Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Synopsis

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

My Thoughts

Wow! First off, Gillian Flynn is an amazing author. I love her style, the way she keeps you on your toes guessing and constantly changing your mind about what the outcome will be. I also like how she adds just the right amount of action, drama and sex in a book so that you are not turned off in anyway by either having too little or too much of each. It was interesting that she let us get a taste of what actually happened from each characters point of view. I kept experiencing like and dislike for the characters throughout the story.  The end didn’t let me down, I was completely satisfied with the truth of what really happened to the Day family. It was definitely a nail biter for me. Read this book!!!!

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The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford

Synopsis:

Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind—or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her… or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again? A story of marriage, murder and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.

My Thoughts

I was a little apprehensive about starting this book, I’ve been reading so many psychological thrillers that I thought I’d be bored by it.  This wasn’t the case, I really enjoyed this book.  There were so many times that I changed my mind about who the killer was.  Crawford really did a good job of messing with my mind a bit.  I think that’s the main reason why I stayed invested til the end.  I just needed to know who did it!  For those who like psychological thrillers, I think you’ll enjoy this.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Synopsis

Your neighbor told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My thoughts

I have to say that this book was pretty predictable, however it did keep my attention and had me reading the entire thing in just a day.  First off, I can’t even be doing the dishes while my 6 month old is upstairs sleeping without wanting to pause and run up and check on her, even with a monitor in hand.  So the fact that she was next door checking every half and hour… I don’t know about that.  Anyway… I’ve read so many psychological thrillers and this one was… okay.  I felt like I just wanted to get through it to see what really happened.  I pretty much guessed from the beginning how it would all unfold and what really happened so not too much excitement there.  But I’d recommend it to someone who hasn’t read Gone Girl or the Girl on the Train, because if you’ve all ready read these I don’t think you’d be too impressed with this one. Still a good book though.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

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Synopsis via Amazon:

Twenty-two, and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City.” Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest Champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships—and love—set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  As her appetites sharpen—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. 

My thoughts:

I’m really torn on whether or not to recommend this book.  First off the book reads like poetry, the author is a true poet I enjoyed the reading a lot. Secondly, it is absolute food porn if I’ve ever read one!  However, the story-line, or lack thereof, could have been so much better.  This could have been a great book all around but it didn’t deliver a great story and the ending was… blah!  Maybe it’s just something I can’t relate to that made it a bit unappealing to me.  You have this girl who arrives in New York City that can be anything she wants to be.  She gets hired at one of the top restaurants and really wants to climb that latter to become a server.  She stays out late, snorts coke, drinks til she’s belligerent all while trying to get the attention of Jake, the grungy bartender.  Then there’s Simone, an older woman that I assumed was (maybe sort of is) a mentor to Tess.  Jake and Simone have this weird relationship, weird meaning I don’t know if they’re romantically involved or mother/son type.  Just a little gross.  Anywho… you’ll have to read the book to find out the rest.  It’s not a very long book so maybe it actually would be worth the time even if you agree that it was just… meh.

“I had never thought of a tomato as a fruit—the ones I had known were mostly white in the center and rock hard. But this was so luscious, so tart I thought it victorious. So—some tomatoes tasted like water, and some tasted like summer lightning.”

“I flipped the shell back. I was prepared for the brininess. For the softness of it. For the rigidity and strangeness of the ritual. Adrenalized, fiercely private. I panted slightly and opened my eyes. Jake was looking at me and said, ‘They’re perfect.’ He handed me the beer. It was nearly black, persuasive as chocolate, weighty. The finish was cream, it matched the oyster’s creaminess. The sensory conspiracy made the blood rush to my head, made my skin break out in goose bumps. Ignore him. Look away. I looked at him. ‘Can I have another?’”

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Synopsis:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

My Thoughts:

Wow!  Reading this book was like watching a full season of The Real Housewives!  I’m so glad that I chose this book as my first of the year.  The characters were so relatable, I kept comparing each of them to actual people that I know.  I was so engrossed that I finished this book way too quick and was disappointed because I wanted it to go on.  Luckily, HBO will be premiering this series on February 19th!  I can’t wait.  They have the most amazing cast including Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon &  Shailene Woodley just to name a few.  A definite must read… if you haven’t already.

Royal by Winter Renshaw

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Synopsis:

His name is Royal, but he’s no prince charming. He’s not even a prince-though you could say I loved him once upon a time. He was my older brother’s best friend. Growing up, he sat at our dinner table every Sunday, teased me mercilessly, and pretended I annoyed him. When I was old enough, he took me on my first date. Royal taught me how to drive. Escorted me to my junior prom. Gave me my first kiss . . . amongst other things. He was my first taste of toe-curling, all-consuming, can’t-sleep love. We had our whole lives ahead of us. There was never anyone else for me but him. And then he disappeared. No letter. No explanation. Not even a good-bye. I’ve spent the last seven years trying in vain to forget my first love, but just when I think I’ve finally moved on, guess who’s back in town?

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book!  It reminded me a lot of the Poughkeepie series, which I was obsessed with. I usually don’t like when the author switches POVs but in this book it worked well. If I had to complain about one thing is that there was this big secret why Royal went missing for 7 years and he didn’t want to tell Demi until the time was right and when he thought she could handle it.  They made it seem like it was something sooooo unbelievably tragic (don’t get me wrong it was awful) but when there was this big reveal I was expecting so much more.  Other than that it was a pretty good book.  I’m definitely going to read the second book.

The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz

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Synopsis:

This Passover Seder is not just any Passover Seder. Yes, there will be a quick service and then a festive meal afterwards, but this night is different from all other nights. This will be the night the Golds of Greenwich meet the Rothschilds of New York City.

The Rothschilds are the stuff of legends. They control banks, own vineyards in Napa, diamond mines in Africa, and even an organic farm somewhere in the Midwest that produces the most popular Romaine lettuce consumed in this country. And now, Sylvia Gold’s daughter is dating one of them.

When Sylvia finds out that her youngest of three is going to bring her new boyfriend to the Seder, she’s giddy. When she finds out that his parents are coming, too, she darn near faints. Making a good impression is all she thinks about. Well, almost. She still has to consider her other daughter, Sarah, who’ll be coming with her less than appropriate beau and his overly dramatic Italian mother. But the drama won’t stop there. Because despite the food and the wine, despite the new linen and the fresh flowers, the holidays are about family. Long forgotten memories come to the surface. Old grievances play out. And Sylvia Gold has to learn how to let her family go.

My Thoughts:

Great book!  As a parent I can relate to Sylvia in the sense that you have such great expectations for your children that you want to push them towards success, sometimes disregarding the fact that maybe they yearn for something different.  And I also could relate to Sarah because growing up I always wanted to please my parents even if it meant keeping secrets that I know would disappoint me.  I sometimes felt like I wasn’t doing a lot of the things that I wanted to be doing in fear that they’d judge me.  This book is so true to life when it comes to tight knit families.  I recommend this awesome read.

Turning The Tables by Teresa Giudice

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As all of you know, I’m a huge fan of RHONJ and I’ve been watching it from season 1.  So of course when all this went down about Teresa and Joe I watched like many as there situation unfolded publicly.  I was stunned when both were sentenced to prison- as a mother of 4 myself I just couldn’t imagine being away from my kids and in prison.  Watching the show there is no denying that Teresa Giudice is a devoted mother and wife and it really broke my heart that someone that loves her family so much would be ripped away from them (no matter what the circumstance it’s so sad).  There have been so many people out there saying “Why does everyone feel sorry for her?  She did the crime so she should do the time!”  I strongly believe that when you commit a crime you should definitely suffer the consequences, but geez there are so many people (really BAD people) getting off on murder, rape, drunk driving and risking the lives of those around them.  So yes, I find it fucked up that not only Teresa but her 4 beautiful young daughters had to suffer this unfortunate ordeal.

It took me a while to get around to reading this book, but I’m glad I did.  Of course the writing wasn’t the best; I mean this is Teresa Giudice we’re talking about.  The Teresa Giudice known for these one liners…

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I got started with this book with no great expectation of reading a well written book.  In all honesty the writing (even with the help of K. C. Baker) was not good at all, but like I said earlier I expected nothing more.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed reading this book.  Teresa takes us on a journey through her strict upbringing as a child and adolescence, shares how her and Joe knew each other since she was born, stories about falling in love, getting married and having her children and how BRAVO’S RHONJ changed her life.  I love how we see a humbled side of Teresa.  She gets real about how she broke knowing that she’d be away from her family and how she worried about everyone that she was leaving behind.  She wrote about her experience in prison and what the living situation, food and other inmates were like.  If you can get over the writing, I think that the book was pretty good!