Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Loan Some Novella Review

Loan Some by Megan McLachlan


It's been a bad week for Vera. She lost the job she loved as a librarian and ended a comfortable and seemingly reliable relationship. So when her eye catches a job ad for a company that boasts "a library of characters for every occasion", impulse (and the word "library") compels her to respond.

Shortly thereafter, Vera has accepted her first assignment from Loan Some, a business that rents out people who play parts at special occasions. Need a mourner at your funeral or a pretend girlfriend to make your ex-wife jealous at a comic book convention? Look no further.

The rules are strict: hide your identity, and no fraternizing with the clients. But as Vera begins relaxing into her new role - or rather, litany of roles - she finds herself attracted to several men, including the charming and flirtatious Greg Goodman as well as Cole, the sizzling nephew of the Lone Some CEO.

Vera's comfortable, if unusual, existence comes to an abrupt halt when she finds herself face-to-face with the woman she's been tracking for the last thirty-or-so years - the mother who abandoned her.

Will Vera be able to maintain her alias amid the family she never knew she had?

Review by Brittany:

I won this novella in a Goodreads giveaway, and the premise of the novel caught my attention immediately. I was excited to read it and was interested in the story.

Vera is a laid-off librarian in search of a new job. She stumbles upon Loan Some, a service that hires out people to serve as friends at events. She gets tangled up in a job that leads her to her estranged mother, but she isn't supposed to tell anyone her real identity.

I like the idea of Lone Some, and I think the author could do a lot with that idea, even in the future. I did feel like the author tried to shove too much story into this one novella. Everything happened way too fast, and I think that the different events Vera is hired to attend would each make interesting novellas, if the author chose to go that route. This one just had too much to it, especially considering the emotional discovery of her mother.

That being said, I still enjoyed it. I liked the idea and I thought the story line was interesting. I don't know if this is intended to be the first in a series of novellas or if this is a standalone. The ending left me feeling a bit incomplete, so I hope for more. I also think the author could consider fleshing this out a bit more. I'd read it again as a longer novel for sure.

Overall, I enjoyed this novella, but would have liked a little more to it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bad Games Book Review

Bad Games by Jeff Menapace
(Bad Games Series Book 1)


The Lambert family is heading to Crescent Lake, a rural cabin community in western Pennsylvania, for an idyllic weekend getaway. Some fishing, some barbecue, some games...

The Fannelli brothers are heading to Crescent Lake too. Some stalking, some kidnapping, some murder, definitely some games...though not necessarily the type of games the Lamberts had in mind.

But it doesn't matter. The Lamberts are going to play whether they like it or not.

An intense psychological thriller, Bad Games has the dark, mind-bending terror of Cape Fear, combined with the fish-out-of-water dread and suspense of Deliverance.

So let Jeff Menapace's bestselling thriller keep you up all night as it delves into the mystery of nature versus nurture when comprehending the evil in man, along with the will and determination an innocent family must summon to fight back against horrific odds.

Review by Brittany:

Wow. My first reaction to this book is simply WOW. I am a horror film fan and consider myself one who is capable of stomaching some pretty brutal scenes, but this book really tested that.

It starts out with Amy and Patrick Lambert taking their two children (Caleb and Carrie) on a family trip. From the time they stop for gas in the first chapter, unsettling events start to happen. It starts small - a stranger pays for their gas, a man hits on Amy in a grocery store - but events soon escalate. Before long, Amy and Patrick are abducted and in a battle for their lives and the lives of their children.

The suspense in this book is spot on. Things move along at a nice pace, and I felt the urge to keep reading. This author understands little things that might unsettle people and uses those to keep the reader interested. There was also good relationship development, both between Amy and Patrick and between the Fannelli brothers.

The violence in this book was pretty spot on as well. The images in this book are gruesome, so keep that in mind if you plan to pick this one up. The level of violence did make the villains seem bad and the Lamberts seem desperate, so it does play its role in this book. However, some scenes are a bit hard to read, and certain levels of torture and abuse are hinted at and explicitly spelled out in this book.

Overall, this was a good fit for me. Being a horror fan, this book is right up my alley. If you are also a horror fan, you should definitely pick this up. If horror/thriller isn't your genre, then this book definitely won't be for you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Love Like Crazy Book Review

Love Like Crazy by Megan Squires


Relationships. Love. Life.

All things that can be considered - and oftentimes are - just a bit crazy.

With an alcoholic father and an absentee mother, seventeen-year-old Eppie Aberdeen has learned firsthand that life's circumstances aren't always sunshine and roses.

So Eppie doesn't expect the fairytale, because reality certain isn't one. She's not waiting on the handsome prince with his white horse to come to her rescue. But even though she's not waiting on it, that doesn't stop nineteen-year-old Lincoln Ross from driving straight into her heart with his teal and white campervan and his too tall stature and perpetually goofy grin.

It's difficult to believe in a happily ever after when a happy now is quite hard to find. But Lincoln gives Eppie hope that despite the odds, a true and unconditional love might actually be out there. A revised fairytale. A new kind of love story.

But then again, that might just be plain crazy.

Review by Brittany:

I downloaded this when it was on a free Kindle promotion on the recommendation of another author whose books I enjoy.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were all a bit quirky, and being in Eppie's head was often an amusing place to be. The way her mind worked was entertaining and kept me turning pages, even more so than the events that were happening throughout the book. The way that Eppie and Lincoln meet (she's rescuing an animal and he valiantly offers to pay) was a bit unconventional, but as the story continued I came to realize that everything about these characters matched that first encounter. They are unconventional, and they develop a romantic relationship on their own time and in their own way.

The reader knows from the very beginning that something is going on with Eppie. Her mother is absent with no explanation, and Eppie reveals that her father is an alcoholic who is often at the bars all night. As the book continues, Eppie slowly reveals through memories what happened with her mother and father and why her family life isn't ideal. Even though some of this is hard to talk about and hard to process, the author reveals it in such a way and surrounds it with scenes that keep the book on a positive level, as opposed to letting the sadness swallow the reader.

The end of the book was a nice wrap-up. Eppie and Lincoln have the same issues they've always had, but they've come to realize that the past made them who they are now, and they love each other. I always like endings that don't tie everything up neatly but still leave me feeling like the story is complete, and this author nailed that feeling.

Overall, this was an excellent book. I think this author did a good job of telling her story and developing her characters. I would reread this book, and I will definitely look for more by this author.

Notable quotes:

It didn't necessarily matter what form your impulses took, they were all felt the same.

"Not all breaks are clean. Sometimes we crumble, sometimes we erode. And those erosions, Eppie - the ones that chip away at our hopes and our dreams and our plans for our futures - those are often a lifetime in the making. It's those we must watch out for, my dear."

"I'm sorry that your experiences did that to you. Made you lose any hope that maybe we actually are meant to be happy in this life."

"You don't ever fall in love with the current version of someone, because I hate to burst your pretty little bubble, but that doesn't exist. We're the summation of our histories..."

We all harbored varying degrees of insanity within us, I figured. That was just the curse of being human.