Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, a psychological thriller, is SO eerie! The story is told by the daughter of a serial killer, Milly, and begins when she turns her mother into the police. That’s right, this particular serial killer is a female. Surprising huh? At first they didn’t believe Milly, what are the odds of a murderous mother? But the police are quickly convinced when Milly shares her terrible trauma.

 

While Milly prepares to testify against her mother in court, she stays with a foster family. Mike, Saskia and Phoebe, a fellow teenager, take her in and saying that Phoebe and Milly don’t get along is putting it mildly. As Milly settles into her new life, we see glimpses into the horrors that Milly’s mom put her through. Land was able to convey these awful experiences without being too graphic or gruesome, which I found to be impressive.

It’s very clear that Milly is battling against herself, her good self and bad self. Between who she feels she is and who she wants to be. She struggles to be normal, but is constantly reminded of the lessons her mother taught her and consistently speaks to her mother throughout the story, addressing the audience as “you.” The true question Milly longs to answer is whether she’s her mother’s daughter after all…

This debut novel from Ali Land is well written and chilling. If thrillers are your thing, I definitely recommend it!

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Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

What would you do if your best friend called you the F word? In Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, F refers to Fat. One morning, Janey is ambushed by her best friend and business partner when he tells her that she needs to lose weight to stay in her position as CEO of their wedding dress business. Understandably Janey is hurt (and pissed).

Over the next three months, Janey goes to great lengths to lose weight. $50 (or more) workout classes. $30 juices. The clay diet. A weeklong fitness retreat. You name it, Janey tried it. It’s clear that this “healthy” lifestyle is anything but being healthy.

Fitness Junkie is entertaining and ridiculous at times, but underneath the silly exterior are very real issues like eating disorders, poor body image, and unrealistic expectations. I appreciate a book that can shine a light on important issues in a way that’s easy to absorb.

Janey’s (fictional) wealth allowed her to take part in all of these extreme and expensive health trends, but many times it veered too far towards the excessive. The fact the Janey could pay for all this extravagance (in NYC no less) without much consideration was a little bit too unrealistic (at least for the majority of people) for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Fitness Junkie and recommend it!

Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly

Sunday's on the phone to monday“An extrovert, friends with everybody and nobody at the same time.”

This is one of the lines that I marked with a post-it while reading Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly. In a book that has been described as a family love story, we are taken on a journey with the Simone family through the ups and downs of life and we see how loved ones move apart and come together during tough times.

Claudio and Mathilde find each other in New York City as newly minted adults and quickly discover that they each are just what the other one needs. The story follows them as they grow into a family of five with three daughters, Natasha, Lucy, and Carly. Soon they face mental and physical illnesses along with money troubles and I was touched by the gestures of familial love.

“…Mathilde had probably seen his face more times in his life than he had. Wasn’t that something?”

Sundays on the phone to mondayI almost felt like I was reading a series of poems. This was a very unique writing style, which at times felt quirky, but also felt choppy during others. Although the style is different from books I typically read, it was a nice change of pace.

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?

 

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

No One Knows “Insanity is filled with wishful thoughts.”

Aubrey was devastated when her husband disappeared without a trace 5 years ago and she still feels the loss everyday. Even though his body hasn’t been found, the court has officially declared him to be dead. With the declaration comes a $5 million insurance payout and information that leads Aubrey to believe that there may have been more to her husband than she knew…

When I first started reading No One Knows by J.T. Ellison I wasn’t sure about the story because the flow was a bit choppy and at times the dialogue felt forced, but I was intrigued enough to continue. I’m glad I kept reading though because the story picked up and I was gripping the book through the very last pages.

No One Knows As with many psychological thrillers these days, No One Knows has been compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and while there are similar components of deceit and trickery, I would end the comparison there because it isn’t fair to either book. There are many psychological elements to this story, throwing me for a loop when I thought I had my head wrapped around the situation. I ended up really enjoying No One Knows and definitely recommend it!

Here’s one more quote that stuck out to me: “Everyone came to this town with a dream, and ended up kaleidoscopes together into a single shifting, pulsing entity.”

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison will be released on March 22, 2016.No One Knows

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Turner House“Turners seemed incapable of doing anything in moderation.” This was one of the many quotes from The Turner House by Angela Flournoy that stood out to me. Flournoy has successfully created a story that examines the dynamics of a big, complicated, prideful, and loving family. I was very interested in the different roles and relationships between the 13 children, each of whom had a very distinct personality.

When the children claimed to see a supernatural presence one night in the Turner house, their father Francis denies the possibility of a ghost, saying “there ain’t no haints in Detroit.” Years later, when the siblings have become grandparents themselves, the mysterious haint is still present. This is especially true for Cha-Cha, the eldest sibling who took on the paternal role when Francis passed away. When their mother, Viola, becomes sick and the value of the Turner house crashes with the housing market in 2008, the siblings come together to decide how to move forward.

I really enjoyed The Turner House and the role that each of the siblings played, especially the youngest child Lelah. A terribly lonely woman, she’s addicted to gambling and the stillness that it brings her. Although her downward spiral disappointed me, I found myself rooting her on towards recovery. Because there were so many siblings, I had a tricky time keeping them all straight, but that’s to be expected with 13 children in one family.

Here’s one more quote from the book that really struck home with me:

“What parts of their worlds would crumble if they took a great look at their parents’ flaws? If there was no trauma, why not talk about the everyday, human elements of their upbringing?”

I definitely recommend The Turner House for a thought provoking read! Enjoy!

The Turner House