Thursday, May 31, 2012

review: the night she disappeared by april henry


In alternating narration with other elements like newspaper articles and 911 transcripts mixed in, The Night She Disappeared is a tersely written mystery for younger readers (but still entertaining for adults as well).  Gabie, Kayla, and Drew are high school students who work at a pizza place.  Kayla asks Gabie to swap shifts with her one day; Gabie agrees and then Kayla disappears while making a delivery.  Gabie and Drew are sure Gabie was the actual target, but when the authorities don’t pay much attention, the pair decides to track the kidnapper themselves.  The pacing is quick to keep the reader on edge as Gabie and Drew hope to find Kayla alive.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Henry Holt and Company.

Friday, May 25, 2012

giveaway: lucky in love

If you're as lucky as Mallory Quinn found herself to be, you could win a copy of Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis.  Thanks to Hachette for providing one giveaway copy.

Here's the publisher description for Lucky in Love:
"Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone...

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn?t?including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor."

The rules: Enter by leaving a comment to this post with your email (if I can't contact you, you can't win). You can gain additional entries by leaving separate comments letting me know that you're a follower (one extra each for the blog and Twitter) or have posted a link to the giveaway on your site. The deadline to enter is 11:59pm Pacific on June 9. Winner will be selected at random. Since this is from Hachette the winners must have mailing addresses in the US or Canada; no PO Boxes.

review: lucky in love by jill shalvis


The fourth book in the Lucky Harbor series shifts away from the three sisters and reveals more about some of the characters who had small parts in the first three books.  This time Jill Shalvis focuses on Mallory Quinn, a nurse who’s had no luck finding her Mr. Right.  The name of Mysterious Cute Guy from Head Over Heels also is revealed.  Ty Garrison is a wounded soldier struggling to adapt to civilian life, which makes him Mr. Wrong and oh-so-right for Mallory.

Although I felt the series had gotten a little stale by the time Chloe’s story was told in the third book, Lucky in Love completely regenerated my interest.  There are at least two more books to come in the Lucky Harbor series, but the latest is the best thus far.  There was something about Mallory’s closeness to her family and desire to do something more for her community that made her instantly lovable.  Combining those good qualities of Mallory with the mysteriousness of Ty made for a stellar romance, especially since he joined Mallory in her effort to start a community health center.  This fourth book also did well to set up books five and six, which will center on Mallory’s two friends, Amy (a waitress at Eat Me CafĂ©) and Grace (a newcomer).
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Forever Romance.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

review: i'll walk alone by mary higgins clark


Mary Higgins Clark’s latest mystery finds Zan Moreland wondering if she’s lost her mind.  Two years ago her young son was kidnapped in the middle of the day from Central Park while the baby-sitter dozed.  Zan was, of course, devastated and has spent thousands of dollars looking for Matthew.  But there are new developments on Matthew’s fifth birthday.  Someone who was in the park that day has come forward with pictures that show a woman taking the child—the woman looks exactly like Zan.  Zan knows she didn’t do it, but there are plenty of other strange things happening like her credit cards showing charges she didn’t make.  She swears she’s the victim of identity theft, but quite a few people, including Matthew’s father, doubt her story.  Could Zan have really taken her own son?  

The mystery of I’ll Walk Alone is fantastic; an extra bonus for fans of Mary Higgins Clark is that it features Alvirah and Willy who appear in a number of Clark’s books. There’s good misdirection as to who kidnapped Matthew and is now tormenting Zan (it is quickly revealed that Zan is not crazy although she spends most of the novel trying to prove that) which causes the big reveal to be a bit shocking.  The pacing is good, but some of the reveals could have been placed a little better.  The reader already knows Zan is being framed when the baby-sitter speculates about what really happened that day.  Although I enjoyed her incorporation, it would’ve served the plot better if it had come in earlier.  Another issue with the reveals is in regards to who really did kidnap Matthew which doesn’t come until very late in the novel.  Waiting so long to make the reveal of the mastermind behind the tormenting of Zan means that the wrap-up happens quickly.  There’s little to explain the motivation behind it all.
4/5
Review copy provided by BookDivas.

Friday, May 11, 2012

review: the woman who wasn't there by robin gaby fisher and angelo j. guglielmo, jr.


As I read The Woman Who Wasn’t There I couldn’t believe the audacity of Tania Head.  She simply rendered me speechless (which isn’t good if you’re supposed to review the book!) with detailed claims of making her way out of one of the burning World Trade Center towers and losing her fiancĂ© (who she sometimes said was her husband) in the other tower as well as her domineering leadership of the Survivors’ Network.  If this book had been fiction, I probably would have said the story was too outrageous.

The approach taken by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. is excellent.  They present Tania Head’s story exactly as she presented it—fact.  By doing so, they create for the reader the same feelings experienced by the people Tania befriended and betrayed.  It was also easy to see why so many bought into her lies:  she had a fairly in depth story, but broke down or lashed out when questioned, which was deemed understandable given the amount of her supposed grief.   

The Woman Who Wasn’t There is such an engrossing tale that I found myself reading “just one more chapter” until I had reached the last page.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Touchstone.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

review: women from the ankle down by rachelle bergstein


Women From the Ankle Down begins with the story of a woman who stalked a pair of Loeffler Randall snakeskin booties.  She justified the price by stating that rent is only for a month while shoes are forever.  I instantly knew Rachelle Bergstein had written this book for me.  Pictured here are the shoes that I stalked for months, finally purchasing them when they became part of the 40% off sale.  The preface and the first chapter recounting the early life of Salvatore Ferragamo and his rise in the newly established shoe industry were brilliantly done, but the chapters that followed got bogged down by too much celebrity.  In discussing Hollywood and those illustrious ruby slippers, Bergstein gets caught up in Judy Garland’s struggle in the business.  This occurs again and again such as when writing about the disco era (John Travolta is given far too much attention in a book titled Women From the Ankle Down) and the aerobics phenomenon (Jane Fonda is the focus this time).

Even with the over-reliance on celebrity, I appreciated Bergstein’s insights.  In discussing the stiletto, Bergstein points out how they indicate the wearer is wealthy or at the very least, doesn’t have a job requiring much time on her feet.  Furthermore, Bergstein proposes the popularity of the red-soled Christian Louboutin has much to do with the easy recognizability; whereas other designer shoes require a trained eye to be able to spot them when the foot is covering the label.  Women From the Ankle Down is a great starting point for anyone who wants to know a little bit more about what adorns her feet.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.