Book Review: The Wedding Guest

Title: The Wedding Guest

Author: Jonathan Kellerman

Format: Netgalley Advancer Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Wedding Guest before it is released on February 5, 2019 in exchange for my honest review!

I really want to like this book, however, it became like a chore for me to read.  I think I read 2 other books during the time I was reading this one.  I would like to say that I did not care for the writing style of Kellerman, that is just my personal preference.  I did not enjoy frequent use of short sentences (or parataxis if I may use a big word).  It kept throwing off my pace of reading and I found it to be distracting.  If you don’t mind it, pick up this book!

The book seemed to drag on…and on.  This is number 34 in Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series.  Did I think I missed much by not reading the first 33?  No.  You are able to piece together who the characters are even with (what I found to be) a lack of background on them.  The most important part is that the characters involved in the murders (yes, more than one) are clearly described and grow throughout the story.

I felt it was a lackluster ending.  To be dragged along for so long it ended pretty nonchalantly.  I actually had to re-read one of the last chapters to understand what happened to the murderer.  Maybe it was my lack of focus and that I missed it at first.  Like I said, I was not that into this book.  If you are a fan of Kellerman I am sure you will enjoy this book.  It just was not my cup of tea.

I am going to give this book 3 stars.  If you come across it, don’t stop what you have in line for your TBR list, continue on and get to this when you do.  It does have key character development and keeps you guessing on whodunit until the last quarter of the book when we know (or assume we know) who did it and that drags on until we know for sure, he was the culprit.  To each their own!  If you pick this book up let me know how you enjoyed it!  Tune in next week for my review of Believe Me by JP Delaney!

Book Review: The Lies We Told

Title: The Lies We Told

Author: Camilla Way

Format: Netgalley Advancer Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2018

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Lies We Told in exchange for my honest review.  If you have ever wanted to read a true, honest, and textbook definition psychological thriller, this is the book for you.

The first line in this book talks about a decapitated head.  Don’t worry, it’s only a bird’s head, but still, a decapitated head on the pillow next to a sleeping mother.  If you like stories about psychopaths, pick this one up.

The story is told from 2 perspectives; Clara, a woman whose boyfriend just disappears one night, and Beth, the mother of a psychopath.  I know what you are thinking, how on Earth could these two stories be related?  I did at first.  I thought this must be some crazy story where we get two stories for the price of one and then slowly they start to intertwine until they are so mashed together they are one.  We get some background on both Clara’s boyfriend and Beth’s daughter, especially her childhood, where everything starts to make sense and puzzle pieces start to come together.

As the story goes on there are so many sick twists and turns, it is unreal.  Just when you think you have the story figured out, boom, there goes another twist.  Any other details other than what I have already told would ruin this book for you, so just go read it!

If you have read Baby Teeth, I feel like this is Hannah all grown up, in fact, the psychopath child’s name in this book in Hannah (that added a little more of a creep factor for me).   This was such a deep, dark read.  It really makes you wonder what exactly is going on in the author’s head.  I finished it in 2 days, it is definitely a quick read, and more so because you need to see what happens next.

I am giving The Lies We Told a 4 star rating.  You know I personally am a huge fan of solid endings and I felt this one kind of left us hanging a little.  We know where Clara ends up, at least for the time being.  Beth has told us all about Hannah and has left it open a little, maybe there will be a sequel?  If there is, put me on the pre-order list today, I am dying to see what else this psychopath could do.  Tune in next week for my review of Bad Blood by John Carreyrou!

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Book Review: The Elephant In The Room

Title: The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America

Author: Tommy Tomlinson

Format: Netgalley Ebook Advance Copy

Published: 2019

 

I came across this on Netgalley one day and immediately became interested.  Once I started this book I could not put it down.

I have struggled with my weight all my life.  I am nowhere near the size of Tomlinson, however, I am no size 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc (just what size I won’t disclose now, come on guys).  The words he spoke in this story hit so, so close to home that they brought tears to my eyes.

This story was uniquely told.  He takes us on a year-long journey where he decides it is time to lose weight.  At the beginning of each chapter he tells us a story about his life and how he became the weight he is today.  At the end of each chapter we are introduced to the month and what he has been doing to try and lose weight.  He keeps us up to date with a total calculation on how much weight he’s lost or gained in the month and his current weight total.

If you have never struggled with your weight, congratulations.  It is to you I highly recommend you read this book to gain some insight on what it is like and the struggle that those face when trying to lose weight.  It sucks.  I am so happy that Tomlinson points out how diets essentially set you up for failure (read to see why his opinion is this) and cause you to gain weight back.  I appreciate the way he is losing weight and applaud him.

I loved the journey of his life as a journalist and found myself rooting for him.  You cannot help but root for him and if you can’t then you are just a monster.  I would love to grab a beer with Tomlinson and just talk life, that is the kind of story teller he is.  He is real, down to earth, and does not try to get you to feel bad for him at all; no, just for one to understand, that is all.

I am going on a limb and giving this book 5 stars.  The fact that he could move me to tears when he described what it was like to try and lose weight and all that goes on around us, yes sir, preach.  He gets it and expresses it in such a way that is astounding.  He is my voice and I am damn proud to say that.  Pick this book up whether you are skinny or fat and trust me, you will enjoy it.  Tune in next week for my review of The Suspect by Fiona Barton.

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Book Review: An Anonymous Girl

Title: An Anonymous Girl

Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Format: Netgalley Advance Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

 

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this advance copy in exchange for my honest review!  This book officially comes out on January 8, 2019, pre-order it today!

As soon as I heard Hendricks and Pekkanen were penning another novel I could not wait to get my hands on it.  The Wife Between Us blew me away (by the way, go get that book NOW if you haven’t read it) and I could not wait to see what else could come out of their 2 minds.  I was not let down.

The story is about a young woman who ends up in a research study to make some extra money.  The research is all about morals and ethics and is put together by a professor at a local, well known university, who should probably have her own morals and ethics checked out.

This psychological thriller is told by Jessica, the young woman, and Dr. Shields, the professor.  They alternate chapters so it gives us a unique perspective and keeps up guessing throughout the novel.  Just when you think this is going to be a predictable read, it’s not.  There are not many twists and turns but enough to keep you interested.  As we get further in to the book the characters grow and show us sides to them you just cannot predict to see.  The book really picks up in the second half after the stage has been fully set.

I will say I was a little let down with the ending.  I expected it to end with some big bang and it just fell flat for me.  It felt rushed at the end and it just, ended.  I did not get the closure I would have liked; however, it does let you know what happens with the relationship Jessica and Dr. Shields have.  I would have like just a little bit more at the end to satisfy myself.

I am giving this book 4 stars.  It keeps you going and guessing.  I did think I had the book figured out before I got to the halfway point.  That’s where the book really picks up and has left you with enough little pieces you have to read to see how they all fit together.  I will say, Greer and Pekkanen sure do have some twisted minds!  I hope they collaborate yet again, these ladies know how to throw you for a loop!  Tune in next week for my review of my advance copy of The Au Pair by Emma Rous!

 

 

 

Book Review: The Sisters

Title: The Sisters

Author: Rosalind Noonan

Format: Netgalley Advance Readers’ Copy Ebook

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read The Sisters before its release on November 27, 2018 in exchange for an honest, impartial review.

I want to start out and say that this book may trigger more sensitive readers with regard to the topics of miscarriages and sexual abuse.  It does not delve in deep to these areas, however, they are here in the book.  What saddens me the most is that even though this is a work of fiction, there are innocent children out there today in this situation in this book.

This book is told through the story of 2 families that are connected to each other; Glory Noland and the McCullum family.  The book is broken down in to 3 parts; The Last Time I Saw You, The Shape Of Tea Leaves, and Glory’s Ghost.  Rosalind Noonan does a tremendous job alternating between the stories of Glory and the McCullum family.

Glory goes from the struggle of being in a biracial relationship to being a widow raising 2 biracial children on her own with no family willing to help her.  She meets a group of women at her local mall that call themselves The Sisters and ever so graciously end up taking her in.  On the other side, the McCullum family is secretly struggling to conceive and start a family, but, has all the family support in the world.

This book sucked me in and would not let me go.  I read this book with tears in my eyes so often, just wanting to jump in and help these women and children.  The character development in this book was remarkable and we watch Glory’s young children grow up to be beautiful young women, especially her eldest Ruby.  For a sixteen-year-old girl who has so much going on in her own life with her mother, she was certainly raised to do right in the world and is someone to be proud of.

This is a solid 4 star read for me.  I had to stop myself from reading at some points in time just so I could get some sleep.  I knew if I continued on, more would develop along in the story and the sun would be rising, as it would be time for me to get ready for work.  Noonan’s penmanship in this tale is heartbreakingly real and page turning.  While I would have wished for a different ending, Noonan does what is right and ends this book on realistic terms, which still please me.  Once you pick this book up, you will find it irresistible to put down.  Tune in next week for my review of The Hit by David Baldacci!

Book Review: Into The Hollow

Title: Into The Hollow

Author: Lynn Vroman

Format: Ebook (courtesy Netgalley advance read)

Published: 2018

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read Into The Hollow before its release date of November 6, 2018 (my birthday)!

This young adult novel is set in the town of Poplar Branch, West Virginia, in the holler.  We meet Freedom Paine, 17, who is living in a shack with her younger brother and father.  Neither Free nor her brother attend school or have any friends (in fact, it’s not allowed, it’s almost as if they are in hiding).  Her father goes out and tries to scheme money where he can and is promising them a better life.  There is so much mystery to her living situation and how her mother died. As the book progresses, we start to learn more and more.

We also meet Cole, a senior in high school.  He has been sucked in to the holler life and is desperate to get himself out of there.  His father and brother are in jail, his sister is a high school dropout with a child, and his mother is a junkie.  Freedom catches Cole’s eye and eventually they end up working together at the same grocery store.  They bond over being able to both take home stale food to fill their bare cupboards until Free’s father forbids her to see him anymore.

The characters develop as the story is told.  I also could not help but read this story in my head with a very Southern twang.  It sucked me in and I had to get to the bottom of every situation.  Fair warning, I cried ugly tears twice in this book.

Free’s dad gets involved in a sticky situation and ends up seriously injured.  Free turns to Cole for help and essentially her world falls apart.  Once Freedom has to seek medical attention for her father, the police get involved because there are 2 minor children he has been caring for.  I can’t say much more without ruining the book.  Just know Cole is her constant and is there for her, always waiting, always willing.  It turns out though, Cole needed Freedom just as much as she needed him.  I don’t think I could written a better ending to the journey that Cole and Freedom end up taking together.  I will say there is light for them at the end of the holler.

I am giving this book 4 stars.  It is a solid, fantastic read.  The character development is spot on and the way the story gives us bits and pieces into Cole’s and Free’s lives is delectable.  The author makes you feel like you are about to go on a soul crushing ride when at the right moment she picks you up and leaves you with a smile.  Absolutely terrific read.  Once I got into part 2 I could barely put the book down.  Don’t let the category of young adult fool you, this is a great read for anyone of any age.  Tune in next week for my review of We Were Mothers by Katie Sise!

Book Review: The Truth Waits

Title: The Truth Waits

Author: Susanna Beard

Format: Netgalley Advance Readers’ Copy Ebook

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Legend Press for the opportunity to read The Truth Waits before its release on November 1, 2018 in exchange for an honest review.  Please make sure you come back HERE to Book In The Bag on November 9th for an exclusive stop on Susanna Beard’s blog tour!

We meet our protagonist Anna, who appears to be a depressed workaholic.  She resides in England, but, decided to take an extended work trip to Lithuania, where her factory that makes her clothing line is located.  She unfortunately gets stuck in Lithuania due to the volcano that erupted in Iceland and ends up having to extend her stay.  She goes out for a walk on the beach and ends up discovering the body of a dead girl washed ashore, with whom she becomes obsessed with.

Through all the chaos, she hesitantly meets a friendly couple, Gavin and Charlotte, at the hotel bar and ends up talking to them.  Through sitting and talking with this couple she also gets introduced to Will, whom she takes a liking to.  They end up spending a week together while stranded in Lithuania and continue to see each other in England, where they both reside.  Will ends up moving in with her and we see a strange, distant relationship blossom.

It ends up that both Anna and Will have some deep, dark secrets.  In the end both are innocent enough, however, as you are reading your mind takes you to crazy places with what is going on.  I was upset in the beginning of the book because it seemed too predictable and that the book was going down a path of a substandard thriller.  I was so wrong.

This book kept me hooked and became a quick read for me.  I had to know what was going on and I became as obsessed with the dead girl Anna found on the beach as she did in the book.  This was a captivating thriller that I got swept away in.  I appreciated the closure at the end of the book and through all the darkness, we were given a happy ending.

This is a solid 4 star read for me.  It comes out next week so pre-order it now, you won’t be disappointed.  Beard does not disappoint in this fast-paced thriller.  Be warned, if you are looking for a book that you will be able to put down to go to bed at night, this is not the book for you.  She captivates you and makes you believe that you don’t need to sleep for the night, you need to find out what is going on with Anna and Will.  Tune in next week for my review Into The Hollow by Lynn Vroman.  But more importantly don’t forget to come back in 2 weeks on Friday, November 9th for Beard’s stop HERE on her blog tour!

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