Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey

Someone Like MeSomeone Like Me by M.R. Carey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Won this book in a Goodreads giveaway! Thank you to Orbit Books for the giveaway copy. If you don’t read and review books you win in giveaways, you should. Do the right thing. End rant.

I’m going to give this book 3.5 stars which I’ll round up to 4 stars on Goodreads because… well… no half stars allowed. Come on Goodreads… give a girl some options please!

Any who.. back to Someone Like Me. I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It sucked me in instantly with a concept that was really interesting. Action packed from the start, the book begins with Liz being attacked by her ex-husband when an unexplained force comes over her that allows her to fight back with a strength and anger unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Can you say split personality? Meanwhile, Liz’s son has befriended a girl from school named Fran who has a dark and disturbed past. Liz and Fran’s stories come colliding together in a suspenseful novel by M.R. Carey.

What did I like about this book? One of my favorite things about the book was how the chapters were “numbered” with illustrations that coincided with the character whose story was being told. I thought it was a very clever way to identify the character whose story line was being told via pictures rather than words. I also really enjoyed the characters and felt like they were well developed. And the relationships between the characters were fun to see unfold.

What didn’t I like?

1. It was a tad too long and could have benefited from some editing.
2. The dialogue at times felt a tad juvenile and unrealistic. I had a hard time imagining real life people actually saying the sentences that were presented as dialogue between characters.
3. It took a little bit of a paranormal turn that I didn’t expect. And while it was an interesting turn, I felt there were a lot of questions left unanswered. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it stuck with a mental health angle rather than a paranormal angle.

Overall, a good book with some intriguing content. Definitely has some unexpected turns that are exciting but at the end of the day, not my favorite book in the world. I’ll put this in the “just okay” camp.

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Mystery, Thriller

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

Our Little SecretOur Little Secret by Roz Nay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Looking for a binge-worthy book? Here it is! This was such a quick read that I read it in one sitting.

So how did I get this book? Funny you should ask. I belong to a group of influencers called BookSharks which is supported by BookSparks (confusing, right?). BookSparks did a holiday book-gram program around Christmas where participants picked a genre and a surprise book was wrapped and sent to them. This happened to be one of my surprises. Good picking BookSparks! You must know I adore virtually everything from St. Martin’s Press.

Our Little Secret was the perfect breath of fresh air after some lengthy novels. At a little over 250 pages I breezed right through it. Beginning with the main character in an interrogation room being interviewed for her suspected participation in the disappearance of a young woman, the story moves back in time to tell the story of what happened leading up to the disappearance.

I really enjoyed this book. As a thriller, it had just the right amount of suspense and intrigue without being too convoluted or over the top. The plot was believable and kept me on my toes the entire time.

If you’re looking for a quick weekend read to give you some reprieve from your TBR, this is it. Bravo Roz Nay!

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction, Mystery, True Crime

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Rust & StardustRust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I saw Rust & Stardust on many lists this year. The cover kept popping up everywhere. And without knowing the content, I decided to check it out from the library.

Boy, was this a hard book to read. The content was heartbreaking and extremely disturbing. Trigger alert for sexual assault. There were times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue reading because I found it sickening and upsetting. However, the storytelling by T. Greenwood is so fantastic that I wanted to find out what happened next.

The story is set in the late 1940’s when eleven-year-old Sally Horner is abducted by Frank LaSalle, a convict and child rapist who tricks her into thinking he is an FBI agent taking her into custody for stealing a notebook from a local store. Think Elizabeth Smart in an era with no advanced technology and archaic police work. What follows is the horrifying tale of Sally’s imprisonment, but what I did not expect were the heartwarming moments and glimpses of happiness Sally found along the way. The strangers who became friends and made her experience more bearable.

I did not care for the last hour or so of the audiobook. I didn’t understand why the last hour was included as I didn’t feel like it jived all that well with the rest of the story. Until I realized this was a true story…. I did not realize this story was based on true events until I read the Author’s Note at the end of the book. It blew me away. For ten hours, I was reading it as if it were a creation of T. Greenwood’s imagination, and while many of the details were manufactured, the overall content was reflective of events that really happened. Gut wrenching.

This book is definitely not for everybody. It is not for the faint of heart of those who cannot tolerate discussion of sexual assault, particularly of minors. But if you can get past all of that, it is a tremendous story and Sally Horner deserves for it to be told.

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. I absolutely loved Celeste Ng’s recent book Little Fires Everywhere and couldn’t wait to read one of her earlier works. I saw Everything I Never Told You was available at the library and snatched it up.

The story begins with a young Chinese American girl turning up dead, found face down in a local lake. Was her death suicide, homicide, or accidental? The rest of the book tells the story of her and her Chinese American family leading up to her death. They all carry their own secrets, and carry their own burdens. And the question remains… How did Lydia die?

This book was kind of just… Meh. It was good enough and I listened to the entire thing. The narrator was engaging and held my interest. And while I was really invested in the beginning, the pace was so slow that I just found my interest tapering off toward the end.

There were some good cultural and racial elements that were explored, particularly interracial relationships in the 1960s and 70s. This was one of the book’s strengths in my opinion.

I don’t know that I would recommend this book to everybody. It’s a good enough story, but just sort of fell flat for me.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

An Unwanted GuestAn Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved this! I just recently read Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House and enjoyed it. I had been wanting to read her newest book, An Unwanted Guest, for some time and finally got a copy from the library.

This book is in the vein of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Shari Lapena gave her a little nod with the brief but appropriate mention of Hercule Poirot. It also reminded me slightly of Liane Moriarty’s book Nine Perfect Strangers with a more sinister spin.

Various strangers descend upon a quaint inn for a weekend away. They all have their own issues, and they’re all a little broken. Somewhere along the way, bodies start piling up as the guests are murdered one by one. The catch? They are snowed in without cell phone service or WiFi and have no way of contacting the police. So they must solve the mystery on their own before it’s too late!

In general, this is my type of novel. I love a good murder mystery/whodunnit. It’s like playing a giant game of Clue which I find super fun and interesting.

Lapena did a great job developing the characters. It is always tricky to introduce such a large cast of characters without the reader getting lost in which is which. But, I felt like each of the characters in An Unwanted Guest had a unique identity and I didn’t have any problem following the story. I could also very clearly imagine the snowy inn, it’s various rooms and dwellings, and the characters moving about.

The only slight let down for me was the ending. I felt like it wasn’t an ending that the reader could have had a chance at guessing and kind of came out of nowhere. So the ending was just okay. I wasn’t dissatisfied, just not “wowwed” like I was hoping I would be.

Overall, this was a very good mystery and I would recommend to the Agatha Christie fans out there.

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