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Review: These Ghosts are Family

Genre: Fiction/Historical fiction

Released: March 3rd, 2020

Page count: 288 pages

Summary: Stanford Solomon reveals he’s actually Abel Paisley – he stole the identity of his friend after his friend died in a tragic accident. The effects of his secret reverberate throughout his family, and are explored in this novel.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: I went back and forth the whole time I read this book on whether I would rate it three or four stars. The gorgeous, haunting ending sealed it for me – it deserves four. Wow. The writing in this was just beautiful, the kind that stays with you for long after you read it. It’s the kind of book it feels almost painful to close. The interwoven stories about so many generations were of course beautifully written and covered such intriguing topics. It was like a gorgeous journey of a book.

Why would I give it only three or four stars, then? The dialogue. Especially in the beginning, the dialogue was phonetically written to show accents, but the dialogue stuck out so much, especially since the rest of the book was written so beautifully, that it jolted me out of the story. I had to sound it out a bit at parts to figure out what the words were, which completely transported me out of the spellbinding world. It was really frustrating. I can see wanting to show how the characters spoke, but it just felt a bit too much. I almost gave up around 15% in, but I decided to just skim the dialogue for a bit, since most of the story doesn’t include dialogue, and I’m very happy I did that.

I recommend this for fans of family sagas, or anyone interested in giving a debut author a try. As long as you can look past the dialogue issue, it truly is a beautifully written book.

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Review: The Circus by Jonas Karlsson

Genre: Fiction

Released: January 28th, 2020

Page count: 192 pages

Summary: When the narrator of The Circus goes to the circus with his friend Magnus, Magnus disappears after volunteering for a magic trick. While trying to figure out what happened to Magnus, strange things begin happening.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Okay, I’m going to be honest. I requested this one on Netgalley because it said in the blurb, and on the cover, that this book was ‘by the author of The Room’ and it was late at night and I thought it was Emma Donoghue, who wrote Room, which is a very good book. When I went to read it, I realized I was wrong and it was by Jonas Karlsson. I hadn’t read anything by him before, and so I was a little nervous about taking a chance on it. But it was so good!

If you’ve spent some time on my blog, you probably know my love for Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – a quirky book about a misfit. This reminded me so much of that book! It was so different, and such a breezy read. It really drew me in. Both books feel almost like fever dreams, even though nothing too out of the ordinary happens. Just that feeling that things are surreal. It’s hard to explain! Just, if you’re into quirky books, read this. You won’t regret it.

There’s a ton of music references in it that music lovers are sure to delight in, too. Most of the music wasn’t my type of music, but I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there who would think the references are amazing. And if you’re like me, and barely know any music, they don’t take anything away from the story.

I recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a new read, or loves music. Bonus points if you like circuses.

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Top Ten Tuesday #1: Books on My TBR List I Predict Will Be Five-star Reads

Hello everyone! I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday for the first time today. TTT is hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, and you can check out more about it here.

Today’s prompt is books I want to read that I predict will be five star reads. So, without further ado, let’s start! If you’ve read any of these books, let me know in the comments what you thought about them!

Number one: Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

This one was on several people’s January wrap-ups, and everyone had glowing reviews about it. It’s about a gunman in a school, which no-one can leave because there’s a blizzard. It’s told from the points of view of the people trapped in the school, I believe. I put this on my TBR list the first time I saw it mentioned, and it’s risen higher every time I’ve seen people talk about it.

Number two: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

This book isn’t out until next month, or I would’ve read it already. It seems like it’s inspired by the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard – it’s about a girl whose mother makes her believe is very sick. The mother ends up going to prison, and when she gets out, the daughter wants her revenge. It looks like it’s going to be an incredible read, and I’m really excited for it.

Number three: Reputation by Sara Shepard

I’m a little hesitant to put this one on the list. Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series was the greatest thing in literature when I read it as a preteen, but I’m nervous that this new novel won’t live up to my memories of her amazing writing. It’s about a man who is murdered, and his wife and her sister must figure out who did it.

Number four: The Deep by Alma Katsu

The Titanic fascinates so many people, because of how horrible the tragedy is. I know there’s theories human minds are fascinated by bad things because we want to understand and know how to prevent it from happening to us. Either way, I had a childhood fascination with the Titanic. This book is about the Titanic with a paranormal aspect – someone shows up who definitely didn’t survive the sinking.

Number five: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

A mother is convinced her twins were taken and replaced by other babies. I don’t know too much about this book, but I love thrillers, and I was hooked from the moment I read a little blurb about it. I really need to read this book soon!

Number six: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

This book is another one I don’t know much about, but just looks very good. A woman whose son disappeared learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped her son. She’s determined to protect him – but she learns he may be involved.

Number seven: The Ex Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty

This book is about a true crazy ex-girlfriend, who’s going after her boyfriend’s new girlfriend. I’m such a sucker for a good thriller, if you haven’t been able to tell by now from this list.

Number eight: Lock Every Door by Riley Sagar

I loved The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sagar, and I’m hoping I’ll love this book just as much. A lady goes missing in Jules’ apartment building, and she has to figure out what happened to her. Riley Sagar writes really good thrillers, and I’ve heard good things about this book.

Number nine: The Model Wife by Tricia Stringer

The summary of this book reminds me a lot of Recipe For A Perfect Wife by Karma Brown, which was one of my favorite reads of January. Both involve antique books for wives discovered in the modern day. Which doesn’t sound like a big similarity, but it’s part of what made Recipe For A Perfect Wife so good, so I’m excited to read this one.

Number ten: The Sunday Girl by Pip Drsydale

This book was recommended to me based on some Goodreads algorithims, and it definitely looks good. A broken-hearted girl is determined to get revenge on the man who hurt her. This book isn’t out in the US until May, but is out in Australia now. I’ll definitely be reading it when it’s out in the US!

Well, that’s it for my first Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you guys enjoyed it. As I said above, let me know if you’ve read any of these books, or if you added any of them to your TBR list!

wrap-ups

January 2020 Wrap-up

Hey guys! I wanted to put this post up last night, but then my fiancé and I ended up going to an escape room (we escaped with time to spare!) and out to dinner with his family, so I’m putting it up today instead.

In January I read 20 books – which I guess is a good number, considering the year. Goodreads says I’m 12 books ahead schedule to hit 100 read this year. I’m beginning to think I should’ve upped that number a bit!

I have reviews for about half of these up (and some scheduled to go up when they release in the future), so feel free to look through my blog if you’re curious about my thoughts on any of them.

Several books that really stood out to me in January were:

This book was just so different and fun and quirky! I haven’t ever read anything like it, and I devoured it even though it was so different than the books I usually read. Highly recommend! You can read my review here.

This book was just an outstanding thriller. If you know anything about me, you know I love thrillers. It’s hard for one to really stand out and creep me out, but this one did! You can read my review here.

This was another book that was different from my usual reads, but incredibly charming and well-written. I don’t typically like dual perspective novels, but the author was really able to pull it off. I’ll have my review up for this one tomorrow!

This book isn’t coming out in the US until March 3rd, I believe! I got an advanced copy via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This is another thriller that managed to stand out to me – so good! Another genuinely creepy one, with plenty of twists. You can read my review here. (Okay, okay. I put up my review for this one a liiiittle early. I was just so excited to talk about it!)

Please let me know in the comments what your favorite reads of the month were, and if you’ve read any of the books on my list.

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Review: In Her Eyes by Sarah Alderson

Genre: Thriller

Released: November 14th, 2019

Page count: 320 pages

Summary: Ava’s life seems to be picture perfect. Her husband’s finally made enough money for them to live in a large, beautiful home, and her daughter managed to beat cancer. Then a home invasion leaves her daughter fighting for her life – and it seems like the perpetrator may be closer to home than she could ever imagine.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: In Her Eyes was a thoroughly enjoyable thriller! It definitely kept you guessing, and the twists were very well thought out. I just didn’t find myself connecting with the characters very much – I didn’t feel a sense of urgency to find out what was going to happen to them, so I wasn’t really racing forward in the book, which I usually do with thrillers. I couldn’t even really get invested in the plight of June, the daughter. Also, who forgets to feed their hamster until it dies? Maybe I’m a bit too much of an animal lover, especially small animals, and I do realize the characters were a little busy, but that just made the main character seem a little heartless. I don’t know. Maybe I’m too invested in the plight of hamsters! (Humans dying in books? Fine. Animals dying in books? No!)

Overall, it was a good thriller. Right when you think you’ve figured it out, the rug’s pulled out from under you and the book is heading in a different direction! I just wish I liked/connected with the characters a bit more.

I recommend this novel for anyone who likes thrillers, and probably bonus points if you don’t like hamsters/are able to handle animal deaths better than I am.

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Review: The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

Genre: Fiction

Released: January 21st, 2020

Page count: 272 pages

Summary: While in a coma, Gwendolyn looks back on the events and secrets that led her sister, Estella, to poison their entire family. Set in the 1990s in Indonesia, their family is incredibly wealthy – but also powerful and determined to protect their wealth.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Review: My official rating is 3.5 stars, even though I’m giving it a 3 star rating. I was hooked by the first couple pages – what would lead someone to poison their entire family? I expected it to have a pretty big mystery or thriller aspect as the truth was unraveled. I stayed hooked for a while, but it faded as I realized not much else was happening. The book staggered on, despite the plot not really being there to carry it forward.

It is much more family saga than a mystery or thriller, but a family saga with pretty much no redeemable characters – or characters that you care about. The writing was good, but it was beautiful writing that didn’t advance a story. The twist at the end did try, but it left me with a lot of questions and didn’t really wrap things up nicely. It was interesting to think about, though.

I recommend this to people who are especially interested in sister dynamics, or in what life was like in Indonesia in the 1990s for extremely rich families.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Woman on the Edge by Samantha Bailey

Genre: Thriller

Released: March 3rd, 2020

Page count: 272 pages

Summary: Morgan is waiting for the subway so she can go to work when a stranger thrusts her baby into her arms and, saying Morgan’s name, asks her to keep the baby safe. Before Morgan can do anything, the woman is on the tracks, and the train is coming. With the woman dead, Morgan is under suspicion for the death, and must unravel the mystery of why the woman chose her – and how she knew her name.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I love good thrillers. Lifetime movies are my guilty pleasure, and I love books that read almost like Lifetime movies – with plenty of dramatics and twists and turns. Woman on the Edge definitely satisfied that craving! It left you wondering what was going to happen as things progressed, and fed you just enough creepy things to keep you feeling like you need to figure out what happens next. I was wary to read it while home alone, because it definitely made you look over your shoulder while reading out of fear that maybe you, like Morgan, are being watched. It ends with a twist you’d never see coming. Just an all-around great thriller that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat!

I recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers. Bonus points if you like Lifetime movies, since I could almost see this being one of them – although the plot might be too good for one!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.