Twisty Thrillers

I love to read a good twisty, creepy thrillers.  The kind that mess with your mind.  And lately, there have been no shortage of those for me!

Bring Me BackBring me Back by B.A. Paris

Method of Consumption: NetGalley on Kindle

Book Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Publication Date: June 19, 2018

 

I am a huge, huge fan of B.A. Paris.  She currently has two published novels: Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown, both of which are amazing.  Her third novel is due for publication on June 19th, and I was lucky enough to score an advanced copy through NetGalley.

Ten years ago, Finn McQuaid and his girlfriend were on their way back to England from a skiing trip in France.  But when they stopped at a service station in France… Layla disappeared.

Finn has now settled into a normal life with his new fiancé, but suddenly clues start turning up to suggest that Layla may be back.  Finn must discover if it’s really Layla, or if someone is playing tricks on him and Ellen.

As with all of B.A. Paris’s novels, this one will keep you guessing until the end.  Even when you think you have it figured out, you’ll discover there are still more twists.  I was so into this book, I read it in a single sitting!

 

You.JPG

You by Caroline Kepnes
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
narrated by Santino Fontana

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

You Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hidden Bodies Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Audiobook Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You may be one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read, and I mean that in the best way possible!  Most of the novel is told in second person, in case that wasn’t clear from the title.  Listening to it as an audiobook certainly added an extra layer of creepiness.

Joe Goldberg seems like an average post-college aged guy who works in a New York City bookstore.  The thing is, he has become obsessed with Guinevere Beck and decides that the two of them will be together at any cost.

The book is narrated by Joe to Guinevere, whom he lovingly calls Beck.  He rigs encounters between the two of them that seem happenstance and allows a relationship to blossom in what appears to Beck to be a completely natural way.  However, as the readers, we know that there is nothing natural or happenstance about it.

I was as obsessed with this book as Joe was with Beck, and although I listened during a crazy week at work, I devoted every second of free time I had to this novel.  I also enjoyed the entertaining social commentary on today’s world played out through social media.

Immediately upon finishing You, I checked out the sequel Hidden Bodies from the library.  I won’t provide a synopsis for fear of giving anything away, but I will say that while it was a good book, it wasn’t quite as good as You.

What are your favorite twisty thrillers that mess with your mind?  Let me know in the comments!

The Love Actually of Books

How to Find Love in a Bookshop.jpg

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Method of consumption: Hardcover

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

WARNING: This book will make you want to open your own bookshop!

If you’re looking for a feel good novel that will leave you with a huge smile on your face, this is the book for you!!  I picked it up because I figured it would be a good Valentine’s Day read, but this one works at any time of year.

Upon her father’s deathbed, Emilia Nightingale promises him that she will carry on his legacy after he’s gone.  Julius opened Nightingale Books just after Emilia’s birth, 32 years before.  However, Emilia quickly realizes that owning and running a bookshop, though it may be her legacy and her dream, isn’t quite as easy as she thought.

As she embarks on her journey to keep Nightingale Books alive, she encounters a lovely cast of characters, who all work to help her along the way.  Each of them has their own set of obstacles to overcome, as they seek to find love and happiness in their lives.

As you can imagine, this book has many cheesy moments, but I was more than happy to forgive them, as I fell in love with each of the characters and made my way through Veronica Henry’s pretty prose.

This story reminded me of a bookish-themed Love Actually, with its intertwined stories and characters, overall theme of love, and a (partly) Christmas setting.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

 


Memorable Quotes

After all, a town without a bookshop was a town without a heart.

 

Lighter Reads

In between all the heavy books, I like to mix it up with a few lighter reads.  To me, those are books that don’t require too much thought or focus.  In between the 24 hour Bone Clocks audiobook, plus the expository Deep Work nonfiction, and the high school English favorite Dracula, I needed to add some light reads to the mix!

This month, it was also important to me that my light reads come from my unread shelf (i.e. books I already own but have not yet read).  If you are interested in learning more about the Unread Shelf Project, check out Whitney’s Instagram, or the #unreadshelfproject2018 hashtag.

An Inquiry Into Love and Death

An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James
narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Audio Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My sister-in-law originally turned me on to Simone St. James, and I’ve now read 5 of her 6 novels.  These haunting, almost cozy mysteries take place in early 20th century Britain, each with a new, strong female character and a different ghostly element, which is usually evident by the title.

An Inquiry into Love and Death follows Gillian Leigh to the seaside village of Rothewell, where she must investigate the mysterious death of her ghost-hunter uncle Toby, alongside a handsome Scotland Yard inspector named Drew Merriken.  (Side note: every time they said Drew’s last name, I couldn’t help but thing to myself, “‘Merica!”)

As you can imagine, ghost hunting and romance ensue.  This book was just what I needed for the time, but it wasn’t anything spectacular.  If you’re interested in reading Simone St. James, I’d start with Silence for the Dead (my favorite) or The Other Side of Midnight, both of which I rated 4 stars.

A Walk to Remember

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
narrated by Frank Muller

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Audio Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Confession: In high school, I was a huge Nicholas Sparks fan.  There, I said it!  And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

You probably all know A Walk to Remember from the movie featuring Mandy Moore in which she sings that really pretty song (that I may or may not still sing in my shower to this day).  This is one of those instances where the movie is actually better than the book!

It’s a sweet little high school love story between the extremely pious Jamie Sullivan (great name, right?!), daughter of the local Baptist minister, and bad boy Landon Carter, son of the local Congressman.  An unlikely romance, and yet true love always finds a way.

But in a Nicholas Sparks novel, things rarely end on a high note!  This is why I finally moved away from Nicholas Sparks; I discovered through other romance novelists that love stories mustn’t always end in tragedy!  Love can have a happy ending!  Unfortunately for Jamie and Landon, their happy ending is marred by death, but whose I will not say.  Read the book (or watch the movie) to find out!

Happy reading!

Two Novels for the Price of One

The Bone ClocksThe Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
narrated by Steven Crossley, Jessica Ball, Colin Mace, Laurel Lefkow, Anna Bentinck, & Leon Williams

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Bone Clocks is a supernatural sci-fi novel told in 6 parts, from the viewpoints of 5 different characters, about a group of humanistic beings who never age, and how their “lives” affect a group of mere mortals who fall into their paths.  Each of the 5 main characters is highly flawed, and yet when you hear things from their points of view, you find yourself empathizing with even the basest of individuals, a testament to David Mitchell’s excellent writing and character development.

But while I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters, something in the story fell flat for me.  The reader is left in the dark for much of the novel about how exactly this world works, until the fifth chapter when the answers are finally revealed.  And yet this was the chapter in which I found my attention wandering most.  I didn’t so much care about the world in which these people live, or the (super lame) battles they fight through, as I felt moved by their everyday struggles and encounters.

If David Mitchell had chosen to make this story a simple study of characters, more so than a supernatural saga, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

The Bone Clocks is a bit difficult to listen to because it seems to take place in our world, until something just slightly off happens, causing you to rewind and make sure you heard correctly.  Spoiler alert: you probably did!  Despite the novels oddities, each of the audiobook narrators did a superb job, and thus the audiobook gets 5 stars from me.

But I cannot finish this review without mentioning the random, apocalyptic final chapter that felt like it came from another book entirely.  While I typically enjoy apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, I did not feel this was the place for it.  Take it out and make it a story all on its own, and I’m in!  But the way it was written left me feeling like I got 2 novels for the price of one.

Memorable Quotes:

“Men marry women hoping they’ll never change.  Women marry men hoping they will.”