Anaïs Reynard, a 14 year old girl, wakes in an asylum after a hurricane in New Orleans in 1945. She is told her stepfather was shot during the hurricaAnaïs Reynard, a 14 year old girl, wakes in an asylum after a hurricane in New Orleans in 1945. She is told her stepfather was shot during the hurricane but has amnesia surrounding the event. A young black stagehand, Jules Martin, is on trial for her stepfather's attempted murder, but Anaïs has a nagging feeling he is innocent.
During her time in the asylum, Anaïs finds a strange key with the symbols of the four suits of playing cards engraved upon it. She finds it unlocks a mysterious door in the basement of the asylum, one that leads to an "Alice in Wonderland" type world. In this world, humans are a rarity and are being murdered for their blood. Anaïs sets off on an adventure with a fox creature to visit the lands of each of the four kings ruling the area - Raven, Snake, Lion, and Unicorn- in order to solve the mystery of the murdered humans.
In the meantime, Anaïs remembers more about her time growing up in Belgium and later in Paris and London during World War II and her passage to America. In time, she will remember the shooting of her stepfather.
I wanted to really like this book and give it five stars, but it just fell short. The writing is wonderful, but the link between the fantasy land and real life just doesn't ring true to me. Maybe hardcore fantasy readers would give this book a higher rating. I did not feel reading it was a total waste of my time, but the connections within the book and the real world just fell short.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
Ariel Levy is a journalist who hurls through life, defying convention, from her lesbian marriage to trying to become pregnant in her late thirties. ShAriel Levy is a journalist who hurls through life, defying convention, from her lesbian marriage to trying to become pregnant in her late thirties. She likes to feel in control of her life but comes to realize there are some things, like her spouse's alcoholism, that she cannot control. In the end, she feels everyone wants to believe things happen for a reason but realizes that is not always the case.
This was a great memoir. I read the book in two days. The writing grips you and is poignant and memorable.
I received a free galley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....more
It is the not-too-distant future. Human cloning has long been banned, but human clones do exist. June Taylor knows. She is a clone of her mother, a woIt is the not-too-distant future. Human cloning has long been banned, but human clones do exist. June Taylor knows. She is a clone of her mother, a woman who passed away long ago. June's father, Samuel Taylor, was responsible in part for cloning her. However, as June began to look more and more like her dead mother, her father began drinking heavily, causing June to sever contact with him.
After not hearing from her father for three years, he suddenly shows up on June's doorstep one morning, apparently sober for the first time in years, frantically insisting that he and June must leave town and hide immediately. June brushes off her father's warning as paranoia, but she starts to worry when a dead body turns up in a cannery and when she cannot locate her dad. June must report her father's disappearance to the police but without letting them know that he was involved in the illegal cloning of humans some 30 years ago.
Early on, June begins to feel the police are not doing enough to investigate her father's disappearance. A mysterious man, Elliot Roe, has been watching her, and while at first June is wary of Elliot, she soon learns he is on her side. Elliot is AWOL from the military and trying to find his brother. He believes his brother's erratic behavior and June's father's disappearance are connected.
After Elliot risks his life for her, June begins to see the upside to keeping him around (not to mention she is starting to have romantic feelings towards him). It is not long before June and Elliot are dashing from motel to motel, trying to flee would-be captors.
We also learn that a killer known as the Orphan Killer has been killing people who were safe surrender orphans 20 to 30 years ago and subsequently adopted. June has a nagging suspicion these orphans were not just any safe surrenders but human clones as well, probably from the same project her father used to clone her. Why is the Orphan Killer after human clones? Will June be the next to die? Will she find her father safe?
I don't normally read speculative futuristic books, but I found this book an enjoyable read. The writing was well-paced, and I was fully engaged in the book. I have an M.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology and found the story line behind the science believable. I would really rate this book 4 1/2 stars if I could. There were some minor misspellings and grammatical errors that could easily be ignored, but the book would read better if they were fixed in order to keep the reading pace steady.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....more
Forty-two year old Lance is jobless and broke, and he finds himself moving in with his twin brother, Craig and Craig's family.
Told from alternating viForty-two year old Lance is jobless and broke, and he finds himself moving in with his twin brother, Craig and Craig's family.
Told from alternating viewpoints of all the family members, we quickly see that Craig's family is in crisis. Sixteen year old Amanda is pregnant and in a tailspin. Craig will not see things in Amanda's perspective and is shut-off from everyone.
This book was a decent read; I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could. I kept wishing for something more, some profound lesson or more of a change in Craig that doesn't just suddenly develop within the last five pages. I would have liked more exploration of Vance's and Craig's relationship and Craig's state of marriage in general. It is a book that has great promise but falls a little short....more
Dan Underlight finds himself suddenly jobless, pushed out of the hi-tech company he helped found. He fears this fall might break him; after all, he haDan Underlight finds himself suddenly jobless, pushed out of the hi-tech company he helped found. He fears this fall might break him; after all, he has endured so much - a divorce and the death of his 10 year old son.
I found this book to be a fascinating read; not only what was going on in Dan's life but about life lessons in general and thoughts about big, hi-tech companies. The symbolism of the pyramid is one of my favorite things about this book. I loved it because Dan learned many life-changing lessons and yet the book wasn't high-brow and unreachable to readers who have little knowledge of how hi-tech startup companies work.
Charlotte swears she will not end up like the other women in her family - pregnant and the father nowhere in sight - before going to college. She workCharlotte swears she will not end up like the other women in her family - pregnant and the father nowhere in sight - before going to college. She works hard, gets good grades, keeps a job and an internship and is on track to get accepted to Stanford. She doesn't date and won't let herself be distracted that way...
....Until along comes Tate Collins. Not only has he fallen in for Charlotte, he is a mega-pop superstar. Charlotte finds herself drawn to him and eventually begins dating him.
This book is a yawner. Totally predictable and completely cliche. Not only that, but Charlotte gladly takes Tate's crap and treating her like a jerk again and again and completely forgets about it. This is easily going to be one of the worst books I've read this year. Save your money....more
Lane Roanoke is sent from New York City to Kansas to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra in a sprawling house named Roanoke after her motherLane Roanoke is sent from New York City to Kansas to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra in a sprawling house named Roanoke after her mother's suicide. While living at Roanoke, Allegra points out a haunting picture of the "Roanoke girls", all of Lane's female relatives, each of which has run off or ended up dead except for Allegra.
Years later, Lane has taken off from Kansas to California, unable to stand the curse of being one of the tragic Roanoke girls. When Allegra goes missing, Lane is called back to Roanoke by her grandfather. Lane is desperate to find out what happened to her cousin and while back in Roanoke, begins reliving the summer she spent in Roanoke after her mother's death.
As the truth closes in, Lane eventually finds out what has become of Allegra and finds that while you may try, you can never truly outrun your past. The best you can do is live with it.
Most parts of this story were predictable to me as it became obvious early on what was going on with the Roanoke girls. However, parts of the story remained a mystery to me until revealed in the book, such as Allegra's fate. The writing, however, was poignant and capturing, and the story held my interest until the end. It is a very well written book and one that will stay with me over time.
I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review....more
Would you rent a house for a low sum if it came with hundreds of stipulations?
That is the question two women face in this psychological drama.
We are iWould you rent a house for a low sum if it came with hundreds of stipulations?
That is the question two women face in this psychological drama.
We are introduced to two women, Emma and Jane. Both women rent an extremely minimalist house from famed architect Edward Worthington in the wake of traumatic life events - a burgulary for Emma and a stillbirth for Jane. After answering a strangely long and baffling survey, the two women must first meet the architect in person before their rental applications are approved. Both women pass the approval process though it is clear many applicants do not.
The house is very minimal with an open floor plan, dangerous open stairs and lacks many basics such as doors. Where cabinets and cupboards are required, they are often hidden into the architecture. The house even lacks light switches and faucets; apps control features such as these. The rental agreement on the house comes with at least 200 rules, all designed to keep clutter at a minimum. Rules range from no children and pets to no bookshelves or dishes out in the open. The architect himself is clearly a perfectionist but charismatic.
Emma's story happens prior to Jane's, and we soon discover Emma has died in the house by falling down the stairs. The coroner rules the cause of death as open, but it is not clear whether Emma died by accident, by suicide, or by murder. Within a few weeks of living in the house, both Emma and Jane begin torrid affairs with the architect of the house, Edward Monkford. It is enough to cause Emma to break off her relationship with her current boyfriend, Simon and to be relieved of his departure. It is clear Monkford is perfectionistic and domineering, definitely an alpha male. Eerily, we see Emma's affair and Jane's affair with Monkford are strikingly similar. Jane learns she looks similar to Emma, and both women find they look similar to Monkford's deceased wife, Elizabeth. We also learn that Monkford buried his late wife and child under the house. Emma begins to question whether the wife and child died naturally. Meanwhile, Jane struggles to put together the pieces of Emma's life, slowly revealing that Emma's life was one long twisted lie.
In the end, the cause of Emma's death is revealed, and I was somewhat surprised by the conclusion though it was one scenario I had thought might be the case.
Overall, this was an engaging read with plenty of psychological drama. It is a well-written book and an enjoyable, suspenseful read.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
Shelby Richmond was driving the car the night of the accident that left her friend, Helene in a coma from which Helene is unlikely to ever recover. ShShelby Richmond was driving the car the night of the accident that left her friend, Helene in a coma from which Helene is unlikely to ever recover. Shelby feels survivor's guilt and takes it out on herself, including a suicide attmept, shaving her head, and holing up in her parents' basement for years. She puts her life on hold, including not going to college in the fall as she had planned.
Eventually, Shelby moves to New York City with her drug-dealer, Ben Mink. As Ben begins to pull his life together, Shelby pulls away, both from her romantic involvement with Ben and her life in general. She eventually takes a job at a pet store and makes friends with one of her co-workers, Maravelle. Against her wishes, Shelby is pulled into Maravelle's life and that of Maravelle's kids.
Along the way, Shelby begins to rescue dogs and even a cat from terrible living circumstances. She is haunted by periodic postcards she receives in the mail carrying simple but profound messages that have great meaning in her life every time she receives a new one.
Will Shelby ever begin to live up to her true potential and forgive herself for an accident on an icy road long ago?
This is a great read, one of the best books I read in 2016, carrying profound lessons and beautiful imagery.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....more
Spencer wakes in a psychiatric hospital to be told he broke into a house and assaulted hospital personnel. HisFascinating insight into mental illness
Spencer wakes in a psychiatric hospital to be told he broke into a house and assaulted hospital personnel. His doctor tells him he has schizophrenia, but Spencer doesn't believe he is ill and refuses to comply with treatment.
This book gives a fascinating insight into the overall good of coerced treatment and commonly held viewpoints in the mental health community. Some doctors see medication as the holy grail of psychiatry when indeed it is not.
There was nothing spectacular about this book. There were a few typos, but they didn't distract from the reading. Mostly, I found this a rA solid read
There was nothing spectacular about this book. There were a few typos, but they didn't distract from the reading. Mostly, I found this a rote story, no surprises, nothing noteworthy or stand out. Nothing was wrong with the writing but this book followed a predictable script with zero surprises. I had expected more from the high reviews. I'm left feeling underwhelmed.