Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: Crippen

The focus of this book is a fictionalized account of the Dr. Crippen murder case. What is known as facts are that Dr. Crippen's wife was murdered, and that Dr. Crippen and his lover Ethel Le Neve tried to get to Canada on a boat posing as a man and his son.

What I love most about this book is that even knowing about the Crippen case, even having read books on it before, Boyne still manages to absolutely surprise and shock me as the plot progresses. I would get so caught up in the story that I would forget what I knew. And because of how little is truly known about the case, Boyne is able to hypothesize and theorize in a brilliantly written way that actually made my mouth drop open at one point and just stand there in public, flipping back pages.

I highly recommend this book, it's so well-written, and does such an impressive job of taking a famous historical crime and still making it feel new.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Review: After the Fire

Title: After the Fire
Author: Will Hill
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult/Psychological
Recommended If You Like: cult stories, strong female heroines, flashbacks used to build suspense

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

The Book:

There was a fire, a terrible fire with gunshots and people dying all around her. But Moonbeam made it out. Now she has to figure out a life outside of the compound, outside of Father John's control, all while holding two secrets inside her that refuse to let her go.

What I Liked:

The opening is so powerful, it had me sucked in right away. Hill then brilliantly uses the trope of Before and After to build up the suspense. Before takes readers back to the events leading up to the fire of the title, while After details the life of Moonbeam after everything she has known is gone.

Moonbeam is a great strong female narrator fighting to get her life back and help her fellow survivors while trying to deal with the two secrets inside her. She is telling her story to two other great characters, a psychologist and an agent, and readers get inside her head and her feelings through the first person narration.

Anything I Didn't Like?

The very end felt a little pat, but I loved it anyway.


This is a well-written, suspenseful look at a cult and how someone tries to rebuild their life when they suddenly find themselves on the outside.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Roundup

I had so much fun participating in the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon! I read four books for a total of 897 pages:

This was a very creepy and well-done graphic novel adaptation of a Lovecraft story surrounding an escaped asylum patient and his family secrets.

While this was not my favorite Patterson-it's a strange futuristic tale surrounding a new society-there are still Patterson's trademark twists and turns which had me hooked enough to keep reading.

Lord Peter Wimsey is such a fun character, and this is a great classic mystery surrounding a body in a bathtub and a mysterious pair of glasses.

This is an amazing graphic novel that manages to be memoir, powerful statement about physical and emotional violence against women, and true crime tale about the Yorkshire Ripper.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review: Hannah-Beast

If you are looking for a scary read for the Halloween season, Hannah-Beast by Jennifer McMahon (one of my favorite authors) definitely fits the bill.

A short story that is part of Amazon's Dark Corners series, Hannah-Beast expertly cuts between the past and present. Thirty-four years ago, a group made a decision. Thirty-four years ago, Hannah was sent on a scavenger hunt with dire repercussions.

In the present, a member of that fateful group is now a mother. She is triggered every time she sees a costume that reminds her of that night, and must fight both her inner demons and those that threaten her from outside on one terrifying Halloween night.

When I say terrifying, I mean terrifying. This story is so scary. It builds and builds until it's at that delicious almost unbearable point that comes with great horror, and then the absolutely haunting ending leaves you reeling.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review: Murder on Millionaire's Row

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

I loved this book!

Rose Gallagher is a force to be reckoned with, a housemaid who is determined to find her missing employer. Yes, she is in love with him (and that is a romance I am definitely rooting for-their chemistry just oozes off the pages!), but she also is a strong and brave woman in a time when women, especially women in her station, were supposed to stay in their small set roles. The supporting cast is wonderful as well, but Rose is the star of the show.

And there are ghosts! I love the paranormal, and it is woven in so well and so almost matter-of-factly. It adds a real urgency and eeriness to the story and mystery.

I definitely recommend this book. I can't wait for the next book in the series.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Week in Review: The Silence of the Lambs, Looking for Alaska, and The Complete Dracula

This is one of those books where I'm left wondering how in the world I hadn't read this before. This was so good-suspenseful, terrifying, a real thriller that had me desperate to keep turning pages. Hannibal Lector and Clarice Starling are, of course, fascinating characters in their own right, but the supporting cast around them are complex and gripping too. I found myself finding every spare moment I could to find out if they would catch Buffalo Bill, if Lector would talk to Clarice, and just what they would all find.

Like Paper Towns, I struggled to like the main female protagonist, Alaska, at first, But I think that was the point. As we get under her skin, we learn so much more about her and why she is the way she is. And the narrator is someone I could certainly sympathize with and understand-going into the teenage years wanting to find yourself, wanting to find your tribe and what your purpose is. I love John Green, and need to make sure I've read everything he's written.

I love the book Dracula, so I was highly intrigued by this graphic novel adaptation. This managed to be faithful to the original, while bringing its own level of horror and eeriness to the story with really great drawings. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Reviews: The Destroyers and The Naturals

Here's the thing: I didn't not like this book.

In fact, I was definitely hooked at the beginning. A man at the end of his rope, Ian Bledsoe, ends up on a Greek island to reunite with his childhood best friend, Charlie. But as more and more events transpire, Ian thinks Charlie may have invited him there to play their childhood game, Destroyers--only this time, it's not pretend.

It's a fascinating premise. But my problem was how long it took to play out. Bollen has a wonderful writing style, but I felt like the book simply went on too long--a problem I didn't have with Orient, Bollen's book that was equally long but I found far more enjoyable. The twists in The Destroyers are definitely surprising, but by the time I got to them, I just wasn't as invested as I wanted to be.

This is the kind of really good YA series where I've already put the other books on hold at the library.

It centers around Cassie, a teenager who is a natural profiler, which makes her prime to be recruited by the FBI for their Naturals group--a collection of teenagers with innate skills who work to solve cold cases. Each have their own past, including Cassie, whose mother was murdered but whose body was never found. When a serial killer comes on their radar, the Naturals realize that this case may hit closer to home than ever before.

This book had me hooked from the start, and I flew through it. The characters are so interesting, as are the cases--and the house they all live in is fascinating, with a basement full of simulated crime scenes for them to practice on. This is a creepy, well-written book with a final twist that blew my mind. I can't wait until I can get my hands on the rest.