So I needed a 2021 planner. I have never used an Erin Condren LifePlanner but then this one caught my eye. I thought about it for days. Finally, I decided … Continue reading 2021 Erin Condren LifePlanner Unboxing
Happy Labor Day! I can’t believe it is already so late in the year. It’s really time to start thinking about the end of year plans, which is crazy. I … Continue reading Tag: 10 Books I Want to Read By the End of the Year
Like I said in my John Steinbeck Goal Check In, I have loved his work since high school. I totally recommend all of it, but of course I have to … Continue reading The Best of John Steinbeck…According to Me….
Guys, I finally finished a book! I’m actually getting to do a review! I picked The Stranger Diaries for my monthly challenge. The Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge prompted me to read a book nominated for an award in 2020. The Stranger Diaries won the 2020 Edgar Award for best novel. It deserved it.
Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder, but most of the time it is a work of fiction. She is a high school English teacher that specializes in gothic horror. Clare’s life collides with her favorite novel when her friend is murdered. When Clare turns to her diary to document her feelings, she discovers writing that isn’t hers. Suddenly, she finds herself living in a horror novel.
The Stranger Diaries is what I wanted The Broken Girls to be. For instance, it incorporated a haunted school, a horror novel, and a murder mystery. Each element brought great depth to the story.
Above all, I loved the inclusion of multiple points of view. It had Clare’s point of view, her daughter Georgie’s, and Detective Sergeant Harbinder’s point of view. Even with multiple points of view I couldn’t single in on one suspect. There wasn’t a character that I didn’t suspect.
I didn’t expect the ending. It wrapped up so well. The friendship that developed between Clare and Harbinder was great. The Stranger Diaries was a well developed mystery with a lot of depth. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it until now. It is definitely underrated!
My Rating: 5/5
The Boy from the Woods was my first Harlan Coben experience. Unfortunately, I think it’s going to be my last as well. To be honest, I don’t have many positive thoughts on this one.
Years ago, authorities found Wilde living in the woods with no memory of his previous life. They turned him over to a foster home because they could not locate his family. Now he is living on the outskirts of town. When a girl goes missing, he must return to the community to help find her.
After reading the synopsis I thought the girl went missing in the woods. I thought Wilde would use his knowledge to help the community find her. That was not what I got at all.
Wilde gets involved when his godson, Matthew, becomes concerned about the missing girl from his class. The next thing I know the search for the missing girl turns political. Very political. Like dirty presidential candidate political. That was not what I signed up for. I am so dang tired of politics. I don’t even know why I finished this.
Between the lack of woods, a dirty politician, and a half baked kidnapping I was so over the whole thing. I guess I kept reading because I liked Wilde as a character. I wish he had have been more involved.
Lastly, the ending was almost painful. It was disjointed and half hearted. I’ve read several reviews that say that the entire book doesn’t even feel like Harlan Coben wrote it. I was definitely expecting more from The Boy from the Woods.
If you have read anything you liked by Harlan Coben let me know. I want to give him a fair chance.
My Rating: 1/5
July is always a busy month for me, so I probably won’t have a ton of reading time. I also decided to start a massive book at the end of June. I imagine it will take up a big chunk of my time. I’m hoping I have more time to read than expected, but I’m keeping it simple this month in case I don’t. Here is my July TBR.
Fall of Giants
Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man’s world in the Welsh mining pits…. Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House…. Two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…. Billy’s sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London….
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.
I started Fall of Giants in late June. It is a tome that is going to take me awhile to read. I have made it to page 184 and I’m still only 18% in. I love it though.
At the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred – the eponymous second son – must discover the special destiny foreseen for him by his grandfather. Now, the unthinkable has happened: Alfred’s brother is king. And it isn’t long before everyone’s worst fears are realized. Traditional allegiances are shattered under a style of rule unknown since the grand bargain that formed the kingdom was struck over two hundred years ago. These will be the most dangerous years of Alfred’s life, forcing him to re-examine his duty to personal honor and to the kingdom, while the threats posed by his brother constantly remind him of his father’s final words of advice. What choices will he have to make to try to protect the things he holds most dear?
I’m so excited to read this! I will be participating in the blog tour on July 25th, so keep and eye out for that. Reading it excited me anyhow. Then, the author wrote me a letter because she recognized my address. Her father worked at a pharmacy that my family frequented. I loved that connection. The blog tour poster is included if you want to learn more.
So that is my simple July tbr for this month. I hope to read more, but if not then so be it. What are you reading this month?
We have officially made it to the middle of the year. I wanted to take a minute to check in on my goals. June was a slow month, but I … Continue reading Midyear Wrap Up
June is coming to an end. So it’s time for my June Wrap Up. I am sad to see the summer go by so quickly. I haven’t been able to … Continue reading June Wrap Up
Home Before Dark was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Riley Sager continues to be one of my favorite authors. Home Before Dark did not let me down.
Maggie Holt is tired of living in the shadows of House of Horrors, the book her father wrote many years ago. Maggie doesn’t remember her time at Baneberry Hall. If it was as terrifying as the book says wouldn’t she remember? Houses can’t be haunted because ghosts don’t exist. Twenty five years later, Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death. Maggie moves in to remodel it. She soon finds that the stories from her father’s book might be true after all.
My Thoughts on Home Before Dark
As always, Riley Sager’s ability to create an eerie, complex atmosphere amazes me. It could feel the walls of Baneberry Hall surrounding me. It was spooky and unsettling. I could feel the tension building.
I loved the inclusion of excerpts from House of Horrors. It perfectly paralleled the events that were happening to Maggie, which added to the suspense. It was impressive that Sager could change his writing style enough to make House of Horrors seem like it was written by someone else. I have read books with faux excerpts of other books where the author’s style bleed over and takes away from the contrast between the two. That wasn’t a problem here. Honestly, I wish House of Horrors was an actual book because I would love to read it.
Sager’s endings are always shocking. I thought I had anticipated the plot twist, but then he added another twist in. The ending was not as jarring as the endings of The Last Time I Lied or Final Girls. I did miss that wow factor, but it was still a solid twist. I can’t wait to see what he writes in the future.
My Rating: 4/5
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Let’s just face it. If you are trying to thin down your tbr, you should probably avoid the bookish internet at all costs. In the last year, my reading has … Continue reading The Bookish Internet Made Me Do It