Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas

A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Published by Berkley on October 18, 2016

Series: Lady Sherlock, #1

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery

Format & Length: e-book, 336

Source: purchased

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USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

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Book Review: The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

Published by Ember on May 14, 2013 (originally published June 14, 2011)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, young adult

Format & Length: paperback, 352

Source: purchased

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When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn’t belong in, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching position at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Nothing prepares her for what she finds. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite–educated and more wealthy than she–and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie’s room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.

Willie doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn’t sure anymore. She’s also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys’ school who has taken an interest in her–and whose past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even Willie has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .

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Book Review: Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Published by MIRA on December 31, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 384

Source: Netgalley

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Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

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Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Published by Berkley Books on July 9, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, romance, women’s fiction

Format & Length: paperback, 333

Source: purchased

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Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

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Book Review: The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Published by Atria Books on November 5, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

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Book Review: Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on October 1, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): nonfiction

Format & Length: hardcover, 352

Source: library

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A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long–from a woman tapped by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine as the expert on this topic for a new generation of women.

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career (and her marriage) depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.

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Book Review: The Game, by Terry Schott

The Game, by Terry Schott

The Game by Terry Schott

Published by Smashwords Edition on August 22, 2013

Series: The Game is Life, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 273

Source: purchased

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The Game…
A virtual reality simulation played by over a billion children around the world. The best players are celebrities, adored and worshiped by countless fans. Zack is a superstar among players.
His final play may change the world, forever…

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Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Published by Gallery/Scout Press on April 19, 2016 (originally published July 30, 2015)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller

Format & Length: paperback, 308

Source: purchased

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In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

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Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy

Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy

For this set of mini reviews I’m going to talk about the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I’ve been intrigued by this series for some time and after purchasing the ebooks over a year ago, finally decided to dig in and (more or less) marathon my way through them. Here is the blurb for the first book, The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in some countries), and read on for my (spoiler-free) thoughts on all three books.

What Lyra likes best is “clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war.”

But Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust.

Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians“ to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

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Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Published by Algonquin Books on December 2, 2014

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary

Format & Length: paperback, 258

Source: purchased

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A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over — and see everything anew.

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