Science Fiction, Thriller

Recursion by Blake Crouch

RecursionRecursion by Blake Crouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out June 11th. Pre-order from Amazon here!

I am convinced that Blake Crouch is a genius!

After reading Dark Matter last year, I was worried that whatever he came out with next wouldn’t compare. I was straight up mind blown by Dark Matter and in awe of the brain power it took to develop such a complex story with so many different outcomes and scenarios. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Recursion is one of the top 5 books I’ve been dying to read this year, but I was slightly terrified that it was going to let me down. Well, let me tell you, it lived up to my expectations and definitely did not disappoint. In my opinion, it was just as amazing as Dark Matter.

Recursion is a total mind f*ck! When people start coming down with a mysterious illness deemed FMS (False Memory Syndrome), nobody is quite sure what is happening. Those inflicted with FMS suddenly have memories from a life they never lived, driving many of them to madness. NYC Barry Sutton finds himself investigating the suicide of an FMS victim which leads him to Helena Smith, a scientist working to preserve the memories of Alzheimer’s patients. What follows will literally blow your mind.

I could not love this book more. It had all of the elements I love in a sci fi thriller. It had a unique concept, kept me on the edge of my seat, had me guessing from start to finish, and had a satisfying conclusion. Blake Crouch did a fantastic job thinking through all the potential pitfalls or holes in the story. I wish I could see a storyboard of his thought process while developing the various story lines in an attempt to make the pieces fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. So impressive!

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you’re even remotely interested in science fiction or just want to be taken on a wild ride that bends your brain over and over, this is the book for you! I hope he continues to write original stories that restore my belief in uniquely constructed thrillers!

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Blake Crouch, and Crown Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Thriller

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

The First MistakeThe First Mistake by Sandie Jones

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Out June 4th! Pre-order from Amazon here!

When I read Reese Witherspoons Book Club pick, The Other Woman, last year, I immediately fell in love with Sandie Jones. So when I saw she had another book coming out, I couldn’t wait to read it. Unfortunately, I have lots of mixed feelings about her sophomore novel so stay tuned.

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I’m going to give you a super vague description of the plot, because I don’t want to give anything away. But, basically, Alice lives a wonderful live with her husband Nathan and their two daughters, one from Alice’s previous marriage to a man named Tom. When odd things start happening…. think jewelry found in husband’s car or bouquet of flowers addressed to another woman…. Alice begins to become suspicious that her husband is having an affair. And when she goes down that rabbit hole, she will discover more than she bargained for.

Let me just start by saying that if I had read this book 5 years ago when I was first getting into the psychological thriller genre, I probably would have loved it. Unfortunately, with the genre getting more and more jam packed with talent, thrillers really need to stand out to “thrill” me anymore. And this one felt a little bit basic.

I enjoyed the story at a high level and appreciated the way Sandie Jones neatly tied up (most of) the loose ends with a bow. It felt clean and polished. But it also felt predictable. I only found one of the twists mildly surprising, but everything else I saw coming from a mile away. I also felt like the transitions from Part 1 to Part 2 to Part 3 were all kind of choppy. The first two parts felt like completely stand alone and separate stories (because they kind of were), but the structure felt disjointed and left me dissatisfied.

I will also say that the ending finished up too quickly for my liking and I could have done without the Epilogue. I didn’t think it added any value and felt a little bit odd.

If I wasn’t a huge reader of psychological thriller, I probably would have been more surprised along the way. So I could see this being a stepping stone for somebody into the genre. Would recommend for somebody who doesn’t often read psychological thriller and may be looking for a quick and easy read. I wish I would have loved this more but still look forward to what Sandie Jones will come up with next.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Sandie Jones, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

MontaukMontauk by Nicola Harrison

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Out June 4th! Pre-order from Amazon here!

The thing that drew me to this book was its cover! Admittedly, I am one of those judge-a-book-by-its-cover people. But the bright blue accents against the muted gray background caught my eye immediately.

Montauk is set in 1938. Beatrice and Harry are a married couple living in New York City. Harry is working his way up the business ladder and Beatrice is expected to be the trophy wife on his arm, keeping up appearances at social events. But behind closed doors, their marriage is anything but perfect. When all of the social elite descend on the tiny town of Montauk for the summer, the men will travel back to the city during the week to work while the women plan and engage in social events, waiting for the men to return every weekend. But Beatrice quickly learns that she finds herself more comfortable in the company of the Montauk locals than in her fancy social circles.

I adored this story. Nicola Harrison wrote a story that was extremely captivating. I fell in love with Beatrice right away and was rooting for her from start to finish. I felt like the story was completely authentic and the characters could have leaped off the pages.

At around 400 pages, this book was on the longer side. And let me tell you…. I’m not usually a fan of long books. But that’s because I feel like sometimes they are just long for the sake of being long even if the book would have been just as good if it were 100 pages shorter. Montauk is the exception. All 400 pages contributed to the overall story and added value. I adored how the story unfolded.

I was a tad surprised by the ending. It wasn’t what I was expecting and seemed a little rushed for how long the rest of the story was, but I appreciated that Nicola Harrison gave the reader an ending that wasn’t predictable.

I would highly recommend this one to anybody who enjoys historical fiction or is a fan of women’s fiction. It’s kind of a mixture of the two. I’m honestly a little sad it is over.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Nicola Harrison, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Nonfiction, Reese Witherspoon's Book Club, True Crime

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Library BookThe Library Book by Susan Orlean

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Snatched this one while catching up on my Reese Witherspoon Book Club picks. I went in blind but knew that it was nonfiction and that it had received mixed reviews.

The Library Book is exactly what it sounds like. A book about the library. And it just happened to be a book I borrowed from the library as well. It starts by telling the story of the fire that burned down the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. 400,000 books burned. Another 700,000 books were damaged by smoke and water. Was it accidental or was it arson?

Then it transitions to a bunch of history about libraries, extensive information about fire, more history about libraries, and swings back around in the end to the Los Angeles Public Library fire at the end.

I was super invested in the fire portion of the book. It started to feel like a true crime and I was totally on board. When the book transitioned to library history, I was in and out. There were pieces of information that were super interesting: how Overdrive works, how the library transitioned from a book repository into a community outreach program, etc. But I lost a little bit of interest when the story turned to how the Los Angeles Public Library was designed or its family tree of librarians.

So overall, I found myself loving some pieces and being bored by others. The parts I loved were a solid 4 stars for me, but the boring sections were 3 stars. Split down the middle, I’d give the book 3.5 stars.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Miracle CreekMiracle Creek by Angie Kim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an interesting and unique thriller! I feel like I’m always harping on my thriller authors out there because the story lines have become stagnant and tired. Untrustworthy husband this. And devious, backstabbing wife that. I’m always looking for that plot line that hooks me on something completely different. And Miracle Creek delivered.

Let’s talk HBOT. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A treatment strategy whereby patients are placed in a sealed chamber which is pressurized with high levels of oxygen. The theory? Provide high levels of oxygen to damaged tissues in the body to promote healing. Which is exactly why the patients in this novel were taking part in HBOT….. until the chamber exploded, tragically killing some of those who were inside. What follows is half courtroom drama and half whodunnit to determine who set the fire which caused the explosion.

I really enjoyed the thought Angie Kim put into this book. All of the loose ends tied together extremely well which showed just how well planned the story line was. I have to admit that I figured out the “who” very early in the story so wasn’t incredibly surprised when the arsonist was exposed. But I did not figure out the “why” or “how.” They were both completely unexpected with a good twist for the reader.

I also appreciated the multifaceted relationships described throughout the story. Patients and their family members. Patients and other patients. Family members and other family members. The HBOT owners and the patients. There was a lot to unpack.

I did feel like there was a little bit of a lull in the middle where I found the story to be a tad repetitive, and I did feel like the ending took a really long time to fully unfold. There was a point where I wanted the story to just “get there” in terms of giving away its secrets because it felt a bit drawn out. But that’s really the worst thing I can say about this book. Overall, it was a great read and I would recommend to any thriller lovers looking for a unique story line.

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