Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rise of the Hearts by Antoine Bonner

Nathaniel's always been a loser—his only friend is his sister, and girls don't want anything to do with him. But when he's given a miraculous gift that allows him to attract the girl of his dreams, he realizes that a gift can also be a curse.

I was under the impression that this was a YA horror although it did not specifically say so, it just sounded like it from the description. After reading it I must say it is not suitable for a younger audience, and I am hard pressed to think of anyone it may be suitable for. It is childish, but it is not for children.
The description of the book sounded appealing, but this story starts off poorly and gets worse as it goes on. The "miraculous gift" does not occur until halfway through the book, and the ending is so abrupt that I assume there will be a sequel that I will not be sticking around for. The characters are not likable and the dialogue is weak and unnatural. I can not recommend this to anyone. As a side note to the author... the effect you are attempting to describe is accomplished with a sip of hot coffee, or alternating hot coffee with ice water. Cigarettes don't heat up your mouth, they just give you bad breath.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On a Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell

On April 15, 1912, three women climbed into Lifeboat 21 and watched in horror as the Titanic sank into the icy depths. They were strangers then…
Con artist Charlotte Digby lied her way through London and onto the Titanic. The disaster could be her chance at a new life—if she hides the truth about her past. Esme Harper, a wealthy American, mourns the end of a passionate affair and fears that everything beautiful is slipping from her grasp. And Anna Halversson, a Swedish farm girl in search of a fresh start in America, is tormented by the screams that ring out from the water. Is one of them calling her name?
Twenty years later, a sudden death brings the three women back together, forcing them to face the impossible choices they made, the inconceivable loss, and the secrets they have kept for far too long.

The first third or so of this book tells the captivating stories of three young women with very different backgrounds, and how they came to be on the Titanic that awful day in history when so many people lost their lives. This was my favorite part of the book. The middle is where we learn how their lives turned out in the aftermath of the sinking, by which time I was still enchanted with Anna, but growing tired of Charlotte. The last part of the book is where we learn through a flashback, what it was like for them that harrowing night in the lifeboat. Although this is a work of historical fiction it felt quite realistic to me and in line with some of the true life accounts I have read concerning the way passengers were treated according to class and the lack of emergency training provided to the crew, along with the insufficient amount of lifeboats.

4 out 5 stars from me.
I received an advance copy for review.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Alex and The Other: Weird Stories Gone Wrong #4 by Philippa Dowding

Book 4 in the award-winning Weird Stories Gone Wrong series!Beware the haunted bathroom mirror at school. Beware strangers in overcoats and dark glasses, whispering in the trees. But most of all, Beware The Other …
Alex is the loneliest boy at school. Not only are his parents away (again), but his beloved cat is missing. Plus, one morning his reflection in the haunted bathroom mirror at school starts talking to him. Then two mysterious strangers in overcoats and sunglasses appear, whispering the same message, over and over: Beware The Other …

But, worse than all that, is the girl with the braid. She looks just like Alex. She’s better than him at everything, and they even share the same name. Soon, she’s the only Alex anyone can see, at school, at work, even at home. In no time, it’s almost as though the real Alex never existed at all.

Can the real Alex outsmart his evil twin and get his life back before she replaces him for good? And more importantly, who is the real Alex, anyway?

An engaging read for middle school grades.
Alex is a lonely boy who already feels invisible most of the time. After a mysterious green fog rolls in, it seems Alex may turn invisible for real. Someone is trying to take over his life, but help may come from the strangest of places. Mildly creepy, with cute illustrations, and a true life lesson to be yourself.
4 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland

Kirstie Rawlings is jolted awake by a child crying. Racing upstairs to check on her new-born, she is plunged into every parents’ worst nightmare. She hears an unknown voice in the baby monitor, saying: ‘Let’s take the child – and go.’

Is someone trying to steal her little girl?

In the bedroom, her daughter is safe asleep in her cot. Is the voice coming from a nearby house? But there aren’t any other babies living on her quiet country road…

The police don't believe her. And neither does her husband.

Kirstie knows something isn’t right. She thought she could trust her neighbours, now she isn’t sure. As she unravels the secrets of the people living on her street, Kirstie’s perfect life begins to fall apart.

Because someone is hiding a terrible lie. And they will do anything to stop Kirstie uncovering the truth. But is the danger closer to home than she thinks?

New mom Kirstie is finally living her happily ever after with her new baby daughter and husband Dom after years of struggling to carry a child to term. This should be the most wonderful time of her life.. but something isn't right in her ideal little neighborhood and nobody seems to believe her. This was a gripping psychological thriller that leaves you never knowing who to trust from one minute to the next. Could Kirstie's husband be gas-lighting her? Or is Kirstie suffering post partum depression and a wild imagination? Maybe it's that oddball neighbor or even her best friend who can't be trusted. You won't rest until you get to the end!
5 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy for review.