#8 I See You

Quick update:

I feel out of the reading loop. I spent April and May in vacation planning panic mode.
I went to Paris and Rome for 2 weeks with two girlfriends and while it was amazing and everything I could have hoped for, the book I brought was totally ignored.
When I got home I spent two weeks feeling really blah and endlessly scrolling through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I finally said enough was enough and fell back into reading and buying too many books.

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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The description from Goodreads:
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh last year and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to I See You and it did not disappoint.

The pace of this book I found similar to I Let You Go, it’s definitely a slow burn. It starts off pleasant and easy then somewhere in the middle it picks up speed and you’re tuning the world out, frantically turning pages trying to figure it all out.

Clare Mackintosh does settings and characters well, the places felt quaint and familiar and the characters were well developed and likable (and equally unlikable). Dual POVs are sometimes tricky to navigate but they were seamless in this book.

There was a lot of moving pieces in I See You but in the end everything fit like a puzzle and made sense. I love a good whodunnit and didn’t anticipate the two major twists in the end, even when I was sure I figured it out.

I give this book 4.5 stars.

 

 

#7 The Marriage Lie

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

asdfasdfasdfadsfasdThe description from Goodreads:
Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane. 

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

I saw this book mentioned in a magazine so when a friend asked for a recommendation, I mentioned this book. After her and our other friend both finished it in 2 days, I knew I needed to read it right away.

The Marriage Lie is a very easy, quick read. The story line is interesting, full of twists and turns and SO engrossing. The book has a really good pace and the author does a very good job at building suspense with her writing. 

The characters were really well developed (I feel like I write this a lot) and likable. I liked Iris the most and her need to know everything was definitely relatable to me. I spent a lot of time thinking which celebrities would play each character in a movie and that only happens when the characters are lifelike with well composed personalities and thoughts etc. 

I finished this book quickly, it kept me hooked until I finished it and I liked the end. 

I give The Marriage Lie 4 stars. 

 

 

 

#6 The Girl Before

The Girl Before by J.P Delaney

28016509The description from Goodreads:
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
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I’m surprised because despite the good reviews on Goodreads, I really didn’t enjoy this book.

I couldn’t relate to The Girl Before at all, which may have something to do with how much I disliked it. I couldn’t get a good read on the characters or the setting itself. There was also some plot lines (the Japanese restaurant?!) that I felt lacked sincerity. It was as if they were added just for shock value which came across crass to me.

I felt the story had good premise but the book lacked suspense and that thrilling element that made it feel like a thriller. I remember reading and thinking ‘I should feel scared or at least eerie right now’ but it kind of just fell flat.

I couldn’t get past the 50 Shades of Grey vibes this book was serving. The ‘rules’ for the house and relationships were offputting and because of that, it had an overall ughhh factor for me.

I found it hard to keep track of who was who in the dual perspective narrative (which I usually love). Perhaps because I couldn’t connect with the characters, it took me a while to figure out who was who.

All in all, I think this book was both overdone and underdeveloped at the same time.

Ron Howard has signed on to direct the movie so I’ll definitely be watching it so see how it translate on screen.

I give it 2 stars on premise alone.

#5 Her Every Fear

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

The description from Goodreads:
29938032Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full-blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

Soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves–until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself, so how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met.

I received this free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved Peter Swanson’s second novel A Kind Worth Killing, so needless to say I was excited to receive his new one.

I really enjoyed Her Every Fear and got through it in 3 sittings.

The characters were well developed (as I remembered in TKWK) and I liked that they weren’t just props in the story but they played an equal part in the makeup of the book. It  is told in different character perspectives with events being retold in different character viewpoints. I could see how re-reading the same events could grow tiresome, but I enjoyed it.

With the lines between mystery, thriller and suspense being so blurred, I’m not sure how to properly classify this book.
Is it a mystery? Yes
Is it a thriller? Yes
Is it suspenseful? Yes
I think it started as a mystery with a slower pace to lay the foundation of the story but I do think it developed into a thriller/suspense with a quicker pace at the end.

Her Every Fear is includes elements like serial killers, psychopaths, and voyeurism to weave a book with a lot of moving pieces. There’s so many moving pieces that you start to worry it will all fall apart, but Peter Swanson really pulled it off.

I give Her Every Fear 4 stars!

 

#4 The Best Kind of People

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

bestkindofpeopleThe description from Goodreads:
What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

This book has been really popular on Indigo.ca as well as in stores because not only is it a Heather’s Pick (the CEO’s book picks) which are always very popular, but the book is a Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee, which is a prestigious award given to Canadian authors. My mom ended up getting it for me for Christmas and even though I vowed to get through the books that were sent from Netgalley first, I couldn’t resist anymore.

I really liked this book. I liked how messy the story  was and how uncomfortable it made you feel. I couldn’t help but form my own strong opinions, disagree with the character’s opinions and feelings and question how I would act or think if I were in the position.

The characters were so well developed they felt like your own friends and family. The setting was also really well written, I could imagine the house and the town and the school so well it was as if I’ve been there.

I thought the author did a good job at tackling rape culture and how complicated and sensationalized it’s become.

I feel like I could say so much more but I would be giving up parts of the story that should come organically so I’ll just say, that end, COME ON!!!!!

It grabbed me from the very start and I had such a hard time putting it down.

I give The Best Kind of People 5 stars, simply for the fact I liked the writing and couldn’t find any flaws to pick at.

 

#3 Tony and Susan (Nocturnal Animals)

Tony and Susan (Nocturnal Animals) by Austin Wright

The description from Goodreads:
dcdcdcdcdcdcdcdFifteen years ago, Susan Morrow left her first husband, Edward Sheffield, an unpublished writer. Now, she’s enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor’s wife, when out of the blue she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband’s first novel. He writes asking her to read the book; she was always his best critic, he says.

As Susan reads, she’s drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a math professor driving his family to their summer house in Maine, and as we read with her, we too become lost in Sheffield’s thriller. As the Hastings’ ordinary, civilized lives are disastrously, violently sent off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, forced to confront the darkness that inhabits her and driven to name the fear that gnaws at her future and will change her life.

Every year I make a point of watching all the movies nominated for Best Picture Oscars (some years I watch those and the ones nominated for Best Actor & Actress, too). After watching trailers for Nocturnal Animals I decided I needed to read the book before I watched the movie.

I really struggled with Tony and Susan. I made is half way before I gave up (which I NEVER do) and just watched the movie (which Tom Ford directed beautifully but was a total pass).

Is it fair to review a book you only read half of? I’m not completely sure but I spent more than enough time trying to give it a chance.

The book was borderline boring, filled with meandering plot and dialogue and I couldn’t help but feel I was missing something, despite re-reading the same pages over and over.

I give this book 1 star.

#2 – The Murder Game

The Murder Game by Catherine McKenzie writing as Julie Apple

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The description from Goodreads:
For fans of The Secret History and How to Get Away With Murdercomes an exciting new voice in suspense fiction.

Ten years working as a prosecutor have left Meredith Delay jaded and unsure of what she wants out of life. She’s good at her job, but it haunts her. Her boyfriend wants her to commit, but she keeps him at arm’s length. Then Meredith is assigned to a high-profile prosecution involving the violent murder of a fallen hockey star. At first, it appears to be just another case to work. But when her old friend Julian is accused of the murder, it takes on a whole new dimension.

Meredith, Julian, Jonathan, and Lily were a tight-knit group in law school. But now, Jonathan’s defending Julian, and Lily’s loyalties aren’t clear. And when Julian invokes a rare—and risky—defense, Meredith is forced to confront their past.

Has something they played at as students finally been brought to death?

I received this free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I started The Murder Game right after I finished Fractured in November. The concept of this book is the coolest, a book written by a person in another book? Come on!

The Murder Game didn’t grip me quite like Fractured did. In fact, I found this book quite slow at first. I finally decided to pick it up again on the weekend and I’m not sure if maybe I wasn’t in the right mind frame when I started it or if I got passed the hump, but I finished it in a day.

I’ll start with what I liked, the first being all the Canadiana. Catherine McKenzie does a great job at settings, she describes and writes them so well you can picture them so clearly and I really enjoy that. Being Canadian made me appreciate all the little tidbits and places she incorporated into her book.

I enjoyed the law school and courtroom sections of the book, you can tell the author used her legal expertise to add to the story in a credible, easy to understand way without having to dumb it down.

Unlike Fractured, I didn’t like the character dynamic in this book. I also didn’t find any of the characters likable, although I feel they were well developed. I didn’t like how destroyed the main character was by her on again off again boyfriend Jonathan. I get it, love hurts, but I found myself getting annoyed at how depleted the character got over a guy.

Overall, I give The Murder Game 3 stars.