Book Scoop July 6- July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018
InToriLex, Book News, Links, New Releases
Her Pretty Face, Robyn Harding, InToriLex
Her Pretty Face
The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda—returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?
I'm Not Missing by Carrie Fountain
I'm Not Missing, Carrie Fountain, InToriLex

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela, Sahm Venter (Editor), Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela (Foreword)
The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela, Sahm Venter, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, InToriLex
The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, the future leader of South Africa wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and, most memorably, to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide exceptional insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight.

Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. In 1964, Mandela was taken to Robben Island Prison, where a stark existence was lightened only by visits and letters from family. After eighteen years, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, a large complex outside of Cape Town with beds and better food, but where he and four of his comrades were confined to a rooftop cell, apart from the rest of the prison population. Finally, Mandela was taken to Victor Verster Prison in 1988, where he was held until his release on February 11, 1990.

With accompanying facsimiles of some of his actual letters, this landmark volume reveals how Mandela, a lawyer by training, advocated for prisoners’ human rights. It reveals him to be a loving father, who wrote to his daughter, “I sometimes wish science could invent miracles and make my daughter get her missing birthday cards and have the pleasure of knowing that her Pa loves her,” aware that photos and letters he sent had simply disappeared.

More painful still are the letters written in 1969, when Mandela—forbidden from attending the funerals of his mother and his son Thembi—was reduced to consoling family members through correspondence. Yet, what emerges most powerfully is Mandela’s unfaltering optimism: “Honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark grim, who try over and over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation even defeat.”

Whether providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary punishment. Ultimately, these letters position Mandela as one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century.
What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
What We Were Promised, Lucy Tan, InTorilex
What We Were Promised
After years of chasing the American dream, the Zhen family has moved back to China. Settling into a luxurious serviced apartment in Shanghai, Wei, Lina, and their daughter, Karen, join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals who have returned to a radically transformed city.

Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoja Stage

July 12, 2018
Baby Teeth, Zoja Stage, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: St. Martin's Press on July 17, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (304 pages)
Genre: Thriller/ Mystery/ Adult
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Author Request
Baby Teeth
Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

From blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth is a story about a perfect-looking family, and a darling little girl who wants nothing more than to kill her mother.


Content Warning: Graphic Violent Descriptions, Graphic Bodily Function Descriptions


This book had all the ingredients to be interesting and unique, but I finished reading thoroughly disappointed. Suzette is a stay at home mom who is trying her best to parent while suffering from Crohn's disease. Hanna is a very smart but mute child who is obsessed with harming her mother to gain more of her father's love. The book progresses back and forth between their point of views. Hanna who is around seven manipulates those around her and has a disturbing fascination with violence. While reading her inner thoughts, I felt the author didn't do a good job of realistically writing a young child's thoughts. But Suzette is described well as a stay at home mom, who wants to be a good mother. Mother and daughter slowly collide in a slow burn, as Hanna spirals out of control.
"People took eating and shitting for granted, like the continuous beating of their hearts, the inevitable protection of their skin. They didn't think about their intestines doing everything wrong, fucking up the basic process of digestion."
This book was filled with descriptions and inner thoughts that it could have left out. The result was a not so thrilling book that I kept wanting to put down. I forced myself to keep reading because Hanna's behavior began to escalate, I hoped it leading toward a dazzling ending. But it just didn't pan out well. The author relied too much on shock value to keep the reader engaged. Hanna only acted out against her mother when they were alone. The husband was slow to believe something was wrong with Hanna, but I had a nagging idea that they should have installed cameras to deal with this issue.
"Honesty was not an altogether solid subject in her mind; it was a vapory thing like smoke that was present one minute and began drifting away the next."
I couldn't relate to any of the characters and even found myself disliking Suzette at times. This was a great concept that could have been executed much better. Reading about a disturbed young child is tricky because it's hard to label them as bad. I wanted more to be explained about how psychopathy develops in children and that was glossed over. I did manage to finish the book, and enjoyed the concept. It wasn't all bad but just not for me.

Recommended for readers who
- enjoy domestic thrillers
- can stomach gross descriptions
- are intrigued by a troubled child's point of view


Zoja Stage, InToriLex
Before turning to novels, Zoje Stage had a deep and eclectic background in film and theatre. Highlights include being a 2012 Emerging Storytellers Fellow from the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP.org), and a 2008 Fellow in Screenwriting from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA.org). In 2009 she won the Screenplay Live! Screenwriting Competition, which afforded her the opportunity to direct a staged reading of her winning script, THE MACHINE WHO LOVED, for the High Falls Film Festival (Rochester, NY). Zoje has written-directed-produced numerous zero-budget films, including the documentary short BEST OF LUCK ("an amusing take on the travails of aspiring writers" - The New York Times). Her films have screened at venues such as Anthology Film Archives and Two Boots Pioneer Theater (both in NYC), Film Kitchen (Pittsburgh, PA), and Emerging Filmmakers (Rochester, NY). As a playwright, Zoje is most proud of her play MONSTER, which was produced in Pittsburgh by the Upstairs Theatre ("Ms. Stage now makes her own contribution to holocaust literature with a demanding and intensely felt play... a must-see for those wanting another view of why and how the holocaust happened." - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). After living in Rochester, NY for many years, she is back in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.


Review: Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

July 9, 2018
Somebody's Daughter, David Bell, InToriLex
Published By: Berkley Books on July 10, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (418 pages)
Genre: Thriller/ Mystery/ Adult
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Giveaway Win
Somebody's Daughter
When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica's nine-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price--the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity's safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.


 Content Warning: Suicide, Miscarriage, Graphic Violence, Pedophilia


This books takes place over the course of a very long night into the next morning. Soon after Erica's daughter Felicity goes missing Micheal and Erica set out to find her daughter. Micheal is a very compassionate man who is haunted by family trauma, he's married to Angela. Angela and Micheal are struggling to start a family. Erica is Micheal's ex-wife, she is a free spirited woman who in desperation makes immature decisions while searching for her child. They story is told from Micheal's, Angela's, and Griffin's, a young detective assigned to the case, point of view.  I enjoyed slowly learning what each of them knew about Erica's missing daughter. I was hooked from the beginning because of short chapters and decent suspense about what's going to happen next.
"Erica seemed to feel more deeply than other people, to bend far but never break under the weight of emotion."
Felicity goes missing after Erica's leaves her in a car while she walks their dog. Felicity's relationships with other people and Erica's past decisions place clouds of suspicions on plenty of people who know Erica and Micheal intimately. The suspense was done well, but I had to suspend my disbelief at times. Characters in many instances chose to do unsafe things that created more suspense but didn't hold up as realistic.

The book included some surprising twists and turns and had a unique premise. Most of the characters in the book are described as dealing with trauma and regret in different ways. The inclusion of serious topics and flawed characters made it relatable for most people. This was a interesting domestic thriller but the ending didn't quite tie up all the lose ends.

Recommended for readers who
- enjoy domestic thrillers and mysteries
- likes short chapters and relateable characters
- can suspend their disbelief at times for the sake of suspense


David Bell, InToriLex
David Bell is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning suspense novelist. His most recent thriller from Berkley/Penguin is SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER. His previous novels include BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University.


Sunday Post #13 July 8, 2018

July 8, 2018
Sunday Post, InToriLex, Weekly Feature
Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.



Review: Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Recommended 2018 Summer Releases

Book Scoop July 6-  July 13, 2018



I had a great vacation this past week. It was lots of fun and very relaxing. I spent most of my time working out and going to the movies. I really loved Hereditary even though I'm not the biggest horror fan.

I finished Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage and it was not enjoyable, I was hoping it was all leading to something surprising but it fell flat. I'm in the middle of Pachinko by Minn Jinn Lee and it has really picked up after a slow start.  The Book of M by Peng Shephard is a great audio book and I'm excited to finish it this week. I feel good about returning to work and getting on top of some blog post this week.

How did your reading go last week?

Book Scoop June 22- July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Book News, Weekly Feature




It All Falls Down (Nora Watts #2) by Sheena Kamal
It All Falls Down (Nora Watts #2), Sheena Kamal, InToriLex
It All Falls Down (Nora Watts, #2)
The brilliant, fearless, deeply flawed Nora Watts—introduced in the "utterly compelling" (Jeffery Deaver) atmospheric thriller The Lost Ones—finds deadly trouble as she searches for the truth about her late father in this immersive thriller that moves from the hazy Canadian Pacific Northwest to the gritty, hollowed streets of Detroit.

Growing up, Nora Watts only knew one parent—her father. When he killed himself, she denied her grief and carried on with her life. Then a chance encounter with a veteran who knew him raises disturbing questions Nora can’t ignore—and dark emotions she can’t control. To make her peace with the past, she has to confront it.

Finding the truth about her father’s life and his violent death takes her from Vancouver to Detroit where Sam Watts grew up, far away from his people and the place of his birth. Thanks to a disastrous government policy starting in the 1950s, thousands of Canadian native children like Sam were adopted by American families. In the Motor City, Nora discovers that the circumstances surrounding Sam’s suicide are more unsettling than she’d imagined.

Yet no matter how far away Nora gets from Vancouver, she can’t shake trouble. Back in the Pacific Northwest, former police detective turned private investigator Jon Brazuca is looking into the overdose death of a billionaire’s mistress. His search uncovers a ruthless opiate ring and a startling connection to Nora, the infuriatingly distant woman he’d once tried to befriend. He has no way to warn or protect her, because she’s become a ghost, vanishing completely off the grid.

Focused on the mysterious events of her father’s past and the clues they provide to her own fractured identity and that of her estranged daughter, Nora may not be able to see the danger heading her way until it’s too late. But it’s not her father’s old ties that could get her killed—it’s her own.
The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland
The Intermission, Elyssa Friedland, InToriLex
The Intermission
Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--about the people we love the most?

After six years of marriage, the unshakeable confidence Cass felt on her wedding day is decidedly gone. Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten with Cass. It's true that the personality quirks he once found charming in his wife--her complexity, her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes--are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in an otherwise healthy relationship. So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital 'intermission': a six-month separation during which they'll figure out if the comfortable life they've built together is, in fact, the one they both want.

After Cass and Jonathan devise an absurd and jet lag-inducing plan to swap custody of their beloved dog every thirty days, they decide that (aside from their monthly canine exchange) the intermission will be a time for self-reflection--and not a time for talking. But, as the months pass, Cass and Jonathan begin to see that the very worst of their problems are rooted in just these kinds of calculated silences--and in a delicate web of blistering secrets they may never be ready to share.
Discarded by Michael J. Allen
Discarded, Michael J. Allen, InToriLex
Magic has been franchised. Magical conveniences are sold everywhere like designer coffee. Everyday life is filled with technical and magical wonders. Only, the magic is murdering people.

Thoth Corp's hot new spell is turning people into ravening monsters. Their only hope to quietly rectify the situation before the epidemic spreads is the spell architect they framed and sent to prison.

Eli’s response to his former partners wasn't polite.

Homeless, forbidden government-regulated magic and barely surviving out of dumpsters, Eli struggles to rebuild his life. Fairytale rats thought long extinct with the rest of the fey rescue Eli from murderous vigilantes but at a cost. They force him to save fairy matrons stolen away by Thoth's monsters, thrusting Eli between his old company and a shadow war waged against humanity.

To stop the war, cure Thoth's victims and rescue the city, Eli need only find some way to make magic out of trash. 
Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak
Wild Blue Wonder, Carlie Sorosiak, InToriLex
Wild Blue Wonder
Ask anyone in Winship, Maine, and they’ll tell you the summer camp Quinn’s family owns is a magical place. Paper wishes hang from the ceiling. Blueberries grow in the dead of winter. According to local legend, a sea monster even lurks off the coast. Mostly, there’s just a feeling that something extraordinary could happen there.

Like Quinn falling in love with her best friend, Dylan.

After the accident, the magic drained from Quinn’s life. Now Dylan is gone, the camp is a lonely place, and Quinn knows it’s her fault.

But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined. 
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below

Review: Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

July 5, 2018
Number One Chnese Restaurant, Lillian Li, InToriLex, Book Review
Published By: Henry Holt and Co. on June 19, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (288 pages)
Genre: Literary Fiction/ Adult/ Own Voices
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Publisher Request
Number One Chinese Restaurant
The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.

Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their thirty-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children.


Content Warning: Cancer, Alcoholism, Mental Illness, Organized Crime


A refreshing view into the lives of people through their association with The Beijing Duck House and the people who run it. The book switches between three main point of views, Jimmy Han the owner of The Beijing Duck House, Nan the manager of the restaurant and Ah-Jack an aging waiter who is struggling to support his sick wife. The author does a great job of creating realistic characters that aren't clearly good or bad. Jimmy is a selfish person who still cares deeply about the people around him, Nan is a overly devoted woman who puts herself last, and Ah- Jack is a self indulgent man who is coddled by his friendship with Nan. They don't all get along seamlessly but created a support system for each other.
"They were all friends, if one defined friendship as the natural occurrence between people who, after colliding for decades, have finally eroded enough to fit together."
This book is about people desperately trying to do what's best for themselves. All of the characters make questionable choices, throughout the book they have to face consequences for their misguided choices. This is a great character study that illustrates how hard it can be to exist in our realities while dreaming for something better. The Han family is strained by the deceased father's ways of keeping the restaurant going and resentments that have stewed against each other for decades. Pat, Nan's son and Annie, Jimmy's niece, are two rebellious teenagers who are in the sweet spot of adolescence where their own morality and limits seem fictional. They were as wise as most teenagers are. 
"What did these people want when they said they wanted nothing but her happiness? Nobody was without motive or desire."
The characters and setting of this book kept me reading although I wanted the plot to move along faster. I was engaged the whole time, but thought the pacing and flow of the book could have been better. The ending left me with questions I wished were resolved, but did wrap up the main conflict. Overall this was a strong debut with diverse characters set in a place I wanted to learn more about.

Recommended for readers who:
- enjoy multi generational stories
- want a character driven novel with flawed characters
- can tolerate an ending that doesn't neatly close things up

I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Lillian Li was born in Ann Arbor, MI, but grew up in Potomac, MD. She is a graduate from the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program, where she received her MFA in fiction. Her work has appeared in Granta, Guernica, Glimmer Train, and Jezebel. She writes for the Michigan Quarterly Review. Currently, she lives in Ann Arbor, teaching at the University of Michigan, and slinging books at Literati Bookstore.


Sunday Post #12 July 1, 2018

July 2, 2018
Sunday Post, InToriLex,
Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.


I posted nothing new. I'll explain more about that below.


Review: Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

Review: Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Recommended 2018 Summer Releases

Book Scoop June 22-  July 6, 2018
***Note this was what I was supposed to post last week ***


This Mournable Body, The Dream Daughter, November's Road, InToriLex
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga 
OUT August 7 Requested from Gray Wolf Press

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain 
OUT October 2nd Won from St. Martin's Press

November Road by Lou Berney 
OUT October 9th Won from William Morrow Books
Saudi America, Killers of the Flower Moon, InToriLex
Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It's Changing the World by Bethany McLean   
OUT September 12, 2018 Requested from Columbia Global Reports

 Killers of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann 
OUT NOW Has been on my TBR for way too long


This post is a day late, but life has been prioritizing my blog as last lately. I 'm not going to do a July TBR/ June Wrap Up this month.I only posted three reviews in the month of June, and am behind on my June TBR. I'm working on figuring out what I want to read this month and have plenty of great books to choose from. There are some great July new releases I'm excited for and have ARC's of. 
Protest, Boston, InToriLex
The recent horrible family separation policy at the border and Justice Kennedy retiring from the Supreme Court has left me burnt out most days. I have been finding solace in Netflix and falling behind on reading and writing. I'm hoping this upcoming week will give me a chance to get my mojo back because I am off from work. I spent this past weekend attending the #familiesbelongtogethermarch in Boston. It really helped to be around people who are also deeply troubled by baby jails.

I'm currently reading Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage ,it's pretty unsettling hearing by a psychotic little girl's POV, but good.  I'm still listening to The Book of M by Peng Shephard and enjoying it.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee has a slow first 100 pages, but I'm not willing to give up on it even if it means reading it sporadically. 

How did your reading go last week?
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