“Perdita” Faith Gardner

3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. 2015. Merit Press.

PerditaArielle and her sister Casey have never gotten along, but she adores her sister’s best friend Perdita who always has time to talk. The last time Arielle saw her, she had gotten into an argument with Casey and slammed out of the house. The next time she saw Perdita, she was dead.

With Casey now off at college and her best friend Chloe off with a new boyfriend, Arielle feels at odds with everything. Since Perdita’s drowning death, she keeps revisiting the emotions of having seen her own brother drown 10 years earlier when she was only 6 years old. She even begins to feel as if she can see ghosts – especially Perdita’s. The only bright light in her life is Tex, Perdita’s brother. She and Tex are in theater class together, but even their relationship seems strange. When she finds out Perdita was murdered, she realizes her ghost has been trying to tell her something. Arielle is afraid to listen, but even more afraid of not listening.

I liked the storyline, but felt it took too long for something “ghostlike” to actually happen. I also didn’t like that Chloe’s relationship with her overly possessive boyfriend was never explored, which made me feel that the author missed an opportunity to let readers know it is not okay to become a completely different person for the sake of a boyfriend. Chloe was a robot to her boyfriend’s whims, and the only one who knew this was Arielle. I think Arielle should have confronted her about it.

I thought the book was ok, but because of the dragging storyline and the Chloe issue I could only give it 3 stars.

Recommended for 14 and older.

 

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“Hotel Ruby” Suzanne Young

Rated 4 stars **** ARC. Ebook. 2015. Simon Pulse.

HotelRubyAudrey and her brother Daniel have been completely lost since their mother died of a sudden stroke. Their father, unable to deal with his grief, decides it would be best if they went to live with a grandmother they barely know. On their way to grandma’s house they decide to stop overnight at the Hotel Ruby, a luxurious turn-of-the century hotel.

Once there, Audrey finds herself swept away by the very handsome Elias Lange while learning the mystery of the hotel, and the ghosts which are said to haunt the building. When the family decides to extend their stay she begins to notice that Kenneth, the concierge, seems to have some sort of hold over Daniel, her father, Elias and the staff. Soon Audrey is convinced they need to leave but something, or someone, wants them to stay. Welcome to the Hotel Ruby, where you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave.

I felt like the “Hotel Ruby” was the 1976 Eagle’s hit song “Welcome to the Hotel California” come to life in book form, which is why I said you could check out anytime you want but never leave. I found the story of the hotel to be tragic, but thought Audrey spent too much time playing the tragedy card and apologizing for being such a bad girlfriend. By the end of the book she finally matured, but it was a bit tedious watching her get her act together, which is why I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars.

Recommended for 18 and older.

 

“The walls around us” Nova Ren suma

Rated 3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. Published March 24, 2015. Algonquin Young Readers.

TheWallsAroundUsViolet and Ori became the best of friends the day they took the same ballet class when they were little girls. Motherless and poor, Ori had a generous heart while Violet was both rich and spoiled by her parents. Over time she grew to hate her best friend because Ori was a natural at ballet, while Violet had to work hard to master the dance.

Ori wasn’t the only one on Violet’s list of dancers who stood in the way of her supposed greatness. With dreams of grandeur filling her mind, Violet made sure to get rid of all her competition so everyone would notice her true talent. However, though it took some time, Violet learned wishes didn’t work the way she thought they would.

“The Walls around us” irked me because of Violet. Without giving away any of the storyline let me say I was upset she was able to do what she did and get away with it because no one paid attention to details. I was also upset about the way the author chose to solve that problem at the end of the book, as the solution didn’t make any sense to me.

I gave it 3 stars because the author did a good job getting into the mind of a diabolical, uncaring reprobate. I would have given it a higher rating if said reprobate had gotten a punishment that made more sense.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“Shattered Blue” Lauren Bird Horowitz

Rated 3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. The Light Trilogy, #1. Skyscape. To be published September 15, 2015.

ShatteredBlueI received this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Noa has been struggling to hold herself together after the death of her sister Isla; her only joy her little sister Sasha and writing poetry. Her dark days take on a little cheer when transfer student Callum shows up at Harlow Academy, and they seem to have an instant connection. Though Callum is a fae who has been banished from his world, and can only live through Light emitted by mortals that drains them of happiness, they fall madly in love.

This love is tested when Judah, Callum’s brother, comes into their world. Judah is brash and fierce, contrasted with Callum’s calmness and quietness of strength, yet Noa finds herself drawn to both of them. When a Hunter from their world captures Callum he sets into motion a chain of events, which will change all of their lives forever.

“Shattered Blue” continues the worn out storyline of love triangles between one girl and two guys, making me want to cry out “ANOTHER triangle?!” I also had some questions and concerns for the author, but don’t want to give spoilers in this section of the review. However, if you don’t mind spoilers, keep scrolling down to read my questions.

Despite the love triangle and a few issues mentioned in the spoiler section, the book was rather interesting and caused me to become invested in the characters. Their search to right the wrongs brought on by lies and deception ended in a huge cliffhanger ending, which sets the stage for part two of the trilogy.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I am confused, and have many questions for the author. How did Judah’s missing ring get into Miles’ pocket when he wasn’t even in the same room as Fabian and Judah when they were fighting over it? What took Olivia and Miles so long to catch up to Judah and Noa when it seemed as if they would be hot on their trail when they saw them disappearing into the woods?

Lastly I want to go on record that I thought Callum’s explanation of what happened to Lily was too complicated to be believable, and was rather strange. Sasha wasn’t adopted, so I don’t know how his explanation fit into a pregnancy, as it didn’t make any sense from a practical point of view. I know it’s a fantasy and readers have to suspend disbelief, but this was rather hard to swallow.

“The world before us” Aislinn Hunter

Rated 2 stars ** ARC. Hogarth (Random House). Published March 31, 2015.

TheWorldBeforeUsJane Standen, a 34-year-old archivist, has spent her life berating herself for losing Lily, a 5-year-old girl who was supposed to be in her charge when she was babysitting her at the young age of 15. The young girl was never heard from again.

Jane has dedicated herself to live through the memories of others in her work as an archivist, finding herself drawn to the lives of patients in a mental institution outside of London in 1877 when a girl named N— disappeared. Interspersed with Jane’s daily musings are recollections of what happened the day Lily disappeared. Joining the mishmash of happenings is a cast of motley characters from 1877 who share their own version of memories about N— and their roles in the institution, which oftentimes left me scratching my head in confusion.

It took me a long time to read this book because I couldn’t “get into” it. I found it very boring, found Jane to have a complete lack of backbone, and seemed to be missing the connection between what happened to Lily and what happened to N—. Thus I will leave it up to you to decide if You want to Read it or Not.

“Miramont’s Ghost” Elizabeth Hall

Rated 3 stars *** EBook. 2015. Lake Union Publishing. (Includes an Afterword and Bibliography.)

Miramont'sCastleBased on a true series of events that took place in the real Miramont Castle of Colorado in 1900, “Miramont’s Ghost” is the story of young Adrienne, granddaughter of the Compte de Challembelles, and her ability to see visions from the past, present or future. This gift winds up causing undue stress when she inadvertently involves her priestly cousin Jacques. Her version of events incurs the wrath of her aunt Marie, who seemed as if she had something to hide and was not happy that Adrienne revealed some of her secrets.

As Adrienne grew into a lovely young lady, her gift caused her to become introverted and withdrawn as she struggled to hide her visions. Taking advantage of her mother’s inability to stand up for Adrienne or herself, her aunt whisked her to America where she experienced terrible circumstances resulting in devastating consequences.

“Miramont’s ghost” was interesting in its depictions of history, however, Adrienne and her mother’s character quickly became tiresome. Each was unable to defend themselves against the tyranny of Marie because of their constant focus on their own inability to stand up to Marie. Adrienne spent more time fantasizing about her life than actually living it, while her mother seemed to want to live in the past rather than the present.

*****SPOILER********

I liked reading the historical basis for the story in the author’s Afterword, learning facts I never knew, but was not happy with the way the story ended. I was especially annoyed that Marie and Jacques got away scot free, while Adrienne and Gerard suffered the most.

Despite these reservations I recommend it for Adult readers, primarily for its historical aspects.

“The Last Passenger” Manel Loureiro

Rated 5 stars ***** EBook. Published January 1, 2015 by AmazonCrossing (first published in 2013).

TheLastPassengerWhen reporter Kate Kilroy’s husband Robert is killed by a drunk driver, she feels like her own life has ended. To give her a new lease on life her editor suggests she take on an assignment researching the Valkyrie, a Nazi ghost ship discovered in 1939 with no one alive on board except for a baby, and which has lain untouched for 70 years. Within a short time she has met the eccentric millionaire, Isaac Feldman, who purchased the ship for millions of pounds and renovated it for some obscure purpose.

Eager to learn more for her story, Kate agrees to accompany Isaac and a group of scientists to recreate the Valkyrie’s last journey. Soon, strange things begin to happen and they begin to realize there is a malevolent spirit on board who wants to recreate what happened in 1939. With time running out, Kate will be called upon to reach deep into her soul for the strength to combat an evil determined to destroy everything and everyone in its path.

Each cliffhanger chapter ending of “The Last Passenger” drew me deeper and deeper into its mystery, keeping me glued to its pages until I reached its satisfying conclusion. It was a wonderful read.

Highly recommended for Adult readers.