Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel HawleyThe Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti
on March 28th 2017
Pages: 480
Published by Dial Press
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife's hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother's mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter's present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.

Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.

My Takeaway  “Everything breaks if you hit it hard enough.” Hannah Tinti, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is beautifully written, enjoyable and worthy of reading. It touches on a father and daughter’s fierce love, acceptance, sacrifice, and survival. Samuel Hawley is a…

Book Review: The Perfect Girl

Book Review: The Perfect GirlThe Perfect Girl
by Gilly Macmillan
on September 6th 2016
Pages: 464
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Genres: Mystery/Crime, Suspense/Thriller
Goodreads

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.
Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe's former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.

My Takeaway  First of all, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to read a Gilly Macmillan novel. She has been on my radar for quite some time and I’m delighted I finally got my hands on one of her books (thank you local library…

Book Review: One of the Boys

Book Review: One of the BoysOne of the Boys
by Daniel Magariel
on March 14th 2017
Pages: 168
Published by Scribner
Genres: Mystery/Crime
Goodreads

The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.

My Takeaway  One of the Boys, is Magariel’s debut novel and he is a heck of a writer. I read the gripping novella in one sitting and although some parts were difficult to take in, I found myself wanting to read more. However, this somber, dark story is not…

Book Review: My Name is Lucy Barton

Book Review: My Name is Lucy BartonMy Name Is Lucy Barton
by Elizabeth Strout
on January 12th 2016
Pages: 193
Published by Random House
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lies the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.

My Takeaway  “Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” Elizabeth Strout, My Name is Lucy Short novels have to capture the reader’s attention quickly; My Name is Lucy Barton…

Book Review: The Perfect Stranger

Book Review: The Perfect StrangerThe Perfect Stranger
by Megan Miranda
on 4/11/2017
Pages: 352
Published by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction
Goodreads

In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls, a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?

My Takeaway  Megan Miranda is a fantastic, top-notch writer! I devoured The Perfect Stranger in two days – it would have been one, but I had to go to work. Miranda knows how to keep readers engaged from the beginning to the end. Her plot is constantly moving and at…