The Oracle Year by Charles Soule

The Oracle Year

Author: Charles Soule

Photo of the cover of The Oracle Year by Charles Soule. Cover features a black and white eye with a red iris.
The Oracle Year by Charles Soule

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 9780062686657

Get the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble (note: these are NOT affiliate links, just regular ones.)

The Oracle Year tells the story of one year in the life of New Yorker Will Dando after he awakens from a dream with 108 predictions about the future. His average life takes a rapid turn when those predictions start coming true. He begins asking himself questions: Who sent the predictions? Why were they sent to Will? Can he change anything about the predictions? How much of what comes next is his fault? Will and his friend Hamza set up a website to begin monetizing the predictions as they release them to the world. Will and Hamza become very wealthy while Will struggles to deal with the implications of his newfound fortunes, people around the world become desperate to learn more about this person known only as The Oracle. Is he an abomination? A sign of the end of days? A threat to national security? A spy? A fraud? The quest to learn the truth consumes some of the most powerful people in the free world and Will finds himself on the run from operatives with guns and a destiny that he still cannot understand.

This book is fast-paced and loaded with adventure, and is divided into the seasons of the year portrayed. I appreciated the modern touches to this story, including the use of Tor browsers and the creation of (almost) untraceable websites elevated this story of the Everyman Prophet. It will also have readers pondering the greater questions in life about what we were each put on this Earth to do. What is our purpose?

Rating: lemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_icon

4 glasses of lemonade. This one would be great for book clubs. I can certainly see it being made into a movie, and I sense that a lot more people are going to be talking about this title in the next few weeks. The only reason it falls a glass of lemonade short is a little cursing and some hefty religious questions. The story poses the theory that major religious beliefs would not respond well to a prophet suddenly appearing on the scene. Some people might be offended to see religion portrayed in a short-sighted fashion, and others might completely agree with the way religion is portrayed in the book and be offended by the idea that the prophecies did not come from God (although that question is not specifically answered in the book).

I chose this book as part of my Book of the Month Club subscription. I’m really enjoying this service and you might too. Check it out here. (Disclaimer: This is a referral link and I will get a free book credit from BOTM for every person who signs up for the service using my link.) The service costs 14.99/ month and you can add extra books for 9.99. The cool thing that some of the books are pre-publication, so you will literally be getting your hands on them before they even hit stores, and you can skip months anytime you want if there are not titles that appeal to you.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Book Stats:
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
http://www.ariellawhon.com/
Published: March 27th, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 9780385541695
Buy it:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Book Cover Image of Ariel Lawhon's historical fiction novel titled I Was Anastasia. The image features a woman whose face is obscured by a hat in clothing from another decade perched delicately on top of a suitcase.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon is the story of two women and a shared life. Anastasia Romanov’s life story and tragic end have been well documented, including all of the speculation about whether she was murdered with the rest of her family following the Bolshevik Revolution. Anna Anderson’s life story has also been well-documented, and this story might be a little bit of a letdown in terms of suspension of disbelief if you are familiar with the facts of both women’s lives. My knowledge was limited in this case, which made this historical novel extremely enjoyable.

You meet the narrator on the very first page, and she issues a warning to any reader that they may not like what lies ahead. On the whole, she comes off sounding like an old woman who has told this story many times, so settle in and do not interrupt. From there, the story is told from Anastasia Romanov’s early teens until the night her family is murdered, alternating chapters with Anna Anderson’s life as it regresses to the moment she becomes Anna Anderson.

This is historical fiction in the truest sense. Lawhon adds just enough romance to provide depth without watering down a fascinating life. Moments in the story will make your heart race and other times will shatter it as you feel the frustrations and terror of a family held captive and a young woman whose life seems to do nothing but unravel. If you’re looking for a happy ending, this title is not the one for you. If you love an intricately told story that features a couple of extremely spunky women then I Was Anastasia is a jackpot. It’s only been out for about a month at this point, but this novel has been mentioned on multiple review sites and blogs. In my opinion, if it’s not already on your TBR list, it should be.

lemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_icon4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads.  You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.

************Spoilers below****************

This book would have been a 5 glasses of lemonade, recommend to anyone, rating except for two things:

  1. There are about a dozen curse words sprinkled throughout.  While cursing does not bother me, I know some people would rather not have it as part of their reading experience.
  2. There is a scene involving multiple rapes.  While it is not incredibly graphic, it’s there.

Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha

 

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir by Jennifer McGaha

Hi, I’m Dani and I am an emotional reader.

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir

I cry when a character dies or goes through a hardship, I blush when things get steamy, and I get indignant with the best of them when I read about social justice issues. I am aware of this. Nonetheless, as I have been reading Jennifer McGaha’s memoir this week as part of the Big Library Read campaign facilitated through OverDrive, I truly believed that the work was not having an effect on me. I believed that up until the point tonight when I picked up a barbecue sandwich and a Diet Cheerwine from the store for dinner before ending the evening drinking wine on my deck. Unbeknownst to me, my Southern done snuck up on me, and I blame the book.

I am a modern Southern woman. This means I can turn the charm and drawl on and off at will depending on the situation. But this book brought it all out in the open. McGaha’s authenticity, her connection to the places she is talking about, had me hooked early on. While I suspect the audience might be primarily those below the Mason-Dixon on this one, I still think it can resonate for anyone with an affection for nature and the strength of the human spirit.

Flat Broke with Two Goats is McGaha’s tale of trials post-Recession while she rode out some hefty financial troubles with her husband in a shack in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She went from the dream suburban life back to living off the land (sort of) and while she describes their tribulations with the melodies that are so true to Southern identity, she makes sure the reader knows it was no picnic in the park.

My rating: lemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_icon4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads.  You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.

Despite the fact that this title was marketed as a global read, there are some things that might turn away a few readers. I counted a total of 3 curse words (one somewhat warranted, two that probably weren’t), but it is a memoir…so you get the real language. Probably more concerning is that there was no mention in the summary I read about domestic violence, and the author is a survivor who spends one chapter describing some of what she went through. It was graphic enough that I would give this read a trigger warning.

I got this title from my library’s OverDrive subscription with no expectation of a review.


For more from Jennifer McGaha, check out her website: https://jennifermcgaha.com/

To purchase the book, check out Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Flat-Broke-Two-Goats-Memoir/dp/1492655384

 

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Title: After Anna

Author: Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 9781250099655

Publication Date: April 10, 2018

 

Scottoline’s latest novel opens with the trial of Dr. Noah Alderman, who is being charged with first degree murder.  The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Dr. Alderman and his wife, Maggie.  Noah’s version starts from the end of the trial, working backwards while Maggie’s version starts several months before and moves forward.  Their stories feel like they are literally hurtling towards each other as the reader starts to tease out what has happened to their lives and their marriage.  The story starts out as a courtroom thriller, but once the trial is over the plot increases dramatically in pace, reaching that “must-finish” level that will have many readers staying up past bedtime.

The heart of this story is made up of Maggie’s reunion with the daughter who was taken from her as an infant.  Maggie, struggling from a severe case of postpartum psychosis, loses custody of her child to her ex-husband.  While she has built a happy life with Noah and her stepson, Caleb, she has never stopped wondering about her daughter, sending letters and gifts, even doing a little cyber-stalking to get a glimpse of what her life has become.  So when Anna, the daughter she lost, is suddenly back in her life, Maggie looks forward to finally having it all, but disaster is waiting to strike.

The story moves at a quick pace and readers who think they see every twist and turn coming will be surprised.  Scottoline throws several curve balls into the last few chapters.  This book is for any reader who is tired of figuring out their whodunnits half-way through the book.  The most significant criticism I can offer for this book is that it wraps up too quickly.  As a frequent reader of mysteries and thrillers, I enjoy the tying up of loose ends at the end of the story, and I felt a little cheated of that experience here.  I appreciated the complexity of the story, but I would have loved to have delved deeper into the issues that were presented in the final chapters.

As a Scottoline fan, I felt After Anna lacked the complexity of One Perfect Lie, but is still not to be missed.

My rating:

lemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_iconlemonade_icon4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads.  You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.

There are a few scenes of a sexual nature, but they tie in well with the nature of the villain in this story and don’t cross any significant lines.  Foul language is minimal to non-existent.

I got access to this title for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Available for pre-order/purchase from Amazon.