ARC Review: The Dinner Party by R.J. Parker

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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Publication Date: October 18, 2019

Publisher: Harper Impulse and Killer Reads

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Pages: 400

Rating: 4/5

The Dinner Party is about a group of eight friends (four couples) who meet for dinner one night and take part in what they think is a harmless trust exercise to help strengthen their relationships. Of course this exercise ends up ruffling some feathers and by the next day two people at the dinner party are dead and things have just started to go bad for the rest of the group.

This was an extremely fast paced thriller that I flew through in a day. I went into this with the preconceived notion that the whole book was going to take place at the dinner party from hell but really the dinner party just sets things in motion for the rest of the story. So while that was slightly disappointing (locked room mysteries are my favorite thing ever!) it was still a fun ride with short chapters and a lot of action and reveals.

The book is told from the perspective of Ted who hosted the dinner along with his wife, Juliette, and I really feel like this helped to add to the suspense of the book because we are trying to figure out what is going on at the same time as Ted. This is one of the rare books where the reader is given all the clues so it is possible to put it all together along with Ted. I had most of the story figured out but I forgot about some little details that were added in so I didn’t completely figure it out. The ending was a bit melodramatic and over the top but honestly isn’t that part of the fun?

~Cassie

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

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Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 384

Genre: Thriller, Gothic, Suspense

Rating: 4/5

This book follows Rowan, who interviews and then becomes the live in nanny for three (potentially four with the oldest daughter at boarding school) young girls who live in a state of the art smart house in basically the middle of nowhere in Scotland. This is by far the best Ruth Ware book that she has written. I have yet to read her debut but I have read her three other books and wow does she just keep getting better and better. This was gothic, creepy, disturbing and spooky. I read a lot of thrillers and I don’t shy away from horror and there were definitely a few times I was creeped out reading this.

The characters all felt realistic to me even though I didn’t particularly like any of them. You go into the story knowing that one of the girls that Rowan is watching died in her care and she is writing to a lawyer from prison to tell her side of the story in the hopes that he will take her case. That plus the creepy smart house that she is living in with the girls really helped to amp up the suspense of this book. Honestly, if I was Rowan I would have run out of that house and never looked back.

After I finished this book I was really blown away by how well rounded this story was. When I first read the ending I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it but the more I think about it the more I realize it really is the perfect ending. I still think it fell a little flat compared to the high suspense that I felt during the rest of the book, especially the closer we got to the ending.

If you are in the mood for a fantastic thriller with a superb setting then I highly recommend this book to you. The Turn of the Key is the perfect October read and I can’t wait to read whatever Ruth Ware comes out with next year. If you liked this book than I suggest you give Lock Every Door by Riley Sager a try because this is another gothic thriller that recently came out.

~Cassie

ARC Review: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

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Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Lion Forge

Pages: 256

Genre: Graphic Novel, Magical, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5

This book follows Nova, a witch, and Tam, a werewolf, and their romance as they try to stop a demon. Nova and Tam are the cutest and I really appreciated how accepting of each other they both were. There is a lot of really great representation in this graphic novel which was another plus. Another aspect to this story was the unexpected family drama that both Nova and Tam have. This is just a really well done contemporary story with a lot of witchy, magical elements thrown in. The pacing of this story was also really well done because the author, Walker, did a great job of balancing the magical elements of this story with the more realistic parts.

The majority of the arc that I read was in color and I adored the art style. It is not as whimsical as  The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill but it was equally as cute. I loved the colors and way Nova and Tam looked at each other. Such a sweet romance and I hope we get more from these two in the future. Also, the side characters in this story added so much to the different layers of the story. I really liked Nova’s best friend and her Grandma’s. I also wouldn’t mind a story based on the Grandma’s when they were younger.

Definitely check this out for a fun, sweet, cozy fall read. Mooncakes has all the elements for the perfect (non scary) October read.

~Cassie

Spookathon TBR

One of my favorite readathons of the year is upon us!! I love setting aside a week during the spookiest time of the year and reading all the thrillers, mystery and horror that I can. For all the information on #spookathon you can check out Lala’s (the creator of this readathon) video here and the official Twitter here. This readathon goes from the 14th- 20th and there are five challenges.

Read a thriller

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In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Read a book with red on the cover

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The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Read a book with a spooky word in the title

*I chose the word thirteen because I was born on Friday the 13th and on my birthday in elementary school all the kids would call me a witch haha

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Here is another thriller by the master of mystery – and the most popular author of all time. Lady Edgware wants to marry a duke, but Lord Edgware won’t divorce her. She jokingly tells Poirot that if he won’t kill Lord Edgware, she may have to. When the lord turns up dead, Lady Jane is suspected. Will her alibi hold up?

Thirteen at Dinner

Read a book with a spooky setting

*The book I picked is set at a haunted boarding house!

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A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Read something you wouldn’t normally read

*I chose a horror manga because I have only read one and some of the stories genuinely freaked me out.

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Thirteen Chilling Nightmares Presented by the Master of Horror.

Try not to be noticed when you eat the secret nectar, otherwise you’ll get smashed… What horrific events happened to create the earthbound-people tied to a certain place for the rest of their short lives? A strange haunted house comes to town, but no one expects it to lead to a real hell… Welcome to Junji Ito’s world, a world with no escape from endless nightmares.

Smashed by Junji Ito

~Cassie

 

ARC Review: Dreams of 18 by Saffron Kent

Thank you to the author Saffron Kent and Give Me Books Promotions for sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Publication Date: October 10, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Dreams of 18 by Saffron Kent

Dreams of 18 is a forbidden age gap romance with an 18 year old girl and her best friends dad. Violet has had a crush on Graham since he moved in next door on her 16th birthday. On her 18 birthday Graham finds her in his rose garden late at night and she decides that she wants to kiss him (since she has dreamed about it for two years) but they are immediately caught by his son and her sister. This causes a huge scandal with devastating effects on both of them and after almost a year has passed Violet decides that she wants to find him and apologize.

This book is the angsty slow burn romance that I was looking for and Graham is the dark swoon worthy love interest I love to read about. I loved “watching” the romance unfold and how much they were both there for each other. Violet and Graham have such a strong connection and I liked that the author, Kent, really built that aspect of their relationship up. I also really appreciated that when the smutty scenes were happening that Kent put an emphasis on how important the emotional connection between them was as well as the physical. That things are so good between them not only because of the physical things happening but also the things they are saying to each other and the way they are looking at each other.

I do think that some of the scenes in this book went on for a little too long and I wish some of it had been edited down but for the most part this was a very enjoyable read. Also, there was a few instances where Violet would be telling the reader something and then be like “well it happened” and then we would have a flashback. It felt a little disjointed to me and took me out of the story a bit.

Also, if you are a fan of light romance and/or smut then I would caution you that some of the sexy scenes in this are more erotica than smut. If forbidden romances are your favorite trope (like me) then I highly recommend this book to you. It was so good and I devoured this book in about a day because I couldn’t put it down.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

US: https://amzn.to/2omE3RQ
UK: https://amzn.to/2oSnsWf
CA: https://amzn.to/2LRggm1
AU: https://amzn.to/2MbEdDu

Free in Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR BIO

Saffron A. Kent is a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling author of Contemporary and New Adult romance. More often than not, her love stories are edgy, forbidden and passionate. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, New York Daily News and USA Today’s Happy Ever After.

She lives in New York City with her nerdy and supportive husband, and a million and one books.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSaffronKent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesaffronkent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesaffronkent
Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ybw47r
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/saffron-a-kent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192760.Saffron_A_Kent

~Cassie

September Wrap Up + Stats

I can’t believe we are already so far into October. I feel like the end of the year always goes by in a blur. So before we get too far into this month I thought I better hurry up and share what I read last month. I read 14 books and DNF’d one. Also, at the end of this post will be my monthly stats.

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This was an enjoyable forbidden romance with a dark hero. I really liked the twists in this book and I loved watching Graham open up more and the journey his character goes through. Definitely a sweet romance that gave me all the feels.

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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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Netgalley Review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

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The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

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This was not as good as I remember it being but it was still a fun trashy read. Heaven annoyed me a lot this book because she was naive and judgmental. Obviously terrible stuff happens to her that isn’t her fault but I just liked her a lot more on my previous reads of this book. Although the Lifetime movie of this book is easily way worse than the book.

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Well Met by Jen Deluca

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I really liked the main character, Chloe and her friends but the romance is this book was majorly lacking. The smutty scenes in this book would sometimes happen out of nowhere and there was no build up in those scenes. When things started to get serious between Chloe and her main guy I was honestly shocked because there was no time spent on making the relationship believable or important.

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I loved this! Look for my review next Tuesday.

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I DNF’d this at 31%. I was so disappointed by this book. It is a young adult but it came across like a middle grade. Or at least it would have if we didn’t have the main characters obsessing over each other when they don’t even know each other. I was so annoyed the little bit I read of this.

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This is the sequel to Heaven and I liked this one less than I did the first book in the series. Parts of this were good but for the most part it was blah. The pacing was all over the place and there was a reveal that happened at the end of the book that was pretty disturbing but yet it was normalized and basically pushed under the rug. I do want to continue on with the series just to see how everything ends up but I’m not as into it as I once was.

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This is fantastic! I can’t believe that this is Atkinson’s debut novel because it was so well done. She writes such unique stories and I am on a mission to read everything she has written. If you love character driven stories than she is definitely an author you need to check out.

Contemporary-a-thon Round 5 Wrap Up

Stats

Male Author:  0                               1-299 pages: 5                       Physically own: 3

Female Author: 13                          300-499 pages: 9                   Ebook own: 4

Mx: 1                                                  500+ pages: 0                        Library ebook: 2

Library physical: 5

1*:  0                      Classic: 1                                  ARC: 2

2*:  2                      Thriller: 0                                Recently Published: 3

3*:  4                      Romance: 8                              Older Release: 9

4*:  3                      YA Contemporary: 1

5*:  5                      Middle Grade: 1

Historical: 1

Graphic Novel: 1

General Fiction: 1

 

~Cassie

Preorder Sale: Dreams of 18 by Saffron Kent

*Thank you to Give Me Books Pr and the author Saffron Kent for allowing me to promote this book and read an early copy of this book to review.*

 

 

 

 

 

Attention all my romance lovers out there: you will want to read this book! I just finished this (look for my review this Thursday) and it is the edgy, sexy forbidden romance that we have been craving! I devoured this book because I could not get enough of Violet and Graham. 99 cents is a steal for this book but if I haven’t sold you then keep scrolling for the link to read the first two chapters.

Title: Dreams of 18
Author: Saffron A. Kent
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 10, 2019

BLURB

Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.

Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.

On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing a huge scandal in their sleepy suburban town.

Now everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.

But Violet is going to make it right.

She’s going to find him and bring him back.

No matter how cruel and mean he is, how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.

And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…

The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually – again.

Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?

Even though that’s all you ever dream about.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41830260-dreams-of-18

Read the first two chapters: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/u4pkhek9mt

PRE-ORDER LINKS – 99c pre-order price!

US: https://amzn.to/2omE3RQ
UK: https://amzn.to/2oSnsWf
CA: https://amzn.to/2LRggm1
AU: https://amzn.to/2MbEdDu

AUTHOR BIO

Saffron A. Kent is a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling author of Contemporary and New Adult romance. More often than not, her love stories are edgy, forbidden and passionate. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, New York Daily News and USA Today’s Happy Ever After.

She lives in New York City with her nerdy and supportive husband, and a million and one books.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSaffronKent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesaffronkent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesaffronkent
Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ybw47r
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/saffron-a-kent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192760.Saffron_A_Kent

VICTOBER TBR

Along with being the spookiest time of the year October is also for reading all things Victorian. One of my bookish goals this year was to read more classics since I used to read a lot more of them before I had kids. And my oldest is ten so its been a DECADE since I read more than one classic in a year. I already participated in #Classicsathon this year but when I heard about this readathon I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to read some more classics. To make sure that what I picked to read was truly Victorian I looked up this list on Goodreads and I was surprised by how many of these I already own. Also, just because I didn’t know what the actual definition of Victorian literature was, it is a book that was written when Queen Victoria reigned, 1837-1901. Most of the popular classics that we think of were written in this time so this is a pretty easy readathon to take part in. There are five challenges for this readathon and two group plays by Oscar Wilde. I don’t think I will be participating in the group read but if you want to know more about it and all the readathon info here is the link to the Goodreads group.

General Challenge: Read by candlelight

This is an easy one and one that can be done throughout the month

Lucy’s Challenge: Read an underrated Victorian book from the same year as your favorite Victorian classic

*This one I’m bending this challenge a little because my favorite classic is Little Women which was written in the Victorian era but I can’t find anything underrated that I want to read from that year. So I just decided to pick any underrated Victorian novel and that would be a good substitute.

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When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

Katie’s challenge: Read a Victorian book under 250 pages and/or over 500 pages

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A young governess falls in love with her employer in this classic coming-of-age tale set in nineteenth-century England.

Kate’s challenge: Reread a Victorian book

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Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

Ange’s challenge: Read a book by a Victorian female author (bonus: one that’s new to you)

*I can’t believe I’ve never read this book!!

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An unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, Wuthering Heights revolves around the willfully childish Catherine and the dark Heathcliff, who, in the words of Charlotte Bronte, “exemplifies the effects which a life of continued injustice and hard usage may produce on a naturally perverse, vindictive, and inexorable disposition.” Heathcliff and Cathy believe they’re destines to love each other forever. But when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them.

Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language.

 

I would love to read all four of these books this month but realistically I will be happy if I can get through one of these. I also want to read all my thrillers I have planned so we will see how much I am able to actually to read by the end of the month.

~Cassie

Contemporary-a-thon Round 5 Wrap Up

Since it has been almost a week since the contemporary-a-thon ended I thought I should hurry and post my wrap up before it gets to be too late. Here is my Contemporary-a-thon Round 5 TBR if you want to check out all the things I was planning on reading for each challenge. Also, to be totally transparent, I finished two of the books on this list after the readathon ended but I’m still counting them since I was more than half way through them when time ran out. Which in my book totally counts. Right?

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Challenge completed: Read a diverse contemporary

This is a middle grade book about George who was born a boy but knows she is a girl. She wants to play Charlotte in the school play of Charlotte’s Web because she really connected to her character and it will also give her the chance of presenting herself to the world as a female. Not only does George’s school not allow her to do this she is also being picked on at school for being different and her mom isn’t receptive to what George is going through. I really appreciated that even though this is a middle grade book it didn’t feel too juvenile.  This is a beautiful , well done and important story that I think everyone should read. I gave this book to my ten year old to read because one of the best things about books is how it gives us perspectives that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, I think every school should have this book available because I feel like it has the potential to help so many.

Rating: 5/5

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Challenge completed: read a contemporary with an illustrated cover

This was a fun romance read. I love football so I really enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the game from a girlfriend of one of the players. This was the author’s first book and I am really hopeful that each book in this series is just going to get better and better. Some of the drama in this book felt unnecessary because it didn’t do anything to further the plot along. In fact most of the time it was confusing because there were times the main character, Marlee, would say she avoids conflict but then she is constantly fighting everyone. Which would have been fine if it didn’t seem to conflict with how the author was trying to portray Marlee. Overall I really liked Marlee and her friends and I absolutely loved the love interest Gavin. The ending of this book really brought my rating down because I hated how the author completely changed a character just to have this big conflict at the end. The conflict did not need to be so over the top and the pacing of everything was just so off. However, like I said before, I have high hopes for the rest of the series because for the most part this was a really fun and sweet romance.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Challenges completed: read a contemporary with plants on the cover (the roses on the pants pockets)/ read a contemporary with yellow on the cover/ read a hard hitting contemporary

I LOVE this book. I am so mad at myself for waiting so long to read it. This is a beautiful story about twin sisters who have just graduated high school and their lives during their last summer at home on the island they have never left. Georgina and Mary are born into a family with magical powers and I loved how the author wove the magic into this beautiful and powerful coming of age story. The magical elements of this book only made this book more beautiful and heart wrenching. This is one of the best YA books I have ever read.

Rating: 5/5

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Challenge completed: read a contemporary that has been recommend by someone in the book community (literally everyone who has read this)

Omg this book you guys. I was so in love with this book… until the ending. If I could just give Evelyn Hugo’s story a rating it would be five stars. I loved her story and I love her so much. She is a character who will stay with me for a long time. However, all the choices the author made when Evelyn was done telling her story annoyed me. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is when an author gets to the end of the book and repetitively tells the reader what the story meant. You just told a beautiful story that conveys your message we do not need you to flash it in bright lights at the end to make sure we got it. Also, if you didn’t want to read all 391 pages of this book you could just flip to the last two where the author summarizes the entire freaking book. Wtf? It was so unnecessary and I still don’t understand why she made those choices at the end. Obviously most people love this book (over 110,000 people have rated it and it has an average of 4.32) so take my critiques with a grain of salt. I do plan on re reading this book multiple times in my life. I will just do like I plan on doing with Game of Throne rewatches… avoid the ending.

Rating: 3/5

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Challenge completed: read a 2019 release

I really wanted to like this book so much more than I did. Millie is a great character but I never once believed that she really liked Princess Flora. The only redeeming quality that Millie has for Flora throughout the majority of the story is that she is pretty. Obviously I knew there was going to be a romance between the two but I never once felt it was believable. All the drama between them didn’t do anything to help me feel a connection between them. I did really like Flora’s character so maybe this book would have been better if told from her perspective. Overall, this was a just a bland YA romance.

Rating: 2/5

~Cassie

 

October TBR

The spookiest time of the year is upon us! I plan on reading all the thrillers, suspense, and horror books that I can. I really had a hard time narrowing down what I am going to read this month but here are the ten books that I settled on. I’m also participating in Victober (reading Victorian books throughout the month of October) but I will have a separate post for that coming up.

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The Widower’s Wife by Cate Holahan

Ana Bacon, a beautiful young wife and mother, tumbled off a cruise ship into dark and deadly waters. Ana is gone–leaving behind her wealthy husband and adorable daughter–but not everything about her disappearance adds up. What secrets did she leave behind?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten-million-dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall, and the official ruling seems to hold up.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

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The Au Pair by Emma Rous

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.

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*This one I started last year (or maybe the year before that) and only read the first part and I put it down for some reason and never picked it back up so I would like to at least read a sizable chunk of this.

It by Stephen King

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered, a good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, It lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each person’s deepest dread. Sometimes It reached up, seizing, tearing, killing…

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of It was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until the grown-up children were called back, once more to confront It as It stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

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The Whisper Man by Alex North

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

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*I had no idea what this was about when I picked it up at the library. I hope that it is a locked room mystery in the vein of Clue but now that I have read the synopsis I’m not too sure that it is.

13 at Dinner by Agatha Christie

Here is another thriller by the master of mystery – and the most popular author of all time. Lady Edgware wants to marry a duke, but Lord Edgware won’t divorce her. She jokingly tells Poirot that if he won’t kill Lord Edgware, she may have to. When the lord turns up dead, Lady Jane is suspected. Will her alibi hold up?

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The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

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The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon

In 1992, a car accident kills a young man and forever changes the lives of three people… Now, twenty years later, they’ll all come to regret the choices they made that day, as the secrets and lies they’ve told to protect each other become the very things that tear their lives apart.

After a night of fun, Abby was responsible for the car crash that killed her beloved brother. It is a sin she can never forgive herself for, so she pushes away the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.

Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames, the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.

In a strange twist of fate, Liam (her old lover—possibly her true soulmate) moves in with his own family next door, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the dark secrets they’ve both been carrying…

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Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . .

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. . . My son broke into your home recently while you were out.”

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses–and into the owners’ computers as well–learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

You never really know what people are capable of.

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The Mother-in-law by Sally Hepworth

A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?

With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.

~Cassie