,Last year I read the Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena while on vacation at a vegan spa in Lumby, B.C. I was addicted immediately. The title itself had multiple meanings which became a highly discussed topic amongst our book club. So when I heard that Lapena had written a new thriller I immediately had to get my hands on it. After the first few pages I kept thinking, "Is this a joke? Is this written for young adults?" The sentences are short. Like. Really. Really. Short. I almost quit after 3 chapters, and I never quit a book. (That says a lot!) How can this be the same author as the Couple Next Door. I don't understand how you can completely forget how to write, develop characters, and compose a problematic storyline that goes nowhere. What's most frustrating is that this plot has potential, but then you have these characters that are tedious, desperate, and lack any form of development. I also have to criticize the female characters. Not one of them is relatable, engaging, or worth rooting for. Every chapter spent on the next door neighbour made me cringe. *Spoilers to follow* Woman is married. Woman falls for the new neighbour across the street. Woman has affair. Man breaks it off. Woman loses her mind when he has a new girlfriend. Woman befriends girlfriend. Woman wants to be girlfriend. Woman wants revenge. This whole concept is painfully outdated and needs a face lift. This entire book is composed of painfully bad writing. I skimmed the last half of the book, because I couldn't bring myself to spend any extra time on a book that appears to have missed the editing portion of publishing. Save yourself and skip this read, but do read her first book, you will not be disappointed.
The Good Daughter is another stand-alone book that Karin Slaughter wrote. I am a die-hard Karin Slaughter fan. Pretty Girls, her other independent story, is one of my favourite (and our book clubs) books of all time. I think it’s impossible for anyone to replicate the reaction and angst I experienced while reading Pretty Girls. The characters stayed with me long after as I revisited their choices, and the results that transpired. What I love about this book is that it’s unique compared to her other stories, focusing on a family of lawyers rather than detectives, and is similar to Pretty Girls as it revolves around the relationship between two sisters. The Good Daughter is much slower than Pretty Girls, however the character development is integral for understanding the heart of the mystery. By the ¾ mark I had tears in my eyes as the tragedy unfolds, and the intensity that it brings. The depictions are uncomfortably realistic, violent, and graphic. I found it to be her most emotional novel yet. I will provide a full review after our Book Club discusses. I can’t wait to hear what people think!
Last summer I read Wendy Walker's debut novel 'All is Not Forgotten' and I loved it. It was a unique and original take on the psychological thriller genre. I was excited to find out she had written a new novel, and that Book Sparks was including it in their summer reading challenge (#src2017). 'Emma in the Night' reads in similar fashion, slow to start, but then the cat and mouse game begins, and I couldn't put it down.
In my undergrad, I took a few psychology courses for sheer intrigue. I am fascinated by how the mind works, and in this case, how complex a narcissistic personality disorder is, As I was reading, I felt extremely unsettled, imagining what life was like for Emma and Cass, walking on eggshells around a mother they were vying for attention from. Their mother has a switch, "it goes on and off depending how she feels about you. If you adore her and are on her side, and if you make her feel good or look good to others, she trusts you and so she loves you. If you are a threat to her in any way, or competing with her for anything she wants or needs, she despises you and will dedicate herself to destroying you." As I was reading, I was exhausted. Is this how people live? This is one of my favourite psychological thrillers this year. The ending will shock you and make you go back and question every piece of information Cass offers you, the reader, and the police. "This is what happens when we lose faith in a person. We have to see the evidence. Words and promises are no longer enough. I knew if I could do that, if I could break her, the truth would be set free." How far would you go for the truth?
I am thrilled with BookSparks summer reading challenge selections, and so thankful for all the books I've received this year. Last week I boarded a flight to Los Angeles at 8 am with multiple books in tow. My plan was to sleep for the duration of the flight before a bachelorette weekend. Shortly before take off I was immersed in this story, and two hours later, I was finished and desperately wanting more. 'Hello, Sunshine' is the story of Sunshine Mackenzie, a culinary celebrity, who built her fame and fortune on a disintegrating pile of lies. What I liked most about this story was its relevance. Social media has become a platform in which you can build a facade, highlighting the 'flawless' and 'effortless' way we go about life. What's missing is the vulnerability and honesty. This story shines a light on Sunshine's life after she gets hacked, as she scrambles to find out who and why. It's rare to find a book that's honest, emotional, and refreshing, that focuses on repairing relationships. This thought-provoking novel is at the top of my list for our book club's September pick. I can't wait to hear what you think!
Photographing books, one day at a time.