CJ Reviews All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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all-the-missing-girlsTitle: All The Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Format: Advanced Reading Copy
Rating:4 stars

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.  (Goodreads)

Every thriller being published these days is being marketed as either the next Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. Probably about half of the stack of ARCs I have to read this month mention one or both of those titles in the description of the novel. While I’m trying not to get sucked in by that hype – especially given my dislike of Girl on a Train, I can’t help but be curious. I’m always looking for a really good mystery thriller that actually does capture my attention and which I cannot put down. All the Missing Girls managed to succeed where so often novels fail.

The concept of this novel is fascinating. It starts out moving in a linear fashion, then jumps ahead two weeks and continues to tell the story in reverse, slowly unfolding each day then going to the day before. This sounded like nothing more than a gimmick to me at first, but in all honesty it works. Each day reveals just enough, with just enough foreshadowing that it keeps you turning the pages to find out what really happened. And not only are you interested in what is happening the “present” but you’re also piecing together details from what happened a decade earlier.

If I had a complaint about this book, it would be the lack of female characters, as the narrator is the only main female character in the book and is rarely seen interacting with other females. And if you really wanted to look at this novel through a feminist lens, there are probably several other things that you could really tear it apart for, but as I just wanted to read a page-turner mystery, I wasn’t willing to analyze it that completely.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it if you’re interested in suspense and “psychological thrillers.” Don’t be turned off by the hype or the comparison to Girl on a Train. This really was a good read.

ARC August 2016
All the Missing Girls was read as part of ARC August hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. You can find more on the books I read during ARC August here.

It’s Time for ARC August 2016!

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ARC August 2016

Last year I participated in ARC August, hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. for the very first time and was able to make a nice dent in my ARC pile. I enjoyed it so much I decided to try again this year.

This year I’m pretty sure that pile is even larger than last year’s pile, but I’ve been reading at a slower pace so I’m not sure I’ll be nearly as successful as I was last year, but here’s hoping I get through at least some of the books on my pile!

Despite knowing I will be unlikely to make it through a large stack of ARCs, I’m still being rather ambitious in my plans for this month’s reading. Most of these are books that have now been out a while and I just haven’t found the time to read them, but a few have yet to be published. My list of ARCs include:

I know that’s a pretty long list, but I also know I can do it if I put my mind to it – I’m just worried there are so many other things going on this month that I just might not have the time. But if you follow along here each week I’ll be updating you on my progress!

Summer Reading: Big Little Lies and Fireflies

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SummerReading

The next two books in my series of Summer Reading Reviews are probably my two favorites so far. One had me in tears by the end, while the other was really difficult to put down (a problem, since I started it on a busy weekend where I didn’t have time to just sit and read).

Firefly LaneFirefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Title: Firefly Lane
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publication Date: February 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4 stars

I’ve never read anything by Kristin Hannah, but this book had intrigued me since it’s original publication. I think it was probably the cover that initially attracted me. (It’s just so pretty! And there are fireflies!). Overall, I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I used to dismiss popular fiction – particularly women’s fiction like this – for no reason other than I believed it wouldn’t interest me. I’m quickly finding out I was very wrong in that assumption.

I loved the first half of the novel, then it seemed to drag just slightly during the second half, but by the end I was hooked again. And even with it’s slow parts, it’s just a beautiful novel of friendship – Kate and Tully have their share of ups and downs during the course of their friendship, but ultimately they’re always there for each other and that’s what friendship should be. Warning: I was definitely in tears by the end of this novel, so have some tissues ready.

Beach Read Rating: StarfishRatings
While I loved this book, it felt more like a good spring/fall book to me – unless you’re the type who likes to have a good ugly cry at the beach!

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4.5 stars

I’ve been wondering about this author for a while, as her books have become increasingly popular and I had no idea what the appeal was. Finally, I decided it was time to find out for myself, and I did not regret it.

This novel is full of materialistic, vain, petty elementary school mothers and to my surprise I loved every second of it. It’s exactly the kind of novel I thought I would never enjoy, but something about the over-the-top craziness of these moms and then the added mystery that’s foreshadowed throughout the entire novel just made this almost impossible to put down. I seriously loved this book so much I cannot wait to try another one of her novels.

Beach Read Rating:    StarfishRatings
This is exactly the kind of book I would like to have with me at the beach – it’s not too dark or deep but there’s plenty of juicy drama to go around.

Introducing Summer Reading Reviews

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SummerReading

Since I’m reading a lot of older books as part of my summer reading list, I decided I probably won’t do full-length reviews for each one. Instead, I’ll do a series of “Summer Reading Reviews” that look at 2 or 3 of the books I’ve read at a time. This way, I can share my thoughts on each book, without feeling like I’m struggling to write a full review of the book.

For each book I’ll also include a “Beach Read Rating” which is my totally subjective opinion on whether or not I think this book makes a good beach read. This rating may not necessarily match my regular rating – books I would typically give a lower rating may still make great beach reads. Remember, this is completely subjective as everyone has their own definition as to what constitutes a good “Beach Read.”

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews

Spring_FeverTitle: Spring Fever
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3.5 stars

My goal this summer was to read books I wouldn’t normally choose, and to try out some lighter fiction than what I am accustomed to. This is why Mary Kay Andrews’s books appealed to me, as they fit both categories. This certainly wasn’t the kind of book I would normally choose, but I found myself enjoying quite a bit of it.

I would describe this novel as a chick flick with the added drama of a soap opera. In a lot of ways it had the predictability and humor of a chick flick, but with the extra sudsy appeal of a soap opera. Normally I would have rolled my eyes, but I actually found myself enjoying the book to my surprise. It took me a little while to really get into it, as I had trouble identifying with the characters, but once I finally fell into a rhythm with it I found it to be a quick, fun read.

Beach Read Rating:    StarfishRatings
This book is my definition of a beach read – light, and fun with just the right amount of sudsy drama.

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes

Last Letter LoverTitle: The Last Letter From Your Lover
Author: JoJo Moyes
Publication Date: January 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4 stars

I really enjoyed Me Before You, and wanted to try another book by the author. This one was chosen somewhat at random since it was the only one on the shelf at the used bookstore where I was shopping. However, the bright pink cover appealed to me so I picked it up. (Yes, I do judge books by their covers, but I know I’m not the only one!)

While reading this book, I found myself really getting into the part of the story taking place in the 1960s, though the present day storyline didn’t interest me nearly as much except where it overlapped with the characters from the past. I think the characters in the 1960s storyline were just fleshed out better and more interesting. Much like the character of Ellie in the present, I was drawn in by the love story and a desire to know what happened to the couple.

Beach Read Rating: StarfishRatings
This book isn’t as light and fun as Spring Fever, but it would certainly look bright and colorful in your beach bag!

Recapping Reads: June in Review

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Unfortunately I didn’t get around do writing many posts in June, but I did manage to get a lot of reading done. In fact, I even managed to stick to my summer reading goal for the month, which was pretty surprising even to me since I started the month without about 2 or 3 other books that I needed to finish before I even started on my summer reading. (Also, I rarely ever stick to a reading list this closely, so this is probably already the most successful I’ve ever been with a summer reading list).

June just seemed to fly by. I have several books I intended to review here, but somehow it’s now almost July and I still haven’t posted those reviews. I’m hoping next month I can balance my time more between reading and posting.

Books Read in June:

JuneReads

  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson – This was the May selection for Our Shared Shelf, though I didn’t finish it until June.
  • Wool by Hugh Howey– This was the June selection for Watch the Skies.
  • Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison – One that had been on my TBR for a long time, then my boyfriend insisted I finally read it. I’m glad he did.
  • Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman– Review to Come. I requested this on a whim, not having read any of his other books and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware– I loved last summer’s In a Dark, Dark Wood and while this year’s follow up didn’t quite meet my expectations, it was still a pretty good read.
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah– I loved this novel more than I expected and it had a lot more feels than I was expecting.
  • The Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes– I love her style of writing and this novel sucked me in almost immediately.
  • Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews– Not my typical type of book, and it took me a while to really get into it, but it was a lot of fun once I did.

Currently Reading:

JuneCurrent

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty– I’ve been curious about her books for a long time.
  • The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin– The synopsis of this book intrigued me and it’s been sitting in my TBR for months.
  • The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – I feel like I’ve been reading this for months. I enjoy it, it’s just that I keep focusing on other books instead of finishing this one.

Reading List for July:

  • Summer Reading-JulyThe Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry – I loved The Lace Reader and I also have an ARC for her next book, but wanted to read this first.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Surprisingly, I have never read this classic.
  • Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews – I picked this up because it sounded fun and went with my Summer Reading theme of lighter, fun books.
  • The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – I’ve been wanting to read this book for years. Hopefully it doesn’t let me down.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Another classic that I’ve never read but am looking forward to finally getting to it.
  • Beach Music by Pat Conroy – I read a random comment in another review, article or comment (I can’t even remember now) about how good this book was and have been curious about it ever since.

Hopefully I’m as successful with my July reading list as I was with June! I’ve also picked up a couple ARCs in the last few weeks that I’d love to get to if I have time to squeeze them into my reading schedule.

What’s your favorite summer read so far?

 

Summertime = Summer Reading Lists

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Summer Reading2016Ever since I was in high school, every summer I would create a list of the books I was looking forward to reading once I had free time and could read whatever I chose (instead of what was assigned to me). More recently, I’ve discovered that creating those lists on a month basis helps me to (most of the time) actually read what I plan on reading and not get too distracted by shiny new books (but let’s admit, we all get distracted by shiny new books…)

My reading has been a little touch and go lately. At the end of May I discovered that I was still reading the same books I had started the month reading, and hadn’t actually finished anything. Part of that is because May was a busy month for me and I didn’t get a lot of time to read. But I think part of that is also because I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. I (like many readers) have a tendency to gravitate toward certain types of books. For me, it’s usually scifi/fantasy books and books that tend to be really dramatic and serious. So for this year’s summer reading list I decided to change things up a little and try something new.

When I first started thinking about my summer reading list and what I wanted to do differently my first thought was to try to be more intentional about reading more women writers. And then I thought about all my favorite authors: Tana French, Gillian Flynn, Jen Lancaster, J.K. Rowling … the majority of the authors I read and love on a regular basis – those whose books I look forward to being published – are women. Of my favorite authors I could only actually think of two men whom I consider favorites: Neil Gaiman and Jim Butcher.

That’s when I realized that while I read a lot of books written by women, I don’t read a lot of books about women. At least, not everyday women and their lives. I’ve always shied away from the “popular women’s fiction” thinking it wasn’t something I’d ever be interested in – I couldn’t care less what Shopaholic is up to now. However, when I thought about this habit (or lack of, as the case may be) in my reading and my desire to try to work a little bit more lighter, fun beach reading type books into my summer reading list, I came up with quite a few ideas on how to shape my summer reading list.

This list is definitely different from my previous summer reading lists, and contains several books that in the past I may not have even considered reading, but I’m looking forward to all of them. The list is a little ambitious, but we’ll see how well I do (I even have a few alternates if I seem to be reading ahead of schedule). And in my mildly OCD nature, I also grouped them by month in which I hope to have them read. (August is primarily ARCs in anticipation of ARC August).

June:

July:

August:

So there is my overly-ambitious Summer Reading list, which is sure to be interrupted by book clubs, new releases, and who knows what else (I think I’ve managed to get through about half of last year’s summer reading though it took me all year to do it). What books are you planning to read this summer? Are you trying anything new?

May Wrap Up

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May has been a bit of a crazy month. I decided to combine my monthly Book Haul and wrap up posts because otherwise my usual ‘Recapping Reads’ post would probably look exactly like April’s. Somehow I only read 1 book in all of this month, and that was a book of poetry that took me a single evening (at work, no less). Everything else I was reading at the start of this month I’m still reading now. Life has just been busy this month and though it feels like I have done quite a bit of reading, I still didn’t manage to finish anything. This is one of the downsides of reading to many books at once – it takes you longer to finish any of them.

So, if you take a look at my April Recapping Reads, you’ll pretty much find everything there (except books read) is the same. I’m sticking with the same to read list for now too (though I’m working on coming up with a few new titles to add for my Summer Reading list).

The only book I actually read and finished this month was Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I do not feel at all qualified to review poetry, but hopefully I’ll have some thoughts posted by next week.

April 2016 HaulBook Haul

Remember last month when I said I wouldn’t buy any books in May? Well I almost stuck to that. Aside from Milk and Honey (not pictured) the only other books I purchased were at a library book sale, and I didn’t even pay for them – my boyfriend did. And we got all 7 of these books for only $3.50, so I’d say we made out pretty well. I had told myself this was my reward for being good and not buying any books earlier in the month. Now let’s see if I can make it through all of June without buying any. Baby steps!

Unfortunately most of these books will probably just get added to my TBR list and not read immediately (as usually happens with books I get at book sales), though I do hope to get to The Handmaid’s Tale at some point this summer. Most of these are either books that have been on my reading list for a long time, or just books that I’ve been curious about for a while.

As I’m sure all book bloggers are aware, May was also BEA month. I unfortunately did not make it (again) but one of my managers at the bookstore did and was kind enough to pick up some ARCs for me while he was there.

May 2016 ARCsAll but two of these came home from BEA with my manager. The Outliers and A Hundred Thousand Worlds were found up for grabs in our break room at work.

This stack I’m going to try to get through by the end of the summer – especially the first five books, because I’m excited about all of them. Of those, I am probably the most excited about A Hundred Thousand Worlds and The Fifth Petal (I loved Barry’s The Lace Reader). I know very little about the other three, though Mischling in particular sounded interesting (possibly dark, but interesting).

I did not make any ebook purchases this month, but I did receive permission for an eARC of Gaslight and Grimm a collection of Steampunk Fairytales that a friend has a story in, along with some other great scifi/fantasy authors. I haven’t started reading yet, but I’m sture it’s going to be a good read and will recommend it already.

So there is my month in review. Hopefully June will be a little more successful when it comes to actually finishing some of the books I’ve started. As much as I’m enjoying what I’m reading right now, I can’t wait to move onto some of the other books on my list!