Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Friend Request - Book Review

The premise is so appealing. Louise has just received a Facebook Friend Request from a girl she knew twenty five years ago in high school--a friend that is dead. Louise's heart stops. Not only did Maria Weston die in high school but Louise has never been able to let go of the guilt she feels for the way she treated Maria.

The friend request from Maria also just happens to coincide with a class reunion. Is Louise just being paranoid or is she really being stalked? Could it really be Maria--not really dead all these years? Who else knows of Louise's guilt? Who else might be messing with her?

Friends Request is a fun thriller from debut author Marshall. It takes on social media and asks the question--do we ever really know the people we interact with from behind the screen. The happy pictures and cheerful statuses don't always tell the whole story.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall is mostly fast paced psychological thriller--it gets a little bogged down in the middle. The characters are interesting and not completely trustworthy. Like any good psychological thriller, doubt is thrown on all the characters and the reader is kept off balance. It has some dark twists and turns that I wasn't expecting with a very exciting and satisfying conclusion.

Friend Request is a quick, entertaining read that will leave you breathless and just a little nervous next time you log in to Facebook.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall is published by Grand Central Publishing and released in September 2017.

**I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.** 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Love and Other Consolation Prizes : Book Review

I fell in love with Jamie Ford's first novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and he quickly became a must-read author for me. So, I was super excited to receive an early copy of Love and Other Consolation Prizes to review.

Ernest Young was just a little boy when his starving mother left him in the graveyard to be collected with the other children and taken to America. Through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events, a now twelve year old Ernest Young is to be raffled off the prize holding ticket at the World's Fair in Seattle.

Years later, his journalist daughter has been digging into the 1909 World Fair and discovers this tiny tidbit. Could the boy that was raffled off so many years ago be her father? She approaches him to tell his story which she is sure will be a newspaper hit. He is reluctant only because his story intertwines so much with his sick wife's story and he wants to save her from any possible humiliation. For Ernest wasn't claimed by a family but by the Madam to the most high-class brothel. Ernest will form deep friendships with the Madam's feisty daughter Maisie and scullery maid Fahn.

I had just finished listening to the audio version of Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement that was about Chinese courtesans and I didn't love it (Sorry Amy, way too many details) so I wasn't sure I was really in the mood for more of the infernal sex trade. However, Jamie Ford handled it so much better. It was an honest and careful novel about young people caught in a tragic world they barely understand and how they were able to deal with it and eventually move past it, while finding love and hope.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes is a very beautiful and moving story told with so much passion and consideration. I just adored Ernest and his love for the two wildly beautiful and bold young women and how he would just about anything to save them.

Anyone who loved Ford's earlier novels will also love Love and Other Consolation Prizes. I promise.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford is published Ballatine Books and released on September 12, 2017.

**I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When We Were Worthy

She Reads announced yesterday that When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is the September Book Club Selection. 

I was a little busy having surgery yesterday but I definitely wanted to add my own thoughts about this latest novel from Whalen.

From the cover :

A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.
When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.
At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

My thoughts :

The novel is set in a small town not much unlike the small town that I recently moved to. Everyone knows each other and the social scene revolves around the high school athletics. Whalen does a very good job at examining how much of ourselves we really share with each other and the secrets that we keep. 

When We Were Worthy is a smartly written and engaging. While it is a mystery, it focuses primarily on the characters. The reactions of the characters in the situation are so real that it's almost painful to read about their struggle to understand what happened and who is ultimately to blame. Can they forgive? Can they find peace? Can they survive? All of these questions are answered by Whalen in an emotional, sometimes witty, novel that kept me reading late into the night.

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is published by Lake Union Publishing and released on September 12, 2017.

**I received a complimentary copy of the book though the She Reads Blog Network. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**