Book Review: An Exaltation of Larks

Book Review: An Exaltation of LarksAn Exaltation of Larks (Venery, #1)
by Suanne Laqueur
on November 22nd 2016
Pages: 550
Published by Cathedral Rock Press
Genres: LGBTQ, Literary Fiction, Multicultural

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he's long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11's, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

"Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn't yours."

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur's fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love's downfall can turn to exaltation.

My Takeaway  “Second chances are given or made.” Suanne Laqueur, An Exaltation of Larks Wow!! An Exaltation of Larks is poetic, risqué, sensual, and beautiful. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read. If you’ve been reading my reviews (thank you) you know I always aim for…

Book Review: The Futures

Book Review: The FuturesThe Futures
by Anna Pitoniak
on January 17th 2017
Published by Little Brown and Company
Genres: New Age

Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a Canadian logging town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia—blonde, beautiful and rich—fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, feels unmoored and increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world. With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work—a deal that, despite the assurance of his Machiavellian boss, begins to feel more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life.

As Evan and Julia spin apart into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more—good and bad—that they’d ever dreamed, and that betrayal is easier than they ever imagined.

My Takeaway  The debut novel, The Futures is about two recent college grads trying to find success and their way in the real world. It’s 2008 and the beginning of financial instability for this country. Julia and Evan have been dating for a couple of years, are college sweethearts…

Book Review: Fatal

Book Review: FatalFatal
by John Lescroart
on January 24th 2017
Pages: 320
Published by Atria Books
Genres: Suspense/Thriller

Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.

Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.

My Takeaway  Fatal is suspenseful, fast-paced and enthralling. The novel shows how one single act can have tremendous and/or devastating consequences. This thriller is filled with compelling twists and turns, which will keep you guessing until the very end – a definite page turner! This is the first…

Book Review: The Girl Before

Book Review: The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before
by J.P. Delaney
on January 24th 2017
Pages: 320
Published by Ballantine Books
Genres: Mystery/Crime, Suspense/Thriller

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

EmmaReeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

JaneAfter a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My Takeaway  Imagine living in a house where you are only allowed to take a few personal items…The Girl Before is a clever psychological thriller filled with unique twists and an unexpected ending. For the most part, I found the novel attention-grabbing, but a little repetitive at times…

Book Review: Lucky Boy

Book Review: Lucky BoyLucky Boy
by Shanthi Sekaran
on January 10th 2017
Pages: 472
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural

Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin's doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents' chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya's mid-thirties. When she can't get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya's care. As Kavya learns to be a mother--the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being--she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child.

Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.

My Takeaway  I had high expectations for Lucky Boy, but it did not captivate me like I wanted and expected. Towards the end I struggled to finish it. The story started off great and was incredibly thought-provoking, but I felt some of the events were a bit unrealistic*. However…