The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

4 stars Fiction

I love a great cover and I feel that this one definitely has one. This novel sounded interesting yet when I first started to read it, I was a bit confused.  With alternating time periods and a variety of characters, it took a bit for me to get everything straightened around.  As the story began to take shape, I soared through the pages.  

Meeting Jonathan, I thought he was one of those individuals who was too-big-for-his-britches (I think I’m beginning to sound like my grandmother now).  He came off as being too sophisticated and suave and he was using that to his advantage.  I know some people like these types of people but me, I run the other way.  Anyways, Jonathan owns the Hotel Caiette which is a 5-star hotel and I thought he basically, used this hotel as bait.

Jonathan, claiming to produce high results in the finance world, begins to climb up the ladder and build-up his clientele with his former bartender, Vincent on his arm.  Afterall, he needs to keep up his image, when dealing with high-end clients. 

As Vincent places the ring on her finger, she’s ready to step into some new shoes and get out from behind the bar at Hotel Caiette.  The commitments that they made to each other had me shaking my head. It made me wonder if I would do what she did, was it really worth it?

I don’t know much about Ponzi schemes but Jonathan sure is a smooth operator as he works the players.  He has quite a few individuals working beside him, making everything run smoothly and it made me wonder who knew what he had up his sleeve.

From making drinks to wearing elegant evening gowns, Vincent’s jump in social class is quite an adjustment for her and one that I’m not sure she enjoyed every day. I enjoyed it when she was able to be herself.

As I get further into the book, each page that I turned, I wonder if and when, things would go sour.  I was just waiting for the ball to drop.

I want to thank Knopf Books and Goodreads for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Believe Like a Child by Paige Dearth

5 stars Fiction

I’m been wanting to read this book ever since I saw its cover many years ago and then, when I won a copy of it from a Goodreads Giveaway, I was excited. The book moved quickly yet it didn’t leave anything out. I hadn’t expected the hurricane of events that swept through the pages but it was the eye of the storm that walked into her life that scared me the most. That eye that looked so calm and who she thought was her answer. Her answer was actually another devil in disguise.

I knew this book would be difficult one to read based on the subject matter but there’s something about books like these that I enjoy. I feel it’s the energy these books deliver as the characters gain strength and control as the book progresses. It’s also their fight and spirit that they acquire along their journey. Alessa’s story, like our own, is unique.

As I met Alessa, my heart broke. She was still a child yet no one was looking out for her. She soon realized, she’d have to take care of herself and her own needs. This didn’t make her self-centered or hard, it made her resourceful. Not all of Alessa’s choices were great or “right” but they were what Alessa had at the time and what she knew.

I liked how the book told the story from different perspectives and how issues weren’t instantly solved. I wondered sometimes about Alessa’s choices but I’ve never walked in her shoes, so I couldn’t judge her actions. She did, what she did, so she see another day. The book moved quickly and I enjoyed that, we didn’t get blogged down in too much information about the events that were taking place. There were highs and lows throughout the book which keep the book moving along. I was not expecting that ending though. What was up with that?! As I started to read the ending, I had a feeling but I thought things would turn around but what the heck.

It’s a tough book to read but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read it. Thank you to the author and to Goodreads for my copy of the book. This review is my opinion of the book.

Keeping Lucy

4.5 stars Historical Fiction

This was a terrific novel. At first, it seemed that Ginny living the perfect life. She stayed at home and cared for her son, Peyton while her husband provided for the family. As an attorney, working with his father, it seemed to me that they had a lot of things going for them. It wasn’t until the birth of Lucy that we really the truth.

The year was 1969 and things were winding down after her baby shower. It wasn’t punch that had soaked the couch where Ginny had sat and now, here she was, in the hospital, with a doctor staring down at her. Ginny couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of the doctor and the nurse. A girl? They’re sorry? She has a condition? Mongoloid? Lucy wanted her daughter and she wanted her now! Where was her husband? Ginny struggles to stay awake, the anesthesia takes over and she falls asleep,

When she finally awakens, Ginny wants to see her baby and her husband but it’s not time yet and I begin to get nervous as they tell Ginny to get more sleep and off to dreamland she goes. Hours later, when they feel it’s time, her husband and her father-in-law inform Ginny that the baby has been moved to a school where they will love and care for her. The doctor feels that the baby could have problems in the future so this is what they have done. Ginny wants to get the baby BUT it’s too late.

Fast forward to 1971, the family dynamics have changed, they’re going through the motions. Ginny hasn’t forgotten her baby and I can feel this void in her life. Her husband doesn’t talk about and their son doesn’t even know about his younger sister. Ab is working longer and is spending more time away from home, and now Peyton doesn’t bother asking when his father will be home. Ginny lives for Peyton and being a good wife. When she receives a phone call from her best friend Marsha, she becomes the person, I felt she was meant to be.

Marsha calls and informs Ginny about a reporter who went undercover at Willowridge. The same school that Ginny’s father-in-law put her infant daughter in years ago. When Ginny reads the papers, she’s hopeful that she’ll be united with her daughter with her husband’s help but that’s short-lived, after she talks to her husband.

Just like Ginny, I felt that her husband would read the papers and they would go rescue their daughter but the story is complicated. After reading the papers, Ginny just wants her daughter safe. I didn’t think she had it in her but with the help of Marsha, these two women lean against one another to do what they feel is best for Ginny’s children.

I enjoyed how the author showed us more of Ginny’s life, how she met her husband, and how this flowed into the present day. It showed a complete picture and a great flow. Ginny and Marsha’s relationship was fantastic and I liked how they figured things out along their journey. Peyton wasn’t a secondary character in this novel but an important one which I thought was needed.

I really enjoyed this novel, it was sad at times and it made my skin crawl and other times, it made me smile as I felt hope. The only problem I had with the novel was the last couple scenes in the novel. These scenes were a bit too much for me considering everything that had happened in the novel. 4.5 stars

I won a copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press and Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you. This review was my own opinion.

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

5 stars Fiction

This was my first story by Erica Bauermeister but I will definitely be watching out for her in the future and I will be looking to see what books my library carries of this fantastic author.  With fluid movements, Erica painted a distinct picture of Emmeline’s world. I understood Emmeline’s confusion as she grew up on the island with her father where life was simple and carefree.  When she moves inland later in life, she became more aware of the world and its complexity and realizes that there is now much more to consider for the return that she was getting. 

Living on the island with her father, Emmeline led a simple life, under her father’s rules.  Her father provided for her everything that she needed, allowing for just a few luxuries but what would happen should that system fail? Did her father ever think about the future?  I had hoped that he had to have wondered about the day that she would get curious or the day that something would happen to him and his system failed.  Did he even have a backup plan? 

I loved the concept of the jars and the story behind them.  The scent of smell is a powerful tool and to be able to capture that element would be priceless. I was glad that Emmeline found Fisher and they created a great friendship. This was an excellent story that I was wrapped up in, emotionally and mentally.

I won a copy of this book.  Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for sending me a copy of this book. This review is my own honest opinion.