Ramirez Reads

I am an avid reader and have very eclectic tastes when it comes to genre. I truly do not "judge a book by its cover. I will provide my best reviews of the books I have read and hopefully they will inspire others to open their minds and partake in books they never before thought they would read.  

Mad Love

Mad Love - Nick Spalding

At first I wasn't sure what to think about this book. I was even less sure I would actually like it. It starts out with the first person perspective of two individuals trying to make ends meets in this thing called life. One is Adam, a video game journalist living in a flat with some obnoxious roommates and a cross eyed rat. The other is a graduate student trying to earn a living working at a strip club as a waitress; this is Jessica. A couple months ago they had both entered a contest for a chance at a 30,000 pound payday and a lease to an apartment in a prime location. The hitch, however, is that the lucky couple chosen will need to marry each other. This is Sociality's newest gag in order to prove their love algorithms really work. Ultimately, Adam and Jessica are chosen as the lucky winners and must learn to get along if they are going to cash in on their prize.

This book has some laugh out loud moments, but also some good lessons about life and love and what it really takes to make a relationship work.

Unwept

Unwept - Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman

While I understand why some people did not like this book, I found it rather interesting. It is not typical of other books within this genre, and unlike many young adult books nowadays it does not involve vampires or werewolves (not that there is anything wrong with that necessarily). I did not find this book boring, but it was confusing at times simply because Ellis (the protagonist) has no idea what is going on. Much like other stories where amnesia, or memory loss in any form, is involved the story line comes in bits and pieces as Ellis tries to figure out what is going on, where she came from, and why she's now in Gamin. She's also wresting with memories of the past that come in fits and starts throughout the story and the knowledge that she knows certain people but she is not sure how she knows them. Thus far this appears to be a story about the struggle between good and evil, fantasy and reality with Ellis stuck squarely in the middle.

Spoilers

I Found You - Lisa Jewell
I Found You
This book had the feeling of a Du Maurier novel. The twists, turns, and suspense are reminiscent of Rebecca. Lisa Jewell's writing left me wanting more, and I immediately researched other books she has written to add to my "must read" list. For those who do not wish to read spoilers, please read no further.

"I Found You" begins with a man found on a beach by Alice, a hard-nosed yet generous single mother of three. He appears to be suffering from a case of amnesia as he has no recollection of where he comes from, why he is on the beach, or even his name. Alice brings him into her home and out of the rain with the intention of helping him for a couple of days until they can find out why he is there and who he is. It is apparent from the start that there is some trauma that has caused him to lose his memory and this becomes the linchpin for the rest of the story.

We are then introduced to Lily (in the present day), a Ukrainian woman who is newly wed and whose husband has mysteriously gone missing. Though the police do not want to help her at first, eventually they begin to investigate his disappearance. The mystery deepens when it is discovered that Carl's (the husband) passport is a fake, and that no record exists for anyone by his name. Lily is unwilling to believe the man she married is a fraud, and therefore embarks on a mission to find him and clear his name. However, she does not know anything about him, has never met his mother, and does not even have access to any of his personal information. Thankfully, she is able to discover the phone number of his friend Russ, who begins to help her in her search.

From another viewpoint (which takes place years earlier) we are introduced to the Ross family; Tony, Pam, Gray (Graham), and Kirsty. They are on an annual summer vacation at the shore when they are introduced to Mark Tate, a young, handsome, and charming 19 year-old. Much to the displeasure of Gray, Kirsty's older brother, Mark becomes infatuated with the 15 year-old girl and begins to seek out her company whenever possible. This takes a turn for the worse when his seemingly innocuous intentions become destructive. Unable to take no for an answer, Mark begins stalking Kirsty.

Back in the present day Alice and her children have become attached to the man they have called Frank. There is a burgeoning relationship between Alice and Frank, one which is not approved of by all, but it is overshadowed by Frank's inability to recall his past. However, he has had several flashes of memory which have caused both pain and fear. He remembers a young teenage girl rising a carousel. He remembers his mother's arms. But most importantly he remembers his hands around a man's throat. Despite his fear that he may have murdered someone, he makes sure to tell Alice everything. When days pass without further insight into who he is, however, they decide that the next day they will go see the police.

Meanwhile, Lily has found Carl's phone bill and tracked down his mother's phone number. She calls the number several times from Carl's phone, but nobody answers. In frustration she breaks his phone and is unable to put it back together. Instead she chooses to try the number using her phone, and she immediately gets an answer. The woman on the other end refuses to acknowledge knowing Carl, stating that she does not have a son; she hangs up on Lily. Not to be dissuaded by this turn of events, Lily asks Russ to call the number. Instead, he find the address associated with it and they embark on a journey to the seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay. There they find a grandiose house that looks as if it has been abandoned for years. However, using a key she found in Carl's belongings, Lily is able to open the house and soon discovers that it is not quite as abandoned as it first appeared. In fact, the attic room appears freshly laundered and recently inhabited.

Back in 1993, Kirsty has cut things off with Mark, and Gray and his family have gone out to dinner. There Gray falls for a singer names Izzy, who just happens to be friends with Mark. She invited Gray to a party at Mark's Aunt Kitty's house and suggests asking Kirsty to join them. Gray is completely infatuated with Izzy and asks Kirsty if she would like to join them at the party, not caring one way or the other if she said yes. Kirsty, not wanting to disappoint anybody, agrees to go to the party, though there is a curfew imposed by their father of midnight. Once at the house, drugs are given to each of them and, despite their initial reluctance, they both choose to take the pills. Gray looses track of his sister for a moment, instead focusing his attentions on Izzy, so that when he finally catches up with her again he finds that she has taken even more of the drugs and can no longer function normally. This is the point at which Mark's intentions become quite clear. He begins to argue with Kirsty and Gray stating that Kirsty should never have said she loved him if she did not mean it. Gray attempts to leave with his sister, but Kirsty is subdued and a knife is placed at her throat. She and Gray are locked in a room until the party is over, and there is no way to escape. Eventually Mark comes back and attempts to rape Kirsty, but Gray is able to escape and subdue Mark enough that Kirsty and he could get out of the house. Unfortunately, Mark was not one to be stopped and he pursues Gray and Kirsty onto the beach. Their father shows up, but is too far away to save Kirsty from Mark's clutches. Mark grabs her and jumps into the sea. Gray, whose arm was broken, is unable to swim but his father attempts to go after them. Unfortunately, the sea is too cold and the swim to laborious. Gray's father arrives back on the beach suffering a heart attack; he dies in Gray's arms and Gray enters a fugue state.

Back in the present day, Alice and Frank are about to head to the Police but decide to stop for a coffee with her friend Derry first. There Derry arranges a meeting with a journalist who is able to detail Gray's story and bring to light some of Franks memories. Frank begins to remember why he was at Ridinghouse Bay and what happened all those years ago. Meanwhile, Lily has made her way into the same shop asking about her husband. She shows their wedding photo album to Alice, Frank, and Derry and it is at this point that Frank remembers everything. He remembers seeing Carl (who turns out to be Mark) and taking him hostage. He also remembers strangling him. Though at the time he thinks he has killed him, it is later found that Mark is still alive. Visiting Mark's Aunt Kitty, the rest of the story takes shape and Frank/Gray is finally able to lay his sister to rest. It turns out that she had been buried in the Aunts yard ever since that fateful night. Mark is later caught and sent to prison along with his Aunt. Lily becomes an au pair for Russ. And, as was expected, Alice and Frank/Gray/Graham are able to begin their lives anew together.

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood Interesting book, but I wish there was a more conclusive ending. I felt like I needed to know what had happened to this character.

The Humbug Murders: An Ebenezer Scrooge Mystery (Ebenezer Scrooge Mysteries)

The Humbug Murders: An Ebenezer Scrooge Mystery (Ebenezer Scrooge Mysteries) - L. J. Oliver Fun read

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End - Atul Gawande Great great book about end-of-life care, elder care, and the limitations of modern medicine. This is a must read for everyone.

Ghost Gifts

Ghost Gifts - Laura Spinella It's a pretty good book, but I wouldn't say it is great. It is an easy read if you just need something to keep your mind entertained, but there are quite a few cliche's that I don't really appreciate (the love story being one of them). I wish the author would have thought a little further outside the box then to throw the main protagonists together in a very predictable way.

The Girl In Between (The Girl In Between Series Book 1)

The Girl In Between (The Girl In Between Series Book 1) - Laekan Zea Kemp Decent book with interesting story/ point of view. Definitely a book for a young adult, but interesting nonetheless.

Vostok: A Sequel to the Loch

Vostok: A Sequel to the Loch - Steve Alten I did not like the introduction of aliens into this book. It made everything less enjoyable. I wish Alten would have stuck with prehistoric creatures like the other Loch and Meg books.

New England Witch Chronicles

New England Witch Chronicles - Chelsea Bellingeri This was a pretty good book; exactly what I would expect from a young adult novel. A girl stuck between two guys, a supernatural angle, a girl who is not so secure in her own skin but is described as the prettiest girl in school etc. The first half of this book is an introduction to the characters and a description of Alexandia's life in Hazel Cove (an apt name for the setting of a witch book). Despite this less than stellar beginning, the book ended rather well and I don't mind saying that I want to read the next book. While it is possible I might regret paying the $2.99 for the sequel, my guess is that her next book will be better than her first.

Dust Angel

Dust Angel - Jutta Profijt While this was good enough to finish, I can't get over the main character's obsession with her ex-boyfriend. I won't ruin anything for anyone who decides to read this book, but if you're of the same mind as I then you will, no dount, be annoyed by this as well.

The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry Don't know why this got low ratings. I personally loved this book. There is a twist at the end that is really ingenious.

King Tut's Private Eye

King Tut's Private Eye - Lee Levin Technically I shouldn't have this book. I borrowed it from the library back when I was about 15... I still have it (sheepish grin)

Rebecca

Rebecca -  Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman One of my most favorite books of all time. I recommend this book to EVERYONE. Daphne Du Maurier is actually my all-time favorite author.... EVER!

The Loch

The Loch - Steve Alten Really liked this book, enough that I finished it (480+ pages) in 1 1/2 days. It was fun to read and adventurous enough that you just keep wanting to know what happens in the next chapter.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Eats, Shoots  &  Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Lynee Truss I originally picked this up to help me on my punctuation. I thought it would be boring, but it ended up being funny and witty. I really enjoyed it!