The Final Girls by Riley Sager

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Three out of Five Stars
Thriller for fans of slasher films; girls-in-peril genre.

Since I’m not of fan of slasher films, I completely missed the significance of Riley Sager’s book title, The Final Girls. Aficionados of horror films know that the “final girl” is the one woman who manages to survive a bloody rampage by a serial killer.

While the novel is more of a thriller than a horror story, it still has its moments of gore, murder and madness. Final Girls follows the story of three beautiful, young women who are survivors. Lisa survives an attack by a knife wielding assailant who kills nine of her sorority sisters. Sam overwhelmed and killed “the Sack Man,” after he killed guests at the Nightlight Hotel, and Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape the nightmare of Pine Cottage and into the arms of her savior, Coop.

Years later, Lisa dies under mysterious circumstances, which catapults Quincy back into the public eye as she struggles to recover repressed memories of the killings at Pine Cottage. Sam, the second final girl, shows up unannounced on Quincy’s doorstep, totally disrupting her life. Is Sam there to offer help, or does she have her own agenda as she presses Quincy to recover her past?

The Final Girls is a pulse-pounding thriller, with many twists and turns. Although I guessed the solutions to the mysteries about one-third of the way through the book, the action and moody atmosphere kept me going to the end. I was willing to go along for the ride, and see how Sager told the tale. I was less in love with the idea that only lovely women are noteworthy, but that is something too often found in the press, suspense novels and movies.

This review was cross posted to:
Amazon
Goodreads

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The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

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Four out of five stars.
Fully realized, non-cliché characters interact in a dangerous dystopic world. Fast-paced, exciting read.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m a fan of dystopia novels. I especially like them during autumn, when the weather gets brisk, the leaves turn, and the nights become longer. Some people like to read horror or ghost stories during the season. I prefer tales about disasters that could occur, especially ones we create.

The Salt Line, by Holly Goddard Jones is an ideal novel for those looking for a fast paced thriller in a dystopian setting. It even has tiny monsters to haunt your dreams this Halloween. In a futuristic U.S., the cities and states have shrunk to fiercely protected zones; with carefully selected, limited citizenry. Rings around each zone have been “salted,” or cleared, burned and chemically treated to kill and prevent the growth of any plants or animals. Why? Deadly disease carrying ticks inhabit the land between zones, and they cause an agonizing death.

Society remains starkly stratified in this futuristic world, and rich thrill seekers pay a fortune to leave the zone and experience wild nature in mountain settings. Specialized companies take carefully trained tour groups into the world outside the zones.

While nature provides significant threats, so do small enclave of outer-zoners; people not allowed into the safe zones. Equally dangerous are other groups of tourists looking for deadly thrills.
The novel blurb says The Salt Line is “in the spirit of Station Eleven…” but I think that it is much closer  to The Last One by Alexandra Oliva. Both novels provide a suspenseful game of attrition in a unique dystopian world.

This review was cross posted to:
Goodreads
Amazon

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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In many respects, the novel description of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller seems to be like many other fantasy novels. Protagonist Sallot Leon is an orphan-thief who wants to escape a life of successful highway robbery and find a way to avenge the dead of his/her family and countryman.

What makes Mask of Shadows a standout is that Sal is gender fluid, and insists that s/he be addressed in the appropriate manner based on his/her mode of attire on any given day. This is not just literary window dressing, Sal’s gender identity is central to the plot development and adds depth to his/her character.

Smart, witty, introspective and deadly, Sal tries out for an opening in the cadre of the Queen’s personal assassins, and a position in court close to treacherous nobles. The audition for assassin is a fight-to-the-death amongst all applicants. If Sal wants revenge, s/he will have to be ruthless.

Fast-paced, brutal, with a unique protagonist, Mask of Shadow is an exciting new fantasy read.

Three out of five stars.

I received a complimentary copy  courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley.

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

 

Description from Goodreads:

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

Source of featured image: Link chen.concept.Illustrator   

 

 

 

The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak

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The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak is as timely as it is remarkable. Book Groups members looking for a book that will touch the heart, provide food for thought and deliver an abundance of points for discussion should consider this novel, which publishes on December 26, 2017.

Although The Suppers is a historical novel set in 1950s Louisiana, many of its themes are extremely relevant. Basic principles of justice including impartial trials, fair treatment of prisoners, and the death penalty are emotionally depicted. Issues of racial and sexual equality; the safety of women and children are as important now as they were then.

In The Last Suppers, protagonist Ginny Polk chooses to return to Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary and work in the prison as the head cook. While there, she volunteers to research, prepare, cook, and deliver a last meal to prisoners prior to their execution. She discovers the harsh brutality of prison life, yet also finds hidden depth of humanity in some of the convicted as they share the simple grace of a meal.

These discoveries cause Ginny to question her memories of her own turbulent and violent past, which lead to heartbreaking revelations.

A memorable read.
Four out of five stars.

I received a complimentary copy of The Last Suppers courtesy of the Kensington Books through Goodreads.

Two Stars for The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross

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I have mixed feelings about the latest book by award-winning author Lisa Tuttle; The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross. Since it is the second book in the Jesperson and Lane series, following The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief, I understandably had a little trouble getting into the book. This lack of access was compounded by the fact that as the reader, I was immediately thrown into the action. I found it difficult to determine what I didn’t know, but would eventually discover as the mystery unfolded, and what I what I didn’t know because I hadn’t read the first book. This can be a problem when entering any series midway, but I had more trouble during the first and second chapters of this novel than I have had with other series.

Once I got past the first couple of chapters, I felt that the story moved along at a good clip, the mystery was distinctive and not easy to solve, and the secondary characters were well developed and interesting.

Character definition lead to the second problem I had with the novel, though. I felt like I knew the background characters much better than the primary characters, and the things I knew about the lead characters didn’t ring true. Jesperson, the lead male character, should have had no particular problems working with a woman, since his partner Lane is female. Yet he seemed to hold information back, even purposely keeping her in the dark, which at times hindered their murder investigation. Similarly, why would Lane, a woman who supposedly wanted to make her own way in the world, put up with Jesperson’s behavior? Overall, I found their behavior and working relationship unlikely.

In the end, I thought the book was okay.

Two out of five stars.

I received a complimentary copy a courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley.

 Description from Amazon.com

“Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.

According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.

But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.

 

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross

Publisher: Hydra (November 28, 2017)

Publication Date: November 28, 2017

Sold by: Random House LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B01N43CEFZ

 

 

 

Depth of Lies by E.C. Diskin; Book Review

EDITED TO NOTE: FREE KINDLE COPY

There are 100 copies of the Kindle version up for grabs on Goodreads right now!      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34879620-depth-of-lies

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We need a new term for books which portray the life changes women experience when they become femmes d’un certain âge, women of a certain age, and their children have left home, their careers have soared or crashed, and their love-lives have succeeded or failed. If novels about young women are called “coming of age” novels, perhaps we can refer to later transitions in women’s lives as the “coming of wisdom.”

Depth of Lies, by E.C. Diskin, features one group of longtime suburban neighbors and friends who have shared a variety of experiences; childbirth and child raising; work, financial difficulties, unfaithful husbands and divorce. These events have allowed them to acquire of depth of knowledge which will be tested as they face one of the greatest challenges of their lives.

Shea Walker, one of their friends and the titular leader of the group, is found dead with a stomach full of pain-killers and alcohol.

This discovery shatters the close suburban circle, and begs the question, how well did they really know one another?

Determined to answer the questions surrounding her death, long-time friend Kate Burns follows the path Shea walked the last few months she was alive. That secret path leads Kate to discover unsavory secrets about all of the friends, and one secret that might have been better left alone.

Fast paced, relatable, contemporary mystery with satisfying conclusion.
Three out of five stars.

I received a complimentary copy of The Day the Angels Fell from netgalley.com

Pub Date 26 Sep 2017.

Bookshelf Faves August 27, 2017–September 1, 2017

I post a lot of bookshelf porn over on my Facebook page.  Here are the reader favorites of the week.

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When you run out of space, you can always put a bookshelf over the window.  Source: lonny.com 

 

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Interesting shelves on bookstore gallery.
Source: http://tangyanzxb.blog.sohu.com/321349948.html

 

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Bookcases don’t have to match!
IMO, these vaiously styled bookcases make the room look homey.
Source: picnicinthegarden.blogspot.com 
christoph-boninger-book-cart_so8Source: Christoph Böninger Book Cart for auerberg

 

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Desk and bookshelves in tiny Parisian apartment.
Source: apartmenttherapy.com  

 

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Great bookshelves along staircase!
Source: http://www.serett.com

 

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Narrow bookcase in small apartment makes good use of space.
Apartment in Kiev by Sergey Makhno Architects

 

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Crowded bookcases in Dev’s apartment on Netflix’s hit show, “Master of None.”

 

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No sleeping on the bookshelves!
Source: http://tangyanzxb.blog.sohu.com/321349948.

 

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Free Library founded by 68 years old Pietro Tramonte.

 

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Interesting library study and bookshelves from domaine.

 

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Out of date books replace spindles on staircase. I notice some of them are old Readers Digest condensed books, and some look like old text books. Don’t use good books!
Source: designsponge.com 

 

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I want a reading nook filled with globes, so I always know where my books are taking me.  Source: digsdigs.com

 

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How many books can you stack on your sofa before your partner gets annoyed?
Saved from thevintiqueobject.blogspot.com