The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Book Description:

Published: August 25, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

“The Dollhouse. . . . That’s what we boys like to call it. . . . The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you.”

Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.”

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

Review –

In The Dollhouse, debut novelist Fiona Davis begins with a simple premise. But as the book advances, through alternating looks at Rose’s world in 2016 and Darby’s in 1952, the story becomes increasingly complex. Davis layers on relationships and intrigue, while building tension through her story structure. Each glimpse at Darby’s world leaves both Rose and the reader yearning for more, and eager to understand exactly what shaped the ladies at this women’s residence. The pace quickens as the story hurtles to its surprising—but satisfying—end. 

Fantastic book full of twists and turns and sub-plots and makes for a great Summer read!

Five stars.

Advertisements

The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Book Description:

Published: July 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.

For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

Review –

Justine is living in a shabby apartment with her two daughters and live in boyfriend,Patrick, who is VERY controlling so when an attorney calls saying that her great-aunt Lucy has left her a house and a stock portfolio of $150,000.00, she packs the basics, picks up the girls from school, and starts the long drive to Minnesota.

In her mind the summer-house on the lake looks the way it did when she was nine years old. It was the only Summer she was there and the only time she met Lucy. When they arrive, it is Winter in Minnesota and the house is drab, falling apart and in desperate need of a full restoration.  The inside is not much better with the rooms heated by radiators fueled by a propane tank only one-third full and a stove in the kitchen so old the oven can not be fixed. Meals have to be made on top of the stove or in the microwave.  Justine’s only comfort is that maybe Patrick won’t be able to find them since she told no one where she was going and she left her cell phone behind.

The only neighbors are brothers who were childhood friends of her grandmother, Lilith and great-aunt Lucy, who now run the Lodge for the Summer people. Abe is a bit slow so doesn’t venture out much so Matthew is the one  the Evans girls sees most and they all consider him “creepy”.

There is a box of composition books full of stories written by Lucy, all dealing with the little sister, Emily, who went missing in the summer of 1935. There is also another composition book with the truth behind Emily’s disappearance, but Justine doesn’t know about it until almost the end of the book.

I won’t tell you what happened to Emily or if Patrick shows up, or about the fire  so you’ll have to read the book to find out. There is so much more to this story than just a missing child!

It is a fantastic book and I couldn’t stop listening,

Five stars *****

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Book Description:

Published: February 2, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A spellbinding novel about three unforgettable individuals thrown together by war, love, and their search for belonging in the ever-changing landscape of WWII London.

It’s 1939 and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blue blood political family by volunteering for the war effort. She is assigned as a teacher to children who were evacuated from London and have been rejected by the countryside because they are infirm, mentally disabled, or—like Mary’s favorite student, Zachary—have colored skin.

Tom, an education administrator, is distraught when his best friend, Alastair, enlists. Alastair, an art restorer, has always seemed far removed from the violent life to which he has now condemned himself. But Tom finds distraction in Mary, first as her employer and then as their relationship quickly develops in the emotionally charged times. When Mary meets Alastair, the three are drawn into a tragic love triangle and—while war escalates and bombs begin falling around them—further into a new world unlike any they’ve ever known.

A sweeping epic with the kind of unforgettable characters, cultural insights, and indelible scenes that made Little Bee so incredible, Chris Cleave’s latest novel explores the disenfranchised, the bereaved, the elite, the embattled. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is a heartbreakingly beautiful story of love, loss, and incredible courage.

Review –

This is a historical novel set in London and Malta during the second world war. The story is, Cleave discloses in an author’s note, inspired by the lives of his grandparents: his maternal grandfather served in Malta, and his paternal grandmother drove ambulances during the blitz. But below the surface of this novel, the author explores the ways that external events beyond the individual’s control influence the private lives of the characters, with either devastating or transformative consequences.

Generally, I’m not a fan of novels about war or set in periods of war, but once I started this one I was hard pressed to hit the pause button.  The characters were diverse, complex, but a bit flat. I wish the author would have spent more time fleshing them out, especially Tom and Hilda.

With Everyone Brave Is Forgiven Cleave cements his reputation as a skillful storyteller, and a sensitive chronicler of the interplay between the political and the personal. As one character observes: “Who knows what takes more courage – to die in battle, or to live in vain? It cuts all of us in two, I suppose.”

I gave it four out of five stars.

Mine by Brett Battles

Book Description:

Published: July 19, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Something happened that night in the woods at Camp Red Hawk. But all Joel and Leah can recall is sneaking out for a late hike with five camp friends, and that only the two of them and their friend Mike returned.

They have no memory of what happened to the others. No memory of anything after leaving the camp.

In the years that follow, they realize something has changed inside of them. They are different from others, in ways they never should be. In ways that send their lives down disturbing and terrifying paths.

As they grapple with adulthood, their only hope for understanding why they’ve been altered lies with them finding each other again. But how is that possible when their memories of one another have been erased?

Review –

I am a fan of Brett Battles and will be listening to books three and four in the  Project Eden series very soon. This series is a blend of thriller, horror and crime drama, and that’s what I’m used to when I think of Brett Battles. Mine is none of those things. Instead it’s a sci-fi meets coming of age. It’s a common enough story about how aliens plan to take over the earth and eliminate the humans but this has the addition of the bond of friendship. Without the friendship the three survivors had between them, none of them would have come out alive.

The only thing that disappointed me was the ending.  There was an epilogue and it was very very predictable. I wish the author would have made it a cliffhanger.

All in all, it was a great listen.

 

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Book Description:

Published: May 17, 2016

Format: Audio

New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession.

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

Review –

I am a big fan of psychological thrillers and found myself really enjoying this book. Some parts are completely over the top and, at times, even downright silly, but you expect that stuff going into it. Obviously, these stories aren’t happening in real life–and if they are, well, Heaven help us !

Kubica’s style is fresh and unique, staying true to her strength–which is dialing up the suspense until it reaches the boiling point. While I found some of the characters a bit too quirky and Alex was a bit too Norman Bates-like. I thought they were all tied up nicely at the end.

I did want to pull my hair out where character of Ben, whom Quinn had a huge crush on, was concerned. He was oblivious to her calling him at all times of the night and leaving notes on his desk at work but the author did give us a glimmer of hope for them at the end too.

If you’re looking for a story to suck you in and get your heart pumping, Don’t You Cry would be a worthy pick to meet all of your suspense-loving, thrill-seeking needs!

C758484C9C9106E2B09FB2547B1149C8

27821486

Understood (Unspoken #1) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: December 19, 2006

When she breaks free from the bondage of her past, he’ll be waiting.

Jake Turner committed the ultimate mistake of falling in love with his best friend’s wife. The distance he puts between them costs both him and Ellie Matthews dearly. Jake will never forgive himself for not seeing what a bastard his friend was. Now that Ellie is free from her nightmare, Jake waits, needing and wanting. He’ll be there when Ellie is ready to spread her wings.

Review –

This is a short story of moving forward but not without obstacles.

Ellie has been divorced from her abusive husband for two years but can not bring herself to trust another man with her love even though she knows just the man she would choose.

Jake Turner has loved Ellie even before she was married and ever since her divorce has been waiting for her to make the first move.

When they do get together the sex scenes are hot but also tender and sweet because Ellie has never had a man treat her the Jake does.

They get their HEA and deservedly so.

The book has a plot story line with the sexual happenings coming second.

Great read.

Adult with explicit sex.

C758484C9C9106E2B09FB2547B1149C8

17165664

 

Stirred Up by S.E. Hall and Angela Graham

Book Description:

Published: April 26, 2014

Certain men. Certain professions. Some things are just universally sexy.

But maybe not quite this sexy…

“Lay back for me.”

Review –
Addison and Brady, who is her brother’s best friend,  fight their feelings for each other. They are best friends and never can be more, at least that’s how Addison feels. She’s afraid if the relationship went further and it didn’t work out, it would ruin their perfect, long time friendship.

Brady is constantly pushing for more because he’s had real feelings for her as long as he can remember.
Addison is trying to figure her feelings while having a secret tryst with the handsome Dr. Reynolds, who is an OBGYN and he examines her thoroughly each time she goes to his office.  He wants to take her out in public as in date, but she says she wants to keep it private and will only see him in his office.  Eventually, he tells he does not f**k his patients and refuses to see her at his office. Without  seeing him for a few days she  finally calls in to his office and uses and fake name to get an appointment. When Dr. Reynolds walks in he plays along for a while but then tells her again that he can not carry on with her in his office. So, she bites the bullet and asks him to dinner at her house.

Of course, he comes and after some wine, one thing leads to another and they have sex and Addison makes her move and tells the doctor that she loves him but was afraid it would ruin what they had.  ARE YOU READY FOR IT?  The twist is that Dr. Reynolds and Brady are the same person.  I never saw it coming and it made me smile from ear to ear.

 It’s short and doesn’t take long to read and is well worth your time.
Adult with explicit sex

C758484C9C9106E2B09FB2547B1149C8

22024337

Corduroy’s Best Halloween Ever by Don Freeman

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2001

Halloween is almost here, and Corduroy can’t wait! He is going to have a party. He and his friends will carve a jack-o’-lantern, bob for apples, and go trick-or-treating! But there is one problem-Corduroy needs to choose a costume. What will he wear?

Review –

This is the book I chose for Camille who with two the first part of December.

Corduroy and his friends help the people in their town decorate for Halloween and everyone is very excited about  going Trick or Treating and shop for costumes but Corduroy can’t decide what he wants to be.  Finally, he buys a dinosaur mask and goes home and MAKES an elaborate costume to match.

The party is about to begin when Puppy comes crying and tells Corduroy that his costume has fallen to pieces. Corduroy sees how distraught Puppy is so he gives him the dinosaur costume.  Everyone comes and the party is a hit but Corduroy has no costume. When it’s time to go Trick or Treating he pulls a white cloth off of the table and cuts eyes and goes as a ghost.

Great story and I think Camille will love it.

2FED61D33FBEDE862055F09805BBCB8C

270134

 

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown

Book  Description:

Published: 2004

Once there was a little bunny. He was all alone. One day he found an egg. He could hear something moving inside the egg. What was it?

So begins the Golden Easter classic about a bunny—and a little duck that is about to hatch!

Review –

I wanted an Easter Book to send to my niece and her cousin (ages almost 2 and 15 months) and although this isn’t an Easter Book per se  it has a bunny and a duckling which was good enough for me.

The bunny finds an egg and tries to find out what’s inside by throwing small pebbles at it and rolling it down a hill among other things. All of this exertion wears him out and he falls asleep and while he’s resting the egg breaks open and there is a yellow downed duckling .

He sees the sleeping bunny and uses the same methods as the bunny to wake him up but to no avail. When the bunny does wake up and see the little duckling they are both happy because now they are not alone.

Cute book and nice illustrations

2FED61D33FBEDE862055F09805BBCB8C

282436

 

Fate by Nikki Sex

Book Description

February 23, 2014
How far would you go to get something you really want?

Emily Malone has had a lifelong crush on her brother’s best friend, Paul.

Unfortunately, he just sees her as his friend’s little sister.

Desperate and infatuated, Emily resorts to lies and deception.

She only needs one night with Paul, to finally get over this obsessive crush.

But Fate has other ideas, and whether or not Emily knows it, everything happens for a reason. . .

Review –
This book  has a great story line, one to me that is totally plausible, but it bows to the old adage,”Be careful what you wish for…”
It has steamy love scenes, a little BDSM and love and friendship.  Adult content and graphic sex.
2FED61D33FBEDE862055F09805BBCB8C
20757186