Book Reviews by Mae Clair: The Bubble Reputation by Alex Craigie, Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson #Women’sPsychologicalFiction

Striped kitten lying on open book, eyeglasses resting on pages. Book and kitten on white blanket

Happy Monday and Happy February! It feels good to be able to share a few book reviews—a trend I hope I can continue in the coming weeks. Sometimes, depending on my days, I may close comments. That’s the case with this post. Obviously, I am way-way-way behind in posting reviews, but if I wait for free time when I can answer comments, well…. who knows when I’ll get around to posting again, LOL.

In any case, these are two books I just had to share!

By Alex Craigie

A novella that takes a talon-sharp swipe at fame, social commentary, and public opinion, The Bubble Reputation sets itself forth like a train wreck—a totally revolting scenario, but one from which you can’t look away.

Emmie Hobson is the IT Girl of her generation—a popular children’s author and TV personality. She’s at the top of her game, the darling of the press, the public, and A List Celebrities. When she wins a coveted award, a tabloid makes her the target of a smear campaign by creating fake news using an altered photograph and lies generated by a jealous co-worker. Like the proverbial train wreck, Emmie’s perfect world starts to unravel, slowly at first, then speeding headfirst into disaster.

As horrendous as it is to watch what happens—and to cringe with the knowledge that social media, overzealous press, and undocumented “source” accounts make the entire scenario plausible—it’s impossible not to become immersed (and inwardly enraged) by the way this clever social commentary plays out.

I was by turns appalled, devastated, heartbroken, and enraged by the biting turns in the story. Most of all, however, the character of Emmie, her partner Luke, and her parents shine through. No matter how much mud is slung, the core of some people remain steadfast in the face of adversity. Bravo to the author for wringing so many emotions from me, painting a believably bleak picture, then making me believe in the good of humanity.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

By Joshilyn Jackson

I’m torn on how to rate this book. It started off with a bang. Amy is a dive instructor and a suburban mom living the good life when a new woman in her neighborhood shows up unexpectedly at book club night. From there, things spiral into a drunken game of “never have I ever” with long reaching consequences.

Both Amy and Roux (the interloper) have nasty secrets buried in their past. When Roux turns to blackmailer, Amy is forced to go to extremes if she wants to keep her happy life. The cat and mouse and one-upmanship between these two is exceptional, with twists and turns bouncing off the walls. Midway through the book there is a major bombshell that had me struggling to pick my jaw off the floor.

The narrative moves at a brisk pace and the plot is well-crafted. When all is revealed at the end, the subject matter left me a little….erm, less enamored of the story, but it was all so well-executed that it comes down to a matter of personal taste.

I’m going to go with 4 stars because of my personal feelings on the big reveal, but my guess is that most will rate this a 5-star read. I would definitely read this author again.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks for checking out the reviews today. I hope you found a book that appeals to you. I recommend them both. Hopefully, when I return with more reviews next week, I’ll have the time to participate in comments! Wishing you an awesome day!