Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

The Good DaughterThe Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

***Warning: graphic descriptions of sexual assault contained in this book***

Oh Karin Slaughter, how I love your writing. Karin is a master of mystery/suspense/thriller and is such an expert at portraying dark story lines in bold and graphic detail (admittedly, this might be too intense for some readers).

In my opinion, The Good Daughter almost felt like 2 separate novels. There is one plot line starring Sam and Charlie Quinn, the victims of a terrible and tragic crime many years ago. This story details the horrific past crime as well as the impact on their current lives. The other plot line stars Kelly Wilson and her involvement and incrimination in a deadly school shooting. While the stories eventually converge and the relationship becomes apparent, there were times in the book where I was having a hard time understanding how both elements related to each other. I tended to be more invested in the school shooting plot, especially because the plot involving crimes of the past was repeated in details at several different points throughout and I found myself feeling like I was listening to the same thing over and over again. However, the narrator (Kathleen Early) kept me in it, and Karin Slaughter’s writing is one of my favorites so I stuck through the repetitive parts.

At almost 700 written pages and a little over 18 hours on audiobook, this was one of Slaughter’s lengthier books. I felt like it could have probably been a little bit shorter but I still enjoyed it from start to finish.

I will say that my favorite book by Karin Slaughter is Pretty Girls and I didn’t feel like this book was quite as good, but it certainly screamed Karin Slaughter in its vivid, bold, and fearless storytelling.

My review of Pretty Girls here: https://homesweethouser.wordpress.com…

View all my reviews

General Fiction (Adult)

Ohio by Stephen Markley

OhioOhio by Stephen Markley

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Expected publication August 21st!

Where do I even start? I fear it will be difficult for me to even put this book into words. Ohio is a story about a community in rural/suburban Ohio, the friends and acquaintances within the community, the secrets held within, and the ghosts that continue to haunt them. One night, several people will return to New Canaan, Ohio and their lives will intertwine in an unexpected way, dredging up memories of the past, and impacting the course of the future.

Stephen Markley makes his debut in a big way, establishing himself as a powerhouse writer. His vocabulary is vast, and the way he builds sentences, paragraphs, and entire story lines is magnificent. His descriptions of the American Midwest, and communities that have suffered from the collapse of American business and industry are spot on. I am from Michigan, and although the book took place in Ohio, the similarities were uncanny. I could see this story taking place where I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit after 9/11, during the recession, when the auto industry was suffering. Although the writing is beautiful, this is definitely not a quick read. His writing evokes a lot of thought, and as such, it is takes some time to process.

Adjectives I would use to describe this book: heartbreaking, raw, realistic, powerful, heavy, gritty, and alive. The story is packed with difficult social topics including rape, sexuality, drugs, religion, and an array of political issues. The story takes place after the Twin Towers fall, and the impact of the terrorist attack are evident, from young boys in the community enlisting to fight the War on Terror to those who wholeheartedly oppose the efforts in the Middle East.

Almost 500 pages and told in 4 parts, with each part from the perspective of a different person, the first half of the book created a backdrop and gave background that was necessary to the later parts. I will say that it was a bit long, and there were times in part 3 where I found myself wanting the story to move a little faster. But, once I got to the end, I could not put it down. The way all of the characters weave throughout each other’s lives, and the journey that they all took to get to present day is incredible. It felt a tiny bit like 13 Reasons Why in that the characters reflect on the choices they each made, and the impact of their choices on the lives of others.

This book will definitely not be everybody’s cup of tea. If you’re looking for something lighthearted or fast paced, this book is not for you. But if you’re looking for something thought provoking and different from the everyday novel, with a dark and heavy edge, you will love this book.

-I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Stephen Markley, and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Mystery, Thriller

Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin

Desperate GirlsDesperate Girls by Laura Griffin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected publication August 7th!

Desperate Girls is the first book I’ve ever won in a Goodreads giveaway! I was ecstatic to receive an advanced copy in physical form!

I had not previously read anything by Laura Griffin so I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. Man, was her character development good. I really enjoyed Brynn and Erik as main characters and felt like I had a true sense of who they were as people. I understood their motives, values, attitudes, and decisions throughout the book and appreciated the attention Laura Griffin placed on encapsulating their spirit.

Desperate Girls is a murder mystery, but it also has a love story angle that I really enjoyed. It starts with the escape of a serial killer from prison, and the murder of several high ranking individuals involved in his conviction. Brynn, who now works as a defense attorney, was once the prosecutor that helped put this killer behind bars. Her boss hires Wolfe Security to protect her and her partner during their most recent trial, where she meets Erik Morgan, a handsome and serious bodyguard employed by the firm.

The story has several interesting plot angles including the escape and search for the escaped killer, a trial where Brynn serves as the defense attorney for her client, the interaction between Brynn and Erik, and some other story lines involving various law enforcement members.

I would describe this book as a “slow burn.” It wasn’t a fast paced thriller on par with The Girl on the Train or The Woman in the Window. It developed slower and took it’s time, but not in a way that was boring. I felt like there was a lot of tension building throughout that kept it engaging and interesting.

I was shocked by the ending to be honest. Since it was such a slow burn, I wasn’t expecting a thriller-esque surprise twist. But it was there lurking within the last few pages of text.

Only giving it 4 stars because it didn’t blow me out of the water, but it was extremely well written and I enjoyed it very much.

View all my reviews

Audiobook Review, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One word sums up this book for me: NOSTALGIA

When one of the richest men in the world (on par with Bill Gates or Steve Jobs) dies, the contest begins. As the world’s most famous virtual reality computer programmer, he decides to leave his life’s fortune to whomever can find his “Easter Egg” hidden within the virtual reality world he created called The OASIS. Wade Watts, a young, antisocial high school student living in the impoverished outskirts of Oklahoma City, is obsessed with The OASIS, even attending high school via virtual reality. He is also obsessed with the contest, and has been searching for 5 years to unlock the clues to find the Easter Egg. One day, he finally stumbles upon the first clue and becomes the top scorer on the leaderboard. But he won’t keep the lead for long. There are plenty of people that would kill to get to the Easter Egg first, and Wade will find himself in a battle for survival and the ultimate prize!

1400x1400_2096661

I also can’t go any further without mentioning the 80’s. The creator of the virtual world had kind of a think for the 80’s and there are no lack of references to 80’s pop culture. As an 80’s baby (okay, I was born in 1988, but still…) I loved the nostalgic feel of the story. It transported me back to when I was at my dad’s cottage playing Intellivision and Atari which were some of my favorite games growing up. There are also plenty of references to 80’s movies and music that transported me right to the decade.

burger-time-screenshot

The best thing I can say about this book is that it was insanely creative. Ernest Cline wrote a novel that takes the reader on a ride through space, time, and reality. It’s really difficult to liken it to any other book due to it’s uniqueness but I would say the closest thing that I’ve read would be The Maze Runner. It was filled with really creative concepts and new ideas I haven’t read anywhere else.

It did have a lot of reference to video games, so if that’s not really your thing, you may not be as in love with the book as I was. However, I definitely would not consider myself a “gamer” by any sense of the word, and I loved it just the same.

If you’re looking for something completely and utterly unique, and unlike anything you’ve read before, this is definitely the book for you. The audiobook version read by Wil Wheaton was fabulous, and the narration was definitely engaging. It is pretty long (15+ hours in total) but worth spending the time if you have a long trip or commute. Highly recommended!

I cannot wait to see the movie that will be coming to video shortly directed by Steven Spielberg!

View all my reviews

Mystery, Thriller

After Nightfall by A.J. Banner

After NightfallAfter Nightfall by A.J. Banner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected publication August 7th!

I have seen A.J. Banner’s After Nightfall cover all over social media lately, and was pleasantly surprised when my NetGalley request was approved to read it in advance of publication.

After Nightfall is a story about Marissa, a speech pathologist, who falls in love with the father of one of her students, Nathan. One night, she and Nathan have a dinner party at Nathan’s house by the beach, set atop a tall cliff overlooking the water, to announce their engagement. They invite Nathan’s brother Keith and wife Hedra and Marissa’s long time friend (and Nathan’s new neighbor) Lauren and husband Jensen. The atmosphere is strained, especially since Marissa and Lauren have just recently rekindled their relationship after a falling out several years ago in college. The morning after the party Marissa goes for an early morning walk only to find Lauren’s lifeless body on the beach below the jagged cliff. Did she fall? Did she take her own life? Or was she pushed?

I’m going to be honest. The first half of this book I did not feel particularly connected to any of the characters and was having a hard time getting into the story line. But whatever was lacking in the first half was totally made up for in the second half. The second half of the book was extremely fast paced, and such a page turner. The ending was satisfying as well, which is the mark of any good thriller. Nobody likes to get to the end only to be disappointed with the outcome, but this ending was well thought out and suspenseful.

A.J. Banner wrote a fantastic thriller that will likely fly off the shelves once published. Would recommend to anybody looking for a very quick read.

-I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, A.J. Banner, and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews