Tag Archives: Dianne Highbridge

Dreadful Retrospective – Best of 2013

The Best of 2013…

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Not all of the following were published in 2013, but here is a sampling of thirteen of the best I read and reviewed this past year.

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton is in a word FUN. When we meet Caroline she has just moved into a lovely sublet in San Francisco and everything seems perfect until the first night. The title really says it all, poor Caroline, who has misplaced her “o”, the “O” for those of us who require further elaboration, is an involuntary auditory spectator to her neighbors sexual antics adding insult to injury considering her “o-less” state.

on-the-island-cover1I absolutely devoured this book, I read it at every opportunity that being said Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island isn’t for everyone. The relationship that develops between Anna and T.J. is contentious both within and without the book. The question is, what would make a romantic relationship between a woman in her third decade and a much younger man okay? If On the Island was an idealized version of the romance between a teen-aged boy and a woman in her third decade A Much Younger Man by Dianne Highbridge is the real story. If you have trouble choosing just read both. flat-out_love_-_jessica_park

Julie of Jessica Park‘s Flat Out Love has just found out first hand why you should never rent an apartment through Craig’s List. When she arrives in Boston ready to commence her college career instead of the 1-bedroom walk up agreed upon she finds a burrito stand instead. This might not be catastrophic under other circumstances but in a college town in August… This deceptively intricate multi-layered novel is not one to be missed. After you have finished it, NOT BEFORE, read the companion novel Flat Out Matt, a selection of chapters from Flat Out Love from his POV.

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Here is a short list of places I am now scared to go, thanks to reading Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror series: lighthouses, the New Mexican desert, old hotels…wait no, that was because of The Shining but I am sure if I wasn’t already afraid, I would be after reading The Benson. I suppose things could be worse and I could be afraid to go into my own basement as Stephen King is purported to be? Seriously, this series uniquely combines horror and romance something that is sadly very rare, download the first here it’s free! Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)

Ghost-Planet-MM_final-with-blurb_2Elizabeth Cole is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet. How would you react if faced with an exact living breathing sentient replica of a significant, if not beloved person from your past… who also happens to be dead? Ghost Planet combines exquisitely, a poignantly emotional romance and a compelling science fiction story, Sharon Lynn Fisher hit it out of the park with this debut.

In Dear Adam, Ava Zavora‘s Eden receives a random tweet complimenting her review of the most recent novel of one of her favorite author’s. Truly there is no surer way to a blogger’s heart, and so begins a series of exchanges with the mysterious, intellectual Adam, her long lost book twin.

COVER-Isnt-She-LovelyLauren Layne’s Isn’t She Lovely was that perfect combination of irreverent and serious. If this book was a dessert I would have to compare it to key lime pie that perfect blend of sweet without crossing the dreaded line into saccharine but with just enough tang to keep things interesting. I am not always a fan of New Adult literature but I would defy anyone to read Lauren Layne’s take on Pygmalion and not be converted.

RWRealm Walker is a chimera of all the best aspects of the paranormal genre. Kathleen Collins’ has skillfully reinvented the classic paranormal paradigm with the mysterious hard boiled investigator type with just enough femininity as to be a convincing romantic heroine and the autocratic yet emotionally vulnerable vampire who loves her in a dark world full of monsters and the result is a fresh and entertaining read.

MadScientistsDaughter-144dpiEvery once and a while there is that perfect inexplicable union of words that creates that perfect bibliophilic high. Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is for me one of those coveted works. Honestly, how can you miss with “A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots“?

This may sound like an oxymoron but if you are looking for an intelligent “bodice ripper” though I highly doubt The Ideal Gentleman would ever be so crass, look no farther than Sherry Thomas‘ work. All of which are favorites of mine, in particular her latest offering The Luckiest Lady in London.

The Husband's Secret

Last but not least by any means is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, cleverly disguised as women’s fiction what I found instead was a terrifyingly real psychological thriller for lack of a better classification, there is none of the typical earmarks of the genre yet it is a deeply disquieting read.

This is just a few of the many stories I read and enjoyed so very much this year and I hope that if you have not read some or all of them that you will read and like them as much as I did.

Happy New Year – Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews

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A Much Younger Man – Dianne Highbridge

If Tracey Garvis Graves’  On the Island was an idealized version of the romance between a teen-aged boy and a woman in her third decade A Much Younger Man by Dianne Highbridge is the real story.

Aly is a teacher and has a distinct air of melancholia about her. She meets Tom on the train coming home from work and cannot place him at first, he is the 15 year old son of a once close friend from whom she has drifted away. Aly is not a predator, she doesn’t harbor lascivious thoughts about the children she teaches and Tom is uncommonly mature and cultured for his age. Despite the implausibility of a relationship between a 35 year old woman and a boy 20 years her junior Ms Highbridge has managed to craft a believable, realistic tale.

A woman and a boy catch sight of each other one afternoon on a train, an old man trips, a possum darts across a wet road. These are the things you can never foretell, the true coincidences.

A Much Younger Man

They are two people who do not quite fit into the world they inhabit, Aly is emotionally damaged from an abusive marriage and Tom is the product of two professionals he has been well educated culturally and socially. It still begs the question what would a then 15 year old boy see in a woman who is one of his mother’s peers? But that question isn’t as glaring as it would be in the hands of a less accomplished storyteller. It is inevitable that their relationship would face obstacles perhaps too easily surpassed in On the Island. That being said A Much Younger Man is a strangely compelling thought provoking tale that should not be missed.

AUTHOR: Dianne Highbridge

RATING: 4 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Fiction