2017 Book Review, Netgalley, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

4 ⭐️’s from me

Goodreads Synopsis: Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime. But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s. An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact Of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.”

My Review:

You may remember that when I set my blogging goals for this year, I stated I wanted to try a memoir. As I have a background in the law, this one caught my attention right off the bat…32076678

This is not a comfortable read and could have triggers for some, but definitely a journey worth taking. As the synopsis says, this is so much more than a story about murder, its a moving memoir. While preparing to follow her family’s footsteps in a law career, Marzano-Lesnevich is introduced to a murder case. However, this murder case parallels so significantly with her own life, Marzano-Lesnevich is soon facing her own demons at the same time. Secrets hidden for years must be revealed for a deeper understanding of the past. What is particularly amazing about this journey is not only does the author discover herself, but she so poignantly captures how one’s own history can color the frame of a legal decision – what is justice and who is it for? This book is a perfect example of how the law is not black and white – there is a ton of grey.

Go get your copy now – this book is out today!

**I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to the author and publisher for this opportunity.**

2017 Book Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

4 ⭐️ ‘s from Me

Goodreads Synopsis: “A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.”

My Review: ifoundyou

This is a great mystery read for a vacation.  As “a man with no memory” seeks to discover and piece together his past, Jewell intertwines his story with other narrators to set a great pace.  I found the memory loss an intriguing framework for this mystery – this man’s recall and his relationship to places throughout the story peel away at layers of the story to create the feeling of an awakening while being a thriller at the same time. I do think that some of the events were occasionally far-fetched, but this was still a good read. I particularly loved the title as its pronouns could apply to multiple characters and leave you thinking long after you have finished the last chapter.

2017 Book Review

Book Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

3 ⭐️’s from me.

Goodreads Summary:  “International bestselling author Gayle Forman’s trademark humor and insight abound in this masterful adult debut, showing us that sometimes you have to leave home in order to find it again.

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we’re going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.”

My Review:leave

It is easy to see how Maribeth becomes so overwhelmed with the perfection demanded by society, so when she leaves everything and everyone to escape we follow her attempts to find herself again.This book is definitely full of humor as promised and you will find yourself laughing.

However, I did find it somewhat unrealistic and annoying. Maribeth’s overly romanticized view of life and constant comparison to others is draining. Her family’s reaction was not entirely credible. I think this a characterization that may speak to some and not all.

Well-written, but not my cup of tea.

2017 Book Review

Book Review: The Wanderers by Meg Howry

The Wanderers by Meg Howry

5 ⭐ ‘s from me

Goodreads Summary: “In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation every created.
if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons.Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody’s fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can’t help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen’s last chance to return to the only place she’s ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it’s an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely,

As the days turn into months the line between what is real and unreal becomes blurred, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The Wanderers gets at the desire behind all exploration: the longing for discovery and the great search to understand the human heart.”


My Review:

I enjoy reading because it takes me to so many different places and times, so many adventures – and I suspect that is how many of you feel. It’s obviously the best part of being a bookworm! In The Wanderers, Meg Howry takes us on such a unique journey that I found myself totally immersed. (I have to admit that given all the new technology and the possibility that we could eventually go to Mars – I was already intrigued) 

This story follows the stories of three astronauts, Helen, Sergei and Yoshi, and their families as they prepare for a simulated trip to Mars. Howry so artfully explores the question of “who are you?”; The Astronauts and their families have the public image they portray, the studied version of themselves – purely scientific, and then their innate thoughts – but which one is real? Without giving too much away… This is a true exploration of the human identity and ones trueself – something that can only emerge when we are taken “out of this world” and pushed to the extreme. 

And, somehow, amongst all the tension this adventure presents, Howry finds humor – making it an even more delightful read. 

Even if you are not a sci-fi fan – which I definitely am not – you should pick this one up! Enjoy!

2017 Book Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

4 ⭐️ ‘s from Me.29430012

Goodreads Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel 
With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. 

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.”

My Review:

This was a jovial read. Unlike the Russian classics revered and referenced in this book, the story of the Count stuck in the hotel has a surprisingly optimistic tone. Towles has explained that he found inspiration when he stayed in the same hotels repeatedly and began to observe other regulars.

Don’t worry if you are not a Russian history buff – Towles does a good job of explaining the history as time progresses throughout the novel. The tone of the footnote technique he occasionally uses as a teaching moment is lighthearted and is a nice breakup of the story. I loved the way Count Rostov’s observations from the bowels of the hotel were a window into the history passing around him, and how perhaps history repeats itself more than we realizes.

The characterization in this novel is lovely – Count Rostov is portrayed as the positive, fatherly figure for the Metropol patrons and staff, and even his own family. As each layer of Rostov is revealed, you realize how he has touched each and everyone’s life while being a prisoner.

Despite the good feels this novel gives, it does take a while to get going. It isn’t until about half-way through the book where the plot really picks up and I found myself wanting to get back to The Count and The Metropol Hotel as soon as I started my train ride home. So don’t give up! I also think there were a couple of unanswered questions as to how the plot progresses so smoothly and whether the life the Count lives was really accurately explained.

But, overall its a great read. I’ve even added Towles’ other novel, Rules of Civility, to my TBR list. Let me know what you think!