We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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Title: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Author: Lionel Shriver

Pages: 400

Publisher: Harper Perennial (was originally published by Counterpoint LLC)

Publication Date: 2003

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Now a major motion picture by Lynne Ramsay, starring Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly,Lionel Shriver’s resonant story of a mother’s unsettling quest to understandher teenage son’s deadly violence, her own ambivalence toward motherhood, andthe explosive link between them reverberates with the haunting power of highhopes shattered by dark realities. Like Shriver’s charged and incisive laternovels, including So Much for That and The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin isa piercing, unforgettable, and penetrating exploration of violence, familyties, and responsibility, a book that the Boston Globedescribes as“sometimes searing . . . [and] impossible to put down.”

Goodreads

I love this book. It is such an exploration of motherhood, femininity, and America’s culture of violence in schools. This book was written in 1999 which makes it even more heartbreaking that this book is still so relevant to the world we live in. This book is so much more than just an in depth look at the mother of a school murderer. To classify it as such is an injustice because the real heart of this book is motherhood. The struggles of motherhood. The sacrifices of motherhood. Is it even possible to mother a child who seems/is so inherently evil?

This book is told through letters from Eva to her husband Franklin. The letters tell a chronological story of how, why and what happened to lead up to this horrible event. There is also a good sprinkling throughout the letters of what has happened post event. Telling the story this way is so brilliant because the letters are inherently intimate due to the nature of Eva and Franklin’s relationship. Also, Shriver has such a beautiful way with words where she can so easily show the reader Eva’s struggles with mothering Kevin.

Kevin is quite simply every parents worst nightmare. I can’t even imagine how anyone could parent a child like Kevin. Most of the letters center around how Eva can plainly see and feels from the beginning that something is not right with her son. On the other hand, Franklin has an excuse for everything that Kevin did and sometimes even encourages the behavior. It was infuriating to read sometimes because I just wanted to shake Franklin and scream at him to listen to his wife. It is not just Eva who can see that Kevin does not behave like he should but Franklin makes excuses about that too. My take on Franklin is that he had the biggest blinders on because he just loved Kevin so much that he actually wasn’t capable of seeing what everyone else could see.

I adored the character of Eva. I found her to be real and relatable. There are many instances in the book where Eva says she is a bad mother or questions what kind of a mother she is but I never once thought that she was a bad mother. I think that her husband influenced a lot of her negative thoughts about herself as a mother. I will even go so far as to say that Kevin might have turned out differently if she had been able to mother him the way she wanted. I see this book as a failure of the father and not the mother. It was so obvious to me that she was devoted to Kevin and even if she didn’t/doesn’t like Kevin she has still never turned her back on him. She was always there  with him and for him. One of the most consistent things in the book is that Eva is always trying with Kevin. Kevin truly does some awful stuff and there is his mother, always right in his corner. How can that not be love? Liking someone is not a prerequisite of love. Also, who knows how Kevin would have turned out if Eva was able to discipline him and set boundaries with him. I’m not saying that he would have been miraculously a good person (in my opinion Kevin was either born evil or was born with a severe personality disorder. The book never makes the distinction either way.) but maybe things wouldn’t have gone down the way they did.

The beginning of the letters I struggled a little bit to get through but the majority of this book I flew through. I am still giving this book 5 stars though because I ended up just really loving the story and Eva’s character so much. She is so misunderstood but at the same time she isn’t perfect and is paying for her downfalls as a mother. However, no parent is perfect and I think one of the big questions that runs throughout the book is how responsible is a parent for their child’s actions? Or to phrase it another way: how much is nurture and how much is nature?

This book has been made into a movie that I can’t wait to watch. I know I won’t like it nearly as much (we all know that movies are never as good as books) but it’s still fun to watch. The movie is on Amazon Prime if any of you stream movies on there.

Happy reading (or watching)!

~Cassie

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Mini Reviews #1

In order to get all caught up on the SIXTY TWO books I read while I was taking my break from blogging, I have decided that it would be best if I just gave a sentence or two review for them. It would take me forever to catch up on all those reviews and still stay current with my recent reads. I am going to be working backwards so these will be the five books I read right before I got back into blogging.

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A woman stumbles onto a dark road in rural Oregon–tortured, battered, and bound. She tells a horrific story about being kidnapped, then tortured, until she finally managed to escape. She was the lucky one–two other women, with similar burns and bruises, were found dead.

The surviving victim identifies the house where she was held captive and the owner, Alex Mason–a prominent local attorney–is arrested. Although he loudly insists upon his innocence, his wife’s statements about his sexual sadism and the physical evidence found at the scene, his summer home, is damning.

Regina Barrister is a legendary criminal defense attorney, known as “The Sorceress” for her courtroom victories. But she’s got a secret, one that threatens her skill, her reputation, and, most of all, her clients. And she’s agreed to take on the seemingly impossible task of defending Alex Mason.

Robin Lockwood, a young lawyer and former MMA fighter, has just left a clerkship at the Oregon Supreme Court to work for Regina Barrister. The Alex Mason trial is her first big one, a likely death penalty case, and she’s second chair to Regina. Increasingly, she’s worried her boss’s behavior and the details in the case against their client don’t quite add up.

Goodreads

This was a decent crime thriller even though I figured out the twist pretty early on. The amnesia part of the story line was intriguing but I feel like there were some character’s perspectives that were unnecessary to read from.

Rating: 3/5

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Sloan will go through hell and back for those she loves.
And she does, every single day.
After finding herself stuck in a relationship with the dangerous and morally corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to get by until she’s able to find a way out.
Nothing will get in her way.
Nothing except Carter.

Sloan is the best thing to ever happen to Asa. And if you ask Asa, he’d say he’s the best thing to ever happen to Sloan. Despite Sloan’s disapproval of Asa’s sinister lifestyle, he does exactly what he needs to do in order to stay a step ahead in his business. He also does exactly what he needs to do in order to stay a step ahead of Sloan.
Nothing will get in his way.
Nothing except Carter.

From New York Times bestselling author, Colleen Hoover, writing as C. Hoover.
This book was originally written as a side project by the author. It previously appeared on other platforms under the same title, but has since been slightly edited from its original content and formatted specifically for kindle. Please note that the content of this book is more graphic than the content of other books written by this author, hence the distinction between the names. This title is recommended for mature audiences only due to extreme graphic content. Recommended for readers 18+.
Warning: For readers who might be triggered by sensitive subject matter, this book contains scenes which depict rape, murder and other graphic violence.

Goodreads

I really didn’t like this. There was no believability in any of the actions that the characters took and what really cemented my low rating of the book was the excessive epilogue. It was not needed and really brought down whatever good stuff this book had going for it. There is one scene in particular that really made me hate this book and I am annoyed now just thinking about it.

Rating: 1/5

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A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

Goodreads

This was an average domestic thriller. The main character, Heidi, could be annoying at times but her character arc in this book is brilliantly written. I also was shocked by the twist and I thought it was really well done. Some parts of the book dragged on but overall that was an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3/5

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Clare Henry’s snowy Star City, Utah, oasis turns deadly in the third Dangerous Type Mystery from the New York Timesbestselling author of Bookman Dead Style and To Helvetica and Back.

SOMETHING’S AFOOT….

The visit of quirky world-famous horror author Nathan Grimes to Star City is especially thrilling for Clare Henry and her grandfather Chester. As the owners of The Rescued Word, a charming boutique shop in town, Clare and Chester specialize in restoring old typewriters and repairing beloved books. They’ve invited Nathan to their shop to use their equipment for his next book.

But all plans to work on the book take a step in the wrong direction when a tourist discovers an abandoned ski boot on the slopes–and the only sign of the owner is the dismembered foot he left inside! Nathan’s writer’s curiosity for all things horror is further piqued after the body of Clare’s high school friend Lloyd Gavin is discovered sans one foot. When all toes point to a class reunion gone wrong, Nathan can’t help but join Clare and her best friend, police officer Jodie Wentworth, as they hurry to track down the killer before more former classmates become Most Likely to Be Killed.

Goodreads

If you enjoy cozy mysteries and like learning a bit about the history and types of typewriters then this is definitely a book for you. This book is part of a series but I was still able to fully understand everything.

Rating: 3/5

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Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

Goodreads

I really wanted to like this but sadly this was another Colleen Hoover book that I really didn’t like. Sometimes the plot of this book worked and other times it was so unbelievable and just bad. Also, I didn’t see the point of the twist at the end. The one thing this book had going for it was that I really did believe in the romance between Ben and Fallon but that just ruined it for me. I also felt that there were times when Ben was too aggressive towards Fallon but she always made excuses for it and all I wanted was for her to stand up to him and take ownership of her body. It would have been different if there was some sort of dialogue in the book that made it clear that this kind of behavior for guys is unacceptable but there was none of that.

Rating: 2/5

So there are my first five books I wanted to review.  If you have any questions or want to know more about my thoughts on them then just let me know and I will be happy to talk more about them.

~Cassie

Reading Challenge Update

Last August I found a reading challenge that I wanted to complete before the end of last year. I didn’t complete it but I have read most of the books on the list and I hope to finish the last few this year. I thought it would be fun to update you on the 15 books that could be this year’s Gone Girl and show you what I have read and what I still have to read.

  1. I See You by Clare Mackintosh
  2. Ill Will by Dan Choan
  3. The Girl Before by JP Delaney
  4. Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia
  5. The Secrets You Keep by Kate White
  6. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
  7. Behind Her Eyes by Sara Pinborough
  8. Little Deaths by Emma Flint
  9. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins 
  10. The Child by Fiona Barton
  11. Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
  12. Final Girls by Riley Sager
  13. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
  14. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  15. A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena

I have I See You on hold with my library and I just bought A Stranger In The House so I will be reading that one soon.

Happy Reading!

~Cassie

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

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Title: Beautiful Broken Girls

Author: Kim Savage

Pages: 336

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary with Magical Realism elements

Rating: 2/5

Remember the places you touched me.

The parts of Mira Cillo that Ben touched are etched on his soul.

Palm. Hair. Chest. Cheek. Lips. Throat. Heart.

It was the last one that broke her. After her death, Mira sends Ben on a quest for notes she left in the seven places where they touched—notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched by a bad coach years before. But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, involving a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie.

Goodreads

This book started off with Virgin Suicides meets 13 Reasons Why type of vibes and then quickly turned into a not fully actualized magical realism YA contemporary. The switch between the two was kind of jarring but this is also the first magical realism novel that I have read so maybe that’s why? I feel like I would have liked it more if I had known about it going in so I could have been looking for signs of it. Which may have been my fault because I didn’t really look into this book too much before reading it.

There was so much I didn’t like about this book and one of my main issues was that Ben and Mira were supposed to be in love and I just didn’t buy into at all. They seemed to barely know each other and Mira even believes an obvious lie about Ben without ever confronting him about it and that’s what “broke them up”. I say that with quotation marks because I don’t think they were ever really dating. Hooking up yes but dating no.

My other big issue with this book is that neither the characters or the story felt fully developed. I found Ben to make the most ridiculous decisions and I was annoyed reading from his perspective most of the time. His character sort of just became a sponge for whatever character he was interacting with at the time. Ben had no real ideas or thoughts for himself. When another character mentions something so far fetched he just immediately believes it and starts spreading it around. Also, why the hell did Mira do everything Francesca wanted to do. Even when her ideas were dumb as hell there was Mira just going right along with it. None of the the other characters are even worth mentioning because they were pretty much the same person just different names. All people that were standing in the way of Ben figuring out Mira’s story. The only other notable character is Ben’s friend Kyle who had some kind of mysterious relationship or interaction with Francesca that we never get to know about.

I did like the darkness of some of the characters and once I got over my shock about the magical realism I enjoyed that too. I just wish so badly that things would have been more fully actualized because I really did enjoy the premise of the story. Also, the ending for me fit into the weirdness of the story and I liked the full circle aspect of it.

This book definitely romanticizes a lot of heavy duty stuff, such as suicide and molestation so I wouldn’t recommend this if that is a deal breaker for you. If you want to know more about how this book romanticizes these issues, you should check out some of the Goodreads reviews of this book because they do a much better job than me at detailing them. I have heard good things about Savage’s other novel, After The Woods, so I think I am going to give that one a try before I decide if this author is for me or not.

The Girls by Emma Cline

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Title: The Girls

Author: Emma Cline

Pages: 355

Publication Date: June 14, 2016

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Fiction (Adult)

Rating: 3/5

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Goodreads

I have had this book on my TBR since it came out and I’m so sad that it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. If I remember correctly, this book was marketed as a Manson Family type of cult book which is why I was so excited to read it. First off, this is much more of a coming of age story than it is a book about a cult. Secondly, this cult had a few similarities to the Manson Family but it wasn’t that similar at all. I am very familiar with the Manson story and I kept waiting for things to  happen that never materialized.  I’m not sure if the author ever meant for the book to be hyped up so much as a retelling of the Manson murders so I don’t wait to talk negatively about her in that regard. It could all have been bad marketing or people just clinging to that one aspect of the book and blowing it up.

The story mostly has to do with the main character, Evie, during the summer she was 14. Her story is mostly impacted by people outside of the cult, although she does develop a strong relationship/companionship with Suzanne, who is the top female in the cult. Suzanne is a 19 year old girl who takes Evie under her wing and is her go to for all things cult related. The relationship between Suzanne and Evie is the most impactful while she was 14 and for the rest of her life.

The writing in this book was so beautiful and really brought me back to all my teenage insecurities. Cline did an amazing job of evoking all of those girlish thoughts that seem so important at the time. One of my most loved things about this book was that I found myself remembering things that I haven’t thought about in years and years. I was remembering times with friends when we would just hang out and listen to music and have meaningless conversations for hours. I know that some people didn’t really like how Cline would overly describe some things but for me it really worked.

One thing I think the book could do without was the switch in time between 14 year old Evie and middle aged Evie. Sometimes I thought it was helpful but most of the time I was annoyed that it was taking me out of the story I was most interested and invested in. I feel like there could have been a way where everything could have been incorporated into one seamless timeline.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book once I got over the fact that it was not what I was expecting. I definitely want to read the next book that Emma Cline comes out with because her writing style really spoke to me. I also really liked the feminist tones of the book and I hope that continues on in her writing. This was very much a women are strong, beautiful, broken and flawed kind of character writing that I enjoy reading.

 

The Girl In 6E by A.R. Torre

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Title: The Girl In 6E

Author: A.R. Torre (Alessandra Torre)

Pages: 352

Publisher: Redhook

Publication Date: April 2013

Genre: Thriller (Erotic)

My Rating: 5/5

SOME MINOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have never read an erotic thriller before but the way the author wrote it didn’t feel disingenuous to the main character, Jessica. She is a cam girl so obviously sex is a part of her life but Torre wrote her character so much deeper than that. The dark side of the character is so compelling and I loved how open her brokenness was. She has been through some dark stuff and because of that she is into some dark stuff.

The way the story was told was really interesting too. There was a lot of back and forth in time but also some different character perspectives, which if you have read any of my reviews before, you know that I love. The author also added in random chapters that dealt specifically with a certain persuasion of Jessica’s clients. That Jessica is a cam girl is a huge part of the book but it is more like a back drop to the motivating factor of her darkness.  Another interesting part of the story was that Jessica never leaves her apartment. I loved reading all the things that went along with her never leaving. Like how she goes on diet plans to get the food delivered to her and buys things in bulk online.  I didn’t love that the whole first half of the book is just a set up for the main story. Every 20 or 30 pages during the first half I found myself wondering where the story was going.

I was completely surprised that this book had a romance aspect to it. One, it is with her UPS guy which I absolutely loved because my husband is a UPS driver. Two, Jessica is such a dark person who is consumed with thoughts of murder that I didn’t expect to see a lighter side to her. The romance definitely worked though and I thought it was written wonderfully.

This book is either part of a trilogy or a series (there are only 3 books out but I couldn’t find anything definitively saying it was only going to be the 3). Each book is a stand alone but it is suggested that they be read in order. Which is exactly what I plan on doing. I got my husband into the series as well so it has been fun being able to talk to him about it. I’ve seen this book likened to Dexter a lot online so I will say that if you are a fan of murder shows and darker books then this is definitely one you should look at picking up.

Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up

This was a week long readathon and I only managed to complete one book. Although I am half way through two other books so it’s almost sort of like I read two books. Right?!?

 

 

I finished The Girl In 6e and I am working on a review for that to hopefully be up in a day or 2.  I wish I had been able to finish the other two books but I’m still happy that I participated. Hopefully my next readathon will be more productive.

If you participated in the readathon I hope it was as successful as you wanted it to be!

 

Most Anticipated Books

Here is a round up of some books that I have either preordered or are planning on preordering before they come out.

May 17, 2018

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The explosive follow-up from Sarah Pinborough, author of the number one Sunday Times bestseller Behind Her Eyes.

‘Original and compelling, the very definition of a page-turner’ Sun

‘This year’s biggest new thriller’ Metro

‘Cross my heart and hope to die…’

Promises only last if you trust each other, but what if one of you is hiding something?

A secret no one could ever guess.

Someone is living a lie.

Is it Lisa?

Maybe it’s her daughter, Ava.

Or could it be her best friend, Marilyn?

Buy on Amazon

May 29, 2018

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Buy on Amazon

June 5, 2018

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

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

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

Buy on Amazon

June 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Buy on Amazon

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

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

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

Buy on Amazon

July 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

Buy on Amazon

July 2, 2018

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Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Buy on Amazon

July 10, 2018

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The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda—returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?

Buy on Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 24, 2018

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In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

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July 31, 2018

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There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

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August 21, 2018

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What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never had any more ambition than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.

But one day, a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

Twenty-four hours later, Laura is in hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down. Now, Andrea must go on a desperate journey to follow the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. If she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either of them.

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September 4, 2018

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A woman is plunged into a bizarre case of stolen identity in this ambitious and riveting thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that forces her to question everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Is Jessie really who she thinks she is? Has her whole life been a lie? The truth will shock her to her core…if she lives long enough to discover it.

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September 18, 2018

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From New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…

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November 20, 2018

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With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire and Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.

 

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So that was a ton of books that I am planning on getting haha Let me know if any of these books sound good to you. Also, if you think there are any other books that you think I might like please let me know (because the book hoarder in me can never get enough!)

Happy reading!

~Cassie

 

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

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Title: The Perfect Mother

Author: Aimee Molloy

Pages: 336

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Genre: Thriller

Vanity Fair calls it one of the most anticipated books of the summer. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Scandal’s Kerry Washington.

An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

Goodreads

I spent this whole book trying to guess the ending and I was so wrong! But yet, once it was revealed it was so obvious and I was blown away at how well done this book is.  This book was told using multiple perspectives and it took me about half the book to get a good handle on Francie, Nell, and Colette (the May Mothers). The last half of the book did a much better job differentiating the women because we got to know their back story. The reason I gave this book only 3 stars despite the outstanding ending was because some of the stuff the main May Mothers women do made no sense.  They were so invested in baby Midas’s disappearance that they start doing such reckless and irrational things that I became less connected to the characters. Overall, this was a really solid read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys domestic thrillers.

~Cassie

 

Ring in the Year with Murder by Auralee Wallace

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Title: Ring in the Year with Murder

Author: Auralee Wallace

Pages: 304

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Genre: Cozy Mystery

My Rating: 4/5

It’s been a tough year for Erica Bloom. And with hours left on the clock and a killer crashing the party, it’s not over yet…

This New Year’s Eve, Erica’s resolution is to have a great night―even if it kills her. She is, after all, at the party to end all parties: a Great Gatsby–themed gala sure to be the talk of Otter Lake, New Hampshire. With her perfectly finger-waved hair, borrowed pearls, and scarlet flapper dress, Erica is determined to be unflappable, despite the presence of her ex, Sheriff Grady Forrester, and his hot date, a bubbly blonde who has a hard time holding her drink. Literally. . .

In a plot twist as bizarre as a game of Clue, Grady’s girlfriend almost drops dead after her drink is poisoned. Who put the killer ingredient in her appletini? Suddenly the tables have turned and the sheriff has become the prime suspect. Now Erica has until midnight to clear the man she still loves―and in so doing just maybe win him back. That’s if the killer doesn’t pop the cork again… and turn a New Year’s smooch into a kiss of death…

Goodreads

This book was so much fun to read and there was more than a few times where I burst out laughing.  I requested this book on Netgalley last September before I took my blogging break but I fully intend on buying a physical copy of this book.  I’m bummed that I waited until this month to read this book because this is the perfect New Year’s book to me and I can’t wait to reread it at the end of this year. I know that not everyone is interested in cozy mysteries but if they are a type of book that you enjoy I cannot recommend this book enough.

This book is part of a series that I have never read before but I still was able to keep up with the characters and the author did a good job of sprinkling bits of back story throughout the novel. I loved the two main characters, Erica and Freddie, so much that I plan on reading the past books in this series. The characters were so funny and in so many different ways relatable.  The author did such an amazing job of making these characters come to life and I felt as though I was a part of the party. The only downside this book had for me was the romance.  I know I have missed the three books prior to this one so maybe it is better explained in those books but I spent the whole book wondering why Erica was so hung up on Grady.  He didn’t treat her that great and only seem interested in her when the two of them were alone.  At some points of the book it was actually annoying how much she would make excuses for him. Overall though, Erica was a super funny character who got herself into amusing situations.

The reason I requested this book on Netgalley was because the summary mentions the book/movie Clue which is my absolute favorite movie of all time. This book definitely had some Clue like scenarios and Wallace actually name dropped it more than once. The vibe of the book is also similar to Clue although the circumstances of the stories are completely different. So even if you don’t like cozy mysteries but you enjoy Clue I would give this book a try.

Are any of you as Clue obsessed as I am?

~Cassie