The It Girls by Karen Harper
Two ambitious sisters try to pave new roads in the late 1800's to become their ideal - an "It" girl.
Lucile is destined to design clothing for the rich and famous as well as revolutionize the industry with live models and the way clothes are manufactured and marketed. The other sister Elinor, wants to wow the world with her spicy novels and break into an industry that has been frowned upon for women. Good marriages and bad love affairs, war, the Titanic tragedy and the birth of the moving pictures is all covered here as well as so many historical figures that the story could have been made into a trilogy. Their story begins in England, but continues across the continent and over to the States. For fans of historical fiction that want more bang for their buck - this is your golden ticket.
I was well into the book with the thought that while hey, the story was well executed, I had read this plot before and then I arrived at the second part - wow! Amber moves to Connecticut with a purpose - she wants the life that power couple Jackson and Daphne Parrish have. Super rich, super powerful and super perfect. She then cozies up to Daphne becoming best friends while also becoming Jackson's employee and more. Just when her plan seems to have come perfectly together... no spoilers here but you will want to keep reading through the night just to find out how it all ends. Twisted but such a rewarding ending! The next big thriller has arrived.
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
I love Joe Hill's stories because he takes you into incredible situations but with ordinary people. They are people that you see every day - those you sit next to on the bus, are in line with at Starbucks or maybe even live next door to and yet they are faced with demonic Polaroid photographers who want to steals your memories, a sky-jumping situation that none of us would agree to or are at the mall when a rent-a-cop becomes a hero. The weather of course plays a hand in these stories because it is just one other thing we have no control over. These novellas are like little bits of nightmares that you can experience, shake off and then start all over again the next night. Another perfect glimpse into the scary, strange mind of Joe Hill.
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
Spending a week with your family can be difficult but spending a week with the Birch family can be really tough. Olivia has just returned from Africa where she has been treating a highly contagious epidemic and the whole family must be quarantined for a week at their English manor home. Each has a secret and only their mom is really looking forward to spending time all together. As they just try to get through one more day, secrets begin to come out and tensions flare. This is not the holidays at Downton Abbey. There is a bigger threat of them killing each other than catching the Haag virus.
The Birch family is just trying to have a normal holiday week together and like most families - they are anything but.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks writes about characters that he would love to play in the movie had they been written. This collection of stories holds a myriad of emotions, settings and time periods (yes he has one time-travel piece) with two common threads - the typewriter and uncommonly normal men and women.
You love the characters because you have something in common with all of them - some win, some lose, some heroic and some timid but they are all borne of the human existence and go largely unnoticed. You cannot help but see yourself in these vignettes. Hank's charm and wit come through but also his sense of right and wrong and chivalry which is a very uncommon type these days.
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
1929 and for both the black and white mill workers in Bessemer City North Carolina times can't get much harder. Ella May finds herself husbandless and with four near starving children to feed worn out from working long shifts at the mill six days a week for a few dollars. She writes songs and after singing one at a rally to organize a union, she becomes a believer and one of their most energetic supporters. As she fights for both white and black workers to unionize her singing and reputation grows gaining attention from the wrong people. Gritty, honest and heartbreaking - Ella May's story is just one of many women - fighting to support her family working exhausting hours both inside and outside the home without the respect or equal pay. It seemed to me that mules and farm animals were given more care than these industrious courageous women.
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