Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of HerPublished: August 21, 2018

Publisher: William Morrow

Format: Paperback

Pages: 480

Genre: Thriller

Order: Amazon

Rating: 5/5

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

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

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

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

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


Happy Publication Day to Karin Slaughter! Her new book “Pieces of Her” is available to purchase today so do yourself a favor and get your copy now!

Pieces of Her is a beefy book coming in at 480 pages of character and relationship exploration. It’s a departure from Karin Slaughters typical style but I liked it just as much.

Andy Cooper lives with her mom Laura in the small apartment above her garage. For a 31 year old woman, she doesn’t have much going for her: she dropped out of school, works as a 911 operator and hardly speaks to anyone. She’s actually a really annoying character who seems completely incapable of managing the most basic of things like packing an overnight bag or having a real conversation with either of her parents. This didn’t make her a very likable character but I think it was key to her development you see happen throughout the story.

One afternoon she’s having lunch with her mom in the cafeteria when everything changes. A man walks up and begins to open fire. Andy freezes but Laura takes action and pulls out some fancy assassin-like moves and now Andy finds herself staring at a woman she thought she knew.

While in the hospital Laura tells Andy it’s time for her to leave; not tomorrow, or next month, but right now. Without any explanation from her mother, Andy leaves and begins a journey for answers. Who is her mother? Why won’t she talk to the police?

The narrative switches between current Andy and that of another woman from thirty years before whose story line is even more suspenseful and exciting. The two narratives eventually collide together in a action packed ending that will make your head spin!

I enjoyed watching Andy stumble and grow along the way and appreciated the way Laura and Andy ‘find’ themselves in each other at the end. This was definitely a story about relationships and the bond a mother and daughter have. As a mother myself I know how easy it is to want to coddle and protect your baby but just as easily,  that can become the very thing that burdens them.

A great big thank you to Karin Slaughter and William Morrow Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this book tremendously!

#SlaughterSquad forever!

Happy Reading!

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The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

The Grip of ItPublished: August 1st, 2017

Publisher: FSG Originals

Format: Paperback

Pages: 273

Genre: Horror

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Rating: 3/5

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move – prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check – is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house it’s surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture – claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms – becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall – contracting, expanding – and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James. 

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish. 


I adore creepy haunted house stories and The Grip of It by Jac Jemc has all of the classic bones: couple buys old house cheap, house has been on the market for years but couple doesn’t bother looking into why, couple moves in immediately, odd things begin to happen, couple slowly goes insane.

When will people learn?

Julie and James get the idea to start fresh outside of the city because James can’t seem to get his gambling problems in check (so buying a house is totally the correct course of action). Hoping that a new house will mend their broken relationship and re-store their faith in each other, they move in with no questions asked. They’re enamored by all the secret rooms and hallways and the possibility of a clean slate.

From here the story builds slowly but like any good haunted house novel or movie, eerie things begin to surface: shadowy figures lurking in empty rooms, growling in the dark and hot stinking breath hovering over you while you sleep.

And that’s sort of where the parts that I enjoyed about the book ended.

I know I’m in the minority here when I say that I didn’t love this. ‘The Grip of It’ confused me more than anything and maybe it was supposed to? The narration was constantly switching between Julie and James whose voices were so familiar that at times I was confused by who I was following. The chapters were also ridiculously short which, while it makes for speedy reading, makes it difficult to become immersed in the story, especially coupled with constant POV changes.

So while I liked it, I just didn’t love it. A generous three out of five stars from me.

Do you like haunted house stories?

Happy Reading

 

The Moor by Sam Haysom

The MoorPublished: May 8th, 2018

Publisher: Unbound Digital

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 224

Genre: Horror

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 3/5

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

It begins with a ghost story around a campfire. Teenagers out on a walking trip, trying to act brave in front of each other. 

But as the walk gets underway and the boys begin to fall out, odd things start to happen.

Noises in the night. A severed rabbit’s foot outside someone’s tent. 

Soon, the boys begin to disappear.

As panic sets in and a storm approaches, the remaining boys must band together to face a darkness not even the local ghost stories could help them predict.


This is a tough one to review because as someone who is not a fan of spoilers, I can only say so much without giving everything away.

In The Moor by Sam Haysom, we follow a group of boys and one of their fathers, on what should’ve been a simple and fun trek across the moor. There’s Gary who is the more popular boy but a bit of dick; James who is always being ragged on, particularly by Gary, and Matt and Tom who just want everyone to get along. Then there’s Tim, whose a bit of an odd ball and eerily quiet. His dad, Mr. Stevens, is the group leader. The ladies of the town love Mr. Stevens, even though most of the kids find him strange.

Not to far into the trip, and after a campfire ghost story, tension begins to build among the group. Then, strange things begin to happen and boys begin to disappear.

The story alternates between past and present, newspaper clippings and perspectives of each of the boys. For such a short book, I found this to break up the flow of the story which was otherwise, very unsettling and creepy.

It’s a quick horror read – screaming children, mutilated animals, and things that go bump in the night – what’s not to love? I just wouldn’t recommend reading it at night by the fire, strange things may happen.

Happy Reading! 

The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

The Good SonPublished: June 5th, 2018

Publisher: Penguin Books

Format: Paperback

Pages: 309

Genre: Fiction, Thriller

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Rating: 5/5

Who can you trust if you can’t trust yourself?

Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything’s alright at home – he missed a call from their mother in the middle of the night. Yu-jin soon discovers her murdered body, lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs of their stylish Seoul duplex. He can’t remember much about the night before; having suffered from seizures for most of his life, Yu-jin often has trouble with his memory. All he has is a faint impression of his mother calling his name. But was she calling for help? Or begging for her life?

Thus begins Yu-jin’s frantic three-day search to uncover what happened that night, and to finally learn the truth about himself and his family. A shocking and addictive psychological thriller, The Good Son explores the mysteries of mind and memory, and the twisted relationship between a mother and a son, with incredible urgency. 


This book popped up on my radar during Jimmy Fallon’s search for the perfect summer book club read. I immediately placed it on hold at my library and patiently waited for my turn. My patience paid off because I absolutely LOVED this book.

This was such a chilling and heavy book to read. It’s written in the perspective of a young man named Yu-jin who wakes up one morning to the smell of blood. He is confused, disorientated, and unsure of the events from the night before.

The smell of blood woke me. It was intense, as though my whole body were inhaling it. It reverberated and expanded within me. Strange scenes flitted through my mind – the fuzzy yellow light of a row of street lamps in the fog, swirling water below my feet, a crimson umbrella rolling along a rain-soaked road, a plastic tarpaulin shrouding a construction site snapping in the wind. Somewhere a man was singing and slurring lyrics: a song about a girl he couldn’t forget, and about her walking in the rain.

Other reviewers had called this a slow-burn but I have to disagree. I could have easily read this all in one night because I couldn’t stop turning the pages. However, there is no real mystery to solve here, you’re simply following the path of one man’s mind as he figures out the events of the last three days and reconciles with himself who he really is. The writing is perfect and it’s a brilliant character study that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This story will captivate you but only if you give it a chance and give yourself completely to Yu-jin.

Can’t wait to see what’s next for this author and I will more than likely listen to the audio of The Good Son as well because I think it would really add to the dynamic of the story.

Have you read any of Jimmy Fallon’s summer book picks?

Happy Reading!

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Fawkes and Baxter, #1)Published: April 4th, 2017

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 374

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon | Book Outlet

Rating: 4.5/5

One body. Six Victims.

William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after months of psychological assessment following allegations of a shocking assault. A veteran of the force, Fawkes thinks he’s seen it all. That is, until his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims sewn together like  a puppet –  a corpse that becomes known in the press as the “ragdoll”.

Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them. The final name on the list is Fawkes. Baxter and her trainee partner, Alex Edmunds, hone in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer strikes again. 

But for Fawkes, seeing his name on the list sparks a dark memory, and he fears that the catalyst for these killings has more to do with him – and his past – than anyone realizes. 


Have you ever watched the movie Se7en by David Fincher? It features Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as the two detectives and Kevin Spacey played the psycho mastermind behind the seven deadly sin killings? Anyway, it’s one of my favorite movies and Ragdoll by Daniel Cole draws a lot of parallels to it in such an awesome way.

Detective William Fawkes is recently brought back onto the force after almost losing everything after he knocked out a high-profile suspect at the end of his trial when he was found ‘not-guilty’. The case nearly destroyed him and he served time in a psych ward only to be release when that same ‘innocent’ suspect killed again and Fawkes was vindicated.

Fawkes and his former partner Baxter are called onto the scene of a most gruesome crime – a body comprised of sewn together body parts hanging from the ceiling. The head belonging to the same man that Fawkes leveled in the courtroom.

To add icing to the cake, Fawkes’ TV journalist ex-wife gets involved when she receives a package containing photographs of the body and a list of the next victims, which includes Fawkes himself.

Phew this book. So much drama and craziness, it really is a thrilling ride! There’s also this strange sexual tension between Baxter and Fawkes that leaves you wondering if you should be routing for the two of them or not. Even his ex-wife believed the two were having an affair which played a big part in the falling apart of their marriage. Generally I don’t find that there’s room for romantic relationships in books like these but Cole does it really well (it’s subtle) and to me, it really helps you get to know the characters. They feel more human.

So there’s this personal drama that sort of unfolds between the lines of the gruesome Ragdoll case, which begins to play out like a bad reality show thanks to the ex-wife who uses it to leverage her career. It’s a race against the clock, and the media, for the team to figure out how these victims are connected and track down the killer before Fawkes becomes the final victim.

Oh and that ending! Wow!

This book is fast-paced, full of great characters and even some British dark humor for good mix. I really enjoyed this book and rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I can’t wait to start reading the second book in the Fawkes and Baxter series which supposedly picks up right where Ragdoll leaves off.

Happy Reading!