Genre: Women's Fiction

Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Minda Mejia

Posted September 25, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Minda MejiaReviewer: Tina
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
Published by Atria Books
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Women's Fiction
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No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

If you are a huge fan of psychological thrillers like I am, you know that sometimes we struggle with finding “that” book. You know what I’m talking about, the one that keeps you turning the pages so fast you see sparks. It’s also the one that keeps you guessing until the very last page. The struggle to find that book is real my friends, but struggle no more – this is “that” book.

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia is the kind of book I immediately tell all my bibliophile friends about. From the first page this book got my attention and kept it. It is deliciously descriptive and so well-written that I couldn’t tear myself away. It is one of those books that you just can’t put down.

The story is presented from 3 different points of view. First by Hattie Hoffman, who is our 18 yr old protagonist, then by Del Goodman, who is a good friend of Hattie’s father and the town sheriff in charge of Hattie’s murder investigation. Last, we have Peter Lund, who is a recent transplant to the small town of Pine Valley, and the High School’s new English teacher. Through their eyes the story unfolds and thrusts the reader forward with all it’s suspenseful twists and turns.

You see, our girl Hattie loves to act. She has big dreams of leaving her small town and becoming a star in New York City. But, she doesn’t confine her acting abilities to the stage. Hattie is the girl everybody wants her to be; the good daughter, the model student, the best friend. She plays all her roles to perfection. And when she is found stabbed to death, the whole town is turned upside down that something like this could not only happen in their town, but to their golden girl.

There is so much to this story and the people who tell it. I could excitedly go on for an hour about it and tell you how fabulous it is, but instead I’ll just tell you this…..READ IT!!!!! I know about 3 other people who have, and we all agree that it is not to be missed.

Mindy Mejia is a fantastic storyteller. This lady knows her stuff! This book is SO good!! So if you love to be taken on a literary roller coaster ride you need to go out right now and find this book. And then you can thank me later.

I received an ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and would like to thank the publisher for allowing me to review this fantastic book. I will definitely be watching to see what Mindy Mejia comes up with next.

Grade: 5 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Posted July 11, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins ReidThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Atria Books
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 400
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four-half-stars

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

While this story is definitely not in my usual wheelhouse, someone whose opinion I admire raved about this book, and the premise reminded me of another book I really enjoyed, The Thirteenth Tale, where a famous elderly woman selects a seeming nobody to write the story of her life. I decided to take a chance on it, and I am so very glad I did. 

At the beginning of the book, journalist Monique Grant is getting divorced, is going nowhere in her career, and is not terribly happy with anything in her life. When reclusive, aging movie star Evelyn Hugo asks for Monique, and only Monique, to write a piece about her, she’s shocked but excited. Evelyn promises complete and total honesty, and as her tale unfolds, Monique learns that Evelyn, and indeed all human beings, are more complex and messy than they at first appear.

One of the first questions Monique asks Evelyn is “Who was the love of your life?” While Evelyn doesn’t answer immediately, the question sets the stage for their conversation, and you get a sense that answering that question is one of Evelyn’s primary reasons (but not the only one!) for telling her story in the first place. This isn’t a romance, though there is a love story (several, really). More importantly, the underlying theme of Evelyn’s story is love, which is why I think this book may appeal to readers of this site–who you love, why you love them, how you can love different people differently, what you will do for love, and when love sometimes isn’t enough. We see how Evelyn came from a background with little love and eventually fashioned a life for herself and created a family of people who loved her immensely. It was touching to read about.

Evelyn is a fascinating and richly drawn character. She had a desperately poor and unhappy childhood, but she’s determined to be a star, and she makes it happen through a combination of looks, natural (if unpolished) talent, and no small amount of pure determination. Some parts of her story are downright painful to read about, as she does what she has to do to get ahead, but the most poignant parts of the book are when she does things to protect the people she loves. (The chapter where she talks about her marriage to her third husband is particularly heartbreaking.) Even when she’s protecting others, though, she’s also protecting herself. Evelyn is clear with Monique that she isn’t the “good guy” in her story, that she can be self serving, vain, and cruel. The trick of Taylor Jenkins Reid, though, is that for the most part, you’re on Evelyn’s side through most of the book. You see the reasons for her choices, and it’s hard not to admire her determination and her fierce loyalty for those she loved. Then, she reveals a big secret near the end, and suddenly you’re left questioning, and some of the consequences of Evelyn’s choices become a bit less abstract that they were before. It’s nuanced and complex and fascinating to read.

While Evelyn’s stories vividly bring other characters to life, Monique is not as finely drawn. Her story isn’t fleshed out as fully as I would have liked. Her dissolving marriage was never quite explored and seemed more like a vehicle for showing how much Evelyn inspired Monique than an integral part of Monique’s own story. Monique’s mom is similarly shallowly portrayed and just added a hint of the “flavor” of Monique’s life without much substance. The ending was also rushed. Evelyn finally reveals her biggest secret, and I didn’t feel like there was enough time or interaction afterwards for Monique to process it all.

I found this book both captivating and beautifully written. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was a great book for stepping out of my usual genre.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Safe With Me by K.L. Slater

Posted January 25, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Safe With Me by K.L. SlaterReviewer: Tina
Safe With Me by K.L. Slater
Published by Bookouture
Publication Date: November 3, 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
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four-stars

Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

I found Safe With Me by K.L Slater on NetGalley when I was looking for a new thriller after reading a couple of lighthearted holiday books. I felt like I needed something with a little more substance after being in happily- ever- after land for awhile. So I read the description and was definitely interested.

I always like to read a couple of summaries on a particular book that I am about to read to give me an idea of if I really want to read it or not. I also like to check a couple reviews from people that I am familiar with on Goodreads or LIbrarything just to see what their views are as well. The book got pretty good reviews from a lot of folks on Goodreads, so I submitted my request and was glad I got selected.

Safe With Me puts you inside the head of a woman who is slowly surrendering her grip on reality, and trust me, it’s kind of a scary place to be. The story line is fast-paced for the most part and is certainly full of twists and turns. There are parts of the book that are pretty intense and the author definitely knows how to keep you guessing. I was surprised to find that the book is actually K.L. Slater’s debut novel.The writing is spot-on, with interesting, well-developed characters that all seem to be harboring their own secrets. Although I can’t say the majority of them were likable, I don’t feel they were intended to be anyway. I felt that the book had a good flow and was a fairly quick read as well.

I finished the book knowing that I would definitely be watching for more from this new author. If this is her first offering to the literary world, I can only imagine what she will come up with next. K.L. Slater did a great job of keeping me guessing, and from what I saw from the several other reviews that I had read, I was not the only one! That is always a sign of a good thriller. A story loses a lot of it’s power when the reader has it figured out by the middle of the book.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall

Posted December 28, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tell Me No Lies by Lisa HallReviewer: Tina
Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall

Publication Date: October 20th 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 183
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four-stars

From the bestselling author of Between You and Me don’t miss Lisa Hall’s new gripping thriller.

Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

It was supposed to be a fresh start.

A chance to forget the past and embrace the future.

But can you ever really start again?

Or does the past follow you wherever you go…

I have to admit that even though I enjoy many different genres of books, I always tend to gravitate towards women’s fiction and psychological thrillers. I saw Tell Me No Lies on NetGalley and after reading the summary, I submitted my request with my fingers crossed. I had heard a little bit about the author, Lisa Hall, on Goodreads because of her book Between You and Me. One of my “friends” had read it and gave it five stars. So, when I saw that I got approved for a review copy of this one I was pretty stoked. By the way, I purchased Between You and Me on Amazon right before I wrote this review.

I have to tell you that I started this book shortly after I received it and finished it pretty quickly as well. The only problem was that I read it late one night after everybody else went to sleep and my menopausal insomnia chose to keep me up. Yep, you can always count on me for a little TMI! Anyway, being a slightly paranoid person anyway, ( I mean how many times can you check to see if a door is locked??) I started reading and all was good. Well about a third of the way into it, I started getting that creepy vibe and every pop and crack of the house suddenly became somebody coming to get me! Not cool! So, fyi, if you get spooked easy, read this one during the day.

I really did enjoy this book. It was intense read and kept me powering through it because I was determined to finish it before I went to bed. As you read this book you might get that feeling that maybe you read it before, but you probably just watched a movie that was very much like it. I pretty much had it figured out by the last couple of chapters, but I still had to read on as you never know if the author is going to switch it up on you or not! But I have to tell you….I don’t really know how I feel about the ending. I mean I’m not sure if it was so unexpected that I am just freaked out by it or if I hated it. To me it was like driving 85 down the highway and slamming on your brakes! I’m sure Lisa Hall did that on purpose and that it was her intention to leave us all going “WHAT????”. At least I HOPE that was her intention..

I thought this was a great book. It had everything that a really good psychological thriller should have. Well….except that ending. But I will leave that up to you to decide for yourself. I am still on the fence about it. Great book – bizarre ending. Not gonna lie.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in return for my honest review. I enjoyed it and think that if the summary sounds interesting you should give it a try. It’s a relatively quick read and only took a couple of hours from start to finish.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone

Posted December 26, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen StoneReviewer: Tina
Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone
Published by Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 247
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three-stars

Evelyn Tester is sleepwalking through her suburban life—until a late-night phone call startles her awake. Her husband, a prestigious psychiatrist, has been in an accident. And he isn’t alone.

Suddenly Evelyn’s world isn’t as tidy as she thought. And in the midst of it all is Juliette, not only her husband’s secret lover but also his patient. If news of the affair were to get out, it would ruin more than just Evelyn’s marriage. Although it’s a bitter pill for Evelyn to swallow, protecting her family means staying silent—even if, as she begins to discover, the night of the accident has consequences far more dangerous than the unmasking of an affair.

But the more Evelyn learns about Juliette’s picture-perfect life—complete with a handsome, unsuspecting husband—the more she yearns for revenge…and satisfaction. Her growing obsession fuels her rage, burning away her complacency. What will be left of her after it flames out?

I found Evelyn, After on NetGalley where I was looking for something that would bring me down from my “sugar-high” from over-indulging on a few too many syrupy Christmas stories. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those kind of books during the holiday season, but a girl has to give herself a break once in awhile. The minute I saw that cover, the first thing I thought was “Oooh!! Somebody’s gonna get it!! It looked creepy BEFORE I read the blurb, and then when I found out the subject, I couldn’t wait to read it. So when I found that I had been given a review copy, I downloaded it immediately and got ready for a wild ride……or so I thought.

The first part of the book was exactly what I would expect in a thriller. We have a car crash and a woman filled with rage after discovering that her husband is having an affair. But, by the middle of the book and nobody is dead yet, I started wondering what the heck was going on. My only suspense at that point was wondering when all the crazy was gonna start!!

So was this woman pissed or what? Yep, she was, but she didn’t go all bat-shit crazy like I expected. Instead she did a little Facebook stalking and a couple “drive-by’s” (not THAT kind…) which is not exactly was I was expecting in a book that is supposed to be a psychological thriller.

What happened instead you ask? Well, our scorned wife lost quite a bit of weight in a relatively short amount of time and went out and bought herself a new wardrobe. Then she had a “revenge-affair” with the other woman’s husband. So… in finding out that her husband was a cheating bastard, she re-invents herself and becomes the woman that she had “lost”. Really???

At this point ,all I could think was “Wow”. And I didn’t mean this in a good way. I wanted her to be so enraged that she lost her damn mind on somebody! Instead I felt like I had just watched a made-for-television drama on WE!

Evelyn, After was NOT a psychological thriller in my humble opinion. Nobody went psycho, and I didn’t get so caught up in the suspense that I ate a whole bag of M&M’s or anything!! The book had some decent DRAMA, but it didn’t scare the bejeezus outta me like I had hoped. I didn’t hate the book, but it just wasn’t what I expected at all. And then to top it off, the ending totally killed it for me.

With all this being said, I thought this book was just okay. If it would’ve had a different cover and had not been labeled a psychological thriller, I might have still picked it, I just would’ve known what NOT to expect. I might have even rated it a bit higher.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this advance ebook in return for an honest review. I would give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

three-stars


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