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review 2018-07-17 18:34
’Baby Teeth’ has a lot of bite and is not so sweet BUT it’s ‘un-put-down-able’
Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

This amazingly creepy story from debut author Zoje Stage has got a lot of bite. The ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ complex takes center stage as Hanna, a seven-year old (supposedly) mute girl plays nice-nice in her father Alex’s company, but when she is the company of her mother Suzette, she just about unleashes horns on her head and a devil’s tail.


I’m exaggerating a little bit: there are no supernatural horns or tails although it’s way to easy to imagine them on this devil child that Zoje has so well-written for this novel. And somehow Hanna only manages to talk, now suddenly in French, just in her mom’s company, never so her dad can hear.


For years, Suzette has had to sacrifice her career by staying at home to homeschool Hanna, as she has been thrown out of preschools for bizarre and nasty behavior, but it’s behavior that her parents felt she would grow out of, and that once she was school-age, she could be handled better by an elementary school. Suzette also struggles with Crohn’s disease, which often keeps her bedridden and very ill, but it’s something that Hanna only has so much patience for but luckily her husband Alex has been sensitive to over the years.
Hanna persists in showing only one side to her father, who is Swedish to a fault, following Swedish holidays and traditions, which is something Hanna loves, including the special names Alex gives her, like Lilla Gumman, and she delights in little things like jumping in this lap and bedtime stories, shows of affection she reserves only for her father.
Alex and Suzette have not ignored Hanna’s lack of speech and antisocial behavior over the years though; they’ve taken her to specialists and had tests done, MRIs and other scans but there are no medical reasons for these behaviors. The answers start to become clearer especially to Suzette, as the behaviors become more pronounced; she questions herself, her parenting, whether Hanna is possessed, but she starts to realize this is just Hanna.


Reading Hanna’s side of it (as the novel goes -effectively - back and forth between what is going on for Hanna and Suzette, as if they are making an argument for their case) is just so incredibly disturbing. As she makes ‘plans’ for things she is about to do, and as she reasons ‘why she should’ do things, you’re allowed to see inside a very sad and twisted mind. As the book progresses so does her negativity towards her mother, and her need to push her mom out of the way to get closer to her father becomes greater.


The methods she does it by made me literally gasp out loud and sent my own child running (with questions for me), so that’s a good sign for me when it comes to a book.
In terms of how Suzette and Alex were able to handle Hanna: I will say that if you’re not a parent, you may have the view that it would have been easy to think ‘call the police’, or do certain other drastic things at times, but once you’re a parent, your perspective changes. You try everything else first. You want to try and help your child and do what you can, or you don’t believe they’re doing these behaviors. Your love for your child makes you run through all other avenues of help first, or in Alex’s case, stay in denial or in oblivion.


For many readers, this book may have gone too far; I know of many reviewers who passed on it because of the subject material, and it wasn’t for them. But it was totally right for me. I had been waiting for a book to be this daring for a while, and if it turns some people away, then you’ve at least elicited a visceral reaction to your work, whatever it is. In this case, it was because it was something that was going to make them feel uncomfortable or scared. I’d read that some people also got the wrong idea about the book, that it contained sexual abuse: it’s a shame people jump to conclusions before they actually have any real information.
Even if I didn’t know that the author Zoje used to work in film (as I also did) I probably could’ve guessed, as this would hold up so incredibly well as a movie; I had so many scenes in my head when I was reading this! Pure magic for the camera. Especially with the right Hanna.
The characters were so fascinating, and well-written, and I loved all the little bits about Sweden, Zoje did a fine job making these characters unique, especially for a thriller in a crowded genre. But then again, the whole book is unique, right down to the crushed lollipop on the front of the book.


And since at the center of this book is the ‘Daddy’s Little Girl/Electra’ complex, I found this fascinating. I don’t think I’ve seen a book personally written about this to this degree. It made Alex so blind to his daughter’s behavior, although it also made me question whether the ending was realistic.
The ending did kind of peter out a bit but I was satisfied with it; overall the book was such a page-turner, and kept me so enthralled, it was thoroughly ‘unputdownable’. I want more of this from Zoje!


*Warning: it might make some people question whether they want a ‘Little Girl to spoil’ after reading.

**Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my early copy! 

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review 2018-04-03 06:40
Heat
The Wicked Billionaire: A Billionaire SEAL Romance (The Tate Brothers) - Jackie Ashenden

This is book #2, in the Tate Brothers series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this amazing series in order.

 

Lucas wants to keep Grace safe.  If there is anyone who can do this, he can.  Since they already have a history of tragedy between them he feels it prudent to keep his distance from her emotionally.

 

Grace knows that Lucas the means and training to keep her safe physically.  What about her heart?  She has already known tragedy and loss.  Is it wise to find herself attracted to the same type of man again?

 

This book moves at a fast pace.  I like the growing tension and how it is laid out.  The characters clash and the temperature rises.  Makes for a sexy slow burn, but they belong together.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only, by Netgalley and its publishers.

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review 2018-02-07 20:33
Secrets
Icing on the Cake: A Wild Wedding Novel (Wild Wedding Series) - Ann Marie Walker

This is the 2nd book in the Wild Wedding series.  This book can be read as standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding of the series, I recommend reading in order.

 

Cassandra is busy trying to build a new life for herself.  She is starting a new business, and really does not have time to date.  Going to her brother's wedding gives her the chance to have a fling with a sexy someone.

 

Henry AKA "Hank" just wants to be a normal guy for the weekend.  Just wants to enjoy hanging with his college friends without the paparazzi following him around.  Then he meets this amazing woman he wants to spend time with.  

 

I loved this story from the start.  The banter wasn't the only thing zinging all over.  The heat in this book was seriously turned up!  Had a steady pace and characters that were so much fun to read.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publisher.

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text 2017-11-17 15:18
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 3 (Second Time) - St. Martin's Day

Pic from my Kindle library

 

 

Sorry no wine. Just smart water to help me stay hydrated. My fever was almost 100 degreesearlier. Yuck!

 

Tasks for St. Martin’s Day: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better.  –OR–

Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background.  –OR–

Bake Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live.  Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

 

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text 2017-11-11 10:00
The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Third Square: St. Martin's Day and Armistice Day / Veterans' Day
St. Martin’s Day

St. Martin's Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (Martin le Miséricordieux, a Roman soldier turned monk after his baptism), and it is celebrated on November 11.  This is the time when autumn wheat seeding was completed, and when historically hiring fairs were held where farm laborers would seek new posts. – The best-known legend associated with his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying from the cold.  In a dream, St. Martin saw the beggar revealed as Jesus Christ.

 

St. Martin’s Day processions – which typically end up with a bonfire – are held in the evening, with participating children carrying colorful lanterns (often homemade).  The goose became a symbol of St. Martin of Tours, because legend has it that when trying to avoid being ordained bishop he hid in a goose pen, but was betrayed by the cackling of the geese.  (St. Martin's feast day falls in November, when geese are ready for killing.)  He is also credited with helping spread viticulture in the Touraine region.  A pastry associated with St. Martin’s Day in parts of the German-speaking world is the “Weckmann”, a sweet yeast dough figure with raisin eyes clutching a white clay pipe.  (Elsewhere, it’s more commonly eaten on St. Nicholas’ Day.)

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better. –OR– Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background. –OR– Bake a Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live. Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

 

 

Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WW I, which took effect at 11:00 AM – the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.  The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth and Veterans’ Day in the U.S., both public holidays.  The poppy became the international symbol of the day as a result of its being mentioned in the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, which commemorates the fallen soldiers buried under the Flanders poppy fields.

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction). –OR– Read a book with poppies on the cover.

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks:

Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

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