Showing posts from January, 2017

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston: A Review


Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson: A Review


Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard: A Review

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard is a murder mystery about Sarah, a young Irish woman, who seems to disappear off the side of the earth.  Her boyfriend, Adam, who has been pursuing a screenwriting career unsuccessfully for ten years while Sarah pays the bills, realizes after Sarah does not call him days after she arrives in Spain for what Adam thought was a business trip and does not arrive on the return flight home that he does not know his girlfriend as well as he thought he did.  He discovers that Sarah has an American lover and has boarded a cruise ship for a vacation that Adam didn't know anything about.  Not receiving help from the local police, Adam begins an investigation of his own.

I enjoyed the twists and the turns in this book and the wonderful surprises at the end.  It definitely wasn't your typical ending to a mystery novel.  I also learned a lot about maritime law and how it can effect investigations on a cruise ship.  I can now see that it would be sim…

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia: A Review

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia is a murder mystery novel about Hattie, a senior in high school who is a little bit bigger than the small Minnesota town than she is living in.  Hattie acts in her high school's production of Macbeth and in her everyday life.  She desperately wants to move to New York so that her real life will begin but Hattie is murdered shortly before her graduation and her chance to do so is thwarted.  Del, the local sheriff, is best friends with Hattie's father and vows to find out who killed her.

This book led me on a crazy ride!  The characters are so interesting, especially the character of Hattie.  She is a chameleon that alters her behavior to suit her audience at any given time.  The character of Peter mirrors the Macbeth play that he directs as he grapples with his own morality and allows understanding of right and wrong.  The story winds itself in so many directions and even when you think you are done with this novel and have learned t…

The Happiness Effect by Donna Freitas: A Review

The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost by Donna Freitas is a non-fiction book about the effects of social media on our relationships, mental health and happiness, with a focus on the effects that social media has on college-aged young adults.  Recent news articles lament that social media is causing depression and low self-esteem because when users view the best of other user's experience and compare it to their own experiences they will always come up short.  This book investigates this phenomenon, as well as cyber-bullying, how young people feel as if they constantly have to be available and respond to calls or texts immediately and how relationships and communication styles are evolving to include a more technology-driven culture.  We learn that students are simultaneously encourages to "manicure" some of their social media pages so that they will appear perfect for prospective employers and in order to gain admis…

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov: A Review

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov was a touching story about a young American woman who travels to Soviet Russia, the country that her parents immigrated from, in order to be apart of the socialist revolution.  Upon living and working in Russia for many years, the young woman's passport is confiscated and she finds herself unable to leave Russia.  She finds herself a victim of antisemitism and anti-American sentiment. She meets an American man who is going through the same thing and has a child with him. When both of them are accused of being traitors, they are sent to prison camps and their son is raised in an orphanage.

This story is very sad but the author is able to convey hope in her writing. This book contains a lot of information that is not often spoken about in history classes about the Soviet Union and the relationship between the United States and Russia at that time. So much of this book shines a light on the injustices that many in Soviet citizens suffered. Read…

The Road to Enchantment by Kaya McLaren: A Review

The Road to Enchantment is a heartwarming story of a single, expectant mother who has to move back to her mother's New Mexico vineyard in order to handle her mother's last affairs after living as a musician in Los Angeles for years.  Willow's mother moved Willow to New Mexico from the state of Washington after setting Willow's father's mattress on fire in retaliation for his infidelity with one of Willow's teachers.  When Willow arrives at her new school, she notices that she is the one Caucasian student among the predominantly Apache student body and is bullied because she is unsure of the culture that surrounds her.  Willow befriends Darrel and becomes passionate about music and riding horses while her mother tries to make her failing winery put food on the table for her and Willow.  Willow moves from New Mexico to Los Angeles right after graduation and begins a career as a cellist.  She also begins a relationship with a selfish musician, Ian, who leaves Wi…