Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(43) Bloody Mary: Book 1 The Summoning

Title: Bloody Mary, Book 1: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
256 pages
Genre: YA - horror

I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for a fair review. This title will be released on September 2, 2014.

Synopsis: There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

Review: Who hasn't tried this when they were a kid? But what would happen if it actually worked? Shauna finds out quickly when Bloody Mary starts haunting her, following her with the smell of her blood, and terrorizing her and her friends. This book is everything I love in this type of YA book, creepy with some mystery and of course friendship drama.

Hillary Monahan has a way of making you want to cover the mirrors when you walk into the bathroom and double check all the shiny surfaces in your house.  But beyond the creepy stuff is the mystery of why is Mary so creepy and why is she stalking people. As Shauna and friends research her history to find a way out of the haunting and to keep more people from getting hurt the information they uncover points to murder, torture, wicked priests and jealousy.  I can't wait for Book 2!

(42) The Letter Q - Queer writers notes to their younger selves

Title: The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Letters to their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon
Publisher: Scholastic
288 pages
Genre: LGBT,

Synopsis: If you received a letter from your older self, what do you think it would say? What do you wish it would say?

That the boy you were crushing on in History turns out to be gay too, and that you become boyfriends in college? That the bully who is making your life miserable will one day become so insignificant that you won't remember his name until he shows up at your book signing?

In this anthology, sixty-three award-winning authors such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline Woodson, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love and understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead. They will tell you things about your favorite authors that you never knew before. And they will tell you about yourself.

Review: Uplifting letters from authors to their younger selves.  These letters cover everything from self-acceptance, keep pursuing your dream because it will happen, to stop being a bully and hanging out in parks at night.  For every kid who thought they were weird, different or didn't know where they fit in this shows that it does indeed get better. I also like the idea of writing to yourself, one of the authors actually wrote a letter to his older self when he was 13 then stumbled upon it later and used it when writing his piece in this book.  What an amazing find and what a great idea.  To see where you are in 10-20-30 years and look back on what you thought was important to ask at that time.

Monday, July 21, 2014

(41) Summer House with Swimming Pool

Title: Summer House with Swimming Pool: A Novel by Herman Koch
Publisher: Hogarth
402 pages
Genre: Mystery

I received an e-galley of this book directly from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis: When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can't hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.

Review: This isn't a story that goes from point A to point B - it sort of meanders around until it finally concludes.  While reading the first half of this book I was wondering whether I would finish it.  I had a hard time getting into it mostly because the main character Marc seemed like a pretentious whiny twit.  Even after finishing it I still thing he is sort of a twit.

Marc is a physician in Holland who cares for a lot of the art world.  He gets through his day by spending 20 minutes with each client realizing that most of the time they just want to be heard instead of treated.  When Ralph Meier walks into his office Marc becomes enamored by his personality. He accepts an invitation to an opening of one of his plays and despite loathing these events he goes. While there Marc meets and is instantly attracted to Ralph's wife while he gets annoyed by how his Ralph looks at his wife.  Confused? Well that's how I felt for a lot of this book.  The main characters thoughts wander from the past to the present with very little warning often leaving you trying to figure out why he is examining someone on the beach,  or why he is talking about hairy asses, until you realize that its just Marc off in his own head.

The second half of the book does pick up a bit while you are trying to figure out who may have committed the deplorable act of violence against Marc's daughter and why Marc's clients wife is screaming that he is a murderer. I'm not sure how satisfying the ending is but it is probably more realistic than one with a neatly tied bow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

(40) The Farm

Title: The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
368 pages
Genre: Thriller

I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.

Your mother...she's not well, his father tells him. She's been imagining things - terrible, terrible things. She's had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I'm not mad... I need the police... Meet me at Heathrow.

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother's unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.

Review: I really loved this book because it wasn't your typical thriller/mystery.  Daniel gets a call from his father saying that his mother isn't well and then he receives a phone call from his mother, Tilde, telling him she is at the airport and that she is the victim of a huge conspiracy.

Most of the book centers around his mother's telling of her story and why she is being stalked and railroaded.  Her evidence can be taken either way and Daniel isn't sure what to believe but the evidence seems to point that something happened.  His father is acting erratically and out of character there are strange people all telling him his mother is sick and he isn't sure what to believe.

The second part of the book tells the story of Daniel who goes back to his mothers farm to find out what really happened and try to help her either by proving she was right or finding something that will help her accept reality.

I really had no idea where this book was going and was surprised by the ending.  Tilde's story might border on the unbelievable but there was always a hint of something more to it.  I haven't read something this entertaining in a while.
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