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review 2018-01-16 18:31
Review: The Hanging Girl
The Hanging Girl - Eileen Cook

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

A fun twisty YA mystery novel.

 

The heroine, Candi “Skye” Thorn, goes by her middle name “Skye” (can’t say I blame her there) does tarot reading for her classmates at school as a way of making some extra cash. She and her best friend Drew have this idea that when they graduate they’ll finally be able to ditch their small home town and head off to New York and live in an apartment together. BFF comes from a wealthy family, Skye lives in a crappy apartment with her mom and money is an issue.

 

So Skye has a regular job and reads tarots for extra cash. Skye is fake, she reads off intuition and good guesses. She’s not part of a crowd, pretty much a loner and has a somewhat blunt personality I quite liked. She’s a lot more down to earth than most girls her age, and has a fairly logical sense of reality. (I.E. not all convinced that this dream of going to New York is really going to happen) Skye does come across as rather cynical. But given her circumstances it’s believable for her character arc. Her mom is actually convinced she is a real psychic. And appears to be kind of a flake.

 

When a popular, rich girl of a local very important Judge, Paige goes missing, Skye starts having “psychic” visions relating to Paige and her disappearance. She winds up working with the police one really grumpy and dismissive detective and one who seems a lot nicer and more inclined to listen to what Paige has to offer. Especially when some of Skye’s “visions” start panning out and yielding actual results. Basically the old good cop, bad cop routine. And of course Skye’s mom is thrilled her daughter is exhibiting “psychic” abilities.  And eventually Paige’s parents come into the plot.  Along with an angry ex boyfriend of Paige’s who doesn’t believe a word of what Skye says and is convinced there is more going on.

 

He’s not far wrong.

 

Skye has gotten herself involved in something that turns out to be darker than she had ever imagined. Initially it seemed like a good idea to make a bundle of money. Only the drama has escalate and things are going badly wrong and people are turning out to be nothing like she expected. Nothing goes according to any sort of plan and then a dead body turns up. And now Skye is thrown into a murder investigation.

 

Which reveals even more twists. It was quite a tense and fast paced plot, and very well written. Interesting characters, and I will say I didn’t actually guess what was going on in this one. The last few sort of twists were pretty damn good, and I liked the way it all wrapped up and concluded.

 

I’ve liked everything I’ve read by this author so far so this is definitely one that will be going on my auto-buy list.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre/Hot Key Books for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-01-01 17:32
Thrilling Page Turner!
The Hanging Girl - Eileen Cook

It was definitely the cover of this book that made me really want to read it. The tarot card on the cover really drew me to the book and made me want to find out what it’s about and ultimately read it. I love absolutely anything to do with the paranormal and I’m also an amateur tarot card reader myself so this seemed right up my alley right from the get go.

'The Hanging Girl' is gripping from the very first page and isn’t once predictable. The plot twists have you on the edge of your seat, keeping you turning page after page wanting to know and find out more, and I loved that.

The characters were pretty well developed and some were even likeable and I dare say relatable at times.

I’m not usually a quick reader by no means but “The Hanging Girl” kept me hooked and I managed to read it without two nights. I would definitely read more books from Eileen Cook in the future!

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review 2017-11-05 17:25
The Waiting Place: Learning To Appreciate Life's Little Delays by Eileen Button
The Waiting Place: Learning to Appreciate Life's Little Delays - Eileen Button

Some of the most priceless gifts can be discovered while waiting for something else.
We all spend precious time just waiting. We wait in traffic, grocery store lines, and carpool circles. We wait to grow up, for true love, and for our children to be born. We even wait to die. But while we work hard at this business of living, life can sometimes feel like one long, boring meeting. Even today, with instant gratification at our techno-laced fingertips, we can’t escape the waiting place. Somehow, in between our texting and tweeting and living and dying, we end up there again and again. In the voice of an old friend or a wise-cracking sister, Eileen Button takes us back to the days of curling irons and camping trips, first loves and final goodbyes, big dreams and bigger reality checks. With heart-breaking candor she calls us to celebrate the tension between what we hope for tomorrow and what we live with today. Chock-full of humor and poignant insights, these stories will make you laugh and cry. They’ll challenge you to enjoy―or at least endure―the now. As Eileen has learned, “To wait is human. To find life in the waiting place, divine.”

Amazon.com

 

 

In this collection of essays, the title inspired by a portion from Dr. Seuss' The Places You Will Go, newspaper columnist Eileen Button takes us into the daily routine of her hectic life and shows up where she found the beauty in the chaos. It took work and dedication, moments of forcing herself to stop and be still, but over time she came to learn how to work past her daily life gripes and see the gifts in the small moments. 

 

"The Waiting Place is for people like me who get stuck in their precious, mundane, gorgeous, absurd lives. It is for those who work hard at the "business of living" only to find that they seem to be caught in one long, boring meeting...It's for those who wake up one day and find themselves repeatedly sighing and thinking 'This is so not the life I dreamed of living.' It's also for those who wonder what is worse: to remain in the day-in, day-out lives they have created or to risk it all and make a change, even if that change results in falling on their faces. The waiting place is never cozy. In fact, when we find ourselves there, most of us try like heck to escape...The following essays breathe life into common (and not so common) waiting places. I hope you find yourself in these pages and conclude, as I have, that some of the most priceless gifts can be discovered while waiting for something else." ~ from Chapter 1

 

Her essays cover pivotal moments throughout her life where epiphanies slipped in under the mundane. Sometimes it wasn't right in the moment, but years later as she reflected on cherished memories. Some of the highlights: reminiscing about fishing trips as a little girl with her father; comical wedding mishaps (that were likely not so comical in the moment lol); recalling the beauty in her grandmother's hands , seeing all the life lived that showed there during family Scrabble games; revisiting her childhood home as an adult and the emotions that stirred up, turning that glass doorknob and taking in the hush of the place. Eileen also recalls lectures her grandmother would give her about her nail-biting habit, something my own grandmother rides me about to this day!

 

Eileen also discusses the struggle that comes with sometimes being defined by your spouse's occupation, in her case being the wife of a Methodist pastor.  She defines various doubts and fears that unexpectedly came along with the position of a pastor's wife as well as the he pressures and expectations that your congregation can put on you. Button reveals that she often feels she has a "dysfunctional, co-dependent" relationship with the church.

 

Additionally, there's the strain of trying to figure out what to do, how to make things work when the household income barely covers the monthly bills (Button recalls the day she swallowed her pride and applied for WIC).

 

"I reach for my daily stack of mail. Today's includes a Rite-Aid weekly flyer, the water bill, and a credit card offer that features three crosses and the message "Jesus Loves You" on the card. The credit card company writes, "Express your faith with every purchase!" There is something deeply wrong with a world in which you can own a credit card with a full color picture of Christ's object of torture printed on it."

 

 

She describes added emotional fatigue worrying over her youngest son, who was born with a condition where the upper and lower portions of the esophagus didn't connect. Speaking of her children, one thing I noticed that I found a little disappointing is how she seems to take pride in fixing meals over playing with her children. I mean, yes, it is definitely admirable that she takes the time to make nourishing meals for them, I was just a little surprised when one essay illustrates how one day her kids genuinely seemed shocked when she finally, grudgingly agrees to fly a kite with them. But it is in this moment that she has one of her revelations which she can now share with readers -- why honest presence is so important to her children! 

 

This collection also touches upon the topic of depression. Button shares moments where she deeply hurt for loved ones who had fallen into immense emotional darkness and her inner aggravation at feeling helpless to save them. Here again, she shares the calming takeaways she eventually came to realize are born in life's harder moments. For readers reaching for this book at a time when they find themselves saying, "This is not the life I signed up for," she offers this to marinate on: "To live is to wait. It's how we wait that makes all the difference." Hang in there long enough, you'll find your way to the brass ring. 

 

As a whole, these essays are so enjoyable largely because Button writes in the tone of a good friend who speaks in soft tones but still makes it clear she's been through the wringer in her day and, at least on some level, knows of what she speaks.  It's also a kick to see her East Coast upbringing infused into her wording:  "wicked dark' "wicked ugly". Her humor balances the heavier bits and I give her bonus points for working in a "Come On Eileen", a nod to my favorite 80s song :-D

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text 2017-10-02 15:46
Nope
With Malice - Eileen Cook

Look I know this was a spin on the Amanda Knox story that took place in Italy. However, other than that, I really don't get why Eileen Cook insisted on the book taking place there. We don't get a sense of Italy at all. We also take a long way around to figure out what happened. When the truth is revealed I pretty much laughed cause it doesn't make sense at all. 

 

The story follows 18 year old Jill Charron. She finds herself in the hospital in a lot of pain and wishing for her best friend Simone. Jill is shocked to find that she has been in a the hospital for several weeks, and her friend Simone is dead in an accident that it appears Jill is responsible for. 

 

I didn't like Jill from the first. Maybe because she sounds robotic and not normal at times about things we get to see from her POV. I need to have a bit of empathy for a main character instead of feeling bored by her and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I also didn't get why Jill was even friends with Simone based on the tidbits we get to read via other people and what is said/not said about their friendship. When we get to the reveal I just rolled my eyes. I was wanting something else there that would be surprising. Cook definitely does not hide anything at all, you know which way the story is going since the story is littered with clues. 

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text 2017-10-01 13:08
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
With Malice - Eileen Cook

This book really didn't work for me. I swear unreliable narrator stories only work if there's an actual twist to be had. Also including texts, transcripts, etc to break up the book didn't help either. You don't know who people are exactly and it just made things confusing. The reveal was laughable. 

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