Sunday, December 31, 2023

Book Review - Dreams of Falling by Karen White


Dreams of Falling by Karen White is about a woman, Larkin Lanier, who returns home after her beloved mother goes missing. Many years ago, three young girls spent most of their lives together. Their childhoods were intertwined with each other and they were rarely apart. They decided to write their hopes and dreams on ribbons and stow it in a special tree for their wishes to come true. Their most important one was that whatever happens, they will remain friends forever.

Larkin left her home in Georgetown, South Carolina, nine years ago humiliated. She felt that she could never go back and face her friends after an embarrassing incident.  However, when she receives a call that her mother has gone missing, she realizes that she has no choice but to return back home. She is excited to see her family who missed her and wants her to come back home, but dreads running into her childhood friends who remember the incident that caused her to leave.

Larkin’s mother, Ivy, is discovered near the burned out wreckage of her family’s home. She is unconscious and badly injured when she is found. No one knows why Ivy decided to go to the house and Larkin is desperate to find answers. As she digs for answers, she discovers the reason why her mother went to the house. The secrets that she uncovers dates back fifty years ago and it began with those three girls whose friendship was tested in the most heartbreaking ways.

This was the second book I read by the author. I felt that the author is skilled at creating realistic Southern characters but it feels to me that her main female characters are always unlikeable. I didn’t care for Larkin’s storyline as much because I found her to be annoying. She was rude and assumed the worst of her best friends without any reason but she gave the benefit of the doubt to a guy who was constantly rude and mean to her. Larkin was dismissive when her childhood friends were trying to make amends or hang out but willingly hung out with a guy who was demeaning to her on multiple occasions. I didn’t understand why her friends were so loyal and understanding to Larkin when she wasn’t very nice to them in turn. Larkin acted like the entire world revolved around her and didn’t really care about anyone else’s feelings and she kept acting like “woe is me”.

The book was told from alternating points of view and timelines. I found it difficult to keep track of the different characters because there were so many and each one was related to each other. I felt that Ivy’s chapters didn’t add much to the story. In the majority of her chapters, she spent time trying to figure out what is keeping her attached to Earth, or she was pining for her dead boyfriend, Ellis. I felt like the chapters would have a bigger impact if we got more details about their relationship.

I didn’t like that the characters refused to share information with each other until Ivy woke up from her coma or there was another interruption that caused the delay. I felt that  caused the story to drag on longer than necessary. The book was slow moving with pages of nothing happening. Aside from the annoying main character and the predictable twists, I found the book to be an okay read. I would be open to reading more books by the author.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Book Review - Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher


Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher is a retelling of a fairytale about a princess, Princess Fayette, who is trapped in a tower and the creature that protects it. 

When Toadling was born to her human family, she was stolen by fairies and switched with a Changeling.  She is taken to the swamp where she spends most of her childhood. Toadling is transformed from a human girl into a toad shaped being that can transform into an actual toad. She is surrounded and loved by the faeries at the swamp. They teach her how to use magic and coddle her. They are the only family she has ever known.

Toadling enjoys her time there and when she reaches adulthood, one of the fae asks her for a favor. Toadling is to return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn baby. She is given her mission and is offered training to help her succeed with her quest. However, as much as Toadling is prepared, nothing is as easy as imagined and something always goes wrong. Toadling fumbles the blessing and the faerie child’s power grows uncontrollably along with unleashing her evil side. As a last resort, Toadling placed the child under a curse that put her asleep to prevent her from using her evil powers.

Centuries have passed since Toadling was asked to pass her blessing to the child. A knight has stopped by a wall that is surrounded by brambles and thorns. He has heard that there is a curse and rumors of a hidden treasure beyond the thorn covered wall. Toadling is serving as the guardian of the wall and will stop at nothing to make sure that the curse isn’t broken.

I was excited to read the novella and was able to finish it in a day. I heard many good things about the author and was excited to read the book. However, I was a bit disappointed with the story. I found the novella hard to get into and the writing clunky and hard to follow. I found myself re-reading the same sentence a few times to try to understand what was going on.

There are a lot of things that I found confusing. For example, the timeframe and world the story takes place in. It wasn’t very clear to me when or where the story takes place. The family of the Princess was called a King and Queen but when they were describing the property they loved in, it seems like they were more like a lower level lord and lady.  The book was an okay read but I would be open to reading other books by the author.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Book Review - Dominicana by Angie Cruz


Dominicana by Angie Cruz is about a teenager named Ana Cancion who moves to America with her husband from the Dominican Republic. Fifteen year old Ana never imagined that she would be going to America. She thought she would spend her entire life in the Dominican countryside. However, when Juan Ruiz proposes to her, her entire life changes. He is twice her age and she doesn’t love him but she is excited about the opportunity to go to America. She knows that it is an opportunity for her family to eventually immigrate over and it’s an opportunity that many people wish they had but might never get.

In 1965, on New Year’s Day, Ana packs up her belongings and leaves everything she knows behind. In New York City, she becomes Ana Ruiz. She spends most of her time in their apartment and the rest of the time is spent taking care of Juan and his younger brother, Cesar. Ana is miserable and isolated with her new life as her new husband turns out to be abusive towards her. She decides to run away and hatches a plan to escape. However, while at the bus terminal, she crosses paths with Cesar and he convinces her to stay.

Juan has to return back to the Dominican Republic as the country is in political turmoil. He needs to secure their family assets and ensure that their restaurant business is coming along okay. Juan leaves Ana behind and asks Cesar to watch over her. 

Ana is overwhelmed and excited by her new freedom.  She can finally do whatever she wants without having to worry about Juan. She can take English lessons, spend time exploring the city, go dancing with Cesar, watch movies and have her own food and clothing repair business. Ana finds that she is finally enjoying her life in America. However, when Juan returns unexpectedly, Ana is torn. Will she  give up her newly found freedom or stay with Juan so her family can have a better life?

The book is an entertaining read. The writing style was easy to read and flowed smoothly. The book was slow during some parts and nothing was happening for quite a bit. The story reminds me of many stories I heard of immigrant families sacrificing to have the opportunity to come to America.

I was saddened to see how trapped Ana must have felt because she had to deal with an abusive husband and then a family who was expecting her to lift them out of poverty. Many times she had to put other people’s happiness before her own. I enjoyed the parts of the story where she was able to find bits of happiness for herself; even if the way she went about it wasn’t the best idea.

The novel is narrated by both Ana and Juan. I thought both perspectives were engaging but I didn’t think it was important or necessary to include Juan’s story. It was interesting to read about his perspective but his story didn’t add much to the main story line as he mostly muses about his love for another married woman. It could have been left out and I wouldn’t have missed it. Perhaps, if his chapters talked about Ana and how he felt towards her, it would have added more to the story. The majority of the novel is narrated by Ana, and Juan’s chapters were a small part of the book. If you like reading stories about women finding their voices, then you might enjoy this book.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Book Review - One Blood by Denene Millner


One Blood by Denene Millner is about three generations of African American women who are trying to find their place in society. Grace is a teenager who is raised by her beloved grandmother, Maw Maw, in post-segregation Virginia. Grace watches and helps her grandmother deliver babies. She loves her life and living with her grandmother. However, that all changes when, in a span of a few days, Grace’s mother, Bassey, dies and also her grandmother is accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Grace is heartbroken to have her grandmother taken away from her and thrown into jail.  With no other relatives in the area, she is snuck across state lines to live with her Aunt Hattie in the North so she isn’t at risk of being found by persons intending harm.

Aunt Hattie is a formidable and ambitious woman. She wants nothing to do with her Southern roots and wants only to focus on upward mobility. She started a school to teach young girls about manners and hospitality to show that she belongs with the rest of the society. Grace is grateful for having a roof over her head but she quickly learns that her aunt has a different purpose for her. Grace is put to work to take care of the needs of her aunt and her students. She barely has time for herself and she feels trapped because her aunt won’t let her practice any of her Southern rituals that Grace finds comforting. 

Instead, Grace finds comfort with Dale, the son of a prominent family in her aunt’s social circle. Dale believes that the Black community shouldn’t be focused on manners, fancy teas, and pageants. Instead, they should be working towards getting equal rights. He wants them to realize that racism still exists in the North, even though the community likes to pretend otherwise. While attending a protest he gets caught up with the police when the protest turns violent. His mother decides to send him away to avoid Dale getting into more trouble with the police. Dale wanted to spend one last day with Grace before he leaves. The one magical night they spent together leaves Grace pregnant. Grace is scared because she doesn’t know who to trust and she doesn’t have anyone else she can confide in once Dale leaves. When Grace gives birth to her daughter, Hattie takes the baby and gives it up for adoption without telling Grace.

Delores, or Lolo, as she is known to her friends and family is known for her witty and protective nature. She had a hard life growing up and it was filled with heartache and pain. Lolo had a dream of becoming a model but had to put her dreams on hold. She had to find a way to survive with little money and as a Black woman. She decides that having a family and a husband is the best option for her, and she is willing to do anything to obtain and keep her family. 

Lolo finally gets her dream of having a family. She has a doting husband and two kids with a beautiful home. However, when secrets from the past emerge, it threatens to tear apart the family Lolo has worked hard to create. Lolo will do whatever it takes to keep her family and dreams intact.

Rae, Lolo’s willful daughter, finds out she is adopted and learns that is just one of the few secrets that her family has been keeping from her. When Rae finds out that she is about to become a mother herself, she decides to address her past and her family. Will Rae be able to reconcile the truth over her family’s secrets?

I am on the fence for this book. The book was a hefty read and it took some time getting into the writing style. When we were first introduced to Grace, it took some time to understand the Southern dialect. As we get introduced to the later characters (Lolo and Rae), it was easier to read and get into the flow of things.  It was interesting to see how the different characters were connected but at times I was trying to understand the point of the book. Was it to show the demands of motherhood? Is it to show the lengths we go to for the ones we love? Or is it how hard it is and how long it takes before we come into our own? Or perhaps, the decades and generation long struggles of being a woman or a Black woman in society? Or is it the effects of generational trauma and how it affects the future? 

Each of the three main characters were unique and interesting. I didn’t like, though, that after Grace’s chapters were over that we never saw her again. I was interested in learning what happened to her and some of the characters in her story.  I felt attached to some of the characters and wanted to read more about them. I felt like their stories weren’t complete and were left unresolved. The three main characters didn’t really feel connected and their stories felt disjointed. The timelines were also confusing as characters would get older or we would be taken back in time but it wasn’t very clear.

The ending was a bit confusing to me as I didn’t quite comprehend what was going on. Did Grace and Rae finally connect with her blood family? I also didn’t quite understand the magical elements in the book. I felt like it took backstage in the middle until the very end. What was the purpose and role of the magical elements? The book is a powerful and emotional read but also has a lot of sad and depressing moments of how people and children were treated.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Book Review - Down the Hill: My Descent into the Double Murder in Delphi by Susan Hendricks


Down the Hill: My Descent into the Double Murder in Delphi by Susan Hendricks is a nonfiction book about the murders of two young girls in Delphi, Indiana. On February 13, 2017, it was a day that began like all others in the Williams and Germans household. Thirteen year old Abby Williams and fourteen year old Libby German are best friends and decided to spend their day off from school together.

After spending some time together, they decided to explore the popular hiking trails near the Monon High Bridge that is a few minutes drive from Libby’s home. Libby asked her older sister, Kelsi, to drop them off before heading out for her day. Kelsi drops them off at the beginning of the trail and waved before driving off. Little did she know that was the last time Kelsi would see them alive again.

Little less than 24 hours later, the bodies of the two teenagers are found together near the north bank of Deer Creek. It was nearly a mile away from where they were last seen together.  The police have very littles clues to go on and the physical evidence is limited. The investigators did have snippets of a visual and audio encounter with a stranger that occurred just hours before their disappearance. The encounter was unsettling enough to the girls that they made a recording on Libby’s cellphone as it unfolded. It has been years since the murders occurred, and the audio and video recordings have been released to the public. The police released two different composite sketches of the suspect. There were no definite leads until finally in October 2022, a suspect was identified, arrested, and a trial date was set.

The book talks about the impact of the crime on the families, neighbors, and community. It was an interesting read to learn the details but also reading about the reactions of the family and how they were dealing with each development. The book was a quick and easy read but I wish it had gone into details about the trial. The trial was scheduled to take place after the book was published but I would have preferred if they had waited to include details from the trial. It felt a bit incomplete to hear all the facts and read about the community’s reaction but not read about the outcome of the trial.  

There were times that the author talked to experts and went in a different direction than the previous chapters or talked about her personal feelings and life. I felt like she was trying to add more depth to the crime but, at times it seemed like fluff that was irrelevant to the actual story about the two young victims.  In one chapter she spoke to different experts to get their opinion on the arrest but it just seemed like a recap of what was discussed earlier. If you are a true crime fan or have an interest in the case, I think you might enjoy this book.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Book Review - The Plot - The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Michael Moreci


The Plot - The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Michael Moreci is about a man, Chase Blaine, who tried running from his family’s past. Chase wanted nothing to do with his family and their wealth. He wanted to live his own life without the weight of his family’s name burdening him. 

When his estranged older brother and sister in law unexpectedly dies, he has no choice but to come back home. He is the only living relative and becomes the guardian of his niece and nephew, MacKenzie and Zach. He decides to move them back to his childhood home in Cape Augusta. He doesn’t have enough space in his current apartment and he doesn’t want the children to live in the home where their parents were killed. Their ancestral home has been in the family for decades and is built on a remote and vast bogland. The home is filled with family secrets  that won’t stay buried forever.

The graphic novel was beautifully illustrated with dark and gloomy colors. The story behind the house and the family’s past was interesting but I felt like I was left with more questions than answers. I felt that the graphic novel hinted at a lot of mysteries and devious things but never actually spent any time explaining it.  I do wish that there was more plot and explanations in the first volume because I can see readers abandoning the series because there wasn’t a lot to keep them hooked. I am open to reading the next volume to see what happens next but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Book Review - The Wrong Kind of Woman by Sarah McCraw Crow


The Wrong Kind of Woman by Sarah McCraw Crow is about a mother moving on after her husband’s death. In 1970, Oliver Desmarais and his young teenage daughter, Rebecca, were hanging Christmas lights for the holidays. Virginia is inside when her husband asks for assistance with the lights. When Virginia goes out to help, she finds Oliver sprawled on the floor unresponsive. 

After the unexpected death of husband, Virginia is unsure what she should be doing. Oliver was a professor at the New Hampshire men’s college. Without his salary, Virginia will have a tough time meeting her financial obligations, especially with a child at home. She tries to apply for a teaching position at the same college her late husband taught at. She is more than qualified for the position but she finds that she has a hard time being taken seriously.

At the school, there are four outspoken unmarried women on the faculty, dubbed the Gang of Four by their male counterparts. Oliver didn’t care for them and Virigina had shared his prejudices against them as well. However, with no one else to turn to, Virginia finds herself drawn and depending on them for help.

As Virginia spends more time with the women after Oliver’s death, she joins in their initiative to allow women to attend Clarendon College. Virginia and her friends are trying to institute change to their small community. However, things take an unexpected turn as violent protests across the country start to erupt as women’s rights issues hit the spotlight. The staff at the college is resistant to change and want to control any radical elements of change. Virginia must decide that if she is willing to put herself on the line for a cause that has never felt her own.

The book is told from an alternating perspective: Virginia, Rebecca, and Sam, one of Oliver’s students. I was surprised that they did include Sam’s and Rebecca’s perspective because I thought Virginia would be the main focus. I do think that their stories added to the novel because Virginia’s story by itself was kind of boring. At times, I did struggle to keep track of the different characters and how their stories related to the overarching plot. Sometimes, it was easy and other times it was very convoluted. There were times when a character was having flashbacks and it wasn’t made very clear that the character was revisiting something that happened in the past and it wasn’t something that was happening in the present.

During her low points, Virginia spent more time with the Gang of Four but, I felt like once Virginia figured out her life, they kind of disappeared and were put on the back burner. I would have liked more details about their friendships and how it blossomed or transitioned during this new phase of Virginia’s life. The book was an okay read but I wish it had more going on.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Book Review - Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan


Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan is a nonfiction book about the author’s journey to make connections with people. The book explores twelve phrases that can encourage people to bond together and forge a deeper connection. For each of the twelve phrases, she includes personal stories about each around the theme. 

This book was pointless and a waste of time. I understand what the author was trying to do, but it could have been executed better. I found her personal stories boring and at times, I didn’t understand why or how it related to the current chapter’s theme. She would go back and forth between topics and experiences, and it made the stories seem fragmented. I would have liked one or two fully fleshed out stories and then explained what exactly she is trying to say instead of her roundabout way. I felt like she just kept complaining about things and then didn’t really close the loop on what lesson she learned and what she will do better in the future. I don’t know what this book's purpose was because it wasn’t motivational nor inspirational. The only thing I learned is that I do not like this book or care a whit about the author’s trivial stories. I did not need to know that her family pet likes to consume human waste because her family does not flush the toilet on a regular basis.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Book Review - More than Words by Mia Sheridan


More than Words by Mia Sheridan is about two young kids who fall in love and then meet years later. Eleven year old Jessica Creswell likes to believe in fairy tales and loves pretending that her life is a fairytale instead of the mess that it is currently. Her home life is fraught with her parents constantly fighting and bickering.  Her philandering father makes no effort to hide his affairs and her mother is in constant heartache. Jessica’s mother is so desperate for her husband to love her that she even tries to bring the kids into the mix. She would bring the kids to the hotels that her husband is staying in so the kids can see their father cheat on their mom.

Jessica wanders around her city to avoid spending time at home. She crosses paths with Callen Hayes when exploring the railroad tracks. She feels that he is her broken prince as he is also running away from something. Together, the pair find refuge with each other. Their hideout becomes their safe space from their troubled lives. They could be with each other and be themselves without any judgment. Things were going great until one day, Callen kissed her. It was Jessica’s first kiss and then he just disappeared from her world.

Years later, Callen Hayes went from the troubled boy from the wrong side of the tracks to a “somebody”. He is a famous composer and an infamous ladies man. The press loves to follow him and to witness his drunken antics.  Callen is troubled by his inner demons and he is usually able to quiet them with his music. However, lately he has been having issues with writing music which causes him to spiral out of control.

Callen’s agent decides that he needs some time off to recuperate and get his groove back. So, Callen and his friend decide to go to France to revel in the city. He wants to drink and sleep his way through the city. As Callen falls deeper into the darkness within himself, he crosses paths with Jessica. Jessica was the one who introduced Callen to music and inspired him. Callen feels drawn to her and hopes that she can inspire him to write again. However, the pair couldn’t be more different from each other. Will they be able to put their past hurt behind them?

I thought the book was an okay read but I didn’t care for it. It didn’t really have any unexpected twists or turns or plot points that weren't easy to guess. I did find it annoying in the book when Jessica was portrayed as innocent and Callen was the bad boy. That she had to save herself for him — couldn’t she also have been in a previous relationship and still be innocent? I also didn’t like that she kept calling him “my prince”, and then saying she would save him. To me, it made her character seem weak and more often than not. They both needed professional help, not “saving” by each other. I can’t say that I liked any of the characters in the book. The book also had a side plot of an ancient love story that Jessica was translating for work. I found myself more interested in that story than Jessica’s and Callen’s story line. 

The book also has things that don't seem plausible or made little sense to me. One of the main characters isn’t able to read. I find that hard to believe as someone who went to school and was born in the States couldn’t recognize any letters or words. How do they continue passing grades in school? Then during the end of one love scene, they just flushed a condom down the toilet. Almost everyone knows especially, a sex addict like Callen, that it doesn't make sense to do. Then Callen is a famous musical composer who is on the front page of every tabloid and international sensation. I have watched award shows and read the tabloids  but I can’t tell you a single time I have seen any musical composer who isn’t a singer featured. Personally, the book just seems like a fluff nonsensical read.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Book Review - Who's Your Founding Father?: One Man’s Epic Quest to Uncover the First, True Declaration of Independence by David Fleming


Who's Your Founding Father?: One Man’s Epic Quest to Uncover the First, True Declaration of Independence by David Fleming is about the author’s journey to unravel the true story behind the Declaration of Independence.  In 1819 John Adams comes across a story that can knock his political frenemy Thomas Jefferson down a peg or two. Adams came across an article that claims that Independence was declared fourteen months prior to Jefferson penning the Declaration of Independence. 

The story goes that before Jefferson wrote his document, a band of  fervent Scot-Irish patriots, whiskey loving Princeton scholars, and a well revered fanatical frontier preacher had gathered together in a remote corner of North Carolina to craft their own declaration of Independence. After being bombarded with unreasonable sanctions, tariffs, and laws  from England, they decided to formally declare themselves “free  and independent” from England.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence as it was called came about after an all night session between a few noteworthy prominent citizens of North Carolina. The document was signed on May 20, 1775, a date that is on the state flag. Then the document faded into oblivion and its authenticity has been questioned by politicians and historians alike. The author, David Fleming, decided that he would take up the mantle from Adams and dig into the history of the document and see if The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence really did come into existence before Jefferson’s Independence document. 

I thought the title of the book was funny but I was a bit hesitant to read the book. I thought it was going to be one of those dull history books. I was actually pleasantly surprised on how much I found the book to be enjoyable. It was fun to read and very entertaining.

The topic wasn’t something I am very familiar with. I have read a few articles about the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence but, it was mostly the authors disproving the existence of the document. I learned a lot of interesting facts about the document from this book but also American history while reading this book. I felt that the book was well researched and goes into elaborate details. However, there were times when the story moved a bit slowly or had a lot of unrelated facts included. While I did enjoy the writing style of the author, some might find it too graphic or off putting and the author does give commentary for certain things. I would be open to reading more books by the author and learning other great things about history!

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Book Review - Lake Silence by Anne Bishop


Lake Silence by Anne Bishop is about a human woman, Vicki DeVine, who is trying to get her life back in order after going through a divorce. Vicki was awarded her husband, Yorrick’s, family resort as part of her divorce settlement. She decides to fix up the place and open it up as a resort for both humans and Others alike. She hopes that she can get enough visitors to help support herself.

In this world, humans and animals are not the only beings that populate the world. There are extraordinary creatures that are called Others. They can be elemental, vampires, shape shifters, and even other scary things that go bump in the night.  The area that her resort is located on, Lake Silence, is controlled by these Others. Human laws do not apply here. It is something that every visitor and resident of Lake Silence must remember because if someone breaks the rules, they will face the consequences. 

As Vicki hopes to finish renovating the resort and start over, her lodger, Aggie Crowe, found a dead body on the property. Aggie is a member of the shape shifting Crow Other group. Vicki worries that the dead body would cause more trouble to be stirred up and may interfere with her renovating plans.

Detectives are called to the scene to help figure out who the victim is. As they investigate the murder, it is made very clear that nothing human could have killed the victim based on the condition the body was left in. However, the detectives still try to pin the death on Vicki. Vicki is desperate to prove that she is innocent and tries to find out who is behind the murder. As Vicki enlists her friends for assistance, it is discovered that someone has broken one of the rules set by the Others, and the Others will stop at nothing to enact punishment.

The novel is a standalone but takes place in the same world as another book series by the author. The book was easy to follow even though I am not familiar with the world. It did move a bit slowly with chapters after chapters of nothing happening. There were a few things I had to learn, like the days of the week in this fictional world, and the different types of Others. The author included a nifty section detailing some aspects of the world to make it easier for readers who are not familiar with her books and characters. I was confused that they put the “Lady of the Lake” on the cover as she was a minor character and didn’t really have much to do with the plot. It was a bit annoying because I had picked up this book based on the cover alone. I guess this teaches me not to judge a book by the cover.

The book started off okay but after a few chapters in I couldn’t stand Vicki DeVine. She was an annoying, blubbering fool. She sits there and feels sorry for herself yet does nothing. The only thing she does is talk about how “yummy” her vampire lawyer is and about various characters’ “vigorous appendages”. This novel reads like amateur and juvenile fan fiction.  Vicki’s behavior doesn’t seem like it would be something a grown woman in her thirties would be acting like. She constantly mentions the sex thoughts about the men around her.  Some of the other elements in the book are just plain laughable. For example, the “club” that the bad men belong to is called the “Tie Clip Club”. That name  seems like something a child came up with, and does not jive with the adult theme of the book.

If the book didn’t include Vicki, I would have enjoyed it alot more. She was a completely useless character and I found her annoying. She and other characters kept mentioning she had body issues and anxiety but the story never did anything to address them. Instead, Vicki would just shut down around men who were mean to her. And for some odd reason, men either acted cruel to her or treated her really nicely. Those same men are the ones who make all of her decisions. It feels at times, she is just a secondary character in her own story.  While I am in no rush in reading more of the author’s books, I will say that she is skilled in creating detailed worlds. In my opinion, her main characters were not so great.