Archive for the ‘You Review’ Category

You Review: Don’t Try to Find Me – Molly Brown

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Reviewed by Sara Raap

I have to be honest here, when I saw that Don’t Try To Find Me by Holly Brown was recommended for those who loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn I was intrigued. But does this book live up to Gone Girl, a book that people seem to love or hate, not much in between?

Marley is a fourteen-year-old girl from a happy, normal suburban family. Dad Paul is a control freak, and mom Rachel is a homely wife with a job to keep her occupied. They have no money troubles, they live in a nice former farm in a small town; in short, everything seems to be well.

But then Marley disappears, leaving behind her iPhone, iPad and a note on the whiteboard in the kitchen, telling her parents “Don’t Try To Find Me”. Of course they don’t listen, and Paul starts an online campaign, using Facebook and Twitter and a special website to draw attention to their lost daughter. Rachel seems lost, not knowing what to do or how to react. Soon it is revealed that she has her own secrets, secrets that made her lie to the police about where she was the morning Marley disappeared.

The book follows Marley and what happens to her, and Rachel in her own struggles and search for Marley. The twist in the story is not as shocking (or sick) as the one in Gone Girl, but for me, that made the story more real. Marley is a pretty grown-up fourteen-year-old, maybe a bit too grown-up to be realistic. However, Rachel’s side of the story felt very human and very realistic. Partly this is because of her flaws; she is not a perfect mother or wife. It is also because the other people in the story, Paul and others, react in very human ways. Everybody is flawed but everybody tries their best.

I read this book in one day, it is a quick read. On the one hand that is because it is not very surprising, it is a ‘real’ story. On the other hand, it doesn’t need to be anything else, it is good as it is. I would recommend this book to those readers who like real-life drama, and those who felt that Gone Girl was just a bit too much. I enjoyed this book, and give it four out of five stars.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Read more of Sara’s book reviews on her blog,

An ebook of Don’t Try to Find Me is available here.  There’s also an ebook of Gone Girl.

You Review: The Heiresses – Sara Shepard

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Reviewed by Marjolein Balm

The Saybrooks are a wealthy aristocratic family, head of an important and famous diamond empire.  The family lives in New York City and are more or less its high society. The family daughters are the heiresses, and they are in the spotlight and the media every time.

The story of The Heiresses starts when the family is attending the funeral of Steven Barnett at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Steven was an important friend of the family who has died after an accident on his yacht. But then some rumors appear that what happened might not have been an accident.

The story continues five years later, and focuses on the perfect daughter of the Saybrook family, Poppy, and her cousins Corinne, Rowan, Aster and Natasha. Corinne is preparing for her wedding which is taking place soon and will have huge media coverage

But then Poppy is found dead one day: she is seen falling from the window of her apartment building on the Upper East Side. The second mysterious death in the family. Was this an accident or was there foul play involved?

All have their own little side storyline in the book and all of them are connected due to Poppy’s death. Who knows who was with Poppy the minutes before her fall, who witnessed it happen? Why are some of the heiresses backstabbing each other and most of all, who is behind the mysterious message: One heiress down, four more to go..?

Poppy’s death is the start of dark secrets and scandals surfacing. And the four cousins are determined to find out what happened to Poppy, and why, and they find out along their journey that their lives are far more important than all the money and the diamonds they are famous of.

I was very curious about this book as I heard many good things about the other books written by Sara Shepard. Mostly my reading falls in the YA genre, but somehow I never read her famous Pretty Little Liars series, so I had to try out The Heiresses, and I am very glad I got the chance to read it. I LOVED the way it was written. The author doesn’t give any clues who might be behind the murder of Steven and Poppy. The plot is full of unexpected happenings that you’d don’t see coming. That’s what I liked most. All of the characters are in a certain way suspicious and have their dark secrets and it kept me guessing until the end. I expected it to end with a huge cliffhanger to take you along to a next installment, but luckily it wasn’t so. The end is just thrilling!! This book is a nice mix of a mystery, mixed with a very contemporary, juicy story. I liked that it was set in New York, and you can read between the lines that the author knows the city very well. I think this book is a nice crossover between YA and contemporary woman’s fiction. So if you like reading books in those genres, this is the perfect book and I am anticipating the next book in this new series already!

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Marjolein has a long-running blog full of book reviews and author interviews over at Marjolein Reads. Definitely worth a visit!

Ebook of The Heiresses available here.  There are also ebooks available of her other books (only 1st parts of YA series listed here): Pretty Little Liars, Lying Game and Everything We Ever Wanted.

You Review a Local Author: The Price of Peace – Ron Muyzert

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Reviewed by Sheila Schenkel

It’s Wednesday morning and Dutch diplomat Rob Ginsberg is on his way to the West Bank. He’s on a mission to find out what’s happening with a large sum of money collected on Dutch streets, now that it’s being transferred to a political movement called New Palestine. It’s the beginning of a full-on spooks story.

Khalil Abu Hassan, leader of New Palestine, wants peace. As soon as possible. Peace for the Palestinians, peace with the Israelis, peace for future generations. And yet he’s under suspicion of using the € 75,000 donation for terrorist acts.

Visiting Abu Hassan at Birzeit University, Ginsberg ends up in the middle of the planning of an attack on Israel. As always, the questions are: who’s behind the attack, and when and where is it going to take place? When Ginsberg offers a ride to Abu Hassan’s assistant Lidia Shamas, he sets off on the infamous Path of No Turning Back.

Whilst unfolding the story of the donation, author Ron Muyzert lifts the veil of history, sharing his factual knowledge of Israel and the way its politicians ensure a state of their own. While diplomat Ginsberg’s story is fictional, he learns stories from the past that are real. Muyzert manages to keep that balance. Unfortunately, the characters as well as their dialogues remain a bit wooden.

The Price of Peace could have done with a few side stories. Perhaps the love story of Ginsberg and his Dutch girlfriend could have been given some more depth, or perhaps we could have gotten some more insight into the relationships of his boss Paul Kramer?

That being said, this book makes a very interesting read — especially if you’re at all fascinated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You Review a Local Author: Books with an orange connection, reviewed by ABC customers.

The Price of Peace was first published in Dutch, as De prijs van vrede, by Uitgeverij Van Gennep (2012).  Ron Muyzert is a senior diplomat in the Dutch foreign service. He served as Ambassador in Bolivia and Cuba. From 2000 to 2003 he was Head of the Dutch Representative Office in Ramallah.  He launched the English translation of his book at ABC The Hague in March 2014.

The Price of Peace is self-published on ABC’s Espresso Book Machine.

You Review: Fourth of July Creek – Smith Henderson

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Reviewed by Didi Groenhoff

Even though he often feels powerless and is certainly not always welcome, social worker Pete gives his all to help deprived children and their parents in a small town in Montana. This is the real America, where for many people life is a struggle. Pete sees it all, and tries to reach out. But he’s not entirely the hero he seems to be. In his personal life he meets the same struggles as the people he works with. Despite being a lonesome man that spends many of his evenings seeking company in bars, Pete tries to break with his family which he finds stifling. And then there’s his daughter Rachel, who he hardly ever sees because she is living with her mother. Leaving his personal problems untouched Pete acts only to help people he hardly knows and is not personally attached to. And what interesting people they are…

The story is brilliantly told. Using only a few words Smith Henderson sets each scene in such a way that you virtually see it happen in front of your very eyes. Reading this book will be a source of jealousy for everyone that once tried to write himself.

But the best thing about Fourth of July Creek is not the catching story or the amazing style. The most fascinating accomplishment is that Smith Henderson succeeds in tying this narrative of ordinary people living in the rough Montana mountain lands to big American themes like Freedom and Religion. In between the lines he discusses the complicated relationship between the Citizens and their State, and the question of who bears what responsibilities and rights. Henderson forces us to think about the foundations of the USA, where they led to success and where they resulted in failure. Placing the story in the late 70’s and early 80’s shows us that what we consider to be problems of our time might not be quite that. Touching on all these big subjects does not do any harm to the narrative, flooding my brain with thoughts and considerations and leaving me truly astounded after finishing.

This book is not a critique on the American way of life, nor does it celebrate it. It sets you thinking. Just like a good book should.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Ebook available of Fourth of July Creek.

You Review: The Oversight – Charlie Fletcher

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Reviewed by Natalie Gerritsen

The natural and supernatural world have lived on the same Earth for millennia, but the supernatural side has always kept its distance from the ‘normal’ side and indeed, the natural world doesn’t even know the supernatural world exists. The balance is kept by The Oversight, a society of men and women with the blood of both sides in them, who guard and protect both sides and punish those who bring harm to the peace.

The Oversight used to have hundreds in its ranks, but due to a mysterious disaster, the society only has five members left, who try their best to protect London in the 1850’s. Every member has the ability to use magic and most have their own special talents.

One day a young girl with her own powers and holes in her memory is delivered to The Oversight. Could she be an asset or is she planted there, and if so, by whom? Soon it becomes clear an enemy is coming for The Oversight and the weakened group may not be strong enough to win. But, as the book cover says, if The Oversight falls, so do we all…

I love urban fantasy and it’s nice to see it translates well to the 19th century. Charlie Fletcher did a nice job of making every member of The Oversight a very unique person, without making their talents feel like superhero tricks. They are members of The Oversight after all and not the X-Men.

Fletcher uses very small chapters, which I usually like, because it invites you to keep reading ‘one more’. This time, however, the story shifted too quickly between different storylines, which made it a bit harder to get invested in the characters. I really loved the story, the setting and the people in it, but it took a little bit too long to get sucked into it. I still liked it enough to buy the promised sequels once they’re published, though.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Ebook available for The Oversight, as well as of his other books: Stoneheart, Ironhand, Silvertongue, Dragonshield and Far Rockaway.