Review Rendezvous: 12/1/18


The Color of Lies by C. J. Lyons
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, young adult, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 336
Publish date: November 6th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TCoLHigh school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

First thought: love the cover! Something about the simplicity of the vibrant text on the black speaks to me. Good thing though, the simplicity stops at the cover because this is one book that I definitely enjoyed reading. There are so many good twists and turns!

The story is set in first person, as most YA usually are, but I love the concept of synesthesia thrown in, because you can never really be certain if she is “seeing” the true emotions. Ella has come to depend on the colors a lot, so when a new person who doesn’t show color appears, things are a little different than her norm. Plus this new boy is bringing in ideas about how there might be murder involved, and who’s not up for a good mystery?

Most YA books include a romance, and this is no exception, however it didn’t end up taking over the whole storyline, which I liked. There was enough in the background to still draw me in and yet I liked the investigation being front and center. Overall, definitely recommend!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 11/17/18


Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Middle grade, mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 155
Publish date: March 5th, 2019

MB“I only desire your talent…”

Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay’s biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can’t believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right…
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.

Raise your hand if you’re a non-dancer who’s ever thought of how cool, fun, and amazing being a ballerina/tap dancer/etc would be? That would definitely include me, many times over. Even though this book is a middle grade piece with less pages than I normally read, I still did enjoy the story as a whole.

I loved the intricacies of the sibling relationship that was included. It resonated be since I have a younger sister of my own. I do question the fact that Lindsey’s sister is able to attend college at eight years old, even if she is a musical prodigy. But, there will always need to be some suspension of disbelief in stories, so that kind of detail is not a deal breaker.

There also wasn’t much, if any, romance involved, which I thought was good since it is targeted at a younger age group. I’ve read so much YA drenched in cliched love triangles and lover’s spats that I liked following the story of just a main character without romantic interest for once.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 11/10/18


Nick Noelle, Thicker Than Blood by A. R. Baumann
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 268
Publish date: September 10th, 2018
Purchase: Barnes & Noble

NNTTB.jpgSet in the steamy, gritty city of New Orleans in 1971 where the mob ruled, Nick Noelle, a newly retired detective from Houston, returns home to settle his affairs with his dying mother. Already bored with retirement, he stumbles upon an unfolding serial killer case darker and more sinister than any he had known. While visiting his departing mother, he finds a disturbing set of diaries that recorded her tragic life. Horrified by what he reads, he is stricken with guilt, fear, regret and despair which lure him into a pit of self-destruction. As he struggles with addictions to alcohol and gambling in a city that thrives on vices, he is in danger of losing his wife, his mind and worse, his own life.

Since 90% of the TV shows I watch are some form of police/detective procedural, this book definitely looked interesting to me. I did enjoy the twists and turns, even if I did pick up on hints about the ending before I actually finished it.

The main reason I wasn’t super in love with this book, however, had to do with the protagonist. There was just something about Nick that I couldn’t get into his perspective with. Perhaps it was the inclusion of harsher language that put me off, but either way I’d rather have read a similar plot line with a different main character. Also, do take that as a warning about foul language in the book, if that’s the kind of thing you’re not a fan of. I can’t say it was out of place, but there was quite a bit included.

Overall, not a bad book. There was some good worldbuilding and the actual storyline was interesting, but the protagonist kept me from fully enjoying it and rating the book higher.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 8/18/18


Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara
Book stats:
Genre(s): New adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 190
Publish date: July 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Image result for kaitlin's mooring carey v azzaraNothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

Pregnant twenty-year-old Kaitlin Deveau leaves Boston University in a hurry when Henry, her grandfather, calls from Maine with devastating news. Bereft of hope, Kaitlin’s son, Christopher, becomes a life preserver, keeping the family buoyant. Henry, now Chris’s only male role model, teaches him lessons he uses throughout life. In the end, Chris and his adopted sister, Susan, must save their parents from the fate that took his grandparents–but the outcome is uncertain.

I haven’t read many contemporaries recently, at least ones having to deal with mortality in such a large way. Some authors can tend to use death to build up shock factor instead of to enrich the story, but that is definitely not what happens here. Azzara masterfully weaves the relationships throughout the book and shows how the circumstances around them have come to change their feelings.

The only real downside was pacing. I’m so used to books that take off at 100 MPH in the first chapter that this one took a bit to get into. But once I finally sat down with enough time to take it all in, I did end up enjoying the book.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/16/18


The Lost Heifetz and Other Stories by Michael Tabor
Book stats:
Genre(s): Contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 348
Publish date: February 15th, 2018
Purchase: Barnes & Noble

38636428A musician has a life-changing encounter in a New York record store with a mysterious old man who may have known a brilliant violinist who was presumed to have died in World War II…

The Picture of Dorian Gray is revealed to be a pure fiction by one of the characters from the novel who explains what really happened to the infamous portrait and its subject…

An aspiring writer receives a surreal and mind-bending lesson in creative writing from a pawnbroker who deals in narrative voices…

The well-ordered life of a widower in a peaceful English village is disturbed by the arrival of a wealthy new resident who needs to be taught a lesson in respect…

An art dealer and an artist meet on vacation and embark on an intense affair that is tested by their redacted lives…

These and other stories and satires, set in the US and Britain, explore the lives, relationships, and search for fulfillment of men and women from many walks of life.

I must admit, this was a bit of a new type of book for me to read. I haven’t really read any novellas or novella collections unless they were attached to a larger series that I have already read. But, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the book. I don’t have any experience to compare this one too, so I kept my expectations to myself this time.

Some would say that writing a short story is actually harder than a novel, because you have less words to squeeze the same plot points and descriptions into that a full-length novel does. But Tabor is able to weave the individual stories excellently, and you care for the characters just as much as if you’d had a whole book to get to know them.

The range of stories that this collection touches on is quite large. There’s the story of an old man who may or may not be a long-thought-dead violinist, a professional house-sitter with a few quirks of her own, and many more.

This book is great for readers who may like taking fiction in with smaller chunks. It’s easy enough to read just one short story and come back to it a bit later, so if you don’t feel like diving all the way in, this book is for you. You’ll find yourself enraptured in the characters for sure!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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