Friday, May 24, 2019

#gretchensbooks2019 - April

So I know these are April's books....and it's nearly June....but May was a fun and busy month!!! Honestly, writing has been really put on the back burner for me this year, which kind of stinks because its something I really enjoy, but my writing time was replaced with other things that I really enjoy, so I'm okay with it.  Hopefully I'll find some time now that school's out!

Another month heavy on the audiobooks, but boy were there some good ones! If you have a library card, download the "Libby" app and login with your card - you can borrow audiobooks and kindle books with it! 

The following reviews are short and sweet, because unlike writing them shortly after I finish the the book like I usually do, I'm sitting here trying to remember books that I read over a month ago to write reviews for...Oops!! 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means when you purchase something through that link, you're helping support this blog at no additional cost to you!*

(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

32. The 5th Wave by Richard Yancey (2.5/5 ★)

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

A friend had recommended this book to me a couple years ago, and I've been wanting to watch the movie, which of course means I had to read the book first. This book runs along the lines of The Hunger Games, or Divergent, both trilogies in which I read in just a few days.  I loved both series, so I expected to love this one as well.  I listened to it as an audiobook, so maybe I would have liked it better had I read a physical copy, but I doubt it.  I never felt like I was in suspense, and I didn't feel like there was a big progression in the story-line.  

33. I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan (2.5/5 ★)

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.
For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…

I listened to this on audiobook, and while the description gave it a lot of potential, I was let down. I'm pretty big into true crime podcast, so I was excited to find a book that incorporated that.  Since I listened to it as an audiobook, I think it made the podcast part of it more realistic as well. Honestly, they left you hanging at the end, but not in a fun, suspenseful way.  They ended the book with pretty much zero answers which was DUMB. There were pointless characters, and things that they made a big deal out of for no reason.  Overall, it was a huge let down.

34. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (5/5 ★)

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I honestly don't even know where to begin with this. I try to "review" it, but nothing I come up with does this book justice. Just read it. Or even better, listen to the audiobook, because the narration is absolutely fabulous. And also the movie is good, but READ THE BOOK. 

35. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (5/5 ★)

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Oh my goodness. This one was SO good.  This is the second book by her I've read this year (well, this one was on audiobook) and I have loved them both.  After I finished this one, I immediately search the app to see if she had any other books recorded on audiobook, but unfortunately it only listed this one and the other that I had already read.  Turns out she's only released three books, and yes, I've already reserved the third from the library. Lapena is exceptional at keeping things suspenseful.  One minutes I would be thinking, "I really wish she didn't give us [a specific character]'s thoughts, because now I know what is going on," and the next minute I'd realize I was just being led astray and something totally different was happening.  Then, just when you think everything is tied up nicely at the end, you're hit from behind with something new! If you're into thrillers, this is a MUST READ.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.             As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Somehow, in all of the history I've been exposed to in school and travel, I had never heard of this tragedy that occurred less than a hundred years ago. After listening to the story, I was left infuriated and baffled, but also not surprised. I don't know why this isn't commonly known history, and I'm curious as to whether it is closer to the Oklahoma area. Definitely a must read for anyone interested in history, or just being educated on another injustice that seems to have been swept under the rug. 

37. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (5/5 ★)

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

Oh. My. Gosh. This one was recommended to me, and I'm so glad it was. Another great suspense story to add to this month's list. I began this while I was crafting one rainy day, and even though I had a stack of movies from the library to get to, I could not turn this audiobook off! No matter how good a thriller is, it’s rare that I find one that I don’t have figured out halfway through. This one had me on my toes until the very end! I recommended it to another friend shortly after and she had the same reaction I did. 

38. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (2.5/5 ★)

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isa—receive the text they had always hoped would never come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty. But their little game had consequences, and as the four converge in present-day Salten, they realize their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped…

After the previous thrillers I’d read this month, this one was a let down. It wasn’t super predictable, but it also didn’t build up the suspense. Honestly, I only finished it because I had started it, and not finishing things gives me anxiety.

39. A Witness to a Trial by John Grisham (2/5 ★)

A judge’s first murder trial.
A defense attorney in over his head.
A prosecutor out for blood and glory.
The accused, who is possibly innocent.
And the killer, who may have just committed the perfect crime.

I've read and own every John Grisham book ever, but somehow I had not heard of this one.  It is a short story, and is the prequel to one of his newer books.  I listened to it via audiobook one morning, but it is also published as a Kindle book. Honestly though, even if you're a diehard Grisham fan like myself (or maybe especially if you're a diehard Grisham fan like myself), don't bother with this one. It truly has nothing to do with the book it is a supposed prequel to, and I think Grisham's stories are meant to be novels, not short stories.

40. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (2.5/5 ★)

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
I'm really torn on how I feel about this one.  It was not nearly as suspenseful as I thought it would be - I had seen so many good reviews and recommendations for it! The ending was NOT predictable, but I feel like I had to listen to a boring, uneventful plot line to actually get to the suspense at the end.

41. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (3.5/5 ★)

It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing--maybe even romantic--weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.
So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world--the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.
Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead--it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic. 
Within the snowed-in paradise, something--or someone--is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm--and one another.

I've read all three of Lapena's books this year, and though I LOVED the other two, this one wasn't as good.  It still had a decent amount of suspense, and I truly wasn't sure who was committing the crimes until the end, but the resolution seemed a little far fetched. If you like her other books, this is still a good one to read, but I wouldn't recommend it as much as The Couple Next Door.

42. The Break Down by B.A. Paris (2.5/5 ★)

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods. It was on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, and a woman was sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm, and she probably would have been hurt herself if she’d stopped. Not only that, her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home.But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing. Where she left the car; if she took her pills; even the alarm code. The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt. And the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…
I semi-enjoyed the first book I read by B.A. Paris, but I didn't think it lived up to the hype. I thought I would give another Paris book a chance, but I was let down again.  For one, the suspect pool for this book was slim, and very few of them actually seemed like they could have done it.  And by very few, I mean one or two. There was a fair amount of suspense, but the killer was easily discernible from the get-go.

Reading Challenge: 42/50 books read in 2019

You can find previous book reviews here!

No comments:

Post a Comment