Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1)Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Sarah MacLean … you’ve done it again. I’m loving this new series. She can write about paint drying and I suspect I’d love it. She just has a way with words. The characters she builds in her novels are always complex and interesting. Although not a perfect book, it’s a solid addition to the Sarah MacLean bookshelf! Really love her and her books. Can’t wait for the next in this series.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: Out by Natsuo Kirino

OutOut by Natsuo Kirino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this novel. Disturbing, dark, twisty … these all very
adequately describe this book. I was expecting more of a thriller than I got with this one. Although there are very thrilling moments which fit that bill, it’s really more of a character study. It was frankly one of the most unusual and unsettling books that I’ve read. If violence is hard for you to read, avoid this one. There are some scenes that really unsettled me and I’m not usually very impacted by that sort of thing. I’m glad that I read it but I can’t say that I loved it. I hear people talking about this a lot in the literary world so I’m glad I read it so I understand the context when people talk about it. However, I can’t say it was a great book for me.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

The Forgotten GirlsThe Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this for my book club and enjoyed it more than I expected to. I went in assuming it was another of those dark and twisty suspense novels. But, this one is so much more than that. I found the story compelling and was curious throughout as to what had actually happened. I suspect that I may have enjoyed it more if I’d read earlier books in the series because the ‘mystery’ at the heart of the novel was compelling to me. But, I found that I found myself feeling like I was missing something when it came to the main character Louise. And her friend, Camilla, I found to be completely confusing. I’m still not so sure what her role was and she felt ‘dropped in’ to me because there wasn’t much information about her or her place in the world created in the book. All in all, I enjoyed this one but can’t help but suggest that you start at the beginning of the series (this is the 7th book in the series) so you don’t find the holes that I found while reading.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Review: The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

The Wrong Side of Goodbye (Harry Bosch, #19; Harry Bosch Universe, #28)The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another fantastic Harry Bosch book! I love this series and how consistently good Connelly’s books are. He just always tells a great story and Bosch is such an amazing, nuanced character. LOved it and can’t wait to get to the next one which I’ve been holding onto so I could not have to go so far between books!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (Amy's Book Obsession)The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really looking forward to this book - it sounded like a new way to look at the
Holocaust and Auschwitz. And, in some ways, it was. It’s obvious that a lot of research was done to bring this novel together. Dita Kraus was an amazing person and I’m so glad to have been introduced to her through this book. This book was brutal at times - the horrors described were atrocious. It was hard to read. Overall, I am glad that I read it but it was a tough read in terms of content. I found the pacing to be a bit slow in parts but overall I really liked this one.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Review: Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman

Other People's HousesOther People's Houses by Abbi Waxman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this novel. Abbi Waxman has a way of grabbing the reader's attention and bringing the characters and place of this novel alive. This story focuses on a neighborhood and it’s inhabitants as they live their lives. I don’t want to tell you much about the plot. But, I will tell you that Abbi Waxman excels at blending humor into the realities of life. She had me laughing, crying and everything in between. This novel really explores some tough stuff and yet the humor woven into the story really helps keep it from being completely depressing. It read like real life - fun, sad, happy, irritating, etc. I highly recommend this novel … I think it has something for everyone! It explores marriage, family, parenting, infidelity, friendship, expectations, etc. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more of Abbi Waxman’s work!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (Amy's Book Obsession)The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I struggled with rating this one … it’s really more of a 3 and a half for me but I bumped it up as it was a book that led to an interesting conversation among those I buddy read it with. Some of my issues with the novel had to do with how jumpy the narrative felt as I read it. And the characters just never came together for me - it took me forever to get my head wrapped around who was who. I think perhaps focusing on fewer characters might have helped with that. Although I’m glad that the book explored the idea of the expectations of motherhood, I don’t know that it’s innovatively handled in this one. It didn’t say anything new. That isn’t a bad thing … it’s just that the novel didn’t blow me away with it’s perspective.

And yet, the exploration of motherhood and society’s expectations of mothers to be perfect was quite good and great for conversation. I’m really sick of this idea that the mom and her behavior are analyzed unrealistically by the media (there is a Nancy Grace-like character in this book that whips the public into a frenzy by blaming the mother). Let’s just accept that mothering is HARD work and no mother is perfect. And that doesn’t mean any mother deserves bad things to happen to her or her children.

But, all in all, this is a fine book. Not a favorite but I’m glad that I read it. If the premise sounds good to you, I suggest you give it a shot. I also think it could make for a good book club book, especially for a book club full of mothers!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren (Amy's Book Obsession)Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just adored this book … it grabbed me and my heart and didn’t let go until the last word. Although these sorts of novels are typically built with a formulaic foundation (and this one is), the authors did something really fantastic that elevated it beyond formula. I think the characters are part of it … they just jumped off the page, they felt very real and true to life. And their chemistry … WOW! This is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down. I carried it around the house and read it during every free moment between chores. It was unputdownable for me. It made me laugh and cry! If you are typically hesitant to pick up a romance, I think you should give this one a shot. It’s definitely a romance but it’s so much more! It's just a really great novel that happens to have a romantic plot. And I just loved it and highly recommend it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren (Amy's Book Obsession)Roomies by Christina Lauren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I kept hearing great things about this one so I couldn't resist picking this up when things got crazy in life and I needed to read something lighter. And it definitely delivered ... it was a nice, light romantic novel that I liked. It didn't wow me but it was a good story to divert my attention away from the crazy in our life! Fun set up which I enjoyed - a green card marriage, a musician, musical theatre. It had all the right elements. And it was a solid read ... not a great one but a good one! Now that I have read more of Christina Lauren's work ... I see that they are so good and have such potential which I saw come alive in Love and Other Words. If you're a fan of their work, this is definitely one to check out. I think it was a good, solid read. (But, definitely pick up Love and Other Words which I loved!)!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (Amy's Book Obsession)How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one but I suspect that I'd have liked it even more if I had read it at a different time. I read it during a time when work was INSANE - I was working long hours, traveling, etc. As a result, I didn't connect with this as quickly as I'd have suspected. It took me a long time to connect with the characters and the story. But, once I did, I really enjoyed this one. The premise - overcoming tragic events, finding your inner strength and then add in a romance - is fantastic. The author kept a good balance between covering heavy subject matter and keeping things light. Which isn't an easy thing to do. I wouldn't say this story was unpredictable - in fact, I think it was fairly predictable. But, once I was hooked, it kept me engaged and interested despite the predictability. I understand why so many people loved it but it didn't quite win me over as it did many of them. It's a really good book but not a great one! The story is good, the characters were good, the romance could have been better (in my opinion), and there were funny moments as well as poignant moments. All in all, I do recommend it if it sounds appealing to you. I do think it's a good book that most will enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Review: Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent (Amy's Book Obsession)Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a psychological study instead of a psychological thriller but the marketing copy made it sound like a thriller so I feel like I was expecting one thing and got another. I liked this one but didn't love it. My experience was off a bit due to the disconnect between expectations and experience. All in all, it's a quite good psychological study ... I feel like the 'shock' of the story, however, didn't live up to its promise. It started as a thriller but never became a thriller. The story and pacing start strong but begin to go downward and never really recovers.

The idea of this novel is to dive deep into the psyche of Oliver and understand who he is and why he does the things he does but it just never came together. To be successful, this novel requires Oliver to be compelling and interesting but I never found him to be that way. He was just there ... but I never really found myself caring who he was and why he was the way he was. Which is really the point ... and so I don't think the novel was ultimately successful for me.

But, after reading reviews, it appears that many readers seem to like this one much more than I did. And so I recommend that you consider it but know, going in, that it is not a thriller ... it is a psychological study. If that appeals to you, then give it a shot!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Review: Knocked Up by Stacey Lynn

Review: Knocked Up by Stacey Lynn (Amy's Book Obsession)Knocked Up by Stacey Lynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really quite liked this romance but didn't expect to enjoy it quite so much. Although the premise isn't unique (one night stand leading to pregnancy), I think that the way this was written is what I appreciated about it. I adored Braxton - he was the stand out of this novel. It's impossible not like this character - he's a stand-up guy but with an edge, a complexity. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks falls in love with a wealthy woman with a heart trope is well done here. I really enjoyed this entertaining story! This is the second in a series (although it read just fine as a stand-alone) but I plan to go back and read the first in the series since I liked this one so much.

NOTE: Thank you to the publisher for providing me a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner (Amy's Book Obsession)UNSUB by Meg Gardiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a good serial killer novel and this one delivers. A friend on Goodreads was raving about it which led me to pick it up … I’m so glad I did (thank you, Stephanie)! This one is definitely dark and disturbing as one would expect from a serial killer novel. If that’s not your taste, you should avoid this one. But, if you can handle the darkness of a serial killer, this one might be right up your alley. There are some really great twists and turns. The characters are well drawn and executed. I don’t want to tell you too much because part of the joy of a good serial killer novel is finding all those bits and pieces out on your own. But, I highly recommend this one if you’re a fan of the serial killer novel. This is the great start to what looks like a very promising series!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (Amy's Book Obsession)
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this … so much. First, the cover is stunning … it’s so beautiful! I’m
beginning to wonder if perhaps this book just wasn’t for me … because I just never really
fully enjoyed it. It felt slow and not particularly interesting to me. It had all the elements but they never came together for me.I didn’t find the stories that the book is based around particularly compelling. I liked the characters but they never went beyond cardboard versions of themselves for me. There is a side character who had such potential for me - Finch- but I felt like the character was handled really badly. It really annoyed me, in fact, since I thought he might be my way into this story. The way his character is treated and handled just did nothing but frustrate me. I know the main character is meant to be unlikeable but she almost became unbearable for me which is not something I enjoy. I usually like unlikeable characters but she crossed a line for me and I could never get back to her. Although there were dark and creepy aspects of the book, it never really became fully realized as a fairytale to me which, from reviews I’ve read, seem to be one of the things others loved about it. I’m really bummed that it didn’t work for me but I’m so glad it did for others. I recommend you read other reviews of people who loved it to see if you think it might be a good fit for you. If nothing else, check out the cover which is so beautiful!