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text 2017-04-26 00:22
See What I Have Done
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt

A special thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley, Grove Atlantic, and Atlantic Monthly Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one


Or did she?


I'm not going to lie, I kept putting this one down.  The opening chapter narrated by Lizzie was well-written with a nice hook, and then the second chapter narrated by her sister Emma threw me off.  However, I limped through it, and then a few more chapters here and there, and then I couldn't put it down.  This book was well-written and captivating, especially for a debut, and I would definitely recommend it.


In See What I Have Done, Schmidt takes on the daunting genre of historical fiction with her account of one of the most famous murder cases of all time with.  Lizzie Borden's father and step-mother are found bludgeoned to death at the Borden residence.  Told from multiple perspectives, the reader goes inside the mind of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the Irish maid Bridget, and a mysterious stranger Benjamin who has ties to the family.  This multiperspectivity works brilliantly and while I enjoyed Lizzie's chapters the most, the other perspectives were needed to balance out the story.  


Schmidt juxtaposes the visual imagery of sickness—blood, vomit, rotting food—against the relationships of the family.  This is more than fiction, it is a foray into the human psyche and a study of the most intimate kind of relationships.

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review 2017-04-13 22:30
Jericho's Razor by Casey Doran
Jericho's Razor (Jericho Sands) - Casey Doran


Jericho's Razor is a fast paced thrill ride, dodging the bad guys and the police until the very last page! What a blast!


Jericho Sands is a horror author being stalked by a serial killer. I know that it sounds like it's been done, and it has, but I think this one was above average. Being the son of serial killers himself, Jericho get his bad juju out through his writing. His character, Christian Black, acts out the things that Jericho has thought about and even seen during his time growing up. But now, someone is acting out the role of Christian and trying to pin it on Jericho. Who could it be and what do they want? You'll have to read this to find out.


I read the review of a Goodreads friend, (that'd be you, Bandit), and decided I needed to read this one for myself. I'm glad I did! Despite more than a few missing words and a couple of grammatical errors, I enjoyed this book. I read it in only 3 sittings and never once felt bored or questioned the motivations of the characters. A couple of them were rather cliche, (ambitious local politician, I'm looking at you), but overall I think Jericho's Razor was a resounding debut novel and I recommend it! I'll be looking forward to reading the next one later this year.


*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the free e-copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-04-06 01:17
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
Saints for All Occasions - J. Courtney S... Saints for All Occasions - J. Courtney Sullivan

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Knopf Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Two sisters, 21-year-old Nora and 17-year-old Theresa Flynn, leave their small village in Ireland and embark on a journey that will bring them to America. 

Nora is the more responsible of the two; she is practical and shy and accepts the proposal of a man she isn't entirely sure she is in love with.  Theresa is a free sprit that is easily charmed with her new life in Boston which includes dresses and dance halls.  When Theresa ends up pregnant, it is Nora that comes up with a plan that ultimately changes the course of their lives.

Fifty years pass—Nora has four grown children: John, a successful political consultant; Bridget, in a relationship and preparing for a baby; Brian, a former baseball player who has moved back in with Nora; and Patrick, Nora's favourite child, who is responsible for causing much heartache to those around him.  Estranged from Nora, Theresa lives in Vermont in a secluded abbey and is a practicing nun. 

After decades of not speaking, a death in the family forces the sisters to confront the choices they have made and each other.  This is a beautiful, sweeping novel about relationships, family, secrets, and sacrifice.  

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review 2017-04-05 01:48
The Good Earth
The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck,Nick Bert... The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck,Nick Bertozzi

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

This graphic novel by Nick Bertozzi gives a makeover to Pearl S. Buck's 1931 Pulitzer Prize-winning classic about the rise and fall of Chinese villagers before WWI.  
Disclaimer: I didn't realize I was requesting a comic/graphic novel adaptation.  If I had realized this, I wouldn't have requested the title.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised.  This actually works as a graphic novel and I think that it will put this classic willingly into the hands of the YA audience.
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review 2017-03-31 14:19
Lucky Supreme (Darby Holland #1), by Jeff Johnson
Lucky Supreme: A Novel of Many Crimes - Jeff Johnson


From Jeff Johnson, a man who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, comes this noir-ish tale of theft, ball bearings, tattoo shops and gentrification. I loved it!


Set in Portland, Oregon, (with some forays down to the California coast), the city itself became a character. Old Town, one of the holdouts from the gentrification going on all around, was vividly drawn. A neighborhood with lots of rain and dilapidated buildings, but also with residents who, (with the proper motivation), will help protect their own.


Darby owns a tattoo shop, Lucky Supreme, and a few years back some of his old flash was stolen. (This is the name for the designs that hang on the wall in tattoo shops, some of which is valuable now.) Darby has had the word out about it, and he finally gets a lead as to where the stolen flash is located. As Darby heads to the California coast to get his flash back, he meets up with characters I won't soon forget-some enemies and some friends, but all compelling. Darby himself is somewhat of an enigma.



" I found myself smiling at the quantity of the madness I carried around inside me."


 That's all I'll say about the plot, except for 2 more things: food and humor. All of Jeff's books feature at least one character who cooks, and man, the food always sounds delicious. Lastly, his books feature a black sense of humor that always works for me and this one was no different.


"Hurl crazy hookers at the enemy at every opportunity. Sun Tzu said that, didn't he?"


I swore to myself that I wouldn't start any more books that were part of a series, but with Jeff Johnson, I could not resist. This is an engaging tale full of captivating characters, a protagonist you can root for, (even though he's not your typical hero type), and a city where it is nearly always raining, but whose residents have a spirit that rises above. Lucky Supreme is a fun book with often sharp insights into human behavior and I give it my highest recommendation!


Available here on April 11th: Lucky Supreme: A Novel of Many Crimes (A Darby Holland Crime Novel)


*Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the free E-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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