Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: A Shadow of Light

A Shadow of Light, by Bella Forrest (A Shade of Vampire #4).

A few hours later, just before the sun was about to rise, I was sitting in the submarine that would take me back to The Shade. I wanted to feel excitement about my return to the island that had been my home for centuries,  but all I felt was dread. Somehow, I already knew that what I would come upon wouldn't be a warm and happy welcome, but instead, complete and utter chaos.

I was right.

A Shadow of Light is the fourth book in the A Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest, and I've reviewed all of the novels thus far (see below for my previous reviews). Each book gets better and better and I can't wait for the next book in the series, A Blaze of Sun, which is scheduled to be released in October.

Official synopsis:
Since the implosion at The Oasis and Derek's stay at Hawk Headquarters, The Shade has fallen into a state of utter chaos. To make matters worse, the citizens of Derek's kingdom have become suspicious of his loyalties and accuse him of siding with the enemy... At a time when Derek desperately needs full cooperation from his subjects, they wish to put their own King on trial.

Meanwhile, Sofia is being held hostage by the hunters. They are determined to rid her of her infatuation with the vampire. She submits to the strict routine and training they impose on her, but the only fuel that keeps her going is the thought of reuniting with Derek - something Reuben is fighting with every fiber of his being to ensure will never happen.

...Until one day, out of the blue, Reuben appears to have a change of heart and comes to Sofia with a proposal; a solution that she never dreamed possible. A solution that would fulfil her heart's deepest desires and secure her and Derek's future together, forever.

But can she really trust this man who is so renowned for his hatred of vampires? Does she even have a choice?
-

The novel starts out with everyone trapped by the hunters, one of whom is Sofia's father, Aiden Claremont (known as Reuben now). He's having some issues with her vampire (formerly human) mother being there, as he's still attracted to her; Ingrid Maslen, as she's known now, however, wants to use this to her advantage. Sofia wants to escape so she can be reunited with Derek, who was also at hunter headquarters but has escaped, but it's not as easy as it may look.

The ending of this novel sets up the next book nicely, and is also very intriguing - there's a lot of talk of The Original, as in the original (first) vampire ever, which is a little Vampire Diaries but also interesting. Sofia and her father think they've found the cure for vampirism, but unfortunately it doesn't work quite as well as they had hoped; Sophia is "the immune" which means she can't be turned into a vampire, which is a bummer for her and Derek's relationship, obviously - she doesn't want to be 50 or 60 later in life while he's still stuck at 18, the age they both are now.

I definitely recommend this book but start at the beginning of the series if you haven't read the others - the novels all segue into one another and it's a bit confusing if you were to skip one or more of the books ahead of time.

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was given an e-copy of this novel to review by the author. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Check out my reviews of all the novels in the series!
#1: A Shade of Blood
#2: A Castle of Sand
#3: A Shade of Vampire

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Christian Nation

Christian Nation, by Frederic C. Rich.

Here are the facts. I was a lawyer and then a fighter for the secular side in the Holy War that ended in 2020 following the siege of Manhattan. Like so many others, I earned my release from three years of rehabilitation on Governors Island by accepting Jesus Christ as my savior. For the past five years I have lived as a free citizen of the Christian Nation. This is the only truth I have allowed myself. Can I really now think and write the words that express a different truth? Here they are then: I am no longer chained in my cell, but for five years I have been bound even more firmly by the fifty commandments of The Blessing and the suffocating surveillance of the Purity Web. The cloak of collective righteousness lies heavy on the land.

I probably would not have picked up Christian Nation if I was browsing in a bookstore - I'm not the religious type - but I'm very glad I received this book to review. It recounts events up until the 2008 election, all of which is true, but then Obama loses the election 49% to McCain's 51% - and then, three weeks after taking office, McCain drops dead of a heart attack and Sarah Palin takes over.

Official synopsis:
Frederic C. RichImagine an America in which President John McCain has died, and his successor Sarah Palin begins dismantling the separation between church and state in order to implement her Christian fundamentalist agenda. That's what prominent lawyer Frederic C. Rich envisioned when he wrote his debut novel Christian Nation.

Rich paints a disturbing and all-too-realistic portrait of a nation whose government slowly marches to the Right, eventually using martial law to implement full-blown theocratic rule. Against this backdrop he tells the stories of Sanjay, an Internet entrepreneur who takes up the flag against the evangelical forces, and his friend Greg, a lawyer who at first tries to live his life despite these changes, who eventually decides he cannot sit idly by. Rights for gays and women are rolled back, the Bible becomes the ultimate law of the land, and eventually it is left to the residents of New York City to make a last violent stand against federal forces.
-

I'm not really into politics but I found this book to be fascinating. It reminded me a bit of The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, in that life as we know it is still existing, and on this planet, too, but everything we used to take for granted is now different. Under Sarah Palin's reign, the U.S. starts to become more religious, but it's when her successor, President Jordan, takes office that things really start to get crazy.

I'd consider this novel a dystopian book, but what's scary about it is that it's totally plausible, too. I'd love to see this be made into a movie, but I doubt it will be, since there would most likely be a ton of opposition to it - it's controversial, especially for Christians, I'd imagine - and it overlaps with reality too much. (who would play Obama and McCain, I wonder?)

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopian novels or ones with political themes - I will say that someone who is more into politics than I am probably would enjoy it even more than I did, even though I did find it to be very interesting. The novel starts in 2029 with the main character, Greg, typing out his store on an old-fashioned typewriter - anything done online is done on the Purity Web, which is monitored by the government - and he spins us back to the mid-2000s to show us how the Christian Nation really began.

3.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: Rock and a Hard Place

Rock and a Hard Place (The Jamieson Collection, #1) by Angie Stanton.

Only Peter could turn the violent scars from a devastating accident into something beautiful. He was the sweetest person she'd ever met. Without another word, he lifted first one hand and then the other and softly kissed each little mark on her tender, scarred hands.

Libby's mouth opened in wonder. His warm breath tickled her skin as his lips gently moved. Goose bumps danced up her arms. Never in her life had she felt this way, and she never wanted this moment to end.

Rock and a Hard Place was originally released in May 2011, and just re-released with a new (and much improved, in my opinion) cover, from HarperCollins. I was able to snag a copy from Edelweiss and since I haven't read any good YA romances in a while, I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, it reads like "teen lite," for the most part, and there were a lot of issues I had with it.

Official synopsis:
Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti, Angie Stanton's swoon-worthy romance--about an ordinary girl and a young rock star--will keep readers on the edge of their seats . . . and leave them wanting more.

In an instant, Libby's life went from picture-perfect to a nightmare. After surviving a terrible car accident, Libby is abandoned by her father and left with her controlling aunt. A new town, a new school, no friends--Libby is utterly alone. But then she meets Peter.

The lead singer in a rock band with his brothers, Peter hates that his parents overly manage his life. Constantly surrounded by family, Peter just wants to get away. And when he meets Libby, he's finally found the one person who just wants to be with him, not the rock star.

But while Peter battles his family's growing interference in both his music and personal life, Libby struggles with her aunt, who turns nastier each day. And even though Libby and Peter desperately want to be together, their drastically different lives threaten to keep them apart forever.
-

I say this reads as "teen lite" for a few reasons. Although the story was compelling, everything happens at warp speed: Libby meets Peter, and like one or two "dates" (hanging out at a glen near her house) later, they're in love. Libby's aunt, who took her in after her family died in a car accident, is very mean to her, but is almost a caricature; she becomes more bizarre by the page. There's a lot of things in the novel that could happen in real life but would be difficult; unfortunately, I can't give away these without spoilers.

I did like the overall story in this novel, but everything played out a little too perfectly, even though Libby had a hard life after her parents and sister passed away, and the ending tied itself up in a neat little bow, for the most part.

I will say that I would read the next book in the series, Snapshot, if I have time - it focuses on another of the Jamieson brothers (who reminded me of the Jonas brothers, by the way), but this series is not one that I would make a priority to read.

Rock and a Hard Place (with the new cover) will be in stores on September 24th. 3 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1)

Frozen (Heart of Dread #1),  by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston.

The voice in her head was the reason her eyes were not brown or gray. Her clear tiger eyes - hazel-green with the golden pupils - that told the world she carried a mark on her skin, one that she kept hidden, one that was shaped like a flame and hurt like a burn, right above her heart. The reason she was imprisoned, the reason they wanted her to do as she was told.

The girl didn't want to be different. She did not want to be marked. She did not want to be what the voice said she was. What the commander and the doctors believed she was. A freak. A monster.

....
She never told them about the voice in her head.

But they found ways to use her anyway.

Melissa de la Cruz has done it again, and this time her husband - formerly a silent partner in the Blue Bloods series and her other work, apparently - is collaborating with her on this new series, Heart of Dread. We are introduced to Nat, a teenager with some special talents, who wants to find her way to "the Blue" - this dystopia's version of paradise, if it indeed exists.

Official synopsis:
Frozen, Melissa de la Cruz and Michael JohnstonFrom New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.
-

de la Cruz is a master at her craft, and this book is no different. I love dystopian novels, and although I wish this novel had more of a concrete ending, I'm excited to read book 2 in the series, whenever that is released.

I was fascinated by the "New Vegas" concept too - de la Cruz definitely knows her way around Vegas, as she mentions the Wynn hotel, now called The Loss, as well as the Bellagio and a few of the hotels that are still around in this new city. People pay for things with "heat credits," which reminded me of the movie In Time a bit (paying with time versus credits, though), and Wes (Ryan Wesson) and his band of guys are constantly poor and looking for ways to make money. Wes agrees to ferry Nat to the Blue for a price, but he doesn't bargain on falling in love with her in the process.

This book would be great as a movie, too, in my opinion - hopefully the rights will be sold at some point, although I believe the Blue Bloods series has yet to be made into a movie, and same for The Au Pairs, also by her.

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review and GIVEAWAY: How to Discipline Your Vampire

How to Discipline Your Vampire, by Mina Vaughn.

"I think I have one you'll like, if I may," he said politely.

I must be dreaming. "Proceed," I said, both anticipating and dreading what was going to come from his lips next. Please don't be a student scene ...

"I'm a vampire who has endured decades of loneliness. All I want is a woman who I can worship - who will look past my flaws. I need a fearless Domme who will punish me for all my past misdeeds.

This guy was either insane, or a fucking genius.

And to be perfectly honest, I didn't care.

I received a pitch email for this book while I was at BlogHer back in July, and the title of the novel immediately intrigued me. The novel turned out to be a 50 Shades "lite" type book, except there's a Domme (female dominatrix) instead of a Dom (male, like Christian Grey), and the story was very cute and a good read.

Official synopsis:
Cerise Norrel, Type A substitute teacher by day, is ready to quit being a domme. Despite her best intentions, none of her partners can keep up with her scene fetish and attention to detail—let alone her demand that they have a costume and set waiting every afternoon by the time she’s home from school.

Over a dozen potential subs have left her in the past year, but just when Cerise thinks it’s impossible—that she’ll have to go back to vanilla relationships, or be alone forever—she meets William, who wants to make all her fantasies come true. He turns her home into a geisha’s dream apartment, a concert hall with a grand piano (which he uses to play an original composition while wearing a tuxedo), and even rents an abandoned loft for a zombie apocalypse scene—complete with canned goods.

But there’s something strange about William. Well, a lot of strange things. He must be absurdly rich, since he can afford to provide extravagant costumes and props on a daily basis without having to leave work early. He must be insane, since he puts up with Cerise’s over-the-top demands. And most importantly, he doesn’t redden when he’s spanked, and his skin is as cool as satin sheets. When Cerise discovers she’s become dome to the infamous “Chilly Willy,” as he’s known throughout the BDSM urban lore, she begins to find out there’s a whole lot more to her handsome submissive than a creative mind and a hard body.

And when it’s William, ironically, who starts pressing Cerise to give him the kind of commitment she’s never given anyone, it’ll take everything she has to work through her issues, confront her past, and learn to be vulnerable.
-

Both Cerise and William have interesting backstories, which is why this novel works so well. He's a vampire who turns out to be a virgin, until he meets Cerise, and he's a sub (submissive, as in Dominant and submissive) who is looking for the right "mistress." Cerise is a substitute teacher who could be full-time if she wanted, but lacks initiative, and is a Domme who had issues with her last sub and is looking for a new one. They meet at a "speed dating" type event, and later she find out he has the nickname "Chilly Willy," because he's always cold ... which she later finds out is because he's a vampire, but that only turns her on more/fascinates her instead.

I liked both of the main characters in this story, and it was interesting to learn more about Cerise's lifestyle. She's very demanding of her subs but William, being extremely rich (and also a vampire who can do things at lightning speed ...), is able to please her, but when they start to get emotionally closer she has to decide if she just wants to be his Domme or if they can engage in a normal relationship as well.

The one thing that I did find a little weird in the book is that Cerise nicknamed her, um, "lady parts" - her name is Bizzy. I know that in movies and whatnot, guys sometimes do this, or women do this to guys, but this is the first I've stumbled upon it with a woman giving herself a nickname, and it was definitely strange. It did inspire a funny conversation between Cerise and William but I feel that it could have been left out of the book.

Make sure to check out the book's trailer below to get a sense of the novel, and enter my giveaway too to receive an e-copy of the novel.

3.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was given an e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.



GIVEAWAY:


I have two e-copies of How to Discipline Your Vampire to give away to my lucky readers.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends Monday, September 23rd at 11:59pm - winner will be notified on September 24th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

Open to all (including international) since they're e-books.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 15, 2013

GIVEAWAY: win a $40 Incredibundles gift card, ends 9/22

Incredibundles gift card giveawayIn July, I took part in a giveaway where you had the chance to win a year's worth of books, toys, and diapers from Incredibundles. Now I have a follow-up giveaway, but it's not a group contest: you can win a $40 gift card towards any of their products!

IncrediBundles.com, the home of extraordinary baby gifts, redesigned the baby gift basket to create gifts that are as practical as they are stylish. The company got rid of the cellophane and wicker and replaced them with chic reusable storage containers filled with the best books, toys and products for babies. IncrediBundles.com features a line of foolproof baby gifts, allowing gift-givers to give the nursery essentials every new parent wants and needs.

Want to give a new mom a supply of diapers? It’s easy with an IncrediBundles.com Diaper Bundle! IncrediBundles.com will send a beautiful announcement package to your recipient featuring a cuddly bear and a certificate for a 3, 6, 9 or 12-month Diaper Subscription. Then, each month, mom and dad can select the brand and size of diapers they would like delivered straight to their door!

And the gift that I think is pretty cool ... 
Why not fill the new baby’s nursery with all of the best books for a child’s first year and beyond? An IncrediBundles.com Book Bundle is the ultimate in baby book gifts. Give a whole Year of Books for a truly spectacular present.

You can also provide countless hours of playtime for the new little one! Give a Learn and Grow Bundle or A Year of Toys. An IncrediBundles.com toy gift stocks a baby’s nursery with must-have toys for lots of imaginative play in that first important year of learning.

Don’t forget to check out the company’s line of individual bundles. From Bath Bundles to Organics, you will find gifts in a variety of themes and price points. If you want to get in on the bundling fun, go to the Create A Bundle section to build your bundle from scratch by selecting from all of the individual items on the site!

You can find more about Incredibundles at these links:


GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. One winner will be chosen, and the contest ends Sunday, September 22nd at 11:59pm - winner will be notified on September 23rd and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review and GIVEAWAY: Hallows Haven, ends 9/21

Hallows Haven, by Melissa Brodsky and Nicole Madison.

When she was finally able to gain control of the erratic shifting by envisioning and holding onto a mental picture of who she was, she reemerged. But not really, not completely. Her Drivel 11th-grade self would never be sitting up in this tree, perched so high from the ground. She was a different Gwen now, one with magic abilities. She could fly. She could shift. She was Magick.

Before you ask, no, I didn't misspell "magic" in that above blurb - the authors decided to spell it "magick" throughout, which has been done before but is a little jarring. This is the second book by Melissa Brodsky (whom I know in real life) that I've read, and it was just as entertaining as the first - I love paranormal stories and YA books, so when you combine them the result is often great.

Official synopsis:
giveawayCaptain of the cheerleading team, 16 year old Gwen Valiente has it all--the best of friends, a loving home, and a bright future. Little does she know that the people she loves the most have been keeping secrets--life-altering secrets.

When strange things start to happen to Gwen, she is thrust into a magickal new realm called Hallows Haven. Leaving the ordinary behind, she discovers that she can do things beyond her wildest dreams. As Hallows Haven begins to feel more like home, Gwen wonders how she ever felt satisfied with everyday life in Michigan.

Too late, Gwen realizes that even in this realm full of light and magick, danger lurks. Someone close to her is not what he seems and someone will do anything to draw her out of Hallows Haven and into the darkness. Even worse, some of that darkness may already exist within her, threatening her chance to make Hallows Haven her permanent home.

Have Gwen's loved ones continued to keep dangerous secrets? Can Gwen resist the call of darkness?

-

Gwen was originally from Michigan in the book, which I of course liked (I'm from metro Detroit), and it was interesting to see how she adapted to Hallows Haven from the Drivel (non-magical) world. I definitely saw a lot of Harry Potter influences throughout, from when she first goes shopping with her grandmother (Diagon Alley) to when she starts learning about all of the cool stuff she can actually do (Hogwarts year 1) but there were some unique things thrown in as well.

The ending of the book is very abrupt/open-ended, and the authors have said that, at minimum, Hallows Haven will be a trilogy, with the second book coming out this December 2013, so keep a lookout for it then. I definitely want to read it so I know what happens to Gwen! Until then, you can follow Hallows Haven on Facebook, or buy a copy on Amazon (and make sure to enter my below contest, too).

3.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this novel from the authors to read. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.



GIVEAWAY:


I have two e-copies of Hallows Haven for some of my lucky readers.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends Saturday, September 21st at 11:59pm - winner will be notified on September 22nd and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen. Open to all (international too) since they're e-books.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Heart of the Vampire (Vanderlind Castle #2)

Heart of the Vampire, by Gayla Twist.

"But his death was not my fault," I repeated. "He caused his own death. I just happened to be there."

"That doesn't matter," she insisted. "You are a human, and someone must pay."

"That's so unfair," I insisted. My legs were trembling, but I had to be brave. I had to keep talking. She was, after all, planning to kill me. "This is like in the movies when some nerd wants revenge on some jock, so he does something to humiliate the jock's girlfriend."

"No, it's not," she insisted. "It's not like that at all."

"Yes, it is," I fired right back at her. "It's the exact same thing."

I reviewed the first Vanderlind book, Call of the Vampire, back in April, and have been waiting since then to get my hands on the sequel, which ended up being just as good as the first. The final book in the trilogy, Fate of the Vampire, will be out this winter, as well.

Official synopsis:
vampire book Gayla TwistAurora Keys is heartbroken, struggling to forget the beautiful and enigmatic Jessie Vanderlind, who has told her it is too dangerous for them to be together. And he may be right. Jessie is, after all, a vampire. But that doesn't make forgetting him any easier.

Just as Aurora is starting to pull her shattered life back together, Jessie reappears at her window with a warning: there are many vampires who want to see her dead—and him locked in a coffin for a hundred years. Aurora and Jessie are accused of staking a vampire for the sake of a human and must fly to Budapest to plead their case in front of a vampire tribunal. Their only hope of survival is to convince the world’s oldest vampire family that they are desperately in love—and have been for nearly 80 years.
-

I'll be honest and say that the whole "vampire tribunal" thing did remind me a lot of Twilight, where Bella's life is threatened by the Volturi, but the author puts her unique spin on the events in this novel. The concept of reincarnation has always been interesting to me, too, and Aurora has to pretend to be her great-aunt to convince the tribunal that Jessie's killing for her - of a fellow vampire - was justified.

Jessie and Aurora have great chemistry in the novel, and I love the way Twist always has Aurora connect what's going on back to the "normal" world - see the above quote, for example. The Vanderlind series has more humor than other vampire stories I've read, and I'm curious to see how Jessie and Aurora end up in the third - and last - book in the series later this year.

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the author for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver.

It's still difficult for me to venture into public. You would think, in a country that so famously has "no sense of history," as Europeans claim, that I might cash in on America's famous amnesia. No such luck. No one in this "community" shows any signs of forgetting, after a year and eight months - to the day. So I have to steel myself when provisions run low. Oh, for the clerks at the 7-Eleven on Hopewell Street my novelty has worn off, and I can pick up a quart of milk without glares. But our regular Grand Union remains a gauntlet.

I recently read We Need to Talk About Kevin for a book club I'm in, and I won't lie: it was a hard read to get through, both content- and reading-wise. It's written beautifully, but the author (Shriver) is very descriptive (see above, for example) and it's hard to decide if you feel bad for Eva, the narrator, or if you dislike her.

Official synopsis:
Lionel ShriverEva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
-

There's a major twist at the end of this novel that many will not see coming - I did, and was hoping I was wrong, as it's a gruesome one, but it was interesting when it actually happened. The book is about Eva, whose son Kevin murdered nine people at high school, and how she tried to be maternal all during his childhood, but found herself to be lacking in that department.

What's interesting about this book is that Eva could have seen it coming: ever since Kevin was a baby, she found him to be disinterested in life, and he always hated her and his father. Once Celia, his sister, was born seven years after him, Eva sees a second chance at motherhood for herself; Kevin just sees another person to torment. At the same time, Kevin is very smart and cunning - he knows enough to pretend to be "a good boy" around his father, and for some reason he only lets his mother see his "dark side."

I would recommend this book, just know that it's hard to get through, as I mentioned before - it's definitely worth reading, but don't expect to breeze through it. A movie with the same name came out recently as well, and I haven't watched it but plan to soon; Tilda Swinton plays Eva, with John C. Reilly as her husband and Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as Kevin.

Shriver really gets into Eva's mind in this novel - how she sees/interprets Kevin, especially - and with school and other shootings so rampant in the U.S. these days, it's interesting to see how one can grow up to "be" a killer;  Kevin certainly had the signs, although Eva does say once the massacre at his school happens that she didn't initially think he was the killer.

4 stars out of 5.

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