Review: The Perfect Stranger

31443398THE PERFECT STRANGER Written by Megan Miranda

April 11, 2017; 352 Pages (Simon Schuster)

Genre: mystery, suspense, fiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: ★★1/2 STARS

I read Miranda’s first novel, All the Missing Girls and liked it.  While it was not the best writing  (couldn’t really connect or relate to the characters, and the suspense wasn’t that great) the way that Miranda wrote the book in reverse was very interesting.  The writing was okay in that they mystery was not bad and there was promise that with a bit of polish the next novel could really be good.  I was eagerly awaiting to try her next novel, The Perfect Stranger.  I have to say that the novel had the same issues as I found with the first book without any clever tricks.

There is Leah, the main character, who left her job as a journalist to become a teacher.  It is hinted that it is not by choice.  I could not come to like Leah even at the end.  I found her a bit whiny and brash.  Her roommate, Emmy has disappeared but she can’t really prove that Emmy even exists.  There is some stalking..which is easy to figure out who it is, but the motivation for it is a bit weak.  Kyle Donovan is the detective in charge but he is not professional. He does whatever Leah tells him to do despite him being in trouble for this in the past.  I didn’t get the romance angle for them.  I was done in several chapters in, but I thought there might be a twist so I kept reading.  I try really hard to like Miranda’s books.  I do want to read one of her young adult novels as the angst might make more sense in teen books.  A lot of people to seem to like this book, so again this may just be me.

Another Very Late Review: Fire By Night

30037277FIRE BY NIGHT Written by Teresa Messineo

2017; 320 Pages (William Morrow)

Genre: historical fiction, nurses, world war II, romanace

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

RATING: ★★ 1/2

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.” (From Publisher)

I was SUPER excited to read this novel as it was the nurses of WWII that were the main characters.  As I started reading I was impressed with the writer’s research and writing.  Several chapters in…it was started to read like a Nicholas Sparks novel.  Now, I read Sparks (though I have not read anything in awhile) and enjoy his books, but I have to be in a certain mood for it.  The predictability of sorrow, sappy romance and hope of HEA (happily ever after).  I was looking for more of…Saving Private Ryan meets Call the Midwife.  I gave this book two and a half stars for the writing and research. I might have liked this novel more if I read it in a different frame of mind.  You let me know!

 

 

 

Very Late Review: Her Every Fear

29938032HER EVERY FEAR Written by Peter Swanson

2017; 352 Pages (William Morrow)

Genre: suspense, fiction, mystery, thriller

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

RATING: ★★★★

I read Her Every Fear in January, but I have not been able to write a review until now.  Though this time it was not because I cannot pin down a rating, but rather what do I exactly want to say.  I requested this book from NetGalley as I heard so many great things about The Kind Worth Killing.  I figured I would grab Peter Swanson’s newest novel as it too was a standalone.  I was intrigued from the beginning.  At first, I assumed that I would not like this book based on the main character, Kate.  She’s bit of a needy character and sometimes I lose patience with that, especially when it comes to suspense/mystery genres.  Then something happened – I was transported into a Patricia Highsmith novel.  For those of you that have not (yet!) read Highsmith it is indeed a treat for those that like a good psychological thriller.  Movies such as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley are a few that were adapted from her books.  Highsmith has this way of making you slightly uncomfortable about the characters so that you are almost neutral about them.  They are in situations that dangerous and it can turn a person.  That is how I felt while I read this book.  I didn’t try to guess what was coming because I was enjoy the present.  This is a well written book that I had a few tiny issues with (some plot that can be spoilers) but overall really enjoyed.  I hope you do to!

Series Review: Minnesota Mystery

In my 2-3-4 Challenge group we are reading the Cork O’Connor series (written by William Kent Krueger ) as a monthly group read.  We started at the beginning, book 1 in January 2017.  I listened to all four books on audio, read by David Chandler).

175828IRON LAKE (Cork O’Connor: #1)

1998; 464 Pages (Atria/ Recorded Books)

Genre: mystery, suspense, series, fiction

RATING: ★★★

“Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his “former” status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago’s South Side, there’s not much that can shock him. But when the town’s judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal.

As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.” (From Publisher)

I am not sure about this series.  Reading the synopsis above I was really excited to start listening to this book.  Many fellow readers love and recommend this series so maybe my expectations were a bit high.  My biggest issue with the novel was the main character, Cork.  After reading Bosch, Trent, Banks, etc I was looking for another cop hero.  I was disappointed in his choices and I didn’t see him as flawed hero but just meh.  While I love his kids (Jenny, Annie and Stevie) and sister-in-law, I am not wild about his wife, Jo either.  Add that with this novel being so sloooooooooow  to get anywhere,  I wasn’t rushing to listening as much as I usually do.  But there is promise…I do like the writing of the secondary characters and how the case comes together (finally!).  I am in for book two!

 

123604BOUNDARY WATERS (Cork O’Connor: #2)

1999; 402 Pages (Atria/ Recorded Books)

Genre: mystery, suspense, series, fiction

RATING: ★★★1/2

The Quetico-Superior Wilderness: more than two million acres of forest, white-water rapids, and uncharted islands on the Canadian/American border. Somewhere in the heart of this unforgiving territory, a young woman named Shiloh — a country-western singer at the height of her fame — has disappeared. Her father arrives in Aurora, Minnesota, to hire Cork O’Connor to find his daughter, and Cork joins a search party that includes an ex-con, two FBI agents, and a ten-year-old boy. Others are on her trail as well — men hired not just to find her, but to kill her.

As the expedition ventures deeper into the wilderness, strangers descend on Aurora, threatening to spill blood on the town’s snowy streets. Meanwhile, out on the Boundary Waters, winter falls hard. Cork’s team of searchers loses contact with civilization, and like the brutal winds of a Minnesota blizzard, death — violent and sudden — stalks them.” (From Publisher)

I am warming up to Cork, though he is still not my favourite character or “hero”.  I am hoping that Jo does not get back with Cork, as it is up to her whether they get back together.  Yet, I can sense their reunion.  Again, this novel moved a bit slow in the beginning but it did pick up and I found it harder to put down as we got to the end.

 

325429PURGATORY RIDGE (Cork O’Connor: #3)

2001; 428 Pages (Atria/ Recorded Books)

Genre: mystery, suspense, series, fiction

RATING: ★★★★

“Not far from the small town of Aurora (population 3,752) lies an ancient two-hundred-acre expanse of great white pines, sacred to the Anishinaabe and known to them as Minishoomisag (Our Grandfathers).

Wealthy industrialist Karl Lindstrom does not have a reputation as a sensitive environmentalist, and some members of the Anishinaabe tribe are concerned about the proximity of the trees to his lumber mill. So when an explosion at the mill results in the death of a night watchman, it’s obvious whom suspicion will fall upon.

Cork O’Connor, in the throes of straightening out his life and repairing his marriage, is asked by his successor as sheriff to help with the investigation. His sense of community obliges him to accept, but Cork has distinctly mixed feelings about the case. For one thing, he is part Anishinaabe himself. For another, his lawyer wife, Jo, represents the tribe.

Meanwhile, in a secluded house that overlooks the lakeside home of the Lindstrom family, a reclusive shipwreck survivor and his sidekick also seem to be harboring some resentment of their own against the industrialist. And it soon becomes clear to Cork that harmony, both at home and in the town, will be on the back burner for some time.” (From Publisher)

Okay, Mr. Krueger you got me.  I have officially added rest of the Cork O’Connor books on my “want-to read” list.  I was hooked from the beginning and the story moved quickly so I was galloping through it.  I have not mentioned in my other reviews, but one other thing that I love about Krueger’s writing style is his description of  Aurora and it’s wondrous beauty.  Often the settings in the novel are almost another character.  You can definitely image the place but also almost feel how it would be there.  While I am still not a fan of Jo, I do seem to warm to her when she is around her sister and children.  I am ready for next month.

 

211161BLOOD HOLLOW (Cork O’Connor: #4)

2004; 512 Pages (Atria/ Recorded Books)

Genre: mystery, suspense, series, fiction

RATING: ★★★★1/2

When the corpse of a beautiful high school student is discovered on a hillside four months after her disappearance on New Year’s Eve, all evidence points to her boyfriend, local bad boy Solemn Winter Moon. Despite Solemn’s self-incriminating decision to go into hiding, Cork O’Connor, Aurora’s former sheriff, isn’t about to hang the crime on the kid, whom O’Connor is convinced is innocent. In an uphill battle to clear Solemn’s name, Cork encounters no shortage of adversity. Some he knows all too well — small-town bigotry and bureaucracy foremost among them. What Cork isn’t prepared for is the emergence of a long-held resentment hailing from his own childhood. And when Solemn reappears, claiming to have seen a vision of Jesus Christ in Blood Hollow, the mystery becomes thornier than Cork could ever have anticipated. And that’s when the miracles start happening…. ” (From Publisher)

I rated the first novel three stars, and slowly have been going up half a star for each book ever.  I thought I would stay at four stars for a few books, but wow this book was almost a five star.  This book starts with a bang and almost like a race I kept wanting to read more and more.  I was lucky that I was listening to this book when I had a day of chores.  I listened to 75% of the book in one day.  I liked that this book had more of the O’Connor family, and more of Rose.  I am a HUGE fan of Rose.  She is definitely the strength of the O’Connor family and also it’s heart.  Krueger and Cork describe Rose as smart and kind BUT also plain and overweight.  I probably like Rose so much as I relate with her the most (other than Jenny for her love of poetry).  I think Rose and Annie would be great detectives for a spin-off series – I like the quirkiness of Annie who compliments her aunt.  The case in this book was also very fascinating as it uses big themes like religion, culture, love and secrets.  Highly recommend this book and waiting patiently for May to read book five.

Quick Review: LONG BLACK VEIL

31214015LONG BLACK VEIL Written by Jennifer Finney Boylan

2017; 304 Pages (Crown)
Genre: literary fiction, mystery

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3 STARS

Okay, so I decided to go with this book based on the title.  “Long Black Veil” is a song sung by Johnny Cash, and has always been haunting.  The only description of the book was the following, “a new novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past.”  The novel’s first part takes place in a prison in the 1980s.  Intrigued yet? I was.  It took me a few days to really get into this book.  The first half is confusing. I can’t even describe to you why as I am afraid I will slip in a spoiler by accident.  I was even confused on what to rate it, and even now as I write I keep volleying between 2.5 to 3.  Once I got to the middle of the book I was able to read it pretty quickly.  I was engaged even though some things didn’t seem plausible and I figured out one plot twist (there are more!).  The characters are not always likeable BUT some are interesting in their flaws.  I am not even sure if I would recommend this book, and if I did, whom I would recommend it to.  I will say that reading this book was entertaining for the most part but it is not one I would read again.

Review: Dead Letters: Not a Suspense

deadlettersDEAD LETTERS Written by Caite Dolan-Leach

2016; 352 Pages (Random House)

Genre: literary fiction

RATING: ★1/2

I was sold with the synopsis starting as “sharp and clever debut novel of suspense”.  Right away I clicked on the “request” button at the library.  With debut authors, I will always give a bit of slack when it comes to the story line as this is their first novel.  Before my hold came in I happened upon a  fellow blogger’s review (a blogger who loves the suspense/mystery/thriller genre as much as I do) on this book.  I saw her warning that this novel was in fact, not a true suspense mystery but more of a literary fiction. I decided to still read the book when it came in, but kept her warning in mind.

Ava and Zelda are identical twins and have not spoken in two years, when Ava ran off to France for grad school.  When Ava finds out that Zelda has died in a fire, she comes home to deal with…everything she ran away from.   Her mother’s alcoholism has led to her becoming more unstable, her father’s abandonment for another family, her own sister’s drinking and betrayal, and finally her feelings for her ex-boyfriend.

There is a slight mystery in this book, but it’s not really interesting in the sense there is no suspense.  None of the characters are likeable which is not a big deal as long as the story is strong and/or you can relate or care for the characters in some way.  Even with my literary lens on, I could not get into this one. This book also touted that it was a “thriller about a dysfunctional family” but I found that they were just selfish rather than a flawed but interesting characters.    I did finish this book despite wanting to abandon ship a few times.  I stayed in for the long haul because I wanted to think there was going to be something coming ahead that would turn this book around.

Thriller Thursday: One Perfect Lie

one-perfect-lie-lisa-scottoline-book-review.png

ONE PERFECT LIE (standalone) Written by Lisa Scottoline

April 11, 2017; 384 Pages (St. Martin’s Press)

Genre: suspense, thriller, fiction, mystery

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★1/2

I still remember my first Lisa Scottoline novel, The Vendetta Defensewhich is the sixth book in the Rosato and Associates series.  I loved the main character, Judy Carrier in the legal drama as much as I enjoyed the story and the quirky secondary characters.  While the novels in the series are serious for the most part, there is a slight bit of humour that makes it endearing and realistic.  As soon as I finished The Vendetta Defense I decided I needed to read whatever else Scottoline had written.  I found out that The Vendetta Defense was actually a part of a series so I found the first book, Everywhere that Mary Went.  Now I loved Mary DiNunzio and her wacky family and friends.   As of today I have read every book by Scottoline, except the nonfiction books she writes with her daughter, and four of her standalone suspense novel (also marketed as “emotional thrillers”).  I plan to read those four books but kind of don’t want to be caught up with Scottoline.  I like the sense of having some books to turn to when I need a Scottoline fix.  I generally rate her novels 3-4 stars so was really upset when I read her last standalone suspense, The Most Wanted, and rated it only two stars.  Yet, I really enjoyed her latest Rosato & DiNunzio series.  So…I was a bit scared going into One Perfect Night but as I started the first chapter I was hooked.

Chris Brennan has been hired as a teacher and coach for a high school, based on his amazing resume and charisma.  The only thing is…it is all a lie.  Everything Chris says is a lie.  He is here looking for one student to help him, and he will pit three friends against each other to get what he wants. One of the three boys is the popular rich and handsome Evan Kostis.  He has everything at his fingertips, so would he accept a challenge?  His mother, Mindy is busy trying to find out if her husband is cheating on her, so doesn’t uncover her son’s secrets till it is too late.  Second, is the bad boy spiraling out of control, Raz Sematov.  After the death of his beloved father his family, older brother and mother, are falling apart.  Susan doesn’t know how to hold it all together as that was what her husband did.  Can she pry out the truth from her boys before they get themselves further in trouble? Lastly, is the good and hardworking Jordan Larkin.  His mother, Heather is a single mother trying to earn enough money to make sure her son can go to college.  Jordan is getting better at sport and school which threatens his friendship with Raz.  Quitting her job, Heather is now around to see what is going on in her son’s life and is starting to realize he may be in danger.  Secrets and lies will collide as Chris begins his plan…

I apologize if my review is a bit vague.  It seems like everything I had an issue with or liked could be a possible spoiler.  I am going to try and be careful.  I was really engaged in this novel until the first twist.  As soon as the first part ended so did the story for me.  While the twist wasn’t a shock, it also felt too easy.  It took the story to another place where I didn’t want to see it go.  If how everything portrayed in the first part stayed that way it would have gone down a really interesting path,   I do understand why the author felt it needed to be this way.  I continued reading even though the subject matter was no longer a story line I liked,  because I was a bit curious to see how the mystery would end.  Scottline is great at revealing things a bit at a time in this book, so you are not wondering where these things were coming from, and how things unfolded.  There is also a bit of a romance, but I didn’t like the chemistry between these characters and it seemed to be too quick in some ways.  I found the novel to be entertaining as the action was quick and would recommend this as a beach read. Or as my dad would say, “it’s an action movie…you never question why.”

Author Website

Buy your copy now! Hardcover   eBook    Audio

 

Rapid Review: The Art of Selling Movies

32794423.jpgTHE ART OF SELLING MOVIES Written by John McElwee

2017; 308 Pages (Goodknight Books)

Genre: film, history, nonfiction

(I received an ARC from NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★★ 

I am a big fan of classic movies and radio programs.  One of my favourite things about listening to old time radio is hearing the advertisements of the 30s, 40s and 50s.  It gives those that love history a chance to hear what was being sold and how.  I also love movie posters and ads from the Golden Age of films.  It was more than just the fancy graphics used today.  There was the creativity and also the marketing behind the poster.  In McElwee’s book he describes the marketing behind the ads as well as why this type of ads was successful.  It takes in account the historical background of the early to mid 20th Century in America.  I love the images in this book as many are new to me.  The amateur historian in me loved pouring over this book as I loved the mix of film, ads, art and history.  This is one I would like to eventually buy in hardcover for reference. While I read through the book, I now need to go back and absorb what interests me.

Buy your eBook and Hardcover now.

Blog Tour: The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

“Prepare to fall in love with this amazing, endearing family of women!” — Robyn Carr, #1 NYT’s and USA Today bestselling author

last chance matinee

THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE (The Hudson Sisters: #1) Written by Mariah Stewart

March 21, 2017; 432 Pages (Gallery Books)

Genre: contemporary, romance, fiction, series, small-town

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★★

Fritz Hudson, a respected agent in Hollywood, quietly passes away leaving behind many family secrets.  The biggest one being that he was living a double life.  In California, he is the agent and husband to Nora, and father to their daughters, Allie and Des.  He later meets Susa in New Jersey.  They marry and have a daughter, Cara.  Fritz goes the cowardly route and never confesses to his daughter.  Instead he leaves it to his best friend and lawyer, Pete to reveal the truth to them at the reading of the will.  Pete also has to tell them that their father has left a big condition on their inheritance.  They must restore a theater in his hometown, Hidden Falls.  The three girls must work together or they get nothing.

Cara, the youngest, runs a yoga studio and is recently divorced.  In fact, her ex-husband is getting married to one of her bridesmaid and longtime friend in a few weeks. Hurt and betrayed, Cara is looking forward to being out of town while the big wedding happens in her small-town.  Allie, the eldest, i/s angry over her latest show being cancelled and not being able to find any other directing jobs.  After her divorce she is seeing less of her daughter, Nikki and is on the verge of losing her home.  Allie needs this money so that she can pay her daughter’s private school tuition and save her home.  Des, the middle child, is now living off her investments from her time as a child actor.  But she could use the money to work on animal shelters, but more importantly spend time with her eldest sister.  Both Des and Cara go into this adventure hoping to learn more about their father and one another, while Allie resists everything.  As the three women abandon their current lives for their father’s small hometown they will start to bond whether they want to or not.

I have not really been able to read contemporary romance in the past year.  I have read a few but it has been authors I know well.  I was a bit weary in participating in this blog tour as I was afraid I would not be able to get into this novel.  I have read Mariah Stewart’s romantic suspense and have LOVED them.  I didn’t want to not like this book.  As I hemmed and hawed I realized I needed to start reading this book now or I was going to be lat for this blog tour.  I started this book last night and BOOM…I was SUCKED in!

The Last Chance Matinee does have a cliched plot, but it works. You know everything is going to work out in the end, and that is comforting and exactly what I want in my contemporary romance.  What makes or breaks a contemporary romance, in my opinion, is the journey to the happily-ever-after.  It doesn’t have to be completely realistic, but have plausible situations and some big conflicts.  We know that most likely the theater will get finished, but it is how the sisters come together and the things they discover along the way that interests me.  Stewart has done a great job in creating the three main characters.  I find myself very invested in them and what happens to them.  The quirky cast of around them are just as well-written.  The story is engaging and has you feeling the emotions right along with the women. I find one of my biggest pet peeves with romance novels is when the humour is forced.  The humour in this book is balanced and funny when it should be.  I highly recommend this one for any contemporary romance lover…or anyone that enjoys good writing.   If you like the Lucky Harbour series by Jill Shalvis you will enjoy this one.  Stewart’s writing in this book reminds me of Susan Wiggs, Luanne Rice, Susan Mallery and Robyn Carr.

Buy your copy now: Trade Paper OR eBook

*Look for Book 2 in 2018 and Book 3 in 2019!

From the Preface, The Last Chance Matinee:

Everyone is familiar with the adage “write what you know”; it’s a saying that has dictated much of my decades-long career in publishing. But this time, it was what I (or rather, my mother) didn’t know that formed the basis for this first book in my new Hudson Sisters series.

 

When my mother was in her mid-forties, she received a letter from a woman named Alice, the wife of her recently deceased cousin Bill. Alice thanked my mother for the sympathy card she’d sent her, and finished her note by saying, “You do know that Bill was your half brother, right?”

Ah, no. She did not.

…Of course, I was fascinated. My grandfather died when I was four or five years old, and I have very little memory of him other than his deep, hearty laugh. I’ve been thinking for years that this foundation of a love child and secret siblings would make a great story; but not knowing all the facts, I was free to fill in the blanks—and so I did. Years passed before I felt I had the right story in my head. This is that story. I hope you enjoy my version of what could happen under such circumstances.

—Mariah Stewart

 

Mariah2008About Mariah Stewart:

Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. She lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors county life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her at mariahstewart.com and follow her on Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart and on Instagram @mariah_stewart_books.

Young Adult Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty

*Originally published 2016/02/23

While I worked at the bookstore I kept coming across this young adult book with a very gorgeous cover.  So when I saw it at the library a few weeks later I knew it was just meant to be. I remember being absorbed from the moment I opened the cover.  I only had to wait a few months for the second book (Rebel Angel) but the third (The Sweet Far Thing) wouldn’t be out for two years.  By that time I was busy graduating from University and figuring out my life.  I did manage to purchase a copy though, so good on me. Recently I read the first two books in Bray’s newest series, The Diviners, (second book is Lair of Dreams) and I loved them.  It got me thinking that I never finished the Gemma Doyle Trilogy that I had enjoyed so much.  My goal this year was to reread the first two and finally read the last book…

3682A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (Gemma Doyle Trilogy: #1) Written by Libba Bray

Narrated by Josephine Bailey

2003, 403 Pages (11 Hours and 13 Minutes) Simon & Schuster

Genre: young adult, supernatural, suspense, romance


Rating: ★★★★★

Gemma is still trying to come to terms with foreseeing her mother’s death, and then having to see it come true.  Her brother and grandmother think she should leave India to attend Spence Academy for Girls in England.  As if Gemma wasn’t having a bad enough time the girls at the school have decided to snub her and make her an outcast.  Her roommate is a scholarship student who sides with the popular girls even though she too is made fun of by them.  The tide turns when she saves and in turns blackmails, Felicity the leader of the pack.  Trying to prove herself to Felicity and beautiful Pippa, Gemma brings along Ann and reveals some of her secrets and they soon find themselves involved in a supernatural mystery that could leave them in great peril.

I listened to A Great and Terrible Beauty on audio this time just for something different and really enjoyed Bailey’s narration.  Her impression of Ann’s nasally voice is spot-on, I think.  This is a perfect example of a young adult novel that is for both teens and adults.  There is nothing in this novel that is appropriate for a teen that watches young adult shows and movies.  Yet the plot is intricate enough to keep an adult engrossed.  Having just watched Penny Dreadful (definitely NOT for teens) I was geared up for the Victorian supernatural world.  I enjoyed the characters – main and secondary – as they were each so different and realistic.  I read this first when I was 24 and now at 35 I still would rate it a 5 star.  I really fell into the world created by Bray.