Audrey is an influencer. She has over a million followers on Instagram.
When she decides to take her dream job at an art museum in Washington
D.C. she is excited but she does not know that someone waits for her in
her new city.
Cat is Audrey’s friend from college. A young lawyer
looking to make a name for herself in her law firm. Her best friend
arrives from New York. It seems like things are going right for her but
maybe everything isn’t as bright as it seems.
I really enjoyed the first 80% of this book. I could not wait to find
out who the mysterious “him” was. I loved how the stories interweaved
and the hints about Cat’s secret. I was creeped out by the stalker and
his methods. This book makes you realize how dangerous social media and
the internet can be. It lets someone into your life that you do not know
or cannot trust. I kept hoping for some big reveal that would blow my
mind but I figured out the stalker fairly early. I hoped that I was
wrong and the author was trying to psych the reader out. However, the
story fell flat at the end. It was pretty obvious how it was going to
end up. It was a four star book until the last 8% of the book. Oh well.
It was a still a fun read.
But my favorite part was the art exhibit! The dioramas sound so cool. I would love to see something like this.
FYI: Beware of who you let follow you on social media!
First line: We must, by law, keep a record of the innocents we kill.
Society has finally learned to conquer death. The world is no longer
starving, dying from disease or dying in general. However, one small
problem remains. Overpopulation. The solution is the Scythedom. Scythes
are people who are chosen and trained to take human lives in order to
keep the population of Earth to a manageable level.
and Rowan are chosen by Honorable Scythe Faraday as his apprentices they
are less than thrilled. Life as a scythe is one of isolation and
loneliness not to mention death. As their training commences they learn
that there is more to the Scythedom than they originally knew including
some darker secrets at its core.
My Thoughts: I absolutely
loved and devoured this book! It was recommended to me by one of the
booksellers at Watermark Books. I finally bought myself a copy because I
could not wait for the library one to come back in. I am so happy that I
did. It was fast, fun and crazy. So many different twists and turns. I
loved the characters. The world is fascinating. Shusterman did a great
job of creating a real Utopia but also bringing in some very dark themes
as well. As soon as I finished it I immediately downloaded the digital
copy from Sunflower eLibrary. If you need something to suck you in from
the very beginning then this is that book!
FYI: Lots of
death and violence but I don’t think it is over the top. It would be
hard to avoid this topic in a book all about bringers of death.
When one of their friends goes missing they are all shocked but Elise
does not believe that Julie is dead. Even after a year and a funeral she
still holds out hope that she will return. Then suddenly after two
years she reappears with no memory of what happened to her.
the hopes of learning what happened and reconnecting the friends decide
to get together for a long weekend in a swanky new hotel in the
mountains. Upon arrival they notice that something is wrong with Julie.
She looks different. She acts different. But no one wants to bring up
these changes. As the weekend continues Elise starts noticing strange
happenings around the hotel. She cannot decide if it’s her imagination
or something truly odd is occurring.
My Thoughts: I do not know how to feel about this book. I like it but something is not sitting well with me too. At the beginning I compared it to The Shining and Pet Sematary but as the story progressed it verged away from this. I liked the little hints of creepiness. I loved the strange hotel. But the ending was just not what I expected. It became more gory than spooky. And the final chapter was just kinda dumb.
The characters were a little
bland. I liked Elise. I could relate to her. But I got two of the
friends constantly confused and the fact that their names both start
with M made it even more confusing.
First line: Cilka stares at the soldier standing in front of her, part of the army that has entered the camp.
Sixteen year old Cilka Klein was sent to Auschwitz along with her
family. One of the head SS officers of the camp notices her and moves
her away from the other women. Over the three years she is kept in
barracks 25 until the day the camp is liberated by the Russian forces.
Upon their arrival she is arrested and charged with collaborating with
the enemy. She is sentenced to fifteen years in a Siberian gulag.
she arrives at the prison she finds a world that she has unfortunately
become very familiar with. The forced labor and brutal conditions of the
camp are not new to her. She makes friends with several of her fellow
inmates but when she catches the attention of the female doctor her luck
begins to change. With her work in the hospital she finds a way to make
amends for the guilt about her past and maybe even start to feel love
My Thoughts:The Tattooist of Auschwitz was such a heartbreaking story. But I was beyond shocked by the story of Cilka. She was forced into a Russian prison after suffering for years in a concentration camp because she was raped for three years. It makes no sense. The poor girl is stronger than I can imagine I could ever be. I really cared about what happened to Cilka while reading her story. She did so much good in a terrible place. If only there were more people like her.
I never even considered that things like this happened
to some of the survivors. It is sad that the “liberators” were nearly as
cruel as the Nazis. Her time in the gulag is unbelievable. I know that
the author did lots of research and she does a great job of bringing it
to life. People need to know these things in order to try and stop them
from happening again.
I felt like this was much better put together than the first book. It was not nearly as choppy.
FYI: This is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
First line: In the dead of night, during the dreary month of March, the Chelsea Hotel is a quiet place.
Hazel Ridley is from a stage family. Her father spent years on
Broadway, her mother as his manager and her brother was an aspiring
actor but Hazel has never been able to find her big break. She decides
to sign up for the USO tour. When she arrives in Italy she meets Maxine
the leading lady of the troupe and they quickly become close friends.
Hazel’s return to New York City she finds an apartment at the Chelsea
Hotel in order to work on her idea for a play based on her time in the
war. With Maxine as the leading lady it appears that the show is going
to be a hit until her name appears on the list of suspected Communists.
As the Red Scare begins to take over the country, Hazel is worried that
her show and life may not be what she once believed it would be.
Like Davis’ other works, this centers around a New York City landmark,
the Chelsea Hotel. It plays just as much of a role as the characters. It
is the home of creative types during the twentieth century including
Mark Twain, Andy Warhol and Arthur Miller. The hotel has a fascinating
history. As with other historical novels I love to look at pictures. It
is a gorgeous old building.
I learned more about McCarthyism and the Red Scare while reading The Chelsea Girls.
It seems like a scary time. The Cold War is going on. You do not know
who you can trust. Neighbors are turning in neighbors. This brought it
more to life than many of the history textbooks I have read throughout
my school years.
I was rather disappointed in The Chelsea Girls.
In her previous novels there is a dual narrative with one being in the
past (usually the 1920s) and one being modern. It was not so in this
case. It did switch between the two main women but it did not seem to
have the same magic as her others do. I liked it but it is probably my
First line: “Sophia, let’s go,” I call out from the hall.
Alice’s life is beginning to come back to normal. She has remarried
after the death of her first husband. She has two beautiful daughters
and a successful business. But when her husband, Nathan begins acting
strangely she turns to her best friend, Beth. As they talk about the
situation Alice begins to wonder who she can trust anymore.
My Thoughts: This by no means is anything groundbreaking or new to the genre but it was a lot of fun to read. It went by very fast and kept me interested the whole way. I liked how it was divided into sections for each of the women. We got a look into each of their lives and pasts which helps build up to the conclusion. I had so many theories flying through my head as I read. Each became more twisted with each passing page.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes a fun thriller. It is a perfect summer read!
First line: I’ve a thief to thank for finding the one person I need to see before I die.
Elise Sontag, a fourteen year old girl from Iowa, has her life turned
upside down when her father is arrested on the suspicion of being a Nazi
sympathizer. Her family is sent to an internment camp in Texas where
she meets her best friend, a Japanese girl named Mariko. They spend
several months together before Elise’s family is deported back to
Germany. In the hopes of keeping their friendship alive the two exchange
letters but it is difficult with the ongoing war. However, Elise keeps
up hope that after the war ends she will be able to return to America
and see her best friend again.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. The last several books have not been as good as Secrets of a Charmed Life which was my first book I read by Susan Meissner. It is a topic that has not been talked about much and it could be because it is embarrassing but it is our history and we need to acknowledge it. And learn from it too. I cannot imagine how shocking it would be to have everything taken from you and being forced to live in basically a prison. Then to be sent back to a land that they had left or never even lived before. Especially with a war on and cities are being heavily bombed. How do you rationalize that?
The time spent in camp was actually a very small part of the book. Most of it took place in Germany after Elise’s family is repatriated. I liked listening to her story as she navigates this foreign land in wartime. She did not speak German which put her in a tight spot since the Germans were at war with America. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a story set during World War II.
FYI: Definitely check out Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner.
Rasmira has been training for years to be a warrior and gain her
father’s approval. On the day of her trial she is sabotaged and
sentenced to banishment in the wild until she completes a task set by
the council. No one ever returns from the wild. However, Rasmira is
determined to finish her mission and take revenge on the people who
caused her downfall. But how do you kill a god?
Tricia Levenseller can write a really fun novel! There is no big world
building or complicated story lines. It is straight to the point and
loads of fun to read. I immediately was hooked on Rasmira’s story. I
liked how tough she was. I truly felt sorry for her when she is sent
into the wild. Everything that she thought she knew was destroyed. I
enjoyed her interactions and friendship with Iric and Soren. They are
destined to be friends but it takes a lot for Rasmira to accept them due
to past prejudices.
This book really reminded me of The Valiant by Lesley Livingston. There was a lot of action and it was a quick read.
First line: The road curves and twists unexpectedly as it leads higher and deeper into the Catskill Mountains, as if the farther you get from civilization, the more uncertain the path.
Summary: For the guests of Mitchell’s Inn in the Catskill Mountains it looks like a beautiful winter weekend. However, when a body of one of the guests is found at the bottom of the stairs on the first morning things become less idyllic. Add to that a power outage from an ice storm and the guests begin to fear for their safety since there appears to be a murderer staying at the hotel.
Highlights: I recently read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. As I started reading An Unwanted Guest I was comparing the two novels. A remote location, a group of strangers, no way to leave and murder! How can you not go wrong with a combination like this? I found the story fun and engaging. Each character was interesting and had little secrets of their own. The idea of being stuck in a hotel with strangers and no electricity while a murderer is on the loose is a bit terrifying. I wish I could have read this during the winter wrapped in a blanket. I liked the atmosphere and suspense. This was a quick read and lots of fun.
Lowlights: I was a little shocked by the ending. However, I thought that when the killer was revealing everything it was a little rushed and quickly thrown together. It did not seem like it was planned out or given too much thought.
First line: Anna said there was only one place to find a meaningful gift for MDash—the Antique Warehouse, not so much a place for old treasures as a permanent swap meet in what used to be the Lux Theater.
Summary: A collection of short stories written by Tom Hanks. Each story has its own feel and flow to it but in each he incorporates a typewriter. The stories span from time travel to a struggling actress to a bowler with a perfect score.
Highlights: I liked each and every story. They are all unique. I was excited to read this book because I am a big fan of Tom Hanks. He is very talented and once again proved it with this collection. The depth of the stories and the variety captured me. It was nice to have something I could pick up and put down without losing track of the storyline. I think my favorite was the story of the time traveling billionaire. The ending was sad but I completely enjoyed it.
Lowlights: I wanted more! I have never been drawn to short stories but I think this will be a gateway into trying more. I was always disappointed when the story ended.