Tag Archives: usa

Passing Strange, by Emily Klages

19 Apr
passing strange ellen klages

Four of Five Stars

This book was not my favorite, but there were several things I really enjoyed and I think others might like it even more than I did.

THE PLUSES: Let’s be honest – THAT COVER. I rarely actually purchase books, but I saw this cover and had to get it. Even before I got to reading it I had pulled the book out several times just to look at its cover. Who wouldn’t want this framed in their own home? When I finally started the book – Surprise! – it turns out the picture is actually a chalk drawing that plays an important role in the book.
The characters. There is a group of women who are friends who help each other out in any way needed. Each of them were very interesting and I could have read a book about any specific character’s life.
The End. I was only going to give 3 stars (which, to be fair, is “I like it”) until the end. And the end had just enough excitement and drama and love to pull my little heartstrings and add another star.

THE MINUSES: All the characters. These women were so interesting, but the book rarely focuses on any one character long enough to get to know them, and there was confusion on my part as to who the story was about. I wouldn’t mind more books about these characters with maybe a more concentrated focus on one character. I mean, Helen??? That woman led a fascinating life and we only saw a bit of it!
The Magic. This is a fairly realistic story about lesbian life in San Francisco 80 years or so ago. That should have been enough of a story. But then suddenly magic is thrown in, in sort of a major way, and then it’s just dropped. Like “Oh here’s a serious story, here we go, oh and by the way this woman can do major magic but ANYWAY….”
The End. And then of course magic comes along and saves the day…

Now some readers may love that there is magic involved, and if it had figured more into the story as a whole perhaps I would have bought into it as well. But it seemed just sort of tossed in the middle of the story as an unimportant detail, only to be dragged out at the end to save the day. That is what bothered me.

But all in all, should you read it? I say Yes. They are fascinating characters and I hope I can eventually read more about them, and if anything, you need this cover in your life.

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The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda

24 Feb
the-perfect-stranger-miranda-megan

FIVE stars of Five

Five stars all around.
This book had me completely on edge the entire ride.

The narrator is borderline unreliable; you are never quite sure if she’s telling us the truth, lying to herself, or outright crazy. She does have some boundary issues, some of which I related to, but the reader can’t be sure if they cross a line or exactly which line they cross. Megan Miranda does an excellent job of throwing in clues here and there to keep us off kilter.

But reliable or not (I’m not spoiling the answer!), the narrator is a very intelligent woman. I loved her. To the outside world she may have had some issues, and she’s disappointed herself, but that does nothing to take away the very quick way her mind works.

I’ve seen some reviews state that the narrative isn’t perfect, and while that may technically be true, Miranda accomplishes so much more than your average author does in a mystery book like this. This story is intricate, in the very best way, and I felt Miranda did a genius job putting it all together, just as she did in her previous book All the Missing Girls.

I don’t believe it’s a spoiler to state that nothing much is what it seems here, and that Miranda really shows how any narrator can be unreliable because you are seeing the story solely through their interpretation of events. But what if a reliable narrator tells you a story based on misinterpreted events?

All the Missing Girls was incredible and made me a huge fan of Megan Miranda, now The Perfect Stranger has sealed that deal. I cannot wait for her next book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me an advance copy for review.

Evelyn, After, by Victoria Helen Stone

16 Oct
evelyn-after-victory-stone

Five of Five stars

This book is so many things, and I loved them all.

It’s about a woman struggling to come to terms with her husband’s betrayal.

Or it’s about a woman’s descent into madness as she tries to make sense of a no-win situation.

Or it’s Fatal Attraction told from Alex Forrest’s point of view.

It’s a horrific tragedy as a woman loses everything after making endless mistakes in an attempt to fix things.

But no, it’s a story of a woman picking up the pieces of her life and Winning. The last pages of the book turned the whole thing around from a deliciously terrible story about a sort of awful woman, into, honestly, a kind of inspiring story.  I think it’s easy to blame Evelyn for all the terrible choices she makes – and yes, she makes some really awful ones – but let’s not forget what started her on this path, WHO started her on this path. Absolutely none of this would have happened if not for the one truly terrible character in this story. Each character in this story makes their own choices and they all pay for them, Evelyn included. But the really unexpected (to me) situation at the end brings a lot of hope and comfort and… well, hope. Unexpected positivity.

This story could only have been told this well by a female author.  We all have a bit of Evelyn in us. You can disagree with everything Evelyn does in this book, but don’t judge this woman until you’ve walked a mile in her shoes. There truly is a little Evelyn in us all.

Ink and Bone, by Lisa Unger

23 Jul
ink and bone lisa unger

3 of 5 stars

This book just isn’t for me, although I in no way think it is a bad book. I enjoyed the beginning, but it’s been tedious for me for so long that I just can’t bring myself to keep trying to get through it.

The writing is great, and so are the characters. If you are into paranormal stories and mysteries, this is likely the book for you. The Hollows is a very mysterious place and a great setting for this series.

But for me it started to get really old and tiring when I realized it wasn’t just about one woman with these super powers. It wasn’t about two women with these powers. I think around now it’s about at least a dozen people with different powers, and so this is when I started losing patience. Keep in mind I am used to more “realistic” mysteries and thrillers, I am absolutely not against this particular genre, it just doesn’t grab me. As we are informed that this OTHER character is ALSO possessed with powers, I started to wonder how in the hell can no one in this town find any of these missing children?? You have a ton of missing kids and adults, a whole town of people with powers including SEVERAL who converse with the dead, but no one has been able to solve this mystery?

So I’m out with this one. I don’t want to discourage anyone else from picking it up though, because if you like this genre I genuinely think this is probably a good book and it will draw you in to reading all the other stories in the series, I am SURE of that. For me though, it’s time to move on.

Many thanks to NetGalley who provided me a copy in exchange for a review.