STANDALONE SUNDAY:SECOND LIFE By SJ Watson

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Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at  Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick is:

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Published June 9 2015 by Harper

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep …She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger. She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything. She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control. She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin. She’s living two lives. She might lose both …

 

 

This might be one of the only psychological thrillers I’ve given a 5 star rating to! While I oftentimes like them I don’t usually love them but this one I did as it was excellent. I thought the writing was great, the premise enticing and the plot moved right along at a fast pace, keeping me engaged and quickly turning the pages. And the ending…unlike so many on Goodreads I actually found it to be perfect for the story. This book hasn’t gotten a lot of love on Goodreads which is so surprising to me. I actually thought this book was much better than Before I Go To Sleep which wasn’t one of my favorites. If you like psychological thrillers, I think this is one you should definitely put on your TBR…maybe even at the very top!

 

2017 BUZZ BOOK REVIEW: THE GIRL BEFORE By JP Delaney

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To Be Published Jan 24, 2017 by Ballantine Books

From Goodreads

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before

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I almost didn’t add the Goodreads Blurb because I think it’s misleading in a couple different ways but nothing I can really address without giving away spoilers; suffice it to say I don’t find the blurb totally accurate. Also, this might be the hardest review I’ve wrote since I started blogging as my feelings are just very mixed. There are things I really liked and some that just don’t sit well with me.

I’ll start with what worked for me. The story is told in short, quick chapters that alternate between the viewpoints of Emma and Jane. This technique worked brilliantly for keeping the pace fast and the pages turning quickly. It was like consecutive mini cliffhangers because just when I got to a certain point with Emma it switched to Jane. And let me tell you, I stayed up late Saturday as I kept telling myself I’d stop when I got to Jane’s chapter but then I’d have to keep going because Emma’s life seemed to be unraveling and I had to find out why. A big reason this was so intriguing is because Emma and her boyfriend Simon moved into the house on Folger Street a year before Jane so you’re left wondering what happened to Emma? Little by little we get to know the train-wreck that is Emma and her life of dysfunction. Jane, on the other hand, seems to be an intelligent woman who’s still grieving after a very traumatic loss in her life. She’s looking for a change of scenery, has a tight budget and along comes One Folger Street which I have to say was really too good to be true and you know how the saying goes about that!

Let me back up a bit. One Folger street is a modern, technologically advanced house built by Edward , an aloof, handsome architect with control issues. He has many, many rules for whomever rents One Folger Street such as: No pets, no children, no rugs, no photos, etc and a very lengthy contract that the renter must follow. The women find all this out after they have submitted photos of themselves and filled out long, ridiculous questionnaires riddled with inappropriate personal questions in the hopes of possibly being asked in for an interview. And this is all just to rent a house. I found it to be unbelievable that neither of the women were bothered by this, saw no red flags and were willing to go along with living like that. Especially for Jane’s character who I thought was intelligent and level-headed. The character motivations were just off for me. On another note, is Edward reminding you of anyone? (umm..Christian Gray?) I would’ve preferred a more original main character.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I could’ve kept turning the pages so fast, finishing it within a day but then feeling ambivalent about the whole thing. One thing I can say is that I really liked Jane and almost think the book could’ve went in a different direction with her and her story. I was rooting for her even though it didn’t make sense that she agreed to those terms of living and then continued staying in that house, especially after she started questioning Edward’s possible (criminal) past and his current motivations.  There were a couple twists at the end, one I wasn’t surprised by and the other I was and thought was a good way to end that particular storyline. Overall, I think the ending was just a little too neat and tidy with things falling into place too easily. All that being said, I think this is going to be a big hit in 2017 as it has already been optioned for a movie by Ron Howard.

3.5/5 Stars 

THROWBACK THURSDAY:THE STRANGER ON THE TRAIN By Abbie Taylor

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I’m really liking the idea of continuing on with this Throwback Thursday theme every week. I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. My pick this week is:

 

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Published May 27th, 2014 by Atria Books

My Rating: 4 Stars

From Goodreads

Your baby has been stolen by a stranger. The police won’t listen. What would you do?

Abbie Taylor shows remarkable flair in this involving and intriguing debut novel.
A young mother’s nightmare comes true… the tube doors close with her baby still on the train. Struggling as a single mother, Emma sometimes wishes that her thirteen-month-old son Ritchie would just disappear. But when, one quiet Sunday evening, Ritchie is abducted by a stranger on the London Underground, Emma is thrown into a situation worse than she could have ever imagined.
But why don’t the police seem to fully believe her story? Why would they think that she would want to hurt her own baby?
If Emma wants Richie back, it looks like she’ll have to find him herself. With the help of a stranger called Rafe, the one person who seems to believe her, she goes in search of her son. And she is determined to get him back… no matter what it takes. 

If you like psychological thrillers and mysteries I really think you’ll enjoy this book. The writing is great and there’s a pervasive feeling of dread throughout as you’re  not quite sure who’s telling the truth and how it all plays out.

Has anyone read this one? Feel free to share your thoughts and your own Throwback recommendation in the comment section:)

FRIDAY FINDS

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Since I’m catching up on my reading this week and haven’t got a full review today,  I thought I’d participate in Friday Finds,  a meme hosted by Jenn at Books and a beat which gives us a chance to share recent books we’ve added to our never-ending TBR pile. I have to say I’ve added A LOT of books lately so I’m going to narrow it down to the top 4 I’m really looking forward to reading…..

 

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Releases December 27th by Atria Books

 

For fans of The Nanny Diaries and Sophie Kinsella comes a whip-smart and deliciously funny debut novel about Kate, a young woman unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions as she attempts to understand city life, human nature, and falling in love.

 

**Check out my review on the Blog Tour Dec 28th!!**

 

 

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For fans of Twin Peaks and The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, this brilliant debut is dark yet hilarious, suspenseful and sad.   Everyone has a secret in Tall Oaks . . .

When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town.

Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.

 

 

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In his sleek, visceral novels Deviant Way, Kiss of Evil, and The Violet Hour, Richard Montanari slammed into the suspense field like a force of nature. Now Montanari has written an astounding novel that pits two besieged detectives against a fiercely intelligent serial killer.

**Recommended to me by Annie at The Misstery, this is an author and series I’m looking forward to reading**

 

 

 

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Releases January 24th, 2017 by Ballantine Books

 

In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

**I have been steering clear of books compared to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train but based on some of the glowing reviews for this one I have to give it a try!**

 

 

I’d love to hear your top Friday Finds this week so feel free to leave your picks in my comments,  Happy Friday Everyone!