Category Archives: Lake Union Publishing

Book Review: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Lake Union Publishing
Published Aug. 1, 2018
267 Pages

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.- Goodreads

I requested this book on Netgalley by a referral from another book reviewer. The premise of the story sounded great and when I jumped into, I was genuinely looking forward to reading this. I know this intro sounds like I didn’t like the book but I did but I also know what it is.

Jane Doe is a slow burn to a predictable conclusion. Yup, that is the book in a fairly completely nutshell. There are things that are great about this book but it is simple. Like all revenge novels, the book is slow. There needs to be a build up of suspense and as a reader you need to get to know the characters.

Jane is dull and completely uninteresting. The author did nothing to really spice her up but played on the fact that she was a plain girl that was extremely intelligent when it came to manipulation and seduction.  I can see why the author did this. She wrote Jane to be as unemotional except for the reason why she is seek revenge. She made her really lacking to make what she was doing even more spectacular, for the lack of a better term. Jane, despite her non-existing personality, there is something about her that you know if you passed her on the street, you may do a double take.

As I mentioned this book is a slow burn. It takes its time to build up because although Jane’s plan is predictable it is the perfect plan. Not a whole lot happens, so if you are expecting Jane to be diving in and out of cars and sneaking into office buildings for files in the middle of the night, don’t pick up this book. Jane does her stealthy thing but the mission impossible theme music or even thrill is not to be found in this read.

Overall, if this is your first time reading a revenge book, I would highly recommend it. Its a solid read and I enjoyed it. It was the perfect book for a road trip.

3 Pickles




NetGalley Review: The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

Lake Union Publishing To Be Published Jan. 5, 2016
Lake Union Publishing
To Be Published Jan. 5, 2016

Lisa Soto has a master’s degree that she no longer uses. Married with a work obsessed husband, a little girl running around and a baby on the way, Lisa is contemplating how and why did her life end up this way.

Lisa’s husband Sam decides to move his family to Philadelphia, where he takes his job as a restaurant critic seriously. So seriously, he wants Lisa and their family to remain anonymous and have little or no interaction with their neighbors; leaving Lisa jumpy and alone. 

Needing some kind of adult interaction, Lisa wonders if she is losing her identity and begins questioning every decision she made including leaving her ex for Sam. 

I picked this book because I read LaBan’s YA book The Tragedy Paper (Click here for the review).  I enjoyed that book, so I decided I would give this a try.

This was a struggle read for me because Lisa is miserable for most of the book. I am aware that is the premise but it is really hard to read someone who is just plain unhappy all the time. Sam is inconsiderate and Lisa just allows him to be him. At one point you just wonder, when did she decide to just give up everything she even remotely wanted. She doesn’t even care about appearances. When Sam begins acting irrational in public she just sits there.

My issue with Lisa is she gives the impression that she just gave up on herself. I am sure plenty of women go through this but Lisa bugged me. Sam bugged.

In regards to writing style, I didn’t love the flashbacks. It was fitting for the novel, yes but I felt that it could have been cleaner and sharper. The transitions weren’t that great *shrugs*

I liked the book and I understand the lack of emotion within the characters but I cannot tell you how bad I wanted some kind of passion. Even when the flashbacks happen, there was no real emotion other than impulsiveness.

This book offered insight and it is extremely relate-able even if you aren’t married. But this was a hard read and I strongly believe more could have been done to this book.


2.8 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein by Antoinette May

Lake Union Publishing To Be Published Sept. 29, 2015 410 Pages
Lake Union Publishing
To Be Published Sept. 29, 2015
                 410 Pages

Mary Shelley upbringing is consider unconventional almost like the woman herself.  After losing her mother feminist Mary Wollstonecraft from childbirth, Mary’s philosopher father, William Goodwin, marries their neighbor and is raise by a unbending stepmother along with her jealous stepsister.

But Mary wants a life that is her own and when she meet poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, they fall in love and enter a dangerous  relationship. From a love triangle between Shelley, Mary and her sister, to debt and the miscarriage of three children, Mary finds the strength to create Frankenstein but was it worth it? 

I am a sucker for Mary Shelley. Not necessarily her book but her life. This would be the second book I’ve read in regards to her life and I am even more obsessed than I was before.

(The first book was Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill check the review here)

With that being said and excuse the slight bias but I loved this book. If it wasn’t for certain events it would have been finished in two sittings instead of four.

I loved the different viewpoints. The author was able to make me feel I knew each person in Mary’s life without straying from the main character . . . Mary. The care for each character was noticed especially when I read Claire’s, Mary’s stepsister, viewpoint. To say I hated Claire as well as Shelley would be an understatement.

Mary’s life was full of death . . . constantly and it tore at my heart but the author was able to write in a way that you do not hesitate to continue reading the book, despite the emotional up and down. When Mary was happy, life was in full bliss when she was sad, everything sucked. The author was able to write these emotions freely without it feeling forced; it was amazing. And the crazy part of this it didn’t feel like it was a real story. Yes, this book is considered fiction however a lot of Mary’s life in this book really did happen (just do simple research).

Finally, throughout the book there was a sense of suspense and mystery even though I already knew the outcome. I was captivated by the various scenery, the ranging emotions, the constant conflict and the passion for reading and writing. It was a heck of a life to live. A heck of book to read.


5 Pickles