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Lauren has been reading since she was born
I didn't always like this book. There were times I would get so frustrated with the main character—her whining, selfishness or inability to realize the consequences of her actions—but I never stopped reading. That's due to Maciel's ability to craft a character who, while infuriating and deeply flawed, is also nuanced, relatable and ultimately redeemable. Tease is a fascinating look at the other side of bullying, that of the tormenters themselves, and it unflinchingly portrays all that involves. I would recommend this to teachers, parents, and teens.
I don't normally enjoy books that could be described as "heartwarming" or "moving," but I'm a sucker for books about bookstores, so I loved The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry! It was everything I would usually despise—a feel-good story, with an abandoned baby, wayward romances, and a redemptive ending—yet I enjoyed every page! Gabrielle Zevin is a skilled author and she writes from the heart (she cleary knows her way around a bookstore.) This is the kind of book you could safely gift to any bibliophile—or just to yourself.
Joseph O'Loughlin, the psychologist at the heart of Robotham's absorbing mysteries, is the perfect character to carry a series. He's smart, observant, nuanced, and puts me in mind of Sherlock Holmes. I love reading about the way he gets into people's heads, the conclusions he draws from watching them, and the personal and health issues he struggles with. Watching You, the latest in the series is just as dark and full of twists and turns as all the previous! I'd recommend him to fans of Sophie Hannah and Mo Hayder.
As an avid reader and bookseller, I love books about the publishing industry, and I also love thrillers—Panove's newest combines both! The Accident follows an explosive manuscript on its journey through the publishing houses and the body count it leaves in its wake. Pavone is excellent at creating fully-realized characters, people who are compelling no matter how short a glimpse in their life we get. I was invested in every story and I raced to the conclusion! Fans of Gillian Flynn and Dennis Lehane will love The Accident!
I recognize well-written noir when each sentence feels like a story unto itself; strung together those sentences form a book that feels somehow "more" than any other out there. The Black-Eyed Blonde is such a book—Black manages to mimic the style of one of the best-known authors of the 20th-century, Raymond Chandler while still keeping a distinct voice. And Chandler fans will be happy to see Phillip Marlowe back roaming the mean streets of L.A. There is a sultry femme fatale, a sinister philanthropist, and plenty of punches thrown, pistols whipped, and suits ruined. The Black-Eyed Blonde is a tall drink of whisky, and I enjoyed every drop!
Maybe it is because I'm nosy and I love peeking into peoples' lives, or perhaps because I have a wicked sense of schadenfreude, but most likely it's because Alice LaPlante is a ridiculously talented author that I really enjoyed A Circle of Wives! Alternating between three very different women who were all married to the same man and the detective investigating his death, LaPlante's newest book is just as engrossing as her last--she's a writer to watch out for!
I am a huge fan of the new Ordinary People Change the World series! It's a great way to introduce kids to American heroes and it helps them see these historical figures in a new way: as kids, just like them. Plus the illustrations are fun and remind me of Calvin and Hobbes. What a fun way to study history!
When Susann Cokal was writing The Kingdom of Little Wounds and was asked about her work, she said she was writing, "a fairy tale about syphilis." It goes without saying that I love this book beyond reason! It's a dark, bloody story that is part lush fantasy, part gritty history. Each chapter is told by a revolving cast of characters, from a disgraced seamstress, to a slave who was presented to the court naked and coated in sugar, and the Queen who is slowly losing her grip on reality, to the King, who is plagued by illness and in love with the wrong person, along with so many more. Even though magic abounds, I felt immersed in what daily life could have been like in the Middle Ages—I was absolutely transported! I can't wait to see more from this talented author and I'd recommend this book to readers of Grimm's Fairy Tales and fans of Robin LaFevers!
You know that movie The Internship? The Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson film where they share a Google internship and bro-mance? Yeah, this is nothing like that. Shane Kuhn's debut is about an HR company that places interns with a specialty—assassinations—because who is more anonymous than an intern? The narrator, John Lago, has been "interning" since he was 17 and now he's written this handbook for new employees, offering advice and details about his murderous exploits. It is a crazy, violent, romantic (really!) story that I could not put down. Interns: they make you coffee, they wear dull khakis and they might just be planning to kill you.
Kirstie Clements' memoir reads like a particularly gossip-y issue of Vogue, full of glossy, expensive people and dishy anecdotes. I've been a devoted reader of the famous magazine since I was a little girl (I pronounced it "Vahg" because it sounded more sophisticated,) and although much is known about the American version and Anna Wintour's exploits, the Australian counterpoint is less famous. Clements tells it all, from her rise up the ladder, to designer snafus and model hissy fits. I could not put this down!
I've been addicted to Marissa Meyer's dystopian fairy tales since I first laid eyes on Cinder (in some cases you really can judge a book by the cover!) Now with Cress, Meyer continues Cinder's and Scarlet's stories and adds another—her fractured version of Rapunzel. Cress is an expert hacker and has been trapped in a satellite orbiting Earth and her native Lunar since she was a little girl. Now she is a teenager and ready to break free by whatever means necessary. She is the Damsel in Distress, now where is her Prince Charming? I couldn't put this down and, even though it is a hefty 500-odd pages, I wanted it to just keep going! Winter can't come fast enough!
Love Me, indeed! Shukert's newest starts where Starstruck left off, following three young women caught up in the movie industry in the late 1930s. The second (and hopefully not last!) book in this addictive series showcases not only the glitter and glamour of the golden age of Hollywood, but the sordid underbelly as well. No one did excess as stylishly as the movie stars of yore, and Shukert lovingly describes each indulgence down to the last gold spangle and designer bugle bead. But it is not all fun and games—each of the girls finds herself trapped in the studio system and powerless against the powerful people in charge. Love Me is not just a book for teens, it is a lush, dramatic novel for anyone who loves Tinseltown!
Before We Met will get many comparisons to Gone Girl, and rightly so! Whitehouse's newest grapples with many of the same issues as Gillian Flynn's fantastic book, mainly the idea that we can never fully know another person, never completely know their motivations and thoughts. I was instantly engrossed in this tale of marital discord and raced through to the finish!
McMahon specializes in books that not only explore the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships but are insidiously creepy, crawling into your head and staying there. The Winter People is such a book and I couldn't put it down until I'd finished every last gory page! It alternates between the present and the past. In the present, a girl is searching for her mother who is normally overprotective, but has disappeared, and a another woman is searching for clues regarding her husband's mysterious death. In the past, one mother's grief has a violent impact that spans generations. I could go on and on, but I'll leave you with this: at one point, someone gets skinned. What a gruesome, haunting read!
I have started writing this review so many times and I always stop partway through—none of my efforts are worthy of this amazing book! I just can't seem to adequately express how much I love the Pure trilogy and its last installment. So I'll just say this: if you liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, you will like this more. Baggott is a brilliant writer and a master storyteller, who paces each book exquisitely, feeding the reader just enough information to keep them hooked and avoiding the "info dump" so many dystopian authors fall prey to when explaining the setting. She creates a fully realized world that is broken, but not beyond repair, and her characters are strong, relatable and flawed. The series end is wistful, hopeful, real, and kept me thinking long after I had closed the book. I just wish I could give it the perfect review it deserves!
James Whitfield Thomson is extraordinarily accomplished, especially for a debut author. Lies You Wanted to Hear is instantly engrossing and kept me on my toes, gradually but surely shifting my perceptions and loyalties. It's a simple story on the surface but ends up as so much more—I look forward to whatever Thomson writes next!
I loved this book so, so much! It has everything I like in a historical fiction novel: strong women, celebrity cameos and scandalous details—plus I have a weird obsession with old-time-y brothels ever since I read Gone with the Wind. I would recommend this to anyone who's looking for a dishy read you can feel virtuous about ("it's HISTORICAL!")
On the surface, the stories in The Isle of Youth are unremarkable. There are no gimmicks, no odd settings or supernatural elements, but every story stands alone, to be examined, and marveled over. I thought about each one long after I finished the collection and I credit van den Berg's exquisite writing. All of her characters have such a distinct voice and I felt as though I was inhabiting their world for just a little while. I would compare her to Alice Munro, both in talent and the potential for readers to get lost in her stories.
I was born in 1988 so I missed Bobbie Brown's heyday, but thank God she recreated it for me in this gloriously scandalous book! She pulls no punches chronicling her (often sexual) run-ins with everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Bret Michaels, Rod Stewart, Kevin Costner (she set his bedroom on fire), to her difficult relationships with Jani Lane and Tommy Lee—and her struggles with substance abuse. She's come out on top and I applaud her for it. This is one guilty pleasure I feel nothing but good about!
Trust me when I tell you that this is the best book you're not reading right now. Despite winning the 2013 Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger Award and being selected as the Number one Publishers Weekly Fall 2013 Top Ten Mysteries, "Alex" has been flying under the radar. An import from France, Lemaitre's fantastic mystery had me thinking one thing in the beginning, another in the middle and something completely different by the end! I was completely absorbed by the skilled writing, the hairpin turns and the depth of the characters. Fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo should check out this new talent—I was completely blown away!
I absolutely, no-holds-barred, LOVE this series by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han. It is a dishy, snarky and relatable story about revenge and all its glorious consequences, and it is absolutely addictive! Fire With Fire ends with a shocking twist that made me gasp aloud, and now I long for the final book in the trilogy. Teens and adults both should pick this up! Revenge can be sweet...
This is one of those books that I inexplicably COULD NOT PUT DOWN. I can't say exactly what gets me so hooked: the view into the inner workings of the main characters' minds and lives maybe? The scandalous, underage-love-triangle of the plot? The way the chapters alternate between viewpoints? I can't put my finger on it, but I had to read The Whole Golden World until the very end –no interruptions. I highly recommend it!
Norton's debut thriller, featuring a girl who endured unimaginable torture at the hands of her kidnapper, definitely takes the reader to the edge! Upon starting the book, I only managed to tear myself away to make sure all my doors and windows were locked and secured. Other than that, I hid in my bed reading to the very end! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good psychological thriller, and I hope to see more fiction from this author!
Aided by the old-fashioned guide her mother-in-law gave her, Marta has always striven to be the perfect wife. But lately she's begun to feel different, off-kilter, as though something has subtly shifted. She's seeing things that aren't there and remembering things that never happened...or did they? I loved this book: from the first page, I felt engrossed and deeply moved by Marta's story. Chapman perfectly conveys Marta's state of mind, leaving the reader feeling as unbalanced as she does. An undercurrent of fear and dread runs throughout the book, becoming more and more palpable as it nears the end. I didn't know what to expect, even to the very last page, making this the perfect psychological thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah!