Review: You Think It, I’ll Say It

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Title: You Think It, I’ll Say It
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
Publisher: Random House
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

‘Most people I know who have read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld would read anything else the woman wrote, me included’ The Times

In ‘The World Has Many Butterflies’, a married woman flirts with a man she meets at parties by playing You think it, I’ll say it, putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he’s thinking about their fellow guests. But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. ‘The Nominee’ sees Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist she has sparred with over the years. In ‘Gender Studies’, a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for what turns out to be all the wrong reasons.

The theme that unites these stories in this dazzling first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit.

Review:

I loved Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel Elgible! It is one of my favourite Pride and Prejudice adaptations. So I was excited to read her new collection of short stories.

I really enjoyed these stories. The stories all give the same message at the end: people are often misjudged, either by ourselves or others. This was more obvious in some of the stories than others. This message became clear in the second story entitled “The World Has Many Butterflies.” In that story a man and woman play a game which they call “I’ll Think It, You Say It,” where the woman judges people nearby, presumably saying what the man thinks about them. After that story, I understood the point of the collection.

Some of the stories were so detailed and hooked me right away, so I was left wanting more. I loved “Plausible Deniability.” It had a great twist that I didn’t see coming. “A Regular Couple” was also good, and kept me holding my breath to see how it would end. These stories could be expanded into great novels.

I liked this collection! It is clever and entertaining.

Review: Vi

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Title: Vi
Author: Kim Thúy
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The perfect complement to the exquisitely wrought novels Ruand Man , Canada Reads-winner Kim Thuy returns with Vi , once more exploring the lives, loves and struggles of Vietnamese refugees as they reinvent themselves in new lands. 

The youngest of four children and the only girl, Vi was given a name that meant “precious, tiny one,” destined to be cosseted and protected, the family’s little treasure.
Daughter of an enterprising mother and a wealthy and spoiled father who never had to grow up, the Vietnam war tears their family asunder. While Vi and many of her family members escape, her father stays behind, and her family must fend for themselves in Canada.
While her mother and brothers put down roots, life has different plans for Vi. As a young woman, she finds the world opening up to her. Taken under the wing of Ha, a worldly family friend and diplomat lover, Vi tests personal boundaries and crosses international ones, letting the winds of life buffet her. From Saigon to Montreal, from Suzhou to Boston to the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is witness to the immensity of the world, the intricate fabric of humanity, the complexity of love, the infinite possibilities before her. Ever the quiet observer, somehow she must find a way to finally take her place in the world.

Review:

I’ve never read a Kim Thuy book before, but she’s won many awards. Her books are translated from French into English and Vietnamese. This makes it a unique experience since it is not in the original language. The language was still poetic and beautiful, so I don’t think anything was lost in the translation.

The story moved quickly. Everything in it was so new to me because I don’t know much about Vietnamese culture. There were small stories that weren’t about Vi’s family, but that framed the atmosphere in Vietnam at the time. One example was a story about a young couple who had a Romeo and Juliet style romance. At times the story was confusing because it jumped from one time and place to another, but the overall story was enjoyable.

The format of the story was confusing to me. I was reading an e-ARC, so it may have been a problem with my file, so I didn’t include this in my rating. I’m curious to see a hard copy of the book to see how it looks on paper.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it!

Review: The Woman in The Window

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Title: The Woman in the Window
Author: A.J. Finn
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Gift
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Review:

This book didn’t live up to the hype for me. I was expecting an amazing thriller, but I didn’t understand the excitement.

Anna was a very annoying character for me. She took tons of pills and mixed them with alcohol, but she was a psychologist, so she should have known better. The whole story was based on wondering if she was imagining things or not, and all those stimulants didn’t help her case. Really, there weren’t any likable characters in this book. The Russels were furious with her, though their son, Ethan, would speak to her. And even the police were rude and jumped to conclusions. It was frustrating to read.

I don’t want to give away the ending for those who haven’t read it yet, so I won’t give my comments on that. I guessed what was happening before it was said. I knew what happened to Anna’s family, and the solution to Jane Russel’s identity ended up being the first thing I thought of when I read it! The thing about figuring out this mystery is to look at what’s being said, and more importantly what’s not being said.

The last couple of chapters were pretty exciting, but unfortunately, the rest of the book was frustrating so I didn’t enjoy it.

Review: My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel

Title: My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel
Author: Kitty Curran, Larissa Zageris
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The romance novel that lets you pick your path, follow your heart, and find happily ever after

You are the plucky but penniless heroine in the center of eighteenth-century society, courtship season has begun, and your future is at hand. Will you flip forward fetchingly to find love with the bantering baronet Sir Benedict Granville? Or turn the page to true love with the hardworking, horse-loving highlander Captain Angus McTaggart? Or perhaps race through the chapters chasing a good (and arousing) man gone mad, bad, and scandalous to know, Lord Garraway Craven? Or read on recklessly and take to the Continent as the “traveling companion” of the spirited and adventuresome Lady Evangeline? Or yet some other intriguing fate? Make choices, turn pages, and discover all the daring delights of the multiple (and intertwining!) storylines. And in every path you pick, beguiling illustrations bring all the lust and love to life.

Review:

When I was a kid, lots of my classmates loved choose your own adventure stories. But I didn’t. I wanted a complete story to read, and I didn’t want anything to change from the original. However, I thought I would give this one a try since I love Victorian romances. And I loved it!

There are three directions your story could go. You could choose the brooding Sir Benedict Granville, who is like Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. You could choose Captain Angus McTaggart, who is like Jamie from Outlander. Or you could choose to go on an adventure with the socialite Lady Evangeline. For my review, I followed the path with Angus MacTaggart, also known as Mac.

The story was so entertaining! It had everything from a spy, a faked death, orphans, and a burned down mansion, all of which are aspects that make a great Victorian novel. I loved this story and I was satisfied with the ending. The great thing about this book is that you can read it over and over, following different paths, and end up with different endings. I will definitely be reading this book again!

Blog Tour: A Mother’s Sacrifice

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Title: A Mother’s Sacrifice
Author: Gemma Metcalfe
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

God ensured she crossed my path. And that is why I chose her.

The day Louisa and James bring their newborn son home from the hospital marks a new beginning for all of them. To hold their child in their arms, makes all the stress and trauma of fertility treatment worth it. Little Cory is theirs and theirs alone. Or so they think…

After her mother’s suicide when she was a child, Louisa’s life took an even darker turn. But meeting James changed everything. She can trust him to protect her, and to never leave her. Even if deep down, she worries that she has never told him the full truth about her past, or the truth about their baby.

But someone knows all her secrets – and that person is watching and waiting, with a twisted game that will try to take everything Louisa holds dear.

Perfect for fans of Louise Jensen.

Review:

I really liked this book. It was so suspenseful and spooky.

The pacing was good. It sped up as it went along. The beginning of the story was hard to read because there were some problems while Louisa was giving birth. But the story picked up after that. There were twists along the way, so even when I thought I knew what was happening, I ended up being wrong.

Louisa was one of those characters that I found so frustrating. I kept wanting to tell her to do things differently, like tell James what was going on right away. But at the same time, I can understand why she was scared and wanted to keep it to herself. It was so frustrating for me, but it wouldn’t be much of a story if she resolved it right away!

The ending really surprised me! I kept going back and forth wondering who was threatening Louisa. In the end, it was actually the first person I suspected. This was a great ending!

This book is a great thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

About the Author:

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Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

Giveaway:
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Prize: A Mother’s Sacrifice choccies & a lipgloss set
UK Only

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Thank you Neverland Blog Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: Reader, I Married Him

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Title: Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This collection of original stories by today’s finest women writers—including Tracy Chevalier, Francine Prose, Elizabeth McCracken, Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger, and more—takes inspiration from a line in Charlotte Brontë’s most beloved novel, Jane Eyre.

A fixture in the literary canon, Charlotte Brontë is revered by readers all over the world. Her novels featuring unforgettable, strong heroines still resonate with millions today. And who could forget one of literature’s best-known lines: “Reader, I married him” from her classic novel Jane Eyre?

Part of a remarkable family that produced three acclaimed female writers at a time in 19th-century Britain when few women wrote, and fewer were published, Brontë has become a great source of inspiration to writers, especially women, ever since. Now in Reader, I Married Him, twenty of today’s most celebrated women authors have spun original stories, using the line from Jane Eyre as a springboard for their own flights of imagination.

Reader, I Married Him will feature stories by:

Tracy Chevalier, Tessa Hadley, Sarah Hall, Helen Dunmore, Kirsty Gunn, Joanna Briscoe, Jane Gardam, Emma Donaghue, Susan Hill, Francine Prose, Elif Shafak, Evie Wyld, Patricia Park, Salley Vickers, Nadifa Mohamed, Esther Freud, Linda Grant, Lionel Shriver, Audrey Niffenegger, Namwali Serpell, and Elizabeth McCracken.

Unique, inventive, and poignant, the stories in Reader, I Married Him pay homage to the literary genius of Charlotte Brontë, and demonstrate once again that her extraordinary vision continues to inspire readers and writers.

Review:

This is a great collection of short stories!

I loved the stories that expanded on the original story of Jane Eyre. “The Mirror” tells about the marriage of Jane and Rochester. In that story Rochester tries to convince Jane that she made up his mad wife in the attic, which makes Jane question if she is going mad herself. In “Reader, She Married Me,” Rochester tells his side of the story of his marriage with Bertha. He loved her so much, and ended up marrying Jane because she wore him down. These are both fascinating takes on the classic story.

Some of the stories weren’t obviously about Jane Eyre. One of those was “The Self-Seeding Sycamore,” which was about a woman who had to fight with her neighbor over an invasive tree between their yards. It didn’t have an obvious Jane Eyre theme, but I still enjoyed reading it.

This collection is a must-read for fans of Jane Eyre!

Review: Find You In The Dark

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Title: Find You In The Dark
Author: Nathan Ripley
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this chilling debut thriller, in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr. Ripley, a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killer victims catches the attention of a murderer prowling the streets of Seattle.

Martin Reese is obsessed with murder.

For years, he has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and studying them in depth, using them as guides to find missing bodies. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results to the police anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs that cops have continuously failed to do.

Detective Sandra Whittal sees it differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case-closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious caller—the Finder, she names him—leading the police to the bodies. Even if the Finder isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, who’s to say that he won’t start soon?

On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his sister-in-law, whom he never met. But when he arrives at the site, he finds a freshly killed body—a young and recently disappeared Seattle woman—lying among remains that were left there decades ago. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn buried his victims . . . and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work.

When a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder. Hunted by a real killer and by Whittal, Martin realizes that in order to escape the killer’s trap, he may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever thought.

Review:

This book is a great twist on a thriller. Instead of following the life of a serial killer, it follows the life of a man who digs up the victims of serial killers. He then tells the police where to find them, but this eventually leads him into trouble. This unique plot made the story unpredictable.

There were multiple narratives in the story. One was from Martin’s perspective, where he talked about finding the bodies. There was another narrative that followed the detectives who were investigating the man who dug up the graves as well as the original murders. And another narrative was about the man who pulled the strings behind the killers.

The pacing of this book was great. There were major plot points that happened in each chapter that made me want to keep reading. It was hard to put this book down.

I really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a unique thriller, this is the one for you.