This is unmistakably not my favourite book by Liane Moriarty. My favourite's are Truly Madly Guilty and Big Little Lies. They're actually a couple of books I highly recommend because they're addictive, compulsive and fiendishly clever. To be completely honest, I kind of hated Nine Perfect Strangers at times, and on the other hand I also loved it. The plot gave me severe anxiety, and spoke to my deepest fears (hello claustrophobia!). Nevertheless, Moriarty effortlessly shares from 10 or 11 points of view, and although I couldn't relate to any of the characters who happened upon Tranquillum House for self-improvement, I did root for one specific family, and they are the sole reason I finished this book. All of the reviews I've read from fellow book bloggers were remarkably positive, raving, giving 5 stars, and stating this is 'her best yet,' so I am apparently in the minority. It's definitely a wild ride, it just wasn't as entertaining as I'd hoped.
Cleverly plotted, complex, and engrossing. One of my favourite genres is Gothic Fiction; a blend of horror, fiction, and romance, with of course, plenty of suspense. The Winters is the perfect retelling of the classic 'Rebecca' by Daphne Du Maurier, a best-seller from 1938. The Winters is a psychological thriller, set in a dark, architecturally grand home, with a romanticized look into its former lady of the home, Mrs. Winter. With all the necessary plot conventions; revenge, family secrets, drama, and unreliable narrators and in the tradition of two of my favourite books: Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre, The Winters was my stay-up-all-night, read-all-day fav book this month. I can't rave enough about this one! For those of you looking to grab it this weekend, check out Costco!
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.
Robyn Harding has quickly become one of my favourite authors...and she's from Vancouver! I read The Party last year, and the Advanced Reader Copy of Her Pretty Face in March. This new book releases on July 10th and is on my list of Most Anticipated Summer Reads, and is part of the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge with BookSparks. Her books are suspenseful, shocking and raw, grabbing the reader from the first page and not letting go until the shocking conclusion. Her Pretty Face explores reinvention, grief, and retribution, leaving you wondering if people can truly change. She has also written four works of humorous women’s fiction, a YA novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband, two kids, and a seven-pound, toothless dog named Ozzie. With my very first Q&A, thank you Robyn for participating!
A few questions about writing:
1) What is your writing process like?
When I start a novel, I create a loose outline. I was a screenwriter for several years and it taught me a lot about structure. I find that writing toward the next major plot point keeps me from getting lost or overwhelmed by the story. I also create character profiles before I start writing, giving them a backstory that may or may not make it into the book. Knowing the characters inside and out, really helps inform their behaviors and actions.
2) What advice do you have for writers?
Write, write, write. I recently saw David Sedaris speak, and he said he wrote for seven years before he showed anyone his work. It took him that long to be good enough! The other advice I’d offer is to enjoy writing for writing’s sake. I’m incredibly grateful to be published, but once writing becomes a business, it’s a different experience.
3) What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I love how supportive authors are of one another! I’ve made so many incredible connections to authors all over the world, mostly through social media or e-mail. I recently had dinner with Lisa Genova here in Vancouver and she inspired me to dream big and to go for it! I have regular lunches with YA writer Eileen Cook who is very smart about the business side of writing and gives great advice. And fellow thriller writers Roz Nay and Chevy Stevens have offered great insight into the genre. All these women are also hilarious!
4) I loved Her Pretty Face. What did you edit out of this book?
Thank you so much! I did a HUGE edit after the first draft. Originally, I had a documentary filmmaker following the women around, and it was he who revealed which of the women had the murderous past. My editor felt that this storyline distracted from the meat of the story, and I had to agree. It was a big re-write but it was worth it.
5) If Her Pretty Face graced the big screen, who do you see cast in the main leads? (Frances and Kate)
I’d like to see Amy Adams as Frances and Charlize Theron as Kate!
Some book-ish questions:
6) What is the first book that made you cry?
7) How has the bookstagram community impacted you?
I love the bookstagrammers I have connected with (including you)! It is such a fun and supportive environment. Every day, I learn about new books and see amazing photos. And I am in awe of how fast you all read!
8) An upcoming release you're most looking forward to?
I am so behind! I still need to read last summer’s new releases. But I’ve seen a lot of buzz about “Baby Teeth”. It sounds original and creepy-good!
He did it again! An atmospheric thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last page. This one includes all of my favourites: Unreliable narrator, family secrets, red herrings, gothic undertones and a complex plot, filled with psychological suspense. This is the perfect summer read!
The Last Time I Lied is one of those stay up all night and read no matter how early you have to get up in the morning for work. I was lost in the pages of this haunting story that spans generations. As we learned from Final Girls, Forests + Riley Sager = a terrifying experience.
Releases in July.
Thank you @duttonbooks and @riley.sager.
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
“Her Pretty Face” – Whose pretty face you may ask? I wrestled with this question throughout the novel, with many red herrings strategically placed throughout to throw me for a loop.
I absolutely loved this domestic suspense novel, and finished it in two days. Shocking, violent, and raw, this book grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.
This novel explores reinvention, grief, and retribution, and leaves you wondering if people can truly change.
This title releases in Canada on July 10, 2018!
Thank you so much @robynharding and Rebecca from @simonschusterca for sending me this ARC.
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!
When I read Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris last year, it quickly became one of my favourite thrillers of all time, as well as our book clubs. Since then, I have also read The Breakdown, and as of yesterday, her newest release: Bring Me Back. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC, as I really don't think I could have waited until it release in June 2018. After reading the premise of the book, I knew I was hooked. I spent the majority of my Saturday finishing this one. B.A. Paris is an incredible writer, her first book was intricately plotted, with a shocking revelation, and left you haunted after the conclusion. Her newest book is another one to add my to ever growing collection of Domestic Noir: a literary subgenre within crime fiction.
I really enjoyed parts of this one, however the overuse of Russian dolls (these mysterious dolls keep appearing throughout the story) made it lose its momentum, and I found myself skimming pages. The conclusion was too far fetched for me, and completely unbelievable. This one missed the mark for me in comparison to Behind Closed Doors, however it has received lots of praise, and may be the perfect twisted thriller for you.
Premise from Goodreads:
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…
Often times I catch myself requesting books based on their cover. This is one of those books. It caught my eye right away, and it's clear that using the word 'wife' or 'girl' in the title is more than a marketing trend. I love this genre that's been sweeping the literacy world since Gone Girl and Girl on the Train emerged. Domestic thrillers, unreliable narrators, psychological suspense, and what is means to be a woman living in today's society. The Wife Between Us was all of this and more. What I loved most about this book was how how the authors chose to leave the description ambiguous: "When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement... assume nothing" (Goodreads, 2018). This book is meticulously crafted. The plot-twist half-way through had me flipping backwards, as this roller-coaster ride is taken to new heights. The shocking revelation had me reading well into the night.
Thank you St. Martin's Press for this Advanced Reader Copy.
Premise from Goodreads:
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.
I was fortunate enough to receive an amazing package of books from Dutton back in November, full of Advanced Reader Copies. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read the first instalment in the UNSUB series, however I found this one works as a stand-alone. This was an intense and thrilling reading experience. I started this on December 29th as we headed up to Whistler for New Years Eve weekend. Once I started, I couldn't stop, and I read well into the night on News Year Eve (super anti-social). The characters are mesmerizing, the detailed scenes heart-wrenching, and the plot is completely original. I felt like I was watching an entire season of Criminal Minds. I highly recommend this one for anyone needing a fast-paced, addictive psychological thriller. I didn't think any thrillers could top Good Me, Bad Me, Final Girls, or The Good Daughter this year, but this one knocked it out of the park. Bravo Gardiner!
Details from Goodreads:
Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer
In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.
Caitlin and the FBI's serial crime unit discover the first victim's body in the woods. She's laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest's darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style--posed like Snow White awaiting her prince's kiss.
To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology--that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy--dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin's profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people's trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
Photographing books, one day at a time.