Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: The Fever



I am a big fan of Megan Abbot's books. She creates these amazing mysteries, but what's perhaps even more impressive is the story she tells around the mystery.

In The Fever, a group of girls begin to exhibit mysterious symptoms, that seem to have no rhyme or reason to them. While various theories are frantically bandied around, and public health services are called in, a small town becomes terrified, searching for anyone and anything to blame for what is happening to their children.

Abbot really gets at the psychological underpinnings of what makes us human. She explores how much the unknown frightens us, and how the desire to turn the unknown to known, and to protect our families, drives us to do things we never would do otherwise. Abbot also unpicks the heart of female friendships, their complexities and depths, and the way the world views women.

When you read an Abbot book, you are getting not only a great mystery full of surprises, but psychological suspense that delves deep into the heart of humanity.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review: The Drowning Tree



Title: The Drowning Tree
Author: Carol Goodman
Publication Date: December 28, 2004
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Mystery
Recommended If You Like: Goodman's other books, psychological explorations, art woven into mysteries

The Book:

When Juno reluctantly attends her college reunion, only there to support her best friend Christine as she gives an art history lecture, she doesn't expect to have Christine's speech spiral out in dangerous repercussions that will reverberate throughout her past and present, and challenge everything she thinks she knows.

What I Liked:

I love Goodman's writing style. It feels so immediate and puts you right in her characters' heads.

Goodman does an excellent job of exploring so many different types of relationships, from female friendships, to mother and daughter, to sisters, to lovers.

And of course the mystery-there are so many layers to it, and I was constantly being surprised by new revelations.

Anything I Didn't Like?

There was so much going on, that occasionally it got a little confusing. I really appreciated how many storylines Goodman was able to weave together, but I did sometimes struggle to keep everyone and everything straight.

So...?

This is a beautiful, introspective, and twisty mystery full of powerful characters and lots of surprises. I definitely recommend this book.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII Signup!



I always look forward to the R.I.P. Challenge, it's so much fun!

As described on the blog:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.



Peril the First:
1) Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (reread)
2) The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman
3) The Fever by Megan Abbott
4) Crazy House by James Patterson
5) Cross the Line by James Patterson


Peril on the Screen:
1) Shutter Island (rewatch)
2) American Horror Story: Cult: Episode 1
3) American Horror Story: Cult: Episode 2

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review: Thornhill



Title: Thornhill
Author: Pam Smy
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade/Graphic Novel/Gothic/Horror/Suspense/Paranormal
Recommended If You Like: quick reads with eerie pictures, books told in diary format, parallel stories that intersect, one side of the story told entirely in pictures

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:

The words tell the story of Mary, an orphan who lived in Thornhill as a ward of the state before it was shut down. The pictures tell the story of Ella, who finds herself alone in the house across from Thornhill after her mother passes away and her father loses himself in work.


What I Liked:

The pictures were so striking, and really captured the eeriness of the story. The use of first person narration through Mary's diary made everything feel very immediate, just like it felt to both Mary and Ella. This book definitely grabbed me, and flew by.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I found not having any words with Ella's side of the story did make things a little confusing for me. I occasionally had trouble following what was going on.

So...?

This would be a great read with fall coming up, especially as Halloween draws near. It could scare younger readers, but it definitely has a captivating spooky tale to tell that can pull in adults as well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hidden Gems in Mysteries, Thrillers, and True Crime


As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish!


This week's topic was hidden gems. I interpreted this as books that don't have as much love as I wish they did, and went with books in my favorite genres to read.


These are the first two books that always come to mind when I think of hidden gems. I love these books so much-they are brilliant thrillers full of unique literary mystery and nail-biting psychological suspense. They are so clever, and so different from other thrillers, and I've re read them so many times. 



With James having a second true crime book coming out, this seems the perfect time to remind people just how good his first true crime book is. It's an incredibly unique and comprehensive look at so many famous and lesser-known crimes. 


I would never have heard of this book if it hadn't been a giveaway at ALA one year, and I'm so glad it was available, because it's so good. It's another really unique read, the true story of the author's friendship in college with someone who later becomes a murderer. 


This is one of my favorite true crime series. There are multiple editions, and it collects what the editing panel considers the best articles and essays about crime from the given year. You're able to read such a great variety, and hit the highlights of that year in true crime writing.


This series is a joy for mystery lovers. Each book is centered around a different famous mystery author, and you get lots of background information on the author and their works while enjoying a fun mystery and strong lead character.


This is a really fun middle-grade mystery with a great female lead detective, and fun illustrations.


A quirky famous detective and his determined ward investigate mysterious crimes that no one else can solve.


To me, this is one of the most fascinating cases of mysterious unsolved death ever recorded, and this book posits a really interesting and well-researched theory.


This book posits a fascinating and captivating theory about one of the most famous psychological cases ever recorded, and suggests that those in charge may have perpetrated a truly tragic crime against a fellow human being.



Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: Camp So-And-So




This is a weird and wonderful book.

It ostentatiously tells the story of a group of girls who are mailed invitations to attend a summer camp, and who accept these invitations, ready to head off to what they assume will be a week full of smores, songs and sleeping under the stars.

But this story goes places they, and you,will never see coming.

The mysterious narrator had me guessing from the start, as did the unique structure of the book, set up as if it was being run as a play (though the chapters are in prose, not script). There's the group facing off against their rich archenemy camp across the lake, the group running from a murderously mad former camper, the group on a heroic quest, the group who seem to have found their soulmates, and the group just trying to survive as their cabin turns against them.

McCoy plays with popular narrative tropes from both movies and books, and gives readers a fabulous Cabin in the Woods-esque feel, where we know from the start that our expectations and understandings of human nature are being toyed with by a talented writer who has so much more going on than meets the eye.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

ARC August #6: The Other Girl



Title: The Other Girl
Author: Erica Spindler
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Recommended If You Like: strong female sleuths, secrets from the past, twists and turns

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:

Miranda Rader, a police officer in a small town, is called to a horrific crime scene. But when she gets there, she discovers a newspaper clipping from fifteen years ago, all about the crime in her past she's tried her hardest to forget. As Miranda attempts to discover how her past and the murder victim's present are connected, she will be forced to confront the truth about that terrible night so many years ago.

What I Liked:

This book was extremely suspenseful. I love a story concerning secrets from the past coming into the present, and Spindler integrated the past and present really well. The flashbacks added to the suspense, and were a really important part of the plot.

I really liked the character of Miranda-she was strong, smart, and determined.

I was also really surprised by all the plot twists. I never had the story figured out, which is always a lot of fun, especially with all the mysteries I read.

Anything I Didn't Like?

While I really liked the romance, I felt the writing of it was a little cliched.

So...?

This is a quick, gripping read that will keep you in suspense and have you turning pages.