#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!

#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.
________________________________________________________

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.

#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.

#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

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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.