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review 2018-05-31 04:27
The Broken Girls...
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

After I fell in love with The Haunting of Maddy Clare several years ago, I read all of St. James books. I just love her stories and I was really excited and so looking forward to this!


Which is why it really pains me to say The Broken Girls just didn't do very much for me. Maybe my expectations were just too high, but it really felt like the plot, the suspense and the paranormal/haunting aspect, were all toned down; very mild and mediocre in comparison to her other books.


I'll always be a fan but I hope she ups the ante with her next book.

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review 2018-05-30 21:55
The Broken Girls
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James
Oh, Mary! There’s a rumor that she roams Idlewild, a boarding school that once served young women, providing these women their last opportunity. The school closes in 1979 but Mary still roams, the rumor becomes a reality. Mary preys upon her victims, touching their lives forever. Mary is connected to Idlewild, her connection runs deep and she is not leaving until her business is finished.
The story of Idlewood is told in two time periods. The past and the present day. I found both stories fascinating and I enjoyed following the characters. In the past, we are introduced to the characters as they are students at the boarding school and we get to know their personalities. The girls learn firsthand about Mary and they try to learn about her history. It’s not an instant friendship as each of the girls adjust to their new surroundings, as these girls have each come from different backgrounds. They form ties with each other, some more connected than others.
In the present day, we learn that Idlewood has been vacant for some time but that is about to change. The school is being restored which is causing quite a commotion. Why would someone decide to reopen the school now and what about Mary? There has also been a murder committed on the school grounds a while back that Deb cannot get over. Her sister was the victim but the evidence surrounding the case just didn’t add up to satisfy Deb. There is an individual serving time for the murder but Deb again, is still not satisfied with the results of the case.
I liked how the each of the stories dug deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters. I learned some of the history of each of the characters and as the story was being led out, I enjoyed seeing how things were being placed together and how some things just did not fit. I liked how Mary’s character pulled in a mysterious and creepy element to the story. This was a deep-rooted story, a twisted story that brought the past back to life.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing this title with me.


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text 2018-05-05 12:38
Reading progress update: I've read 47%.
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

The audio narrator is doing a nice job of reflecting the haunting eerie atmosphere that Simone has a knack for creating.


Also I'm dying to know Mary Hand's backstory! 

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text 2018-05-01 04:25
April Epilogue - Reading in Review
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James
The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche - M.L. Longworth
Summer Hours at the Robbers Library - Sue Halpern
The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA - Doug Mack
Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

23 books read this month.  A very happy surprise for me; had I been asked to guess, I'd have said no way would this be a great reading month by numbers.  My Christmas subscription of NewScientist magazine started arriving at the end of March and I read each weekly issue cover to cover - some articles more than once (*cough*quantum time*cough*).  


MT has also had a spectacularly bad run - even by his standards - of small, non-serious, but debilitating injuries: first minor surgery to his left wrist, immediately followed by an injury to his right wrist; just after the dr.'s all-clear, he sprained his ankle.  A day or two later, he severely sprained his right wrist (and arm) dragging a heavy trolly uphill.  As these injuries ALWAYS happened on Thursday or Friday, a girl could be forgiven for giving him the side-eye at this point, but it really is bad luck.  Both his and mine, because I am picking up the slack, including laying down a stone pathway that has to be done before we have a new garden fountain delivered.   For the record, I've always excelled at doing nothing, so I'm knackered!  But proud (about the path - stuff the housework).


All of that excess of info to say that I can't believe I read 23 books!  1 5-star read and 4 4.5-star reads amongst the lot. A few disappointments, but no outright bad books to speak of.  


Two charts this month - all the books were printed except 1 Audiobook:




My TBR project:

I've set a book buying budget for each month that = 50% of the total books I read the previous month.  Any books not bought carry over to the next month.  


I have to cry Force majeure for May, because this happened, and since I make up the rules for this little experiment, those books don't count. 


Moving on...


Last month I bought 14 out of the 16 budgeted, leaving me with 2 to carry over to May.  My total books read in April being 23 leaves me with a budget of 11 (rounding down for a  small error of margin). 


total books I can buy in May:  13

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review 2018-04-04 09:36
The Broken Girls
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James



I didn't have a good feeling about this one when the pre-release stuff came out, because I loved all her previous work, this was a departure, and I hate change.  I couldn't not read it, because that would be dumb, but when I started it I was even more unsure; I dislike alternating time lines and POVs almost as much as I dislike change.


Anyway, the one pivotal thing that didn't change is that this is a Simon St. James ghost story.  So, I got up at 6 this morning, got the house keeping over with, then sat down with this book at 8, because I can't read St. James' books in anything but broad daylight.  I love her ghost stories, but they scare me spitless. 


The ghost doesn't have the same front-and-center starring role, but she made up for the lack of page time with quality creepiness. And the rest of the story... well.  I don't want to give a lot away, which makes it hard to say the things I really want to say.  Therefore, I'm just gong to bullet point a few things that feel important:


 - Like her previous books, there's a war connection.  The best one yet (imo);

 - There's a murder mystery;

 - The author does not take the reader down the expected paths.


There are two plots in this book, tied together by a common place, but they remain distinct and they are both devastating.  Utterly.  St. James pulls no punches.  In my opinion, this is what fantastic fiction is all about - I was utterly captivated, entertained, and at the end, left with much to think over.  This is a book about the power of the families we choose, when the ones we are born to betray us.


Outstanding. Just don't read it in the dark.

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