Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad. This nonfiction account of 1970’s-1990’s Miami begins with action. The book continues, highlighting certain characters of the time and tells everything honestly and boldly. I became overwhelmed with the money, drugs, violence and human degradation as I continued to read. It’s difficult to comprehend that this is reality and people’s lives. The notes at the end of the book state that a remake of Scarface will take place in 2017. The whole time I was reading this book, I visualized the original Scarface movie. 4 stars for a true account of crime in Miami!
Beyond the darkened sky by Dana Alexander begins as Sara awakens in a forest alone, but she feels like someone is watching her. They show themselves and partially explain who they are. She’s confused and lost as they explain to her who she is and why she’s there. Once again, science fiction is not my favorite genre and the story elements were confusing, even though the descriptions were well done, they were too deep for me. 3.5 stars.
Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis is the fifth book in the Kennedy Boys series. The author brings the reader up to speed with perfection and the complex storyline continues with the characters returning to their sophomore year at Harvard. Rachel and Brad deal with their tumultuous relationship among both of their families’ problems. They realize that they’re becoming friends after they both finally let their guard down. Suspense filled storyline and dynamic characters are Siobhan Davis’ mark and make this book another highly recommended new adult read. 5 stars!
I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to read and review I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart is known for his hilarious ranting and his extreme expressions. His memoir shows all that is funny about Kevin Hart and also the serious side of his life and how he became the energetic comedian he is today. Photos are scattered throughout the book, including pictures of Kevin throughout his life and a family picture with his mother and brother. The three of them resemble each other so much that it surprised me. I especially enjoyed his acknowledgments which contain some hilarity of their own. Even his disclaimer is funny. 5 stars for a memoir that opened my eyes to the real Kevin Hart!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
It by Stephen King- oh, the wonderful writing of Stephen King with his creative and spooky imagination! It opens with Georgie in 1957, witnessed by Mr. Gardner, as he runs after his homemade paper boat in the rain. The boat was made by his older brother, Billy. The story of Georgie alternates with the story of Aidan Mellon in 1984 and the arrest, of who the police thought the killers were, made by Harold Gardner, Mr. Gardner’s son. The story of horror continues through generations in the town of Derry. The confusion, violence and human degradation continue also with the study of human behavior that only Stephen King can pinpoint and deeply describe so well. As I read It, I became less scared and more disturbed by the happenings of human conduct in Derry. The story alternates between episodes of Pennywise’s activity, spanning centuries. The story lost its spooky appeal as it kept dragging on. The ending is not as satisfying as I was hoping it would be. The almost sci-fi ending is strange. Sadly, this is not one of my favorite Stephen King books. 3.5 stars.
Thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS (non-fiction) for the opportunity to read and review A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind by Emily Reynolds! This helpful and down to earth book involves diagnosis, self-care, dating, education, self-harm and suicide, family and friends, the Internet and recovery and relapse as the chapters listed in the table of contents. The introduction describes the author’s personal experiences of depression and what she went through before diagnosis. This down to earth book offers realistic advice, help and ideas of how to overcome and maintain mental illness. The author shares everything to help others that are struggling and to encourage those that feel like there’s no hope. The book also includes a list of resources and hotlines for help and getting questions answered; breathing and relaxation exercises as well as ideas for a mood diary. I feel that teenagers could benefit from this helpful book and I plan on purchasing it for the library. 5 stars.
The Scarlet Tanager by Emigh Cannaday is the third book in the Annika Brisby series and it begins where The Silver Thread leaves off, with Annika’s kidnapping. I was so angry at Talvi when I thought he was flirting with his work partner and very relieved in the next chapter when his purpose was brought to light. I absolutely love Finn and how he takes great care with Annika and Talvi seems extremely selfish compared to Finn. When Annika loses her memory, she seems completely content with Finn. I think he treats her like a queen. The narrator performs the characters’ voices perfectly and endeared the characters to me. 5 stars for an elaborate fantasy in a complicated world!
I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.
Skinny Me by Charlene Carr involves a young woman who has battled her weight her entire life and is dealing with the feeling of hitting rock bottom. She feels that her weight is out of control, she’s unemployed and her mother has passed away. She picks herself up and focuses on what she can do to improve her life and relationships. Little by little, Jenny makes changes starting with a new menu and beginner exercises and a job acceptance. She tries to socialize more and also pushes herself to run. Jenny meets with a personal trainer and sets a possible goal and continues to work on her relationships. She realizes that losing weight isn’t going to stop her insecurities and internal struggles; she has to work on her self esteem also. 4 stars for a realistic story geared toward adult readers. Per author request, I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed Redemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner. Matt ends up in an extremely bad situation when he wakes up after sleeping some beer off at his friend’s house and finds his best friend’s mother, Crystal, dead in her bathtub with a slit throat. Matt worries about the consequences of every one of his actions and how those actions affect the people around him. The mystery surrounding Crystal’s death causes turmoil within the community. The suspect becomes difficult to narrow down and the uncertainty left me guessing until the end. Secrets are exposed and relationships are stretched thin in this well written mystery. “…wisdom grows out of disillusionment. We evolve from what hurts us, what happens in our own hearts as a result of that pain.” Profound and life-changing statement. 5 stars!