Sunday, May 25, 2014

ARC review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):
From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a stunning reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.
Jo, the first born, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the closest thing the Hamilton girls have to a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan to the Funeral Parlor Supper Club and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those of her own heart.

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, penning a dazzling tale about sisterhood, freedom, and love in Jazz Age Manhattan.
***Many thanks to Net Galley and Atria books for the copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***
This insomniac's opinion:
I have to be honest, friends. I really struggled to get into this one. Very slow-moving at the beginning. The sisters personalities were quite non-distinct and I struggled to really get to know the characters.
The novel did pick up steam near the middle and Jo's character became quite endearing. Overall, though, this one was meh for me.
Worth staying up all night to read?
Eh, not so much.
3 stars.

ARC review: Zac and Mia by AJ Betts

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's review:

In a fit of sleepy middle of the night insomnia, I requested this book based on the cover.

*sigh. Sad, but true.*

Thank goodness, my shallow cover-love paid off.

I was a bit worried that this would be a shameful take-off of The Fault in our Stars. Again, thank goodness. It was definitely not.

Lots of witty banter, likeable characters and a non-predictable and deeply moving plot. Truly enjoyable and easily readable YA. Totally worth a shot, bookish buddies.

Worth staying up all night to read?

For the most part, YES!


3.5 stars

Sunday, May 18, 2014

ARC review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Random House Children's for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 

Eeeek! This book was deliciously good. And different.

My only complaint is that the book synopsis hints at a twist. And, if you know there will be a twist, you start looking for the signs so that you can guess the twist. So, I knew it about halfway through the novel. It's a good thing that, even guessing the twist beforehand, it was a quality plot twist that was altogether different than anything else I have read.

The writing was gorgeous and the characters both loveable and hateable. I felt that I was at the summer house with the characters. Really great summer read.

Worth staying up all night to read?



4 stars

ARC review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily's parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to leave their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer's house, inventing a new identity for herself, and befriending a young homeless kid named Cameron. But Emily can't outrun her past, can't escape her grief, can't hide forever-and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.
***Many thanks to Net Galley and Doubleday books for this advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***
This insomniac's opinion:
I adore Chris Bohjalian's writing. He is one of my go-to authors and I know that if he writes something, I will read it.
I have to admit something, however.
I have no idea how to pronounce his last name. It seems to have to many consonants for my white lady tongue. I'm so glad that this is a blog and you don't have to hear me attempt his name and, likely, butcher the hell out of it.
Ah, well-on to my review.
My favorite thing about Bohjalian's(nope, still can't pronounce it) writing is that he writes each novel as a distinct story with distinct characters. When I pick one up, I have no idea what I am going to read and what the characters will be like. He is not, in any way, formulaic.
I have to admit that this one is not my favorite of his. It was still good and quite engrossing. However, it was just out there enough to be unbelievable. Somehow, the story always seemed like just that-a story-and I never quite found my bearings enough to sink my teeth deeply enough into the novel to believe it.
I adored Emily, her gritty honesty and self-doubt were perfect for the situation that she was in. Her love for Cameron was endearing and heartbreaking.
I, unfortunately, didn't love Emily's story as much as her character.
Worth staying up all night to read?
The first half was engrossing, but at the second half I found that I was unable to suspend my belief any further.
3 stars

ARC review: A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

A Place at the Table tells the story of three richly nuanced characters whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café: Bobby, a gay Southern boy who has been ostracized by his family; Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman whose life is upended when a family secret finally comes to light; and Alice, an African-American chef whose heritage is the basis of a famous cookbook but whose past is a mystery to those who know her.

As it sweeps from a freed-slave settlement in 1920s North Carolina to the Manhattan of the deadly AIDs epidemic of the 1980s to today’s wealthy suburbs, A Place at the Table celebrates the healing power of food and the magic of New York as three seekers come together in the understanding that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Touchstone for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

This insomniac' review:

This novel was an eloquently, richly told story of three characters from deeply different backgrounds whose stories are incredibly different and, yet, altogether the same.

Susan Rebecca White wove the stories together impeccable and beautifully. All of the characters were well fleshed out and distinct. I devoured the novel as I lounged in my lawn chair in the sun, which seemed incredibly appropriate setting in which to read a novel that lazily unraveled itself like a summer's day.

I have to say that the ending disappointed me, but I cannot give a reason why. I just know that I was fully vested in the novel until the end, when I felt a brief, dull sting of disappointment.

Worth staying up all night to read?


Rating: 3.5 stars

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

 Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . .

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Group/Plume for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

This insomniac's review: 

Are all my reading buddies familiar with Rainbow Rowell? If you like a good, lighthearted novel with witty banter between quirky characters, you should be!

I was delighted to get this novel, as I loved the author's novel Eleanor & Park.

This one wasn't nearly as well done as Eleanor & Park, but a good light read when you need to rest your brain after a few hard-hitters. Extraordinarily predictable and thin plot, but you simply forget about all of that when you get lost in Beth and Jennifer's friendship and the budding romance of Lincoln and Beth.

Worth staying up all night?

This is a quite few hours romp in the witty pages. No need to stay up all night, friends! Hooray!


3 stars