Dreambound by Dan Frey

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: September 12th, 2023

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Adult Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | Kobo | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this thrilling contemporary fantasy novel, a father must uncover the secret magical underbelly of Los Angeles to find his daughter, who has seemingly disappeared into the fictional universe of her favorite fantasy series.

When Byron Kidd’s twelve-year-old daughter vanishes, the only clue left behind is a note claiming she’s taken off to explore the Hidden World, a magical land from a series of popular novels. She is not the only child to seek out this imaginary realm in recent years, and Byron—a cynical and hard-nosed reporter—is determined to discover the whereabouts of dozens of missing kids.

Byron secures a high-profile interview with Annabelle Tobin, the eccentric author of the books, and heads off to her palatial home in the Hollywood Hills. But the truth Byron discovers is more fantastical than he ever could have dreamed.

As he uncovers locations from the books that seem to be bleeding into the real world, he must shed his doubts and dive headfirst into the mystical secrets of Los Angeles if he ever hopes to reunite with his child. Soon Byron finds himself on his own epic journey—but if he’s not careful, he could be the next one to disappear…

Told through journal entries, transcripts, emails, and excerpts from Tobin’s novels, Dreambound is a spellbinding homage to Los Angeles and an immersive

First Line:

Dear Mom and Dad, If you’re reading this, I’ve already left.

Dreambound by Dan Frey

Byron Kidd’s world was turned upside down when his twelve-year-old daughter, Liza, disappeared. But he soon has hope. Then, an Instagram picture of his daughter in Los Angeles surfaces. Using his investigative journalist skills, Byron heads to Los Angeles to find his daughter. When it becomes apparent that the fantasy series his daughter loved has roots in reality, Byron must discard everything he knew about the world to save his daughter. Can he find Liza? Or will he disappear like his daughter?

I was not prepared for how much I enjoyed reading this book. I had seen it on the Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine’s NetGalley page, read the blurb, thought it was exciting, and wished for it. When I got the email that the wish was granted, I was happy but not overly so. Then I read the book, and I was hooked.

Dreambound isn’t written in your standard novel format. The author chose to write it differently. He used interviews, journal entries, text messages, emails, excerpts from Annabelle Tobin’s books (it is a series), and excerpts from a folktale book to tell the story. At first, I admit, I was a little iffy about it. I had read several books in this format (mainly journal entries) and wasn’t impressed with them. But the author made it work and did it in a way that kept me glued to the book.

The main storyline of Dreambound centers around Liza, her disappearance, and Byron’s search for her. It is a fast-paced storyline that has a ton of twists and turns to it. It is also well-written, and I loved the lore the author created.

I didn’t like Byron at first. I sympathized with him, but he was such a dick during the book’s first half (and well into the second). His ego was enormous, and his drinking was out of control. But, even though I didn’t like him, his love for his daughter showed through. He was willing to do whatever it took (faking emails from a publisher/breaking and entering) to find Liza. By the end of the book, my dislike of him did lift a little, but it never went away.

Liza broke my heart because I could see myself (at twelve) in her. She was awkward, loved reading, and loved anything fantasy. Liza used fantasy to cope with her father’s drinking and her parents fighting. So, it wasn’t a stretch for me to believe she could have been groomed by someone she met online and lured to Los Angeles.

The fantasy angle of Dreambound was fantastic. I couldn’t get enough of it. The author used a lot of folklore/myths to create the Hidden World and explain some of what was going on in the real world.

The end of Dreambound seemed almost fever-dreamish. What happened to Byron and what he did was nothing short of heroic for the Hidden World and Earth. I liked that the author had Byron’s story turn out the way it did. After everything that he went through and did, it made sense for what happened. The book section (where Annabelle reads the first chapter of her new book) of the ending was trippy, too. And lastly, what Liza did at the end made me wonder if there will be a book two or another book in this universe.

I would recommend Dreambound for anyone over 16. There is no sex or sexual situations. But there is language and violence.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Dan Frey for allowing me to read and review this ARC of Dreambound. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to Dreambound, then you will enjoy these:

Other books by Dan Frey

Scenes of the Crime by Jilly Gagnon

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: September 5th, 2023

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Contemporary, Adult, Whodunit

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | Kobo | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

An ambitious screenwriter tries to solve her friend’s disappearance by recreating their fateful final girls’ trip in this riveting locked-room mystery from the author of All Dressed Up.
A remote winery. A missing friend. And a bunch of sour grapes.

It should have been the perfect spring break. Five girlfriends. A remote winery on the Oregon coast. An infinite supply of delicious wine at their manicured fingertips. But then their center—beautiful, magnetic Vanessa Morales—vanished without a trace.

Emily Fischer was perhaps the last person to see her alive. But now, years later, Emily spots Vanessa’s doppelganger at a local café. At the end of her rope working a lucrative yet mind-numbing gig on a network sitcom, Emily is inspired to finally tell the story that’s been percolating inside her for so long: Vanessa’s story. But first, she needs to know what really happened on that fateful night. So she puts a brilliant scheme into motion.

She gets the girls together for a reunion weekend at the scene of the crime under the guise of reconnecting. There’s Brittany, Vanessa’s cousin and the inheritor of the winery; Paige, a former athlete, bullish yet easily manipulated; and Lydia, the wallflower of the group.

One of them knows the truth. But what have they each been hiding? And how much can Emily trust anything she learns from them… or even her own memories of Vanessa’s last days?

Suspenseful, propulsive, and interspersed with scenes from Emily’s blockbuster screenplay, Scenes of the Crime is an unforgettable mystery that examines culpability, the shiny rearview mirror of Hollywood storytelling, and the pitfalls of female friendship.

First Line:

I’d made it about thirty precent of the way through the most glaringly insane round of script notes known to man when a ghost walked into the coffee shop.

Scenes of the Crime by Jilly Gagnon

Emily is struck by inspiration after seeing the doppelganger of her missing friend in the cafe where she was revising a television script. She decides that Vanessa’s (her friend) story needs to be told. But to do that, Emily must solve a fifteen-year mystery: What happened to Vanessa the night she went missing? The answers lie with three other people there that night: Brittany, Paige, and Lydia. Emily leans on Brittany to have a girls’ weekend at the vineyard where they last saw Vanessa. But not everyone wants to be there, and everyone has secrets about that night. Will Emily be able to tell Vanessa’s story? Will she solve what happened that night fifteen years ago?

When I read the blurb for Scenes of the Crime, I knew I wanted to read this book. I, along with millions of other people, love reading about cold cases. This book would be just that: the reopening of a cold case. And it was. But it was also a story about secrets, friendships, and how those secrets can destroy lives.

What was interesting about Scenes of the Crime was how the author wrote it. The author told the present-day story from Emily’s POV, with Brittany, Paige, Vanessa, and Lydia having their chapters. But, it was also written as a screenplay to tell the story fifteen years ago, complete with editing notes. I liked it because it gave insight into the girl’s frame of mind the night Vanessa disappeared and the girl’s weekend.

The main storyline was well-written and kept my attention up to the point when the author started to reveal the girls’ secrets. Everything after that, though, I thought was overkill. I had figured out what happened to Vanessa reasonably early in the book. So, to add that extra bit of drama about her grandparents disowning her and the will didn’t do it for me.

The mystery angle of the book was well written, but the author stretched it thin. How? Well, at one point, five different mysterious scenarios were going on. The author did a great job of keeping them separate, but I still got them jumbled up. The primary angle (what happened to Vanessa) was twisty, turny, and often unbelievable. I wasn’t surprised at the considerable twist that occurred almost at the end of the book (see previous paragraph), but I was surprised at who was involved. Then, I was astonished at what happened to that person. It was almost too much.

The end of Scenes of the Crime was almost anticlimactic, and I wasn’t a fan of it. With everything that went on that weekend, this is how it ended up. I was happy for Emily, but dang.

I would recommend Scenes of the Crime to anyone over 21. There is language, violence, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, NetGalley, and Jilly Gagnon for allowing me to read and review this ARC of Scenes of the Crime. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to Scenes of the Crime, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Jilly Gagnon:

The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 29th, 2023

Genre: Science Fiction, Fiction, Adult, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy, Fantasy, Adult Fiction

Series: Cygnus Beta Series

The Best of All Possible Worlds—Book 1

The Galaxy Game—Book 2

The Blue, Beautiful World—Book 3

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

As first contact transforms the Earth, a group of gifted visionaries race to create a new future in this wondrous science fiction novel from the award-winning author of The Best of All Possible Worlds.

The world is changing, and humanity must change with it. Rising seas and soaring temperatures have radically transformed the face of the Earth. Meanwhile, Earth is being observed from afar by other civilizations … and now they are ready to make contact.

Vying to prepare humanity for first contact are a group of dreamers and changemakers, including Peter Hendrix, the genius inventor behind the most advanced VR tech; Charyssa, a beloved celebrity icon with a passion for humanitarian work; and Kanoa, a member of a council of young people from around the globe drafted to reimagine the relationship between humankind and alien societies.

And they may have an unexpected secret weapon: Owen, a pop megastar whose ability to connect with his adoring fans is more than charisma. He has a hidden talent that may be the key to uniting Earth as it looks towards the stars.

But Owen’s abilities are so unique that no-one can control him, and so seductive that he cannot help but use them. Can he transcend his human limitations and find the freedom he has always dreamed of? Or is he doomed to become the dictator of his nightmares?

First Line:

The emissary kept on digging his own grave, centimeter by centimeter, word by word.

The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord

First contact has always been something that the people of Earth regarded as a myth. But, to a small, select group, the truth is known. Aliens have been on Earth for a while, gathering intel on the people. With the climate crisis reaching its pinnacle, the aliens have decided to make themselves known. Their emissary is a pop megastar, Owen, who is an alien. Owen has abilities that can unite Earth after first contact. But, there is a dark side to Owen, and it calls to him. Can Owen keep his dark side suppressed to help the people of Earth? Or will that dark side take over and have him become Earth’s dictator?

When I read the blurb for The Blue, Beautiful World, I was intrigued. I like reading science fiction, and seeing that the author would integrate VR technology into the plotline, I wanted to read it. While the book was great in some areas, it was lacking in others, which killed the book for me.

The Blue, Beautiful World is the third book in the Cygnus Beta Series. Readers cannot read this book as a standalone. You must read the first two books to know what is happening in this one. This was a significant issue for me because I read book three first.

I will be blunt: I was not too fond of this book. I found it very hard to follow at the beginning. But, towards the middle of the book, it got better to follow. Not by much, but I wasn’t as lost as in the book’s first half.

I did like the science fiction angle and loved that the author had VR as a significant part of the plotline. It made for exciting reading, even if it did get dry and repetitive at points. I wish the different civilizations (aliens) were introduced at the book’s beginning. There was a brief rundown (around when the Lyraen spies were caught). But nothing was mentioned about any of the races (and there are a bunch of them).

The characters were meh to me. The only one I connected to and liked was Kanoa. All the others (Owen, Noriko, Berenice) either I didn’t like or weren’t as fleshed out as they should be. I also needed clarification on the different names that the same characters went by. It drove me up the wall to discover that what I thought was a singular main character was exactly two (for example, Tareq is two separate people: Kirat and Siha).

The end of The Blue, Beautiful World was different. I had to reread it twice to understand what was going on. And even then, there is going to be a book 2? I needed clarification on that.

I recommend The Blue, Beautiful World to anyone over 21. There is violence and mild language, but no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Karen Lord for allowing me to read and review The Blue, Beautiful World.

If you enjoy reading books similar to The Blue, Beautiful World, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Karen Lord:

One Night by Georgina Cross

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of Publication: August 1st, 2023

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Family, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

One night. That’s all the time a family has to decide what to do with the man they believe murdered their daughter: Do they forgive him, or take justice into their own hands? An electrifying novel by the author of Nanny Needed. . .

The anonymous letters arrive in the mail, one by one: To find out what really happened to Meghan, meet at this location. Don’t tell anyone you’re coming. In one night, you’ll find out everything you need to know.

Ten years after her murder, the letters tell Meghan’s family exactly when and where to meet: a cliffside home on the Oregon coast. But on the night they’re promised answers, the convicted killer–her high school boyfriend, Cal, who spent only ten years in prison for murder–is found unconscious in his car, slammed into a light pole near the house where the family is sitting and waiting. Is he the one who invited them to gather?

As a storm rampages along the Pacific Northwest, the power cuts off and leaves the family with no chance of returning to the main road and finding help. So they drag Cal back to the house for the remainder of the night. How easy it would be to let him die and claim it was an accident. Or do they help him instead? As the hours tick by, it becomes an excruciating choice. Half of the family wants to kill him. The other half wants him to regain consciousness so he can tell them what he knows.

But if Cal wakes up, he might reveal that someone in the family knows more than they’re letting on. And if that’s the case, who is the real killer? And are they already in the house?

First Line:

It was stupid to walk away. You can’t trust anyone in the dark.

One Night by Georgina Cross

The night Meghan was killed was the night that her family shattered. It fractured even more when her alleged killer, Cal, was released from jail after only serving ten years. Her entire family is invited to a beach house on the Oregon shore two years later. As tensions rise inside, a massive storm rampages outside. When Cal is found injured and unconscious in his car, the family moves him inside. Half of the people there want to kill him, and the other half want to keep him alive so he can tell them what he knows. But someone in that group is hiding a secret. A secret so big that it could destroy them and the other family members. Did Cal kill Meghan? If he didn’t, who did? Will Cal survive the night? Will he tell people what he knows?

I have read a lot of mysteries lately. That is a good thing; I enjoy a good mystery, and the mystery angle initially attracted me to this book. I figured that I would like this book. I hate to say it, but I was “meh” about One Night.

One Night is a fast-paced book in the tourist town of Bandon, Oregon. The storyline did suit the pacing, but there was a lag in the middle and end of the book.

There were two main storylines in One Night. The first was Meghan’s murder, who did it, why, and how Cal fit into it. The second storyline centers around Meghan’s family, the house, the storm, and Cal. While both storylines were well written, I was more interested in the first storyline. The second storyline should have held my attention.

The storyline with Meghan, her murder, who did it, why, and how Cal fit into it was very twisty. I didn’t like Meghan. She was dishonest and abusive and had her mother wrapped around her little finger (I will get more into her mother later). The details of her murder, though, weren’t revealed until the very end. While I did have the correct people involved, I didn’t have the timeline right. So, I was surprised when the murderer was revealed.

The storyline with Meghan’s family, the aftermath, the invite to the house, the storm, and how Cal fit into everything was strange and often didn’t make sense. In this storyline, I did figure out who invited everyone to the house (it was very apparent, and the person did make some telling statements with the magazines). The storm was just the backdrop to a surreal and strange situation that started unfolding in the house. When Cal showed up, I wasn’t surprised who wanted to kill him. By the end of the book, I was sick of everyone in this storyline, and I couldn’t wait for it to be done.

I wouldn’t say I liked any of the characters. Except for Sam and Cal, they all got on my one last nerve.

I liked the book’s mystery angle, and it was well-written. As I stated above, I did think I had figured out who killed Meghan, but I was surprised at how it ended. I also did figure out who sent the invites out. But, the reason why surprised me.

The end of One Night was confusing. The author ended the present-day storyline in a way that I did not like. I agreed with Cal’s statement.

I would recommend One Night to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations, but there is violence and language.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, NetGalley, and Georgina Cross for allowing me to read and review One Night. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to One Night, then you will enjoy these:

Other books by Georgina Cross:

Spin a Black Yarn by Josh Malerman

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 15th, 2023

Genre: Horror, Short Stories, Adult Fiction, Anthologies, Short Story Collection, Mystery, Science Fiction, Halloween, Paranormal

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Five harrowing novellas of horror and speculative fiction from the singular mind of the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box

Josh Malerman is a master weaver of stories–and in this spine-chilling collection he spins five twisted tales from the shadows of the human soul:

A sister insists to her little brother that “Half the House Is Haunted” by a strange presence. But is it the house that’s haunted–or their childhoods?

In “Argyle,” a dying man confesses to homicides he never committed, and he reveals long-kept secrets far more sinister than murder.

A tourist takes the ultimate trip to outer space in “The Jupiter Drop,” but the real journey is into his own dark past.

In “Doug and Judy Buy the House Washer(TM),” a trendy married couple buys the latest home gadget only to find themselves trapped by their possessions, their history . . . and each other.

And in “Egorov,” a wealthy old cretin murders a young man, not knowing the victim was a triplet. The two surviving brothers stage a savage faux-haunting–playing the ghost of their slain brother–with the aim of driving the old murderer mad.

First Line:

Half the house is haunted, Robin. Don’t ask me which half!

Spin a Black Yarn (Half the House is Haunted) by Josh Malerman

I am not in the habit of reading and reviewing short stories. I find them hard to review. But I always end up with them on my review list. I may be trying to tell myself something; who knows?

Spin a Black Yarn is the second Josh Malerman book I have read. The first was Inspection a few years ago, and I did enjoy it. So, when I saw that this book of novellas was on Randon House’s NetGalley page as a Wish only, I decided to do just that (wish on it). And imagine my surprise when I got the email saying it was granted. I was thrilled, and I knew I would like this book (based on Inspection). I was right. This book was a fast read that kept me up after I ended it.

Spin a Black Yarn has five novellas in it. I will not do my usual storyline breakdown, angles, characters, etc. It would be too confusing and time-consuming. Instead, I will briefly explain the book and then say what I liked/disliked about it.

Half the House is Haunted: The novella follows two siblings that live in a huge house. The story is sectioned into three parts: 6 and 8, 40 and 42, and 80’s. In 6 and 8, Stephanie torments her younger brother by telling him half the house is haunted, but she isn’t sure what half. In 40 and 42, Robbie visits Stephanie, a recluse, and tries to figure out why she tormented him. In the 80’s, Stephanie dies, leaving Robbie the house and a letter. This storyline took a while to grow on me. I was confused at first by how it was written (Robbie and Stephanie told alternating paragraphs). But, once I figured that out, my confusion disappeared, and I was swept up in the story. I loved the moral behind this one (face your fears). I also liked that I couldn’t figure out whether Stephanie was lying.

Argyle: This novella centers on a dying man, Shawn, who starts to confess to murders that he almost committed on his deathbed. He is confessing to his two children, wife, best friend, and mother. He states that he didn’t kill only because of his best friend, a woman named Argyle, and his sister, Nora. At first, I thought that this story was a little silly, with a dying man confessing to almost murders. But as the story went on, I started to get chills. It was a good look into the human psyche and what makes a killer tick.

Doug and Judy Buy a House Washer: This novella centers around a couple who were the epitome of jerks. They buy a device that guarantees a thorough house wash. But, when they use it, the machine washes the house and brings up everything they have ever done, good and bad. This novella was my least favorite novella. Mainly because Doug and Judy were asshats, and the author did nothing to tone them down. The ending of this story was almost too good for them, and they deserved worse than what they got (they were genuinely vile people).

Jupiter Drop: This novella centers around a wealthy man eaten up by guilt over the death of a neighbor. So, he decides to journey to Jupiter to atone for that death. This novella was the saddest out of the bunch. The man was consumed with guilt over what happened, destroying everything in his life. This drop through Jupiter’s atmosphere (and core) was supposed to be healing. Instead, it went sideways. I would love to have done what he did (dropping through Jupiter’s atmosphere in a glass apartment). What the author wrote was beautiful. Except for the end. That was sad.

Egorov: This was my favorite novella. It centers around the murder of Mikhail, a triplet, and the search for his killer. Once the killer is found, Barat and Pavel (Mikhail’s brother) devise a dastardly plan to exact revenge. This story strongly reminded me of an Edgar Allen Poe story. From the language to how everything was laid out. It was also chilling, and I was kept on edge with what Barat and Pavel were doing.

I would recommend Spin a Black Yarn to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations, but there is language and violence.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Josh Malerman for allowing me to read and review Spin a Black Yarn. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading similar books to Spin a Black Yarn, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Josh Malerman:

California Golden by Melanie Benjamin

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Delacorte Press

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Adult, Adult Fiction, Family

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two sisters navigate the turbulent, euphoric early days of California surf culture in this dazzling saga of ambition, sacrifice, and longing for a family they never had, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife

Southern California, 1960s: endless sunny days surfing in Malibu, followed by glittering neon nights at Whisky A-Go-Go. In an era when women are expected to be housewives, Carol Donelly is breaking the mold as a legendary female surfer struggling to compete in a male-dominated sport–and her daughters, Mindy and Ginger, bear the weight of her unconventional lifestyle.

The Donnelly sisters grow up enduring their mother’s absence–physically, when she’s at the beach, and emotionally, the rare times she’s at home. To escape questions about Carol’s whereabouts–and chase their mom’s elusive affection–they cut school to spend their days in the surf. From her first time on a board, Mindy shows a natural talent, but Ginger, two years younger, feels out of place in the water.

As they grow up and their lives diverge, Mindy and Ginger’s relationship ebbs and flows. Mindy finds herself swept up in celebrity, complete with beachside love affairs, parties at the Playboy Club, and USO tours to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Ginger–desperate for a community of her own–is tugged into the vibrant counterculture of drugs and cults. Through it all, their sense of duty to each other survives, as the girls are forever connected by the emotional damage they carry from their unorthodox childhood.

A gripping, emotional story set at a time when mothers were expected to be Donna Reed, not Gidget, California Golden is an unforgettable novel about three women living in a society that was shifting as tempestuously as the breaking waves.

First Line:

The surf giveth, and the surf taketh away-thus said the Surf God every morning, noon, and night.

California Golden by Melanie Benjamin

Growing up the daughters of one of the only female surfing legends was hard. Mindy and Ginger learned, at a young age, that their mother’s attention was solely on surfing and the beach. To get their mother’s attention, the girls learn to surf. By the mid-1960s, the girls have grown apart. Mindy has become a legend in the surfing circles.. She gets caught up in the celebrity lifestyle and is soon doing a USO tour in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Ginger has become embroiled in the drug and cult counterculture. Their relationship is put to the test when Ginger commits the ultimate betrayal and asks Mindy for help. Can Mindy and Ginger overcome the emotional damage they both carry to do the right thing?

California Golden is one of those books you will love or hate. For me, I was on the love-it side of the scale. I enjoyed reading about Mindy and Ginger’s unconventional childhood and how their lives drastically changed as teenagers. I also enjoyed reading about the surfing/drug and cult subcultures portrayed in the book.

Usually, I’m not too fond of time hopping or switching back and forth between main characters in books. Nine out of ten times, I need help figuring out who I am reading about (usually because the author doesn’t label the beginning of the chapter). But, in California Golden, I had no such issue. Each chapter was tagged Mindy, Ginger, or Carol. It also had the year that particular chapter was set in (the book spans from 1944 to 1980).

I am also not a massive fan of having three separate main characters for the reasons stated above. I also have them run together in my mind. But, in this book, that didn’t happen. The author created three distinct personalities and kept them separate throughout the book.

I liked Mindy, and I also felt terrible for her. She had so much responsibility put on her at a young age. She also knew, as all children do, that she and her sister were unwanted, and she devised a way to get and keep her mother’s attention: surfing. Mindy genuinely loved surfing, and it shone through in the beginning chapters. So I was surprised when her storyline went in the direction it did. The focus would have stayed on her surfing.

While I liked Ginger, I predicted how her storyline would go. Unfortunately, that is the path of many children who had childhoods like hers. It did get to a point where I didn’t even like to read her storyline. But, at the same time, I liked the look the author gave into the drug/cult subculture of the late 60s. It was frightening and fascinating at the same time. It also drove Ginger to do what she did with Jimmy and what she asked Mindy to do later.

I didn’t like Carol, but at the same time, I felt terrible for her. She never wanted to be a wife and a mother. But she was forced to be anyways. She had no feelings for her girls and neglected them. When her husband finally left, and she discovered the girls were still there, her first thought was, “Why didn’t he take them.” She was selfish and remained selfish until the end of the book.

The end of California Golden was a surprise. I liked how things came full circle for Mindy, Ginger, and Carol. But I disagreed with the very end of the book. Was it good that Ginger had gotten her life together and figured things out? I didn’t think so, which might not be the correct opinion because of what was at stake. I wish there were an epilogue showing what life was like ten years later. I would have loved to see where everyone ended up.

I would recommend California Golden to anyone over 21. There are language, violence, and sexual situations. I also want to warn you that there are scenes of neglect, drug use, and domestic violence.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Delacorte Press, NetGalley, and Melanie Benjamin for allowing me to read and review California Golden. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books like California Golden, then check these out:

Other books by Melanie Benjamin:

Mister Magic by Kiersten White

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Adult, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Who is Mister Magic? Former child stars reunite to uncover the tragedy that ended their show -and discover the secret of its enigmatic host -in this dark supernatural thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hide.

Thirty years after a tragic accident shut down production of the classic children’s program Mister Magic, the five surviving cast members have done their best to move on. But just as generations of cultishly devoted fans still cling to the lessons they learned from the show, the cast, known as the Circle of Friends, have spent their lives searching for the happiness they felt while they were on it. The friend-ship. The feeling of belonging. And the protection of Mister Magic

But with no surviving video of the show, no evidence of who directed or produced it, and no records of who-or what the beloved host actually was, memories are all the former Circle of Friends has.

Then, a twist of fate brings the castmates back together at the remote desert filming compound that feels like it’s been waiting for them all this time. Even though they haven’t seen each other for years, they understand one another better than anyone has since.

After all, they’re the only ones who hold the secret of that circle, the mystery of the magic man in his infinitely black cape, and, maybe, the answers to what really happened on that deadly last day. But as the Circle of Friends reclaim parts of their past, they begin to wonder: Are they here by choice, or have they been lured into a trap?

Because magic never forgets the taste of your friendship…

First Line:

Your favorite childhood television program feels like a fever dream. You don’t remember it at all until I start humming the theme song and then-oh, I can see it in your eyes.

Mr. Magic by Kiersten White

For Val, life began at eight when her father and herself arrived at Gloria’s ranch. Thirty years later, Val’s father dies from complications due to a stroke. With no past and a present only at the ranch, Val feels like a half-person. That is until Javi, Marcus, and Isaac appear at her father’s wake and end her life. Val discovers she was part of a children’s TV show called Mr. Magic, and she left after a horrible accident took the life of a 6th castmate. But Val feels there is more to the story than what the men say and agrees to return to Bliss. Once there, Val starts remembering more and more about what happened that day. With the help of her friends, can Val finally remember what happened that day and what happened to the sixth castmate? Or is Val hiding her memory for a reason?

When I saw Mr. Magic’s cover, I knew I needed to read this book. And when I read the blurb, it reinforced my need to read it. I decided to take a chance since the publisher had this as Wish only on their NetGalley page. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I got the email saying it was granted. I couldn’t wait to sit down and read this book. I am glad I did because it was something different (and creepy) to read.

The main storyline of Mr. Magic revolves around Val, her lack of memory, and The Circle of Friends. I did feel a little bad for Val. This storyline was well written. It drew me in, didn’t let me go, and spit me out a chaotic mess at the end of the book. It is a fast-paced storyline with zero lag and just zipped along. I loved it.

All of the remaining castmates have issues and are stunted emotionally. The author showcases those emotional issues while crafting characters you couldn’t hope but root for. Out of the surviving five, Isaac was my favorite. My least favorite was Jenny. She didn’t hesitate to needle Val about what happened and knew that Val had no memory.

The storyline with Val, the other Circle of Friends, Mister Magic, and what happened the day the show ended was compelling. Several twists and turns in the plotline made me raise an eyebrow and think, “Hmmm.” I was surprised to discover who Mister Magic was and what happened afterward. And I certainly wasn’t expecting the end to be as it was. Talk about trippy!!

The storyline with the missing 6th castmate was heartbreaking and also creepy. My heart broke for Val once she remembered who it was. But it also strengthened her resolve to do what needed to be done. Again, I am not going to say more because of spoilers.

I enjoyed how the author crafted a mystery around the show. There were no reruns; people flocked to boards, Wiki pages, and other sites to discuss it and to reassure each other that what they remembered was real. The author nailed it with the rabid commentators and the trolls. But she also wove a bit of truth through it all.

The end of Mister Magic was interesting. As I said, I wasn’t expecting it to go as it did. But, in a way, there was something right about what happened. It came full circle for the friends. The epilogue made me happy, but I wondered if Isaac would go back.

The author’s note sheds some light on various parts of the book. I can’t explain more than that (because of spoilers).

I would recommend Mister Magic to anyone over 16. There is language, violence, and no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Kiersten White for allowing me to read and review Mister Magic. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to Mister Magic, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Kiersten White:

The Hundred Loves of Juliet by Evelyn Skye

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 1st, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling, Fiction, Adult, Fantasy, Chick Lit, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Helene was young, she dreamed of the perfect man and filled her notebooks with stories about him and about love in its purest form. But after a messy divorce, she has let go of such naive fantasies. She has moved to a small town in Alaska, where she is ready to write her novel and build a new life without romance. Fate has other plans, though.

Helene soon meets Sebastien Montague, a handsome fisherman who is her invented hero made flesh, down to the most idiosyncratic details. But how can a man she created possibly exist in the real world?

While Helene tries to discover the truth behind his existence, Sebastien is determined to keep that truth from her, for he is a man scarred by serial tragedy, hiding a secret that has broken his heart time and again. Yet the shadows of the past emerge, endangering Helene and Sebastien’s future before it even begins–and it becomes clear that it won’t be easy to forge a new ending to the greatest love story of all time.

A woman fleeing her disastrous marriage discovers that she is part of a legendary love story that spans lives, years, and continents in this modern-day reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.

First Line:

Alaska in January is a fairy tale, with frost-rimed branches glittering in the pale moonlight, like lace woven by a snow maiden.

The Hundred Loves of Juliet by Evelyn Sky

Finding her husband in a compromising position with his intern was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Helene. Leaving her husband, she travels to Alaska to start over. She plans on working on herself and her novel while living there. Men were not part of the equation. Then she meets Sebastien and feels an immediate connection to him. While Sebastien feels the same, he is determined to keep Helene at arm’s length. Why? Because Sebastien is Romeo, cursed to immortality by his cousin Mercutio and destined to repeatedly watch Juliet die horrible deaths. And Helene is the reincarnation of Juliet. Will Helene find out the truth about her and Sebastien? How will she react?

When I saw that this was a Romeo and Juliet retelling, I was immediately drawn to this book. I am a big Shakespeare fan and like to read (and watch) any stories or adaptations of his plays. I am happy to say that this book lived up to my expectations!!

The main storyline of The Hundred Loves of Juliet centers around Helene, Sebastien, and their romance. It was bittersweet to read, making this book so good. This book has medium to fast pacing, and it suits the storyline. I also loved Sebastien’s growth and healing throughout the book.

Several secondary storylines feed into the main storyline, adding extra depth. The main one that stood out to me was Helene’s relationship with Merrick.

I liked Helene and loved seeing her character grow during the book. She was damaged when the book started. The death of her father when she was in elementary school changed her. What also changed her was her marriage to Merrick. I didn’t blame her for running to Alaska after what she witnessed. I would have done the same. I also understood her reaction when Sebastien showed her that room and when she read the journals. Everything she had written was true and were memories. Her mind was blown. By the end of the book, Helene had morphed into the woman she should have been from the beginning. I loved how she took down Merrick (with Sebastien’s help).

I loved Sebastien. The author revealed reasonably early that he is Romeo. But then the author took that storyline down a path I didn’t see coming. Romeo is cursed to an immortal life and is forced to meet Juliet and watch her die repeatedly. By the time he meets Helene, he is a shell of a man, tortured by what has happened, and has extreme survivor’s guilt (along with some PTSD). His last interaction with a reincarnated Juliet never happened because Sebastien couldn’t stand to watch her die again. When he met Helene in Alaska, I understood his reaction. I would have reacted the same way. I loved seeing his growth throughout the book. The Sebastien at the end of the book differed from the Sebastien at the beginning, and it was a big difference.

The romance angle of The Hundred Loves of Juliet was bittersweet. The author kept 90% of the romance focused on Sebastien and Helene. But she also highlighted the other Juliet romances, which all ended horribly. So, I was rooting for this incarnation to survive and help heal Sebastien.

There are sex and sexual situations in The Hundred Loves of Juliet. But, the sex is either off-page or described in a non-graphic way. There is also a couple of fade-to-black sex scenes between Sebastien and Helene.

The end of The Hundred Loves of Juliet was sweet. I loved that Helene and Sebastien could get their happily ever after. The author’s note had me in tears, and I agreed with what she wrote.

I would recommend The Hundred Loves of Juliet to anyone over 16. There is mild language, mild violence, and nongraphic/fade-to-black sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Evelyn Skye for allowing me to read and review The Hundred Loves of Juliet. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of The Hundred Loves of Juliet, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Evelyn Skye:

July 2023 Wrap Up

Here is what I read/posted/bought in July.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.

Books I Read:

ARC from Crooked Lane Books
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
Kindle purchase
Free Kindle purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
KU Purchase
ARC from Crooked Lane Books
ARC from Meryl Moss Media Group, Rosewind Books
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin
Non-ARC from Author
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
ARC from Sourcebooks Fire
ARC from Random House Publishing Group -Ballantine, Del Rey
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell
Free Kindle purchase
Free Kindle purchase
Kindle Purchase
Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
Kindle Purchase
Free Kindle Purchase
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Non-ARC from author
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Books I got from NetGalley:

ARC from St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Delacorte Press
Wish granted from Sourcebooks Fire
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell
Limited time Read Now from St. Martin’s Press
Invite from author via his publisher–Level Best Books
Arc from St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin
ARC from Atria Books, Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

ARC from author
Non-ARC from author

Giveaway Winners

The Bridge to Magic by Alex Thornbury

Books Reviewed:

Carving Up Reily by Paul Flanagan—review here (4 stars)

Playing with Fire by Flora McGowan—review here (4 stars)

The Voinico’s Slayer by Sallie Cochren—review here (4 stars)

Death By a Thousand Sips by Gretchen Rue—review coming September 5th, 2023

One*Life: Ameno by Blaze Dendukuri—review here (3 stars)

The Master of Demise by Nadija Mujagic—review here (4 stars)

Under Central Park: The Amulet’s Secret by D.W. Spinola—review here (4 stars)

Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder by Steve S. Sardoff—review here (4 stars)

Dark Horse by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center—review here (4 stars)

A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert—review here (4 stars)

Macarons Can Be Murder by Rose Betancourt—review here (3 stars)

My Goodbye Girl by Anna Gomez—review here (4 stars)

Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Sonia—review here (4 stars)

Play to Win by Jodie Slaughter—review here (4 stars)

Against the Odds by Ann Hunter—review here (4 stars)

Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts—review here (4 stars)

The Block Party by Jamie Day—review here (4 stars)

Have You Seen My Sister by Kirsty McKay—review coming September 5th

Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia—review here (4 stars)

Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review by Tehlor Kay Meija—review here (4 stars)

Blind Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Webb—review here (4 stars)

The Lady from Burma by Allison Montclair—review here (4 stars)

The Celine Bower Story by Carly Brown—review here (4 stars)

The Madwomen of Paris by Jennifer Cody Epstein—review here (4 stars)

The StoryGraph Reading Challenges:


Scavenger Hunt (A book that was turned into a show/movie you haven’t seen): The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2023 (A book about a forbidden romance): Painted Love by Lacy Embers

2023 TBR Toppler (A book under 200 pages): Berkley Street by Ron Ripley

2023 Monthly Themes (June to the Moon: Sci-fi): The Liberty Box by C.A. Gray

2023 Reading Challenge (A retelling of a classic story/myth): Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

2023 ABC Challenge (F): Forever Black by Sandi Lynn

Romanceopoly 2023! (Read a contemporary romance by an author you haven’t tried before): Father Figure by James J. Cudney

2023 TBR Prompts (Shortest book on my TBR): Thirst by Graceley Knox


Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023 (“Weather-related words: weather related words in the title: rain, storm, snow, clouds, sky, sunshine, hurricane): Stormcall by T.A. Marks

2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge (A book that has a day of the week in the title): That Monday Girl by Julie Johnson

Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023 (Sky): Unbound by A.R. Shaw

The StoryGraph Reads the World 2023 (Pakistan): A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge 2023 (A fantasy novel written by an author of color): The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Beat the Backlist 2023 (an author writing under a pseudonym): What Doesn’t Kill You by Jo Ho

Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge (find a book with the same amount of pages as the last book and read it): Woman Scorned by Shannon Heuston

Scavenger Hunt (A book that was translated from another language): Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2023 (A book with “girl” in the title): The Fireproof Girl by Loretta Lost

2023 TBR Toppler (A book over 500 pages): The Yellowstone Conundrum by John D. Randall

2023 Monthly Themes (Books in the Heat: Book takes place in the summer or someplace hot): What Happened at the Lake by Phil M. Williams

2023 Reading Challenge (A Yellow Book: Cover or Title are Yellow): A Worse Secret by Harvey Church

2023 ABC Challenge (G): Girl with No Fingerprints by Mark Bailey

Romanceopoly 2023! (friends to lovers): Anything for Love by Lola St. Vil

2023 TBR Prompts (Longest book on my TBR): The Needle House by Robin Roughley

Books I bought:

Stalks of Gold by Celeste Baxendell (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Mirrors of Ice by Celeste Baxendell (accidental Kindle purchase)

Dead Before Dinner by Kat Bellemore (free Kindle purchase via blog post)

Death on Deck by Verity Bright (free Kindle purchase via blog post)

Protecting Fiona by Susan Stoker (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Open, Honestly by Bill Konigsberg (free Kindle purchase via Goodreads)

His Baby Proposal by Ivy James (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

This Much Is True by Tia Louise (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Ruined & Redeemed: The Earl’s Fallen Wife by Bree Wolf (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Burden of Proof by Julie Anne Lindsey (free Kindle purchase via blog post)

MacFarland’s Lass by Glynnis Campbell (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Finding Faith by B.E. Baker (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Resisting Chase by Sharon Woods (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Dance with Deception by Tracy Goodwin (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Saving Noah by Kaci Rose (free Kindle purchase)

Four Cold Months by K.J. Kalis (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Whiskey Rebellion by Liliana Hart (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Watch Your Back by Stacy Claflin (free Kindle purchase via blog post)

Sweet Distraction by Lainey Davis (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

Dirty Player by Stacey Lynn (free Kindle purchase via BookBub)

The Madwomen of Paris by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: July 11th, 2023

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Mental Health, France, Mental Illness

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

A young woman with amnesia falls under the influence of a powerful doctor in Paris’s notorious women’s asylum, where she must fight to reclaim dangerous memories—and even more perilously, her sanity—in this gripping historical novel inspired by true events, from the bestselling author of Wunderland.

“I didn’t see her the day she came to the asylum. Looking back, this sometimes strikes me as unlikely. Impossible, even, given how utterly her arrival would upend the already chaotic order of things at the Salpêtrière—not to mention change the course of my own life there.”

When Josephine arrives at the Salpêtrière she is covered in blood and badly bruised. Suffering from near-complete amnesia, she is diagnosed with what the Paris papers are calling “the epidemic of the age”: hysteria. It is a disease so baffling and widespread that Doctor Jean-Martine Charcot, the asylum’s famous director, devotes many of his popular public lectures to the malady. To Charcot’s delight, Josephine also proves extraordinarily susceptible to hypnosis, the tool he uses to unlock hysteria’s myriad (and often sensational) symptoms. Soon Charcot is regularly featuring Josephine on his stage, entrancing the young woman into fantastical acts and hallucinatory fits before enraptured audiences and eager newsmen—many of whom feature her on their paper’s front pages.

For Laure, a lonely asylum attendant assigned to Josephine’s care, Charcot’s diagnosis seems a godsend. A former hysteric herself, she knows better than most that life in the Salpêtrière’s Hysteria Ward is far easier than in its dreaded Lunacy division, from which few inmates ever return. But as Josephine’s fame as Charcot’s “star hysteric” grows, her memory starts to return—and with it, images of a horrific crime she believes she’s committed. Haunted by these visions, and helplessly trapped in Charcot’s hypnotic web, she starts spiraling into actual insanity. Desperate to save the girl she has grown to love, Laure plots their escape from the Salpêtrière and its doctors. First, though, she must confirm whether Joséphine is actually a madwoman, soon to be consigned to the Salpêtrière’s brutal Lunacy Ward—or a murderer, destined for the guillotine.

Both are dark possibilities—but not nearly as dark as what Laure will unearth when she sets out to discover the truth.

First Line:

I didn’t see her the day she came to the asylum. Looking back, this sometimes strikes me as unlikely.

The Madwomen of Paris by Jennifer Cody Epstein

As a former hysteria patient, nineteen-year-old Laure has been kept on at the famous Salpetrier hospital as an attendant in the Hysteria ward. Her life is lonely, and the work is endless, as she is the attendant to Rosalie, who Dr. Jean-Marie Charcot displays to explain what hysteria means. But that changes when Josephine arrives at the hospital. Covered in bruises and blood, Josephine is sure she committed a murder, but she can’t remember if she did. With rare beauty and highly susceptible to hypnosis, Josephine soon becomes Dr. Charcot’s star hysteric. But, with her memory returning and becoming more confident that she committed murder, Josephine and Laure start planning their escape. But Laure must find out if what Josephine did is the truth, and she must find a way to keep Josephine from going to the Lunacy ward. Will they escape? Did Josephine kill her former master?

When I was looking through the books on NetGalley, I came across this one. I was immediately drawn to the cover. Then I read the blurb and thought, “I must read this.” Since it was unavailable to request, I decided to wish on it. When I got the email saying that the publisher granted my wish, I was thrilled. Now that I have read it, I can tell everyone that this book was fantastic.

The Madwomen of Paris is a medium-paced book set in 19th-century Paris. The author took her time introducing Laure and explaining her background. She also took her time introducing Salpêtrière and explaining what hysteria was. Then she took time building up Josephine’s backstory. By the middle of the book, she amped up the slowness to a medium pace and kept it that pace until the end. There were some parts where I got frustrated with the pacing (mainly in the beginning), but by the end of the book, my irritation was gone. I understood why the author chose to pace the book as she did.

The main storyline concerns Laure, Josephine, Josephine’s amnesia, and their plans to escape. The storyline was well-written, and I got lost in the book as I was reading it. I loved that the author used real places (the Salpêtrière is a real hospital) and real people (Dr. Charcot was famous in 19th-century Paris). Those details added extra depth to the storyline. I also liked how the author explained hysteria and the different (and awful) ways of treating it.

I liked and pitied Laure. She suffered when she was younger, and I didn’t blame her for losing it. Losing two parents and an unborn sibling back to back would test even the strongest person. In a way, she did luck out when she was sent to Salpêtrière and again when she was hired to be an attendant. But she was lonely, so she got so caught up with Josephine.

I liked Josephine, but at the same time, I was wary of her. I didn’t doubt that her employer viciously attacked her, but I wondered if she had regained her memory of that night sooner than she had told Laure. At various points in the book, I wondered if she was using Laure. She sent Laure to check out the house where she killed her master. Her actions at the end of the book spoke volumes and just cemented my wariness of her.

There is a romance angle in the book that was interesting, and I liked it. But, I felt that it was one-sided, and Josephine used Laure’s feelings to further her ambitions.

An author’s note at the end of the book explains hysteria, how it encompassed many things that ail women (mentally ill—you’re hysterical, like sex—you’re hysterical, like the ladies—you’re hysterical). It was revolting to see how women were treated back then, and the author showed that repeatedly.

The end of The Madwomen of Paris was interesting, and I liked the author’s twist. It was something that I didn’t see coming. I did see what happened between Josephine and Laure coming, though, and it got me a little mad. I did like that Laure got her happy ending.

I would recommend The Madwomen of Paris to anyone over 16. There is violence, mild language, and sexual situations. I will warn that there are graphic scenes of a rape being reenacted through hypnosis, as well as Dr. Charcot showing what a body can do under hypnosis.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books, NetGalley, and Jennifer Cody Epstein for allowing me to read and review The Madwomen of Paris. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed this review of The Madwomen of Paris, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Jennifer Cody Epstein