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review 2017-03-29 05:15
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

This book was positioned as a thriller, but it didn’t really fit into that genre for me. While it seemed a bit “ripped from the headlines”, it was written with an intelligence that belied the occasional celebrity tell-all feel. To me, it was more intriguing than gripping, but while the conclusion seemed inevitable and unsurprising, this did not really detract from the story. Hawley is terrific at crafting his wealthy characters, but I found the ordinary, flawed ones more interesting. I especially appreciated that the artist living on Martha’s Vineyard is poor and relatively unknown despite living in what would normally be considered a high-end vacation spot. Hawley is deft at contrasting the flashy tabloid news with the human side of the story, and I found just as many parts deeply moving as completely despicable.

 

One reviewer ranted on and on about how bad this cover is – but as a graphic designer (who frequently judges a book by its cover), I am weighing in on this one. I was attracted to the type that was at once bold and ethereal; accurately, I think, evoking the tragedy and uncertainty to come.

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review 2017-03-29 01:38
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Ga... Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

A special thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple, mundane life, and operates on the same routine every day—she  wears the same clothes to work, eats the same meal for lunch from the same location, makes the same dinners, and every weekend buys the same kind of pizza with the same kind of wine, and two bottles of vodka to get her through the weekend.  She is incredibly isolated and lonely with no benchmark of how life should be.  From a random act of kindness Eleanor realizes exactly what she's been missing and how much better life can be.   

The description of Honeyman's debut made it sound like a Bridget Jones type novel. Eleanor is a 30 year-old singleton, living in the city, who drinks a lot, but that is where the comparison ends.  In fact, I actually thought that Eleanor may be on the Autism spectrum because of her routines, the difficulty she has in social settings, and her formal speech.  However, her behaviour stems from suffering a childhood trauma, and also not having any family or friends to help guide her in social situations—she has been alone for so long that she has no point of reference with things like pop culture, and relationships in general.  She is also victim of mental abuse every Wednesday when she talks to her 'Mummy' on the phone.

The novel unfolds through Eleanor and at times she is an unreliable narrator that serves the story perfectly.  Incredibly sad at times, this exploration of the human spirit was a bright debut and I highly recommend it.

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review 2017-03-28 15:06
Sisters One, Two, Three
Sisters One, Two, Three - Nancy Star

Glory Tangle and her four children were staying on Martha's Vineyard when something tragic happened. Afterwards Ginger and Mimi, the oldest sisters, are not supposed to mention what happened to anyone, not even to their mother, and their younger sister, Callie, is sent away to boarding school. Many, many years later Ginger is forced to reveal a secret when her teenage daughter overhears a comment. And so the Tangles' web of secrets and lies begins to unravel. When Glory dies and long-estranged Callie returns home, Ginger goes back to Martha's Vineyard to piece together what really happened on the day no one dared to mention in the Tangle household.

This is told from Ginger's perspective. It's a slow-moving book but I enjoyed reading about the Tangle's, especially in the early years. They're dysfunctional and have their quirks and I didn't always like how they handled things but you can't help but like them just the same. It's a realistic portrayal of how keeping secrets and not talking about memories and your feelings can damage relationships.

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the copy of this book.

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review 2017-03-28 03:27
You Know Me Well
You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour,David Levithan

I thought this book was well-written and the plot moved along at a brisk pace, but honestly, even considering the fact that I am not a YA reading this, I found it unrealistic. There is endless talking and pining for love in this story (I found all the over-analyzing more like college students than high school, but maybe that’s just me) and yay, it’s a story of so many under-represented gay teens, but aside from that, not a whole lot happens. Well, actually, a lot happens in the span of just a few days, but I didn’t find it very believable. Having said that, I will admit that I loved the banter between the friends — I found it smart and funny and the authors established a nice rapport among them; but it was all smart and funny, barely an awkward pause despite the fact that most of them had only just met. I mean I get the whole fast friends thing, but there was a lot of that here – not just one relationship.

 

LaCour and Levithan had their hearts in the right place, but I thought the story that unfolded had the potential to be so much more.

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review 2017-03-28 00:30
What a great start to a new series!
Lost Rider (The Coming Home Series) - Harper Sloan

Lost Rider (The Coming Home Series) - Harper Sloan 

 

 

*4.5 STARS*

 

I became familiar with Harper Sloan through her Corps Security series which I loved. Those hot, alpha, ex-military men were something else. So, when I saw that she was going to have a new series featuring cowboys, I couldn't wait to see what it was all about.

LOST RIDER was full of loss and redemption, love and pain, family and hope and so many other things that I felt like my heart was going to burst right out of my chest reading it.

We start with Maverick Davis, a rodeo star who has just been grounded for good. He had one injury too many and now the doctors won't clear him to go back to competing. Feeling at a loss, he now not only has to turn his back on the one thing in his life that meant something to him, but he's also has to head back home to the place he swore he'd never return to when he left it and all those in it behind ten years ago. He knows that there is a lot more than ghosts waiting for him there.

When he gets there though he ends up pissing off the one person he was most scared of seeing, the woman he ran from all those years ago, but seeing her again is like no time has been lost at all. Only, she's spitting mad and wants nothing to do with him.

Leighton James didn't expect to see Maverick Davis again, but when she does it's like a punch to her gut. The boy she was in love with her whole life is back and her traitorous heart beats him like he never left. She's not going to let him waltz back in and trample all over love again. She wouldn't be able to take it.

But, he now knows what he's meant to do and he's meant to do it with Leighton at his side. He just has to convince her that it's safe to give him her heart again.

This was just so many things. So many things. I hated how much pain both Maverick and Leighton went through but that made their HEA that much more sweeter. Seeing all of the back story and understanding why things happened the way that they did really made how hard they worked to be together that much more important. Maverick was really dealt a crap hand, but I was glad to see how whole he was when he came out of other side. And it doesn't hurt that Mav and Leigh were hot as hades between the sheets, or outside, or up against a door. *sigh*

The rest of the Davises, Mav's older brother, Clayton, and his younger sister, Quinn, were integral to the story as well. I look forward to seeing them get their own stories as well.

LOST RIDER is the first book in the Coming Home series and I look forward to seeing where the series will be going next. The author hinted that maybe it will be Quinn's turn next, but I'm really looking to see what's going to happen when Clayton finally falls.

So, LOST RIDER was a definite hit for me. I can't wait to go back the little Texas town and visit with the Davis's and the James's again.

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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