Book Review: Good Trouble: Stories, by Joseph O’Neill

Good Trouble, by Joseph O'Neill

Good Trouble: Stories by Joseph O’Neill

Published by Pantheon on June 12, 2018

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary

Format & Length: e-book, 176

Source: Penguin’s First to Read

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A masterly collection of eleven stories about the way we live now from the best-selling author of Netherland

From bourgeois facial hair trends to parental sleep deprivation, O’Neill closely observes the mores of his characters, whose vacillations and second thoughts expose the mysterious pettiness, the underlying violence, and, sometimes, the surprising beauty of ordinary life in the early twenty-first century. A lonely wedding guest talks to a goose; a pair of poets struggle over whether to participate in a “pardon Edward Snowden” verse petition; a cowardly husband lets his wife face a possible intruder in their home; a potential co-op renter in New York City can’t find anyone to give him a character reference. On the surface, these men and women may only be in mild trouble, but O’Neill reminds us of the real, secretly political consequences of our internal monologues in these perfectly made, fiercely modern stories. No writer is more incisive about the strange world we live in now, and the laugh-out-loud vulnerability of his people is just as well fodder for tears.

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Book Review: Social Creature, by Tara Isabella Burton

Social Creature, by Tara Isabella Burton
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

Published by Doubleday on June 5, 2018 (expected)

Series: n/a

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

Format & Length: paperback, 273

Source: publisher via Goodreads giveaway

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For readers of Gillian Flynn and Donna Tartt, a dark, propulsive and addictive debut thriller, splashed with all the glitz and glitter of New York City.

They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them… They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…

Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon.

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship.

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Book Review: Workman’s Complication, by Rich Leder

Workman's Complication, by Rich Leder

Workman’s Complication by Rich Leder
Published by Rich Leder on September 7, 2014
Series: McCall & Company, #1
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, crime, mystery
Format & Length: e-book, 371
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Way Off Broadway Actress.
Murdered Private Eye Father.
New Day Job.

Off-off-off-off Broadway actress Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigation business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance company elevator.

A concrete-carrying, ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding and can never work—or dance—again, and then sues the contractor for a whole lot of money.

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.

But not as much trouble as Kate, who sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.

Will Kate bust the insurance scam, prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade? She might, but it’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious.

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Review: Lies You Never Told Me, by Jennifer Donaldson

Lies You Never Told Me, by Jennifer Donaldson

Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson
Published by Razorbill on May 29, 2018 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, suspense, young adult
Format & Length: e-book, 336
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“A compulsive page-turner with a shocking twist–get ready to stay up all night!” –Sara Shepard, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Pretty Little Liars 

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can’t believe it when she’s cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn’t sure she’s up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye–someone she knows she absolutely shouldn’t be with–she can’t help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable–breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She’s not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

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Review: Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

Drift Stumble Fall, by M. Jonathan Lee

Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee
Published by Hideaway Fall Ltd. on April 12, 2018 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary
Format & Length: paperback, 310
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Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.

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Review: The Eye Opener, by Indrajit Garai

The Eye Opener, by Indrajit Garai

The Eye Opener by Indrajit Garai
Published by Indrajit Garai on December 9, 2017
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary
Format & Pages: e-book, 238
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In this collection, meet:

Franck, who has to align his desires with his needs; Nathan, who has to adjust to his constantly changing turf; and, Cedric, who has to open his eyes to reconstruct himself.

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Review: Nothing Left to Burn, by Heather Ezell

Nothing Left to Burn, by Heather Ezell

Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell
Published by Razorbill on March 13, 2018 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 320
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The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey–and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels–both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.

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Review: Good Neighbors, by Joanne Serling

Good Neighbors, by Joanne Serling

Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling
Published by Twelve on February 6, 2018 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary
Format & Pages: paperback, 248
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In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her.

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Review: Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 13, 2018 (expected)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction
Format & Pages: e-book, 448
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#1 bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s emotionally charged new standalone novel about marriage and family, and how those we love and know best can sometimes surprise us the most.

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprises, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

With a colorful, eccentric cast of characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella crafts a humorous, yet thoughtful portrait of a marriage and shines a light on the danger of not looking past the many layers of the ones you love to discover how infinitely fascinating–and surprising–they truly are.

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Review: The Ghostwriter, by Alessandra Torre

The Ghostwriter, by Alessandra Torre

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre
Published by DCA on October 2, 2017
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, mystery, suspense
Format & Pages: e-book, 303
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Four years ago, I lied. I stood in front of the police, my friends and family, and made up a story, my best one yet. And all of them believed me.

I wasn’t surprised. Telling stories is what made me famous. Fifteen bestsellers. Millions of fans. Fame and fortune.

Now, I have one last story to write. It’ll be my best one yet, with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave them stunned and gasping for breath.

They say that sticks and stones will break your bones, but this story? It will be the one that kills me.

This book is not a romance. It is contemporary fiction, but very suspenseful in nature. It is about a famous romance author and a dark secret she keeps.

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