Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Quick Pick: The Real Liddy James, by Anne-Marie Casey

The Real Liddy James book review, by Anne-Marie Casey
  • Opening lines: Liddy knew Mrs. Vandervost had been crying because she emerged from the corridor bathroom with her sunglasses on. 
  • Reason I picked up the book: The synopsis sounded interesting, and it was available on NetGalley. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • An exuberant new novel about a modern-day superwoman who leans in so far she falls over.

    Liddy James is forty-four, fit, and fabulous. One of New York's top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. Despite a devastating divorce from her first love, literature professor Peter James, Liddy, Peter, and Peter's sympathetic new partner, Rose, have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter's truculent teen and Liddy's adorable, if fatherless, six-year-old. With her lonely and impoverished childhood far behind her, to the outside world Liddy's life is perfect.

    Until it isn't.

    When Rose announces an unexpected pregnancy, Liddy's beloved nanny takes flight, a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, and the bill for a roof repair looms, Liddy realizes she may have finally bitten off more than she can chew. Long overdue for time off, she takes her sons and heads to Ireland to retrace her family's history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside, things are still far from simple, and Liddy takes on a stormy neighbor, an unorthodox wedding, and a surprise guest before she's willing to admit that even she might have forgotten just how to be the real Liddy James.
  • Favorite paragraph: Rose remembered a scornful debate she had participated in during her freshman year about women like Liddy, professional women whose lifestyles were balanced precariously on the subjugation of other women, women like Lucia, who were their servants. (For two and a half decades, Rose had self-consciously scrubbed her own toilet bowls; the moment she was forbidden to, Peter had greeted with cash and open arms the two undocumented Eastern European maids who came for four hours every week). But now she knew that Peter's unpaid sabbaticals, the renovations to the house, the new car, had all been lubricated by his ex-wife's salary, and the lifestyle Rose enjoyed was wholly dependent on the continued labors of Liddy. 
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes stories about untraditional families. 
  • Something to know: Nothing. 
  • What I would have changed: Nothing. 
  • Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to purchase.

    *Disclosure: I received a galley of this book from NetGalley. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Quick Pick: My Not So Perfect Life, by Sophie Kinsella

  • Opening lines: First: it could be worse. As commutes go, it could be a lot worse, and I must keep remembering this. Second: It's worth it. I want to live in London; I want to do this; and commuting is part of the deal. It's part of the London experience, like Tate Modern.

    (Actually, it's not much like Tate Modern. Bad example.)

    My dad always says: If you can't run with the big dogs, stay under the porch. And I want to run with the big dogs. That's why I'm here.
  • Reason I picked up the book: I love all of Sophie Kinsella's books, especially the Shopaholic series, so I was pleased to see that NetGalley had a copy of her newest book.
  • And what's this book about?
  • Part love story, part workplace drama, this sharply observed novel is a witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world. New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella has written her most timely novel yet.

    Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she's desperate to make her dad proud. Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

    Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth.
  • Favorite paragraph: I crawl to the side of the swamp and dip my head in the fresh water of the adjoining pond, trying to calm my adrenaline rush. OK. Regroup. This was not the plan. I have to keep it together. This may be Demeter, but she's a guest too. I cannot be having a mud fight with her. I mean, it really wouldn't sound good on TripAdvisor.
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes chick lit, and/or who is a fan of Sophie Kinsella's books, or wants a fun read. 
  • Something to know: The Goodreads plot synopsis is actually worded different from this one (which I got off of NetGalley), although obviously the book is the same.
  • What I would have changed: Nothing. 
  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to pre-order on Amazon - the book will be in stores on February 7, 2017.

    *Disclosure: I received a galley of this book from NetGalley. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Livia Lone, by Barry Eisler {ends 11/27}

It was the end of the rice harvest when the men came to the village and took Livia and her sister Nason. Livia was thirteen. Nason was eleven. Their parents had sold them. 

I have never read any of Barry Eisler's novels before, but this one was very good; based on this one alone, I'd like to read more of his books.

Official synopsis:
Seattle PD sex-crimes detective Livia Lone knows the monsters she hunts. Sold by her Thai parents along with her little sister, Nason; marooned in America; abused by the men who trafficked them…the only thing that kept Livia alive as a teenager was her determination to find Nason.

Livia has never stopped looking. And she copes with her failure to protect her sister by doing everything she can to put predators in prison.

Or, when that fails, by putting them in the ground.

But when a fresh lead offers new hope of finding Nason and the men who trafficked them both, Livia will have to go beyond just being a cop. Beyond even being a vigilante. She’ll have to relive the horrors of the past. Take on one of the most powerful men in the US government. And uncover a conspiracy of almost unimaginable evil.

In every way, it’s an unfair fight. But Livia has two advantages: her unending love for Nason—

And a lifelong lust for vengeance.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Good Behavior, by Blake Crouch {ends 11/8}

She sipped her drink and stared at the napkin the barkeep had left on the table. Four handwritten four-digit numbers. Took her thirty seconds to memorize them, and a quick look around confirmed what she had hoped—the window washers and the hotel guests remained locked and absorbed in their own worlds. She lifted the napkin and slid the keycard out from underneath it, across the glass tabletop and into her grasp. Then shredded the napkin, sprinkling the pieces into the hissing water.

I was interested to read this book, which ended up being a collection of 3 short stories, because TNT is premiering a TV show of the same name this month. I had heard about the TV show at BlogHer this year, as well, since they had a booth there. The stories ended up being pretty interesting, and the show should be good too.

Official synopsis:
The bestselling author of Dark Matter and Wayward Pines, Blake Crouch’s Good Behavior centers on Letty Dobesh, his favorite character creation of all time, and will be available in print and eBook from Thomas & Mercer on November 15th. TNT’s new television series (of the same name) starring Michelle Dockery also launches November 15th at 9pm ET/PT.

Featuring a special introduction and “behind-the-story” commentaries on the adaptation from Crouch, as well as a look at his earliest inklings of Letty in journal entries from 2009, both book formats will include photos from the set, and the eBook will feature video scenes from the new TNT series. Readers will transition seamlessly between Letty’s adventures on the page and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery in live action as she brings the character to life on screen.

Fresh out of prison and fighting to keep afloat, Letty Dobesh returns to her old tricks burglarizing suites at a luxury hotel. While on the job, she overhears a man hiring a hit man to kill his wife. Letty may not be winning any morality awards, but even she has limits. Unable to go to the police, Letty sets out to derail the job, putting herself on a collision course with the killer that entangles the two of them in a dangerous, seductive relationship.

Good Behavior comprises three interlinked novellas, The Pain of Others, Sunset Key, and Grab, which together form a novel-length portrait of Letty Dobesh.

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