Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen – Book Review

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This is one of the best thrillers that I’ve ever read.  The plot twists and turns were exciting, and definitely kept me on my toes.  The narrator, Jessica tells us the story while she’s imprisoned by Dominic, an extremely disturbed kidnapper.  However, Cohen also tells us of the lead detective who is having marital problems with her controlling husband, who is threatening to divorce her and take her children away.

This novel is full of surprises, and what you’ve been told, isn’t always the full truth.  I really enjoyed this book, however, I feel that telling you too much, will be giving away the twists and turns, so I won’t.  I do highly recommend this novel.  It’s an uncomfortable read, but engaging and a real page turner.  Well done, Cohen!

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Tammy Cohen

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters – Book Review

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This is a novel that young women in particular should read since it deals with women’s rights in an engaging way.  Seventeen-year-old Olivia is dreaming of going to college after high school.  However, since this is the 1920’s her father believes that women should keep their mouths shut, stay in the house and have children.  After attending a show featuring hypnosis where Olivia is hypnotized, her father has the idea to further hypnotize her so that she will be more “ladylike”, including not being able to verbalize her anger, instead she is forced to say “All is well.”  This in itself is a terrible act of violence since Olivia can no longer protect herself.  At the same time, the hypnotist, Henri Reverie, tells her to see people the way they really are, leading to an extreme change in her view of other people.

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The novel takes on the resistance to women’s suffrage, and the attitudes and behavior regarding this fight.  As usual, Winters takes on important issues and an unusual manner.  I loved this novel, and highly recommend it.  Well done, Winter!

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian – Book Review

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I have to start out by saying that I love Bohjalian.  I love the stories that he tells, and how he chooses to tell them.  This novel revolves around the disappearance of a mother, Annalee Ahlberg, who suffered from sleepwalking.  However, this was no ordinary sleepwalking, and is often referred to as a “sleep sexer”.  Annalee would rise out of bed in search of a lover.  Her husband stayed at home for four years until they were sure that her sleep issues were behind her.  But, she got up the night he was gone to a conference, and went on a jaunt, and ended up dead in the river.

This novel is narrated mostly by Annalee’s older daughter, Lianna, who is convinced that her mother did not actually die only due to the sleepwalking.  After learning about the sleep sex, Lianna becomes convinced that her mother was killed. Perhaps someone killed her after having sex, or someone killed her because she had sex with their husband.  Lianna is consumed with guilt, if only she’d done this or that, her mother would be alive.

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I really enjoyed this thriller.  It has all the dark overtones of a good old-fashioned murder mystery.  Was Lianna’s father really at a conference, who is this detective who knows more than he’s saying, what about the neighbors and their friends.  Who is lying to her, and who is telling the truth?  How about her younger sister Paige and her own burgeoning sleepwalking issues?

I highly recommend this novel.  Well done Bohjalian!

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The Spy by Paulo Coelho – Book Review

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This is a novel about the “spy” Mata Hari.  In case you don’t already know, she was executed in 1917 by the French for supposedly being a German spy, but there was actually little to no evidence against her.  Basically, she was a well-known exotic dancer who was a convenient person to send to trail for public consumption, since the French needed a “win” to mitigate their “losses”.

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Mata Hari

I enjoyed the novel, however I wanted to know more about the why of Mata Hari’s life than this novel gave us, although this was not the type of novel Coelho wrote.   Being Coelho, the novel was interesting and enjoyable.  I found the novel to be fascinating, and really liked the “stories” that were included.  In my opinion that’s where Coelho is at his best.   I also liked how he included in this novel how clueless the majority of people were at the time regarding what was really going on, and how they managed to delude themselves about the possibility of war at the time.

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Paulo Coelho

I highly recommend this novel.  Coelho is always a good read, and there are more than a few grains of food for thought.  Well done, Coelho!