#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.
________________________________________________________

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.

Advertisements

#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.

#14

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The description from Goodreads:
theomanFrom New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

This book has been on to my read list for so long, the description sucked me in right away, something awry on a luxurious cruise ship at sea, what’s not to love?

The Woman in Cabin 10 is tricky because I really liked parts and other parts completely missed the mark for me, and it’s not even broken down by beginning, middle and end, I felt one chapter could have been great and the other kind of blah.

To start off, I didn’t like the main character until the very end. To me she came across very unlikable but even now trying to explain how eludes me. While the setting is described very well, the characters fell flat, I think more could have been done to develop all the characters on the ship.

I liked the ambiance of this book and I liked that the smaller details, like the food on the ship and the events were described.

The end came together quite quickly, it did feel a bit rushed but I enjoyed the end and the big twist.

I’m still so torn on whether I really liked this book or not, so if the description sucked you in like it did to me, I would recommend you read it. This book read like a movie and I think it would almost make a better movie.

2 stars doesn’t seem enough and 4 seems too high, so I give The Woman in Cabin 10 3 stars.

#13

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

YOUWILLLLLLL.jpg

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.

 

#10

Behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris

bcd

The description from Goodreads:
The 2016 debut bloggers can’t stop raving about. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Ice Twins
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

 

A good friend of mine saw this book on Goodreads a couple months ago and told me I needed to get the sample. After reading the 5 chapter preview I was immediately pulled in, I love a good, toxic marriage story.

I bought Behind Closed Doors yesterday (the first day it was available to buy) around noon and finished it last night. I couldn’t put this book down.

I loved the setting of this book and the characters were really well developed.I can’t remember ever hating a character more than I hated Jack. My friend and I were reading it at the same time and I we were going back and forth in our Whatsapp group with messages like “this f**king guy!!!” and “Ughhhhh I hate him”.

Behind Closed Doors is a thriller, through and through. While it did lack a little depth, I took this book for what it was, a really good, really disturbing thriller. The dynamics of this book is where B.A Paris excelled. The relationship between Grace, her sister Millie, and Jack is so intertwined it kept me on edge until the very end.

I give Behind Closed Doors 5 stars for a couple reasons:
-I read it at such a feverish pace, in one sitting
-I haven’t read a book with such a disturbing (in a good way) story that didn’t feel recycled in a while
-The story itself, while again lacking some depth, is extremely intricate in a very easy to read way
-I cannot stop talking about it

I look forward to reading what this author puts out next!