I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You GoThere aren’t many mystery novels that I want to re-read. For me, mystery books typically warrant a one-time read because the case has been solved. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is one of the rare mystery novels that I want to re-read because the plot twist was that good and I connected with the characters that much.

The story begins on a rainy afternoon when a woman is walking her young son home from school. When he runs ahead to get out of the cold a car hits him out of nowhere. The child dies on impact and the car speeds off without a trace. Right from the start, with this dark and eerie prologue, this book consumed me.

There has been a lot of hype about a major plot twist in I Let You Go and to be honest I was a bit skeptical because many mystery books boast the same thing. I was VERY mistaken because when I got to the plot twist, I instantly thought OH MY GOSH WHAT WHAT OH WOW or something along those lines because I was so shocked!

I Let You Go The book was gripping and I really felt for the protagonist, Jenna Gray, and the pain she suffered from the accident. She is one of those characters that I found myself rooting for and I felt generally upset when she faced trouble.

I have heard from some readers that the beginning of this book is slow moving. I didn’t feel this way, but if you start the book and find yourself thinking that it’s too slow, I hope you’ll keep reading! It’s worth it.

I Let You Go is definitely going on my top pick recommendations list! Beware, some portions of the story are dark, but I believe that these contributed to the overall emotional aspect of the book and made it all that much more touching in the end.

I Let You Go What about you all? Do any of you re-read mystery novels?

 

Bookish Podcasts pt. 2

Dream by Day book reviewsI’m back with another round of bookish podcast recommendations! There are so many great podcasts out there and I’ve listed the ones that I’ve recently been listening to below. Enjoy!

Beaks & Geeks by Penguin Random House

I’m honestly bummed that I didn’t know about this show earlier because I love their segments! It’s informal and conversational with author interviews, writing tips, and upcoming book releases. I’ve listened to quite a few at this point (each clip is pretty short) including interviews with Ernest Cline, Charlene Harris, Beatriz Williams (my favorite author!!!!), Tana French, Fiona Barton, and Sylvia Day. I really recommend this one!

World Book Club by BBC World Service

This show features longer segments covering a range of stories from classics to contemporaries. I listened to a panel discussing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a fantastic story loved by many around the world. The panel discussed the artistry in Fitzgerald’s language and the idea of reinvention. I thought it was really interesting when they discussed whether there are heroes in The Great Gatsby and if so, who can be categorized as one. This is a good show too.

Dream by Day book reviewsBooks & Authors with Cary Barbor

I enjoy the content of this show quite a bit. In an interview with Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, the host asks questions about how the idea developed for this post-apocolyptic story. An aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was that it’s not enough to simply survive, but that art needs to have a place in life too. The podcast also hosts interviews with literary agents and editors as well, both of which I found to be really insightful!

What about you all? What are you listening to?

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The Nest There has been a lot of hype around Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel, The Nest, lately. With a gorgeous cover and a description boasting the scandalous affairs of a New York family, I’m not too surprised.

This book is a family drama examining the lives of the Plumbs. The four Plumb siblings are set to receive an inheritance, which they call “the nest”, when the youngest of the siblings, Melody, turns 40 on her upcoming birthday. When the eldest brother, Leo, causes a terrible accident, that trust fund is suddenly at risk. With the inheritance serving as a safety net, the siblings have each gotten into various messes and are depending on that money.

The Nest is a well-written book with complex characters and relationships. The story illustrates the ways that the characters transform, which I enjoyed. The book is told from many points of view including those of the four siblings and the people that they come into contact with. I counted at least 10 throughout the book, but despite the shifts in perspective the story flowed nicely. I particularly liked the portions of the book from Melody’s perspective because they were authentic and I could actually feel the anxiety and pressure she felt to be the perfect mother to her daughters.

The NestI liked this book. The reason why I didn’t love this book is because I didn’t especially connect with the characters. I felt for and was intrigued by them, but that was it. All in all, I do recommend this book as a good read, especially for those who enjoy a fast paced family drama.

Spring Reading Recommendations

Dream by Day and glassybabyIn honor of National Reading Month, I’m excited to share a few of my favorite books published so far this year with you all! This week I’ve partnered with glassybaby, a PNW based company dedicated to supporting charities with their beautiful handmade candle votives. We bring you these exciting narratives, which cover a wide range of genres from historical fiction to suspenseful thrillers to insightful literary fiction. I invite you to curl up with one of these great books this weekend!

The Forgotten RoomThe Forgotten Room by Beatriz Williams, Karen White & Lauren Willig

A story of fate, The Forgotten Room is the multigenerational tale of three women spanning the decades between the 1890’s and 1940’s in New York City. When the wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought into the hospital where Kate Schuyler works, she feels an undeniable connection with him and is shocked to find a painting that strongly resembles her in his possession. While trying to understand her connection to this mysterious man, she uncovers the truth about her mother and grandmother, each of whom lived in the same mansion converted boarding house converted hospital that she does. Despite being written by three authors, the transitions between these vibrant determined characters flow smoothly together.


The Widow The Widow by Fiona Barton

When Jean Taylor’s husband is accused of kidnapping a young child, she is shocked. Playing the role of the faithful wife, she stands by his side through the case as the police, press, and public relentlessly pound on their door. Years after the little girl disappeared, Jean’s husband is dead and now a widow, she opens up about the secrets she has kept hidden. What really struck me in The Widow was the influence that the media has on a police case and public opinion. With vast experience in the field of journalism, Fiona Barton shares this perspective in her debut novel.

FIND HER by Lisa GardnerFIND HER by Lisa Gardner

“Nobody wants to be a monster.” A fast-paced and suspenseful book, FIND HER is a fantastic. Gardner brings us the story of a survivor, a fighter, and a kidnap victim, Flora Dane. After being held captive for 472 days, Flora has been through the worst. 5 years after her abduction, Flora is still having trouble readjusting to normal life when she mysteriously disappears again. This dark thriller is filled with unexpected twists and presents a very unique perspective into the trauma of kidnapping and the long-term psychological effects of such an experience.


My Name is Lucy Barton My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

It’s difficult to put into words the impact of My Name is Lucy Barton as a novel that is both incredibly powerful and extremely subtle. Elizabeth Strout examines the relationship between a mother and daughter when Lucy, the protagonist of the story, is in the hospital recovering from surgery and her mother comes to her side. Lucy and her mother have a very complicated relationship, but at the same time it’s simple in this: they love each other irrevocably. “I feel that people may not understand that my mother could never say the words I love you. I feel that people may not understand: it was alright.”

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did! Happy reading!

xo Samantha

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O'BriensFrustrating, heartbreaking, and eye opening, Lisa Genova brings us Inside the O’Briens, a story about the impact of Huntington’s disease. Genova, the author of the award-winning novel Still Alice, has an incredible talent in her ability to personalize terrible illnesses and create stories that strike a chord with readers.

The O’Brien’s, an Irish Catholic family, are from Boston, Massachusetts. Joe O’Brien, father of the family, is a tough cop with a knack for swearing who learns that Huntington’s disease (HD) is the cause behind his jerky movements and mood swings. HD is a lethal neurodegenerative disease without a cure and is passed down genetically, meaning that Joe’s children each have a 50% chance of testing positive as well.

The story is told from two perspectives, from Joe and from one of his daughters, Katie. Through Joe’s eyes we see the devastation of the disease and the terrible guilt he feels for possibly passing it down to his children. Katie, Joe’s youngest daughter, struggles with the decision of whether to take a test to determine her HD status. That decision weighs very heavily on her and causes her to put her life on pause because she feels unable to move forward. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Katie:

“Everything she’s ever done has been in preparation for her real life, and she’s itching to get started.”

I admire Lisa Genova for her incredible storytelling abilities and for raising awareness for a destructive disease. An informative, engaging, and heart wrenching book, I absolutely recommend Inside the O’Briens!

The Forgotten Room by Beatriz Williams, Karen White & Lauren Willig

The Forgotten RoomThe Forgotten Room is a multigenerational story of three women spanning the decades between the 1890’s and 1940’s in New York City. To make the book even more special, it’s written by three wonderful authors, Beatriz Williams, Karen White, and Lauren Willig. It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Beatriz Williams’ work so I immediately jumped at the chance to read and review The Forgotten Room.

The story begins in the 1940’s when the wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought into the hospital where Dr. Kate Schuyler works. Kate is unable to deny the strong connection she feels with Cooper and is shocked to find a small painting in his duffle bag that looks exactly like her. While trying to understand her connection with this new mysterious man, Kate unearths the mystery of three generations of women in her family. Kate discovers the story of her grandmother Olive, a woman who served as a maid in the very mansion-converted-hospital where Kate now works. Through her search, Kate also learns much more about her mother and the forces that brought her parents together.

Despite the fact that the story was written by three people, the scenes flowed together smoothly. It took me a bit of time to keep the characters straight due to the similarities between the determined heroines and their love interests, but in the end all of the loose ends were brought together.

This is a story of fate. A story of love lost and love found. I was completely absorbed by The Forgotten Room and definitely recommend it!

I received a copy of The Forgotten Room from the Berkley New American Library Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Widow by Fiona Barton

The WidowMy latest read, The Widow by Fiona Barton, is a new mystery crime novel.

When Jean Taylor’s husband is accused of kidnapping a young child, she is shocked. Playing the role of the faithful wife, she stands by his side through the case as the police, press, and public relentlessly pound on their door. Years after the little girl disappeared, Jean’s husband is dead and now as a widow, she begins to open up about all of the secrets she kept hidden for so long…

The Widow is told predominately from the perspective of the widow, Jean Taylor, with scenes from the viewpoints of her late husband, a detective on the case, a reporter, and the little girl’s mother. The story shares a unique view of the influence that the media has on a police case and public opinion. With vast experience in the field of journalism, Fiona Barton shares that perspective in her debut novel.

The book takes place in London, England (a favorite book setting of mine) and is a good story. For me this one is a quick, engaging, one-time read. The plot is wrapped up into a nice bow at the end; which is satisfying after spending the entire book looking for answers!

I received a copy of The Widow from the Berkley and New American Library publishing group in exchange for an honest review.