Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review- Hotel Ruby

I just finished reading Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

This one was a super fast read.  At the beginning, I remember thinking that things didn't really line up right and something was off, but I don't remember what.  And then I got sucked in.

So I spent the whole time I was reading the book trying to figure out just what was going on in Hotel Ruby.  I knew it had to be something suspicious.  But I didn't even come close to figuring it out.  And I should have!

It was both a horror story (man, two in a row--good thing it's Halloween weekend) and a tender, sad one combined.  I really liked Audrey.  I felt so bad for her and her loss. And I loved her big brother Daniel.  He was everything an older brother is supposed to be.  And then there was Elias.  I loved his old-school gentlemanness (so not a word) and the way he treated those he cared about.  

The only thing I didn't really like, or get, what the ending with Kenneth.  I won't say more than that but how it happened confused me.  Overall though, this was a great book if you're looking for something a little creepy but with a little heart too.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Hotel Ruby will be released on November 3, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review- Shallow Graves

I finished reading Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace last week for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

This one was a little weird for me.  I never really got into it.  None of the characters really did it for me.  I mean, there was nothing that I disliked about any of them.  There was just none that I really connected with.

The book was really creepy.  It reminded me of when I was little and used to love reading Goosebumps or R.L. Stein.  But weirder.  The whole part with the Mother was odd and the cult-like sensibility of it was just kinda out there.

It was a perfect read for the Halloween season.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Shallow Graves will be released on January 26, 2016.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review- House Trained

I finished reading House Trained by Jackie Bouchard last week for a Booksparks Blog Tour.

From Goodreads:

Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep...with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their savings. Meanwhile, the arrival of the girls stirs up old insecurities, and Alex can’t help but worry that Barry’s ex will make an entrance too. With her tidy life a distant memory, will Alex be able to learn from her dog the true meaning of love and acceptance?

From bestselling author Jackie Bouchard comes a humorous and heartwarming look at how life creates opportunities to love in surprising ways.

I love books about dogs!  And babies!  So of course I was excited to read this!  (the story didn't really revolve around the dog but she was mentioned often).

I liked Alex.  She was a dog-mom and confident in her choice not to have children.  I found myself relating to her in so many ways in her life (although I do want children--just don't have them yet).  I loved the way she embraced her (newly-discovered) step-daughter and her baby.

And I loved Wren.  I feel like most teenage moms are portrayed as rebellious or pitiful but Wren was a great mom and I felt like even though the baby was an accident, she was secure and well-loved.

There was lots of drama in the book--money issues, ex-issues, relationship issues, teenage motherhood, Even a little tragedy at the end.  I'm not sure I would classify it as chick-lit-while it was funny at some points, it's a little heavier than that.  But it was easy to fall into and I look forward to reading more by Jackie Bouchard.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

House Trained will be released on October 20, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review- The Legacy of Us

I finished reading The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino on Monday night as part of a Booksparks Blog Tour.

From Goodreads:

Taking readers from 1905 Italy to present-day Philadelphia, The Legacy of Us uncovers how the lives of three generations of women are changed by love, loss and one little necklace...

Liz Moretti thought she knew almost everything about her grandmother, Ella, from her love of "The Golden Girls" to the perfect pound cake recipe. But when Ella passes away and Liz finds a cameo locket with a marriage proposal engraved inside (from a man who was not her grandfather), she realizes that sometimes a person's secrets are discovered only after they're gone.

On top of losing Ella, Liz's career as a jewelry designer is stagnant and her love life lacks sparkle, too. When she reconnects with the one who got away, Liz thinks maybe things are finally starting to look up. But after a few drinks and a trip down a flight of stairs, Liz wakes up to realize the cameo is gone. Her ex offers to look for it, but so does Justin, the intriguing new guy in her apartment building.

While dealing with her feelings for two very different men and generally trying to reinvent her mess of a life, Liz finds answers and solace in Ella's diary. The story of the cameo, and the relationship between her grandmother and great-grandmother, an outspoken socialite from Italy, inspires Liz to grow up and accept responsibility for her missteps. Eventually she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the promise of something better.

I enjoyed reading this story told over three generations.  Each woman had their own issues to deal with, including relationships and family.  I thought maybe the switching of the characters would get confusing, but I didn't find it to be a problem.

I easily identified with Liz, especially about how her past relationship wouldn't stay in the past.  And finding someone better for her.  And I loved reading about her great-grandmother and the love and loss she went through.  

This was a light story that had a little bit of everything in it--love, family, loss, and a tiny bit of mystery.  

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review