Tag: 2 stars

The Weekenders


Author: Mary Kay Andrews
AUDIOBOOK

Published: May 17, 2016
Dates Read: February 14- March 7, 2017

My Rating: 2 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends, and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it becomes clear that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Now Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

My Review:

I first want to say I am a Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) fan. She is also from Georgia, and I love to support authors who live in my state. I have read some of her books that I have loved (Beach Town and Save the Date) and others that were passable. I hate to say it, but The Weekenders was of the latter.

MKA books are women’s fiction/chick lit/beach reads. They make for a quick and easy read. The Weekenders is about Riley Griggs and her daughter Maggy. Riley and her daughter are heading for Belle Isle to stay at their vacation house. While on the ferry Riley is handed some papers by a process server. Riley is not happy about those papers and her husband not showing. From that point on there are a few mysteries that occur in The Weekenders. A body shows up and it also appears that Riley’s husband has a few secrets of his own. Also entering the picture is Nate, who was involved with Riley in the past.

I can’t say too much more about the novel without spoilers. I did not become that attached to the characters, although I did like Maggy. She is a twelve year old with a serious attitude problem, and she also has juvenile diabetes. She causes drama, along with a lot of family drama in Riley’s family. I really did not have any feelings about Riley. I know you are supposed to root for her with everything she goes through, but some of that could be considered problems the wealthy have. I am far from wealthy and I suppose that is why I did not identify with her.

I admit I kept listening to the audiobook as I wanted to know about the murder. Once we find out who the murderer was I couldn’t help but giggle. I was not expecting this particular character to be the murderer. It is unrealistic as to how and when we find out who the murderer is: A conversation where the character admits to the murder right before a hurricane coming to the island. Closer to the end of the novel it just seemed like the hurricane was thrown in to make an already long book even longer. It was a bit ridiculous and far-fetched in my opinion.

I know beach reads are for fun and to throw all belief out the door, but in this case The Weekenders was a bit excessive. For me the best part of the book was the Epilogue. Everything was concluded in a nice way.

Overall, I would say skip The Weekenders and read another of MKA’s book. I would recommend the first book of hers I read, as it is what put her on my radar: Save the Date.

In a Dark Dark Wood

Author: Ruth Ware
AUDIOBOOK

Published: 8/04/2015
Dates Read: December 12-26, 2016

My Rating: 2 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

My Review:

Leonora (Lee/Nora- I will reference her as Nora in this review) is a 26 year old crime writer. One day she gets an email inviting her to a Hen (bachelorette) party for her old friend Clare. She hasn’t seen Clare in ten years and wonders why she was even invited to the party since it has been so long since they have seen each other and when she wasn’t even invited to the wedding. After debating with herself she decides to attend. ( I would wonder the same thing. Why would someone I haven’t talked to in ten years invite me to her party? More than likely I would not go. ) Things go horribly wrong at the party and forty-eight hours later she awakens at the hospital. She has no memory of what happened but overhears a conversation and knows someone is dead. Nora becomes determined to find out what happened and who is dead?

The book goes back and forth from the hospital and the hen party. While at the party, Nora discovers who Clare is marrying and I will not say who he is, but whom the groom is goes back to issues they had in their teen years. The small group has several adventures leading up to the tragic evening.

This is yet another book with an unreliable narrator. At least the narrator is not an alcoholic, she just has amnesia. As she begins to remember that evening, you can’t help but wonder are these memories accurate, or is Nora the murderer?

The beginning pulled me in, but in the end it just wasn’t for me. Things that happened in her teen years are still affecting Nora and she kept focusing on it in the book. I can say I did not predict the ending of the book. I was a little shocked with the ending and the killer’s motive. The killer’s motive was a bit juvenile in itself.

I have read much better mysteries and worse mysteries. I would say skip In a Dark, Dark Wood and read Ruth Ware’s second book, The Woman in Cabin 10 which I awarded four stars. The protagonist in Cabin 10 is also unreliable, but it is a much superior book than Dark, Dark Wood is. My review for Cabin 10 is here.

I do look forward to reading more from Ruth Ware.

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The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

 Author: Chelsea Sedoti
400 pages in Kindle

Publish Date: 01/03/2017
Dates Read: December 12-21, 2016

My Rating: 2 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment-which means the time for speculation is now.

So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her-or did he?

Told with a unique voice that is both hilarious and heart-wrenching, Hawthorn’s quest for proof may uncover the greatest truth is within herself.

My Review:

Hawthorn is a high school senior loner and I personally pictured her dressed like a goth. Hawthorn is misunderstood like goths can be in that kind of life. She pretends things do not bother her, or that she doesn’t care about things when she actually does. One day Lizzie Lovett disappears. She is three years older than Hawthorn, was the popular teenager when she was in high school, and her older brother had dated Lizzie briefly.

Everyone at school comes up with their own theories as to what happened to Lizzie, including Hawthorn. She also beings to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life which includes getting a job where Lizzie works and beginning to hang out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. Hawthorn does this so much it becomes an obsession. I found it odd, especially since Hawthorn barely knew Lizzie. I couldn’t help but wonder why she was doing this. At some times, it seemed like she wanted to become Lizzie.

As you read in the book description above, Hawthorn’s theory about Lizzie is described as ‘absurd’. It truly is absurd, much to the detriment of the book, especially for a book in the YA (Young Adult) contemporary genre. Hawthorn seemingly believes her theory and word about her theory gets around town.

The only reason I kept reading The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett was that I really wanted to know what happened to Lizzie. I did not have any kind of attachment to Lizzie. We do find out the answer to what happened to her. Once we find out what happened, the book and Hawthorn take a different turn. The last 13% of the book deals with an important issue for teenagers. If only the rest of the book was like the last 13%. That last 13% held my attention more than the other 87%.

I can not recommend The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett.

I received an arc copy from NetGalley.

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