2019 Book #4 – An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

419p4e1xfql._sx327_bo1,204,203,200_Title: An Anonymous Girl
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Date finished: 1/16/19
Genre: Thriller/suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Pages in book: 372
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read The Wife Between Us by these authors last year and enjoyed it so much – I was exciting to see they had a new book coming out. Similar to that book, this book makes the reader question what is the “truth,” and additionally in this book we begin to question our own ethics and morality. This was a SUPER creepy book, I was on the edge of my seat the whole book waiting to find out what was going to happen and I couldn’t stop myself from looking over my shoulder. The author did such a great job of infusing paranoia and fear into Jessica’s narrative. I loved the two points of view too, and how they were written – with all of Dr. Shields’ entries reading as if she was telling Jessica a story. It was an interesting dynamic and created an obvious difference between their two points of view. The reasoning wasn’t revealed until later in the story but it ended up making complete sense. There were some good plot twists in this story, but while they were exciting, they may have also been a tad predictable. The premise behind this book reminded me a little of another book I had read last year, Believe Me, as the main character in that book is hired to entrap husbands in compromising situations, and the reader is led to question what the truth is and who is the more reliable narrator – similar to this novel. Overall I really enjoyed this read and I thought it brought up some really interesting questions on morality, plus it was sufficiently suspenseful. I can see why this one is a hot topic in the book world right now – I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #57 – The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

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Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M. L. Stedman
Date finished: 6/14/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Pages in book: 343
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group. I have been thinking about joining the group for awhile but even though it is only one night a month, I always find it hard trying to add one more thing into my schedule. I realized a couple months ago though that I have such a passion for reading and that I get such joy out of discussing good books with other people that I really should be making this group more of a priority. I had planned to start going with the May meeting (the book was one of the Liane Moriarty books and she’s been on my to read list for awhile) but we were on vacation when they were meeting in May so I decided to wait for the June meeting. And when I saw what the book for the June meeting was, I was excited since this book is on my to read list as well. And thank goodness I was able to finish the book since the meeting is tomorrow! (I’m writing this on Sunday 6/14 and waiting to post it until after the meeting tomorrow so I don’t give away my thoughts!)
I was hooked on this story from the very beginning. And though it was a tiny bit slow to start up in the beginning, the last half of the book just flew by for me, I couldn’t put it down. I could barely convince myself to look away from the pages long enough to eat my dinner. The characters of the story will completely draw you in and you’ll feel as if you’re there living on Janus with the Sherbournes and you’ll be a witness to everything that happens through the story. The emotions that are woven into the story will take your breath away. When you’ve raised a baby its whole life, even if that baby isn’t biologically yours, is it right to have that baby taken away? What is really right and wrong in a situation like that? What is fair? The contents of this book and the questions it brings up in the reader’s mind are just so thought provoking. What would you do if you were in this exact situation? Though for much of the book I was mad at Isabella for some of the choices she made, once she fell in love with that baby, I can’t say that I can know whether I would have done anything differently.
For those of you who would like to have your own book discussion with this book, here is a site with some reading discussion questions you can use.

The bottom line: I loved this book so so much. It was amazingly touching and moving and just so great. Everyone should read this as soon as possible, be ready though it’s going to tug hard at your heart strings.

Favorite quotes:

“He struggles to make sense of it- all this love, so bent out of shape, refracted, like light through the lens.”

“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.”

“I’ve learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you’ve got to give up hope of ever changing your past”

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page