Fantasy, Historical Fiction

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

The Night TigerThe Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Expected publication Tuesday! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Book #2 “in the books” for the Booksparks Winter Reading Challenge! #WRC2019

The Night Tiger was…. interesting. I can’t sit here and say that it worked for me because in all honesty, it didn’t. This book had all the makings of a wonderful story. Rooted in magical realism, there was a mystical quality to the writing. There was a murder mystery. There was a love story. All the things that I would expect from a fantastic novel. But unfortunately, they didn’t all mesh that well together for me. There was a lot of fuss over a severed finger that I just didn’t understand or connect with. And the love story was a tad “icky.”

That being said, there were some qualities that I could appreciate that are worth mentioning. I did like the overall writing style of Yangsze Choo, and although I didn’t connect personally with the mystical elements, I could appreciate that the story was deeply rooted in folklore. In addition, I really enjoyed getting to know Ji Lin, the main character, and really connected to her as a character.

While this one didn’t blow me away, I’ve seen plenty of reviews from others who absolutely LOVED this book, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you like folk stories with a touch of fantasy.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Yangsze Choo, and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to review.-

On to Book #3 of the Winter Reading Challenge, Me For You by Lolly Winston!

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia FellThe Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published this week! Order on Amazon here.

The Night Olivia Fell was The Night Ashley Started the Booksparks Winter Reading Challenge! For more information on #WRC2019 click here. I’m so excited to read all of these books with the Bookshark community!

I preordered this book and was so excited to get a special note from author Christina McDonald! The fact that she takes the time to interact with her fan base is something I find commendable and endearing. Thanks Christina!

The Night Olivia Fell is about exactly what it sounds like… the night Olivia fell. Flipping between past and present, Christina McDonald tells the story of Olivia as she goes through a journey of self discovery, exploring love, exploring relationships, and faced with some challenging decisions. But, when she is found having fallen from a bridge and is declared brain dead, her mother wants answers and will stop at nothing to find them. Did Olivia fall or was she pushed?

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on Audible and with the help of 2.5x speed, I was able to finish it in about 4 hours. If you’re not opposed to listening fast, it would make a perfect book for a quick road trip (or a long road trip if you want to listen at normal speed like a normal human).

Christina McDonald created some wonderful characters, and I could feel the angst and mourning that Olivia’s mom emoted as she came to terms with letting Olivia go. I’m not a huge crier but I can see how this one may be a tear jerker for some. I thought Olivia was likable as well and felt her need to break free from her mom and gain more independence while finding her way in life.

The only negative for me was that at times I felt it was a little slow moving, and I have to say I didn’t find the outcome of all the did she fall? was she pushed? if so, by who? drama to be all that surprising. It was a little bit predictable, but still a great story.

Book 1 of #WRC2019 “in the books.” Now on to Book 2: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo!

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent PatientThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars!

Ok guys. I read/listened to this one in 2 days. I couldn’t stop!

Bravo to Alex Michaelides for writing a fast paced and enthralling thriller with such an interesting plot line. And for totally shocking me, which I feel is getting harder and harder to do with the mystery/thriller genre becoming so super saturated with fantastic talent.

So what’s this book about? Theo is a psychotherapist. Alicia is a painter-turned-murderous-wife who has been accused of killing her husband and landed herself a spot at the Grove, a treatment center for the criminally insane. But, the kicker? Since the murder, Alicia has been completely silent, not speaking a word to anybody for years. Theo thinks he can break Alicia’s silence, and unearth the mystery surrounding her husband’s death.

Okay, so first of all… I am a sucker for anything that is heavy handed in psychiatry. The human brain is so interesting and I’m always fascinated to read about mental illness (fiction or nonfiction). Second, I love when books have formatting changes throughout, and this book told the story both in prose and via Alicia’s journal. Loved the back and forth of the story as the writing style alternated.

The only very minor note I have for this book is that there were times when I felt there were a lot of characters involved in the mystery (which seemed like the authors attempt to throw the reader off the scent) and every once in a while I found that the story got a tad complicated.

But let me tell you, the ending was freaking fantastic. I almost had to rewind the audiobook because my jaw practically hit the floor and I thought I might have misheard what was going on. But, turns out I hadn’t. Alex Michaelides just throws an enormous curve ball that I was not anticipating and it was so refreshing to read a thriller whose ending I was not expecting.

Very, very good book with a lot of interesting and entertaining content. I would highly recommend it.

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Mystery, Thriller

The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor

The Hiding PlaceThe Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published yesterday! Pick up your copy from Amazon here!

C.J. Tudor is an author you should watch out for, especially if you’re a big fan of thrillers. Last year she published The Chalk Man, which was good enough. But, in my opinion, The Hiding Place was a much better book.

The Hiding Place is about Joe, a gambling-addicted, somewhat-washed-up, teacher who returns to his boyhood hometown of Arnhill when a job opportunity at his childhood school becomes available. But, while work may be one motivating factor in his return to Arnhill, it is far from the only reason. After a murder-suicide flips the town upside down, it is clear there is something strange happening in the town. And Joe will need to confront his past in order to address the present mysterious happenings.

I really enjoyed the story line for this book. I was invested from the beginning and I felt that there was an appropriate amount of tension to keep the reader moving forward. There is something spooky and mysterious about this book, with a little bit of a paranormal spin on your basic thriller.

There was one downside for me; while I felt like the story made sense and it had a beginning, middle and end, I still felt like I had a lot of unresolved questions at the end. For me, there were quite a few loose ends that I would have liked to have seen tied up. But, it may be that the author wanted to allow the reader to interpret some of the mystery for themselves.

All of that being said, this one was really good, but didn’t blow me away. I would recommend it, especially for those who have never read anything by C.J Tudor. She’s an author worth checking out.

-This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, C.J. Tudor, and Crown Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Thriller

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

For Better and WorseFor Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly almost didn’t read this book (too many darn audiobooks dropped from the library at one time) but I’m so happy I did!

What would you do if you found out the principal at your child’s school was accused of sexual abuse of a student? For Better or Worse explores the answer to this question when husband and wife Will and Natalie find that their son’s principal and their close family friend has been fingered as the source of one child’s molestation claims. Natalie and Will take matters into their own hands to right the injustice in this fast-paced thriller.

This was a really good book. I never really knew where it was headed so it constantly kept me on my toes. While the content was at times difficult to listen to/stomach, it was realistic and therefore mildly terrifying. I don’t know how people can hurt children. Just my two cents. It’s so disturbing. I enjoyed the fact that the author toyed around with using a criminal defense attorney as the main character and watching her struggle with what is morally right and wrong. At times I felt she even empathized with some of the criminals she defended which was an interesting element to the story.

While I thought the ending was clever, I found it to be a bit far fetched which was the only disappointment for me. Perhaps it is realistic and I’m just naive, but it was difficult for me to imagine the ending unfolding in real life in the same way that it unfolded in the book.

The audiobook was enjoyable and and easy listen.

Overall, just a solid thriller with some interesting plot elements. Would recommended to any thriller lovers. I look forward to reading other works by Margot Hunt in the future.

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