Monday, July 31, 2017

Fierce Kingdom

Riley Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Tagline:  When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved 4 year old son. 

My thoughts: When I read the description for Fierce Kingdom I was really looking forward to reading it because it sounded like it was going to be an intense read.  Don't get me wrong, it was, but the pacing felt inconsistent.  It seemed to drag in the beginning but thankfully picked back up midway through and kept me hooked until the end.  

Something I really enjoyed about this book was that it was told in actual time, with a time stamp at the beginning of each chapter, that small touch made the story feel that much more real to me.  I couldn't believe all that action could be packed into just a few short hours, but to the people living the nightmare it must have felt like an eternity.  At times I found Joan a little frustrating,  but to be fair I can't say how well I'd be able to hold it together in a terrifying situation such as the one she and her son found themselves in. 

I always romanticize about being able to finish a book in one sitting, but I never have enough patience for it.  I'm fairly confident I could have finished Fierce Kingdom in one day, had I not started it so late at night.  Sleep got the best of me, but as soon as I woke the book was back in my hands I didn't set it down again until I finished.  This is a book that really draws you in, grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go.  I'm sure I'll be thinking about this book for days to come.  

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, July 28, 2017

Final Girls

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Plot: 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. 

Now, with the help of her Xanax prescription and no memory of the events that happened ten years ago Quincy is doing well.  That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep.

My thoughts:  From the first page this book draws you in, opening with Quincy running through the forest, soaked with blood, after surviving the Pine Cottage murders.  The story is told from Quincy's point of view and is interspersed with present day and memories of Pine Cottage, little snippets making the suspense of finding out what happened all those years ago even stronger.   Without giving too much away, Riley Sager did a great job at making me go from despising certain characters and sympathizing them within a moment's notice, and vice versa.  Just when I think I have the mystery solved a new wrench is thrown in the works and my mind is left spinning, trying to add new information to the equation.  The plot never quite goes the way you expect it to and, if you like fast paced novels with plenty of action and good characters, you'll definitely enjoy this.

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, January 2, 2017

Tony and Susan

Tony and Susan by Austin Wright

Summary: Edward, Susan’s first husband, has sent her his novel, Nocturnal Animals, to read before he comes to visit.  Susan, a little at loose ends with her husband in New York at a conference, reads the manuscript and is caught up in Tony’s dilemma.

Brief personal backstory: Comparing movie adaptations to the book they're based upon is one of my favorite things.  After gifting my grandma "The Girl on the Train" for her birthday and then making her both read and see the movie with me, it became one of her favorite things as well.  I picked up Tony and Susan as a last minute Christmas present for my grandma after finding out that's what the movie Nocturnal Animals is based upon.

My thoughts: At a quick glance the plot sounded interesting enough, however it didn't take me long to realize that just about every review I had already read on this book was correct.   I would have liked this book so much more had the author of it put more effort into the Nocturnal Animals bit of it and less into Susan's details.  While having and A and B story going does sometimes work, I didn't feel as though I ever cared enough about Susan's life to make that section of the book interesting to me.  Without spoiling too much for those who haven't picked it up yet, the ending of Nocturnal Animals itself fell short for me and left me disappointed.  I can see how some might have enjoyed it, but it somehow felt like taking the easy way out for me and I was expecting it to go in a different direction, but that's just my opinion.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Pleasure and a Calling

A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan

Summary: A real estate agent keeps copies of the houses he sells and visits the families while they aren't around.

My thoughts: Let me start off by saying that I really wanted to love this book.  Upon reading the plot it seemed to check all of my boxes.  Disturbing?  Definitely.  Keep you up at night?  You bet.  Make you question who you can trust?  Without a doubt.  While it does have a very creepy premise, this book just didn't do it for me.  The entire first half of this book dragged on and during that portion I had planned on giving it a low rating, but then something unexpected happened.  For a brief moment, it got better.  During this small section of the book I was sitting on the edge of my seat as I quickly turned pages, unable to put it down until I found out what happened next.  Unfortunately, just as quickly as it captivated me, it lost my interest.  Slow beginning, engrossing middle, and a weak ending.  Without a doubt Phil Hogan is a great author, however I found his writing style too "heavy" in this particular book.  A Pleasure and a Calling is worth the read if you have a lot of patience or simply must finish something you started, no matter how much it drags on and makes you want to pull out your hair.

Pro-tip: Be sure to change your locks upon buying a new house!

Rating: 2.5/5 stars.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

After I Do

After I Do by Taylor Reid Jenkins

Summary: Lauren and Ryan have been together for 11 and a half years, and have reached a point in their marriage where they are questioning whether their marriage is worth saving.  The couple decide to take a year long break from each other with no contact whatsoever, this is their story.  The author paints a picture of how Lauren and Ryan fell in love and takes you through their journey, showing the reader how easy it is to lose that spark and how hard it is to get that back.  

My thoughts: I should preface this by saying I never saw myself as someone who would ever read a "chick lit", let alone enjoy it, but this book completely changed my way of thinking.  From page one I was invested in Lauren and Ryan's story and couldn't put it down.  If I hadn't started reading it at one in the morning it's safe to say I would have finished it in just one sitting.  This book took me through a roller coaster of emotions; it made me cry, it made me feel betrayal and sadness, and it also taught me a lot about love.  Now that all might sound cheesy but this is a chick lit after all, what do you expect?

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.