Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: A Must Read Summer Debut

Where The Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens
Published August 14, 2018 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
384 Pages
Buy From Amazon

From the Publisher: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, aka the “Marsh Girl”

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My Overall ThoughtsWhere the Crawdads Sing is a book you’ve probably been seeing everywhere lately whether it’s been blowing up your Instagram feed, hitting some of the late summer must read lists and recently making People Magazine’s Best Book Of the Week pick! If you’ve wondered if it’s possibly as good as everyone is making it out to be I’m here to give my two cents worth and say yes it is, so run, don’t walk, to buy or borrow it now.

What Initially Drew Me In
I was intrigued by the fact that the storyline involved a possible murder, an isolated “marsh girl” and the two men who get wrapped up in her world. Could this also be a love story? (hint: yes!) Funny thing was, when I really got into the story which alternates between 1969 and the 1950s, I almost forgot about the murder mystery part as I was so invested in Kya’s story.

Atmospheric Writing
Owen’s writing created a feeling of actually being in the marsh which truly became its own character . I felt the suspense of wondering how this little girl, abandoned by her entire family, was going to survive on her own. The townspeople saw her as “white trash” and, not surprisingly, did little to help her. There was, however, bright spots amongst the cruelty, one of them being a local man named Jumpin who was my favorite character after Kya. Speaking of Kya, if you’re at all worried that she’s a “weird” character who doesn’t want to connect with others, don’t be as her desire for companionship and to be cared about by others came through so clearly.

“The lonely became larger than she could hold. She wished for someone’s voice, presence, touch, but wished more to protect her heart.”

And possibly my favorite passage in the book…

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

This is debut writing! Amazing!

A Flawless Second Half
I loved how Owens clearly combined her love of nature writing with her exploration of a little girl coming-of-age within the natural world. As for the mystery, I found it to be perfectly paced. The author hands us bits and pieces slowly, allowing this storyline to eventually merge with the past one and then really pick up speed. I found the last third of the book especially riveting as I couldn’t wait to find out if my theories were correct. They weren’t which I loved. As for the ending, I can honestly say I didn’t see one part coming and it left me a little stunned. 

You’ll be seeing this one on my top 10 reads of the year list, it’s just that good. I can’t wait for Delia Owen’s next book, I hope she writes fast! 

Thanks to G. P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger: book review

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
Published July 3, 2018 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
341 Pages
Affiliate Link : Buy From Amazon

From PublisherOn an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar. Among the disappeared is Matthew Lerner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind. Ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau is engaged to Grant Ellis whose father is set to run for President of the US. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including some who are too close to home…

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I’ll admit, when I first came across this title I assumed it was another domestic psychological “wife” thriller (although one with a great cover). The Banker’s Wife , however, was not at all what I expected. I knew from the opening scene in the London airport that this financial thriller was not only going to keep me on my toes, but it had such an international flair and hint of conspiracy and secrets to come that I couldn’t wait to find out more. 

We first meet Marina, an investigative journalist for Press magazine, whose fiancé’s father is close to securing the bid for the next US Presidential election. Although she’s been contemplating quitting the further immersed she gets in the upper echelon of New York society, she’s enticed by her editor to help gather secret evidence from a source in Paris. What follows propels Marina into an investigation of a top Swiss Bank, Swiss United, which may or may not have close US ties. From there we get to be flies on the wall, immersed in the secrets and scandals that cross the globe.

The story alternates perspectives between Marina and Annabel, whose husband Matthew is missing after his plane goes down in the Swiss Alps. Matthew is a banking executive with Swiss United (can you start to see the threads?) and it’s not long before Annabel is questioning not only what happened to her husband’s plane but also if she really knew her husband. 

I was equally invested in both these smart, sophisticated, take control women and the way Alger structured the novel, with lightening paced chapters that combined phenomenal dialogue with increasing tension, was just brilliant. Seriously, I felt like I was watching a movie while reading this book, if that makes sense? It is one of the most cinematic, globe trotting novels I’ve ever read, taking us to Switzerland, Paris, London, and New York.  I could picture each place and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out how all the little threads were connected…or not. Some advice though, this is a close reading type of story where details can be missed, especially in the second half where a few more characters were introduced. I had to really pay attention so as to not feel confused. I highly recommend this intelligent, tightly plotted thriller if you’re looking for something original and fast paced. 

Many thanks to G. P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

Throwback Thursday Book of the Week

Throwback Thursday book of the week is a fun way to share a book I’ve loved that was published in the past and somehow either wasn’t on my radar or I chose to pass it by. These books are usually much easier to get ahold of at the library or usually sold at a lower price in paperback or ebook. This week I’m sharing a book I read in the spring and have been recommending to everyone ever since!

One True Loves  By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published June 7, 2016 By Simon & Schuster
352 pages
Affiliate link: Buy on Amazon

From Publisher: A breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

My Thoughts: Last year I think I was one of the last people to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (my review) which ended up being one of my favorite books in 2017! It wasn’t until this past spring that I decided to try Reid’s backlist books.  Once I dived into this one I was -again- kicking myself for waiting so long to read this book!  It’s the story of Emma and Jesse and Emma and Sam. Yes, a love triangle, but it felt very original.

The book is structured in a way that we get to know how both love stories develop over the first half of the book and then what happens when they are all brought together for the second half. It may sound a little clunky but believe me the structure and the concept work. I was completely sucked into the story after the drama filled opening pages.  I did, however, feel a little loss of momentum when she takes us back in time to their high school lives but this was necessary to truly get a feel for each of them and how they fell in love. I flew through the second half of this book because what a complicated, truly gut punching position for Emma to be in…I had to know who she would choose and what happened after she made her choice. Reid writes in such a realistic, propulsive way that the people and their complicated situations feel real and it’s just SO hard to put her books down. I read this in one sitting and really loved it so even if you think you’re not in the mood for a love triangle, I say give this a try,  you just might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Have you read and enjoyed this or other books by Taylor Jenkins Reid? 

Happy Thursday Reading! 

 

2 Page Turning Books to Read Before Summer Ends

Aren’t page turning books the best in the summer for an afternoon at the pool, beach or, if you’re like me, the patio?  I read both of these in about a day and they both led to late night reading & loss of sleep which for me is the hallmark of a page turner. That sounds like a new category list for the blog…books that cause a loss of sleep…hmmm

The Wife  By Alafair Burke
Published January 23, 2018 By Harper
340 Pages
Affiliate Link Buy From Amazon

Short Summary: A celebrity husband’s scandal, a wife’s secrets, a disappearance all intersect to test loyalty and make us wonder what EXACTLY is going on.

My Thoughts: I have no idea why I waited until now to read this book, big mistake on my part. I loved the intricate web Burke created with this plot so much, even more so because she fooled me in the end. I love that! This book starts with a bang and ends with a “gasp” and includes many subtle twists and turns in between.  How tempting is this first sentence?

In an instant, I became the woman they assumed I’d been all along: the wife who lied to protect her husband. 

Of course I can’t even give you a smidge of a hint about the ending but know this…it’s perfection. What I love about Burke’s writing is her ability to weave an intricate plot that caused me to guess, question everything, guess again, and then realize I wasn’t going to figure this out any time soon, hence the late night of reading. The story is layered and very clever, yet also incorporates timely subject matter which made it feel “ripped from the headlines.” I don’t want to give a single plot detail away so I’ll just say pick this up if you’re looking for a QUALITY psychological thriller that lives up to the thriller title. And if you love this (I think you will), try Burke’s book All Day and a Night , a Throwback Thursdaypick from long ago.

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Jane Doe By Victoria Helen Stone
Published August 1, 2018 By Lake Union
258 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy From Amazon 

Short Summary: Plain Jane is blending in nicely at her new job at an insurance agency but there is much more to Jane than meets the eye. No one suspects she’s leading a double life with a single purpose of revenge

My Thoughts: Oh my you guys, Jane kind of left me speechless and I mean that in the BEST possible way! She’s a little cray-cray but I’d certainly love to be friends with her. She’s a very self aware sociopath, making no apologies for herself and in no way wishes to change. She’s returned to the US after living in Malaysia with a single focus and agenda – revenge. This page turner is told entirely from Jane’s perspective and believe me that’s the best way to tell it.

The dress is soft and flowery, like all of my recent purchases. It could be demure, but I’ve unbuttoned one too many buttons. He’s a breast man, our Steven. Mine aren’t large, but I’ve pushed them up to make them look more C than B. He likes the result. If he ever sees me naked, he’ll be disappointed, but it will only work in my favor.

Along with the fact that I just really loved Jane’s wit, her ingenuity, and her single minded determination to succeed with her plan, I also loved that there was no unreliable narrator and no flashbacks. This is a straightforward, no gimmicks story and that was so welcome! I literally couldn’t put this book down and stayed up super late to finish. My best advice would be to just pick this up -don’t read the synopsis- and prepare to be thoroughly entertained. If you’ve already read and enjoyed You (My Review) by Carolyn Kepnes, I think you’ll definitely love this….and wouldn’t Joe & Jane make the BEST literary couple??

Have you read either of these? What page turning books have YOU read lately?

 

Bookreview: Ghosted By Rosie Walsh

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Published July 24, 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books 

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

Book Quote – “I wondered how it was that you could spend weeks, months – years, even – just chugging on, nothing really changing, and then, in the space of a few hours, the script of your life could be completely rewritten.”

 

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I feel very conflicted about this review! I was dying to read this book, not only because I feel like everyone has been ghosted at some point in their lives, but I was also really intrigued about why he ghosted her. If they were in love as we’re pretty much told right from the start that they are, did he (Eddie) get killed? Was he kidnapped? Was he really a criminal? Did he have a secret family somewhere and got cold feet? Or was she (Sarah) reading the whole thing wrong and perhaps a little off? So many questions and I was completely on board with finding out the answers.

For all the above questions, I was initially very pulled into the beginning of the story but it wasn’t long before I realized the structure wasn’t quite what I expected. We’re basically told in shorter vignettes…Day 1, Day 2…etc (interspersed with present day & letters to someone?) about how Eddie and Sarah met and the development of their insta-love. I have to say, I’m ok with insta-love BUT I need to feel invested and connected with the characters and I just didn’t with these two. For me, the short time we spend with them in each section felt forced, I didn’t believe in their connection let alone the fact they were supposed to be in love so quickly; therefore, I had a very hard time with Sarah’s complete obsession and basic meltdown when he never called.

But here’s the weird thing….I read this straight through, staying up super late to find out what happened. So on the one hand it’s compulsively readable; on the other, I also did quite a bit of skimming…of the abundance of scenery details as well as the side characters’ stories because I just really wanted to know WHAT HAPPENED TO EDDIE!! I won’t say more about whether I was satisfied with the outcome as I’m still figuring out what I think about a few of the twists the author surprised me with. Rosie Walsh is definitely a talented author who can weave interesting surprises in her story.

If your interest is piqued, I highly encourage you to not read a bunch of reviews or even any more of the blurb, just jump right in and see for yourself what you think….and then come back here or send me a message on Twitter or Instagram and let’s discuss!!

 

 

Summer Reading Update: books that have been my hits & misses lately

 

SUMMER READING UPDATE

Hi Reading Friends! I’m back with a summer update of books I consider my hits & misses these last few months. It seems my blogging hiatus lasted quite a bit longer than I expected. My reading life has been on such a roller coaster of ups, downs, and one major slump lasting over a month that I wondered if I’d ever get my reading mojo back. Good news, it’s back and I’m very excited to get back into the blogging world and catch up on all things books and reading! I do think it’s important to share that even avid readers which I consider myself to be can occasionally find themselves hitting a wall and sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back, relax and regroup. I’m very happy to be back and sharing some of the books I’ve loved over the last few months. I’ve also got a few average reads that were either disappointing or just didn’t blow me away as well as some DNF’s (Did Not Finish). I’ve decided to make it a priority to put down any book I’m just not enjoying which is actually pretty freeing and has led me to really enjoy my reading life again.

A Few of My Must Read Books

36249638How To Walk Away

Published May 15th by St. Martin’s Press

I wish I could break my rating up for the first 85% of the book…5 stars…and the last 15% 3.5 stars because I really enjoyed almost the whole story. Almost. This love story that starts with a plane crash had me completely engrossed until the last 15% which I felt completely left the rails. Maggie and Ian, the main characters, did some things I just can’t believe based on what we already knew about them and I spent the majority of my time eye rolling and wishing the author wouldn’t have taken that path. If that last part would’ve played out differently this would’ve been a 5 star read for me. But, I do still recommend it and a final positive thought, I’m so glad we got an epilogue.

 

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Summer Wives

Published July 10th By William Morrow

I really enjoyed this book! Told in alternating time periods between 2 women, I really feel that Beatriz Williams is one of the few authors who can pull this type of narrative off SO well. I loved the setting…a little island…and how she was able to evoke the details of time and place so that I felt I was there, sipping one of MANY cocktails with the characters in the story. I thought she weaved a fantastic story and although I may have had a tiny issue with an event at the end, it wasn’t enough to influence my enjoyment of the way the story unfolded. Definitely a summer must read that I highly recommend! 

 

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Tiger Woods

Published March 27th By Simon & Schuster

Hear me out on this one! This was SO much better than I expected. In fact, I couldn’t put it down which believe me was a total surprise to me. I’m not a huge golf fan but my husband and son play. I’ve seen Tiger play in person and I’m familiar with many of the other players on Tour which did help with my enjoyment.  I’ve never actually been all that interested in Tiger as a person but as a parent and someone who’s always loved to study human behavior, I was very interested in how he rose and fell so greatly. The authors did not disappoint, providing a riveting, well balanced, often depressing, yet fascinating, look at the creation of Tiger Woods the golfer which eclipsed Tiger Woods the person by leaps and bounds. There were many juicy details I’d never heard before and the writing and narrative was extremely well paced. I listened to about half on audio and it was also fantastic. An unlikely summer must read in my opinion!!

 

36315374Jar of Hearts

Published June 12th by Minotaur Books

Murder, drama, revenge…yes please. I loved this book! I read this in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was the perfect read to get me out of my month long reading slump. Bizarre, crazy and with enough turns to keep me guessing the entire time. There’s mystery, suspense and some fantastic writing to be found here. This book saved my summer reading and was just SO good!

My Disappointing Reads

You might be surprised to see these popular bestsellers on my list of disappointments and actually I am too because they were all on my highly anticipated list. I’m convinced, however, that these big hitters led to my reading slump. The Outsider , at almost 600 pages, was a huge investment of time and while I absolutely loved the first half of the book, the second completely fell apart for me. Also, I felt like this could’ve had about 200 pages cut and the story would’ve been better for it. Us Against You ended up being just ok for me. I thought it lacked the tension, drama and suspense of Beartown (My Review) and felt bogged down by the political aspects of the story. The Perfect Couple seemed like it would be the perfect beach read, especially since it involved a mystery but overall it didn’t work for me. While I loved the setting and her writing which is always fast paced, the story itself didn’t wow me and I thought there were many holes in the plot of the mystery.

My Summer DNF’s (Did Not Finish) 

Visible EmpireAll We Ever WantedThe Kiss Quotient, and Little Disasters are some of my surprising DNF’s because based on the blurbs and early reviews, I thought I’d really like all of these. Whether it was the narrative structure (Visible Empire & Little Disasters) or the story (All We Ever Wanted & The Kiss Quotient), I couldn’t get into these books and happily made the choice to put them down. The only one I feel like I might give another try to at some point is All We Ever Wanted because I do love Emily Giffin’s writing and most of her past books.

So that’s it for now, I do have some other must reads I’ll share with you soon but in the meantime, I’d love to hear which books have made YOUR summer hits & misses lists so feel free to leave a comment below.   Have a great reading week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chatting with Ruth Emmie Lang, author of the excellent debut Beasts Of Extraordinary Circumstance

I love talking with authors, so I was thrilled when Ruth Emmie Lang so generously agreed to do a Q & A for my blog. I loved her debut, Beasts of Extraordinary Experience, (Nov, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press) which featured a character (Weylyn) who I won’t soon forget. Read on to find out her inspiration for Weylyn as well as how she wrote such an imaginative, unputdownable book…

 

How did you develop Weylyn’s character? Inspiration, motivations for him?

I knew I wanted my main character to be someone who lived with wolves. Weylyn’s personality came about naturally as I considered what a person living in the woods and cut off from society would act like. To me, that meant someone who was warm and open and not-yet-cynical. I could have gone the opposite route and made Weylyn someone who is scared of other people simply because of his lack of exposure, but I decided to go with the former because the latter was more expected.

I read that you wanted readers to empathize with him, what was the most important facet of his character that helped ensure we would love him because of course we did and I immediately felt a connection with him so you nailed the empathy part

I think his openness is what draws the other characters in the book to him. This borders on naïve sometimes, but it gives him a childlike sense of wonder that adults are too often in short supply of. I wanted my readers to be able image themselves as any one of these narrators, sharing in an adventure with someone who knows how to find beauty in places they maybe hadn’t thought to look.

What is it about nature that inspires you? Animals?

Everything about nature inspires me: forests, mountains, oceans, you name it! If I could spend all day outside, I would (except that I’m a redhead, so that would probably be ill-advised). I’m also an animal-lover (particularly dogs), so that heavily influences my writing.

Can you tell us a little about how you write, do you outline ahead of time or did you write Beast’s free flow as you went along?

No outlines. I’m a figure-it-out-as-I-go-along kind of writer, but I do have a general idea of where the story is going (most of the time). There was a period of a couple of months where I had to completely shelf Beasts because I had no idea where the story was going next.

For me, Beast’s had so many interesting facets, it’s coming of age, magical, a love story, a friendship story, a story about fate…What facet did you most want readers to take away from your book?

I’d like to think that my book would inspire someone to have an adventure of their own, or to simply go outside and appreciate the world around them. Also, Weylyn demonstrates that you can live simply and still be happy, and that meaningful relationships are more important that material possessions.

What was your biggest fear in writing this story?

That is was too weird to get published! I knew I was taking a risk, but I’m glad I did. It was the story I wanted to tell, and I think if I had played it safe, I wouldn’t have put the same time and care into it.

What did this story teach you about yourself and the writing process?

It taught me that I am still able to write even under difficult circumstances. I was having a very rough year when parts of this story were written, but it doesn’t show on the page. Writing Beasts was like therapy for me during that time.

For would be writers, what was the best and worst part about the whole writing and publishing process? Was Beast’s bought immediately or did you receive initial rejection letters?

The best part is when you finally land a book deal. Beasts did receive rejections, so I was trying not to get my hopes up, but when my agent called me with the offer, I was over the moon. The worst part of the publishing process is querying agents, because that’s the first real hurdle you have to clear to get your book published. It can be hard to hear that someone doesn’t want to rep you, but ultimately, it’s about finding the right fit.

Your writing is just gorgeous, can you tell us about your background? Have you always been a writer, do you have a writing degree or a background in literature?

Thank you! I was an English major in college and took several creative writing classes during my time there, but I started writing when I was 9 or 10. I don’t think you need a degree to become a writer, but I do think you need to read a lot of books to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Which authors inspire you and why?

The Lord of the Rings made me want to become a writer. I loved them so much that I knew I wanted to tell stories in some form or another. As far as writing style, I love Karen Russell. Her prose is concise and whimsical, and her stories have just the right amount of weirdness.

Do you have any favorite books you’d like to share?

Other than the work I discussed above, it’s constantly changing. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction. American Fire and Wild are two of my recent favorite reads.

Do you have any current reads sitting on your nightstand?

I just started The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.

I for one will be waiting somewhat impatiently for your next book, can you share any info about it?

Not yet 😉 But I am currently working on something I think has potential.

Do you have a favorite quote about writing and/or books?

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman

 

Many, many thanks to Ruth Emmie Lang for taking the time to answer these questions! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little bit more about her writing process and her wonderful debut book, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance.

 

REVIEW: THE BROKEN GIRLS By Simone St. James

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Publication March 20, 2018 By Berkley

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

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The beginning of this story completely pulled me in…a young girl, alone, on a dark road road near woods…when all of sudden she’s no longer alone! What an atmospheric, dramatic start to a story that was just outright creepy in parts. As stated in the blurb, the novel alternates between the girl’s boarding school in 1950 and Fiona’s life in 2014. Fiona actually has ties to the school as her sister was murdered in the field surrounding the school. The question that has taken over Fiona’s life is: what really happened to her sister on the night she was murdered all those years ago? There were no witnesses, no footprints, no evidence at the scene, yet her boyfriend was tried and convicted…did he really kill her or was there a more sinister force behind her death?

Then we have the storyline from 1950 and the four roommates who became best friends until one of them vanishes. For the first half of the book, I was slightly more interested in this storyline as the boarding school was just plain creepy and I really liked the girls; I felt bad for each of them. The author did a fantastic job of creating an atmosphere of gloom, dread, and eeriness. I felt worried for the girls. I was actually much more invested in the girls’ story than I was Fiona’s, mainly because I found Fiona hard to like or relate to. Things seemed to fall into place a little too easily for her.

I found the first half of the book to be much faster paced than the second half. I’m not sure exactly how or why my reading shifted but it did and I found myself skimming scenes along with losing my ability to “believe” the ghost story. For me, a little ghost goes a long way and in the second half the ghost story became a bit over the top for me. I was surprised by the resolution to the girls’ story from 1950, much more so than Fiona’s which was resolved way too easily and predictably in my opinion. Overall, this was a stronger first half story for me. If you enjoy atmospheric ghost stories with alternating timelines and subtle mysteries then definitely give this a try.

Many thanks to Berkley via Netgalley for my copy

LET’S DISCUSS…ARE “TWISTY” PUBLISHING BUZZWORDS STILL HOT…OR NOT

MY THOUGHTS…

I feel a change in the air…the publishing air that is…and it involves the ever-present marketing blurbs for books. Those hook-the-reader tantalizers that have, since the publication and sky rocketing popularity of Gone Girl in 2012, inundated us with buzzwords like “twisty,” “unreliable narrator,” and psychological (fill in the blank). It would seem that readers and publishers alike couldn’t get enough of the “girl” who…lost her memory, had her child kidnapped, killed her husband, drank too much, lied about her identity…and on and on. We get it, she’s unreliable and can’t be trusted. But is she on her way out?
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This premise has been so popular that an entire publishing subgenre exists based on it. But…there seems to be a subtle shift happening among readers (well, at least me and maybe a couple others), one involving reverse psychology if you will. I, for one, have learned the hard way to run (metaphorically speaking) the other way when I see any of the above mentioned buzzwords in a book’s blurb. Let me give you an example. A book is compared to Gone Girl which yes I really enjoyed and/or said book is touted as having “twists I won’t see coming,” and that’s it, I was hooked.  I must read this book and be dazzled off my feet by the very best plot surprises I never saw coming.

Then,  I read it and find out that there are no twists or that I could see them coming from a mile away.
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Disappointment ensues. I’ve went round and round this “twisty” curve one too many times that now I’m at the point that if I see those words in a book’s marketing I decide NOT to read it. I know, this may seem harsh, what about all the potentially amazing books I’m missing out on? I’ll take my chances. I don’t think I’m alone, however, because I’m hearing whispers among my reading friends and fellow book bloggers who’re taking the same stance.

But wait, there’s a publishing light at the end of this twisty tunnel I believe and it involves letting a book stand on its own…no Gone Girl comparisons, no use of the word “twisty” or “unreliable narrator”. Sound too simple? It’s not. It’s pure genius in my opinion and it’s working its magic. I recently read and loved Laura Lippman’s new book Sunburn and Sally Hepworth’s The Family Next Door that made no mention of those trendy buzzwords in either book’s marketing but absolutely turned out to be full of unexpected surprises and narrators who were rather untrustworthy. Yes, I think the tide’s a turnin.

What do you think? Am I the only one with these thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts about whether these publishing buzzwords still pull you in or drive you away?! 

 

8 books on my Spring Reading List

loyalty and friendship

As much as I love reading by the fire and cozy nights under a blanket with a glass of wine and my current read, I’m so READY to say goodbye to winter and hello spring! With that being said, I have quite a few upcoming spring reads that sound pretty good but for this post I’ve picked the top 8 I’m most excited about. I’ll give you a sneak peak with my short thoughts, rather than just putting in lengthy blurbs. I hope some or all spark your interest…bring on the pre-orders and library holds!

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The Room on Rue Amelie March 27, 2018 by Gallery Books 

For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.

I was drawn in yet again by the “for fans of ” marketing ploy comparing this to The Nightingale. I just couldn’t resist. That and early reviews on Goodreads are very positive for this one. Fingers crossed it lives up to the comparison

 

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We Own the Sky April 3, 2018 By Park Row

Rob Coates feels like he’s won the lottery of life. There is Anna, his incredible wife, their London town house and, most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. But when a devastating illness befalls his family, Rob’s world begins to unravel. Suddenly finding himself alone, Rob seeks solace in photographing the skyscrapers and clifftops he and his son Jack used to visit. And just when it seems that all hope is lost, Rob embarks on the most unforgettable of journeys to find his way back to life, and forgiveness.

I’m a sucker for love stories that hint of loss and finding one’s way back so this debut sounds right up my alley.

 

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The Craftsman   April 5, 2018 By Trapeze

Devoted father or merciless killer?

His secrets are buried with him.
Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.
Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.  Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?
***This publishes in the UK first so the link I’ve provided is for Book Depository, it’s not an affiliate for me, I’m pre-ordering my copy from them!***

This is my MOST anticipated book of spring, Sharon Bolton is one of my very favorite authors and early buzz for this is that it’s one of her best and scary creepy. I can’t wait.

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Love and Other Words April 10 By Gallery Books 

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her…

I love stories about the one who got away, first loves and new loves colliding, etc and this seems to have all those elements. Plus people seem to love this writing duo, here’s hoping I do too

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You Think It, I’ll Say It April 24, 2018 by Random House 

The theme that unites these stories in this dazzling first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit. 

 

This is a curiosity pick for me. I loved her previous book, Eligible, and I love the idea of hearing her take on how we often misread others. I’m definitely trying something new here since I don’t ever read short stories but I feel pretty confident that this author will deliver

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Tin Man May 15, 2018 by G.P Putnam’s Sons

An unforgettable and heartbreaking novel celebrating love in all of its forms 

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This sounds like another potentially heartbreaking love story so I’m in. And it hints of a mystery as well…I really want to know what happened to Michael and what about all those years in between! I have very high hopes for this one and it’s already gotten tons of high ratings on Goodreads (I’m not reading ANY reviews)

 

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Paper Ghosts May 15, 2018 by Ballantine Books 

Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer.

That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted.

Before his admission to a care home for dementia

Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip.

Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

I love stories where a person’s guilt or innocence for murder is called into question so this book pushed all my must read buttons. The did he or didn’t he and what will she find out and do about it has me very excited for this read

 

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The Outsider May 22, 2018 By Scribner 

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge questions surface about Terry Maitland who seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can

I’m all about this story  and the fact that IT’S STEPHEN KING! Even though I didn’t care for Sleeping Beauties (it was a DNF for me), I ‘m super excited about this book and I fully expect to be creeped out and turning the pages late into the night…I can’t wait!

So, what do you think? Any of these interest you or are already on your list for Spring? I’d love to hear what you think and also what’s on your must read list this Spring

HAPPY READING!