My 1 year blog birthday! + Giveaway

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Photo by Mohammad Danish on Pexels.com

July 26 my blog turned 1!!!! I’m so proud of my little space on the internet and I have so many goals moving into my second year of blogging.

  • I want to become a better writer. I feel like this will be a forever goal of mine but it is something I want to tangibly start doing. The way I plan to first start to achieving this goal is to of course read some books about it 🙂
  • I also want to work on being more involved in the book community. When I first started my blog I was regularly active on Twitter and that has pretty much come to a halt. I also want to make it a routine to check out other bloggers and posts everyday. There are so many amazing book blogs that I really enjoy but I just struggle to find the time to read them.
  • My last goal for this year is to have a better blogging routine. Which is something that I have been really good about this month and I hope to continue. I hope with a better routine that I will be able to do more than just review books (which I still love) but I want my blog to be so much more than just that.

Also, this isn’t a goal but I would love to find the time to add some more to my actual website. I’m not very tech savy so I would like to learn how to make my blog more than just the  very basic website that it is.

Now for the fun part! I wanted to do something for all of you amazing people who I see always reading and liking my posts. I also want to give you something that I know you will appreciate so I am giving away a book from book depository. There will only be one winner (although I wish I could gift you all something!) and if you win then you can let me know what book you would like me to send you. This giveaway will end August 20.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Thank you all so much for your support of me and my blog. It truly means so much to me that you are here ❤

~Cassie

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A Double Life by Flynn Berry

Thank you to Penguin First To Read for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Title: A Double Life

Author: Flynn Berry

Pages: 272

Genre: Mystery, Thriller (Domestic & Crime)

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: July 31, 2018

Rating: 4/5

I had never heard of the Lord Lucan case before reading this book and I was instantly intrigued by the premise. I’m not sure how closely this story follows the real case but it is a really puzzling crime. One of my favorite parts of the book were the flashbacks to the time when the crime was committed. I found it all so interesting and I do plan on finding out more about Lord Lucan.

The way that the story was told took me a little bit to get used to. Everything is told from Claire’s perspective, even the flashbacks of her parents before she was born. As the story progressed I didn’t mind it as much but it felt a little odd to have the narrator narrating in such detail things that I don’t think she could reasonably know. She does say that her mom told her and all that but some of it felt a little odd. Later the book does just do a flashback of just Claire’s mom perspective and I’m not sure why we didn’t just have that the whole time.

The book really shined when Claire was actively searching for her father. She does a whole investigation where she befriends someone from her past and I loved those parts. The reason I gave this book four stars is because I would get so into the investigation and then it would change to something about her friends or what was happening with her brother. I felt like the book could have been stronger if some of that had been cut out because not all of it was necessary to move the story forward. To clarify, not every thing in a book has to move the story forward but it also shouldn’t hold the story back either.

The last chunk of the book had me so hooked that I couldn’t put it down. I just wanted to know what was going to happen and so obviously for me that was the most suspenseful part of the book. I didn’t expect or see the ending happen at all. There really isn’t any twists in this book but there was a lot of doubt if her father committed the murder or not. For me, the ending was a little out of left field but I was so invested in Claire that I didn’t even mind it. I feel like if I wasn’t as connected to Claire then I might have been a little annoyed at the ending. Thankfully I was and this ended up being a really great read for me.

I feel like this would be a great book for anyone who enjoys a domestic crime thriller. Also, it is another British thriller and I feel like a lot of the best thrillers come from there. Does anyone else feel like that?

~Cassie

July Wrap Up

I never do wrap ups but July was a crazy month for me and I didn’t get to post hardly anything. Almost everything I posted last month was a review that I had started preparing for in June. I also never let you guys know how the Read EH thon went for me. I did pretty good with my reading last month, which means that I have a lot of catching up on reviews in August. I have realized that when things get hectic the first thing I drop from my “to do’s” is my blog. I really do enjoy writing and sharing all my thoughts with you so thank you for reading and supporting my blog ❤

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Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

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The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

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I read this for the ReadEhThon. The challenge this completed was a book written by a female author.

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This was also for the ReadEhThon and completed the challenge of reading about indigenous people. I believe that was the challenge although I feel like I worded it horribly.

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This is the last book I completed for the ReadEhThon. I believe the challenge this book fit into was having an E and H in the title- even though mine was backwards, it was the closest I could find 🙂

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Watch The Girls by Jennifer Wolfe

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Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

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Those are all the nine books that I read last month. Let me know what you read last month!

~Cassie

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

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

 

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Title: Believe Me

Author: J.P. Delaney

Pages: 352

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: July 24, 2018

Rating: 5/5

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.

One out-of-work British actress pays the rent on her New York City apartment the only way she can: as a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers, hired to entrap straying husbands. When the cops begin investigating one of her targets for murdering his wife–and potentially others–they ask her to lure the suspect into a confession.

But with the actress pretending to be someone she isn’t, differentiating the decoy from the prey becomes impossible–and deadly.

Goodreads

This was such a fun and twist filled story. This is definitely one of those books I want to re read and “see” it from the perspective of knowing the twist. This book was nothing like what I thought it would be based off the synopsis. It was so much darker and I love the whole idea of the story. I read this book in less than two days because I just had to find out what was going to happen next.

The main character, Claire, was such a complex character who was constantly surprising me. She could be so upset, so smart, so vulgar, so sad and I really felt her emotions with her. She is an actress, and acting takes center stage in this story, so if that is something that you aren’t interested in, you might not like this story as much as I did. I don’t ever want to act but I found it fascinating to read about her acting classes and I felt like I got an inside look into an acting class/school. Delaney did such an excellent job of writing the character of Claire and felt so connected to her the whole story. There was even a couple of times where I held my breath because I was that into the story.

The ending was so surprising to me. I’m usually pretty good and guessing at least parts of an ending correctly and I never saw this one coming. Just like with the rest of the book, the ending had so many layers to it. I feel like Delaney did such a beautiful job with this story. It was so rich and complex and it was all balanced out so well. I felt all the emotions and I was so confused at who to trust and who to believe. Believe Me is, in my opinion, a flawless thriller.

~Cassie

July Book Haul

I only bought three books last month! I didn’t even realize how few books I bought until I sat down to make this post. I think it’s because I read a ton of books through my library in July and so I didn’t feel the need to buy as many books. Which is totally something I should keep in mind for the future!

 

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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.

goodreads

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I’ve already raved about this book on my blog but I read it as an ARC and I really wanted my own copy. If you are interested in my thoughts on this book and/or learning what is about then I will link you to my past post here.

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Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

goodreads

I hope you all had an excellent reading and bookish July!

~Cassie

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

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Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Pages: 368

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Gallery/ Scout Press

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Rating: 4/5

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 centre of it.

Goodreads

It took me about 100-150 pages to get into this book but once I was I really got into it. I know everyone says it, but I’m going to say it again, Ruth Ware is a brilliant writer. She has the ability to make characters and settings come to live in such a magnificent way, where I actually felt like I was in the house with the family or sitting in the car or train with Hal.

Once Hal reaches the family of the deceased women there is so much that happens and things are constantly shifting and changing. I was so impressed with the twists in this story and the setting of the story was so spooky and chilling. I wish that Ware hadn’t spent so long in setting up the story because to me it just dragged on. To be honest though, I feel like that might be more of a me issue because I was so anxious to “see” the house and for all the family drama to start. Maybe on a re read I will appreciate the beginning more because it was still beautifully written and it really cements the readers relationship to Hal.

I heard or read a review where someone said that reading this book made them feel cold and it is so true! This book would be the perfect read for a cold stormy weekend. I own all four of Ruth Ware’s books and the only one I haven’t read yet is her debut, In A Dark Dark Wood. I’m thinking of reading it in October because I would love to see how her writing as transformed over the years. This book is an excellent mystery that I think any mystery fan would enjoy as well.

~Cassie

 

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

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Title: After the Funeral

By: Agatha Christie

Pages: 287

Publication Date: March 1953

Genre: Mystery

Rating:  5/5

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

~Cassie

Watch The Girls by Jennifer Wolfe

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

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Title: Watch The Girls

Author: Jennifer Wolfe

Pages: 320

Genre: Thriller, Horror

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Cassie

 

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

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

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Title: Her Pretty Face

Author: Robyn Harding

Pages: 352

Genre: Thriller (Domestic)

Publisher: Gallery/ Scout Press

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Rating: 3/5

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

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

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

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

~Cassie

June Book Haul

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

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

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

Goodreads

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

Goodreads

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

Happy Reading!

~Cassie