Book Review: The Glass Hotel

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it. Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

Published March 24th 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group

What did I think?

It’s hard to know what would be good to read during these weird days. If you’re looking for an old fashioned page-turning mystery this is worth consideration. This is the same author who wrote Station Eleven. In a way. it is similar that you jump around in time. In Station Eleven times were divided into before and after the flu epidemic and in this book time jumps occur before and after a 2008 type financial scandal.

The blurb above tells you all you need to know about the story and I’m afraid to say more without spoiling the twisty plot for you. I read it in a three hour binge read and was happy I stayed up late to finish it. I’d give it 5 stars.

Book Review:A Forgotten Murder (Medlar Mystery #3)

An English manor home, an unsolved mystery, too many suspects to count… It’s the perfect holiday for romance novelist Sara Medlar.

After solving two murder cases in their hometown of Lachlan, Florida, Sara Medlar, her niece Kate and their friend Jack need a change of scenery. Sara arranges for them to visit an old friend of hers in England. Upon arrival at Oxley Manor, a centuries-old estate that has been converted to a luxury hotel, Kate and Jack quickly realize that Sara is up to something. They learn that Sara has also invited a number of others to join them at Oxley.

When everyone assembles, Sara lets them know why they are there. Decades earlier, two people ran off together from Oxley and haven’t been heard from since—and Sara wants to solve the case. As the people who were there the night the two went missing, the guests find themselves cast in a live mystery-theater event.

In reenacting the events of that night, it becomes clear that everyone has something to hide and no one is safe, especially when the discovery of a body makes it clear that at least one of the people who disappeared was murdered.

Sara, Jack and Kate are once again at the heart of a mysterious case that only they are able to solve. But someone is willing to continue to kill to keep the truth about Oxley Manor buried, and none of the guests are safe.

Expected publication: March 10th 2020 by MIRA

What did I think?

Cozy mystery readers assemble! Everyone has something to hide in this story. The setting is ideal: a large English manor that’s been converted into a hotel? Yes, please. I didn’t even see the ending coming and I’m usually pretty good at that sort of thing.

Book Review: Followers

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This novel shows us a world where our follower count and social standing is more important to us than our real friendships. Equal parts horrifying and entertaining the story is half Orla, a journalist in 2015, and Marlow, a 2051 “influencer” celebrity. Sometime between Orla’s and Marlow’s lives, an event was known only as “the Spill” caused the Internet as we know it today is gone, and Marlow lives in a completely different world. The government regulates all internet traffic, including entertainment, and Marlow has grown up in a Truman Show-like city called Constellation, which is an ongoing, immersive reality series. Both women yearn for more meaning in their lives, and each of their stories unfolds to show how they grow and change, while also revealing how they become connected over the years. If you liked Ready Player One and The Farm, you’ll like this one.

It’s much like a Black Mirror episode in that you’ll need to give it a little time to get going. I put it down twice because I could not figure out what it was getting at besides an- internet= lousy message.

Publication Date January 14, 2020

Book Review: Such a Fun Age

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This fantastic debut novel blew me away. If, as an adult reader, you wished for a book akin to something like what Jason Reynolds or Angie Thomas writes for teens- this is it.

This is the book you suggest for your book club in 2020 or hand to your neighbor. It’s smart, funny, and entirely relatable. You’ll see yourself in at least one of the characters. Somehow this hard-hitting look at race relations lands gently on the reader.

Race, privilege, long-held grudges, and some seriously deranged main characters appear throughout this gripping story. But, it’s all believable, which is critical to me as a reader.
Emira is a twenty-five-year-old college graduate who, for one reason or another, hasn’t quite figured out her career plans and so she works a couple of jobs to get by. One night she babysits Briar, wealthy and white Alix’s daughter, and then gets confronted by a security guard at a supermarket, accusing her of kidnapping the white child. That sets the stage for the rest of this novel, which twists around in ways I never expected. Alix and her husband are horrified and repeatedly awkwardly apologize to Emira, only making things worse. Throw in the guy who witnessed and videoed the exchange at the store, and although Emira wants to forget it, none of the white people involved will let her.

You get to know all the characters so well and can see how they, in their minds, justify some awful behavior towards each other. Except for 2-year-old Briar, who is a treasure!

My thanks to the publisher for the advance review copy.

Hardcover, 320 pages Expected publication: December 31st, 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Book Review: Deep State

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Hayley Chill is the female action hero I didn’t know I needed. What a fast read. I mean the political intrigue kept me up way past my bedtime and then just when things were wrapping up at the end there is another big unforeseen twist. So fun to read a female lead character that knows her mind and doesn’t let anything or anyone slow her down.

Hayley Chill is an ex-Army boxing champion who is serving as a White House intern. She discovers the body of her boss, Peter Hall, the president’s Chief of Staff, and a single clue, which suggests he did not die of natural causes. Soon enough, Hayley is on the trail to solving the case herself. She isn’t sure who, if anyone she can trust, and as a reader, I wondered just how far up this conspiracy would go.

As a character, you can’t help liking Hayley. She’s come a long way from her West Virginia upbringing, and dealing with unraveling a conspiracy run by a “shadow government” wouldn’t be easy for anyone.

If you enjoy any of the spy-intrigue books, like the Jack Ryan series or watched Scandal or House of Cards, this book will be an excellent match for you. It looks like there is a sequel in the works, so feel free to get attached to Hayley.

Expected publication: January 7th, 2020 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Book Review: WinterWood


Enchanting is not an overstatement as a broad description of the prose in this book. Nora is the latest in a long line of witches that live in Wicker Woods. The connection with the Woods goes so deep they predate the very trees inside the forest. One day Nora runs into Oliver Huntsman in the woods. He went missing from the Camp for Wayward Boys two weeks ago, but here he is freezing in the woods as the most significant snowstorm of the winter season cuts them off from the small town nearby. Oliver should be dead after all that time in the woods alone. Why isn’t he? What happened out there?

The atmosphere in this story is just perfect for a winter read. I mean, all the answers are there at the start, but the reader doesn’t know it until the ending. During the story, you are just immersed in this woodsy winter realm, thinking that you know where the story is leading you. Maybe you get it at the start? Most likely, you’ll be surprised as I was to see it all come together at the end.

I truly felt like I was stranded in a mountain valley in the middle of winter, with an ancient perhaps malicious forest to one side and a bottomless lake to the other. If you like magical YA, this book is terrific. I’d compare it to The Hazelwood– which I also loved. If you want a plot with a slow burn- this is for you. Sidenote: Pretty sure this is the November OwlCrate selection.

ARC Review: Meg and Jo

From the publisher:

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

Reading this take on Little Women was so fun. This story centers more on the older two sisters (as the title implies), but all the characters you’ll want in a retelling make an appearance. It’s not a spoiler to tell you there will be a second book centering on Amy and Beth.
Now, if you somehow skipped reading Little Women, that doesn’t matter, this stands alone as a modern-day Romance novel. If you did read the original, I think you’ll love the modernization of the March Family.
I enjoyed the alternating chapter viewpoints, and overall it was like a doughnut for my brain. I’d call it a beach read, only you can’t buy it till December, so maybe a Christmas Break read whether you are on a beach or not.