Mini Reviews #1

A new section! So I read Chelsea’s post last Monday and I decided I wanted to do something similar when I feel I don’t have too much to say about certain books. Stephanie also does this section called Reviewing the unreviewed and I thought I’d do it every now and then, perhaps with books that haven’t been my favorites but I still want to tell you about.

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Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later. Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name. Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?

As many of you, I read All The Missing Girls last year when I discovered Netgalley. While it wasn’t my favorite book (I thought the reverse storytelling served little purpose), it was an entertaining story, no doubt about that. I wasn’t so sure when I decided to request The Perfect Stranger a couple of months ago, but the cover was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist. And, after all, I love suspense novels.

I’d say this is a psychological thriller, but not the domestic kind that’s so popular right now. If you enjoy novels featuring women trying to uncover hidden secrets, this might be a good choice for you. Sadly, I couldn’t connect at all with this story. I’ve read reviews from people who share my same opinion and others who loved it, so please, keep in mind that you might enjoy it. I struggled with the pace and there seemed to be too many different storylines that I  didn’t really care about. I finished it because I wanted to know what had happened, but as I was already struggling, I found the final explanation a bit unrealistic. I guess it was just not the book for me. And don’t get me wrong, I really believe that the idea for the novel was a good one, but I’m not sure I liked how it all played out.

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Netgalley, Simon & Schuster, 2017


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Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a charity for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overpowers her heart. Mothers in her position have no sensible alternative to giving up their children, but Lilli can t bear such an outcome. Determined to chart a path toward an independent life, Lilli braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive. Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family’s home to the perilous streets of a burgeoning American city. Lilli de Jong is at once a historical saga, an intimate romance, and a lasting testament to the work of mothers.

I remember requesting Lilli de Jong about six months ago because I love stories about strong women facing difficulties and because it was set at the end of the XIX century. This was a typical case of the story being appealing but me not being able to feel attached to the characters or the writing. There were too many descriptions about nursing babies and I felt I would’ve enjoyed this one way more if I had watched it as a film. I liked the first part and the ending, but I became bored when reading the middle section. The slow pace didn’t bother me, but I didn’t care about Lilli that much either and that prevented me from enjoying it more.

This one has glowing reviews on Goodreads, so don’t hesitate to give it a go if you think you’d be interested. It’s a story about mothers and daughters and overcoming life’s struggles. I thought I’d like it more because at some point it reminded me of The Waterloo Bridge (a classic film I absolutely love), but unfortunately, it let me down.

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Netgalley, Nan A Talese, 2017

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Published by

Annie

In a past life I was probably a tortured police detective with a dark and traumatic past. Right now, however, I'm just a twenty-something bookworm who loves to listen to old songs and watch American movies from the nineties. I enjoy reading mystery and crime, southern coming of age stories and historical fiction set in the last century.

33 thoughts on “Mini Reviews #1

  1. The lady vanishing is already a week established story. Does it still work on anyone?? The second book sounds like a movie I saw with a similar theme called The Magdalene Sisters; you might like it.

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  2. I like the mini-review format, Annie! You are right, there are many books I want to tell people about, but maybe only say a few things. Great idea – looking forward to more!

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  3. I’m so glad you decided to do this idea…I’ll be copying it😎Seriously, I’m sure so many readers will appreciate knowing your thoughts even though you didn’t love the books, I know I do!! And I feel a summer of mini-reviews coming for my blog….there’s just too many fabulous books to read and I for one want to read and quick share so I can read more😜

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  4. Great post! Love the idea behind these mini reviews. A shame you didn’t like The Perfect Stranger… I personally enjoyed it, but I also still prefer All The Missing Girls. I guess some books just aren’t for everyone! 😉

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  5. Mini reviews sound fab. I like this idea. I have so many books that I don’t have much to say about so I never know what to do with them and one paragraph review on its own sounds odd. Having two or more together is great idea. As for Perfect Stranger, I totally agree with you on everything. I had similar issues. Ended up not reviewing it on blog at all since I didn’t have much to say and didn’t know about mini reviews lol. Great post!

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    1. Haha well, now you know. There are some that I haven’t reviewed here, only on Netgalley, but I thought it could be useful. I hope u do it too!

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  6. I laugh whenever I prepare a post with my quickies :p Those mini reviews are so handy when you don’t feel like or don’t have enough to say about a book. The Perfect Stranger was on my wish list but it got buried under a lot of new titles, and I had completely forgotten about it! I do want to read it but I’m not in a rush 🙂

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  7. I like the mini-review idea. I’ve been toying with the idea of completely changing up my review format. My one year anniversary is in July and I think I’ll make the switch then.

    I’m with you on Megan Miranda. I was so turned off by All the Missing Girls that I’ve had no interest in her new book. (Glad you vetted it for me!)

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  8. Love this ❤ Is it bad if I say that I find some of these mini reviews more insightful than some full reviews I have encountered? Great post. I wish I could do this. I do one mini-review every Sunday, but technically they are all short stories so it is not like trying to squeeze a full book in. You nailed!

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      1. Oh sorry, I was not trying to imply any similarity. Your post is much more insightful! Mine is just a super brief recap of very short reads. I meant that I wish I had the ability to condense my thoughts on a full book as well as you have here ❤

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  9. Sorry these books came up a little short for you!

    Unrealistic outcomes are one of my biggest pet peeves in thrillers/suspense novels.

    Lilli de Jong sounds like something I would enjoy, but it sounds like the middle is too slow moving. what a shame!

    Great mini reviews Annie!

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