NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Interested to see how Stephenie Meyer can transition away from vampires, werewolves and parasites!

Answer -- meh

I decided to read this hoping that, since it wasn't YA, that it would measure up to other thriller suspense novels that are my true pleasure. I was somewhat disappointed to be honest -- I had expected a bit more than the contrived juvenile romance between the female character and Daniel. The whole plot is implausible and the book is overly long and could use a serious editing.

She (let's call her Alex cause she has a lot of different names) is an ex government agent of the super secret kind -- an expert in chemical torture (nice girl right?) and is on the run from her employers who are trying to kill her. They entice her with a last job -- and she agrees to kidnap a man (Daniel) who is supposed to be making a biologic weapon -- BUT he doesn't look like the picture when she meets him in person. She does it anyway. They "fall in love" in the most ridiculous fashion imaginable (reeks of sparkly vampires and Twilight style) and go on the run together when she finds out that she's been lied to.

Lots of violent fight scenes, death, mayhem -- oh and a twin brother (sorry if this is a spoiler but the "tell" for that was early on in the book) who is the opposite in personality of Daniel and of course there is tension between him and Alex. Anyway, this narrative gets to the obvious conclusion that ties up everything and give that HEA ending typical of YA.  It would have been better without a romance, without the dogs, no twin brother, more about the chemistry and less about the guns -- anyway, managed to finish it just shaking my head that it didn't live up to the promise of the premise.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

"Just another small town girl..."  with big dreams and a talent for being the person everyone else expects to see. Hattie Hoffman is a senior at Pine High School but she has plans to leave the place behind and move to New York. She's bright and wants to be an actress -- she gives the performance of her life as Lady Macbeth, but hours later she is dead in an isolated barn. Who'd want to murder this popular girl who had so much promise?

Told from 3 different viewpoints and with shifts back and form in time, the reader follows the narratives of Hattie, Del Goodman (the Sheriff) who is investigating this murder of his good friends' daughter, and Peter Lund (the new high school English teacher, married). Parts of the plot are anticipated as affairs between students and teachers are not uncommon themes, but the author surprised me with a few twists that I didn't see coming. I thought I had the whole thing figured out. I liked the way the backstory evolved and that details were dangled inviting the reader to keep flipping the pages -- so a good one to read in one sitting.

An enjoyable mystery that has elements of the standard police procedural, psychological drama, and the lure of the forbidden. Temptation is one thing, giving into it is yet another.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books for the e-book ARC to review.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Blood Lines (DI Kim Stone #5) by Angela Marsons

Another thrilling episode in the DI Kim Stone series.

#5 continues the compelling storyline of Kim Stone, giving us further glimpses into her character and her relationships. Alexandra Thorne is back, this time spinning her evil plans from a prison cell -- and her reach is long. Though Kim is nearly undone by the manipulations of sociopathic psychiatrist Dr. Thorne, she and her team investigate a series of murders that leads to a surprising conclusion. In a related subplot, Kim sees her mother again after over 20 years.

Although I sometimes feel that Kim is meant to be superwoman, I do find her flawed psyche interesting and I'm curious about what case she will confront next. Love the series!

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to review -- can't wait for #6.

Got this approved from NetGalley after I bought the e-book (had some promotional credit to use). Now I wait.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Zoe and Maria, mother and daughter, finally have a second chance at a happy family life when Maria marries Chris Kennedy. Chris has a son, Lucas, from his former wife (deceased) and now Chris and Maria have a new baby girl they've named Grace. The "Second Chance Family" is calm, reserved, and behaves perfectly -- though Maria and Zoe have a secret they've kept from Chris and Lucas. When Zoe was 14 she was driving a car full of school friends who died and she has completed her sentence and they have put their past behind them -- but they lie by omission. When Zoe is outed during a piano concert (she's a music prodigy), their carefully created facade starts crumbling. The family returns home, Zoe was so upset that she couldn't finish, so Lucas played on alone (yes, he's a prodigy too). Everything falls apart that night and Maria ends up dead. In this domestic drama, the reader waits to find out who killed her.

Sometimes having alternate points of view is illuminating and essential to the story and at other times, like in this novel, it just hampers the progression of the narrative with lots of extraneous detail that is probably meant to give the reader insight into the characters and paint a more dastardly picture of the killer. The pace was rather slow, and I am sorry but I really despised the conclusion.  There was such limited honestly by all the characters that I had no empathy for any pain they might have experienced because I do not feel that the lies and secrets met any criteria for ends justifying means. I can't say I liked Zoe and definitely am not a fan of how it all resolved -- too unbelievable and pat.

I got this book from the library because I had enjoyed Macmillan's debut.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

"Most of us think the word racism is synonymous with the word prejudice. But racism is more than just discrimination based on skin color. It's also about who has institutional power."

It is difficult for me, a white woman, to fully accept that I have been given advantages that made my success easier to achieve. This book challenges all of us to look deep within ourselves -- is it possible to truly admit that -- just because of skin color -- the American dream is not really accessible to all who live here. I will be thinking about many of the issues and points raised in this fictional account of an African American nurse who was charged with murder of a baby who goes into cardiac arrest when she had been told not to touch this white newborn by the parents and her supervisor.

Definitely would be a great book club read or even required reading for anyone interested in having a very difficult conversation about racism. Does this mean there will be a sequel:  (Ruth Jefferson #1)???

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the e-book ARC to review.