Just so you know, my opinion is from a neutral standpoint, and up until it landed on my doorstep (which was right on pub date), I was completely oblivious to the controversy surrounding this book. Still, I wanted to be my own judge and read it.
What I liked..
– Great opening scene. Something you’d see in an action movie. My heart broke for Luca.
My issues with it..
-It wasn’t the bingeworthy read I was hoping for. It bordered on being overly descriptive, which made for a slower and tedious read. Quite frankly, I’d feel exhausted after only reading 2 chapters at a time.
– The kicker for me: I just wasn’t buying the insta friendship between Javier & Lydia. It felt forced into the story, especially where he reveals his feelings for her. It was laughable!
It reminded me of a cheesy scene from a daytime soap. I had to ignore the part of me that rolled my eyes, just to make it through that chapter.
And rather than trying to protect her husband by convincing him to pull the plug on his story, she goes on to defend her new found friend. It was infuriating.
A story this ambitious would have been told better through a different pair of eyes, like maybe the wife of Javier trying to escape the cartel.. THAT. Would have been WAY better.
– I had a hard time connecting with Lydia and feeling what I should have been feeling after watching her family get massacred. The emotions and terror that should have come along with the aftermath, didn’t come through for me. The gut wrenching pain of death, or that adrenaline rush of being spotted by the cartel..I didn’t feel any of that (and definitely wanted to).
Personally, I felt the story was lacking and ultimately resulting in disappointment. There were some good ideas and enjoyable scenes, but it wasn’t enough to keep me invested in wanting to continue.
Thanks to all the own voices advocates, I’ve discovered some new titles and added these to my list:
I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER BY ERIKA L. SANCHEZ
THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS BY CRISTINA HENRIQUEZ
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
Hey book sharks! Can you believe 2019 is almost over?! Seriously. Where did the time go?
So the past couple of months haven’t been the most successful reading months..you know. Life and shit. But I’ve been lucky to have some incredible journeys this year! (Through fiction, that is 😉)
So I thought I’d compile a list of books that blew my mind this year and either left me with a hangover, or completely took me by surprise.
What were some of your favourites this year?
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Contagion by Erin Bowman
Rules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
The Sword And The Dagger by Robert Cochran
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
**Thank you Netgalley & Celadon Books for my eARC.**
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
“He stepped silently out from the bushes behind the boy, and then whispered his name.”
This was like Sixth Sense meets Stephen King. All the hype around this book is completely legit. It definitely has the makings of a great horror flick.
This book had such an incredible creep factor! From the description of the scary looking house, to Jake’s drawing of the little girl. It was all so eerie.
“He had captured the odd look of the place well. The curved, childlike lines stretched the house into a strange shape, elongating the windows, and making it look more like a face than ever. The front door appeared to be moaning.”
“And beside him, he’d drawn another person in his bedroom. A little girl, her black hair splayed almost angrily out to one side. Her dress was colored in with patches of blue, leaving the rest white. Little scrapes of red on one of her knees. A corkscrew smile on her face.”
I made the mistake of reading this at night, which was kind of a bad idea! I let my mind run loose and had managed to creep myself out enough, that I couldn’t sleep!!
“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.”
I don’t think there was one character I didn’t like!
Detective Willis is a recovering alcoholic, Tom is a grieving widower and Jake has an imaginary friend.
The Whisper Man was like the boogeyman: terrifying and incredibly well-written.
The story & connecting the dots..
Both Detective Willis and Tom have personal issues they are dealing with, which made for a slower read at times, but it was never boring.
Even though I had figured out the whodunit part halfway through, there were a few twists and elements of surprise that were unexpected.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and think it makes a great one to add to your Halloween list of reads.
Have you read it? Is it on your TBR??
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Oh Alison 🤦♀️..seriously, I wanted to shake the crap out of her and slap her. On the surface she has it all: career, husband and daughter. But behind closed doors, not only is she a cheater, but she’s a shitty wife and mother who gets completely wasted and makes a mockery of herself. It’s like you want to feel sorry for her at times, but you really don’t.
To be honest, I don’t think there was one likeable character in the book! But I’m sure that was intentional, which was very well executed. I definitely wouldn’t have deemed this one a thriller though. Yes, there’s a murder case involved, but to me, the story was more centered on Alison’s personal life making it more of a domestic drama.
Even though I had things figured out, I still enjoyed this one and found myself not wanting to put it down. I thought the author did a nice job of tying in the prologue to the ending. 👏
Have you read it?
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise–she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…
Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
I had to sit and really think about how I felt with this one! In all honesty, the Prologue and last 30% of the book were the best parts.
After reading the first 20% I almost wanted to give up! There’s a lot of background story on Theo, which made for a slower read and had me thinking at one point whether there was even a point to all this. I assure you, there is! You just have to be patient and keep reading.
I was a bit disappointed that majority of the book was actually centered on Theo. I was expecting to hear more of Alicia’s POV. But I was determined to find out if Alicia ends up speaking or not, and if she really killed her husband which is what kept me going.
Aside from the slow pace, I thought the author did a brilliant job with the big reveal and adding tidbits of information on other characters to second guess yourself.
Have you read it? What did you think?
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
** Special thanks to Park Row Books, Harlequin Books & Annie Ward for my ARC **
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense
My advice if you are going to read this one, is to treat it as more of a domestic suspense/drama.
The story is told in multiple POV’S with different timelines. It starts off intense, with a gruesome murder scene and a slow burning journey to the past. That’s not to say it wasn’t necessary, but I did find myself skimming ahead.
I do have to point out that all the parts leading to the 911 call & scene of the crime were exciting and done incredibly well! So extra Brownie points for that!
There’s always at least one character in a story that you are drawn to and like, even if they’re a bit flawed. This was not the case. All 3 main characters were flawed and not particularly likeable which is okay, because they made for a good story.
She surprised me the most and wasn’t what I would deem a best friend. I did enjoy her vulgarness though:
I decide without reservation that I love my Zumba camel-toe hippie psychologist with the rhinestones on her cap.
He rubbed me the wrong way from the minute he was introduced to Maddie. It was obvious he had issues from the get-go.
I found her to be very wishy washy. She was selfish and catty. There seemed to be a lot of hidden jealousy and competitiveness between her and Maddie. For two women who were supposed to be best friends, they struck me more as frenemies.
I liked the twist that was thrown in at the end! It was the perfect way to wrap this story up.
Overall, I enjoyed this one and think it would make a nice beachy read or travel companion if you’re looking for some drama and suspense.
Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me.
Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.
From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Chick Lit
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
What It’s About
London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.
Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.
Dogs are like children. Noisy, trainable, but dim and likely to smell disagreeable on the arrival of guests.
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but every now and then, one will catch my attention.
This was a bit of chick lit, mixed in with historical fiction making it a fun and lighter read.
Definitely perfect for summer reading, and one I’d recommend 🙂
Emmy (Emmeline Lake)
I enjoyed getting to know Emmy. She was ambitious and empathetic towards other women and their “troubles”.
Emmy’s BFF and roommate. She was the kind of friend you’d want in real life.
Her tell-it-like-is attitude towards women was hilarious. She definitely had a stick up her butt, but she was enjoyable to read about.
He wasn’t a huge character in the story, but he was such a sweetheart! A true gentleman..Definitely the guy you want to snag before anyone else does.
I seriously wanted to punch this guy!
Have you read it? Do you read historical fiction?
If so, what has been your fave so far?