The Goddesses by Swan Huntley – Book Review

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Nancy Murphy has been having a difficult time of it.  Her husband has been unfaithful recently, the family has moved to Hawaii for her husband’s job, and their twin teenagers are acting out by setting fires.  They are hoping the move will reinvent the marriage, and stop the boys from becoming fire-bugs.  In other words, there is a lot riding on this move.

Since her husband’s infidelity, Nancy has been having a crisis.  She’s been a stay-at-home mother since the birth of the twins, and is having a hard time deciding who she is.  Her husband’s affair has left her vulnerable, and Ana, a yoga instructor Nancy meets is more than happy to exploit this vulnerability.

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What follows is a wild ride for a boring, stay-at-home mother in the middle of a crisis.  I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t.  I loved how true the writing was for a woman in crisis, and a marriage on the way down the tubes.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Huntley!

Huntley

 

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Book Review

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When relatively unknown reporter, Monique Grant is contacted by legendary actress Evelyn Hugo to write her autobiography, Monique cannot believe her luck.  However, she soon realizes that there will be a price to be paid for the riches and fame that will follow.

Evelyn reveals all, telling the truth for the first time in her life.  As all is slowly revealed, Monique’s estimation of Evelyn keeps rising, until the final curtain is drawn back.  While I won’t reveal all, I can say that the story of Evelyn’s rise to the top of the acting game is an exciting story with more twists and turns then any movie.

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The story is engaging and the characters are life-like and interesting.  I love how both Evelyn and Monique were portrayed as real people with real characteristics.  This novel is hardly black and white, instead it resides with real life, where gray is the presiding color – no one is only good or bad, we’re all a combination of the two.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Reid!

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Taylor Jenkins Reid

Little Sister by Barbara Gowdy – Book Review

Little Sister

I found this novel to be extremely interesting, since I’ve long had a fascination with lightning.  When thunderstorms hit, Rose Bowen finds herself inside another woman’s body, experiencing her life and living her emotions.  Is this only a migraine, as Rose’s boyfriend, the tediously boring Victor asserts, or is something else happening?

Rose’s life is the same, day-after-day, taking care of her mother who suffers from dementia, running the family classic movie theater, and sleeping with Victor on the same nights week after week.  Having a peek at another, more exciting life becomes an obsession for Rose.  She seeks our thunderstorms with the hopes of experiencing someone else’s life.

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When Rose realizes that this is a real woman, whose life she is experiencing, she begins to track her down, for what reason, Rose is not entirely sure.  I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, so I’ll just leave it here.  However, I will say that this experience gives Rose the jolt (pun intended) that she has needed for a long time.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Gowdy!

Barbara Gowdy

Barbara Gowdy

 

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton – Book Review

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If you are a fan of pirate tales, this is the novel for you.  There is the swashbuckling “hero”, Captain Charles Hunter, well on his way to being arrested for “pirating”, when in fact he is a “privateer” (simply a legal term for pirate).  Hunter is everything you would hope for in a pirate – he smells bad, he is a cad and a liar in the first degree.  He is also loyal to his crew, an intelligent man, and one bent on obtaining his goals – treasure hunting and stealing being the preeminent goal of a pirate, after all.  Just a note, this novel was published posthumously.

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I loved this story.  It had everything you could want in a straight-up pirate book.  A Captain on the search for revenge, treasure and having his name go down in history.  The novel moves along quickly, is a fast read, and is full of all the usual suspects.

I highly recommend this novel, as it is great fun.  Well done, Crichton!

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Michael Crichton

 

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff – Book Review

The Orphan's Tale by Pan Jenoff

This novel is wonderful.  It tells a story of World War II through the lives of Noa, a runaway who steals a baby from a boxcar full of Jewish babies left out in the elements, and Astrid, a circus aerialist.  It seems that everyone in the circus has secrets and more than one reason to be hiding in plain sight.

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I loved the story-telling in this book.  There were the efforts of Noa to become an aerialist in order to stay with the circus; the story of Astrid herself and her own closely-held secrets; the story of a circus trying to stay together during an increasingly stricter Nazi rule; and of course, World War II itself.

I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Jenoff!

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Pam Jenoff

 

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen – Book Review

The Land of Decoration

Ten-year-old Judith McPherson fills her free time creating a world in her room.  She takes left-overs from her late mother’s life, rubbish and recycling that she finds in the school-yard and sidewalks to create a miniature town that represents what she hopes her town will be like after Armageddon.

Judith is a lonely child, who is being raised by a father who seems to believe that the only socializing she needs is church and bible reading.  No wonder Judith begins to believe that she truly does have a personal connection to God.

In the interest of leaving the rest of the novel for you to discover on your own I won’t go into more details.  However, this is one novel that has stayed with me and has had me thinking about it since I read it.  I highly recommend this as it brings up quite a few questions concerning religion, school behavior and parenting.  Well done, McCleen!

The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick – Book Review

The Promise Girls

This is a novel of secrets upon secrets.  Meg, Joanie and Avery were test tube babies raised by their homeschooling mother to be prodigies in the arts.  However, things didn’t quite turn out as planned.  After a fateful interview on live t.v., their mother Minerva loses custody of all three of them and life changes dramatically.  Meg, the oldest sister does her best to protect and “mother” her younger sisters.

I love the way this story is told.  The relationships between the three sisters is both filled with love, misunderstandings and secrets.  Their lack of any relationship with Minerva also takes it’s toll on their lives.

This novel is both interesting and filled with believable characters.  Minerva reminded me of all those news articles about “helicopter” and “pushy” parents (usually mothers), insistent on raising extremely talented children who are expected to become successful, as a reflection on themselves.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Bostwick!

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Marie Bostwick