Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sana Krasikov's "The Patriots"

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another. ~taken from Goodreads

Historical Fiction. My favorite book genre of all time. Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. The author does a splendid job setting scenes, I felt like I was there in the story watching it unfold before my eyes. The characters are well developed, complex and believable. 

This story switches back and forth between modern day Russia and the Soviet Union of the 1930s and 1950s. It is an impressive, fearful look at day to day lives of Russians living under the reign of both Stalin and Putin. 

There were times in the story that I felt dragged on a bit much. I think the author could have gotten the point across with fewer words. There were instates that certain parts of the story seemed repetitive or just not relevant to the overall plot. I found myself skimming over entire pages.

I felt Krasikov did an amazing job showing the both the immediate and long term aftermath that a single decision can make. It is amazing to be able to look at a family and see the different mind sets between generations based on the society a person grows up in and how they are raised. 

This was a 4 star read for me! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for allowing me to read and give my honest review. 

This book is available now. Buy it here, you will not be disappointed! 

Happy Reading!

"The Perfect Stranger" by Megan Miranda

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own? ~taken from Amazon

I have so many mixed feeling about this book. The overall plot was interesting and unique. I think that was the only thing that kept me reading. Otherwise, I would have quit not even half way through. 

There is just too many things going on in this book, it got confusing. Add to the fact that some plot lines didn't even seem relevant to the story. I was confused and bored during most of the book. Willing myself to keep reading. Hoping that the ending would bring it all full circle and I would have that "ah-ha!" moment where it would all make sense. 

The author does a wonderful job of writing. Scene and character descriptions were not lacking and it was easy for the story to play out in my head. The problem for me was too many characters. I didn't feel loyal to a single one. They were all just a flit in my head depending on what scene I was reading. 

The ending was very anticlimactic. There was no "Oh my goodness" moment when everything came together and it all made sense. It actually left me confused and wanting to know more. All the loose ends didn't get tied up. 

The Perfect Stranger will be available in the U.S. April 11, 2017. It was a 3 star read for me. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Happy Reading!

"Everything You Want Me To Be" by Mindy Mejia

No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction? ~taken from Goodreads

This book starts with the murder of Hattie Hoffman. She is a high school senior in a very small town where everyone knows everyone. This murder shakes the town, as no one believes anyone a part of the community could have done such a thing. 

Switching characters and time periods we are introduced to characters in this small town and start to get a glimpse into the real life of Hattie. Who is she exactly? depending on who she is talking to, she transforms into exactly who that person expects her to be. Does anyone actually know the real girl inside? 

We also get flashbacks from Hattie's points of view. How she acted, what she said, and what she thought about her life leading up to the murder. What secrets she kept, and who she shared them with, if she shared them at all. 

It was a very unique and interesting way to tell the story. I really enjoyed the multiple points of view. To be honest, this mystery kept me guessing right up to the end! It was very engaging and kept me intrigued. Usually, a reader thinks they have figured it "who done it" mid-story. I thought I had too, but I was wrong!

"Everything You Want Me to Be:A Novel" is a fast paced, thriller that I recommend. It is available on Amazon now. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read and give my honest review. 

Happy Reading!