ILL WILL by Dan Chaon

ill-will-by-dan-chaon

Title: Ill Will

Author: Dan Chaon

Pages: 496

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

My Rating: 4/5

Two sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man’s memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon.

“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to symbolize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients gets him deeply engaged in a string of drowning deaths involving drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses talk of a serial killer as paranoid thinking, but as he gets wrapped up in their amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.

From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.

Goodreads

This has to be one of the best written suspense novels that I have ever read. It is so different and unique and I can’t imagine I will ever read another book like this.  Well, this is the first novel I have read by Chaon but I still can’t imagine that he could write something else like this. I found this book at a library book sale and I was so excited because this book has been on my TBR for awhile but also it was an ARC copy.  I couldn’t believe my luck and while I am definitely keeping this copy forever, I also plan on buying a regular copy for my future re read.  I want to read this book at least once a year.  This is the kind of book that every time you read it something new can be found out and more of the story can be flushed out. I will say that I was able to figure out the big twist pretty early on and some of the reveals but it still didn’t diminish the story in any way.

The way this story is told was so brilliant.  I loved the different perspectives and time jumps.  They really added to the suspense of the novel and how the story is told was almost like another character in the story. I’m not really sure if that makes sense but I feel like the story would not have been nearly as good if it had been told in a more traditional way. A common way thrillers are told is through different perspectives and time jumps but this book took that to a whole other level by how each part is written.  Some of the parts have constant chapters every page or two, while other parts have no chapters and is just one long, continuous story.

The great way that Chaon wrote the characters made the book feel more like a character study than a suspense novel. Ill Will is like a literary suspense novel and I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I was more way invested in the characters than I was in the mystery aspect of it.  I loved the ripple effect that the choices that were made in the past have effected the characters in the present and as the story progresses. So much of the story is told in like a hazy way that I found myself wondering if something was actually happening.

This book is the greatest example of unreliable narrators that I have ever read. At the same time, the characters are so flushed out and real that I wanted to believe in them and how they are viewing the world so much. Most of the characters in this novel are unlikable but that also helps makes them feel so real.  They are broken and a lot of what they do makes no sense to me but their choices and actions make sense for them.

The ending of this book leaves so many questions which is something that I’m not really a fan of but for some reason with this book I didn’t even mind it.  I feel like the ending left a lot of little pieces sprinkled throughout and I keep thinking of different theories about how things could have happened.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of literary fiction and people who like novels are more character based than action based.  While I was reading Ill Will, I keep likening it to The Goldfinch in my head. I know that is a random comparison but both have to do with telling stories that span over a person’s life. This book is talks about different people and their stories but the feel of the books are similar to me.  If you have read both I would love to know if you agree with me!

~Cassie

Advertisements

Buzzword Readathon TBR

My favorite youtuber, Books With Lala, recently announced that she and a fellow youtuber are hosting a readathon starting Monday May 8 – May 13.  The theme of the readathon are buzzwords that are going around the book community. The first theme is books that have the word girl in the title.  This sounds so fun to me and I know that I have a lot of books that will work for this readathon . I have no strict TBR, these are just some books that sound good to me to read next week. I hope to read at least 3 of them.

 

 

Happy Reading!

~Cassie

My Unintentional Break

pexels-photo-904616.jpeg

Hello my blogging friends! I have missed all of you, blogging, this community so much.  I never intended to take about half a year off from blogging but life has been so crazy and I had to put this hobby of mine on the back burner.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I have three kids and one was a baby (he’s now 15 months!) but I can’t remember every mentioning that I am also in school for medical billing/coding (I’m over half way done *insert all the praise hands).  Those things, plus my older boys being back in school (which just ramped up the activities, playdates, birthday parties and obviously school activities and commitments) and keeping a household running with a husband who works very hard for us 60 hours a week just took a toll on me. I mention all these things so if I ever am gone for an extended period of time again I can just refer back to this post and keep it rolling. Also, I feel like by writing this all out I am giving myself grace for missing so many months and I can just pick back up where I left off.

During the past 6 or so months that I have been gone, I have be able to read close to 50 books! I’m quite amazed at this fact and for 5 of the months it was just reading a chapter here or there but this last month I have been able to read for a few hours every night and tonight it finally dawned on me that I could use some of that time to blog. So here we are and I can’t wait to share with you what I have been reading, what I plan to read and all other bookish fun I can think of.

My goal is to post at least 1-2 times per week. I also want to start getting back into twitter and bookstagram to immerse myself back into this community. Also, I have been reading through lots of blogs while I was away but I wasn’t commenting or liking so that is something I immediately want to get back to doing.

See you soon!

~Cassie

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

*Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. 

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS!! 

 

31556391

Title: When We Were Worthy

Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Pages: 276

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

My Rating: 3/5

A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

Goodreads

This book has one of the most misleading synopsis and covers that I have ever read. The cover and the synopsis lead the reader to believe that this is about the lives and deaths of three cheerleaders and how people in their town are dealing with it. When in actuality, their deaths are just a catalyst for the secrets and the pressures of living in a small town to come to the surface. Just go into this book knowing that the three cheerleaders who died are not that important and there isn’t a whole lot of the story that pertains to the boy who was in the other car. He is an element of the story but he is not even close to being the main focus. The best way I can describe this book is an analysis of what life in a small American football town could be like. I am confident that there are small towns like this but I don’t feel comfortable stating that as an absolute fact. With all that being said , I did really enjoy the story and I think it is important book to read in regards to rape culture.

The story revolves around four women, Ava, Leah, Marglyn and Darcy. I really enjoyed reading from all four perspectives and formatting the story that way really helped to tell a well rounded story. Each of these women has been damaged in some way by events leading up to the car crash or by the actual car crash. They are able to give such impactful accounts of what each of them are going through.  The women felt believable and I really felt for each of them and what they were going through. The male characters were really well done as well and each of them really added to the story.  The strength of the characters is what really kept the story moving and one of the main reasons I liked it so much.

This is an adult story about loss and forgiveness but I think the themes and messages in this book are great for all women 16 and up. The women are all written so well and it is easy to relate to all of them. I do think that the book tried to make things more mysterious then they really needed to be but at the same time I don’t know what different choices the author could have made to make it less mysterious. The ending was good and really tied things up nicely which I wasn’t really expecting but I love how it brought everything together.

There were a few different romances in this book but my favorite was Leah’s romance. It was so sweet and really built up nicely throughout the whole story. Plus the two characters already had a history so it was believable and no insta love! The adult romances were understandably messier which also helped to keep them believable which as you can tell, is a big deal for me when it comes to book romances.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I think this is an important book that really pushes us to think of what our society is prioritizing. Football is more important than how then players treat women and as long as players are winning, they can pretty much get away with anything. I hate the saying “boys will be boys” because it allows society (and parents) to demand less of boys. As a mom of three boys I am raising them to respect everyone, to treat everyone with kindness and to be gentleman. Just because they are boys they don’t get a free pass to just act however they want and do whatever they please.

Let me know your thoughts on some of the topics I talked about in this review. Whether you agree or disagree with me, my blog will always be a safe place to share your opinions 🙂

~Cassie

Wonder Week Wrap-Up

wonder-week1

I realized during Wonder Week that readathons are only fun for me when I’m really able to participate in the social media aspect of it. I was able to read 4 out of 5 of my TBR books which I’m happy with with but without talking much about my progress on social media or being able to participate in any of the blog prompts it felt like a normal week of reading. Well, I don’t usually read quite as many books in a week but I’m sure you guys get my point 🙂

Unknown

The four books I read are:

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
  • Behind Her Eyes by Sara Pinborough
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Reviews for these books will be coming soon. I’m doing a collaboration with the wonderful Paige of BooksAndBelle blog where she is going to share her review of The Lying Game on my blog and I’m going to share my review on her blog. I hope you guys are looking forward to that as much as me!

If you participated in Wonder Week then I hope you all had a great readathon and were able to finish your TBR. I’m not sure if I’m going to participate in any more readathons for awhile because my schedule is pretty crazy with my 3 boys and life in general haha

~Cassie

 

Friday Faves #5

img_9059

Sorry there was no Friday Faves last week. My kids and I all came down with colds and my poor baby got it the worst so that pretty much took over my life last week. Thankfully, we are all feeling better and other than it being ridiculously hot, this week has been a really good one.

  1. My husband has been on vacation this week and it has been so nice to have lots of family time and just to have him home in general since he works such long hours. Also, we’ve been able to get lots of home projects done that we have been wanting to do for awhile.
  2. I am participating in Wonder Week but I haven’t been very active on social media this week because of my husband being home. I have been able to read 3 books and I’m really hoping I will finish my fourth book today.
  3. I had a really good week for my blog. You all have been so supportive of me and my blog and I am truly grateful for every view, like, retweet and comment that I get. I’m happy to be a part of this community in my teeny tiny part of the internet.
  4. This week I was also nominated for two blog awards!! I’m hoping next week I will get both those posts up. It’s such a fun way to recognize other bloggers and I can’t wait to pay it forward.
  5. I also read one of my favorite books of the year this week. My Audrey by Sophie Kinsella was such a funny and well done book. I laughed out loud so many times while reading it.
  6. This morning we finally got the call that my 5 year old was finally accepted into our regular elementary school. It is a public school but there are a lot of people where I live so he was waitlisted. It was hard for Spencer, my 7 month old, to nap because we were constantly dropping off or picking up at one school or the other because they are on different time schedules. I’m so relieved that they will be at the same school at the same time!
  7. Since I wasn’t able to blog a lot in August I have a lot of content and ideas for next month so here’s hoping that I am able to get it all out. Especially reviews, I’m ridiculously behind on them.

I hope you all had a great week and I hope September is productive and amazing for you!

~Cassie

August Book Haul

img_9468

Another month and another million books bought haha But seriously having a book blog has taken my book hoarding to a new level. Luckily, my husband is very supportive of my book obsession (probably because his hobbies are way more expensive lol). These books are all from a used bookstore, the thrift store and Amazon.

32571395

A New York Times bestseller

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Goodreads

27877138

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

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

Frightening, epic, and brilliant, Stephen King’s It is one of the greatest works of a true storytelling master.

Goodreads

9464733

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

Goodreads

31116293

The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.

Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…

Goodreads

23305614

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Goodreads

18498569

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam–a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion–a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .”

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office–leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

Goodreads

862007

When Carson Drew’s Turkish client vanishes, Nancy is determined to decipher the clues woven into the decorative border of an Oriental rug. The coded message starts her on a quest for a missing mannequin. What happened to the attractive figure that was displayed in the large window of his rug shop? Who is trying to keep Nancy from finding it—and why? Tracking down the intricate trail of clues to solve this mystery, Nancy and her friends travel to Turkey. This book is the original text. A revised text does not exist.

Goodreads

25893582

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Goodreads

9893331

No synopsis for this book because it’s the 9th in the series and I don’t want to spoil anything.

Goodreads

20200400.jpg

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

Goodreads

99561

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.

Goodreads

13330943

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Goodreads

12294652

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

Goodreads

11717915

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’m so excited to read all these books and I feel like I found so many good ones this month. I also bought some books earlier this month, which I shared in my thrift store haul post. We Need To Talk About Kevin was turned into a movie that is currently on Netflix, but I want to read the book first.

~Cassie

The Child by Fiona Barton

32054095

Title: The Child

Author: Fiona Barton

Pages: 384

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Berkley Books

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Goodreads

The reason I liked this book so much was the characters and not so much the story.  Which sounds terrible, but I promise that I still really liked the story as well. The mystery was great and even though all the clues were there I still found parts of the ending surprising. The Child is told from the perspective of four women and Fiona Barton did such a great job of writing such flawed, believable women. Each of the women: Kate, Emma, Angela, and Jude feel like such real people and I really enjoy when an author can make characters come to life in my head so vividly.

Out of all the characters Emma was my favorite because she was so damaged and fragile in some ways but in other ways she could be so strong.  Emma’s mother, Jude, was my most disliked character which is exactly what the author intended. I’ve never read from the perspective of such a selfish mother before and it made me so angry reading from her side.

The synopsis about the building site baby is only a portion of what the book is about and all the different elements helped make the book feel well rounded.  There was a lot of intrigue and more than one mystery that needed to be solved. Fiona Barton is a journalist so she was able to give a lot of behind the scenes info and a sense of how much work goes into putting together an article. I found myself emotionally invested in the story which is why I rated it so high. The story and mystery are still both really well done and I would give 4 stars just for that reason. Obviously, the bonus star is because the author did an outstanding job with the characters.

This is Fiona Barton’s second novel and I’m definitely interested in picking up her first one, The Widow. I’m not sure if they are a series but the covers definitely look similar. I have heard that some people don’t like mysteries that are told from the perspective of the person solving the crime so if that is you then this may not be for you. Also, this is another book from my reading challenge. I have really enjoyed every book that I have read from this list and if you are really into thrillers and mysteries like me, then definitely check it out.

~Cassie

Wonder Week TBR

wonder-week1

Wonder Week started yesterday but with my kids starting school and us all coming down with colds I have seriously fallen behind on everything. I still want to participate though even though I don’t think I will be able to be as involved as I want to be. So, with all that being said here is my TBR.

Unknown

Thriller: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Contemporary: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Free Space: Behind Her Eyes by Sara Pinborough

Book that you bought for the cover: The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Science Fiction: Fahrenheit 451

These are all the books I’m planning on reading for Wonder Week. Although I started Behind Her Eyes right before the readathon technically started but I’m still counting it haha. Also, I would love to read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff for the science fiction space but that’s a pretty big book so I went with something smaller. If I feel the readathon is going well for me then I will probably make the switch.

Also, I just wanted to quickly mention that today is my one month blog birthday!! Like I said on twitter I am so grateful for all of my followers and I hope to get better and better at blogging. I started blogging because I genuinely love this community and I really feel like bloggers make a big difference in the book world!

Have a great weekend and if you are participating in Wonder Week then I wish you all a successful readathon.

~Cassie

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

WARNING! REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS

28016509

Title: The Girl Before

Author: JP Delaney

Pages: 320

Publication Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Goodreads Rating: 3.7

My Rating: 5/5

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Goodreads

I really loved how this story was told. Alternating every chapter between each girl and their stories added to the suspense so much. What adds even more to the suspense is that Jane tells her story from the past and Emma is in the present. Having their lives intertwine so much was at times a bit creepy and really helped me to fall in love with this book. I loved the mystery element of Jane trying to figure out what happened to Emma and how it is the plot of the story, but it didn’t take over the story.

There were many parts of this book that I found myself surprised that the author was a male. Usually, I don’t think it matters who is writing because this is fiction and the author is using their imagination to tell a story so I judge the book based on their writing and depth of story.  In this case though, JP Delaney wrote so vividly about things that only a woman can go through that I was very impressed with his writing. He also did a wonderful job keeping me guessing the whole story and this book had so many twists and turns that it was a hard book to put down.

Both Emma and Jane felt so real to me that I was invested in both of their stories from the get go. Jane has just been through a home invasion and is looking for somewhere new to live with her boyfriend because she, understandably, doesn’t feel safe anymore where she is living. Emma has recently suffered a stillbirth and is trying to recover from the loss of her child. Both of these events are the motivation behind each girl’s choices and behaviors.  Even though both of their stories are taking place at different times many of the side characters are the same for both narratives, which just further entwines their stories. Both Emma and Jane were messy and relatable women and I found myself so caught up in each of their stories that I wasn’t even trying to look for clues to the mystery. Also, knowing that something is going to eventually happen to Emma kept the suspense level high throughout the whole story.

The Girl Before was way more dark and twisted than I thought it would be. I’m not really sure what I was expecting but it was definitely more rated R than PG13. I love how dark it was and it was a great addition to all the other elements in the book. This story has a lot of sexual content which may make some readers uncomfortable or may even be triggering so please keep that in mind if you’re deciding to read this book or not. JP Delaney balanced everything in this book so well and it was a very enthralling read.

Earlier in the month I posted about a challenge I was doing, where I’m wanted to read 15 thrillers before the end of the year. This was one of the books on the list and I’m so happy that I was finally pushed to read this because I loved it so much. I was also happy to find out that The Girl Before is being turned into a movie.  It is going to be such a great movie if done right and I will definitely be seeing it in theaters.

~Cassie