A Window Opens: What Matters in Life


A Window Opens
Book Review
A Window Opens

I find a star system too subjective, so bottom line: I would recommend this novel!

A Window Opens follows the main character, Alice, who is a mother of three small children. At first, she juggles the a part time career and trying to be the best PTA mom, while her husband works full time in New York City as a lawyer. Unfortunately, not long after the novel starts, her husband realizes that he won’t have a future at his law firm, so he decides to strike out on his own.

As the title implies, the novel is about doors closing and windows opening instead. Honestly, I shed a few tears because I read the book at a rough time in my own life, like the main character. The novel is about struggling families and choosing to be right rather than happy before even more family disasters strike.

I really loved Alice, the main character. She is full of passion. She isn’t perfect, but she’s trying. The beginning of the novel captured my attention, yet it did take me a few tries to get going.

Along with the Alice’s adventure in venturing into full time employment and trying to be a good mom, plus take care of her dying father, and strained relationship with her husband, there are lots of sweet and funny moments with her children. Overall, the story really hit home how important family (both biological and friends – the family that you pick) are.

You’ll also love this book if you’re a book-lover because Alice is a book reviewer for a magazine at the beginning of the novel, makes wonderful allusions to all sorts of literary things throughout the story, oh, and her best friend owns a small book store. If you read about their concept of the “No Guilt Book Club,” you’ll be dying for someone you know to start one. I would go!

I’ll leave you with this short line that left me with a few tears and made me go run and hug my husband: And if we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that life is short. You need to be happy.

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You can pick up A Window Opens on Tuesday, August 25, 2015!

Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to honestly review this novel.

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The Murderer’s Daughter: An Interesting Novel


The Muderer’s Daughter
Book Review
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The Murderer’s Daughter follows the life of a woman who is the daughter of a murderer, as the title implies. However, I think the title is a bit misleading. [If you read it, leave a comment and let me know if you agree!] I don’t want to spoil anything, but the murdering part of her parentage isn’t really what shaped her life. It’s the part that comes before and after it.

The main character, Grace, though, is a tremendously gifted child, who is fortunate enough to land in a situation where her talents are fostered. Her interest in psychology and eventual career allows her to help other victims of trauma, but also creates an interesting twist when her past and present collide.

I did like the narrative style of weaving the story of her past with her present, so it is like the unwrapping of many presents. It is almost two stories in one. It is the story of how she became the woman she is, which is highly guarded, private, and solitary, while also the story of how she is seeking to find out the identity of who is trying to kill her because she doesn’t want to take her story to the police.

I love the main character, although the story borders on far-fetched. There are just too many convenient circumstances to make the book “tidy” and wrap-up nicely for my taste. While there were unexpected twists and turns, I just kept thinking “this is all too convenient” as I read the novel. It was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end, so I could read the conclusion, which was well done, in my opinion. However, in my opinion, I just just kept coming back to the fact that everything wrapped up too well. I don’t know if that was to keep the book a readable length or to keep it simple. But, for a psychological thriller, there was a ton of psychology and not as much thrilling!

Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to give an honest review of this book!

 

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“You fundamentally misunderstand the concept.”


Days of Awe Review
days of awe book review: back to carolina

Days of Awe is about Isabel Moore, a teacher, mother, and wife. The novel begins with the death of her best friend and fellow teacher, Josie. The novel vacillates between the past and the present. When Iz, as her friends call her, was a child, and her dissolving marriage.

The novel explores how Iz juggles so many life changes at once, how her past shaped her present, and most of all how to cope with grief as she feels like she may be responsible for Josie’s death. Iz sees how easy it is to second guess everything and go back years and trace events that lead to Josie’s death.

As a reader, I was engrossed in the story. I was emotionally invested in the characters, who were well developed. My heart broke when Iz’s heart broke. I got mad at the other teachers when Iz got mad at the other teachers. I was rooting for her. However, the ending left me disappointed.

There was no ending. Not really. Endings to novels definitely don’t need to be neat and clean. I don’t need them wrapped up in a box with a bow. However, when I think about ambiguous endings that are done correctly – an ending where I don’t know what happens to the characters, really – I still feel satisfied. Satisfying ambiguous endings are satisfying because the main character or characters have not only learned something, but they’ve applied it to their life. Even if they learn not to care about what other people think about them, and they exhibit a glimmer of hope in their eyes or they kick their crappy boyfriend to the curb, but now they have to move back home with their batty family. I don’t learn how they rebuild their lives, but I know that they’ve come out better people and something good is going to come out of the bad situations in the the novel.

Days of Awe leaves the reader hanging. I don’t know if Iz’s empowerment is implied, which if it is, it isn’t done well, but honestly when I finished the novel, I wanted to hand it back to the editor and the author with a big fat F in red at the top and write “try again.” Or, maybe to borrow a phrase from my least favorite professor on a literary criticism test that I failed as a baby sophomore, who didn’t belong in the class, I could write at the top “You fundamentally misunderstand the concept.” Ms. Fox and her editors need to try again because they fundamentally misunderstand how to end a story.

It’s really a shame because I couldn’t put down the novel. When I got to the last page, I was stunned that it was the ending.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont: Review

Among the Ten Thousand Things Among Ten Thousand Things

This is a beautiful novel about love, life that ruins love, family, and what’s leftover when life is done. This new release is definitely worth your time, even though there aren’t a whole lot of reviews on it yet. I got an early copy from NetGalley – but early by about two days. So, in my typical fashion, I used my accumulating Audible credits to pick it up because I was loving it, but my new medications have my sleep messed up. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the book – even when I shed a tear or two. The book, broken into four parts, tells the story in an interesting way. The first part sets up the falling apart of the family. The short, second part, gives the reader a fast glimpse into the end of the family’s lives. How people die. How the kids grow up. Things you don’t expect in the middle of the novel. The third part of the novel, finishes telling how the wife, husband, and two kids get to part two. Mostly told from the point of view of the wife, it’s an beautiful, heart-wrenching look at the thoughts of a woman who has been betrayed and how she decides what she is going to do with that betrayal. While Among the Ten Thousand Things is not a light summer read, it is a beautiful, poignant novel. I don’t know if other readers will appreciate this part like I did, but Simon, the 15 year old son, is a wonderful representation of a teenage boy. He reminded me so much of my moody, angry, teenage brother with a bad attitude! It made me laugh a lot. The novel reminded me of the humanity in all of us. Parents are people. Kids see more than we know. And kids turn into adults who will perpetuate the cycle. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. All opinions are my own.

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Why You Should Read Pretty Baby: A Book Review


Pretty Baby Book Review
Pretty Baby Book Review: Seriously, Sarah?

I was eager to read Pretty Baby, since I had so thoroughly enjoyed Kubica’s first novel, The Good Girl.

The story begins with a charitable mother of woman, who lives in the heart of Chicago and works at a non-profit. On the public transportation system there, she notices a homeless teenage girl holding a baby. Both the girl and the baby are not properly dressed for the cool, spring weather. The charitable woman, Heidi, runs into the teenager two more times in a short time span.

All the while, the reader is privy to the thoughts of Heidi, the homeless teenager, Heidi’s husband, and even Heidi’s teenage daughter. The narration style lends itself to the slow unfolding of secrets or lets the reader see misunderstandings that the characters don’t see. My favorite part, though, is that not all of the storytelling is chronological. There is one character who is occasionally retelling her story to someone else, in the future, when hindsight is 20/20.

Who Should Try Pretty Baby?

People who enjoyed the twists, turns, and unpredictability of Kubica’s first thriller, The Good Girl.

If you haven’t read The Good Girl, but have liked any of the popular thrillers, Pretty Baby will be a definite winner for you.

If you want to try a thriller that isn’t too gory or scary, you can also start here.

Pretty Baby has a little something for everyone who enjoys anything about interesting storytelling or psychological thrillers.

I particularly enjoyed Kubica’s examination of the mind. Two characters went through what most people would consider to be an unrecoverable hells, but each reacted in a completely opposite ways, in my opinion. I’m interested to read what other people think!

You will be able to pick up a copy on July 28! Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads “Want To Read” List, so you’ll get the email notification!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel, Pretty Baby, for a book review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads, if you have the time!

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