#12 Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

33155777The description from Goodreads:
An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.
Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.
A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself—from its tender moments of grace to its savage power—Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

My worst nightmares are kidnappings and mass shootings so of course I fed into my own neurosis and bought this book.

Fierce Kingdom is very well written, you can picture yourself right there, the atmosphere is described so well. I really enjoyed that the book only took place over the course of a couple hours.

I found the pace was odd at times, there were parts that seemed to drag on then other parts that I felt more could have been added. It was also a little wordy in spots, but usually that was attributed to the little bit of character development there was.

I spent the whole book agreeing and disagreeing with Joan’s choices, when to run, when to hide, and I couldn’t stop thinking if that were me, what would I do? Where would I go? Clearly I was really into it because after reading for a couple hours two nights ago, I dreamt of swimming with polar beers and being really scared but really excited.

Fiona Barton is quoted on the book jacket as saying “It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.” and it’s true, this book fills you up with maternal feelings of survival, you can relate to the main character Joan, who does all she can to keep her son safe.

KINDA SORTA SPOILER ALERT BELOW…

I felt there was a lot of ends that weren’t tied up. I would have liked the ending to include the husband (but maybe that would have been to cliche). Also, what happened to Robby? The baby? Mrs.Powell?

OK, SPOILERS ARE DONE

I think a book like this could have had more of a grand, heroic end and it just kind of ended all the sudden, which disappointed me a bit.

I give this book 4 stars.

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#11 Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

33305530The description from Goodreads:
For fans of In a Dark, Dark Wood and All the Missing Girls comes Our Little Secret, a compulsive and thrilling debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep and the secrets we share.
The detective wants to know what happened to Saskia, as if I could just skip to the ending and all would be well. But stories begin at the beginning and some secrets have to be earned.
Angela is being held in a police interrogation room. Her ex’s wife has gone missing and Detective Novak is sure Angela knows something, despite her claim that she’s not involved.
At Novak’s prodding, Angela tells a story going back ten years, explaining how she met and fell in love with her high school friend HP. But as her past unfolds, she reveals a disconcerting love triangle and a dark, tangled web of betrayals. Is Angela a scorned ex-lover with criminal intent? Or a pawn in someone else’s revenge scheme? Who is she protecting? And why?
Twisty and suspenseful, Our Little Secret is an intense cat-and-mouse game and a riveting thriller about the lies we tell others—and ourselves.

HOLY SHIT! I brought Our Little Secret to work with me today so I could read on lunch and much to my delight it was extremely slow. Here we are, 4 hours later, I’m done the book and in literary love!

The story between Angela and HP was so delicious and exciting, reading about their budding teenage love wrapped me up in sweet nostalgia blanket and I was hooked from the beginning. The characters are so well written (I know I say this a lot, but seriously). I loved how ruthless, unlikable and obsessive Angela is. She’s such a manipulative narrator, I felt how she felt and I hated who she hated even though I knew it wasn’t right. Saskia is so sweet and oblivious but I hated her because Angela did, all up until the end.  HP is the epitome of teenage cool and I was yearning for an HP perspective chapter so I could get more insight into him. There’s one scene in the interrogation room between HP and Angela that was written so well I felt like it was happening to me.

The current and past perspectives was done so well, during each chapter I was quickly reading to get to the next perspective and so on. The interrogation room was a perfect setting, you could feel the confines of that sterile room and it made me so nervous. Our Little Secret read like a movie in the best way possible.

Sorry for the manic sounding review, but I literally just finished it and I LOVED IT! I can’t believe this is a debut novel.

I give this book 5 stars!

#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.

_______________________________________________________________

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. 

 

 

 

#13

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

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The description from Goodreads:
Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl,” (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

I’ve wanted to read a Megan Abbott book for a while now, this one in particular, and I was lucky enough to receive a free copy from NetGalley for an honest review.

I’m wary when I come across a book on Goodreads (where I do all my best book stalking) and the description gives me the INEEDITNOW feels and the rating is solid. I always think ‘could this be my next __(insert book I’ve loved and raved about to anyone who will listen)__?’. Then I received the copy and started it 10 minutes after finishing In A Dark, Dark Wood.

This book pulled me in right away and held on until the end, I finished it in two days and that was only because I forced myself to stop.

An underlying ominous tone lasted the whole book, it was eerie in such an effortless way, not contrived at all, like a slow burn or that feeling of dread deep down in your stomach. You get the feeling that somethings going on, somethings off but you can’t quite put your finger on it, it’s perfectly simple but so complicated at the same time.

I loved how real the characters felt and how important they all were to the story as a whole. You end up flip flopping between loving some characters and hating them and screaming expletives at them in your head. I separated this book into two groups: the Knox family and the gymnastics family, both tight knit, both flawed and you just know both are coming to come undone, you just don’t know how or why until it all starts coming together, and falling apart at the same time.

I didn’t love that every chapter ended in a vague, cryptic statement or quote but I got over it quickly.

Unalike a lot of reviews, I don’t feel this book took to a long time to get to the point and I definitely don’t feel it was too centered on gymnastics.

You Will Know Me is a perfect whodunit in the sense where as you’re reading, you start second guessing everyone but it never feels like your average, mundane murder mystery. The themes of drive, sacrifice, sex and jealousy kept me plowing through it.

In a perfect world You Will Know Me would be turned into a movie that would be just as good as the book, a la Gone Girl.

I give this book 5 stars. Love love love!

 

#12

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

inadark

The description from Goodreads:

In a dark, dark wood
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
There was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong.
And in the dark, dark room….
Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

This is another book that kept popping up in my Goodreads feed and in my Indigo & Kobo ‘Recommended Next Reads’ emails.

I liked In A Dark, Dark Wood, it was easy to read, kept my attention through most of it although I did put it down for a couple days.

I really appreciate when the setting and the characters of a book are well described and well developed, it makes it so much easier to read.

The setting is a grand cottage in the woods and envisioning it in my head while I was reading made the book more enjoyable.

I liked the characters a lot, each one came with their own developed personality which also added a lot to the book.

This book got a lot of praise for being scary and creepy, I didn’t get that at all. I would classify it as a campy thriller, in the best way possible.

I give this book 3 stars.

 

#11

Black Iris by Leah Raeder

blackiris

The description from Goodreads:

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.
It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.
If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.
She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.
But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.
Which was the plan all along.
Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.
She’s going to show them all.

Let me start off by saying Unteachable by Leah Raeder was one of my favourite books in 2013.

I stumbled across Black Iris on Goodreads, bought the digital edition and started it right away. I did all that despite the fact that I’ve purchased 18 new books in the last 2 months and they’re all just waiting, on my bookshelf, to be read. #insatiablebookproblems

I prolonged finishing this book as much as I could. After a couple hours of feverish reading I found myself at 53%, completely spellbound, in a panic about finishing it too quickly.

I loved everything about this book. Let me list them all:

-the past and present chapters
-the complicated, flawed, sexy characters and relationships, especially between Blythe, Laney and Armin
-the picturesque settings
-how intense and dark the story is
-the sweet, sweet sexual tension
-I didn’t anticipate the twist in the story
-the way the book ended (except for Armin)
-the way the author’s writing makes you feel

Reading Leah Raeder books carry you up and away in the moment, you feel drunk and high on fuzzy, warm, sexy feelings and then you plummet to feel the horrible things too. Her books are an emotional rollercoaster and this was no exception.

Black Iris is full of poetic, lyrical writing, which I usually don’t enjoy but I didn’t seem to mind it.

This is such a good book. It’s so dark and sexy and addicting, I loved reading it and I loved the way it made me feel.

I give this book 5 stars.