Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Title: The Other Typist
Author: Suzanne Rindell
Read by:  Gretchen Mol
Publisher: Penguin
Length: 10 hours (8 CDs)
Source:  Review Copy from Penguin Thanks!

The Other Typist is story that once it has you in its gripes, takes you for a wild ride and leaves you with a humdinger of an ending.  Rose Baker is a typist for a New York City Police Department precinct in 1923.  She has to listen to horrendous confessions and interviews as part of her job, which the straight and narrow Sergeant apologizes for after the fact.  Rose was raised as an orphan in a convent and has always tried to live life on the up and up.  She is succeeding until one day a new mysterious typist joins the precinct.

Odalie is everything that Rose is not.  She has moved beyond Victorian conventions and has embraced the life of a flapper.  From bobbing her hair, to attending parties at speak easies, Odalie is a 1920s modern woman.  At first Rose is offended by Odalie, but gradually she falls under her spell.  To get away from a deplorable living situation, Rose moves in with Odalie.  Odalie’s lifestyle makes no sense to Rose.  She lives in a fancy hotel and spends money like it will never run out. Why is she even working at the precinct?  Everyone at the precinct has a theory, but as Rose finds herself immersed in Odalie’s world, she starts to understand there are very dark secrets behind Odalie.

I loved this audiobook.  I loved the 1920’s setting, one of the house parties seemed almost Gatsby-esque.  I found both Rose and Odalie’s characters absorbing.  I wanted to know what made them both tick.  I also liked the romantic tension that was between Rose and the Lieutenant Detective.  The mystery and plot thickened as the story went on and led to a stunning conclusion.  The negatives of this audiobook to me was the very last line of the book and the heavy foreshadowing that was used throughout.  I would have liked it better without the foreshadowing giving away that something tragic was going to happen at the end.  I also didn’t like how the last line totally changed the entire meaning of the book and left it without a true ending.  What really happened?  It’s been driving me crazy since I finished this book a couple of weeks ago!  Maybe this is a mark of an excellent book to keep me constantly thinking about it.  Gretchen Mol was an excellent narrator and the story moved at a good clip that keep me intrigued on my daily commute.

SPOILER ALERT (Don’t continue if you haven’t read this book or listened to the audiobook!)

I thought up until the end that Odalie was Ginerva and she framed Rose for the murder of Teddy and Gibb, but what did it mean in the last line that Rose remembers the look in Teddy’s eyes when he feel from the balcony.  Was Rose the killer?  How could she be in two places at once – buying cigarettes and on the balcony?  Were Rose/Odalie/Ginerva the same person all along?  If so, how could the Lieutenant Detective bring a gift from Rose to Odalie and what about other interactions that people had throughout the book with both of them?  Were there two sides to Ginerva all the while, the modern girl Odalie and the old fashioned girl Rose?  Or was Rose really Ginerva and she killed Teddy, while Odalie was Odalie and perhaps killed Gibb?

I’ve been puzzling around all three of these ideas and I’m stumped.  I like my originally assumption the best that  Rose was framed and that she is going to become a modern care free woman, get free from the mental institution and get back at Odalie.  What are your thoughts?  I want to discuss this!


I’ve seen online that The Other Typist is getting made into a movie starring Kiera Knightly.  I really hope so – I would love to see it and would hope that it would solve some of my remaining questions.  Overall, The Other Typist is a great historical fiction mystery that will keep you guessing up until the end and beyond.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Doesn’t the cupcake on the cover look scrumptious and want you to read this book?  I’ll admit this is one of my favorite book covers of all time and constantly made me crave cupcakes while I was reading it.  Once I got into the book though, I found myself craving some of Polly’s homemade bread!

Polly Waterford and her boyfriend Chris just witnessed the collapse of their advertising business as well as the end of their relationship.  With no flat, boyfriend, or job, Polly is struggling to figure out where she can afford to live and what to do with her future.  Finding she can’t afford anything in Plymouth, Polly founds a cheap and large flat on Polbearne, an island off of Cornwall that is only accessible during low tide.  The flat is falling apart and scary on the second floor of an old bakery, but Polly takes it with the determination to start life anew.  While there she decides to also do what she loves and gets a job baking specialty bread.  Polly also meets two very different and interesting men who may become love interests.

I loved, loved, loved this book.  Polly was a great character who takes life by the horns and with sheer determination and passion is able to build a better life for her.  Polbearne was a wonderful setting – I loved the small town island feel and also all of the great unique characters that Polly meets.  This book was a great story to get immersed in and forget about the stresses of everyday life.  I’ve read a couple of Colgan’s previous novels and enjoyed them, but this one is my favorite thus far.  I really hope there is a sequel one of these days as I would love to read more about the characters.  I also think this would make an excellent movie.

Overall, Little Beach Street Bakery is a great escape novel about a woman who is able to start a new life by hard work on her great passion – baking.  The recipes at the end of the book look great!

Book Source:  Review Copy from William Morrow – Thanks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (and Giveaway!)

Susanna Kearsley writes haunting romantic fiction that is also full of suspense.  Her novels also contain one of my favorite elements, historical fiction, through a time slip or other device.  Over the last few years she has become one of my favorite authors.  In A Desperate Fortune, Sara is an unemployed programmer with Asperger’s.  She gets a unique job to crack the code and translate a journal that was written by a Jacobite exile in 1732.

The novel splits the story line between Sara in the present day and the author of the diary, Mary Dundas.  As Sara struggles with translation in the future and her own budding feelings for a romantic Frenchman, Mary is put in the path of danger.  Thinking she will be reunited with her family, Mary is instead used by the Jacobites to help a mysterious man with an even more mysterious body guard to remain out of harm’s way.  Mary tries to determine what it is about Thomson that is worth protecting while also discovering the depths of Hugh Macpherson, the bodyguard.

I loved this book.  I enjoyed both storylines, but I must admit that I loved the past storyline that was full of intrigue and adventure.  Each turn was surprising, none more so than the secret depths of Hugh Macpherson.  He became one of my favorite literary romantic characters through the course the book.  I would love to read more about him! I also loved how Mary spun wonderful fairy tales throughout her journey. The only bad part of this book was that it had to end, it was wonderful. 

Overall, I highly recommend this novel.  The storyline, characters, intrigue, and romance made it a great book to read and I read it quickly while down and out with the flu.  I can’t wait for Kearsley’s next novel!

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
9781492602026 * $16.99/TP * ON-SALE: April 7, 2015

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has lain unread. Now, amateur code breaker Sara Thomas has been sent to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary’s gripping tale is revealed, Sara is faced with challenges that will require letting go of everything she thought she knew—about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women will be united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the coincidences of fate.

Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Firebird (a RITA winner) as well as, The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden (both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards). Other honors include National Readers' Choice Awards, the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, and finaling for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Her popular and critically acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audiobooks. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.


Sourcebooks is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway of 5 Susanna Kearsley prize packs that include copies of all of her backlist books published by Sourcebooks. The giveaway ends on 4/30/15. Click on the following link to enter
a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare – a school shooting where your kids attend school.  The nightmare gets worse as every other parent is reunited with their child except for you.  The police then arrive and tell you that your son is missing and a suspect in the shooting.  Where did you go wrong?  Did you ever know your son at all?

Finding Jake is the excellent story of Simon Connolly, a stay at home father of two children Jake and Laney.  On the dreadful day of the school shooting, Simon finds his world turned upside down and begins to question his life decisions.  Should he have been the stay at home parent even though his wife made more money than him?  Did his introversion rub off on Jake?  Is being an introvert a bad thing?  With the town and media turned against Simon, he continues the search for his lost son while reflecting back on decisions made in Jake’s upbringing.  Will Jake be found?  What caused this school shooting to happen?

Finding Jake was a book that I literally could not put down and read very quickly.  As a parent, I could relate to Simon’s self-doubts about whether you are raising your children appropriately.  I loved the format that would have a chapter in real time followed by a chapter in Jake’s childhood progressing from a baby to current day.  It was also a suspense novel – where was Jake?  Is he a cold blooded killer?  The search for him leads to a surprising and emotional conclusion.  I think this book would be an excellent book club selection and will probably be selecting it in the near future for my book club.

Overall, Finding Jake was an excellent suspense novel that explored tragedy as well as what it means to be a good parent.

Book Source: Review Copy from William Morrow – Thanks!