New York Times Bestselling Author

Posts by Theresa

Book Review: Thriller

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 |

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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Thriller > Mystery > Suspense

I didn’t love this novel as much as everyone else seems to. I thought parts of it dragged, and some of the twists at the end seemed forced like, “Ah ha! We can do yet another switcheroo! You might have thought X, but really, it’s Y!”

I will say that at the 40 percent mark of the novel, a story that seems to be about a jealous ex-wife (Vanessa) stalking her ex’s fiancé (Emma) got decidedly creepy and more interesting. However, for me, certain mysteries weren’t solved to my satisfaction while there were twists about things that seemed inauthentic.

I don’t want to say too much about what we discover about Vanessa’s marriage, which she tells us about through flashbacks. The relationship started out as ridiculously happy, though Richard is controlling, a trait that only gets worse, to the point that she believes herself to be crazy. Her mother battled mental illness, so it’s not totally unreasonable that she might have some issues to contend with herself. Certainly her behavior to us, the readers, doesn’t exactly scream that she’s perfectly stable.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Book Review: Women in Television

Posted by on Nov 4, 2017 |

Stealing the Show: How Women are Revolutionizing Television in America by Joy Press

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Nonfiction > Feminism > Women in Media > Women in Television

If you’re a fan of Orange is the New Black or Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy or Broad City or Transparent or 30 Rock (among others discussed in these pages), this nonfiction book about the struggles and strides of the women behind the camera should be interesting to you.

With the exception of Murphy Brown that came out in 1987, it was rare to have women head writers or showrunners (if you saw 30 Rock, Tina Fey’s character played a showrunner—basically in charge the writers and making sure everything came together). The major broadcast networks ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox have not made great strides in this area. (CW is an exception). Variety found that of the new scripted shows being made for the 2017/2018 season, just 29 percent of the broadcast showrunners were female and thirty-five percent of the actors were.

Thanks to streaming channels and cable, there are many more opportunities for women to get experience—and hire other women so they, too, can get experience. Directing TV is a Catch-22—you won’t get hired if you don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience because no one will hire you.

I like history and examining the role women have played in it, including the history of the entertainment industry. I found this to be readable, fun look at women in TV.

RELEASES 3/6/18. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to review this book.

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Book Review: Thriller

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 |

Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

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Thriller

This story of a woman married to her second husband after her first has died takes a long time to get going. Almost the entire first fifth of the novel is the author telling us the backstory of Cass and Ryan. Cass has a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old from her first marriage. Sam is the two-year-old she had with Ryan.

Once the story actually starts, the pace picks up dramatically. Cass suspects that Ryan is cheating on her. Then she suspects that he’s poisoning her, but poison is a tricky thing to prove. Did it occur naturally or accidentally in the food she ate? If not, how does she or the police know the exact source? Ryan? The babysitter?

Cass begins to doubt everyone. No one believes her—not the ER folks or the cops and definitely not Ryan, who repeatedly tells her and anyone else who will listen that she’s mentally ill. Even as a reader I wasn’t sure if she was delusional, if only a little.

It actually got to the point that reading the novel stressed me out. Niederhoffer does a good job of talking about how women’s testimony on rape and abuse is not considered as reliable as testimony from men.

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Book Review: Screenwriting

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 |

Writing Screenplays that Sell by Michael Hauge

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How To > Screenplay Writing

I find that when I’m blocked with my writing, reading a how-to book can inspire me. I’m a novelist who only occasionally wonders if I have it in me to turn one of my manuscripts into a teleplay or screenplay. The basics of storytelling, regardless of genre, are the same. Namely, your hero needs a goal, and achieving that goal should be super hard.

This book did not inspire me to write screenplays, but if that’s your goal, this book is a good start. The advice is helpful For example during the brainstorming faze:

“Don’ edit as you go. In other words, when dialogue (or any other aspect of your writing) starts to flow, you are tapping directly into your creative source . . . If you start to engage your critical, judgmental faculties, you will stifle the creativity you’ve been striving for.”

The movie business sounds even harder than the novel-writing business because it takes millions of dollars to make a movie. For a novel, depending on the format, distribution, advance, and marketing campaign, if you’re lucky enough to have a publisher give you one, the costs are almost nothing by comparison. Also, in novel writing, unless you go to a conference where you pitch your book in person, everything is done these days by email queries. You’d definitely never call an agent like the parts of this book in which Hauge encourages you to cold call. Yipes!

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Book Review: Fiction

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 |

Catalina by Liska Jacobs

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Fiction > Women’s Fiction

“I call room service and order another Bloody Mary, which, I tell myself, is basically a salad.”

After being fired from working as an assistant at the MoMa, Elsa returns to California where she meets up with her college friends, including her ex-husband, Robby, who is dating a triathlete, and, though he seems happy with Jane, also seems to pine for Elsa. Her other friend, Charlotte “Charly” has a strained relationship with her husband.

Elsa constantly pops pills she stole from her mother. She doesn’t even know what the pills are—she makes guesses, and then washes them down with alcohol. Obviously alcohol and drugs keep a person in a haze where she doesn’t have to feel the pain of her married lover breaking up with her and firing her, but it also keeps her from being able to emotionally be there for her friends. The more we learn about Elsa, however, the more we learn that her lack of empathy came a long time before her downturn in circumstances.

Elsa is beautiful, and while that gives her some power, it also exacts a toll. This is a dark, well-written novel. It’s not a breezy beach read despite the fact the entire book happens in the course of a few days—at the beach.

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