RaveUSA TodayWhere queerness and pop culture meet, you will find writer Jill Gutowitz. And it\'s that intersection she deftly explores in her debut book...with a sharp wit and an even sharper pen. Between every one-liner and guffaw, Gutowitz delivers not just herself, but universal truths everyone can relate to ... while she certainly does not claim to represent everyone, Gutowitz\'s writing and ability to find humor in her life\'s experiences transcend labels. Hers is a refreshing perspective, one often overlooked ... Gutowitz takes a comedic approach to recounting her formative years in the late aughts, producing a smart, searing look at a time and place that did not bring out the best in us culturally ... Gutowitz\'s humorous missives on sex, politics and pop culture continue a tradition of women reaching out through their own stories to give new generations a voice to relate to as well.
PositiveUSA TodayImmediately the reader is hooked ... Scheier writes a compelling memoir that is hard to put down. Written in decisive prose, Scheier does not coddle herself or her mother. Neither does she vilify or glorify anyone ... Our response is more profound awe than merely a sympathetic aww ... The memoir\'s only flaw is in what is written but what is left unsaid. Not so much as how Scheier coped in situations with her mother, but how she coped with interacting in the world outside her home. How do you learn to trust others, how do you learn to even trust yourself? ... Every reader will take something different from this memoir. Some will see themselves while others will empathize. But in the end, Never Simple reminds every reader that no matter who we are and where we come from, life is never simple.
PositiveUSA TodayLucy Foley...is back with another page-turning thriller...in which the story and its characters are as unique and beguiling as the city itself ... Foley gives readers a relatable heroine in Jess, one whose shoes we can step in and whose missteps are as important as her breakthroughs. In fact, all of Foley\'s characters are believable, each distinct without breaking into stereotypes ... Foley also keeps readers on their toes with a fast-paced story in which she does a stellar job of juggling the past and the present with multiple narratives without getting bogged down. You can feel the urgency in her prose. As with any good thriller, the breadcrumbs Foley skillfully drops are there for Jess and the reader to find. But do they lead us in the right direction? That depends. Throw in our own assumptions, some twists and turns along the way, and suspects and scenarios abound. As does a thrilling read.
RaveUSA Today\" Faith Jones bridges entertainment and empathy by penning a page-turning memoir that is not just a fascinating and heartbreaking look at life inside a cult, but ultimately an empowering story of resilience ... At first, in describing her childhood, Jones\' writing is simple and straightforward, sharing her daily life while educating the reader on the Family\'s cultish rules such as speaking in code, reporting on each other\'s activities, distrust of outsiders and authority. But as she ages and becomes more sophisticated, so does her prose.
Jones brilliantly articulates not just the Family\'s shortcomings in terms of personal freedom but expands on society\'s as a whole ... The only critique on Sex Cult Nun, is wishing for a more in-depth look at Jones\' life after she was emancipated from the Family. She touches on some of her college, law school and professional life but just enough for us to want more. Reading more about her life and her struggles post-cult would make for a fascinating and welcome follow-up.\
PositiveUSA TodayColllins\' talent to make prose moody and atmospheric is masterful. Even while reading with all the lights on, one still feels alone and on edge with a sense of foreboding. The author\'s skillful ability to misdirect the reader to the point that everyone appears guilty is impressive. The author plays with the reader. At times the novel boils over with suspense, and at other times it is a slow simmer, moving creepily along. On the whole, The Family Plot is a steady and satisfying hunt for a killer that true-crime enthusiasts and thriller fans can both savor.
PositiveUSA TodayWith her latest page-turning thriller...[Lapena] is once again at the top of her game ... Lapena does what she does best, so much so that trying to put the book down is futile Once you start reading, you won\'t want to stop. Whom do you believe? Whom do you suspect? Your own alliances will switch along with each of the family members\'. With every clue, every lie exposed and every truth revealed, Lapena keeps the reader guessing right up to the very end. And once there, Lapena manages to leave us wanting even more.
PositiveUSA TodayKross’ writing reads less like a scientific tome and more like a casual conversation. It\'s easily digestible, as Kross forgoes the verbiage of academia and explains simply and concisely to the reader why we have an inner voice and what happens when that voice is hijacked by chatter. Most importantly, he gives us tools we can use to manage it. We don’t want to eradicate our inner voice; we just want to have a better relationship with it ... Citing myriad studies to forward his thesis, Kross includes extensive notes but never leaves the reader drowning in data. Kross keeps his argument simple and relatable ... There is no one cure-all solution, but Kross provides tools we can employ to manage our own chatter and help us redirect our inner voices ... Kross may be a scientist by trade, but with Chatter he proves himself a deft storyteller who, through levity and wit, creates an easily digestible work on the brain, how it works and how we can quiet our often relentless chatter.
PositiveUSA TodayWare manages to make a retreat in a chalet in the wide-open French Alps feel claustrophobic, nerve-wracking and deadly ... The author’s choice of telling the story in dueling narratives enhances the steadily escalating pace of the book ... With one a member of the group and the other a casual observer, the reader is privy to more than just one character’s motives and observations. But when it comes to whodunits, giving too much away lessens the impact ... As always, Ware is effective at not just manipulating her characters, but also their environment, with a simplicity that belies its effectiveness. There are no outlandish scenarios or truly out-of-the-ordinary circumstances that render the plot unbelievable. Reader can picture themselves in a similar situation, and that adds to the suspense ... another solid thriller from Ware. And with all good thrillers, the crux comes down to the one thing we can never control: another person’s motives and intentions. And isn’t that the most frightening realization of all?
PositiveUSA Today... not your usual age-swap story and is a relatable read for anyone who has ever felt younger than her years and an imposter in her life. So, pretty much everyone ... Montimore proves an adept storyteller. Oona is a good balance between serious and silly. There are laughs, to be sure, but the author captures the essence of Kenzie\'s 19-year-old self in an older body without making the story slapstick. With its countless epiphanies and surprises, Oona proves difficult to put down.
Isabel Allende, Trans. by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson
PositiveUSA Today3/4 stars ... Timely in terms of the debate surrounding immigrants and refugees, the novel is not so much subversive as it is subtle in its exploration of the debate. Allende does not sacrifice the story for the message ... Allende’s prose is both commanding and comforting. The author writes eloquently on the struggle of letting go of one culture to embrace a new one.
RaveUSA Today...a nuanced, extraordinarily ordinary adult love story that is as romantic as it is real ... At first, these characters appear to be fictional stereotypes – the lonely woman and the jock – but with Holmes\' deft talent, they evolve into subtly nuanced individuals. Once we get to know the real Evvie and Dean, and as they get to know themselves, we want to continue the journey with them ... With the effortlessly enjoyable Evvie Drake Starts Over Holmes proves herself a natural novelist...
S. A. Lelchuk
RaveUSA TodayIf you are looking for a new literary heroine who does not fit any of the stereotypical P.I. molds, and breaks a couple of them while she\'s at it, S.A. Lelchuk’s Save Me From Dangerous Men should be at the top of your reading list ... a suspenseful page-turner. Perhaps with an eye on an eventual series, the author makes Nikki and her backstory the book\'s focus; the plot, at times, seems secondary. But that is not to say the plot is second rate. Rather, it is original and inspired. The who-done-it and why are meticulously built, with bread crumbs carefully laid out to give the reader an aha moment not a moment too soon ... Nikki Griffin is anything but boring but totally believable ... Lelchuk has set the stage for both a heroine and a world to which we will gladly return.
PositiveUSA Today\"Butler’s prose is very much a reflection of his characters, particularly Lyle – simple but not austere, forthright yet reverent. And he pragmatically poses questions of faith through his characters ... The story\'s pace begins slow but steadily builds to a climactic ending. Readers may love or hate where and how Butler chooses to end the story, but there is no doubt their reaction will be informed by their own faith.\
PositiveUSA Today\"... Fiona Barton continues to charm ... Barton’s classic use of short chapters and multiple narratives keep the reader on edge, helping to move the story along at a brisk pace. Her ability to sustain the tension while not overwhelming the reader is to be applauded. And, as with her earlier works, Barton’s skill in weaving both unexpected yet believable twists and turns right up to the final page is commendable.\
C W Gortner
PositiveUSA TodayHis ability to weave what reads as a simple tale from such complex historical and familial storylines is impressive. With historical fiction, particularly an era so flush with royals and revolutionaries, there is a danger in getting lost in details and shortchanging character development. Happily, Gortner avoids that trap ... Maria’s life as a royal reads like a historical soap opera. The Romanov Empress is blessed with a memorable cast, especially its leading lady.
MixedUSA TodayWeisberger could have given [the protagonist] more of a soul, more dimension. Instead, the reader is treated to a relentless barrage of vapid observations that soon wear thin... Prada fans hoping for an entertaining reunion with their favorite characters may find that life has given them Lululemons after all.
RaveUSA TodayThe author’s effortless, eloquent prose transports the reader via a dramatic, suspenseful and satisfying work of historical fiction ... Lawhon brilliantly employs an inventive and non-linear dual narrative to tell the tale of how Anastasia would become Anna Anderson, or, perhaps, how Anna became Anastasia ... In the end, what Lawhon does so convincingly is shake up our notion of identity.
P. D. James
PositiveUSA Today... the collection mostly turns the classic murder mystery on its ear by not being so much a 'whodunit' as a when, where and how’d they get away with it? ... In Sleep No More, James (who died in 2014) writes of the perfect crimes — ones where the perpetrator gets away with it. Granted, knowing who the culprit is from the start can present a puzzle for mystery fans. But James’ spin still makes for an entertaining read. She has a knack for creating a page-turning tale; who cares if you know who the guilty party is? There is an unexpected delight as the reader moves from one story to the next, wondering not who may have gotten away with the next bold crime but how they did so, and brilliantly.
RaveUSA TodayGeorge and Lizzie’s love affair, if you could call it that, is messy and, more importantly, human. As people, they could not be more different … Pearl...weaves Lizzie and George’s past and present effortlessly and constructs a narrative that connects with the reader. Lizzie and George are not just fully fleshed out characters but familiar. Pearl skillfully explores love in its many facets — true, unrequited, long-standing, parental, platonic and love for oneself. In the end, George & Lizzie is a tribute to love, warts and all.
RaveUSA Today...a perfect blend of beach read and book club selection. It's a fascinating and fitting follow-up to her best-selling debut novel, The Widow ... In The Child, the suspense comes immediately. The book’s short chapters and multi-narrative device propel readers forward. Drawn back and forth between each character’s back story and their present situation, one is constantly figuring out what role each plays in the discovery of the child. And as soon as you think you've figured out who did what, it changes. Then changes again. In addition to being a page-turning whodunit, The Child is also a subtle exploration of the relationships between mothers and their children, their bonds and battles.
PositiveUSA TodayPoeppel’s tenor is just right. She delivers a perfect balance between the totally believable — awkward student interviews — and the truly absurd — a tense showdown involving parents and firearms ... If Small Admissions has a lesson, it’s that rejection does not have to be absolute. What appears to be an obvious failure may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as both Kate and these anxious parents come to learn.
RaveUSA TodayBennett’s witty and worldly prose belies her age of 26 as she brings a strong voice to her wide range of characters, from the youthful protagonists to the church elders. Her storytelling does what all truly good fiction does: it draws you in and, on a universal level, connects with you and makes you think .... The Mothers is a thought-provoking novel that will resonate long after it is read.
RaveUSA TodayThankfully, with Rosoff’s talent, what could be a yet another novel of millennial existential angst is transformed into a delightful literary romp. Adding zest to Jonathan’s journey is a British vet named Dr. Clare, a surprise wedding, a man crush and an elicit doggie love affair. There is a lyrical cadence to Rosoff’s prose. You almost hear it while reading, as though the tale is being told to us. There is nothing extraneous about this book, from the choice of words to the supporting characters; each and every one feels needed.
MixedUSA TodayBarton skillfully weaves a tale that reminds us that yes, we can be deceived by others, but we can just as easily deceive ourselves. Perception is a two-way street. A stranger or a loved one can play a role or act a part until it feels real.