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?

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gaslight Stalker by David Field

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Released: March 1st, 2018

Publisher: Sapere Books

Format: eBook, Kindle Fire

Genre: Historical Fiction

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 3/5

Jack the Ripper is stalking the streets of London. Can anyone stop the serial killer before more women are murdered?

London, 1888

Whitechapel is full of the noise of August Bank Holiday celebrations. Everyone is in high spirits until a woman – Martha Tuner – is discovered brutally murdered.

Her friend, Esther, a lowly seamstress turned female sleuth, is determined to find the killer.

A young police officer, Jack Enright, takes the lead on the case, and he and Esther soon embark on a professional – and personal – relationship.

When another murder is committed and whispers of a slasher calling himself Jack the Ripper start flowing through the London streets, the search becomes even more desperate. The police are on the wrong track and the young couple take matters into their own hands, and soon find themselves navigating through London’s dark underbelly.

Can they find the murderer before he kills again? Will anyone listen to their suspicions? Or will this dark presence continue to haunt Whitechapel…?

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

This book is the first in a new historical series called the Esther and Jack Enright Mysteries, a British detective series set in Victorian London.

I do enjoy a good Historical Fiction novel from time to time and the ones I love most are the books set in Victorian London. It’s dark, filthy and there’s just something about that time and place that I find fascinating. This book caught my eye on NetGalley not only because it took place during that time, but was also a take on Jack the Ripper – and I love a good Ripper story.

The story follows our main character, Esther Jacobs, a naïve and innocent young seamstress who has come across hard times. One night she goes out looking for her friend Martha at her husbands request. Martha has a thing for the bottle and frequently disappears leaving her husband home wondering where she’s gone off to. Esther finds her drinking at the local pub with some unsavory characters and with no desire to come home. Eventually Martha tells Esther to go home and she’ll follow along shortly. Only Martha never makes it home. Her body is discovered the next day, stabbed to death.

Constable Jack Enright is put on the job of interviewing Esther, who considers herself to be quite the sleuth and eager to help. Over the course of weeks of working together, Jack and Esther become ‘smitten’ with each other. I say ‘smitten’ because it evokes a feeling of an innocent and childish sort of love doesn’t it? And that’s how I feel about the relationship between those two.

David Field puts his own spin on the Jack the Ripper case which includes an early murder that was never actually associated to be the first Ripper murder. He also played around with who the Ripper actually was which I thought was a great twist!

What I didn’t love was the relationship between Esther and Jack. It was childish and to innocent to feel genuine. It was distracting and might have induced a few eye rolls. I know that courtship was very different back then but give me a little something!

Also, and I don’t know if this is just me being overly picky, but why on earth did the language constantly shift between Victorian English and modern vernacular!? This drove me nuts. The old Victorian English is something I really love about books set in that time but it’s really inconsistent here and I found it distracting. I found myself sometimes forgetting that I was on the grimy streets of London and that’s just not good.

So overall, it was a fun quick read and I loved the spin Field put on such a notorious killer but it wasn’t love for me. I wanted it to be darker and grittier and the relationship between Esther and Jack was not to my taste. I doubt I’ll read the other books in the series yet just because I don’t really have an interest in the Esther and Jack story line but, never say never!

Have you read this series? What did you think? If you’ve read some really great ‘Jack the Ripper’ novels, please feel free to list them in the comments so I can check them out!

Note: I’ve changed my rating scale to be more inline with how I rate books on Goodreads.

 

 

Wrap-Up | June 2018

I wrapped up the month with the second book in the Fear Street Relaunch Buddy Read happening over on Litsy, Don’t Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine. I know I am in good company with fellow Fear Fans when I say that I grew up reading Stine, so this has been a super fun buddy read! Look me up if you’re on the app, Litsy; it’s such an awesome book community and we have fun buddy reads and swaps going on all the time.

Without further ado, here’s a look at what I read in June:

  • Macbeth by Jo Nesbo – ARC, eBook
  • Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer – eBook
  • Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin – ARC, eBook
  • American War by Omar El Akkad – Library Haul
  • Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes – Audiobook
  • The Body Reader by Anne Frasier – eBook
  • Don’t Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine – Hardcover

You can find most of my reviews on Goodreads and my review of Paper Ghosts, here.

Macbeth – This was my first Jo Nesbo novel and it was written as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project where current writers take a Shakespearean play and make it modern. In Nesbo’s version we have Macbeth, an inspector with a troubled past. Duncan, the police commissioner and Lady who owns the casino in town and whose ambitions go far beyond controlling the gambling scene. This novel is dark and gritty but it’s a slow burn which struggled to keep my attention at times. Macbeth was an ARC from NetGalley and Crown Publishing and while I was glad to have the opportunity to read it, I probably wouldn’t put it on my list of recommendations. I gave this 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Rubbernecker – I really enjoyed this book! Rubbernecker follows the story of Patrick Fort, a medical student who has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is obsessed with death. This story was fast paced and so well written that I couldn’t put it down. Bauer has this ability in her writing to take something so grim and dark and still make it ‘fun’ by spinning just the right amount of dark humor throughout. I just can’t say enough good things and if you don’t believe me, read all the praise it received on Goodreads! She just released a new book, Snap, in May that I can’t wait to get my hands on. I gave this a 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

American War – Out of everything I read this month, this was a big flop. It would’ve been a DNF had I not been reading it with two of my girlfriends as a buddy read. I thought it only fair to them that I finish it. I realize that books about war are generally not happy but this book was terribly depressing. Classified as a Science Fiction novel, American War takes place in Louisiana when the Second American Civil War breaks out and a “devastating” plague decimates the south in 2074. I use quotations because there’s not a lot written about the so-called plague and that was disappointing. There was a whole lot of build up for the ‘big event’ and then…nothing. This book was overly long with poorly developed characters. It seemed to be more a story of revenge than anything else and it wasn’t even a good revenge story. And for a story that takes place between 2074 and 2095, there was nothing futuristic about it at all except for the occasional rogue drone that you hear the locals talk about. They call them the ‘Birds’. Overall this was a 1/5 stars on Goodreads and I don’t see myself picking up anything else by this author.

Hidden Bodies – I listened to this as an audiobook and loved it just as much as I loved You! Both books will be re-reads for me. I plan on picking up physical copies of each because I love them so much. Hidden Bodies picks up where You left off, with our dear Joe Goldberg packing up and heading out to LA, the city of second chances. Except that the thing with hidden bodies, is that they never really stay hidden and his past seems determined to ruin his chance at love forever. Santino Fontana narrated this novel as well and he is just phenomenal. He really brings Joe to life in such a brilliant way. I don’t even know what else to say about You and Hidden Bodies that hasn’t already been said but so much yes. Just brilliant. 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

The Body Reader – This is the first book in the Detective Jude Fontaine series by Anne Frasier. I received an ARC of book two so I wanted to read this one first (naturally). I’ve read a lot of Frasier’s novels in the past and always enjoyed them and this was no different. The Body Reader is a fast-paced thriller which makes it hard to put down once you start. Jude Fontaine is a detective in the homicide department when she was kidnapped and held captive for three years. She was held in a dark underground cell, her only contact was with her sadistic captor, and reading his face was her entire existence. Learning every movement, every line is what kept her alive. She manages to escape and, though badly broken, she’s eager to get justice. With her heightened ability to read the body language of both the living and the dead, she returns to the force with a new partner and now a killer is on the loose. I loved Jude’s character, I’m always a sucker for troubled detectives but she takes ‘troubled’ to a whole new level. She’s badass and can obviously survive anything. This was everything that a good thriller should be and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. I gave this a 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Don’t Stay Up Late – Okay so if you’re reading this book as an adult who is used to dark and twisted novels of gripping suspense and terror, then Don’t Stay Up Late is honestly child’s play. You see a lot of bad reviews of this on Goodreads because you have adults reading Stine for the first time and expecting Stephen King material. R.L. Stine writes for kids. He is the gateway drug for young would-be-horror fans. So, take it for what it is, I did and I enjoyed it. It’s nostalgic through and through, back to the first Fear Street series and Goosebumps books that I eagerly gobbled up when I was 8 and 9. I gave this a 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

So there you have it. Overall a fairly good reading month for me! I enjoyed everything except for American War which slowed down my groove. Nothing like a drag of a book to put damper on your reading mood.

Now I’m working on my TBR for July but there’s definitely going to be a couple of buddy reads, some ARC’s, as well as some graphic novels that have been eyeballing me from my shelves for quite some time!

Happy reading my friends!

Upcoming Releases

 

My TBR is longer than I know what to do with (which is an excellent problem to have in my opinion), but here’s a look at some upcoming releases that I’m really excited about! Now if I can just get Mo Hayder and Paul Clave to release something new, I’d be the happiest little reader on the planet!

The Cabin at the End of the WorldExpected Release Date: June 26th, 2018 (ahem, TOMORROW!)

Publisher: William Morrow

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 288

Genre: Horror

“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.

I’m pretty sure that right there is a sure sign that something terrible is going to happen you guys. A cabin in the woods with no one around? Classic horror.

Your dads won’t let us in, Wen. But they have to. Tell them they have to. We are not here to hurt you. We need your help to save the world.”

Somebody's DaughterExpected Release Date: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Genre: Thriller

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing – and Michael is the father.

Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl’s safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and how is hiding the truth…

I just started reading the ARC of this and I’m really enjoying it so far. David Bell is a new-to-me author so I’m not very familiar with his other novels however I do love a good gut-wrenching suspense novel!

Pieces of HerExpected Release Date: August 21st, 2018

Publisher: Harper Collins

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 480

Genre: Thriller

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

“Pieces of Her” follows Andrea Cooper and her mother, Laura. Andrea thinks she knows everything there is to know about her mother. But after a trip to the mall ends with violence, Andrea realizes that there is a completely different side to her mother. Because it turns out her mother wasn’t always Laura and for nearly thirty years, she’s been hiding from her previous life hoping that her past won’t find her. Now that it has, the police want answers and Laura won’t speak to anyone, even her own daughter Andrea.

I’m a big fan of Slaughter’s work, especially the darker novels because my soul itself is a little dark. I’m really looking forward to this new standalone novel even though I keep hearing it’s not a typical ‘Slaughter novel’. My guess is it’s a slight departure from the darkness but because I really love her writing style, it’s bound to be awesome.

The CraftsmanExpected Release Date: October 16th, 2018

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive in. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered.

But now, decades later, he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened…it gets personal.

You guys, I LOVE Sharon Bolton and this sounds like one of her creepiest novels yet!!  I am so excited about this release I can’t even begin to tell you! Whoever got there hands on advance copy of this, I’m so jealous!

The Witch Elm

Expected Release Date: October 9th, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 528

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

I’ve read all of Tana French’s books, most I’ve really enjoyed and others I didn’t like as much but regardless, I never fail to miss one! She writes beautifully – the prose, the characters and ingenious plots, she always finds a way to surprise you. Really looking forward to this one!

So there you have it! Some great new releases coming out this summer and fall be sure to have star status at the top of my TBR pile.

Any new releases you’re looking forward to?

 

 

 

You by Caroline Kepnes

You (You, #1)

Released: September 30th, 2014

Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio

Format: Audiobook

Narrated by: Santino Fontana

Genre: Thiller, Fiction

Rating: 9/10

“When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight – the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joes transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way – even if it means murder.”

I realize I am late to the party when it comes to the story of Joe and Beck but let me tell you, it was worth the wait! An online friend recomended Caroline Kepnes books to me and insisted that the audio version of You was an incredible place to start, so I dived in. I re-started my Audible account souly so I could downlook this book and listen. Best decision ever made.

Here’s the thing, I love a good crazy serial-killer. I especially love it when the story is written from their warped perspective. With that being said, this book is not for everyone: it’s extremely sexual, violent and most likely, very offensive to some. I, however, am not ‘everyone’.

There aren’t a lot of Guinevere Becks in the world – just the one. The first thing I had to find was your home and the Internet was designed with love in mind. It gave me so much of you, Beck.

One of the things that makes this book especially chilling is the realization that in today’s digital and social media crazed society, you can really find anything out about anyone. Honestly, you’ll want to re-evaluate your digital footprint in a hot minute after reading this.

Our sinister-yet-sexy Joe Goldberg is looking for love. He loves to read and is disengaged from modern technology. He’s pretentious and, even though he’s a highschool drop-out, he’s probably the smartest guy in the room. So when a woman walks into his bookstore and they begin to flirt, he does what any man looking for love would do – he googles her name from her credit card.

He begins to stalk her Twitter, Facebook, and Google Maps. He knows her address, her friends and her plans and where she’ll be and with whom. He knows where she went to college and her job. He knows she’s a writer and can read everything she’s written. He can access hundreds of pictures and knows her favorite movies and the books that she loves. And he knows all about her favorite green pillow.

::shudder::

This was real. I press my thumb into the wet ink of your receipt and the ink of Guinevere Beck stains my skin.

Somehow Caroline Kepnes makes you LOVE Joe. I was pulled in by him, completely captivated by him. The audiobook is narrated by Santino Fontana and he really makes Joe come alive. I don’t think that I can ever hear is voice and not think of Joe, in fact, I would happily listen to Fontana read to me all night long if I could. Kepnes pulls you so deep into the mind of Joe that, as disturbing as his behaviour is, there are moments where he becomes sympathetic. He is sensitive and charasmatic and something about him makes you want to love him like he loves Beck.

I just can’t recomend this book enough. Kepnes has earned a spot among my favorite authors and You has earned a place among the few books that I would read again and again. If you can handle the darkness of Joe’s mind, then run and get yourself a copy. Or rather, download the audio and listen the to soothing voice of Fontana (but make sure you have your headphones) and let your imagination go.

The problem with books is that they end. They seduce you. They spread their legs to you and pull you inside. And you go deep and leave your possessions and your ties to the world at the door and you like it inside and you don’t want for your possessions or your ties and then, the book evaporates.”