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Search tags: netgalley-books
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review 2018-11-26 03:38
Seven Days of Us
Seven Days of Us: A Novel - Francesca Hornak

I am behind on reviewing this book, but it will actually be a timely read if you go out and get it now. After all, who doesn't love a lighthearted story about a dysfunctional family gathering for the holidays? What's more, the Birch family is required to stay together for Christmas, after daughter Olivia's recent post treating an epidemic abroad has put them all into quarantine.

 

There are some serious issues addressed here besides the epidemic, but Hornak guides us through alternating perspectives so that we don't linger on anything for too long. There is an interesting range of characters who seem to have specific roles in the family — some address the heavier themes while the shallow, fluff characters add comic relief. While certain characters had me talking back to my kindle, "You are not really going to do that, are you?"; I found I enjoyed the book more when I took it all a little less seriously. Which honestly, is not a bad thought going into the holiday season.

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review 2018-11-12 03:26
The Rules of Magic
The Rules of Magic: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

I am pretty sure that I read Hoffman's Practical Magic since I've read several of her books, but it was probably in the 90s, long before I started keeping track on Goodreads. I once heard Anna Quindlen speak, and she said something I never forgot regarding certain female authors, "You can't go wrong with a book written by an Alice." This is terrific advice, and, I've found, completely accurate.

 

When I saw The Rules of Magic offered on NetGalley, I requested it right away, especially since the author considers this the first in the series, just in case I forgot the plot of the first one. (Yes, here I go with a series again, right after I said I never read them...) The family legacy of witchcraft haunts the Owens family, and you can bet that Susannah Owens' three children are not about to escape unscathed. Charged with a myriad of rules, their mother offers one that is just too compelling to ignore, "Don't fall in love." So you see where this is going — witches, spells, secret powers, and love — what's not to like? Trust me and Anna Quindlen, you can't go wrong with a book written by an Alice.

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review 2018-11-12 02:40
The Boy on the Bridge
The Boy on the Bridge - M.R. Carey

I can't really explain my fascination with these books. When I read The Girl with all the Gifts, I never imagined I would read the sequel — not because I didn't love it, but because I sometimes have the attention span of a gnat, and rarely follow up with series, trilogies, etc. because I just run out of steam. This is probably the same reason I have loyalty to only a few television shows and am quick to consider they've "jumped the shark". In any case, here I am again, reading a zombie book while my husband watches The Walking Dead (and no, I didn't give that show up, I was too chicken to even watch it.) Before I read The Boy on the Bridge, I watched the movie of The Girl with all the Gifts. Had I not been watching that on an airplane, I would have either cried in terror or shrieked like a little baby, because, despite knowing the entire plot and outcome, I was terrified.

 

The Boy on the Bridge is equally terrifying, at least to me, but in a completely satisfying way. If you have not read the first one, I am sure you can still read this as a stand-alone, but I recommend reading both no matter which order. The two stories are cleverly intertwined, so that the author considers it a sequel, prequel or equal, but that's merely semantics. Whatever he wants to call it, I'll read it. In fact, I will probably even read another. Bring on number 3.

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review 2018-10-24 03:04
The Little Book of Feminist Saints
The Little Book of Feminist Saints - Manjitt Thapp,Julia Pierpont

This book is truly a treasure and an inspiration. The biographies are thoughtful, engaging and often surprising; the illustrations are simply stunning. I loved the form of a book of saints— I would especially like a leather-bound volume of this with a silk ribbon bookmark like my catholic school days—and even more, I loved having a grown-up picture book. There was a terrific balance between the well-known and lesser known women, with so many important, overlooked achievements. This is a book I read on my ipad in order to appreciate the illustrations, (and because I received a review copy from NetGalley -—Thank You!) but I wouldn't hesitate to buy a stack of these to give as gifts. Christmas is coming.

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review 2018-10-24 02:30
Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Love and Other Consolation Prizes: A Novel - Jamie Ford

Ok, full disclosure: I love Jamie Ford's writing. I think that Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was the first book I read on a kindle, which was a difficult transition for me, because I have always been a book buyer. Despite the number of books I read on "devices", I still love the weight and feel of one in my hands. At some point, though, I understood the financial downside to needing to own every book I read, not to mention the rapidly decreasing amount of space to store them in my home. So, reading that first book was truly bittersweet, but thankfully, the quality of the story far outweighed my reluctance to read it on a kindle.

 

And though I read this book on my kindle too, I do have a couple Jamie Ford novels (and even a comic book) which he autographed when he was our guest speaker at our annual author lunch. All of that is to say again, I'm a fan, and Love and Other Consolation Prizes  did nothing to change that.

 

Ford demonstrates his ability to create a rich, quirky, entirely engaging cast of characters, as well as his knack for finding a "truth is stranger than fiction" topic. His story begins at the 1909 Seattle World's Fair, where a 12-year-old boy is being raffled off. Seriously. If that doesn't capture your imagination, I really don't know what will.

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