The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine Review
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine title The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

Verdict: I read it in a day!

If I read it in a day, you can read this review knowing that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! I found the scenario imaginative, fascinating, and in some cases hilarious, and in other parts heartbreaking. Overall, the novel covered a range of emotions in a compelling manner.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine actually follows a journalist named Thomas Cleary, who covers the entertainment section of a newspaper in Los Angeles. I was a bit surprised when the main character was a man, considering the title. The story begins when Tom gets a big break by writing the obituary of powerful and famous man in Hollywood. His middle-aged daughter invites him to a dinner where he meets the closest friends of the dead man, and then Thomas's whirlwind journey into the lives of the rich and famous begin - eventually leading him to Matilda Duplaine.

I loved the slightly fantastical, but plausible scenario of the story. The romance, intrigue, and evolution of the characters were all so compelling that I honestly couldn't put the novel down. I had to keep reading until... fill in the blank. Things kept happening, so I wouldn't put it down.

The crown jewel of the novel, though, without spoiling it, is the evolution of Matilda Duplaine's character. It is heartbreakingly true to reality, so it is not just a fairy tale romance. It's possibly one forged from rougher stuff than some grittier novels, even though it originates in a world of seemingly limitless money and luxury.

Overall, I would never hesitate to recommend this novel. I read it almost a month ago, but it sticks with me. I would love a sequel, even! Put this on your TBR list, and push it to the top. I'm stingy with my Goodreads 5s, but this novel got one.

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review the novel.

Have you read it? Did you like it? Is it going to go on your reading list?

Don't forget that you can be my friend on Goodreads, here!



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Pretending to Dance Review
pretending to dance review title pretending to dance review

Verdict: An average fiction book aimed at women.

Per the publisher: Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family—the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?

Pretending to Dance Review:

Pretending to Dance follows Molly during the summer when she is 14, during the 1980's, as well as her late 30's, during our contemporary time. As the adult Molly and her husband attempt to adopt a baby, we learn about the summer of Molly's life that changed her world forever. As you can imagine, there are obvious parallels between adult Molly’s situation and child Molly’s situation, and there are some clever parallels that the reader doesn't find out until later into the novel. On the whole, it's a fiction novel. No more and no less. It's not really a coming of age story; it's not a thriller; and finally, it's certainly not a mystery.

I really enjoy novels that have narratives that go back and forth between time. I liked this one a lot because most novels that I read that employ the technique, like Kate Morton novels, jump 50 to 100 years. This novel, however, had a shorter jump, and followed the same woman. I found myself wishing that story would follow the older Molly more, though. The summer that Molly was 14 made her who she was, essentially, but I still liked the chapters about her life in San Diego and the adoption process.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend that you run out and put this novel at the top of your To Be Read list, but it’s not a bad book. And, if you happen to be a Diane Chamberlain fan, then definitely read it. It caught my attention enough that I will definitely be reading more novels by her soon.

You can add Pretending to Dance to your TBR list here on Goodreads. Don't forget to add me as a Goodreads friend, if you love books, too!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

 


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Girl Waits With Gun

Girl Waits With Gun: Book Review
Girl Waits With Gun



Verdict: I wanted to like this book more than I did.



Girl Waits With Gun is supposed to be about the first female sheriff; however, it tells the story of her life leading up to that event, so I felt that the publisher's synopsis was misleading. I probably wouldn't have picked up the novel if I had known the true plot.

The novel about a family of first generation Americans who live in a rural area outside of New York City and find themselves, specifically the two older sisters and the much younger sister, alone and without male protection, which was odd for their time period. The women had the misfortune of having their horse and buggy hit by a mobster/generally bad guy's car. The main character then sets out to seek payment for repairs, but instead incurs his wrath. The novel follows that storyline, among others.

While I didn't hate the book, it wasn't one that I just had to pick up or couldn't put down. I dutifully read 30 minutes every day until I finished the novel, so it took me almost 2 weeks, which I thought was sad because I anticipated devouring the novel. Contrast that with the next novel that I picked up, which was similar in length and style, but I finished that in 3 days.

In hindsight, I can't put my finger on anything particularly wrong with the novel, other than maybe I just didn't like the characters. They were supposed to be quirky, but they felt forced and just weird. I didn't feel any particular empathy for them. I wished that there was a romantic component to the novel because that would have probably kept me reading, but the repetitiveness of the plot was tedious. There are only so many times that I can read about the main characters not listening to the sheriff. It might be true to history, but it doesn't make it interesting.

My honest assessment of the book is don't bother reading it. If yo don't u do want to read it, I wouldn't push it up high on your reading list or pay for it. The library would be the way to go. I honestly couldn't stand to read it, so I ended up using an audible credit to listen to it, even though I am reviewing it for Netgalley. It was a waste of a credit, but I wasn't going to be able to force myself through it, otherwise.

So, history buffs may find it extremely interesting since it was a good look at life at the time, but for someone who is looking for a compelling fictional story, this isn't it.

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.





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What I Read Last Month: September 2015
What I Read September 2015 Well, I really didn't read as much as I wanted to last month, plus this post is much later than I expected it to be! I only read a few, and by read, I mean listened to books! My symptoms are getting really bad, so I'm burning though TV shows and movies like crazy. If you've been following me on Instagram, you've seen that I went to a cervical dystonia conference at the beginning of October, so, the end of September was spent slowly packing and then watching more TV.

So, as my health deteriorates, I watch more TV and read less. I hope that October's report will have a few more books. I am hoping to get better treatment soon. Contemporary

The Sisters of Versailles

The Sisters of Versailles

Verdict: I was glad to read something other than British historical fiction...

I wrote an entire post, which you can read here!

Leaving Everything Most Loved

leaving everything

Verdict: Another great addition to this series

This novel won't stand alone, but if you are a fan of this series, then I would recommend it!

The Rose Garden

the rose garden

Verdict: A different kind of time travel.

This novel was another Kearsley novel centered around the Jacobites (so far, both novels that I've read by her were written about that time period), but her twist on time travel made the romance novel suspenseful and fun.

We Never Asked for Wings

we never asked for wings

Verdict: For people who like good books.

I don't write that verdict lightly. You can read my full review here!

Everybody Rise

everybody wise

Verdict: I cringed a lot.

I don't know if the cringing was because the writing was really good, so I could feel the embarrassment for the character, or if the scenarios were like an I Love Lucy episode, minus the punch line. There was nothing funny about this book, but I did like the ending. A+ on the ending.

The Royal We

the royal we

Verdict: A lot more involved and complex than I thought it would be!

I really liked this novel, honestly. I thought it would be light-hearted and fun, but it was more complex and long. The novel was a coming of age story that dealt with things like class, money, and trust in relationships. It was really more of a relationship complicated by royalty than a fairy tale, which I liked. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but it was still good, and I would still recommend it.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Verdict: An interesting narrative non-fiction piece!

I love narrative non-fiction novels. I don't want to give anything away, but I loved the way that everything came together in the end. The story was so intriguing, and the fact that it is based on real life, since it seems so fictional, makes it even more sensational!

An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford #2)

an impartial witness

Verdict: An average second installment of another World War mystery series.

I don't love and I don't hate Bess Crawford mysteries. They are pretty vanilla with tons of loop holes. Like, how does this lay person, just a nurse, happen to stumble across so many mysteries and solve them? If I worked for the police, she'd be my suspect!

The Ashford Affair

The Ashford Affair

Verdict: For fans of Kate Morton

I haven't read a ton of Lauren Willig's novels, but this particular one should be a hit with Kate Morton fans! I enjoyed it. classics

Why Shoot the Butler?

why shoot the butler

Verdict: Mystery + Love Story?

I won't lie, I had higher hopes for this one. As a huge Heyer fan and a huge mystery fan, I thought this would be perfect. However, unlike her Regency novels, which can be downright hysterical, this one was cold and a bit scary. I have another mystery novel that she wrote that is part of a different series (with a different investigator) that I will try out, before I write her mystery novels off all together.

read these

We Never Asked for Wings

if you have time

The Ashford Affair

The Royal We

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

don't bother smaller

The Sisters of Versailles

Everybody Rise

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads You can read my past monthly round ups: August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

   


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The Sisters of Versailles: Book Review
the sisters book review The Sisters of Versailles Synopsis from Goodreads:

A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France's most "well-beloved" monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.

Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.

Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot - and women - forward. The King's scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

My Thoughts:


This novel was interesting because I do like historical fiction, plus this was a time period with which I wasn't familiar. It was definitely on the racy side, but I had never read about this king or the court lifestyle. Otherwise, I didn't find the book that interesting.

While the book wasn't poorly written and the characters were well imagined, it felt like a lot of other historical novels. There was a ton of backstabbing and bickering among the sisters. I guess it was probably true to the time period and kings with ambitious mistresses, but a person can only read so many of those novels.

So, overall, the only thing that made this stand out was the fact that it took place in the French court with a king that I hadn't read about before. So, if you are looking for something new this could be the novel for you. The novel, which was told from the view points of several narrators, covered the girls' lifespans, so I am interested to see what the rest of the trilogy could possibly cover.

I wasn't impressed with the novel, as a whole, but I did finish it. I am not looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy... in fact, I will probably only read the synopsis to see how the author even makes it a trilogy.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of the novel to review.

If you love Goodreads as much as me, add me as a friend here!

 
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Fall Reading List: 10 Books I Can’t Wait to Read
fall reading list I know I always think of Summer reading lists because they're light, fun, and great for vacation. However, there is nothing more fun than having a list of books to dive into on a rainy fall afternoon, sitting on the back porch while the weather is just right,  or a story to capture your imagination while you drink your coffee in your cozy flannel pajamas.

fall reading collage

I haven't read any of these (so, don't blame me if any are bad...), but here is what I'm planning on reading this Fall!

Girl Waits with Gun

girl waits with gun From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

the gilded life A modern-day Gatsby tale of forbidden love, family secrets and the true price of wealth.

The Heart Goes Last

The Heart Goes Last A new novel from Margaret Atwood must be read, of course!

Named of the Dragon

named of the dragon I have read two Kearsly novels recently and this one seems a bit different, so I am ready to try it!

After You

after you The sequel to Me Before You... enough said.

The Killing Kind

the killing kind A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up a target himself.

The Lake House

the lake house A new Kate Morton novel is a must-read!

The Crossing

the crossing The newest Harry Bosch novel. I just can't say no! Fall seems to be the season of book releases. I already have this on preorder to arrive as soon as it is released!

The Nightingale

the nightingale This novel isn't new, but it's been on my list for so long that it's time for me to tackle it! Not only are the reviews good, but if I'm going to judge a book by its cover, I'd pick this one, too.

Did You Ever Have a Family

did you ever have a family This debut novel and Man Booker short-list caught my attention the moment a read a synopsis. I can't wait to dive in!  

What are you going to read this fall?

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Bream Gives Me Hiccups: A Book Review

Bream Gives Me Hiccups Book Review bream gives me hiccups

Verdict: A must read for humor-lovers!

I won't lie, I snatched up the chance to read this as soon as possible because, well, Zombieland is my favorite movie ever. I was interested to see what Jesse Eisenberg could put to page. Most telling, I thought, was his thank you page at the end of the novel. They gave me the most insight into his inspiration. I won't give anything away. Save the end for the end! As I mentioned in my monthly book review round up, this book is a must read! Bream Gives Me Hiccups is a hilarious mix of short stories, some longer than others. Eisenberg mixes different mediums to tell stories and weave a slight thread about revolution into the story. It's a little bit out of left field, but it adds some "random" funniness to the story. Oddly enough, my two favorite stories are written from a child's point of view first, when he writes about his life through a series of restaurant/life reviews that are very touching and insightful and then from a series of letters written by female freshman in college to her high school college counselor as her mental health starts to unravel. I'm partial to audiobooks, but I read the ebook of Bream Gives Me Hiccups, which was hilarious. I have to guess that the audiobook would be even more funny, since Audible.com lists the narrators as Jesse Eisenberg, Hallie Eisenberg (his sister), Annapurna Sriram, Erin Darke, and Colin Nissan. I like that Eisenberg has his sister narrating since in several short stories, an unnamed narrator has his sister email the narrator's girlfriend, text him early in the morning, and so forth. I'd love to know how much of the unnamed narrator's sister is based on his real life sister! Basically, if you're looking for something fun and quick, let the multi-talented Jesse Eisenberg entertain you! I really can't tell you how funny this novel is. I wouldn't compare it to BJ Novak's short stories since Novak's stories were almost entirely prose, if you are looking to compare celebrity short stories. I really enjoyed the different styles of writing captured in a single book, plus the wit and humor. It was great to see him take on all of the different characters. With all of the celebrity novels coming out, I'm glad Eisenberg gave us short stories!

You can pick up the novel when it comes out on September 8, 2015!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

Don't forget that you can go here to check out more of my book reviews, monthly book round ups, and all things literary (like how to save money on audible!). Also, if you love Goodreads, don't forget to add me as a friend because I'm always looking to see what other people are reading!

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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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Literary Ladies Book Club Reading Challenge
Reading Challenge smaller Another book challenge? Yes! I'm linking up with See You in a Porridge to show my progress! The challenge runs from June 21, 2015 until September 21, 2015. And this reader is finished!!! 1. A YA book If I Stay, Gayle Forman 2. Non US Author Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (British) 3. A book that was recommended by a blogger (or instagrammer / you-tuber / goodreads-er) Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher Series) - This mystery and some other series were recommended by Moira at Hearth and Homefront. 4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi 5. A book with a kickass female character Pardonable Lies, Jacqueline Winspear 6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show). Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries #1), James Runcie, which is a PBS series. 7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoirif neither of those are your jam. Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari (READ THIS) 8. A book with a one word title. Romola, George Eliot 9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge! Pretty Baby, Mary Kubica 10. A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge! Summerlong, Dean Bakopoulos Don't forget that you can be my friend on Goodreads to see what I read/give me ideas! So, I finished up and read books that I really enjoyed (minus Romala, which was long and boring and I don't recommend it. Ever.) them!
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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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