Saturday, July 28, 2018

Vacation ARC Review Roundup!

I haven't posted reviews in a few weeks because I was on vacation in Italy! I had the most amazing three weeks, and got a lot of reading done on the train rides between cities. I then got back and at the end of the week rescued a new dog, Indy! So its been a busy month for sure. I've got a bunch of books to review, and am starting with Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage!

This is one well-done, very creepy book, and definitely not a read for the faint of heart.

Hanna is not your typical child. She is a seven year old who refuses to speak, but she is also a child who shows terrifying and escalating aggression towards her unwell mother, Suzette. Hanna's father never sees anything but a loving little girl who needs help to express herself--but Suzette sees a dangerous mind in the body she carried inside her.

The alternating chapters between Suzette and Hanna's perspectives really up the ante. Baby Teeth is a book that is constantly upping the ante, with such intensity that it's haunting. I could not put this book down.

To say Louise is struggling in life would be an understatement. But when she meets the rich and beautiful Lavinia, Louise thinks everything is going to change for the better. Louise is drawn into the parties, the decadence, the drugs and the drinking, as well as finally being part of a group where she has the chance to matter.

But what the reader knows from the start is that Lavinia is going to die. Louise tells us herself.

Knowing this from the start ups the suspense as readers know they are in the hands of a narrator who can't afford to lose. I really enjoyed Burton's writing style, and am excited to see what she writes next.

In Bring Me Back, Paris continues to explore relationships, facades, and the complications of secrets and lies.

The love of Finn's life, Layla, disappeared at a roadside stop a decade ago. Now Finn is marrying Layla's sister, Ellen, an event that seems to have brought Layla--or someone pretending to be her--back into their lives. But there are things both Finn and Ellen have been keeping secret for a long time, and whoever is sending them messages is determined to bring everything into the light.

While this was a gripping suspenseful read, I didn't love it in the same way I loved Behind Closed Doors. The ending was definitely a surprise with a huge twist, but when I thought about it, it didn't really make a lot of sense.

When a newlywed couple finds something completely unexpected on their honeymoon, they make decisions that change everything for them and their life together.

Here's the thing with this book. It starts out with a lot of promise. The first chapter is a great set up that had me hooked right away.

But the middle section, at least to me, was very predictable. I called it very early on. This made getting through the middle section almost a bit of a chore.

The end, however, was also really well done. It was completely unexpected, a great twist, that surprised me and left me thinking.

So, total, the book was pretty good. It was just that middle section that really lacked. Steadman has great ideas, she just needs to work on carrying the interest of the story completely through, not just the beginning and ending.

Kate Randolph seems like Frances Metcalfe's savior. Ostracized by the other school moms for an incident involving her son, unhappy with her looks, and feeling deeply lonely, Frances has always yearned for a friend like Kate. Kate brings Frances and her son out of their shells, and Frances helps Kate's daughter feel comfortable in her own skin.

But within this seemingly perfect friendship, something is terribly wrong. One of these women is Amber Kunik. One of these women is a murderer.

This was a really clever, suspenseful take on female friendships, culpability, and family. I kept thinking I knew who was who and what was going on, but I was always wrong, and I really enjoyed being constantly surprised.

When Michael finds out he might be the father of a missing girl, he immediately jumps into action, finding himself lost and confused on a road trip with his ex-wife. His ex-wife insists she knows who is responsible for kidnapping the little girl, but as the night progresses, Michael begins to question everything he thought he knew.

This was a suspenseful read, especially with the chapters alternating between Michael's journey and what was happening with his current wife at their home. I did see the final twist coming a few chapters before it happened, but I think that was the author's intention, to drop just enough clues so the reader could have a chance to figure it out.

Claire has had to make a living by working undercover with divorce lawyers to prove wive's suspicions that their husbands are cheating. But when one of her clients is suddenly murdered, Claire goes deeply undercover to get a confession out of the husband. As Claire gets more and more entangled in the husband's life, she finds herself more and more unsure about who she truly is and what she is truly involved in.

Here's the thing with this book, at least for me-it felt like Delaney was throwing way too much into the mix. The premise itself was already interesting, but there kept being twist after twist, where it got to the point where the twists stopped making sense and just seemed to be there just for there to be more twists. This took me out of the story and made me like the book less than I suspect I would have had Delaney just settled on a few solid surprises and left it there.