Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Release Date: August 28, 2018

An aspiring journalist takes a photo of questionable moral integrity, showing what the Great Depression has driven people to and it winds up being his big break. But when he returns to followup on it, he learns just how his photo and accompanying article has influenced the family in the photo and his niggling remorse over it turns into full blown regret and forces him to take a good, hard look at who he has become. Desperate to make things right, not only with the family, but also with his own parents and friends he has driven away, he embarks on a journey of atonement and self growth.

Based on a similar photo taken during the Depression (see below), the subject matter seemed compelling. It was very well written with well developed characters, but I felt like the plot dragged a little bit. I enjoy a good slow paced book, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and this time it was more the latter. It wasn't a bad read, but it was not as 'powerful' as I thought it was going to be, given the subject matter.

The real life photo which
inspired this novel
I think particularly because the actual photo (in the novel) that wound up being published was staged, the whole book felt too far removed from the real and gritty hardships and desperation of the Great Depression. It was really more about the journalist's remorse over staging the photo and what it winds up doing to the family. The story follows him and his love interest, neither of whom are particularly struggling all that much and don't embody the true depths of despair that time period evokes. I felt like this really could have been placed during almost any time period - the question of what some journalists will sometimes do for a good story and how they deal with those questionable ethics is something that isn't exclusive to the Great Depression. I'm not saying that such a topic isn't worthy of a novel, but this is not what I expected it to be, and therefore it lost it's impact on me.

Additionally, I have to say - the idea that Ellis knew how to pick a lock with hair pins just because he had "a father who preferred tinkering with machinery to conversation" seem ridiculously unrealistic and contrived for the sake of the plot. Maybe if Ellis had an uncle or such who was a locksmith, that would have been more believable, even if still a little contrived. But I just don't know how the author is making the connection between the two. This alone wouldn't be enough for me to dislike it, but it was so silly, I couldn't let it go unmentioned.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own



Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ebook Deals

Click the cover to view and buy the book in the Kindle store. While I only post links to the Kindle store, often times you can find the same titles on sale at other stores.

US Kindle Deals, fiction under $4, non-fiction under $6:

                             



UK Kindle Deals, fiction under £3, non-fiction under £4:

                       

Disclaimer: Ebook prices are subject to change anytime. I can only promise they are under a certain price at the time I post them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Jennifer Ashley is so good at creating lovable and fascinating characters, I just want to eat them up (pun intended). Kat is much more astute than her profession as head chef requires, her observant and inquisitive mind is always looking for puzzles to solve, and one of her employers, Lady Cynthia, is more than happy to provide her with one. Asked to look into the disappearance of a few paintings from the wealth household of one of Lady Cynthia's friend's, it only takes Kat mere moments to sort out what's been going on. But more significant thefts have been happening around London too, in the dark underworld of the antiquities black market, and the mysterious and elusive Daniel McAdam is, of course, right at the heart of it.

Kat thinks herself too sensible to get involved with someone who jumps in and out of her life, someone she knows precious little about, but when a man turns up dead in the pawnshop Daniel is working undercover in and she's overwhelmed with concern for him, it's difficult to deny her feelings. We learn a little bit more about Daniel, but each morsel of information leaves us wanting second helpings.

Clever plots, witty dialogue, compelling characters, yummy food descriptions - what's not to love? I didn't want it to end.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: April in Paris, 1921 by Tessa Lunney

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Kiki Button, a former nurse and spy during WWI, is now a gossip columnist in post-war bohemian Paris who just wants to drown the memories of war with parties, booze, jazz, and sex... except her past isn't finished with her.

It sounds a little more exciting than it is. The majority of the first half of the book is primarily about Kiki hob-nobbing with the rich and famous, which is, to say the least, a bit boring. I understand it's setting the stage for the second half, but it's still boring. The author tries to keep things intriguing with sex scenes (though not very explicit) and constantly mentioning the mysterious and dangerous "Fox" character from Kiki's past and his poetically cryptic clues about finding a mole, but it fails to be quite as compelling as it's supposed to be, probably because he comes off more as creepy and stalker-ish than fascinating.

That said, it is well written with witty dialogue, and the characters do have well formed back stories. The second half was much more interesting and finally felt like there was a plot, but by that point I just wasn't hugely invested in it.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.



Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Revolving around the Grand Central Terminal of New York City, we are told the story of two different women in two different time periods. Slow paced but beautifully written, we gradually learn about the growing success of illustrator and artist Clara Darden just before the Depression and a tragic accident ruins her life. Fast forward, Virginia Clay in the 1970s is still reeling from surviving breast cancer only for her husband to divorce her. When she stumbles upon an old art school that used to exist in the Grand Central Terminal, she suddenly finds meaning and purpose in discovering what happened to Clara Darden and who the mysterious artist who called himself 'Clyde' really was. That's not to say it's a mystery. This novel is very much about the journey and learning about the characters, who are well fleshed out.

I adored the detailed descriptions of artwork and fashion and although it was slow paced, it was never boring. I enjoyed reading about both women come into their own and rediscover themselves.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.


Ebook Deals

Click the cover to view and buy the book in the Kindle store. While I only post links to the Kindle store, often times you can find the same titles on sale at other stores.

US Kindle Deals, fiction under $4, non-fiction under $6:

                                   



UK Kindle Deals, fiction under £3, non-fiction under £4:

                             

Disclaimer: Ebook prices are subject to change anytime. I can only promise they are under a certain price at the time I post them.
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