Audiobook Review, Thriller

You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes

You (You, #1)You by Caroline Kepnes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh. My. Gawd.

This is one of the most messed up, creepy, make-your-skin-crawl books I’ve ever read. The entire book is written in the second person. For all my grammar-challenged friends out there, that means the narrator used the word “you” a lot; hence, the title. When Joe sees Beck in the bookstore, he is smitten. She is perfect and he must find his way into her world. Even if it means obsessively stalking her in the process. The whole story is told from the perspective of Joe as he follows Beck, referring to her commonly as “you.”

Just to give you an idea of the creepiness of this effect, here are a few quotes from the book:

“You are a woman and I am a man and we belong in the dark together.”

“Your lips were made for mine, Beck. You are the reason I have a mouth, a heart.”

“If you knew what I went through to get into your home, that I messed up my back trying to know you, inside and out, you’d judge me for it.”

Caroline Kepnes is a masterful storyteller and knocked my socks off with her commitment to the main character. He was so disturbed, angry, and unhinged and in such a believable way.

I also can’t understate the raunchiness of this book enough. Definitely R-rated with the language and context. It was tense, dirty, and inappropriate. In fact, on several occasions while driving I had to roll up my windows so passersby would not hear and think I was a weirdo.

As bizarre as the book is, it was something completely unique and I loved it. Santino Fontana was the perfect narrator and embodied the nature of a delusional stalker to a tee. Would highly recommend. But, beware, it is not for the faint of heart.

Now on to Hidden Bodies, the sequel to You, which I downloaded immediately after finishing this book.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart

-Christina Perri (Jar of Hearts lyrics)

These lyrics perfectly capture the essence of this book which also happens to be titled Jar of Hearts. It challenges readers to ask the question, “how far would I be willing to go for love?”

When Geo meets Calvin it is love at first sight. But during a night when Calvin proves that he is not the man she thinks he is, Geo will make a decision that will alter the course of her life forever.

Jennifer Hillier had me guessing everything up until the very end. The twists were well thought out, the characters were unique and well developed, and the ending was a shocker. I listened to this book in a matter of a few car rides and never wanted to get out of the car when I got to my final destination. The narrator, January LeVoy, did a great job portraying Geo as well as the other characters in the book. She definitely held my interest and breathed the characters to life.

Overall, this book had a total Karin Slaughter vibe. It was bold and graphic and dangerous. Jennifer Hillier really went for it and didn’t hold back for the sake of censorship. This is one of my favorite elements of Karin Slaughter’s work and now of Jennifer Hillier’s. Would definitely recommend this book, but caution; it is not for the faint of heart.

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General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Sold on a MondaySold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected Publication August 28th!

Sold on a Monday is a historical fiction set in the 1930s during the Great Depression era. It tells the story of Ellis, a news reporter, looking for his big break. When Ellis snaps a photo of two young books on the side of the road beside a sign that reads “2 children for sale,” he has no idea the chain of events that he has set in motion. What follows is a roller coaster ride of a story that will have you considering how one small choice can change everything in the course of your life.

I very much enjoyed Kristina McMorris’s writing and felt like the book was similar in content to Before We Were Yours (another fabulous book if you have not read it). She had a way of transporting the reader directly into the pages of the book and connecting with the various characters along the way. There is also an underlying love story beyond the main plot that I particularly enjoyed.

I did feel like the beginning of the book was a little bit slow as the characters and the story line developed, and therefore took some time for me to get into it. But the second half of the book was very fast paced and definitely kept me wanting more.

I will say that I felt the book ended sort of abruptly, particularly given the time and attention the author gave to developing the rest of the book. I found it odd that it was so swift to wrap up. And there were some pieces of the story that I didn’t feel added a ton of value. For those who have read it, I was kind of disengaged from the mobster angle and didn’t feel like it ultimately led anywhere. But, let’s be honest, that’s just be being extremely knit picky. Overall, it was a fantastic concept and a great book. It’s your next great historical fiction.

-I received this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you to NetGalley, Kristina McMorris, and SOURCEBOOKS for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult), Young Adult

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

A Short History of the Girl Next DoorA Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a ton of really long books lately, and I needed something short and sweet. This book was definitely on the shorter side, and although pieces of it were sweet (the idea of young love with the girl next door), there were also very heavy and sad elements.

A Short History of the Girl Next Door is such an important book for anybody who is dealing with grief or loss of a loved one. It perfectly illustrates the stages of grief.

Denial.
Anger.
Bargaining.
Depression.
Acceptance.

Jared Reck perfectly illustrated these stages as they related to the main character. It definitely reminded me of losing one of my childhood friends, and the events that unfolded in the community afterward.

From an audiobook perspective, it’s only about 6 hours long so is perfect if you’ve got a car ride coming up. The narrator, Mike Chamberlain, kind of reminded me of Wil Wheaton (narrator of Ready Player One) and I enjoyed his rendition.

In keeping with the “short” theme, I’m going to keep this review short. Definitely would recommend for anybody who has dealt with grief and is looking for something to relate to.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ruth Ware, how I love thee. Every book I read that is written by Ruth Ware is wonderful. She knows how to create new and unique plots and characters in each novel that she writes. You can always tell a book is written by Ware because of her slightly creepy edge, and the story is always well thought out and has a satisfactory conclusion.

So how was The Woman in Cabin 10? It was great as usual. When travel journalist Lo Blacklock’s latest assignment lands her on the maiden voyage of the newest luxury cruise liner, the Aurora, she is thrilled. The ship is beautiful, elegant, exclusive, and full of media members looking to cover the voyage. When Lo borrows a mascara from the woman in the cabin next to her (you guessed it…. cabin 10) something seems off about the woman’s demeanor. Things get stranger when she hears a ruckus in the night and goes out on the veranda to see blood on the balcony next to her and a body hitting the water. Panicking, she contacts security but when they enter cabin 10, they find that it is empty with no sign that a tenant every inhabited it. Is Lo mistaken? Was there ever really a woman there? Did she really see what she thinks she saw? Or is there something more sinister at play?

So the first half of the book really gave me a Murder on the Orient Express vibe. Murder on a secluded travel vehicle. Everybody is a suspect. Who can you trust? Are you trapped with a murderer? I was honing my inner Agatha Christie while the plot transpired. But, it definitely went less Murder on the Orient Express and more Investigation Discovery as the story unfolded. Loved the direction it took.

I can’t review this book without mentioning the wonderful and talented Imogen Church who is quickly becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators. She has an ability to create really interesting voices that are all utterly unique, spanning many nationalities and dialects. Sometimes she even throws in unique character elements such as accents or lisps that add to each character’s individuality. She narrated Ruth Ware’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway which was also amazing if you have not had to a chance to check it out. My review of that one here.

Overall, I was thrilled with the book and would highly recommend to anybody looking for something mysterious and sinister.

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