Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

babyteethSynopsis from Goodreads
Meet Hanna. She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette. She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

My Thoughts
I had a wonderful compliment from a reader indicating they enjoyed the Pros and Cons book review format I have used in the past so I will start using it more often. That format obviously works best when I actually have pros and cons to report and that is definitely the case for this book. Since there were things I liked about this book and things I did not like at all, here are my Pros and Cons: Continue reading “Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage”

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After She’s Gone by Camilla Grebe

aftershesgoneSynopsis from Goodreads
In a small backwater town in Sweden, a young boy with a dark secret comes across a diary. As a cold case investigation suddenly becomes eerily current, a police investigator mysteriously disappears. What links these seemingly random events? As atrocious acts from the past haunt the present and lives are changed forever, some will struggle to remember – while others struggle to forget.

My Thoughts
There were things I liked about this book and things I did not like at all – here are my Pros and Cons: Continue reading “After She’s Gone by Camilla Grebe”

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

batbSynopsis from Goodreads
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both. I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

My Thoughts
There were things I liked about this book and things I did not like at all. I’m going to break my review down into a pros and cons list. Continue reading “The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross”

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

herself_othersSynopsis from Goodreads
Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape.

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side. Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

My Thoughts
Hannah is an intelligent and mature young lady, but is also a little bit unlikable. She can seem a bit arrogant at times and often thinks of herself as better than others (although she recognizes her perceived superiority and tries to actively hide it from others so they aren’t uncomfortable around her).

Hannah may or may not have done something to her roommate Agnes that caused her serious injury. As a result Hannah is Continue reading “A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel”

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

perfumeSynopsis from Goodreads
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

My Thoughts
I love historical fiction and the premise of the book was intriguing to me. It is clear the author did his research on perfume and perfume making. His ability to describe scents was both fascinating and sometimes disgusting, but always impressively authentic. I could almost smell the perfumes and scents the author described. But I have to say straight out that I really did not enjoy this book.

The first part of the story through Grenouille’s first apprenticeship was interesting and enjoyable, but after that it really went off the rails for me personally. The events of Grenouille’s life when he went out on his own were bizarre and downright boring. Even when he started murdering people for their scent (not a spoiler – it is given away already in the title and the description) it was boring. And I honestly don’t even know how to put into words how utterly strange and unbelievable and weird the ending was. Truly, truly bizarre, but not in a way that was interesting to me at all.

Wikipedia states “With translations into 49 languages and more than 20 million copies sold to date worldwide, Perfume is one of the largest book sales among 20th Century German novels. The title remained in bestseller lists for about 9 years, and received almost unanimously positive national and international critical acclaim.”  Based on this and other highly complimentary reviews I’ve read for this book, I am clearly in the minority by not being in love with this novel.

Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood for this book at the time I read it. I don’t know. All I know is that it wasn’t for me.

First published in 1985 in Germany.

My rating – 2 out of 5

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

99Synopsis from Goodreads
A vivid historical thriller about a young woman whose quest to free her sister from an infamous insane asylum risks her sanity, her safety and her life. Charlotte Smith’s future is planned to the last detail, and so was her sister’s – until Phoebe became a disruption. When their parents commit Phoebe to a notorious asylum, Charlotte knows there’s more to the story than madness. Shedding her identity to become an anonymous inmate, “Woman Ninety-Nine,” Charlotte uncovers dangerous secrets. Insanity isn’t the only reason her fellow inmates were put away – and those in power will do anything to keep the truth, or Charlotte, from getting out.

My Thoughts
A Little Background
The real Nelly Bly is mentioned throughout this book, particularly as an inspiration to Charlotte. Bly was famous for her “stunt journalism” which included going undercover Continue reading “Woman 99 by Greer Macallister”

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

harrySynopsis from Goodreads
Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane, lifelong lover of trees, works as an analyst in a treeless US Forest Service office. When his wife dies in a freak accident, devastated, he makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, intent on losing himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She, too, has lost someone—her father. And in the magical, willful world of her reckoning, Oriana believes that Harry is the key to finding her way back to him. As Harry agrees to help the young girl, the unlikeliest of elements—a tree house, a Wolf, a small-town librarian and a book called The Grum’s Ledger—come together to create the biggest sensation ever to descend upon the Endless Mountains…a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open the door to a new life for Harry.

My Thoughts
This is a magical tale of love, loss, grief, healing, letting go, and moving on. The story was incredibly well written and the character development was top-notch! Even the minor characters were fully developed and had interesting and important roles in the story. Continue reading “Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen”