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review 2020-05-26 15:11
The Dilemma
 The Dilemma - B.A. Paris

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

So, this is weird to review. I have been reading Paris for about a year now and this book really doesn't fit in the thriller category in my opinion. This is more of a "drama" book which isn't really a bad thing, but there's no real thriller here. Mystery fits since you don't initially get what is going on between the married couple (Livia and Adam). The back and forth POV for them worked well, but have to say that the whole ending didn't work for me. I don't know if Paris was going for irony or what when you find out that once again several people know the truth about something, but not all parties do. The big dilemma in this book was really surrounding secrets Livia and Adam were keeping from each other.

 

"The Dilemma" follows married couple Livia and Adam. The two married young and had kids, Josh and Marnie. Livia is excited to be celebrating her 40th birthday and has been setting aside money for years in order to get the celebration she always dreamed of. We quickly find out that something is going on though between Livia and Marnie. Livia is ambivalent about her daughter returning from her study abroad in Hong Kong to come home for the summer. Adam though is very excited about Marnie returning and has a secret up his sleeve for his wife's birthday celebration. He and Marnie have secretly planned for her to return in time for the party. However, something terrible happens and we follow Adam and Livia as they both keep something from each other. That is ultimately the dilemma. What would you do in similar circumstances?

 

I have to say that I didn't really get a fix on Livia or Adam. They both needed therapy. They are both happy, but have strained relationships with their children. Paris sets things up a bit better though so you can see why Livia and Marnie's relationship became strained. Paris shows us an incident between Adam and Josh that just shows Adam to be a jerk though. I also think that they should have showed us more interaction as a family. We kind of get plopped in the middle of this story and have characters thrown at us. For example, we get the set-up of the core friend group via a couple of paragraphs. Maybe it would have made more sense to show flashbacks to them all. I am not one to push for flashbacks here, but it just felt like the book was veering off into separate storylines which did not all come together until the end of the book when things were revealed.

 

The flow was up and down. Switching between Livia and Adam just changed up the tone of things. Also since we know what secret Adam is keeping it just made things worse for me as I was reading since I did not get his reasoning at all. 


The book's ending really did not resonate with me at all because of what I said earlier. After characters realize the fallout from keeping things from each other, they went and kept things that another character should have been told. I hated the reasoning behind it and thought it was kind of BS honestly.  

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text 2020-05-25 20:17
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
 The Dilemma - B.A. Paris

Huh. Not really a typical thriller from Paris. Interesting look at secrets a married couple keep from each other. Just not finding Adam or Livia that compelling.

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review 2020-05-24 14:48
The Catacombs
The Catacombs - Jeremy Bates

by Jeremy Bates

 

This is really good.

The story has strong characters with their own individuality and the dynamics between them form a wealth of subplot. Some of the chapters change from first person to third person, but it seems to work and gives some omniscient information about the thoughts of other characters than the narrator.

 

Parts of it are very intense, claustrophobic, just barely keeping the panic in check... then suddenly I had the giggles. This story is fun!

 

An interesting array of strange characters pass the main group in their subterranean adventure and add texture to the story. What a long, strange trip it's been!

 

About halfway, it gets really scary. I don't want to give spoilers but don't let the funny bits and interesting dynamics let you forget that this is a Horror story. It definitely earns its stripes as one in the second half. I know it's cliché, but I really could not stop reading for the last 30%, but had to see what would happen next.

 

There are a few typos, but not so many that it ruins the narrative and the story is so engrossing that it's hard to care about a few snags. Horror readers will definitely enjoy this one. Docking half a star for the imperfections, but it's a 5 star read!

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text 2020-05-17 14:25
Paris
Paris: The Novel - Edward Rutherfurd

by Edward Rutherfurd

 

Like other books written by Rutherfurd, history is illustrated within intertwining stories of people and families covering a sequence of centuries showing life and how it developed within the chosen city, in this case, Paris.

 

I enjoyed the book a lot, though it didn't have quite the generational flow that some of his others did. The stories of individual characters kept me interested and seeing what happened with their descendants was reminiscent of Rutherfurd's style in earlier books.

 

It is a long book, over 800 pages, and took me a long time to read through all of it, but it was time well spent. Seeing the construction of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, plus exploring the variable feelings that local residents had about the latter, really brought the history alive. Also reading through eras of religious and political strife in France and how Paris residents were affected expanded my knowledge of history, which is part of the point of reading Historical Fiction!

 

Rutherfurd remains one of my favorite authors in this genre. The last few chapters took us underground in the French resistance of WW2 and although I find that era generally over saturated, I really got caught up in events, some real, some fictionalized. Rutherfurd included an afterword to differentiate which was which.

 

There were a few very long chapters that could do with sub-chapters, but it was a good read and kept my interest, despite the length.

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review 2020-05-16 14:15
One Summer in Paris
One Summer in Paris - Sarah Morgan

by Sarah Morgan

 

I don't read many Romance books but I did enjoy this one. I'm always drawn to stories set in Paris.

 

The chapters alternate between the pov of two protagonists: Grace, a mature woman whose daughter is about to travel in Europe before going off to college and Audrey, a girl the same age as Grace's Daughter. Grace likes her life planned and ordered. She thinks she has the ideal life, until it all comes crashing down. Audrey has spent her life looking after her alcoholic mother and is used to complete chaos, but looks to Paris as her escape.

 

The two meet in Paris and with a few hitches, become unlikely friends. Each have their own problems, but they support each other and find they have complementary talents.

 

So first the negative: Many plot points were easily predictable or really stretched belief. Near the end the moralising got rather thick and I didn't like the turn things took for Grace. My decisions would have been different.

 

However, as a complete fantasy romance story, it was entertaining. I did care what happened to both women and wanted them to find happiness in their own ways. The characters were well done, even if the plot hit me over the head with both moralising and obvious clues of what was to come.

 

On the bottom line, it was a fun story if you don't mind a little insta-love and unlikely human behaviour in favour of a light fantasy romance.

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