Sunday, November 1, 2020

#gretchensbooks2020 - October


As expected, this was a slow book month. With starting grad school again, most of my free time has been dedicated to that (finished nearly two classes this month!) I thought maybe will all of the traveling this month held I would at least finish a handful of audiobooks, but I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack for most of my driving, so that didn't happen either! #noregrets Regardless, with it being spooky season, I wanted to get in some thrillers! 


105. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (3/5★)

This was the second book in the “YOU” series, and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t think it was as good as the first. Joe was just as creepy, but I wasn’t on edge as much reading it. It’s also pretty different from season 2 of the Netflix show (as I expected). That being said, I think I saw that book 3 comes out in April, and I do plan on reading it! Again, I recommend the audio version of these books, because the performer is spot on!!

Joe is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him. 

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They reemerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…


106. The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda (4/5★)

Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors. 

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her. 

I randomly picked this one up at our local book store back home during my (very unsuccessful) book buying freeze. I’m glad I did! It wasn’t overly suspenseful, but I was thoroughly engaged throughout the whole story. I had not guessed the ending, which is always a plus when it comes to reading mysteries/thrillers/suspense novels. 


A general's daughter...

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington's penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she's captivated by the young officer's charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton's bastard birth and the uncertainties of war. 

A Founding Father's wife...

But the union they create--in their marriage and the new nation--is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all--including the political treachery of America's first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness. 

The last surviving light of the Revolution...

When a duel destroys Eliza's hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband's enemies to preserve Alexander's legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she's left with one last battle--to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her...

I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Though it is historical fiction, it pulled from primary sources, so much of it is factual, though exaggerated.

It was a long one to listen to- 21 hours- but the performer was engaging enough that it wasn’t difficult to become enthralled. The novel covered much of Eliza’s life and accomplishments, from childhood to death. I liked that they had a pretty extensive authors note at the end detailing both the truths of the story as well as the liberties they took for entertainment purposes.


108. The End of Her by Shari Lapena (3.5/5★)

A long-ago accident--and a visitor from out of the blue. . . 

Stephanie and Patrick are adjusting to life with their colicky twin girls. The babies are a handful, but even as Stephanie struggles with the disorientation of sleep deprivation, there's one thing she's sure of: she has all she ever wanted. 

Then Erica, a woman from Patrick's past, appears and makes a disturbing accusation. Patrick had always said his first wife's death was an accident, but now Erica claims it was murder. 

Patrick insists he's innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. Still, Erica knows things about Patrick--things that make Stephanie begin to question her husband. Stephanie isn't sure what, or who, to believe. As Stephanie's trust in Patrick begins to falter, Patrick stands to lose everything. Is Patrick telling the truth--is Erica the persuasive liar Patrick says she is? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake? 

How will it end?

Though I enjoyed the story, this wasn’t my favorite from Lapena. I enjoyed the mild suspense, but I was able to guess the upcoming events which isn’t ideal with a thriller. I’m a big fan of Lapena’s, and will continue to read everything she releases, but the ending of this one fell kind of flat for me. It wasn’t bad, just kinda meh in comparison to her other novels.


109. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (3.5/5★)

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. 

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story...until the next day, when Ingrid disappears. 

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

This is the second Sager novel I’ve listened to this spooky season. It wasn’t as good as “Home Before Dark,” but it was still so engaging! I had not predicted what as going to happen at all, probably because it was so bizarre! I’ve got another one on hold, and the wait it long, which I totally understand why. Sager is a fabulous thriller writer!

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

Reading Challenge: 109/100 books read in 2020

You can find previous book reviews here!

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