Literary Marie's Precision Reviews

www.LiteraryMarie.com Features book reviews, recommendations, lit tidbits, author updates and memes First Lines Friday / Series Sunday.

The Girl in 6E

The Girl in 6E - A. R. Torre The Girl in 6E is the first book in the series of same name by A.R. Torre. Originally titled On Me In Me Dead Beneath Me, this book is a thriller about a very recluse person who hasn't touched a human in over three years. But thanks to the internet, the main character has a 200-member fan club and a seven-figure bank account. A shrink diagnosed her with anthropophobia (fear of human interaction) and dacnomania (obsession with murder). EEK! Perhaps that is why she stays hidden away, until one girl's life may depend on her venturing into society.

The Girl in 6E is not the typical suspense thriller. I learned new terms and rules about the world of camming. It is evident the author did research. Early into the book I figured out what would tempt the main character into leaving apartment 6E and interacting with humans again. But in no way did it take away from the story's progress. Well written and developed. I am pleasantly surprised at the ending. It did not leave on a cliffhanger but I am looking forward to the next book in The Girl in 6E series.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Gemini

Gemini - Carol Cassella A Jane Doe is transferred to the intensive care unit of Seattle Beacon Hospital placed in Dr. Charlotte Reese's care. The unidentified patient is a victim of a hit-and-run. Days pass and Jane Doe's condition worsens forcing Charlotte to make complicated medical decisions. The doctor crosses the professional distance line by enlisting the help of her boyfriend to uncover the identity of her patient. They unlock Jane Doe's shocking secret and possibly a miracle.

Gemini is the first book I've read by author Carol Cassella, M.D. It is also the first medical-based fiction book I've read. Well done! There wasn't a lot of medical jargon making it very easy to understand the diagnosis and dialogue between the doctors and nurses. The chapters alternate narration between Dr. Charlotte and Raney helping the story unfold in a parallel format.

Gemini skillfully combines a medical crisis, life-changing decisions, ethics, love, loss and emotions. This story will make a damn good movie. I was worried whether the book's language would be over my head since the author is a practicing anesthesiologist. She majored in English literature and after finishing Gemini, I realize this makes Carol Cassella, M.D. the best person to write medical-based fiction. Check out the video below of the author discussing Gemini. Then add it to your reading list.

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Right click (Click, #3)

Right click (Click, #3) - Lisa Becker Right Click is the third and final book in the Click series by Lisa Becker. Ever want to eavesdrop on a conversation of a group of friends? In true Click fashion, you can. Their email exchanges talk about love, heartache, marriage, infidelity and friendship. Any female reader in their 30s can relate to the adventures among Renee and her friends.

While Right Click was sometimes funny, mostly light-hearted, it was not addicting to read like the previous two books in the series. Although it was a satisfying final installment.

Check out my reviews of Click: An Online Love Story (#1) and Double Click (#2) of the series on www.LiteraryMarie.com Then click away until you've downloaded and read them all.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

The Prodigal Son (A Reverend Curtis Black Novel)

The Prodigal Son (A Reverend Curtis Black Novel) - Kimberla Lawson Roby The Prodigal Son is the 11th book in the Reverend Curtis Black series by Kimberla Lawson Roby. Fans of this series may have guessed that Matthew is the prodigal son. He gave up a full, four-year academic scholarship to Harvard University to marry his girlfriend Raquel and be a young father. Estranged from his own parents, Matthew is realizing that marriage and fatherhood is nothing like he expected. When an old friend expresses desire for Matthew, temptation and repeating his parents' mistakes are likely. Meanwhile in the other Black household, first-born long-lost son Dillon is doing the most trying to win his father's affection. You thought Charlotte was a jealous-hearted plotter? Ha! Meet this dude.

"...life is too short for all this drama." ~ pg. 82

Both sons are the center of this 11th installment of the series. It is always entertaining to read the shenanigans of the Black family, but it was especially nice that this book focused on Reverend Black's two sons and their relationships.

In the words of my bookheart Sidne, "Baby BYE." Do not question whether this is a worthy book to read. Just pick it up, turn the drama-filled pages and thank me later.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs

Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs - Pearl Cleage Some books are meant to be devoured like a soul food meal; other books are best enjoyed in small sips like a fine glass of wine. Things I Should Have Told My Daughter is obvi the latter. I read this memoir very slowly. It is a personal view into an amazing storyteller's life in the 1970s and 1980s. Told in journal format, it is confessional writing at its finest!

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Unravel

Unravel - Calia Read Never mind the attractive cover. Never mind the 3,000+ positive reviews on a 3-month-old book. I chose to read Unravel simply because the author's last name is Read. In my experience as a copyeditor and book reviewer, great books are written by readers. So with a last name like that, Unravel must be a good read, right?

Forget the first line; the first page captured my attention. It's been thirty days since Naomi Carradine was involuntarily admitted to a mental health institute, 720 hours to be exact. Minds are wasting away around her. Screams turn into moans. She is barely coasting above insanity. According to Lachlan, the boy who stole her heart and possesses her soul, she is losing her mind. According to Max, the guy who haunts her thoughts, she is not crazy. The only way to figure out whether Naomi belongs in the psych ward is to unravel the past.

The writing is so personal that I can feel Naomi's inner conflict. I can feel how hard she fights to stay in the present. I can understand her inability to trust and open up to people, whether it is Lachlan, doctors, other patients or the mysterious Max. From the first word to the last letter, Unravel is a well written novel for mature readers that may figure out the twist early on but enjoy how it unravels.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Unbreak My Heart

Unbreak My Heart - Toni Braxton If you watch WE TV's hit reality show Braxton Family Values, then you are aware that bestselling R&B artist Toni Braxton started working on a memoir. Well it is here! I am happy for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy. In Unbreak My Heart, Toni opens up about her past public unraveling, success and path to redemption.

All too often we think celebrities have the perfect glitzy life. But in reality, celebrities go through the ups and downs of life just like us. Toni Braxton shares details of her journey including the guilt she felt when accepting a solo deal and the humiliation of being forced to file bankruptcy twice. She also discusses medical issues like her lupus diagnosis and being the mother of an autistic child. Unbreak My Heart is a true story of how to take charge of your own healing physically, mentally and financially.

Unbreak My Heart will be published in two weeks on Monday, May 20. You don't have to be a Braxton fan to enjoy this memoir though fans of her music will appreciate it more. Fans will notice the story behind her lyrics. Toni's intention is not to shame her family or friends, it is to free herself and heal. Watch the video below of Toni Braxton talking about why she chose to write a memoir.

Well done and thank you for sharing your intimate struggles, Toni Braxton.

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Until She Comes Home

Until She Comes Home - Lori Roy I love a good mystery. So I am very critical when it comes to reviewing books in this genre. Perhaps my expectations are far too great. Until She Comes Home is just okay. It is not a mystery that will have your mind full of theories. It is not as suspenseful as the front matter claims. It is not haunting. Most disappointing of all, there was little reference to Detroit.

Full Review on www.LiteraryMarie.com

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Catching Air: A Novel

Catching Air: A Novel - Sarah Pekkanen Catching Air is the story of thirty-somethings and their tangled relationships. The setting is a bed-and-breakfast (B-and-B) located in snowy Vermont. Kira and husband Peter step into a new life co-owning the B-and-B with Peter's brother Rand and his wife Alyssa. The sisters-in-law have their own reasons for starting over in Vermont. The quiet place helps Alyssa recover from the news that she can't bear children. Kira is tired of working as a lawyer. And it seems that employee Dawn is not only hiding something but also hiding from someone.

Sarah Pekkanen is an international bestselling author for good reason. Whenever I see a book written by her, I add it to my reading list with no hesitation. Catching Air has the same formula as Skipping a Beat, These Girls, The Best of Us and The Opposite of Me. It is relatable and delves into issues that most women encounter in their lives like fertility, job security and heartbreak. Do not pass up this good-for-lounge-chair-reading chick lit novel. Catching Air is available in bookstores everywhere on May 6, 2014.

To author Sarah Pekkanen: Please keep penning these heartwarming deeper than the average chick lit novels for my reading pleasure. I hope to see these characters make a cameo in a future book(s).

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

House of Cards

House of Cards - Michael Dobbs House of Cards is the first book in the Francis Urquhart series by Michael Dobbs. Francis is the Chief Whip. He must know the vote at all times, which gives him reason to know every secret in politics. The thrilling part is Francis will betray them all to become Prime Minister. Mattie is a young reporter with a knack for finding out the real story behind headlines. Mattie stumbles across a web of deceit and financial corruption, risking her life to reveal the truth.

House of Cards is a harsh dark tale of the corruption, manipulation and greed in politics, no matter the country. Just look at the book cover. The characters in House of Cards are puppets and Francis holds the strings. His unapologetic ambition is unmatched. His initials are FU for a reason.

The author, Michael Dobbs, is a member of the British House of Lords. He is Britain's leading political novelist and is a senior adviser to Prime Ministers. I'd say he is a credible source in knowing the sacrifices made and discipline shown in politics. Perhaps this is why most of the content in the novel went over my head. I struggled through the lingo and Parliament references. I stifled many yawns while reading.

The international bestseller is too wordy and politic-y for my taste. But the Netflix original series show inspired by the novel is a must-see! You'll never view Scandal or The White House the same. I will not read the other books in the series but cannot wait to watch the third season. Kevin Spacey is the perfect actor for the role of Francis Underwood (still initials FU).

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The Divorce Papers

The Divorce Papers - Susan Rieger Sophie Diehl is a 29-year-old criminal law attorney that is used to clients behind bars. With all the big partners out of town, Sophie is assigned to handle the intake interview for divorcee Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim, Mayflower descendant and daughter of the firm's most important client. Sophie warns the wife of 18 years that she's never handled a divorce before but Mia believes Sophie is the perfect lawyer to fight on her behalf. Hey, it's a first divorce for both women. Why not experience it together?

The Divorce Papers is Susan Rieger's debut novel. I like that she didn't choose a traditional method to tell the story of a messy high-profile divorce handled by a cynical lawyer. It was much easier to follow through correspondence (personal emails, office memos, handwritten notes and legal documents). Great way to offer a direct window into the characters' lives.

I read numerous reviews of how funny The Divorce Papers is. Even the front matter calls it "sometimes hilarious." Clearly I am missing something because I had zero LOL moments. I barely chuckled. To each its own comedy. Nevertheless, at just under 500 pages, it was an easy entertaining read.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold - Beverly Jenkins Heart of Gold is the fifth book in the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins. This is my fifth visit to Henry Adams and oh, have I missed this little fictional town. These kids have come a long way. Just as a reminder, Zoey had been homeless in Miami, Amari was a young car thief in Detroit, Preston was in the foster care system. So much going on in this novel. Crystal ran away. Devon is acting different. Zoey's parents are separating. Bernadine's mean-spirited sister unexpectedly visits. A battle with a neighboring town starts. And a bag of gold is left to one of the kids. Drama, right?!

These former foster kids continue to amaze me. They are wise beyond their years. Despite how unfair life is sometimes, they deal with it—sometimes better than adults would. I love how the author equally focuses on the growth of the children, adoptive family and the town.

"She has a heart of gold, and a head hard as concrete." ~ pg. 157

Read Heart of Gold if you are looking for a story of friendship, genuine love and family. Beverly Jenkins (Aunt Bev in-my-head) is one of the most talented authors. She writes historical fiction and romance like none other. The characters in the Blessings series are realistic. Visit www.beverlyjenkins.net for excerpts and more info.

I still feel like the nosy neighbor watching all the town folk. Never a dull moment in Henry Adams, Kansas. I suggest you pull up a chair and join me on the porch.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

The Medea Complex

The Medea Complex - Rachel Florence Roberts Based on a true story taken place in 1885, Anne Stanbury wakes up in a strange bed, calling out for the familiar then realizes she's been placed in a lunatic asylum. The voices she overhears claim she is unfit to stand trial for a crime of which she is indicted. Edgar is her grieving husband torn between helping his wife recover her sanity and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life. Dr. Savage is the chief medical officer who holds Anne's future in his hands.

Reading from the alternate points of view made it more mysterious. Was I to trust the main character Anne? Was Dr. Savage right to believe that behind Lady Standbury's smile is the diseased mind of a lunatic? Is Edgar using money and influence to get anything he wants done? One thing was for sure. In using real dialogue and notes, the author kept this fiction novel as close to fact as possible.

What possesses us? What drives us to insanity? What actions affect the human psyche? These are all questions explored in The Medea Complex. I appreciate historical fiction and am a recent fan of psychological thrillers, but never did I think the two genres could successfully be combined. Kudos to author Rachel Florence Roberts for taking a chance and writing outside of the safe zone. Exceptionally done for a debut novel!

The Medea Complex takes places in an era when mental illness was misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated. This fact alone made the novel an interesting deep read. Then add in the haunting book cover that grabbed my attention. It is a psychological historical thriller that pulled me in from the first line and didn't release me until the end. Watch the book trailer below and follow The Medea Complex on its official website, Facebook and Twitter pages. I recommend you visit the asylum!

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Before I Wake

Before I Wake - C.L. Taylor A mother with a past. A botched suicide attempt. A lying father. A secret that kills. A question with no answer.

Charlotte is smart, beautiful and popular. So why did she step in front of a city bus? Her mother Susan knows it wasn't just a freak accident. Something compelled her daughter to attempt suicide and she is determined to find out why. Starting with her fifteen-year-old daughter's diary, Susan digs into her daughter's life and events leading up to the accident. It doesn't take long before Susan realizes events from her own past put Charlotte in danger.

The novel alternates between the main story line and Susan's diary entries from fifteen years ago. I'm glad the author chose this writing style so readers could draw their own conclusions and piece together clues. Both points of view reach a climax that kept me "all in" until the end.

Before I Wake includes a Reading Group Guide and Q&A with the author that makes it a great summer selection for book clubs. (Set for release in June) What's not to like about a novel of secrets and lies? It has my stamp of recommendation.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy...of Sorts

Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy...of Sorts - Courtney Hamilton Courtney Hamilton is an attorney living in the city of status seekers, Los Angeles. She is mortified as her best friends give up careers to marry entertainment royalty and civilian overachievers. Courtney tries her best to live a meaningful life with the perfect balance of social ambition and self-actualization in a city full of smoke mirrors.

Don't you just love funny down-to-earth characters? Courtney loves Velveeta, was thrown out of group therapy for insulting a former child actress and goes on self-destructive binges. She still drives a Honda and prefers to attend non-celebrity events. She has no interest in climbing up the social ladder to B-status or almost royalty. And may I also mention a meddling mother and misguided friends. I bet you have a friend like this.

I don't read too many books set in the city of L.A. nor have I ever visited, but this funny novel is how I imagine life to be there for a civilian. I especially liked how the ending summed up all of the characters.

Kirkus Reviews calls Almost Royalty "a hilarious, scathing tale of LA life." Almost Royalty releases later this month on May 28. Click the link below to pre-order or add to your reading list. Then, as the author suggests, "Sit. Read. Have some Velveeta. Laugh. Enjoy."

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

The Memory Child

The Memory Child - Steena Holmes Brian and Diane's marriage has lasted 13 years. Brian is elated when he finds out his wife, Diane, is pregnant. Finally they will become parents. But Diane is nervous because of her family's dark past and the timing of the pregnancy. One year later, the tides have changed. Diane is overjoyed with baby Grace. However, Brian has not returned from opening a new office in London. Everyone around Diane is treating her delicately as if all is not as it seems.

A couple chapters in and I was sure I knew what was going on. Deeper into the book and I still thought I had it figured out. I've read enough family drama novels to piece together how a dark past collides with the present. Silly me. I was partly wrong.

This is my first book read by Steena Holmes. Her Emma series has been in my TBR pile for a while. So it was a perfect opportunity to review an advance copy of her new release The Memory Child. Oh, am I glad! Steena Holmes is an author that can grip me from the first pages, force me to keep reading and forget my real-life responsibilities for the day.

It is a challenge to write about contemporary issues like postpartum psychosis. Kudos to the author for clearly doing her research and penning a fiction novel that belongs in the best of family drama genre.

Literary Marie of Precision Reviews

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The One That Got Away: A Novel by Bethany Chase