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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

NetGalley Badges and Honors

100 Book Reviews Frequently Auto-Approved 80% Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge Professional Reader
Check out the Penguin First to Read program - First To Read

Book Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

This was a weird one, and ultimately a disappointment for it. I had high hopes based on the extremely provocative blurb, and the opening bits. The writing was good, the mysteries and suspense thick on the ground, and the characters seemed promisingly dark and uncertain. Unfortunately, it turned scattered all too quickly and I found myself rolling my eyes at the choices the characters made right up to the Big Reveal – and then I just sighed. I kept reading – Walker’s writing style is engaging, and I’ll admit I was still curious to see how on earth she’d close all the gaps, but things just felt like they were trying too hard to be mind-blastingly original in a genre that I’m starting to think needs to slow down a bit, publication-wise… Continue reading Book Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Book Review: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis’s books are such a delight to read. The blending of past and present (or in this case, past and less past) story lines to uncover a solution to a mystery of the past, tied to one of New York City’s great monument buildings, is a clever construct and one that educates and entertains in equal measure. This is my third foray into Davis’s world, and while I enjoyed it, I must confess that I did not find it quite as consistently compelling as the first two.

I vastly enjoyed the more historical story this time. Clara Darden and her 1920s New York felt alive and resonant in a way that Virginia’s 1970s city simply did not. It wasn’t until the Big Reveal that I finally felt a real connection to Virginia’s world. From there until the end I was thoroughly engaged and the book was as lovely as the earlier novels. Continue reading Book Review: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

Book Review: The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

I LOVE Mira Grant (AND Seanan McGuire) and find her productivity astonishing – not just for sheer volume, which is impressive and entails multiple series from different author voices concurrently, but also for the consistently solid and varied quality of her titles. This woman publishes half a dozen books a year, minimum, under her various writing personas, and nearly each one hits it out of the park… I just love her writing style – no matter what name/intensity level she is writing under, the stories and characters are always complex, well thought out, and utterly original. This latest is no exception…

It’s a post-apocalyptic tale of a slightly different kind in that the world is not yet destroyed, but hovering on the verge of being so. And the apocalypse is, once again, of our own making. This time the issue is immunity – specifically herd immunity, and how it is being decimated by anti-vaccination fanatics. In a tale both timely and timeless, Grant uses her singular gift to present an entirely plausible and horrifyingly real vision of the world we may well find ourselves in if we continue to allow non-science (no coincidence that sounds so similar to “nonsense” in my mind) to chip away at the worldwide protection that vaccines provide all of us. Continue reading Book Review: The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Guest Post: Expand Your College Options Beyond the US by Jennifer Viemont

Today I’m bringing you a TOTALLY different type of post, but one that hits a topic near and dear to my heart: education. Specifically, higher education. Jennifer Viemont has some ideas about expanding your thinking to expand your options, and I hope you enjoy (and can profit from) them!

Expand Your College Options
by Jennifer Viemont

If you stress about how you’re going to pay for college — whether for yourself or your kids, you’re not alone. And it’s only getting more expensive! CNBC reports a 213% increase over 30 years. But there is a solution and you might not have heard of it before! It’s a more cost-effective alternative to the expensive United States colleges—in Europe, and it may be just the answer that you, your family, and your friends are looking for. Continue reading Guest Post: Expand Your College Options Beyond the US by Jennifer Viemont

Book Review: Mrs. John Doe by Tom Savage

What a very fun find this was! Spy books and I are old friends – I started reading them just after the end of the Cold War and was hooked… Back in the day, it was much easier (I imagine) to write one: the good guys (the US) and bad guys (the USSR) were clearly delineated, easy to find, and everyone’s motives were (relatively) straightforward. It was Us vs. Them, which makes for a lot of drama –
particularly when paired with recognizable and dramatically contrasting backdrops and major players. The fall of the Soviet Union threw a spanner into the works, and spy books in the modern era are a lot messier and harder for me to get into. Things are more convoluted and complicated now – or at least they seem so; perhaps they always were, who knows – and The Big Bad is a conglomeration of people and places with disparate interests and perspectives that seem to shift like sand…

Mrs. John Doe attempts to put an old school framework on a modern day spy thriller, and for the most part does it with aplomb. Continue reading Book Review: Mrs. John Doe by Tom Savage




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