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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Review: Good Husbands by Cate Ray

Good Husbands 
by Cate Ray

Huge thank you to Park Row for this gifted book.

Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date: June 7, 2022
384 Pages
Genre: Thriller

Three wives, one letter, and an explosive secret that will change everything.

He said, she said. Who do you believe?

Jessica, Stephanie and Priyanka are complete strangers, but they have one thing in common: they’ve each received a letter accusing their husbands of committing a sexual assault more than two decades prior. Is the accusation true or is there more to the story? It was a secret that remained buried for years.

With their worlds suddenly turned upside down, they don’t know who to trust—a complete stranger or the men they love and built their lives with. The three women come together to embark on a hunt for the truth, but they are hardly prepared for what they will discover. Who is the victim, and will justice ultimately be served?

My Review:

What woud you do if you received a random letter from a girl claiming her mother was raped by your husband over 20 years ago... and he wasn't alone.  Do you disrupt your own life for something that could possibly not even be true? Or do you have to look into this because it woud be a unforgivable act from someone you *thought* you knew and now see differently? What a predicament.

This book touches on the subject of sexual assault, what that can mean across the board, the consequences that ripped throughout the lives of the victims and assaulters and those around them. It was interesting to get to know the very different three women - Jess, Stephanie and Priyanka.  The author does a great job in showing how differently people can react to disastrous news and how doing the "right" thing can take on so many layers.  Is the ripple effect worth a 'they said, she said' situation?  OH how the moral compass turns.

If this were to be appropriately categorized in the "thriller" genre then it would be a very light domestic suspense mystery-ish one that reads more like a contemporary novel of did they or didn't they.  I appreciate the themes laden within but at times I felt like I was getting statistical facts that didn't feel seamless within the storyline. 

I was intrugued from the get go but felt the middle got a bit muddled down, losing my interest a bit. Was the ending worth it?  The mind boggles.  While someone is a "very clever girl", it most certainly isn't me because I'm not sure I got it, tbh.  Entertaining?  Sure.  Worth it? I'm torn straight down the middle.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Review: Counterfeit by Kristin Chen

by Kristin Chen
Narrated by Catherine Ho

Thanks so much to William Morrow, HarperAudio and for this #giftedbook.

Publisher: HarperAudio
Publish Date: June 7, 2022
7 hrs 20 min
Genre: Contemporary

Money can't buy happiness... but it can buy a decent fake.

Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home--she's built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava's world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn't been used in years, and her toddler's tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.

Enter Winnie Fang, Ava's enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business--someone who'd never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.

Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life. 

My Review:

Who has ever owned a *fake* designer bag? 🙋  Honestly, I could give a 💩 about designer labels (though if I had the money to spend, I'd definitely be more intrigued...).  COUNTERFEIT tells the story of Ava and Winnie, two Asian Americans who are conning their way into the wallets of the rich and entitled. And of course, the more you get away with something, the more you're willing to expand on it... increasing all risks.

I think the take I found most interesting in this read was when Ava realized that now she couldn't get away with her "model minority", demure, innocent Asian presence anymore and that she was now being looked upon as sketchy and someone the stores now needed to keep an eye on.  

I honestly don't have a whole lot to say on this one.  It's an easy read/listen.  The narrator is amazing and helped to keep me involved in the story.  While I do think the second half went a teensy bit off the rails, I still enjoyed this quick and entertaining story.  Go forth and buy your handbags - but remember, a bag is a bag is a bag, but you may want to get it authenticated before purchase. 


Friday, June 17, 2022

Review: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus
Narrated by Miranda Raison & Pandora Sykes

Thanks to Random House Audio for this delightful gifted audiobook.

Publisher: Random House Audio
Publish Date: April 5, 2022
11 hrs, 55 min
Genres: Historical Fiction, Contemporary

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

My Review:

Chemistry, feminism, cooking, a precocious daughter and the small views through the eyes of Six Thirty make this quite an interesting and delightful listen.  Was this "laugh-out-loud funny" as the synopsis dictates - definitely not (at least not for me) but there were definite moments where I enjoyed the dryness of it all.

Elizabeth is a character who is very sure of what she thinks and what she will stand for.  Now the 60s weren't exactly screaming equality for women and it certainly wasn't doing it in science but because of people like Elizabeth, look where we are now. And she rows?  I would love to see that erg machine she had and see how it compares to the machines of today.  Let's see what the adaptation, that supposedly is coming, shows us!  

I would totally watch Supper at Six.  I think. I love cooking shows and how Elizabeth turns her cooking show into a place to help women rise (and keep to her roots in chemistry)... well, this is just a testament to her character.  She already knew dogs could understand more than we give them credit for (see how we have animal 'talking' buttons' these days?).  Six Thirty (their dog) and Mad (the daughter) are by far my favorites and is what brought *some* levity to this somewhat very serious book.  (Could we get Elizabeth to enjoy and laugh a bit more, eh?)

For the most part, I loved this book and what lessons it was teaching us.  However, I didn't expect it to be so serious and wanted the laughter it so promised. That being said, I couldn't stop listening and love that this story stemmed from the author having a very bad day at work dealing with sexism.  And as a debut? Hell yeah, Garmus!


Review: Hide by Kiersten White

by Kiersten White

Thanks so much to Del Rey Books for these gifted copies.

Publisher: Del Rey Books
Publish Date: May 24, 2022
256 Pages
Genre: Horror

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don't get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything.

Even though everyone is desperate to win--to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts--Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she's an expert at that.

It's the reason she's alive, and her family isn't.

But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.

Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

My Review:

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Would I spend seven days in an abandoned amusement park for $50,000.00? Your guess is as good as mine.  I'd like to think *yes* but my ** anxiety level of *nope* may persuade me differently.  Also, I've read and watched WAY too much horror to know that this will likely not end well.

I've actually never read this author before but with this cover and that premise I couldn't say no. A little bit of hide and seek gone bananas.  Serve me up!  From what I understand, this author write mostly YA fantasy (?) and I definitely could feel the YA in this book as it felt more like YA over Adult fiction. 🤷 But it was still a lot of fun. 

Despite the NUMEROUS characters (too many for my taste, tbh) and some plot holes, I could absolutely get behind this competition.. and the consequences it provides. 😏 I am glad that I weirdly read the synopsis right before reading this (something I rarely ever do) because otherwise I may have been disappointed in the supernatural part of it as it comes across less so in the rest of the description and I would've expected a more bloody-fight-to-the-death kind of thing.  But then again, maybe it it. *wink*  Guess you'll just have to read this and find out.