Book Review: One of the Boys

Book Review: One of the BoysOne of the Boys
by Daniel Magariel
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…

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Book Review: The Perfect Stranger

Book Review: The Perfect StrangerThe Perfect Stranger
by Megan Miranda
Pages: 352
Published by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction
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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…

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Book Review: The Roanoke Girls

Book Review: The Roanoke GirlsThe Roanoke Girls
by Amy Engel
Pages: 279
Published by Crown
Genres: Mystery/Crime, Suspense/Thriller
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After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Takeaway  “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.” Amy Engel, The Roanoke Girls The Roanoke Girls is an entertaining and fast read (read most of it on a plane ride). Engel is the author of the young adult…

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Book Review: My (Not So) Perfect Life

Book Review: My (Not So) Perfect LifeMy Not So Perfect Life
by Sophie Kinsella
Pages: 438
Published by Bantam Press
Genres: Women's Fiction
Goodreads

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

My Takeaway  Occasionally, when I am done with a super serious, and heavy book, I like to change it up and read something predictable that ends with “happily ever after.” My (Not So) Perfect Life is funny, enjoyable, and uncomplicated. The novel’s central message is although life is not…

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Book Review: Pachinko

Book Review: PachinkoPachinko
by Min Jin Lee
Pages: 490
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Goodreads

Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

My Takeaway  “Living everyday in the presence of those who refuse to acknowledge your humanity takes great courage.” Min Jin Lee, Pachinko What an amazing, enjoyable and unforgettable book! Pachinko is a page-turner and beautifully written. The cover of the book is brilliant and spectacular as well (I love…

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