If you've read anything by Clare Macintosh (I See You, Let You Go, Let Me Lie), you immediately associate her writing with the mystery and thriller genre. I have loved all three of these books and highly recommend them. Her books are captivating page-turning, and stay-up-all-night kind of reads. After the End was a surprisingly emotional read, that explores love, marriage, and commitment. This is the perfect Book Club choice, because this book encourages discussion from an ethics/morality standpoint, the challenges of marriage, and how each person encounters and deals with grief. I LOVED how this book is written in two parts. I found the first half depressing, and actually took a break before starting the second part, probably due to the fact that I recently had a child, and the content really hit home for me. The second part however, gets all the stars, and it is so uniquely written, with an incredible take on the Robert Frost poem 'The Road Not Taken'. One defining moment, and the path you choose to take... Highly recommend this one!
It is super rare for me to give a psychological thriller 4.5 stars, but this one was incredible, and I devoured it in one sitting. This one is a one-more-chapter-will-be-late-for-work, stay-up-all night experience. Electrifying, heart-stopping, and it gave me all the chills! You really ask yourself the whole time, "What would I do if this was my child?" This super twisty thriller had all my boxes ticked - terrifying child character, secrets, lies, and suspense. I really hope this one graces the big screen. I did not see the ending coming, and thoroughly enjoyed the different POV's. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read this one!
Description from Goodreads:
When Clara's boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he's left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he's been kidnapped. Then Luke's older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.
Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened--even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke's mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.
You know 'those' books...the ones that stay with you long after the last page. The ones that shocked you, forced you to re-read sections, played with your mind, and made you question everything you read and interpreted as fact? Those...are my favourite books! It's hard to find stand-out plot lines like this, with unreliable narrators, but I've compiled a list of my favourites, and look forward to reading your comments. If I've missed one of your favourites, let me know!
1. sometimes i lie by alice feeney
2. the lies we told by camilla way
3. behind her eyes by sarah pinborough
4. the thirteenth tale by diane setterfield
All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.
5. dangerous girls by abigail haas
6. every single secret by emily carpenter
“A true psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.” —Wendy Walker, bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten andEmma in the Night
Emotionally guarded Daphne Amos always believed she’d found a kindred spirit in her fiancé, Heath. Both very private people, they’ve kept their pasts hidden from the world, and each other, until Heath’s escalating nightmares begin to put an undeniable strain on their relationship. Determined to give their impending marriage the best chance of succeeding, Heath insists that Daphne join him on a seven-day retreat with Dr. Matthew Cerny, a psychologist celebrated for getting to the root of repressed memories. Daphne reluctantly agrees—even though the past is the last place she wants to go.
The retreat’s isolated and forbidding location increases her unease, as do the doctor’s rules: they must relinquish their keys and phones, they’ll be monitored at all hours by hidden cameras, and they’re never to socialize with the other guests.
One sleepless night, Daphne decides to leave her room…and only then does she realize that the institute is not at all what it seems—and that whatever’s crying out from Heath’s past isn’t meant to be heard. It’s meant to be silenced.
7. pretty girls by karin slaughter
Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.
8. gone girl by gillian flynn
9. we were liars by e. lockhart
10. the good daughter by karin slaughter
Almost Famous, meets Nashville & A Star Is Born.
Daisy Jones & The Six has quickly become one of my favourite books this year. It’s chronicles the life of a rock and roll band in the 70’s, and the events that led to their tragic break-up. Told from alternating views, and recounting their experiences through interviews, you’re quickly pulled into the ups and downs of life on the road, music tours, partying, drugs, and the music that defined the 70’s. It was immediately picked up for film rights with Reese Witherspoon, so you know it’s going to be good. It really reminded me of Almost Famous, with Kate Hudson, where a boy was given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine, about an up-and-coming rock band. You literally feel like you’re accompanying the group on the tour. My favourite character, hands-down, was Camilla. In telling my friend this, I read one of the quotes describing her – “You know, people think of Camila as following Billy everywhere, taking care of Billy all the time, but it wasn’t like that. She was a force to be reckoned with. She got what she wanted. Almost all the time. She was persuasive and kind of pushy – although, you never really realized you were being pushed. But she was opinionated and knew how to get her way”…and my friend said, but that’s you! (maybe that’s why I liked her so much J). This one was emotionally charged, raw, honest, and filled with spectacular characters. So uniquely different from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but equally enjoyable.
My favourite quotes:
Daisy: “There’s just as much to hate about you as there is to like about you. And that’s annoying.”
Camila: “It’s not my place to say what happened that day. All I will say is that you show up for your friends on their hardest days. And you hold their hand through the roughest parts. Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”
Thank you @booksparks for sending me this ARC. It’s a definite collector!
If you're anything like me, you jump at the chance to shop at Costco, solely to browse the book aisle and stock up on your next reads. My husband always complains that if I didn't come along, our grocery bill would be a lot cheaper. I like to remind him that my vegan diet plus my book purchases is still a lot cheaper than buying meat ;).
I received a message earlier this week from a fellow book-lover on Instagram, asking if I've shared any blog posts with the best Costco finds, or if I only post them in my story. I hadn't thought of including a monthly Costco blog post, but it appears that many of my friends shop exclusively for books there.
So here is my top ten list of books that are currently at Costco.
1. The Death of Mrs. Westaway
2. Believe Me
3. Her Pretty Face
4. Sharp Objects
5. Three Days Missing
6. The Last Mrs. Parrish
7. When Life Gives You Lululemons
9. The Silent Wife
10. The Girl Before
Descriptions from Goodreads.
For Mystery & Thriller fans:
The Disappearing by Lori Roy
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
For Fans of Chick Lit:
When Life Gives You Lululemons
For Fans of Fiction, Feel-Good, and Romance:
How To Walk Away by Katherine
For Fans of Fiction & Sports:
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
For Fans of Psychological Thrillers:
Her Pretty Face
For Fans of Young Adult & Retellings:
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
I just finished Bone Music, and my initial thoughts are 'Wow, this has all the makings of a great Netflix series!' This book is the backstory of Charlotte Rowe, which reminds me of why Marvel is so successful. A thriller that is both vivid, intelligent, and intensely moving, with a strong female protagonist. There is LOTS going on, and I don't want to give anything away. The book synopsis really doesn't do this book justice. Superhero, meets vigilante, with a mix of sci-fi, murder mystery, and the supernatural. It's LONG. I'm talking 450 plus pages long, and at first it deterred me from starting this. But with many hours to spare yesterday and today due to an unexpected knee injury, I was able to finish it in a few sittings. When I first saw the cover of this book, the title threw me off. But after getting half way you understand that the title refers to the symptoms of a powerful drug - "the shaking hands, the throbbing in her bones." What I loved most about this book, was the reason the drug was created in the first place - to wipe out sexual sadism. rape, and domestic violence. A unique approach to the thriller genre. It will not disappoint!
Circe, in one word, was spectacular. Madeline Miller's first novel, 'The Song of Achilles' was the winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction, and splashed across the bestselling charts. As a fan of mythology, I'm surprised I haven't read it. Circe was one of Book Of The Month's April picks, and it sounded intriguing, so I chose this, alongside The Girl Who Smiled Beads. I started it last week on a sunny afternoon, taking full advantage of my patio for the first time this year. Before I knew it, the sun was setting, and I was half-way through this masterpiece. For a story that spans a thousand years, this one does not disappoint, or cause you to feign interest. I loved the character of Circe, who is strong-willed, determined, and fiercely loyal. This book is intricately woven, providing an in-depth look at many mythology characters, and the myths that sealed their fate. Growing up, my sister and I were enamoured with the many approaches to mythology, specifically the Xena and Hercules plot lines. Circe blew my memories out of the water, providing intensely visual depictions of famous battles, character transformations, and prophetic utterances. This one is not to be missed!
Jar of Hearts claims to “grab you by the throat,” and that’s exactly what it did. A sophisticated, and chilling psychological thriller, with a mix of Orange is the new Black, Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter. This book is spectacular and I devoured it one day. Split into 5 parts, with different narrations, this book will have you reading well into the night.
What I loved most about this book was the author's ability to have you sympathize and hate Geo simultaneously. Are we the product of our parents? And I don't mean that in a purely biological sense either. The cycle of abuse is real, and violence is often passed from one generation to the next. I remember discussing this with a colleague years ago, when she brought up an article about generations of violence and the cycle of child abuse. She fully believed that as a child of abuse, she was statistically likely to pass this on to her children, and because of her traumatic childhood, decided to not have children. What a tragedy. This story affected me both emotionally and psychologically. It also leaves you to reflect on how emotions influence our decision-making.
Jar of Hearts will definitely be a buzz-worthy book when it releases in Canada on June 12. Make sure that you pre-order. This will be an incredible summer read.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
I will warn you that this book is heavy! It has dark subject matter, with explicit details.
I received this ARC from NetGalley and St. Martins Press - Thank you!
If you're still looking for last minute gifts, or looking for some books to add to your TBR pile, here is a list of my favourite books of 2017. I can't wait to hear what you think!
My favourite books of 2017:
2. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty.
Deeply moving, with a truly terrific set of characters. Tension and twists lead you to an ending you didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this story.
3. The Good Daughter by Karin SlaughterKarin.
Slaughter is by far one of my favourite authors. She is one of the only authors who literally brings me to tears. Her writing is vivid, exciting, and deeply moving. Her fast-paced novels are full of exciting twists. I cannot recommend her more.
4. Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave.
Unputdownable. How can you not love Sunshine Mackenzie? Relevant, thought-provoking and a redeeming character that is emotionally honest as she discovers what it means to live an authentic public life.
5. It’s Always the Husband.
A gripping murder mystery that makes us question the relationships in our lives. I love the Ivy League setting, the dysfunctional group of friends, and the secrets we keep. It reminded me of an adult version of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, with frenemies, murder, and twists right up to the last page.
6. Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson.
An incredible storyline with intricate characters. Fast-paced, questionable characters, and a story-line that is rehashed from different viewpoints. A tale of obsession, murder, and espionage.
7. Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia.
Hands down, one of my favourite books of all time. I always recommend this one. This was one of our book club selections this year and it did not disappoint. For fans of American Beauty and Macbeth, this story is beautiful, devastating, and mesmerizing. A well-written psychological thriller that will have you questioning yourself over and over. Who is the real Hattie Hoffman, and how often do we pretend to be someone we’re not?
8. The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe.
Another book club choice this year. One word: exceptional. Ever since I read Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, I have been searching for a book that would provide the same adrenaline rush and page-turning experience. A psychological thriller that includes rich character development, a clever plot line, and a multi-layered mystery. This is highly recommended for those that loved Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.
9. Final Girls by Riley Sager.
Slasher-film meets psychological thriller. This one is twisted, entertaining, and suspenseful. I was apprehensive about reading this one after one glance of the cover, assuming it was a horror story. However, this one is packed full of character development, in a real-world setting. The lone survivor of a grisly mass murder, coined as one of the ‘Final Girls’, Quincy must re-live this horrifying nightmare in order to remember what happened ten years before.
10. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.
My favourite of Ruth Ware’s books. For fans of Pretty Little Liars comes The Lying Game, a psychological thriller about four friends from boarding school, who become bound together by lies. This book delves into the intricacies of friendship, deceit, and loyalty.
Photographing books, one day at a time.