Out of the Easy: A Review

“My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.”

Out of the Easy by Ruta SepetysJosie Moraine’s mother has been working as a prostitute for the past ten years, since she and Josie moved to New Orleans in 1940.

It’s 1950 now. Josie is seventeen. And she wants nothing more than to get out of New Orleans once and for all. While her mother is content to tie herself to whichever man comes along, Josie works cleaning the brothel where her mother works and at a bookstore as she works to save enough money for college and her ticket out of the Big Easy.

Josie’s careful escape plan is put into jeopardy when she becomes tangled in the investigation of a mysterious death in the Quarter. Torn between her allegiance to Willie Woodley, the madame who has been more of a mother to Josie than her own, and her fierce desire to leave New Orleans behind, Josie will have to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice in her search for the truth in Out of the Easy (2013) by Ruta Sepetys.

Find it on Bookshop.

Out of the Easy is Sepetys’ second novel and her follow-up to Between Shades of Gray.

Josie is a determined heroine but she also has a very reductive view of the world–particularly given her background. While Josie, her family, and many of her friends operate in what can only be called grey areas of the law–Josie’s views remain very black and white. She is friends with Willie and some of the girls who work at the brothel. But she also views them at a remove. As the opening of the novel (quoted above) might suggest, there is also always a slight hint of distaste.

While this story is an evocative historical novel, the lush setting often serves to emphasize a lackluster plot. A lot of things happen to Josie in the story but despite being self-sufficient in a financial sense, Josie is very short on actual agency. Throughout the novel Josie’s fate falls into the hands of others. Eventually she does break free and choose her own path, but it comes very late in the story only after her inaction has dramatic consequences. Yet everything still manages to resolve very neatly and decidedly in Josie’s favor.

Sepetys once again delivers a well-researched historical novel in Out of the Easy. This novel brings the world of 1950 New Orleans to vivid life with a setting that is as vibrant and evocative as any of the characters found within these pages. Out of the Easy is an engrossing historical novel ideal for readers who want to get lost in a book’s vividly described settings.

Possible Pairings: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman, Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross, Bowery Girl by Kim Taylor, In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Infinityglass: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Infinityglass by Myra McEntireWith the timeline falling apart and ripples appearing everywhere, members of the Hourglass Institute, are desperate to pool their time-manipulating skills and find a way to fix the continuum before the damage becomes permanent.

A legendary item called the Infinityglass is key to fixing the timeline and getting rid of the rips. The only problem is that the Hourglass isn’t the only organization looking for the Infinityglass.

Luckily, the Hourglass has an advantage: They now know that the Infinityglass isn’t an object. It’s a person. And she is living in New Orleans.

Sent to New Orleans to find the Infinityglass and help her understand her abilities, Dune finds a lot more than he bargained for. Hallie might be the key to fixing the timeline but she is also unpredictable and, for Dune, completely overwhelming. Before Hallie can fix anything, Dune will have to convince her to trust him and, together, they’ll have to figure out exactly what being the Infinityglass really means before they run out of time in Infinityglass (2013) by Myra McEntire.

Infinityglass is the third book in McEntire’s Hourglass trilogy. It is preceded by Hourglass and Timepiece.

Infinityglass dives in almost exactly where Timepiece left off. I read the two books back to back but I imagine other readers might need a quick recap to make sense of this final installment.

McEntire once again changes narrators here with the story alternating between Dune and Hallie’s narrations. Although the change is initially surprising (Hallie is a new character and Dune was a secondary one in the previous books) the choice works here. Both characters are add new aspects to the series.

This story is very plot driven but it still leaves room for the characters–specifically Dune and Hallie–to grow and learn throughout the story.

Although the book’s resolution was rushed (and extremely convenient for the characters) it also makes sense for the story and the arc of the trilogy. McEntire also takes the time to give these characters a proper goodbye with an apt epilogue.

This is one of my favorite time travel series and one I highly recommend to anyone looking for an original, readable sci-fi adventure.

Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, Born of Illusion by Teri Brown, The Infinity of You & Me by J. Q. Coyle, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Malice by Pintip Dunn, Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Clarity by Kim Harrington, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood, Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone, Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, All Out Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West