Monday, February 16, 2009

Stay With Me by Garret Freyman-Weyr


Book: Stay With Me by Garret Freyman-Weyr
Rating: 5 Stars
Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Leila Abranel was born some twenty years after her sisters. Her elegant sisters from her father’s first marriage have lives full of work, love affairs, and travel. Leila doesn’t know either of them very well, but she loves hearing about them—details of Rebecca’s ruined marriage, Clare’s first job, and the strings of unsuitable boyfriends.

When Rebecca kills herself, Leila wants to know why. She starts by spending time with Clare and finally comes to know her as a person instead of a story. With Clare’s reluctant help, Leila tracks down Rebecca’s favorite places and tries to find her sister’s friends. Along the way, Leila meets Eamon.Eamon is thirty-one and writes for television. He thinks Leila is beautiful and smart, but he does not, he tells her, date teenagers. And yet,
the months go by and Leila turns seventeen and learns that you can love someone you are not dating.

Maybe letting Eamon love her back is a mistake. Maybe she’ll never know why Rebecca did what she did. Maybe, Leila, decides, most people have a hard time figuring out which way is left or knowing when to let go and when to stay.

Overall:
The book Stay With Me is a wonderful story about love and loss and how one can lead straight to the other. Leila Abranel feels that she has been left behind when her much older sister, Rebecca, decides to take her own life. Rebecca was 20 years older than Leila and they had just truly begun to get to know one another. Leila was beginning to feel like she could talk to Rebecca about things that she couldn’t talk to her parents about and then she overdosed on pills and ended any chance of a relationship Leila thought they might be able to have.
In the midst of the mourning and grief, Leila’s parents decide that it might be best if they went ahead as planned and moved to Poland for a year, only with a slight change. Since Leila is only 16 she was going to be staying with Rebecca while they were gone but now they must ask her other sister, Clare, if she could take care of her while they are gone.
Leila never really felt like she fit in with her other sisters but she felt like she fit more with Rebecca because Clare was more the smart, workaholic type. Leila is dyslexic and so has always had trouble fitting in and feeling like she belongs but once she moves in with Clare, they start to learn new things about the other and form a close, sisterly bond.
Raphael also helps take care of Leila while her parents are in Poland. His mother was married to their uncle before she met his father and so he is their semi-cousin. Raphael and Clare once had a relationship but it didn’t work for reasons that weren’t really mentioned. Shortly after Leila moves in with Clare, Clare breaks up with her boyfriend and then once again starts a relationship with Raphael, forming a type of family for Leila to rely on.
While, Leila has tried to move on from her sister’s death, she still feels like she is missing something and decides that she should try and find the reason Rebecca killed herself. In her quest for answers she gets a job at Cafe Acca, the last place she saw Rebecca. In a way Rebecca led Leila right to Eamon. Eamon is a 31 year old writer for TV shows and he immediately takes an interest in Leila, not knowing that she is only 16. Throughout the book Leila and Eamon go through many different phases and finally settle on dating even if other people think it is wrong of them.
In the end, Leila realizes that maybe Rebecca didn’t really have a reason for killing herself, maybe she just gave up. She knows that what Rebecca did was selfish and inexcusable. Rebecca was only thinking of herself, not the people she would be leaving behind. Leila finally learns that she doesn’t really need to know everything about her sister but that in her own way Rebecca led Leila right to her love, if not her great love then her great love for now.
Stay With Me is a story about coping with the sudden death of someone you love and how maybe you don’t get over that, maybe you just find new ways to shape your life around it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1) by Kelley Armstrong | Review

The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1) by Kelley Armstrong | ReviewThe Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #1
Published by Harper Teen on July 1, 2008
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? it's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House...before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

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I absolutely loved this book! I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one day, almost in one sitting but sadly I had to go to school.

I think my favorite thing about this book is how Chloe is just like a normal teenager except that she can see and talk to dead people. Her mom died when she was young and her dad is always away on business so she is normally alone, except for a few friends and her aunt Lauren who tries to fill in for Chloe’s mom. She usually keeps to herself so when things start to get weird she can’t really tell anyone.

So, at the beginning Chloe is in a school for the arts and she is just like all the other people in her school, except a little bit of a late bloomer. On the same day that she gets her first period she also sees her first dead person or at least the first person that she knows is dead. After being chased through the school by a dead janitor, Chloe is sedated and sent to the hospital and told that she must spend at least two weeks in Lyle House, a group home for unstable teens.

Once in Lyle House, Chloe meets some interesting people such as Liz, Rae, Simon, and Derek. Derek is a little scary at first, always sneaking up on Chloe and accidentally throwing her across a room. Once she gets to know him, though, she realizes that he is just like her and can’t control his powers. At first, Simon seems like he is just in the group home to stay with his brother, Derek, but once she starts talking to him she realizes that he is a supernatural also but his powers aren’t as obvious as Chloe’s and Derek’s. Liz also seems to have some powers but she never realizes that she is controlling them. She is transferred shortly after Chloe arrives because instead of getting better she seemed to be getting worse. Rae also may have powers but it was really hard to tell. She was placed in the group home shortly after giving her mom first degree burns when she never had a lighter or anything else that could have caused them.

There are others in the group home, such as Tori and Peter, but Peter gets sent home after Chloe arrives and Tori is the group’s resident witch and not in the supernatural way. Tori believes that because her mom is on the board of Lyle House she can do and get whatever she wants but Chloe interferes with her plans as soon as she arrives. Tori manages to get Chloe in many terrible situations, some potentially deadly, but it’s only because she doesn’t want her mom to be disappointed in her. Tori doesn’t play a really big role in the story, all she really does is get everyone in trouble.

Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Rae discover Lyle Houses’ secrets and realize that, maybe they aren’t there because they are crazy but because of their powers. They realize that they need to escape and that they need to do it soon. Once out, though, things don’t go exactly as planned. They are hunted down by the nurses and owners of Lyle House and chased through warehouses by guys with tranquilizer guns. Once the girls escape and find a safe place they think things are going to get better but none of them realized that someone close to them betrayed their trust.

Of course, I’m not gonna say who. That would give everything away. I truly loved this book and if you really want to know how it ends you will just have to find a copy to read. This book is first in a new series by Kelley Armstrong. The next book, The Awakening, will be out on April 28.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In Too Deep (Elite #2) by Jennifer Banash


Book: In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash
Rating: 5 Stars
Summary:

If you don’t belong here- you just don’t belong . . .

The Bramford building’s newest resident and small-town transplant Casey McCloy is adapting to life in the Big Apple and loving it. She’s got the look, the attitude, and a delish new boyfriend, Drew Van Allen. But she’s starting to have second thoughts as to whether the “New York” Casey is the real Casey. And she’s not so sure she likes herself much anymore. She’s not the only one.

Madison Macallister has always had her Manolo Blahniks firmly planted on the top rung of the social ladder-until that corn-fed cow Casey stole Drew away from her and made her look the fool. So what if Madison wasn’t exactly dating Drew at the time? She wanted him. And everyone knows that Madison gets what she wants, like Drew-and a little revenge.

Overall: I have to say I liked this book better than the first one. I don’t really know why but it was probably because I felt like I already knew the characters and could share their feelings a little better.
In this sequel to The Elite all the members of the Bram Clan a back with a couple new secrets. Casey has finally managed to snag Drew and even though she is putting on a good front for the public, Madison is not happy. Casey, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier. She has never really had a boyfriend like Drew and she loves spending time with him. Not only do they hang out after school at some of their favorite spots, Casey is helping Drew create a documentary about all the spoiled rich kids of their school. Things seem to be going great until Madison becomes one of the interviewees.
Madison decides to think of a way to make Drew jealous and ruin his relationship with Casey by finding a new boyfriend to rub in his face. She is helped along in her quest when she meets Antonio who is not only a super sexy Italian, but also a manager for Verve Modeling Agency and he thinks that Madison Macallister may just be the perfect new model.
Madison is not the only one that is going to be famous, though. Sophie’s sweet sixteen is coming up and she has decided that it would be the perfect event to meet her biological mom, movie star Melissa Von Norton, at. Also, as it turns out, her adoptive mother has decided to have the party taped and aired on the TV show, My Spoiled Sweet Sixteen. So, now not only does Sophie have to worry about meeting her real mom, she has to worry about doing it on TV.
As it turns out though, Sophie’s adoptive family aren’t the only ones keeping secrets from her. Phoebe is secretly seeing Sophie’s annoying older brother, Jared. Phoebe knows that Sophie would throw a fit if she found out so she decides to break it off but every time she tries she loses her nerve. Finally, she decides that she can’t keep the secret any longer and tries to break it off at Sophie’s party but things don’t exactly go as planned.
New family secrets and relationships are exposed in this book and they are some that I was shocked to find out about. But I won’t spoil all the fun. Read the series for yourself and you will find out all the juicy details.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Elite (Elite #1) by Jennifer Banash

Title: The Elite (Elite #1)
Author: Jennifer Banash
Rating: 4 Stars

From the top, you can see everything . . . except yourself.

When Casey McCloy steps into the elegant Bramford building, she’s overwhelmed. Fresh from the Midwest, she’s moved to New York’s Upper East Side to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here all that matters is who you know. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty, platinumblond. She’s not just Casey’s new classmate and neighbor; she’s an icon. So Casey aims to get in with Madison and her gorgeous gal-pals from the start. As the reigning queen of coolness, Madison is capable of destroying reputations with one welltimed whisper. Better to be on her good side.

But after a city-haute makeover from her new frenemy Madison, Casey is wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people-including Drew, the boy-about-town who Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone.

So overall I thought this book was a really good read. I loved how Jennifer Banash managed to incorporate real teenage problems into this book all about rich girls and the high life. So Casey McCloy is the new girl in town and on her first day she meets the three most popular girls in her new school, Madison, Phoebe, and Sophie. All she really wants to do is to fit in with them and Sophie and Phoebe seem like they have no problem with that, but Madison does. Madison is the mean girl of her school. She has to have what she wants, when she wants it. Casey seems to get in her way when Madison’s sometimes boyfriend starts paying a little too much attention to Casey, and not enough to Madison.

Phoebe and Sophie are Madison’s two best friends. They are gorgeous and rich, just like Madison but unlike Madison they seem to be truly nice people, even when they aren’t exactly having very nice home lives. Phoebe is worried about her parents fighting all the time and the possibility that they might get divorced. Sophie feels like the outcast in her family, like she will never truly fit in with her tan, dark haired parents and brother, when she herself is pale and blonde. She takes out her frustration on herself in the form of self-mutilation.

Jennifer Banash has managed to create a great story about misfits, love, and high school drama. She has also managed to include some very real problems that are evident in today’s teens. I loved this book and would recommend it for any fans of series such as Private or Gossip Girl.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wishmakers by Dorothy Garlock

Book: Wishmakers: 2 Stories in 1 by Dorothy Garlock
Rating: 3 Stars for the first story
4 Stars for the second story

Hidden Dreams
Margaret Anthony was beautiful and independently wealthy, her social position assured. She could have bought a yacht or a palace with the stroke of her pen. To her free-spirited business partner Chip Thorn, she wasn’t much more than a spoiled brat. Ironically, Margaret and Chip are forced to pretend an engagement in public, while in private, they’re worlds apart. In the rugged and often dangerous world of Chip’s logging camp, Margaret begins to yield to his way of life — and the ecstasy she’s dreamed of. Chip’s soul-spinning kisses evoked in her a greater wealth of passion than she had ever known. But can kisses alone pave the path to love.

She Wanted Red Velvet
Fleeing a terrible marriage, Gloria Masterson encounters danger on a deserted Montana road..and a savior in Jack Evans. Out of nowhere, the green-eyed biker fneds off her attackers and sweeps her away on his motorcycle. But Gloria is suspicious of all men, even this one, with his strong arms that make her feel so safe. Can she learn to love a stranger whose fiery passion touches her wounded heart?

Well both these stories definitely fit in the category of cheesy romance novels. And they were both written in the eighties so they are actually a little older than me. Even so, I really liked both of them. My favorite was the second story, ‘She Wanted Red Velvet’, but I think that was because I liked the characters a little more. Their story seemed a little more believable than the story of the characters in, ‘Hidden Dreams’.

Hidden Dreams is the story of Margaret Anthony and Duncan ‘Chip’ Thorn. Margaret grew up with everything she could possibly wish for: money, clothes, and a loving dad. She thought that was all she would need until her dad died. After that she was forced to take a clear look at her life and she realized that it wasn’t all she wanted. She decided to break off her engagement to the man her father picked for her and fly all the way to Montana for a man she never actually met, only saw in passing. Once she gets there, though, she is in for a big surprise. Not only is he one of her dad’s former business partners, he has told everyone in town that she is his fiancee from Chicago. Chip and ‘Maggie’ are then forced to put on a show of a happy couple for the town and Margaret realizes that that is all she really wants. Chip, on the other hand, thinks that she is completely wrong for him because he is afraid that she will get bored and leave him just like his mom left his dad. So, I’m not gonna give away the ending, you will just have to read it to find out if all their problems are solved.

She Wanted Red Velvet was my favorite out of the two stories. This is the story of Gloria Masterson and Jack Evans, along with Gloria’s son. Gloria is fleeing a mentally abusive husband who only used her and their adopted son as publicity. On the way to her aunt’s motel, Gloria and her son are harassed by two big bikers until another biker, Jack Evans, shows up to save the day. Gloria is terrified that Jack will try to harass them too and his appearance doesn’t help matters. Jack is a very big man with long hair and a long beard. Gloria decides that she has no choice but to trust him so she and her son climb on his motorcycle and he drives them to her aunt’s. Once there her aunt explains that she knows Jack and that he is a good man but Gloria can’t trust herself with him because she knows he is all wrong for her, yet she is still attracted to him. Things get worse for Gloria when her son starts to become attached to Jack and begins to spend more and more time with him. As if things weren’t bad enough, Gloria’s aunt has a stroke and is unable to return to the motel, leaving Gloria in charge, with a little help from Jack. While Jack and Gloria are left in charge, Jack gets closer and closer to Gloria’s heart, yet he is still keeping his past a secret from her. Right when things seem to be getting better, Gloria’s ex-husband returns claiming that he has a court order that gives him their son for 6 months every year and that the only way she can stop him is if she remarries him. And that is all I will say. You will just have to read the book to find out how it ends.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Envy (The Luxe #3) by Anna Godbersen

Title: Envy (The Luxe #3)
Author: Anna Godbersen
Rating: 5 Stars

Jealous whispers.
Old rivalries.
New betrayals.

Two months after Elizabeth Holland’s dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana’s side, however, those watching New York’s favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city’s most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope’s finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope’s social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune—and her fame—are anything but secure, especially now that one of society’s darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen’s bestselling Luxe series, Manhattan’s most envied residents appear to have everything they desire: Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets. . . .

Okay so I finally finished Envy. And it was AMAZING. I love how Anna Godbersen manages to incorporate history with such a great story. The only thing bad I have to say about this book is that it is kind of depressing. Most stories, you expect a happy ending. So far in this series the first book was the only one with a happy ending. Well, sort of happy.

So, the book starts off about two months after Will is killed at the train station and Penelope and Henry are married. Elizabeth is still hiding what really happened in the months that she was gone and she is still not back in society. Diana is heartbroken over Henry’s betrayal with Penelope and is still unable to even see him. Penelope is still a backstabbing, lying, conniving girl but even more so now that she has married into the Schoonmaker family. Henry is always trying to get drunk and forget about all the mistakes that he made but he can’t seem to get away from Penelope. And last but not least, Carolina Broad, formerly Lina Broud. She gets off to a great start in society and is still living in the New Netherland hotel. She also seems to be developing a bit of a crush on another member of high society, Leland Bouchard.

The story starts off in New York but quickly changes locations to Florida. The Schoonmakers invite Teddy Cutting, Leland Bouchard, Carolina Broad, Elizabeth and Diana Holland, and also Penelope’s brother Grayson Hayes. While everyone is off in Florida some new romances seem to bloom but don’t seem to work out in the end. Once back in New York one of those romances goes a little too far and could end up being the ruin of one member of high society but we won’t know until the next book is released.

Okay well I’m not going to say everything that happens in this book. If you truly want to know you will read it. Now that I’m finished with the book, I am so anxious for the next one and I have no clue when that will be coming out. So I definitely recommend reading this series and tell me what you think about it, even if you don’t necessarily agree with my opinion.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do-Over by Niki Burnham

Do-Over by Niki BurnhamDo-Over by Niki Burnham
Series: Royally Jacked #3
Published by Simon & Schuster on September 26, 2006
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
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3 Stars

When it comes to love, how many chances do you get?

Girl meets prince. Girl looses prince. Girl gets prince back -- right? Well, that's what Valerie is hoping. She's back in Schwerinborg after spending some time with her mother in the good ol' US of A, and hopes that sparks are still flying between her and Georg. At first it looks like things are going great, until a ski trip to the Alps has Val and Georg's romance hitting some moguls. Could Val's love life be heading for a face-plant?

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In my opinion, this was one of the better books in the Simon Pulse romantic comedy collection. I think that Niki Burnham is one of the best authors in this series. I felt like maybe I could relate to these characters more than some of the others. I really liked Valerie and her friends. They seemed really funny and more like actual people than some other characters in books. The one thing that I didn’t really like, though, was how perfect Georg seemed. It was like Valerie was the only one in the relationship with flaws. It may make the book more like a fairytale but it isn’t realistic that he would be that fine with anything that Valerie may have done to mess up their relationship. There wasn’t a whole lot of plot to this book but it was still a really cute, easy read.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wake (Dream Catcher #1) by Lisa McMann

Wake (Dream Catcher #1) by Lisa McMannWake by Lisa McMann
Series: Dream Catcher #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 4, 2008
Pages: 210
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

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I read this book in about three hours. I started it and could not put it down until the absolute last page. Janie is definitely not your average girl but I have to say that I wouldn’t necessarily mind trading places with her if it meant that I got to meet Cabel. He is probably my favorite character in the book, even though there are parts where I want to slap him.

At first, I admit to being a little confused about what was going on in all the flashbacks but everything cleared up for me once we got to the present. It all begins when Janie is eight years old and falls into her first dream. After that she doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself from being sucked into dreams and is barely able to pull herself out once she is in. Normally the dreams that she is pulled into are just embarrassing or very revealing but everything starts to get really crazy when she is pulled into a violent dream that makes her very scared. What she doesn’t find out until later is that the dream that she is so afraid of is Cabel’s and she doesn’t find this out until she is already fully entangled with Cabel. There are so many parts of this book where Cabel seems like the nicest guy a girl could want and then there are the times that you want to rage at him. While Janie and Cabel are definitely the main characters there are other smaller characters that play important roles such as Carrie, Stu, Shay, the Captain, and a couple others. They all seem to have special roles in the book but they aren’t very developed yet and I am hoping that they will be enhanced a little bit in the next book, Fade. I’m not going to give away the whole plot here so if you want to know what happens then you will have to read the book and I would definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

When It Happens by Susane ColasantiWhen It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Published by Penguin Teen on May 4, 2006
Pages: 287
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

At the start of her senior year in high school, Sara wants two things: to get into a top college and to find true love.Tobey also wants two things for his senior year: to win Battle of the Bands and to make Sara fall in love with him. However, a popular jock named Dave moves in on Sara first. But Tobey’s quirky wit and big blue eyes are hard for Sara to ignore. Plus, he gets the little things that matter to her. Can a slacker rock-star wannabe win the heart of a pretty class brain like Sara?

Hilariously and movingly told through Tobey and Sara’s authentic voices, Susane Colasanti’s debut novel sizzles in its portrayal of two young people searching for The One.

picadillyblueWhen It Happens is such a great book. It tells such a true story of love in high school. I loved the two main characters Tobey and Sara. They are both seniors in high school and the total opposite of each other. Sara is an overachiever and Tobey a slacker musician. The cool thing about this book that really separates it from other teen romance books is that each chapter is told in either Tobey’s or Sara’s perspectives so you get inside both characters hearts and minds. This is Susane Colasanti’s debut novel and I cannot wait to read her next two books “Take Me There” and “Waiting For You.” I recommend these books for anybody who is a fan of Sarah Dessen and really just anybody.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Last Christmas by Kate Brian


Title: Last Christmas
Author: Kate Brian
Rating: 4 Stars

Ariana Osgood has everything an Easton Academy girl could want: straight A’s, the perfect boyfriend, and a coveted spot in exclusive Billings House. But on the first night of Christmas vacation, a blizzard traps her on campus with irresistible bad-boy Thomas Pearson. Alone. Instead of snuggling with her boyfriend next to a cozy fire in Vermont, she’s huddling for warmth with Thomas in Ketlar House.

As the snow transforms Easton into a winter wonderland, Ariana finds herself falling for Thomas. But someone is watching their clandestine romance unfold, someone intent on turning their holiday weekend into a nightmare…
Last Christmas reveals the secret of what really happened before Private began — and the shocking truth will change everything for fans of Kate Brian’s bestselling series.

Overall: Last Christmas was probably one of the best books I read in 2008. This book was a little creepy at times because Kate Brian kind of puts you into the mind of a cold-blooded killer, namely Ariana Osgood. It also gives you a little bit of background about Ariana, but not enough to really understand why she becomes a murderer. If you have read the Private series, this book is full of revelations about some of Ariana’s actions in those books. You don’t necessarily need to read the Private series before this but it does help a little bit to know what happens after this story. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who likes mystery, romance, and a little murder.