4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Q, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 494

Read: June 23 – July 5, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new
Blurb: 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth … no matter where it leads.


Review: I purchased this one new some time ago and I was really excited about this one – it sounded so good! And then I did what I always do – I let it languish on my bookshelves. So I was excited to finally get around to this one.

For the most part, I enjoyed it. However, I struggled in the beginning – it had quite a slow start for me. But I powered through it and was pleasantly rewarded by sticking it out.

I definitely enjoyed it and am glad that I finally got around to reading this one. I’d definitely recommend this one!

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2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The River by Peter Heller

The River
by Peter Heller

The River

 

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 253

Read: June 30 – July 2, 2019

Rating: 2/5

Source: Library
Blurb: Wynn an dJack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding tale of desperate wilderness survival.


Review: This book is on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide this year. And it was available at the library, so I decided to take a chance on it. I wasn’t too sure about the  outdoorsy aspect of it (so not my cup of tea), but I was a little intrigued by the blurb – who was this man? Where was the woman? What was the argument about?

To be completely honest … it fell short for me. I found it to be extremely wordy. And unfortunately it was wordy about things that simply did not interest me. I really have no interest in the outdoors or canoeing and this book really centers around this. And then I was disappointed that there wasn’t really more to the man and woman arguing aspect of the book. Had it gone more in that direction it likely would have worked better for me. I also didn’t care much for the ending.

Overall it’s a quick read but I did find myself skimming a lot more than I usually do in a book. There was just a lot of information about canoeing and the general outdoors that simply bored me. This one just wasn’t a book for me.

Life, Miscellaneous Ramblings

Accidental Radio Silence…

…well I certainly didn’t intend to go dark for quite as long as I did. We spent the first week of July in Florida on a family vacation. When we got back it was straight back to work and I was absolutely covered up. Throw in a night up to St. Louis for the Hootie & the Blowfish concert and two days home with a sick child, and nearly two weeks has gone by. Oops.

The good news is that I’ve got 4 book reviews coming up. And I’ve acquired entirely too many new and new-to-me books that I still need to share with everyone. So I’ve got some good content coming up, stay tuned!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

 

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 415

Read: June 17 – 22, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap


Blurb
: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


Review: I swear I am probably the last person on earth who calls themself a thriller reader to have read this book. When it came out it had all that huge buzz that sends me the complete opposite direction of the book. A few years after it came out I tried to read it but ultimately DNF’d it – I can’t even really remember why I DNF’d it, but I remember I didn’t get very far in. So I’ve been hesitant to pick it back up. Yet I still wanted to give it at least one more good shot.

I wasn’t expecting to be immediately drawn into it. It was just like revelation after revelation. And then you get to the “twist” and it was like WHOA! I was enthralled. It was so deliciously creepy I could hardly stop reading.

And then came the ending.

And it was like a freaking train wreck.

Ugh.

I cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed by a book ending. I was absolutely disgusted by the way it ended. I can think of at least three ways it could have ended better. But the way it ended? Just a total and complete disappointment.

Also – did anyone else have a really creepy reminder of Scott Peterson throughout this book when Nick would speak or was described? I just couldn’t get past the parallels of that case and some of the things in this book. Maybe that was just me – but I can’t tell you how many separate times Scott Peterson kept popping into my head while reading this one.

I can’t say much more than that. I don’t even really feel like I could honestly recommend this book without prefacing my recommendation about the terrible ending. Maybe I was just expecting too much out of this one – but it just didn’t work for me. And as a result it went from an almost 5 star read to a 3 star.

I am eager to see the movie now though – because I can totally see Ben Affleck as Nick!

AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Fiction, Read in 2019, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Cutting Room by Ashley Dyer

unnamed-5About The Cutting Room

• Hardcover: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (June 18, 2019)

Detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver, introduced in the electrifying Splinter in the Blood, must stop a serial killer whose victims are the centerpiece of his macabre works of art.

While Britain is obsessed with the newest hit true-crime television show, Fact, or Fable? detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver are tormented by a fiendish flesh-and-blood killer on the loose.

Lured to a “crime scene” by a mysterious digital invitation, Ruth Lake is horrified by what she finds: a bizarre and gruesome tableau surrounded by a crowd of gawkers. The deadly work is the latest “art installation” designed by a diabolical criminal dubbed the Ferryman. Not only is this criminal cold-blooded; he’s a narcissistic exhibitionist desperate for an audience. He’s also clever at promoting his deadly handiwork. Exploiting England’s current true-crime craze, he uses social media to titillate and terrorize the public.

Ruth is joined in the investigation by her partner Greg Carver, who is slowly regaining his strength after a run-in with another sadistic criminal. But Greg can’t seem to shake the bewildering effects of the head wound that nearly ended him. Are the strange auras blurring his vision an annoying side effect of his injury, or could they be something more . . . a tool to help him see a person’s true nature?

In this utterly engrossing and thrilling tale of suspense, a pair of seasoned detectives face off against a wickedly smart and inventive psychopath in a tense, bloody game that leads to a shocking end.


REVIEW:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

Whoa! Now THIS was a thriller! It was fast paced and just a roller coaster ride with some crazy twists and turns. When I was first pitched this book I had no idea that it was actually the second book in a series, but I can tell you that while the background of that first book would have been nice, I easily fell right in with Ruth and Greg.

This book is told from multiple perspectives. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. In this particular book it definitely worked for me! It really made for very well-developed characters. And can I just say that I really relished the parts of the killer? Talk about creepy!

I’m really glad that I was able to find this book and I will definitely keep any future books in this series on my radar! Definitely recommended!!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Ashley Dyer

Ashley Dyer is a writing duo based in the United Kingdom.

Margaret Murphy is a Writing Fellow and Reading Round Lector for the Royal Literary Fund, a past chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), and founder of Murder Squad. A CWA Short Story Dagger winner, she has been shortlisted for the First Blood critics’ award for crime fiction as well as the CWA Dagger in the Library. Under her own name she has published nine psychological suspense and police procedural novels.

Helen Pepper is a senior lecturer in policing at Teesside University. She has been an analyst, forensic scientist, scene of crime officer, CSI, and crime scene manager. She has coauthored, as well as contributed to, professional policing texts. Her expertise is in great demand with crime writers: she is a judge for the CWA’s Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction Award, and is a forensic consultant on both the Vera and Shetland TV series.

Find out more at their website, www.ashley-dyer.com.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, SERIES, Stephanie Plum

Review: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Twelve Sharp
by Janet Evanovich

Twelve Sharp

 

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 322

Read: June 12 – 16, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Goodwill

 

Blurb: While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdos, Stephanie discovers that a crazed woman is stalking her.

The woman dresses in black, carries a 9mm Glock, and has a bad attitude and a mysterious connection to dark and dangerous Carlos Manoso … street name, Ranger.

The action turns deadly serious, and Stephanie goes from hunting skips to hunting a murderer.

Ranger needs Stephanie for more reasons than he can say. And now, the two are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. When Stephanie Plum and Ranger get too close for comfort, vice cop Joe Morelli (her on-again, off-again boyfriend) steps in. Will the ticking clock stop at the stroke of twelve … or will a stranger in the wind find a way to stop Stephanie Plum … forever?


Review: I won’t lie. These books are not much more than some brain candy – total fluff books. But they’re usually entertaining so I try and read 1 or 2 of them a year – much more than that and I burn out.

This particular installment I feel was a little better than the last few. First, Stephanie went an entire book without having her car blow up. That’s got to be the end of like an 8 book streak. And then we see Ranger having a lot more of a presence in this book. Rather than flitting in and out as he pleases he’s got quite a bit role in this book. It was interesting to see the book from his perspective, but I’m solidly in the Joe Morelli camp.

So overall an installment that didn’t necessarily leave me in stitches, but I wasn’t rolling my eyes either. Decent.

Book Blitz

Book Blast: A Murder on Jane Street by Cathy Cash Spellman

00

A Murder on Jane StreetSYNOPSIS
 

A brutal murder.
A heinous secret
A deadly conspiracy.

The brutal murder of the little old lady next door puts FitzHugh Donovan on the case. A retired New York City Police Chief, he knows a cover-up when he sees one and his Irish Cop conscience can’t let that happen.

Now, Fitz, his family and his quirky band of Bleecker Street Irregulars are ensnared in the bizarre secret the woman died to protect.

Is this a 75-year-old cold case turned hot again, or an unspeakable crime-in-progress that could alter the course of the world?

Fitz doesn’t yet know how high the stakes are, that failure isn’t an option, and that the little old lady was so much more than she appeared. But he’s trying to keep everyone alive long enough to find out.

Characters you’ll care about, dark shocking secrets, and disturbing similarities to today’s political scene, will keep you turning pages to an ending you won’t see coming.

 
Praise for CATHY CASH SPELLMAN

“…Almost impossible to put down. The Author has the ability to produce one powerful scene after another and the action draws you helplessly on…” ―Publisher’s Weekly on So Many Partings

“…A cross between The Thorn Birds and Ragtime…” ―ALA Booklist on So Many Partings

“Flows along with an inexorable narrative current that propels the readers from one involving episode to the next.” ―Booklist on So Many Partings

“An energetic plot that never takes a breather.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Paint the Wind

“A western extravaganza.. a plot teeming with outsize characters.” ―Publishers Weekly on Paint the Wind

“I have never read a book or connected with an author who has touched me so deeply – as a mother, a grandmother, and another psychic kindred soul!” ―Elizabeth Taylor on Bless the Child

“This book has really touched my heartstrings as both a mother and grandmother. And Cathy Cash Spellman is one hell of a writer!” ―Maureen Stapleton on Bless the Child

“With a seductive, at times spellbinding style, author Spellman (An Excess of Love) incorporates ancient myths into an entrancing romantic thriller.. Spellman succeeds in capturing the reader’s close attention as an unrelenting sense of foreboding drives the narrative forward with power.” ―Publisher’s Weekly on Bless the Child  

Cathy Cash SpellmanABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Multiple New York Times and International Bestsellers, a Paramount Movie, book sales in 22 countries, Cathy Cash Spellman writes stories about love, friendship, adventure, and history. Known for her big sprawling sagas and memorable characters, Cathy writes the kind of stories women like to lose themselves in, and then remember long after the book is done.

Her books range through several genres: contemporary, historical, mystery, mystic and romance. Several take place in two time-frames, both current and historical.

Bless the Child was a Paramount movie in 2000, starring Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits, and Paint The Wind has been optioned for film and TV.

Cathy is an Astrologer, Martial Artist (Black Belt Goju Ryu Karate) and has expertise in Chinese Medicine, several alternative healing modalities and many metaphysical disciplines.

She has written for Self, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Mademoiselle, Cosmo, Penthouse, Mode, Kung Fu and many other magazines about women, health, empowerment, sexuality, spiritual philosophy and Astrology. She blogs for The Huffington Post and The New York Times.

 
PHOTO CREDIT: DAKOTA CASH

WEBSITE: https://www.cathycashspellman.com/
TWITTER: @CCashSpellman
  
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/95409.Cathy_Cash_Spellman


GIVEAWAY:

Gift Card Giveaway Banner-2

 

One winner will win a $25.00 Amazon gift card. This is open internationally and you must be 13+ to enter. Please click HERE for the Rafflecopter.

Book Blitz

Book Blast: Little Girls Sleeping by Jennifer Chase

LITTLE GIRLS SLEEPING by Jennifer Chase, Crime Thriller

Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)

Author: Jennifer Chase

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 377

Genre: Thriller/Crime

 

 

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her
arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could
save her. He could let her sleep forever.
An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott
it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp
twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t
rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be
much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest
she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a
brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving
young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in
Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie
is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll
do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the
little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan,
Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you
on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!

‘WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this
book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn’t
believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I
could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become
one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from
beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first
page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I
wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for
the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn’t stop reading and
found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A
gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’
Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of
her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!!
Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked
right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read
another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars 

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could
not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was
revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Captivating from beginning to the last page. A “who did it”
crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’
Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could
not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads
reviewer, 5 stars

 


  

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Girls-Sleeping-absolutely-Detective-ebook/dp/B07PM81LJZ/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=Jennifer+Chase+Little+Girls+Sleeping&link_code=qs&qid=1555184588&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

 

 

______________________

 

The oversized tires
obliterated the rural roadway before the large truck came to an abrupt stop.
The driver stalled the engine. Dust rose in a curious flowering cloud, swirling
in front of the vehicle’s hood and creeping toward the back of the camper
shell. When the surrounding vicinity finally cleared, a dense forest landscape
emerged.
The truck overlooked the sheer
cliff and rugged scenery that had become a permanent roadblock. The usual
silence of the deserted region was interrupted by the incessant and rhythmic
sound of a cooling engine.
Tick… Tick… Tick…
The vehicle remained parked.
No one moved inside the cab or got out. The truck stayed immobile as if an
unlikely statue in the vast wilderness—a distinct contrast between nature and
manufactured steel.
The truck sat at the ideal
vantage spot, which was both mesmerizing and terrifying for any spectator; but
still the occupant chose to wait. The intense high beams pierced ahead into the
picturesque hills, leaving a hazy view of the area above the massed trees.
When the driver’s door finally
opened, a man stepped out, his steel-toed leather work boots hitting the dirt.
They were well-worn, reflecting the many miles he had walked and the many hours
he had labored. Swiftly the door shut as the man, medium build and wearing only
a plain dark T-shirt, walked to the back of the truck and, with a loud bang,
released the lift gate. He moved with purpose and with a calm assertiveness, as
if he had performed this particular task many times before. His weathered
hands, calloused from years of working with heavy tools and machinery without
the protection of leather gloves, had a certain agility and speed.
He grasped two well-used
shovels, a large arching pick, and a bulky utility garbage bag. As he tossed
the bag onto the ground, the top burst open and several medium-sized teddy
bears spilled out. Their smiling faces accentuated the brightly colored ribbons
tied around their necks, contrasting with the muted shades of their
surroundings.
The man pushed the floppy bag
aside with the toe of his boot. He worked in quiet solitude, no humming, no
whistling, and no talk.
He flipped on the flashlight
fixed to his baseball cap. Straight ahead and slightly arced, the large beam
illuminated his path while he strode steadily toward a particular wooded area.
The surrounding thickets and
trees remained still without any wind to rustle the leaves. The only audible
sound was the man’s quick footsteps—never with any hesitation. He walked with
the gait of a young man, despite his stature of someone older.
He hesitated as if he had
forgotten something, standing motionless with his arms down at his sides and
his head hung forward as he shone the bright light at the ground and the tops
of his boots. He still held firmly to the tools. He mumbled a few inaudible
sentences of a memorized prayer, which sounded more like a warning than a
passage from the Bible, then he raised his head and continued to walk into the
dense forest.
Dropping his tools, he
carefully pushed a pine branch aside and secured it with a worn piece of rope
that had been left for the purpose. An opening was exposed—a tunnel barely
large enough for a man to enter.
He grabbed his digging tools
once again and proceeded. The flashlight on the front of his cap brightened the
passageway as it veered to the right. He followed, only ducking his head twice
before the path opened to an area with several boulders sticking out of the
cliff. Clusters of unusual rock shapes, some sharp, some rounded, made the
terrain appear more like a movie set or backdrop.
A narrow dirt path of crude,
sloping man-made steps dropped fifteen feet to a landing jutting out from the
rock formation. A small yellow flag was stuck into the earth, marking a spot. A
slight evening breeze picked up, causing the flag to flutter.
The man balanced the shovels
and pick against the hillside and pulled a hunting knife from a sheath attached
to his belt. Pressing the bone handle tight against his palm, he drew the blade
through the packed dirt to mark a rectangular pattern on the ground.
He stared intently at the
soil, then retrieved the pick, gripping it tight, and swung it hard against the
dry, heavily compacted earth. It dented the surface, spewing chips of dirt in
every direction. A few small rocks buried in the soil since the beginning of
time hampered his progress, but after several more arced swings, the ground
began to crumble, exposing the fresh earth.
The heavy pick was exchanged
for one of the shovels. Soon there was a small pile of California soil,
comprised of sand, silt, clay, and small rock. The repeated movements of dig,
scoop, and deposit continued for more than forty-five minutes at a brisk pace.
The hard work of manual labor didn’t deter him. It only made him more
determined to create a work of genius—his ultimate masterpiece.

At
last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his
shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed
and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on
his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the
unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime
fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a
bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology
& criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her
curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience
with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal
investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds
certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an
affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic
Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.Her latest book is the thriller, Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1).

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, MMD Book Club, R, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown
by Jennifer Robson

The Gown

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 371

Read: June 1 – 10, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

 

 

 

 

Blurb: London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.


Review: This book is the June selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy online book club. I had had it on my radar since it came out but I wasn’t entirely sure that I would like it. I was drawn by the cover, but historical fiction (while I do generally enjoy it) is not necessarily something I go out of my way to read. But I also have a fascination with the Royal Family so I kind of enjoyed that connection with this book (although that connection ends up being very, very small).

So what did I ultimately think? It was good. Somewhere between good and really good, probably. For the most part I enjoyed it, but I had some issues with one of the characters. How could Heather’s mother (Ann’s daughter) not have a few more questions about why she didn’t know more about her mother? She knew nothing about her father. She couldn’t even answer whether or not Hughes was her married or maiden name. And yet – she didn’t even seem to have any curiosity regarding the huge gaps of information she knew about her mother and her own familial history! I just cannot imagine not wanting to know more. As the reader gets the answers to those questions I can certainly understand why Ann chose to keep so much to herself, but it still irritated me.

There were some pretty heavy scenes throughout the book. Definite trigger warning right here. And honestly … I didn’t really feel like some of it was really all that necessary. It could have gone a completely different way. It almost felt thrown in there for the shock factor. It just didn’t fit with the rest of the book itself.

So now that I’ve gotten the negative out of the way, I can say that the rest of the book was really good. I enjoyed how the story unfolded, going back and forth between Ann and Miriam and Heather. I was rooting for both Ann and Miriam individually and I was sad to see that they were not able to continue their friendship long-term.

I really don’t know what else to say about this book. I enjoyed it. It’s an interesting look at the post-war years in England – something that I personally have not read much about. This book is definitely not my usual reading style, but I’m glad that I gave it a go and I would definitely recommend it!

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

A Woman is No Man
by Etaf Rum

A Woman in No Man

 

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 337

Read: June 3 – 5, 2019

Rating: 5/5

Source: BOTM

 

Blurb: Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining this suitors her father has chosen for her. Her desires are irrelevant, however – over the course of a week, the naive and dreamy girl finds herself betrothed, then married, and soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law, Fareeda, and her strange new husband, Adam: a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Isra is expected to bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. At her grandmother’s insistence, eighteen-year-old Deya must meet with potential husbands and prepare herself for marriage, though her only desire is to go to college. Her grandmother is firm on the matter, however: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man. But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her family, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.


Review: This book is AMAZING. It gave me all.the.feels. I’m so glad that I picked it up sooner rather than later, I had no idea what I was missing! And I’m definitely glad I didn’t miss this one.

When it came up as a Book of the Month club selection back in February I was hesitant. But to be honest, I didn’t feel like choosing the thriller selection that month – it feels like that’s all I pick from there. I wanted to branch out a little bit and for whatever reason this book really spoke to me. So I picked it. And then I let it sit. And sit. And sit some more. Fast forward to June when it just so happened to fit a Goodreads challenge callout that I had going I was nervous to pick it up but it was my best option for this particular callout. All I can say is thank goodness I gave it a shot!

I basically read this book in two sittings. The first 75 pages I read one night while letting my daughter watch her nightly iPad show before bed (don’t mom judge me!). I found it to be interesting but nothing spectacular at that point. It was reading easily enough. But then the next day I really didn’t want to pick it back. up. So I didn’t. But the next day I sat down with it for what I figured would be a few minutes with it. I ended up sitting there with it until I finished it. No joke! I NEVER do that. But I just couldn’t let the story go by that point. I had to know how it ended.

And whew. It’s a whirlwind of a book. There are so many emotions elicited. Anger. Disbelief. Sadness. Shock. I could go on and on. But this is kind of one of those books that I really think you have to read to fully comprehend. I could tell you the storyline but you have to feel this book to really get it. I could tell you all about it – but I think it’s best to just tell you to read it yourself. It’s an amazing book. And one that will undoubtedly be one of the best books I read in 2019.

Read. This. Book.