Review – Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Woman No. 17Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Publication date: May 9, 2017

Crown Publishing -Hogarth

 

 

3.5 stars

When I first came across this book it was the cover that caught my eye. I really liked it. And after reading the description, I was very intrigued.

Lady Daniels lives in the Hollywood Hill. Recently separated, she’s looking for a nanny to take care of her three-year old son, Devin. Lady is writing her memoir. Having a nanny will give her uninterrupted time to write. A woman who calls herself “S” comes for an interview. Lady likes “S” and hires her on the spot without even checking her references. What could go wrong? Along with taking care of Devin, S will also keep an eye on Lady’s eighteen-year old son, Seth. Seth is nonverbal. He is not deaf or autistic, he just never spoken.

We learn a lot about Lady’s early years with Seth and Seth’s father, as well as her tumultuous relationship with her own mother. She alludes to mistakes she made when Seth was young. It seems like she tries to make up for it now by being over-involved. Seth has always wanted to know about his father. Lady thinks she’s protecting him by not telling him about the past.

But secrets always seem to have a way of coming out….

Esther Shapiro now wants to be known as “S” Fowler. Her reasons for becoming a nanny are bizarre to say the least. After some recent personal issues, she decides a change is in order. So along with a new name and a new job, she’s trying on a new personality, well actually an old one…..

New bonds are formed and old ones are tested. While Lady opens up with some of her secrets, others she holds close to her chest.

She’s not the only one with secrets.

The book alternates between Lady and Esther’s (S’s) point of view. Events in the present, mixed with flashbacks. It took me a little while to get into the story. It started to get interesting, but it also started to get a bit…strange. Some of the plot was confusing and I found it hard to relate to a few characters. I liked Seth and of course little Devin. The fact that Seth didn’t communicate verbally made how he did communicate that much more interesting. But when things started going in so many different directions, I found I was getting distracted. All that said, I didn’t want to stop reading. I was very interested in how this would all turn out.

This was a bit of an odd read for me. Overall I think this was a story that many will love, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Thank you NetGalley, Edan Lepucki, and Crown Publishing – Hogarth for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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Throwback Thursday – The Little Brother by Victoria Patterson

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is:  

The Little Brother by Victoria Patterson

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I read and reviewed this book about two years ago and thought it was a great book.  It’s definitely not an easy read….but it’s an important one.

Even Hyde feels that despite his parents divorce in 2001, he’s doing fine. The only thing that does bother him is that he is separated from his older brother, Gabe. Even chose to live with his successful father in California while his brother continues to live with their highly emotional mother in Cucamonga.

When Gabe visits Even and their father on the weekend Even can sense that his brother is angry and seems to feel like he has been left behind. But both boys enjoy the freedom to come and go as they please as there is little to no supervision.

Although Even starts to notice Gabe’s behavior grow increasingly worse he prefers to concentrate on the brother he knows well. Gabe can be funny, charming, sensitive and very funny. He doesn’t want to think about the ugly side of his brother, the horrible things he can say to his friends and when he uses his intelligence in such a bullying manner. He prefers to blame his brothers friends for their bad influence. Although he wants to ignore it when Gabe starts to skip school and is smoking weed daily, there comes the day when he can’t rationalize Gabe’s behavior any longer.

When Gabe commits a crime so horrible and sickening, Even doesn’t know if he will ever be able to forgive him.

***Possibly very minor spoilers – mostly things previously mentioned in book blurb***

 

Even has a hard time recounting what happened on the Fourth of July weekend. A jumble of images in his head it’s nearly impossible for him to put into words. This novel is Even’s point of view as he recounts the events that occurred after his older brother, Gabe and two friends videotape themselves brutally raping an unconscious girl. When the video ends up in Even’s possession he struggles with the decision of what to do with the tape.

I could feel Even’s anxiety and how overwhelmed he was with the what he knew. He truly wanted to do what was right but he wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. You could just sense the inner struggle back-and-forth of what to do. The author outlined his thought process so well. For example when he realized that what he saw could never be unseen. That he was now in a place where he didn’t entirely trust his father to do the right thing if he went to him with the information.

It was mentioned how people often say that if their loved one committed crimes they would be quick to turn them in no matter what. Until you’re in that position in my opinion how could you possibly know what you would do? Can family loyalty persuade us to make the wrong decision? As I continued to read I wasn’t sure what Even was going to do.

I am sure a lot of people have a time in their life where they wish they could unsee or unknow something but at the same time realizing that is not possible. Knowing you have a responsibility to do something, to do what’s right even if it means your life is irrevocably changed as well.

Though this book was sometimes difficult to read I feel that it that helps bring attention to many important issues. I didn’t know when I first started to read that the book IS actually based on a real crime that occurred in Orange County, California about 10 years ago. Disgusting how too often wealth can stop justice from happening. Some of the descriptions of the trial, the lawyers, the media and victim blaming enraged and horrified me.

I really like Victoria Patterson’s style of writing. The book is well written, easy to keep up with, and the story flows along smoothly.

A dark and emotional read but one that I highly recommend.

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Review – I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I Found YouI Found You by Lisa Jewell

Published: April 25, 2017

Atria Books


5 Stars !!

Wow!! This is a fantastic psychological suspense novel.

Two decades of secrets.

A young bride with a missing husband. A lonely single mother and a man with no memory of who he is or where he came from. You may think you have it all figured out…but the truth may surprise you.

I was definitely surprised.

In the British Seaside…

Alice lives in a tiny house with her children and the stray animals that she’s picked up over the years. Alice has a thing for strays…and now a stray man is sitting on a bench near her home. Part of her wants to know why he’s just sitting there in the rain. As the day goes by she sees he’s still there, still getting drenched by the rain. She knows she should probably stay out of it. Alice has had trouble in the past with some of the decisions she’s made. But the more time that passes the more she wants to know why he’s there. What is his story?

After speaking with him she finds out that he has no idea of who he is, where he is from, or how he got to there. He has no wallet, identification, or any other possessions. He doesn’t even have a jacket to keep him dry.

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’

‘I got here yesterday.’

‘Where did you come from?’

‘I have no idea.’

Alice invites him in…


Meanwhile in a London suburb…

Newly married and new to the country, twenty-one year old Lily Monrose is anxiously waiting for her husband to arrive home from work. As dinner gets cold, Lily wonders where on earth her he could be. She finally decides to call the police but they tell her she needs to wait, that he hasn’t been gone that long. But he’s never late. She can usually predict to the minute the moment he will walk in the door. When she finally gets the police to take her seriously they tell her something that shocks her to her core…

Her husband doesn’t exist.


Twenty-three years before….

Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on their annual summer vacation with their parents when they meet a young man who starts to show an interest in Kirsty. Kirsty is young and her brother Gray feels something is off about this guy. He can’t quite put his finger on it but something about him makes Gray uncomfortable. However, his sister likes this young man and even their parents think Gray is overreacting.

Is Gray being too over-protective of his sister?

So many secrets….

I really enjoyed this book!

Lisa Jewell does a fantastic job of developing unforgettable characters….whether they had two legs or four legs. The animals were almost as entertaining as the humans. All so well written! I loved the personalities of the humans and the dogs.

I’m always impressed when an author can pull me so far into a story…I was fully invested in this novel and these characters, whether I loved or hated them, they all felt quite believable.

Although there were a few violent scenes, I didn’t feel like the author went overboard in her descriptions of the acts but still gave enough detail to make me hold my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen next.

Drawn in from the first page, this was a very enjoyable story with unique and intriguing characters, and a great plot. I loved it!

This may have been my first Lisa Jewell read but you can bet it won’t be my last.

Thank you NetGalley, Atria Books, and Lisa Jewell for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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Review – My Husband the Stranger by Rebecca Done

My Husband the StrangerMy Husband the Stranger by Rebecca Done

Published April 6, 2017
Penguin

 

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read the description for this book it hit close to home. My ex-husband was in a severe car accident while we were first dating in 1995 and suffered a head injury. This changed everything for him and although he was nothing like Alex there were some similarities. Especially right after the accident. His head was still swollen to about twice the size and he wasn’t acting like himself. He would get angry very quickly and had trouble with his memory. I remember thinking (I was 19) what if he stays like this? It was scary. We were told that once the swelling went down he should get back to normal. For the most part it did. That’s not to say there wasn’t lasting effects. Anyhow, this is a book review and not my life story so I’ll leave it at that.

I was very intrigued and excited to get reading.

In one moment EVERYTHING can change….

What you would do if your husband became another person overnight?

Molly and Alex seem like the perfect couple. Very in love, busy planning their future together. But after a terrible fall her husband sustains a severe head injury. This injury changes him into someone Molly has a hard time recognizing.

Told from Molly’s perspective in the present and Alex’s perspective prior to his accident. I like how it was written. It added insight into their early relationship and helped us get to know Alex – before.

***Possibly very minor spoilers****

For the next few years, Molly struggles to keep things together. Alex is distant, gets very angry, and has problems with his memory. On top of taking care of Alex. Molly is trying to hold on to a job she hates but desperately needs. She’s exhausted all of the time. Every morning she wakes up hoping it will be the day that Alex turns back into the man she fell madly in love with.

But everything may not be exactly what it seems….

This book was well-written and I was intrigued to see where it was going to go. I was pretty sure I had everything figured out and although I was partially correct, there were a few things I didn’t see coming.

It was quite emotional at times. I really felt for everyone involved. But I could relate to Molly as this person was not the man she married. But glimpses of the man she once knew kept her hopeful. The guilt at her feelings and at the same time wanting to care for him. This definitely relates to the vow “in sickness and in health”.

We may think we know what we would do in the same position, but like anything else until it happens to you….you just don’t know.

I enjoyed this novel. I will definitely be looking for more of Rebecca Done.

Thank you NetGalley, Rebecca Done, and Penguin UK Michael Joseph, for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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