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I read because I must. It's like breathing to me. And I love talking about books. But I'm also an Arsenal fan, a wine drinker, a music lover and weirdly obsessed with pop culture. I mostly blog about books, but sometimes about things I'm thinking or doing. When I'm not on the blog, I'm managing software implementations.

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Recent Posts

  • Novelista Girl
  • The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry
  • The Keye Street Mysteries
  • Fragile
  • Pretty Girls

Novelista Girl

Posted on 9 Jan 2016 In: Reading

12314540_1095265770491611_1199191014369046918_o Meredith Schorr’s Novelista Girl is out! Although it can be read standalone, Novelista Girl is the follow up to Blogger Girl.

From the Book Summary:
Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her life-long dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy.

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar.

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This is trademark Meredith Schorr.  If you haven’t read Blogger Girl, you’ll find you like – and in the case of Hannah, love to not like so much-the characters.  And much like in A State of Jane, there were the occasional moments where I found myself frustrated a bit with Kim. That’s not a criticism- it’s that frustration you sometimes get when you see a friend obsessing over something or overreacting to a situation and you have to let them sort it through themselves.

What I like most about Meredith’s books is that her characters are relatable and the storylines are authentic. Our heroine is not over-the-top glamorous, she has insecurities, she makes mistakes. And even though she’s landed the perfect guy, that doesn’t mean that everything is smooth sailing.  The storyline isn’t contrived, or unrealistic.  It’s chick lit, yes, but it doesn’t come across saccharine like some stories do, and that makes it fun and appealing to read.

If you like Chick Lit, you can’t go wrong with reading Meredith Schorr, and if you haven’t checked out her books yet, what are you waiting for?

I read an Advance copy of Novelista Girl, so I expect there might be minor changes from the version I read.  And as always,  I present an honest review.

The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry

Posted on 5 Jan 2016 In: Reading

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Prepare yourself. I’m going to gush over this one. Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is joining the ranks of books I love.

From the description:
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.

I read this book in one night.

Fikry is a bit of a prickly character, and I wondered where the Poe theft was going, but in time, all was revealed.

Zevin introduces each chapter with commentary on a particular literary work.  I had to look up summaries of a few of them to make sure I had the full context.  And as Fikry was providing his thoughts on each book for his daughter, I suspected what was happening, and I was right.

The book is at times funny, often poignant, and terribly bittersweet.   But it’s also satisfying and heartfelt. And of course, surrounded by thoughts about books- how one person’s drivel is another’s favorite genre. How opening ourselves up to others, opens us to all kinds of new experiences, including books we read.

And, for those of us who love books, how books and the relationships we build with others who love them, can enrich and change our lives.

I’ve been telling everyone I know they need to read this book. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

The Keye Street Mysteries

Posted on 22 Dec 2015 In: Reading

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I’ve spent the last week reading Amanda Kyle Williams’ Keye Street novels. I thought this was a trilogy initially, so I read them all together. But Don’t Talk To Strangers left things a bit unresolved, so there’s room for the series to legitimately continue.

This is also another review of mystery-thrillers. The next review won’t be, I promise, but I like a good mystery and I’ve enjoyed reading them.

This series centers around former FBI Profiler, and recovering alcoholic, Keye Street. Since she was fired from the bureau, she’s become a private detective in Atlanta. The series starts with The Stranger You Seek where Keye is brought in to help the Atlanta Police Department investigate a series of murders.

I like Keye and the APD crew. I like that Keye admits her past mistakes, but doesn’t minimize the pull of addiction, even after being four years sober.

Living in the Atlanta area, I especially like the references to real places around the city.  I was annoyed on occasion about the numerous descriptions of the Atlanta summertime heat, but this is really a small annoyance.

What I like about these books so far is that there are challenging mysteries. Williams provides hints that I have picked up on in a few instances, but I have not figured out the whole story, and that keeps me entertained.

We know Keye best, because the stories are told from her point of view.  Sometimes I wish we would get a little more about what makes other characters like Neil and Rauser tick, but there’s plenty of room for that in future books. While I will be checking out Williams’ other books, I hope that there is at least one more Keye Street novel, if for no other reason than to rectify the uncertainty and angst at the end of Book 3. Happy Reading!

Fragile

Posted on 17 Dec 2015 In: Reading

screenshot31 I’ve been on a bit of a kick for reading purely for escapism, so you’re getting two mystery/thriller reviews in a row.

Lisa Unger’s Fragile is one I had picked up on the bargain shelves some time ago at Barnes and Noble. And last week, I just wanted some pure fun reading, so I cracked open this one.

From the Amazon Summary:
Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case–and also dangerous.

Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.

“I know how a moment can spiral out of control,” Jones says to a shocked Maggie as he searches Rick’s room for incriminating evidence. “How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything.”

As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret–one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community’s intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? and How far would I go to protect them?

While I had an inkling of what might be a part of the story, and I wasn’t wrong,  I still enjoyed reading this one.  I liked the characters.  I liked turning the pages to see what Unger would reveal next.  In fact, I stayed up late reading one night so I could finish the book and know what happened.

This one is good escapism- and I’ve bought the second book in this series.  If you’re looking for something fun to read during Holiday downtime, this one might be the perfect pick for you.

 

 

Pretty Girls

Posted on 7 Dec 2015 In: Reading

screenshot15 Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls is an entertaining psychological thriller set in the Atlanta suburbs.

Two sisters, lost to each other years ago due to a family tragedy, come back together when one sister begins to suspect her own husband may be behind the disappearance of a local girl.

While the story was fast paced and entertaining, the graphic details around torture and murder were unsettling and distasteful.  I can handle a lot in thrillers, and there were times this was almost too much for me.

I also found parts of the plot – particularly around the husband (Paul’s) planning and control to be unrealistic.  I found it hard to believe anyone would have that much forethought.

And, speaking  vaguely here so that I don’t give away any major plot points,  I find it hard to believe so many people could keep such an atrocious secret.

So yes, there were parts of the book I found completely implausible, but I still kept turning pages, wanting to know if the villain was who I thought it was.  If you want a read for pure escapism, this is a good one despite the terribly dark and unsettling subject matter.  This is definitely not your light and happy Holiday read but I think fans of thrillers and mysteries will enjoy.

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