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review 2018-05-19 13:42
The Fire Court
Fire Court - Andrew Taylor

by Andrew Taylor

 

This started with a list of characters, something I always skip past. They don't mean anything until they become a part of the story!

 

However, once the story began, some familiar characters from the first book of the series appeared, most notably Catherine Lovett and James Marwood. Marwood's father, an old man without all his faculties, starts off in a sequence wherein he follows a woman thinking she is his wife, Rachel, who actually died years ago. He finds a body of a different woman and eventually discovers that the woman he followed is not Rachel.

 

Thus starts the mystery and intrigue that will shape the story. I found the pace a little slower in the first part of the book than in Ashes of London, the first book of the series, but still interesting and I'm glad I stuck with it as it gets better as more connections fall into place.

 

The pace actually gets very fast and dramatic in the later part of the book and the spiderweb of connections that have been set up throughout the story all fall into place. In a lot of ways it's a whodunnit, but with political intrigue and a lot of very human emotions involved. It's extremely well-written and I will be looking for a third book, which is hinted at by the very end.

 

The outcome surprised me not once but twice with plot twists I never saw coming. That's pretty rare!

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review 2018-05-07 14:33
A Grand Old Time
A Grand Old Time - Judy Leigh

by Judy Leigh

 

This reminds me a little of a senior version of Ferris Beuller's Day Off. A 75-year-old woman is bored with life at a retirement home and regrets getting talked into selling her house and moving into the facility. One day she takes her purse and cards and wanders out for a day in the city of Dublin for a change of scene.

 

Her adventures start pretty quickly. She buys a hat and coat to change her image and falls into 'interesting' company who leads her into trying things she has never done before, like gambling. It all escalates from there and becomes a fascinating journey with many twists and turns, sometimes relying on the luck of the Irish in ways that nudge belief a little far.

 

I like Evie, the main character. I also like that she was an older character and brought both life experience and attitude to her role. There were a lot of surprises in her story and I enjoyed the read for the most part. I thought a secondary storyline about her son and his wife was drawn out a little too long in the later chapters. I started out not liking Maura and ended not thinking much of Brendan either, but they did add some comic relief to the story.

 

The later part of the story settled into predictability but I'm glad all the loose ends were tied up. The majority of the tale was great fun and appealed to my sense of rebellion and the sort of old lady I aspire to be when the time comes.

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review 2018-05-01 21:04
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott

A special thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Kit Owens and Diane Fleming have a complicated past. Before Diane transferred into her high school chemistry class, Kit was just a regular student. Diane's brilliance pushed Kit, and the two became friends—that is until Diane confessed a chilling secret to Kit that changed everything between them and almost derailed Kit's life.

 

Fast forward more than a decade and Kit is a scientist working in a lab. Her past collides with her work when she learns that Diane Fleming is her competition for a highly coveted opportunity to work on a groundbreaking new study led by their idol, Dr. Severin. The two former friends find themselves once again vying to get noticed, only this time, they share a secret that could derail everything that they have worked so hard for.

 

Abbott is a master with imagery. The theme of blood is prevalent, both in the colour red and subject matter. I enjoyed reading about the PMDD study and the hysteria that ensues as a result. This makes for interesting subject matter as well as an interesting premise.

 

The girls have such an complicated dynamic that blurs between friendship and rivalry—an interesting relationship to explore in today's climate where successful women are often pitted against one another. Abbot further examines this by illustrating how difficult it is for a woman to succeed in a male-dominated field like the sciences. Her character study is amazing. Diane is a complete sociopath that oddly captivates everyone she comes in contact with, including the reader.

 

It was dark and twisty with just enough suspense that is built by consequence. Abbot does not reveal her hand, she plays her cards one at a time, her pace is spot-on! The writing is tight, she leaves nothing to the imagination which is refreshing.

 

This was a thrilling page-turner and I could totally see this being adapted into a movie. Congratulations, Megan, on another master of a thriller. Well done!

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review 2018-05-01 15:13
The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown
The Life Lucy Knew - Karma Brown

A special thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Park Row Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy Sparks hits her head after suffering a winter weather related fall.  When she wakes up in the hospital with her parents and co-worker, Matt, by her side, she wonders where her husband, Daniel, is.  She believes that Daniel is her husband, but he's actually her ex-boyfriend that she hasn't spoken to in four years.  

She is suffering from what are fictitious memory recollections and her life as she knows it is completely different from her actual life.  Essentially, it's like honest lying—Lucy's memories are false, but because she can even recall such vivid detail, the memories seem incredibly real to her. Given that Lucy's memory can't be trusted and that this may be a permanent condition, it is a devastating experience for her friends, family, and especially for Matt.  You see Matt is Lucy's doting boyfriend, not just her coworker which is how Lucy remembers him.

Despite Matt's best efforts, Lucy continues to have feelings for Daniel.  Lucy must make a difficult choice about which life she wants to lead, who she wants to lead it with, and who she really is.

 

Karma Brown is one of my new favourite authors.  I had the pleasure of attending an author event featuring Karma last May and she is delightful!  It was a high tea and book signing at the King Eddy in Toronto that was hosted by BookClubbish.  Lainey, as in gossip maven, etalk correspondent, co-host of The Social, and founder of laineygossip.com Lainey, joined Karma for a Q&A session.  The women chatted about the writing process—Lainey has also has written a book Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What's A Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort Of)—what it's like being a woman in the publishing industry, and where Karma gets her inspiration from.  Both ladies were well-spoken and super interesting!  If you have an opportunity to attend an event with Karma, I highly recommend you do so, you won't be disappointed.

For fans of Karma's books, The Life Lucy Knew is a bit of a detour in style, but one that I liked! Without giving anything away, the ending of this novel is further developed than her other stories and in this case it really worked.  Also unique to this book was all of the Canadian references and I enjoyed Toronto's presence in the story.

Karma is such a gifted writer.  There were a few decisions that could have gone either way, and any of those scenarios would have worked because her writing is that good.  Congratulations, Karma.  Another fantastic read and I can't wait for your next book!

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text 2018-05-01 15:07
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
When Life Gives You Lululemons - Lauren ... When Life Gives You Lululemons - Lauren Weisberger

A special thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lauren Weisberger is back and so is Emily Charlton!  

Readers will remember Emily from The Devil Wears Prada as Miranda Priestly's chief assistant. Emily is now living in Hollywood and is an image consultant for the rich and famous.  Although her roster of clients includes high profile celebrities, she is losing clients to another younger image consultant and seems to be in a downward spiral.  She needs to put herself back on top—nobody does damage control like Emily, but the problem is she is hopeless when it comes to social media.  

Karolina Hartwell is the ex-model wife of a senator on track for the presidency.  Their life seems picture perfect until Karolina is arrested for a DUI with a Suburban full of children.   

Although the women met at Runway years earlier, Miriam is the link between them.  She was a partner at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, but decided to move to the suburbs of Greenwich, CT to spend more time with her children.  Being a stay-at-home mom in a wealthy affluential neighbourhood sounds like every woman's dream, but Miriam is discovering that it is more stressful than her high-profile job.

The three women band together over Karolina's woes to navigate their way through life in the burbs.  All is not as it appears, Hollywood has nothing over Greenwich.

Can I tell you that I tore through this book?  It was completely addictive and indulgent.  And the title...can we just take a moment to appreciate how clever and cheeky it is?

Weisberger has penned three very different, but as equally intriguing, characters.  Fans of The Devil Wears Prada are not going to be disappointed.  In my opinion, this was far better than Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns and I'm wondering if it is because this book came home to the characters that made the series what it was, Emily and Miranda.

This book should be top of your summer reads pile.  Perfect for discussing with your girlfriends over your favourite cocktails!  Cheers, Lauren Weisberger.      

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