Why You Should Read Pretty Baby: A Book Review


Pretty Baby Book Review
Pretty Baby Book Review: Seriously, Sarah?

I was eager to read Pretty Baby, since I had so thoroughly enjoyed Kubica’s first novel, The Good Girl.

The story begins with a charitable mother of woman, who lives in the heart of Chicago and works at a non-profit. On the public transportation system there, she notices a homeless teenage girl holding a baby. Both the girl and the baby are not properly dressed for the cool, spring weather. The charitable woman, Heidi, runs into the teenager two more times in a short time span.

All the while, the reader is privy to the thoughts of Heidi, the homeless teenager, Heidi’s husband, and even Heidi’s teenage daughter. The narration style lends itself to the slow unfolding of secrets or lets the reader see misunderstandings that the characters don’t see. My favorite part, though, is that not all of the storytelling is chronological. There is one character who is occasionally retelling her story to someone else, in the future, when hindsight is 20/20.

Who Should Try Pretty Baby?

People who enjoyed the twists, turns, and unpredictability of Kubica’s first thriller, The Good Girl.

If you haven’t read The Good Girl, but have liked any of the popular thrillers, Pretty Baby will be a definite winner for you.

If you want to try a thriller that isn’t too gory or scary, you can also start here.

Pretty Baby has a little something for everyone who enjoys anything about interesting storytelling or psychological thrillers.

I particularly enjoyed Kubica’s examination of the mind. Two characters went through what most people would consider to be an unrecoverable hells, but each reacted in a completely opposite ways, in my opinion. I’m interested to read what other people think!

You will be able to pick up a copy on July 28! Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads “Want To Read” List, so you’ll get the email notification!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel, Pretty Baby, for a book review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads, if you have the time!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Book Review, Reading, Review Tags: , ,
Somebody I Used to Know Review


Somebody I Used to Know
Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know is a mystery novel by David Bell. The main character, Nick, has been haunted for 20 years by the death of his college girlfriend. Even through his marriage, his wife says that he was still in love with Marissa, the girlfriend who died in a fire. So, as a divorced middle-aged man, Nick keeps busy working for the under-dog and playing basketball with his friends.

He lives a life of the status-quo, so to speak, until a young woman who has a strong resemblance to his long-dead girlfriend shows up in the grocery store of his small town. When he approaches her, she drops her groceries and runs. The rest of the novel unfolds as Nick, with the help of another college friend, who kind of disappears halfway through the novel, start to unwind the tangled web of the past.

As I read the novel, I thought it was a great start for a first novel. I thought that the author had a really good shot at going somewhere with his writing, if he kept on writing. I was shocked when I reached the end and read at the bottom of his biography that he was the author of several other novels. To be honest, his writing wasn’t what I expect from a seasoned author.

Characters, like the main character’s college friend, come and go with little explanation. There is little to no character development of anyone other than the main character. And finally, while the ending makes sense logically, it doesn’t make sense realistically. The motives assigned to the perpetrators were a bit far-fetched in my opinion, which is why I thought the author was new and would tighten his plotlines in the future.

While I don’t regret reading this novel, I don’t recommend rushing out to read it immediately.

You can pick up a copy of Somebody I Used to Know when it publishes on July 7, 2015.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of Somebody I Used to Know for review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, Review Tags: , , ,
What I Read Last Month: June


What I Read Last Month: June 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah?
I worked a little bit on my Summer Reading Challenge and TBR Pile Challenge this month. Also, I decided to read a few classics and fun novels. Basically, I was all over the place!
Contemporary

Life After Life

Life After Life

Honestly, a few weeks after reading this novel, I barely remember it. I know it got a ton of awards and lots of people love it, and maybe it was too difficult for my brain to understand during that time period, but… it didn’t stick with me.

The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing

The story was simple and an exploration of moral dilemmas, but I think it was overrated.

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

The Plantagenets

This was a looooooooooooooooong one. However, I really liked it. I don’t read/listen to a lot of non-fiction history books, but this one was really helpful. I’ve read historical fiction novels about the beginning of the Plantagenent family through the end of the reign of Richard the Lionheart and then novels that pick back up with the War of the Roses, but there are several hundred (almost a thousand) years of history that I didn’t know about. This book filled that in for me!

There is a sequel to this book. I am thinking about listening to it. Reading? No way.

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her

I found this novel more “adult” than the author’s first novel, Reconstructing Amelia, which seemed more young adult. It wasn’t the best novel that I’ve ever read, but I liked it. It kept me guessing until the end. I read the hardback instead of listening, since I read that the novel would be told through several mediums – like Reconstructing Amelia, which used text messages, instant messages, emails, and many types of prose. There weren’t as many in this novel, but I still liked it.

Recovery and Renewal:

Your Essential Guide to Overcoming Dependency and Withdrawal from Sleeping Pills, Other ‘Benzo’ Tranquillisers and Antidepressants

Recovery and Renewal

I found this book extremely helpful. I am always being switched around on my medications, so it is no secret that I have gone through withdrawal a few times. I’m not addicted, but physically dependent. As the author of the book points out, the people who post on the internet about their withdrawals are usually the ones with horror stories or who did not cope well. The author actually had an extremely horrific withdrawal, but as a counselor, she utilized her formal training on herself (the author is also in the UK where the medical system is different). Anyway, I recommend this for anyone who is tapering or going to be tapering off of a benzo.

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I read this for the Summer Reading Challenge. I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before.]

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)]

Second Life

second life

It took over half of the novel for the story to start to “come together.” And by “come together,” I mean that the torrid affair scenes cooled down enough for the story to move forward. In the end, Watson made a good point about life, but it got lost in pandering to trendy literature.

[Note for other readers: This book is not PG-13. It might test the limits of R ratings, if you’re not comfortable with reading that. And some of it was gratuitous, whereas some added to the plot.]

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

[Summer Reading Challenge: 25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. There are at least 11 novels in this series so far.]

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)]

Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How & Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications

your drug may be the problem

This book mostly focuses on antidepressants, but I picked it up with the hopes that it would talk more about benzodiazipines. However, some medications marketed as antidepressants have been given to me over the years as neurological medications, as well as the benzos. I guess it is obvious from what I’m reading that I am trying to educate myself more on what medications could be doing to me. I’m just an English major, but as a professional patient, who has been reading medical literature online for years, I decided to graduate to books.

Modern Romance

Modern Romance

I laughed, I learned, and how the heck did I end up married? I listened to the book (so I didn’t get to see all of the funny charts that Ansari was putting on Instagram), but his asides to the listeners were hilarious. It seemed well researched and even if it wasn’t, the excerpts from the focus groups were hilarious.

Hausfrau

Hausfrau

I think there was a lot to learn from this story, but the ending left me wanting more concrete details. Like Second Life, I think a lot of the story was obfuscated by the endless affairs for me, but unlike Second Life, this novel did a better job of actually getting to “the point.” Essbaum is a wonderful writer who wove the main character’s therapy sessions (and psychological theories) with language, how we use it (and how it might reflect our personalities – I loved that part), and just more than I can fit in this review.

The Rule of Four

The Rule of Four

I really enjoyed this novel. It was a less complicated and less adventurous DaVinici Code or National History [I only watched the movies… and National History was just a movie I liked. Don’t judge 😉 ].

classics

Ruth
Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)]

Where Angels Fear to Tread

where angels fear to tread

I didn’t love this novel, but I didn’t hate it. It was kind of sad.

The Reluctant Widow

the reluctant widow

This novel had a lot more murder and intrigue than I’m used to in Heyer novels!

The Nonesuch
the nonesuch

A typical Heyer novel, but in a good way.

Drumroll… it took me two months this time…

finished summer reading challenge

You can read my projected list here, but my actual list is here! They aren’t very similar, like my winter lists. I want to thank Megan for hosting these seasonal challenges because they stretch me, and I look forward to them!

read theseThe Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England – If you like historical fiction, this was a wonderful companion to help make sense of the novels, but it is not a light read.

Modern Romance – Listen if you can!

if you have time

Where They Found Her

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) – if you like “cozy mysteries.” (Apparently this is a genre).

don't bother smaller

The Kind Worth Killing

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

May 2015
April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015


My Top 10

Today I’m linking up with Broke and Bookish to talk about my Top 10 Favorite Books that I’ve read so far this year. Earlier this year, I was supposed to write about my favorite books from the past few years, but I limited it to the past year because, well, let’s face it, I didn’t read much after college. (I’m a terrible English major, I know…)

In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorites that I’ve read so far in 2015! (The titles are clickable to get to the Goodreads page!)

Astonish Me Title

astonish me

 

This wasn’t a light read, but it was thought provoking and interesting.

modern romance title

Modern Romance

Oh, wow. Stick around for my full review tomorrow, but it was hilarious, well researched, and informative.

 

Yes Please

yes please

Amy Poehler was hilarious and candid in this autobiography. Loved it.

Where All Light Tends to Go title

Where All Light Tends to Go

David Joy wrote a heart-wrenching and beautiful novel. I can’t wait to read more from him in the future.

dear daughter title

Dear Daughter

While Dear Daughter was no great work of literature, it was hysterical. I also think I read it at the right point in my life when I really needed something funny.

everything changes title

everything changes

I’ve read all but on Tropper novel. This novel, which was written earlier in his career, didn’t have the ambiguous ending that Tropper seems to be favoring these years, so I liked the cleaner, warmer ending.The Bookman's Tale Title

the bookman's tale

I read Lovett’s second novel, first. I backtracked and read his first novel, which I loved even more. In fact, it’s one of my favorite that I read this year!

Into the Tangle of Friendship Title

into the tangle of friendship

I don’t typically read non-fiction or memoirs. However, I picked up Kephart’s memoir on friendship because friendship is a topic that is near, or shall I say, very far, from my heart right now. I honestly enjoyed her reflections, especially on how she has wanted friendships that never turned into anything, watching her son make friends on the playground, or how she maintained friends throughout the years.

 

 

The Invention of Wings Title 2

The Invention of Wings

My first exposure to Sue Monk Kidd was The Secret Life of Bees, which I read for my Southern Lit class in college. When I picked up The Invention of Wings when I saw it popping up all over my Goodreads feed, I knew that I had to read it. I couldn’t put it down!

This is Where I Leave You title

this is where i leave you

This is Where I Leave You was the first Tropper novel that I read. I picked it up because the movie version was star-packed. Once I read the novel, though, I was confused about how it would translate onto the screen, since the novel is mostly introspective. In my opinion, it didn’t translate well, despite the excellent work by all of the actors and the fact that Tropper wrote the screenplay. So, I highly recommend the novel over the movie. But, watch the movie if you have two hours because the star-studded film was still kind of fun.

What have been the best novels you’ve read so far this year?

 

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: link up, Reading Tags: , , ,
Summer Reading Challenge Results

 


Summer Reading Challenge Results: Seriously, Sarah?

I would like to thank Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for hosting a twice a year reading challenge. Last winter was my first participation, in which I I read everything within a month! It took two months this time, but I liked it because it pushed me to read books that I had meant to read or books that had been on my “I would like to read one day… maybe…” list outside of my comfort zone!

Here are the final results!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #2)

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

I was definitely disappointed in how much it overlapped with the first book in the series. If I could give half stars, it would be 2.5 because it wasn’t terrible, but there wasn’t anything earth shattering in the WWII research, of course, and there wasn’t even much detail on the clothes, manners, or things that I found fascinating in the first book.
Those things were mentioned, but inconsistently. It felt like if the author needed to fill some space, she’d throw it in there, instead of focusing on it.

Pages: 368


10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due  to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

Pages: 283


10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

Pages: 320


10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.

We Were Liars

we were liars

I have heard a lot about this novel. It won a Goodreads award, of course. I haven’t read anything similar like it in a long time, so I did enjoy it. I was a bit (and still confused) why the main character called her friends “The Liars” from the very first, but I’m sure that’s a spoiler. I read the Kindle version fairly quickly. It was short, interesting, and very trendy.

Pages: 227


15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.

Don’t Try to Find Me

don't try to find me

Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don’t buy the publisher’s advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. This novel did fulfill a summer reading challenge requirement, which was a plus, since it was an easy read.

Pages:  384


15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)

Ruth
Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

Pages: 499


15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to GoI’m really glad that I took a chance on this novel. I did need something with “light” in the title for a reading challenge, but when Audible recommended it, it seemed to be the perfect Southern Lit book for me. I can’t wait to read more from David Joy in the future.
I have to say that the novel seemed all too heartbreakingly realistic. Joy did a great job writing beautifully about the messy side of life in the rural South.

Pages: 260


20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.

Jamacia Inn

jamacia inn

Ehh, this has to be my least favorite du Maurier novel, and I love her novels. It was predictable and kind of cheesy.

Pages: 320


20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.

A Civil Contract

a civil contract

This novel, by an author that I obviously like, was read for the Summer Reading Challenge to fulfill the category for a novel with an animal on the cover. I listened to the version with the horse on it!

a civil contract animal cover

Pages: 320


25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

Pages: 309 / At least 11 novels in the series


25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long.

The Way We Live Now

the way we live now

Sorry, Trollope you could have cut this book by at least 1/4. However, I still liked it.

Pages: 1024


30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

Pages: 369


 

Now, I’ll have to read books from my other challenges and maybe a few of my fun books from my Summer Reading list… or even some from my Spring Reading list!

 

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, Reading Challenge Tags: , , ,
My Top 10 Summer Reading List 2015 Picks


Summer Reading List 2015 from Seriously, Sarah?

I have been letting reading challenges dictate a lot of my reading choices, and likely, I probably still will. However, if I were to disregard all challenges, these would be the 10 novels on my Summer Reading List 2015! These aren’t the latest, greatest, or even classic beach reads. Just 10 books that I’d like to knock out this summer.

Don’t forget to stop by the bottom and let me know what you’re reading this summer, so I can get a few more ideas!

Linking up with Broke and Bookish for Top 10 Tuesday.

Second Life

second life

I know the reviews on Goodreads aren’t great right now, but I loved the author’s first novel so much that I absolutely want to read this one. I picked this one up on Audible since my credits were piling up.

The Book Thief

the book thief

I’ve had this novel sitting on my shelf for awhile. And by sitting on my shelf, I mean, I have the audio. It’s kind of long, but I really want to listen. I know that it’s supposed to be a wonderful novel. I will finally get to it!

How to Talk to a Widower

how to talk to a widower

I think this is the last Jonathan Tropper novel that I need to read. I have at least enjoyed, if not loved, every novel that I’ve read by him. I can’t wait to read it this summer. Actually, I listened to all of the other novels, but this was the only one that I picked up in paperback instead, so it will be interesting to read. I had a harder time listening to some of the novels because the narrator was the same guy who did Atlas Shrugged and a bunch of other novels.

How to Be Both

how to be both

I always like to peruse the Man Booker prize long list and this novel caught my eye last year. While this novel seems a little dense, I do think it seems interesting. It seemed too confusing to listen to, so I’m going to try to read the ebook. We’ll see how that goes.

The Invisible Circus

The Invisible Circus

I thought that A Visit from the Goon Squad was one of the most innovative novels that I had ever read. I picked up a used copy of The Invisible Circus and can’t wait to read more of Egan’s work. I was able to get this one through Paperback Swap (I think…) so I’ll see how reading, rather than listening goes, first.

The Nightingale

the nightingale

This newly released novel definitely caught my attention. I picked up an audio version.

The House at Riverton

the house at riverton

This is a Kate Morton novel that I haven’t read, yet! I have decided that I will read this one. My mom listened to the audio and loved it, so I decided to listen to it. After this, I will still need to read The Distant Hours. Oh, and her new release this fall!

Modern Romance

modern romance

Who doesn’t love Aziz Ansari? I can’t wait to read his take on modern relationships. They confuse me. I still don’t know how I ended up married. Insert over-medicated joke

Call the Midwife

call the midwife

My aunt and lots of other people have gushed about this novel. So, I guess I will read this over the summer!

Last Night in Montreal

last night in montreal

I absolutely loved Station Eleven, so I picked up some used novels by the same author. I hope to read some, including Last Night in Montreal over the summer.

What is on your Summer Reading List 2015?

Don’t forget that you can be my Goodreads friend here!

You can read reviews from my prior review roundups here.

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Tags: , , ,
What I Read Last Month: April


What I Read April

I broke up the novels between contemporary and classic, as usual. If you scroll to the bottom, you can see the ones that I would say to definitely read, read if you have time, or skip all together.

The reviews are a lot shorter than normal. I had been trying to keep reviews on Goodreads as I went or typing them up here, but that didn’t happen this month. I just formatted and wrote “review.”

I’ll just go ahead and blame my busyness with the Summer reading challenge for the short reviews, but the truth is that I am forcing myself to smile as I type to get through the pain. This is my favorite post each month, even though it has lost its popularity. I guess I’ll at least be able to look back on it as a reading diary of sorts!

Contemporary

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

Lady Almina and the Real Downton AbbeyRating: 4/5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about life during the time period, as well as the house that inspired Downton Abbey. The fact that there is some Egyptian treasure hunting and the discovery of a very famous tomb didn’t hurt the story, either!

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

 Rating: 4/5 Stars

The beginning of this book was a little bit slow. I’m not sure if I read the information in another book or watched it in some type of documentary (I’ve never taken a psychology class), but it wasn’t new information. A few of the chapters were more about companies or organizations, but they were still interesting.

I really enjoyed the diagrams. At the beginning of the book, I could see more of how things like “keystone” habits have worked in my life before, rather than how to create them in my own life now. Fortunately, Duhigg included some emails from readers, plus the appendix had helpful information. Overall, the book was super interesting. I don’t read many “self help” or non fiction books, but I loved this.

Love in the Time of Cholera

love in the time of cholera

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I’m definitely not one to blush at a novel, but this one definitely centered heavily on the aspects of sex in the relationships between men and women, both married and unmarried. The descriptions weren’t graphic, but the writer really explored the implications of relationships where sex was the foundation and where sex wasn’t, and how they were different. Not my usual cup of tea.

This novel fulfills a requirement for my 50 “classic” books because it is older than 25 years, but I’m including it in contemporaries.

Everything Changes

everything changes

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is an earlier Tropper novel. If you like his novels, I highly recommend it. He is great at juxtaposing heart-wrenching, dysfunctional family moments next to some laugh out loud scenes. He strikes a great balance. Also, I’ve kind of been reading his novels in reverse order that they were written, so I’ve noticed that he’s going more ambiguous with his endings as time goes on. I particularly liked the ending of this novel, not to give too much away.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

the girl who kicked the hornet's nest

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This was a long one, but I’m glad I finished all three novels. I liked the character development, although I would have liked to see some of the characters change a little bit for the better; however, too much change probably would not have been realistic.
The final novel brought the entire story full circle, which I really did not see happening!

The Secret Place

The Secret Place

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I absolutely loved this novel. I had read some more negative reviews, which is why I held off on the long novel. I did listen on audio, though. I started reading the series last summer and read a few and listened to a few. Generally, I loved to listen to the Irish narrators, however, I couldn’t wait for this to end from the narration standpoint. Since the novel is about the murder of a high school boy that takes place on the grounds of an all girls boarding school, the detectives interview a ton of teenagers. I’m sure French must have written the dialogue to mimic the way an Irish teenager would talk, but listening to an adult male mimic a teenage girl (mostly girls) for most of the 20 hours was frustrating and probably a poor choice for production. Still, the story was so good that I could get around that.

Plain Truth

Plain Truth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This was my first Picoult novel. I was interested in it because it involved a mystery. Since I wanted to try one of her novels, I figured that I should chose one that had a plot that seemed like one I might pick no matter who the author was. Again, I listened to this on audio. Big Mistake. I’ve never really read any fiction with Amish characters, but I’ve seen a few TV shows. The narration was horribly annoying, and I imagine would have been slightly offensive to any Amish listeners. Hearing the narrator switch back and forth between the brash Pittsburgh lawyer and the overly-meek Amish girl and then her family was distracting. I guess that I just want to hear the story and prefer that the narrators keep their storybook voices for reading their own children to bed.

classics

The American

the american

Rating: 3/5 Stars

This book wasn’t a horror novel like Turn of the Screw, but it definitely creeped me out a lot. It’s not for everyone; it’s especially not for people who are not specific Henry James fans.

The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This novel was much more sad than I anticipated after reading Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, which was written later, though. I did love it, though.

The Moonstone

the moonstone

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I liked this novel for what it was. I thought it was an interesting glimpse into the Colonial world that was fascinated by all things “other,” to the point that they thought there were magical powers in diamonds, etc. The absolutely terrible detective work, if you could call it that, was funny. I did enjoy that like The Woman in White, this novel was also told in the past tense, but in chronological order, by observers of “the crime.” The second observer, though, who was obviously meant to make fun of the evangelical Christians of the day, was a bit over the top and got on my nerves. I almost put the novel down.

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Mystery and Manners Occasional Prose

Rating: 4/5 Stars

If you are a Flannery O’Connor fan (or have to write a paper about anything she’s written), I highly recommend this book.

The King’s General

the king's general

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

While this novel did rely on some Gothic standards, it was not what I was expecting from du Maurier, after reading Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel. It is not much of a Gothic novel at all. It does tell the story of a little studied English Civil War, while the main character, who is paralyzed, flagrantly thumbs her nose at all social conventions. It is a tense story because you are always wondering if she is on the “right” side.

Sprig Muslin

Sprig Muslin

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Ehhhh. Not a great Heyer novel, like when I compare it to my favorites, but it didn’t actually make me angry for creating dumb female characters who were dependent on villainous male characters, either. Just below average.

Mary Anne

mary anne

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I found this du Maurier novel based on her great-great grandmother extremely interesting and a worthwhile read, even though the main character is entirely unsympathetic, in my opinion. Some people might find her determination to survive at all costs sympathetic; however, I think she got greedy. It was an interesting look at the English legal system and the role of women.

There was a particularly humorous and observant quote (I forgot to write it down and can’t find it anywhere) at the beginning of the novel made by the “child” version of Mary Anne, who sees men as weak creatures after watching her stepfather and younger brothers, yet realizing that even though they are much weaker than women, they hold the purse strings and run society.

read these

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Everything Changes [If you like Tropper novels.]

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose [If you like O’Connor or Literary Theory/Criticism.]

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

if you have time

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

The Secret Place
don't bother smaller

The American

Sprig Muslin

 

During May, I’ll be reading novels for Megan’s Summer Reading Challenge. You can read my picks here. I’ll probably be slowed down by a few lengthy and a few more paperbacks than normal, plus I anticipate even more pain this month than last. I tried to pick a few fun ones, but not everything on my list is my dream book. So, we’ll just have to see!

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

March 2015
February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: February


Here’s what I read last month! Again, I am working on reading classics for my two classics challenges (here and here), my TBR pile challenge, plus since I’m working on more personal essays, I’ve been reading anthologies of personal essays and creative nonficton. Those are kind of dense and slowing down my total number of novels, of course!

What I Read Last Month: February

 

I was kind of disappointed in myself this month. I normally read about 20 books a month. I always try to outread myself. It’s silly, but it’s just the way I work. I can’t even say that I finished a season of The Good Wife or anything. In fact, I don’t think I watched a single episode. I was so terribly sick that I couldn’t do more than read and reread the same sentences over and over. I couldn’t follow along with audiobooks. As I went through my Goodreads account, I saw that I went an entire week without finishing a book. That’s not normal for me.

I will admit that many of these novels are on the shorter side. I padded the numbers. And I admit it. I already owned them and meant to read them. I just read them all at the end of February haha.

 

Contemporary

King and Maxwell

king and maxwell

Rating: ***

I finally finished all of the King and Maxwell Series. I don’t regret reading all of them, but, they are no works of greatness. Again, the production of the audio version made me feel embarrassed for Baldacci. I got used to having two narrators, but the music was terrible.
However, I’m getting a little tired of all of these revenge conspiracy theories. I keep reading and waiting for King and Maxwell to just get together. Get together already.

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

careless people

Rating: ****

I wanted to read this during Jazz Age January, but I didn’t have time. So, I started it at the beginning of February. It was so interesting because it discusses the Fitzgeralds, who I find fascinating, but it also gives tons of context. I haven’t read many non-fiction books that talk about how murders were investigated during the 1920’s, how bootlegging worked, and what life was like for people in the 1920’s. Churchwell does a great job of writing about the era and relating it to how it relates to the book The Great Gatsby. I highly recommend this for anyone who is fascinated by the era!
One of the really cool chapters was where Churchwell lists all of the new words or phrases that were created and coined during the jazz age. The list is fascinating and illuminates a lot about the time period. Churchwell also includes contemporary literary criticism about Fitgerald’s work, which is more fascinating than the current criticism.

 The Lover’s Dictionary

the lovers dictionary

Rating: ****

I loved the unique way this story was told. The story, which is not told chronologically, was a short, but interesting read. I had a little bit of hard time telling which definition was being told from whose point of view, but I think some were meant to be ambiguous. I could be wrong. It was definitely worth the read. I won’t ruin it for you!

Joyland

joyland

Rating: ****

This was my first Stephen King novel. I’ve watched a ton of movies and mini-series inspired by his novels over the years, but I don’t think I ever appreciated his writing until now. Even though this was a fairly short book, it was easy to tell what a master of story telling King is because he made me laugh, cry, and get a little scared, all in one short book. I can’t wait to read more of his novels.

Moral Disorder

moral disorder

Rating: ***

I liked the short stories and the ways that they weaved together, yet I just didn’t love it the way I’ve loved other Atwood novels.

Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1)

only time will tell

Rating: 2.5

Oh dear. I read this one at the recommendation of my mother, who has read every Archer book ever. I am no longer taking her recommendations. Only Time Will Tell feels like a poor man’s Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, except Archer intends to drag this one out to the bitter end. Like the King & Maxwell series that I always read against my better judgement, this ends on a cliff-hanger, so you will go back for more. I will, just because I occasionally enjoy a mindless audiobook while I lay in bed/drift off to sleep. But, I could walk away and never think about this series again.

If you are interested in reading this series, the Kindle version is on sale at the time of writing for $3. I’m guessing this is because the newest book in the series is being released soon!

One Last Thing Before I Go

one last thing before i go

Rating: ****

I read my first Tropper novel last month. I couldn’t wait to read more! And ok, I’ll admit that I kind of teared up at the end. The novel is a moving examination of a dysfunctional family, which after reading This is Where I Leave You by Tropper, it seems like he might specialize in. At first, I definitely did not like the main character, but he grew on me the more I understood him.
Again, I like the kind of ambiguous endings that Tropper employs because I’m so used to tidy ones. I’m definitely not putting this particular novel in my favorite novels, but I am going to be reading even more Tropper novels.

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship: How to Support Your Partner and Keep Your Relationship Healthy

ptsd

Rating: Unknown- It depends on what you need

I checked this book out of the library to better understand what my family is going through. I am not a counselor/have no training, so I have no idea how valid the points in the book are, but a lot of it rang true for me.
I could see myself in the description of the patients, and I could definitely see the self destructive cycle that England calls “Victim-Rescuer-Persecutor” triangle. The book, which is fairly recent, provides website resources for counseling, group therapy, and other important resources. There are also very practical tips for family members who are trying to show someone with PTSD that they need help.
I do think that the book is mostly aimed at PTSD patients who are veterans, but is suited as for families for patients who were victims of a crime.

The Writing Life

the writing life

Rating: ****

This novel was extremely interesting. I prefer to write essays and haven’t caught the book writing bug, though Dillard makes an argument for one long book, rather than lots of smaller essays. However, her tortured artist passages scared me away from attempting anything longer than several thousand words.
I loved Dillard’s look at art as everything from painting to airshow flying. Mostly, I love her style, the details she includes, and they way she weaves something that seems unimportant into a main theme, later in the writing.

Astonish Me

astonish me

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. It had twists, turns, love, broken love, dance, hopes, dreams, and losing everything. This novel was not neat. It was not tidy. It was beautiful.

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen

first impressions

Rating: ***

While I wouldn’t say that this novel is based on any Austen plots, I do think that it’s obvious from the start (and Lovett says in interviews) that the main character has her own Darcy and Wickham-esque to deal with. I thought that I noticed this as I read the novel, but wasn’t sure. After I read the novel, I did a quick internet search!

 

classics

 

Wessex Tales

wessex tales

Rating: ***

Some of these stories were insanely creepy. I can see why they are included in anthologies with Poe. I also think this was my last Hardy novel (well, short stories) to read!

The End of the Affair

the end of the affair

Rating: ***

This was an interesting novella. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it is not at the top of my recommendation list.
I honestly enjoyed the novella a little bit more in hindsight when I looked up some more information about the author and criticism of the novella. Putting it in context would have made the novella more entertaining, but I was afraid of spoiling the book!
It didn’t hurt that I listened to the audio version read by Collin Firth… 🙂

The House in Paris

the house in paris

Rating: ***

It took me a while to get through this book. The prose was very thick, so to speak. There were beautiful details and insight into human nature, but the French characters who spoke broken English made it harder to understand the middle part. I am glad I read the book, but I would not recommend that anyone rush to read it immediately.

The Convenient Marriage

the convienent marriage

Rating: **

Just not funny. I prefer Heyer’s funny novels. All these villains and “silly” women kind of rub me the wrong way.

Listened:

New category! I finally listened to all of the Serial Podcast. My husband and I listened to it together, which was really fun. He’s definitely not a reader, but listening was good. And I have a law enforcement background, so I had fun being like “well, what about…?” and then the lawyer/DC detective/journalist would bring the same thing up.

thisAmericanLife1

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

January 2015
December 2014

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that helps defray the cost of running the blog.

Linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: January

what i read last month

I definitely didn’t read as much as usual last month. I meant to read a lot more, but I actually went almost two weeks without finishing a book. I think I volunteered for way too many books to review, so the pressure got to me, so I just didn’t read anything. And I discovered The Good Wife.

Contemporary

Dept. of Speculation

book recommendations dept of speculation
Rating: ****

I don’t want to give anything about the plot away, so I’ll just say that it is beautifully written. The third person narrative that is sprinkled with poetry, scientific facts, and all other sorts of prose is unique and makes for a great story. The story tugged at my heart. It’s amazing that I could be emotionally invested in the emotions of a character only called “the wife.”

The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition

book recommendations grief recovery

Rating:****

I read a review of this book on The Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. I have been dealing with the loss of my health for a long time, but I never thought of it in terms of grieving. I’m not a counselor or psychologist, so I don’t know if this book is completely accurate or for everyone, but the first 5 chapters were extremely helpful for me. The workbook portion seemed more appropriate for death, divorce, or even grieving for cumulative losses caused by childhood and other circumstances–basically things that have to do with relationships. While the addendum at the end of the book says that the exercises can be done about your relationship with your health, it’s almost too complicated for me (they want a timeline, discussions, etc.)

The first 5 chapters or so, though, are applicable to anyone going through a hard emotional time because everything from depression to anxiety seems to be related to unmet expectations (for whatever reason) and it is important to grieve and process the lost dreams that come from losing your health, job, friends, or anything. Not the perfect book for Chronic Illness, but helpful and I will probably reread the beginning from time to time.

Dark Places

dark places

 

Rating: ***

I really enjoyed this novel. It was a fascinating read, plus it was nice to see how Gillian Flynn evolved as a writer between Dark Places and Gone Girl. You can read all of my thoughts from a book club link up here!

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

Lizzy & Jane

lizzy and jane

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. You can read my full review here!

The Girl on the Train

books like gone girl

Rating: 2.5

I was really looking forward to this novel because it was promoted as a multi-view narrated novel in the vein of Gone Girl. The ending was not what I expected, which saved this book from being a zero. It was interesting enough to keep reading it to find out what happened, but it was by no means a book that I would rush to recommend.

Girl, Interrupted

girl interrupted

Rating: ****

I ended up loving this novel. At first, the anecdotes at the beginning were amusing, funny, or sad, but not quite good enough to make me read it quickly; however, I got to the second half of the novel and stayed up late reading! That’s when it all comes together and Kaysen really pulls no punches when talking about her views on her diagnosis.

P.S. This is currently on sale for $3 on Kindle! I paid more for a used copy awhile back!

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

This Is Where I Leave You

this is where i leave you

 

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. The first half felt like it was filled with a little fluff–sex/pseudo-sex scenes that were kind of unnecessary. However, I couldn’t put the last half down. The novel is more character driven than plot driven, which made it a fascinating look at the inner mind of the main character and his family’s dynamics. I watched the movie the day after I finished the novel. While the movie was still good, I definitely preferred the novel, where I got a much better look into the main character’s mind. I will say that the all-star cast of the movie, though, made it a great watch, just to see the actors working together!

classics

Cranford

book recommendations cranford

Rating: ****

This short(er) novel from Gaskell was much more fun and lighthearted than North and South, the only other novel that she wrote that I have read. I enjoyed the fist person narrative about the “quiet” country town that was anything but quiet. It was full of quirky characters who had a touching dedication to helping their neighbors–no matter how silly the circumstance might be.

The Beautiful and Damned

book recommendations the beautiful and damned

Rating: ***

I really wish that I had read this before I read a biography of the Fitzgeralds’ since it is semi-autobiographical. It was a little predictable because of that. I also wish that I had read This Side of Paradise first, since it was Fitzgerald’s breakout novel.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

book recommendations lady chatterley's lover
This novel was very interesting because I read it immediately following The Beautiful and Damned. The novel takes place during the Jazz Age, also, but it takes place in the UK. It dealt a lot with social classes, like The Beautiful and Damned, but it referred to World War I and the class changes a lot more than Fitzgerald. Money was discussed at length in both novels. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is much more explicit with sex than The Beautiful and Damned, which danced around the topic much more. Honestly, I was completely shocked that this novel was published in the 1920’s, due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes and language. Lady Chatterley’s Lover does mention jazz, dancing, and bobbed hair in passing, but it more about what love, sex, and intimacy means to men and to women. Lawrence wrestles with the three (love, sex, and intimacy) to see where and if they overlap with each other, plus how men and women might view them differently! Women and aristocratic women, specifically, are held to a different standard in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as opposed to The Beautiful and Damned, where the men seem to be falling over themselves to make the American women happy.

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

Madame Bovary

Madam Bovary

Rating: ***

I didn’t love this, but I didn’t hate it. It’s not on my list of books to recommend to anyone, anytime soon. Honestly, I didn’t find Madame Bovary very sympathetic. I know the point that the author was trying to make, but it got lost among the tedious whining and immorality of Emma (Madame Bovary). I know that social conventions were different when the novel was written and where it was written, but that doesn’t change the fact that the main character was written in such a way that I really wanted her to be unhappy.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

the talented mr ripley

While I enjoyed the novel, I hated the fact that the novel ended on a cliff hanger! You have to read the entire series to get the whole story! I couldn’t bear 3 more novels of reading the tedious thoughts of the main character. He’s actually kind of boring for a murderer.

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

This Side of Paradise

this side of paradise

Rating: ***

I wanted to read this novel because it was the novel that gave Fitzgerald his start. Again, not my favorite book, but I can appreciate it for what it was, a portrait of the “lost generation.”

The Sound and the Fury

the sound and fury

Rating: **

Ok, I love Faulkner. Sanctuary and Absolom, Absolom are two of my favorite novels ever. This one, however, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll try it again some day!

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

Adam Bede

adam bede

Rating: ***

I did enjoy this novel, however it was not Middlemarch. It wasn’t close. It felt like an early Thomas Hardy novel. The rural setting, unrequited love, odd/far-fetched situations, and may an attempt to make commentary on social mores and hypocrisy left me feeling like I really did just read something along the lines of The Mayor of Casterbridge (minus the the whole wife selling thing…).

I definitely enjoyed it, but I guess I was looking for something either along the lines of Middlemarch or something more original than an early Hardy novel with a slightly happier (only slightly) ending. So, if you DO want more Hardy novels, read this.

I Capture the Castle

IMG_5694 (1)

This novel was a reread for me! You can read all of my thoughts from a book club link up here! (Josie enjoyed it, too!)

Couldn’t Finish

This is a new category for me. I had to quit a book about half-way through this month.

Call Me Zelda

call me zelda

This novel was marketed as a fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald’s life after she was institutionalized.  The story is told from the point of view of a nurse who is taking care of her. The nurse’s story was distracting, but what was worse was the fact that there was no new information. Because I had read other novels about Zelda Fitzgerald, I knew the general gist of her life. Most of those books, though, end once she is sent to the psychiatric hospital. Instead of this novel telling me about what it was like for her there, the emphasis was on Zelda rehashing her past, as she worked on her autobiographically based novel, Save Me a Waltz. At the half-way point, I decided that it wasn’t worth my time.

Living Well, Spending Less

living well spending less

Literally, not figuratively, the worst book I’ve ever tried to read. Full review on the first half of this drivel here.

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Titles linked to Goodreads are available for little to no cost on Amazon. Get reading!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
Books Like Gone Girl: Recommendations

Updated August 2016

Are you looking for more books like Gone Girl? I’ve put together a list of books like Gone Girl that share a common thread: you can’t always trust the people you love or think you can trust.

I was inspired to write this list as I read Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places for the Between the Lines book club (hosted by Love the Here and Now & Chits and Giggles). That got me thinking about how much I loved Gone Girl  and Dark Places. Over the past year or so, I’ve read a ton of books that fall into that vein of psychological thrillers. Most of them are new and were published in the wake of Gone Girl’s popularity, but I’m going to throw in a few good classic novels for you, too!

Some of these are quick, young adult reads, and others are longer, darker novels. I particularly find classic mystery novels interesting because I can read the inspirations for some new and popular novels!

Contemporary:

The Truth About Alice

books like gone girl

The Truth About Alice follows the story of a high school girl who is accused of a myriad of terrible things. The story is told from different points of view from people in the town.

The Silent Wife

the silent wife

This psychological thriller follows a woman who resigns herself to a partnership (not marriage) with a man who is not faithful for her. She tries to tell herself that it is what she wants, but she finds out that it is not what she wants.

Everything I Never Told You

everythig i never told you

Everything I Never Told You reconstructs the story of a girl who is found dead. You don’t want to read anything else about it before you read it. #nospoilershere

The Good Girl

the good girl

Again, this novel is told from multiple points of view, in a non-linear fashion. Just wait for the twists!

Before I Go To Sleep

before i go to sleep

This novel, recently turned into a movie, is completely captivating. While the main character is learning how to live a life where she wakes up every morning with no memory, she also has to figure out who she can trust.

The Weight of Blood

the weight of blood

This mother-daughter story toggles between the past and present, as the main character tries to understand her missing mother’s assumed suicide.

Reconstructing Amelia

reconstructing amelia

I enjoyed this book because it is told through prose, emails, text messages, and newsletters. The story is about a mother who is trying to uncover what really happened in her daughter’s life, leading up to her death. There are twists and turns around every corner. I loved the way that the different types of writing were put together in a non-linear fashion to create a cool story.

The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, Book 2)

the likeness

Out of all of the Dublin Murder Squad series, I thought this one was the most psychologically thrilling of the entire series. The story follows the detective as she goes undercover to impersonate a murdered woman, in order to find out the identity of the killer. Going undercover and assuming the identity of the woman not only messes with the detective’s own mind, but complicates so many relationships. It was so creepy that I couldn’t put it down because I had to know the resolution!

Defending Jacob

defending jacob

Oh, wow. I never saw the end of this one coming. It was a quick read that caught me completely off guard.

Dear Daughter

dear daughter

While Dear Daughter was no great work of literature, it was hysterical. I also think I read it at the right point in my life when I really needed something funny. However, it’s still a thriller, which I thought was a nice combination.

Second Life

second life

It took over half of the novel for the story to start to “come together.” And by “come together,” I mean that the torrid affair scenes cooled down enough for the story to move forward. In the end, Watson made a good point about life, but it got lost in pandering to trendy literature. [Note for other readers: This book is not PG-13. It might test the limits of R ratings, if you’re not comfortable with reading that. And some of it was gratuitous, whereas some added to the plot.]

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her

I found this novel more “adult” than the author’s first novel, Reconstructing Amelia, which seemed more young adult. It wasn’t the best novel that I’ve ever read, but I liked it. It kept me guessing until the end. I read the hardback instead of listening, since I read that the novel would be told through several mediums – like Reconstructing Amelia, which used text messages, instant messages, emails, and many types of prose. There weren’t as many in this novel, but I still liked it.

Pretty Girls

pretty girls

One of the more gruesome and graphic novels of the Gone Girl-vein. I had to put it down for awhile in order to avoid nightmares.

The Luckiest Girl Alive

luckiest girl alive

The title and synopsis kind of made it seem like Luckiest Girl Alive would be super trashy and smutty, but it wasn’t. It didn’t have a neat or tidy ending, so the reader isn’t sure what the main character of Luckiest Girl Alive is going to do after the novel ends, but the reader does know that she learned something about herself and life from her experiences, which makes an ambigious ending a good one.
I will say that it’s not the best book ever because I have a hard time recalling the plot less than a month later, but it was really entertaining at the time. So, it’s better than some other thrillers out there–some that I’m leaving off of my list on purpose.

Don’t Try to Find Me

don't try to find me

Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don’t buy the publisher’s advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. However, it’s a quick read.

Classics:

Murder on the Orient Express

murder on the orient express

This classic novel will leave you guessing about the ending, right up until the end!

Rebecca

rebecca

This is one of my favorite novels, ever. I would argue that this gothic novel is one of the best mysteries that I’ve ever read. While the plot is a little more traditional than Gone Girl, it is still thrilling right up until the end! It proves that you can’t always trust the people that you think you can, just like Gone Girl.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

the talented mr ripley

Don’t laugh, but I’ve only ever seen bits and pieces of the movie version on TV. So, I decided that it would be nice to read the book before sitting down to watch the entire movie. When I decided to read the book, I didn’t realize that it was only the first novel in a famous mystery series! Again, this is a novel where people should not trust each other!

A Kiss Before Dying

a kiss before dyingThis was a great novel! On one hand, it seemed far fetched, but on the other hand, it seemed plausible, because people are c-r-a-z-y. The novel was also interesting because of the way that Levin incorporated a twist, but instead of waiting until the end of the novel, he lets you in on what’s really going on about 1/3 of the way into the novel. That way, you feel like a co-conspirator with the narrator.

Lady Audley’s Secret

lady audley's secret

This classic book was fascinating. The story was good, but the best part was that it was crime novel with cut-throat woman who will do anything to get what she wants (which is a foil to her angelic look) that was written and published in the mid-1800’s. I just don’t ever think of that type of literature being written and published at that time because it challenges a lot of proper stereotypes!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Tags: , , ,