#ThrowbackThursday See Jane Run by @joyfielding

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Renee @It’sBookTalk began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of our old favorites as well as sharing books that we’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. I’ve wanted to join this meme for a long time and I thought it would be a great idea because it forces me to read books from the TBR and not only new releases. And, of course, I can also include some old favorites!

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What do you do when you don’t know who you are… Jane has lost her memory. …Where you are… Jane is found walking the streets wearing a blood-stained dress with $10,000 in the pocket. …What you’ve done? Unable to get answers from her husband, Jane is forced to seek the truth about her accident on her own. But the truth doesn’t always set you free… When you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

I read See Jane Run when I was fourteen years old and I was so shocked that today I still can remember everything about this novel. I’ve read other Joy Fielding books and enjoyed most of them, but as it usually happens, the more books you read by an author, the more you start predicting everything that’ll happen. This was my second book by Fielding and probably my favorite, although it left me quite uneasy, as it’s not a happy book by any means.

I read it in about two days and I can even tell you where I was while I was reading it (summer vacations in Madrid). I remember telling my aunt all about the plot and how addicted I was. I even told her about the twist and the ending and all the characters and their motivations.

So yes, I really loved this book when I was in my teens. Would I love it now? Probably not as much. But nostalgia is undeniable powerful and I think I’ll remember this book forever.

 

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Review: The Wife Between Us by @sarahpekkanen @greerkh @panmacmillan

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When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement. You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves. You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her. You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships. Assume nothing.

If you usually read book blogs, you’ll have heard of The Wife Between Us. You surely have seen the cover and its intriguing blurb: ASSUME NOTHING. This novel has been everywhere. Most people were praising the unpredictable twists and how smart the story was. I admit I was kind of afraid, since I really wanted to like this one. You see, I haven’t had much luck with domestic thrillers lately… and hype doesn’t usually work well for me. Fortunately, I really enjoyed The Wife Between Us and thought it was well worth reading. If domestic thrillers are like this one, then I’ll definitely go back and read some more.

This is a book that should be read without knowing much about the plot. All you need to know is that it tells the story of a woman who’s worried about her replacement, that is, her ex-husband’s new fiancé. But everything is not what it seems… as you can obviously expect from a twisty book like this one.

If I remember everything well, I’d say the book had four twists. Well, actually, there was one major twists in the middle and three other surprises that came later. I know you think I always predict the twists, but that’s simply not true and this time everything took me by surprise. In hindsight, I should’ve predicted that first twist, as I had thought of crazier things, and when I got to that part I felt incredibly dumb. How did I never think of that? Kudos to the writers!

My favorite thing about this novel is hard to properly explain without spoilers, but I ¡ll say that I loved how it focused on a story that has been done multiple times, and yet the authors managed to turn it into something new and refreshing. Sorority and feminism are the first two words that come to my mind when I think of this book. And you can’t imagine how I liked that new perspective.

As for the writing, it was well-paced and intriguing, the story was carefully plotted and I never lost interest. My main complaint is that I hated that last twist at the end… it felt completely unnecessary and I think the book was already good and it didn’t need that extra surprise, which made me go all “Nooooo, don’t spoil it! That’s too much!”.

Still, The Wife Between Us is a great novel that grabs all the good stuff from The Girl On The Train and Behind Closed Doors and offers a modern take on the domestic thriller. It’s twisty and incredibly smart.

ARC, PanMacmillan, 2018

Mini Reviews #10 He Said/She Said & Now You See Me & These Violent Delights

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I initially didn’t set out to write a #feminist Mini Review post today, but all the books I wanted to review had that theme in common. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’m glad I can talk about these three books because I believe they’re timely and important. Unfortunately, these aren’t books I can say I loved, but they all have interesting aspects and I believe some of you might enjoy them a lot.

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As she saw his face for the first time, she knew he was going to kill her. She just didn’t know when. When the dismembered body of Lydia Steiner is found washed up in the waters of a blisteringly hot Louisiana swamp, Detective Jess Bishop knows for certain this isn’t the murderer’s first kill. Three other dismembered bodies have been found, all bearing the same marks. Marks that strike fear into Jess’s heart. They are identical to those from a case she’s spent her entire career trying to forget. As Jess and her team try to link the victims, another body is discovered and they fear the serial killer is taunting them. They know it’s only a matter of time before he kills again. As the body count rises, and the hunt goes cold, Jess knows she has to confront her past in order to catch the killer, even if that means making herself the bait…

Now You See Me is a new crime procedural featuring a bad-ass female FBI agent investigating a series of murders in Louisiana. Jessica Bishop has a dark past that wishes to keep secret and she’s used to deal with men who don’t take her seriously. I loved how she managed the relationships with her partners and defended the victims no matter their profession or status. She was strong and brave and I admired her for that.

The book was gripping and entertaining, and the Louisiana setting was great. I felt like I was there. The writing was engaging and I was never bored. Overall, this is a solid crime novel, but I can’t say I loved this book because of the predictability and the romance-focused relationships. I was silently begging for someone not to be the killer. It was way too obvious, I thought. It can’t be that person. I’m sure it won’t. And for a while, I was glad. But then I realized it was exactly who I thought it would be and that had me quite disappointed. In addition, there was way too much focus on Jess’s romantic life and her jealousy towards her partner’s wife and that bothered me because the case was more interesting than that and, to be honest, I believe that a man and a woman can be friends and that’s it.

Netgalley, Bookouture, 2017

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At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

These Violent Delights is an easy-to-read novel that deals with a very important topic nowadays. Following the Hollywood scandal and all the Spotlight-like cases, I can’t think of a more timely book today. However, although the topic is not a happy one, I didn’t think the book was a particularly tough read, and that was kind of weird.

I enjoyed this book and I’m certainly interested in the topic, but I didn’t feel emotionally attached to the characters, perhaps because of the structure or the writing (too much dialogue/articles/e-mails). It felt a bit like non-fiction in the sense that the importance relies on the case per se and not on the characters’ experiences. We never witness their pain directly, only through their e-mails and texts.

Have you ever read a book and thought that you liked what was said but not so much how it was told? This was my experience with These Violent Delights.

Netgalley, Griffith Moon Publishing, 2017

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In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

This is another book that I believe it’s important to read right now. He Said She Said is the story of a couple who witness an attack and the consequences of their actions. I don’t want to say too much because I think this is a book that deserves to be discovered without knowing anything about it.

However, as much as I agree with the book’s message and its relevance today, I must say I was kind of bored during the first 60% of the novel. I know, I’ve read other reviews stating this was a slow-burn type of book, and it’s true , but despite loving the last few chapters, I’m afraid that didn’t make up for the rest.

Basically, I love the moral of the story and how the author embraces sorority above everything, but I wish I had been more engaged from the beginning. To be honest, the eclipse metaphor didn’t help much, and Kit chapters were kind of tedious to read.

 Hodder & Stoughton, 2017

Review: Since We Fell by @dennis_lehane

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Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

It’s no secret that Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors. His detective books and his gangster series are amazing, as well as some of his standalone novels like Mystic River or Shutter Island.

My dear friend Renee sent me his latest book (thank you so much ❤!), a psychological thriller called Since We Fell, and although I had a lot of scheduled reads, I decided to start it and it took me only two days to read it. Actually, I read 80% of it in a sitting but I had to go to bed and, believe me, I didn’t want to. I finished it the next evening and I seriously wanted more.

Most reviews I’ve read claim that the first part of the book isn’t as good as the second section. I must say I really loved both: I think Lehane’s writing was simply wonderful when he told us Rachel’s story and I was so immersed in her life that I didn’t care there wasn’t much action during the first 50% of the book. However, the last part of the novel suddenly turned into a cinematic thriller filled with suspense and action and I really enjoyed it too. Was it believable? Not really. But it was lots of fun. Oh, and I can’t forget about the prologue. Probably one of the best I’ve come across lately.

I think part of the reason why I loved this book so much was that I actually cared for Rachel. She was a good person and I wanted her to be happy. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I were her, that’s for sure. And I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I was rooting for her and Brian to end up together. I was interested in Rachel’s family troubles (her search for her father) and later, I  wanted her to investigate what was going on. I don’t think I can tell you anything about the plot because I want you to find out for yourselves.

And, as I said, Dennis Lehane’s writing is  gorgeous. He has a way with words and he had me completely hooked from the very first page. I never lost interest when this could’ve easily happened had it been another writer. I’m not going to lie, maybe I would’ve wanted more of a surprise when the revelations came, but I still think this is one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read lately.

Little Brown, 2017

 

Mini Reviews #9 Heaven’s Crooked Finger & Lie To Me

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Happy Saturday! Today I’ll talk about my most recent reads.

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Earl Marcus thought he had left the mountains of Georgia behind forever, and with them, the painful memories of a childhood spent under the fundamental rule of his father RJ’s church–a church built on fear, penance, and the twisting, writhing mass of snakes. But then an ominous photo of RJ is delivered to Earl’s home. The photograph is dated long after his father’s burial, and there’s no doubt that the man in the picture is very much alive. As Earl returns to Church of the Holy Flame searching for the truth, faithful followers insist that his father has risen to a holy place high in the mountains. Nobody will talk about the teenage girls who go missing, only to return with strange tattoo-like marks on their skin. Rumors swirl about an old well that sits atop one of the mountains, a place of unimaginable power and secrets. Earl doesn’t know what to believe, but he has long been haunted by his father, forever lurking in the shadows of his life. Desperate to leave his sinful Holy Flame childhood in the past, Earl digs up deeply buried secrets to discover the truth before time runs out and he’s the one put underground in Heaven’s Crooked Finger.

This was a novel that really caught my attention because of the creepy/amazing cover and, of course, the intriguing blurb. I usually love this kind of southern-gothic-horror novels about families and dark secrets. I was sure I was going to enjoy it. And I certainly did, but unfortunately, not as much as I had hoped.

Don’t get me wrong, this was an ok book. The mystery was appealing enough, it was easy to read and it didn’t drag. There were some twists and turns and the setting was undoubtedly a great one. However, I never felt that “spark”, I never really connected with the characters or the story, I felt mostly uninterested when it should’ve been the opposite. In the end, I guess this happens sometimes. Some books win you over and others don’t.

Heaven’s Crooked Finger was a good gothic mystery and an interesting beginning for what it seems it’ll be a series featuring Earl Marcus. Don’t hesitate and give it a chance if the blurb catches your eye. You might love it (I know some have!).

Netgalley, Crooked Lane Books, 2017

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Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Lie To Me is a gripping and easy-to-read domestic thriller that is perfect for fans of Gone Girl and toxic marriage books. Is it entertaining? Definitely! Did I love it? I’m afraid not.

It seems like I’m in the minority once again. I enjoyed the first half of Lie To Me, although I kept thinking I had read too many similar books in the past. However, I expected something much more unique and special based on some reviews I had read. I think this is merely a case of not being the right reader for this book, at least not at this moment. The first part of the book was fun and I was definitely curious. What was going on? Should I believe Ethan? Or was he lying? Who’s the mysterious narrator? Unfortunately, it all fell flat for me when I began reading the second half. I found the ending part too unbelievable even for my taste. I never bought the villain’s motives and I thought the whole final act was over the top, it never clicked for me. Plus, the last chapter made things even worse.

Gone Girl is one of my favorite books and I think it’s also because the genre wasn’t so popular back then. I loved the psychology of it all, the way Gillian Flynn made each twist believable because of every character’s personality. I’m sad to say I never felt this with Lie To Me.

Netgalley, MIRA Books, 2017