Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: "What You Left Behind" by Samantha Hayes

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes is a chilling story of a cluster of teenage suicides in a small country town, Radcote. Though it happened before the novel began, a few new deaths re-open old community wounds (and investigations). Detective Lorraine Fisher visits her sister just as her nephew goes missing and together with neighbors and the local police force, they do everything they can to figure out what is going on in Radcote.

The novel was suspenseful and mysterious, doing a nice job of resolving itself, but not revisiting every
piece of the puzzle. It was dark, scary, and disturbing at times, as one might expect from the brief description above. 

The story is told from multiple perspectives, which adds a lot of insight and intrigue. It is especially impactful in the prologue/epilogue, but I don't want to spoil anything!

It was a fast paced book that held my attention the entire time and never slowed down. 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: "Princess Joy Sticker & Activity Book" inspired by Jeanna Young & Jacqueline Johnson with Pictures by Omar Aranda

The Princess Joy Sticker & Activity Book is a short 16-page booklet, but packs a lot of different activities into its few pages. The book starts with a "Once upon a time..." two sentence story with a full color picture and clearly identified places to put six of the 50 stickers that come with the book. The other stickers can be used to decorate other pages, but are not specified for a specific use.

There isn't much of a story line, but there's enough to give the book a theme: Princess Joy's birthday. Each page has a few sentences explaining the activity and talking about the upcoming birthday party. The illustrations give the book a very Disney feel.

Activities include: word search, coloring pages, party invitation decoration, maze, spot the differences, secret code (fill in the letters for the corresponding provided numerical equivalent), counting, and hidden item search.

The suggested age range is 4-8 and the activities do seem to vary quite a bit in the difficulty level. I don't think any of the activities would be too difficult for a four year old with some adult help though.

I imagine this would be a great book for a special occasion, such as camping or a weekend vacation. It's a short and sweet book that kids will love, where the only downside is the limited story and lack of more directions for sticker use.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from BookLook for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

To Review: "What You Left Behind" by Samantha Hayes

Next up to review is a novel by Samantha Hayes, What You Left Behind

It is a detective story about a collection of suicides that happened in a small town. At first it's just an unusual new story, a mystery, but then things get a little too close to home for the detective and her family...

Look for my review coming soon!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: "Deception on Sable Hill" by Shelley Gray

Though Deception on Sable Hill is the second of the Chicago World's Fair mystery series, I did not feel lost having not read the first novel. However, this book was so enjoyable I may have to go back and read it out of order!

Eloise Carstairs is considered by many to be the most eligible bachelorette: she comes from a very wealthy family, is beautiful, and has a spotless reputation. What her high society acquaintances don't know is that she's hiding a horrible secret. At the beginning of the novel she's hasn't told anyone that she was sexually assaulted, and that haunts her through the story. 

When Eloise finally gets up the courage to start attending parties again, she stumbles into another horrible nightmare. There's a "Society Slasher" on the loose, attacking well-to-do ladies with a stiletto knife, marring their beautiful faces. 

Lieutenant Detective Sean Ryan is on the case and he takes a special interest in ensuring Eloise's safety. Despite being of a much lower class, the two develop an affection for one another. Through their relationship, they teach each other that class shouldn't matter so much and that beauty is as internal as it is external. 

Though the story takes place during the Chicago World's Fair, it is mentioned only briefly and only one scene takes place there. I enjoyed reading about society, the Chicago slums, and in general what Chicago was like in that time period, but I would've liked to see more of the fair as well. 

The characters are lovable and have diverse personalities that create interesting situations. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good romance story with a bit of mystery and  crime. 

I received this book courtesy of BookLook in exchange for an honest review.