Reviews

ARC Review: Lock Every Door ~ by Riley Sager

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Review: Lock Every Door ~ by Riley Sager

384 pages ~ Thrilling Mystery, Suspense 

July 2, 2019 ~ Dutton

My Rating: 4/5 

Goodreads Description:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

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My Thoughts:  

I am a huge fan of Riley Sager’s other two novels, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. The Last Time I Lied is one of my favorite thrillers EVER. So I am very grateful to NetGalley and Dutton Books for allowing me to read Lock Every Door early. Although Lock Every Door didn’t have the same type of “keep you up all night” suspense factor that Last Time did, I still really enjoyed it. It was exactly what you would expect from a Sager thriller. The first half of the book is spent building the history of The Bartholomew building. This layering adds to the very unsettling, lurking evil aura around its past. Halfway into the novel, it beginnings to pick up as Jules starts to dig deeper and deeper into the buildings dark legacy and from that point forward, I was completely hooked. Below are my pros and cons: 

What I loved: 

  • Jules- I found Jules, our heroine, to be super relatable and funny. Her tragic past and resent misfortunes really endeared me to her. She is a loyal friend and morally good despite the horrible situation she finds herself in. 
  • Rich vs. Poor– Sager did such a great job of showing the huge disparity between the rich and the poor of New York City. We see this in Jules’ past, in the homeless shelter, and, most importantly, in the Bartholomew itself. Without giving anything away, the ending also manages to capture this disparity and I felt that it was really thoughtfully done. 
  • History of the building– I loved that Sager went into the construction of the Bartholomew, its dark history, and the unexplained events that have occurred there since its construction.
  • The Investigation– Because Sager did such a great job of establishing a connection to the history of The Bartholomew, when Jules finally puts her investigator’s hat on and gets down to business, it was a really thrilling ride. I loved traveling with her around New York in order to uncover the buildings dark past. 

What I didn’t love: 

  • The “big reveal” (or lack thereof)– Jules, and therefore, the reader, figures out the “who done it” with 25% of the book still remaining. As she goes through the process of investigation and finally believes she has her answer, I was thinking – “this can’t be it, there has to be a twist somewhere.” Well, there was, in fact, a twist, but the twist only related to motive and not to who actually committed the crime. Because of this, there was a lack of suspense in the climax of the book, which is supposed to be the most exciting part. This was a little bit of a let down for me. 
  • Some moments were also a little cliche and had me rolling my eyes. It didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the novel, but it did make it harder to suspend belief. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable and thrilling mystery. Fans of Sager’s other work will not be disappointed. It will be a perfect summer beach or vacation read!

Lock Every Door is out today, July 2nd, 2019!!! 

For more information Riley Sager and his books, check him out on Goodreads

Click here SomewhereinPages to find me on Goodreads.

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Reviews

ARC Review: Twice in a Blue Moon ~ by Christina Lauren

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Review: ARC of Twice in a Blue Moon ~ by Christina Lauren 

Gallery Books

October 22, 2019 – Adult Romantic-Comedy 

My Rating: 4/5 

Goodreads Description:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

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Note: I received an ARC of Twice in a Blue Moon from Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are all mine. 

3edaa2d8-9887-495f-ac9a-d2f90de31223My Thoughts: 

I am a huge fan of Christina Lauren’s romance novels. They have never disappointed me, and Twice in a Blue Moon was no exception. While it was not my favorite of theirs, I still really enjoyed it and had tons of fun while reading it. 

Highlights: 

  • Tate and Sam’s whirlwind romance lasts a short two weeks while they are on vacation in London. Even though this is such a short period of time, the story really captured how, when you are young and falling in love for the first time, two weeks can seem like an eternity. CLo really managed to capture what it is like to experience this overwhelming and intense emotion for the first time, and how first love never really fades. 
  • Sam was the first person to ever really know Tate and the first person to encourage her to go after her dreams. In such a short period of time, they manage to help each other figure out who they are and who they want to become as adults. Because of this, their intense connection is even more profound. After all, isn’t this what love is really all about? 
  • The connection to the love story between Luther & Robert/Ellen & Richard was beautifully done. Through the filming of the fictional movie, Milkweed, the reader not only gets to see Tate and Sam’s love story unfold, but also the love story of Sam’s Grandparents. This added a really heartwarming connection and wisdom about love that both Tate and Sam learn from.

Drawback:

  • The only drawback for me was that it ended rather abruptly. I really think that the book needs an epilogue where the authors sum up all of the loose threads. For example, what happened at Tate’s press release? How was the movie received? What did Tate and Sam end up doing with their fame? These were all things that I think most readers will also want answers to. 

Thank you so much Gallery Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this early edition in exchange for an honest review. Twice in a Blue Moon is out October 22, 2019! 

For more information on Christina Lauren and their books, check them out on Goodreads 

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Reviews

Book Review: The Simple Wild ~ by K.A. Tucker

 

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Review: The Simple Wild ~ by K.A. Tucker

388 pages (paperback) ~ Contemporary Romance, New Adult

August 2018 ~ Atria Paperback

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Description:

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

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57a10808-3179-4f57-99af-1216d1cb7b65My Thoughts:  

This book was exactly what I needed right now- something full of warm fuzzy feelings, humor, love, and hope.

I loved:

  • The father/daughter connection between Wren and Calla. It was complicated, heartwarming, bittersweet, and real. Humans are not perfect, and this book really captures the importance of forgiveness, how difficult it can be, and how worth it it is in the end
  • Jonah and Calla’s relationship is so much fun. They bicker and tease, but there is such an honest and genuine love story between them. They support each other through grief and develop a deep appreciation for one another
  • Lastly, the setting! This book is so picturesque. It has caused me to move Alaska to the top of my bucket list. I loved the descriptions of Western Alaska, the lives of the bush pilots, and the stories of the people they help. This was such an interesting element to the book and it was really well done

You would love The Simple Wild if:

  • You have an ongoing obsession with Alaska like I do
  • You enjoyed “Flying Wild Alaska” on the Discovery Channel- which is a really interesting documentary about the life of bush pilots in Western Alaska
  • You like romance with a bitter-sweet edge- The Simple Wild is an adorable love story, but Calla’s journey is not easy. She experiences a lot of loss and it does have moments of sadness. However, Tucker does a great job of balancing it with humor and hopefulness
  • You like romance with adventure, such as The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, or London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton
  • You are a shameless fan of the enemies to lovers trope, such as The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This was my first K.A. Tucker book and it definitely won’t be that last! I am really looking forward to reading more from her!

For more information on K.A. Tucker and her books, check her out on Goodreads

Click here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Instagram and here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Goodreads.

Reviews

Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle ~ by Stuart Turton

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Review: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle ~ by Stuart Turton

432 pages (Hardcover) ~ Thrilling Mystery, Suspense, Time Travel

September 18, 2018 ~ Sourcebooks Landmark

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Description:

“Gosford Park” meets “Groundhog Day” by way of Agatha Christie – the most inventive story you’ll read this year.

Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.

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My Thoughts:  

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This book! I don’t even know how to describe it because it is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. My brain literally hurt when I finished it, but in a satisfying- “I just accomplished something” type of way. I had to start taking notes halfway through because there were so many characters and so much detail. The story is a constant roller coaster with twists and turns and “wait what!?” moments. You are kept guessing the entire time. There is witty banter, a dark creepy house with a sordid past, family scandal, murder (obviously), but there is also a really cool philosophical element to the story that you don’t see coming amidst all the scheming and backstabbing. I absolutely loved this book! While I don’t necessarily think this book is for everyone, I do think there are a lot of readers that will enjoy its dark twists and turns. You will most likely enjoy The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle if you like:

  • Clue – (both the game and the movie) You are basically playing clue in this book except your “character” changes daily
  • Downton Abbey – If you like the upstairs/downstairs drama and intrigue, this is definitely for you
  • Agatha Christie – this mystery is set up just like a Christie novel and Turton does a great job of paying homage to her style
  • Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the characters in this novel have to complete tasks before they are free, these “tasks” are designed to help them become better people- rehabilitation is the goal. A very Dickensian theme

Overall, I thought this was a really smart, interesting, unique, and well written novel. The only drawback for me was that the middle section did tend to lag in a few places. But the reward at the end was definitely worth it. This was an amazing first novel from Stuart Turton and I’m so excited to see what is next for him! 

For more information on Stuart Turton and his books, check him out on Goodreads

Click here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Instagram and here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Goodreads.

Reviews

Review: The Song of Achilles ~ by Madeline Miller

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Review: The Song of Achilles ~ by Madeline Miller

352 pages (paperback) ~ Literary Fiction/Greek Mythology  

2011 ~ Bloomsbury

My Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Description:

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights, their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

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87c5788a-3a47-4cd5-964b-0523170c8e46My Thoughts:  

This book was absolute magic. Reading Circe was a transformative experience, and The Song of Achilles had the same profound impact on me. Though I related to Circe’s story more, mainly because it dealt with so many women’s issues, I really loved the way that Miller was able to give so much depth to a story that I thought I knew. Since there are so many beautiful reviews of this book, I will keep mine short and sweet by listing a few of my favorite elements of the book.

  • The guilt of war – in other stories of Achilles he is portrayed as a killer. I really liked that Miller used his relationship with Patroclus to show his guilt over the lives he was forced to take. This conveyed his goodness and Patroclus’ influence on him.
  • The subtlety of their love story – Patroclus and Achilles’ love for each other is never overtly stated, instead, the reader feels how much they love each other through their actions. Miller does such an amazing job of conveying their deep love and admiration for each other in such a poetic and subtle way.

“He is half my soul, as the poets say.”

  • Concept of fame – the story really plays with the idea of fame since this is something that Achilles chases throughout the book. It brings up questions of fame’s importance to history. One of my favorite quotes from the book addresses this question:

“Fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another? We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory….We are men only, a brief flare of the torch. Those to come may raise us or lower us as they please. Patroclus may be such as will rise in the future.”

I thought this quote was really interesting considering that the book seems to be attempting this very thing.

  • Remembered for his goodness  – The ending of the book was heartbreaking and beautiful. Achilles is a hero who is known for his ruthlessness and his ability to cut men down. However, Miller does an amazing job of attempting to rewrite his history. Instead, we remember Achilles through Patroclus’ eyes. He is remembered instead through this great and epic love story, rather than for death and destruction.

“They do not come as words, but like dreams, rising as scent from the rain-wet earth. This, I say. This and this. The way his hair looked in summer sun. His face when he ran. His eyes, solemn as an owl at lessons. This and this and this. So many moments of happiness, crowding forward.”

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Greek Mythology, however, I think that everyone would enjoy it. There is no need to have prior or extensive knowledge of mythology before going into this book.

If you have read it, or plan to, leave me a message!

For more information on Madeline Miller and her books, check her out on Goodreads.

Click here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Instagram and here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Goodreads.

Reviews

Review: ARC of The Stranger on the Beach ~ by Michele Campbell

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Review: The Stranger on the Beach~ by Michele Campbell

353 pages (Hardcover) ~ Thrilling Mystery, Suspense

July 23rd, 2019 ~ St. Martin’s Press

My Rating: 2/5

Goodreads Description:

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

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img_2561My Thoughts:  

Unfortunately, this mystery didn’t hit the mark for me. From the start, there were things that just kept preventing me from getting into the story.

  • I did enjoy the fact that both narrators were unreliable, however, because I was never sure who was telling the truth, it made it very difficult to relate or to sympathize with either character. It also made the story difficult to follow because the timelines and events were completely muddled.
  • I didn’t like either character. I found Caroline annoying and Campbell seemed to go out of her way to make her fit into every stereotypically rich white woman cliche possible. Because Caroline’s POV was flippant and, quite frankly, abhorrent, it made the writing appear unsophisticated. I feel that the style the author used for Caroline’s POV was intentionally done in order to make readers question her credibility, however, it just made the book really difficult to read.
  • There were moments when I liked Aiden, but his character was overshadowed by the ridiculous story Caroline was weaving. He also came across completely unrealistic.

Overall, I did finish the book, which means that I was engaged enough to make it the end and I did actually care about the outcome. The ending does have a twist, but unfortunately, it was a pretty predictable twist.

Despite everything, I really liked the questions that the book posed regarding our desire to automatically place blame based on preconceived ideas- ie: male, criminal record, poor. I liked that it portrayed our desire to ignore guilt when it comes to those who are rich, put together, or from a certain class. This was definitely the most interesting part of the book for me.

The Stranger on the Beach comes out July 23rd and it would be a nice “who-done-it” for the beach or a plane ride. Thank you so much to NetGalley and to St. Martin’s Press for sending me the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Click here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Instagram and here > SomewhereinPages < to find me on Goodreads.

Reviews

Review: The Silent Patient ~ by Alex Michaelides

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Review: The Silent Patient ~ by Alex Michaelides

323 pages ~ Thrilling Mystery, Suspense

2019 ~ Celadon Books

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Description:

ALICIA

Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO

Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

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My Thoughts:  

The hype around this book and this debut author is definitely well deserved. The story is crafted so well, the writing is stellar, and there is so much attention to detail. It was insanely fast-paced and nearly impossible to put down once started. It keeps you guessing and questioning yourself the entire time. It was smart, suspenseful, unpredictable, and anxiety-inducing. Everything that you want from a good thriller!

Below are a few things I loved and a few things I had issues with:

What I loved:

  • By far my favorite aspect of the book was the discussion of psychotherapy, the “talking cure” as Theo refers to it. The book questions the merits of therapy throughout. Questions like: how and why does psychotherapy work? What are the limits of therapy? Are some people beyond its effects? How much do we end up repeating our trauma regardless of being “cured?” You never for a second forget that Theo is a psychotherapist and his POV is uniquely colored by both his past, his own experiences with therapy, and his profession.
  • Alicia was fascinating. I loved reading her journals and I felt that her voice was captured really well. Michaelides did a great job of creating a distinct voice for her that was drastically different from Theo’s. I would have liked more of Alicia’s past and her relationships with her father and husband, but I understand there is only so much room to do that in a thriller.
  • Alicia’s use of the Greek tragedy of Alcestis in order to communicate was a brilliant connection. At first, it was so hard to see how the pieces of the tragedy were going to fit with Alicia’s story, but when they finally did, it added such a fascinating and heavy layer to the sadness of it all.

What I didn’t love:

  • The book didn’t have the dark, creepy vibe that thrillers usually have, instead, this book was actually pretty freaking sad. I cried at the end and was kind of depressed. This is probably just me, I don’t really like stories that involve infidelity and child abuse- both of which are center stage here. So, if those topics are also not your cup of tea, probably best to avoid this one.
  • The rest of my complaints involve the ending so I have created a section below that is full of spoilers…so proceed with caution. However, if you have read it, I would love to hear if you agree or disagree with me.

 

Spoiler Below:

You have been warned. There will be spoilers below.

I would really hate to spoil anything for anyone, especially with a thriller.

  • Ok, let’s talk about the ending. I have read a lot of reviews where people claim that ending took them completely by surprise. This was not the case for me. I had a feeling it was Theo the second he found out his wife was cheating on him and he started to follow her. So, about 25% into the book. However, I completely dismissed this theory because of one crucial piece of information that was intentionally left out of the entire book…….THE TIMELINE!! I thought, “there is no way the Theo theory works because Kathy is cheating on Theo 6 years after Alicia’s tragedy.” It was also at this point that I started thinking it was really strange that there were no years listed after any of the dates. I feel like Michaelides was kind of cheating us here. You can’t just leave the dates completely off and then say “Ha Ha I fooled you!” at the end. No! You didn’t fool me, you left off the freaking dates!! This seemed like a cheaters attempt at a twist if I am being honest.

Even though I obviously had reservations about the ending, the book was really enjoyable for all of the reasons that I mentioned above. I would definitely recommend it to other thriller lovers. I am excited to see what Michaelides writes in the future.  

I listened to the unabridged audiobook on Audible narrated by Jack Hawkins from the BBC’s Call the Midwife and Louise Brealey from the BBC’s Sherlock. Both actors did an amazing job of bringing this story to life. If you are an audiobook fan, this is definitely one to check out. Link here Audible 

For more information on Alex Michaelides and his books- Click here Alex Michaelides to find him on Goodreads.

Click here SomewhereinPages to find me on Instagram and here SomewhereinPages to find me on Goodreads.