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!

 

Advertisements
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. 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Eve Dallas, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Holiday in Death by J.D. Robb

Holiday in Death
by J.D. Robb

Holiday in Death

Copyright: 1998

Pages: 308

Read: Nov. 19-24, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: No one likes to be alone during the holidays. And for New York’s most posh dating service, Personally Yours, it is the season to bring lonely hearts together. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas, on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer, has made a disturbing discovery: All of the killer’s victims have been traced to Personally Yours. As the murders continue, Eve enters an elite world of people searching for their one true love – and a killer searching for his next victim. A world where the power of love leads men and women into the ultimate act of betrayal…


Review: This is the 7th book in the Eve Dallas series and I’m pretty sure it had been over a year since I had read the 6th book. If I don’t read more than one a year, I will never catch up on this series (!). Anyway … this one was pretty decent.

Be forewarned, if rape is difficult for you to read about you need to avoid this books as it is a large part of the plot line and can be graphic at times.

All that aside though, I did enjoy this particular installment. I enjoyed seeing a little more of Peabody. And of course I always enjoy Eve and Roarke.

Overall a good read … and I need to read more of these books!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evenlyn Hugo

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 388

Read: July 30 – August 3, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month Club

 

Blurb: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? 

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious Manhattan apartment, Monique listens in fascination as Evelyn tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s – and, of course, the seven husbands along the way – Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear there her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.


Review: What. A. Book. And not necessarily something that is my normal reading, but wow … was it a fun, juicy read! I’m definitely kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelf for the past year!

I found this book to be intriguing from the beginning. We see Monique meet Evelyn and it’s painfully obvious that something big is going to eventually be revealed. And it’s not going to be something easy to accept, either.

I have no idea that in less than a week, Evelyn Hugo will finish her story, and I’ll find out what this has all been about, and I will hate her so much that I’ll be truly afraid I might kill her.” pg. 224

I had a lot of fun reading this one. Throughout reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the marriages and various relationships mentioned didn’t have some bit of historical truth to them. It was interesting to imagine comparing Evelyn to some of the most famous actresses of the 1950-1960s. I can’t help but think there was some serious inspiration there!

Overall, a good book. I think a lot of different readers will find this one appealing. It’s a historical fiction with a little chick-lit/romance flair. As primarily a thriller/mystery reader, I was quite intrigued throughout the entire book and couldn’t wait to see how Evelyn would wrap this all up. It was a good fun romp through some of Hollywood’s golden years!

Definitely recommended!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: What Remains of Her by Eric Rickstad

What Remains of Her.jpgAbout What Remains of Her

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 24, 2018)

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girlscomes this chilling, harrowing thriller set in rural Vermont about a recluse who believes the young girl he’s found in the woods is the reincarnation of his missing daughter, returned to help him solve her and his wife’s disappearance.

I won’t say a word. Cross my heart and hope to die…

Jonah Baum, a professor of poetry at a local college in Vermont, sees his ordinary life come tumbling down when his wife and young daughter vanish from their home. No evidence of a kidnapping. No sign of murder. No proof that Rebecca didn’t simply abandon her marriage. Just Sally’s crude and chilling drawings, Jonah’s little lies, and the sheriff’s nagging fears that nothing is what it seems.

For Sally’s best friend, Lucinda, it’s something else. She trusts in Sally not to just disappear, not after they’ve shared so many secrets—especially about the woods and what they saw there. But she’ll never tell. No one would believe her anyway.

As the search for Rebecca and Sally intensifies, and as suspicion falls on Jonah, the disappearances become more relentlessly haunting than anyone can imagine. Because what’s seen in the light of day is not nearly as terrifying as what remains hidden in the dark…


Review:

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

When I was first pitched this book I was immediately drawn to the cover and description. I had never read anything by Mr. Rickstad, but I knew that I really wanted to give this one a try.

And boy oh boy … is it a book! I found it to be so compulsively readable! I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what had really happened all those years ago … as well as how the current happenings were going to unfold. There were times that I really thought Jonah had completely lost his mind and was hallucinating everything.

At 400+ pages I expected to take longer to read this one that I did. But I couldn’t get to the end fast enough. And let’s just talk about that ending … wow. It’s one that I never. saw. coming. There were twists and turns that I saw and twists and turns that I never imagined. It was such a good book. I loved it!

Highly recommended! And now I can’t wait to explore Mr. Rickstad’s backlist … and I’m eagerly awaiting what he comes up with next!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Meridith Levinson

About Eric Rickstad

Eric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Silent Girls, Lie in Wait, and Reap, novels heralded as intelligent and profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. He lives in his home state of Vermont with his wife, daughter, and son.

Find out more about Eric at his website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

 

tlc tour host

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

The Lucky OnesAbout The Lucky Ones

Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: MIRA (February 13, 2018)
They called themselves “the lucky ones”
They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night — was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

Review

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

When I was first pitched this book, the cover and blurb immediately caught my eye. It sounded super creepy! When I first received the book and read the first page I was a little unsure about my decision to take it on. I decided to set it aside until closer to my tour date. I picked it up with about a week to go before my scheduled date. And then I couldn’t put it down!

I was intrigued by every little turn of events the entire book! First I wondered how a young woman like Allison could get involved in a relationship like she was in. Then I wondered how she could have so few memories of her time in her foster home. And then as she went out to Oregon and her memories came back to her little by little I couldn’t wait to figure out what exactly had happened all those years ago!

I fell in love with each character in their own ways. They all each had a great voice and it was interesting to see them from not only Allison’s perspective but also their own perspectives. They were all so well-developed that at one point I felt like I was right there with them all in the attic, just hanging out and catching up.

This is such an intricate novel with all the secrets of the past revealed little by little. I found it to be extremely easy to read and enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down at times. I wanted to know what happened to the “lucky ones” so many years before. This was a really good novel that I highly, highly, highly recommend! It will definitely be on my favorites list for the year!

Don’t walk …. but run …. to get your copy of this! It does not disappoint!


Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer.

Connect with Tiffany

Website | Facebook | Instagram

tlc tour host

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Seven Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reilly

Seven Deadly Wonders
by Matthew Reilly

Seven Deadly Wonders

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 543

Read: Jan. 22-28, 2018

Rating: 2/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: A legend of the ancient world decrees that every 4,500 years, a terrible solar event will wreak worldwide destruction … but whoever sets the Golden Capstone atop the Great Pyramid at Giza will avert disaster and gain the ultimate prize: a millennium of world dominance.

Now the Sun is turning once again and nation will battle nation to retrieve the missing Capstone … but a group of small nations, led by super-soldier Jack West Jr., bands together to prevent any one country from attaining this frightening power. Thus the greatest treasure hunt of all time begins – an adrenaline-fueled race on a global battlefield.

From the Colossus of Rhodes to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Great Egyptian Pyramid itself, unlock the thrills of Seven Deadly Wonders.


Review: This book has been lingering on my shelves for many years, at least 5 I would say. It sounded really good, but I have a feeling the 500+ pages kept me from picking it up to finally read (that and the fact that it’s the start of a new series, like that’s something I really need, lol). But it was a selection from a Goodreads challenge call-out, so I finally picked it up.

So what did I think? Imagine an Indiana Jones movie in book form. Yep, that’s pretty much it. It read fast and was fun, but there was a lot of filler that I think the story could have done without. Yet looking back, I understand why that filler was there – to set up the series. I don’t know. Sometimes I struggle to keep my attention on longer books.

So as I stated, this is the first in a series …. the question remains: will I continue on?! Honestly, I’m not 100% certain. I do have the second (and third) book on my shelf, but I’m not entirely sure I want to continue on. I guess I’ll leave it up in the air at this time.

Either way, it was a fun adventure book. There’s a lot of character development and the writing is good. If it was just a tad shorter it would have been a little more enjoyable for me. But still a good book that I would recommend to those Indiana Jones lovers out there 😉 … and I can always hope this eventually gets made into a movie!!

 

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Eve Dallas, Fiction, Mini Review, R, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Stephanie Plum

Mini Reviews: Ceremony in Death & Hard Eight

ceremony-in-deathTitle: Ceremony in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read: Feb. 9-15, 2017
Pages: 310
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  This is the fifth book in the In Death series. I read #4 back in the beginning of 2016. I don’t remember much about it other than that I really liked it. So I was looking forward to dipping back into this series. But this one fell flat for me. It had to deal with Wiccans and witchcraft. Which if you’re a long-time follower of mine, you know that I only sparingly dabble in anything dealing with witchcraft/magic. So my personal feelings on these types of storylines definitely affected my overall opinion of the book. But I will still continue on with the series and hopefully the sixth book will be back on track to what I prefer.


hard-eightTitle: Hard Eight
Author: Janet Evanovich
Read: Feb. 16-24, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  I picked this one up because I needed something light after reading the J.D. Robb book. I read a few of these books last year until I kind of burned out when they started to all feel the same. So I was looking forward to knocking another one of these series books out of the way. Overall it wasn’t a bad book. I will say that Albert Kloughn has to be one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a book in a while. He definitely made the book much better. But seriously …. how many times can Stephanie’s car get blown up? At this point I can’t help but think that Ms.Evanovich needs to get some new ideas for her books – it’s no longer funny when Stephanie’s car gets blown up … it just makes me roll my eyes at this point.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant
by Veronica Roth

Allegiant

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 526

Read: July 29-Aug. 3, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased New

 
Blurb: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


Review: This review is tough because I went into this one with absolutely no recollection of the first two books. Overall, that really affected my understanding and opinion because a lot of things made absolutely no sense. I also didn’t really care for the alternating stories of Tris & Tobias. The other two books weren’t in that format and I just didn’t care for it. Also – I was not impressed by the ending. It made me a little more than irritated.

So I guess while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it definitely could have been made better had I read this one with more memory of the previous two books. But I am glad that I finally finished the trilogy out. Just kind of an “eh” book from me.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.12 REVIEW – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2012
Pages: 525
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 14 – March 23, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 12
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #2

InsurgentBlurb: One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Review: Just last week I finished Divergent. I had picked it up for a Goodreads challenge that was asking us to read outside our normal genres. I never dreamed that I would fall in love with it. I enjoyed it so much so that I immediately went out and purchased a brand new copy of Insurgent (I so rarely buy any book new, so that should say a lot about my feelings). I immediately started reading it, too. Something I also very rarely do.

Then about a quarter of the way through I just about stalled out. This book was not nearly as enjoyable and entertaining as Divergent. But I was determined that I would stick it out and finish it. And I finally did.

And boy am I glad that I did. Because that ending … now I have to get my hands on the last book in the trilogy, Allegiant. I have to know what happens now.

As I stated above, I felt like this book was not up to par with the first book. There was just too much drag in the middle portion of the book for my taste. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like what was going on in places or if it was because I don’t normally read series books back-to-back to avoid burn-out. But I felt like this was a much weaker installment than Divergent. I can only hope that Ms. Roth finishes out the trilogy with a strong bang.

There’s not much else I can say about this book. Based on the last two pages alone, I’m glad that I spent all that time reading the previous 523 pages. Those last two pages gave me hope that just maybe the trilogy will wrap up with a bang.

But then again, most of the reviews on Goodreads say otherwise. I guess I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant ASAP and decide for myself.