Dealing in Deception

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Deception is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as “the act of making someone believe something that is not true.” This is the basis of Dealing in Deception, the second book in the Love in Disguise series by Samantha Joyce. (My review of the series’s first novel, Flirting with Fame, can be found here.)

This novel follows Veronica Wilde, the main antagonist from the first novel, or the girl that had pretended to be the author of Elise Jameson’s best-selling book series. Set a few years later, Veronica, now 25, makes her living as an actress-for-hire in Washington, D.C., playing parts from a business partner to a new girlfriend.  Playing pretend and “dealing in deception” has become the center of her life, and she is okay with that.

This all changes when she meets Baxter “Bax” Linton, an entrepreneur who hires her to help him get investors for his product. Initially put off by her dismissive attitude, Bax’s willingness to give her a second chance surprises her, and their relationship begins to grow beyond their business deal. Veronica find herself opening up about her troubled past, something she hasn’t done before.

The story is written from the perspective of both Veronica and Bax, with the chapters alternating between the first-person narratives. It was great being able to read both of their thoughts, because it showed the contrast between their personalities and how it affects their relationship.

I was intrigued by Veronica’s character and the reason behind her chosen profession. Although gorgeous and charismatic in her looks and attitude, learning about her inner insecurity and past made her relatable, and demonstrates the important message of not judging someone by their looks. It also illustrates how people can use deception to make themselves seem better than they are, something that unfortunately happens often in society.

Another reason I liked the story was its setting of Washington, D.C., the city where I currently live, and at exactly the time of year that it is now, around Thanksgiving. Having spent last Thanksgiving here touring the museums, I could visualize Veronica and Bax’s adventures on the National Mall perfectly. Reading part of it while hanging at a Capitol Hill coffee shop only further helped my imagination.

I recommend this novel, not only because of its important messages and real-life issues, but because it successfully combines genres of romance, comedy and drama set in the backdrop of the nation’s capital.

 

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Still Alice

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Alzheimer’s disease is defined as a form of dementia that can cause issues with a person’s thinking, memory and actions, and is irreversible.

In Lisa Genova’s novel Still Alice, fifty-year-old Alice Howland, a linguistics professor at Harvard University, discovers that she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her diagnosis quickly begins to affects the lives of her, her husband John, and their three adult children. Set over a course of two years, the story follows the family’s experiences, their attemps to live normally and deal with Alice’s deteriorating condition.

Although the protagonist is twice my age, I found Alice’s voice to be very authentic. The story is written in third person format, but follows Alice’s thoughts and actions as she navigates her disease. Throughout the story, there is a gradual change in her voice as the disease begins to affect her thought process and how she notices details of her life. Genova, with her neuroscience background, did a good job of explaining the science part of Alzheimer’s.

I admit that I did watch a few clips of the 2014 movie adaptation before reading the book, but I liked being able to picture actors Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin as the characters of Alice and John and their interactions.

The best aspect of this novel is that it portrays a real-life disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a real condition that affects over 5 million Americans, according to alz.org. I definitely recommend this book.