Olympic athletes are known for their dedication, hard work and grueling training. FAST GIRLS looks at the US women's track team in the years leading up to and during the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin.
These women not only had to have all the talent and dedication of what it takes to make the Olympic team but they had to fight for the right to even train ,let alone compete. They suffered through prejudice based on their gender, skin color, background as well as being slandered in the press and from the Olympic Committee themselves. On top of everything else the games in Berlin were a circus and put them in danger. Elise Hooper gives us a clear picture of the seemingly impossible hurdles these women faced. Even though they came from a variety of backgrounds there was one thing they all shared - they would do whatever it took to convince the world they could win. Any reader of historical fiction particularly those who enjoy little known stories of heroic women will find this story fascinating.
3 1/2 stars
Bea is a successful fashion blogger with thousands of social media fans. She has a supportive family, lots of friends and the career she always dreamed of. The only thing missing is love - particularly the guy she has been obsessing over since high school. When her hopes get dashed she is presented with an interesting challenge - go on a reality tv series (aka Bachelorette) and find her Prince Charming or as close as you can in front of millions of strangers getting to know 25 guys who are also strangers. To date the show has featured women who fall into a model- thin "Miss America" role and as a plus size woman she hopes to break the mold. However, the show's producers may have a few tricks up their sleeve and it takes a lot to sift through the stupid remarks and uncomfortable situations to find the real deal. The result is funny, heartfelt and at times debilitating in the cruelty of the producers, contestants and the public. For anyone who has binge watched reality shows with your tissue box handy and those of us who don't want another one size fits all princess fairy tale.
Revenge is sweet but even better when the person dishing it out is the one person you don't think has it in them. Faye thought being married to Jack was going to be a fairy tale life and set about helping him start his company, raise their daughter and take care of every little one of Jack's needs. That dream turned into a nightmare as soon as Jack wanted out. At first glance, Faye seems ill prepared to handle this turn of events but don't let her "nice person" facade fool you. Lackberg proves once again that tough smart women, egotistical men and revenge is understood in any language.
Way up in the Adirondack forest there is an exclusive hunting lodge where very wealthy men fish, hunt and get into mischief. There is also Valhalla, Lulu's mansion and it is here that a local girl finds her life's passion for restoring statues. Both Evie and Lulu have run ins with the powerful men who call themselves "The Lost Boys" and just like the women before them can't do anything to get back at them - until now. Violence, control, lies and fear all lead to a powerful conclusion and a day of reckoning for all the harm the Lost Boys have inflicted upon the women in the little mountain town. Perfectly paced with the beauty and violence of the mountains in contrast to the human violence, this intelligent thriller will grab you from the first page. Boys will be boys doesn't cut it as an excuse for the women of Rangley, New York. Fans of smart stories where there isn't always a straight path to justice served will appreciate this bad boy thriller.
3 1/2 stars
Ruby and her family live in a very nice building with a swanky NYC address. They live there because Ruby's dad is the building superintendent and he is basically on 24/7 for every little complaint. The job offers them a nice place to live and while one tenant acts as a type of grandparent and Ruby is best friends with one of the tenant's daughters that does not make them equals. Sadly, Ruby only realizes this after years of expensive schooling following her dreams and huge debt and is now back living in the basement apartment with her parents again. The bulk of the book takes us to the events of one day following Ruby's return home and a famous party upstairs. Readers who enjoy stories centered around the have and have nots like LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE and BIG LITTLE LIES will find much to like about this debut.
This lush story envelopes you from the first page and transports you to Hawaii. A feast for the senses you feel the ocean breeze, smell the plumeria, taste the tang of the mango and more importantly, you get to appreciate the quiet dignity of the Japanese-Americans who came to work the sugarcane fields and made the island their home. One of the island's own is returning after going to the mainland and becoming a doctor but Daniel's homecoming is marked by two events - the volcano is erupting and threatens to wipe out Hilo and Daniel is unaware that his mother has passed away in his absence. The small community embraces Daniel as if he never left leaving the Aunties to plan the rest of his life but no one is more excited and nervous than Uncle Koji who has helped raise Daniel but needs to unburden himself. This quiet story reads like a beautiful memoir of these hard working people and their shared history. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the beauty of the island and the violence of the volcano compared to the gentleness of the people and the violence and back breaking work they have endured. Fans of the Hawaiian novels by Alan Brennert and multicultural novels by Lisa See will love this.
4 stars- murder mystery
Four teenagers, a remote town in the woods and the power of suggestion can only mean one thing - murder. Charlie was the ringleader egging them on, convincing them to keep the dream diaries and filling them with imagined power. Paul left after that horrible day and didn't come back until now because his mother is dying. He still feels the ghosts and the fear but after what his mom said he can't let it go. As he is digging into the past, another murder happens that seems oddly similar and Paul can't ignore the past or run away again. Very intense with more than a couple false leads to keep you on your toes and reading way past your bedtime. Alex North has earned a spot in the creepy dark murder mystery club next to Stephen King and Jo Nesbo.
4 1/2 stars
Irene Foster meets aviator Sam Mallory while surfing and so begins a mentorship, partnership and great love affair. Beatriz Williams excels at shining the spotlight on fiesty uncompromising women who play by their own rules and are not without heart. Janey is a no nonsense photojournalist bent on finding the elusive aviatrix Irene Foster and getting out of her the real story of what happened between her and Sam Mallory. After she finds her in remote Hawaii armed with some information she mistakenly thinks that she can get answers but will get more than she bargained for. Told in alternating chapters between Janey's future book chapters about Irene and Sam and those of her own search for truth. The character is a montage of various female pilots but it is an homage to every gutsy , adventure junkie aviatrix who fell in love with the sky and was told by a man that she couldn't fly. Fans of well rounded historical fiction featuring gutsy women will fly a loop de loop for this book. One of her best!
Noemi is a young beautiful socialite whose biggest worry is what dress to wear or who to attend a social gathering with until her father asks her to travel to a remote mountain mansion where her cousin is very ill and acting strange. The house and family are old, dark, strange and distinctly unfriendly and her cousin is acting really odd. Even the walls of the old home feel covered in mold, books in the library are full of mildew and most days a cold thick fog prevents whatever warmth outside could offer. The situation goes from bad to worse and Noemi begins to feel a terrifying presence in the house. It contains everything a good gothic novel must have- a remote moody setting, a young heroine, danger lurking and we don't know who to trust. Creepy and mystical, filled with horror reminiscent of Dracula and set in an unusual gothic setting, this is one to make any gothic romance fan who like their stories on the dark side happy. 4 scary stars!
In 1947 an alien spaceship sighting is the foundation for a cult calling themselves the Seekers. They have a vision of a community free of hatred, racial borders, religion and narrow minded thinking believing that this was what the visitors were trying to teach. When the group moves across country to New York there are disastrous results and we are left to see how the next generation handles their parent's mistakes. Quietly speaking about racism, fear, sexual awakening and political conspiracies, this novel gives us a weird glimpse of America from the Korean War to Nixon's Watergate.
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