The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

An psychological rollercoaster of emotions

This book can mess up your days emotionally, dragging you deep into its plot, making you feel so much in such a short time. I became somehow very connected to the characters, mainly due to the effortless writing style, the complex yet intriguing depiction of the events. Only to get this crazy twist at 85% into the book, which defies all concepts.

Liz Fenton’s book is addictive and unputdownable, an amazing contemporary thriller that you need to read this summer, it is well worth it and it is the perfect summer read.

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Lexicon by Max Barry

I loved everything about this book, the suspense, the plot, the insanely good twists and the linguistics theme.

The characters are complex due to multiple hidden personalities, until they somehow reveal their inner selves. Max Barry is simply a genius and artist at conjuring a believably realistic world, there is a lot of sense into the bots and pieces of correspondence and news.

I highly recommend this book to those passionate about new worlds with a dystopian feeling, about mindmastering and psycholoically mind-boggling events

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

A deliciously twisted thriller, maybe one of the best I’ve read this year. I found it even better than The Couple Next Door and I cannot recommend Shari Lapena enough now. Her books are perfect summer reads too if you are looking for great compelling thrillers.

The writing style is more polished in this novel, making it addictive, simply unputdownable. I had trouble focusing on the daily chores with a toddler while reading this one. Luckily it is also a quick read and with the ending somewhat gratifying in the end.

Some of the characters are so multi-faceted that it spins the mind. Sure, I expected Karen to have secrets, just not as deep as it turns out in the end. Hence the deliciousness of the book so to say. Mind-twisting plans that were realised in favor of this powerful woman, leading at the same time to moral questions of all kind. So if she were really a battered woman it would all have made so much sense morally. Yet, there is a wow factor in her real secret that boggles the mind. It made me wonder how people and situations can surprise and trick others.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I am so glad I have asked for this one on Netgalley. Watch out for the publication date, coming up soon in July.

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The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro

First thing that comes to my mind is a wild thickness of detail, themes and plot I have rarely met in coming of age novels. This completely makes sense, due to the period of time portrayed and the hippy characters, their naive behavior and need for attention.

I was overwhelmed by this book and had trouble going past the first 50 pages. I believe one really needs the mood and patience to delve into the amalgam of it, I will definitely give it another go, because I felt its potential and its beauty among all the complex phrases and hidden meanings.

I definitely recommend this, it might be your next favorite book if you are up to the challenge of sailing through the depths of its happenings and ideas. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Secrets of Worry Dolls by Amy Impellizzeri

This book is a balmy shower of love, finding oneself, coping with grief and finding the strength to keep going and living. I am so grateful to have found about Amy Impellizzeri’s book from my bookstagram friends.

First of all, the writing style is soothing and real, these are the first impressions that come to my mind when thinking about this book. The worry dolls element is unique and adds complexity and depth to the story and even an element of supernatural. I really love such in a novel that is apparently about just life and common people.

The plot is beautiful woven, I really think the author is gifted and understands a lot about grief and love, and how these two come together.

Mari is kind, strong in a deep sense, psychologically messed up by everything that happened in her first 20 years of life. I had no idea about the attrocities committed during the civil war in Guatemala. I will probably read more on the historical part.

Lu is thoroughly affected by the lack of communication and affection during his childhood, though the twins had some really good years together with their parents. There was always the shadow of “sickness” from Mari’s side, some unknown deep affection, a secret. The girls were too young to understand worries.

Tragedy after tragedy, leave their marks on Mari’s psychological well-being and deeply affects the relationship with the remaining daughter Lu. There is a lot of learning and searching for the truth in this story, forgiving and realising the reasons behind a life of secrets.

I recommend yhis book whole-heartedly, to those who are in the mood for Women Fiction sprinkled with all of the above. The novel can be too much if one is not in the mood for sadness and characters searching for deeper meanings.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The world created by Leslye Walton, largely the house on Pinnacle Lane, is a magical haven, a false secure place or a house of cards ready to crumble at the first firm touch from the real world. This is a heart-breaking story, with so many elements of beautiful wonder and sheer cruelty at the same time, I found it a bit forced.

Ava is the picture of innocence, a girl just wanting to be like everyone else. She doesn’t want her wings. She wants to be normal. It was so touching and comforting that she had a good friend and also a boy who fell in love with her. Nevertheless, Ava is probably the symbol of marginalized people, though more so due to the perception of their immediate family and environment they grew up in.

The climax was horrific and it just blew the house of cards completely. Was it because, reality is so much tougher than magic? Why are there monsters among good people? I did not want to believe that really happened to Ava, it was so unnecessary. I wish I could ask the author why she thought the plot that way.

Setting aside the climax, the rest of the novel is without doubt fabulous. I recommend this to everyone with a bit of patience to find out why and how a girl is born with wings and how love and life can play out for her.

Are you a boy or are you a girl by Sarah Savage

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This little book is a great tool for assisting parents and educators about gender equality and differences. It will certainly spark some great discussions among bigger children, I expect it is best for kindergarten age. The illustrations are a bit sketchy, though it could be due to my ARC copy. Nevertheless, the drawings are able to highlight and show the essence of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The scent of rain by Anne Montgomery

This must be the year of depressing reads! The Scent of Rain will chill and shake you to the core, as the book is portraying life in the Mormon Fundamentalist cult, where kids are abused in the name of religion and the Leader is a maniac pedophile!

Anne Montgomery’s writing style is soothing and real. I especially liked that the story is told from multiple POVs, with heart warming surprises here and there. The author managed to weave beautifully both horror and love, and the faith in human beings who care ultimately for the moral right.

I missed more of Adan’s background, though I understood that the central character is Rose. Her story is the main trigger of disturbia, having an eye opening effect for the normal people living alongside the cult, who’ve been ignoring the horrors for long years.

I say this is a must read! The book is utterly captivating and mature, managing to bring the reader close to the happenings in a sort of magical way, though honestly I would never consider going there in person.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Into the water by Paula Hawkins

The Girl in the Train made me long for this second stand alone novel by the acclaiming writer Paula Hawkins. I admit I had huge expectations, yet not prepared for the witchcraft part and the intricate development that made so many “troublesome women” drown/be drown Into the Water.

I was surprised I could actually make it to the end of the book. This confusing psychological thriller is full of riddles and muffled voices, poorly penned characters and two complex mysteries to solve. Now that is quite the tricky situation. Despite its boring style (slow narrative and many POVs) and the strangely disconnected links all over the place, despite the “wait a minute this guy said what previously?!” — this is still a page turner!