Wrap-Up | July 2018

Is anyone else shocked that we’re at the end of July already!? Now I’m sitting here looking at my calendar, at everything we have going on in the next few weeks, and realizing I have to fit back-to-school shopping into the mix! My daughter is starting Kindergarten so it’s going to be a very exciting time of year for us…well for her, I’ll be crying over in the corner.

But let’s get to the books shall we? Here’s everything I read in July:

  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter – ARC, Paperback (Review to come)
  • The Body Counter by Anne Frasier – ARC, eBook
  • Sleepwalker: A Keyhole Novel by Sarah A. Kenney – eBook from Author
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • Dark Water by Koji Suzuki – Hardcover
  • Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell – ARC, eBook
  • Providence by Caroline Kepnes – Audio, Hardcover
  • The Gaslight Stalker by David Field – ARC, eBook
  • Nailbiter Vol. 2 by Joshua Williamson – Graphic Novel

Picture1I’m quite pleased with everything I read in July and the actual number of books I read! It’s hard to pick a favorite but I was really blown away by Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. This was an ARC that the publisher sent to me and is scheduled to be released on August 21st. I’m working on the review now, but you guys…it was SO good! If you are a fan of Karin Slaughter then I will say that this is a little different then her typical books but the same outstanding writing is there. It’s a fast paced, edge of your seat, kind of read.

The least impressive for me was Sleepwalker by Sarah A. Kenney and I think it’s just because it needs a good editor to help clean it up. It’s a self published psychological thriller that I received from the author. The premise is that the main character, Ashley, ran away from the only home she ever knew because of an abusive uncle and an aunt who looked the other way. Her parents had died in an accident so her and her brother were sent to live with them. Fast forward and the aunt passes away in a strange manner and left the old family farm house to Ashley. Ashley sees ghosts and some strange things start happening around the house. The general concept of the book was good but the plot was full of holes. She was also super repetitive and that sort of drives me nuts in books. I gave it a generous two stars on Goodreads.

Currently I’m finishing up Ragdoll by Daniel Cole so that I can read his new book, Hangman, which is the second book in the Fawkes and Baxter series. It was just released here in the US last week. I love this book so far and am so excited to read the second one! I’ll definitely post a review for each once I’m finished so stay tuned for those.

Now I’m planning my TBR for August which I think will be a little less thriller and a little more fantasy and historical fiction, since that’s the mood I’ve been in. I’m also still working on my goal of cleaning up my NetGalley shelf and have some books that were released over the summer that I’d like to get to.

What’s up next on your TBR?

Happy Reading!

 

 

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The Body Counter by Anne Frasier

The Body Counter (Detective Jude Fontaine Mysteries, #2)Published: June 12, 2018

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 297

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Rating: 4/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Months after discovering the mastermind behind her own kidnapping, Detective Jude Fontaine is dealing with the past the only way she knows how: by returning to every dark corner of it. But it’s a new, escalating series of mass slaying that has become her latest obsession at Homicide.

At first, Jude and her partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, can see no pattern to the seemingly random methods, the crime scenes, or the victims – until they’re approached by a brilliantly compulsive math professor. He believes that the madman’s next move is not incalculable; in fact, it’s all part of a sequential and ingenious numerical riddle. His theory is adding up. The body count is rising.

But when the latest victim is found in Jude’s apartment, the puzzle comes with a personal twist that’s going to test the breaking point of her already-fragile state of mind. For all she knows, her number may be up.


I really love the Jude Fontaine series!

These are fast past, gritty, dark, solid mysteries and I highly recommend them if you want a quick thriller that sucks you in and takes you for a ride. But make sure you read The Body Reader first before you even think of touching this one. Our lead Detective won’t make as much sense if you don’t, I can assure you.

Jude and her partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, are damaged and broken: Jude is still trying to figure out how to live a normal life after being held captive in a basement for three years and Uriah is dealing with the guilt and torment of his late wife’s suicide. Together, their partnership just works and they’ve now been assigned to a series of gruesome murders that they soon begin to realize, hold a disturbing pattern.

There are no clues and no rhyme or reason for the killings. They have nothing until a seemingly nutty math professor comes to them with an idea: he believes the killer is following the Fibonacci Series, a series of number in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers i.e. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5…

This book doesn’t pack as much of an emotional punch as the first book did, but it still delivers in suspenseful twists and thrills which is what we all really come for when we sit down with a good thriller right?

We do get more of the relationship between Jude and Uriah and how they work together. Their relationship is fragile but both depend on the other in way that has me really routing for the two of them.

The murders are much more grisly and disturbing and I was so hooked on it. A long slow clap for Ms Frasier because I just enjoyed this plot so much.

I can’t wait to see what Frasier comes out with next in this series – she’s definitely one of my top ‘must read’ authors and this series has easily become one of my favorites!

 

Book Haul | July 2018

I thought it would be fun to share the book binge I’ve been on lately, which is actually a little overwhelming…oops! One can never have to many books though right. Right?

Bookoutlet Haul

Let’s start with the huge bookoutlet haul that came earlier in the week. In June they  were having their big ‘scratch and dent’ sale so I was able to snag some great titles for under $35.00. I’ve already read Hidden Bodies but wanted a copy of my own. I will link each book to their Goodreads page below:

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Christine by Stephen King – The master of horror weaves together a story of a possessed 1958 red-and-white Fury and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes – This book was SO good. I love Joe Goldberg and this is a follow up to You. I’ve already talked about these books a few times on my blog. I definitely plan to re-read both of these books and I’m pumped for the premier of the show coming September 9th!

The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu – Okay I will admit, if you’ve read Hidden Bodies then chances are you know why this title caught my attention. But the synopsis of the book actually sounded pretty interesting. “Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

The Way of Sorrows by Jon Steele – I actually did not realize that this was book three of a trilogy, I just thought it sounded really interesting. So I need to scoop up the other two books before I can read this one. It’s a fantasy novel and this book counts down the dwindling hours between humanity and the apocalypse. Evil goons, eternal angels, protectors of paradise…sounds pretty damn good!

I’m Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork – This is the first book in the Holger Munch & Mia Kruger series. It’s a dark nordic noir set in Norway and a young girl is found hanging lifeless from a tree. She’s dressed in strange doll’s’ clothes with an airline tag around her neck that says “I’m traveling alone.”

The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork – And this is the second book, same detectives but a whole new case. When I read the blurbs for these two books, they instantly gave me Mo Hayder vibes who happens to be one of my very favorite authors. Dark, disturbing and edge of your seat suspense.

Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells – This is by the same author of ‘I Am Not a Serial Killer’ which I have on my kindle (but of course, haven’t read yet). This is a satirical suspense about a health & beauty company that accidentally develops a hand lotion that can overwrite your DNA. I’ve seen reviews that claim this is laugh-out-loud funny while being terrifying all at the same time so I’m really looking forward to this one.

Hook’s Tale by John Leonard Pielmeier – I’m starting this one over the weekend for the #24in28 Readathon which is where you read for 24 hours out of the 48 hour period.  Hook’s Tale is a retelling of the story of Captain Hook and I’ve really come to enjoy these types of books. I recently read Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry which was pretty dark so I can’t wait to see what this one’s all about.

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – This is YA/Science Fiction and I had seen other reviews around the web and Instagram and so my interest was peaked. It follows Nemesis who is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz – This is a story about a woman who walks in to find her dead husband who apparently fell down the stairs. Instead of calling 911, she backs up her bags, clears out her accounts and takes off. Totally normal.

By Gaslight by Steven Price – This is a historical-suspense novel written in the same tradition as Michael Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White which I read years ago and loved! Here’s a piece of the blurb from goodreads:

Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price’s By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a landscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

And of course if that weren’t enough I just ordered two books from Amazon that I told myself I would wait for but they were on sale so I had to! My willpower is weak.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kaung is so hot right now and since I’ve been in the mood for a fantasy novel, I simply couldn’t get this one out of my brain.

I decided to just go ahead and pull the trigger and buy it now even though I probably won’t get around to it until September.

Apparently it’s pretty dark (which is okay with me because I love dark) and follows a girl named Rin who gets into the prestigious military school, Sinegard.

While she’s there she discovers that she possesses some shamanic powers that could prove to be the only way to save her people as the Third Poppy War is only a spark away.

 

 

 

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young is another book that I’ve really been wanting to read and I’m seriously missing my show Vikings so I’m hoping this will fill that void in my life.

This is a YA/Fantasy novel that follows seventeen-year-old warrior, Eelyn. She fights alongside her Aska clansman in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until one day she sees the impossible – her brother, fighting with the enemy – the brother she watched die five years ago.

Man this sounds so good! I’ve seen some pretty mixed reviews on this so I’m not sure what to expect.

Bad ass warrior women, not sure how you can go wrong there.

 

 

Amazon Prime Day Haul

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The majority of these books I scored for free during the Prime Day deals: The Bloodlands Collection, The King Tides, Whisper Me This and A Killer’s Mind where all free. The other books were discounted to $.99 or $1.99 so I scooped them up. And What Remains of Her by Eric Rickstad I won from Goodreads (because apparently people really do win those Giveaways).

So that about wraps it up! I did receive some ARC’s from NetGalley and Publishers as well this month but I’ll save those for the reviews. I’ve pretty much overwhelmed myself with the amount of new books I’ve managed to accumulate this month! Whew!

What about you? Have you scored some new reads this month that you’re really excited to read?

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)Published: May 20th, 2014

Publisher: Anchor

Format: Paperback

Pages: 527

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Rating: 3/5

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.


Where do I even start with this book?

I definitely didn’t love this, but I can’t say that I hated it either. I mean I did finish it after all, but you certainly have to be in the mood to read something like this. Like the kind of mood where you just want to completely disengage your brain and maybe kill off a few cells while you’re at it. It’s sort of how I feel when I sit down to watch an episode of The Housewives of Beverly Hills.

There was something strangely addicting about the drama that unfolded and it certainly lives up to it’s title. Crazy Rich Asians follows the scandal and drama of some of Singapore’s most wealthiest families. And by wealthy, I mean disgustingly wealthy. In their world, it’s totally normal to buy a pair of $200,000 earrings that you don’t even plan to wear. Shocking.

Most of the characters in this book are terrible people, except for Rachel whom you kind of just wish would run as far away as possible and not look back. Nick is kind of an idiot. I mean he has to be to honestly, not even for a second, think it was a good idea to NOT warn Rachel of his insanely crazy family back home. Poor Rachel, totally blindsided.

I gave this three stars because I actually did get sucked into some of the drama, enough that I wasn’t willing to give up reading. But I really felt like this book was to long. At some point I started to skim a little because I was so over the endless paragraphs of descriptive haute couture and designer name dropping that I was ready to tear my hair out.

I’m not entirely sure yet if I’ll continue with the series. I’m morbidly curious so anything is possible, but for now I think I’ll move on.

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? Love it or hate it?

 

 

Mid-Year Review

Okay so technically speaking, I’m a little late to the party seeing that it’s July already but I thought it would be fun to share all the great books I’ve read so far this year. I set a goal to read 50 books and I’m well on my way to surpassing that!

I’ve always been a big reader, even as a kid, but sometime last year I fell in love with reading all over again and have made it a priority to set aside time for myself to do it. Which isn’t always easy as a working mom.

I’m pretty happy with everything I’ve read so far. I started the year following a few challenges but of course I started to drop off after the second month into it. I’m a mood reader so, as fun as challenges are, they’re really hard to stick with.

I did however make it a point to really branch out and read more genres and pick-up books I might not otherwise read, and I’m so glad I did! I started reading graphic novels and discovered that I really enjoy them! I’ve also realized I really love a well written fantasy novel (in fact I’m really in the mood to read one now). Here are a couple of the best and worst books so far:

What I Loved

The Wise Mans Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Okay so I only gave this book three stars on Goodreads but hear me out. This book is long and incredibly detailed. At times it can even feel a bit arduous, but I can not stop thinking about this book! I think we can all agree that the man really knows how to write a story and maybe it’s just because I’m really in the mood to read another fantasy novel, but I keep looking at these books on my shelf feeling desperate for the third book. A couple of days ago I broke down and spent my Audible credit on the audio version of The Wise Mans Fear and that’s saying something.

You by Caroline Kepnes

I don’t even know what to say about this book. Or Hidden Bodies for that matter. Kepnes writing is incredibly witty and sharp. Somehow she manages to make you love Joe Goldberg who is actually a psychotic, obsessive killer. Masterful. I love a good serial killer novel and I love them even more when they’re written in their perspective so this was such a treat to read. In a dark and creepy kind of way.

What I Didn’t Love

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

I am probably in the minority here but this was actually a DNF for me. This was the second time I tried to read a book by McCarthy and I think my problem is that I really don’t enjoy his writing style at all. Why oh why does this man hate punctuation!? The lack of quotations really irks me in a big way. Am I missing something here? Something profound? I just don’t understand…

American War by Omar El Akkad

This was my only one star. It actually would have been another DNF if it hadn’t been for the fact that I read this with a couple of a girlfriends. This was tagged as a Dystopian novel, taking place in 2095 amid the next Civil War, only it felt like a re-write of the Civil War in 1865…just add in some drones flying over head occasionally. The character development was terrible and there were SO MANY plot gaps.  I also think the author was more focused on pushing his political view then really putting the effort into writing something amazing.


So that’s where I’m at so far: the good and the bad. I’ve got a lot of books on my shelves I’m dying to read and some upcoming releases that I’m also really looking forward to! It’s going to be a good year for reading.

I’m curious: have you read any of these books? Any you loved or hated? Any Fantasy must reads that you would recommend I check out? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell

Somebody's DaughterPublished: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: eBook

Pages: 448

Genre: Thriller / Suspense

Rating: 4/5

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica’s nine-year-old daughter is missing – and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl’s fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price – the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity’s safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is the kind of book you pick up when you have a whole afternoon or evening to read completely uninterrupted because once you start, you’re not going to want to put it down. The chapters are short and leave you with a sense of urgency to keep going which makes this a quick read.

The story is told from multiple perspectives: Michael (the potential baby-daddy), his current wife Angela, and Detective Erin Griffin (who sadly felt a little under developed as a character). Multiple POV’s can sometimes be difficult to follow and/or be a little distracting but I felt it was really done well here. Kudos to Bell.

Given the speed of the book, the characters aren’t overly deep but that didn’t really bother me here. The story was so gripping and interesting that I just wanted to know what was happening. The only character that I felt totally disconnected from was Detective Griffin, I even wanted to skim over her parts at times because she just wasn’t very interesting.

As a whole though, this book was a really fun read and the perfect summer thriller! Not every book has to be super deep with over developed characters. Sometimes we just want a show-gun plot that keeps us burning for more and that’s exactly what this book delivers!

 

 

 

 

 

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Providence

Published: June 19th, 2018

Publisher: LENNY

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 384

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 3/5

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and “fit in” with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away.

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity – but he’s soon being tracked by a detective fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

Whisking us on a journey through New England and crashing these characters’ lives togehter in the most unexpected ways, Kepnes explores the complex relationship between love and identity, unrequited passion and obsession, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

Let me start by just saying that this book is not anything like You or Hidden Bodies. If you go into this book expecting Joe, or a character like him, and the darkness that surrounds his identity then you will be very disapointed. This book is completely unique and goes in a very different direction.

The thing I’ve come to really love about Caroline Kepnes is her writing style and her strength in character building and her witty humor. She’s really quite magnificent and even though this particular story was not my favorite, it was still enjoyable to read.

Here’s what I loved about it:

  • I  loved the H.P. Lovecraft inspiration. I wouldn’t say that I’m a die hard fan, but I have read a lot of his work, including The Dunwich Horror, and even recently wrote a paper for a class I was taking. So I have an ‘appreciation’ for his writing and I think Caroline Kepnes did an amazing job with her take on The Dunwich Horror and her ability to make it current. And Providence, RI really is Lovecraft obsessed since it was of course, his favorite place in all off New England.
  • There were also a lot of North Shore references (North of Boston for those not familiar with the area) that I just loved because of course, I’m a North Shore gal myself. It was fun to read a story and have places you frequent mentioned.

Everything else was just…meh.

The main characters are of course Jon, the boy who is kidpnapped and returns as a man with uncontrollable powers. Chloe, the girl who loves him but now must mourn the loss of her best friend and has trouble finding herself without him. Then later on in the story we have Eggs, a dogged detective, and his wife Lo. Eggs has a son with a serious disability that means having to live outside of the home. He never visits him and mourns the loss of the normal father/son relationship he so desired to have. He distracts himself by trying to find out what’s happening with a string of deaths that are eerily similar.

I liked Chloe the least. Actually, I couldn’t stand Chloe. She is annoying, self-deprecating, and pathetic. Ugh.

Jon I sympathized with, I mean the poor guy was kidnapped and held for years in a medically induced coma and when he wakes up, he’s so different. Dangerously different. I craved more history of what Jon experienced. What happened to him? How did he get these powers? Will he find a way to fix himself? I found myself rooting for him, to find his place in life and find a way to live a normal life.

The story was to much about love and love lost and for me. I’m not a ‘love story’ kind of girl and so I really craved a lot more from this one. I didn’t finish it feeling satisfied which is why I gave this one three out of five stars.

Rest assured that I still love Caroline Kepnes and highly anticipate what she has up her sleeve next! I just hope it involves a lot more violent obsession! (don’t judge)

Note: I also listened to the audio version which was fantastically narrated and really made the characters come alive!