One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Casey McQuiston has become one of the most talked about writers over the last few years, as her debut novel, RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE, took the book communities (and my!) breath away. Her second novel, ONE LAST STOP, came out just a few weeks ago, and needless to say, had a lot of expectations to fulfill.

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.
(Synopsis from Goodreads.com)

Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations. I was initially weary of this story because of the sci-fi elements that I do not usually enjoy, but the time travelling part of the plot was actually one of my favourite elements of the story. Instead, I had a lot of trouble with the actual romance. I have recently discovered my dislike for the “love at first sight” romance trope. I much prefer “friends to lovers” or “hate to love”, because with those tropes, the characters form some sort of connection and/or chemistry between them before they, inevitably, fall for each other. While I liked both August and Jane, the two main characters in this story, I had hard time placing them together in a romantic way, at least until the very, very end of the story. To me, the romance fell short, which is obviously very unfortunate, because the romance is the central plot in this novel.

I will admit, that while I like and enjoy McQuiston’s writing style, a lot of the stuff in this novel went straight over my head. There were a lot of random plot lines that were mixed into this story, especially at the end, which made me start to skim the last quarter of the novel (and that’s after I had already spent three straight days working through it!). A lot of the plot lines were unnecessary to me, and had a few of them been eliminated, I might have ended up enjoying the romance more!

The one things I REALLY enjoyed about this novel was August’s friend group. August’s roommates were some of the most fun and enjoyable characters to read about. There personalities and interests were all very different from one another, which I think made them work together that much better. I would normally say I would like to have read more about the side characters, but because of the length of this novel, the information that McQuiston shared about them was the perfect amount.

Overall, this novel really disappointed me, and I ended up giving it a 2/5 star rating. Because of how much I loved RW&RB, I will definitely pick up the next book McQuiston writes, because I’m hoping that my dislike of this book is a fluke. I should mention that I am the unpopular opinion when it comes to this book, so if it does interest you, I’d still recommend checking it out.

Good Night Book Owls!

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (FC) | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

And more importantly, welcome to my review of my new favourite book of all time. Yes, you read that correctly! I have been waiting for a book to hit my feelings like a truck, and boy oh boy, this one did just that.

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget and seven days to get it all back again… From the author of The Perfect Find, this is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell new novel of two writers and their second chance at love.
Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.
When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry-or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.
Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered. . .
With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.
(Synopsis from Goodreads.com)

This book was absolute perfection from beginning to end. It really is a true work of art. Tia Williams has created a near perfect story, with perfect pacing and writing, which all go along with wonderful new characters that readers become attached to right off the bat.

All of the characters in this novel pull all of the elements of the story together. The amount of characters in this book was surprisingly on the higher side when it comes to literary fiction/contemporary novels, but each character was important to the flow of the story. Even though Eva and Shane are the two main characters in this story, my favourite character was Audre, Eva’s daughter. She was very mature and incredibly self-aware for her young age, but she still had many juvenile characteristics which made her character seem so realistic. Audre and I shared a lot of similar traits when I was her age (at least from what I can remember), which made her character so enjoyable to me. Some of my other favourite characters were Cece, Eva’s editor, and Ty, one of Shane’s students. But of course, this story would not have been so great if I didn’t absolutely love Eva and Shane together as a couple, and as individuals. Eva and Shane are one of my favourite fictional couples ever, and each scene between them served as a masterclass for the perfect amount of lust, tension, and true love.

The writing style of this novel was one of my favourite aspects of it. Throughout the novel, there are many flashbacks to the time when Eva and Shane were high school lovers, and going through in immeasurable amount of harm and sadness. Both of them were addicts, and dealing with terrible home lives. At the same time, the reader is witnessing them re-connect after several years apart, and watching them fall for each other all over again as grown adults. The contrast between these two timelines was quite stark, but also very necessary to include to make sure that the reader understands how both characters have developed and grown immensely overtime.

Words truly cannot express how much I loved this book. I rated it 5/5 stars, but would’ve given it 500/5 if I could have! If this book interests you in any way, be sure to check it out at your local library or bookstore, as it releases in bookstores today! Thanks to HBG Canada for sending me a finished copy of this beautiful book!

Good Night Book Owls!

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb {BLOG TOUR} | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

THE HUNTING WIVES by May Cobb is a book that has been taking over my mind lately! It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, as it combined elements of a mystery/thriller with a group of middle-aged rich women who shoot for fun. Those two things are rarely combined in one book, so I was very intrigued by the initial synopsis, and especially after hearing the very early buzz for the book. When I was contacted by Penguin Random House to read the book early and review it as part of the blog tour, I couldn’t say anything but YES!

The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.
Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.
Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.
When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.
(Synopsis from Goodreads.com)

WOW. This book is the definition of a delicious thriller. I read it in just about 24 hours, because I truly couldn’t get enough of it!

The characters in this novel are all very interesting, and are much more complex than they initially seem. Each characters has been through some kind of drama or trauma in their lives, or is about to find themselves in a real problem after the novel takes off. Sophie, the main protagonist, was my favourite character in this story. Out of all the other women, she seems to most real and genuine. The other women give off some very strange vibes once the reader is introduced to all of them, and because the reader is reading from Sophie’s perspective, it is very easy to root for her success in the story. That being said, a malicious girl group is something I always enjoy reading about in novels, and this one was no exception! They were all so interesting to read about, and I could honestly read a book about each of their individual lives!

The writing style of this book was quite good. I really enjoyed the pacing of the novel, and how quickly the speed picks up by the end of the book. However, at the beginning of the novel, there were some flashbacks and flash forwards that happen very quickly, which at times, was hard to keep up with. Because I read this book as an eARC, I had to keep going back to the beginning chapters to check the dates of the events that the story opens up with.

The story itself had me hooked until the very last page! As I previously stated, the story really picks up in the second half, as the murder is introduced in the second half of the novel (however, the story technically also opens up with the murder, so that isn’t a spoiler). Part of me wishes that we got more time to uncover the mystery of the murder, but then again, I understand that a lot of character building needed to happen in the first half for the reader to remain invested in the overall story.

The biggest flaw I had with this book is its predictability. I love to be shocked when reading a mystery/thriller novel, but unfortunately, I had correctly predicted the majority of the ending by the three-quarter mark. That being said, being able to properly predict the ending of any story technically means that the author properly laid out the clues and throughly explained the story to the reader.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and gave it 4/5 stars! I recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a sexy mystery/thriller story! Thanks again to Penguin Random House for providing me with an eARC and inviting me to participate in the blog tour! If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to pick up a copy at your local bookstore or library!

Good Night Book Owls!

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Last year, I read Emily Henry’s 2020 release titled, BEACH READ, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was my second-favourite book of 2020, and is one of my favourite books of all time. The review I wrote and published on my blog for the book was my favourite review I wrote last year, and still manages to get quite a few reads to this day! Needless to say, Henry’s 2021 publication, PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, was my most anticipated book of this year. Over the past few weeks I have been in quite the reading slump, but this book managed to get me out of it, as I read the entirety in under 24 hours!

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
(Synopsis from Goodreads.com)

Emily Henry has done it again! A fantastic book, with incredibly kind and relatable characters and a really great plot line. While I still like BEACH READ better, I actually prefer the characters in this book. Poppy and Alex were two characters that I could see being real-life friends with. They were written very successfully, as I could clearly picture them in my mind and place them in different groups of people that I have in my life. Poppy’s personality is very similar to mine, as she had a great sense of humour and always remembered every tiny detail of each trip she took with Alex. Alex is someone that I could definitely see being friends with. He had a very serious personality, but Poppy managed to bring out the best in him whenever they were together. By the end of the novel, I loved reading about his more soft and emotional side, as he went through a lot of character development over the 12-years that this story covers.

The entirety of this book centres around my absolute favourite romance trope, friends-to-lovers! Both Poppy and Alex were friends before romance sparks began, and like all friends-to-lovers romances, the angst and questioning was so delicious!

At the beginning of the story, I was actually quite unsure if this specific novel was appropriate to read during these times. One thing (among others) that the pandemic has taken from us is the ability to travel. Since this book essentially revolves around several different trips Alex and Poppy go on, I was really worried that this entire book was going to depress me, as it the travel aspect would overshadow the romance and make me feel sad. However, that was not the case! I really enjoyed the snippets of each trip the reader was exposed to throughout the story, and none of the trips made me feel lonely or miserable. Henry only focuses on one or two events per trip, so there is not an influx of unnecessary detail given to the reader. If anything, this book made me excited to go on vacations once we are safely able to do so!

The writing style and pacing of this novel was perfection. Emily Henry has fantastic writing abilities that seem to make all of the aspects of both her previous novel and this novel seem real. This book is written in first-person perspective in the voice of Poppy, which I always enjoyed reading from. I loved being able to go inside Poppy’s head throughout this story, which is why I always prefer first-person perspective in all of my romance reads!

All of that being said, the one element of the story that took down my rating was the ending. I found the ending to be quite rushed and anti-climactic. While all romance novels typically have the same ending, I knew what to expect from the ending. That being said, there are a few events that lead up to the conclusion that I felt were rushed and not as dramatic as they were leading up to be. I would have liked a bit more “shock value”, even the conclusion of the story was still satisfying overall.

Emily Henry introduces readers to two loveable characters that share a lifetime of memories that readers will not soon forget! I gave this book a 4.25/5 stars, and would recommend it to all travel lovers who need a dose of romance and travel in their reading life!

Good Night Book Owls!

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay (eARC) | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

2021 is going to be a fantastic year for mystery/thriller releases, and I was so fortunate to receive an eARC of one of the most anticipated thrillers of the year, EVERY LAST FEAR by Alex Finlay!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.
After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.
The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.
When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Even though I have read many mystery/thrillers over the past few years, I really enjoyed this one! Around the 55% mark of this book, I predicted the main plot twist, but I still found the overall evolution of the story/plot line very enjoyable.

This is a very complex mystery/thriller, so much so that if I had a very “type A” personality, I probably would have created a fancy character chart to keep track of who is attached to who and so on. That being said, if you’re not somebody who enjoys creating those while reading, you should still be able to keep track of the characters very well. I really enjoyed all of the characters in this story. The flashbacks with the Pine family were super interesting, and I found myself really caring about all of the main characters. Matt, the only surviving Pine son that is not in prison, is one of my new all-time favourite thriller characters. I really cared about his journey, and was rooting for him throughout the entirety of the novel. Sarah Keller, the FBI agent on this case, was my favourite character in this novel, as I found her character very compelling and layered.

The writing and pacing of this novel was excellent. This novel was written in my favourite narrative style, which is when a book is divided into chapters that focus on a single character, but are written in third-person. I’m not always a huge fan of first-person writing, so I always seem to enjoy this writing style a lot more. Additionally, I thought that the pacing of this book was great. I never found myself bored, and appreciated that each scene was important to the overall flow of this story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this new thriller, and rated it 4/5 stars. If you are interested in reading this book, it is available in bookstores today! Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel in exchange for a review.

Good Night Book Owls!

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey (eARC) | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

There are only a handful of times where I have gone out of my way to read an Advanced Readers Copy months before it’s release date. That being said, when I was provided with an eARC of The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey in August via Netgalley, I took to my Kindle to read it that same day. And I can proudly say, I definitely made the right decision in doing so!

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Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.
And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.
Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty
When they said all happy families are alike, this can’t be what they meant…

This thriller was incredibly well written and paced. I have never read a Sarah Gailey novel before, but I know that people typically tend to enjoy her writing. This book was no exception. The writing was very simple and easy to understand. It was also very to the point and efficient in this story. The novel was paced very well, being suspenseful at certain times, while also being stagnant at others.

I also really enjoyed the small cast of characters. There are essentially only four characters that are central to this story, which I enjoyed immensely, as several thrillers I have read feature a high number of characters that I typically find hard to differentiate. While none of the characters were very likeable or rememberable, I thought they were written perfectly for the purpose of this novel.

My favourite part of this novel was the cloning aspect, which turned out to be no surprise. Whenever I read a thriller that has a tech or sci-fi element, I always end up loving it and enjoy seeing it intertwined in the novel. While I am not a huge sci-fi reader, I find sci-fi tropes in thrillers so engrossing and compelling, which is why I initially added this to my most anticipated list for 2021!

The plot itself was great. As I said earlier, this books really encapsulated everything I love in thrillers. A family/domestic drama, murder, and a sci-fi element! At times, I would have enjoyed a bit more action. I also thought that the ending dragged on a tad. But other than that, this book was fantastic! Overall, I rated it 4.25/5 stars!

Thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC to read and review!

Good Night Book Owls!

Milk Fed by Melissa Broder (ARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

For the past three consecutive years (2018-2020), my first book of the year always managed to be my least favourite book of the year. And these weren’t books that I gave 2.5-3 stars to, I’m talking about 1-star books, which is insane! Thankfully, by way of reading Milk Fed by Melissa Broder, I finally broke my god-awful curse!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Rachel is twenty-four, a lapsed Jew who has made calorie restriction her religion. By day, she maintains an illusion of existential control, by way of obsessive food rituals, while working as an underling at a Los Angeles talent management agency. At night, she pedals nowhere on the elliptical machine. Rachel is content to carry on subsisting—until her therapist encourages her to take a ninety-day communication detox from her mother, who raised her in the tradition of calorie counting.
Early in the detox, Rachel meets Miriam, a zaftig young Orthodox Jewish woman who works at her favorite frozen yogurt shop and is intent upon feeding her. Rachel is suddenly and powerfully entranced by Miriam—by her sundaes and her body, her faith and her family—and as the two grow closer, Rachel embarks on a journey marked by mirrors, mysticism, mothers, milk, and honey.
Pairing superlative emotional insight with unabashed vivid fantasy, Broder tells a tale of appetites: physical hunger, sexual desire, spiritual longing, and the ways that we as humans can compartmentalize these so often interdependent instincts. Milk Fed is a tender and riotously funny meditation on love, certitude, and the question of what we are all being fed, from one of our major writers on the psyche—both sacred and profane.

I want to start off this review by explicitly stating that this book will NOT be for everyone. There are quite a few weird and disturbing fantasies that the main character, Rachel, talks about in great detail, which may be off-putting for some readers. Additionally, at the beginning of the book, you immediately recognize that Rachel is dealing with an eating disorder, and has been for the majority of her life due to childhood trauma. The book starts off with a conservation about her eating habits, which spirals into other various triggering conversations. So if that is something that may make it hard for you to read this book, I would steer clear for now.

All that being said, the book may not be for everyone, but it certainly was for me!

All of the characters in this novel were so authentic and raw, and seemed very real to me. Each character had an interesting perspective or story, and made a very different impact on Rachel throughout the short window of her life that we read about. Rachel was such a complex and layered character, who had many real flaws and issues with her life. Rachel’s odd fantasies and ideas may seem disturbing at times, but I feel like everyone can relate to her as most people share many of the odd things that she thinks about on a daily basis. I could see a lot of myself in Rachel, which contributed to why I enjoyed this novel so much. I also really appreciated Miriam, the second main-character in this novel and Rachel’s love interest. Like Rachel, she was very complex and layered, and the characteristics she had may surprise people that are not close to orthodox Jewish women. She had a mind of her own and acted like her own person, while also enjoying her religious lifestyle and family. Orthodox Jewish women are frequently looked down on in Americanized societies, so to see someone from Miriam’s religious roots make such a deep character was incredibly refreshing to read about. I would have liked to have read more about Miriam’s parents and siblings, as I found them to be very intriguing characters.

The writing of this story was quite simple, but very raw. When I read first-person narratives, I often find that the author is describing the main characters thoughts instead of simply writing them from their point of view. In this story, Broder writes the story so well, that everytime I picked up this novel, I was immersed into Rachel’s mind and could clearly understand her thoughts and where they were coming from.

My most favourite part about this book was the Jewish representation. Judaism is a very important aspect and theme in this book, as their are a few conversations that revolve around religion, culturally Jewish traditions, and the aspect of sexuality in Judaism. As a Jewish women, I hardly ever find myself represented in books. I have several friends and family friends that are very observant/religious, and to see Miriam live her life as a religious Jewish women was SO exciting to read about. My favourite scenes in this novel was when Rachel attends Miriam’s family’s shabbat dinner, as I found it so authentic and real, from the food they were eating, to the way they were having their conversations. Throughout the novel, Rachel continuously thinks about the Jewish chant/song titled “Eitz Chaim Hi”, which was so wonderful to me, as that is my favourite Jewish “shul song” as well. Not only was the culture of Judaism a frequent theme in this novel, but there were also some incredibly interesting conversations between Rachel and Miriam about Judaism, including a conversation between Rachel and Miriam’s mother about the state of Israel. It was so refreshing to showcase that just because an individual is Jewish, they may not always agree with how Israel is run, much like how an American, or even Canadian person may not like how their government leaders run their respective homelands. That conversation was a huge turning point in the novel, but also helped to show readers that not all Jewish people are the same. Diverse representation is incredibly important in literature, and I hope that I will be able to find and read more books that revolve around complex Jewish characters, such as the ones found in Milk Fed.

Overall, I rated this novel 5/5 stars. It was one of the most perfect books I have read in a long, long time, and I look forward to picking up Melissa Broder’s future novels. If you are interested in reading this novel, it comes out in (online) bookstores today! Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of this novel to review!

Good Night Book Owls!

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

While I have not been reading as much as I usually do, when I received this ARC in the mail I knew I needed to start it right away! As I shared in my most recent monthly wrap-up, this novel was originally written and published in Germany. After receiving a lot of hype there, it was translated into English and published just a few weeks ago in North America!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

In a windowless shack in the woods, Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: Meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.
One day Lena manages to flee–but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called “Lena,” who disappeared without a trace 14 years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle which doesn’t quite seem to fit.

This was one wild thriller! While the ending was a tad over used in thrillers that begin with people being kidnapped by literal psychopaths, I really enjoyed all of the events that lead up to the ending. The overall plot line was very suspenseful, and I managed to read this book in just a few days. There were a lot of interesting clues that were snuck into the middle of this novel, which I did not predict when they were finally revealed!

One aspect of this novel that I particularly enjoyed was the unreliable narrator present in this novel. This book is written mostly in the perspective of three characters, the woman who got kidnapped, her daughter, and her Father (whom she hasn’t seen in over 16-years). Throughout the novel, I regularly thought that at least one of the narrators was unreliable, untrustworthy, or just flat out crazy. While they all have some mental issues (rightfully so), I enjoyed the confusion that I had when reading this book, and I think that element of it made it even more suspenseful to read.

I also enjoyed the fact-paced and suspenseful writing style. As I mentioned previously, this book was a translated work, and while I never read the original writing, I believe that all of the story was perfectly translated and made perfect since in English. Some translated works of fiction lose their “magic” after they have been translated, sometimes it is because of the writing choices or style that the translator uses, and I thought that this translator did an excellent job in translating this book in English to a predominantly North American and European readership.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and gave it 4.25/5-stars. Thanks again to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC!

Good Night Book Owls!

The End of Her by Shari Lapena | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

One of my favourite things to do in fall is catch up on my mystery/thriller TBR pile! With fall weather comes a chill in the air, which – in my opinion – calls for some spooky and intense novels! Shari Lapena is one of the most popular Canadian thriller writers out there, and while I haven’t loved the past few novels I have read from her, I was very excited to read her newest novel, The End Of Her!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

It starts with a shocking accusation…
Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.
Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a shocking accusation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.
He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?
How will it end?

This book combined two of my favourite thriller tropes, domestic and blackmail! I have read several domestic thrillers over the past few years, but if memory serves me correctly, I have only ever read one thriller that’s main thrilling plot line centred around blackmailing the main characters. While I had only assumed the main couple in the story would be getting blackmailed, eventually several other characters get blackmailed by the blackmailer herself. The entire idea of blackmail scares the crap out of me, so whenever it is featured in thrillers, I read them so quickly.

The story itself was so immersive and suspenseful. I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately, so the fact that I read this entire novel in 24-hours says a lot about how fast paced the novel reads. So many different sections of this story had me sitting at the edge of my seat, and by the end of the story, I was so eager to find out how the story was going to include.

The characters in this novel were very strong and well-written. At the beginning of the story, readers are introduced to practically every single character in a span of 50-pages. Initially, all of the characters were jumbled in my mind, but as the story progressed, it became easier to differentiate the characters from one another. Stephanie, one of the main characters, went through a lot of changes from the start to the end of the novel, and I really appreciated how developed she was throughout the story.

The one thing I didn’t love about the book was the writing. Of course, Lapena creates and develops her stories so well, but I didn’t love the actual writing style in this book. I feel like short first-person POV chapters would have been so much better than little third-person POVs that occur during each chapter.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and gave it 4.25/5 stars! I highly recommend this novel if you are new to thrillers, or love domestic or blackmail thrillers!

Good Night Book Owls!

Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker (eARC) | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Wendy Walker is a very popular and widely enjoyed mystery/thriller writer that I had never read from before. I believe her previous publication was a YA mystery, which I don’t typically read. However, when I heard about Walker’s newest novel, Don’t Look For Me, I immediately knew I wanted to give it a try. And after I got approved for it on Netgalley, I picked it up on my Kindle right away!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life.
She doesn’t want to be found.
Or at least, that’s the story.
The car abandoned miles from home.
The note found at a nearby hotel.
The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.
They called it a “walk away.”
It happens all the time.
Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over.
But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?

You know that fulfilled feeling you get after you have just finished a great book? That’s how I felt after reading this one! I have not read a mystery/thriller recently that shocked me like this one did, and I was so incredibly impressed by practically every aspect of this novel.

While this book is obviously very plot driven, the characters are very important in the story. Nicole, the daughter of Molly – the women who “walked away” from her family, is the main and most important character in this story. The plot follows her footsteps, as she is the key in deciding how the story will unfold. Her character was written so well, and she makes huge strides and develops a crazy amount in this novel. I also really enjoyed most of the other important side characters. There were quite a few of them to keep track, but that could have been because I was reading this novel alongside another one, which is something I rarely ever do.

Like I mentioned earlier, the plot twists in this book shocked me. I have not read a book in recent memory that boggled my mind like this one did. The twists and turns in this book were so well crafted and so unexpected, yet, they all made perfect sense in the end. Nothing seemed unrealistic, which is something I take into consideration when reading and reviewing thrillers. There was a point near the 70% mark of this novel where I sat right up in my bed when reading this, simply because I could not fathom one of the twists!

The writing in this novel is really fantastic and unique. The story is written in two perspectives, the perspective of Molly and her daughter, Nicole. Molly’s perspective is in first-person, while Nicole’s is written in third-person. This change in writing style was subtle, but made perfect sense once the story reached the last few scenes. I was never confused by the writing style, and appreciated how distinctive each perspective read.

Overall, I loved every aspect of this novel, and gave it 5/5 stars. If you consider yourself a well-read thriller reader, I would highly recommend this one, as nothing was easy to predict!

Good Night Book Owls!