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review 2018-07-16 18:43
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

Yowza! I see a lot of people marked this book up as a DNF and I can certainly see why they would have a hard time with this book. A book that deals with women on a reality TV show that is packed with bitching and women trying to out do each other in order to get the most of the limelight and the TV time.

The barbs, insults, bickering and lies are frequent in this story. These women absolutely hate each other! I mean this is so like a train wreck that I could not stop reading (or watching).

However, as the only reality TV show that I have ever watched is Big Brother, it was interesting for me, how the behind the scenes would work. It's the job of one of the crew to keep these women up on where they left off, who they are mad at and what they should be focusing on next. It was just interesting.

There are also some underlying and very true lessons in this book regarding the way that women treat each other.

And. . . the final plot twist? OMG! I definitely did not see that one coming!

I saw that this book has been optioned for a movie and I'm excited and can't wait to see it. I also hope Hollywood doesn't screw it up and that they do include some of the funny phrases that the author uses in the book.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2018-06-18 04:44
The Witchfinder's Sister
The Witchfinder's Sister - Beth Underdown

In case you've noticed, I'm a little behind on my reviews. Not because I haven't been reading, just that if it's a choice between reading and posting, I usually choose reading. Which puts me on track for my reading year, but regretfully behind here.

 

So enough about that, let's pretend it's the end of January, when I read this book. Brrr! It's freezing! Perfect time to sit in a cozy chair with a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket and read a scary book about witches. But really, if you're like me, there's no bad time to read about witches. This book, though, was a little different for me. For one thing, it was based on the true story of "Witchfinder General" Matthew Hopkins in Essex, England, 1645. Underdown spins a compelling tale based on his investigations, that are every bit as cruel, gruesome and unethical as you might imagine.

 

Alice, newly back in town, has her own troubles to deal with even before she starts to unravel the mysteries surrounding her brother, the now-famous Witch Finder. There is a lot going on in this otherwise sleepy town, and everyone seems to have a skeleton (or a witch) in their closet. The author leaves some things a little vague, but she does not spare the reader. This was an uncomfortable story for me to read; I really longed for a little bit of goodness in this world. I think that in her debut, though, Underdown has crafted an intense, often frightening, but ultimately well-told story.

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review 2018-06-03 17:24
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

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

Five strong, successful women make up the Goal Diggers reality show cast set in New York City. The producers will get more than they bargain for this season when one of the women is murdered.

Brett is the fan favourite. She is only 27 and has launched a highly successful spin studio. That, coupled with her recent engagement, has only increased her popularity and made her the envy of her cast since they are all vying for the spotlight.

Kelly is Brett's older sister, business partner, and the newest cast member. The veterans of the show think she's a cling-on not understanding that growing up, it was Kelly who was the favourite, not Brett.

Stephanie is the oldest on the show, and the first black woman. She is a published author of erotic novels, but her success has come from her memoir in which she has taken some liberties and is afraid of being found out. Stephanie is married to an attractive, non-working actor with a wandering eye. Sounds like the perfect storyline for a reality show, but this season, the focus is on the rift between Stephanie and her former best friend, Brett.

Lauren a successful start-up story whose out-of-control drinking has her poised for a recovery storyline.

Finally Jen, rich and famous from her vegan food line is actually not vegan, and is incredibly ruthless behind the scenes. I pictured her to be like Gwyneth Paltrow chowing down on burgers.  

Can I tell you how riveting this was? Knoll has an incredible knack for writing conversation which is why the premise worked so well—we are also a culture that is obsessed with celebrity and social media, and this story plays right into that hand.

There are multiple characters introduced in the beginning and I had to keep referring back to the character synopsis to keep them all straight and I really hope that this is included in the published book. Certainly not a criticism, but I wanted to mention it because I found it useful. Knoll develops intriguing and complex characters with several layers and once you get into the story, you easily can tell who is speaking and whose point of view it is.  

The title of the book is clever—it speaks to the obvious sisters in the story as well as a nod to the sisterhood of women. It is these relationship dynamics that are present and integral to the narrative.  Knoll's view of the sister/sisterhood is multi-faceted and downright ruthless at times. But she's not wrong. Women are all about coming together and supporting one another however, the flip side is the incredible hypocrisy as women will turn on each other on a dime! Women have to be younger than their male counterparts, thinner, smarter, and so on and unfortunately, we are our worst critics both to ourselves and each other.  Knoll explores all of this through the lens of a reality show. I thought this was a fantastic read.  

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review 2018-06-01 03:53
Sister Light,Sister Dark
Sister Light, Sister Dark - Jane Yolen

I've never read a book by Jane Yolen before.

But this was a welcome surprise,the author does a great job with worldbuilding.And when it comes to character building she does very good.This book held my interest throughout.

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review 2018-05-14 22:23
The Favorite Sister
The Favorite Sister - Jessica Knoll

Let me start by saying that I don't watch reality TV. I get quite enough reality in everyday life. Nevertheless, the blurb for this one sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a gander. I did finish, but I set the book aside numerous times, mostly due to the fact that I couldn't find a single character in the book to actually root for. None of them were the least bit likable. Maybe that was the author's intention, but for me, I have a hard time getting invested in a story when no one has a redeeming quality.
We have five women who are each successful, but instead of being proud of that, they spend a crazy amount of time tearing each other down. The whole thing read like Mean Girls for grown-ups. We get lots of behind the scenes making of reality TV and how the drama gets encouraged, but the constant conniving among these women quickly grated on my nerves. There is a murder to give us some mystery and things do pick up in the end, but without that connection to any of the characters, it didn't help much.
I suppose I was expecting something more, some actual sisterhood at some point, and that's on me, but I still came away from this one disappointed.

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