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Hidden Bodies (You #2) – Caroline Kepnes

Hidden Bodies (You #2) – Caroline KepnesTitle: Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes
Publishing Info: February 23, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 3, 2017
Related Posts: You (You #1)

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

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I picked up HIDDEN BODIES because I was wholly engrossed with YOU by Caroline Kepnes when I had picked it up earlier in the year. (Last year? I don’t even remember when it was.) It was disturbing and yet interesting all at the same time and HIDDEN BODIES was no different in that respect! I came to actually like Joe, despite his murderous and obsessive ways, and had fun following his crazy story in HIDDEN BODIES as well.

This book, however, wasn’t quite as enjoyable as YOU. YOU felt much more fast-paced (although I do remember feeling like it lagged for a while too) but HIDDEN BODIES felt a little too long. The plot is quite different, starting out a little similar but seemingly veering off-path. I guess there’s no “right” way to write about a serial killer but Joe ended up finding some “normal” and while there were still some very messed up moments and the body count grew, it just didn’t feel as… dark… as YOU.

I love these audiobooks with Santino Fontana narrating (who I did not realize is the voice of Hans in Frozen — thanks to my sister for that tidbit! Although I still heard Joe with his great narration) and I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed this nearly as much without the audio aspect so I’m definitely glad I ended up doing audio for both books! It did feel a bit slow in plot sometimes but the narration kept it moving and I loved the edge in the narrator’s voice.

The ending was… interesting? I didn’t realize that this series was going to keep going — at least I think it is from the way it ended. I kind of liked where it went and yet it also kind of felt untrue to the character we met in book one. I guess there’s always room for growth, and I guess it’s also true that Dexter took this kind of turn towards domestic life and I didn’t mind it. (Okay, I did a little bit.)

I wasn’t big on the Hollywood scene and I much preferred the setting in New York but the book was still very interesting and I did enjoy following Joe on some more horrific adventures. (Is enjoy the right word for reading a book about a killer? Eek.) I’ll definitely still continue on if we get more Joe adventures but I did feel like this book wasn’t as cohesive as the last.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Relatable serial killers?  Okay, is that even a thing? What I’m really saying here is that I appreciate being able to get sort of sucked into Joe’s world. Somehow he becomes an antihero that you want to root for.
Left Me Wanting More: Darkness. Joe was crazy yet easy to relate to in YOU and I missed some of that darker sidein HIDDEN BODIES. I think this book went a little off-course, though I guess that’s just where the story went!

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you enjoyed YOU, HIDDEN BODIES is worth the read! I much preferred the first book but there’s something so compelling about Joe despite the fact that he’s banana sandwich.

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BOOKS LIKE HIDDEN BODIES

          

Review in a Tweet | The Lizzy & Diesel series by Janet Evanovich

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is more Janet Evanovich! I decided to jump into the Lizzy & Diesel series because I’m in such a witchy/magical mood and Halloween/fall seemed like the perfect time to read them! (Yes, I’m already considering it Halloweentime.)

I actually binge-read the first three books in the series (the three that are currently published) but I’ll just post the one tweet and talk about the three of them together!

 

So these books are total brain candy and I love listening to Janet Evanovich books while I’m working. They’re fun, fast, and super easy listening audiobooks! I did like the magic involved here where I didn’t enjoy it when Diesel appeared in the Between the Numbers Stephanie Plum books but so many of Janet’s different series follow the same character patterns and her heroines are really all the same. It’s fun to keep reading them but it doesn’t really differentiate between series and they even use the same catch phrases sometimes.

Either way, I’ll continue to read them because they’re easy and enjoyable! I just know I’m not going to receive anything ground-breaking.

Oh, and I’m so over the monkeys in every series. Why.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain ReidTitle: I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Publishing Info: June 14, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 6, 2017

I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.

Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page.

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WOW, this book was really interesting! First, I love that it was short. It added to the pacing that it was a book you knew you could race through and especially once things got towards the middle, I couldn’t put it down.

I also have to hand it to Iain Reid for how this book was structured. Obviously it’s a thriller that has been advertised as having a shocking ending so I’m not giving anything away there, but it was something that certainly surprised me and I immediately went back to the beginning of the book to check out how everything had started again because I needed to retrace my steps! The structure was excellent and it was so interesting to read! The ending was definitely shocking and I totally didn’t see it coming, somehow. A lot of times, I’m able to pick up on “obvious” things and piece together the end of a mystery or thriller but this one really got me. Looking back, I should have known but I guess that was the true nature of the book.

I was still confused about a few things after immediately finishing but once I started to look back on the whole book, it just became more and more clear to me. There were lots of clues tucked all over the place but you’d never know they were there if you didn’t know to look for them, but then seeing them again just made everything click. It was very creepy at times, definitely thrilling, and quite an interesting read!

Once I finished the book, I actually went back to read other people’s reviews as I often do and there was something that totally surprised me that I didn’t even pick up! It’s kind of a spoiler, in my opinion, so I won’t mention it outright here but you can check out my review on Goodreads to check out the spoiler within spoiler tags if you’re interested! Basically, it was another little surprise of the book that I didn’t even notice until I started reading other people’s reviews and it was neat to have the book STILL keep going after I had finished!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Super twisty thrillers. This book got a little weird and a whole lot confusing but kind of in the best possible way. I loved how twisty it was and that I was never really quite sure what as going on!
Left Me Wanting More: Direction. I DID like that I didn’t know what was going on but I’ll admit that I felt a little lost at times. I love getting swept away with a book but sometimes it did feel like a bit much.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

The book is super short and a fast read. It’s curious, interesting, and totally kept me on my toes!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Review in a Tweet | Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2) by Janet Evanovich

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is DANGEROUS MINDS by Janet Evanovich. I started and finished this audiobook in a single day while I was making candles and I always love how quick and easy Janet Evanovich’s audiobooks are! I tend to listen to everything of hers on audio now because they’re so fast, easy to listen to while doing other things, and I like the narrator, Lorelai King who seems to be narrating all of her stuff!

I liked this review in a tweet because I noticed for the first time as I was posting about this book on Twitter that Phoef Sutton, who had co-written the first book, was noticeably absent from DANGEROUS MINDS. I wonder what happened there — if it was only meant to be one book that was co-written or if they decided to just let Janet Evanovich take over or if something crazy happened or what! Both books had that Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum feel for me still but this series so far is a little less silly than Stephanie, although there are still some very wacky moments. I wish they felt a little more different but hey, that’s getting into a full review which defeats the purpose of this post!

 

Mini-Review: Pretty Baby – Mary Kubica

Mini-Review: Pretty Baby – Mary KubicaTitle: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
Publishing Info: July 28, 2015 by Harlequin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 5, 2017
Related Posts: The Good Girl

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head...

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

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PRETTY BABY definitely wasn’t as strong as THE GOOD GIRL for me. The story line wasn’t as intriguing and I’m glad that it had a different feel but I also wasn’t as fond of the plot involved in this book. Call me silly, but any time a baby is a main part of a plot, I just find it unappealing. I don’t have anything against the baby, but babies are so vulnerable that it really holds a character back and I find it frustrating. While it’s a part of real life, it’s just not something that I usually choose to read about.

PRETTY BABY seemed to be a little less intriguing as well, not only compared to THE GOOD GIRL, but just in general compared to other mysteries or thrillers. I really felt like there was a lot of time spent in places where the plot could have moved forward and more info through the backstories could have been provided to keep the reader intrigued. It seemed like there were a few missed opportunities to really keep things moving and some big things were delayed a bit too long.

Things did end up unraveling for a fast and furious finale so that did bump up my rating just a bit. I did enjoy the ending and it was expected, yet not. I could see something coming but to actually watch the events unravel was kind of mind-boggling.

I actually liked the twist of characters throughout the book and I enjoyed how I started out with one impression of each one of the narrating voices and changed my opinions slowly the more pieces of the puzzle I gained. Some of the more unlikable (or simply less warm) characters became more likable towards the end once I gained a little more perspective on what exactly they were dealing with.

I’m definitely still interested in more from Mary Kubica (and I love that her books are set in Chicago! Hello, St. Charles/Kane County mention!) but this one wasn’t as strong as her first for me.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult thrillers. I’ve always been a big mystery/thriller fan and I’m enjoying getting into Mary Kubica’s books! It’s really fun to take a break from YA and get into an adult mindset.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot Development. I wanted things to keep moving forward just a little bit. I didn’t mind a bit twist/reveal/thing at the end but I was hoping for just a little bit more forward motion throughout.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I did enjoy this one but it wasn’t as strong as other thrillers for me. I think it’s a good read though and I enjoy Mary Kubica’s writing!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE PRETTY BABY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

You (You #1) – Caroline Kepnes

You (You #1) – Caroline KepnesTitle: You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes
Publishing Info: September 30, 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 1, 2016
Related Posts: Hidden Bodies (You #2)

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

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Well, for all of the hype for this book, it didn’t really leave me feeling shocked or awed or super impressed, but I did find that it left a lasting impression and that I wanted to read the next book right away! I did like the things that were different about it. I really enjoyed the different narration in the second person, hence the title “You”. Main character (and super psychopath) Joe narrates the book to and about his newest obsession, Guinevere Beck. It was an interesting choice of narration and it really gets you in the head of the narrator. I did have a hard time with the book — not in a bad way, but in a way that confused me because this guy is totally nuts. He’s actually crazy and creepy and scary and does some very, very bad things… And yet I felt sympathetic at times! The form of narration really had me feeling for him even though I knew he was totally wrong and deranged. I also really enjoyed Joe’s voice in the sense that it felt more personal. It wasn’t just recounting. He often interrupted himself or interjected with more things that brought one more level to the account.

For all of the hype, I felt like there was supposed to be a twist coming and while that really wasn’t this kind of book. I think I got myself all hyped because of other people’s reactions and it didn’t really shock me like I thought it would, but instead, it was shocking in a very different way. I was so appalled at Joe’s actions and yet it was also a train wreck that I couldn’t stop watching. I really did get myself all psyched for a big twist moment, so I was a bit sad that that didn’t happen, but I also am coming to appreciate those thrillers that can wrap up without a twist because if every book had a twist, they’d all be predictable!

The book was very sexual, and I don’t have issues with sexuality in books, but it did feel overdone at times. I guess that is kind of the point of the book in a way, since Joe’s obsession is romantic on all levels. He’s obsessed with Beck emotionally, physically, and mentally. Clearly he has several psychoses so the obsession is overboard on so many levels. I am used to reading YA which really doesn’t get explicit of course, but there were points that felt like a little much for me.

YOU was interesting and engaging from start to finish and I did enjoy reading it but I think I was just let down by the hype. I kept waiting for a huge moment that didn’t really happen and I thought that’s how the book would end but was also kind of hoping it wouldn’t. Looking back on it as I’m reviewing, I really was totally engaged so that really did leave a good lasting impression! Somehow Joe came off as charismatic in a way and I wanted to pick up HIDDEN BODIES shortly thereafter!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Crazy, messed-up thrillers. I don’t know why but every once in a while, I like a good, messed up book.
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. I guess I did appreciate the lack of a big twist but I was also really expecting it so it was kind of a bummer!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you like some crazy thrillers that put you into the mind of a literal psychopath, definitely check out YOU!

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BOOKS LIKE YOU

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    THE GOOD GIRL

Mini-Review: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Review: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 15, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 23, 2016
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

In the heart of Trenton, N.J., a killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts.
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.
As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best.

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** Mini-review for TURBO TWENTY-THREE… because once you review one Stephanie Plum book, you sort of review them all! ** 

TURBO TWENTY-THREE was another quick, easy, and fun Stephanie Plum novel! I really appreciate that Janet Evanovich has taken these books a little bit back into the realm of the plausible instead of monkeys-acting-like-humans. Of course, they’re still a little wacky because that is the way of Plum but at least it’s on a believable side again!

This book was a lot of fun, actually. I enjoyed the warring ice cream factory concept and it was funny watching Stephanie try to infiltrate each one, learn the feuds behind the two, and the many different ways to get in trouble in an ice cream factory.

We sort of went backwards again with the love triangle and SIGH. I was so excited to see progress in one direction and now it’s back in the middle. It could be worse because there have been worse love triangles in cozy mysteries that still also haven’t resolved and at least I like Ranger and Morelli both… But it’s been twenty-three books! I’m ready for some resolution on the love triangle thing. I’m getting a bit tired of talking about it but such is life and being a reader of this series!

I do like that I’m really rarely guess the answer to the mysteries! I guess I probably could guess a few if I tried but I love listening to these books on audio because they’re so short and fun and easy to listen to while doing other things. I love zoning out and flowing with these books and it’s great to have a lighter audio!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ranger. I’m personally Team Morelli in terms of settling down… but darn it, I do still love Ranger. How did I get hooked in a love triangle?
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. Come onnnn, just choose already!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan, keep on going! I do like that things aren’t so silly anymore and hey, they may be all kind of the same but I still enjoy them all the time!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TURBO TWENTY-THREE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train – Paula HawkinsTitle: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Publishing Info: January 13, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 29, 2016

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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After much anticipation, I finally picked up THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN! I totally see the GONE GIRL comparison but I also liked that the book did go in a very different direction. There are so many thrillers nowadays that compare to big titles and they’re big shoes to fill! I wasn’t as blown away by GONE GIRL as some but I did enjoy the many twists and not knowing what to expect. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN had that same sort of feel but the ending actually felt a bit more predictable.

It was really interesting to see the many unreliable narrators in this book (always a fan) and I was always kept on my toes because I was never quite sure who or what to believe! That does create a problem sometimes because I love these sorts of thrillers so I always start to form some wild accusation in my head, and sometimes I like my theories better than the actual book. Not all books can have endings so wild, though, because otherwise it’d be really played out and we’d all expect twists all the time and be able to guess them all! THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN still had a nice twist at the end, mostly putting all the pieces together, but it wasn’t as twisty as I anticipated. I enjoyed that it wasn’t what I expected but I felt after that whole book that it lost a little excitement towards the reveal and I really wasn’t a fan of the villain speech to reveal it all.

I wasn’t super duper in love with the book and yet I really couldn’t put this book down. I was so interested and hooked and I loved the mystery and suspense of it all. The unreliable narrators were great and I actually really enjoyed the writing style, with different POV switches as well as those POVs taking place at different points in time. It was really interesting to see it all come together in the end and I actually appreciate that the narrators were unreliable but in a very realistic and somewhat relatable way.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a very solid mystery and thriller and I can see why it captivated so many people! It really is a great GONE GIRL comparison and it allows readers to step into a relatable role and still distance themselves from these specific experiences. I’m really glad I finally read it!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Rachel // Character obsessions: Her ex-husband, the couple she can see from the train, solving the mystery.
I felt bad for Rachel and not all at the same time. She put herself into so many horrible positions and being an alcoholic made things so, so much worse… And yet she was also incredibly relatable at times. I’m sure a lot of us can relate to those missing pieces of fuzziness after a night of drinking and it just makes you think how much it can truly affect your life after continuing on like that on a consistent basis, and Rachel’s drinking messed up her life on so many levels. It was an interesting tool to use for an unreliable narrator though because it’s something where you’re able to see that a character has missing pieces or false information and it’s not cheesy or a psychological factor after a big reveal. Readers are able to see that Rachel is pretty unreliable and yet she was one to root for to pull her life together.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult mystery/thrillers. Adult mysteries were my bread and butter when I first started blogging and it’s always fun to jump back into that world!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. I know I said I was happy the twist wasn’t overdone but it’s also hard when you’re expecting something huge and it’s not as huge as you thought it was. The ending was definitely still enjoyable but didn’t have that “omg” factor that shot it up to five stars for me.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you liked GONE GIRL, this is a serious and legit recommendation for you! If not, the book certainly stands on its own two feet and also has plenty of differences.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

GONE GIRL    THE good girl

Curious Minds – Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton

Curious Minds – Janet Evanovich & Phoef SuttonTitle: Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1) by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Publishing Info: August 16, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group, Listening Library
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 2, 2016
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.
What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

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CURIOUS MINDS is the first book I’ve read from Janet Evanovich that wasn’t Stephanie Plum, which makes it really hard for me NOT to compare it to Plum after reading 22 novels featuring her wacky crew (and even some novellas). I guess in a way, I have to since it’s my frame of reference for her writing.

Truthfully, it was noticeable for me that it was a new series that was not Plum. I guess it wasn’t different in a bad way, but I’ve been reading Stephanie Plum for at least five years and that series just has so much personality and CURIOUS MINDS felt just a little flatter. I know that Evanovich has other series that aren’t Stephanie Plum and now I wonder how those feel — was it this book specifically or am I feeling a Plum-hangover? I liked that it wasn’t as silly as Plum novels get sometimes and yet I found myself wanting a little more from the characters and from the plot. The plot was much more detective-like versus crazy antics which I liked! I always like a little bit of a mystery to solve. I did feel that I was getting just a touch confused with so many characters having their hands in the cookie jar.

I also wonder, since this was co-written with Phoef Sutton, how much that really changed the tone. Did a co-author bring the silliness down or would that have happened anyway? Who was responsible for what? An overall picture written together? Or Sutton responsible for X characters and Evanovich responsible for Y characters? I always wonder how co-written books go! Janet Evanovich’s trademark tone was prevalent throughout the book but it was also noticeably different.

Riley was definitely a Plum-type character although quite toned down. There’s still a lot of classic Evanovich jargon and characterization there but Riley Moon was much more put together. Emerson Knight was a Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory-type character (and was even specifically compared to him) but has just a bit more social skills then Sheldon and his science is toned down just a bit. He’s basically a wealthy genius, overtly labeled an eccentric, and makes for a lot of comical moments with his awkward social responses. I did like this better than outright silly, though!

CURIOUS MINDS was fun, a quick read (aka listen — I listened to the audiobook) and just some brain candy. Like Plum novels, it didn’t really stand out for me but it was fun to experience. It’s not knocking anything out of the park for me but still enjoyable and I’ll continue the series.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Riley Moon // Character obsessions: Her new job, junk food, reputation
I liked Riley! She was fun without being over the top. I think especially because the audiobook narrator was the same as the Plum series, she had a Stephanie Plum sort of feel except her life wasn’t quite as in shambles.
Emerson Knight // Character obsessions: Logic, science, curiosity.
Emerson was very Sheldon Cooper except maybe with a few more socials skills and less emphasis on the geeky side. He was actually really fun! I liked all of his logic and how that played into things from a comedic side.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Non-Plum Evanovich. I know, I know, that’s like the main focus here but it’s hard not to compare after reading 22+ books by the same author! It was fun though, and a nice change of pace.
Left Me Wanting More: Clarity of characters. The detective work got a little muddy for me when there were so many characters involved and five of them were family members. I had a hard time keeping track, especially when it’s a brand-new series and I’m still getting to know existing characters!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

If you enjoy Evanovich’s other books, this one has a pretty similar feel and tone. If you’re tired of Stephanie Plum, you don’t find too much different here. It’s a light, fun, and a little bit silly read but I enjoyed it!

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BOOKS LIKE CURIOUS MINDS

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Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the Ants

MINI REVIEWS

I’ve somehow fallen extremely behind on book reviews (that’s life!) so I’m combining a few audiobook reviews into one post today! Life has been so busy that I’ve been finishing way more audiobooks lately than I have print copies — but I’m always a fan of audios! Here are a few thoughts on 738 DAYS by Stacey Kade, TRICKY TWENTY-TWO by Janet Evanovich, WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson.


Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: 738 Days by Stacey Kade
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 7, 2016

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.
Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.
Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.
To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

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I was in need of a new audiobook when I started 738 DAYS and it seemed the most appealing choice out of my current selection! I had heard a lot of good things about it and although I wasn’t feeling any of my options, this one seemed to be my best bet for my mood at the time. I hadn’t realized it was so realistic/contemporary (I thought it was going to be more thriller/action — ah, the curse of going in mostly blind) but I did enjoy the book! Since I wasn’t in the mood for a serious contemporary novel, I ended up getting a little eye-rolly at some of the mushy parts (it was my own fault!) but 738 DAYS was a really well put together novel.

I thought the characters were quite realistic. I liked the array of emotions from Amanda. I could easily see how the trauma of her past still affected her — and likely would affect her for a long time or even the rest of her life — and yet she was determined not to to get stuck from it and have that trauma hold her life back. I loved her strength and determination. It was nice to see that gusto and not have her be too gung-ho or the type that constantly refuses someone’s help just so she can do something herself. There was a great balance of growth and seeing that moving past this wasn’t easy. I also really liked Chase and that we met him in his days of redemption. I think it’s easier to like a character when the bad stuff is in their past versus watching them go through the periods of self-destruction. It’s easier to distance yourself from that negative side and it was really nice to see Chase already in the process of that change to be a better person. He and Amanda really just clicked together and I liked how easy that relationship felt. I’ll admit that since I was thinking it was a bit more thriller (oops) that I wasn’t really excited about the romance at first (I know, I know, that’s what the whole book was ABOUT) but the great thing is that it totally grew on me. To swing me from not thrilled to totally loving it says a lot!

I’d say this is more of a New Adult title (given age range and sexual content I wouldn’t say it’s YA) and if you’re hesitant about reading New Adult given some of the more cheesy titles that have previously given it a bad name, this is a great place to start! It’ll definitely be one of my New Adult recommendations for people looking to try some.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | 738 DAYS had dual narrators for the two main characters. Andrew Eiden voiced Chase and Shannon McManus voiced Amanda. I didn’t really like Shannon’s voice much but it wasn’t enough that I actively disliked it (which has happened in the past and I’ve turned an audiobook off). Her voice is high and clear, very feminine, but it has kind of that Valley Girl intonation that bothered me a little bit. I did like Andrew Eiden’s voice but I still wasn’t overly in love with his narration. I’d say a solid 3.75 – 4 stars for the narration on this one.


Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 17, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 19, 2016
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.


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I am loving that the Stephanie Plum books are coming back around to being actual stories that I care about and not just throw-away, silly novels. TRICKY TWENTY-TWO actually had the characters addressing serious issues. We hear talk of marriage and serious commitments, and not in just the silly way of how the characters are usually afraid of commitment or Stephanie’s caught up between Morelli and Ranger. I loved that things got a little deeper and the characters became more real again and not just caricatures of themselves.

The plot was better too! Less crazy, wild animals and more actual cases, bringing that sense of mystery back to the book and not just a silly thriller aspect. I do love these books — they’re fun, familiar, and the audios are SO quick. I’m really glad that they’re coming back around and keep me excited for more! For a while I was starting to grow tired of them (not like I’d quit them!) but I’m really happy that I’m getting that faith back in the series.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | As usual, Lorelai King was a lot of fun! I think she’s really good at all of the different voices (and there are a LOT of distinct ones) and she really brings these books to life. I don’t think I’ve read Stephanie Plum book in print for maybe ten books (or more!) because they’re just so much fun on audio and somehow they go by so quickly!!

Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Publishing Info: January 19, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 26, 2016

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.


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I hadn’t picked up WE ARE THE ANTS for a while because truthfully, I was afraid of the whole “abducted by aliens” thing. While I will agree that it is a big part of the book, it’s not a main portion of the action. Henry does believe that he keeps getting abducted and that he has the ability to save the world or let it be destroyed but it’s more about the question of his decision than it is about the aliens.

The book is a lot deeper and a lot more realistic fiction than I thought it would be too! Obviously aliens had me believing it was sci-fi but it was really more of Henry’s story, what he was going through since his boyfriend’s suicide, the bullying that’s occurring in his life, and his relationship with his family. It was a heart-achingly beautiful novel, quite realistic and really thought-provoking. It was darker than I had anticipated but there was also a wonderful balance of humor to ease that darkness a little bit. Shaun David Hutchinson did an amazing job and really brought me into a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own (alien abduction is really just a turn-off for me) and I like how that whole idea was incorporated into the book! I was poignant, original, and very well-written.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | Gibson Frazier was a really good narrator! This is the first time I’ve ever listened something he’s narrated (I have a tendency to listen to my favorites) and he was really great! Sometimes a little monotone but I also think that was a bit of the character so I’m not sure if it was him or Henry. I liked how well he seemed to fit the character and I really enjoyed him in this book. Sometimes I did wish for more emotion but I’d be interested to listen to more from him.