Saturday, October 13, 2018

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, 689 Pages

I've always loved true crime, but never really got into it in book form. I decided to start reading Helter Skelter because I've always wanted to, and October seemed like a good time to finally do it. Bugliosi's telling of the Manson crimes was horrific. I found myself triple-checking locks and windows before I went to bed each night. The horror genre is one of my favorite's to read, and a book like Helter Skelter takes horror to a new level due to the fact that it is unfortunately real. In my opinion, Charles Manson is the ultimate boogeyman.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Whiskey In A Teacup by Reese Witherspoon, 304 pages

I was really excited for this book to come out, and chose to listen to the audio version because it's read by Witherspoon and she is one of my favorite actors. I unfortunately was a little let down by this book! I still enjoyed it, but I wanted more. I would have preferred to hear Reese speak about the roles she's played and stuff like that, instead of mostly recipes. But, I still would recommend this book to others. It was a refreshing change from my usual read!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Uninvited: The True Story of the Union Screaming House by Steven LaChance, 264 pages

Confession time: I'm OBSESSED with anything paranormal related. I have been since I was a kid, and it seems to get worse around Halloween time. I picked up this book because it sounded nice and spooky. It was definitely scary in some parts, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that this supposed haunting takes place in Union, Missouri! I would recommend this quick and spooky read for anyone interested in the paranormal, or just wanting a good scare!

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena, 304 Pages

I'd read two books by Lapena prior to reading this one- one that I LOVED, and the other that I didn't finish, which is rare for me. Needless to say, I had no idea what to expect with this, and I was pleasantly surprised. The book was a little slow for my liking, but I enjoyed it as a whole. 

Caught in a winter wonderland, a group of people are snowed in to a remote Inn. Things get a little worrisome when the power goes out, so the guests hunker down to ride out the storm. Things are gravely interrupted when one of the guests is found dead, seemingly by an accident. But, when a second guest winds up with the same fate, everyone begins to question and turn on each other, aware that there's potentially a murderer amongst them. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Winter (Lunar Chronicles fourth book) by Marissa Meyer 827 pages

This was the final story of the Lunar Chronicles series.  All the characters come together, get split apart, come back in different groups, separate again and there's no time to register calm or relief for any of them.  The end was hard fought, but well worth it.  If you are looking for a very satisfying, female character-driven, sci-fi, light romance, adventure story, you need to jump into the Lunar Chronicles at your very first opportunity.  This was an incredibly well-crafted series with characters that constantly surprised me with their complexity and depth.  I listened to the whole series read by Rebecca Soler who did a fantastic job.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei, 368 Pages

I usually shy away from anything politically driven, but this caught my eye. Unfortunately, it fell really flat for me. The entire book was just extremely unrealistic, especially in this day and age.

Eight years ago, eight-year-old Addie Webster was kidnapped. Coming from a very high-profile, political family, her kidnapping was known across the nation. Her father, Richard Webster, is now the President of the United States, and him and the rest of the family have attempted to move on and find a new normal. Suddenly, life is once again interrupted when Addie is returned to her family. Things seem like a fairy tale ending until people start noticing that Addie was acting suspiciously. Was this just her way of coping, or did Addie return to her family for more sinister reasons?

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, 354 Pages

I'd heard mixed reviews on this book, so I was anxious to read it and see what I thought. The plot was really good, and made the book have great potential... but I found the main character so annoying. She was frustrating to read about, and made it difficult for me to finish the book. Luckily, the plot held up and I was able to finish. I also didn't like that I knew who the antagonist was basically from the beginning. I prefer a book that keeps me guessing until the end!

Nora and Clare were childhood best friends. Their friendship seemed like a friendship that would last a lifetime, until certain events happened that caused Nora to walk away from her life and start over. Ten years later, Nora receives an email invited her to Clare's hen/bachelorette weekend. Nora decides to take a chance and go, hoping this is her chance to start putting the past behind her. But, upon arrival, things start to go horribly wrong.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, 336 Pages

B.A. Paris is one of my favorite authors on the planet. Her books leave me desperately wanting more. The Break Down was unfortunately the last book she's written that I had yet to read, so I've been painfully putting it off for a while, as I didn't want to be done with her stuff yet! But, I gave in and checked it out the other day, and as usual.... it was fantastic! The Break Down kept my on the edge of my seat. I found the main character unlikable but it luckily didn't change my opinion on the book overall.

While driving home from a dinner with friends, Cass decides to take the shortcut she promised her husband she wouldn't take due to the horrible storm. While on the shortcut, she notices a car stopped on the side of the road with a woman inside. Cass finds herself pulling over to see if the woman needs help, but decides against it when the woman doesn't even acknowledge her being there. She continues home with doesn't think about it again until the next morning, when she hears on the local news that a woman was found brutally murdered in her car on the shortcut. Cass realizes that the woman she saw the night before is the one who died, and the guilt she feels for not approaching the car and doing more is seriously effecting her every day life. She's forgetting things, receiving sinister phone calls where the caller doesn't speak a word, and constantly feels like someone is watching her. Is Cass making all of this up in her mind due to the stress and guilt she feels, or is her life really in danger?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, 384 Pages

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. I was and still am so pumped about it!!
I had really high expectations for this. Hendricks and Pekkanen’s novel, The Wife Between Us, is still one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is so, so good. This follow up didn’t disappoint at all. It was creepy, twisty, and just fantastic. I loved it so much, and couldn’t put it down. I’ve already put in the request for the library I work for to order it when it comes out. (It’s supposed to be released in January 2019.)
Jess Farris happens to end up at a psychology study that is conducted by local psychologist, Dr. Shields. Jess feels herself opening up to Shields, drawn to her. The original study progresses to meeting in person and completing tasks assigned to Jess. Paranoia begins to set in as Jess realizes that Dr. Shield’s intentions may have been way more sinister than what she originally thought.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, 240 Pages

Let me start off with this- I despise the idea of “Think happy thoughts and you’ll be happy.” Like, literally despise. The thought of it makes me cringe. I come from a background of mental illness, and specifically struggle with social anxiety myself. I know that I can’t just think happy thoughts and then everything will be butterflies and rainbows. Hollis definitely hits on that mindset, but in a way that makes sense. She makes sure to point out that mental illness is real. So, she earned points with me for that one. While yes, she’s privileged. She lives a nice life with her seemingly cookie-cutter family, she also has worked her you-know-what off to achieve all of her goals. She is self-made, and she is real. This book actually did give me a wake up call. I can’t count how many times I’ve told myself that I’m a bad mom. (I just did last night, actually.) I’ve considered myself too fat, not pretty enough, not successful enough, etc. But when I think about it, as Rachel recommends, none of these things have been said to me by other people. I’m the only one that is spewing this nastiness. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely recommend it.

Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah, 384 Pages

I had really high hopes for this book and it let me down, unfortunately. It’s another one that’s been on my “To Read” list for a while. I’m still not completely sure why I disliked this book like I did. I know that I didn’t enjoy the writing style- there was just too much “filler” in there for me. And, I found the main character extremely annoying. Not to judge anyone, but running away from your family, including your kids, when you’re facing a difficult time just isn’t realistic to me. I could maybe see having a night away, but the main character leaving the country for over a week is just too much. 
Cara is facing a life-changing situation and isn’t sure how to cope, so she runs. She leaves without telling her family goodbye (aside from a note left behind) and books a stay at a five-star resort in a whole different country. Upon arrival, she’s sent to her room, or what she thought was her room. Inside, she finds a man and a young woman. Without much thought of the encounter, she goes to her actual room and gets some sleep. But, Cara soon realizes that the girl she thinks she saw in the room that night couldn’t have been there… because she is a very well-known murder victim, Melody Chapa. Cara’s relaxing getaway soon turns into a stressful search of the missing girl who everyone around her believes she is making up.

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando, 432 Pages

This was another book I found on my “Best YA thriller” google lists. It’s also been on my mile long “To Read” list I have going. Honestly, this book was a major disappointment for me. It had so much potential and just really fell flat for me. I found it weird, for a lack of better words. And not a good weird, if that makes sense.
Every parent’s worst nightmare became reality for six families over a decade ago. A group of kindergartners disappeared from their school in broad daylight. Now, the town is still trying to find normalcy in the aftermath, when five of the children suddenly return. Upon the joyous reunions, all five realize that they have no memories from the last decade, including what happened to them, or who took them. They also have no idea who Max is- the sixth child that still hasn’t returned. They are all forced to work together to unfold the mystery.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil, 309 Pages

I’ve been on a Young Adult kick lately. I was having a major "book hangover" after finishing Kara Thomas’s book, so I decided to google “Best YA thrillers”, and this happened to be on a list I saw. There were comparisons to “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, so I thought it sounded pretty good. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and was actually surprised by the ending, which is always appreciated.

Best friend’s Meg and Minnie were invited to an inclusive party on Henry Island. Meg is already on edge when she arrives, but is catapulted into straight fear once a DVD with the message “Vengeance is mine.” is discovered in the secluded home. Cue the terrible weather and power going out- the teens begin dying one-by-one, and quickly turn on each other, as that is the only logical answer as to what is happening. Meg takes it upon herself to not sit and wait to be the next victim, she’s determined to get to the bottom of things.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas, 336 Pages

I've mentioned it in my reviews before but... I. LOVE. KARA. THOMAS! This is the last book of hers that I had left to read that was written by her, and it didn't disappoint. The Darkest Corners gave me major Gillian Flynn vibes, who happens to be another favorite author of mine! 

Tessa left Fayette, Pennsylvania with the goal of never returning. But when her incarcerated father passes away, she is forced to return and face everything she painfully left behind. When Tessa left, she drifted apart from her best friend, Callie. Callie's family welcomes Tessa with open arms when she returns to town, which causes the two girls to reconnect and remember everything that happened before Tessa left- including when they both were forced to testify that they saw Wyatt Stokes kill Callie's cousin, Lori. Both girls question what they actually saw that night, and begin to uncover secrets that bring them extremely close to danger. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Best Man by Richard Peck 232 pages

I absolutely loved this book.  It's told first person in one of the most believable young voices I've ever read.  The boy telling the story isn't super smart, in fact, it's a running joke that it takes him a while to figure out all the random subtexts of life.  He has three men in his life that he knows are what men should be.  His grandfather, his father and his uncle.  By the end of the book, he'll add a fourth.  This is a brilliant, subtle and engrossing look at family dynamics and what really makes a good man.  There are no unrealistic characters and the introduction of a gay character is done with finesse, straightforward and unapologetic frankness.  In my opinion, this is as close to perfect as a book for young people can get. 

The Secret of Goldenrod by Jane O'Reilly 370 pages

This book made the preliminary nominees for the Mark Twain award, but didn't make the cut to final nominee.  It gave the impression that it was going to be a ghost story, but certainly never followed that track.  I'm still not sure what the explanation for the odd...very odd happenings would be, if not haunting, but it was made very clear throughout the book that this was not the solution.  Most of the children who have read it tell me they absolutely love it, so I'm going to go with their review.  It was a sweet story about a lonely girl finding her place in a new setting, but it never really wowed me.  That being said, there were some very nice touches to the book, so it's worth placing in the hands of kids 3rd grade and up. 

Cress: the Lunar Chronicles book 3 by Marissa Meyer 552 pages

The third book in the sci-fi/dystopian twist on fairy tales that is The Lunar Chronicles ramps up all the pre-existing tension of the first two books.  The romance, violence, and drama are all set to new highs.  This had just the right amount of romance for me, since I don't care for the bodice-rippers.  It really takes a back seat to the adventure and action surrounding all the main characters.  Cress (Rapunzel) has been held captive on a space station for years, using her tech skills to hide Lunar ships, spy on Earthens and do the bidding of the horrible Sybil Mira.  When her story gets woven into the main story of Linh Cinder, everything starts to get buck wild.  I can't wait to read the fourth book!

Scarlet: Book 2 of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer 454 pages

Scarlet's grandmother is missing and the police refuse to accept Scarlet's theory that she was kidnapped.  A mysterious street fighter named Wolf offers to help, but how far can she trust him?  Meanwhile, Cinder is going to have to break out of prison and start figuring out how to take down Queen Levana.  This installment is full of action and adventure.  This is a solid sequel that only makes you want to snag the next book immediately!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Shelter In Place by Nora Roberts, 439 Pages

I had never read anything by Nora Roberts until Shelter In Place. I have a list of authors that I know I need to read at least one book by them, because our patron's are always checking them out and they're just extremely popular. The description of Shelter In Place caught my eye, so I thought I would give it a try. **Trigger Warning** This book centers around a mass shooting. It's extremely difficult to read, but I enjoyed the book for the most part. Any sort of romance makes me cringe, and this was borderline too much for me.. but I stuck it out and finished it.

Down East Mall is bustling with shoppers, diners, movie-goers, etc. Everything changes when 3 shooters walk in, causing mass chaos and carnage. Everyone's lives are changed during the 8 minute shooting. Now years down the road, Simone is hiding out from life and reality, and Reed dedicated his life to preventing other incidents like the shooting and is now in the police force. Their paths will cross, and they'll realize that a third piece to this unfortunate puzzle was unhappy with the outcome of that horrible day, and plans to take matters in her own hands to make it have the ending she prefers.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 400 pages

I could not put down this book at all! There was mystery, a kidnapping, a masquerade ball, and plot twists. This is a must read! I was able to get an Advance Reader's Copy thanks to NetGalley.

 Sawyer Taft signs a contract with her grandmother stating that if she lives with her for 9 months, Sawyer will get $500,000. The catch, she must spend that time as a debutante. Sawyer never knew her mother's family, it was also just her and her mother. However, amidst the masquerade ball, scavenger hunt, and other not so legal activities, Sawyer grows closer to her cousin Lily and Lily's best friend Sadie Grace. Sawyer does have an ulterior motive for coming to stay with her grandmother. She is in search for her biological father. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange, 352 Pages

First of all, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Advanced Copy of The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange in exchange for an honest review! This book is set to be released around the beginning of October 2018.

After much deliberation, I decided to give this book 3/5 stars. I had a difficult time staying interested with this book, but I'm glad I read it because it focuses around important topics such as bullying and mental illness. The age recommendation I saw was 14+, but I'm not sure that I would recommend this book to patron's that are that young in my library, as some of the book is very graphic. I debated on giving The Chaos of Now 4 stars, but the ending knocked it down to 3 for me, I wish the author would have given me a little more!

Eli Bennett is a Sophomore at Haver High. He doesn't consider himself popular, or anything really- he's just Eli. He's getting through school by putting in minimal effort and spends most of his time in front of his computer. Eli is a teen hacker, and very good at it. He's frustrated, along with many other people in his school, when new laws are put in effect after his classmate, Jordan Bishop, commits suicide after relentless online bullying. Eli is approached by two classmates, Seth and Mouse, who also spend their time coding and hacking. They ask Eli to join their team in a coding competition, and he quickly accepts so they can get to work. Eli soon realizes that winning the competition isn't the only thing Seth and Mouse are after. The two boys had been friends with Jordan prior to him committing suicide, and their ultimate goal is to expose and humiliate anyone who contributed to his death. Things start off seemingly innocent, but quickly spiral out of control. Lives are changed forever and Eli realizes he may be in over his head.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins 448 pages

I have never read a book by Ellen Hopkins before. I found this one interesting. The story is told in verse and narrative. The narrative follows six teens living in Tuscon, Arizona. Each teen has a different idea on gun control and immigration. In the span of a week, all of their lives are changed. Someone will shot a gun and someone will be shot. Who will it be?

See, the absolute truth is people do kill people. A gun just makes it easier. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil 352 pages

I can’t believe that I finished this book in only two days. I’m actually surprised I finished it at all. The description of this book intrigued me but when I started reading, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. It’s intense, suspenseful, and gruesome at times. I just couldn’t stop! I would recommend to teens who are not afraid of horror movies. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart!

Dee Guerrera wakes up in a dimly lit warehouse wearing a ballgown. She has been transferred to Alcatraz 2.0, a prison island where convicted felons are hunted and killed live on the Postman app.  Dee's only goal is to stay alive long enough to clear her name. She was accused of killing her step-sister. Dee teams up with other teens on the island, where they are deemed the Death Row Breakfast Club. Will they be able to clear Dee's name or will the Postman's executioners get to them first?  

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage, 320 Pages

First and foremost- I was graciously granted an advanced copy of Baby Teeth by Netgalley and the publisher.

This book was honestly terrifying. I don't scare easily in terms of books, but this one really got to me. I felt the need to look over my shoulder the entire time I read this. I can't imagine being in the position of not trusting your own child, and being afraid of her. I will definitely recommend this to anyone who is a horror fan like myself.

Suzette and Hanna have an explosive relationship. Suzette, the mother, is terrified of her daughter, Hanna. Hanna has never spoken a word, but finds other ways to terrorize her mom on a daily basis. The minute her dad gets home, Hanna morphs into a sweet angel, incapable of doing the terrible things her mother claims she does. As Hanna's outbursts become worse, Suzette begins to realize something is seriously wrong with her daughter, and it could be life-threatening for her.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas, 384 Pages

First and foremost- I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

I LOVED this book. I’ve been on a YA binge lately, and Kara’s books do not disappoint. The Cheerleaders is intriguing from the beginning, and doesn’t leave you waiting for the hair-raising, thrilling moments. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, and was entirely not what I expected. This is definitely another YA novel I’ll be recommending to anyone and everyone. 

After multiple horrible tragedies that took place 5 years ago, the cheerleading squad no longer exists. Still searching for clues, and not entirely believing the story of what took place that night, Monica Rayburn finds her dead sister’s phone in her stepfather’s desk. Jen’s phone contains starting information, including the phone number of the person Jen spoke to right before she killed herself. Unable to turn to her family, who basically refuses to speak about any of the deaths, especially Jen’s... Monica is forced to dig deep into the past on her own, and what she discovers is equally horrifying and life-changing.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, 342 pages

"Before We Were Yours" has been on my to-be-read list for quite a while and I am so happy that I finally got to it.  This is a fictionalized account of a family of seven children who were victims of the Tennessee Children's Home Society.  The society was real and was supposed to be a wonderful system of orphanages for children, when in fact, it was a horrible place that stole children and sold them for profit.

This is one of those books that I occasionally had to put down because I just needed a break from the heartbreak.  It was also one of those books I struggled to put down because it was such a well-written and compelling story and I wanted to know what happened next.

This one definitely puts the reader through the ringer but it is so worth it.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman, 432 pages

Swedish author Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors.  He tends to write sweet tales about eccentric characters who find love and validation through friends.  That is not this book.

Beartown is a dying town deep in a forest and they have one point of pride - the hockey club and its various teams.  Something bad happens to someone and the aftermath threatens to destroy the club and the town.

Yowza, this was brutal and powerful.  Racism, rape, bullying and peer pressure are all explored.  I loved this in a whole different way from my normal awe of Fredrik Backman.   There is now a follow-up to this book, "Us Against You."  Ohh, can't wait!

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 219 pages

2018 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of the classic book Frankenstein and it is on the PBS "Great American Reads" list.  I figured it was a great time to read this classic book for the first time.

Many people, including some of the librarians I work with, love Frankenstein and their encouragement helped me finish it.  I mostly wanted to thump Victor Frankenstein on the noggin throughout the book and tell him any problems that arose in his life were indeed his fault because he panicked and couldn't love what he created.

Didn't enjoy it, but glad I read it.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Noir : a novel by Christopher Moore 339 pages

Thank you, Chris, for finally writing another book!  I know I shouldn't get frustrated, but when you go too long without publishing, I get edgy.  I need my fix! 

One thing I love about Moore's works are that they (especially the last 5 or so) are so wildly different subjects, but still deliciously his writing.  He writes paragraphs you want to chew for a while.  This was a foray into post WWII San Francisco, with night clubs, sassy dames, racial issues, and - oh, yeah - a government cover-up of the existence of aliens.  If you love 30s and 40s-style noir and really appreciate a well-turned phrase, don't pass this one up! 

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake 310 pages

I am so happy that there are several books coming out for middle graders that offer realistic looks at what it is like to be LGBTQ.  This is one of the best books yet that I've read.  It was sensitive, and didn't ever have a heavy hand.  It literally just followed a young girl as she tried to sort out why and how she was different.  More than anything it allows young people to understand two things: 1) it's okay to be different and 2) it's okay to not have all the answers.  This story was filled with warmth and characters that you really won't be able to help but love and want the best for them.  I highly recommend it to everyone 8 years+  without reservation. 

#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line by David and Lauren Hogg, 165 Pages

I saw this in a magazine of upcoming releases and knew that it would be a difficult one to read, but decided to attempt it. #NeverAgain is written by David and Lauren Hogg, siblings who survived the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The writing isn't fantastic, but I think that is to be expected when it was written by two teenagers who are dealing with unimaginable amounts of grief. The book hits on the tragedy that unfolded MSD, and also talks about the #NeverAgain movement that began after. I found it interesting to read it from their point of view, because it showed that not everything you see in the media is true.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens, 415 Pages

This book was intense. There is a lot of domestic violence, which is extremely difficult to read about. Besides the difficult topics, I found this to be a really good read. I changed my mind quite a few times on what I thought was going to happen, and still was shocked by the ending!

Over a decade ago, Lindsey is forced to flee in the middle of the night from her husband, Andrew. As the night goes on, Andrew is sent to jail, giving Lindsey the chance to start over with her young daughter, Sophie. But, upon Andrew's release from jail, Lindsey's life is once again in jeopardy, as she is sure that her ex-husband has tracked her down. Multiple things begin happening, including her home being broken into, and her new boyfriend being assaulted. Lindsey is almost positive that Andrew is behind all of this, while he claims that he has changed.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas, 329 pages

I'm currently waiting for a new release to come out written by Kara Thomas, so I thought I would check out this one and see if I like her writing. I used to really love YA books, and am slowly getting back to reading them. This book was compared to the TV show Pretty Little Liars, which was a huge guilty pleasure for me when it was on, so I knew I would love it.

Kacey is forced to move in with her father and his new family, which includes a step-mother, step-brother, and a younger half-sister. Everything about her life is new- new house, new family, new school and new friends. Bailey and Jade are her best friends and everything seems perfect, until they start distancing themselves from her. When they attend the biggest party of the year without her, Kacey is stuck at home wondering what she did to cause the distance between them. Unforunately, before she can get any answers, Bailey goes missing. Everyone turns to Kacey for the answers to their questions, and she realizes she didn't know her best friends as well as she thought she did.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, 288 pages

Tremblay is another one of my favorite authors. I recommend him to anyone who loves a good horror novel. I've been anxiously waiting for this release and it didn't disappoint. This book was truly horrifying.

Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are spending time at their remote cabin. They are miles away from any sort of civilization or cell service, and enjoying the uninterrupted family time. Wen is 7 years old and enjoys exploring outside. While catching grasshoppers in their front yard, a stranger suddenly appears at the end of the driveway. He introduces himself as Leonard, and quickly gains Wen's trust and interest. Everything changes when Leonard looks at her and says, "None of what's going to happen is your fault." Wen notices 3 more strangers quickly approaching, and runs inside to warn her dad's, but not before Leonard tells her that he and the strangers need her family's help saving the world.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris, 336 pages

B. A. Paris has quickly became one of my favorite authors. She is a master of the thriller genre, and I read through her books so quickly. They're all SO good! This new release is no different. While I didn't love it as much as I loved her other books, this was still a great thriller. I was on edge through the entire book and the ending was so wild!

Finn and Layla are young, and crazy in love. Driving home from a vacation in France, they stop at a rest stop. Upon returning to the car, Finn realizes that Layla has seemingly vanished. Ten years later, he is doing his best to move on and start over. Finn is engaged to Layla's sister, Ellen and they live a relatively quiet life, until something from both of their pasts shows up on their doorstep and changes everything.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, 487 pages

"Lilac Girls" is a World War II novel inspired by real people and events.  It tells the story of three women: New Yorker Caroline Ferriday (real person); polish teenager Kasia Kusmerick who was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp (inspired by a real person); and Dr. Herta Oberheuser (also a real person) who conducted medical experiments on the women of Ravensbruck. 

There are an endless number of stories still to be told about the atrocities, trials, and triumphs related to World War II.  This is a beautiful and sometimes heart wrenching novel that gets the word out about a few more of those stories.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, 384 Pages

This is a new release that I have been SO, SO anxiously waiting to read. I absolutely loved Sager's debut novel, Final Girls, and so I had very high expectations for this follow-up. Luckily, it lived up to said expectations! It was a little slow getting into it, but once I got to the ending, I couldn't put it down.

Fifteen years ago, 13-year-old Emma Davis is away at Camp Nightingale for the first time. She is shown the ropes by 3 older campers- Vivian, Allison and Natalie. Everything changes when Emma wakes up to the girls sneaking out of their cabin in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, this is the last anyone will ever see of the girls. Now, Emma is a successful artist, based in NYC, and gets all of her inspiration from that night at camp. When her exhibit is visited by the camp's former owner, Franny. During the visit, Franny offers Emma something she just can't resist- a chance to return to Camp Nightingale. Franny sees it as a chance to restore the camp's reputation, but Emma sees it as her chance to finally figure out what happened that night. Immediately upon returning, Emma realizes that something isn't right at Camp Nightingale. Between the sinister clues left behind by Vivian, the security camera that seems to only record her cabin, and the lies that quickly come to the surface from basically everyone around her, Emma realizes she's on her own in figuring out what happened fifteen years ago, and seemingly can trust no one.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, 224 Pages

This has been on my To-Read list for a long time. I loved Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore in the show Gilmore Girls, and feel so nostalgic when I watch it because I grew up watching it. Lauren talks a lot about the show and her feelings during it also during the revival, so this is a good read for anyone who loves the show. (Graham was also on Parenthood, I haven't seen that one! She does talk about her time on that show as well.) This was a feel-good read, and a nice break from my usual thriller novels.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman 460 pages

If you loved Pullman's His Dark Materials series, as I did, you absolutely must read this new series!  It was like putting on your favorite, comfy pajamas jumping back into the rich alternate reality of Lyra's Oxford.  Of course, this is a prequel to the other series, so Lyra is just a baby.  The main character is Malcolm, an industrious boy who helps his parents at their inn, does odd jobs for the nuns nearby and jack-of-all-trades tasks up and down the river.  His trusty canoe, La Belle Sauvage, affords him the luxury of accomplishing this in quick fashion.  Strange folk and rumors are moving through his parents' inn and Malcolm gets absorbed in a dangerous mission to protect the mysterious baby that is being sheltered at the nuns' priory.  

This was an absorbing, beautifully written story and I can't wait for the next one in this series! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Special Ones by Em Bailey, 319 Pages

This book caught my eye because I have a weird interest in cults, and it seemed like a short read, so I picked it up and finished it in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down! It's just the right amount of creepy, and the last few chapters were very suspenseful.

Four teenagers have been kidnapped, and are now being held in a farmhouse. They are referred to as The Special Ones by "him"- someone they've never actually seen, but controls their every move and thought. Their lives are broadcast via the internet for a group of followers, and any slip ups in the characters they're forced to be results in a "renewal". Esther realizes that she's not who "him" says she is, but is in survival mode knowing her only chance of escaping is continuing in her role.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood, 256 Pages

I've been looking forward to reading this one for months, and it was finally released earlier this week! This is classified as juvenile fiction, but I think anyone would enjoy it- especially a Beatles lover, like me! I grew up loving The Beatles, and can remember the first time my dad played a Beatles album for me, and this book really captures that feeling and put it into words.

Twelve-year-old Trudy Mixer is a Beatles fanatic. She starts up the first Beatles Fan Club of Rhode Island, and everyone quickly joins, catapulting Trudy to the top of the social ladder. Unfortunately, the club fizzles out and even her best friend, Michelle, leaves the club to join the Cheerleading Club. Things start to perk up when Trudy realizes that The Beatles are coming to Boston, and her dad buys 4 tickets for her, her mom, her dad and her now ex-friend, Michelle to attend. Things once again start to go downhill when Michelle turns down the offer to go, Trudy's dad is forced to leave for a business trip overseas days before the concert, and Trudy's mom breaks her leg, leaving her bed-ridden. Trudy is devastated, thinking she'll have to miss the concert, until she creates a plan to not only go to the concert with the remaining (and extremely unpopular) members of the club, but they're going to meet the one and only Paul McCartney.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, 259 pages

I was recommended this book by my cousin and a librarian friend I have from Kansas City. They both went on and on about how beautiful the writing is in the novel and once I read it, I completely understood what they meant. Not only is Gaiman's writing beautiful, it's haunting at the same time. I've already recommended this to two of our regular patron's and I'm anxious waiting for them to return it and tell me what they think!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout 271 pages

This is one of the best Nero Wolfe mysteries.  It is full of intrigue, and an awful lot of flirtation.  If you love excellent dialogue and mysteries that keep you guessing, you won't be disappointed.  When a powerful government official scheduled to speak to a group of millionaires turns up dead, the business world clamors for a solution and Nero Wolfe takes the case.  There’s really not a lot more to tell…Archie is irresistibly charming, as always.  Wolfe gets sick of having too many clients and warring agencies constantly crashing his office calm.  Another fantastic Nero Wolfe mystery read by Michael Prichard!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Misery by Stephen King, 433 pages

This was actually my first book I've ever read by King. I've always found his stuff to be very intimidating, mostly due to his writing style and also the length of his novels. A lot of people recommended Misery to me, so I finally gave it a try. It was borderline to gory for me, but I also found myself on the edge of my seat for a lot of it, especially the ending!

Paul Sheldon is a best-selling author and recently woke up utterly disoriented after a car accident. He is being tended to by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. After finishing his most recent novel and realizing that he killed of the main, beloved character, Annie quickly switches from Paul's carer to his captor. She is willing to go to grisly lengths to force Paul to write the next book in the series, and bring back the character that she can't live without.

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin, 384 pages

This was an interesting read for me. I originally picked it up about a month ago, and only got through a few chapters before I decided to give up on it. I was on hold for the e-book and it became available on one of my "I HAVE NOTHING TO READ!!!" days, and I recently bought a new Kindle Paperwhite that I've been itching to use, so I decided to give it another try. This time, I was able to finish the book and actually enjoy it! I talked to one of our regular patron's at my branch and she had the same experience, where she attempted to read it, gave up and read something different, and then was able to complete it and enjoy it the second go-around.

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent, 320 Pages

This book was kind of slow for me, but I was hooked from the very first line. It picked up as the story went on, and I couldn't put it down once I got to the last few chapters!
"My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it."
Lydia Fitzsimons has it all. But, "all" includes a major secret that is causing things to quickly unravel around her after her son, Laurence, finds out about it. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Fallen by David Baldacci, 432 pages

This is book #4 in Baldacci's Amos Decker series.  In this outing Amos and his friend and co-worker, Alex, are supposed to be on vacation.  They go to Barronville, PA to visit Alex's sister and her family.

Unfortunately, the vacation turns into a working vacation because people keep dying.  This is a typical Baldacci story, and frankly I enjoy a typical Baldacci story.  There is action, suspense, a quick pace and the bad guy typically gets his in the end.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, 277 pages

Oh, this is a well written, but sad, story.  Esme Lennox is a high strung young woman from a good family who does not conform easily to her parents wishes.  It is sometime in the early 1930's in Scotland and "difficult" women can be locked away in a mental institution for really no reason at all, with no prospect of release.

The story involves three women: Esme, her older sister Kitty, and Iris, the granddaughter of Kitty.  Sixty-one years after Esme is locked away and forgotten by her family her grandniece, Iris, learns of her existence.  The story of what really happened all those years ago unfolds slowly through the voices of Esme and Kitty, who now has Alzheimer's disease.  The book has a satisfying ending but I am unsure if it is a happy ending.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon, 352 Pages

This was a fast-paced thriller, and hit a nerve with me and what we're currently dealing with in society today. This story seemed like something that could really happen, which was terrifying to me. 

Michael and Julia Swann are loving parents, who would do anything for their two boys. Julia, a stay-at-home mom, is waiting for Michael to get home from a job interview and calls him to find out when he's due to arrive home. When their call suddenly drops, and Julia is unable to reach him again, she can't help but have a bad feeling in her stomach. Trying to distract herself, she sits down to watch a baseball game with her sons, but it ends up being interrupted by breaking news- a bomb has been detonated at the subway station Michael was last at. Julia frantically begins the search for Michael, but finds out that the situation has somehow gotten even worse, and Michael is now the prime suspect of the bombing. Determined to get to the bottom of things and trusting no one, Julia goes to great lengths to not only find Michael, but to prove his innocence. 

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen, 304 pages

The novel is set in a tight-knit, upper class neighborhood in modern day New York City.  The neighborhood has beautiful old houses and coveted parking.  The people living in the houses are all white, while the people working in the houses are not. 

From the outside it is an idyllic neighborhood.  However, when a handyman is brutally attacked, cracks begin to appear.  So much so, that a seemingly perfectly happy middle-aged couple, Nora and Charlie Nolan, might end up losing their marriage. 

Not my favorite Anna Quindlen book, perhaps because it is very much a love story to New York City, a place I've only visited a few times.  However, any Anna Quindlen book is worth reading, in my opinion.