Buzzwordathon Day 2

Here is how the second day of the Buzzwordathon went for me:

10:14 am

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I finally made myself a cup of coffee and read a chapter of Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. This is one of the books that I started last week and its due back to the library early next week. I finished part one and I think this might be one of the best written non fiction books that I have ever read. I will do a full review of this once I am done reading it.

12:32 pm

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After my little one went down for a nap I did some stuff in my planner and then continued on reading Nowhere Girls.

2:05 pm

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My boys and I had a snack and then I picked up some around the house. While I was eating I read some more of Nowhere Girls.

3:00 pm

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After snack we headed outside for some fresh air. I also managed to meal prep some breakfast items to set us up for the rest of the week. I’m obsessed with the egg bites from Starbucks but no way am I buying those often so I make my own egg muffins that are a pretty good dupe. I haven’t perfected my recipe yet so I can’t share it but if you they sound good to you then I’m sure you can find a ton of recipes from Google.

6:48 pm

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I needed to wash my hair so I took the time to do a mask and put on my favorite lip balm.   I also read the Nowhere Girls for about half an hour before this.

9:19 pm

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All the kids were in bed so I curled up on the couch with my husband and watched some Game of Thrones. We are into the 5th season now so we will probably be finished with the show early next month. I love this show so much but I’m really liking the 5th season because stuff is starting to differ significantly from the books. I also read a tiny bit of Little Fires Everywhere before bed.

Book Stats:

Nowhere Girls: 88%

Little Fires Everywhere: 34 pages

Today wasn’t a very productive readathon day. I kept finding myself distracted by housework and my kids. Which is why I usually do the majority of my reading when they are in bed but like I mentioned yesterday that isn’t really happening because of GoT. I still feel confident that I can finish 4 books this week so fingers crossed that happens.

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Day 1

Today was the first day of the Buzzword readathon and it went ok… I still have a couple of books that I want to read this week so I spent a chunk of this morning reading those. One is a library hold that I am part way through and want to finish as soon as I can because someone else has it on hold for when I’m done. I also am really into a book on my Libby app and I don’t want to lose my momentum on that one. But for a first day I feel like I did pretty good. Here is how my day went:

8:00 am

I woke up and didn’t really do much for a couple of hours. My 7 year old slept in until a little after 9 (its spring break this week) so myself and my two other sons just had some quiet time until he woke up. Well, as much quiet time as a 2 year old can manage 🙂 This is when I read those two books I talked about above and also caught up on some Youtube videos. I also just hung out with kids and enjoyed a slow morning with them.

10:00 am

I finally got dressed and got my youngest dressed as well. We then went grocery shopping and came home and put away the groceries. Putting away groceries is one of my least favorite chores. I would much rather put away laundry than put away groceries.

12:18 pm

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I have no intentions of finishing this book durning the readathon but I thought I would include it since it does have a buzzword in the title. This is a really great parenting book and I have already learned so much from it. My 7 year old, Hunter and I sometimes clash and I don’t want to unnecessarily argue with my kids. I also don’t have this problem with my 9 year old so I want to learn a better way to communicate with Hunter. So far it has really opened my eyes to how I’m diminishing his feelings without even realizing it. I will do a full review of this book when I finish it but I thought I would mention it here if you are interested. I will probably only be reading this when I eat my lunch so I’m guessing it will take me at least a couple of months to finish it.

1:05 pm

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My little one goes down for a nap after lunch so I took this time to take some photos for my blog.

1:13 pm

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Once I finished taking pictures I went downstairs to hang out on the couch next to my sleeping son. I started my first official book of the readathon, The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. I got 18% through it before Spencer woke up. I am loving this book so far and I can’t imagine not giving it 5 stars.

4:11 pm

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It was such a beautiful day here that after nap time we hung out outside until dinner. When we lived in the Bay Area we didn’t have a backyard so we are all really loving having one now. I was planning on reading while my kids played but I ended up playing with them. I’m happy we got some good outside time in because the rain is supposed to come back in a couple of days.

6:55 pm

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After we played outside I did some work around the house and made dinner. 7 is when bath/showers start for my boys so I came upstairs to put away some laundry and finish my blog post for Tuesday (which is up now if you want to check it out :)).

7:53 pm

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My husband got home from work around this time so I got myself ready for bed and went downstairs to hang out with my family. My boys usually go to bed at 8 (my oldest reads for awhile before he falls asleep) but we let them stay up until 9 because it’s spring break.  My plan was to read a chunk of Little Fires Everywhere once they were in bed but I only got a couple of chapters in before me and my husband decided to watch Game of Thrones and eat some ice cream. We are on the finale of season 4 and we plan on being done before the last season premieres. Which really cuts into my reading time because most of my reading gets done when the kids are in bed but how does one say no to GoT.

Thats a wrap for day one. I hope you found this interesting or somewhat enjoyable. My days are a lot more go with the flow right now because there is no school or homework that needs to get done. I will see you back here tomorrow for Buzzwordathon day 2. Hopefully I will have gotten a lot more reading done.

Stats:

Little Fires Everywhere: 2 chapters

Nowhere Girls: 34%

~Cassie

Fox Book Club

Last year I didn’t read a single big book. I read 92 books and they were all under 500 pages. When I realized that I was so disappointed in myself. I used to prefer big books when I was younger because there was more story, more word building, more everything. So going into this year I knew that one of my goals would be to read big books. It ended up working out perfectly because one of my favorite booktubers, BookswithEmilyFox announced at the start of the year that she was going to create a book club where we could all read her monthly big book along with her. During her monthly TBR videos she picks a big book at random from a Harry Potter mug and I have really been looking forward to her picks. Since it is March there have been three picks and two are books that I have been wanting to read for a while. The other was a young adult fantasy that I enjoyed so all the picks been working at really well so far.

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January Pick: The Passage by Justin Cronin

February Pick: A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

March Pick: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I have been behind since the beginning the book club started though which is the only downside. I am falling further and further behind every month so I think I might have to skip a month to catch back up. It is March 18 while I write this and I still have not started the March pick. It is the Buzzwordathon this week so I’m not going to be able to pick it up until next Monday at the earliest.

If you like reading big books or want to start reading big books I will leave a link to the Goodreads page here. I would be so proud to update you all at the end of the year and have completed all the book picks for the year but I think I can happily settle for reading 10 of the 12.

~Cassie

Buzzword Readathon TBR

I didn’t do any readathons in the month of February so I’m excited to participate in one this month. Monday is the start of the third round of the Buzzword Readathon and it runs through the 24th. This time around there are six buzzwords: who, what, why, when, where, and how. I’ll be honest and just let you know that I’m not that happy to have six words to choose from since to me the whole point is to read a buzzword. However, I still really want to participate since next week my kids have spring break and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for a readathon. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to come up with my TBR and I finally just decide to read any books that I currently have from the library, my kindle app and my physical books that have one of those buzzwords. I first was trying to find enough books to only read one buzzword but I couldn’t come up with enough books. I then thought about reading six books all having a different buzzword but I struggled finding a book for two of the words. So after overthinking it for two weeks I decided to do the reasonable thing and just read anything that I already have in my possession.

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Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Goodreads

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Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion. 

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

Goodreads

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Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Goodreads

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Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

Goodreads

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The arranged marriage YA romcom you didn’t know you wanted or needed…

Meet Dimple.

Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi.

He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works even harder to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

As joyfully refreshing as Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi is a frothy, funny contemporary romance told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists. While Dimple is fighting her family traditions, Rishi couldn’t be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents – could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?

Goodreads

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From the author of the New York Times bestseller and 2014 Edgar and Anthony nominee Reconstructing Amelia comes another harrowing, gripping novel that marries psychological suspense with an emotionally powerful story about a community struggling with the consequences of a devastating discovery.

At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.

Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.

Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the baby’s death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened to the baby than they ever could have imagined.

Goodreads

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In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Where the Dead Lie, a brutal murder draws Sebastian St. Cyr into the web of the royal court, where intrigue abounds and betrayal awaits.

London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose’s ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice.

Untangling the secrets of Jane’s world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death . . .

Goodreads

My goal is to read at least four of the books on this list. I also want to do something a little more interactive on my blog during the readathon so check out my blog starting on Tuesday for some bonus content. I plan on doing a reading diary for each day of the readathon to track my progress and thoughts on each book. So hopefully I have a successful readathon and next week isn’t a total bust! Also, if you are interested in learning more about the Buzzword Readathon here is the official twitter account and the creator of the readathon’s Youtube here.

~Cassie

ARC Review: Between The Lies by Michelle Adams

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Title: Between The Lies

Author: Michelle Adams

Pages: 336

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Rating: 4/5

In the vein of Allison Brennan, Michelle Adams’s Between the Lies is an addictive psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until the last page, in which a woman who’s lost her memory is back home with a family she doesn’t know—who are keeping secrets of their own. The truth is hiding between the lies.What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?
Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?
As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets—and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able to trust are lying to you?

Goodreads

The characters, setting and plot of this story made for such a compelling read. I was rooting for Chloe so much and I felt so connected to her. She has such a heartbreaking story and her family is terrible. Especially her father but her mom and sister aren’t that much better. Her father really irritated me and I know he served a specific purpose to the plot but I was just so tired of seeing him. Which I guess means kudos to Adams because she did such a great job writing such an unlikeable character.

Part of the reason this thriller works so well is that we, the reader, are figuring things out at the same time as Chloe. I also really enjoyed the progression of Chloe as she gets stronger throughout the story. As mentioned above, the setting is another part of the book that I really enjoyed. There was a lot of rain and storms which just helped to make everything feel darker and spookier. Also, the pacing was perfectly done. Nothing ever felt stagnant and things were moving along so well that I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to be revealed next.

I only gave this book four stars because I figured out the big twist about a third of the way in, although there was a lot of other stuff surrounding the big twist that I didn’t see coming. This is a thriller that really lives up to its name and I recommend this to anyone who is in the mood for a well fleshed out domestic thriller.

~Cassie

Reading Challenge Update #2

August 2017 I posted a Reading Challenge of 15 thrillers that could be this year’s Gone Girl. I posted an update to my challenge in May 2018 and then I kind of just forgot I was doing this challenge. So that’s a little awkward but then I thought to myself, “Hey, they are a group of thrillers which you read almost exclusively last year so I bet you at least knocked one off.” I haven’t looked at the list yet so let’s all find out together how well I did.

  1. I See You by Clare Makintosh
  2. Ill Will by Dan Choan
  3. The Girl Before by JP Delaney
  4. Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia
  5. The Secrets You Keep by Kate White
  6. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
  7. Behind Her Eyes by Sara Pinborough
  8. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
  9. Little Deaths by Emma Flint
  10. The Child by Fiona Barton
  11. Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
  12. Final Girls by Riley Sager
  13. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
  14. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  15. A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena

I have read four more books since my last update! I can’t believe I only have two more books until I am done. I’m going to insert any reviews I have for the books I have previously read now.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

The Child by Fiona Barton

ILL WILL by Dan Chaon

When I finish the two last books left on this list I will do a full update with my ratings and thoughts on all of them. With the Buzzword Readathon starting next week (my TBR for that will be posted on Saturday) I don’t think I will get a chance to read the two remaining this month but I am aiming to read them in April. I have Everything You Want Me To Be on my kindle already and I did a quick check and The Secrets You Keep is at my local library so I will be picking that up soon. Once I wrap up this reading challenge I will be starting another one. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet but hopefully it won’t take me the better part of two years to read fifteen books!

~Cassie

Mini Reviews # 4

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! It is super cold and rainy where I live but spring is coming y’all. I’m so excited. The rain is much needed but warm weather is my happy place. Today I thought I would share some relatively recent reads with you all.

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On June 22, 1954, in the depth of a southern winter, teenage friends Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker went for a walk in a park with Pauline’s mother. Half an hour later the girls returned alone. Honorah Parker lay in a sea of blood on a lonely track. She had been savagely murdered.

In this mesmerizing book, lawyer and true crime writer Peter Graham tells the whole story for the first time, giving a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial, dramatic revelations about the fate of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker after their release from prison and their strange lives today, and a penetrating insight into the crime using modern psychology.

Goodreads

This book really suffered from being poorly titled. This is basically a biography of Anne Perry’s early life and it was so boring it was hard to get through. If it had been titled something different I either probably wouldn’t have read it or I would have had different expectations going into it. I really thought based on the title and the synopsis that this would be a book about Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme (Anne Perry) murdering Pauline Parker’s mom. Instead it was way too much detail about the girls’ lives leading up to the murder. Some of which is needed for context but SO much is just way too much information. Also, the author bizarrely injected his opinion about events and people (mostly in the latter part of the novel) which was so unnecessary. This isn’t an opinion piece about the events leading up to and after the crime, it is supposed to be an account of the murder, the trial and their lives today. I would not recommend this book to anyone but a hardcore true crime aficionado.

Rating: 2/5

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Murder at the Vicarage marks the debut of Agatha Christie’s unflappable and much beloved female detective, Miss Jane Marple. With her gift for sniffing out the malevolent side of human nature, Miss Marple is led on her first case to a crime scene at the local vicarage. Colonel Protheroe, the magistrate whom everyone in town hates, has been shot through the head. No one heard the shot. There are no leads. Yet, everyone surrounding the vicarage seems to have a reason to want the Colonel dead. It is a race against the clock as Miss Marple sets out on the twisted trail of the mysterious killer without so much as a bit of help from the local police.

Goodreads

I absolutely love Agatha Christie. Mysteries are my first love when it comes to reading and she is queen. This mystery I felt was more predictable than other ones that I have read but I really enjoyed all the different characters. Also, the reveals in Christie’s novels always so fun. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more Miss Marple in the story. She was more a periphery character than a main character which I wasn’t expecting. I can’t wait to read more from the Miss Marple series though in the hopes that there will be more of her.

Rating: 5/5

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A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up.It’s winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell’s Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love. So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. The power’s down but they’ve got candles, blankets, and wood–a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there’s nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm.

Goodreads

I really thought I would like this a lot more than I did. It was a pretty decent thriller and I liked the whodunnit aspect but I just didn’t like any of the characters. I found them all so blah that I just couldn’t get invested in the story. There was also a romance that I really didn’t appreciate and a subplot of an unhappily married couple that wasn’t necessary. If you like thrillers or are interested in a trapped room type of mystery I would suggest picking this book up.

Rating: 3/5

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From author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…

Goodreads

This was an excellent thriller with my favorite addition of a podcast. I don’t know why but I really enjoy books with podcasts helping to narrate the story. Some books just have a podcast as a fun element to the plot but this podcast really was integral to the whole story. This book was suspenseful with great pacing. There were a couple of things that were revealed that I didn’t see coming and a couple of things that I did see coming. I marked a star off for two reasons. One, it had the annoying trope of characters not communicating with each other. The whole subplot of someone not communicating something important with someone they should was just frustrating and I didn’t think it added anything to the story. My second reason is that I figured out most of a reveal pretty early on but I was hoping that it would be more twisted than it ended up being.

Rating: 4/5

Last year I read predominately thrillers, which you can see reflected in this collection of mini reviews. I’m trying to be more intentional with the books I read this year so I don’t fall into a slump of only reading one type of book. Which is totally fine if that’s what you enjoy doing but I genuinely love pretty much every genre and I want to spread my love and attention around. Stay tuned for the beginning of next month for my quarterly wrap up to see how I’m doing with 2019 bookish goals.

~Cassie

ARC Review: After the Fire by Will Hill

*I read this book while I was on my blogging break but I thought I would still share it now. Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Title: After the Fire

Author: Will Hill

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Suspense

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: October 1, 2018

Rating: 4/5

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences.

But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths.

Then came the fire.

Goodreads

I have mentioned before that I really enjoy true crime but more specifically I am very interested in cults. I watch pretty much every documentary on them and I have read quite a few non fiction books so when I found this on Netgalley I couldn’t pass it up.

This book is told in retrospect since the main character, Moonbeam, has been rescued from the cult already. The book is inspired by the events of Waco, so if you are familiar with that then you already have an idea of what kind of a rescue this was.

This story had great pacing and the author, Hill, did a good job building up the suspense by going back in forth in the timeline. Hill perfectly matched up the current and past storyline which kept me captivated while reading. There were so many horrific events that Moonbeam went through and witnessed that it was hard to read at times. This book was equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring, thrilling, and sad.

It is so important to keep in mind that the stuff happening in this book actually happens in real life. I find cults so fascinating because it is the complete letting go of your power and sense of self to another person who you are just believing is good, honest and everything they say they are. The characters do such a great job of showing this to be true and showing how devastating the results are. I think anyone would like this book but obviously if you have an interest in cults than this is one you definitely need to pick up. If you are just a fan of contemporaries than I still suggest this book to you as well because it is a beautifully done story.

~Cassie

 

Library Haul #1

Last week I shared books that I have recently bought so I thought it would be fun today to show you all the books that I have currently checked out from the library.  The first part of this haul is physical books that I have and the second half is all books from the Libby app. Be warned- this is a long one!

My Library

Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love. 

Goodreads

I recently saw this in a booktube video but I can’t for the life of my remember who it was. But when I saw this book in the staff recommends section I couldn’t help but grab it. I would say that I’m excited to read it but I’m obviously excited to read this or else I wouldn’t have gotten it. So we’re just going to have an uspoken agreement where we are all aware that I’m really excited about all the books in this haul. Okay? Okay.

 

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

Goodreads

This just sounds so freaking interesting to me. I love true crime books, shows, documentaries so I can’t wait to get to this book. One of my reading goals for this year is to read more non fiction because I read barely any last year and this is a genre that I enjoy. I love real life stories about real life people. This will probably be my next read since I actually requested this from the library because I’m so intrigued by it.

 

Goodreads

I’m not putting a synopsis in here because this is the third book in the series. I have read and enjoyed the first two and I can’t wait to finish the trilogy. Although I think there are more books in the series but they follow different characters.

 

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. 

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage. 

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

Goodreads

When I read the second book in this series last year I didn’t realize that it was part of a series. I’ve always been meaning to read the first book and when I was walking up and down the aisles at the library I was so happy to find this one. It sounds like such a good domestic thriller and I hope it lives up to my expectations. I gave The Child by Fiona Barton five stars so I am confident in this one.

 

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee’s complex and passionate characters–strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis–survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

Goodreads

This is one where I have heard a few different booktubers talk about this book, although I can’t think of a specific person right now. So, when I was walking around the library and I saw this one I couldn’t pass it up. It sounds like a such an amazing story and I know that I’m going to love this one.

Libby App

 

A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives. 

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Goodreads

This book has been on my radar for a couple years and I think it was Codie from Codie’s Book Corner who I saw talking about this recently. I’ve been watching some of her old reading vlogs and I’m pretty sure that she is the one who put this book back into my life. Also, I highly recommend her channel to you. She has the coolest way to pick her TBR and I obviously really enjoy her reading vlogs.

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A half-Japanese teen grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school in this debut novel.

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

Goodreads

This is a book that I am pretty sure I looked up because of ChelseaDolling Reads. I have also just come to the realization that this whole haul is turning into “a booktuber made me buy it” except these are all free. The book community is so cool and it’s so fun to be able to share our love of reading and books with each other. I know that if you are here reading this that you totally get what I mean. ❤

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Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.


Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Goodreads 

It seems like everyone has been talking about this book and how good it is, so of course I needed to check it out. Horror is one of my favorite genres but I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA horror. I hope I am able to get to this one soon. 

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A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

Goodreads

This book has been on my radar since before it came out. True crime is so fascinating to me and I am born, raised and live in Northern California so this is definitely something that I want to read. I had it on hold at my old library but I got it when we were in the middle of moving and I wasn’t really reading during that time so I returned it. I recently looked it up on Libby with my new library card and I was so happy to find this book just waiting for me to borrow. 

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Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Goodreads

When I was looking up Starfish I found this book by the same author and I couldn’t resist picking it up at the same time. Also, can we just talk about how freaking beautiful the covers of Akemi Dawn Bowman’s books are. If I read these books and like I am considering buying them just to have them on my shelves. So gorgeous.

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One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

I remember people talking about this book years ago but I recently saw someone talking about it so I looked it up. If I remember correctly this is part of a duology which I don’t think I have ever read. Also, I think most people that I follow on Goodreads have given this book five stars so I have high expectations for this one. 

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Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Goodreads

I wanted to read this book when it came out last year since I heard that this is a beautiful book that deals with grief and loss. It was for this reason that I held off though because I lost my beautiful grandma to cancer in February 2017 which was an incredibly hard loss for me. To be honest, it has now been just over two years and I feel like I am finally learning to live without her. I’m still not sure if I am strong enough for this book but books have been so healing for me so I feel comfortable pushing myself to read this one. 

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Should you ever go back?

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

Goodreads

This book was never on my radar until recently because I all thought about this book is that it was written by a celebrity so it is probably crap. Which is a horrible thing to admit but I just had no interest in this one. Until I saw someone talking about this book and they said it was a mystery. I was so shocked! I don’t even know what I thought this was about but my favorite genre didn’t even cross my mind. I hope it is so good that I feel even more foolish for passing it up for so long. 

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Author Maureen Johnson weaves a tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a new series.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Goodreads

I wanted to read this one when it first came out but then I found out it was a series and then I just got kind of weirded out by it. A thriller trilogy… it just sounds so odd. But the second book in the series just came out in January and I was reminded of this book again so I went ahead and put it on hold. It just became available a couple of days ago so I hope I like it enough to continue the series. 

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When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

Goodreads

Natasha from myreadingisodd read this book and said it was so powerful and gave it five stars. I am currently reading this book and so far I am really enjoying it. The writing is so good and I am loving the format of the story. Look out for my review coming soon.

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Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Goodreads

I vaguely remember people talking about this book when it came out but I must have missed when people were reviewing it so I never looked into it. Yesterday I was watching ChelseaDollingReads February wrap up and she talked about this book and she had so many amazing things to say about it that I immediately checked it out. I love powerful, hard hitting contemporaries and I fully expect this one to be a four or five star read. 

 

Wow! That was a ton of books. If you made it this far then you deserve a round of applause. Also my appreciation.

Please let me know if you have read any of these and what your thoughts on them are. I would also love if you shared what you are reading through your library because I’m always on the hunt for new books to read. 

~Cassie

 

 

Girls Night Out by Liz Fenton & Liz Steinke

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review. 

This is the second and last review that I wrote before I took my break. After this review I will be posting all reviews of books I read during my break from blogging in the form of mini reviews. I will be featuring four-five books and summing up my thoughts on them in a sentence or two. This series will start next Saturday.

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Title: Girls’ Night Out

Author: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Pages: 333

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: July 24, 2018

Rating: 2/5

From the bestselling authors of The Good Widow comes a chilling novel of psychological suspense that will make you think twice about what your best friend may be hiding…

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

Goodreads

Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse

I really wanted to like this book. The summary sounds right up my alley but unfortunately I just didn’t like this book. I found all the characters unlikeable and I honestly didn’t really care to find out what happened Ashely or to the other girls.

I really didn’t like the book kept portraying these characters as being best friends when it was hard to believe they were even friends at all. They all were keeping secrets from each other, which is what you would expect in a thriller, but I didn’t feel like most of the secrets were such a big deal. Ashely and Natalie run a very successful company together and one of them wants out and the other one doesn’t want to leave and I was so confused the whole book about why this was such a big deal. Another problem I had with the book was the cause of the estrangement between Ashley and Natalie with Lauren. I just can’t believe women, who we are told over and over again are such good friends, would let something like that come between them. I think the authors had good intentions and maybe all these secrets would have worked better if we weren’t told so many times how they were friends.

I liked the format of past and present and the different perspectives the story was told through. I also might not have liked this book so much because Ashley was my favorite character and it annoyed me so much how the other women thought of her. I feel like if I had bonded more with a different character than my thoughts on this book might have been more positive.

Overall, I rated this book so low because I really hated how the authors dealt with the characters relationships. Their friendships and their romantic relationships. It just seemed like one stereotype after another and like I mentioned before I found all the characters very annoying and unlikeable. To have a sort of whodunnit story line you have to be able to have characters that the reader is invested in and I honestly could have cared less if they had all died or who did it. That sounds so harsh but it is my honest thoughts. This book has been out for  awhile now so I would love to hear from any of you who have read this what your thoughts on it are.

I will say that I know there is a market for these kind of books that have overly dramatic women who are not likable and are in the most ridiculous situations. Clearly, I am not the target audience for this kind of story, but I appreciate that their are some amazing people out there who would probably really enjoy this.

~ Cassie