Friday, November 30, 2012

review: the bracelet by roberta gately

Abby has a tendency to flee when things go wrong, which is how she ends up working for the United Nations in Pakistan after her boyfriend says he wants to move to Oregon without her.  She expects to use her nursing skills at the vaccination clinic, but discovers a human trafficking ring.  With a sexy reporter from The New York Times at her side, Abby begins helping take down the head trafficker. 

Every time I reached a chapter end, I felt the need to keep reading The Bracelet.  Roberta Gately’s tale was simply too haunting to put down.  Knowing that people really are sold to these rings compelled me to keep reading even when Abby needed Nick to explain trafficking to her like she was five.  It also detracted from the story when Zara would take over telling the women’s stories.  Zara’s interruptions not only made me suspicious of her, they made the scenes a little awkward, especially since Nick wanted to use the women’s own words in his article.  Despite that, the brilliance of the prose kept me enthralled to the very end.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

review: the good woman by jane porter

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Growing up in San Francisco, Meg took her role as the responsible eldest daughter seriously. As an adult, she continued on that path and created a superficially perfect existence with her husband and their three children. But lately Meg’s been feeling her husband isn’t pulling his weight around the house and is distant as well, so when her incredibly attractive boss makes a move shortly after Meg receives devastating news about her mom, Meg gives in.

Although The Good Woman was an entertaining, emotionally-charged work of fiction, I hated Meg. I could get past her cheating on her husband, but I couldn’t forgive her for skipping out on her son’s baseball game so she could have sex. Furthermore, she entirely abandoned the kids at one point even as her parents insisted she go back home. Once she gave up the fa├žade of perfection, Meg threw away even the slightest bit of maturity and shut herself off from all her problems. It was a believable reaction, but knowing that couldn’t make me like her.
Review copy provided by BookSparksPR.

review: two lethal lies by annie solomon

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Mitch and his 11 year old daughter Jules have been on the run since shortly after she was born, but they stop running despite Mitch’s reservations after Mitch saves the life of a girl Jules quickly befriends.  But staying in one place means forming relationships and dealing with the questions people start to ask.  It doesn’t take long before the police figure out Mitch’s true identity; his arrest puts Jules’s life in danger.

Having just finished watching the first season of The Fugitive, I noticed some similarities between Richard Kimball’s plight and Mitch Turner’s.  Details were changed, but the plot of Two Lethal Lies bore a striking resemblance.  But I liked The Fugitive and enjoyed Two Lethal Lies, which had a fast-paced plot that created questions and supplied answers at all the right times.  The romance is a little weak, but that is reasonable considering the backgrounds of Mitch and the female lead.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Forever.

Friday, November 23, 2012

review: mom still likes you best by jane isay

To write Mom Still Likes You Best, Jane Isay conducted many interviews with adults who have siblings (she frequently only took one side of the story); unfortunately she didn’t push the subject any further.  Instead of providing analysis of the sibling relationships, Isay simply states what one sibling said happened.  Although the stories are interesting and most will find at least one relatable example, people looking for help regarding their own sibling relationships will find solace but not advice.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Doubleday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

review: vlad all over by beth orsoff

The first book in a new series from Beth Orsoff centers on a private school teacher who is offered an incredible opportunity nannying one of her students while the girl and her father are in Romania for the summer.  Gwen hesitates because she barely knows Isabella’s attractive father, but the money he offers is triple what she’d make at her planned summer job at Starbucks.  And it’s not just the money, Gwen can also use the job to research Vlad the Impaler, whose story she’s inexplicably drawn to.  So Gwen agrees and soon finds herself falling for her mysterious boss.

While I took great pleasure in reading Vlad All Over, sometimes Gwen was just too stupid for words.  Without going into the details that will give away a major plot point, there was an encounter between Gwen and Alex that would’ve had me running away fast whereas Gwen just got deeper involved.  Alex threw out plenty of red flags that Gwen repeatedly ignored.  Even so, there’s plenty of sex and betrayal plus some comedic turns (Gwen’s best friend Zoe is fantastic) that keep the story going even when Gwen is annoying.
Review copy provided by the author.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

review: cold light by jenn ashworth

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When Lola was 14 her best friend, Chloe, died.  The authorities determined Chloe and her older boyfriend killed themselves after Chloe’s parents found out about the relationship, but Lola always knew the truth.  In the decade that passed, Lola and Chloe’s other friend Emma went their separate ways while the community romanticized Chloe’s story.  With the community having raised funds for a memorial, a local TV station broadcasts the groundbreaking which leads to the shocking discovery of a body.  But Lola isn’t shocked as she watches on TV; she knows all the details and begins to reflect on what happened all those years ago.

Cold Light is told in both present time and Lola’s reflections of what happened when she was 14; thus, the story is partly a mystery, but primarily a story of the dynamic between three teenage girls.  The mystery is by far the weaker plot.  The ending, which revealed all, struck me as far-fetched and reframed my entire opinion of Lola who turned out to be quite the unreliable (or at least not very forthcoming) narrator.  However, I entirely enjoyed the story of the teenagers who fought with each other and their parents, who broke the rules and sometimes suffered the consequences, and who sought love and approval in the wrong places.
Review copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.