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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Three Floors Up: A Novel by Eshkol Nevo

(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Finalist for the Fiction and Book Club categories of the 2017 National Jewish Book Awards

Set in a Tel Aviv apartment building, this best-selling Israeli novel examines a society in crisis, through the turmoils, secrets, unreliable confessions, and problematic decisions of the building’s residents.

On the first floor, Arnon, a tormented retired officer who fought in the First Intifada, confesses to an army friend how his obsession with his daughter’s safety led him to lose control and put his marriage in peril. Above Arnon lives Hani, known as “the widow.” Her husband travels the world for work while she stays at home with their two children, increasingly isolated and unstable. When her brother-in-law suddenly appears at their door begging her to hide him from loan sharks and the police, she agrees, in spite of the risk to her family, if only to bring some emotional excitement into her life. On the top floor lives a former judge, Devora. Retired and eager to start a new life, Devora joins a social movement, tries to reconnect with her estranged son, and falls in love with a man who isn’t what he seems.

A brilliant novelist, Eshkol Nevo vividly depicts the grinding effects of social and political ills played out in the psyche of these flawed, compelling characters, often in unexpected and explosive ways.

my thoughts:

Wow! What a book! This tender, moving story provides such fascinating observations about flawed, sympathetic characters that will haunt you for days.  I absolutely LOVED Three Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo - it is truly a must-read.

This is a story that epitomizes the notion that you never really know someone, you just don't.  In this case, three stories are told by neighbors who live in an apartment building in Tel Aviv.  They each reside on separate floors and will appear in each other's stories in the background, but their connection is merely proximity.  Each floor is meant to represent Freud's theory of the id, ego, and superego -  as each character shares a deeply personal story, their struggles with the boundaries of guilt and morality becomes quite evident.  You can't help but engage with these characters and find yourself immersed in their confessions - its simply unputdownable.

I don't want to write about the stories, because they are just so emotional and riveting.  They must be read for you to experience their depth and strength - character studies of people and their flaws.  Plus, you will just love the descriptions and details about life in Tel Aviv - the culture, customs, politics, etc..  Three Floors Up is just such a terrific book - I loved it! 

I would definitely recommend Three Floors Up to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!



Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Curses, Boiled Again! A Lobster Shack Mystery by Shari Randall

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll. . .

Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her dear Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer―especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.

Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case?


my thoughts:

Cozy mysteries are where its at! They are fun, quick and easy reads that hook you in right from the start.  Chock full of quirky characters living in a small town, you can't help but get caught up in their dramas, town gossip, and murder mysteries.  I know that I love to gobble up these stories as often as I can - they always seem to cheer me up with their light, engaging stories.  Plus, there are so many to choose from, which I just love.  The latest series is a new one called, A Lobster Shack Mystery and the first book is Curses, Boiled Again!  How fun is that title?!  I have to admit to cracking up when I saw the cover and the title - I just knew I was going to be in for a treat.

Allie is a ballet dancer who is living her dream, when a bad fall leaves her with a broken ankle and out of work.  So, she travels back home to Mystic Bay to recuperate and help out her Aunt Gully, who is trying to get her lobster shack off the ground.  There's going to be a food festival and Aunt Gully is aiming to win the Best Lobster Roll contest - she knows it will do wonders for her business.  Unfortunately one of the judges dies after eating a lobster roll from Gully's biggest rival, which leaves everyone to believe she is behind the deadly lobster roll.  How crazy is that?!  Allie knows she has to save her Aunt Gully from these false charges, so she rustles up her friends and family to help her solve the mystery of whodunit. 

Talk about a fun and cute story! I just loved getting to know the citizens of Mystic Bay through their dramas, town gossip, and this murder mystery.  This book was such a delight to read.  The twists and turns made the murder/mayhem aspect thrilling, while the descriptions of the town and its people made for some light humor.  I really enjoyed trying to figure out who the culprit was, along with cheering on Allie as she worked to solve this crime. 

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries - you will LOVE this new series!! 



Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Mail!

I can't wait to read these two lovelies:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33590210-an-american-marriage?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35581653-feel-free?ac=1&from_search=true

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mini-Reviews...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35230481-all-the-beautiful-lies?ac=1&from_search=true

Harry is just about to graduate from college when he gets the news that his father has died.  He goes home for the funeral.  Its just him and his stepmother, Alice.  Harry doesn't really know Alice all that well, so he's a bit wary of her at first.  Alice has secrets that's she's been keeping for ages - some that are just too horrible to even speak of.  As the two spend some together, suspicions are raised and theories are made - was Harry's dad killed, and if so, why?  And, who is Alice?  The more Harry pieces together and the more we learn about Alice - lets just say, the more dicey the situation gets for Harry and anyone around him.  All The Beautiful Lies is a slow-going story that does captivate (at times), but I will be honest and tell you its not Swanson's strongest story.  I've loved his previous books, so I was super excited to read his latest one.  While I did enjoy bits of it, I wasn't completely satisfied.  I felt that the story lacked the excitement, suspense, and mystery that his other books have.  This one was rather flat in comparison.  Overall, it was a decent read. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36249634-rust-stardust?ac=1&from_search=true

Based on the real-life kidnapping of Sally Horner and her captor (a news story that inspired Nabakov's novel, Lolita), this story provides a look into Sally's perspective and her family members' perspectives on how they struggled to deal with Sally's disappearance.  Its a heart-wrenching story that devastates.  This story grips you from the start as you read about this little girl who wants to befriend a group of girls in her class.  They challenge her to steal something from the local shop in order to join their club.  Sally hides a notebook beneath her sweater and starts walking out the door of the shop, but she gets stopped by a strange man who claims to be from the FBI.  He tells her he knows she's a thief and he must take her to talk to a judge about her crime.  Sally is terrified and looks around for help, but her new friends have fled from the store and left her alone.  The man threatens Sally some more and eventually kidnaps her.  She's scared and confused and doesn't understand why he won't just take her to the police.  Sally doesn't understand that this man is a liar and that he's kidnapped her.  She doesn't understand that he is a criminal who likes little girls.  She has no idea what he has in store for her.  All she knows is that she wants to go home to her mom and her sister.  Rust & Stardust is a terrifying story, because its based on Sally's story.  Its a compelling read that will have you crying, feeling horrified, and leave you bereft once you finish.  I couldn't stop reading, even though I wanted to stop so many times - it was just too hard to read about poor little Sally.  This is a book that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31423183-penance?ac=1&from_search=true

Five little girls are playing volleyball on school grounds when a man dressed in workman's garb walks up to them. He claims to be working and needs some help.  All the little girls volunteer to help him.  He chooses one of them and takes her by the hand.  They walk away together and the rest of the girls continue playing.  Eventually they realize how late its getting, so they set out to look for their friend.  They find her body in the boy's changing room by the swimming pool.  The man is never found and no one is charged with the little girl's murder.  The four little girls are left haunted by their friend's death.  Especially after they visit with her mother a few years later.  The mother blames them for her daughter's death.  She tells them they have three options: find the murderer, pay penance, or do nothing and she will make them pay.  All four girls are terrified and as we read about their lives we find out how they dealt with such a crazy threat.  Its sad, heartbreaking, and unputdownable! I absolutely LOVED this book! Such a great read!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19161835-confessions

Its the last day of school and the teacher is making announcements.  She will no longer be teaching at the school come the new year.  Yes, her decision has to do with the death of her little girl.  Her daughter's body was found floating in the school pool and it was ruled an accident.  However, the teacher has discovered that two of her students are responsible for her daughter's death.  Yes, her daughter was murdered.  The teacher recounts details she has uncovered and though she doesn't outright name the two murderers, everyone in class knows who she is talking about.  She then confesses to the punishment she has decided to dole out to these two boys.  Lets just say, her confession begins a series of events that are truly unexpected.  Talk about a chilling read. The children in this book are beyond awful and horrifying - they are killers! And the cold, calculating manner in which they plot out their crimes is just terrifying to read about.  I found that I couldn't stop reading. I absolutely loved this story - it was scary, gripping, and unputdownable. Yes, its awful to read about these kids who are monsters, but its also fascinating to learn about their families and how they viewed and handled their sons. And, of course, I wanted the teacher to get her revenge.  I absolutely LOVED this book!  Confessions is a revenge story at its best!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Still Me: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, a new book featuring her iconic heroine of Me Before You and After You, Louisa Clark

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she navigates how to stay true to herself, while pushing to live boldly in her brave new world.


my thoughts:

I absolutely LOVED Me Before You - the love story of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor that ends in heartache.  I enjoyed After You - reading about Lou post-Will - but didn't love it.  So, I was a bit skeptical when I heard there would be a third book, Still Me.  I didn't know what to expect or how we would find Lou.  So, when provided with the opportunity to find out, I immediately agreed to it.

Lou is now happily dating Sam.  Except they are long-distance dating, because she has decided to go away to NYC for a year.  She's found a job as a PA for the wife of a super rich man on the upper East Side.  The woman is disliked by the society set, has no friends, and is hated by her step-daughter.  Lou befriends her (or at least thinks she does) and begins to enjoy working for her.  She starts enjoying her new life in NYC.  Of course she misses Sam, but she knows that they love each other and it will all work out.  So she works, goes out, and lives her life.  And just as she thinks she's settled in, complications arise - personal and professional.  Soon, Lou is headed back to the UK and life is turning out to be not so lovely after all. 

Now, I will admit to loving the character of Lou, but I if I'm honest, we could have just left her with the last book, After You.  I feel like Still Me was unnecessary.  It shows that Lou still needs to grow up, trust herself, and discover what she loves - all of which make for a funny, but over the top read.  However, these are all things that Lou could have discovered in After You.  Why drag out the story of her character any longer?  Truthfully, I enjoyed bits of the story, but found it to be too much at times.  The more I read about Lou, the more I disliked her.  And in the end, I didn't really care what happened to her.  This book was a miss for me.



Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!