Book Review : The Cabin At The End Of The World By Paul Tremblay

From Goodreads:

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

My Review:

I have to say that while my past experience with this author had me expecting a heavy dose of visceral horror, that’s not quite what I got with this one. I’m not quite sure how to describe this book. There’s definitely some horror in it, and parts are horrific, but the frightening bits seemed almost to take a backseat to what seemed to be the focus of the plot, which was, perhaps, a study in existentialism in terms of horror? I don’t know. This was a weird one. I enjoyed it, but it was strange and perhaps a tad unruly in that it’s not at all what I thought I’d be getting.

Book Review : Furiously Happy By Jenny Lawson

From Goodreads:

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

“I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family—and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy—and who doesn’t want a bit more of that? 

My Review:

Whether you suffer from depression, love someone who does, or are just looking for some entertainment, Lawson’s your girl. Her unexpected wisdom, wit, and weirdness are inspiring, endearing, and just plain fun! I can trust that her books will make me laugh out loud while also making me think about common things in an entirely new light!

Book Review: The Locked Door By Freida McFadden

From Goodreads:

Some doors are locked for a reason…

While eleven-year-old Nora Davis was up in her bedroom doing homework, she had no idea her father was killing women in the basement.

Until the day the police arrived at their front door.

Decades later, Nora’s father is spending his life behind bars, and Nora is a successful surgeon with a quiet, solitary existence. Nobody knows her father was a notorious serial killer. And she intends to keep it that way.

Then Nora discovers one of her young female patients has been murdered. In the same unique and horrific manner that her father used to kill his victims.

Somebody knows who Nora is. Somebody wants her to take the fall for this unthinkable crime. But she’s not a killer like her father. The police can’t pin anything on her.

As long as they don’t look in her basement.

My Review:

McFadden has quickly become one of my go-to authors when I need a book that will keep my attention and deliver an intriguing plot with impressive twists. She’s a master at suspense, and I love that no matter what the ‘theme’ of the book, from influencers to camping trips to serial killers, there’s going to be something that feels fresh, inventive, and unexpected in the pages!

Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides

From Goodreads:

Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

My Review:

This is one of those books where there’s been so much hype that you know it’s going to fall short of expectations, but because of all the hype, you have to give it a shot to find out what all the fuss is about. However, even though I expected to be let down, I wasn’t! There were several nice twists, and while they weren’t all completely unexpected, some were definitely crafty! Considering that this was a debut book, color me impressed!

Book Review: She Lies In Wait By Gytha Lodge

From Goodreads:

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal” Nicci French

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

My Review:

I always find British (or any country other than the US, really) procedural books interesting because there’s a definite difference in the way cases (even fictional ones) are approached. This one had an interesting premise, with plenty of suspects. It was well written and held my attention, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I had hoped, probably for the very reason that it was a procedural book set in another country, and while I always find them interesting, there’s also always a little bit of a disconnect because of the very differences I find so interesting. Also, while there were clues left for the reader, I would have enjoyed a stronger “aha!” moment. Overall, though, a good mystery and an enjoyable read.

Book Review: The Couple Upstairs By Shalini Boland

After a young couple buys a new house together, things slowly start to unravel.

This one was only okay for me, definitely not my favorite by this author. I didn’t connect with the characters and the plot just didn’t have the stakes necessary to hook me and invest me in the outcome, but this book comes highly rated/recommended, so while I found it underwhelming, many readers found it thrilling.

3.5 rounded up.

From Goodreads: I should never have become friends with the couple upstairs…

The first time I step inside this cosy apartment with its sash windows, just minutes from the sea, I think it would be the perfect place for me and my partner Zac to start again. A chance to leave our troubled past behind.

Chris and Vanessa, the couple upstairs, are so welcoming: smiles, flowers, a home-baked cake. It’s strange how he does all the talking, and she seems so shy, but I’m just thrilled to have new friends nearby.

But everything starts to go wrong… my business begins to crumble, I can’t ignore the whispers at our housewarming party and loud arguments from upstairs keep me awake at night. I can’t sleep, I can’t think straight and I feel like someone is watching me in my own home.

And then Zac comes home one afternoon, his face clenched with fury, and says he knows what’s going on. He knows about my secret…

He won’t listen to me. He storms out and I’m left in tears, completely devastated.

Why has my life fallen apart since we moved here? Am I going mad? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

If only I’d known what I know now.
If only I hadn’t trusted the couple upstairs.

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and The Wife Between Us. 

Book Review: Hold Back The Night By Sean Lynch

Two escaped convicts, a raging wildfire, and an innocent family in both of their paths . . .

One word is all I need to describe this book – intense. From the SWAT scenes to the criminal element to the fire, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat, breathless, not sure whether you should beg for it to stop or beg for more. I chose more and was quite satisfied with the outcome.

From Goodreads:

As wildfires blaze in Northern California, a female SWAT team operative hunts two escaped convicts in a heart-pounding thriller inspired by real-life cases and crackling with authenticity from bestselling author and law enforcement veteran Sean Lynch.

If you think you’re scared now…wait until dark.

Three unsuspecting women. Two escaped convicts. One shocking night of escalating terror. From acclaimed crime writer and law enforcement veteran Sean Lynch…

It begins with a spark. A simple act of carelessness that ignites the autumn grass of the Sierra Nevadas. In minutes, the flames spread. A raging wildfire sweeps down the mountain, engulfing a van from the local prison–giving two chained convicts a chance to escape…
Two desperate men. Psychologically disturbed. Extremely dangerous.

In Farnham County live three very different women. Marjorie Guthrie, a wealthy suburban housewife fleeing an abusive marriage; Mary Hernandez, her troubled, rebellious sister; and Leanne Strayer, a young SWAT deputy with a dark past. All three share one thing in common: they are in the wrong place at the wrong time….
Today, their worst fears come true. Tonight, the nightmares come home.

Book Review: Pumpkin By Julie Murphy

An overweight gay boy in a small town films a private video where he experiments with drag. After the video gets leaked and he’s nominated for his high school’s prom court – for queen – he decides to throw caution to the wind and go for the crown.

This is the third in the Dumplin‘ series, and I swear, these books are so feel-good, funny, and addictive it’s unbelievable – they take me half the time to read as similar length books! Filled with teen angst and coupled with hope, this is the high school experience you wish you’d had!

From Goodreads: Return to the beloved world of Julie Murphy’s #1 New York Times bestselling Dumplin’—now a popular Netflix feature film starring Jennifer Aniston—in this fabulously joyful, final companion novel about drag, prom, and embracing your inner Queen.

Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth.

So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape getting accidentally shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king.

Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.

Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . . 

Book Review: At First Light By Barbara Nickless

Gritty murders full of symbolism. Viking lore and ruins. An academic and a detective hot on the killer’s trail.

This was a smart book that read like watching a movie and kept me guessing until the end! The characters were great, well developed, perfectly flawed, and interesting. The plot was enthralling, and the Viking history, semiotics, and lore were fascinating! This is the first in a brilliant new series that is sure to be a success!

From Goodreads: Ritual murder. Archaic clues. A visionary killer. In this heart-stopping novel by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Sydney Rose Parnell series, words can kill.

On the muddy banks of the Calumet River, a body has been found posed next to a series of mysterious glyphs and bearing wounds from a ritualistic slaying. Chicago detective Addie Bisset knows only one man who can decipher the message left by the killer: her friend Dr. Evan Wilding. A brilliant forensic semiotician, Evan decodes the etchings as Viking Age runes. They suggest either human sacrifice or righteous punishment. But to what god? And for what sins?

Only one thing is clear from the disturbing runic riddles: there are more victims to come.

As Evan races to determine the identity of the Viking Poet, he and Addie uncover the killer’s most terrifying secret yet: the motive. This startling discovery puts Evan’s life in mortal danger, and verse by ancient verse, time is running out. 

Book Review: Falling By T.J. Newman

It was supposed to be a routine flight, but when the pilot finds out his wife and children have been kidnapped and will die unless he crashes the plane, things get interesting.

I’ve seen mixed reviews about this book, but I thought it was an action-packed thrill ride full of tension and adventure! The characters were a little one-dimensional and certain parts of the premise were a little farfetched, but it held my attention and I enjoyed it.

From Goodreads:

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

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