book review · books · Family · secrets · World War 2

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman {Review}

Blurb:

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

Review:

The main setting of this story is at the Springfield Armory during WW2. This was a place that I had never heard of before and after reading this story I definitely want to learn more about it. I am thankful that the author chose this for her setting. Definitely something different for a WW2 novel.

Having read and enjoyed Loigman’s debut novel, The Two-Family House, I was very happy to see that she was about to publish her second novel AND it was a historical fiction!

This story mainly follows two sisters, Ruth and Millie. They are complete opposites of each other in all aspects of the word. As they grow up, their relationship becomes almost non existent. After the death of their parents, and Millie’s husband comes up missing, Ruth invites Millie to live with her and her family at the Springfield Armory. From there we are then introduced to Lillian and Arietta who both have experienced life changing events.

The experiences that each of the four women have dealt with bring them together in some form or fashion. But what is a good story without there being some type of secret? Omitting the truth about something is just as detrimental as telling a lie. This is observed in this story.

Loigman uses WW2 as a perfect backdrop for this story. Although these women aren’t fitting battles directly on the line, their every day lives during the war are constant battles. They are fighting their own pasts, secrets, and even some of the very people they love.

Rating:

4 Stars

Availability:

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook

I am so thankful to St. Martins press for sending me an advanced copy of this book to read and review. I look forward to seeing what else Lynda Cohen Loigman is going to write.

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book review · reading

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib {ARC Review}

Blurb:

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list.  Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.  Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears-imperfection, failure, loneliness-she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Julia, always hungry. Together they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Review:

This book was everything I was told it was going to be. I started reading it on Saturday and finished it Sunday. I was so engrossed in the story. The way the story is structured, with vignettes of her life building up to her admittance to the house is just remarkable.  Yara Zgheib tells this story in such a beautiful fashion that connects you with the characters, especially Anna. You get an inside look at someone suffering from a disease but doesn’t fully understand the impact that it is causing on her life. Not only do you see how life can be with someone who has a support system, you also see from some of the other girls how life can be without a support system.  The denial, the pain, the suffering, and the victories(yes, there are some joyous moments). The way this story is written would make you think that it is actually a memoir instead of a fictional story.

If you are looking for a read that is going to pull at every emotion while also making you think, this is the story for you. I am a big fan of realistic fiction. I love reading a story that hits close to home and reality. Mental illness and eating disorders are not subjects that are easily discussed and are often times overlooked.

This is a phenomenal debut novel and I look forward to reading what Yara writes next.

This story does come with trigger warnings so if eating disorders and depression are subjects that you are sensitive about I would strongly suggest taking that into consideration before reading this story.

Rating:

4.5 Stars

Availability:

February 5, 2019

*I received this advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

book review · psychological thriller · secrets · suspense

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen {ARC Review}

Blurb:

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. Bus as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told  what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking….and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no long trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Review:

When I learned that these ladies had teamed up, I had to jump on the wagon of trying to get an advanced copy to review. I really enjoyed their first novel, The Wife Between Us and was anxious to find out what else they have up their sleeves.

An Anonymous Girl also drew my attention because it has a storyline that I have not really seen before in a thriller. I am not usually one who enjoys a thriller with an unreliable narrator but this story was different for me. Not only is there one unreliable narrator, there are two! I found that to be so fascinating. Both viewpoints of the story kept me guessing. Each time I thought I had something figured out, one of the narrations would throw me for a loop. I thoroughly enjoy a thriller that can keep me guessing and I enjoy when there is a storyline that I haven’t seen before. This story gave me a Fatal Attraction and Single White Female vibe.

The only complaint that I have with this story is that there wasn’t as big of a twist in this book as there was in The Wife Between Us but that doesn’t take away from everything else that this story has to offer. Once you start reading it, you will want to keep reading because you are going to want to know what is about to happen next and if it is going to line up with what you have in mind.

This story will also have you questioning your own moral compass. How far are you willing to go? What lies are you willing to tell and what secrets are you willing to live with?

This is going to be a good thriller to kick off the thrillers that are going to be published in 2019.

Rating:

4 Stars

Availability:

Available January 8, 2019 in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.

Thank you St. Martins Press for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

book review · books · crime · Family · psychological thriller · secrets · suspense

Lies by T.M Morgan {ARC Review}

Goodreads Blurb:

What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child—then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? Now you are in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything you treasure.

It’s the evening drive home from work on a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But today, Joe sees his wife meet another man—an encounter that will rip two families apart. Raising the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us?

Joe will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the deception unravels, so does his life. A life played out without any rules. And a cunning opponent who’s always one step ahead.

Review:

I am always happy to receive a debut novel as an advanced reading copy so that I can see what a new author has in store. I like to be “in the know” before everyone else so that I can tell them what they should they be looking forward to.

In this story, we have Joe who is the perfect doting husband who does his more than equal share when it comes to home life and raising a child. Not something you see every day in a thriller. Joe is taken by surprise when he finds his wife in a tense meeting with her best friend’s husband at a hotel. Of course, you can’t blame him for confronting Ben after witnessing what happened. Although, you want to strangle him because he should have gone to his wife first. After a brief altercation with Ben, Joe is drawn into a world that he is not prepared for and must do whatever it takes to remain safe and out of jail.
I didn’t pick up this novel right away because I thought it would just be another run of the mill thriller. I decided to read it because it is told from a non-arrogant male point of view. Despite his size, Joe is seen as a gentle giant. He tries not to the worst of those around him, even those he begins to despise. His foolish trusting behavior is no match for what he must endure to prove his innocence. He is soon thrown into a world he has very little knowledge of.

Joe is taken advantage of by everyone around him, including his wife and his job. He doesn’t have anyone in his corner while he fights for his life, literally.

Joe must learn quickly that he must look out for himself. And his son.

This book was a little over 400 pages and even though I didn’t go into it with high hopes, I was not expecting the twist of the story. I almost didn’t have time to process what was going on since I was trying to figure out what exactly was happening. The twist comes so close to the ending that you almost have a difficult time to process what has just happened. I will admit that there was a good twist to the story even if it wasn’t completely surprising to me.

I personally wouldn’t classify this as a thriller because for myself, it wasn’t exactly a “thrilling” read. I would classify it as more suspenseful or mysterious than anything else. I do appreciate the change of pace in the characteristic of the main male character. Not everyday do we get to see the average man have to fight for his life and his child, and maybe his marriage.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

3 Stars

Availability:

Available on September 11, 2018 in hardcover, eBook and audiobook.

book review · Family · psychological thriller

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones {ARC Review}

Goodreads blurb:

Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet.

But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.

My Review:

This story is told from Emily’s point of view. She is a successful recruiter who meets Adam and they begin a whirlwind romance. He is the picture of perfection for her and she is completely smitten. A few weeks into their new relationship, Adam sets up a tea so that he can introduce her to Pammie *insert smirk*.

At first, when I received this book, I immediately formed my own speculation about who Pammie was. I was thinking crazy ex who cant let go. Boy was I wrong. Pammie is Adam’s mother and let’s just say she is definitely not the mom I would want to meet.

Pammie’s behavior toward Emily was so absurd that I was almost convinced that she and Adam had something of a Norman Bates relationship. She is so manipulative and conniving. Man, could this woman put on a show though. She was so good that she had Emily and myself second guessing things.

Of course, Emily has to fight this battle of Pammie on her own besides confiding in her close friends and her family. Adam is of no help because dear sweet, sweet mom can do no wrong. Emily just can’t see what a wonderful person she is and that is just a lonely woman who loves her son. Basically a bunch of mommy’s boy bull!

The closer I got to the end of the story the more I thought I had it all figured out. I just KNEW what was going to happen. I had all my clues lined up in my mind and then, BAM! Sandie threw in a twist. She not only threw in a twist but she twisted the ending completely out and that is something that is very important when reading a suspense novel.

My only  complaint is that I felt the ending of the story was a bit too rushed but not enough to take away from the novel as a whole. I am looking forward to seeing what else Sandie Jones has to offer.

I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good domestic, psychological suspense thriller and needs a quick read.

I received this book from Minotaur Books (a St. Martin’s press imprint) in exchange for an honest review.

I also reviewed this book on the 3 Book Girls podcast and I promise I didn’t give away any spoilers.

Rating:

3.5 Stars

Availability:

Available August 21, 2018 in hardcover, ebook and audiobook.

 

book review · books · crime · psychological thriller · suspense

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay {Review}

Well, finally I am back in the blogging seat. It has been long enough. Thank you for sticking with me. Today’s book was a surprise ARC in the mail from the publisher. I love getting those. I am much better at keeping up with them than the ebook ARCs, lol. I hope that you find my review informative. Have an awesome weekend!!!!

Goodreads Blurb:

They say you never forget your first love. What they don’t say though, is that sometimes your first love won’t forget you…

A police interview room is the last place Angela expected to find herself today. It’s been hours, and they keep asking her the same inane questions over and over. “How do you know the victim?” “What’s your relationship with Mr. Parker?” Her ex’s wife has gone missing, and anyone who was close to the couple is a suspect. Angela is tired of the bottomless questions and tired of the cold room that stays the same while a rotating litany of interrogators changes shifts around her. But when criminologist Novak takes over, she can tell he’s not like the others. He’s ready to listen, and she knows he’ll understand. When she tells him that her story begins a decade before, long before Saskia was in the picture, he gives her the floor.

A twenty-something young professional, Angela claims to have no involvement. How could she? It’s been years since she and H.P., Mr. Parker that is, were together. As her story unfolds, it deepens and darkens. There’s a lot to unpack… betrayal, jealousy, and a group of people who all have motives for retribution. If Angela is telling the truth, then who’s lying?

My Review:

I will have to admit that I was skeptical about reading this book but figured I would give it a shot since it is not a long novel and it was kindly sent from the publisher.

We enter the story with Angela, a twenty something woman who has been taken into custody because the police believe she may have some information about the disappearance of Saskia, the wife of Angela’s first and only true love. Immediately I got a “this chick is crazy” vibe from the way she was handling the interview. She is more of a calm crazy which seems to be the worse kind. Angela advises the officer that the story is not really about Saskia but about what has happened to lead up to her disappearance. Angela is convinced that Saskia is just pulling a stunt to get attention, which at the end of the novel you will find that very ironic. Angela tells the detective all about her blossoming romance with HP, her first love and Saskia’s husband. The way she presents her story you could almost feel some sympathy for her and the heartbreak that she may have endured with HP. Angela’s mother, in my opinion, has to shoulder some of the blame when it comes to Angela’s behavior and naivety. Her mother was very mentally controlling. She reminded me of Joan Crawford but without the physical abuse. Angela spends the entire interview backtracking on her past with HP and her present time with his family. To me that whole present day set up with them was weird and I thought that HP and Saskia were asking for trouble by allowing Angela to be so involved in their lives. Angela is a very self centered person and in her mind only her feelings matter. She certainly took her mother’s manipulative gene. In the end, I did feel some empathy for the men who passed thru the life of Angela.

I am glad that this book was less than 300 pages. In my opinion the length was perfect with how the story developed. I believe that anything longer would have caused the story to lose what bit of effect it had on me. It is definitely a quick read if you want a suspense that you can just breeze thru. I have to say that when I first started reading this story I could not stand Angela at all. I thought that she talked too much and that the story was going to be drawn out. Luckily it wasn’t and once I was able to sit down and spend some time on it, I saw how quickly it developed even if the ending felt just a bit rushed. But that is something that happens from time to time with these types of stories.

Rating:

2.5 stars

Availability:

This book will be available in hardcover, ebook and audio on April 17, 2018

book review · books

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney {Review}

Goodreads Blurb:

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.

As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

My Review:

I have to be honest and say that I don’t exactly know why I chose this book  January 2017 for my Book of the Month subscription. After starting it, I didn’t know what drew me to it even after reading the synopsis which may explain why it remained on my shelf untouched for a year with no thought or desire to read it. But since I am participating in the Unread Shelf Project 2018 and I drew this title from my Book of the Month TBR can,  I figured I would put the energy into reading it. In this story, we follow Lillian and I mean literally follow her and she makes her journey thru New York City on New Year’s Eve 1984, by foot. During her walk, she recalls several events that have happened throughout her life. I won’t say that this was a terrible book because it wasn’t. Lillian is actually a hoot. My issue with the book is that she was so wordy. I can see why she needed to be that way since the story is told from the point of view of an elderly person, but good grief! I think this short novel is the LONGEST one I have read in a long time. For it to not have even broken the 300 page mark, it sure did feel like it was about 500 pages with the way that Lillian speaks. She turns a paragraph into a lengthy speech and there were some points I wanted to turn on the award’s show “wrap it up” music, lol. My favorite part of the novel is when she is describing a rap song that she hears while walking and it clearly is a song that she has heard before but she doesn’t know the title or artist but she does enjoy the music. I think I read that particular passage twice, lol. I will add picture of the passage to this review.

This is a novel that I would have a hard time recommending only because there isn’t anything in it that is a selling point for myself. I am interested in seeing what the author has to offer for her next novel. I do hope that it is not centered around a wordy old woman though.

Rating:

I have to give this novel 3.5 stars

Availability:

This book is available wherever books are sold.