2018 Book #17 – The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

51dBmN-P1PLTitle: The Wife Between Us
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Date finished: 2/20/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Pages in book: 342
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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.
Assume nothing.

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.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Our perception of the truth

This book has been gaining a lot of popularity and I’ve seen it mentioned a number of places. But to be honest when I was about 50 pages into the book I was wondering how this book could possibly be so popular. The beginning of the book does get a tad repetitive and Vanessa sounds really whiny in the beginning, until the reader gets to the first twist and uncovers more of the story. I think that was my favorite part of this book was how at each twist and turn the reader gets another piece of the puzzle that will make up the whole picture. The description of the book didn’t stand out to me until I read the book, the reader’s perception is altered multiple times and it becomes harder and harder to know where the “truth” lies. Lies and truth co-mingle based on the character’s perception and the reader’s perception as well. While there were a couple of dry pieces to the story, overall I really loved the plot of this one and the facets of the story as the reader progresses through the book. This was a great book and I would most definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2016 Book #58 – Frayed by Kara Terzis

51zDAx+FX2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Frayed
Author: Kara Terzis
Date finished: 6/2/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Dear Kesley,
My therapist tells me I should write you a letter. Like flushing all my thoughts and feelings out of my system and onto paper. I tell her it’s a stupid idea.
But here I am, writing a letter to a dead girl. Where do I start? Where did our story begin? From the moment you were born…or died?
I’ll start with the moment I found out the truth about you. Your lies and my pain. Because it always begins and ends with you.
And that end began when Rafe Lawrence came back to town…
Ava Hale will do anything to find her sister’s killer…although she’ll wish she hadn’t. Because the harder Ava looks, the more secrets she uncovers about Kesley, and the more she begins to think that the girl she called sister was a liar. A sneak. A stranger.
And Kesley’s murderer could be much closer than she thought…
A debut novel from Wattpad award-winner Kara Terzis, Frayed is a psychological whodunit that will keep you guessing!

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also, this book will count towards my Book Riot 2016 Read Harder reading challenge, marking off the “read a book with a main character that has a mental illness.” I’m not going to say who because you should read it to find out but one of the main characters in this book is suffering from a mental illness. This book tells the story of Ava Hale, beginning about a month after her sister dies while she tries to figure out who murdered Kelsey. The police have no leads and as Ava starts to delve a little deeper into Kelsey’s life before her death, she discovers that she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought. Kelsey managed to hide a lot of things from her little sister Ava, including the fact that she tried to buy a gun to protect herself. But what exactly was Kelsey scared of? And why didn’t she think she could tell Ava about whatever was scaring her?
Overall I really liked this book. It was intriguing and kept me hooked right up until the end. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming, it was one of those great shocker endings. The ending was a little sad for me because I just felt so bad for Ava. The reader learns a lot about Ava through the book and it seemed like at every turn there was someone else betraying Ava’s trust. It was very sad. Other than that though I liked the book a lot! I don’t want to give too much away with the review so I would tell everyone to go read it for yourselves and find out!

The bottom line: I really liked this book, it was definitely a heart-pounding thriller and it kept me guessing right up until the very end. I just felt so bad for Ava, it seemed like there wasn’t anyone who cared about her enough to have her back and it saddened me a little. Other than that, this was a great thriller and I would definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #24 – Little Bee by Chris Cleave

51pWGanuqjLTitle: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Date finished: 3/20/16
Genre: Fiction, literary ficiton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: Reprint edition 2008
Pages in book: 266
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Purchased from Book Outlet.com

Blurb from the cover:

We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t. And it’s what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (March). I have to say I agree with many of the other reviews I read on Amazon that mentioned the blurb from the cover, its dead wrong. This book was not what I would call a funny book. There may have been a few comical jibes here and there but overall this book I would describe as powerful, sad, moving, heart-wrenching. There are a lot of things you can use to describe this book and none of them are really funny. That being said, its hard for me to say I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a powerful story and I’m glad that I read it but this isn’t the kind of book that brings enjoyment to the reader. There are a lot of dark events that the characters in this book have to deal with, and it is a hard thing indeed for the reader to experience as well.

The bottom line: I thought that this was a moving story though it was quite sad. In the US many of us are sheltered from the horrors that people face in other countries, and it is sad to read about what some of those women had to endure. I think this was a powerful story though it might be tough for some to read, I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #71 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Date finished: 7/12/15
Genre:  Young adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Pages in book: 286
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I haven’t read much by Sophie Kinsella but her Shopaholic series is on my TBR list. I saw the movie they made of the first book and loved it. So when I saw that Kinsella had a YA book coming out I wanted to read it.This story is (mostly) about Audrey, a young girl trying to learn how to cope with depression and anxiety after it appears she had a mental breakdown resulting from an “incident” at her school. I have to be honest, part of me finds it extremely frustrating that we never learn the specifics of this “incident.” There are vague references to what happened, and the reader is left to piece together what probably occurred. While I found this frustrating though, I thought it really spoke of some of the main points in the book. Audrey (the narrator) says multiple times in the book that she has learned through her therapy books that everyone has the right to privacy, your thoughts and feelings are your own and you have the power to say no to anyone. And towards the beginning Audrey says to us that she knows we (the readers) are curious but that the actual incident itself doesn’t really matter, what matters is what happened after that. Which is true of the book, the point of the book wasn’t to get into the gory details of why Audrey had the mental breakdown, it was about her road to recovery and about feeling more like herself again. So long story short, while I found it frustrating, part of me also appreciated that the author didn’t include exact details of the incident.
Along her road to recovery, Audrey becomes friends with her brother’s friend Linus. Linus ends up being a big support for Audrey and helps nudge her along on the  experiences she needs to be more functioning in the regular world. They end up developing a romance which is very sweet. The mother’s fixation on Frank’s video games became frustrating at times, it felt almost a little overdone. That seems to have been the point though, for part of the story the family is a bit tense and edging towards shambles but they learn to appreciate each other more and as Audrey awakens from her shell of depression we see more of the family’s loving side.
Overall I thought this was a sweet and touching book. It was a fairly quick read but full of insight into the lives of those dealing with depression and how frustrating it can be to want to feel normal and just not be able to accomplish that due to some dumb chemical reactions in your brain. The characters were all funny and interesting, I found myself laughing out loud at multiple points in the book. Great read!

The bottom line: I thought this was a good book. Some parts were overly frustrating but overall I think this is a touching story and I would recommend it!
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #85

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The eighty-fifth book I read in 2014 was Serena by Ron Rash. I finished this book on 9/19/14. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. I decided to read this book because the movie adaptation is coming out at the end of this year (Nov 27) starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. I just love everything Jennifer Lawrence is in, she is an amazing actress and she plays her parts very well. She plays the crazy parts especially well, and I know she’s just going to do an amazing job with the role of Serena.

This book is about George and Serena Pemberton, a newlywed couple who plan to run a timber empire together in North Carolina. George was at the camp long enough before he met Serena to father an illegitimate child. Serena and George share an intense relationship that leaves no room for anyone else, and George, while acknowledging the child is his, does not do anything to care for the mother or the child, and in fact does the opposite in killing the mother’s father. When Serena loses her own baby and learns she will never again be able to bear children, she decides that she will kill the illegitimate child and the mother for being able to give her husband what she can not.

Serena appears to have been unraveling up to this point, but when she learns that George might be protecting his son and the boy’s mother, George and Serena’s intense and passionate marriage begins to crumble and becomes intensely deadly. This book is set in 1929 in the North Carolina mountains. The description of the work done by the timber company along with their day to day lives adds a sufficiently depressing backdrop to the dark place that is Serena’s mind. There is no room for any errors or doubt in her world, she lives in a universe of black and white, no grey area allowed.

Overall this was a very dark novel. There were parts I found depressing, and to be honest within the first 10 pages there’s a description of someone getting gutted in a knife fight that is just gruesome. Other than that though, it was an extremely interesting book and I can’t wait to see Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Serena. She plays such a great crazy person and as I was reading the novel I could just see her in the role. I also really enjoyed the discussion of life during the Depression and the timber worker’s point of view as well as Rachel’s (George’s illegitimate son’s mother). I would definitely recommend this novel to someone who is looking for a good Depression-era novel or to anyone who is planning to see the movie when it comes out!!

Link to movie’s IMDB website (trailer can be found here): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1247690/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Link to Wikipedia website on author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Rash

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Serena-Novel-P-S-Ron-Rash/dp/0061470848/ref=sr_1_1?

ie=UTF8&qid=1411175435&sr=8-1&keywords=ron+rash