Week In Review

April 3 – 9

It’s been a while since I posted one of these! In that time, I’ve done a decent amount of reading, changed jobs, and baseball season has officially started!

There are lots of books to to share:

The Arsonist, Stephanie Oakes (I received this ARC at book club);

A box of of ARCs arrived from PGC Books:

Who Runs the World, Virginia Bergin;

A Quiet Kind of Thunder, Sara Barnard;

I Have No Secrets, Penny Joelson;

A Seven-Letter Word, Kim Slater;

The Winter Children, Lulu Taylor;

Run, Mandasue Heller; and

Exposure, Aga Lesiewicz.

I also received some e-ARCs via Edelweiss:

Get It Together, Delilah!, Erin Gough;

Retribution Rails, Erin Bowman;

Such a Good Girl, Amanda K. Morgan; and

The Last Magician, Lisa Maxwell.

 

 

I also had some gift cards and put them to good use over the past few weeks:

The Cutaway, Cristina Kovac;

The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova;

Men Explain Things to Me and The Mother of All Questions, Rebecca Solnit;

Daughter of the Pirate King, Tricia Levenseller;

The Perfect Girl, Gilly MacMillan;

King’s Cage, Victoria Aveyard;

I See You, Clare MacKintosh;

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzi and Christina Lamb; and

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, Karen Abbott.

I’ve also finished a bunch of books since my last WiR post:

Dead Letters, Caite Dolan-Leach;

We Are Okay, Nina LaCour;

The House at Midnight, Lucie Whitehouse;

Wanderlost, Jen Malone;

Bad Blood, Jennifer Lynn Barnes;

Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness, Marie Tourell Soderberg;

The Love Interest, Cale Dietrich;

Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty; and

Romancing the Throne, Nadine Jolie Courtney.

I also finished reading The Cutaway. That brings me to 38 books read so far this year, which is not as many as I would have liked, but I also spent a lot of time last month watching Buffy and Angel on Netflix instead of reading, and I have no regrets about that!

Currently, I’m reading Laura Ruby’s The Shadow Cipher, which is a fun read so far!

And now that the weather is finally warming up here, I’m off to read a bit more and then get out for a walk in the sunshine! Happy Sunday!

The Perfect Stranger

By Megan Miranda

Source: Received from the publisher

Series: n/a

Received from the publisher, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Publication Date: April 11, 2017

Published by Simon & Schuster

My Rating: three-half-stars

The Perfect Stranger

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls, a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?

I loved Megan Miranda’s previous book, All the Missing Girls, so I was really excited to read her follow up, The Perfect Stranger.

Let me say right off the bat that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did All the Missing Girls, but I thought this was a good page-turner.

I really liked the story, and the way things slowly unravelled. This was a good mystery, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Megan Miranda.

Dead Letters

By Caite Dolan-Leach

Source: Purchased

Series: n/a

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Published by Books on Tape

My Rating: four-stars

Dead Letters

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

Ava Antipova has her reasons for running away: a failing family vineyard, a romantic betrayal, a mercurial sister, an absent father, a mother slipping into dementia. In Paris, Ava renounces her terribly practical undergraduate degree, acquires a French boyfriend and a taste for much better wine, and erases her past. Two years later, she must return to upstate New York. Her twin sister, Zelda, is dead.

Even in a family of alcoholics, Zelda Antipova was the wild one, notorious for her mind games and destructive behavior. Stuck tending the vineyard and the girls increasingly unstable mother, Zelda was allegedly burned alive when she passed out in the barn with a lit cigarette. But Ava finds the official explanation a little too neat. A little too Zelda. Then she receives a cryptic message from her sister.

Just as Ava suspected, Zelda’s playing one of her games. In fact, she’s outdone herself, leaving a series of clues about her disappearance. With the police stuck on a red herring, Ava follows the trail laid just for her, thinking like her sister, keeping her secrets, immersing herself in Zelda’s drama and her outlandish circle of friends and lovers. Along the way, Zelda forces her twin to confront their twisted history and the boy who broke Ava’s heart. But why? Is Zelda trying to punish Ava for leaving, or to teach her a lesson? Or is she simply trying to write her own ending?

Featuring a colorful, raucous cast of characters, Caite Dolan-Leach’s debut thriller takes readers on a literary scavenger hunt for clues concealed throughout the seemingly idyllic wine country, hidden in plain sight on social media, and buried at the heart of one tremendously dysfunctional, utterly unforgettable family.

I’d heard a lot about this book before I read it, mostly on Litsy. I was really intrigued and decided to get my own copy.

This book definitely had an element of mystery – what was going on with Zelda? – but it was also a really interesting, engrossing study of a family. Ava and her family have a lot to deal with – alcoholism, debt, disordered eating, dysfunctional relationships, aging and ill parents, among other things – and it is against this background of a complex family dynamic that Ava tries to solve the mystery of what happened to her twin sister Zelda. Is she alive or dead? Where are the letters coming from and what do they mean?

I really enjoyed this book, and could not put it down. But I also found aspects of it really heartbreaking. I love stories about families and this is a great one: well-written, complex, moving, and with a good mystery. Recommended!

We Are Okay

By Nina LaCour

Source: Library

Series: n/a

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers

My Rating: four-stars

We Are Okay

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

I love this book’s cover, which is partly what drew me to the book. I was also drawn to We Are Okay because I’ve seen nothing but great reviews from people who’s bookish opinions I trust.

This is a lovely, quiet book. There isn’t a lot going on plot-wise, but it’s a story about grief, pain, and family that drew me in.  I have some of Nina LaCour’s other books on my shelves and now I’m really looking forward to reading them!

The Wrath and the Dawn

Source: Purchased

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

My Rating: three-stars

The Wrath and the Dawn

Cover image and summary from Goodreads:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

This is one of those books that I’ve had on my TBR for ages, but didn’t get around to reading until it was a book club pick.

I flew through the book, reading it in a day. I enjoyed the story, the setting, and the premise, but I just wasn’t into the romance, which is a big element of the story.

However, I enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn enough that I will be checking out the sequel!