Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Julie's Review: The Flight Attendant


Author: Chris Bohjalian
Series: None
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Another fantastic novel by one of my favorites
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Summary: Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police - she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home - Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did? Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home. ~amazon.com  

Review: Prior to reading the book I saw a lot of people commenting on how they didn’t like Cassie. I’m a believer that you don’t have to like the main character to enjoy a novel. I didn’t have such strong feelings for Cassie. I'm not saying she wasn't a hot mess because she was that and a while lot more but I felt sorry for her because she didn’t have any strong relationship and didn’t really care about herself. She was an alcoholic, which is a disease but she was self-destructive.

Waking up beside a man she barely knows isn't really new for Cassie but him being dead in the morning is. Since she's pretty much a blackout drunk, she can't say for sure if she murdered him or not but she does feel like she is capable of that even at her drunkest. What happens next has you guessing who to believe and who to not believe. Did Cassie kill him? Was it in self-defense? Or has she stepped into something much more sinister than she could ever imagine. Will she keep lying to herself and those around her or will she realize that this is perhaps the best time to tell the truth.

Mr. Bohjalian really does keep the reader engaged and on their "toes". There are many twists and turns that I truly didn't see coming but looking back I feel like there were probably hints. I also wonder if Cassie was targeted from the beginning because of her drinking and blackouts.

I love spy movies and books so I was thrilled when this book had that edge to it. It is a fast paced thriller that will have you wondering what the hell is going on until it all comes together in the end.
The Flight Attendant is another fantastic character study novel by Mr. Bohjalian. I can only imagine the research that went into this one!


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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Julie's Review: The Good Liar


Author: Catherine McKenzie
Series: None
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Lake Union
Pages: 338
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.25/5
Bottom Line: If you keep secrets does that make you a liar?
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Summary: When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered. A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building. Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them? ~amazon.com

Review: The Good Liar was my first Catherine McKenzie book but it won’t be my last. She has written a novel where everyone has secrets but that doesn't necessarily mean they are a liar. How can one moment can change the lives of 3 women inexplicably? This what she examines and peels back the layers on.

Cecily is the poster child/woman for the family’s of the accident. Except she’s hiding something from they world but most of all her family. In the end though, I felt that she was just racked with guilt and trying to protect her family. Kate, well she’s got a couple screws loose. She ran away when the opportunity presented itself and then came back when it suited her needs as well. I wouldn’t call her selfish but broken. Her intentions might mean well but were executed poorly. Then there is Franny;  coo-coo for cocoa puffs but I’ll let you read about her but I’m just going to say is that she needs some serious help.

While there were a few things I figured out before they were revealed, it didn't ruin the book at all for me. In fact even though I figured them out how the characters reacted was not what I expected, so that was refreshing. I also wanted to see how she would end it and I definitely didn't expect the ending.

If you are looking for a great suspense novel, pick up The Good Liar.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Julie's Review: The Husband Hour


Author: Jamie Brenner
Series: None
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Pages: 338
Obtained: Great Thoughts,Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: How do you heal when you are stunted by tragedy and guilt?
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Summary: Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny. Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family's old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she's forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time. One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past-and to welcome the future. ~amazon.com

Review:  Husband Hour is about Rory and Lauren but for me it was really about family. How you can love someone in your family but dislike them at the same time. To say that Lauren and her sister Stephanie are at odds would be putting it lightly. They haven’t truly spoken in years and when Rory died, Stephanie didn’t attend his funeral.Talk about some issues, right?

So the idea of spending the summer in their family home on the Jersey Shore with her sister, is completely unappealing; especially when Lauren has the house mainly to herself most of the year. Their mother, Beth, thinks this summer will just the thing to fix her family. She doesn't understand why her girls just can't get along.

As a reader, you really feel for Lauren and everything she's gone through, especially as you learn the backstory. You also want her to forgive herself and move on. She can't stay stunted forever, even though that's exactly what she's choosing to do by hiding on the shore all year. As much as I found Stephanie annoying, I wanted her and Lauren to find their way back to each other. After all a sister can be your best friend.

My favorite part of the novel might have been the subplot about their parents but more specifically about their mother's rebirth/renewal. I loved how after years of doing something that needed to be done she reignited her passion. I think it made her husband see her in a new light.

What Ms. Brenner does an excellent in this novel is showing how someone’s death can stunt you in ways you didn’t even know and how life can pass you by. She also shows the different family dynamics and how kids can have no clue what is going with their parents. It's a study in love, loss, forgiveness and re-birth.

I would highly suggest you get Husband Hour as one of your Spring reads. You won't be disappointed by it at all.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Julie's Reviews: The Great Alone



Author: Kristin Hannah
Series: None
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 448
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Wow!
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Summary: Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. ~amazon.com

Review: Great Alone is one of those books that will grabs you by the heart and never lets go. I wouldn't have thought that a book about living in the remote Alaskan wilderness would be so utterly engaging.

Alaska itself is its own character and drive the story as much as the Allbright family. It is also the coming of age story of Leni and the power of love. She shows the possibilities of it and the impossibilities of it. It is about being able to survive all of the things you think you couldn't and being stronger for it. Leni is a strong teenager and it a lot of ways she's the only adult in her house. Her mom's happiness is tied to the stability of her father and that is something that is sporadic.

She learns that love is both light and dark. Her mom and her try to stick together throughout her dad's highs and lows. She protects her mom as much as she can until her dad's rage is turned towards her.
Ms. Hannah highlights how war affects people and can change who they are. How sometimes not even love can heal them no matter how hard you try. They also have to want to help themselves.

Great Alone is one of those books that you will want to keep turning the pages on until late into the night. Ms. Hannah is one of the premier storytellers of our time. In this novel she made Alaska come alive.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Julie's Review: Sometimes I Lie

 

Author: Alice Feeney
Series: None
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 272
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: Not jumping aboard this buzz train
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Summary: My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 1. I’m in a coma. 2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie. Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth? ~amazon.com
 
 Review: Sometimes I Lie is one of those books that has been getting a lot of buzz about the twists and turns. I know a few people who devoured this book. This book should have been a quicker read than it was for me. I love psychological thrillers and I even enjoy the unreliable narrator.

For me I found it very scattered and at times hard to follow. I felt like it was twisted to the point of distortion. I did like the coma aspect of the narrative and how she was aware of what was going on around her but was unable to communicate with those around her. Amber and Claire's relationship was very strange and doesn't make sense until it does. I did figure out who Amber's tormentor was pretty easily and was just waiting for the those in the book to catch on.

The ending did take everything you had learned and thought throughout the first 75% of the book and turns it on a dime. Still in the end though I wasn't sure who to believe and who was whom.

If this sounds right up your alley, then go and grab it. Unfortunately, it didn't strike a cord with me.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Julie's Review: Speak No Evil


Author: Uzodinma Iweala
Series: None
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 224
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Emotionally intense
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Summary: On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.  ~amazon.com

Review: Speak No Evil is a book told from two view points but not in tandem. Niru is a young man fighting his sexuality but when he finally admits it to his best friend, Meredith, she pushes him to just embrace it. She even takes liberties with his phone and adds dating apps. Which, of course she can't possibly know will change the trajectory of his life and hers. Niru comes from a strict Nigerian household, because of their culture and religion being gay is not acceptable. It is something that they believe needs to be exorcised from Niru's personality. This being the case, Niru's father takes him home to Nigeria to get the spiritual attention he needs. Except Niru isn't sure it's he who has to change but he's not sure how to do get his parents to accept who he is when he's still struggling to accept it himself.

Niru and Meredith's stories converge as Niru runs to her when he's at his most desperate. This is when Meredith's story takes over.  It is her story that will rip your heart out. You will read parts of her story a couple times to realize what just happened.

Both Niru and Meredith are empathetic characters but in very different ways. Your heart goes out to Niru for the way he is shunned by both of his parents but in very different ways. His father only accepts him being gay when it helps his narrative. His mother, trying to keep the peace shuts Niru out in her own way by not defending him to his father. Meredith will carry guilt with her for the rest of her life.


While Niru’s sexuality is the catalyst for the novel, it is truly about how to accept yourself when those closest to you can’t handle your truth. How do you make others accept you when you are just beginning to accept yourself? It is about understanding how different cultures view various subject matters even if we don't agree with their views. Mr. Iweala doesn't give us the answers to these issues but lets us in to understand how different we all are and how we all struggle.

Mr. Iweala packs a powerful punch in less than 250 pages. His writing is succinct but never lacking in description and depth. He writes characters that you have empathy for and realize that these kids could be someone you know. Speak No Evil should be read by everyone. 



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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Julie's Review: She Regrets Nothing


Author: Andrea Dunlop
Series: None
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 400
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: More Money More Problems
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Summary: When Laila Lawrence becomes an orphan at twenty-three, the sudden loss unexpectedly introduces her to three glamorous cousins from New York who show up unannounced at her mother’s funeral. The three siblings are scions of the wealthy family from which Laila’s father had been estranged long before his own untimely demise ten years before. Two years later, Laila has left behind her quiet life in Grosse Point, Michigan to move to New York City, landing her smack in the middle of her cousins’ decadent world. As the truth about why Laila’s parents became estranged from the family patriarch becomes clear, Laila grows ever more resolved to claim what’s rightfully hers. Caught between longing for the love of her family and her relentless pursuit of the lifestyle she feels she was unfairly denied, Laila finds herself reawakening a long dead family scandal—not to mention setting off several new ones—as she becomes further enmeshed in the lives and love affairs of her cousins. But will Laila ever, truly, belong in their world? Sly and sexy, She Regrets Nothing is a sharply observed and utterly seductive tale about family, fortune, and fate—and the dark side of wealth. ~amazon.com  

Review: She Regrets Nothing is the kind of book that you want to read after you've read a lot of heavily themed novels. It definitely has a soap opera-y feel to it with all the drama and deceit. You know from the minute Laila moves to NYC she's going to get herself into heaps of trouble. She's a fish out of water who wants to grow legs and belong. She's definitely not as naive as you think in the beginning and as the book goes on you realize that she seized the opportunity with gusto. Unfortunately, her new cousins see her as a naive Midwesterner and for a while she feeds into that stereotype. Laila acts like she's there for the relationships with Liberty, Leo and Nora but really she's all about the benjamins.

Liberty is the most grounded of the 3 cousins. She's got a job that she loves and doesn't take her family's money for granted. She's got a best friend who really is like her sister, Reece and is pretty satisfied with her life overall. Nora and Leo are the self-absorbed twins. They are all about how super rich they can still be without having to work for any of it. They are all about parties (charity or otherwise), clubs and shopping. Nora is attention seeker and Leo can't decide what he wants.

Here's the thing about the super wealthy (I've learned it all from books and tv) is they are suspicious of newbies. It won't matter that Laila is a "Lawrence" it will matter that she didn't grow up with the rest of them. Money, or lack there of it, does funny things to people. It can bring out the worst in people or it can bring out the best. Laila was an example of the worst, while her cousin Liberty was the best. Ms. Dunlop does an excellent job of ensuring these characters aren't too cartoonish while also showing that in some ways they are exactly that.

The novel starts off a bit slow but it builds and builds and builds until everything happens at once. Laila's carefully constructs mirage evaporates. She can never imagine the harm that her lies and deceit will do but she doesn't really care.

I definitely enjoyed She Regrets Nothing and would recommend it. It would be a great read for Spring Break (or any other time).

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Julie's Review: Surprise Me


Author: Sophie Kinsella
Series: None
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: The Dial Press
Pages: 432
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: Not one of her best but still entertaining
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Summary: After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all. ~amazon.com

Review: Sylvie and Dan are worried about their marriage becoming boring, after all they've been together for 10 years and based on their health will be together for almost seven more decades; so how will they keep that spark? Of course when you tell someone to surprise you, you don't always get what you bargain for. Plus I would think that it would be impossible to keep that up on a regular basis.

Sylvie has lived in a bubble her whole life. In many ways, she still lives in a bubble. She really doesn't know what real problems are and honestly this is what leads her to perhaps blow things out of proportion. She's got a husband that adores her and 2 lovely young girls. She's got a job that she enjoys even if it's not challenging. All in all her life is pretty good.

So when Dan starts acting closed off and secretive, Sylvie's alarm bells go off and she's off thinking the worst...an affair. As the reader this seems a little too obvious and I was hoping that we weren't going to be falling into that cliche here. I am pleased that it wasn't that cliche.

Honestly, I read Sophie Kinsella to laugh out loud but at least chuckle and with this one there wasn’t a lot of that going on. It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I did but it’s just different than her other books. I did enjoy that instead of a singleton, her main character is married and a working mom. There were a couple moments where I could feel the story shift into a different direction, which I was happy for. Overall, Surprise Me isn’t her best book in my opinion but I’ll still keep reading her. Her characters are at least silly and fun.


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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Julie's Review: The Family Next Door


Author: Sally Hepworth
Series: None
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: No matter how pretty the door of the house, there's always secrets behind it
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Summary: Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets. From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby. When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light. The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Review: The Family Next Door is one of those books that highlights just how little we really know about our neighbors and maybe about the ones we love the most. I have always said that you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors of our friends, let alone your neighbors.

Each of the women is dealing with her own secret that could shatter their worlds. Some of it their own making, some of it is from outside sources. Each of them changes and become stronger. Essie, who struggled with Postpartum after the birth of Mia, is silently slipping back into it with her baby Polly. She's trying to keep it quiet but both her mother and husband are noticing that something is off. That and her sudden interest in friendship the new neighbor, Isabelle worries her mom.

Then you have Fran, who has taken up running with gusto, which makes her neighbor friends wonder why but none of them dig deep enough to find out why. Fran is wracked with guilt (but you'll have to read the book to figure out why). So she runs to try and ease her mind but really doesn't help.

Then there's Ange who thinks that her husband Lucas is pretty awesome. The real question though, is he pretty awesome or is she looking at him through rose colored glasses.  Is she really willing to look at him without them on? Is she willing to take the consequences of him not being everything she's built him up to be?

I kept thinking how alone these women were in their struggles and how if they would have reached out to each other they would have or could have supported each other. The problem is that when you are dealing with your own issues, sometimes you can't see what others are going through. What I did like is how all of their issues did end up bringing them all together in the end.


Ms. Hepworth sets it up so that you think one thing and then it turns out to be very different. I love when authors do that and can keep you guessing. Also, I appreciated that it made sense and wasn’t a 180 from where I originally thought it was going. 

This is the first Sally Hepworth book I’ve read and while I know it’s different than her others, I’ll be reading her other books. That being said, pick it up!


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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Julie's Review: Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties


Author: Camille Pagan
Series: None
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Pages: 254
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: How to come back after a divorce
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Summary: At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her. On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself. Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become? ~amazon.com  

Review: Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties deals with the issues of getting older, getting a divorce, dealing with loneliness and figuring out your new direction.

Maggie is a worrier. It’s who she is. When her husband tells her that he’s in love with someone else, 30 years of marriage passes before her eyes. She doesn’t know how to function without being married. She’s been a mom and a wife for most of her adult life. She spirals into a wine induced haze for the first few months after Adam leaves. She is reeling and she's not sure how to pull herself out of it. She thinks that there is hope when Adam agrees to come for a family Thanksgiving dinner. Her kids don't want her to get her hopes up but she's determined to make it a nice "family" dinner even if it's their last. Good intentions fly out the window when yet Adam throws another bomb on her that throws her in another direction.


As Maggie tries to figure out life without being a wife, she also tries to reconnect with who she was in her 30s, when she was in her prime and happy. I think what she learns is that while you might want to go back in time, you can never recreate that happiness again because you change and grow overtime. So happiness in her 50s will look different than it did in her 30s.

While I did like at the end that she stepped out of her comfort zone, it almost felt like she stepped too far out of it. I'm not sure anyone would ever stretch themselves completely out of who they were. Yes we need to do that to continue to grow but you can't change who you are at the core. 

 Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is a book for those who might have lost their way but can have hope to find it again. It’s about learning to let go and have a leap of faith that things will be alright.



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Monday, February 19, 2018

Julie's Review: No Time To Blink


Author: Dina Silver
Series: None
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Pages: 384
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Suspense
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Emotionally intense
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Summary: He knows the one thing that would destroy me would be to separate me from my daughter…Catherine Clarke defied her family’s expectations when she married Gabriel, a handsome Lebanese businessman. After moving to Gabriel’s homeland and welcoming a baby daughter, Catherine knew she had to acclimate herself to the strange new world. Yet both her husband and her surroundings became more volatile and threatening than she could have ever imagined. When Gabriel forbids her to return to the States, Catherine devises a plan to deceive him, but she vastly underestimates how far he will go to punish her. And after her daughter, Ann Marie, is abducted and taken deep into the mountains of Beirut—protected by family, culture, and law—the only thing on Catherine’s side is the fierceness of a mother’s love. She’s prepared to move heaven and earth to find her child. Told from alternating points of view—that of a daughter whose past is a mystery and of a mother with painful secrets to share—this profoundly moving story of impossible risks will resonate with anyone whose love has no boundaries. ~amazon.com

Review: No Time to Blink is one of those books that is short in page length but big on emotional punch. We are told the story of Ann Marie's past via flashbacks to the early 1970s with her mom, CC and dad, Gabriel. We are told of their whirlwind romance through Catherine's eyes.

We are then told of Ann Marie's current life from her point of view. Ann Marie's life is in upheaval due to her husband being a jack ass. There is no wallowing by Ann Marie, she's got 3 boys to take care of and a life to move on with. By some intervention of fate, she uses the same lawyer for her divorce as her mother had used all those years ago. An off-handed comment by the lawyer makes Ann Marie wonder if there isn't more to her parent's divorce that has been hidden from her.

CC's flashbacks were harrowing because you knew that things weren't going to be great for her once the honeymoon period passed them by. Especially since her and Gabriel were moving back to Lebanon where the culture for women isn't as open as it is in the U.S. She is told by her neighbor and friend not to be so confrontational with Gabriel; to not argue. CC isn't exactly a shrinking violet so that's not really going to work for her. Gabriel turns out to be much different than the man she thought she married.

I loved the bond between CC and Ann Marie. Ann Marie admired her so much and loved her exponentially. She knew that her mother had something to tell her but she also knew there was another side to the story that she might not ever know; her father's. Through her mother's journals, Ann Marie begins to uncover what might have happened to her all those years ago. Her father was never allowed to be mentioned in the house growing up around her aunt's and grandparents; now she will understand the why.

I was shocked in the end by my emotional response to this book. I found my self shedding tears in the end. It is a fast-paced read but there are emotional layers to this novel that are gratifying. I highly recommend that you pick up No Time to Blink immediately.



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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Julie's Review: Everything Here is Beautiful


Author: Mira T. Lee
Series: None
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: I enjoyed it but wanted a bit more emotion from it
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: Two Chinese-American sisters—Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the headstrong, unpredictable one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia impetuously plows ahead, but the bitter constant is that she is, in fact, mentally ill. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until, inevitably, she crashes to earth. Miranda leaves her own self-contained life in Switzerland to rescue her sister again—but only Lucia can decide whether she wants to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans—but what does it take to break them? Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its heart, an immigrant story, and a young woman’s quest to find fulfillment and a life unconstrained by her illness. But it’s also an unforgettable, gut-wrenching story of the sacrifices we make to truly love someone—and when loyalty to one’s self must prevail over all. ~amazon.com  

Review: The cover for Everything Here Is Beautiful is gorgeous as are the words on the pages but this one fell a bit short for me. I wanted it to evoke more emotion from me. We are introduced to both Miranda and Lucia when they are young kids and then reintroduced when they are older adults and dealing with the death of their mother.

Miranda constantly worries about Lucia not only because she's the older sister but Lucia has had some mental instability in her past. Lucia is carefree and fun until she starts to go start having issues with her stability. How far will Miranda go to save her sister, maybe in sacrificing her own health? Is it her responsibility to take care of Lucia now that she's an adult? At what point should Lucia be in charge of her own health? Can she even manage it?


I did appreciate was how Ms. Lee wrote and presented mental illness. She shows it from all points of view, including Lucia who is the one with the illness. She shows the effects of mental illness on everyone and the weariness.

I would like to see more books deal with the reality of mental illness like Ms. Lee does in Everything Here Is Beautiful.


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Monday, February 5, 2018

Julie's Review: Next Year In Havana


Author: Chanel Cleeton
Series: None
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 400
Obtained: Great Thoughts for Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Seemed a bit scattered to me
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Summary: After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution... Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage. ~amazon.com

Review: Let’s just start by saying that the cover for this is gorgeous! As someone who isn’t very familiar with the history of Cuba and the revolution, this part was eye opening. The people you expect to be your saviors don’t always turn out that way which was the case in Fidel.

Marisol is in Cuba writing an article about tourism but she’s really there to scatter her grandmother’s ashes. Growing up her grandmother used to fill Marisol's head with stories of Cuba before Fidel came to be in power. She knew that her grandmother's wish was to have her ashes spread in her homeland but exactly where was something that Marisol would need to decide. As a Cuban-American, Marisol wants to understand the country that is her heritage and why her family had to flee. What she doesn’t expect is to uncover her grandmother’s life and love before she moved to Miami.

Ms. Cleeton chose to tell the story from both Elisa and Marisol's point of views. What this gives us is a glimpse into the time in Cuba during the revolution and the fear that the wealthy lived in. They lived in fear of what Batista would do to them if he felt they weren't closely aligned to him and they feared Castro afterwards because of how quickly he changed the landscape of the country.

I loved the past a bit more than the contemporary parts just because I have limited knowledge on Cuba and it's history. I also felt that Marisol's story was a bit predictable.  Next Year in Havana is about finding out your family history and realizing you have more in common with them then you thought.



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Monday, January 29, 2018

Julie's Review: The Girlfriend


Author: Michelle Frances
Series: None
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 432
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Suspense,Thriller
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Starts off a bit slow but definitely builds up
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Summary: Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but hasn’t led Laura’s golden life. And she wants it. When tragedy strikes, a decision is made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever…The Girlfriend is a taut and wickedly twisted debut psychological thriller—a novel of subtle sabotage, retaliation, jealousy and fear, which pivots on an unforgivable lie, and examines the mother–son–daughter-in-law relationship in a chilling new light.~amazon.com  

Review: Listen up sons: Your mother always know best even if we go about it in the wrong way. In The Girlfriend, Laura was determined to be friendly because it was obvious that her son, Daniel was a bit smitten with her. Yes, she was left with an unsettled feeling after their first meeting, but she cut Cherry some slack figuring that it was just initial nerves of meeting her boyfriend's parents. Given as close as her and Daniel are, she wants to make every effort to welcome Cherry in to the fold but she keeps holding Laura at arms length.
 
Cherry, on the hand, is all about seizing an opportunity that will help her and Daniel is that opportunity for her from the minute he walks into her realty office. She immediately notices that Daniel and his mom are close, which really won't work for her. She has to be the most important woman in his life. She quickly starts putting plans in motion to drive wedges between them even if they are small at first.

While I will say that there were some things that Laura did that I wholeheartedly didn't agree with, I understood why she did what she did. She needed and wanted to protect her family; although that ended up biting her in the buttocks. I also felt sorry for Laura because she didn't have the strength to fight back when Cherry "attacked" her. For as put together as Laura seemed, she really was falling apart. I knew she wouldn't really fight back because for the better part of her marriage, she let her husband walk all over her.

There were times when I wasn't sure who was off their rocker more, Laura or Cherry. Although in the end it seemed that Cherry really did have some issues that stemmed from her issues with how she grew up.

The Girlfriend took a bit for me to get into just because it's a lot of build up but it definitely pays off in the end. It would definitely be a great movie with the right director and actors. If you are looking for a novel that slowly builds up and lays a lot of crumbs, then this one is for you.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Julie's Review: As Bright As Heaven


Author: Susan Meissner
Series: None
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 400
Obtained: Great Thoughts for Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: An eye opening novel about the tragedy of the Spanish Flu
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Summary: In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life. But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it. As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it. ~amazon.com  

Review: If you read my reviews at all you know that I am always astounded by the research that goes into a historical fiction novel; it is no different with Ms. Meissner’s  As Bright as Heaven.

The Bright family move from Quakertown, PA to Philadelphia for a better life just months before the outbreak and to heal from the death of their baby brother/son. We are told of family events and the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 through the eyes of the females in the family; Pauline, Evie, Maggie and Willa.

Each woman has her own voice and her own issues to deal with. Pauline and Maggie want to be involved in the family business which their Uncle acquiesces too.  Each of them struggle with their own heartache and tragedies. Their mother Pauline is devoted to her girls and wants them to have the world. Evie and Maggie, as the two oldest, noticed a change in their mother since they've been in Philadelphia but they can't figure out what it is. It's not that she's happy but it's that she's not as sad.

I loved that we got to see the young sister's grow up over several years and have a peek into who they will be throughout their lives. I also loved how they had each of the girls pursued their passions given the time period. 


As Bright as Heaven is a story of insurmountable loss, love, hope and finding what makes you happy even as you are coming out of darkness. We see each of them struggle with their own heartbreak and loss and see who they grow up to be.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Julie's Review: The English Wife


Author: Lauren Willig
Series: None
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: Seemed a bit scattered to me
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Summary: Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he's recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she's having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay's sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips? ~amazon.com

Review: English Wife starts off with a ball to open up the house that Annabelle (aka Georgie) and Bay Van Duyvilll have built on the outskirts of New York City to show to society. It is quickly diverted by the murders of the host and hostess who are found in the garden by Bay's sister, Janie and cousin, Anne. Everyone is quick to judge that either Annabelle is a murderess or that Bay is a murderer but Janie is convinced that it was a 3rd party. She decides to team up with a reporter, Mr. Burke, to figure out what the truth is, no matter what the outcome.

The story is told by going back into time when Bay first met Annabelle and then the aftermath of the murders. While I found the background of Bay and Annabelle's somewhat interesting, it was the piecing of all the players that could be involved in the murders that was perhaps the most intriguing. With Annabelle's background it opened the net a bit for suspects.

Ms. Willig definitely knows how to tell a story and this one is no different. There are a few different subplots but they eventually weave there way into the full story.

P.S. I love the colors in this cover it really captures the tone of the novel.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Julie's Review: Little Broken Things


Author: Nicole Baart
Series: None
Publication Date: November 21, 2017
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 368
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Suspense, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: This will satisfy the readers of both suspense and contemporary fiction
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Summary: An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl. I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever. Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy. While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves. ~amazon.com

 Review: Little Broken Things is a book that you will think you have it all figured out but you really don't until it all comes together at the end. You go along with the assumptions of both Liz, the matriarch, and Quinn, the baby of the family because it's all that you know.

Why would Nora drop off a stranger if she wasn't a niece or granddaughter. Why is Nora being all secretive? Why is Lucy so quiet and scared? The story alternates between the 3 Sanford women and we get to see the events unfold from Nora ,who knows why Lucy was dropped with Quinn, Liz who's external wall is starting to crumble as she faces some truths in her life and Quinn, who fell in love and got married quickly only to be hit with real life issues.

How will these women with the same blood mend the fences that seem to be up around them? Will they be able to confront the past in order to protect themselves and Lucy? 

All of these women, including Lucy, are strong and brave. Nora, perhaps is the bravest because she puts the lives of others in front of hers. Her bond and friendship with Tiffany has put her in danger with a man that is known to abuse.

Liz is starting to deal with some truths about her husband, their marriage and her own actions over the years.

What I really enjoyed about the novel is that it is multi-layered storytelling. There is a lot of suspense going on throughout the novel but it also the story of a family finding their way back to each other.

  Little Broken Things is a book that you won't want to miss.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Julie's Review: The Immortalists


Author: Chloe Benjamin
Series: None
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 352
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: What a great novel to start out a new year!
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Summary: If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds. ~amazon.com  

Review: Immortalists is a novel that will make you think about your own mortality and of those you are closest too. If you knew the date of your death would you run your way to it or would you live your life in a way to avoid it? What about the morality of telling kids when they would die?

Each of the Gold children deal with their date in different ways. Simon embraces who he is, lives and loves with reckless abandon. Klara is perhaps the most susceptible to the information give by the gypsy and she’s the one that I feel took her date into her own hands. Daniel led a life he was proud of until he got information that made him spin out of control. Varya, the oldest and seemingly the most stable is anything but what she seems.

I loved how Ms. Benjamin chose to tell the story. When one story ends, another sibling picks up their story from there so you get to see how their stories are interwoven and how society changes over the decades. Each sibling has their own voice but they all have the one thing that binds them together besides their family ties and that's their experience with the fortune teller. She also handles mental illness extremely well in a few of the cases with the siblings.

Family ties us together good or bad and it is the thing that we hold onto the most. I can see why this novel got all the hype that it has before publication. The storytelling is wonderful as are each of the characters.

There is so much to discuss with this Immortalists and it would make a tremendous book club choice. I don't think you'll want to miss this one in 2018. 

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Julie's Review: The Breakdown


Author: B.A. Paris
Series: None
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A quick,page-turning read
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Summary: If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped. But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby. The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt. Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her… ~amazon.com

Review: Breakdown is the sophomore book by B.A. Paris after her huge hit, Behind Closed Doors. I can say that I wasn't let down by this one; I'm only disappointed I left it on my nightstand for so long. Cass is out with her friends for an end of term celebration when it starts to storm. Before she leaves, her husband Matt tells her not to take the rural road even though it would shave time off of her commute home. She decides to take the road anyway and happens upon a car on the side of the road but when she stops no one comes out of it so she decides to go on home.

When the news breaks that a young woman was murdered on that road, Cass freaks out but she can't really tell Matthew that she took that road. She starts to feel extremely guilty about not actually checking to see if the person in the car needed help. She also starts to seemingly forget things at first it's just little things but because of her mom's medical history, she starts to worry that she's got dementia. Especially because the stress of thinking that there's a killer out there is making her even more forgetful.

Cass is an easy character to feel sorry for and to understand how she might be freaking out a bit. She starts to second guess herself like we all would in this situation. Is she just under a lot stress? Is she really dealing with some sort of memory issue?

As you read the book a lot of different scenarios will run through your head. All of them are plausible especially in this genre.The title of this well crafted novel has a double meaning as you will see throughout it. You do wonder if Cass is losing her mind or if there is something wrong with her. While I wouldn't say there are any shoe dropping moment, there are a couple good twists along the way. I didn't feel like it suffered from sophomore slump because I enjoyed it a lot.

If you are looking for a quick, page turning read, then pick up Breakdown.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Julie's Review: The Girl in the Tower


Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy #2
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher:Del Rey
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A wonderful 2nd book in a magical series
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Summary: Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch. Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey. But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself. ~amazon.com  

Review: The Girl in the Tower is an excellent 2nd novel in the Winternight Trilogy. We see Vasya come into her own, even if she must mask herself as a boy. It is because of her bravery that she is reunited with her brother, Sasha and her sister, Olga. They don't yet know that their father is dead and it is up to Vasya to inform them. 

It is because of her bravery that she garnishes the Grand Prince's attention and causes her brother to lie by saying she's a boy. She goes out to fight the bandits with the Prince with success, which gives her more attention and the nickname Vasilli the Brave. Of course, Vasya is still young and doesn't realize the amount of harm that she can cause her family by saying this one lie.

Since outside of Moscow, Vasya isn't wise to the politics that need to be played and how to watch her back even though Morozko warns her several times. For someone who doesn't have many people to trust, she seems to trust a bit easily.

She doesn’t fit the mold of maiden or nun, so her brother and sister are unsure of what to do with her since she is perceived to be a boy. As the Prince’s thrown is challenged, Vasya fights to save them all.

I can’t wait to see how Ms. Arden finishes the trilogy, which will be published in August 2018!

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Julie's Year in Review - 2017

It's everyone's favorite time of the year! You know, where everyone comes out with their favorite books of the year and why break the tradition, so here is my list:

My Goodreads Challenge Goal: 85 Books
Books Read: 88!! (Through 12/31/2017)

2017 was yet another year where I had more than a handful of 5/5 books! So, here is the break down by category for my favorites (not in a specific order).  

Contemporary Fiction:
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Setting Free the Kites by Alex George
Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Light We Lost by Jill Santapolo

Historical Fiction:
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction:
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Mystery/Crime/Thriller/Suspense:
Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen
The Good Widowby Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
The Wife Between Us by Sarah Pekkannen and Greer Hendricks
Dont Let Go by Harlan Coben
Unsub by Meg Gardiner
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
 
Women's Fiction:
Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
Light We Lost by Jill Santapolo
Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner
Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale

Fantasy/Magical Realism:
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Girl in the Tower: Winternight Trilogy #2 by Katherine Arden

Non-Fiction:
Killers of the Flower Moon The Osage Murders & the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
Sisters First Stories from Our Wild & Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

I am hoping that 2018 is as wonderful of a reading year as 2017! Happy Reading!




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