Book Review: Finlay Donovan Rolls The Dice (Finlay Donovan, #4) by Elle Cosimano

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Finlay Donovan Rolls The Dice (Finlay Donovan, #4)  by Elle Cosimano opens with Finlay Donovan and her nanny, Vero, planning a trip to Atlantic City to pay off some debts, find Javi, and retrieve a stolen car.  But first, they come up with a cover story that backfires miserably.  Finlay and Vero have to be clever and sneaky to accomplish what they set out to do, but will they have to come clean? Thank you, NetGalley, for the Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of Finlay Donovan Rolls The Dice (Finlay Donovan, #4) by Elle Cosimano.  This is one of the books I was most excited about being able to read before it was in stores.  I received the eBook for free in exchange for my honest review. The fourth installment picks up where the last book ended and ties up the loose ends from Finlay Donovan Knocks Them Dead (Finlay Donovan, #3)  . . . so much so that I thought that this was going to be the last book in the series.  However, Finlay Donovan Rolls The Dice ends up having a couple of cliffhangers,

Book Review: Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

pulitzer prize winner of a spool of blue thread
A couple months ago, I found out that Barnes & Noble has a book club that actually meets at each of the store locations, so I decided to join and see what it was like. The first meeting I went to was the one where the book Clock Dance by Anne Tyler was the selection. I ordered the book online and picked it up at the Barnes & Noble closest to me.

Not sure what to expect of Anne Tyler as I had never heard of this author before, I was surprised to see that the cover of Clock Dance mentioned that she was a Pulitzer Prize winner. The novel she won the Pulitzer Prize for was A Spool of Blue Thread.

The concept of the novel intrigued me . . . it follows the defining moments of the main character's life. We first meet Willa Drake at age 11 in 1967 dealing with her mother's disappearance. In 1977, Willa is 21 year old college student who has been proposed to by her college boyfriend. Then, she becomes a widow with two teenage sons in 1997. By the time 2017 rolls around, Willa is remarried and wanting grandchildren in her life. When she receives a phone call from a stranger, she picks up and flies cross country to Baltimore, Maryland to take care of her son's ex-girlfriend Denise and her daughter.

At the beginning of the novel, Willa's mother disappears and finally reappears. The mom has extreme highs and extreme lows, so I believe she is bipolar, but it isn't ever mentioned whether she is or not. I'd love to know if that is what Tyler had in mind when creating this character. Willa's father is even keeled and very passive . . . he doesn't let anything bother him and doesn't really ever stand up for himself. Willa is so determined to be like her father that she lets people walk all over her her entire life, and this drove me crazy!

The first two incidents that she lets people walk all over her is when her boyfriend Derek tells her that they're going to get married without even asking her for her hand in marriage. When Willa states that she wants to wait until after she graduates college in a year, he demands that they get married quickly. Willa caves and ends up never finishing college. While Willa and Derek are on the airplane to her home town to visit her parents on a school break, he refuses to let her sit by the window and then the man sitting on the other side of her sticks a gun in her side and threatens her. Willa does nothing about it, and after the flight, she tells Derek what happened, he tells her that she was imagining things, and she second guesses herself and believes it herself. Ironically, the only who believes her is her mother. After Derek dies, she marries someone just like him, and he treats her just as terrible.

When we finally get to the second half of the book, it moved a lot slower and wasn't as interesting as the first half of the book. I saw that many people had the same complaint on Goodreads.com. None of the characters were that likable with the exception of Cheryl. She was the highlight of the book in my opinion. After the book ended, I was both happy and irritated with the ending. The reason it made me happy was that Willa finally decided to stand up for herself and take control of her life. However, it ended abruptly like Tyler didn't know how to wrap it up, and this always drives me nuts! I likely won't read another one of Anne Tyler's novels. I gave Clock Dance 3 out of 5 stars.



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