Book Review | The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

hanging girl cover.jpgDuring Skye’s senior year of high school, a fellow classmate is kidnapped. After popular Paige goes missing, no one suspects tarot card reader Skye could be involved, which makes her the perfect choice of accomplice. Skye’s role is to feed tips to the police under the guise that she’s having visions about the crime. Problems arise when Paige doesn’t stick to their plans and Skye realizes she is in over her head.

As a young adult suspense mystery, The Hanging Girl is successful. The story is easy to follow and has enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing until the very end. Chapter breaks are frequent enough and the book’s length is appropriate. That said, the characters are difficult, in that they are rather unlikable, and the narrator is self-deprecating. Similes are overused and the writing style, at times, is a challenge. Readers who enjoy a book for its story that can overlook the stylistic annoyances will have a winner here. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance reading copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

*Fans of The Hanging Girl, may be interested in The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault (2017).


Book Review | The Infinite by Nicholas Mainieri

infinite mainieriIn New Orleans, a few years after Hurricane Katrina, high schoolers Jonah and Luz are in love. Each with a troubled past, having dealt with parental deaths and other difficult events, Luz and Jonah continue to struggle when they become pregnant and Luz’s father demands she return to Mexico. Jonah decides he must follow her across the border, but all bets are off when Luz doesn’t show up at her Grandma’s on time.

The Infinite is Mainieri’s first novel. It maintains a casual tone, using colloquialisms and interjecting Spanish. The text is clear, with the storyline being mostly easy to follow. Chapters are very short, making the book easy to pick up and put down. The characters are developed enough, and descriptions allow the reader to envision settings described. While violence occurs, it is not overly graphic or drawn out. This novel would work well for somewhat hesitant high school or college age readers, or others with short attention spans. Mainieri has crafted a very digestible read that keeps up a decent pace throughout. Check it out from a library near you!

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The Infinite, you may be interested in Mexico by Josh Barkan (2017). 

Film Review | Prisoners directed by Denis Villeneuve

prisoners dvd coverJumping right in to a birthday or holiday meal, two friendly neighbor families get together for a celebration which spirals into a nightmare when both of their younger daughters go missing. Prisoners takes us along on the hunt for their kidnapper with Detective Gyllenhaal and shows the whirlwind of grief their parents and siblings suffer through as Jackman takes the law into his own hands. With leads in several different directions, this thriller will keep you rapt until all the clues are finally pieced together.

This is certainly not the movie for you to check out if you are looking for laughs, smiles or a happy ending, but if you are looking for a solid thriller with a hint of torture, this is it. Jackman and Gyllenhaal share the lead and do an excellent job with their characters. The tension in this film is taught – I’d call it a nail-biter, or cuticle-picker. The story twists and turns a few times and the connections are hinted at, but not given away – a psychological thriller that gets you trying to figure out who the real criminal is. Check out Prisoners from your local library if you can handle the wait list, otherwise check the local Red Box.

Film Review | Inescapable starring Alexander Siddig

inescapable dvd cover Siddig plays a man who had left his entire life in Syria behind in order to disappear to Toronto and start a new one. In Canada he is happily married with two daughters, but has never told them the secrets of his past: his military job, his father who was in charge of the mosque, or his beautiful fiance who was left to wonder if he was dead or alive. It is not until his eldest daughter, a photographer, secretly travels to Damascus to learn about that past and goes missing that those secrets start to matter.

This was an interesting movie. It is not the first daughter-kidnapped, father goes to rescue movie out there, but it does a great job showing how the father’s past was an essential part of the kidnapping. This means it is not the same story as Taken (2008). This film will give a few lessons to a novice about Syrian political history and government while not drowning you in war and facts. The acting is solid and character relationships are realistic. It’s a foreign film in English. If you’re looking for a bit of suspense and a quick travel to the Middle East without being emotionally drained, check out Inescapable from a library near you.