I See You

By Clare Mackintosh

Source: Purchased

Series: n/a

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Published by Sphere

My Rating: three-half-stars

I See You

Cover image and summary from Goodreads:

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been on a major mystery/thriller kick with my reading this year. I’m always looking for a book that will surprise me, where I won’t figure out the culprit and motive before all is revealed by the author. I’d heard very good things about I See You, and decided to check it out.

The premise here is certainly intriguing, and as the story unfolds and the meaning behind the ad Zoe finds becomes clear, the tension ramps up. I certainly enjoyed the writing and hated having to put the book down. I was super into it!

I figured out the ‘whodunnit’ fairly early on, but it was fun seeing my suspicions confirmed as I read on and picked up more clues.

Overall, this was a gripping read, and now I really want to read her previous book, I Let You Go. Recommended!

Penance

By Kanae Minato, Philip Gabriel (translator)

Source: Purchased

Series: n/a

Publication Date: April 11, 2017

Published by Mulholland Books

My Rating: four-stars

Penance

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.

Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

Like Confessions, Kanae Minato’s award-winning, internationally bestselling debut, PENANCE is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless.

I heard about this book via the Book Riot All the Books podcast. I’m on a big mystery/thriller kick with my reading this year, and I’ve become very interested in Japanese mystery/thriller and crime novels. After reading Penance, I found a number of others books to add to my TBR courtesy of fellow bookworms and their recommendations!

One thing I really likeda bout this book was the format. Each chapter followed a different girl who was present the day of the murder, told in her own words. It was so interesting to see what their lives were like in the years following the murder, and the impact of Emily’s mother’s words on each of them.

As for the actual murder, details are revealed throughout the book but the story is really more about the characters. It was so hard to put down once I started reading. Definitely recommended.

The Cutaway

By Christina Kovac

Source: Purchased

Series: n/a

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Published by Atria / 37 INK

My Rating: three-stars

The Cutaway

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

I loved this book cover, and was intrigued by the synopsis. I’m a total sucker for twisty thrillers!

Unfortunately, this was not quite as twisty or as thrilling as I’d hoped it would be. I really liked the setting and reading about the behind-the-scenes world of television news and journalism. But the writing was a little clunky at times, and I figured out who the culprit was pretty much right away.

I enjoyed the investigation process, but I thought that Virginia made some really frustrating decisions for no good reason, like telling certain people too much about the investigation. I will say, though, that the culprit’s motive was part of an interesting story and set this story apart from other mysteries I’ve read.

Overall, this was fine, but I didn’t love it.

Big Little Lies

By Liane Moriarty

Source: Purchased

Series: n/a

Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Published by Berkley

My Rating: four-stars

Big Little Lies

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

I don’t know what took me so long to get around to reading this book (actually I do – I have a never-ending/constantly growing list of books to read!) but all the buzz around the HBO adaptation finally pushed me to check this out.

Initially, I struggled to get into this. It felt like there were a lot of names and characters being thrown at me, and I couldn’t keep them straight. Eventually though, I got pulled into the story and I just couldn’t put it down.

And the reveal behind the mystery was so good! One aspect of it (the identity of the dead person) was not a surprise to me, but another (Spoiler alert – highlight to read: the true identity of Saxon Banks! End of spoilers.) totally was and literally made my jaw drop!

This was a fun read but also it touched on some really dark subject matter. I can’t wait to see the TV adaptation, and to read more of Liane Moriarty’s books.

Wanderlost

By Jen Malone

Source: Received as a gift

Series: n/a

Publication Date: May 31, 2016

Published by Harper Teen

My Rating: four-stars

Wanderlost

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

This was a book club pick that I was really excited to read. I’d heard such good things about it!

I flew through this book. I didn’t want to put it down once I started reading. It was so fun! I definitely understood where Aubree was coming from in terms of enjoying staying where she was and not really having the travel bug. But I loved reading about her trip and the way she became more and more excited by the idea of travelling.

There were definitely some plot elements that I had to overlook to let myself really get into the story, but I happily did so because Wanderlost is such a fun read. And even though I was strongly on Elizabeth’s side at the start, I came around and saw both sides of the issues, from both Aubree and Elizabeth’s perspectives.

This was definitely a fun read and it put a smile on my face – recommended!