The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

*This is a spoiler-free review* 4/5 Stars

The Maidens is a well-written, page-turning adventure that will leave you guessing. The novel has so many red herrings woven into the beautiful text that, even when I thought I had figured it out, I was (somewhat correct) but still surprised when the mystery is unraveled.

The imagery evoked in the text will transport you to ancient Greece, and the academic setting contrasts warmly with the foggy, mysterious history of Greek mythology. Mariana, a group therapist still grieving the loss of her husband Sebastian, is called to Cambridge University after her niece’s friend is murdered on campus. Enter Edward Fosca, a handsome, charismatic professor who seems just a little off to Mariana, and his specially-selected group of female students, known as The Maidens. Immediately, Mariana suspects that something is suspicious with this group and the close relationship the professor seems to have with them. From there, the story takes the reader on different twists and turns as Mariana applies her knowledge of psychology to find the killer before more women are killed on campus.

Overall, the story is captivating and beautifully written. The only character I didn’t enjoy was Fred, a young man Mariana meets early in the story. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say I highly doubt any woman would want be interested in someone who is that aggressive and persistent.

Expected publication: June 15th 2021

Thank you to Macmillan Publishers/Celadon Books and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of The Maidens.

Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs

4/5 Stars

I’ve heard many good things about Augusten Burroughs’ writing but this was my first time reading any of his work. From what I’ve gathered, this was a lighter piece compared to his past work. Burroughs explores being raised as a witch, descending from a long line of witches in his family. He provides some history on witches and their treatment from others in society. Burroughs reveals parts of his life with candor, including the good and the bad of his childhood, his current relationship, and moving from New York to a farm house. There were several laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book and some scenes were shocking. I feel that anyone who is a fan of Burroughs’ past work will thoroughly enjoy his latest book. Having never read any of his past work, I can also recommend this book to anyone else who hasn’t read his work, as it provides enough information for a new reader to follow along. However, he teased a few things that must have been discussed in his past work and now I want to read the other books too! 

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an ARC of Toil & Trouble.

The Life of Lou Reed: Notes from the Velvet Underground by Howard Sounes

The Life of Lou Reed was very thoroughly researched and it was evident throughout that the author really immersed himself in his work. I’ve listened to Lou Reed’s music in the past but didn’t know much about him at all prior to reading this biography. I had always wondered about his connection with Andy Warhol and now I know!

Lou Reed was…a terrible person at heart. He was clearly a misogynist and an all-around not nice guy. It was interesting to read about his flippant remarks and sometimes violent reactions to those around him.

Overall this was an informative biography. However, I did find myself skimming a bit towards the midway point. Also, I feel that a strong biography really gives the reader a true feel for the individual, but this one didn’t do that for me. It’s like the old adage, “Show me, don’t tell me” needs to be applied here. At times I felt this was more of a chronicling of his career with quotes from friends/family in Lou’s life saying he was a jerk. I wish this biography opened the door into Lou’s life a bit more because for someone who was so colourful, this biography came across more as a textbook when it could’ve easily been a thrilling read given the subject matter.