Recent Purchases #1

One of my goals going into 2019 was to purchase less books and focus on brining my TBR down. However, fate has worked against me by gifting me with an amazing library in my new town that does a book sale every single Saturday. Yes, you read that right. Every single Saturday. And it’s huge and covers multiple rooms. There are a lot of different reasons why I love this new place we live and the library is definitely one of them. So, all of that to say that I haven’t been doing great at my not buying books thing but I also haven’t been too bad. I usually only get a book or two at a time for myself since I usually just focus on books for my kids. Now that I’ve updated you on my current book buying situation lets get into the books.



If you were being framed for murder, how far would you go to clear your name?

The debut psychological thriller that reads as Apple Tree Yardmeets Behind Closed Doors, by way of Double Jeopardy.

I’m not guilty of murder.

Bethany Reston is happily married. But she’s also having an affair with a famous client.

And no one can ever know.

But that doesn’t make me innocent.

When Bethany’s lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone.

But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin.

With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.

An incredibly taut, tense game of cat and mouse – with a twist you’ll never see coming.


When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.


One hundred years ago in Port Arbello a pretty little girl began to scream. And struggle. And die. No one heard. No one saw. Just one man whose guilty heart burst in pain as he dashed himself to death in the sea. Now something peculiar is happening in Port Arbello. The children are disappearing, one by one. An evil history is repeating itself. And one strange, terrified child has ended her silence with a scream that began a hundred years ago.


A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment.


Physical Books


First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear–of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. Wolgast is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors, but for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey–spanning miles and decades–toward the time an place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterly prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.


I’m not putting the description of this book since it’s the sequel to The Passage and I don’t want to inadvertently spoil anyone to anything pertaining to the first book. I’m still going to link the Goodreads page in case you are interested though.


A celebration of nonconformity; a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity–and the thrill and inspiration of first love. Ages 12+

Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don’t stand out–under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes–for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of color and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body.

But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl’s arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her.

In a celebration of nonconformity, Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity–and the thrill and inspiration of first love.


Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own? 


Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.


Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic. 


That’s it. That’s the books that I have acquired so far this year. Soon I will be sharing a library haul. I have really been using the library to help curb my book hoarding tendencies! All but two of the physical books I bought at the library book sale so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. All of the ebooks that I bought I found on the BookBub website so I bought them for really cheap. 99% of the books I find from them are free or $1.99. I definitely recommend that website if you like to read ebooks. Let me know in the comments what you think of any of these books or share a recent purchase of yours with me.


The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan

 I read and reviewed this book back in August 2018 but then I took my break so I didn’t get a chance to publish it until now.


Title: The Dead House

Author: Billy O’ Callaghan

Pages: 203

Publisher: Arcade/ Skyhorse Publishing

Publication Date: May 1, 2018 (North America)

Genre: Horror

Rating: 3/5

This best-selling debut by an award-winning writer is both an eerie contemporary ghost story and a dread-inducing psychological thriller. Maggie is a successful young artist who has had bad luck with men. Her last put her in the hospital and, after she’s healed physically, left her needing to get out of London to heal mentally and find a place of quiet that will restore her creative spirit. On the rugged west coast of Ireland, perched on a wild cliff side, she spies the shell of a cottage that dates back to Great Famine and decides to buy it. When work on the house is done, she invites her dealer to come for the weekend to celebrate along with a couple of women friends, one of whom will become his wife. On the boozy last night, the other friend pulls out an Ouija board. What sinister thing they summon, once invited, will never go.

Ireland is a country haunted by its past. In Billy O’Callaghan’s hands, its terrible beauty becomes a force of inescapable horror that reaches far back in time, before the Famine, before Christianity, to a pagan place where nature and superstition are bound in an endless knot.


I went into this book thinking that it was going to be about Maggie since that’s who the blurb centers around. Instead, this book is about her close friend Mike. The whole book is told from his perspective and Maggie is actually in the book for maybe 10-15%. It might be even less than that. This book is still good but I really don’t like when the blurbs are so misleading.

The parts of the story that were the character/characters were dealing with the ghost were very spooky. Especially the part with the Ouija board. That part was so good and everything that I wanted this story to be. I wish this book would have had more of the scary stuff and less of the stuff about Mike and his future wife. I feel like the balance of the two things was off and for this book to be classified as a horror it should have leaned the opposite way.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the setting. I absolutely want to visit Ireland one day and I loved all the descriptions of the places. Another thing I really liked about this book was the ending. I feel like it wrapped everything up nicely and connected the different parts of the book up to make the whole story cohesive. I definitely would have rated this book higher if there are been more of a ghost story involved and not so much romance. Or perhaps if I hadn’t gone into the book expecting it to be a ghost story I may have had different expectations.


ARC Review: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

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

Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: December 26, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Rating: 5/5

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…


This was such an enthralling read. It took me a couple of chapters to really get into this book but once I did I was absolutely hooked. I started reading this book in November but that was soon after we had moved and I was trying to find something to get me out of my reading slump. For whatever reason this book just wasn’t doing it for me at the time. I picked this book back up in January once I had found my groove again and I read it in three days. I was so invested in the characters and the reveals were so well done. This is a stunning thriller novel that masterfully builds up the suspense and does not leave you wishing for more at the end.

The way the story builds and layers is so well done. Lisa Jewell’s wonderful style of writing combined with the perfect pacing of the book made this one of the best thrillers I have ever read. My favorite books always seem to be multi perspective story which this one did so wonderfully. I loved the adult characters along with the two teenage characters we get to read from. I love how all their thoughts, ideas and interactions with different characters really shaped the suspense of the story. I also really enjoyed how Jewell was not afraid to write some unlikable characters. Sometimes authors try to give reasons for why a character does a bad thing and I very much appreciated that these characters were complex and she gave no apologies over it.

There were also a few breaks in the story set in the future where we know something happened to someone but we were left in the dark who it was. These breaks also showed us how shady a certain character was and also helped cement our thoughts and opinions of them. Obviously, the other purpose of these breaks were to really amp up our anticipation of what the novel was building to.

The ending was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The clues were right there in the book and yet they seemed so innocuous that I read it and didn’t give it another thought. I love a well done thriller and I was so happy with this one. There was also another reveal that I didn’t see coming and I was so pleased with it. Most of the time I can predict twists and see them coming a mile away but I didn’t even suspect anything about this certain character.

If you are a fan of thrillers than this is definitely a book you should check out. If you aren’t really into thrillers, I still recommend this book to you. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future. In fact, I have her novels, I Found You and Then She Was Gone on my shelves and I can’t wait to read them this year.


Welcome Back

Hey everyone! It has been a long while since I have updated my blog. Lots of life has been happening but through it all I have really been missing this space. I’m excited to get back to making my blog a part of my daily life and I hope you will all be able to see that with the changes that I have made. I have really spent some time the last few months thinking of what exactly I want my blog to look and feel like. I really worked on making this space more “me” and personalized, my blog is named Books With Cassie after all! I will be posting every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10 am. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you like all the new content coming your way!