Book Review: The Ghostwriter by A.R. Torre

If you have happened to read some of Alessandra Torre’s works, well… forget them. This is entirely different and will leave an indelible scar on your soul. Reading the final pages of this book in public was one of the most terrible ideas I had in life.

Said this, it’s the jaw-dropping, heartbreaking story of Helena Ross, an apparently unpleasant and cold bestselling writer who, being left by cancer with only a few weeks to live, decides to put her pride aside and hire her archenemy to ghostwrite her last book, the darkest secret of her life.
Major warning: Don’t expect a happy ending, no miracles happen here, just some painful form of relief.

This book is told through a past and present story-lines with various character’s POV’s. It’s, oh, SO well written, with a gripping story-line that sucks you in and won’t let go. As the reader learns more and more about Helena and her Ghostwriter, both characters grow on the reader and each other. Mind you, this is not a romance! I especially enjoyed how the book progresses the tension and suspense mounts. This is not a typical page turner, but it will suck you in and you will want to keep reading to learn why it was so important for Helena to write this book! There are not a lot of characters in this book and there doesn’t need to be. I loved the character development and how this aided in the impact of the twist in this book.
Needless to say that Torre’s spectacular writing makes it a whole worse (in a good way, of course).

Now, I’m sitting here, waiting for the movie adaptation because I absolutely need Jeffrey Dean Morgan in it (and, come on, even Torre herself supports my choice!).


Book Review: Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna Margulies

I’ll be honest. I really wanted to write a review that wasn’t biased, but as a lifelong Julianna Margulies fan, I gave up before I even started.
If you’re going to read this book just to get tidbits and backstories of her TV appearances or celebrity friendships (ahem…hello George Clooney), I’m telling you, you’re in the wrong place.

Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life is about her life, starting from her eccentric and somewhat chaotic childhood traveling the world with a dysfunctional family, to the experiences and choices throughout her life that have made her the extraordinary woman she is today.
Having come to the end, all I can say is that I love her even more than before.

The book includes several photographs, some surely already known to most fans, others instead are beautiful testimonies of private life.
If you want to read a memoir, this one will not disappoint you at all.

Book review: Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

How can you write about the world of time travel and still make it unique? 

Before The Coffee Gets Cold manages to pull off the miracle of combining sentimentality and magic in a web of stories and characters that you can’t help but root for.

What if you could travel back to the past or take a peek into the future? But with the knowledge that you can’t change the present, no matter what?

That’s the question the quirky characters in this short novel ask themselves, and that’s the question we ask ourselves by the end of the book.

The time to drink a coffee, so much time is given to face our regrets or reassure ourselves of a choice. And a series of conditions that, if not met, will make the unwary digressors slip into perpetual oblivion.

But if we can change neither the past nor the future, what is the point of taking such risks? Is everything really immutable?

Read in one sitting, Before The Coffee Gets Cold brought me to tears on several occasions. Kawaguchi’s writing is of a simplicity that, were it not for the originality of the story, would be almost trite. And that is perhaps what made this book so enjoyable to me.

Book review: Closing Arguments by Sable Q. Burns

As a fan of anything that involves lawyers loving and fighting each other, I could not miss the chance to review this book.

Alice and Wade are two lawyers who used to be in a juicy but complicated relationship, being an underlying and her boss. But as it always happens, there is nothing like trying to avoid someone or something to end up in the opposite direction.

There are no holds barred in their courtroom clashes, until an unexpected event will bring them on the same side.

If you want a summer reading that will keep you glued to your beach chair, search no more. Vivid descriptions, winsome characters, absolutely brilliant dialogues, and some fun-filled scenes that will bring an idiotic smile to your lips. That’s how Burns won me over.

Here is the link to Amazon and Goodreads.

Happy Reading!

Book review: The Capri Girl by D Guy

The Capri Girl by D Guy is a delightful book in The LaFollette Chronicles series that can be perfectly read as a standalone. Set in the twentieth century, it weaves the stories of different families of Italian and Irish immigrants who set up house in the USA. It mostly takes place between the small town of La Follette, Tennessee, and the suggestive island of Capri in South Italy.

J.P. White, born J.P. Bianchi, is the third generation of a hard-working, successful Italian family that first landed in New York in 1910. Born rich, he could live off his family’s money and never work a single day in his life. But at the age of sixteen he discovers he has a unique flair for songwriting that will turn him into the golden goose of the discographic industry. This talent will provide him with even more unnecessary money, a flock of women and a wounded heart when his love Teresa decides to settle down with a more pragmatic man, becoming food for a tear-jerking song.

In the aftermath of his heartbreak, J.P. decides to take a trip to his homeland, to the place that was the birthplace of his grandfather; the city of Castel Volturno in Italy. But a little vacation on the near island of Capri will change his life forever. A hurricane named Rosina enters his life, making him reconsider his existence, and ends up tearing his whole being to pieces. The outcome of those few days of whirlwind is the “Capri Suite” album which, not only brings him worldwide fame, but encapsulates all the dark secrets happened on the beautiful island, secrets that keep haunting him day and night and that lead him to the brink of suicide.

After Teresa makes a brief comeback just to break his heart again, J.P. is left with only one option: going back to Capri and retrace all those painful steps. But will he do it? And what could he find there to restore meaning to his life? To find out, you will have to read The Capri Girl until the end. I can only say, it will not disappoint you.

This book truly has everything you might want from a story: strong family bonds, school romance, stunning settings, a tragic love, deaths and do-overs, all held together by a patchwork of colorful characters you simply cannot not love.

The portrayal of the Italian-American families couldn’t get more accurate than that, and this comes from someone who happens to have an Italian-American family. The sexy moments, yup there are quite a few, are graphic enough to be enjoyable but not inconvenient. The pages are interspersed with lively dialogues, tearful events – both sad and happy, and some shocking events that will leave you breathless. One thing is sure, D Guy knows how to develop a story, entwine together so many different characters and keep you hooked till the very last word..

Only the need for a round of polishing prevents me for giving it a full rating. But aside from that, I truly recommend this book and grant it a respectable three out of four stars.

Book review: Looking Glass Friends by E L Neve

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve is much more than just a novel. It’s a dreamy weave of romance, poetry and philosophy, all at once.

It’s 1997. It is the era of missives, emails and printed books, where mobile phones are still a thing for rich people.

Neil is married to Fay but unhappy with his life choices to the point of considering suicide. Ellie is married to Jake, mother to a five year old and lives the high life.

On a day like any other, Ellie walks into the local bakery to buy cream puffs for her son. On a day like any other, Neil decides that the client on the other side of the counter is worth giving up the secret stash of cream puffs he had set aside for himself. As a way to say thank you, Ellie gifts the kind baker with a copy of her favorite book, “Atlas Shrugged”.

The rest of the review can be found here on OBC.

Book review: The Korean Word For Butterfly by Jamie Zerndt

The Korean Word For Butterfly by Jamie Zerndt is a thoughtful and emotional novel about fabricated opportunities and the desire for redemption, about making choices and dealing with their consequences. It is set in South Korea during the 2002 World Cup and under the shadow of escalating anti-American sentiments cast by the deaths of two Korean girls hit by a U.S. tank, a tragic accident that really happened.

The story unfolds through the alternating perspectives of the three protagonists, as their lives cross and weave together in the aisles of an English school at the gates of Seoul.

First, we meet Billie and her boyfriend Joe as they set foot on Korean soil. They are two high school graduates who filed bogus paperwork (literally) to embark on a year long challenge as teachers in Korea, driven by a need for adventure and by the wish of a life-changing experience. They land, full of dreams and hopes, and with a vision of the country that might or might not be idealized. Upon their arrival, they are welcomed by Moon.

Moon is a former music producer, currently working at the English school, and ex alcoholic who is trying to piece his life back together. His wife Min Jee left him, taking their three-year-old son Hyo from him, after he hurt the child’s arm in a moment of drunken numbness. Shaken by the accident, Moon has since then stopped drinking, while trying to rebuild the relationship with both his son and his wife. He is the one in charge of vetting new teachers for the school and the one to discover that Billie and Joe are frauds.

The rest of the review can be found here on OBC.

Book review: The Alcohol Memoirs by Misty J Moreton

The Alcohol Memoirs: A Fun Place for Drunks, Drug Users, and Voyeurs by Misty J. Moreton is a collection of 165 writings and a bunch of so-called “quickies”, gathered from all over the U.S.A., that gives a funny, erotic, sometimes grotesque picture of all the stupid things that people do while drunk.

The tipsy gestures range, from having wild sex and not remembering anything the morning after, to sniffing panties, to getting lost literally one block away from home, to passing out on sideways, on top of speaker boxes, on trucks, on couches in random apartments. This is just to mention a few.

Every recollection is characterised by a closing witticism from the author, in a sort of advice column style.

Most of the stories are nothing more than shenanigans; some of them innocent, some others gone terribly wrong. For the readers who have gone through this kind of young-and-stupid phase and have their own memories they could share, there is a good chance you might identify with some of the stories told. I personally did, but will plead the fifth if confronted about it.

The rest of the review can be found here on OBC.

Book review: Superhighway by Alex Fayman

What would you do if you could travel through the pathways of the Internet? Collect and manipulate data online and store the information in your brain? Teleport yourself through optic cables to the place you love most just by displaying it on a computer screen? Ah, raise your hand (or share this review, it’s your choice!) if you would electroport yourself with me to Iceland or to the Scandinavian peninsula to admire the midnight sun.

Anyway, the list of options would be endless. You could use your superpowers to help people or to right the wrongs life gave you. You could steal money from every illegitimate organization on the planet and divert it to the poor and needy. You could buy a luxurious home, a shiny sports car and, why not, an entire Caribbean island. Or you could spend a fortune to impress a young woman just to have her killed that same night because you were an idiot and let the bad guys catch you red-handed.

Alex Fine, the eighteen-year-old protagonist of the sci-fi novel Superhighway by Alex Fayman, manages to accomplish all of the above and much more. Raised in an orphanage in the poorest part of Los Angeles, after getting adopted and returned to sender twice, he decides that life as an adopted child is not for him and chooses to remain with Ms. Jenkins, the head administrator of the orphanage who loves him as if he were her own son. Brilliant and extremely talented, he is headed for a bright future despite his background. Except, one night, while trying to reconnect the computer after a blackout, he finds himself centrifuged into the psychedelic superhighway of pathways, cables and digital cabinets called the internet. He quickly realizes that he can travel through the net and reach any place simply by displaying it on the screen.

The rest of the review can be found here on OBC.

Book review: Final Notice by Van Fleisher

“If you knew, for sure, that you were going to die in 10, 20 or 30 days, what would you do?” This is the unsettling question posed by Van Fleisher, author of the political (and mildly sci-fi) thriller Final Notice

Under the lead of Vijay Patel, a brilliant doctor with a passion for technology, the company VitalTech develops a smartwatch that can predict the exact day you are going to die. There is just a tiny glitch: as smart as that watch can be, it cannot predict the possible effects of such a peremptory deadline on the human psyche.

The main story follows the testing stages of the VT2, that’s the name of the avant-garde device, carried out on a sample of a hundred of seniors. The VT2’s technology monitors and analyzes in real time every change in the body of its wearer to such an infinitesimally small point that it can tell how many days they have left to live, issuing a “final notice” that warns them to contact their doctor immediately. Needless to say, not everyone does it. The book shows us some of the final notice recipients as they struggle with the harsh reality that their time on earth is ticking. Some get their affairs in order, some say their goodbyes to the loved ones. Some take the occasion to settle old scores. They premeditate murders, or simply flip, kill people, aware they will never pay for their crime.

The rest of the review can be found here on OBC.