On the day Alice turns forty she reevaluates her life which is pretty much how she thought it would be except for her dad who is hanging on to life from a hospital bed. Since the beginning it has always been Alice and her dad after Alice's mom left Alice to be raised almost solely by Lawrence.
As if by some strange bit of kismet Alice wakes up in her dad's house not as a 40 year old but back as a 16 year old. Ironically, Lawrence is a children's book author who has had a very successful series of two brothers who time travel which allows him to accept his daughter's adventures. Now that she is back with her best friend, a healthy version of her dad, and has the means to change their lives will she make good use of the gift? Given chances to back doesn't mean Alice will know when to stop or which version is best. Time travel junkies will find much to ponder but also those daughters who wish for more time with their parents and the chance to say I love you and thanks for all of it. A heartbreaker, tearjerker ,thought provoking look at life and the paths we choose. 5 LibraryReads stars
Andrea and Maeve are subjected to a strange upbringing in a motherhood cult until the cult is raided and they go their separate ways. Later as adults they are reunited and Andrea pushes hard for Maeve to give up her eggs allowing Andrea and her husband to have the child they are desperate for but unable to conceive. Maeve is going through a hard time and Andrea is more than happy to help for a price. Strange events and flashbacks of when they were young take the story on a course similar to HANDMAIDS TALE or ROSEMARY'S BABY. Horror, creepy motherhood cults and paranoia for all - this is a scary book that reminds us that mother is always watching.
Monsters are all around us lurking in the back studio alleys, the casting rooms and on the screen.
Luli Wei learned at an early age how to control men and took full advantage of that skill to land her screen time as a child actor then playing lesser background characters. When her chance at real roles came she didn't hesitate knowing that she would sell her soul to become a screen legend. The head of the studio didn't hesitate to take his pound of flesh either. We meet the men and women of Hollywood moviemaking in the 1930's where who you are, who you love and what you are wiling to sacrifice for a dream all play a major role. This is the land of monsters both good and bad. The historical side of this with all the discrimination, hiding of non approved relationships and the many ways to take unfair advantage by those in power is right on target. The other side of the story is about magic and monsters - those smoky shape shifting creatures in power and those who will give up everything for a taste of immortality on the screen. An atmospheric and unique look at the monsters around us and in us on and off the silver screen. 4 1/2 stars
Charlie is smart, tough and makes a mean cocktail as well as being an accomplished thief. She doesn't trust easily and has a tough time when her boyfriend turns out to be not worthy of that trust.
Secrets emerge about who and what Vince really is and his connection to a book that Charlie is tasked with stealing. THE BOOK OF NIGHT is what is used by gloamists to manipulate shadows and turn them into something deadly. She tackles it head-on fighting both her own demons and monster alike to uncover the truth and protect those she loves. Immersive fantasy with a rock solid heroine and the best cat name ever - Lucipurr. Holly Black is well known for her countless middle grade and young adult novels and she easily bridges the gap to entice a whole new flock of adults. The start of what I hope is a new series will have you jumping at your own shadow and wanting more. Fans of NINTH HOUSE and ATLAS SIX and Peter Pan retellings will love this. 4 1/2 stars
A scary homage to Shirley Jackson with a decidedly Mexican gothic twist. Beatriz makes the only choice open to her after her father is called a traitor and killed and her mother turns her back when Beatriz decides to marry a handsome widower. She yearns for a home and hopes that moving to a country estate away from memories of the war will help her start fresh. The people in the village don't trust her, Rodolfo's sister clearly doesn't want her there, the other landowners look down at her darker shade of skin and worst of all - the house has made it clear that she is not welcome. Chills, hallucinations and voices in the night quickly add up to a nightmare existence for Beatriz. A young priest (who also happens to secretly be the local witch) seems to be one of the few who believe her and will try to help. When exorcisms fail and Beatriz hears some ugly rumors about her husband that now seem true she takes matters into her own hands. A haunted house, the second wife who is considered less than the first and mad added to the rich Mexican culture makes this a one night read with all the lights on. Fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Shirley Jackson will be pleasantly goose bumped. 4 stars
This is about change that happens to all women over a certain age. We are told to dread it but these women embrace it and their new found knowledge and power. For the women of Mattauk Long Island the change means an awakening of the senses, a fierceness and the freedom to say or do exactly what needs to be done. Jo operates a successful gym for women, Nessa is a widower with an age old gift and Harriet is divorced and rumored to be not only an incredible gardener but also a witch. These three take on a serial killer targeting young women and won't stop until justice is served no matter how many good ole boys get in their way. This is an adrenaline filled , white magic, kick butt, feminist take on correcting the evil we see and giving a voice to the voiceless. Empowering, smart and highly entertaining this is delicious revenge served up warrior women style. Feel the heat rising and your power growing! This is another example of books coming out with tough middle aged heroines who don't take a backseat to anyone and don't need to be taken care of. 4 1/2 stars
In an alternate version of 1950's America a sudden and shocking event took place that everyone tried to pretend didn't happen and forbid it to happen again. Thousands of women couldn't contain their voice any longer - their eyes turned gold, their bodies transformed and their wings took them to the skies as dragons. Some say the Feminist Movement began that day but we don't talk about it. Families were torn apart, marriages dissolved, laundry was left unfolded and children left to wonder what happened. Alex as a young child had been abandoned by her mother so when her aunt who had been her solid ground and raised her took to the skies it was too much. She was left motherless again with a baby sister (really her cousin) and after her father left them for another family , became an adult overnight. Beatrice is her stars and moon and with the help of a fierce librarian and a few others Alex manages to make it. This story could have been about dragons or revolutionaries the message is clear- be who you are meant to be whether it is as a woman, man or dragon and love who you are meant to love and most of all accept others in their choices. Kelly Barnhill has a delightful way of weaving a colorful story with a strong message into her fable. This first book for adults is as warm and clever as her middle grade novels and may entice a few readers to find their wings. 4 1/2 stars
A dystopian what if that deals with an Indian man who comes up with a computer and social order which treats every person in the world as a shareholder and everything you do raises or lowers those shares. There is a board that heads up the new world order and an algorithm that decides the value or payment of your actions. For a while King Rao and his wife revel in their new kingdom and are busy creating new products but then they split and King Rao disappears. He lives away from the mainland off Seattle on a small island with his daughter Athena who has never known anyone else and has been given all of her father's memories to teach her. Athena loves her dad and is happy on the island until she has questions he can't answer. She leaves and joins a group known as the Exes who have fled the system and live on Bainbridge Island where they live unhampered by the rules and algorithm of the Coconut. Athena knows her father's version of what happened and now she will see a different side of the same truth and come full circle. The writing style and new social order reminded me of STATION ELEVEN. The idea of biotechnology and an algorithm deciding everything seemed very close to real life and there were enough characters that may or may not remind you of some tech pioneers. Other themes that play a big role is the importance of family and that we humans have ignored climate changes for so long that we are past the point of fixing anything. There is much to think about in this book and I think it will appeal to tech supporters and luddites alike for different reasons. 4 stars
Michael Darling is a train engineer now. A far cry from the kid who, along with his sister and brothers, hung out with Peter Pan in Neverland. When word comes through the secret organization that Michael used to work for that Peter has disappeared and Neverland is in danger, he reluctantly joins up with another knight and heads back to Neverland. Magic, ghosts, sprites, wraiths, mermaids, pirates and a humungous crocodile with a ticking tummy- all the magic of Neverland with a grown up twist. Fly back to Neverland where anything can happen as long as you have a child's adventurous spirit and a bit of pixie dust. For fans of retellings of our favorite classics as well as those of us who never want to grow up in our reading choices. 3 1/2 stars
A modern day vampire story in London. Lydia has just had to admit her mother to an Assisted Living place due to her progressing dementia. Lydia is a good daughter and packs her mom's fridge full of her special juice (otherwise known as pig's blood) and goes off to rent a windowless studio where she will pretend to make art. During the day she has an internship at a well known gallery. Her life is all over the place and she is thirsting for more than blood as she tries to have relationships with the people in her building and at the gallery but these prove just as challenging as what type of art she wants to create and having a normal life. Some of what she does is disturbing and it is meant to unsettle the reader no matter what your blood type. 4 stars
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