Friday, May 6, 2022

#gretchensbooks2022 - April


            

April was a month of no motivation. Like, none. For anything. I did hardly any work at home (which is a good thing!), but also did very little reading. I didn't really watch TV either?? I have no idea what I did in April. I did finish the Will Trent series on audiobooks though I guess! 


                                 

Book #47 of 2022: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter (3.5/5⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 21 August 2018


Mother. Hero. Liar. Killer. How can you tell when all you have is...

PIECES OF HER

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . 

I’ve been on a Karin Slaughter kick lately, and when I saw this book had been made into a Netflix series I knew I had to read (listen to) it before I could watch the series.


The story was different than any Slaughter novel I’ve read this far. It took me a second to catch on to the multi-perspectives because you don’t know how the stories connect in the beginning which can sometimes make listening in audio hard. Though it was a little slow-paced, in the end I really enjoyed the story and was excited for the Netflix series.


I was NOT thrilled with the Netflix series. Perhaps if I’d watched it without reading I would have liked it, but it was so different than the book.


                                

Book #48 of 2022: Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter (2.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 4 June 2015


A beautiful young girl was walking down the street―when suddenly…

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn't want to be next…

YOU CANT JUST END A STORY LIKE THAT. This was just a novella, but I need it to be more. Nothing really happened in the story, it was more of a build up until the very end when she just decided to END IT instead of writing a dull story. UGH. I wish this had been a prequel for a novel. 


                                

Book #49 of 2022: The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8) by Karin Slaughter (3/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 20 September 2016


Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future.

Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.

With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.

Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished…and who will die soon if she isn’t found.

Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.

But when evidence links Will’s troubled past to the case, the consequences will tear through his life, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.

I don’t have a lot to say about this book. I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t super engaged in it either. It was a stepping by stone in the relationship between Will and Sara.


This was Angie’s book, and I kind of hate Angie, so that’s probably why I didn’t care much for it. That being said, the writing is good. It has to be for it to evoke so much negative energy from me towards Angie!


                                

Book #50 of 2022: Last Dance on the Starlight Pier by Sarah Bird (3.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Historical Fiction

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 12 April 2022


July 3. 1932. Shivering and in shock, Evie Grace Devlin watches the Starlite Palace burn into the sea and wonders how she became a person who would cause a man to kill himself. She’d come to Galveston to escape a dark past in vaudeville and become a good person, a nurse. When that dream is cruelly thwarted, Evie is swept into the alien world of dance marathons. All that she has been denied―a family, a purpose, even love―waits for her there in the place she dreads most: the spotlight.

Last Dance on the Starlight Pier is a sweeping novel that brings to spectacular life the enthralling worlds of both dance marathons and the family-run empire of vice that was Galveston in the Thirties. Unforgettable characters tell a story that is still deeply resonant today as America learns what Evie learns, that there truly isn’t anything this country can’t do when we do it together. That indomitable spirit powers a story that is a testament to the deep well of resilience in us all that allows us to not only survive the hardest of hard times, but to find joy, friends, and even family, in them.


If I were browsing the shelf at the bookstore, I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up. However, since I was sent an ARC I had to read it, and I’m glad I did!


I don’t typically venture out of my thriller/memoir comfort zone. I do enjoy some periods of historical fiction, but this era was new to me. It’s set in the time of the Great Depression, mainly in Galveston, but appearances were made in Houston and Chicago. 


It was long, and I wasn’t always thoroughly engaged, but overall I liked the story. I got pretty invested by the end and crossed my fingers for a happy ending!


                                

Book #51 of 2022: The Last Widow (Will Trent #9) by Karin Slaughter (2.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 20 August 2019


A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. The authorities are desperate to save the doctor who’s been vanished into thin air.

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhoods has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.


This is my least favorite book in this series by far. It’s not written poorly, I just hate the relationships between the characters in this point in time. I hate the tension between Will and Sara. I just did not like this story. The whole thing gave me bad vibes. I think maybe since I’ve listened to this whole series in the last two months, I’m just way too invested in these characters. Maybe I forget that they’re fictional, idk. I just did not like this one. The mystery plot line was fine, the character development plot line was blegh.


                                

Book #52 of 2022: The Silent Wife (Will Trent #10) by Karin Slaughter (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 4 August 2020


Investigating the killing of a prisoner during a riot inside a state penitentiary, GBI investigator Will Trent is confronted with disturbing information. One of the inmates claims that he is innocent of a brutal attack for which he has always been the prime suspect. The man insists that he was framed by a corrupt law enforcement team led by Jeffrey Tolliver and that the real culprit is still out there—a serial killer who has systematically been preying on women across the state for years. If Will reopens the investigation and implicates the dead police officer with a hero’s reputation of wrongdoing, the opportunistic convict is willing to provide the information GBI needs about the riot murder.

Only days ago, another young woman was viciously murdered in a state park in northern Georgia. Is it a fluke, or could there be a serial killer on the loose?

As Will Trent digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the cold case in order to find the answer. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear, and lies to become truth. But Will can’t crack either mystery without the help of the one person he doesn’t want involved: his girlfriend and Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, medical examiner Sara Linton.

When the past and present begin to collide, Will realizes that everything he values is at stake .


This book threw me off at first, because I’d be listening to the perspective of one character, then the same events would happen again and I’d think maybe I accidentally skipped backwards?? But it turns out that Slaughter just re-wrote some of the events from a different characters perspective, and that was why things would happen multiple times.


I really liked how this story connect current events to past events, especially because it included Sara’s history and not just Will’s. It made me anxious to go back and listen to the series that Sara started in.


                                

Book #53 of 2022: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 14 October 2014


College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?


My dad recommended this author to me because he is a MN author. I really enjoyed that the story was set in Austin, because it’s an area that I’m familiar with.


The performer for the audio was awesome as well. A performer can really make or break it for audiobooks, and he definitely made it! It felt like he was truly telling a story that was happening to him in real time.


I’m looking forward to reading the next books in both series that this book kicks off!


                                

Book #54 of 2022: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (3.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Fiction

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 16 April 2019


How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A powerful showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Chapter by chapter, we shift alliances and gather evidence: Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?


A friend recommended this one to me, and I’m glad she did! 


This was very well-written, mystery-esque, and emotionally charged. Minus some flashbacks to the past, most of the novel takes place over a few days. It’s very messy and very real. The characters, though fictional, come off as very human, rather than “made up” as book characters sometimes tend to come off. Fair warning, this is definitely a story that tugs at your heart!


                                

Book #55 of 2022: The Client by John Grisham (3.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Legal Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: March 1993


Eleven-year-old Mark Sway and his younger brother were sharing a forbidden cigarette when a chance encounter with a suicidal lawyer left Mark knowing  a bloody and explosive secret: the whereabouts of  the most sought-after dead body in America.

Now Mark is caught between a legal system gone mad and a mob killer desperate to cover up his crime. And his only ally is a woman named Reggie Love, who has been a lawyer for all of four years. Prosecutors are  willing to break all the rules to make Mark talk. The  mob will stop at nothing to keep him quiet. And  Reggie will do anything to protect her client—even take a last, desperate gamble that could win  Mark his freedom... or cost them both their  lives.


This is my fourth Grisham re-read of the year, and probably my least favorite (which isn’t to say I didn’t like it!) I love the relationship that grows between Reggie and Mark! Also, Mark just cracks me up - the way he reacts to certain situations and his smart mouth were hysterical at times, despite his terrifying predicament. This story just doesn’t have as much law in it as I like. The story was still good though! And the movie is fabulous!


                                

Book #56 of 2022: milk and honey by rupi kaur (4.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Poetry

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 4 November 2014


FAVORITE PIECES:

πŸ’­"i do not want to have you / to fill the empty parts of me / i want to be full on my own / i want to be so complete / I could light a whole city / and then / I want to have you / cause the two of us combined / could set it on fire"

πŸ’­"fall / in love / with your solitude"


The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.


I love kaur’s poetry, I just love it. I’m not a big poetry reader, but she is one that I love to pick up. I love laying out in my hammock and reading her words slowly, letting them sink in. What I love about this book (and her other one) is that it is very distinctly set up in four very different sections. There is one that I most relate to in this season of my life, but another I absolutely could have related to before, and possibly could someday again. I love that I can read her words and just feel my feels.


                                

Book #57 of 2022: Diario de Un Pug: El Pug Despega by Kyla May


πŸ“šGENRE: Children’s

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 2020


Baron von Bubbles, aka "Bub," is the self-proclaimed cutest pug on the planet! Things he loves: fashion, peanut butter, and his human, Bella. Things he does NOT love: Nutz the squirrel, baths, and the rain. When Bella enters the Spirit of the Inventor Challenge, Bub helps her craft the best project ever. But what happens when Nutz gets on Bub's nerves and makes him ruin Bella's project? If Bub wants to make it up to his girl, he'll have to stand up to Nutz -- and the rain -- once and for all.


This was my Spanish language book for the month! It was about inventing and rockets (kind of) so it was fun to get some practice and exposure to new vocabulary that I can relate to! 


Linked above in English!


                                

Book #58 of 2022: Damaged Intentions (Abby Mullen #2) by Mike Omer (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 22 March 2022


As a child, Abby Mullen escaped the insidious Wilcox cult when it literally went down in flames. Years later, she’s the NYPD’s best hostage negotiator and a mother. She thought the worst part of her life was behind her. Until now. Armed conspiracy theorists called the Watchers have attacked the local high school—and taken her daughter hostage.

With the delusional Watchers holding her child at gunpoint, the unflappable Abby might be at her breaking point. But the clock is ticking on her daughter’s life, and she has no choice but to negotiate with the paranoid group and discover their leader’s secret before it’s too late.

As Abby peels back the layers of mystery surrounding the Watchers, there’s always another puzzle underneath. And it seems to be leading back to the dark past she’s spent her whole life trying to forget.


A friend recommended a book by this author to me a couple years ago, and I’ve been reading everything he puts out ever since.


He writes a great police procedural story. This is the third series he has put out, and though this is only the second book in this particular series, there is a publishing date for the third installment already!


I love the main character Abby. Her history is unique, but she comes off as very real and human which I love. I had no idea which direction this story would take, considering the chaos that has been Abby’s life, and I was hooked the whole way through!


This book ended with Abby connecting to the main character from the first series I read by Omer, so now I’m super excited for the next book in this series!!!


                        



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

Reading Challenge: 58/120 books read in 2022

You can find previous book reviews here and add me on Goodreads here!

Friday, April 1, 2022

#gretchensbooks2022 - March

                

The number of books I’ve physically read this month is so depressing. There just has been so little time to actually sit down and read. I have officially begun counting down the days until summer where I can plop my tush at the pool with a book. I would be happy even if Mother Nature just finally accepted it was spring and I could put out my hammock and read there!

                                

Book #33 of 2022: Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering (3.5/5
⭐️)

πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 2 March 2021


Skye Starling is overjoyed when her boyfriend, Burke Michaels, proposes after a whirlwind courtship. Though Skye seems to have the world at her fingertips―she’s smart, beautiful, and from a well-off family―she’s also battled crippling OCD ever since her mother’s death when she was eleven, and her romantic relationships have suffered as a result.

But now Burke―handsome, older, and more emotionally mature than any man she’s met before―says he wants her. Forever. Except, Burke isn’t who he claims to be. And interspersed letters to his therapist reveal the truth: he’s happily married, and using Skye for his own, deceptive ends.

In a third perspective, set thirty years earlier, a scrappy seventeen-year-old named Heather is determined to end things with Burke, a local bad boy, and make a better life for herself in New York City. But can her adolescent love stay firmly in her past―or will he find his way into her future?

On a collision course she doesn’t see coming, Skye throws herself into wedding planning, as Burke’s scheme grows ever more twisted. But of course, even the best laid plans can go astray. And just when you think you know where this story is going, you’ll discover that there’s more than one way to spin the truth.


This was a bookstagram recommendation, and one I’m glad I took! 


I liked that the story was split into (mostly) two perspectives, with a third thrown in occasionally. The male performer voiced the male perspective in a very Joe-from-YOU voice. The multi-POV really contributed to the suspense because it makes you question what is truth and what is fiction.


The genre is marketed as thriller, but I feel like it was more of a drama. There was definitely suspense, but it wasn’t overly intense. There were some slow parts which is why I didn’t give this a higher rating. The plot was well-done, and it’s hard to say more without giving anything away. 


                                

Book #34 of 2022: A Touch of Torment (Nick Bracco #7) by Gary Ponzo (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: September 2020


The FBI and Mafia join forces against a Chechen mobster who crossed the wrong people.

When Mafia boss Sal Perrino is murdered by a Chechen mobster, it tears at the heart of two of his closest friends, FBI agent Nick Bracco, and his Mafia-connected cousin Tommy. Nick will use every unsavory tactic available to track down the killer, while Tommy’s cunning techniques force Nick to decide. Which side is he on? The FBI or the Mafia? Will Nick finally go rogue and murder the assassin? You will be tempted to go directly to the ending, but don’t. The ride is worth the wait.


I’ve been reading this series whenever I had a Kindle Unlimited subscription ever since 2013. If a new book was out when I renewed by subscription, it was an automatic download. I’m not really big into action novels, but this series has captivated me.


The action is high from the very start, with murders taking place in the first chapter until the very end. I love the constant stream of events, and the characters are so enjoyable that you can’t help but root for them. I feel like series of this sort can start to get repetitive after while, but this was the seventh book of the series and they just seem to be getting better. 


                                

Book #35 of 2022: Undone (Will Trent #3) by Karin Slaughter (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 14 July 2009



In the backwoods of suburban Atlanta, where Sara’s patient was found, local police have set up their investigation. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective Will Trent doesn’t wait for the go-ahead from his boss—he plunges through police lines, through the brooding woods, and single-handedly exposes a hidden house of horror buried beneath the earth. Then he finds another victim.… 

Wresting the case away from the local police chief, Will and his partner, Faith Mitchell—a woman keeping explosive secrets of her own—are called into a related investigation. Another woman—a smart, upscale, independent young mother—has been snatched. For the two cops out on the hunt, for the doctor trying to bring her patient back to life, the truth hits like a hammer: the killer’s torture chamber has been found, but the killer is still at work.


I had finished me previous audiobook at the beginning of a road trip, and while I had six more books sitting in my queue, none of them were what I wanted to listen to. I remembered liking this Karin Slaughter series, so I searched to see if there were more and found out there are like ten books in the series! I borrowed them all πŸ˜


Will Trent is a very likeable character, so I was curious to see what his next adventure would be. I was so captivated this whole book - I just wanted to keep driving places so I had an excuse to listen to it! There was one bit that grossed me out because will slept with his wife despite her saying no and it was played off as just a weird dysfunctional relationship, but it was definitely still non-consensual sex. 


I’m very curious about the introduction of a new character and I hope she stays. The way the story ended left me even more intrigued about her and her story!


                                  

Book #36 of 2022: Broken (Will Trent #4) by Karin Slaughter (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 22 June 2010


When Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, he finds a police department determined to protect its own and far too many unanswered questions about a prisoner’s death. He doesn’t understand why Officer Lena Adams is hiding secrets from him. He doesn’t understand her role in the death of Grant County’s popular police chief. He doesn’t understand why that man’s widow, Dr. Sara Linton, needs him now more than ever to help her crack this case. 

While the police force investigates the murder of a young woman pulled from a frigid lake, Trent investigates the police force, putting pressure on Adams just when she’s already about to crack. Caught between two complicated and determined women, trying to understand Linton’s passionate distrust of Adams, the facts surrounding Chief Tolliver’s death, and the complexities of this insular town, Trent will unleash a case filled with explosive secrets—and encounter a thin blue line that could be murderous if crossed.


Another great Will Trent novel! I love the characters in this series, and honestly I’m just as invested in their personal stories as I am the mystery the novel is focused around. I have a few other books in my queue but I just want to keep continuing this series! 


I don’t think it holds an overwhelming amount of suspense or anything, but the storyline is just so engaging. This one took place in a different area of Georgia than the previous books, and the characters are a part of a different series of Slaughter’s that I haven’t yet read but definitely will be after listening to this book.


                                

Book #37 of 2022: The Pelican Brief by John Grisham (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Legal Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 1992


To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it was political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder—a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust—an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate—to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House's inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For someone has read Darby's brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime.


My third Grisham book of the year (and the first that was published AFTER I was born! πŸ˜œ) Let me tell you, it has been hard to finish one and not immediately pick up the next. His writing is so good I have to force myself to read from my other pile of books, I just want to keep moving down my shelf of Grisham books!


This wasn’t my favorite of his books, but it was still enjoyable. I was so captivated by the end that the suspense was making me all twitchy. It’s like I can’t read fast enough to find out how it all ends and my body can’t sit still. One thing I didn’t like was that the main character wasn’t believable. I know she lived in a totally different (and also fictional) world that me, but I just couldn’t connect to her in any way and she objectified herself a weird amount.


I watched the movie afterwards, and of course it was nowhere near as good as the book!


                                

Book #38 of 2022: Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie (2.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Historical Fiction

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 1 September 2020


Kyoto, Japan, 1948. “Do not question. Do not fight. Do not resist.”

Such is eight-year-old Noriko “Nori” Kamiza’s first lesson. She will not question why her mother abandoned her with only these final words. She will not fight her confinement to the attic of her grandparents’ imperial estate. And she will not resist the scalding chemical baths she receives daily to lighten her skin.

The child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her, fearful of a stain on the royal pedigree that they are desperate to uphold in a changing Japan. Obedient to a fault, Nori accepts her solitary life, despite her natural intellect and curiosity. But when chance brings her older half-brother, Akira, to the estate that is his inheritance and destiny, Nori finds in him an unlikely ally with whom she forms a powerful bond—a bond their formidable grandparents cannot allow and that will irrevocably change the lives they were always meant to lead. Because now that Nori has glimpsed a world in which perhaps there is a place for her after all, she is ready to fight to be a part of it—a battle that just might cost her everything.


I tried with this one, I really did, but I had to power through it. I loved that the book was split into multiple perspectives, and the premise was good. I’m so use to racism in America that it was interesting to hear about it in other cultures, and in a different time period. This book was either absolutely heart-wrenching, or incredibly dull. There was no in between. Some moments were so touching, and also so heat breaking. But reading between those moments was slow and molasses.


                                

Book #39 of 2022: Fallen (Will Trent #5) by Karin Slaughter (3/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 21 June 2011


There’s no police training stronger than a cop’s instinct. Faith Mitchell’s mother isn’t answering her phone. Her front door is open. There’s a bloodstain above the knob. Her infant daughter is hidden in a shed behind the house. All that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations taught Faith Mitchell goes out the window when she charges into her mother’s house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room. She sees a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn’t see is her mother. . . .
 
“You know what we’re here for. Hand it over, and we’ll let her go.”
 
When the hostage situation turns deadly, Faith is left with too many questions, not enough answers. To find her mother, she’ll need the help of her partner, Will Trent, and they’ll both need the help of trauma doctor Sara Linton. But Faith isn’t just a cop anymore—she’s a witness. She’s also a suspect.
 
The thin blue line hides police corruption, bribery, even murder. Faith will have to go up against the people she respects the most in order to find her mother and bring the truth to light—or bury it forever. 


I didn’t like this one as much as the previous books. It wasn’t bad, I just wasn’t as engaged in the plot line as I have been. I hate Angie’s character, which I’m sure is the way the author intended, but she just makes me feel icky. That being said, I love the growth in the relationship of the other characters (I won’t say which because #spoiler!) 


                                

Book #40 of 2022: Snatched (Will Trent #5.5) by Karin Slaughter (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 14 May 2012


A gripping, action-packed short story from a master of character, crime, and urgent suspense. - - Will Trent, a dedicated agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for fifteen years, knows that there's definitely such a thing as a cop's intuition - - which is why he should have listened to his own. While in a restroom at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Will overhears a girl's pleading, plaintive voice: ''Please, I wanna go home.'' Something isn't right here, thinks Will. He feels it in his gut. But he waits too long to act, and now the girl and the anxious, angry man she's with have disappeared into the crowds at the busiest passenger airport in the world. - - After a desperate search, and with time running out, Will makes a call to his supervisor, Amanda Wagner. Will's partner, Faith Mitchell, immediately sends out an abducted child alert. The entire airport will soon be grinding to a halt - - almost 100 million passengers a year; five runways; seven concourses; 6 million square feet of space sprawled across two counties, three cities, and five jurisdictions. All this is shut down on a dime because Will has a hunch that he is certain is true: a girl, maybe six or seven years old, has been snatched. And he intends to bring her back - - no matter what it takes.


Oof. This was tummy-ache inducing from the very beginning. I mean no crime is pleasant, but trafficking is a special kind of disgusting, especially with children.


This was a between-the-novels book, really just a short story, but Slaughter packed in the action. The book was very main story focused, and didn’t expand the series’s main character stories at all (which was expected). I can’t say short and sweet, because other than the resolution it was anything but sweet, but it was good!


                                

Book #41 of 2022: Criminal (Will Trent #6) by Karin Slaughter (3/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 3 July 2012


Will Trent is a brilliant agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Newly in love, he is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda’s motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage they have both been drawn to for different reasons. Decades before, when his father was imprisoned for murder, this was Will’s home. It appears that the case that launched Amanda’s career forty years ago has suddenly come back to life—and it involves the long-held mystery of Will’s birth and parentage. Now these two dauntless investigators will each need to face down demons from the past if they are to prevent an even greater terror from being unleashed.


This story started out much different than any of the others. It began with a girl who isn’t know in the series this far, and her story. I had to look at the description after a little bit because I was confused as to why Will Trent wasn’t mentioned.


Also this book jumped a lot between present tense with the Will Trent characters, and past with the history of a couple of them. I really struggled to get into this one. I liked the series because of Will, Sarah, Faith, etc. and this book had too much else going on for me to follow. Also, the pace was very slow.


It made sense why the story was the way once I got through it, but it just didn’t hold my interest the the previous books in the series have.


One thing I related to was one of my biggest fears was recognized- not being able to scream in an emergency. One of the characters said she had this fear and I was like YES. I have literal nightmares about it and I’ve never heard of anyone relating to that.


The story ended better than it began, and I was more interested in the second half (or maybe the last third), but it was my least favorite thus far.


                                

Book #42 of 2022: Busted (Will Trent #6.5) by Karin Slaughter (2.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 28 May 2013


Detective Will Trent is standing in a Georgia convenience store, waiting on an obstinate ICEE frozen-drink machine. To the surveillance cameras and bored staff of the Lil' Dixie Gas-n-Go, however, Will appears to besome one very different - the menacing ex-con Bill Black. Going undercover as Bill, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent is about to infiltrate the most corrupt town in the most corrupt county in the new American South. But first: his ICEE.

Everything changes in one horrific instant, as all hell breaks loose at the Lil' Dixie. A cop is shot. A bag of cash goes flying across the floor. A young woman disappears while a killer takes off in a battered pickup truck. Within seconds, Will is in pursuit.


I don’t really have a lot of thoughts of this one. It was bad by any means, but I was not engaged at all. It was a short story (a little over 2 hours on audio) so while I logically know it was a quick plot line, it felt like it was over before it began.


                                

Book #43 of 2022: Unseen (Will Trent #7) by Karin Slaughter (3/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 2 July 2013


Karin Slaughter’s novels featuring detective Will Trent are utterly riveting and masterfully drawn. Her latest thriller, Unseen, pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.


I don’t have a lot of thoughts about this one. It kind of dragged on and on, but I’m not sure if that’s because the storyline did, or because I’ve listened to five books in this series this month. Probably a mix of both.


                                

Book #44 of 2022: Run, Rose, Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson (4/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 7 March 2022


FAVORITE QUOTES

πŸ’­ “One of these days she was going to tell him that a bullet wound and a Purple Heart didn’t make him hard as nails. They just made him like everyone else. Sometimes you could see the scars and sometimes you couldn’t. But everybody had them.”

πŸ’­ “[she] looked barely older than a teenager, but she sang as though she’d lived for ninety-nine years and seen tragedy in each one of them.”


Every song tells a story. 

She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. 

She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. 

Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny.  It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her.  And destroy her. 


I was SO very excited for this book to come out! A Patterson/Parton collab! Yay!


From the get-go I just really hated the names of the main characters in this book. Ruthanna and AnnieLee. I know they’re suppose to be southern names which match the setting of the story, but blegh. I hate when two names are smushed into one. Not too far into the book they were making fun of AnnieLee’s name, when they mentioned that they had CHANGED Ruthanna’s name. It was a stage name! Because her real name was too bad..but quite frankly Ruthanna isn’t any better!! I just have really strong opinions about these names…but I digress…


My voice-in-my-head got REAL twangy when I was reading this. I know my midwestern accent has shifted southern IRL, but it was 


I really loved the characters in this story. Other than the few suspenseful parts that would pop up, I kept forgetting this was marketed as a thriller. It just seemed like contemporary fiction for most of it. 


                                

Book #45 of 2022: El Club de Los Gatitos de Karen (La Hermanaita de Las NiΓ±eras #4) by Ann M. Martin/Katy Farina


πŸ“šGENRE: Middle Grade Fiction

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 1 February 2022


Hannie, la mejor amiga de Karen, tiene un adorable gatito. Su vecina Amanda tambiΓ©n tiene un gato, y Karen tiene al viejo y gruΓ±Γ³n Bubu. Ahora que todas tienen gatos, a Karen se le ocurre una idea genial: ¡quiere fundar el Club de los Gatitos!¿QuΓ© harΓ‘n en el club? Karen no puede hacer de niΓ±era como Kristy, su hermana mayor... pero ¡puede cuidar gatitos! ¿QuerrΓ‘ alguien contratar a Karen y a sus amigas?


Karen's best friend Hannie just got an adorable new kitten. Their neighbor Amanda has a cat, too, and Karen has grumpy old Boo-Boo. Now that they all have cats, Karen comes up with a great idea. She wants to start a Kittycat Club!What will the club do? Karen can't baby-sit like her big sister Kristy... but she can cat-sit! Will anyone want to hire Karen and her friends?


My Spanish book of the month from one of my favorite childhood series! (linked above in English)


                                

Book #46 of 2022: Sorority Sister (Nightmare Hall #10) by Diane Hoh (3.5/5⭐️)


πŸ“šGENRE: Thriller

πŸ—“PUBLISHED: 1 April 1994


Someone is out to destroy the most popular sorority on campus
Joining Omega Phi Delta is the best thing that’s ever happened to Maxie. Since she pledged with Salem University’s coolest sorority, she’s never had trouble finding a party to go to or a boy to date. Her new life is perfect—until death strikes Omega House. The terror starts when Maxie’s sorority sister Erica’s jewelry box goes missing, with all of her valuables, including her grandmother’s priceless ring, inside. Erica is tearing her room apart when she gets a package: the box, with all the jewelry safe inside. Erica wants to forget the strange incident, but the strange pranks escalate and Maxie sees them as a warning. Some unknown lunatic wants her sisters’ blood, and only Maxie can save them. A year ago, she would have done anything to become an Omega girl. Now she may die for it. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Diane Hoh including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.


Another book from my favorite 80s/90s series! Again, not super suspenseful, but fun little mysteries! I enjoyed this one and couldn’t remember who the “bad guy” was which is always a good thing!


                    



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

Reading Challenge: 46/120 books read in 2022

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