Tuesday, August 28, 2018

September

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
First, the cover of this book blows; it looks like the potboilers my mother used to buy at the local grocery store...blech. However, inside this horrendous cover, is a shockingly awesome book that I could not put down. Each chapters chronicles Evelyn's life as it unfolds during her marital years to a particular husband - yes, it sounds like a bad made-for-tv movie. But what saves this book is Evelyn herself, an incredibly complex, refreshingly honest, and provocatively intelligent woman. She uses her wiles and her talents to break into the Hollywood of the 1950's, making both friends and enemies along the way, and hiding a forbidden love. This book is a page-turner, and while it may look like 'brain candy' on the outside, the inside is rich and satisfying.

Little Comfort (Hester Thursby Mystery #1)by Edwin Hill
Looking for that next great mystery series? I found it for you:) Coming from one of the smaller publishers, be sure to search your indie bookstore and ask to have it on shelves as this story is worth every penny. Debut author Edwin Hill has created a spectacular main character: Hester Thursby, librarian and private investigator on the side, a fireball of a 4'9" woman, lives with a man she refuses to marry, foster mom to her best friend's daughter. The mystery begins with a search for two young men who disappeared a decade ago. Ultimately, the story involves identity theft, sex trafficking, high society, codependent friendships, military PTSD, and murder, all while little Hester Thursby sticks her nose into everybody's business. The characters are incredibly well-drawn, with both admirable and frustrating traits, as well as some seriously baaaaad people who need their comeuppance. And let's face it, I'm a sucker for beautiful syntax and this man can write! I absolutely loved this book, could not put it down, and cannot wait for the second installment.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
I had hopes that this book would be reminiscent of Orphan Train, a rich historical tale of the Great Depression. The story begins with a down-on-his-luck reporter, taking a photo of two boys holding a sign that shows them to be "For Sale" in 1932 Philadelphia. As the tale unwinds, this photo causes lots of problems for both the reporter and the office assistant who involves herself in the newspaper publishing of the story. I found the main characters to be quite thin, the minor characters to be tedious, and the plot to be without much-needed tension as well as a tad saccharine. I am sure there are many readers who love this type of book; it just is not me. Thanks to Net Galley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
This is a creative story of life, love, and second chances. At first, I was not sure this was a book for me; admittedly, I tend towards the dark, dramatic, historical, tragic tales, but the premise of this novel is intriguing. Based on a classic conversation in every classroom I've ever led, the question begins with "Who would you invite to dinner, dead or alive, fiction or non-fiction, if you could?" This was always the start of some fascinating English lit class discussions. In Rebecca Serle's book, she tips it a bit towards family and friends, and away from famous and historical. At first, the literary snob in me was put off - where was Shakespeare, Homer, or yes, even Harry Potter? Why do I want to read about a dinner with Sabrina's old college professor, ex-boyfriend, best friend, dead father, and the obligatory famous person, Audrey Hepburn? Ah, the answer is because Serle makes me care. This story wraps itself insidiously around your heart as once again I was reminded that life is not fame and fortune, but the small moments...like when you meet the love of your life, the first apartment with your best friend, a night with a new baby, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed this short, sweet little story.

Lies by T.M. Logan
This new thriller by debut British writer is fine, but nothing memorable for me. When driving his young son home one night, Joe, a public school teacher who lacks ambition and passion, hears his son say that he's seen Mum's car, forcing Joe into a hotel parking garage where the trouble begins as he confronts a husband of a friend. When said husband then pulls a runner and cannot be found, Joe finds himself the main suspect. It is a page-turner, I will give it that. The problem for me was that Joe is just so stupid; he chases every wrong clue, won't listen to legal advice, and has unaltered trust in people whom he shouldn't. Yet, at least this time around it is the guy being dumb and not the stereotypical woman so that's a plus! Regardless, I would say it's a good vacation read, but a bit forgettable for me. Thanks to Net Galley for a free book in exchange for an honest review.


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