Book Review

Book Review: For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Thriller
Length: 373 pages
Author: Samantha Downing
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

WELL THAT WAS TWISTED.

What a fantastic audiobook. Really brought the whole story to life and I devoured this easily.

But also, wow, was this a wild read. Every few chapters I was surprised by who was murdered next. I like that I got the POV of many of the characters. Nobody was exactly redeemable or likable in this tale, and yet, that really worked for this story. I didn’t know who was going to do what next and I like that aspect for thrillers.

I’m not sure how I felt about the ending? I guess I thought it was be more of a punch. Instead it turned out to be a little bit of a let down. Things happened that needed to, but not in the way I expected.

Very dark and sinister. Full of dark academia and morally grey and just plain bad souls. It’ll definitely keep you on your toes. Twisted obsessions turned murderous. Leaving many in their wake.

Overall audience notes:

  • Thriller
  • Language: a little
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, poisoning, loss of loved ones, catfishing, extortion, blackmail

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman

Rating: ☆
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 330 pages
Author: Jessica Goodman
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From rising star Jessica Goodman, author of They Wish They Were Us, comes a new fast-paced thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country team–the only way out of their stifling small town. But their dreams are suddenly thrown into peril when a new girl threatens to take away everything they’ve worked for… until she disappears.

Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and she keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life and she won’t let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course.

The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers’ lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can’t help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie’s been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong–she’s someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she’d never be: distracted.

With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won’t let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.

I DID NOT LIKE THIS.

Whatsoever.

The further this went one the more I cringed. And I don’t like suuuper long rants so I’ll run over the lowlights.

This felt like a girl vs. girl hate fest. Nobody was likeable. And everyone was just terrible to each other. I hate that. I get that, obviously, girls won’t like each other sometimes, but when it takes over the entire book I’m really missing the support of ANYONE to redeem the plot. Not to mention all of the other side characters who weren’t likable either. Everything felt forced to create this culture of hate and it didn’t make this thriller book…thrilling.

Part of the plot is the fact 3 previous girls have been murdered by someone. And guess what? YOU NEVER ACTUALLY FIND OUT WHO. It’s brought up often enough that I expected to get an answer about it. I couldn’t believe there was never closure for those girls too.

And random crap like saying a 3k (5.1 miles) was 6 laps around a track??? No. That’s not right either. For a sports [cross country] based book, I don’t like some clear gaps in reserach.

There’s just a tidbit of my issues with this read. It was not good. And not worth the time.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Thriller
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: kisses to brief open
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, alcoholism (of a parent, who went to rehab, had one relapse and is okay during the book), cheating, abortion, substance abuse (another parent who abuses drugs)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’
‘I got here yesterday.’
‘Where did you come from?’
‘I have no idea.’

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can’t remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s brilliant new novel.

CHARACTER DRIVEN.

Dare I say…too character driven? That might be the first time I’ve said that. The longer I listened to the book the more I realized I probably would’ve DNF if I was physically reading. There was a plot, but not? I don’t know, I was a bit confused by it even if by the second half I was curious as to how everything was going to end.

Definitely a cast of unlikeable characters. That really worked for this type of read so it wasn’t a big deal. The pace is slow and has flashback chapters that build over the course of the novel. There’s dry humor mixed in with some dark topics [check trigger warnings]. I found myself creeped out and hoping for justice.

I feel like I don’t have a lot to say. It was fine? Pretty forgettable though as I have read thrillers with some of the same themes and ideas, which is probably causing my lack of words too. It’s a backlist title that you could enjoy, but also, wouldn’t be missing anything if you skipped it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Violence: physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual assault (on page), attempted rape (on page), drug use, murder, kidnapping, memory loss, loss of loved ones

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan #1) by Elle Cosimano

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Author: Elle Cosimano
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: February 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moment, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano. 

LOVE THE RIDICULOUSNESS.

I very much found this to be worth the bookstagram hype!

What really works for this book is if you can suspend some of your belief in how this entire plot works out. It’s going to seem utterly wild, but to me, that was the best part. I found myself laughing when I was explaining the plot to friends because it’s completely nonsensical. AND I LOVED THAT.

Finlay is a woman to cheer for. Down on her luck and looking for anything to pick her back up she ends up on this wild ride. Enter a babysitter with no filter and some hot guys on the side and I was into this suspenseful murder mystery.

Some of the pages were a bit slow. When the action is moving though it’s hard to put down. I thought this took turns I wasn’t quite expecting and that ENDING rocked me. Really didn’t see it coming and I’m excited to see what the sequel entails.

I would have loved even more larger look into the romantic sub-plot. Things move really quickly (but I think that’s the nature of this type of story?) so I wasn’t overly affected, just could’ve gotten to know the men more. A great, easy to read mystery novel that was different from those I’ve read before.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, implied closed door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a man who exhibits stalking behavior, manipulation, drugs & rapes women, blackmails (none of this is on page, but is discussed), murder, multiple cheating relationships

Instagram || Goodreads