After the Funeral (Hercule Poirot #29) by Agatha Christie

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Title: After the Funeral

By: Agatha Christie

Pages: 287

Publication Date: March 1953

Genre: Mystery

Rating:  5/5

Hercule Poirot is called on to investigate the murder of a brother and sister in this classic from the Queen of Mystery.

When Cora Lansquenet is savagely murdered, the odd remark she made the day before at her brother’s funeral becomes chillingly important: “It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it. . . . But he was murdered, wasn’t he?”

Desperate to learn more about both deaths, the family solicitor turns to detective extraordinaire Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery. . . .

Goodreads

This was such an engrossing family saga mystery that was so well done. It’s Agatha Christie so of course it was so good, but I really loved how well put together this mystery was. The book starts off at a funeral of the richest member of the family and his brother, sister, cousins and I think a niece are all in attendance. From there the story really takes off and kept me guessing the whole time who the killer was. Everyone is a suspect and all  have motive to kill.

A lot of the book is told through other people other than Hercule Poirot so I felt more connected to the characters and I enjoyed how shady all of them were. The characters all felt so real to me and even though this book was set like a hundred years ago I was able to visualize the story so well.  One of my favorite parts of the story was reading (“watching”) Poirot unravel the mystery. All these little clues, some I picked up on and some I completely missed, are all put so masterfully into the story by Christie.

I have only read two Hercule Poirot novels so I obviously have my work cut out for me in reading them all but that is definitely a life goal of mine. Well, to read all of Agatha Christie’s novels would be the ultimate goal. I have been reading more thriller books lately but my first love is a really good mystery. Also, if you are a fan of Agatha Christie and/or Hercule Poirot then I highly recommend Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. Sadly, she passed away last December and the series ends off at Y but the 25 books in the series are my absolute favorite mystery series. I will reread those books for the rest of my life and Kinsey Millhone (and Sue Grafton) forever lives in my heart.

~Cassie

Watch The Girls by Jennifer Wolfe

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

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Title: Watch The Girls

Author: Jennifer Wolfe

Pages: 320

Genre: Thriller, Horror

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

I’ve been watched all my life. I’m used to being stared at. Observed. Followed.

Fame and obsession collide in this darkly twisted novel from an incredible new voice in suspense.

SOMEONE IS WATCHING
Washed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone’s been waiting patiently to finish what was started…

FOUR MISSING GIRLS
Now fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she’ll pose as a real-life private detective–a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

FOLLOW THE WHITE WOLF
Liv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all–perhaps even at the cost of Liv’s own life…

Filled with provocative twists and turns as the line between plot and reality blurs in this inventive tour-de-force from breakout writer Jennifer Wolfe.

Goodreads

***I try my hardest to make my reviews spoiler free and so I feel like to give any specific trigger warnings would give some major spoilers. Just know that this book deals with adult themes and goes to some dark places. If you would like to know specific trigger warnings then please check out the Goodreads page that I have linked just above this paragraph and if you scroll down to the reviews I believe the third review or so gives trigger warnings at the beginning of their review.

I loved this book and the whole concept of the story is right up my alley. Watch The Girls is the dark thriller that I have been craving. I had such a hard time putting this book down and I read the whole thing in 2 days. I love how real and flawed the main character, Liv, is. She is so broken and messed up and realistic. The setting of the story perfectly captured what the world we live in now is like and I loved the use of social media in this book. A tiny portion of the story is told through gossip sites and Youtube and Twitter are a huge part of the story. Part of the reason that this book was so engrossing was because it felt like something that was currently happening.

Another reason that this book was so engrossing is that I love books where I get to play detective along with the main character. The reader and Liv find out things at the same time so I was trying to formulate theories and ideas of what could have happened to the girls. Most of the twists in the story I could see coming but there were some that really shocked me. I was also shocked by how violent this book could get but in a good way. I remember thinking that I can’t believe this book actually went there. But it didn’t feel exploitive. Everything that happened fit very organically with the story and the writing.

One of my favorite things about the book is that most of the story is based in a town close to LA that a famous horror director lives in and filmed his movies in. The movies the director, Jonas Kron, make are extremely dark and graphic horror movies that have a large cult following. Being a huge horror movie fan I loved this aspect of it and what a huge part of the plot he and his movies have.

For me there were only two downsides to this story. The biggest one being that at times it felt preachy and that is one of my biggest turn offs in a story. That reason alone is why I knocked half a star off my rating. I do agree with what the book was saying about women and how men view them and a woman’s sexuality but it just kept being brought up. The other thing that rubbed me the wrong way was that I don’t know if the book handled the Olivia Hill/Liv Hendricks thing the right way. Olivia Hill changed her name after her sister went missing to Liv Hendricks and the ending gives a different reason for why she changed her name. I feel like it was a good reason but at the same time I don’t know if it was a good representation of what was happening. Sorry to be vague but I definitely don’t want to spoil the ending. If you read this book (and you should!) please let me know what you think.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book. If you are in the market for a dark horror triller novel than this is for you. This book can get pretty graphic so just keep that in mind. Another interesting part of this book is the behind the scenes look into how Hollywood works. I feel like this book has so much going on but it all works so well together to tell the story. I feel like this book would make an excellent movie and I hope that it happens one day.

~Cassie

 

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

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

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Title: Her Pretty Face

Author: Robyn Harding

Pages: 352

Genre: Thriller (Domestic)

Publisher: Gallery/ Scout Press

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Rating: 3/5

A few years ago I watched a documentary on a couple that kidnapped, tortured and killed girls together and this book is based on that idea. (I have no idea if the author got the inspiration for this story based on that particular real life event, this is purely my own conclusion that I am drawing based on my own experience. When I say idea, I just mean the broad idea of a couple doing those sick things to a woman.)  Pretty quickly into the book I recognized the story and I was very intrigued.

This book is based on the idea that we don’t know which woman is the killer but I think that is was pretty obvious from very early on. I feel like that just made me more invested int the story though because I couldn’t wait for the reveal. I love how dark and twisted the killer is and I wished we could have seen more of it.

One of the perspectives that we read from is Daisy, Kate’s daughter, and I love the suspense that her character’s arc brings to the story.  Another perspective that we read from is DJ who is the brother of the victim that one of the women murdered. His perspective was my favorite of the three. I liked his perspective the most because it really showed how dark and twisted the murderess is. Also, I think the author did a really great job of showing how devastating it is for the victim’s family that is left behind.

I was not a fan of the predictable twists that were in this story but I think the ending was really good so I feel like that brought my rating up . I liked how the story unraveled and there were a couple of things at the very end that I really enjoyed. Overall, this is an average thriller bust still an enjoyable read. If you are a fan of domestic thrillers than I would recommend this book to you.

~Cassie

June Book Haul

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A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?

Goodreads

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She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.

Goodreads

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A chilling debut thriller in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr Ripley.

Martin Reese has a hobby: he digs up murder victims. He buys stolen police files on serial killers, and uses them to find and dig up missing bodies. Calls in the results anonymously, taunting the police for their failure to do their job.

Detective Sandra Whittal takes that a little personally. She’s suspicious of the mysterious caller, who she names the Finder. Maybe he’s the one leaving the bodies behind. If not, who’s to say he won’t start soon?

As Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder, Martin makes a shocking discovery. It seems someone—someone lethal—is very unhappy about the bodies he’s been digging up.

Hunted by a cop, hunted by a killer. To escape and keep his family safe, Martin may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever imagined.

Goodreads

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When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

Goodreads

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The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

Goodreads

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An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

Goodreads

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The beloved coming-of-age tale of a spunky heroine named Anne “with an E,” now for the first time in Penguin Classics and packaged in a Deluxe edition.
L. M. Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who intended to adopt a boy to help work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Yet Anne’s quirky personality and good-natured spirit causes the siblings to grow to love her anyway, and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair.
Cherished by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into. This Deluxe edition is enhanced with a foreword by bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan, and an introduction and suggestions for further reading by Benjamin Lefebvre, as well as reviews and a selection of early writing by L. M. Montgomery about the process of writing Anne.

Goodreads

Sorry that I’m posting this so late in the month but man this summer is flying by and I seriously don’t know where all the time is going. My kids go back to school in just over a month! How that is even possible I don’t know. I did pretty good book buying last month until I had to go to Barnes and Nobles for my bother’s birthday present and I just had to buy a bunch of books for myself (and two each for all my boys :)). While I was looking around the kids section I found this beautiful copy of Anne of Green Gables and I just had to buy it. It’s been really fun reading it with my boys and they think her way of life is so fascinating. I hope you are all having a great summer!

Happy Reading!

~Cassie