Monday, January 3, 2022

#gretchensbooks2021 - November/December



Top Two Reasons Why I Hardly Listened to Any Audiobooks in November: 
#1 - Red (Taylor's Version) album release
#2 - See #1

I have no regrets. Also, I made up for it in December, I think. 

One of my reading goals for this year was to read all of the books that I owned but hadn't read yet (which was about a 3-foot tall pile). I ended up deciding to just get rid of a few that I had been sent because I knew I would never read them, and did manage to read the rest (minus 2!) I already have a new stack of books ready to go for 2022!


131. Know My Name by Chanel Miller (5/5🌟)

She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford's campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral--viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.

Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways--there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.

First off, I loved the intro to the book. She said straight from the beginning something along the lines of “this is not the 100% truth, but it is mine.” This wasn’t a book to ruin Brock Turner (he did that to himself), but to tell her story, and that’s exactly what she did.

For such a tragic topic, the writing is beautiful. Her story is of course so important, and I remember it being huge in the media, but the way she tells it is magnificent. She walks you through not only the terrible night, but also everything that happened in the aftermath- the hospital, the trial, the horrendously lenient sentencing.

The memoir was heartbreaking, but her strength is so admirable.


132. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (4/5⭐️)

An essential companion to the Harry Potter novels, now fully illustrated! 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander's classic compendium of magical creatures, has delighted generations of wizarding readers. With this beautiful, large-scale new edition illustrated in full color, Muggles too will have the chance to discover where the Runespoor lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why shiny objects should always be kept away from the Niffler. Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling's international charity, Lumos, which will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, one can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.

I first tried to read this book back in like 2016 and could not get into it (it wasn’t the illustrated version). I received this book for Christmas last year or the year before, and I must say I enjoyed it much more with the illustrations!! The artwork in the book was beautiful. It was fun to read about the beasts that I know through the HP books. I think if I was more into the Fantastic Beasts movies that it would have made this book more enjoyable. If you’re going to read it, I definitely recommend the illustrated version!


133. Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight (3/5⭐️)

Everyone has those friends. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been, or how badly they’ve occasionally behaved, or how late it is when that call finally comes—you show up. No questions asked.

Honestly, that’s how the five of us ended up here in the Catskills. We did have the best of intentions. Especially after what happened to Alice all those years ago, we can’t bear to think of losing anyone else. In fact, we’ll do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll go so much farther than we ever thought we would.  

In the end, maybe that’s what caught up with us. That, and the fact that we’re such a complicated group—so much history and so many big personalities. Secrets, too, that can slip out at the most inopportune moments. Of course, we love each other despite all of those things. We love each other no matter what.

There’s something so beautiful about that kind of unconditional love. It can turn ugly, though. Or maybe that’s just us. After all, we’ve already been through so much together. And we have so very much to hide.   

One of my all time favorite thrillers was written by McCreight, so I was excited for this one to come out this fall. While it had the needed twist, this wasn’t as good as her former novels. The idea was there, but the suspense wasn’t so much. I think there was too much going on and nothing was developed enough. Also, the twist was kind of out there- like she needed to have something and that was the only thing she could make fit. Also, while I usually like stories with multiple POV, this one had too many to keep up with.


134. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (3.5/5⭐️)

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. 

I was sorting through my book pile trying to decide what to read next and weed out some books I was sent years ago that I’ve finally accepting I’m just not going to read when I came across this one. It didn’t sound like something I would read, but it had a sticker on it from my hometown bookstore so I figured I must have bought it, and therefore I needed to read it before I passed it on.

I started the book, thinking to myself that it is not my normal genre of reading and it’s definitely not the normal style I would choose, but I powered on. THEN I remembered my mom giving me a book when I was home last and figured out THAT was where that book came from. 

Anyway, it was slow to start for me (but again, totally not my typical genre of choice, nor writing style of choice). I started to get more into the story, and then hit a point where my jaw DROPPED. I began reading before work (which I remembered is a TERRIBLE decision because then I don’t want to leave the house!) because I just had to know what happened!

It was a lovely (albeit slightly morbid) story, and though it was slow at times, I’m glad I ventured away from my usual foe this one! 


135. For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing (3.5/5⭐️)

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest. 
He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while. 
Teddy really can’t be bothered with a few mysterious deaths on campus that’re looking more and more like murder or with the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is pushing these kids to their full academic potential.   
All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way. If not, well, they’ll get what they deserve. 
It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

This was a bookstagram recommendation and since the author is known to be a pretty good thriller writer, I had to check it out. It’s wasn’t crazy suspenseful, but had a pretty good amount of action!


136. Waste of Space by Stuart Gibbs (5/5🌟)

Moon Base Alpha was supposed to be an exciting place to live, but Dashiell Gibson didn’t expect for it to be this exciting. He’s already had to solve a murder and locate a missing moon base commander. Now, he just wants to have a calm, quiet thirteenth birthday. But, of course, trillionaire (and total pain) Lars Sjoburg ruins it—by being poisoned. 

Now there’s another potential killer loose on Moon Base Alpha, and Dash is forced to identify the most likely suspects. Suddenly Dash finds himself with a target on his back. Whoever poisoned Lars will stop at nothing to keep his—or her—identity a secret.

This was the final book of the middle grade trilogy and was my favorite! I really liked how the series offered a more “realistic” view of what life on the moon would be like (for example, kids not generally allowed outside for safety) but still had that kid fantasy aspect. The mystery had enough twists even for me as an adult to stay engaged. Also the was that Gibbs ended the series was perfect! 


137. Freedom: My Book of Firsts by Jaycee Duggard (3/5⭐️)

When Jaycee Dugard was eleven years old, she was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California. She was missing for more than eighteen years, held captive by Philip and Nancy Garrido, and gave birth to two daughters during her imprisonment. 

In A Stolen Life Jaycee told the story of her life from her abduction in 1991 through her reappearance in 2009. Freedom: My Book of Firsts is about everything that happened next. 

“How do you rebuild a life?” Jaycee asks. In these pages, she describes the life she never thought she would live to see: from her first sight of her mother to her first time meeting her grownup sister, her first trip to the dentist to her daughters’ first day of school, her first taste of champagne to her first hangover, her first time behind the wheel to her first speeding ticket, and her first dance at a friend’s wedding to her first thoughts about the possibility of a future relationship. 

This raw and inspiring book will remind you that there is, as Jaycee writes, “life after something tragic happens…Somehow, I still believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and you have to grab it where you can in whatever form it might take.” Freedom is an awe-inspiring memoir about the power we all hold within ourselves.

As much as I wish I was sitting by a pool reading this, I was not 😩 I took the photo this summer when I was about to read it, but then picked up a different book instead.

It always feels strange to “rate” memoirs, but then I remember I’m not rating a life, I’m rating a book.

“A Stolen Life” was heartbreaking, but captivating. She told her story so well. This book was written to tell about her life after captivity, it just want that engaging. You can tell her education level is low because the writing is very basic, and I don’t have an issue with that necessarily, but I think it could have been edited to keep the content but make the writing more engaging and less chaotic. 

Though I wasn’t as into this book as the former, it was still great to see how she could assimilate back into a “normal” life despite all the trauma that she’d been through. Also, it was interesting to think about how all these things we take for granted, things we’ve been doing since our teens, she was experiencing for the first time in her thirties. 


138. The Host by Stephenie Meyer (3.5/5⭐️)

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. 

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. 

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves -- Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love. 

I’d tried to start this many time over the past 10(?) years and could not get into it. My goal for this year was to read my whole stack or TBR books I had pilled on/next to my bookshelves. Again, it took me a bit to get into it, but once I did I actually really enjoyed it! There were parts that were a bit slow, but the storyline was different and I enjoyed that. 


139. Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz (4/5⭐️)

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X—until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.

This book was recommended to me years ago, so when I saw it for a few bucks at Ollie’s I had to pick it up. 

The genre wasn’t my normal taste (action thriller) but I found I really enjoyed it! I think he is on to the seventh book now, and though I originally thought I wouldn’t continue the series, after finishing book one I think I’m going to have to! The writing was very fast-paced and exciting- I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough! There was constant action through the whole novel. I also really liked the main character and am curious to see how he grows throughout the series now.


140. Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (3.5/5⭐️)

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought? 

With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

I had been sent an ARC of a Stevens book earlier this year and it was SO GOOD. I knew I had to read more from her!

I liked the change in POV and both last and present tense. I was really sure that I knew what was going on, but then turned out to be totally wrong! I think the “bad guy” did cross my mind at one time, but I definitely did not predict the “why” for that person. There were lots of twists - small, mild ones and larger ones, and the book was pretty fast paced. Looking forward to reading (or listening to) more from Stevens!


141. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (3/5⭐️)

Pay close attention and you might solve this. 
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. 
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. 
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. 
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. 
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? 

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. 

This book was everywhere, and after I saw they were making a television series from it I figured I should read it. Honestly, it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. I had no idea who the killer was, and was absolutely surprised by who it turned out to me, but I wasn’t captivated the whole time like I feel I should be with books of this genre. Also I really disliked how mental illness was portrayed in this book. I think my favorite part of the story was the budding relationship between two of the main characters, which is pretty odd considering I’m really not into romance books and this was suppose to be a thriller. I had downloaded the sequel on audio, but after finishing this one I’m not sure I’ll bother listening to it.


142. Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney (3.5/5⭐️)

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.  

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts--paper, cotton, pottery, tin--and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

“You can’t unbreak an egg once you’ve whisked it into an omelet.” That was my favorite line from this book.

This book was slow to start for me and I was a little disappointed because Feeney isn’t usually a slow burn writer. (And by slow start I mean at least the first half of the book was slow moving). The last quarter however- so many twists and turns! Though there are so few characters, I’m not sure how I didn’t see a lot of it coming. The absolute end? Never would have predicted that! It’s really hard to talk about a psychological thriller without giving anything away- excuse my choppy “review.!”

None of the characters were overly likeable which didn’t help with the slow pace. I did like the dog though! The multi-POV definitely made for a better story though. 


143. The Night Walker by Diane Hoh (3.5/5⭐️)

A sleepwalking student fears she may be terrorizing her university
The Spring Fling formal is the most important event on Salem University’s social calendar: a night when the entire school comes together to show off dresses, dance moves, and dates. But this year, just as the party is getting started, the stench of rotten eggs washes over the crowd. In the rush to escape the awful smell, a riot nearly breaks out. Somebody tossed a stink bomb to ruin the dance—but who would pull such a prank? Quinn Hadley doesn’t know anything about it; she couldn’t get a date, and she slept through the dance. But when she awakes, she finds one of her jackets reeking of sulfur. Quinn knows she has a problem with sleepwalking, and she worries that she tossed the stink bomb while unconscious. As the tricks escalate, Quinn comes unhinged. For the girl who fears sleep, madness is not far off. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Diane Hoh including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

Another awesome thriller from the Nightmare Hall series! These books are totally different from thrillers of today, but always end up better than I expect! Honestly my hopes are never high with them, but then I never actually predict who the culprit is. I need to give the series more credit- there is a reason it was one of my favorites as a kid! 


144. The Therapist by B. A. Paris (3/5⭐️)

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

Paris is a pretty popular thriller writing, but this one fell kind of flat for me. There were A LOT of characters that could have been the bad guy, but none of them really had me convinced that they did it. I felt that the story was really slow and dull for the first 80% of it, and it wasn’t until the last 20% that my mind started to say, “WHAT?!” I like when there are twists and turns throughout the story which this book didn’t have.


145. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (3/5⭐️)

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece. 
But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

This was one of the finalists for books of the year on Goodreads this year so I was really excited about it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype for me. The writing was so messy and honestly none of the characters were overly likeable - I couldn’t get myself to care about a single one of themes The purpose of the book seemed to be to show these women who survived a terrible thing supporting each other (hence the title) but that really never even happened until the end??? The ending was really the only good-ish part of this book. 

I think if they made a movie with the same premise as this book, it would be better!


146. Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker (3.5/5⭐️)

Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school and finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guesthouse. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity. 

But when Robert suspects his new houseguest of getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack, and all the little lies he tells start to mount. Before long, Robert is embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, threatening to destroy anyone who stands in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends and neighbors, his wife—who can reveal the truth…if he’s willing to look. 

Biting and timely, Man of the Year races along at an electric pace, building to a wicked twist you won’t see coming.

I had been send this ARC a few years ago but wasn’t as diligent about reading them at the time. I finally got around to reading it this month and for the most part really enjoyed it. The first half was pretty slow with the main character focusing on his son’s friend going after his wife, but the second half was much more fast paced. In general the characters were all pretty morally bankrupt which meant there were a lot of twists, lies, and paranoia. None of the characters were very likeable, but in this case that worked out!


147. The Wild Card: 7 Steps to An Educator’s Creative Breakthrough by Hope & Wade King (3/5🍎)

Experience a Creative Breakthrough in Your Classroom Have you ever wished you were more creative… or that your students were more engaged in your lessons? The Wild Card is your step-by-step guide to experiencing a creative breakthrough in your classroom with your students. Even if you’ve never painted a portrait or written a poem, you can create unforgettable lessons that help your learners retain content. In this book, Wade and Hope King show you how to draw on your authentic self—your past experiences, personality quirks, interests, hobbies, and strengths—to deliver your content creatively. The seven steps in The Wild Card will give you the knowledge and the confidence to bring creative teaching strategies into your classroom. You’ll learn... Why the deck is not stacked against you, no matter what kind of hand you’ve been dealt Why you should never listen to the Joker How to identify the “Ace up your sleeve” and use it to create classroom magic How to apply the “Rules of Rigor” in order to fuse creativity with learning How to become the Wild Card that changes the game for your students

This was my PD book for the summer. It was recommended to me a couple years ago, but I couldn’t find a copy of it. Finally I came across one at McKay’s on one of my most recent trips.

Long review short, this book wasn’t at all what I expected it to be, or what I needed it to be. It’s my own fault for not paying better attention to the title. I started it in early July, and a month later I was still only halfway through. I really wanted to DNF it but kept the bookmark in just in case I changed my mind and decided to power through (which I finally did just now in December).

I wanted to read this book for classroom ideas, but the beginning was all about the authors, which I guess proves their credibility, but was really uninteresting to me.

Then, it was like an overly long pep talk on why you should be a creative teacher. This could be valuable for some, but also was pretty pointless for me.

The last chunk finally started providing ideas, or at the very least inspiring ideas relating to things I already do and how to spruce those things up. I think maybe if you’re really burned out this book would be more helpful, but I’m (thankfully!) not there yet.


148. The German Heiress by Anika Scott (3/5⭐️)

Clara Falkenberg, once Germany’s most eligible and lauded heiress, earned the nickname “the Iron Fräulein” during World War II for her role operating her family’s ironworks empire. It’s been nearly two years since the war ended and she’s left with nothing but a false identification card and a series of burning questions about her family’s past. With nowhere else to run to, she decides to return home and take refuge with her dear friend, Elisa. 

Narrowly escaping a near-disastrous interrogation by a British officer who’s hell-bent on arresting her for war crimes, she arrives home to discover the city in ruins, and Elisa missing. As Clara begins tracking down Elisa, she encounters Jakob, a charismatic young man working on the black market, who, for his own reasons, is also searching for Elisa. Clara and Jakob soon discover how they might help each other—if only they can stay ahead of the officer determined to make Clara answer for her actions during the war. 

Propulsive, meticulously researched, and action-fueled, The German Heiress is a mesmerizing page-turner that questions the meaning of justice and morality, deftly shining the spotlight on the often-overlooked perspective of Germans who were caught in the crossfire of the Nazi regime and had nowhere to turn.

I’ve really tried to take a break from WWII-era historical fiction because it started to all blend together, but this one, which was set in post-WWII, was different. The perspective of the main character was unusual as it was was from a woman who was on the “side” of the Germans so that was interesting. It was also kind of a historical fiction thriller. The plot was very deep but it had some suspense that kept me interested.


149. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Colonel Chris Hadfield (4.5/5⭐️)

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst- and enjoy every moment of it. 

In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff. 

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that it was all decipherable. Sometimes writing like this (and by this I mean experiences that the majority of people cannot relate to) gets too technical and it’s not as enjoyable, but this book was easy to comprehend while still explaining the author’s experiences in detail. On that note- the detail! The imagery in this memoir was wonderful. I could almost picture what it would be like to launch in the Soyuz or do an EVA outside the ISS. It was also fun to relate the astronauts’ experiences with the things I did at space camp this past summer!!


150. A Familiar Sight by Brianna Labuskes (4/5⭐️)

Psychologist and criminologist Dr. Gretchen White is a specialist in antisocial personality disorders and violent crimes. She’s helped solve enough prominent cases for detective Patrick Shaughnessy that her own history is often overlooked: Gretchen is an admitted sociopath once suspected of killing her aunt. Shaughnessy still thinks Gretchen got away with murder. It’s not going to happen again.

When a high-profile new case lands on Shaughnessy’s desk, it seems open and shut. Remorseless teenager Viola Kent is accused of killing her mother. Amid stories of childhood horrors and Viola’s cruel manipulations, the bad seed has already been found guilty by a rapt public. But Gretchen might be seeing something in Viola no one else does: herself.

If Viola is a scapegoat, then who really did it? And what are they hiding? To find the truth, Gretchen must enter a void that is not only dark and cold-blooded, but also frighteningly familiar.

This was a good one!!

I believe this was a free book with Prime, published this past August, and I absolutely chose it because the main character was a sociopath named Gretchen. 

The suspense kept me going in this one. There was a handful of characters, not too many to keep track of, but just enough to keep me guessing.

I also really liked this book because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my overly empathetic tendencies, and this covered the psychopath/sociopath/empath spectrum. Now I’m even more curious in learning about it!

Maybe it’s because I just finished watching Castle or just that I’m a sucker for a crime drama, but I think a show with these characters would make a great television series!

Book 2 in the Dr. Gretchen White series comes out in May and I will absolutely be reading it, especially considering the way this one ended!!


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

Reading Challenge: 150/120 books read in 2021

You can find previous book reviews here!

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