Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
Pub. Date: July 31, 2014
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Viking!)
Summary: Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is acerbic, whip smart, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at their height of her glamour and fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a philanthropist best known for her string of rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie chops off her trademark hair, determined to chase down the one lead she has about her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the one she’s looking for.
In an isolated South Dakota town whose secrets rival Janie’s own, with the unwitting help of the locals, she pieces together a shocking picture of her mother’s supposedly pristine past. On the run from the press, the police, and possibly even a murderer, Janie is forced to choose between the anonymity she craves and the truth she so desperately needs.

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating:

Ten years ago, Janie Jenkins had the world in her hands: a fabulously wealthy It Girl famous for being famous, she was dating a British musician, and had just landed her first magazine cover. Unfortunately, her mother ruined it all by dying. Or, rather, by being horrifically murdered – and writing out Janie’s name in her own blood. Those five letters cause Janie to lose it all, she was hauled off to prison (what other reason would her mother have for leaving Janie’s name beside her on the floor?) and now the only letters she received are full of hate.

Due to a technicality, a mix-up in a lab, Janie is released into a world much different than the one she left. Once word gets out, the media launches its own manhunt. Despite there being no evidence, everyone believes Janie to be guilty – even Janie herself isn’t sure whether or not she actually did it. Armed with broken bits of memories, a fake ID (courtesy of her layer, Noah Washington), and a new hair cut, Janie heads for a tiny town in South Dakota in the hopes it will give her the answers she seeks.

Prior to blogging, I lived and breathed Thrillers. Since then, I’ve branched out and discovered truly wonderful authors and genres, but every so often I love revisiting the one that started it all. I had high hopes going into Dear Daughterespecially since TANA FRENCH (!) has a blurb featured on the cover – and I’m thrilled to say the book didn’t disappoint!

Does a main character need to be likable for the book to be a hit? I don’t think so. 27-year-old Janie is a spoiled brat – even after a decade in prison. She grew up in Switzerland and had a rotating stock of tutors, nannies, drivers, stepfathers. From an early age she knew how to get what she wanted and was never very good at taking no for an answer. Jail did nothing to change her attitude. If anything, it made it worse, but there was something about her I couldn’t help but watch. I suppose that’s the case with any young socialite: even if they’re rude, nasty people, they still hold that spark that you can’t look away from. Bravo, Ms. Little.

The media are convinced Janie got away with murder and I was caught up in the action. In between chapters there were transcripts from court documents, trial notes, police reports, and celeb gossip blog posts that I thought were amazing. These gave more insight into Janie’s character, the night her mother died, the media circus trying to tail her (reports of Janie sightings are extremely popular)…I ate it up.

Janie’s arrival in South Dakota (under the guise of a dowdy and frumpy Rachel Parker) reveals far more than she ever bargained for. As she uncovers the history of this tiny mining community, she discovers just who her mother was – and exactly what happened that horrible night ten years ago. As someone well-read in Thrillers, I’d like to think I know the ‘formula’ well enough by now to see what’s coming. I’m pleased to say there were a few reveals that genuinely surprised me and some twists I hadn’t guessed! Marion’s past was fascinating and I loved learning her secrets with Janie.

I feel that romance can never be a total win for me. If there’s romance in a book, it’ll happen to quickly for my liking. If it’s not there at all, I’ll be disappointed. Clearly I just can’t win! Dear Daughter isn’t romance and doesn’t put any focus on love, but I thought something was going to happen with Janie and a character and it never did. Perhaps I was reading into it too much?

Dear Daughter is a stunning debut novel and I’m excited to see where Ms. Little goes from here! It’s extremely readable with a quick pace, intriguing mystery, and characters you’ll love to hate (and I mean that in the best way!). This is certainly one I’ll be recommending and you can bet I’ll be eager to see what Ms. Little does next.

NOTABLE QUOTES

It’s hard enough to maintain your innocence when so many people are so sure you’re not. It’s impossible when you’re not sure of anything at all – other than the awful, inescapable fact that you hadn’t particularly liked your own mother.

If I’d been free to pick any name in the world, I would have gone for something diaphanous and fanciful, like Coralie or Delphine, the kind of name a grande dame gives a petit chien. Because no one – no one – daydreams about pretty names more than girls called Jane. And with good reason, you know? I mean, even our most illustrious Janes are world-class sticks-in-the-mud. Austen, Eyre, Doe? Spinster, sucker, corpse. It’s a monder I managed as well as I did.

get your craft on: book jar!

tbrjar

If you’re anything like me, you have a To Read list a mile long. Also, if you’re like me, choosing a new book out of that pile can be a bit (okay, a lot) overwhelming. I have come across a few To Read jars before and have always thought that was such an awesome idea. The best part? They’re SUPER easy to make!

WHAT YOU NEED

A jar, scissors, a pen(cil), and some paper. Seriously, that’s it! For the paper, I went with cardstock used for scrapbooking. I wanted something colorful and study enough to hold up to origami and wasn’t sure how regular construction paper/colored paper would work.

WHAT TO DO

Cut your paper into strips – I’ve found that thinner strips work better for me (and I can fit more into the jar!), but you do you.

Once you’re done cutting, next comes the writing! The cardstock I used is textured on one side, so I wrote the authors and titles on the smooth side.

Get ready for some sore fingers! I wanted something a little more fun than just folded up pieces of paper. I followed the instructions on this site and, after a LOT of practice, ended up with some lucky stars vaguely star-shaped. :)

VOILA!

As you fold your stars, stick them in the jar. Easy peasy! Haha, I actually feel a little silly posting instructions for this, it’s that simple. Have fun with it! Go all out and decorate your jar. Decorate the paper!

To be honest, I’m really excited to start using this – in another week I’ll be away on vacation and have a feeling this jar will become very helpful in choosing which books to pack!

two-week wrap-up 7/27

Happy Sunday! Can you believe July is almost over?? Where on earth has this summer – YEAR! – gone?

Life-wise, these past two weeks have been fairly low-key and I’m not complaining! Vacation is coming up and I’d like a nice, easy transition into it. Book-wise, however, I’ve been getting/buying some pretty awesome stuff!

FOR REVIEW
Visions by Kelley Armstrong
This is the second in the Cainsville series. Urban Fantasy, serial killers, this totally sounds like a Leah book. Luckily for me, my library has a copy of the first novel, Omens!
The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen
I keep seeing this guy pop up at work and now I finally have an excuse to try him out! This is the fifth book in the Department Q series but from what I can tell it’s a series where each novel can stand on its own. Who knows, perhaps a binge-a-thon will happen!

A HUGE thank-you to Dutton for both of these!

BOUGHT
Underground by Haruki Murakami
Non-fiction work about the 1995 gas attack in Tokyo’s subways. Murakami interviewed the victims and I am very interested.
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
Do I really need to explain myself?
Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer
Lydia’s new novel, How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, has been receiving some pretty high praise (it’s definitely on my To Read list!) but I wanted to go back and read her debut first.
The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey
More non-fiction! AND this one is published by Viking – clearly a winner! In 1940, the Duke of Rutland mysteriously dies in his dark castle. Afterwards, his son ordered a number of rooms be locked and remain so for sixty years. Throw in a plotting duchess, a massive fortune, and a dark secret and I am SO there!
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
This haul is all about the non-fic, isn’t it? BUT LOOK AT IT. How could I resist??

In Case You Missed It
Lisa Jensen’s debut, Alias Hook gives depth to one of my favorite villains, Captain Hook. Unfortunately, once the fascinating backstory ended, the book lost steam and my interest went with it. 2/5
With the anniversary of the death of the Romanov family, I shared a new edition of Get Your Fix. Looking for fiction? I’ve got you covered! Want to know more about Nicholas and his family? It’s all here! Curious about the other tsars? I GOT YOU.
Just Like the Movies was my introduction to Kelly Fiore’s work. Although I thought this novel was super cute and quick, what I really loved was the friendship that blossomed between the two main characters. In fact, the entire romance could have been cut and I would have been a happy camper with what would be an AWESOME friendship novel! 3/5
I’m making more of an effort to get back to my browsing roots and my first pick for a new feature (???) is Andrew Porter’s The Theory of Light and Matter, a slim collection of short stories. Award-winning and a pretty high rating on goodreads – I lucked out with this one. 4/5

Bookstore Browsing: The Theory of Light & Matter

Before I started blogging, the majority of my book purchases were books I discovered while browsing. I have NO shame in admitting I totally judge covers and pretty books stand out. Some of these books have ended up being some of my all-time favorite novels and I miss those days when I would simply wander through the aisle and see what I could find. Lately I’ve made a conscious effort to do more browsing – trust me, it’s seriously a struggle to not immediately launch my goodreads app and see what the ratings are like!

Andrew Porter’s The Theory of Light and Matter immediately struck my interest and I wish I could find a better image of the cover I have: a kitchen light shines into the night, illuminating a bicycle in the driveway. Something about it stood out and I was charmed.

Digging into this near-nothing of a novel – it’s a whole 178 pages long! – I discovered it was a short story collection, something completely new to me. I’m all about branching out and being adventurous in my reading, so naturally I leapt at the chance to read it..I also cheated a little and looked it up on GR – it has a 4.25 rating! That a book of this length has such a high rating spoke volumes and I easily devoured these ten stories in a single sitting. The Theory of Light and Matter won Porter the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and now I’m very interested in taking a look at the other winners!

While reading (and even now that I’ve finished) I wasn’t entirely sure if these stories were semi-biographical or not. Other than one, coincidentally it’s the title story, each story is told from a male perspective and although he’s at various stages of his life – some stories take place in childhood, others feature an adult – I couldn’t tell if this was the same figure or not (more often than not his name is Alex). If a sibling is mentioned in the story, it’s always an older sister. Though the father’s job changes, the fact that he’s largely absent remains the same.

The earlier stories, Azul; Coyotes; Hole; all seem to end just as they’re hitting their stride. I don’t know if this was intentional on Porter’s part or not, but it certainly left me wanting more. What happened to Azul? Was he alright? What became of Alex’s father and their fractured family? Over just a few pages I found myself becoming invested in these stories, genuinely curious and concerned for these characters and the abrupt endings left me feeling empty.

From Amish communities to sleeping with professors to a fiance stranded in Spain, The Theory of Light and Matter took me on a journey. A young boy dead after falling into a sinkhole and survivor’s guilt. A childless couple hoping to fill a void by opening their home to an exchange student. A son walking in on his mother’s forbidden affair. While I couldn’t exactly relate to many of these characters, I found them all fascinating. The Theory of Light and Matter is a thrilling display of talent and I’ve overjoyed that I decided to take a chance on it! Looking to get lost for an hour or two? This is the perfect escape.

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Pub. Date: July 22, 2014
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Bloomsbury!!)
Summary: Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating:

Marijke Monti is the IT girl: blonde, beautiful, star track athlete, with the hottest boy in school on her arm. Behind her facade of confidence and poise, however, she’s crumbling. After dating for over a year, Tommy still hasn’t told her he loves her. Oh, sure, he puts on grand gestures, buys her flowers for no special reason, picks her up everyday for school (always late, but at least he shows up). He tells her she’s the only girl for him, but he certainly makes no effort to shy away from the attention he gets from the girls at school. Marijke tries to be understanding, she knows that her boyfriend is not only hot, but also a musician – naturally there will be girls fawning over him. Hastily changed plans, bits of overheard conversations, and Tommy’s flirtatious ways lead Marijke to wonder if she’s the only one interested in their relationship.

Lily Spencer is the definition of a wallflower. She puts all of her time and effort into volunteer work and student councils that her social life is totally nonexistent. She’s always having to remind classmates of her name – assuming they recognize her at all. Her curly hair is unmanageable and she’s quick to pull on a pair of jeans and comfy tee. It’s no surprise that her crush has no idea she’s alive, despite the number of classes they’ve shared.

After a particularly disastrous day (an argument with Tommy left Marijke stranded and Lily wanted to get away from her mother’s flavor-of-the-week boyfriend), the girls find themselves at the local theater. Although they had never had a reason to talk in school, Lily and Marijke come to realize they’re not all that different, particularly in the romance department. Over coffee the two concoct a plan: why can’t real life be like the movies? Why can’t they get their sweep-you-off-your-feet moment? Marijke is determined to show Tommy just how much he means to her and Lily simply wants Joe to notice her. First thing’s first: they need a boombox.

Just Like the Movies was an absolute delight! This was a single-sitting read, perfect for a lazy afternoon or the beach, and fast-paced to boot! A part of me wishes the romance wasn’t even a factor in this book; the friendship between these girls made the story. They support each other, they guide one another, and their bonds strengthened over the course of the story. This is how to write a friendship! Bravo, Kelly!

While I felt the connection between the girls, the romance was entirely a different story. Lily and Joe were cute, but I couldn’t see what made Tommy so great. Marijke lived her life on Tommy’s time. She held off deciding on a college because she wanted to see what Tommy had planned. She had a ton of friends, but threw them away to focus on Tommy. She puts up with the flirty texts, facebook messages, and looks from other girls. This guy hasn’t said ‘I love you’ in all the time they’ve been dating – over a year – and yet she’s still madly in love with him. He blows her off multiple times, stands her up any time they make plans, gives her ‘buddy’ nicknames like Champ (what’s next, Slugger? Sport?). I didn’t get it. If Matt ever treated me that way it’d take a lot more than flowers to make up for it.

There were some side plots added in that I didn’t really care for (mainly the family drama) and felt they didn’t add much to the overall story. Despite its predictability and character flaws (I’m looking at you, Tommy), Just Like the Movies was fun, fast, and featured an awesome friendship! The references to classic rom-coms were a blast, too – and I have a feeling there will be a movie marathon in my future!

Get Your Fix: Romanov edition!

image via wikipedia

Today marks the 96th anniversary of the death of the Romanovs. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know I have a slight fascination with this family. What better way to remember them than with an edition of Get Your Fix.

The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander
Becoming a bestseller and adapted into a movie, The Kitchen Boy tells the tale of the Romanov’s final moments as seen through the eyes of a kitchen boy, Leonka. Alexander is also the author of a few other Romanov-centric novels, Rasputin’s Daughter and The Romanov Bride.
Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
I’m all for author’s taking liberties with their fiction, but for some reason I’m hesitant to read this. This is basically a love story involving Alexei..who died when he was 13. I grabbed it from the library multiple times – one day I’ll actually read it!
The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
This series follows Catherine’s rise to power. The more I read about it the more I want to read these books; they remind me of all the Tudor fiction and Philippa Gregory novels that are so popular.
The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry
This was my introduction to Berry’s works and the one that made me fall in love. Berry is one of my go-to authors when I’m in need of a good comfort read. His books are wickedly fast-paced and keep me entertained throughout the whole ride. I’m a sucker for stories where one of the children survives AND Berry adds in some dual era narratives.
The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam
A fifth daughter was spirited away before the Revolution and the royal lineage is alive and well. A present-day historian, a servant in the Russian court, a ballerina in the Second World War. This is basically a Leah novel!
The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne
While Boyne is more widely recognized for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, this is the novel I’d like to read. A boy finds himself a hero and bodyguard of the Tsarevich. Nearly seventy years later, memories of his old life come flooding to the surface as he watches over his dying wife.
The Curse of the Romanovs by Staton Rabin
This novel is the equivalent of a bad movie and shouldn’t be read if you’re in the mood for something good. A time-traveling Alexei learns all about cell phones – Matt and I STILL text each other lines from these scenes – and falls in love with his sort-of-kind-of cousin, a 15-year-old who has been doing studies and experiments on gene therapy and has nearly discovered a cure for hemophilia. Yep. You can read my review here.
The Last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanen
A girl with the gift of second sight is taken into the Imperial Court. Decades later she’s over 100 years old but never gave up hope that one of the Romanov children survived, the hope that there’s a heir to the throne somewhere. You can read my review here.
BONUS: The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello (my review here) and The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges (my review here)

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
Massie is basically THE source for all things Romanov. Nicholas and Alexandra follows the Tsar and Tsarina from their meeting to their final moments and details not only the political aspect of their lives, but also who they were as people, as parents, and as a couple who loved each other.
The Romanovs: The Final Chapter by Robert K. Massie
In this book Massie follows the scientific breakthroughs that arose when nine skeletons were discovered in a grave in 1991. Scientists from Russia, America, and Great Britain worked together to uncover the truth behind the fall of the Romanovs – including whether or not any of the children survived.
The Resurrection of the Romanovs by Greg King & Penny Wilson
In the 80s a novel was published that detailed the life of Anna Anderson, a woman who claimed to be Anastasia. She certainly knew her facts, but this was long before DNA testing came about. For decades the mystery thrived: was this woman really who she said she was? Published just a few years ago in 2010, The Resurrection of the Romanovs completely turns the mystery upside-down, going through the case and evidence and finally shedding light on the truth.
The Last Days of the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport
Rappaport is well on her way to earning herself a spot next to Massie in terms of go-to Romanov historians. While there are countless books about the family’s final days, Rappaport focuses on other witnesses to the murder: a British consul, an American journalist. She also takes a look at the Kaiser and King George V, both cousins of Alexandra and grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport
While many books focus solely on Anastasia, Rappaport combs through the lives of all four Romanov girls: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia – OTMA as they dubbed themselves. Letters, diary entries, and archival material were all used to recreate their lives and much of it is previously unpublished. I’m currently reading this one and look forward to getting to know these girls!
The Rasputin File by Edvard Radzinsky
You can’t have a list of Romanov reads without a book on Rasputin, the monk who wormed his way into their inner circle and prophesied their downfall.

Alexander I: The Tsar Who Defeated Napoleon by Marie-Pierre Rey
A handsome man known as The Sphinx, Alexander rose to power after the assassination of his father. When Napoleon’s troops burned Moscow in 1812, Alexander fought back, ultimately taking Paris and defeating the Emperor. This is one of the only biographies I’ve seen of this tsar.
Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky
Alexander II was known as the Liberator and Russia’s Lincoln. He freed 23 million slaves and reformed both the justice system and army. He was also quite the playboy and escaped numerous assassination attempts, finally falling victim to a bombing. I honestly know nothing about this man other than he was Nicholas II’s grandfather, but just the summary alone makes me want to read this biography!
Once a Grand Duchess by John Van der Kiste
This is a biography of Xenia, Grand Duchess and Nicholas II’s sister. During the Revolution, she fled to Europe, aiding wounded soldier in the First World War and ended up penniless in England. Maybe it’s just me, but I always thought her name was pretty fantastic!
Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
This is the book that earned Massie his Pulitzer. Clocking in at over 900 pages, this definitely isn’t a lazy afternoon read, but I think it would be fascinating. Peter took the throne at 10 years old – I’m not surprised the book is so long!
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
Massie’s most recent work. Catherine was a German noble who entered Russia at 14 and changed history.

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Pub. Date: July 8, 2014
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, Thomas Dunne Books!)
Summary: Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their never ending game.
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:

Everyone knows the evil Captain Hook, the villain of Neverland. What Alias Hook delivers is the tale of Jamie Benjamin Hookbridge, the eleven-year-old boy obsessed with ships. James Hookbridge, the charming young man who enjoyed women and drink and was in no hurry to settle down. The curse that cast him a devil, the boy who haunts him day and night, and his only chance at a way out.

I’m a big fan of retellings. A big fan. When I first heard about a retelling that focused on Captain Hook, the story that told his side, I couldn’t contain myself. This was a story for me. Unfortunately, after an extremely strong start, I quickly found myself losing focus; Alias Hook lost its steam hardly a quarter of the way into the story.

Hook’s childhood was fascinating and I loved these early alternating chapters between his life in London in the late 1600s and his hellish existence in Neverland in (what turns out to be) 1950. I’m a total sucker for a good backstory and I think it’s crucial to a successful retelling. Hook’s time spent with his father, his passion for the sea, even his early adulthood when he was often found in a saloon with his uppercrust pals or entertaining ladies in a seedy brothel. These windows into just who this man was made the story for me. I’ll take some good old-fashioned character exploration over action scenes any day of the week.

Unfortunately, once his backstory was established and there were no longer any of those lovely looks into his previous life – his mortal life – I found it was a struggle to continue. There was a woman Hook loved, though he secretly wasn’t looking forward to a life at home with a wife and children. He took to the seas and never returned. A dark curse was placed upon him, sending him to a boy’s fantasy world where he would forever be tormented and challenged. Two centuries later – two centuries worth of shipmates, Lost Boys, Wendys, and Pan’s antics – Hook discovers something new to Neverland: a woman.

Stella Parrish was a nurse who aided wounded soldiers in the Second World War. When that world became too unbearable, she sought the refuge of her childhood dreams and soon found herself in a place she immediately recognized from her storybooks. Naturally she doesn’t believe Hook is really the Captain Hook, nor does she take Pan’s word as truth; he’s just a silly boy, a child. What power could he possibly wield? It’s not until she witnessed firsthand just how deadly Pan’s games are that she comes to realize this isn’t silly, this isn’t a game. For centuries Pan has acted out his heroic fantasies while Hook is predestined to lose every single time. While he is never fatally harmed (despite his longing for release from this dreadful place), his men, mere mortals, die for Lost Boys grow up to become men and Pan would never allow grown-ups to plague his world.

Stella’s arrival is met with confusion – if Pan’s in charge and he adamantly refuses to allow adults, just how did a grown woman appear? Hook takes her aboard his ship in an attempt to protect her and possibly gain the upper hand on Pan for once (Hook reasons that Stella made her way to Neverland without Pan’s knowledge and he won’t pass up any advantage he could have over the boy). Over time the two become close and, yeah, I wasn’t at all surprised by the romance – anyone reading this book should not be surprised. The only woman in Neverland and the first woman Hook has seen in over two hundred years? Yeah.

There’s lovely homage paid to J. M. Barrie. Although he’d long since passed by Stella’s arrival, Hook remembers him as Pan’s Scotch Boy. Barrie was one of the Lost Boys and when he returned to our world and grew up, a part of him retained those childhood memories. In his recollections, however, Barrie viewed Peter as a great leader, as all Lost Boys do, thus making Peter Pan beloved and renowned while Hook was demonized.

While I felt the story began to drag once James became Hook, I was never not interested. I certainly wasn’t nearly as invested in the story as I had been in the beginning, leading to it taking nearly two weeks to read when I typically get through a book in two or three days. By the halfway mark I found myself skimming over the longer passages, usually those scenes where Hook was lamenting Stella’s absence or discussing matters with his men. A large part of the book was slow-going and as much as I love a story that takes its time, Alias Hook didn’t have enough to keep me turning the pages. Many nights I only got through a chapter – two if they were short. Although I wasn’t as in love with Alias Hook as I had hoped, I like the idea behind it and I loved the look into Captain Hook’s life before Neverland. His quest for redemption, for death, captivated me and the ending is open to a variety of interpretations. And, really, the cover is seriously spectacular in person. The colors are astoundingly vivid!

NOTABLE QUOTES

We were the envy of every clerk and apprentice in London, and most of their masters. We were dazzling. We were immortal.

This is what I am, what I’ve become in this place: handmaiden to the dead. My last, my only desire is to one day be rewarded for my centuries of service, earn my own passage into the Kingdom of Hades, and be allowed to rest in peace. But I am aged Charon ferrying the souls of the damned to the Underworld where I can never follow. The obolus has yet to be coined that will purchase my passage out of this never-ending Purgatorio.