Source: Henry Holt and Co.

#BookReview Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski @HenryHolt #RealEasy #MarieRutkoski #HenryHoltBooks

#BookReview Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski @HenryHolt #RealEasy #MarieRutkoski #HenryHoltBooks Title: Real Easy

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Jan. 18, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 8.5/10

It’s 1999 and Samantha has danced for years at the Lovely Lady strip club. She’s not used to mixing work and friendship―after all, between her jealous boyfriend and his young daughter, she has enough on her plate. But the newest dancer is so clueless that Samantha feels compelled to help her learn the hustle and drama of the club: how to sweet-talk the boss, fit in with the other women, and make good money. One night, when the new girl needs a ride home, Samantha agrees to drive: a simple decision that turns deadly.

Georgia, another dancer drawn into the ensuing murder and missing person investigation, gathers information for Holly, a grieving detective determined to solve the case. Georgia just wants to help, but her involvement makes her a target. As Holly and Georgia round up their suspects, the story’s point of view shifts between dancers, detectives, children, club patrons―and the killer.

Drawing on her experience as a former dancer, Marie Rutkoski immerses us in the captivating world of the club, which comes alive with complicated people trying their best to protect themselves and those they love. Character-driven and masterfully plotted, Real Easy gets to the heart of the timeless question: How do women live their lives knowing that men can hurt them?


Review:

Intricate, addictive, and twisty!

Real Easy is a complex, gritty, character-driven thriller that takes you back to 1999 and into the lives of a myriad of people, including Detectives Amador and Meylin, as they work together to solve a case involving a murdered stripper, her missing coworker Samantha, and a killer who seems to have an unusual fascination with the image of a crown and enjoys keeping small pieces of jewellery as mementoes.

The prose is vigorous and tight. The characters are multilayered, flawed, and troubled. And the plot, told from multiple perspectives, quickly unravels into a sinister tale of unforeseen twists, well-timed surprises, complex relationships, suspicious motivations, manipulation, obsession, tragedy, loss, and murder.

Overall, Real Easy is a dark, unnerving, entertaining adult debut by Rutkoski that kept me guessing from the very first page and left me chilled, satisfied, impressed, and curious to see what her devious mind might come up with next.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels for children and young adults. She grew up in Illinois as the oldest of four children, and has lived in Moscow, Prague, and Paris.

She holds degrees from the University of Iowa and Harvard University, and is now a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Shakespeare, children’s literature, and fiction writing. She lives in Brooklyn with her family and two cats, Cloud and Firefly.

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.

 

#BookReview In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado @silviavasla @HenryHolt #IntheShadowoftheMountain #SilviaVasquezLavado

#BookReview In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado @silviavasla @HenryHolt #IntheShadowoftheMountain #SilviaVasquezLavado Title: In the Shadow of the Mountain

Author: Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Feb. 1, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 320

Format: Hardcover

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 10/10

Endless ice. Thin air. The threat of dropping into nothingness thousands of feet below. This is the climb Silvia Vasquez-Lavado braves in her page-turning, pulse-raising memoir following her journey to Mount Everest.

A Latina hero in the elite macho tech world of Silicon Valley, privately, she was hanging by a thread. Deep in the throes of alcoholism, hiding her sexuality from her family, and repressing the abuse she’d suffered as a child, she started climbing. Something about the brute force required for the ascent― the risk and spirit and sheer size of the mountains and death’s close proximity―woke her up. She then took her biggest pain as a survivor to the biggest mountain: Everest.

“The Mother of the World,” as it’s known in Nepal, allows few to reach her summit, but Silvia didn’t go alone. She gathered a group of young female survivors and led them to base camp alongside her. It was never easy. At times hair-raising, nerve-racking, and always challenging, Silvia remembers the acute anxiety of leading a group of novice climbers to Everest’s base, all the while coping with her own nerves of summiting. But, there were also moments of peace, joy, and healing with the strength of her fellow survivors and community propelling her forward.

In the Shadow of the Mountain is a remarkable story of heroism, one which awakens in all of us a lust for adventure, an appetite for risk, and faith in our own resilience.


Review:

Honest, affecting, and incredibly inspiring!

In the Shadow of the Mountain is a candid, memorable memoir that takes you into the life of Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, from her childhood in Peru where she was sexually abused by a family friend, her post-secondary education as an immigrant and lesbian in the green hills of Pennsylvania, an incredibly successful career in silicon valley, to her love of climbing that not only gave her an extreme physical challenge but an outlet to emotionally heal herself and touch the lives of other exploited souls.

The prose is heartfelt and genuine. And the novel is a forthright, sincere tale of one woman’s personal experience with abuse, loss, love, support, friendship, family, addiction, heartbreak, shame, determination, and ultimately the grit and strength needed to scale the Seven Summits of the world.

Overall, In the Shadow of the Mountain is a moving, impactful, lovely tale by Vasquez-Lavado that delves into all the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of being a victim, survivor, addict, lover, extreme adventurer, and mentor. It is truly a beautiful tale that, at its core, is empowering and an important reminder that we have within us all the power to conquer anything.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

               

 

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a humanitarian, mountaineer, explorer, social entrepreneur, and technologist living in San Francisco. In 2014, she launched Courageous Girls, a nonprofit that helps survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking with opportunities to find inner strength and cultivate their voices by demonstrating their physical strength. Courageous Girls has had projects in Nepal, India, the United States, and Peru. Vasquez-Lavado was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the Corporate Heroes of 2015. CNET named her one of the 20 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley. She has also been recognized by the Peruvian government as one of the “Marca Peru” ambassadors (country brand ambassadors). She is a member of the Explorers Club and one of the few women in the world to complete the Seven Summits.

Photo by Emily Assiran.

#BookReview Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty @HenryHolt #ApplesNeverFall #LianeMoriarty

#BookReview Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty @HenryHolt #ApplesNeverFall #LianeMoriarty Title: Apples Never Fall

Author: Liane Moriarty

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Sep. 14, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 480

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty comes a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest

The Delaney family love one another dearly—it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.


Review:

Simmering, cunning, and cleverly intricate!

Apples Never Fall is a compelling, character-driven, domestic thriller that takes you into the lives of the Delaney family as they each grapple with sibling rivalry, enduring jealousy, resentments, and long-buried secrets when their matriarch disappears one day leaving behind only a garbled text message and a husband who seems suspiciously guilty of her murder.

The writing is crisp and tight. The characters are envious, secretive, and troubled. And the plot told using a mixture of narrative, police interviews, and alternating timelines, before-and-after the incident is a mysterious tale full of well-timed twists, unforeseen surprises, red herrings, deception, insecurities, and a whole slew of quirky, eccentric personalities.

Overall, Apples Never Fall is another addictive, astute, tragically comedic tale by Moriarty that highlights once again her innate ability to delve into all the messy psychological and emotional entanglements that exist between family members and is definitely worthy of its spot on everyone’s must-read list this fall.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, and Truly Madly Guilty; the New York Times bestsellers Nine Perfect Strangers, What Alice Forgot, and The Last Anniversary; The Hypnotist’s Love Story; and Three Wishes. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children.

Photo by über photography

 

#BookReview Ridgeline by Michael Punke @HenryHolt #Ridgeline #MichaelPunke

#BookReview Ridgeline by Michael Punke @HenryHolt #Ridgeline #MichaelPunke Title: Ridgeline

Author: Michael Punke

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Jun. 1, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 10/10

In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier–a clash of cultures between a young, ambitious nation and the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley to lead the US Army in defending the opening of a new road for gold miners and settlers. Carrington intends to build a fort in the middle of critical hunting grounds, the home of the Lakota. Red Cloud, one of the Lakota’s most respected chiefs, and Crazy Horse, a young but visionary warrior, understand full well the implications of this invasion. For the Lakota, the stakes are their home, their culture, their lives.

As fall bleeds into winter, Crazy Horse leads a small war party that confronts Colonel Carrington’s soldiers with near constant attacks. Red Cloud, meanwhile, seeks to build the tribal alliances that he knows will be necessary to defeat the soldiers. Colonel Carrington seeks to hold together a US Army beset with internal discord. Carrington’s officers are skeptical of their commander’s strategy, none more so than Lieutenant George Washington Grummond, who longs to fight a foe he dismisses as inferior in all ways. The rank-and-file soldiers, meanwhile, are still divided by the residue of civil war, and tempted to desertion by the nearby goldfields.

Throughout this taut saga–based on real people and events–Michael Punke brings the same immersive, vivid storytelling and historical insight that made his breakthrough debut so memorable. As Ridgeline builds to its epic conclusion, it grapples with essential questions of conquest and justice that still echo today.


Review:

Vivid, moving, and exceptionally enthralling!

Ridgeline is an intricate, insightful tale that sweeps you away to the plains of Wyoming in the fall of 1866 when tensions between the soldiers and settlers of the newly formed Fort Phil Kearney and the Sioux people simmers and builds until it finally comes to a head on December 21, 1866, when infamous Lakota leader, Crazy Horse leads a band of multiple tribes in an artfully strategized assault and slaughter of 81 men on Lodge Trail Ridge that not only left this US Army outpost decimated but ultimately foreshadowed the bloodbath yet to come in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are determined, troubled, and strategic. And the plot using a mix of narration, diary entries, and told from multiple POVs, intertwines and unravels seamlessly into a harrowing tale of life, loss, hardship, culture, dissension, hostility, violence, survival, war, and murder.

Overall, Ridgeline is an exceptionally atmospheric, nuanced, beautifully written novel by Punke that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, personalities, and lives of the characters you can’t help but be affected. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite novels of the year that does a wonderful job of reminding us of the extreme conflict and savagery that once graced these vast, rugged, prairie lands that some of us now call home.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Michael Punke

Michael Punke is the author of several books including The Revenant, a #1 New York Times bestseller and basis for the Academy Award–winning film. In his diverse professional career, Punke has served as the US ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, history correspondent for the Montana Quarterly, and an adjunct professor at the University of Montana. As a high school and college student, he worked summers as a living history interpreter at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming. He lives with his family in Montana and is an avid outdoorsman.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

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