Thursday, June 21, 2018

Julie's Review: The Banker's Wife

Author: Cristina Alger
Series: None
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Pages: 352
Obtained: Great Thoughts,Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: 3 strong heroines in one book
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Werner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew's death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies. Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she's engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York's social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including a few who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel's heartbreaking search--if Marina chooses to publish it.  

Review: Wow! Ms. Alger wrote a fantastic novel about what it takes to survive when you are being hunted for something your husband might have done. We all know that off-shore accounts are a bit suspect but she really brings the seedy underside to life in her novel. We meet Annabel and Marina both who will be sucked into this web of deceit but in very different ways. As the book kept picking up speed, I was hoping our multiple heroines would be able to come out on the other side of this with their lives intact. Each of them had so much tragedy and sorrow in such a short period of time that I wanted them to be o.k.

There are definitely some twists and turn throughout the book but none that seemed unrealistic or non-plausible. Especially given the fact that you are dealing with a business that exists on dirty or not completely legal money.

What I loved is we had three strong but different heroines in Annabel, Marina and Zoe. I loved that this story weaved their lives together probably in ways they would have preferred not to have happen in some ways. Each of them brought a different aspect to the story and definitely added unique perspectives. I wasn't expecting Zoe's to be so interesting and intricate to everything.

The Banker's Wife  truly sucked me in from the first line and didn't let go. It is definitely a book to take to the beach or pool with you this summer but I read it anywhere I could just to see what was going to happen next.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Julie's Review: Three Days Missing

Author: Kimberly Belle
Series: None
Publication Date: August 26, 2018
Publisher: Park Row
Pages: 352
Obtained: author
Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A mother's view of when her child goes missing and the frantic search for him
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night. When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her nine-year-old son, Ethan, is missing—vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight class trip. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground, but she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest. Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance has earth-shattering consequences for Stef, as her path crosses with Kat. As the two mothers race against the clock, their desperate search for answers reveals how the greatest dangers lie behind the everyday smiles of those they trust the most.  

Review: What would you do if your son went missing on a school camp out? How would you feel if it turned out that your kid wasn’t the target? This is what single mom, Kat is dealing with. Her son, Ethan is a seriously smart kid, probably bordering on genius but he's not so good with social interaction. So when she drops him off to go on an overnight trip, she's apprehensive but she's got to let him do it. When the loud knocking interrupts her sleep she thinks it's her ex-husband but when she opens the door and it's the police, she knows her whole world is about to turn upside down.

Stephanie is devastated when she hears that another boy from her son's class is missing. She's frantic to get in touch with someone from the school to see what is going on but can't get a hold of anyone. It's not quite evident why she's so frantic and involved in this situation. Other than the fact that she's the mayor's wife, she already knows that her son is fine.

As Stephanie and Kat's worlds collide, you realize that they have more in common than you thought before. It takes them by surprise as they didn't really know each other other than because of their boys being in the same class.

Ms. Belle has a knack for writing engaging characters and plot. You feel for Kat and wonder how much Stephanie has turned a blind eye too. As you finish the end of the book, she turns it on its head yet again. So much so that I had to make sure that I read it a few times.

If you haven't read any of her books, then Three Days Missing is a great one to start with.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Julie's Review: The Summer I Met Jack

Author: Michelle Gable
Series: None
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 528
Obtained: Great Thoughts,Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Before the Kennedy's were considered Camelot, JFK was in love with someone else
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Based on a real story - in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack. Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other. The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedy's to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.  

Review: I’m not obsessed with the Kennedy’s by any means but this book about JFK’s romantic involvement with Alicia Darr was interesting.  I’m of the opinion that JFK was an ass and Alicia saw what he could do for her and she took it. I have no doubt they were in lust with each other but while she let him in a little, she never opened completely up. There was something she always held back about herself.

For me it wasn’t their romance that intrigued me it was the setting of the story. I loved the old school movie theater that Alicia work in and her friendship with George. For me he was her confidante and true friend. He always told her how he saw it, even if at times she didn't want to here it.

I do enjoy books that make me use google and The Summer I Met Jack made me do that. If you are looking for another view into the Kennedy clan, then this book is for you.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Julie's Review: Another Side of Paradise

Author: Sally Koslow
Series: None
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 352
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A look into one of F Scott Fitzgerald's many loves
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s star is on the rise, while literary wonder boy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career is slowly drowning in booze. But the once-famous author, desperate to make money penning scripts for the silver screen, is charismatic enough to attract the gorgeous Miss Graham, a woman who exposes the secrets of others while carefully guarding her own. Like Fitzgerald’s hero Jay Gatsby, Graham has meticulously constructed a life far removed from the poverty of her childhood in London’s slums. And like Gatsby, the onetime guttersnipe learned early how to use her charms to become a hardworking success; she is feted and feared by both the movie studios and their luminaries. A notorious drunk famously married to the doomed Zelda, Fitzgerald fell hard for his “Shielah” (he never learned to spell her name), a shrewd yet softhearted woman—both a fool for love and nobody’s fool—who would stay with him and help revive his career until his tragic death three years later. Working from Sheilah’s memoirs, interviews, and letters, Sally Koslow revisits their scandalous love affair and Graham’s dramatic transformation in London, bringing Graham and Fitzgerald gloriously to life with the color, glitter, magic, and passion of 1930s Hollywood.

Review:  While this novel is about the love affair between Sheilah and F. Scott, for me Sheilah's backstory is the most interesting part of the novel. At this time, F. Scott was a washed up writer trying to become a screenwriter in Hollywood but even that isn't going well for him. By the end of this book I took pity on F. Scott Fitzgerald because he really wasn't going to make a huge comeback.

As I said, this story was really about Ms. Graham. It was about how her past shaped her and how her relationship with Scott might have been the first time she was truly in love. He also taught her to believe in herself and with his guidance she educated herself by reading books she had never experienced previously.

I really enjoyed Sheilah and her story. She has reinvented herself for gain and because she had to get out of where she grew up. Ms. Koslow did right by Sheilah by telling her side of the story and giving her a voice.