Just a book blog

Just a book blog

I'm Jenn.

I like to read then blog about it :-)

Review
4 Stars
Final Girls
Final Girls - Riley Sager

Quincy Carpenter and five of her friends were celebrating a birthday at Pine Cottage, but things didn't go as planned and only Quincy made it out of there alive. That was ten years ago, but she will always be a member of a club she does not want to belong to - the Final Girls. Lisa lost nine sorority sisters and Sam was the only survivor during her shift at the Nightlight Inn. Despite the media's attempts the three never meet in person. Quincy is doing well. She has an understanding and supportive boyfriend, they live together in a beautiful apartment, she runs a popular baking blog, and the police officer that saved her life is still there for her any time of day or night. And she'll need him when she learns that Lisa has committed suicide and Sam comes out of hiding and shows up at her door. Since Quincy never could remember the details of what happened that night in the woods, Sam is intent on making her relive the past so those memories finally come to light.

I had to sit and think about what I'd read for a day afterwards. I really enjoyed the writing. I liked how we got a glimpse here and there about that night at Pine Cottage. And when I finally got to the big reveal I wasn't disappointed. I thought the story was clever. So many secrets and lies. I made some guesses at what could've happened but (of course) I was wrong. I felt like maybe there was too much in the middle - Sam shows up and we get lots of Sam and Quincy spending time together. But overall I really enjoyed this book.

Review
4 Stars
Island of the Dolls
Island of the Dolls (World's Scariest Places Book 4) - Jeremy Bates

On the Outskirts of Mexico City lies Isla de las Munecas - a reportedly haunted island that is home to thousands of dolls. A group of people are going to film a documentary on this island against the boatman's better judgement to wait until the storm passes. While stranded there overnight, the wind and rain add to the already spooky atmosphere but when they discover a dead body they begin to realize that something evil really is lurking on the island.

This was a fast-paced read. I really liked the setting and felt as though I was there. Most of the characters were unlikable but they did feel real and I liked that they were different from one another and had their flaws. A lot went on during the last couple of chapters but overall I was happy with the ending. Another good read from the World's Scariest Places series!

Review
3 Stars
Box of Terror
Box of Terror (4 book horror box set) - Michael Bray

Box of Terror contains four stories. The first one immediately drew me in. I liked the writing and the content was interesting - a man finds himself inside a supermarket that sells a different assortment of food than other supermarkets and it was too late to escape the second he entered the store but he will stop at nothing to return to his family. Then I found the story dragged on and I wasn't as invested as I was at the first, but overall this one was good. 

The second story started off good, I liked the concept - a family has just moved to the middle of nowhere and they keep losing their power and the man stays and waits for the repairman while his wife and child go to stay with her mother before it gets dark. But then the author started to lose me with those made up words and I also found this one too long. 

I did not like the third story - a man hides himself away from the world and is obsessed with numbers. In no way did this one interest me. 

I did like the fourth story - a boy is excited to start school again after the summer, hoping the school bully will leave him alone but he doesn't and the boy wants revenge. 

So overall not a bad read for me but it wasn't great either.

Review
1 Stars
The Accident
The Accident - Thomas S. Monaghan

DNF @ 70%.

I'm in a bad mood and I feel like shitting all over this book. Some books I request from Netgalley then wonder what I was thinking after I've been accepted and go back and read the blurb. A guy punches another guy out of a door who falls three storeys to his death. How is the author going to make a whole book out of this and not be boring? Well, he didn't. I'm not a fan of long chapters so when I got to chapter four and saw it was 19% of the book, things only went downhill from there. I got some boring voice on my phone to read this to me while I puttered around the house. Then I started aggressively skimming, skipping a chapter completely about the past. I don't care. I want to know what happened to Ryan. And then I read that their cat was decapitated. That was the end for me. I didn't read another word after that. I couldn't care less what happened to Ryan or anyone else. The writing wasn't that great. Boring, tedious, repetitious. I hated all the characters (except for the cat!) Some things were unnecessarily morbid. What a waste of my time.

Review
5 Stars
One of Us Is Lying
One of Us Is Lying - Karen  M. McManus

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High end up in detention together. None of them are friends and they're all completely different from one another. Bronwyn is the smart girl, over-achiever and she never breaks a rule. Addy is the pretty girl and homecoming princess, and she has the hottest boyfriend at Bayview. Cooper is the athlete and an all-star pitcher. Nate is the criminal who is on probation for dealing drugs. And Simon is the social outcast and creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app. Simon has posted some very juicy stuff on that app and has hurt a lot of people in the process. He never makes it out of that classroom alive. According to investigators Simon had planned to reveal something major about each of the four people in that classroom the day after he died. So those four students are suspects in his murder.

This was a compulsive read. It was well-written, suspenseful (who killed Simon?!) and had a diverse group of people who all had one thing in common - they have secrets. These characters have a lot of depth. We get a glimpse of them before Simon dies, but then we follow them from school to home to the police station and we see how scared they are, how they're trying to "be normal", we see their families. I thought this book was clever and I loved it!

Review
4 Stars
Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

Camille Preaker is a reporter in Chicago. Her boss thinks it would be a good idea for her to return to her hometown in Missouri to cover the murder of two preteen girls before someone else gets hold of the story first. To say Camille does not get along with her mother is an understatement - she is a neurotic, hypochondriac who never showed her daughter any love. And she doesn't know her half-sister, Amma - a popular, mean girl who seems to run the town. But here she is back at her childhood home, staying in her old bedroom. And she uncovers one ugly truth after the other.

 

Wow. What a messed up family. Something definitely was not right within the walls of the Crellin's old mansion, you could feel it. I really liked Camille, I felt sorry for her having to grow up like that and the actions she took to try to cope or punish herself. And I did like Amma. She felt very three-dimensional to me. The pace of the story was great. We get clues here and there. But I did not expect that ending!

Review
4 Stars
Cold Blood
Cold Blood: A gripping serial killer thriller that will take your breath away (Detective Erika Foster Book 5) - Robert Bryndza

A suitcase has been found washed up on the shore of the river Thames. When Detective Erika Foster opens it she sees that it contains the dismembered body of a young man. This is identical to another suitcase that was found two weeks ago only that one held the body of a woman. Erika realizes she's looking for a serial killer but when she begins to dig into the case she is brutally attacked. She has no choice but to take time off but her mind is still on the case. When she learns that the twin daughters of her colleague have been kidnapped, she will stop at nothing to get those girls back home safe and sound.

When I find out another Erika Foster book is coming out I feel like I have to read it. I know it's going to be the same as the ones before it - Erika goes through hell and then saves the day. I know the descriptions of people are going to drive me nuts again (horse-faced girl, jowly face with several chins), and there's going to be so many convenient things that will happen to make the story fit together. But I still find myself turning the pages quickly and when the book is finished I'm happy I read it. I'm also happy that Erika is not in a relationship. I'd like the focus to be on her job. I want her to be an independent woman! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
The Gates of Evangeline
The Gates of Evangeline - Hester Young

After the sudden death of her young son, Charlie Cates begins to have vivid dreams involving children. But she soon realizes that these are not dreams - they are messages sent to her so she can help those who need it. One of these children is a little boy in a boat. This takes her from Connecticut to Louisiana where she has an invitation to stay at Evangeline - the sprawling estate belonging to the Deveau's. Thirty years ago Gabriel Deveau went missing in the middle of the night never to be found. Charlie believes the boy in her vision is Gabriel and while trying to find him, she uncovers many long-buried secrets within the Deveau famiy.

This book has been on my tbr list for years. I'm sorry I waited so long because this book was great! It was well-written, the whole story flowed smoothly and the characters were three-dimensional. I especially liked Keegan, Charlie's son who passed away. I enjoyed the mystery and secrets surrounding a family who has been in Louisiana for hundreds of years. Just when I thought I had everything figured out the author would add in another detail or make me think back to something I read earlier that I thought wasn't important. There was never a dull moment. I absolutely loved it!

Review
5 Stars
The Breakdown
The Breakdown - B. A. Paris

It's a stormy night and Cass Anderson is taking an isolated shortcut back to her house. She finds it odd that there's another vehicle on the lane and while Cass does stop to see if they need help all kinds of bad scenarios come to mind and plus the driver never indicted they needed help, so off she goes. Only to learn the next day that the driver of that car has been murdered. And Cass knew her. She can't confide in her husband because he told her not to take the shortcut and she promised him she wouldn't. She's convinced the murderer knows who she is. Ever since the murder she's been getting calls from an unknown number, she feels as though she's being watched and that someone has been inside her home. And she's been very forgetful - she couldn't find her car, she doesn't remember ordering things from the shopping channel, she can't remember the code for the alarm, or how to work the washing machine. Something's going on and Cass wants to get to the bottom of it.

Right from the very beginning this is a page-turner. It has a very sinister vibe throughout. I liked the setting - Cass lives at the end of road and her house is isolated. The murder happened not far from there. I couldn't wait to find out exactly what happened to that poor woman on that stormy night. I wasn't disappointed!

Review
5 Stars
Alone
Alone - Cyn Balog

Fifteen-year-old Seda thought it was cool to spend the summer at the old mansion her mother inherited, but now it's starting to snow and she just wants to go back to Boston, back to school and her best friends and her crush, back to civilization. The mansion is in the middle of nowhere, it's falling apart, there's no cell service, no landline and it's just plain creepy especially since it was last used as a murder mystery hotel. And Seda's mother won't sell it unless the new owners will keep it as a murder mystery hotel. When a group of teenagers show up as a result of their car going in a ditch and nowhere else to go, Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter - even though she knows something bad is going to happen.

I was at the halfway point when I crawled into bed, thought I'd read a chapter before I fell asleep. I was beyond tired. I ended up finishing the book before I could go to sleep that's how good it was. It was so well-written that everything flowed together and I couldn't set it down because what happens next??? How does it end? The suspense! I absolutely loved the creepy old mansion with its many added on wings and secret passageways. And it was used as a murder mystery hotel! That obviously made the book what it was - which was amazing! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of this book.

Review
4 Stars
The Finishing School
The Finishing School - Joanna Goodman

The Lycée is celebrating its 100th anniversary and not only has Kersti Kuusk been invited back to the elite boarding school in Switzerland where she spent four years of her life, she has been selected as one of their "One Hundred Women of the Lycée." But for Kersti this opens up an old wound. Almost twenty years ago Kersti's best friend, Cressida, fell from her fourth-floor balcony just before graduation. This was quickly deemed an accident and the whole thing was over and done with before any publicity. But Kersti can't help but dig around especially with the anniversary coming up and after receiving a letter from an old friend of theirs from Lycée. Kersti never forgot Cressida's obsession with a secret club that was banned years before their arrival, a secret club that had two of its members expelled from the school - something that had never happened before or since. Kersti is determined to get answers about the club and about what happened to her best friend that night long ago.

 

I could not get enough of this book! I love reading about boarding schools. The chapters go back and forth between past and present and I did enjoy both, but there's always something about the past that makes me like it just a little bit more. I loved the setting - the beautiful mountains, the crisp air, the light powdery snow. I liked the twists and turns, the friendships and the suspense.

Review
4 Stars
Come Sundown
Come Sundown - Nora Roberts

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family owned business that is home to four generations. Sitting on over thirty thousand acres it's kept busy by lots of vacationers and kept running by a large staff which includes big boss Bodine Longbow. Although the family is very close, Bodine's aunt Alice ran away before she was even born and never came back. She hasn't been heard from in over twenty-five years and she's not often talked about. No one ever imagined that she'd been close by for so long, kept prisoner in a basement, having unimaginable things happen to her. When one of the bartenders from the resort is found dead, it's the first sign that danger is close by.

 

This is a big book! It took me a long time to get into it. It's mostly all about the ranch and resort - what goes on during work days with the horses and who is going to work where on whatever day. There's lots of cooking. I was confused the whole time (and still am) about who was Bodine's nana and who was her grammy. It seemed everyone was getting married after a first date. The big reveal was anticlimactic for me. "Sir" drove me nuts with his misogynist bullshit and I absolutely hated him!! But despite all these things I found myself wrapped up in all their drama. The characters were strong and the setting was beautiful. And I loved the horses.

 

I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

Review
2 Stars
The Color of Our Sky
The Color of our Sky - Amita Trasi

The time has come for young Mukta to fulfil her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. It's what happens when you're from the lower caste of Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes. Mutka's mother wants desperately for her to have a better life. Eventually she ends up in a foster family in Bombay where she becomes friends with eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family. Mukta treasures their friendship and when she is kidnapped one night in Tara's bedroom, she knows that Tara will find her.

Eleven years after the kidnapping, Tara is still blaming herself for what happened. But she will not give up searching for her long-lost friend and she will uncover some interesting secrets along the way.

I thought this was going to be a solid read filled with strong characters. But I was wrong. I feel bad because this covers a serious topic - human trafficking - but from cover to cover this was boring. I can't believe I read every page until 43% when the idea finally came to me to skim the rest. I feel as though it wasn't fully developed and didn't live up to its potential. Some things were convenient and predictable. A disappointing read for sure.

Review
2 Stars
Uncommon Type: Some Stories
Uncommon Type: Some Stories - Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks has written seventeen stories all of which have at least one typewriter in them. Sadly, for me, most of these stories were VERY boring. They're long and filled with nothing memorable. I loved the first story, "Three Exhausting Weeks" which is about friends who have known each other since high school who suddenly take things to the next level. I thought it was jam-packed with adventure and I did like the characters (who are in two other stories as well). And I liked "A Month on Greene Street" which is about a single mother and her three children moving into a new house and at first she thinks her neighbour is weird, desperate and unemployed and she does whatever she can to avoid him, but it turns out she was wrong about him. I found all the other stories extremely painful to get through and I'm so happy I'm done!

 

I won an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Knopf for my copy.

Review
5 Stars
The Stolen Marriage
The Stolen Marriage - Diane Chamberlain

Twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello is engaged to the love of her life. Their wedding day is getting close. So it doesn't make sense to her fiancé when she abruptly ends their engagement and runs off to marry a stranger. Tess leaves Baltimore and moves to Hickory, North Carolina. Her husband, Henry Kraft, is secretive and distant and he often stays out late or doesn't bother to come home at all. She doesn't fit in with the people of Hickory. They all love and respect the Kraft's and view Tess as an outsider, someone who's after his money. Unhappy in Hickory and trapped inside a loveless marriage, Tess is desperate to get her old self back which happens when a sudden polio epidemic erupts and their small town is selected as the perfect spot for a hospital. Everyone in Hickory helps build this hospital in just over two days. Against her husband's wishes Tess begins helping out as a nurse and soon finds herself very happy to be of help to the young victims. But her husband's behaviour is taking its toll on Tess who wants some answers and wants out of their marriage.

 

Another five star read by Diane Chamberlain. A solid, interesting story with three-dimensional characters. I liked the setting and the fact that the people of Hickory really did build, staff and get a hospital up and running in fifty-four hours. Wow! That's impressive. I really liked Tess and was rooting for her to find happiness after everything she'd been through. Chamberlain has a way of making you feel part of instead of simply reading a book. I loved it!

 

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
Unreliable
Unreliable - Lee Irby

Edwin Stith lives in Ithica, New York, where he is a college professor. He has returned home to Richmond, Virginia, for his mother's wedding to a man who's slightly older than Edwin himself. Edwin is an enigma. He has an ex-wife and he may or may not have killed her. He may or may not be sleeping with one of his students. He's about to have a stepsister and he may or may not have killed her. 

I found this hard to get into and I think it's because Edwin actually talks to us, the readers, throughout the book. I did not like that. But once the story gets going it was hard for me to put the book down. Edwin's trip home lasts three days and those days are jam-packed with drama. There's a diverse bunch of characters and I enjoyed them all. I had no clue how it would end and I couldn't wait to find out. I was really surprised! Looking back on the book now that I've finished it I would say it's actually quite clever. I feel as though I've known Edwin forever and I'm sad we had to say goodbye. 

I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you Doubleday Books.