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Under Your Skin

Sabine Durrant

In this page-turning debut from talented crime writer Sabine Durrant, a woman makes a chilling discovery in the woods that changes her life forever.

When clever, pretty, successful Gaby Mortimer discovers the dead body of a young woman near her house, she has no idea that her apparently happy, secure, charmed life is about to go into sickening freefall—and that soon she will be living by the mantra of the police detective investigating the murder case: ABC: Assume Nothing, Believe No One, Check Everything (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

From the outside, Gaby Mortimer’s life looks pretty good - good job, successful husband, loving daughter. But the true story comes out quickly once she discovers the body of a young woman who has been murdered.

This is a “who done it” mystery at it’s best. I got sucked in immediately. And while I would not call the story fast paced, it was a page turner that I could not put down. There are so many possible suspects that the ending caught me totally off guard. I just love when that happens.

If this is what we can expect fro Ms. Durrnant, I’m in. A wonderful debut!

Many thanks to Atria, via Netgallet, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Nora Knew

Linda Yellin

Molly is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff at Eye Spy, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big time. Clearly she can’t recognize romance. And in her own life, she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. Mainly because he’s a well-known player.

But, with help from Nora Ephron’s movies, Molly learns to open her heart, suppress her cynicism, and find her very own fairytale ending. Linda Yellin’s WHAT NORA KNEW will captivate readers with its charm and humor.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Molly is assigned the task of writing an article about relationships. How do you know when you’ve met “the one”? In our digital age of texting, tweeting, facebooking, etc. - how is it even possible to have a relationship?

This was a very likeable, light hearted read. Molly has a great sense of humor and I was frequently smiling as I read about her research into romance. She has quirky family and friends that added a fun element to the story. I’ve liked several Nora Ephron movies, and this book was very similar to that style. An enjoyable tale into the world of being single, with all it’s plusses and minuses, and a satisfying end to the story.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Yellin and I thought it was quite entertaining.

I’d like to thank Gallery Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review,