Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke, 336 pages

Alafair Burke is an author that I've intended to read for a while now, but never got around to it. I was given an advanced copy of her newest book, The Better Sister, in exchange for an honest review, so I thought this was the perfect time to give her books a try. I was thoroughly impressed with this book, and loved the fact that I wasn't able to figure out the ending early on. This book is also a great read during the times we're in, as it deals a lot with the "Me Too" movement and things of that nature. I really enjoyed this book and will be reading her others soon! The Better Sister is expected to be published on April 16, 2019.

The Mermaid's Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace, 208 Pages

I've fallen in love with Amanda Lovelace's work, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in poetry but struggles with it, like myself. Lovelace's poems are very contemporary and I find them easier to connect with in my own life, which makes it a more enjoyable read, in my opinion! This is the third book in her Women are Some Kind of Magic series.

Parkland by Dave Cullen, 400 pages

I knew I had to read this as soon as I saw it. I've been reading a lot about the kids in Parkland and the movement that they started, and am really inspired by their activism and passion for change. I previously read Cullen's other book, Columbine, and was equally horrified and hopeful that nothing like that would ever happen again. (Unfortunately, I was wrong.) Parkland is a great representation of what the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas went through that day, but also the change and hope that those events inspired.

No Exit by Taylor Adams, 287 pages

I've seen a ton of buzz around this book online, so I was really anxious to read it. I'm not someone that stays up all night reading, but this book is one that kept me up all night, and I read it in one sitting. This quickly became an instant favorite for me, and will forever be a go-to recommendation for anyone who loves thrillers and horror. My one complaint I had about this book was that it was a little gory for my liking, but it luckily didn't ruin it for me! I honestly loved everything about this story- the plot was captivating and horrifying at the same time, the main character was likable and so. many. plot. twists!!!

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda, 336 pages

The Last House Guest is Megan Miranda's most recent, due to be published on May 2, 2019. This was more of the Megan Miranda I like, as opposed to her other new one, Come Find Me, that I didn't like very much. This book was very chilling, and definitely kept me thinking, but I did see the direction the book was going fairly early on.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, 384 pages

Riley Sager is a favorite author of mine. Everything he writes keeps me guessing until the very end, and usually creeps it's way onto my list of all-time favorite thriller's. I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy of his newest book, Lock Every Door, in exchange for an honest review. I really loved this book. It was creepy, and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire thing. The last 100 or so pages are so anxiety-inducing and shocking. Sager didn't let me down with this one. Lock Every Door is expected to be published on July 2, 2019.

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda, 336 pages

I normally love anything and everything that Megan Miranda writes, so I was a little disappointed that I didn't love this book. At the same time, I didn't dislike it, I just think it unfortunately falls flat to the rest of her collection. I think this is intended to be a Young Adult novel, so that may have been why it felt different to her regular fiction. I still would recommend this to patron's, but would definitely recommend her other work before this one!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Underdog by Agatha Christie page count unknown

I listened to this Hercule Poirot mystery for the first time.  I can't even find it as a stand alone book in print, but I would guess it is only around 100 pages.  For one of the shorter Poirot stories, it certainly packs a wallop.  Someone has done a murder and the lady of the house is convinced she knows who.  The problem is that the only thing she's going on is her intuition.  Poirot is the only one who does not scoff, but decides to see why she is so resolute in her conviction.  Read by David Suchet, the best Poirot ever. 

Educated: a memoir by Tara Westover 334 pages

I struggle with how I want to describe this book.  It was riveting, but so unsettling.  This autobiography was remarkable in that the author got out and away from her upbringing as well adjusted as she did.  Don't get me wrong, I'll bet she's going to be struggling for the rest of her life to undo the damage growing up the way she did caused.  However, the fact that she was able to break away from her family and all their psychological problems and abuse is really impressive.  Her story is never really presented in a woe-is-me way, it is presented in a very matter of fact way that is almost more unsettling.  I love biographies and this is one that I will probably never forget. 

Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly 310 pages

Set in a world where some children were gifted by a specific cosmic event, this story follows Emmeline.  Emmeline was born a shadow weaver, she can literally draw shadows to her, craft them into tangible items, cloak herself in them and use them to try to fill her lonely days.  The child of wealthy parents, she is not allowed to make friends, everyone seems frightened of her and she feels terribly misunderstood.  Only Dar, her own shadow, is always with her.  She can hear Dar speak, but no one else can.  A serious and terrifying event leads Emmeline to run away from home.  When she meets a boy who can weave with light, her shadow begins to act very strangely.  This is a great introduction to fantasy and psychological thrillers for young people.  It also gives clues to what toxic relationships can look like.  I really enjoyed this story for its sensitive treatment of its characters and realistic response to situations, even though the situations themselves were fantastic.  I highly recommend this to children 4th grade and up. 

24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling 260 pages

I saw that this book was being compared to Holes by Louis Sachar.  How could I not read it?  Nowhere is a tiny town that most people dream of fleeing.  A group of kids form an unlikely alliance to satisfy a demand from the local bully and enter into the most dangerous local, condemned mine.  Their search for gold yields more than they ever thought possible.  It also often made me think of The Goonies, which is one of my all time favorite movies.  For 4th graders and up who love realistic fiction with a bit of adventure and mystery thrown in, you can't miss with this one. 

The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs 179 pages

This was one of my favorite books when I was young.  It was also my first introduction to the artwork of Edward Gorey.  I can't tell you how much I loved experiencing this again, it was my first time reading it with my ears.  Read by George Guidall, it was as enjoyable as I remembered from my youth.  You've probably seen the trailers for the movie, or the movie itself, so you know it is a story about magic, good vs. evil, growing up, trying to fit in, loss and love.  It is told in such an accessible way for a young audience, I simply cannot recommend it highly enough! 

Monday, March 4, 2019

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix, 337 pages

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix is a supernatural horror novel, but also has some dry humor in there. A tad too unrealistic for me, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, but I still would give this one 3/5 stars. It was fast paced and some parts really made my skin crawl.

Over twenty years after her almost success as the guitarist for metal band Dürk Würk, Kris has hit rock bottom, working as a receptionist at a Best Western and barely getting by. She is still bitter about what split the band up, and now is reeling: Terry, former best friend and lead singer of Dürk Würk is going on tour with his new group, Koffin. Kris decides to confront Terry about what happened, and tries to rally the troops to come with her, including multiple former band members. She soon realizes that Terry's success stemmed for something far more sinister than just screwing over the rest of the band... he potentially sold their souls.