Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Madwomen of Paris
by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Publisher: Ballantine
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: A young woman with amnesia falls under the influence of a powerful doctor in Paris’s notorious women’s asylum, where she must fight to reclaim dangerous memories—and even more perilously, her sanity—in this gripping historical novel inspired by true events, from the bestselling author of Wunderland.

“I didn’t see her the day she came to the asylum. Looking back, this sometimes strikes me as unlikely. Impossible, even, given how utterly her arrival would upend the already chaotic order of things at the Salpêtrière—not to mention change the course of my own life there.”

When Josephine arrives at the Salpêtrière she is covered in blood and badly bruised. Suffering from near-complete amnesia, she is diagnosed with what the Paris papers are calling “the epidemic of the age”: hysteria. It is a disease so baffling and widespread that Doctor Jean-Martine Charcot, the asylum’s famous director, devotes many of his popular public lectures to the malady. To Charcot’s delight, Josephine also proves extraordinarily susceptible to hypnosis, the tool he uses to unlock hysteria’s myriad (and often sensational) symptoms. Soon Charcot is regularly featuring Josephine on his stage, entrancing the young woman into fantastical acts and hallucinatory fits before enraptured audiences and eager newsmen—many of whom feature her on their paper’s front pages.

For Laure, a lonely asylum attendant assigned to Josephine’s care, Charcot’s diagnosis seems a godsend. A former hysteric herself, she knows better than most that life in the Salpêtrière’s Hysteria Ward is far easier than in its dreaded Lunacy division, from which few inmates ever return. But as Josephine’s fame as Charcot’s “star hysteric” grows, her memory starts to return—and with it, images of a horrific crime she believes she’s committed. Haunted by these visions, and helplessly trapped in Charcot’s hypnotic web, she starts spiraling into actual insanity. Desperate to save the girl she has grown to love, Laure plots their escape from the Salpêtrière and its doctors. First, though, she must confirm whether Joséphine is actually a madwoman, soon to be consigned to the Salpêtrière’s brutal Lunacy Ward—or a murderer, destined for the guillotine.

Kritters Thoughts:  Historical fiction is a genre that I fall back on especially during times when my attention span is having a hard time connecting and reading is difficult - diving into someone else's story and being swept into another time and place helps me escape the chatter of the here and now.  Going back in time to Paris when a woman had very little rights, even over her own healthcare (hmmm. . . .) women were sent to a psychiatric hospital for the smallest thing and then while there were being used a test subjects while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with them!  

Laure graduated from the asylum having what I seem to be cured from hysteria, but doesn't have anywhere to go, so she ends up staying and becoming an attendant until a fateful day when Josephine arrives and they bond and change each other's lives forever.  It was both heartbreaking and insightful to read about what these women went through as they were battling their demons in these horrific conditions.  My favorite experience is when I am lead to search and find more about a subject or person based on my reading of a book and I wanted to read so much more about this doctor, this hospital and the people that passed through these kind of places.  

This was my second Jennifer Cody Epstein read and I have two of hers in the backlist that I want to read.  I would love to get caught up with her soon and hope for more from her in the future.  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2023:  4 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

A Good Man
by PJ McIlvaine 

Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Pages: 317
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads: Decades after a brutal childhood trauma, a famous novelist finds his life shattered once again, in this unsettling psychological mystery thriller.

After years of turmoil, Brooks Anderson is sober and has a stable life with his wife and two kids. He should be enjoying life, but the persistent nightmares and sleepwalking tell a different story.

As hard as he’s tried, Brooks can’t run away from the defining event of his life: the senseless murders of his mother and brother during a vacation in Montauk. An eight-year-old Brooks was the sole survivor of the carnage, which left him in a catatonic state. He buried his pain and eventually overcame his demons. Or so he believed.

Now an unscrupulous journalist is threatening to write about the deaths. Fearful that the truth will be twisted to suit sordid ends, Brooks decides to write his own book, despite the grave misgivings of his agent, wife, and father.

However, when the journalist is brutally killed, Brooks finds himself in the authorities’ crosshairs. To prove his innocence and exorcise the past, he digs deeper into his psyche and that fateful summer. His relentless pursuit of the truth soon leads Brooks down a slippery slope that challenges everything—and brings him face-to-face with the real monster of Montauk . . .

Kritters Thoughts:  What a mystery read where the bodies kept dropping chapter by chapter!  Brooks Anderson is about to write the book that he has had churning his entire life.  A traumatic event that happened when he was just a young boy has stayed with him and with the threat of someone else writing his story he decides now is the time.  

What a ride!  While I may have known from the very beginning the culprit and maybe a bit of the how, I was not disappointed to take the ride and see how it would all unfold.  It reminded me of my romance reads where you know where you will end up, but the ride is just as fun!  And still there were some twists and reveals that took me by surprise and I wanted to talk them through with someone immediately.  

I may be a little partial in that I tend to steer myself to read books with female main characters and ones that are near my age range, I still enjoyed reading Brooks' point of view and watching him contemplate where he was at in his life and what he wanted his legacy to be.  I hope PJ McIlvaine has more up their sleeve as the writing style and pacing were just right for me.  

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2023: 5 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Laura Marie Public Relations.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Friday, September 1, 2023

August was an eventful month with a few birthdays to celebrate, a list of house projects to attend to, and a long end of summer to do list!  I am loving reading a book in my new lake community and spending time with my toes in the sand and my brain in a good book!  

1.  The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking
2.  Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble
3.  Dollhouse by Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian - one of those books I wanted to read and pass on!
4.  American Black Widow by Gregg Olsen (audiobook)
5. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
6. The Madwomen of Paris by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 2,023

Where Have I Been Reading?:

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens
by Colleen Coble

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: “I need you to keep these girls safe . . .”

Kate Mason has devoted herself to caring for her family’s blueberry barrens. But after her fields stop producing fruit, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to make a living.

Renting out the small cottage on her property seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is—because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family.

The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But a family crisis isn’t exactly the ideal time to pursue a romance.

Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a local stalker who won’t leave her alone, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn. With threats swirling from multiple directions, she wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last.

Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series and while this book centers around a different character than the first two, I would still read these in a row, so pause what you are doing and go grab the first one - The Inn at Ocean's Edge.  

This book centers around Kate Mason who has forgone her own dreams in order to put her family first.  Her sister lives close by and plays a big part in the book and she was the main character in book one, again go read that one!!  Kate is living on her family's property and wondering what is next for herself when Drake Newham shows up with his two nieces in tow.  Drake is trying to keep his nieces safe and also take a much-needed break from work and Kate's guest house and attention for his nieces is exactly what they all need.  

As we all know from the beginning that we will end up with a happily ever after but the twists and turns to get there will be worth it completely.  At one point, I may have felt as though there was just a little too much mystery, but because it all resolved in the end, I could keep it straight and enjoy the ride.  

I was already a Colleen Coble fan before starting this book and was excited to complete the series, so grab this one if you have already read book one and two and feel the joy of completion.    

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Thomas Nelson.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

True Crime Story
by Joseph Knox

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 400
Format: eARC and audiobook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The thrilling story of a university student's sudden disappearance, the woman who became obsessed with her case, and the crime writer who uncovered the chilling truth about what happened...

In 2011, Zoe Nolan walked out of her dormitory in Manchester and was never seen or heard from again. Her case went cold. Her story was sad, certainly, but hardly sensational, crime writer Joseph Knox thought. He wouldn't have given her any more thought were it not for his friend, Evelyn Mitchell. Another writer struggling to come up with a new idea, Evelyn was wondering just what happened to all the girls who go missing. What happened to the Zoe Nolan's of the world?

Evelyn began investigating herself, interviewing Zoe's family and friends, and emailing Joseph with chapters of the book she was writing with her findings. Uneasy with the corkscrew twists and turns, Joseph Knox embedded himself in the case, ultimately discovering a truth more tragic and shocking than he could have possibly imagined...

Kritters Thoughts:  A book that throughout felt like a piece of non-fiction as the twists and turns of this "case" unfolded and I tried to find out who would want this young woman with a bright future to be gone - there were many likely suspects!  Zoe Nolan went missing one night from her apartment building in Manchester and there are many people who could be involved with her disappearance.  An author Evelyn Mitchell is interested in investigating and writing a book and along with Joseph Knox they bring this story to life, but some of that is fiction and some non fiction!  

I knew very little before going into this book and I hope to keep that way for you as I loved my reading experience going in blind and not knowing where this book will go.  I read this book mostly via audiobook and I completely recommend reading this one that way as they had a great cast of characters that really made this book come alive.  And also, reading in this form made it feel as though this book was a series of podcasts episodes and for me that was a big plus.  I have a hard time with audiobooks and listening to it as if each chapter was a podcast worked so well for me!

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

by Alexis Schaitkin

Publisher: Celadon Books
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Vera grows up in a small town, removed and isolated, pressed up against the mountains, cloud-covered and damp year-round. This town, fiercely protective, brutal and unforgiving in its adherence to tradition, faces a singular affliction: some mothers vanish, disappearing into the clouds. It is the exquisite pain and intrinsic beauty of their lives; it sets them apart from people elsewhere and gives them meaning.

Vera, a young girl when her own mother went, is on the cusp of adulthood herself. As her peers begin to marry and become mothers, they speculate about who might be the first to go, each wondering about her own fate. Reveling in their gossip, they witness each other in motherhood, waiting for signs: this one devotes herself to her child too much, this one not enough—that must surely draw the affliction’s gaze. When motherhood comes for Vera, she is faced with the question: will she be able to stay and mother her beloved child, or will she disappear?

Kritters Thoughts:  A place where girls know that their mothers may not be here tomorrow and women know that there is no guarantee for tomorrow.  Once a woman becomes a mother there is a chance that they may just disappear.  

The story centers around Vera who at the beginning of the book is a young girl and eventually she will fall in love and become a mother, but the best thing about this book is it doesn't end when she disappears, the reader gets to see what happens after she disappears and for me that was the moral of the story.  

While I am not a mother, I may not have picked up on all the things, but for me the big theme of women disappearing as motherhood becomes their identity was really something to read.  And then for these women to wind up in a different atmosphere and try to find themselves again really made me think about the roles women take throughout the years of their lives and how some of those phases a woman can really lose her identity.  

With maybe hints of dystopia I liked this book.  I had access through netgalley to the ebook and audiobook and I enjoyed having both forms to read and I would completely suggest either form as they were both enjoyable.  

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Celadon Books.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

by Allison Brennan

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.

When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O'Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.

Now Max is home for Kevin's funeral―after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She's finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she's not prepared for Kevin's sister to stubbornly insist that he didn't kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max's old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin's troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it's becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

Kritters Thoughts: The first in a series and before even starting this one, I was already a big Allison Brennan fan, so I knew this book would be a great addition to my beach bag this summer.  While published nine years ago, I am a stickler for starting a series from the beginning so I picked this one up and enjoyed it on the beach.

Maxine Revere is an investigative journalist that ends up getting caught up in a few mysteries while visiting her hometown for a funeral of a friend.  When I say a few mysteries, I mean a few and while reading I kept thinking there was too much to keep straight, but when it all came together I wouldn't have taken one out, so just know that there are a few mysteries to keep straight with characters in each one.  

While this is the first in a series, there were a few moments where I thought that I was missing something because it felt as though the author was referring to previous happenings, but this is book one!  Maybe its just me, so I am excited to move on to book two and read more about Maxine and see what mysteries she gets into next. 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Minotaur Books.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Copyright 2010 Kritters Ramblings.

Theme by WordpressCenter.com.
Blogger Template by Beta Templates.