July Reading Wrap-Up

Books Read: I See You by Clare Mackintosh, and It by Stephen King
Total Books Read: 2
July TBR Books Read: 2
2017 TBR Challenge Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: 1,744
Total Hours Listened: 0

Guys, I actually did it. I finished reading ‘It’. I hope you’re as proud of me as I am of myself, because that book was epic. July was another slow reading month for me, and once again my hectic work life was to blame. Things are settling down for me as of this week, so I should be able to get back into a more comfortable reading schedule. I might also have some time to listen to an audiobook this month, which is good because my audible credits are stacking up. Here’s hoping I can read all of the books on my TBR this month.

August TBR

The Fever by Megan AbbottThe panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community. The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile MeloyWhen Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety. One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone. What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

He Said She Said by Erin KellyIn the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear. And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden… something she never could have guessed.

The Hatching by Ezekiel BooneDeep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected. As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading… The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

Book Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Book: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney – audible audiobook edition, 10 hours & five minutes.

Synopsis: Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection… but can you pay the price?

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before.

As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

My thoughts: I’m a sucker for a good domestic thriller so when I saw this book recommended by a handful of people, I decided to pick it up and see what it was about. I got the audiobook (mostly because I have a handful of Audible credits that I need to use), and I was excited to see how it would play out in this format. Unfortunately, I think listening to the audio book rather than reading it myself was a big part of what let this down for me.

The concept is interesting enough, but I feel like there is a strong need for suspension of disbelief throughout the story. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind signing up for the scenario these women place themselves in, but maybe that’s just me. The book moves back and forth between the story of two women, Jane who is currently residing in the house, and Emma, the ‘girl before’. I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with stories that move between character perspective, and listening to audio that used similar voices for the two main characters was difficult for me. I had to stop listening to the book half-way through and start again just so I could follow the story properly.

I found nearly all of the characters unlikeable, even the ones we as the reader are supposed to sympathise with. I couldn’t help but picture Mr. Schue from Glee when the women were describing the ‘enigmatic architect’ throughout the book, which became very distracting and I found it hard to find this character attractive in any way. There were a couple of twists and turns throughout the story that did keep things interesting, but the ending was ultimately unsatisfying for me. If you are going to pick this up I would recommend picking up the hard copy of the book rather than the audio book.

Rating: 4/10

May TBR

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

It by Stephen KingTo the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing… The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

Every Last Lie by Mary KubicaClara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident… until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out–and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Amnesia by Peter CareyWhen Gaby Baillieux, Australia’s most formidable hacker, releases the Angel Worm virus into her country’s prison system, cell doors are opened and inmates walk free. Since those prisons use American software, the doors in thousands of jails in the United States are opened as well. Is this an accident or a declaration of cyber war? Does it have anything to do with the largely forgotten Battle of Brisbane between American and Australian forces in 1942? Or with the CIA-influenced coup in Australia in 1975? Disgraced writer Felix Moore known to himself as our sole remaining left-wing journalist is determined to write Gaby’s biography in order to find the answers that could save her, his career, and perhaps his country. But how to get Gaby on the run, scared, confused, and angry to cooperate?

April Reading Wrap Up

Books Read: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, and The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
Total Books Read: 2
April TBR Books Read: 2
2017 TBR Challenge Books Read: 0
Total Pages Read: 385
Total Hours Listened: 10 Hours 5 Minutes

I really feel like I got back into the swing of things with my reading in April, which has made me really happy. Although it doesn’t seem like I made huge progress based on my results above, I managed to incorporate reading back into my daily routine and that’s what’s most important to me.

I had started reading I Let You Go late last year, but hadn’t managed to finish the entire thing. I’m glad I finally got around to finishing it because it was an excellent book and something I’d highly recommend picking up. I was less impressed with The Girl Before, but I’ll be discussing that further in my review later in the month. I think listening to the audio version really let the book down in this case.

I also started reading IT by Stephen King this month, which I’ve made quite a bit of headway with but I feel like will end up being a two-to-three month reading adventure because it’s so long. I’m really looking forward to the film coming out later this year, and I think it’s one of the best possible source materials to be transalated into a film. I watched the trailer recently, and it looked so amazing that it inspired me to pick up the book. I feel like a lot of Stephen King’s words are done an injustice when a film adaptation is made, but this one looks incredible, and seems to have an amazing cast. All I can say is I’m glad the phase of people dressing up like clowns and running around the neighbourhood appears to be well and truly over.