General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Mystery, Reese Witherspoon's Book Club

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Watch out because Delia Owens is in the building! That’s the way to release a debut novel!

What a powerhouse of a book! Let me begin with a quote:

“Well, we better hide way out there where the crawdads sing. I pity any foster parents who take you on.” Tate’s whole face smiled.
“What d’ya mean, where the crawdads sing? Ma used to say that.” Kya remembered Ma always encouraging her to explore the marsh: “Go as far as you can—way out yonder where the crawdads sing.”
“Just means far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters.”
– Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

When a young girl is abandoned by her family to survive alone in the marsh of North Carolina, she must learn to live off the land. Cooking, making money, keeping a house, educating herself, learning how to interact with people. In the marsh she lives as an outcast from the local townspeople who refer to her as The Marsh Girl, and leave her to fend for herself. The story follows her life as she grows from a seven year old girl scared and abandoned into an intelligent and successful biologist.

There is a love story component. There is a murder. There is a trial. This book has it all.

And that ending! It blew me away.

I felt so bad for Kya while I was reading this book. It was like the poor girl couldn’t catch a break. I just wanted to be her friend and tell her it was going to be okay.

Delia Owens’ writing reminded me of Kristin Hannah is a big way, and considering Hannah is my favorite author, that is a huge compliment. She was able to capture the same essence that makes Hannah’s writing impeccable. I felt like I was reading a movie. The scenery and characters were so vivid, and the story flowed elegantly. It was wonderful.

I usually devour books, reading most books in a day or two. However, there was something special about this one. I didn’t want it to end and forced myself to read it slowly so that I could savor it. I’m so glad I took my time because it was magnificent. I cannot wait to see what Delia Owens has up her sleeve next.

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult)

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect StrangersNine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a love/hate relationship with Liane Moriarty. Some of her books I absolutely love and some of them are not my favorite. But nonetheless, when I had the opportunity to read her newest book I jumped at the chance.

And yet again, I find myself torn. Did I like it? Yes. Did a not like it? Yes. This review is so hard for me to write because sometimes when I think about this book I say, “That was actually really good.” And other times, I think about it and say, “Hmm… maybe I didn’t really like that?” It’s all very confusing.

The book is about nine people who come together at a health resort for a 10 day “cleanse.” The leader of the resort promises that in ten days they will not be the same people they are today. That’s for sure. They all have their issues and are coming to Tranquillum House in search of something different. Some are looking to find themselves, some to reestablish relationships, some to alter themselves physically. But one thing is for sure… the ten days spent at Tranquillum House will be unlike anything any of them expected.

Genre? Hmm…. Unclear. Thriller? Women’s Fiction? Contemporary? It’s kind of just a story…

Liane Moriarty was masterful in her development of the characters. As this book is primarily focused on the nine strangers and their journey to self discovery, a LOT of time was spent developing the characters (to the tune of 200+ pages). About half of the book was introducing characters and getting the reader invested in their individual stories. Not a bad thing, but if you’re expecting something fast paced, this isn’t the book for you.

Liane Moriarty made me crack up a couple of times. One of the characters is an author, and multiple times throughout the story it felt like she was making fun of herself. At one point she made a jab at authors who take half the book to develop their characters (which is exactly what she was doing) and I thought it was hilarious. I appreciated her ability to see the humor in things as the story went along. There is also a hysterical chapter at the end of the book about “Helen.” O.M.G. I almost fell of my chair I was laughing so hard. What a tiny moment of genius, particularly from the perspective of a book reviewer (you will see why).

Finally, I don’t often compliment Acknowledgements, but this was one book where I really enjoyed the Acknowledgements. They were super personable and authentic with dashes of humor. I found them extremely well written. Such a weird thing to comment on in a review, but it’s true.

Overall, I find myself torn but I think overall I’m leaning in the “I like it” direction. It is rather long and slow, but the story has a lot of meaning and the characters are very well developed. Their relationships with each other and their self discovery are the meat of the story. There aren’t very many ups and downs. It’s kind of just a flat line in the excitement department, which is why I think I’m struggling. But, just because it’s a flat line doesn’t mean it wasn’t a meaningful story or very well written. See for yourself!

Also check out my review for The Husband’s Secret!

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Mystery, Thriller

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

She Lies in Wait (DCI Jonah Sheens, #1)She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Out January 8th!

Looking for a good detective mystery novel? Here you go!

Gytha Lodge’s debut novel was a wonderful surprise. I was expecting it to just be okay, but I actually thought it was really good as far as detective novels go. This book was very much character driven and Gytha Lodge did a great job developing her characters.

The story flip flops between 1983 and present day. In 1983 fourteen-year-old Aurora goes missing while camping with 6 friends. 30 years later her body is discovered mere feet from the campsite where she was last seen. And all 6 of her friends instantly become suspects. Who had motive? Who could have wanted Aurora dead? What follows is the investigative work of DCI Jonah Sheens and his team, interviewing suspects and following old leads in the hopes of solving this cold case.

What I loved about this book was the tension. I kept trying to figure out who made the best suspect and who had motive. I constantly changed my mind, becoming suspicious of each character along the way. And honestly, I didn’t figure out the ending until it was revealed which is always a win in my book.

The only negative aspect of this book was that the ending was a tad anticlimactic. Once the “killer” was revealed, the ending seemed a little bit abrupt, particularly given how long and drawn out the rest of the story was. I would have liked to have seen the ending play out a little bit differently. But, all in all I still found it satisfying and appreciated the “solution” to the crime.

I would liken this to a Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) novel with a detective that is central to the story, and lots of character development that dominates the stories of the remaining characters. Would recommend to my detective-driven mystery novel lovers.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Gytha Lodge, and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Thriller

Vox by Christina Dalcher

VoxVox by Christina Dalcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the future. Conservative Christian men have taken over the US with their “purist” movement. Women must be homemakers. Female children learn only home economics at school. And worst of all, women are limited to speaking 100 words per day. No written communication. No sign language. Just those 100 words.

My thoughts? Will not be everybody’s favorite. Has potential to be polarizing. Lots of political undertones consistent with the current political climate in the US. Thought provoking. Loved the concept. As an independent woman, I was livid the entire time. My review ends here. Exactly 100 words… let that settle.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was GoneThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can you say “Effed up?!”

What in the world just happened? I feel mentally violated. This book is really disturbing served with a side of crazy.

Girl goes missing. Mom is devastated. Mom and Dad divorce. Mom finds new love and romance, but is her new-found love too good to be true? Seems pretty simple right? Wrong.

The first half of this book was somewhat subdued, teetering on boring. It was definitely a slow start. But what lacked excitement in the first half, more than made up for itself in the second half. It’s fair to say all hell broke loose in the back end of this story. My jaw almost hit the floor with the disturbing series of crazed events that Lisa Jewell created.

While I enjoyed this book for it’s entertainment value and shock value, I didn’t find it all that believable (not that all thrillers are believable as a general rule). But, this book bordered on far fetched.

I didn’t LOVE it with a capital L but I did enjoy it and it was a quick listen. That being said, it may take some effort to get through the first couple hours just due to how slow the story moves at first. But hang in there. It gets better.

Thriller junkies who don’t mind feeling a little icky about what they’re reading, this one is for you. Now excuse me while I shower this one off me…

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