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

 

 

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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!!

 

 

REVIEW: YOUNG JANE YOUNG By Gabrielle Zevin

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Publish Date Aug 22, 2017 By Algonquin Books

Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late‑night talk show punchline; she is slut‑shamed, labeled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general.
 
How does one go on after this?

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I went into this book knowing very little about it, really only reading the above part of the blurb ( heavily edited from Goodreads which is full of spoilers ) and knowing I had to try this based on my love of her previous novel, The Storied Life of A.J Fikry. That book made my top 10 reads of 2016 so I was very excited to find out that Zevin had another book coming out this summer. I’ve decided to throw my overall thoughts at you early. Here goes…

Not at all meaning this to sound negative, but this was one of the strangest books I’ve read in a long time. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying I predict this book will have polarizing viewpoints…many will love it and many will hate it. In fact, I actually have conflicting opinions myself…I LOVED the first half of this book and the second half…well, let’s just say the second half seems like an experiment in gimmicks with the author trying to toss several in there to see what would stick. Really, it’s almost like 2 separate books!  What’s even stranger (for me), was reading the last couple sections and thinking…what in the world is going on here? I mean, I have 2 words for you…El Mete?…and for those who’ve read this you’ll know what I’m referring to… but what was THAT all about?! BUT, for all my squabbles you’ve just read as well as for the fact that I felt this book NEEDED at least 50 more pages….I still really really enjoyed it!! How’s that for weird?

I picked this up at the exact perfect time after several DNFs (Did Not Finish) and I was immediately taken with the voice of the first character, Rachel, who narrates a large section of the beginning of the book. She’s funny, witty and slightly snarky and if I’m honest, I would’ve loved for her to narrate the WHOLE book. We get to know her and her daughter Aviva, whose affair with her older, married boss has Rachel at her wits end.  Needless to say, there’s drama and things are said and done by all parties that can’t be undone.

The narration then shifts to Jane who has such a strong voice as well and I found her to be engaging and a character I could absolutely get behind and root for. In my opinion, characters, their dialogue, behaviors, and thoughts, are where Zevin shines in her writing ability. Following Jane’s perspective, we get Ruby, her teenage daughter who sometimes seemed to vacillate between acting like a small child and a young adult. Bottom line: She was ok.

The remainder of the book was told in separate sections by a young Aviva and Embeth, the wife of the older, married man who had the affair. In all honesty, for me, these sections were a bit of a mess and where the gimmicks really came alive. Aviva’s section didn’t at all work for me but I really did like Embeth; in fact, I really wanted to know more about her and what became of her. Overall, I really just needed/wanted more of this story all around but I will say that my very first thought when I realized I did, in fact, reach the end was…you know…I really liked this book. For me, this just proves that I can have issues with what happens (or doesn’t) in a book and the story can feel like it may have jumped on the crazy train for a brief ride, but in the hands of an outstanding author like Gabrielle Zevin I can and will still recommend that you give this one a try, especially if you’re in the mood for something a little different!

Many thanks to Algonquin Books via Netgalley for my copy. 

REVIEW: THE FORCE By Don Winslow

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Published June 20th by William Morrow

Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true …All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is the “King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest–an elite special unit given carte blanche to fight gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the “Job,” Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean.What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty. 

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Is it possible that July has brought me my top read of 2017? It’s very likely unless something else truly phenomenal comes along between now and Dec 31 to knock this blockbuster off it’s perch on the tippy top of my top reads shelf. There’s definitely a reason this was published in June because this is the perfect summer read to take to the beach, pool or patio. A crime thriller is the perfect summer read you may be asking? Oh yes, just ask Time, Amazon, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, Miami-Herald and more since they all named The Force a must read this summer. Just don’t forget to slather on your sunscreen because once you start reading this addicting saga of a police thriller you’ll forget everything else!

The blurb above tells you all you need to know about Sgt. Denny Malone, “King” of The Manhattan North Special Task Force. He’ll be the first to also tell you (repeatedly so) that he’s a hero cop.  You see, Denny narrates the story, first in the prologue where he tells us he’s in a federal jail cell and then throughout the rest of the novel (he details what led to him being in federal jail) as we get an inside, front row, in your face perspective of Denny’s often harsh, racist observations and illegal actions along with his searing rationalizations of why he’s turned dirty. There are no narrative tricks or multiple points of view in the telling of this story. Winslow grabs you immediately with acute observations, single line sentences, short paragraphs and dialogue that snaps, crackles and pops so fast your head will spin and your eyes will barely be able to keep up. THIS is how you tell a story and that’s what makes this book so utterly fantastic! Let me pause here and say the writing is by no means always perfect. There were times I was caught off guard by weird grammatical sentence structures but guess what…I didn’t care…not at all because the storytelling that Winslow weaves is can’t-put-it-down-brilliant. 

I feel like I may have moved into gushing territory so let me try to sum up the gist of the story with one word….corruption. EVERYONE in this book is corrupt in one way or another and let me tell you…the police, the ADA’s, the mayor, the defense lawyers, the criminals, the junkies, the wives, the church, even Internal Affairs…all dirty.  Boy does this make for some fascinating, suspense filled reading as you’re never quite sure who’s going to turn on who at any given point. You know from the prologue that things go wrong for Denny at some point but there’s a whole lot of double crossing, killing, lying and cheating to get him there.  I should add a side note here: if you’re offended by  graphic violence and language this isn’t the book for you. I wanted to share some of the writing style with you and it took me awhile to find sections without the “f” word. Here’s a great example of Denny and his thinking as he’s meeting with a prosecutor to prep for his testimony in the trial of a violent drug dealer….

     ‘Just tell the truth and get the conviction” Hinman said.

     “Which?” Malone asked.

     “What do you mean?”

     “I mean”, Malone said, “I can tell the truth or I can get the conviction. Which do you want?” 

   “Both,” Hitman said. 

   “You can’t have both.”

    Because if he told the truth, they’d lose the case because Malone had no warrant and no probable cause to enter the apartment …the dealer would walk. Because the real truth that they both know is that without cops “testilying,” the DA’s office would hardly get any convictions at all. This doesn’t bother Malone.

Truth, justice and the American way. 

The American way is, truth and justice maybe say hello in the hallway, send each other a Christmas card, but that’s about the extent of their relationship.

Accurate? We’ll never know but Don Winslow spent years researching this book, interviewing hundreds of cops, rookies and veterans alike, so this kind of makes you say hmmm doesn’t it? There’s so much that’s relevant and timely in this sprawling novel that you’ll find yourself often shaking your head but there’s one thing you won’t be able to do and that’s stop reading. Winslow expertly managed to keep me in the dark about how this cinematic thriller would turn out and right up until the final few paragraphs I thought it might end the way I hoped. Surprise was on me. As I said Monday, if you like movies like The Town, The Firm, and The Untouchables and the tv show The Sopranos you’ll LOVE this book. Now I’m off to continue casting the movie (March 1, 2019!) in my head… Henry Cavill sure looks like a good Denny Malone.

Many thanks to William Morrow for my copy via a Goodreads Giveaway

Buy Here

 

 

 

REVIEW: THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK BY Kristen Lepionka

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Published June 13, 2017 by Minotaur Books

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

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I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a sucker for books, podcasts, movies, etc where someone in prison, especially death row, is claiming their innocence. For me, that’s the perfect ‘what if’ set up, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this read. An added bonus is the setting…I knew so many of the streets and locations where this book takes place! From  the get go I liked Roxane. She came across as competent and determined to do a good job despite being her own worst enemy in terms of drinking and relationship drama with both a man and a woman. The author did a fantastic job of weaving Roxane’s personal life into the narrative by having her dig into her dad’s old case files. This enabled us to get to know her brothers as well as her mom and really brought an extra dynamic to the story, especially as all the characters were very well developed.

I have to say, the mysteries had me completely stumped and I’m extremely happy about that. On the one hand, Brad seemed to be hiding something but nothing you could quite put your finger on and then there was the other missing girl who was found murdered from the past…could they be connected and if so, does that mean the killer is still out there? So many unanswered questions and suspects equals a wonderful read for us mystery lovers! That’s not to say I didn’t have a couple minor issues with the story. For me, I sometimes felt that Roxane’s drinking binges became a little repetitive. I understood she had a drinking problem and didn’t necessarily need so many repetitive scenes of binging and blacking out; sometimes, in my opinion, less is more for readers. I also felt that Roxane’s continued jumping back and forth between 2 separate relationships detracted a little from the storyline. As I said, minor issues. As for the ending, I didn’t have it figured out which is always a bonus. I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for Roxane in the future.

Thanks to Minotaur Books via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review

REVIEW: THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER BY Karen Dionne

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Published June 13, 2017 By G.P. Putnam’s Sons

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

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I was very intrigued by the premise of this book. I’m usually always on board for a good game of cat & mouse and this seemed like the ultimate game…daughter verses father. We are first introduced to Helena when she’s grown and the married mom to two little girls. When she hears on the news that the identity of a local prison escapee is her father, her carefully crafted life with her new identity and family explodes. Very quickly she decides she’s the only one who is cunning enough to track down and take on her father; after all, he taught her everything she knows about hunting and killing prey.

The narrative alternates between the present game of cat & mouse and Helena’s childhood , starting when she was born to a mother who was herself a young teenager. Her mother had been kidnapped by Helena’s father, who’s known as The Marsh King. There are very long, detailed descriptions of Helena’s growing up years in the wilderness with her father being the person she spent the most time with. Very long. Very detailed. While I appreciate the exceptional literary skills of the author in these sections, I found that my mind wandered and many times I found myself skimming through to get back to the present. Another reason I skimmed these past sections, and something I wish I would’ve known going in was the very graphic and for me disturbing scenes of hunting and killing many wilderness animals. I know many people hunt but for me, I just don’t have a desire to read scenes like that and that caused me to skip large portions of the text.  In the end, the back and forth of time frames led to a lack of the much needed suspense I was looking for in a book billed as a thriller. I’m very much in the minority in terms of this book not being for me so I’d urge you to try it for yourself and decide.

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review

 

TALKING BOOK HANGOVERS & MORE WITH AMY FROM @NovelGossip

I really wanted to do a fun discussion post on book hangovers and thought it’d be even better to chat with my friend Amy about her book hangovers as well as some other fun stuff.  I’ve gotten to know Amy through the world of blogging and over the past 8 months we’ve chatted about books, wine, kids, and our love of all things Bachelor and Bachelorette! Amy was SO helpful when I started blogging and knew nothing about WordPress, connecting with publishers etc and I’m so happy to be able to call her a friend. I decided to post our book hangover chat in June as it’s Amy’s 1 year Blogiversay 🎉🍾! If you haven’t already visited her blog NovelGossip you should absolutely check it out! Amy reviews a wide variety of books and she’s a speed reading wonder so there’s lots to choose from:) I hope you enjoy our chat and as always I’d love to hear all about the books that led to YOUR biggest book hangovers so please feel free to leave a comment! 

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 You’ve been featured on other posts so we know you are a speed reader and you love reality tv but share a couple other things we don’t know about you including….favorite Bachelor and favorite Bachelorette:)

Amy: Haha both of those are true! Hmm, things you don’t know…Ok, I danced from the age of 3 until I was 17 and really thought that would be my career but sadly, I got so burnt out and I quit. I did all kinds, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, etc. I still remember some of my old dances too, my kids get embarrassed when I try to recreate my youth.

I’m trying to think of something else, is that sad that I have to think so hard? Don’t answer that. I’m at that stage in my life where I’m so defined by being a mom, maybe because my kids are so little still and need me for everything. Does that change as they get older? Your kids are teenagers…Anyway, I’m honestly so simple and get pleasure from small things. I am a homebody and prefer to be home with all of my kids and husband together. I’m pretty introverted but I do talk a lot. I’m a ball of contradictions!

Now the Bachelor question is tough! I could easily gab about who I hate much easier haha. I really liked Chris, something about the good old farmer made me swoon! I also really liked Andi, she was classy and smart. I predict I’ll love Rachel though she’s so great

Renee: Having teenagers is very different as they tend to try to pretend they don’t need you for anything…except money and rides to their friends:) My favorite Bachelor so far would have to be Ben, he was such a nice guy and fav Bachelorette is Rachel, but I also really liked JoJo.

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If you could spend an evening at your fav pub drinking wine with 1 author who would it be and why did you choose that person?

Amy: I actually just recently had a similar thought after reading one of Sue Watson’s books. It was hilarious and I imagine she must be funny as well to write that way. Plus, she’s published by Bookouture so I’m thinking in my fantasy I can get Kim Nash to meet us as well, I just adore that woman and would love to meet her one day! We have fantasized about a house swap. Except that doesn’t help us to actually meet.

Renee: I have to choose Jane Casey. I would love to find out how she creates such intricate mystery plots and also what she’s got in store for my book boyfriend Derwent

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Favorite summer reading spot and favorite drink for summer reading?

Amy: Always by the pool or on the beach. I don’t have a pool and I live in Arizona, so that doesn’t happen often, but occasionally! Favorite drink while reading is normally wine, but if I’m enjoying the beach I need some sort of fruity cocktail. We go to the same resort in Mexico every time we travel there and I love their pina coladas.

Renee: I second that…pool or beach is the best! I tend to stick with very cold Pinot Grigio but this summer I’m expanding my wine options to include Rose…crazy I know:)

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What book series do you predict will cause you the biggest book hangover when it ends?

Amy: Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series. I’m SO invested in the characters lives that I don’t know how I’ll cope if I have to say goodbye! I’m in denial and convinced she’ll never choose to end the series.

Renee: I need to try that series then! Mine has to be Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series which I’ve recently binged. I feel like the characters are friends and I can’t imagine not hearing from them again

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What’s the first book that pops into your head when you think of having a book hangover in the past 6 months?

Amy: A Twist of the Knife. I’m sure everyone is sick of me blabbing on and on about this series (especially you Renee 😂) but I binge read it and didn’t want it to end. Luckily the series isn’t over yet, there’s just not another book out currently.

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Renee: Not at all, you’ve got me really wanting to read this series as well as the Will Trent one…I just need about 8 more hours in the day😂 For me it’s Sirens by Joseph Knox. That book had everything I love and I was so bummed to see it end, fingers crossed there may be a second book though

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So you read fast and you read tons BUT are there 3 books that you would say stand out in your mind over the last few YEARS that you automatically think of when we talk about book hangovers? What was it about each one that makes them unforgettable?

Amy: It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany was such an emotional read, heavy stuff, but so extremely important and relevant. It was hard for me to switch gears and read a new book after such a powerful read.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris was a book that left me breathless and had one of my favorite endings of all time.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall had a stunning twist, it was just perfectly executed and looking back, I wonder how I missed it?! One of those that I want to reread at some point.

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Renee: A Little Life by Hanya Yangihara has given me my biggest book hangover to date ( 6 weeks!). I thought about the characters every moment when I wasn’t reading. It was raw and emotionally draining but I loved it

One Day by David Nichols was not only an unputdownable love story with characters I became invested in, it had such a big out of the blue twist that brought out many emotions in me…not all of them good

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was a book that sat on my shelf for months and then when I finally read it I didn’t want to say goodbye to that story or those characters.

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 We all look forward to our favorite author’s new releases every year…so that being said, what 3 authors do you know without a doubt would create a book hangover for you if you found out tomorrow they were never writing another book?

Amy: Harlan Coben because I already feel like I have to wait forever between his books sometimes. If took five years (I think??) for him to write a new book in his Myron Bolitar series and it was torture!

Angie Marsons because I’m addicted to her Kim Stone series and if it just stopped where it is now I would be crushed.

Jodie Picoult because her books are just so impressive and always leave me thinking on a profound level. She’s one of those authors who just speaks to me. Thinking now, her most recent book, Small Great Things, left me with a pretty epic book hangover.

Renee: I also say Harlan Coben but because of his standalones which I’ve read all and loved so many of them.

Sharon Bolton because I love both her standalones as well as her Lacey Flint series. I love that I can never figure out her mysteries

Dennis Lehane because there’s something magical about his writing and his ability to take the reader into a completely different world. No matter what he writes I’ll read it

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Top upcoming summer reads on your TBR that you’re hoping may lead to your next book hangover?

Amy: I’m really excited about Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, her books are all amazing. Exquisite is another that I’m looking forward to, the early buzz is awesome. Kerry Lonsdale’s sequel to Everything We Keep is out in July and I can’t wait! Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena, Bring Her Home by David Bell, The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green, I’ll stop there 😂

Renee: I’m super excited about The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, Unsub by Meg Gardiner, Final Girls by Riley Sager, My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallant and The Force by Don Winslow

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How do you see the next year of your blogging life? Any changes you’d like to make? Types of books you’d like to read? 

Amy: I’m hoping to slow down as far as committing to specific dates, like blog tours. I’m trying to stick with Bookouture and Orenda who are both amazing publishers and who also took a chance on me as a new blogger, I’m so grateful for their support. I really want to read more of what I want when I want and I’m starting that in July. I read a pretty wide range of genres already but I do want to continue reading more historical fiction as it’s amazing.

Renee: I’m also limiting my blog tours in the future and have already started actually, I only have one this summer and it’s for Orenda who I agree have such consistently good books that I feel confident in whatever Karen publishes. I find that since I’m a mood reader I do better reading without deadlines, basically what I want when I want most of the time. In the future, I’d like to find more quality character driven books that make me really FEEL something, good or bad.

This has been so fun! Thanks so much for chatting Amy and I’m looking forward to talking with you about what books cause our future book hangovers:) 

What books have led to YOUR biggest book hangovers? 

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THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published March 2010 By Dutton

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

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As we can safely say summer has arrived, I thought what better author to feature as a summer TBT recommendation than Harlan Coben…you can pretty much be guaranteed a page turner when you dive into one of his books and Caught is another one of my favorites of his. This book was reminescent of the TV show To Catch a Predator…that show was creepy, disturbing, and hard to stop watching once you started as you wondered if the predator would fall for the trap the show’s producers set up. Harlan Coben masterfully takes that concept and expands on it with this story, adding a missing teenager along with a do gooding social worker (or is he?) and a reporter with a serious agenda. As I’ve mentioned before, one thing I love about Harlan Coben’s writing is that he takes everyday people and puts them in extraordinary situations, making you think over and over again…“what would I do?” For me, that makes his books so accessible and also the perfect choice for a summer read. If you’re looking for a book that’ll keep you guessing and swiftly turning those pages, I think Caught would be a fantastic choice!

Happy Reading! 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Nicki at The Secret Library

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF SUMMER 2017

Summer-Reading

Summer reading is officially in full swing on It’s Book Talk and I can’t wait to share with you some of the books that have come across my radar recently. I’ve been really looking forward to putting together this post because, in my opinion, this summer’s crop of books is the best I’ve seen in the last couple summers.  Now comes the hard part…choosing my MOST anticipated reads. After much back and forth with myself I’ve decided the following books are the ones I’m super excited about and maybe you will be to…as always I’d love to hear from you in the comments if any of these are also on your summer tbr as well as others you think I should add! I literally can’t wait to sit on my patio or at the pool with a chilled glass of wine and dive into each one of these books!  **this super cute summer reading photo is courtesy of Susie at Novel Visits**
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JUNE

The Salt House by Lisa Duffy (June 13, Touchstone Books)  In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy. Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.

The Force  by Don Winslow (June 20, William Morrow)  All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. This is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve

The Fourth Monkey  by J.D. Barker (June 27, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 

The Confusion of Languages  by Siobhan Fallon (June 27, G.P. Putnam’s Sons) Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan. When a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Written with emotional insight and stunning prose, The Confusion of Languages is a shattering portrait of a collision between two women and two worlds, as well as a poignant glimpse into the private lives of American military families living overseas.

JULY

The Final Girls by Riley Sager (July 11, Dutton) Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Stephen King calls The Final Girls the first great thriller of 2017!

The Almost Sisters  by Joshilyn Jackson (July 11, William Morrow) With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

 Fitness Junkie  by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (July 11, Doubleday) From the bestselling authors of The Knockoff, an outrageously funny novel about one woman’s attempt–through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes–to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds. A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

Let the Dead Speak  by Jane Casey (July 25, Minotaur Books) When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds her mother missing, the house covered in blood. Everything points to murder, except for one thing: there’s no sign of the body. As a body fails to materialize, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of testimonies and accusations. Who is lying, and who is not? With Let the Dead Speak, Jane Casey returns with another taut, richly drawn novel that will grip readers from the opening pages to the stunning conclusion.

Yesterday by Felicia Yap (August 1, Mulholland Books) How do you solve a murder when you only remember yesterday? Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Told from four different perspectives, that of Mark, Claire, the detective on the case, and the victim—Felicia Yap’s staggeringly inventive debut leads us on a race against an ever-resetting clock to find the killer. With the science-fiction world-building of Philip K. Dick and the twisted ingenuity of Memento , Yesterday is a thriller you’ll never forget.

Young Jane Young  by Gabrielle Zevin (August 22, Algonquin Books) From the bestselling author of the beloved The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another perfect fable for our times–a story about women, choices, and recovering from past mistakes.Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it.

All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker (August 24, Bonnier Zaffre) Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine. Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally. But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, Riverbed Books) A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous. Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer. 

**All summaries are from Goodreads**

I’d love to hear your thoughts and other summer book recommendations! 

HAPPY SUMMER READING!