Professional Reader 80% 25 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Watch Me Disappear - Review

Watch Me Disappear   🌟🌟🌟🌟
by Janelle Brown
Publication date July 11 2017 by Spiegel & Grau

Finished 5/25/2017

I fell in love with this book during the Prologue when the family of three visits a preserve for monarch butterflies during the start of the monarch migration to the eucalyptus  trees of Northern California.  I knew the family was one that would grab my interest and hold it. This was a lovely family moment, but one of their last because the mother is soon missing and presumed dead after a solo hiking trip from which she never returned. 

Then it is a year later and the father Jonathan and daughter Olive are still in a tailspin over the death, and barely coping.  When Olive thinks she is having visions of her mother, Billie, Olive thinks her mom is trying to tell her that she is not really dead and in fact is in need of rescue.  Jonathan, a writer working on a memoir of grief over the loss of Billie, discovers some incongruities of his own and begins to wonder the same thing.  Only he really needs Billie's  life insurance policy to pay out  so, what to do?  He decides to do what's  best for Olive, but there are many twists in the story to come, many secrets that Billie held close.

This is one of those books where you won't want to read ahead because there are so many surprises.  The last sentence -- well, just wait!

I was happy to have been an ebook copy from the publisher through NetGalley, and an ARC from LibraryThings.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

All the Rivers - Review

All the Rivers   🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Dorit  Rabinyan
Published April 25 2017 by Random House

Finished 8 May 2017

An Israeli woman and a man from Palestine meet at a cafe in New York, and a relationship is born.  There are constant reminders and stories regaled about "home" to instill the picture that, had these two met in their homeland, their reactions to each other would have been very different.  Here in New York, the commonalities with which they can identify come out -- they are in NYC, post 9/11, on temporary visas, treated as foreigners, and both are dark olive skinned and looked at with suspicion.  They have no family nearby to warn them off or to pass judgment.  There is no language barrier since both speak English.  Their differences are minimalized.  A very intriguing way to start out.

But from there, even as their love grows, their differences become obvious, mainly whenever in the presence of their family members or those who know the families.  The language differences, and certainly the politics of their homelands. The viewpoint is from the perspective of Liati, the Israeli; so it is she that we get to know best, it is her joys, opinions, and worries that are expressed.  Perhaps Hilmi was sympathetic because I saw him through her eyes -- quick witted, even tempered, talented, and very  likeable. 

Perhaps also the author is conflicted over a proper resolution to Israel's  problems; I know I only get more deflated whenever I  read about it. There is one intense argument in particular played out between Liati and Hilmi's brother over the fate of a divided Israel that ends in a stalemate.  It's so revealing.  So is the fact that this book has been banned from Israeli schools.
I think because some reviews compared this story to Romeo & Juliet, I felt a nervous tension throughout the story, wondering about the ending.  I grew very worried for their fates. I cared!  Truly a remarkable story.

I am grateful that the publisher asked me to read and review this very special book, which most likely otherwise would have escaped my notice.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Perfect Stranger - Review

The Perfect Stranger  🌟🌟🌟🌟
by Megan Miranda
Publish 16 May 2017 by Simon Schuster

Finished 2 May 2017

The author has given us something even better than her debut, more thrills and mysteries, and NOT written in reverse, thank you very much.  The lead characters of Leah and Emma, both hiding  secrets from their pasts, are broken young women still learning how to make it in a world that can be cruel and suspicious.  They run off from Boston to small-town Pennsylvania to try to start over -- Leah, a former journalist now turned school teacher, and Emma... well, we don't know much about Emma and neither does Leah, just what Emma wants her to believe.  Around the time that a young woman gets attacked in this new locale, Emma and her boyfriend both disappear; and Leah and the police try to piece things together with very little to go on.  So little, in fact, that one wonders if Emma is real or just a creation of Leah's troubled psyche.  

With stalkers lurking in the woods, a dead body, noises beneath the house, and the intelligent musing about it all by Leah, I was easily pulled into this story.  I did feel always one step ahead of the action towards the end, but maybe that was intentional as Leah and I together figured out just how things were.   It usually bothers me when I can halfway solve the mysteries, but here, not at all. 

An entertaining read for which I thank NetGalley and Simon Schuster.