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: Keeping Lucy, by T. Greenwood

Keeping Lucy, by T. Greenwood

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Published by St. Martin’s Press on August 6, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 304

Source: Netgalley

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One of PopSugar’s 30 Must-Read Books of 2019

From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter. 

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on.

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.

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Book Review: Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse

Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Published by Berkley Books on February 6, 2007 (first published 2005)

Series: Languedoc, #1

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery

Format & Length: paperback, 515

Source: purchased

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In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth. Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. Now, as crusading armies gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take a tremendous sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.

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Book Review: The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Published by Henry Holt & Co. on July 9, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 256

Source: Netgalley

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A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

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Book Review: The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Published by Ecco on August 28, 2012 (originally published September 20, 2011)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, romance

Format & Length: paperback, 378

Source: purchased

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Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

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Book Review: The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham

The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Published by Vintage International on February 10, 2004 (originally published April 1925)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, classics, historical fiction

Format & Length: paperback, 246

Source: purchased

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Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.

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Audiobook Review: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc. on April 7, 2015 (originally published October 19, 2011)

Series: The Neapolitan Novels, #1

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: audiobook, 12:38:45

Source: library

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A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila, who represent the story of a nation and the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets, the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow – and as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge – Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.

With My Brilliant Friend, the first in a series, Ferrante proves herself to be one of Italy’s greatest storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted pause-resister, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations – a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new listeners to her work.

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Book Review: The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Published by Wednesday Books on January 15, 2019 (expected)

Series: The Gilded Wolves, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 464

Source: Netgalley

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Set in a darkly glamorous Paris, the book follows a charismatic but cursed heir of a massive fortune as he plots to steal one of three ancient and powerful artifacts of fate. He and his crew will navigate the elite gatherings of secret occult societies, traveling through Paris’ catacombs where they must confront their worst secrets as well as a destiny they never imagined.

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Audiobook Review: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Random House Audio on September 13, 2011

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, romance

Format & Length: audiobook, 13:40:16

Source: library

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

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