Book Review

Book Review: The Need by Helen Phillips

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction/Thriller
Length: 272 pages
Author: Helen Phillips
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

THIS BOOK STILL WEIRDS ME OUT.

I’m honestly not sure where to start on reviewing this book. This was really hyped on Bookstagram by a few people I follow as a good book but it’s best NOT knowing anything about it before going in.

And I feel that’s the way this review is going to go too. I don’t want to give much of anything away because [to me] the intention of this book is to truly form your own opinion on how it ends.

This starts out really trippy, creepy, and I had to read with the lights on right next to my husband (if you’re new to this page: I am scared of all things even remotely creepy). After we got to what appeared to be the biggest twist everything else got psychological, philosophical and odd.

I really felt and understood her portrayal of motherhood. As a parent myself a lot of those pieces I was able to connect with. This work of fiction though was more of a miss for me besides that.

As you can see, my review is a bit scattered, because this book is a bit scattered. I still would recommend this for those interested because it’s a very short, very quick (small, choppy chapters) read and I think it’ll bring out a different reaction in everyone!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction / Thriller
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: some kisses, two a little detailed love scenes
  • Violence: falling into a pit

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Book Review

Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Author: Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: July 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

NOT AS THRILLING AS I HAD HYPED IN MY MIND.

I think I overthought this book. It seemed really creepy, but I wasn’t AS creeped out as I expected (and trust me, I am a wimp about the scary stuff).

This was definitely a unique premise! I don’t plan on living in any apartment any time soon after reading this. I thought it was well crafted and kept me in the dark long enough to want to keep reading. It was great writing and kept me intrigued. I thought more action would happen before so late in the book, but it didn’t drag it down too much.

I liked Jules as an MC. I thought she had some good qualities and wasn’t that annoying girl in a thriller, ya know? I wanted her to figure everything out and get the heck out of dodge. Jules was crazy brave, and her in those last few scenes? YES. I could picture that in a movie and thought it was absolute thriller gold.

I never got freaked out until around page 315 (out of 371). There was a lot more talk about all of the things happening at the Bartholomew, but not a lot of showing yet. The deeper the story wove, and the more Jules got to be involved, the better everything became. The atmosphere was full of a dark edge.

I love the way the chapters wove together. The flashes back and forth were perfectly timed and made me read even faster. I didn’t see the ending coming at all! It was truly unique to the handful of thrillers I have read (which isn’t a lot, but was excited it was totally different). When it leaned one way I was like ehhhhh, then when it turned a different way I was like WHAAA, okay that blows my mind.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult thriller/mystery
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: some kisses, one love scene (a little detailed)
  • Violence: torture, medical experimentation, murder, physical, arson
  • Trigger warnings: a lot of mentions of suicide: one throughout about an off screen character (jumping from building), suicide by overdose and arson (Chapter 22), suicide by jumping (Chapter 55), suicide by gun shot (Chapter 56)

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Book Review

Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction + Fantasy + Mythology
Length: 393 pages
Author: Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Expected Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

LOVED THIS STORY.

I have always been a huge fan of Greek Mythology. It’s fascinating and I am enamored by the stories. This was no different. I didn’t know much about Circe prior and I was swept away with how Miller created her story. Props to the audiobook too because that was STELLAR. Great narration and easy to follow.

The writing was beautiful and lyrical. Completely entrancing seeing Circe live her life. It was amazing seeing all of the characters that were in this book. I couldn’t get enough of knowing and learning about the titans and gods and all of the humans Circe loved. It is a bit of a slower paced book that is still able to hold your attention. I wanted to keep reading and following Circe on her journey.

Odysseus played a huge role in this story. From reading (and all together loving, because let’s face it, I was in high school and could care less at the time) the Odyssey and only barely grasping what happened there to feeling like I got a whole new side of him. I know this is all mythology, but everything FELT real. I was deeply in love with all of these characters, especially Circe and Odysseus. Circe was strong, brave, and cunning. A goddess in her own right.

There was a magical world built around the myths of Circe and the titans. I loved exploring the land and even though this book is mostly set on an island, you would never know it. A lot continually happens and I am wholly impressed by this book. I’m definitely interested in reading The Song of Achilles now!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction + Fantasy + Greek mythology
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: kisses, mentions of lying with each other and spending the night together, so you definitely know what happened, but nothing is descriptive
  • Violence: torture, poison, physical, shipwrecks, monster attacks, magic
  • Trigger warnings: rape (end of Chapter 14, a little detailed; happens to Circe from a group of sailors that come to her island); two descriptive birth scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: The Wiseman’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 994 pages
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived … until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

THIS WAS A LOT OF BOOK.

This was my second 1,000 page book in August 2019 and whoa, I thought I might not make it. I found that with this style of writing if I commit myself to about 100 pages/day I’m a lot more interested. It’s a lot to read, and a lot happening, and it really was nice to put this down, read something lighter and come back to it. I think it allowed me to really immerse myself in reading it and taking a slower pace.

I absolutely love Kvothe and only want happiness for his poor, tortured soul. Though with the interludes during the present, I’m not sure if that will ever happen. I love the interludes and find that it adds more intrigue to the mythical-ness of the story. Kvothe has to deal with so much on a daily basis and is able to take it all in stride. I find that his ability to be pretty much great at whatever he does not as in your face as it sounds.

Denna. Denna. Denna. I’m honestly not sure where I stand with her. I know she and Kvothe are both young, so I attribute a lot of her actions and choices to that fact (and her unknown history). Sometimes she annoyed me at such an intense level that I wanted to put the book down, other times, I wanted her and Kvothe to speak to each other much more plainly. Really lay it all out there. There’s an interesting relationship brewing between the two of them that I will have to wait to decide my full opinion on.

They’re a million + 1 characters in this book that I could spend forever discussing. I really don’t have anyone that sticks out as someone I can’t stand so I loved moving from location to location getting to know everyone on an even deeper level. Speaking of location change: they’re multiple in this book! YAYAY. Love a good adventure. It was definitely needed to spice up the book. I was bored of hanging around the University.

The 4 star comes in because this book is just too long. When I compare it to other very very long novels, every page really means something or stood out to me. I thought that some pieces of this book could truly be shortened and it still would be a great read. Way super, over the top curious where the last book will take us. Especially after this crazy long wait.

Overall audience notes:

  • High fantasy
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses, a good handful of light detailed love scenes, nothing explicit (from some phrases you can tell the implications)
  • Violence: magic, swords, poison, knives, explosions, fires, voodoo, physical
  • Trigger warnings: physical abuse, mentions of rape (off-screen)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Fiction + Contemporary Romance
Length: 291 pages
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

A QUICK READ WITH ALL THE FEELS.

This is one of those books that came in hard and fast and left me reeling.

Annika is a brave, strong, caring and loyal woman. She is on the autism spectrum and while I can’t speak to whether this was a good depiction or not, I love how quirky, unfiltered, and sweet she was.

This was a second chance love story with Annika’s first everything love, Jonathan. I ADORED HIM. He was someone who may not have always understood Annika, but never tried to force her into something she wasn’t comfortable with or treat her poorly otherwise. I think we all want to feel that kind of respect and love in our lives. Their relationship flowed beautifully and I appreciated that this second-chance wasn’t because of some over dramatic break-up. Both Annika and Jonathan may not have handled the break-up in the best way (which they both acknowledged), they were at least finally able to discuss what needed to be said.

JANICE. What a friend y’all. I also think everyone needs a friend like her. She was absolutely wonderful and I thought her and Annika’s friendship was amazing. Their friendship grew and changed over time as well, and I love that they continually reached out to one another even when states apart.

I thought this was a great use of the back and forth timeline trope. Sometimes it can get bogged down in one area or another, but this one flipped back and forth at the perfect times. The chapters are shorter and easily flow. I literally finished this book in one day because I could NOT PUT IT DOWN.

The twist towards the end did blindside me a bit. There were definitely a few hints I am now looking back and realizing. Was it necessary to add that craziness? Maybe not, but I still panicked and flipped out nonetheless. I didn’t love how quickly it ended, but since I got my tender and sweet love story I’m okay with it. I could have definitely used an epilogue though.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction + Contemporary romance
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a few explicit love scenes (but not vulgar if that makes sense)
  • Trigger warnings: bullying, miscarriage, depression, suicide ideation, plane crashes

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Book Review

Book Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: July 17th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

ALL THE EMOTIONS.

This book tore me up. I love anything CoHo writes. I haven’t read all of her books, but currently I’m at 8 of them and this one might be my favorite yet. Hoover is able to take this intense situations and emotions and create a book that somehow still gives you hope at the end (even if you’re crying).

I really felt this book because of it’s main issue, infertility. This is not a light conversation ever and while I personally haven’t had to deal with this, I know many families who have. I thought the way the book conveyed how deeply infertility can affect someone (and those around them) was done well. There were so many sides to take in and brought in a lot of moments that made the book an easy five stars.

“I love you more in this moment than any moment that has come before it.” 

The now vs. then timeline had me speeeeed reading because I had to know what happened next. It was the perfect stop and starts as I got to see them fall in love, and find that love again. The last couple of chapters with Graham’s letters DESTROYED ME. I seriously went to go kiss my husband after finishing this book because it made me consider a lot. Every couple has to remember why they love each other sometimes and not to give in at the same time. So many truths in this book.

Characters made me want to hug them, yell at them, cry with them, and much more. I couldn’t believe some actions taken by others. It was hard to watch. I am in awe of how great this book was and I am forever a CoHo fan.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kiss, make-outs, detailed romance scenes
  • Trigger warnings: self-harm (MC cuts her wrist once), infidelity, infertility, miscarriage, depression, grief, cheating,

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Book Review

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-fi fiction + thriller
Length: 336 pages
Author: Blake Crouch
Publisher: Crown
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? 

MY HEAD HURTS.

I have an unpopular opinion coming your way. I liked Dark Matter more. This book was only okay. On the lower half of my 3 star rating.

This started out great. My head was exhausted trying to grasp all of the scientific concepts, BUT I was still having a good time. I knew we were building up and the back and forth timelines were keeping me intrigued.

Then at a bit past the halfway point I started to notice the repetitiveness. And over and over again the same situation kept happening. Way more times than I thought was necessary to get the point across (and how awful that Helena kept having to go through the same time frame?!?). At this point I stared scanning the pages til we brought up some more action…but none ever came.

The book felt more dedicated to the relationship between Barry and Helena than it did to the drama and thriller aspects I felt I got in Dark Matter. Yes, I was invested in them and thought their relationship made sense. But, it was dragged out and I only wanted to know the answer to how to stop the world from ending.

What was also totally trippy was thinking about this actually happening and what could result from this. A lot of current aspects were taken into account for this book which made it feel all the more real. I dearly hope our government isn’t hiding some memory machine planning to control the fates. There’s a point to this book, you can’t play God.

Overall audience notes:

  • Science fiction mystery/thriller
  • Language: f-word a lot (too much for me personally)
  • Romance: some kisses, mentions of “f-ing” each other, but not descriptions of the event
  • Violence: murder, guns, see trigger warnings for me
  • Trigger warnings: suicide ideation, multiple descriptions of peoples suicide and mass suicides

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