Author: Bonnie

Short & Sweet | Summer 2021 Mystery Trio

Posted August 26, 2021 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Short & Sweet Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet | Summer 2021 Mystery TrioThe Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng
Published by Berkley Books on August 10th 2021
Pages: 352
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
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two-half-stars

Two lives. The one you wanted. The one that wanted you.

Her birthday should be like any other night.

One minute Kelly’s a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend’s art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She's got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she's married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school.

Racing to get back to her old life, Kelly's search leads only to more questions. In this life, she loves Eric and wants to trust him, but everything she discovers about him—including a connection to a mysterious tech startup—tells her she shouldn't. And strange things keep happening. The tattoos she had when she was an artist briefly reappear on her skin, she remembers fights with Eric that he says never happened, and her relationships with loved ones both new and familiar seem to change without warning.

But the closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can't figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything...

“This life, I didn’t choose. It was chosen for me. But would it be so bad if I had to stay here?”

Is readbait a thing? Well, comparing this as Russian Doll meets Black Mirror is major readbait for me.

Kelly is attending her best friend’s art show in Chicago when she opens the bathroom door and steps into another life. Her hair is long, her tattoos have disappeared, and she’s married to a guy she barely remembers from high school. Kelly possesses all of the memories from her Chicago life but they’re now overlayed with memories of a life, a good life, but a life she doesn’t remember actually living. Desperate to get back to her old life but having no clue how to make that happen, she’s confronted with the possibility that she might be stuck in this life, but would that be the worst thing?

“[…]I remembered, eventually, everything that had happened to me in both lives. How they’re both still there, uneasily coexisting in my head.”

Jeng handled the various similarities and differences between the timelines well and the scenes where Kelly’s world began to “glitch” (her tattoos would reappear on her arm only to disappear again) really heightened the intensity of the story. I do feel though it would have been even more intense (and engaging) if Kelly had been glitching out of one life and the other, but alas, she did not. What really failed for me was the backstory behind why this was happening and who was responsible. If I was glitched out of one life and put into another that I didn’t choose, I doubt my nutshell response would be “it’s okay, they meant well.”

Best Nuh Uh GIFs | Gfycat


I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet | Summer 2021 Mystery TrioThe Quiet Boy by Ben H. Winters
Published by Mulholland Books on May 18th 2021
Pages: 448
Genres: Mystery, Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
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Also by this author: Countdown City, World of Trouble, Golden State

three-stars

From the bestselling author of Underground Airlines and Golden State,

a sweeping legal thriller about a sixteen-year-old who suffers from a neurological condition that has frozen him in time, and the team of lawyers, doctors, and detectives who are desperate to wake him up.

Wesley Keener lies in bed: not dead, not alive, not in a coma or vegetative state, but simply frozen at an unchanging 16 years old, the forward course of his existence having simply stopped midway through sophomore year. His condition is the result of something called Syndrome J, an extraordinarily rare neurological event, at least according to the brilliant young neurologist Anna Pileggi.

When Wes was first hospitalized, his parents Beth and David Keener hired acclaimed PI Jay Shenk to help find answers about the illness that befell their beloved son. Now, years later, when David is accused of murdering the brilliant young doctor who served as expert witness in the hospital case, Shenk and his son Ruben discover that this standard malpractice suit is part of something more sinister than anyone imagined. An alternate explanation, brought forth by a mysterious older man, suggests an inter-dimensional entity wrecking havoc on the community. The child is not a prisoner, this stranger insists, he is a prison.

Told from alternating perspectives, The Quiet Boy explores the tensions between justice and compassion, in heart-pounding prose. With clever plotting, and a knack for character, Winters expertly weaves a group of misfits together in a race to save themselves, and an innocent life.

In 2008, a boy named Wesley Keener suffered a traumatic head injury at school. Following his brain surgery, he begins pacing the small confines of his hospital room without reprieve. He doesn’t stop to eat or sleep. And as time unfolds, the careful observations of the boy reveal that his hair doesn’t ever seem to get any longer and he never seems to get any older. Personal injury attorney Jay Shenk rushes to the hospital after getting word about this case, intending on trying to pick up a medical malpractice case that seems like a slam dunk but he ends up with something far more on his hands.

This is my fifth book by Winters and I’m pretty sure if it was my first it would’ve been a DNF. The Quiet Boy is a very slow-to-build story and at first glance, it’s a bit deceiving. It comes across as nothing more than a courtroom legal thriller but it’s definitely more than meets the eye and deserves a little patience. It’s a dense yet captivating story that will keep you guessing till the very ambiguous ending where you’ll have to just keep on guessing. I appreciated the subtle hint at answers, the suggestion that nothing is ever just black and white, that nothing has just a single interpretation, that it’s all based on your own perception… but I wanted (or needed) less ambiguity and more transparency.


I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet | Summer 2021 Mystery TrioJust One Look by Lindsay Cameron
Published by Ballantine Books on July 27th 2021
Pages: 304
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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two-half-stars

A young woman's escalating obsession with a seemingly perfect man leads her down a dangerous path in this novel of suspense brimming with envy, desire, and deception.

Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking--love, friends, stability--and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.

While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn't read them. But it's just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can't look away.

Every day, twenty floors below Forest's corner office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.

Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a "chance" meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she's been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly, she doesn't simply admire Annabelle--she wants to take her place. And she's armed with the tools to make that happen.

“Eyes aren’t the windows to the soul. Emails are.”

Cassie Woodson had a promising legal career until a breakup with her boyfriend led to some workplace violence that went viral. The incident got her fired and blacklisted and the only job she could get was a temp job reviewing documents where she sat in a windowless room with scheduled bathroom breaks. Her sudden and disastrous fall from grace has transformed her into an angry individual with a drinking problem but when she stumbles upon some personal correspondence between a husband and wife in her work documents, she develops a mild obsession with the couple. The mild obsession only grows and Cassie is no longer satisfied with simply reading about their lives: she wants it for herself.

As can be determined based on my review, this wasn’t a home run for me. I give this book enormous credit for pulling me out of the reading rut I found myself in when I decided to pick this up though. The beginning of this is entertaining as shit and Cassie and all her crazy actually reminded me a lot of good ol’ Joe from You. It was basically like watching a train wreck because you know nothing is going to end well so you might as well grab the popcorn.

The ending quite literally fell apart for me, thus my low rating. Oddly enough, still entertaining and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for what’s next from this debut author.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday | Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Posted August 25, 2021 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 2 Comments

Can’t Wait Wednesday | Gilded by Marissa MeyerGilded by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 2nd 2021
Pages: 512
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress

Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller's daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.
Or so everyone believes.

When one of Serilda's outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn't meant to be part of the bargain.

Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.

About Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles, Heartless, The Renegades Trilogy, and Instant Karma, as well as the graphic novel duology Wires and Nerve. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and a MA in Publishing from Pace University. In addition to writing, Marissa hosts The Happy Writer podcast. She lives near Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters.

I definitely don’t read nearly as much YA as I used to, but Meyer is one author that I keep coming back for. I love me some fairy tale retellings and I’m thrilled for a Rumpelstiltskin one!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Something To Look Forward To | Week of August 23rd, 2021

Posted August 23, 2021 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 0 Comments

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Week of August 23rd, 2021

The Pariah (The Covenant of Steel #1) by Anthony Ryan [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Orbit

Feral Creatures (Hollow Kingdom #2) by Kira Jane Buxton [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Grand Central Publishing

The Second Rebel (The First Sister Trilogy #2) by Linden A. Lewis [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Skybound Books

When the Goddess Wakes (The Ring-Sworn Trilogy #3) by Howard Andrew Jones [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #17) by Louise Penny [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Minotaur Books

Lightning Strike (Cork O’Connor #0) by William Kent Krueger [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Atria Books

The Guide by Peter Heller [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Knopf Publishing Group

Midnight Atlanta (Darktown #3) by Thomas Mullen [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Little, Brown UK

Where I Left Her by Amber Garza [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Mira Books

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Doubleday

The Paris Connection by Lorraine Brown [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Montlake

Bombshell (Hell’s Belles #1) by Sarah MacLean [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Avon

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Audiobook Review | ‘Good Neighbors’ is a Suburban Nightmare

Posted August 19, 2021 by Bonnie in 2021, Audiobooks, Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review | ‘Good Neighbors’ is a Suburban NightmareGood Neighbors by Sarah Langan
Narrator: Nicole Lewis
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on February 2, 2021
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Genres: Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


two-stars

Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburbpitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger.

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

Arlo Wilde, a gruff has-been rock star who’s got nothing to show for his fame but track marks, is always two steps behind the other dads. His wife, beautiful ex-pageant queen Gertie, feels socially ostracized and adrift. Spunky preteen Julie curses like a sailor and her kid brother Larry is called “Robot Boy” by the kids on the block.
Their next-door neighbor and Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroedera lonely community college professor repressing her own dark pastwelcomes Gertie and family into the fold. Then, during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, the new best friends share too much, too soon.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes that spins out of control. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

“We had a problem on the block and the cops wouldn’t solve it. So we solved our own problem.”

The residents of Maple Street only look perfect on the outside, of course. There’s also the giant sinkhole that opened up in the neighborhood park that kind of mars things. When the Wilde’s moved into the neighborhood, they knew they didn’t belong (Gertie an ex-beauty queen with breast implants, her husband Arlo an ex-rocker with tattoos covering his track marks) but they had hoped to find their own place amongst the impeccable families.  Rhea Schroeder, the undisputed Queen of Maple Street, decides to look past her differences and befriend Gertie. One night, dark secrets are shared and Rhea misinterprets Gertie’s reaction and decides to turn on her instead, telling the neighborhood everything that Gertie didn’t want getting out. When Rhea’s daughter Shelley falls into the sinkhole, she blames Gertie and her family for her death and sets in motion irreparable devastation.

The story is set in a world much like our own in the year 2028 where it’s clear the current climate has deteriorated rapidly. The sinkhole spews oil, somehow causes the residents to have patchy phone connections, and it continues to expand at a seemingly alarming rate. On top of the timely climate narrative, there’s also the inclusion of newspaper and academic articles from 15-years into the future that reference “the Maple Street Murders” which give the story a true-crime feel. Personally, I think the climax would’ve been much more shocking without the articles providing the bleak foreshadowing of what’s to come.

The whole thing is a very unsettling type of dark. It’s a plausible story about the power of a lie and their abilities to destroy regardless of authenticity. It also shows how terrifyingly quick things can escalate and get out of hand. Sarah Langan is known for writing horror and she certainly transitioned well into suburban horror, but everything was severe and over the top to the point where the heavy-handedness became oppressive. Some of her phrasing and the way she chose to describe things was needless too, much like this line:

“The man’s expression was animalistic and ugly. A sweaty sex face on the verge of completion.”

Good Neighbors is a laborious and unnerving study on the perfection of suburban America: just because everything looks perfect doesn’t mean it is.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday | The Savage Kind by John Copenhaver

Posted August 18, 2021 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 1 Comment

Can’t Wait Wednesday | The Savage Kind by John CopenhaverThe Savage Kind by John Copenhaver
Published by Pegasus Crime on October 5, 2021
Pages: 352
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
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Two lonely teenage girls in 1940s Washington, DC, discover they have a penchant for solving crimes—and an even greater desire to commit them—in the new mystery novel by Macavity Award-winning novelist John Copenhaver.

Philippa Watson, a good-natured yet troubled seventeen-year-old, has just moved to Washington, DC. She’s lonely until she meets Judy Peabody, a brilliant and tempestuous classmate. The girls become unlikely friends and fashion themselves as intellectuals, drawing the notice of Christine Martins, their dazzling English teacher, who enthralls them with her passion for literature and her love of noirish detective fiction.

When Philippa returns a novel Miss Martins has lent her, she interrupts a man grappling with her in the shadows. Frightened, Philippa flees, unsure who the man is or what she’s seen. Days later, her teacher returns to school altered: a dark shell of herself. On the heels of her teacher’s transformation, a classmate is found dead in the Anacostia River—murdered—the body stripped and defiled with a mysterious inscription.

As the girls follow the clues and wrestle with newfound feelings toward each other, they suspect that the killer is closer to their circle than they imagined—and that the greatest threat they face may not be lurking in the halls at school, or in the city streets, but creeping out from a murderous impulse of their own.

About John Copenhaver

John Copenhaver’s historical crime novel, Dodging and Burning, won the 2019 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel and garnered Anthony, Strand Critics, Barry, and Lambda Literary Award nominations. Copenhaver writes a crime fiction review column for Lambda Literary called “Blacklight,” cohosts on the House of Mystery Radio Show, and is the six-time recipient of Artist Fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He grew up in the mountains of southwestern Virginia and currently lives in Richmond, VA, with his husband, artist Jeffery Paul (Herrity).

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Something To Look Forward To | Week of August 16th, 2021

Posted August 16, 2021 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 0 Comments

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Week of August 16th, 2021

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Gallery Books

The Family Plot by Megan Collins [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Atria Books

Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Redhook

A Terrible Fall of Angels (Zaniel Havelock #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Berkley

King Bullet (Sandman Slim #12) by Richard Kadrey [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Harper Voyager

Requiem of Silence (Earthsinger Chronicles #4) by L. Penelope [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin

The Exiled Fleet (The Divide #2) by J.S. Dewes [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Tor Books

The Scavenger Door (Finder Chronicles #3) by Suzanne Palmer [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Daw Books

Neptune (The Grand Tour #25) by Ben Bova [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Tor Books

Legacy of Light (Legacy Trilogy #3) by Matthew Ward [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Orbit

56 Days: A Thriller by Catherine Ryan Howard [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Blackstone Publishing

Getaway by Zoje Stage [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Mulholland Books

The Darkness Knows (Konrad #1) by Arnaldur Indriðason [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Minotaur Books

Bloodless (Pendergast #20) by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Grand Central Publishing

The Island (Dewey Andreas #9) by Ben Coes [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Berkley Books

Another Kind of Eden by James Lee Burke [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Simon Schuster

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Del Rey

The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gabl [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Graydon House

The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You: Stories by Maurice Carlos Ruffin [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by One World

The Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project #2) by Farrah Rochon [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Forever

Battle Royal (Palace Insiders #1) by Lucy Parker [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 17th 2021 by Avon

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Book Review | The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Posted August 12, 2021 by Bonnie in 2021, Adult, Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | The Turnout by Megan AbbottThe Turnout by Megan Abbott
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on August 3, 2021
Pages: 352
Genres: Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dare Me, The Fever

two-stars

Bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott's revelatory, mesmerizing, and game-changing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio, and an interloper who arrives to bring down the carefully crafted Eden-like facade.

Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker, a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration, an interloper arrives and threatens the delicate balance of everything they've worked for.

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

“It was the three of them. Always the three of them. Until it wasn’t. And that was when everything went wrong.”

Marie, Dara, and her husband Charlie all work together at the Durant School of Dance in addition to living together in the girls’ childhood home until Marie moved out abruptly a few short months ago. She didn’t go far, however, taking up residence on the third floor of the school; an area only accessible via an old spiral staircase. The third floor used to be the domain of their late mother, a woman that even in death holds a strange thrall over the trio. After an ancient space heater caused a fire at the school, they’re forced to shut down one of the studio’s because of the excessive damage. They hire a contractor that woos them with wondrous imaginings of what their school could become, a far cry from the antiquated state that its been in since their mother was a teacher. He ends up becoming a far larger part of their lives when Marie develops an eerie obsession with him.

“What is it, Dara kept asking herself. What is it we’ve let in our studio, our mother’s studio. My sisters’ bed. My sister’s body. Our lives.”

The dynamic between the sisters was incredibly unusual, ripe with the feeling that you were missing something, some story, to clarify the strangeness. But honestly, “strangeness” is putting it lightly. The abundant amount of sexual references and detailed descriptions permeated this story and it was more than just a little disconcerting especially when it involved the children in their classes or recollections of their own sexual experiences as children.

See the source image

“You build this family. And it’s perfect. It’s everything you wanted. And then something goes wrong. Slowly or all at once.”

Abbott’s stories always have a creeping wrongness to them, stories that go wrong slowly. You know it would be foolish to expect anything resembling a happy ending but the path to get there is languid and full of holes. There was a time when I enjoyed that type of story, one that simmers endlessly, with no boiling point in sight. I think that time has passed for me because Abbott’s stilted and fragmented way of storytelling has become more grating than anything. As always with Abbott, the twist was quite unpredictable, but I disliked such a large portion of the book that any twist was unlikely to change my mind.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday | Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Posted August 11, 2021 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 2 Comments

Can’t Wait Wednesday | Book Lovers by Emily HenryBook Lovers by Emily Henry
Published by Berkley on May 3, 2022
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
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A by the book literary agent must decide if happily ever after is worth changing her whole life for in this insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

About Emily Henry

Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read, as well as several young adult novels. She lives and writes in the Cincinnati and the part of Kentucky just beneath it.

Her books have been featured in Buzzfeed, Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Skimm, Shondaland, Betches, Bustle, and more.

This doesn’t release for MONTHS but I’m so excited for this one! I don’t give out 5 stars very often but People We Meet on Vacation was so, so good. It got me very excited for more to come from this author.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Something To Look Forward To | Week of August 9th, 2021

Posted August 9, 2021 by Bonnie in Something To Look Forward To / 2 Comments

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Week of August 9th, 2021

The Shimmering State by Meredith Westgate [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Atria Books

The Maleficent Seven by Cameron Johnston [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Angry Robot

Paper & Blood (Ink & Sigil #2) by Kevin Hearne [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Del Rey Books

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

She Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Forge Books

The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Berkley

Dog Island by Philippe Claudel [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Little, Brown and Company

A Different Dawn (Nina Guerrera #2) by Isabella Maldonado [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Thomas & Mercer

Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Graydon House

The Sister-in-Law by Pamela Crane [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by William Morrow Paperbacks

One Year Gone by Avery Bishop [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Lake Union Publishing

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Gallery Books

Ice and Stone (Sharon McCone #34) by Marcia Muller [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Grand Central Publishing

Mrs. March by Virginia Feito [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Liveright

Gone for Good (Detective Annalisa Vega #1) by Joanna Schaffhausen [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Minotaur Books

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Tokyo Redux (Tokyo Trilogy #3) by David Peace [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Knopf Publishing Group

The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

The Republic of False Truths by Alaa Al Aswany [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Knopf Publishing Group

Cul-de-sac by Joy Fielding [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Ballantine Books

The Light of Luna Park by Addison Armstrong [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Berkley Books

Yours Cheerfully (The Emmy Lake Chronicles #2) by A.J. Pearce [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Scribner

Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Grand Central Publishing

In the Country of Others by Leïla Slimani [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Penguin Books

Aria’s Travelling Book Shop (The Travelling Shops #2) by Rebecca Raisin [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by HQ Digital

Write My Name Across the Sky by Barbara O’Neal [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Lake Union Publishing

Wait for It by Jenn McKinlay [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Berkley Books

Miss Lattimore’s Letter by Suzanne Allain [Purchase]
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Berkley

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Audiobook Review | When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

Posted August 5, 2021 by Bonnie in 2021, Audiobooks, Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review | When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLainWhen the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
Published by Ballantine Books on April 13, 2021
Length: 11 hours and 29 minutes
Genres: Mystery, Crime
Format: Audiobook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


four-stars

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now, she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet, the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.

The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives - and our faith in one another.

“Because everyone wants to be looked for, whether they realize it or not.”

After being placed on administrative leave following a personal tragedy, Detective Anna Hart finds herself drawn back to her hometown of Mendocino, California. She quickly becomes enmeshed in a missing girl case, recognizing too the horrifying similarities to the disappearance and subsequent murder of a childhood friend back in 1972. The investigation into the missing girl, Cameron Curtis, speaks to Hart on a personal level when she discovers that they had both been foster care kids and had sustained abuse at a young age. When other girls turn up missing, Hart begins to see a potential connection between the victims and even more connections to her murdered friend.

While When the Stars Go Dark was quite a dark novel, vividly exploring the effects of early childhood trauma, it was still a very refreshing take on the literary crime novel. Detective Anna Hart’s constant empathy and dogged determination to bring the missing girls home was authentic due to her own similar childhood tragedies. The line between fiction and true crime became blurred when McLain decided to incorporate the true story of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old girl that was abducted in her house during a slumber party but found dead 2 months later. At first, I didn’t feel that including Polly in this story was necessary but the author’s note at the end of the story changed my mind about that.

“The profound suffering of the victims and their families crept into my dreams — and onto the page,” she explains in the author’s note. “It began to feel imperative that I tell their stories as bluntly and factually as possible, as a way to honor their lives and dignify their deaths and disappearances. Saying their names became for me a sacred act. A kind of prayer.”

I particularly enjoyed the setting of the novel, Mendocino, California, seeing as I grew up in Mendocino County. Seeing the reference to Mendocino in the book summary was one of the primary reasons I picked this book up and I’m so very glad I did. I opted for the audiobook version because Marin Ireland is quickly earning a top place in my must-listen narrators, and she knocked this performance out of the park. When the Stars Go Dark is a somber yet sophisticated mystery that manages to end on a hopeful note.

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