Author: Ruth Ware
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.
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.
With just a few days remaining in 2016, I have come up with my Top 10 list of books read for 2016!
The list will begin with 10 and end with my #1 choice for 2016!:
10. The Queen of Blogging by Terese Loreskar
The Queen of Blogging is a fast paced, entertaining story about making ends meet when you have toddlers, a husband that works too much and showing off your life on a blog for the outside world to see.
Kajsa runs Sweden’s largest Health and Fitness blog. There’s only one small problem; it’s all a big lie. Between her blog entries on healthy nutritious porridge and flashy running shoes, she lies on the sofa watching TV and eating sweets. Her only exercise is using the remote control.
Her life seems perfect: A beautiful house in an attractive suburb of Stockholm, three children, a loving husband and loads of money.
However, things start to crumble when she accidently writes on her blog that she is best friends with a famous Hollywood personal trainer. The problem is he’s never met, let alone heard of her.
An ambitious journalist, who doesn’t believe Kajsa has been honest about her blog or her friendship with the personal trainer, sets out to destroy her.
Besides having to handle the annoying journalist, she must also deal with Peter, “the blog following hunk”, and a bizarre and outrageous priest who keeps spreading Kajsa’s secrets all over town!
Bestselling Swedish author Therese Loreskar writes with a never-ending sense of humour and energy.
The Queen of Blogging is for anyone who enjoys a comic read that also explores the downside of our generation’s constant use of social media.
Terese Loreskar did a great job making me laugh with The Queen of Blogging. Kajsa is Sweden’s Bridget Jones! If you like Bridget you will like Kajsa!
9. The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
Wow, just wow! I adored Melanie. I enjoyed reading a different take on zombies again. (I need to re-read Raising Stony Mayhall now!) I wish the movie was out on DVD NOW!!!
8. Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. For years Jack has avoided returning home, but when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.
Upon arriving, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past, but the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.
Heather Gudenkauf’s newest book. I enjoy a murder mystery. And of course she is my favorite author! She made this list three times. She was the queen this year!!
7. The Help (Audiobook version) by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.
I read this several years ago. My sister-in-law enjoyed the audiobook. There are multiple narrators and they do a great job!
6. Room (Audiobook version) by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
This is the second time I have listened to Room in audiobook. I wanted to watch the movie, so I decided to listen to it again. The narrator of the audiobook is BRILLIANT with her portrayal of Jack!!! I will only ‘read’ this book in the audiobook format! The movie stayed fairly true to the book. It was also very well done.
5. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
Heather Gudenkauf’s second book. Such suspense!!
4. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.
Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.
Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter’s voice.
Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.
Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.
This was Heather Gudenkauf’s debut book. SUPERB!!!! You must read this book!!!
3. Still Missing (Audiobook version) by Chevy Stevens
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.
The truth doesn’t always set you free.
Still Missing is that rare debut find–a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.
This is the second time I have listened to Still Missing. The narrator does such a great job portraying Annie! This is a hard book to listen to as it deals with very difficult subject matter, but Chevy Stevens is WONDERFUL!
2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
I know, everyone read this one this year with the movie coming out. Very well done and deals with a controversial issue. Many call it a love story; to me it is not, it is a life story. I plan to watch the movie soon. The sequel is good, but does not live up to the original.
And my top choice of 2016 is My Girl by Jack Jordan
Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house.
Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death?
Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets.But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.
From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.
What can I say? Jack Jordan, OMG!!! At first I thought we were dealing with another Rachel from The Girl on a Train and was not expecting much from this book. Then that unexpected twist happens! Jack, you are BRILLIANT and I can not wait to read your first novel Anything for Her, which I did receive as a kindle gift. I hope your third book comes along soon!
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.
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.[Top]