Saturday, January 25, 2020

REVIEW: DEAD TO YOU

BY LISA MCMANN




    SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
    A powerful psychological thriller with a shocking twist from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.
    Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle…at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...


    BOOK TAGS


     ABDUCTED AT AGE 7  FOUND AT AGE 16  ADJUSTING TO A NEW LIFE ⁝ A SPLASH OF YA ROMANCE  PART REALISTIC FICTION MIXED WITH A LITTLE MYSTERY  A NON-ENDING FOR A ENDING 

      BOOK DETAILS⇣


      AUDIO PERFORMED BY AARON TVEIT
      NARRATION RATING  3.7/5
      BOOK COVER IT'S CLOSE-UP, THAT'S FOR SURE.
      SETTING NOT SURE, SOMEWHERE NORTH OF MISSOURI...AND COLD
      SOURCE LIBBY AUDIOBOOK (LIBRARY)
      AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 4 HOURS, 51 MINUTES


      MY THOUGHTS⇣


      A super-quick listen that packs an indelible punch, but leaves you wanting more from the ending.  It was a very cliffhanger-y ending with no resolution in sight...since this was written back in 2010.  Subsequently, I feel like it gives you the opportunity to make your own ending, though.  So if you can live with that sort of ending and the other tags up top have you intrigued, I would totally give this a listen/read.  Overall it's short, so you won't have wasted much time on it and it really is quite thought-provoking. 

      Aaron Tveit is a new to me narrator...and he was excellent with varying voices but not so great with his delivery of lines.  He didn't always give the story real feelings and, overall, it did affect my rating some.


      MY RATING⇢ ✰STARS✰


      BREAKDOWN⇣

      Plot 3.8/5
      Characters 3.8/5
      The Feels 4.2/5
      Pacing 4/5
      Addictiveness 4/5
      Theme or Tone 4.5/5
      Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
      Twisty-ness 3/5
      Originality 3.5/5
      Ending 3.5/5



      REVIEW: I AM STILL ALIVE

      BY KATE ALICE MARSHALL




        SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
        After: Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.
        Before: Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.
        After: With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.
        Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father…and she wants revenge.


        BOOK TAGS


         SURVIVAL/OFF THE GRID  WITH A SIDE OF REVENGE  AN AWESOME DOG...IS THERE ANY OTHER KIND??? ⁝ CRINGE-WORTHY SCENES OF FIELD DRESSING  THE END MADE ME CRY 

          BOOK DETAILS⇣


          AUDIO PERFORMED BY AMY MCFADDEN
          NARRATION RATING  5/5
          BOOK COVER IT WORKS PERFECTLY WITH THE STORY
          SETTING A DESOLATE AREA OF CANADA
          SOURCE LIBBY AUDIOBOOK (LIBRARY)
          AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 8 HOURS, 31 MINUTES


          MY THOUGHTS⇣


          At its heart, this is a survival story, but it also has a subplot consisting of revenge.

          Jess, is 16 (turns 17 during the course of her survival/revenge tour), and she is like most teenagers these days...whiny and not always thinking of the big picture, or even able to learn from her mistakes.  She also just lost her Mom, in a car accident that left her with a serious leg injury, which in my book, gives her reason to whine.  Doesn't mean I want to listen to it...but hey...either way, the narration by Amy McFadden is excellent, and I definitely recommend this in Audio format.  She makes the whining and complaining more bearable.

          Overall, a compelling story, not always completely believable, but what do I know about surviving off the grid, other than I probably wouldn't have survived something like this, myself.  There is a dog in this, Bo, and he is the Hero of the book because without him Jess wouldn't have survived...and I'll just say the ending killed me a little bit.


          MY RATING ✰STARS✰


          BREAKDOWN⇣

          Plot 4/5
          Characters 3.7/5
          The Feels 4/5
          Pacing 4/5
          Addictiveness 4/5
          Theme or Tone 3.7/5
          Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
          World-Building 4/5
          Originality 4.5/5
          Ending 3/5



          Friday, January 24, 2020

          REVIEW: BETWEEN YOU AND ME

          BY LISA HALL




          SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
          They say every marriage has its secrets.
          They say in sickness and in health …
          But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
          And sometimes those doors should never be opened …
          Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.
          A psychological thriller with a shocking twist you’ll never see coming.


          BOOK TAGS


           DOMESTIC ABUSE  PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER  WOW! THAT STUNNER OF A TWIST  HARD-HITTING 

            BOOK DETAILS⇣


            AUDIO PERFORMED BY JESSICA BALL  NARRATION RATING  4/5
            BOOK COVER IT WORKS...
            SETTING UK...LONDON AREA, MAYBE
            SOURCE LIBBY AUDIOBOOK (LIBRARY)
            AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 7 HOURS, 17 MINUTES


            MY THOUGHTS⇣


            Abuse...sometimes the mental abuse can be worse than the physical abuse.  When they get inside your head and convince you that something was your fault, and not theirs.  I was in a relationship like this once...thankfully I quickly wised up and got out before it escalated into physical abuse and before he had me completely brainwashed.  Looking back on it...I'm like, why did I ever give him a second or third chance.  Sometimes evil is subtle.

            This is a story of an abusive relationship...but there's a twist to this, one I didn't see coming at all.  The narration was not bad, considering my issues with some accents.  This narrator worked out okay for me.


            MY RATING  ✰STARS✰


            BREAKDOWN⇣

            Plot 4.5/5
            Characters 4.3/5
            The Feels 5/5
            Pacing 5/5
            Addictiveness 4.5/5
            Theme or Tone 4.5/5
            Flow (Writing Style) 4.3/5
            Twisty-ness 5/5
            Originality 5/5
            Ending 4.7/5



            Wednesday, January 22, 2020

            REVIEW: GIRLS LIKE US

            BY CRISTINA ALGER




            SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
            FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in twelve years. Nell and her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, have never had much of a relationship. And Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven.
            When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in so that she can spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young Hispanic women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect–and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother’s murder–and her own role in exonerating her father in that case–Nell can’t help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Adriana Marques and why. But she may not like the answers she finds–not just about those she loves, but about herself.



            BOOK TAGS


             SUSPENSE-THRILLER  MYSTERY  COMING HOME  FBI  POLICE CORRUPTION HUMAN TRAFFICKING ⁝ 


            BOOK DETAILS⇣


            AUDIO PERFORMED BY⇢ KYLA GARCIA NARRATION RATING  4.5/5
            BOOK COVER WINDY HILLSIDES ARE AWESOME
            SETTING SUFFOLK COUNTY, ON LONG ISLAND
            SOURCE LIBBY AUDIOBOOK (LIBRARY)
            AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 8 HOURS, 48 MINUTES


            MY THOUGHTS⇣


            An FBI procedural that delivers.  With a smart, yet tuff female MC and an intricately complex murder mystery, the story moves along at a decent pace and even gets intense at times.  I was a tad miffed with the ending, but I still thought this a worthwhile listen.

            Narration is very well performed by Kyla Garcia...she was a perfect fit for Nell Flynn.  The very end gave the impression that this could be the start of a series focusing on Nell Flynn, and I would totally read/listen more from this Author.

            MY RATING 4 STARS


            BREAKDOWN⇣

            Plot 4.3/5
            Characters 4.5/5
            The Feels 3.8/5
            Pacing 4/5
            Addictiveness 4.3/5
            Theme or Tone 4.2/5
            Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
            Twisty-ness 4/5
            Originality 4/5
            Ending 3.7/5




            Tuesday, January 21, 2020

            REVIEW: INEBRIATED

            BY KATEY TAYLOR


            SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
            Barely seventeen and as pretty as can be: the summer is their playground. Cait and her best friends Steph and Allie take on San Francisco's party scene with fake IDs and short dresses.
            When Cait meets Adrien Cross, the charismatic lead singer of her favorite indie band, she's introduced to a hedonistic world of liquor and lust that she never wants to leave.
            But then that world spirals out of control and the harsh realities of reckless living take a toll on Cait and the ones she loves.
            What will be left when the makeup masks wash off, the bottles are empty, and Cait begins to lose her grip on everything?
            Katey Taylor's heart-wrenching debut novel will have you strapped into the intense rollercoaster ride of Cait's life and one chaotic summer that will change it all.


            BOOK TAGS

            GRIT-YA CONTEMPORARY (MOSTLY) REALISTIC FICTION TEEN SEX AND DRINKING


            BOOK DETAILS⇣


            BOOK COVER AMAZING...LOVE THE MINIMALIST DESIGN GOING HERE.  SADLY, IT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS BOOK.
            SETTING SAN FRANCISCO, CA
            SOURCE I OWN KINDLE EBOOK
            eBOOK LENGTH 231 PAGES


            MY THOUGHTS⇣


            I thought this was going to be different than it was.  I thought it would focus on addiction and then working to break the addiction.  But it wasn't, not really.  It was really just a booze-fest for teens, heavily laden with bad decisions, and overly clueless parents.  If nothing else, you could use this book to teach your teen what not to do.  I guess someone young might like this sort of train-wreck of a story, but it wasn't really a good fit for me. 


            MY RATING  ✰STARS✰


            BREAKDOWN⇣

            Plot⇢ 2.8/5
            Characters⇢ 3/5
            The Feels⇢ 2/5
            Pacing⇢ 3/5
            Addictiveness⇢ 3.5/5
            Theme or Tone⇢ 2/5
            Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 2.5/5
            Backdrop (World Building)⇢ 3/5
            Originality⇢ 3/5
            Ending⇢ 1/5




            Sunday, January 19, 2020

            REVIEW: THE WIVES


            BY TARRYN FISHER




              SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
              Imagine that your husband has two other wives. You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.
              But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.
              You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.
              Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?
              And who is his mysterious third wife?


              BOOK TAGS


               PSYCHOLOGICAL/DOMESTIC THRILLER POLYGAMY  EVERYTHING IS NOT AS IT SEEMS...OR IS IT???  COMPULSIVE...I COULDN'T STOP LISTENING 


                BOOK DETAILS⇣


                AUDIO PERFORMED BY LAUREN FORTGANG NARRATION RATING  4.5/5
                BOOK COVER IT GOES WITH THE STORY FAIRLY WELL
                SETTING SEATTLE, WA & PORTLAND, OR
                SOURCE LIBBY AUDIOBOOK (LIBRARY)
                AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 9 HOURS


                MY THOUGHTS⇣


                The Wives is another insane, yet distinctly Tarryn, type of story.  While I didn't like this one as much as Bad Mommy (renamed I Can Be A Better You) or Marrow (my all-time fav by Tarryn), I still found it compelling and fantastically written.  The narration was really quite good, too.  I have always liked Lauren Fortgang, though.  The narration and the justifiable ending were the deciding factors for my rating falling where it did.

                In the beginning, this is slightly unbelievable, what with the multiple wives...there is no man that deserves more than one wife.  Midway through, there is a twist of sorts and it transcends into something slightly different.  And the clincher, a perfectly executed, and classic Tarryn, justifiable non-ending.

                MY RATING 4✰STARS


                BREAKDOWN⇣

                Plot 3.7/5
                Characters 3.5/5
                The Feels 3.7/5
                Pacing 4.7/5
                Addictiveness 5/5
                Theme or Tone 3/5
                Flow (Writing Style) 3.7/5
                Twisty-ness 3.8/5
                Originality 4/5
                Ending 4.2/5









                Monday, January 13, 2020

                REVIEW: A BOY AND HIS DOG AND THE END OF THE WORLD

                BY C.A. FLETCHER


                SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS⇣
                My name's Griz. My childhood wasn't like yours. I've never had friends, and in my whole life, I've not met enough people to play a game of football.
                My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.
                Then the thief came.
                There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.
                Because if we aren't loyal to the things we love, what's the point?


                THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣


                ⬥DYSTOPIAN WORLD
                ⬥A QUEST TO GET BACK A STOLEN DOG
                ⬥A DEPRESSING & SHATTERED EARTH
                ⬥SORTA TWISTY
                ⬥FABULOUS ENDING


                BOOK DETAILS⇣


                AUDIO PERFORMED BY⇢ The Author (C.A. Fletcher)
                NARRATION RATING⇢ 2.5/5
                BOOK COVER I like it.
                SETTING I believe it's somewhere in Scotland.
                SOURCE LibroFM Audiobook
                AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 10 hours, 48 minutes


                MY THOUGHTS⇣


                I feel like when an author decides to narrate his/her own book, they are probably thinking that "who else could narrate my book better than me, I know the emotions that I'm trying to convey better than anyone else would".  But seriously, unless the book is Non-Fiction like an autobiography, you really shouldn't do the narrating yourself, unless you're already an established narrator.  So far, I've not found a fiction book narrated by the author that had what I would call favorable narration.  Fletcher's voice in this was rather toneless and overall, didn't really work for me.

                The writing alone in this story really worked its way into my bones, but in a sad, depressing way...so much so, that I found myself not wanting to listen to it.  This coupled with my issues with the narration had me not enjoying this story as much as I could have.  But...I stuck with it, and I am so glad I did because this story does have something worthwhile to impart.

                Why four stars when it seems like I didn't like it that much...that would be the ending...it was so amazing that it made up for a lot of my issues, I even decided that the narration shouldn't derail the rating down too much, either...yeah, it really was that satisfying.


                MY RATING 4 STARS | GRADE B+


                BREAKDOWN⇣

                Plot⇢ 4/5
                Characters⇢ 4/5
                The Feels⇢ 3.7/5
                Pacing⇢ 3.5/5
                Addictiveness⇢ 3.5/5
                Theme or Tone⇢ 3.7/5
                Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 3.8/5
                World-Building/Twisty-ness⇢ 4/5
                Originality⇢ 4.5/5
                Ending⇢5+/5



                Wednesday, January 8, 2020

                REVIEW: THE OTHER MRS. MILLER

                BY ALLISON DICKSON


                SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE⇣
                Two women are watching each other.
                Phoebe Miller isn’t sure when the rusty car started showing up in the cul-de-sac she calls home, or why its driver would be spying on her. What could be interesting about an unhappy housewife who drowns her sorrows in ice cream and wine and barely leaves her house?
                Only one knows why.
                When a new family moves in across the street–the exuberant Vicki, who just might become the gossipy best friend Phoebe’s always wanted, and her handsome college-bound son, Jake, who offers companionship of a different variety–Phoebe finds her dull routine infused with the excitement she’s been missing. But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And she really should be…


                THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣


                ⬥DOMESTIC THRILLER
                ⬥MYSTERIOUS & SLIGHTLY PREPOSTEROUS
                ⬥PREPOSTEROUS & SLIGHTLY MYSTERIOUS (SORTA BOTH AT DIFFERENT TIMES)
                ⬥TO THE POINT OF BEING SLIGHTLY AMUSING
                ⬥TWISTY & THOROUGHLY TWISTED


                BOOK DETAILS⇣


                AUDIO PERFORMED PERFECTLY BY⇢ Holly Palance
                NARRATION RATING⇢ 4/5
                BOOK COVER It's whatever, not good or bad...
                SETTING Chicago area
                SOURCE⇢ Libby Audiobook (Library)
                AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 9 hours, 58 minutes


                MY THOUGHTS⇣


                Thoroughly entertaining despite some believability issues, some of the things that go down in this are rather absurd but I still found myself eager to listen.  Actually, the more I think about the story the more dubious I feel about it, so that's my cue to end this review.


                MY RATING 3.7 STARS | GRADE B


                BREAKDOWN⇣

                Plot⇢ 3.5/5
                Characters⇢ 3.5/5
                The Feels⇢ 4/5
                Pacing⇢ 4/5
                Addictiveness⇢ 4.3/5
                Theme or Tone⇢ 4/5
                Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 4.3/5
                Twisty-ness⇢ 3.8/5
                Originality⇢ 4/5
                Ending⇢ 4/5



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                REVIEW: DEAD TO YOU