I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon | March 27, 2018
Confession time. I read this in November. I KNOW. I’m kind of obsessed with anything Romanov, so when this book came onto the scene – written by the super talented Ariel Lawhon! – I couldn’t grab it fast enough (a massive perk of being auto-approved!). And the second I scored a copy I dove in. Told in two parts (that of Anna Anderson, beginning in the 1960s and going backward in time to 1920 and Anastasia, detailing the Revolution chronologically), I Was Anastasia keeps the reader guessing: was Anna Anderson really Anastasia? Anna certainly has the right look, the memories only a family member would have, the body now riddled with scars.
While there were some instances where Anna’s story left me scratching my head for a few chapters (characters or details are introduced, but because her part is told in reverse, it’s not until later the pieces fall into place), I really enjoyed the way Lawhon chose to tell her tale. Fans of Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls should have no problem keeping up with this one! I won’t give away any spoilers – I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the ending and mulled over it for a VERY long time – I will say that I was utterly captivated by I Was Anastasia. Also, I rarely read Author’s Notes, but Lawhon’s was fascinating. Not only did she go into further detail with the historical aspect (including which real life figures were omitted, which were blended into one character, the children’s puppies!) she also gave a quote I’ve been loving ever since: ‘And what else, really, is a novel than a 350-page sleepover?
A HUGE thank you to Doubleday for providing me with an ARC!
Final Girls by Riley Sager
When Stephen King calls a novel the first great thriller of the year, you listen. Unfortunately I didn’t and it wasn’t until a publicist put the paperback in my hands that I discovered what I had been missing. Three horrific massacres, three sole survivors. Dubbed the ‘final girls’ by the media, these women have dealt with their tragedy (and subsequent fame) in very different ways: one vanished entirely from the grid, one wrote a book and found a new lease on life by giving talks and becoming something of a motivational speaker, and Quincy launched a popular baking blog.
Then one day Quincy receives the devastating news that Lisa took her own life. Lisa, the one who chose to turn her horror into something positive. Sam, the third final girl, suddenly shows up on Quincy’s doorstep, insisting they speak. Could Lisa have truly committed suicide? What was her last email to Quincy all about?
I read this one in a single sitting on a snowy day and it was absolutely perfect. Although a few of the big twists and turns weren’t shockers to me, someone who hasn’t read hundreds of thrillers is sure to be surprised! Upon finishing this one, I immediately put it in my mom’s hands (and one of my sisters is next in line!) It says something about an author when, the second I heard about his upcoming release, The Last Time I Lied, I instantly put it on my TBR list!
A HUGE thank you to Dutton for providing me with a finished trade paperback!
White Houses by Amy Bloom
One of my most anticipated releases turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments. It’s no secret I LOVE biographical fiction – historical fiction that uses real figures from history – and this one takes on Eleanor Roosevelt. Not only that, but it focuses on her relationship with Lorena Hickok. UM YES PLEASE! …I DNF’d this one at 52%. How a book about an affair a First Lady had with another woman could be so boring is beyond me.
What really sealed the deal was when Lorena decided to run away with the circus at 14. White Houses went from boring to absurd. In one scene, Lorena discovers she likes girls when a performer, Uncle/Aunt Gerry, took her into a wagon, stripped, and then asked Lorena which side she preferred (the male or female side). I had such high hopes for this one, but no. Moving on.
A HUGE thank you to Random House for providing me with an e-ARC!
Kasey & Ivy by Alison Hughes
It’s been a minute since I read a Middle Grade novel! I’m a sucker for an eye-catching cover and Kasey & Ivy‘s instantly appealed to me. Told in a series of letters, Kasey writes to her best friend while stuck inside a hospital room. For the entire summer. What initially seemed like a bruise from a hit at soccer practice instead is a bit more serious – serious enough for Kasey to be admitted. If that wasn’t bad enough, the children’s wing is currently closed, so she’s spending her summer vacation on the geriatric floor.
Kasey & Ivy is a super short, super quick read that I tore through in a single sitting. Kasey developed into a great character, initially afraid, but by the end she helped the nurses and befriended several of the other patients. One moment in particular was SO sweet and totally made the book for me. Though the writing is a bit younger than what I normally find in Middle Grade, I can easily see this one finding readers!
A HUGE thank you to Orca for providing me with an e-ARC!