Oof. This book is absolutely crazy but not in a good way. It’s sheer nonsense; a psychological thriller that turns an about-face on itself so many times that it becomes a swirling dervish of nonsensical plot. What did I even just read? I will say that it started off exciting. I was immediately intrigued as the book picks up with a woman whose husband has two other wives. All of them are assumed white. She’s aware of the other women, and each one gets a day of the week to spend with Seth. Thursday is the wife telling the story. She agreed to the arrangement from the start and knows nothing about the other women, not even their names. This must be some kind of man. Sheesh. Eventually Thursday turns curious about the other wives after finding something in Seth’s pocket with a woman’s name on it. She tracks down one of the wives and befriends her without revealing her identity. Thursday discovers that this other wife who is also pregnant has bruises all over her arms, and she begins to question if Seth is really the man of her dreams. Now all of this sounds exciting right? Polygamy, sleuthing, abuse, jealous wife… all the makings of a good thriller. Not so fast reader! You start to realize early on that the narrator is unreliable. But as this is developed, you also start to realize that this book has every trope and the kitchen sink. It’s too much: unreliable narrator who also drinks a lot, a mental institution, domestic abuse, plot twists, blah, blah, blah. There are much better titles out there in the pysch thriller genre, but this reminds me of something you’d find in an airport that you’d only grab if there are no other choices and you’re a little desperate, cranky, and about to be late for your flight.
I like this book, but I’m dying for the cover. Finally, a cover highlighting the female protagonist to look as I imagine her; she’s straight-up dazzling. I enjoyed this YA read, but wasn’t blown away. Enchanted Jones is an aspiring singer, swimmer student athlete, and feeling like an outsider after her close family moves to the suburbs. She’s the only black girl in her school, and she’s trying to figure out exactly where she fits in. Cue Korey Fields, a famous adult R&B artist, who spots her at a talent audition and grooms her R. Kelly-style. Enchanted yearns to be a professional singer but is also at a tender age when teens are just trying to figure out who they are. She notices Korey’s controlling behavior but writes it off because he’s an adult, and she believes in him. Korey gaslights her and manipulates her family into trusting him. Tiffany D. Jackson does a good job showing the subtle ways that Enchanted’s abuser creeps into all parts of her life, taking advantage of her drive to be a singer and alienating her from her loved ones and friends. The book starts off with a shocking scene where Enchanted wakes up to blood everywhere and a body. The murder mystery element gets convoluted in the end and is ultimately where I lost interest in the book. I also found the plot was too carbon copy replica of the R. Kelly scandal. I wanted Enchanted’s story to be more of her own instead of what felt like a re-telling. With that said, it’s a book that will surely resonate with many young adults.
Whoa. Now this is a mystery and suspense thriller with a shut-the-front-door twist. A whole lot happened in this book, and it somehow worked. Often when authors try to cram 50 pounds of mystery/thriller into a 15 pound book, it bursts, but somehow, Lisa Jewell made this crazy plot completely plausible. Daughter, Ellie, goes missing at the age of 15. Mom, Laurel, gets divorced and fast-forward ten years when she meets new guy, Floyd. Floyd’s daughter Poppy is a bit odd but reminds Laurel of Ellie in multiple ways. Laurel is completely enamored with Floyd but she begins to sense something is off. Just when she thought she would be able to put her daughter’s memory to rest and move forward with her life, secrets about Ellie’s disappearance begin unraveling. Laurel’s tightly wound life spirals, and the answers about what happened to Ellie Mack are shocking. This was an easy read and not too cerebral which is great when you just want to be entertained. All characters are assumed white.
I've been reading intense books lately, and was happy to find this murder mystery to be a bit more breezy. I finished it in two days since Lucy Foley keeps the reader in suspense up until the absolute last chapter. Right away, I felt a real Agatha Christie vibe as Foley sets the scene for a dark, moody wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. I love the haunting descriptions of the harsh landscape, mucky bogs, and the stories of dead bodies stuck under the mire. The setting is crucial to the overall atmosphere of this doomed wedding. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person including the bride, groom, best man, wedding planner/venue owner, and some of the guests. All characters are white, except for one usher named Femi who is black. Each person begins to reveal their connection to the wedding and their motivations for being disgruntled toward one or more persons involved in the big day. This slow tease is what I enjoyed most; I had so many predictions for who would be murdered and why, and it fluctuated drastically with each new chapter. Many of the characters seem like perfectly horrid people, and Foley does a great job showcasing their flaws and even some redeeming qualities. If you like your murder mysteries to keep you guessing, you can't go wrong with this one.
Sorry I've been a little lazy about posting reviews lately ... I needed a break from constant laptop work during the quarantine. I read this book right at the start of summer, and what a way to kick off my favorite reading season. This one is incredible.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Perfect for summer, this delicate story weaves little savory bits of nature and beauty in with a slow, sad, coming-of-age element, intricately ushering readers through the investigation of the death of the handsome local bachelor, Chase Andrews. I've added this to my "New Loves" collection because the character development is so sweet and intelligent, but the possible murder mystery kept me glued to the book. Kya Clark, known as the Marsh Girl in Barkley Cove, North Carolina, is brought up in the marshlands of the coast in a poverty-stricken home filled with abuse and loneliness. Kya eventually outlasts everyone in her family, and her resilience keeps her company along with the seagulls and other parts of the marsh that wrap her in comfort. Two different men take an interest in her wild, untamed beauty, and she navigates her blossoming changes into adulthood with naivete and tenderness, opening up her heart to love and belonging only to have it drowned in the sea again and again. The locals treat Kya like an outcast and a creature to fear in the night. Their fears turn into accusations when Chase Andrews turns up dead. I love how Delia Owens wrote about the marsh and how Kya's story shapes her into a woman who becomes strong, intelligent, and an expert in her own surroundings. She takes her pain and suffering and makes something new and beautiful. The ENDING!! It made my head shriek but my heart sigh. It's just the absolute best book.
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It's been a while since a book has caused me to be so obsessed that I'm unable to complete basic life functions until I finish reading it. All I wanted to do is cuddle up with this book and read until I could figure out why Alicia stopped speaking. And then when the answer is revealed, I just want to talk to someone about it. Please read this book and talk to me about it. There's so much to say, and the irony of this is not lost on me. The hype for this book is real.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Guys - THIS BOOK!! This has been high on my reading list for a while but I just couldn't get a copy anywhere. Finally got one, and I read it in a day. It's a psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat, and let's face it; right now in the time of COVID-19, there's a lot of couch time. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who narrates the story of how he came to treat a patient named Alicia Berenson at the Grove, a mental health facility. Alicia is a talented painter, and after she shoots and kills her husband, she refuses to speak again for years. Theo makes it his mission to help her and get her to tell her story. The chapters are short and each leaves you dying to find out why Alicia won't talk. It's agonizing to not know her full story. She's mysterious, and Michaelides' writing makes you crave answers. Theo delves into her story and begins to become more of an investigator than therapist. The ending threw me for a loop and was not what I was expecting, yet it was so so good. Get this book and devour it.
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Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.