Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway

Synopsis: Struggling writer Dawn West is barely eking out a life in Manhattan, but when a chance encounter at a party leads to a job collecting data on Charm Magazine’s 50 year anniversary of their 10 Girls to Watch Feature, Dawn finds out that getting her foot in the door is only the first step to success. Review: I absolutely fell for Ten Girls to Watch–this is chick lit at its finest. Not only was it well-written, with humor and emotional precision, but it also…

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Broken Harbor by Tana French

Synopsis: Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy has a spotless record of solves, but when he’s partnered with a street smart rookie on the murder of a family in a boom economy development turned recession slum outside of Dublin, the ghosts from his past threaten his ability to play by the straight and narrow. Review: I am a huge fan of Tana French and Broken Harbor definitely lived up to my expectations. First of all, her sense of mood and place is just brilliant. She sets the…

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The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

Synopsis: Amina is a Bangladeshi woman who moves to Rochester to marry George, a man she met on the internet in the hopes of securing a green card and bringing her parents to America. Review: I had really enjoyed Nell Freudenberger’s Lucky Girls story collection when I read it years ago, but she fell off my radar as an author until I came across a description of The Newlyweds while aimlessly browsing for new fiction. I found the premise intriguing and I was curious to…

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Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers)

Synopsis: When an FBI agent’s undercover contact is killed in a seemingly random accident, the presence of a striking young woman leads him back into the world of profiling, possible on the trace of a rare female serial killer. Review: I have long been a big fan of Alexandra Sokoloff‘s paranormal thrillers, and was excited to see what she would do with a different genre. Huntress Moon is a pitch-perfect serial killer thriller, with a riveting, suspenseful plot enhanced by vivid descriptions and truly fascinating…

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The Face of Trespass by Ruth Rendell

Synopsis: A poverty-stricken writer flees a failed affair, but things may have already gone too far. Review: The Face of Trespass is an early novel by one of my favorite writers, Ruth Rendell. It’s a short book and a quick read, yet packed with psychological complexity and fascinating characters. I loved the hermeticism of Gray’s world and his believably strange relationship with his French stepfather HonorĂ©. Not as transcendent as some of her best works (Judgment in Stone in particular) but well worth the read.…

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Synopsis: When his wife goes missing, an angry writer-turned-bar-owner struggles with feelings of guilt, as the circle of suspicion hones in on him. Review: Gone Girl is the kind of thriller I swoon for–a killer hook, messy interpersonal dynamics, and the kind of twists that feel inevitable and fresh at the same time. I was definitely drawn into the game in a big way, and was glad I didn’t know much about the book beyond the blurb. I am not sure it ever hit the…

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Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

Synopsis: Essays by a prominent educator on the ways that the public school system is failing students. Review: Dumbing Us Down is a pretty famous book in homeschooling circles because it provides some great reasons for opting out of public schooling. My beliefs about public school are only a small part of why I’m choosing to homeschool, but I appreciated Gatto’s well-articulated arguments about the inherent problems with public school. I think he’s a credible voice because of his stature as an educator, a Teacher…

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Ninepins by Rosy Thornton

Synopsis: A single mother of a troubled pre-teen takes in a 17-year-old girl with a history of arson, and finds her image of herself as a mother challenged and strengthened. Review: I loved Rosy Thornton’s Tapesty of Love so I leapt at the chance to review Ninepins. Thornton is a gorgeous writer and in Ninepins she offers a compelling situation that reads like a thriller. Laura is an academic living in the fens outside of Cambridge. Her asthmatic daughter Beth is 12 and just starting…

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Mister D by Elizabeth Stevens and Daniela Frongia

Synopsis: A picture book about a girl taking her karate test who must conquer the dreaded Mister D (for doubt). Review: We read a ton of kids’ books in this house–both my girls just adore being read to. I don’t blog about them because I just don’t have that kind of time in my life. So it was a treat to be offered the chance to review Mister D, a really empowering story about a girl who is scared she won’t succeed at her karate…

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Synopsis: After a fatal accident claims her best friends and her boyfriend, Mara Dyer starts over and finds love in Miami, only to find herself haunted by PTSD and what may be the ghosts of her dead boyfriend. Review: I was drawn in by the supernatural aspect of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but put off by the Twilightesqueness of the love story between Mara and Noah. The whole “he’s a bad boy with a bad reputation and a big vocabulary” thing really bothered me.…

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