Monday, July 17, 2017

White Hot

Book: White Hot
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Author: Ilona Andrews

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …-Goodreads

Review: A mystery with a kick-ass heroine, paranormal elements and a dash of romance? I'm in! Like all Ilona Andrews books, my favorite parts were the world building and humor. Nevada is one cool chick and I look forward to seeing what happens with her relationship with Mad Rogan, as well as what happens with her grandmother. 

Overall-fun read, although the sex scene seemed out of place. 

Grade: 4/5

One of Us is Lying

Book: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.-Goodreads

Review: Imagine an updated Breakfast Club with a twist of Gossip Girl, mixed in with murder. Told in alternating narratives, we follow four students who were in detention when their classmate Simon (i.e. the Dan of Gossip Girl, but everyone knows who he is), the student behind a malicious gossip site, is killed. They all have secrets, but who was willing to kill to keep them hidden? 

This was campy, fun and fast paced. I will def read more by this author. 

Grade: 4/5

Girl in Pieces

Book: Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.-Goodreads

Review: This book deals with a lot of issues-cutting, suicide, depression, substance abuse, anger management, homelessness and treatment. It is not a light read-Charlotte has gone through (and continues to struggle with) many horrible situations and issues no one should go through. My heart broke for her, especially when she was released from a treatment facility due to lack of funds. When she befriends an older guy who major problems of his own and starts making bad decision after bad decision, it was a train wreck waiting to happen. 

If you are looking for a 'happy book' that will make you smile and feel good-avoid this one. If you are looking for something that is like 'Girl Interrupted' (I found this book to be far superior) with more 'feels' give this book a try.  

Grade: 4/5

The Girl in the Ice

Book: The Girl In the Ice
Series: Detective Erika Foster #1
Author: Robert Bryndza

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?-Goodreads

Review: When a wealthy young woman is found murdered, DCI Erika Foster is brought in to lead the investigation. DCI Foster is a sharp detective but coming off an investigation that did not go according to plan. She is abrasive, has trouble playing the political game and not immediately liked by the other officers working the case. She quickly earns the respect of several other detectives and they work to find the murderer, who turns out to be a serial killer.

I enjoyed this book. Several scenes with her boss were repetitive and the killer was rather obvious, but this was a page turner. Erika is definitely a character that I initially found annoying (and I was skeptical someone with her lack of finesse would have be promoted to DCI) but by the end of the book, I liked her no-nonsense attitude and direct manner. 

Thanks to Heather for recommending this book and I'm excited to read the rest of the series. 

Grade: 3/5

Arrogant Playboy

Book: Arrogant Playboy
Series: Arrogant #3
Author: Winter Renshaw

PLAYBOY. Noun. A moneyed man who spends his time enjoying himself, especially one who acts irresponsibly or is sexually promiscuous. Synonyms: ladies man, philanderer, womanizer. See Also: Beckham King.

BECKHAM KING. Noun. Synonyms: None.

Vanity wrapped in arrogance and tied with a wicked-intentioned bow.
Obnoxiously attractive.
Wildly talented in the sack.
Everything a girl could want in a one-night stand.

Don’t ask him to commit.
Don’t expect a phone call.
You only get one night.

And God forbid you’re the one girl deemed worthy of a reprise…
Because you won’t stand a chance.
When an arrogant playboy’s mind is set, there’s abso-f*cking-lutely no changing it. -Goodreads

Review: I didn't realize this was the third book in a series and I wish I read the others first. While this book follows new main characters, Beckham's background would have been more fleshed out (I'm assuming) in the previous installments. There is a lot going on in this book-the main character was raised in a cult, kicked out at as a young teenager, taken in by some random man (along with his brother) and then...somehow becomes a billionaire. I couldn't figure out the jump from cult to billionaire with no real explanation. He has no education and didn't appear super intellectual, street smart or hard working, so I would have loved to know how he went from point A to point B.There is also a crazy ex-fiance, a crazy ex-girlfriend and paternity issues-and this is all just related to Beckham. The main female character, Odessa, has her own issues with a fiance who wants to 'take a break' after he becomes semi-famous (imagine a male Rachel Ray).

Overall-cute read. There is a lot happening in this book and I think it could have been much longer with the story lines played out. Looks like his brother has a book and I'll definitely be checking it out. 

Grade: 3/5

Bitter Rivals

Book: Bitter Rivals
Author: Winter Renshaw

First it was love. Then it was war.


Work hard, play harder.

All I wanted was a weekend in the Hamptons, but what I got was forty-eight hours of quality time with my former business partner. My ex best friend. The girl who walked away without so much as an explanation the second sh*t got real.

I’m going to make her sorry she was never mine.


Work hard, forget the rest.

All I wanted was a peaceful weekend alone at my boss’ Hamptons manse, but what I got was forty-eight hours with the guy who convinced me to fall in love with him and then did the unthinkable.

He broke my heart once, and I’ll be damned if I let him anywhere near it ever again-Goodreads

Review: This was a cute novella about exes that find their way back to each other. The book starts approx. 2 years after they have parted ways, and I wish had a few chapters showing their dynamic when they were best friends who took it to the next level. 

Grade: 3/5

Starry River of the Sky

Book: Starry River of the Sky
Author: Grace Lin

The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can't help but notice the village's peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper's son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit?

But one day, a mysterious lady arrives at the Inn with the gift of storytelling, and slowly transforms the villagers and Rendi himself. As she tells more stories and the days pass in the Village of Clear Sky, Rendi begins to realize that perhaps it is his own story that holds the answers to all those questions.-Goodreads

Review: This is a book of Chinese mythology told using stories within stories. My 9 year old self with have loved this. My 39 year old self (omg I'm old!) found this cute but boring. I found myself skimming quite a bit. 

Overall, a good choice for your child in grades 3-5. 

Grade: 2.5/5

The Perfect Illusion

Book: The Perfect Illusion
Author: Winter Renshaw

It’s only pretend…

And it’s only three months.

I’m in the midst of scrawling “I QUIT!” onto his fancy cardstock letterhead when my boss corners me. He needs a favor, he says. And then he asks how well I can act …

Hudson Rutherford needs a fiancée.

With his old-moneyed parents forcing him to marry some bratty hotel heiress and his hedonistic, playboy lifestyle at stake, the only way to get them to back off is to make them think he’s truly, madly, deeply in love … with me—his third personal assistant this year.

But I can hardly stand working for him as it is.

Hudson is crazy hot and well-aware. He’s arrogant, spoiled, and silver-spooned. He checks me out when he thinks I’m not looking, and his life is a revolving door of beautiful women. Plus, he can’t even pronounce my name correctly—how’s he going to convince his family he’s in love with me?!

I’m seconds from giving him a resounding “no” when he flashes his signature dimpled smirk and gives me a number that happens to contain a whole mess of zeroes …

On second thought, I think I can swallow my pride.

But, oh baby, there’s one thing I haven’t told him, one teensy-tiny thing that could make this just a hair complicated …

Here’s hoping this entire thing doesn’t explode in our faces.-Goodreads

Review: Hudson Rutherford is a rich, successful architect who is a grade A pain-in-the-ass boss. He's in need of a fiance before he heads home for the summer, to make his ex jealous. Maribel has just quit her job as Hudson's personal assistant, but cannot say no when he offers her several million dollars to be his fake fiance for a few weeks. He's a jerk, but he's an attractive jerk, and who can say no to that much money?  She happens to be pregnant from a one-night-stand but hey, who needs to know, it's only for a few weeks, right?

This book started off with a bang-Maribel was very funny and I loved the dynamic she had with Hudson. I enjoyed them getting to know each other and her making him watch Netflix. This was a solid 4 star read until the ending. It was way too rushed and too "perfect." A surprise pregnancy as well as his lies should have taken longer to overcome. 

Overall-super cute read.  

Grade: 3/5

Thicker Than Water

Book: Thicker Than Water
Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…-Goodreads

Review: I read this book a month ago and I still feel irritated just thinking about it. Based on the book jacket, I was expecting a murder mystery with a dash of romance. Instead, this was a new adult type romance with unlikable characters and a paranormal twist (I didn't see that coming). Every character, except for Thomas, grated on my nerves. Especially Charlotte and her a-hole brothers. I understand some families are more traditional that others, but her families treatment of her (and her acquiescence) was very unbelievable for this day and age. I kept waiting for her to rebel...but it never happened. And while her behavior and her brothers was explained, I was still annoyed with them. The resolution (if you can call it that) left a lot to be desired. I understand this is a standalone book although the author could definitely write a sequel to tie up loose ends. 

Grade: 1/5

Fear Nothing

Book: Fear Nothing
Series: Detective DD Warren #7
Author: Lisa Gardner

My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.

The last thing Boston Detective D. D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear. . . . She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.

My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D. D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.

D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women, he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:

Fear nothing.-Goodreads

Review: Detective Warren returns to a murder scene late at night and falls down the stairs. She cannot remember what happened but she is in serious pain after sustaining multiple injuries. She isn't impressed with Adeline's (her psychiatrist) pain management tactics, but DD becomes very interested when someone starts killing women in a similar fashion to the 
Adeline's serial killer father who has been dead for years. The doctor also has a sister in prison for murder. 

I enjoyed the quick pace of the this book and learning about Adeline's condition (the inability to feel pain and all the challenges that entails to try to live a normal life). DD was suffering from chronic pain in this book so there was a lot of complaining on her part. While I could understand where she was coming from, it was grating at times. My biggest challenge with this book was the believe by so many characters that Shana, Adeline's sister in solitary, was some criminal mastermind. The book completely jumped the shark during the last prison scene with Adeline and Shana. I'll refrain from spoilers but there is no way that would have happened-not even remotely believable. 

Overall-I enjoyed it. Not my favorite DD Warren book but still one of my favorite series. 

Grade: 3/5