New York Times Bestselling Author

Posts made in May, 2017

Book Review: Young Adult

Posted by on May 9, 2017 |

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

♥♥♥

Young Adult

“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

Cath and Wren are identical twins that were inseparable until they go to college. Despite the fact they go to the same school in Lincoln, Nebraska, Wren doesn’t want to be roommates. They grow further and further apart as Wren goes out drinking all the time with her roommate, Courtney, and Cath stays inside writing fanfiction about her favorite series of books and the character Simon Snow, a magician.

To me, all the excerpts from the Simon Snow books and the excerpts from Cath’s fanfic posts didn’t add to the story. I did like Cath’s slow-moving romance with Levi and her conflicted relationship with her sister and their mother, who left them when they were eight.


 

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Book Reviews: Women’s Fiction

Posted by on May 7, 2017 |

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

♥♥♥♥♥

General Fiction > Women’s Fiction

The novel began as a story of an iconic, Academy Award-winning actress with decades in the movie industry revealing a salacious tell-all to a low-level journalist seemingly plucked out of obscurity. It is that to some degree, but 79-year-old movie star Evelyn Hugo’s story of her rise to fame and the reasons she had so many husbands is also about race, identity, and the discrimination faced by members of the LBGTQ community—the actors in front of the camera, the players behind the scenes, and the population at large.

 Monique is having trouble with her own marriage and career when she learns from her editor that Evelyn wants her and only her to tell her story. Monique can’t figure out what Evelyn really wants and why it has to be her, but she realizes that this is the career opportunity of a lifetime.

 Evelyn’s story of growing up poor (and beautiful) and making her way to Hollywood, her successes and failures in film and with her marriages, makes for compelling reading. I’ve read most of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other books, and this is quite different than her other work, but I really enjoyed it (as I enjoyed her other novels).

 Evelyn’s story of her ruthless and calculated ascent into the wealthy Hollywood elite is deliciously consuming, but it’s her historical journey through the 50s, the 60s when the Stonewall riots happened, though the Reagan 80s that make this a must read.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.


 

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Book Review: Mystery > Suspense

Posted by on May 1, 2017 |

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

♥♥♥♥♥

Women’s Fiction > Mystery

Part mother/daughter novel, part murder mystery, Meg goes to Bonny Island off the coast of Georgia to research her a tell-all memoir. After growing up with money and a narcissistic mother, Meg is asked to write about her mom, a woman who became wealthy and famous for a novel based on a real-life murder of a child on Bonny Island. Frances had been a nineteen-year-old visiting the island when the murder took place. She named the protagonist Kitten based on a real girl, Dorothy, who is now the owner of the hotel, which is now closed to visitors.

 For years the hotel made money off of the rabid fans of the Kitten book, but the fans became increasingly deranged, and Dorothy, who is now forty-eight, closed the hotel to all but three employees who help keep the hotel from falling into complete disrepair.

 We know as soon as the ferry captain tells Meg that cell and internet reception are spotty that something mysterious and possibly dangerous awaits Meg on that island.

 One of the people who works on there is handsome Native American Loa. The romantic tension between Loa and Meg is great.

 Meg is a likeable character despite being a spoiled and bitter young woman. Stateside she has struggled to get a career going; a trust fund means she’s not reliant on work to survive. If she writes this book, her mother will cut her off. Initially Meg doesn’t want to do it, but then thinks it might be cathartic to write about what it was like to be Frances Avery’s daughter as well as possibly find out who really killed young Kim Baker.

Meg is likeable because it’s not her fault her mother ignored her and focused on her books, fans, and multiple marriages. I liked the dynamic of the self-absorbed and manipulative Frances and her troubled-but-trying daughter. The hotel and island made for a great setting for the mystery of what really happened to the young girl, and also the mystery of Meg’s misguided relationship with an older married man when she was just sixteen years old—Meg is also finding herself on this research trip.

 This wasn’t my favorite novel of the year, but the writing is good and I was compelled to keep to reading to resolve the many questions raised.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.


 

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

♥♥♥♥

Mystery>Suspense>Crime

The first few chapters I read so fast I thought my eyes might bleed because I couldn’t close them lest it slow my reading.
Beginning with the discovery of a murder of an ex-cop, this case hits close to home quickly for Will Trent, both personally and professionally. For the rest of members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigating with him, the complicated twists and conflicting clues make this case mind bending.
WARNING: Virtually every character in this book has been brutalized or brutalizes. I like suspense stories where it starts with a dead body and then the detectives, medical examiner, and the folks who work in the various technology fields supporting law enforcement have a mystery to solve. This novel involves a lot rape and the prostitution of minors. While none of it was graphic, it was still tough to read.
However, the writing is outstanding, so I tried to ignore the endless cruelty. Some of the police work was a little too technical for me to really understand, but the mystery was compelling—I stayed up way too late to finish the book.
This is part of a series, but I hadn’t read any of the other books and thought it stood on its own just fine.
If you can handle a book filled with damaged characters and a lot of brutality, it’s a good novel. Otherwise, I’d pick another writer. I like Slaughter’s writing, but this might be the last book of hers I read because I don’t know that I need to be quite so depressed reading a suspense novel.
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