Tag Archives: Riverhead

Review: Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed
By Maile Meloy
Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9780735216525, June 6, 2017, 352pp.

The Short of It:

One bad decision leads to another and suddenly three families find themselves dealing with a nightmare while vacationing in Central America.

The Rest of It:

On a cruise to Central America, two families who also happen to be related to each other head off on an excursion while the husbands play a game of golf. On their way there, there is an accident and they, along with one other family find themselves stranded on a beach while waiting for alternate transportation. They have an experienced guide, so what could go wrong? Lots.

Sometimes you read a book because it’s just fun to read and that’s the case with Do Not Become Alarmed. It’s fast-paced, deals with a topic that every mother dreads, and leads you all over the place before arriving at its final destination.

At one point in the story I got VERY mad and I do not forgive the author for going there. Sorry, no. I do not. Right after that event, the story stopped being believable to me. The last quarter of the story was a bit of a stretch. However, reading it wasn’t a bad way to spend the afternoon and that quibble I had didn’t affect how quickly I turned the pages.

If you throw this in your beach bag or take it on an airplane, you’ll be glad you did because of the fast pace at which the story is told. It holds your attention.  Even though one event in the story will likely upset you as much as it did me, I still recommend it for its entertainment value.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Lonely Hearts Hotel

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

The Lonely Hearts Hotel
By Heather O’Neill
Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9780735213739, February 7, 2017, 400pp.

The Short of It:

Something magical lurks within these characters but they can’t quite escape their past.

The Rest of It:

Two babies are left to be raised in an orphanage in 1914. As they grow older, it’s obvious that they each possess their own, unique talents. Pierrot & Rose are sent to perform all over town while the orphanage benefits from these performances but when Pierrot is adopted after enduring years of sexual abuse at the hands of one of the nuns, Rose is left wondering why he’s left her without a word about where he’s gone.

The story follows Pierrot and Rose as they move into adulthood and unfortunately, the lives they lead are not easy ones. The story is quite dark but there is a fanciful feel to it which makes the story somewhat easier to read. They each find themselves doing whatever is needed in order to survive. For Pierrot, that’s stealing and for Rose that’s prostitution and pornography. In her mind, performance is always front and center. Her dreams of starting her own company begin and falter. She’s really a lost soul but just hasn’t realized it yet.

I’ve said to a few others that this book reminds me of The Night Circus and it does, in that it has clowns and dancers and haunting piano music playing out in the background. Visually, the author did a great job of setting the stage. However, it’s a very sad story. Rose’s desperation to be rich and famous eclipses nearly everything else. Pierrot’s love for Rose is so great that he makes the ultimate sacrifice for her.

I enjoyed The Lonely Hearts Hotel but there were moments where I wasn’t sure where the author was going with the story. Rose, is cold-hearted in my opinion and too full of herself which made the last third of the book hard to finish. There was quite a bit of back and forth and at some point, I felt as if the author wanted more of the fanciful, pretend world that the characters enjoyed when they were younger but that it was difficult to work it back into the story.

Some parts I enjoyed immensely but I did have some mixed feelings about Rose. I recommend this book to readers who like the dark, tragic side of love with a bit of whimsy thrown in.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.