Book Review│A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

cover171056-mediumStep into a  bygone era where travel was luxurious and living abroad was just a thing that young, rich couples did with Karin Tanabe’s A Hundred Suns. It is 1933 when America Jesse Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and into the exotic world of pre-war Vietnam. Along with their young daughter, Lucie, Jesse has accompanied her husband Victor Lessage, cousin to the French rubber barons Edouard and André Michelin, for a three year period where he will over see the rubber plantations.

However, everything is not as it seems as Jesse is hiding deep secrets of her own about the life that she left behind in America. The epitome of the modern woman in most respects, Jesse narrates the novel with sympathy and compassion as her story unfolds. She explains the struggles of living in Indochina and those of her husband as he struggles to maintain the plantation while up against political and personal attacks that stem from the rise of communism in the region as well as workers who are wanting their fair share.

Outside of the politics of Indochina in the novel, you also have the politics of love and relationships fueling the novel. Similar to Jesse, Marcelle is another who arrives in Hanoi, eager to put her rural, underprivileged life behind her, but who is also bent on revenge against the Michelin family. She has come to Hanoi to be near her love, who is part of a wealthy silk family who is not her husband and she plans to befriend and use Jesse to her advantage– having studied her from afar for sometime before their paths inevitably crossed.

Karin Tanabe’s A Hundred Suns has it all: politics, colonialism, love affairs and revenge all set against the vast backdrop of Vietnam in the early 1930’s. The lushness of the setting drives the novel and turns this work of historical fiction into a thriller in most parts– eager to find out who survives, who benefits and ultimately, who falters. Tanabe’s talent for bringing the world of the elite and how it often clashes with those around them shines in her fifth novel.

It is gearing up to be a busy time for the author as Tanabe’s earlier work, The Gilded Years,  is scheduled to become a major motion picture starring Zendaya and produced by Zendaya and Reese Witherspoon for Sony/Tristar according to the author’s website. Karin Tanabe is a former reporter whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer and in the anthology Crush: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush. Currently, she works as a journalist focusing on lifestyle pieces and book reviews. This is her first novel for St. Martin’s Press.

Book Information

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe is scheduled for release on April 7, 2020 from St. Martin’s Press with ISBN 9781250231475. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

 

Book Review│The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

cover165462-medium I recently got really into Marianne on Netflix. I binged the entire series in a weekend and was superbly creeped out the entire time. I loved the idea of a centuries old demonic witch having controlled a young writer into telling the world of her stories so that she could use the magic of influence to continue to kill and mame through brutal accidents each time the woman wrote a book. It was really well done and if you have a weekend where you just want to binge something creepy, I highly recommend it.

Similarly, Damien Angelica Walters takes us on a journey through the past and present to bring to life the story of a decades old murder and the tale of The Red Lady. Years ago, Heather was part of a club with her friends. They called it The Dead Girls Club because they would sit around and tell stories about death, the macabre and serial killers. Somewhere along the line, one of the girls, Becca, introduces the story of The Red Lady, who is a witch that was killed centuries ago.

After the story is shared, strange things start happening to the girls and ultimately tragedy strikes that summer when one of the girls is killed. Was it really The Red Lady or was it just hysteria among a group of 12-year-old girls? Years later, Heather is bent on finding the answer as she takes us back through her story and we weave into the past and present trying to put the pieces together. As Heather gets closer to the truth, mysterious threats and clues arrive, bringing Heather into a panic…who could really know what happened that summer? Who would know and why are they coming forward now? Heather becomes lost in a sea of time and regret, unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not, leaving us readers in just as panicked a state as we try to reach our own conclusions on whether or not Heather had killed Becca 30 years ago or if The Red Lady is, in fact, very real.

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is the kind of horror thriller that will keep you reading until the early hours of the morning. This is a book that will keep you on your toes and won’t let you go until it’s done. Walters crafted a solid plot that immediately pulls you in and drives you through a roller coaster of events and moments before reaching it’s inevitable end. Just be sure to read this one with your lights on and your husband near by because you will feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and little noises will send  your book flying across the room– a wonderfully written thriller.

Book Information

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is scheduled to be released on December 10, 2019, from Crooked Lane Books with ISBN 9781643851631. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Book Review│The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart

inourhouseAs a new mom, the topic of this book really struck a chord with me. The basic premise is that a mother wants to return to her publishing job after having her second child. So, her husband and she hire a nanny to care for her children so she could work from home. What I was not prepared for as a new mom was how protective you become of your baby. My thoughts of someone else watching my son or worse, my son being put into daycare quickly vanished the moment my husband put him into my arms. My son would be raised at home with one of us home to raise him and thankfully, we have been able to maintain opposite work and school schedules to make sure that we are the ones parenting and making sure our son has a secure and loving home to be in where we would know exactly what was going on and who are son was around. It really was the only way I was going back to work. However, for the plot of this novel, Anna Klein was not as lucky as I was and she needed to seek outside help in order to go back to work.

The Loving Nanny

Anna and her husband Josh turn to a nanny agency to help them find the perfect fit for their family. Through the agency, they hire Oaklynn Durst who has outstanding references and seems like the perfect fit for their family. She is overly maternal, kind, goes above and beyond for their family and the kids adore her. However, soon after Oaklynn moves in the kids start to endure odd illnesses and unexplained injuries. Anna immediately becomes suspicious of Oaklynn, but her husband, Josh and their friends are quick to remind her that it’s probably all in her head and she’s worrying too much. Everyone will learn too quickly how right a mother’s instinct can be and how she shouldn’t be so easily dismissed, even if you want to push off her concerns over being newly post-partum.

Post-Partum Paranoia

As Anna and Oaklynn’s relationship further deteriorates as one child has her arm broken and the other is rushed to the hospital with high fevers and bloody diapers, Anna is forced to face what she believes: that Oaklynn is hurting her kids. However, with her daughter Grace, still in infancy, there is the pervading theme of post-partum paranoia and anxiety that may also be making her take her suspicions of Oaklynn farther than she should. What makes this novel so good is how Anna’s suspicions become so clouded in her postpartum anxiety and paranoia which makes you question her mental integrity throughout the first half of the novel. All will be revealed, however, and will come to a shocking and twisty ending that will leave you recovering for at least a couple days after you finish, The Woman in Our House.

About the Author

Andrew Hart is a pen name for New York Times best-selling author, A.J. Hartley. Currently, he is the Robinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and has penned over twenty novels that span a variety of topics from romance to suspense and young adult.

Book Information

The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2019, from Lake Union Publishing with ISBN 9781542092777. This review corresponds to an advanced electric galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review. To be linked to special pre-order pricing, click the link above!

Book Review│The Doctor by Lisa Stone

the doctorThis book immediately grips you from the get-go. The Doctor opens on Dr. Amit Burman and his wife Alisha. It is clear from the very beginning that Alisha is terribly sick and Amit has little use or understanding for her. Their relationship is abusive and Alisha remains remote and resigned to the torturous life that is her marriage. It is clear that Amit is not a good man and as the novel progresses, we see just how sinister he really is especially as the abuse that he deals out not only to his wife but his daughter,  unravels as well as his ongoing abuse of animals.

A New Neighbor

Emily and Ben move in next door to the Burmans. They have a young son, Robbie and it isn’t long before Emily becomes intrigued by the goings on at the Burman’s residence. She becomes drawn to Dr. Burman and his wife and is eager to find out more about her strange neighbors. However, they do not feel the same way towards their new neighbors. In fact, Dr. Burman is cold and distant, clearly wanting to keep his family at a safe distance from his new neighbors. This only pushes Emily further to figure out why her neighbors want to be so elusive. Emily just doesn’t realize at the time that her interest in her new neighbors is going to put herself and her family in danger.

Late Nights

Emily soon finds herself watching the doctor at night as he works in his outbuilding. She is not sure what he is doing in there, but she is determined to find out. Without much thought to herself, Emily begins to dive deeper into the doctor’s nocturnal activities which put her right into the doctor’s sight. One day her husband comes home and finds that Emily is gone and it is Ben who must find his wife and uncover what the doctor is truly up to.

Medical Experiments & a Twist

We find out early in the novel that cryogenics is at the heart of the doctor’s research. Chapter 2 opens with the doctor’s frustration over a child getting the rights awarded to him from a judge to have his body frozen upon his death. This sends Amit into a rage because he wants his ill wife to have the same opportunities should her time come. She appears less than interested…at first.

Justice comes to all, for the most part, at the end when we learn of the doctor’s fate as well as Ms. Emily’s. What you will not see coming is the true mastermind before everything that has unfolded since the first page. I have been digesting this book for the last two days and it still sends shivers up my back when I think about the ending because as creepy as it is, it is also so believably real that it has you thinking that somewhere out there in the world that could possibly all be happening right at this very minute.

Book Information

The Doctor by Lisa Stone will be released on July 25, 2019, with ISBN 9780008322939 from Avon Books. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review. To be linked to special pre-order pricing, click the link above.