Saturday, December 8, 2018

Asylum by Madeleine Roux, 317 Pages

I listened to the audio version of this, and it took me literally a month to finish it. (In my defense- I don't have a long commute or anything that gives me the chance to listen to audiobooks, so I mostly have 15 minute increments while I'm in the carpool line at my kid's school!) Asylum is a Young Adult thriller/horror novel, and while there were some creepy parts of the story, I was overall unimpressed. I felt like it was also more juvenile than Young Adult.

Dan Crawford is spending his summer at New Hampshire College Prep. He sees it at a chance for new friends, independence and his last hurrah before he goes off to college. He's a little hesitant when he finds out that instead of a dormitory, he's being housed in a former asylum. Dan decides to take advantage of the creepy living situation, and decides to explore the old asylum with his new friends Jordan and Abby. The three friends realize that they've arrived here under no coincidence, but because of a past that somehow involves them.

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay, 368 Pages

This. Book. Was. So. GOOD!! I couldn't put this down, and was not expecting the ending. Barclay is a master at getting into your head and making you question everything, and A Noise Downstairs was no exception.

Paul Davis is recovering from a brutal attack that almost killed him, after he stumbled upon a colleague about to dispose of two bodies. With his colleague now in prison serving a life sentence, Paul is trying to get his life back. He is battling PTSD along with other physical injuries, and begins seeing a therapist. While meeting with her, Paul decides that in order to fully heal, mentally and physically, he needs to dig deeper in the life of his attacker and find out what makes him tick. In an effort to cheer him up, Paul's wife brings home a vintage typewriter. When Paul begins hearing someone typing on the typewriter in the middle of the night, he blames it on everyone- even himself. Unable to find the source of the typing, Paul comes to the conclusion that the typewriter is somehow possessed, which leads to him wife coming to the conclusion that he is losing his mind. Paul is determined to prove that he's not crazy, and takes matters into his own hands.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

We Say #NeverAgain by Melissa Falkowski, Eric Garner, and the Parkland Student Journalists

This was an interesting look at the tragedy that hit Florida in February 2018. This book was written by the journalists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and really talks about the Never Again movement that started after what happened. I appreciated that it didn't focus solely on the shooting itself, and is more about what the students have done to ensure that this never happens again.

That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger, 329 Pages

That's Not What Happened centers around a school shooting, and what that leaves in it's aftermath. What sets this book aside from others with the a similar plot is that this mostly takes place a few years after the shooting, and really hits on the subject of how quickly stories spread, even if there's hardly any truth to them, in society today. This book also is very similar to the Columbine shooting and the story of Cassie Bernall. Throughout the entire book, the fictional-shooter's name is never printed, which I thought was a really fantastic detail to the story. Personally, I often see headlines of heroic actions, or even the opposite, after a tragedy or a huge event happens, and I've never stopped to think that maybe that situation isn't entirely how the media portrayed it to be. Keplinger does a fantastic job at pointing out the flaws in the media, and how we often, as a society, believe what we want to believe.

Leanne Bauer has spent the last three years attempting to move on, and reclaim some normalcy to her life. After losing her best friend, Sarah, in a school shooting, she's not really sure how to move on. Making it even more difficult to move on is the fact that Sarah's "story" has been played out repeatedly in the media. The biggest issue with this, is that the story the media is telling isn't true. Everyone thinks that Sarah died immediately after proclaiming her faith to the shooter, but Leanne knows that isn't true because she was in the bathroom stall with Sarah when she died. Three years later, Leanne has kept this secret to herself because she doesn't want to face what she's sure will come if she speaks up, and also doesn't want to tarnish Sarah's name. But, Leanne is about to graduate, and Sarah's parents are about to publish a book about Sarah's story, so she knows this may be her last chance to really get the truth out there.

We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott, 352 Pages

We Told Six Lies is a Young Adult thriller that is set to be released in February 2019. I'm still a little unsure of how exactly I felt about this book. Was is the best YA thriller I've ever read? No. But it was intriguing enough to keep my attention, and made it difficult for me to put down. I didn't see the ending coming, and was surprised with the twist that came with it. The one thing that I didn't like about this book was how sexual it was, especially for a young adult book. I wouldn't consider myself a prude, but as someone who was reading YA at what I would consider a young age, it makes me uneasy that it would be on the YA shelves.

Hindsight: And All the Things I Can't See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake, 288 Pages

I'm a huge Justin Timberlake fan, and an even bigger NSYNC fan, so I was super excited to read this book. I thought it was an interesting look at his life beyond what you normally see. The book also includes a ton of pictures from when he was a child, all the way up to his most recent tour. It was a quick and easy read, too, which I really appreciated. (I finished this in one sitting!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans, 283 Pages

Jacob Churcher returns to his childhood home after the death of his mother.  Upon arrival he discovers that the mother he hadn't seen in over 20 years had become a hoarder.  While cleaning through layer after layer of junk he uncovers family secrets that need to be brought to life.  During this process he meets Rachel, a woman looking for answers and trying to fill holes in her own past.  Little do they know that their past lives are intertwined.  During this journey they mend family ties and discover that love is possible and deserving for two people who had given up on ever finding happiness.

I enjoyed this book, and it was a really quick read, taking me only a few hours.  However, it was a bit too wholesome for my taste.  I could have used a bit more grit, with Jacob's abusive past/mother, and a little more steam/hotness with the romance storyline between Jacob and Rachel.  I've never read Richard Paul Evans before, so I'm guessing he writes clean/wholesome stuff.  There's nothing wrong with that, and I did enjoy the story.  I was in the mood for a little, quick wintry and Christmassy themed book and this did the trick. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Lonely Dead by April Henry 240 pages

Another great book by April Henry. Besides the mystery and suspense that April brings to her books, she adds a paranormal flare to The Lonely Dead. I was able to read an Advanced Reader's Copy thanks to NetGalley. 

Ever since she was young, Adele could see and talk to the dead. While taking a shortcut home from school, Adele comes across her ex-best friend, Tori in the woods. She soon realizes that Tori is dead and she is buried in a shallow grave. Suspicion is thrown on Adele when the police find out that she and Tori had a fight the night Tori died. Add in that Adele doesn't have an alibi, she becomes the prime suspect. Adele must work with Tori's ghost to find the real killer.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge, 384 Pages

I received an advanced copy of She Lies in Wait via Netgalley, and although it had a ton of potential, I had a hard time finishing the book and there was just too much going on for me to keep track and enjoy the read. I felt like the book was extremely predictable, and after starting out extremely fast paced, it fizzled out and dragged on. There were a few times that I had to go back and reread parts to figure out which character was who, and how they played into the story. I was overall disappointed by this, but extremely thankful I was given the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review! She Lies in Wait is set to be published in January 2019.

A group of teens go camping in the forest, and after a night fueled by alcohol and drugs, they realize that the youngest, Aurora, is missing. Thirty years later, remains are found in the forest, and are identified as Aurora's. The case is reopened, and the original group of friends is brought together under the circumstances, and everyone is under suspicion.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston, 368 Pages

The Cellar is a Young Adult thriller that I genuinely enjoyed. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it was fast paced, intense and thrilling.

When 16-year-old Summer fails to return home from a night out with friends, her family instantly knows something is wrong. They know that something must have happened to Summer, as they are sure that she would never run off and leave her life behind. Police quickly become involved, and everyone helps in the search for Summer. Colin Brown also involves himself in the search, seemingly in hopes of finding Summer. Unfortunately, Colin has ulterior motives and is getting close to the search for all the wrong reasons.