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review 2019-04-20 04:05
Anonymous Girl
An Anonymous Girl - Greer Hendricks,Sarah Pekkanen,Barrie Kreinik,Julia Whelan

 

 

Another implausible thriller I nonetheless felt compelled to keep listening to, despite constantly thinking, "This is not the way actual humans would behave."  Two stars instead of one because of that compulsion to find out how everything resolves.  Disappointing, since I enjoyed The Wife Between Us, by the same authors.

 

Jessica Farris is a 28-year old freelance makeup artist living in NYC, struggling to make ends meet while helping her parents care for her younger sister, who at age seven suffered permanent disability from a traumatic brain injury.  During a make-up session with a couple of NYU undergraduate girls, Jess catches wind of a psychological study that pays $500/participant, just for completing a series of questionnaires.  Unable to resist the lure of that payout, she sneaks her way into the study, "on ethics and morality."

 

After Jess's three questionnaire sessions, the psychiatrist conducting the study finds something in Jess's responses compelling enough to suspend the study and create a side-study.  This side-study involves face-to-face meetings between Jess and the psychiatrist, Dr. Shields, and a series of assignments where Dr. Shields gives Jess instructions on what to say and what to do (under the auspices of testing ethics and morality in real-life situations).  Almost immediately, the book strains credulity, and the idea that Dr. Shields is a highly intelligent, intuitive medical and psychiatric professional goes the way of informed attributes.

 

For the rest of this review, I will put up spoiler tags, because there are a whole lot of specific elements I want to cover. 

 

The entire "study" with Jess comes about because in one of Jess's survey responses, she disclosed that she has one-night stands with men fairly frequently, and she noted that when she'd spotted evidence suggesting a man she'd slept with was not single, she pondered on whether participating in cheating made her a cheater, as well.  Dr. Shields is married to a handsome fellow psychiatrist, Thomas Cooper, but they have been separated ever since he admitted to having cheated on her.  In his confession, he claimed a woman had seduced him by flirting with him in a bar.  He further claimed that no man could have resisted.

 

The first set-up involves Jess going to a museum where Dr. Shields knows Thomas will be, so the wacky doc can see whether he succumbs to Jess's charms.  That experiment goes sideways, because a pedestrian accident out in front of the museum stops Thomas from going in (he is occupied with ensuring the woman is safely brought to the hospital).  Without having any idea who he is, Jess gives him her number and asks him to contact her when he knows if the woman is okay, as Jess was one of the people who stopped to help.

 

Inside, Jess gets into a conversation with a man wearing a leather bomber jacket.  When she reports back to Dr. Shields later, the doc mistakenly assumes the jacket wearer is Thomas, but when she slips and refers to him as "the man with the sandy hair," Jess notes that the man she spoke to in the museum had dark brown hair.  Dr. Shields realizes this was a different man, and sets up more experiments.  Meanwhile, Jess and the kind man from outside the museum hook up and have a one-night stand.

 

The second experiment has Jess inside a hotel bar flirting with a man who wears a wedding band, as Crazy Doc observes in the shadows.  The doc is relieved when she sees the two leave the bar together, because this leads her to conclude that Thomas was right, and that no man could resist being flirted with.  Then she is crushed moments later, when Jess texts her to let her know he has rejected her, telling her he's happily married.  Now Thomas is surely a lying liar who lies.  So....  This allegedly highly intelligent mental-health professional and medical doctor thought she needed this awkward "experiment" to demonstrate whether it's true that no man could have resisted?  Wouldn't she already reasonably know that in the given situation, there would be a whole lot of individual variation?  This is just stupid.

 

A later experiment calls for Jess to go up to Thomas (whom Dr. Shields has not identified as her husband) in the same place he's said to have been seduced.  Jess is supposed to pretend she thinks she left her phone in the booth where he currently sits, and ask him to call her number to check.  She's supposed to "realize" the phone was in her purse the whole time.  (This is meant to be a set-up where, having obtained her number, the doc can find out whether he will contact Jess for sexy times.)  This experiment goes awry because he and Jess immediately recognize one another, and she makes a quick excuse to leave.

 

Other ridiculous assignments involve having Jess pretend that women whose numbers Dr. Shields has harvested from her husband's phone have won free makeovers, so that Jess can ask them predetermined questions as Crazy Doc listens on an open cell-phone call, while muted.

 

Of course, Crazy's husband figures out something is weird, and he and Jess end up putting their heads together about the "experiment."  Thomas warns her that she is not safe.  A young woman who had also been a very special study experiment had become distraught and committed suicide.  (Later it comes out that the young woman had initially been a patient of Thomas's, and that she had actually been the one-night stand.)

 

Doc Crazy eventually figures out that there is some collusion going on between Jess and Thomas.  Thomas, for his part, has assured Jess he will devise a plan to get her out safely.  But Doc Crazy uses Evil Genius ploys to show Jess how little control she has of her life.  The doc gets Jess fired, sabotages a relationship she's established with a man named Noah, and sends Jess's family on a holiday trip to Florida (so Jess has no excuse to go home to spend Christmas with them).

 

In the big denouement, Jess has proof that Doc Crazy gave the young woman, April, the meds she used to overdose, after making her feel utterly despondent (thus protecting her husband from getting in trouble for an indiscretion with a patient).  So ultimately, Doc Crazy saves him once again by using her husband's Rx pad to write herself a prescription for her own lethal dose.

 

About that last.  Since 2016, New York State has had an eprescribing mandate.  Research, authors.  With narrow exceptions, all scripts must be done through eprescribing, so no walking into the pharmacy with a paper script for your lethal dose of opioids.

 

This one is a smaller deal, but Jess narrates that she is from a suburb of Philadelphia.  Cool, my parents live in a suburb of Philly.  Which one, Jess?  Later, readers learn that her family lives in Allentown, PA.  NOT a suburb of Philadelphia.  I can report this, having lived in Allentown for five years.  It's a small city, in its own right, and it is a little over an hour away from Philly.  If the authors wanted a suburb of Philly, there are so many to choose from.  Glenside, Wyncote, Cheltenham, Elkins Park, Upper Dublin, and on and on.  NOT Allentown.

 

Aside from all that--the book is divided into two narrative perspectives.  Jess's chapters are delivered in first-person, present tense.  Dr. Shields are in an irritating second-person, where she is addressing Jess as "you" in her handwritten notes.  Adding to the irritation, Dr. Shields uses an off-putting passive voice to describe all her own actions.  For example, she would never say, "I made restaurant reservations."  It would be, "restaurant reservations are made."  Imagine this over and over, with direct verbs never used.  After Dr. Shields kills herself, there is even a section in the epilogue where Jess imagines how Dr. Shields would describe a final encounter between Jess and Thomas, in the infernal notes.  And in the audio, the narrator who does Dr. Shields's sections narrates this flight of fancy, as well.

(spoiler show)

 

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text 2019-04-17 12:41
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Source: kavyacallgirl.tumblr.com/post/184032502960/take-paharganj-escorts-for-entertaining-nightlife
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text 2019-04-17 08:54
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review 2019-04-16 23:32
Heart-wrenching, raw, and incredibly honest portrait of self-harming and recovery in 'Girl In Pieces'; it was emotionally hard to read but this book is so VERY important
Girl in Pieces - Kathleen Glasgow

I'm going to dare to reveal a bit of myself in this review because it absolutely affected my reading.
I had the early reader’s copy for this brilliant book for a few years before I could bring myself to read all the way through it, and I even started it once and couldn’t continue, shelving it for at least a year or so before picking it up a second time. It was an intense and very difficult read for me because of the subject matter, and I got through it after reading Kathleen Glasgow’s excellent second book ‘How to Make Friends with The Dark’ which was almost as difficult for me to read, and equally amazing. Together, these two books encompass so much of my own experience it’s heartbreakingly uncanny, and I was lucky enough to even let Kathleen know this when I met her at her own book signing here in Seattle recently.

I’ve been that ‘girl in pieces’ like Charlie, like the many young women out there hiding their scars from others, under clothing or bandages, caused by cutting, burning, or whatever ‘needed’ to be done in that painful moment. It was a long and very hard journey for me to heal enough from depression, grief, anxiety, self-harming behavior, and PTSD, to where I felt I could cope with life again. The book is honest and gritty, and since Kathleen knows exactly what this all feels like, she understood what I meant when I said it took me a few years to get around to reading this; in the author’s note, she writes that it took her nine years to get this book onto paper. But she’s here. I’m here.
This book is actually about hope, and that’s honestly why I really want many many young women, girls, to read this.

 

When I read ‘Girl In Pieces’ my journey and all sorts of things came back to me, and yes, this is why the book was so hard to read; it brought up thoughts and feelings I hadn’t had for years. I know that’s what will make it hard for others to read too. The cover is a trigger warning or just a plain trigger itself; I don’t know that anyone seeing that will have any doubt as to what this book is about. While the subjects within are difficult to read about, those who understand them stand to benefit the most.
It takes a boatload of talent to tackle all kinds of really difficult issues: drug abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment, parental neglect, grief, suicide, self-harming (and foster kids in her next novel), but Glasgow does a lot in this one book. Some reviews point out that there’s 'too much' in this one book but that’s the point; self-harming is rooted in deep pain borne from many issues, it doesn’t happen out of a vacuum. Many of these issues collide and Glasgow writes about them from her depths of her soul, from her personal experience.

There are a number of different characters in the book (the deeply wounded Charlie, the toxic Riley, counselor Casper, Charlie’s mom, a number of different friends who play varied roles in Charlie’s life along the way), and they’re all memorable and painfully vivid, often uncomfortably so. And Charlie's awkwardness, fear, pain, and bravery can be felt on every page. It's hard and absolutely heart-wrenching to read but it's incredibly worth it.

 

I'll end this by saying that some readers won't 'get' this book at all, others desperately need to read it and will likely have a hard time with it. But this book will reach some people and it will resonate deeply with them. When a book can touch you deep down it can stay with you forever. But scars and memories stay with you forever too, no matter how far in the past, and this story is a reminder of that.
Thank you, Kathleen Glasgow, for writing this book. I wish I'd read this a long time ago, even if I'm not sure I would've been ready. But I'm glad it's out there in this big wide scary world.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/29236380-girl-in-pieces
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review 2019-04-11 14:00
Review: The Girl King
The Girl King - Mimi Yu

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I was so excited when my Netgalley wish was approved as this title was one of my most anticipated of early 2019. And I got it early.

 

And….it’s another one I honestly don’t know how I feel about it. I read the first half of the novel pretty quickly. The world building was interesting, and I loved Lu’s fierceness and determination to stand against the male dominated norms of her society. She was convinced her father the Emperor would name her his heir. She was a strong warrior, smart and determined, if a little headstrong. She certainly had an attitude about her, but it suited her character pretty well.

 

Of course the start of a 500 page plus fantasy novel, it’s never going to go as smoothly as this awesome girl is going to get what she wants and become the first Female Emperor. Lu’s mother is cold, horrible and manipulative. And clearly has an agenda of her own planned. Lu’s father is kind of passive. He’s a decent man but easily swayed.

 

So naturally Lu is absolutely livid when she finds herself betrothed to her moronic cousin Set and Set will be the emperor. Set is a jackass to say the least. Power hungry and dumb as a bucket of rocks.  The other main character in the novel is Lu’s younger sister Min. Min is the more reserved sister, favoured deeply by their mother, Min is a proper, demure lady who at first seems happy to do as she is told.

 

Furious at her father’s decision to make Set emperor Lu formulates a plan to get him to realise Set is the wrong choice. Which of course goes hideously wrong and before you know it while Lu is out of the palace the emperor mysteriously dies and Lu is wanted for his murder. Thrusting Min into a spotlight she never expected.

 

Min discovers she has secret magic, Set has a companion – a priest of sort who can help Min train her magic and help Set win over the empire. Min’s mother is all for Min getting together with Set. Min discovers countless twists and secrets in her new position. Her power is ever growing and in ways no one thought she was capable of. Min realises she doesn’t have to do what everyone always tells her.  There was so much more to Min as her story developed and I found myself routing for her as she grew over the course of the novel. She discovered inner strength and determination of her own. She could be just as powerful and manipulative on her own.

 

Lu meanwhile finds herself forced to make an uneasy alliance with a strange boy, Nok, whom she remembers from her childhood, a brief encounter but brief enough to make an impression. Nok (as far as he knows) is the last survivor of a race of magical shapeshifters. Who were exterminated by Lu’s family.

 

There’s a rumour of mystical race hidden in the mountains, people of immense power and a great army, and both Lu and Set seem to think that they can get these people on their side to cement their claim to the throne. Set by sheer force and domination, Lu by negotiation and determination. With Nok’s help. Of course, none of this goes according to plan and nothing is as it seems.

 

I really liked the magic system and the mythical side of things. Lu and Nok also showed incredible growth throughout, their views changed, and while some aspects of their personalities of course remained the same, (they wouldn’t be so interesting otherwise) they showed brilliant strength in their own ways.

 

Some of the novel dragged a bit, and all the things going wrong seemed a like one terrible thing happening after another and it did get a bit boring towards the middle with Lu and Nok’s story. Min’s story helped bring the novel out of its lull and things started picking up again towards the end. Which was unexpected. A cliff hanger of course. But I definitely want to know where this story is going.

 

Excellently written with some lovely imagery, and some interesting world building. It wasn’t without is problems but definitely an enjoyable read and would recommend for fantasy lovers.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Orion Publishing for granting my wish to view the title.

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