Review Rendezvous: 11/25/17

A Bad Day For Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: August 4th, 2009
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Bad DayStella Hardesty, our salty, unlikely heroine, runs a sewing shop in rural Missouri. She also has a side business helping battered women with their abusive boyfriends and husbands. When Chrissy Shaw asks Stella for help, it seems like a straightforward case, until Chrissy’s no-good husband disappears with her two-year-old son. Now Stella finds herself in a battle against a more formidable enemy as she risks her own life to recover the boy.

I had such high hopes. So high. After coming down from the amazing-ness that is Kelly Oram’s books, I jumped into this one, and was supremely disappointed. Nothing against the book, but I had envisioned the protagonist quite a bit different than she actually is.

Stella Hardesty is an older (I believe 40s or 50s?) woman on her own in Missouri. She’s taken it upon herself to stop men from beating up on their wives and girlfriends, which would be fine, but she delivers “justice” however she see’s fit. From the review I wrote of “Premeditated” by Josie L McQuein, you should know that I really don’t like characters that take justice into their own hands.

I tried, I really did. This is another of the books that I read precisely two chapters and proceeded to skim the rest so I could decipher the plot. There was a twist at the end, but unlike other books where the twist has hooked me and I go back to read, there was no saving this book.

I’ll be chalking this one up to an unsuccessful finish, and it may interest you in a different way, it’s just not my cup of tea.


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Review Rendezvous: 11/4/17

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 368
Publish date: January 12th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Zero DayEight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on.

Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the Oval Office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold…but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the administration who find her timely return suspicious.

When a national security advisor approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn’t know what to think. How could the girl he’s missed for all these years be a threat to the United States? Still, at the risk of having his own secrets exposed, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie.

He soon realizes that his old friend is much more than the traumatized victim of a political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission…but will she choose to complete it?

I read this one in an interesting form because I was quite hooked on it. I found it at my local library, but the physical copies were out and I really wanted to read it, so I settled for reading it on my laptop. If I e-read books, it’s always on my Kindle, but this wasn’t a bad format.

Moving on.

There’s a lot of plot lines and ideas that converge here, which is part of the reason why it seemed so interesting. We’ve got kidnapping going on, the presidential family, a bit of friendship/romance (but not too much, which would have complicated the entire plotline), terrorists, hacking…. I think that’s it. That sounds like a lot now that I type it out, but Gangsei has managed to weave it all together quite successfully.

There is something off about Addie from the very beginning. The book is told between both Addie and Darrow’s points of view, with the occasional third person thrown in whenever there is a major event. I did like the occasional third person chapter, but I also felt that the book could’ve done without it.

There was a very “two-faced” feeling I got from Addie to start with, so I don’t know if it was Gangsei’s intention to let us in so quickly, but it felt like I automatically was being told what side she was one. I’d much rather have decided that myself and then had it revealed later. But, with some of the things Addie does, it would’ve been hard to keep her neutral. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Addie at first, but I did end up endeared to her because of certain revelations and sympathizing with how she was taught while she was kidnapped.

I felt bad for her family though, at first they were all trying to get to know her and help her, and she kinda just brushed them all off. But, Addie was coming back from quite the experience, to be fair.

While it took me a few days to actually begin the book, I ended up sucked in by the end. It sets up well for a sequel, but there is nothing in the works so far. I can only hope Gangsei decides to write one, because I’d certainly be interested in it.


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Review Rendezvous: 10/28/17

Premeditated by Josie L. McQuein
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 336
Publish date: October 8th, 2013
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

PremeditatedA week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

I haven’t read a revenge novel in a while, which is probably why this interested my enough to pick it up. I don’t normally agree with the actions taken by such protagonists, as I’m more of a peaceful resolution person, but the plot did intrigue me enough to go for it.

We first meet Dinah as the rebellious child in the family. She’s agreed to take over her cousin’s spot after her cousin is hospitalized right before school. I did think that her logic was a bit faulty (she told her family that she didn’t want her uncle and aunt missing out on tuition), but I feel as if, in this circumstance, the school would likely have refunded the family. But whatever.

Dinah zeroes in on her subject the moment she meets him. The problem that I see here is her preconceived notions lead her to automatically see the guy as 100% terrible, scum-of-the-earth type. While I can say that anyone who pushes another to suicide is terrible, usually they are not 100% terrible. Basically, Dinah sees herself as the personal scales of justice, which I really have a problem with because that is too much power for any one human being.

There is an interesting twist at the end that gives the entire situation a lot more context. It also proved my suspicions correct, as I had guessed the ending about halfway through and waited to see if it played out. All in all, the writing style was well done and I enjoyed reading it, the protagonist just ruffled my feathers and rubbed me the wrong way.


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Review Rendezvous: 10/14/17

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 281
Publish date: July 12th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Baby DollHeld captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

I heard about this book from Regan over at PeruseProject. Or it could’ve been Sasha on abookutopia, I’m honestly not entirely sure because this sat on my to-read list for a couple months before I finally got to it. Anyways, the premise seemed interesting because I’d just seen Room, an Oscar-nominated movie of similar subject matter. But what really tickled my fancy was the fact that we could read from the antagonist’s point of view, which is not something you see very often.

A big portion of the book explores the psychological effects of something like this happening. You see how missing Lily has affected her whole family, and it’s how everyone responds differently. They are all shocked once they realize who took Lily in the first place, and where exactly she was for the eight years.

The subject matter can be a bit dark and depressing, I will admit. And then there’s the people that have the gall to say Lily is making it all up, which honestly just infuriated me. I know that there are probably people out there that would go so far as to make that stuff up just to tear someone down, but you sympathize with Lily and it’s just frustrating to see people disbelieve her.

Either way, the character growth and development in just this one book is amazing. Normally it takes a few books to get anywhere with growth, but you see the maturity and struggle these people go through in order to better understand and handle the situation. I certainly highly recommend this one.


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Review Rendezvous: 8/26/17

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 323
Publish date: October 1st, 2013
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Six Months LaterWhen Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life. 

Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows.

Let me just start off by saying that I think unreliable narrators in stories are highly intriguing. We only get to see through the information the author provides, so it certainly creates a whole new level of mystery when the protagonist is not even sure of what’s right and wrong.

We meet Chloe and quickly realize that something has gone horribly wrong. You don’t just forget several months of your life without some impetus. Of course, when she decides to start investigating and poking around, there are people who would rather their secrets stay secret. There is also definitely something strange going on, because it seems that Chloe completely ditched her best friend sometime during the period she can’t remember, but you don’t do something like that without reason. Unfortunately for Chloe, she has no idea what that reason is.

Using her investigative skills, which aren’t bad for a teenager (but still get her in hot water), Chloe begins to unravel the mystery. I can’t say what it is for spoiler reasons, but it is quite a bit more realistic and relevant than I thought the mystery would turn out to be. I could see how she slowly got into it, but once she realized what was happening, decided it was bad and backed out. Then, of course, there’s the fact that there are adults enabling this, which is never good.

All in all, this is a solid book, I enjoyed reading through it. Can’t say it’s my absolute favorite, but Richards’ writing style works well with the narrative and i would be interested to read more of her work.


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Dear Amy

A newspaper columnist receives a letter from a long-since kidnapped girl.


A girl must solve her sister’s murder after a digital recording of the event is delivered to her.










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