ARC Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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

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Title: Lock Every Door

Author: Riley Sager

Pages: 384

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: July 2, 2019

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror

Rating: 5/5

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

Goodreads

The two things I loved the most about this book are the pacing and the creepiness level. Out of all three of Sager’s books this is the one that legitimately creeped me out the most. The whole premise of this story is so genius and it kept me guessing the entire time. I could never have figured out the ending and I loved how dark and twisted it was. The atmosphere of the story really added to the creepiness factor. I love how everything was described and I was able to clearly imagine everything that was happening. Lock Every Door takes place over six days. I love this because it really amped up the suspense knowing that things were going to happen quickly. But at the same time nothing ever felt rushed.

My only complaint about this book is that out of all three of his books I felt the least connected to Jules. You know how in some movies you are yelling at a character that they shouldn’t do what they are about to do because it’s obviously not going to turn out good. Well, that was me with this character. She had a couple of moments where I was like what the hell are you doing/thinking?! But at the same time I think that it adds to the fun of it all. Think Scream when Stu is watching the movie and Ghostface is behind him. We are all yelling (or thinking) look behind you! Those kinds of things are what can make horror fun (or maybe that’s just my perverse love of horror) and I liked the element that it brought to the book.

This book cemented my belief that Riley Sager is one of my top favorite authors of all time. Sager’s books are the exact type of horror/mystery that I absolutely love. I will forever read his books and I honestly can’t ever picture myself giving anything he writes less than five stars. I feel confident that anyone who loves thrillers/mysteries will love them as well.

~Cassie

July TBR

I’m back with all the books I want to read in July. I didn’t do too great with my June TBR, mostly because I was focusing on the two readathons I participated in. I will link my June  TBR here if you want to check it out because I plan on reading those next month as well as the other books I’m about to share with you. I am currently reading two of the five on that list but I haven’t actually finished any of them. I’m hoping since I’m not doing any readathons next month that I will be able to finish all the books on my July TBR. Also like before, I have broken my book picks into different categories.

Book of the Month

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Recursion by Blake Crouch

Memory makes reality. 

That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Fox Book Club

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

In 1815 Edmond Dantès, a young and successful merchant sailor who has just recently been granted the succession of his erstwhile captain Leclère, returns to Marseille to marry his Catalan fiancée Mercédès. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.

Ebook

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The Honeymoon Cottage by Barbara Cool Lee

Camilla Stewart’s ex-fiance ripped her off and disappeared, leaving her to care for his eight-year-old son alone. But when she arrives in Pajaro Bay, she finds a village full of cute cottages, quirky characters… and a killer on the loose who’s somehow linked to her, the young boy, and the darling little house known as The Honeymoon Cottage.

Physical 

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Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

When I was fifteen, I was struck by a bolt of lightning through an open window of the trailer where we lived…I recovered, mostly. I have a strange spiderweb pattern of red on my torso and right leg, which has episodes of weakness. Sometimes my right hand shakes. I have headaches. I have many fears. And I can find dead people. That was the part that interested the professor…

At the request of anthropology professor Dr. Clyde Nunley, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver come to Memphis to give a demonstration of Harper’s unique talent. And what better place to have that demonstration than in a very old cemetery?

Dr. Nunley doesn’t bother to hide his skepticism, especially when Harper stands atop a grave and senses two bodies beneath her – one of a centuries-dead man and the other of a young girl, recently deceased. When the grave is opened, Harper’s claim is proven true. The dead girl is Tabitha Morgenstern, an eleven-year-old abducted from Nashville two years previously – a child whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find. The coincidence raises suspicions about her among the police – so she and Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer. They make a nocturnal visit to the cemetery, hoping that Harper can sense something further about the murder.

And then, the next morning, a third dead body is found in the grave…

Most want to read physical book

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The Dinner by Herman Koch

On a summer evening in Amsterdam, two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. At first, the conversation is a gentle hum of polite small talk – the banality of work, the latest movies they’ve seen. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act – an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. When the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner is an internationally bestselling phenomenon that will leave you breathless.

Most want to read ebook

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The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6) by Agatha Christie

A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the French riviera — ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It’s the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it…

Library Books

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Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

~Cassie

June Book Haul

I can’t believe this year is already half over! June also happens to be my birthday month so I did treat myself to a few more books than usual. Other than my book of the month books I spent the rest of the month adding to my thriller collection.

Book of the Month

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With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Goodreads

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Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

Goodreads

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Memory makes reality. 

That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Goodreads

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A devious tale of psychological suspense so irresistible that it prompts Entertainment Weekly to ask, “Is The Kind Worth Killing the next Gone Girl?” From one of the hottest new thriller writers, Peter Swanson, a name you may not know yet (but soon will), this is his breakout novel in the bestselling tradition of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train—and is soon to be a major movie directed by Agnieszka Holland.

In a tantalizing set-up reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train… On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

Goodreads

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When a fourteen-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her—launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever, in this suspenseful and gripping debut for fans of Reconstructing Ameliaand Gone Girl.

Don’t try to find me. Though the message on the kitchen white board is written in Marley’s hand, her mother Rachel knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away.

As the days pass and it sinks in that the impossible has occurred, Rachel and her husband Paul are informed that the police have “limited resources.” If they want their fourteen-year-old daughter back, they will have to find her themselves. Desperation becomes determination when Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter, and launches FindMarley.com.

But Marley isn’t the only one with secrets.

With public exposure comes scrutiny, and when Rachel blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. Now, the blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It’s not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it’s discovered that she’s lied, even to the police, the devoted mother becomes a suspect in Marley’s disappearance.

Is Marley out there somewhere, watching it all happen, or is the truth something far worse?

Goodreads

A sensational debut thriller featuring an unforgettable heroine who just might have murdered her mother
 
Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is sly, stunning, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a high-society beauty known for her good works and rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie makes herself over and goes undercover, determined to chase down the one lead she has on her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the killer she’s looking for.

Janie makes her way to an isolated South Dakota town whose mysteries rival her own. Enlisting the help of some new friends (and the town’s wary police chief), Janie follows a series of clues—an old photograph, an abandoned house, a forgotten diary—and begins to piece together her mother’s seemingly improbable connection to the town. When new evidence from Janie’s own past surfaces, she’s forced to consider the possibility that she and her mother were more alike than either of them would ever have imagined.

As she digs tantalizingly deeper, and as suspicious locals begin to see through her increasingly fragile facade, Janie discovers that even the sleepiest towns hide sinister secrets—and will stop at nothing to guard them. On the run from the press, the police, and maybe even a murderer, Janie must choose between the anonymity she craves and the truth she so desperately needs.

A gripping, electrifying debut novel with an ingenious and like-it-or-not sexy protagonist, Dear Daughter follows every twist and turn as Janie unravels the mystery of what happened the night her mother died—whatever the cost.

Goodreads

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An amazing talent makes her debut with this stylish psychological thriller—with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep —in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend during a breakdown.

Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind – or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again? A story of marriage, murder and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.

Goodreads

~Cassie

Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie

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Title: Ordeal By Innocence

Author: Agatha Christie

Pages: 198 (The edition shown above has 288 pages. The book I read has a plain hardcover and I thought the show tie in version was more appealing.)

Publisher: Bantam Books

Publication Date: November 3, 1958 (first published)

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4.5/5

Accused of bludgeoning his mother to death with a poker, Jacko Argyle had maintained his innocence throughout his trial, claiming he was hitchhiking on the night of the murder and had been picked up by a middle-aged man in a dark car. The police were never able to locate this mystery man—until he shows up a year later. But Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives too late to substantiate Jacko’s alibi. For after serving just six months of his life sentence, Jacko dies behind bars following a bout of pneumonia.

Feeling a sense of duty to the Argyles, Calgary is surprised when his revelations reopen old wounds in the family, leaving him to wonder if one of them is the real murderer….  

Goodreads

Every time I read an Agatha Christie novel I am blown away by how well she could weave a story together. She wrote such interesting characters and such compelling plots. I read this book in two days because I was so engrossed in the mystery. I was slightly disappointed with this one though because this is the first Christie novel that I have read where I figured out the killer pretty early on. The journey to the reveal was so good though and I was constantly second guessing myself. I didn’t see the motive coming at all either so that was still surprising.

This book was written in the late 1950’s so a lot of the thinking on certain topics is pretty outdated. The main two being how a mixed race character was talked about/described and also adoption. If you are someone who stays away from classics that don’t age well (aka problematic) then I would suggest you try a different Christie novel. If you can look past it, this is a well done mystery that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Also, there is a miniseries based on this book on Amazon Prime. I haven’t had a chance to watch it but I plan to do so soon.

~Cassie

Review: The Seven and a half deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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Title: The Seven and a half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Pages: 512

Publisher: Raven Books

Publication Date: February 8, 2018

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4/5

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

Stuart Turton has woven together an incredibly complex and well thought out mystery that I am in awe of. I can’t even imagine how long it took him to put all the pieces of this puzzle together. I am excited to re read this knowing the ending going in. I really think it will add a whole other layer to the story.

One of my only criticisms of this book is that there are just too many characters. I kept having to refer back to the invitation at the beginning to see who was who and what their profession was. I think there were too many side characters and it made getting to know the main characters more difficult. However, I think that the story is so big that taking away from it might make it fall flat.

The reveals were perfectly paced out and I love how twisty this story is. Even the broader reveals about the world this book is set in were well done. The science fiction aspect of this mystery is one of the reasons that this book is so compelling. I was so intrigued how time is used as a plot device to help solve the murder. The ending of this book was fantastic and I loved how everything came together. I gave this book four stars but I can see myself rating this higher upon a reread.

I think that this book is a perfect bridge between science fiction and mystery. I would also strongly encourage anyone who finds the synopsis compelling to pick this book up. You will not be let down.

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Round 4 Wrap Up

Yesterday was the last day of the buzzwordathon so here I am today to tell you all about the books I read. The first book that I read and finished has kind of put me into a bit of a reading slump. Which is not something any reader wants to happen but especially not at the beginning of a readathon. Because of this I only finished two books the whole week. I did start two others so I with also share those with you and give you my initial thoughts on them.

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All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

This book really messed me up emotionally. I knew going into it that this book was heartbreaking but I was not prepared at all for how emotionally invested I would get in these characters. I’m sure by now that you can guess that this is the book that put me into a slump. I have never dealt with infertility but I did get the smallest of glimpses into what that must feel like while we were trying to have our youngest. The last few months of trying I would cry every single time I got my period and all I wanted was to be pregnant. My experience is barely a drop in the ocean of what women with infertility go through and I think this book does an amazing job of showing how devastating it can be. I also loved the relationship in this book. It isn’t perfect and they both make mistakes (some more serious than others) but I couldn’t help but love them together. Another reason that this book messed with me so much is because a lot of how Quinn describes her feelings for Graham is exactly how I feel about my husband. Although, thankfully we have never had to deal with some of the more serious issues that Quinn and Graham do. I also really loved how Hoover tells this story. It is told in alternating chapters of then and now and I really feel like it made the devastating parts that much more painful. Such a beautiful and heartbreaking story.

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This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

This is the only other book that I finished for the readathon. Unfortunately this also happened to be the worst book that I have read this year. The premise sounded so perfect for me and it started off ok but it quickly turned into a nonsensical mess. The book spent way too much time in the past and not enough time with the actual mystery. All of the characters made no sense with their thoughts or actions. The ending just kept getting worse and worse and I couldn’t wait for this book to end.

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Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

I am on page 67 and I am really liking this. So far I am thinking that this will be a five star read. The writing in this is really good and I can see why everyone raves about this book. I can’t wait to see how the relationship between the main character and Oliver plays out.

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Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

29% in and this is progressing like a basic thriller. I am excited to keep reading this though because I have a feeling something shocking is going to happen or be revealed.

~Cassie

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

So far this year I have read 60 books (dnf’d 3) so I thought this would be a fun tag to talk about some of the books I have already read and what I still hope to read.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

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This was hard to narrow down but I am giving the award for this category to Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. This book is contemporary perfection. Amazing romance and an America that I hope to see one day.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

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I have read three sequels so far this year and In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire was by far the winner. I gave this one five stars and it made me excited for the next Wayward Children book.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo  just came out on May 7 and I added it to my June Book of the Month box. I recently read her debut novel The Poet X and absolutely fell in love with her writing and storytelling.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager is my most anticipated read of the year. I’m so excited that this book comes out so soon (July 2) and I am so happy that I received an ARC of this to review. This will be one of the first books I pick up after the buzzwordathon and I just know that I’m going to love it. Sager’s past two books have been five star thrillers for me and I am confident that this will be another one.

Biggest disappointment

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I have definitely rated books lower than this one but I had such high hopes for this one that even though I gave it three stars I’m still disappointed. The Inspection by Josh Malerman has such an interesting premise but this book just came up short.

Biggest surprise

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This was my first audiobook that I ever completed and wow is this story amazing. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is such a powerful story that is so beautifully told. I plan on buying my own copy of this book and highlighting all the amazing quotes that this book is made up of. I picked this has my most surprising because I have had a harder time connecting with YA books than I did when I was younger. But I instantly connected with this story and it just reinforced to me that it is still important for me to keep trying with YA.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

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Since I have already used Elizabeth Acevedo twice I thought I would pick a new favorite author for this category. I read my first Christina Lauren books this year and I am hooked and want to read everything that they have ever written. Roomies was my favorite of the two that I have read so far. I do plan on reading at least a couple more this year because I love how well they tell a story and I want more from them.

Newest fictional crush

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This is a pretty random book for this category but I really love Lou from NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. He is such a good man and he is so supportive and loving and anyone would be lucky to have him. I don’t want to go into spoilers but I was constantly impressed by his level of devotion and love for his family.

Newest favorite character

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I’m giving this one to Ursula Todd from Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This whole 500 page book is about Ursula and I don’t think I have ever known a character as much as I know her. This book is basically comprised of different versions of her life and when she would have a bad life I would hate it and when she would have a good one I was so happy for her. I went through all of her emotions with her and I would gladly have read more of her.

Book that make you cry

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Wow is this book heart wrenching. I will be talking more about it in my buzzwordathon wrap up but omg this book took me on an emotionally rollercoaster. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover has put me into a little bit of a reading slump because this was such a hard book emotionally for me to get through.

Book that made you happy

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When I was a kid I would always buy those paper Archie comics they sold at grocery stores and this really brought all the nostalgia back to me. This new Archie is the same but also very different if you know what I mean. So much has changed but the overall feel of Archie is still there. And I love Betty just as much as I always have!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

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This cover of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is absolutely stunning and I had to buy it as soon as I saw it. I love Anne so much and if I don’t get around to it this year I definitely want to re read this series next year.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year

These are the books that immediately came to mind when this category came up. I would also love to read at least a couple of classics since I haven’t read any yet this year.

~Cassie

Smutathon Wrap Up

I’m here today to go over all the books that I read (and in one case, tried to read) during the Smutathon. This was a really fun readathon for me and I discovered the authors Christina Lauren that I absolutely adore and want to read everything they have ever written. Which is interesting because I think I inadvertently picked two of their most tame books smut wise.

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This was a fun read but it was definitely inspired by 50 Shades of Grey. I really enjoyed the romance between Kate and Drake. I didn’t like the over the top judgmental behavior of one character. I also didn’t like how Kate had to keep reassuring herself of what she wanted and it turning into a mini rant on BDSM. Maybe because I’m already on the side of people should do what makes them happy (as long as no one is physically or mentally hurt) but it became irritating every time we had to stop the story to have these moments.

Rating: 3/5

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I dnf’d this at 45%. I didn’t care about the characters and their insta love after so much time apart. I also didn’t like that Bailey kept making excuses for Adam’s behavior and he would never apologize. So when I got to the part where they didn’t use a condom after multiple times being told how many other people Adam has been with I just decided I was over this book.

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I loved Amy and Sebastian’s romance. It starts off in a fun way and I loved the way they were together. I didn’t so much like the “mystery” they were trying to solve and all the random family drama from Amy but overall this is good smutty fun. I definitely want to check out more of Saskia Walker’s work in the future.

Lastly, I read my first two Christina Lauren books and I am a fan. I loved the romance better in Roomies but the characters better in My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I can see why everyone raves about their books. I think I might have read their two least smuttiest books but they can write an amazing love story.

Roomies: 4.5/5

My Favorite Half-Night Stand: 4/5

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Round 4 TBR

Tomorrow (June 12) starts the latest round of the Buzzwordathon and goes through June 18. The word for this round is YOU and you can stretch that to your, you’ll, you’ve etc. I love this readathon so much because it is such a fun way to read books that I already have on my TBR.

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Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Goodreads

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Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.

Goodreads

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No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

Goodreads

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It’s been one year since it happened…

When Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in a swimming accident, she shut out almost everyone. Now Paige has decided it’s finally time to rejoin the world, and she has a plan. First on the list: go out with Ryan Chase, her longtime and newly single crush. And last on the list: swim. Terrifying, yet possible?

But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin Max moves to town and recruits Paige for the QuizBowl team (of all things!), her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Starting over isn’t easy, but Paige knows the scariest things are usually the most difficult. Can she face her fears and open herself up to life and love again?

Goodreads

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Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Goodreads

~Cassie

Mini Reviews #7

I’m back with my latest installment of my mini reviews series. This one will mostly consist of all the smaller books that I have recently read.

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Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish

I loved this! When I was younger I was obsessed with the older Archie comics. More specifically Betty and Veronica so I was excited when I saw my library carries these graphic novels. It was a little weird in the beginning because so much is different but the overall feel of the comics is still the same.

Rating: 5/5

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Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire

This was so disappointing. This book is only 174 pages with larger print and spacing so a lot of the themes of this book felt so overdone. I appreciate the different characters and what they represent but it took over too much of the story. This story is more of an adventure quest which I really like but that story was so rushed because we kept getting inundated with Cora’s thoughts and insecurities about being fat. While what she was saying was important I also feel like it shouldn’t come at the expense of the story. There were numerous times where the characters were just going along and then all of sudden we would have a page or more of Cora having these thoughts but most of the time nothing was happening in the story to warrant them. I feel like McGuire really let down Cora’s character because what she has to say is important representation but the writing prevented it from having the impact that it should have.

Rating: 2/5

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This books should be taught in schools. What a powerful essay on feminism and how even if some people don’t want to see it that it is real. This is actually on excerpt of a TED talk that the author did and I definitely want to find and watch it. This the first work of Adichie’s that I have read and I cannot wait to read more.

Rating: 5/5

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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) by Seanan McGuire

This book totally redeemed how much I didn’t like the third book in the series. This one had such an interesting portal world that felt so fleshed out and I loved learning more about it as the story went on. I also like the progression of time this book goes through which made me fall in love with Lundy’s character so much more.

Rating: 5/5

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The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

The first book in this series I really liked the main character, America. As the series has gone on she has gotten more and more annoying. I liked seeing more of the world building in this one and I wish the book had focused more on that. Instead the book kept pushing the love triangle aspect which stopped feeling believable after book one. The way America flip flops on everything and believes in herself less and less as the books went on was irritating. There was also so much over the top drama at the end of this book that it was borderline aggravating. With all that being said, I do think I will eventually read the spin off books because I am intrigued by this dystopian world.

Rating: 2/5

~Cassie