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Posts made in December, 2017

Book Review: Suspense

Posted by on Dec 29, 2017 |

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

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Thriller > Suspense

This novel, set in Kensington, England, pits the two women that love twenty-three-year-old medical student Daniel against each other: His mother Laura and his new girlfriend Cherry. Daniel never wanted for anything growing up. Cherry, on the other hand, lived in poverty and is desperate for a way out, even if it means lying a bit on her resume and pushing her mother out of her life as much as possible.

Both Cherry and Laura initially hope to have a great relationship with one another, but misunderstandings and awkwardness give way to simmering tension that just gets worse and worse. I could see things from both women’s perspective, but I found myself siding with the mother more. As their lies become more convoluted, they manage to destroy each other bit by bit—damaging the other woman’s career and other relationships, which leads to a wonderfully suspenseful ending.

I enjoyed this book, which will be RELEASED JANUARY 30, 2018. Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel.

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Book Review: Women’s Fiction > Historical

Posted by on Dec 27, 2017 |

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

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Historical Fiction

This is a novel I will be recommending to everyone. Historical fiction, The Girls in the Picture is a book for everyone who has an interest in the evolution of film and of women trying to be taken seriously in the workplace.

Frances doesn’t want to be an actress, but she wants to be a part of the movies, and she finds her niche as a “scenarist” during the era of silent films, when the “flickers” were considered a low form of entertainment and certainly not an art form. She becomes great friends with Mary, who has been on the stage taking care of the rest of her family since she was just eight years old. Mary comes to the flickers because of the money. The two women are at the forefront of a burgeoning industry, which means becoming the first movie stars with rabid fans.

The story covers the challenges of the casting couch for female actresses. Women can’t take time off for children–men don’t have that worry and can have all the kids they want. All the Harvey Weinstein-esque terrible sexual behavior existed then, but perhaps worse was that women’s ideas were also belittled.

Marriage, life, and careers strain their friendship. The Girls in the Picture is a masterfully written novel about the personal and professional bonds of women during a fascinating time in history.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES JAN 16, 2018.

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Book Review > Mystery

Posted by on Dec 27, 2017 |

Broken Girls by Simone St. James

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Mystery > Paranormal

I don’t believe in ghosts in real life, but I absolutely believed in the ghost of Mary Hand haunting a girls’ boarding school, even after it was shut down in 1979. The writing of Broken Girls is wonderful and unique.

The story is told during two diferent periods in history. In 2014, journalist Fiona Sheridan, daughter of a famous journalist, is still looking for more solid information on the murder of her sister twenty years earlier, even though Deb’s boyfriend was convicted and has been imprisoned since her body was found in a field at Idlewood Hall in a remote part of Vermont.

In 1950, we get to meet four roommates, girls abanoned because they were born outside of marriage or they’re orphans or their parents just didn’t know how to deal with the challenges of raising a spirited daughter, especially at a time when we don’t have the knowledge about mental health that we do now (and therefore it was shameful to not be sunny and agreeable at all times if you were female). I loved these four fifteen-year-old girls. When one of them goes missing, neither the police nor the teachers do much to investigate. She’s a throwaway girl. Her friends, however, know that she was murdered because she’d never run away.

Fiona’s search for the truth makes for an intriguing and enjoyable mystery. I really liked this book, which RELEASES March 20, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.

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Book Review: Historical Fiction > Mystery

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 |

The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson

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Historical Fiction > Mystery

Wow. This is a very different book than Swanson’s debut novel, The Bookseller, but equally compelling with the same attention to historical accuracy that makes you feel like you’re in the 1940s/1960s.

Told from the alternating points of view of three women, the story gets off to a slow start, but once you get into it, you won’t be able to put it down. Stilja’s story begins in 1942 when she meets Henry and has a whirlwind love affair and a quick marriage before he goes off to war. The war changes him, and not for the better, but Stilja has already given birth to Ruby.

Angie and Ruby’s stories begin in 1960 after Stilja has left a note saying she’s leaving them and the dead body of Henry is found outside their glass house in the forest with a cup of poisoned tea. Where is Stilja? Did she kill Henry or was it really suicide because he was so depressed about her leaving? Also, what truths does Angie have to discover about her much older husband, the painter Paul, the brother of Henry?

The way this story unravels is deeply gratifying and the history is fascinating. It makes you appreciate the way things have improved for women, even if we still have a long way to go.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Touchstone for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES FEB. 6, 2018.

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Book Review: Fiction > Suspense

Posted by on Dec 17, 2017 |

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

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Fiction > Suspense

I love Catherine McKenzie’s work, and this novel, although different from her other books, was just as enjoyable a read.

On October 10 at 10 a.m. an explosion decimates an office building. Three women who escaped the tragedy are forever marked. Their stories are told in part because a documentary film maker interviews them about the experience.

Told from the alternating points of view of the three women, lies and deceptions are slowly unveiled right until the very end, which had me smiling and thinking, bravo Ms. McKenzie.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Lake Union publishing for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this novel, which RELEASES APRIL 2, 2018.

 

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