New York Times Bestselling Author

Posts made in August, 2017

Book Review: Fiction

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 | 0 comments

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

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Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant is a unique, memorable character. She spent most of her childhood being shuffled around different foster homes and schools. For the last nine years she’s worked at the same stultifying office job and doesn’t believe she deserves better, although when she gets a crush on a local musician, for the first time in her life she makes some effort with her appearance.

Eleanor has difficulty understanding social cues. She’s like an anthropologist studying a foreign culture. There is some humor in some of her observations, like when the coffee shop wants her name to put on the coffee cup, and she freaks out about them invading her privacy as if it were a matter of national security.

But she gets through these experiences with the help of Raymond, a man from the IT department at her office who makes poor sartorial choices and whose facial hair that could use some updating. They become friends when they help a man who collapses on the road. They go back to check on him in the hospital and meet his family, who are all grateful for their assistance. Through weekly lunches and visits to the man they rescued and his family, Raymond and Eleanor’s friendship blossoms. Eleanor needs that support to finally face the tragedy of her youth. Until now, she’s always though that as long as she had food, shelter, and clothes, that’s all a person needed . . . she’s completely fine. With Raymond’s and some other’s help, she learns there is more to life than simply surviving.

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Book Review: Suspense

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 | 0 comments

The Good Sister by Jess Ryder

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Thriller > Suspense

The Good Sister is a well-done suspense novel told from the point of view of two sisters. When Josie’s father dies, she discovers she has a half-sister named Valentina who looks like her. They were born only a few days apart, and though her father is technically married to her mother, he has spent half his life living with Valentina and her mother. All those times he said he was at conferences or when he took an apartment in Manchester to be closer to his job, it was a ruse so he could have two families.

The twists in the novel were good. It wasn’t always clear which character was speaking or telling the story from her point of view, but you figure it out eventually. I liked the way Ryder opened each chapter with the Viking lore that the sisters’ father was so enthralled with.

Valentina is a troubled woman, but Josie, who has a loving boyfriend and a good job, wants to be connected to her sister, so she ignores the warnings of her boyfriend and aunt and uncle, causing her a tremendous amount of trouble.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to review this book.

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Book Review: Women’s Fiction

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 | 0 comments

The Good Sister by Jess Ryder

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Women’s Fiction

This novel is told from multiple first-person perspectives about a privileged family, the Warners. It’s also told from the perspective of the caretaker, Matt, and the cleaning woman, Maggie Sue. The Warner family is not easy to like. They come together in Nantucket every summer.

We know that something bad happens over the Fourth of July holiday, and as the different characters tell their side of the story, bits and pieces of what is assumed to be an accident emerge, as does their lifetime of resentments and regrets. There is the daughter, uptight Caroline, who married a nice guy and is hyper protective of her twelve-year-old daughter because of her own experience. There is Tom, the brother Caroline bickers with endlessly. The mother, Alice, has the most distinct voice because of her aversion to technology and change. She resents people moving to Nantucket and building or renovating houses.

I liked the pacing of the story, but the characters weren’t particularly likeable, and I’m not sure the subplot and mystery were fully revealed. I don’t mind books that make you think for yourself, but even so, this was a little too vague for my liking.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

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Book Review: Fiction

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 | 0 comments

The Best Kinds of People by Zoe Whittall

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Fiction

This novel starts out strong. When George Woodbury, a respected teacher, is arrested for sexual misconduct with minors and attempted rape of a minor, the lives of his wife of nearly thirty years and his children, Andrew, a lawyer, and seventeen-year-old Sadie, are torn in pieces.

The arrest divides the town of Avalon and the private school where George teaches and Sadie is a senior. It was hard reading the stuff from the men’s rights group, who think women make up rape charges when sex didn’t go as they wanted or they felt some kind of guilt for their bad behavior. But that was the point: Do you believe George, who has never said anything improper about young girls and whose computer is without child porn, or do you believe the young women?

As his wife and children waver about whether they believe his claims that he’s being set up, they find themselves ostracized at work, school, and church. Andrew fairs better since he lives in the city, not the small town anymore, but it wreaks havoc on his relationship with his long-term partner.

I didn’t love the ending. Maybe it was the author’s point that such cases are never black and white, but in the world of fiction, I wish the author had made some different choices.

Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine for the opportunity to review this book.

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Book Review: Mystery > Literary Fiction

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 | 0 comments

Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

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Mystery > Literary Fiction

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a novel about family secrets. The mystery begins when Nora, who is estranged from her sister, Quinn, drops off a little girl, only saying that Quinn can’t tell anyone that the girl is in her care, including her husband. Nora disappears just as quickly as she briefly came back into Quinn’s life, not explaining what her sister should do with this little girl and why all the secrecy.

The writing is beautiful. Told from multiple points of view–Quinn, Nora, their mother, Liz, and Nora’s friend, Tiffany, the mystery unfolds nicely and the pacing is well done. I can’t say more than that without giving away too much.

Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to review this book and for introducing me to a new-to-me author.

 

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