Monday, March 26, 2018

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Anna Fox is a recluse, an agraphob and an alcoholic. She spends her days/nights watching TV, looking out her window at her neighbors and chatting online.

When her newest neighbors move in her life takes an interesting turn after she witnesses a  horrible event take place.  She is made to question did she in fact witness such act or imagine it. To make matters worse no one believes her and as things continue to become more and more suspect she questions herself further.

This book was a bit of a slow start for me and can be rather confusing until you get it all straightened out in your head. Anna isn't always a likable character but that is also one of my favorite things some authors do because they make them more "real".

The set up --- the first half of the novel is mediocre at best but then second half more than makes up for it with all  the twists, turns and reveals.

 I found, that I was by far more interested in the Anna of before than the present day.  I think there is a bigger and better story to be told there. I wouldn't rule this book out as a read but be prepared for a bit of a struggle before you can get to the good stuff.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is an excellent writer and her memoir is brutally honest in regards to her struggles with her weight and how society sees people who don't fit into what society in general deems as beautiful.

She was gang raped at a tender age by someone she trusted and genuinely liked which has scared her deeply. Roxanne gives insight into what it is like to be a larger person, from the stares you receive from people, challenges in clothes shopping,  to not being able to sit with comfort in a chair that most of us sit in without a second thought.

Roxane speaks from the heart and sometimes her words make you uncomfortable. If you are like me and become emotional from the pain others feel, expect to be emotionally exhausted after this read.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Name Is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd

Venus Black is only 13 years old. She is the "perfect" student and dreams of becoming an astronaut but her dreams vanish on the night she commits a violent crime. The community is shocked, the media is hungry for the story.  Venus clams up, refuses to discuss the crime but is quick to blame her mother, fracturing an unstable relationship.

She is locked up and labeled a violent offender. Her biggest worry is being beat up - that is until her 7 year old brother, special needs brother, Leo goes missing.

5 years pass, Leo is still missing, Venus has no relationship with her mother and she is being released from prison. In an attempt to forget her life and move she obtains a fake id, new identity and moves from Washington to California. Venus makes it her mission to figure out what happened to Leo  find him and bring him back home.

It's nearly impossible to believe that this is Heather Lloyd's debut novel. Her story line is engrossing, her character development is spot on and the way her story flows from Venus to Leo's in streamless. Each character created by Lloyd contributes to the story in a perfect manner (no filler characters here!).

This is an epic read that will tug at your heart strings!

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Indecent by Corinne Sullivan

Imogene Abney has long been obsessed with the peculiar world of elite prep schools.  She's fresh out of college and despite having no teaching experience accepts a position teaching at  Vandenberg School for Boys. 
She is naive, clueless actually and  rather immature making her the perfect prey. She begins an illicit affair with the handsome, charismatic Adam Kipling. A student at the school. She becomes obsessed to the point in which this reader felt uncomfortable and irritated with her. I couldn't decided if I wanted to slap her or hug her.

Her inexperience with the opposite sex shines through and makes your cringe. I actually felt incredibly embarrassed for her actions and then I realized, Imogen is fragile and easily susceptible to the charms of others. Adam is just a young teenager boy who knows he is handsome and uses it to get what he wants until he no longer desires it and discards it (Narcissist, much?). 

Adam lures her in and stared for attention and insecure, Imogene jumps at every opportunity to be with him, regardless of the risks. The relationship is sex fueled. Adam sees her as a conquest as a sexual release but Imogene, poor, poor Imogene  thinks it's a relationship.

However this book is more complex that that --- as you're never quite sure who is taking advantage of whom. It sorta flip, flops back and forth especially since Imagone is an adult and in a position of authority and should know better.
Sullivan's characters are well developed. This is an excellent debut novel but be prepared to feel some second hand embarrassment and indecent if you read it in a public setting! This is a fast read that explores taboo relationships, sex and more sex.

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

 The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
Expected Publication: March 6, 2018 

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Beauty That Remains is Ashley Woodfolks debut novel. It covers a variety of subject such as death, depression, LGBT and suicide. There is a great deal of grief and loss in this novel. Woodfolk does an exemplary job and expressing the deep and profound emotions that come with the loss of a love, emotion's that one doesn't understand until they have lost someone themselves.

Woodwork can capture emotions. I wanted desperately to love her novel but I struggled to connect with the storylines. There was just way too much going on and I found myself constantly trying to determine which character was telling their story. It took me nearly half the book before I was able to catch the cadence of her writing and the voice of her characters. Once I got past the struggle, I found myself much more involved in their stories and found the book to be more enjoyable.

The characters are Autumn, who's best friend, Octavia passed away in a tragic accident. Autumn struggles with this loss and as a means to heal and cope with the death of her friend, she continues to send her messages, spend the night in her (Octavia's) bedroom and form a bond with her brother.

Logan's ex-boyfriend, Bram is dead. He is full of regrets as his last words to Bram were harsh. He deals with his grief and guilty by consuming alcohol, being self destructive and unkind to his mind and body. Music is both his respite and pain.

Shay's twin sister, Sasha's life was taken too soon as a result of leukemia, leaving Shay "twinless" and alone. She struggles to cope with living her life without taking care of sister and having that constant in her life. Running, kissing and music are her coping mechanisms. Her struggles are further combated with the weakened relationship she has with her mom.

All of these stories are told separately but weave together. They overlap and music becomes the common factor in mending broken hearts.

I personally feel that this book would have been a lot stronger had there been more depth and background into the characters. It fell flat some but not horrible for a debut novel. I would give Woodfolk a second chance because the passion and ability to develop characters it there.

Don' t totally rule this book out, give it some time to tell you it's story and you will find that it is worth your time.

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Charlotte Gorman is a librarian, a "nerd" and enjoys being casual and comfy. Her twin sister, Ginny is an famous instagram conte...