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: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling. 

Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded me that there are people who still hold the conservative beliefs that many held in the 1970's. I loved the fact that Mary Jane was exposed to different viewpoints that she normally didn't hear and began to question the world around her, eventually leading to her developing her own opinions. Jessica Anya Blau got the tone and perspective of a teenager perfect in my opinion. Although the story is told from a child's perspective, it is not suitable for young children to read.

Some might find the beginning of the story a bit slow like I did, but as the story developed, I found it to be more interesting and couldn't wait to find out how the tale would unfold. The majority of the characters were likable and most were well developed. I found myself caring what would happen to them, even the ones I didn't particularly like. I wasn't sure if Mary Jane would have an ending I would enjoy, but surprisingly, I was satisfied with how the author wrapped it up.

All in all, I gave Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau four out of five stars. I will likely read other novels written by this author, and I would love to see her write a sequel to this book.


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