The Need

The NeedThe Need
By Helen Phillips
Source Purchased
Published by Simon & Schuster on July 9, 2019

three-stars

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

I didn’t have this book on my radar initially, but suddenly it seemed like it was everywhere. The synopsis intrigued me and I wound up buying it for my Kobo.

This book took a turn early on that was not necessarily surprising, but I’m glad I went in unspoiled and I really liked it.

I can’t say that I feel like I totally understood this book, but it was a fascinating, propulsive read. I got through this one quickly, unable to put it down.

three-stars

Sherwood

SherwoodSherwood
By Meagan Spooner
Source Received from the publisher
Published by HarperTeen on March 19, 2019

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

three-half-stars

Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.

I loved the premise of this book, and I don’t think I’ve read any Robin Hood re-imaginings or retellings. So this one was definitely an intriguing book.

I liked a lot of things about this book, including the setting, the writing, and Marian’s bravery and determination.

I really didn’t care for the romance though, and as the story went on I really disliked that aspect and had a hard time enjoying the rest of the book taking place around that element.

I think this is a book that, overall, I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It’s sort of grown on me more since I finished it, because I keep thinking about it after I’ve read it and didn’t really expect to. This one crept up on me and other than my dislike for the romance, I did enjoy this one.

three-half-stars

Wanderers

WanderersWanderers
By Chuck Wendig
Source Purchased
on July 2, 2019

three-stars

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

I had such high hopes and expectations for this book! I’d heard fantastic things about it, and I was excited to read it.

It was a huge book (my hardcover was around 800 pages), but I read through the first couple of pages fairly quickly. I was so intrigued and wanted to know what was going on.

Unfortunately I didn’t love this one. After the first two or three hundred pages, my interest waned. I think that was partly due to the slow pace of the book, and partly due to the number of characters the narrative follows. There was just a lot going on and yet somehow it didn’t all coalesce into a reading experience that I fully enjoyed, which I found extra disappointing given the size of the book and the amount of time I put into reading it.

I’ve seen some very glowing reviews of this one though, so even though it didn’t wow me, lots of people really enjoyed it – so check it out if you’re intrigued by this synopsis, as I was.

three-stars

Week In Review

September 30 – October 6

It’s spooky season! I love this time of year. I’ve been looking forward to reading scary books and watching scary movies! I’ve already watched Cabin in the Woods and Ghostbusters this weekend, and am trying to decide what to watch next.

I decided to bump up my Goodreads goal. I initially set it at 85 books for the year but I’ve really been in the reading zone lately and when it became clear to me that I would reach that goal with a few months to go in the year, I decided to set my goal at 100 books, as I’ve done in the past few years. I’m confident I’ll hit that goal again this year.

New books:

I received an eARC of Sara Shepard’s upcoming book Reputation. I love her Pretty Little Liars series, so I was really excited for this.

I also received an eARC of The Deep by Alma Katsu, which sounds good and creepy. Thank you Penguin for both of these!

My pre-order of Stephen Chbosky’s Imaginary Friend arrived, and I picked up a copy of A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai from the library.

I got a few new books for Kobo again (there have been some great deals lately!):

Cross Her Heart, Sarah Pinborough;

Murder By the Book, Lauren Elliott;

Dear Martin, Nic Stone;

Taken, Erin Bowman;

The Mere Wife, Maria Dahvana Headley; and

The Uninvited, Cat Winters.

Books read:

After a great reading week last week, I only managed to finish two books this week:

All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban (eARC); and

The Library of the Unwritten, A.J. Hackwith (loved this!).

Current reads:

I’m currently reading Imaginary Friend and Reputation.

Reviews:

I posted three reviews this past week:

The Lost Man, Jane Harper;

Dim Sum of All Fears, Vivien Chien; and

Heaven, My Home, Attica Locke.

Time for some more scary movies and spooky books. Happy Sunday!

Heaven, My Home

Heaven, My HomeHeaven, My Home
By Attica Locke
Series: Highway 59 #2
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Mulholland Books on September 17, 2019

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

four-half-stars

9-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; now he’s alone in the darkness of vast Caddo Lake, in a boat whose motor just died. A sudden noise distracts him – and all goes dark.

Darren Mathews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; after the events of his previous investigation, his marriage is in a precarious state of re-building, and his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who’s never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she’s not above a little maternal blackmail to press her advantage.

An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town where the local economy thrives on nostalgia for ante-bellum Texas – and some of the era’s racial attitudes still thrive as well. Levi’s disappearance has links to Darren’s last case, and to a wealthy businesswoman, the boy’s grandmother, who seems more concerned about the fate of her business than that of her grandson.

Darren has to battle centuries-old suspicions and prejudices, as well as threats that have been reignited in the current political climate, as he races to find the boy, and to save himself.

Attica Locke proves that the acclaim and awards for Bluebird, Bluebird were justly deserved, in this thrilling new novel about crimes old and new.

I loved Bluebird, Bluebird when I read it last year, and since then, I’d been looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I was so excited when I received this via Netgalley!

This book was so great. I loved the complexity of the characters, and the way history, family, and location combined into a tangled knot that I watched Darren Mathews unravel. I’ve read a bunch of mysteries this year, and this is definitely one of the best.

I’m eagerly waiting for the next book in the series, and if you haven’t read these yet, you should. Highly recommended!

four-half-stars

Dim Sum Of All Fears

Dim Sum Of All FearsDim Sum Of All Fears
By Vivien Chien
Series: A Noodle Shop Mystery #2
Source Purchased
Published by St. Martin’s Press on August 28, 2018

three-stars

Welcome back to Ho-Lee Noodle House, where you can get fantastic take-out. . .unless you get taken out first.

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Death By Dumpling, earlier this year, and I picked this up when I was in the mood for something a little lighter than my recent reads.

This was a quick, entertaining read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. I was less intrigued by the mystery and Lana’s love life than I had been in Death By Dumpling.

But the restaurant side of things, and Lana’s relationship with her sister, were really interesting to me, and I am planning on continuing with this series because there’s just something about Lana and her life that I want to keep up with and see what happens.

three-stars

The Lost Man

The Lost ManThe Lost Man
By Jane Harper
Source Purchased
Published by Flatiron Books on February 5, 2019

four-stars

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.

I’ve read and enjoyed Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk series, and when this book – which is a stand-alone novel – was on sale in the Kobo store one day, I snatched it up.

One of my favourite things about Jane Harper’s books is the way the landscape informs the story and almost becomes another character. I loved reading about the dry, hot, dangerous Australian outback.

This was a really gripping story, and the mystery drew me in right away. I love reading mysteries partly because I like trying to solve a puzzle. And the mystery in this book was so tantalizing! A dead man, in the middle of nowhere, no signs of foul play, from from his abandoned car. I had to know what happened!

I think The Lost Man is my favourite Jane Harper novel. I couldn’t put it down! Highly recommended!

four-stars

Week In Review

September 23 – 29

Hello! What a drizzly day it was yesterday. I hope we have a little more sun today.

New books:

My pre-order of A.J. Hackwith’s The Library of the Unwritten arrived, and I’m very excited about it!

I also snagged The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams from the library.

Books read:

I managed to read a lot this week! I feel like I’ve got my reading mojo back, and I ended up bumping up my Goodreads goal from 85 books to 100, since I was already so close to 85.

I read six books this week:

Wanderers, Chuck Wendig;

Sherwood, Meagan Spooner;

Dim Sum of All Fears (A Noodle Shop Mystery #2), Vivien Chien;

The Need, Helen Phillips;

The Tenth Girl, Sara Faring; and

The Babysitters Coven, Kate Williams.

Current reads:

I’m reading an ARC of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets, and I’ve just started The Library of the Unwritten.

Reviews:

I posted reviews of Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab, and Keep This To Yourself by Tom Ryan, both of which I enjoyed.

Time for some more coffee, and hopefully some time to curl up with my books today! Happy reading!

Keep This To Yourself

Keep This To YourselfKeep This To Yourself
By Tom Ryan
Source Library
Published by AW Teen on May 21, 2019

four-stars

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

This was a YA mystery that had recently been on my radar, so I was pleased when it was the October pick for one of my book clubs.

This was a really intriguing, absorbing book that felt like a YA noir mystery. I loved that I didn’t put all the pieces together before the end. Trying to solve this one definitely kept me on my toes.

This is a great pick for YA mystery readers. It was one of those really good stories that had me equally invested in the mystery, and in the well-being of the characters.

four-stars

Tunnel Of Bones

Tunnel Of BonesTunnel of Bones
By Victoria Schwab
Series: Cassidy Blake #2
Source Purchased
Published by Scholastic Press on September 3, 2019

five-stars

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

I love this series! Victoria (V.E.) Schwab is my favourite author, and I loved the first book in this series, City of Ghosts, when I read it last year.

I’m happy to say that the second book in this middle grade series was just as good as the first! I love ghost stories, and Tunnel of Bones was fun, spooky, and expanded on Cass and Jacob’s friendship. It was so good, and I read it in a couple of days, not wanting to put it down.

The ending was such a tantalizing hint at what’s to come in this series. I already can’t wait to read book three!

five-stars

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