2017 Book #75 – Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

41eDiHG-MLLTitle: Bad Girl Gone
Author: Temple Mathews
Date finished: 9/1/17
Genre: Fiction, young adult
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Pages in book: 265
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:

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.­­­­

My rating:  2.5 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. This book tells the story of Echo (Eileen) who wakes up in Middle House, unsure of how she got there. Middle House is an orphanage and Echo is very sure her parents are still alive. Unfortunately when she leaves to prove that, she instead discovers that she was (**SPOILER**) murdered, and Middle House is more of a halfway house where kid ghosts live until they can find and take revenge on their killers/ Echo misses her boyfriend Andy but from the stories we hear from when she was alive, Echo was a pretty shitty person. And now Echo has Cole at Middle House, another dead-o like her. Unfortunately Echo can’t decide between them so she strings both of them along for the next few days, generally making them both miserable. And all the while her new friends are helping her discover who it was that murdered her.
Overall I didn’t particularly care for this book. The premise behind it was just a little too far-fetched for me – the thought that a kid would get to Heaven (the After) only after haunting/killing someone (even if it was their murderer) seems not right to me. Also, Echo as a person/character really was just not at all likable. The plot was not my favorite and I hated how devoted Andy and Cole were considering what a shitty person Echo was. And everything really was just so sad, Echo’s parents lost their only child. And there were many pieces of the plot that just didn’t feel like they really fir to me – the stuff with Mrs. Tourney and thinking Echo is someone else wasn’t necessary in the plot at all and felt superfluous. Overall wasn’t my favorite book but there were some creative thought to it.

The bottom line: Eh this book was ok, it wasn’t my kind of story and it was super sad. If you like ghost-y stories though I would give this one a try, it was kind of interesting.

Link to author website

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

2017 Book #13 – Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

410vmxoeeqlTitle: Beautiful Broken Girls
Author: Kim Savage
Date finished: 2/25/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Pages in book: 336
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:

Remember the places you touched me.
Mira and Francesca Cillo were beautiful, overprotected by their father, and, frankly, odd. To the neighborhood boys they seemed untouchable. But one boy, Ben, touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira arrives in Ben’s mailbox. The letter sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca’s strange world, and he discovers that some things are better left untouched.

My rating:  2.75 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. This book tells the story of Ben Lattanzi, who gets a letter from his neighbor Mira a week after she dies. Ben was in love with Mira but she and her sister Francesca had died in what seemed very much to be a suicide (they had rocks in their pockets) at the quarry. Mira tells Ben to go find her notes to him in the 7 places that they had touched each other, to learn her story now after her death. And so Ben travels to the different places in town where they had touched, but each note he finds only confuses him more and more. Will he ever find out why Mira killed herself?
Overall this was not my favorite book. The story itself had a lot of potential and I especially liked the way the book was set up. Each chapter told Ben’s story of remembering where he and Mira had touched and him finding a new note and trying to figure out what the note means. Then the second part of each chapter is Mira telling her piece of the story from her life over the last year. I liked that format, it was just that for me the story had so many holes and so many extra parts that didn’t have anything to do with the story line. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of flow to the story line, it felt choppy and to be honest it was just overwhelmingly sad. And it felt like there was just a whole lot of extra crazy in the book and the characters. It wasn’t my favorite read lately, it wasn’t a bad story just didn’t appeal to me.

The bottom line: While this book didn’t work for me personally, I can see how it would appeal to other readers. Suspense novels are really popular right now and there is just enough mystery, crazy, and sexy in this book to make it worth the read. So I would recommend trying it, just be warned you may end up a little frustrated.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #61 – The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

61kbMRxYPpL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Girls in the Garden
Author: Lisa Jewell
Date finished: 6/11/16
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Pages in book: 320
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:

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes will be captivated by The Girls in the Garden, the next unforgettable novel by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

My rating:  4.0 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. This book tells the story of a number of families living in a complex in Central London, with the complex surrounding a three acre communal park. No one has their own “back yard” all residents share one very large and well groomed garden for a back yard. Clare has just moved into a small apartment with her two daughters, Grace and Pip (whose real name is Lola). Clare is trying to hide from a recent traumatic situation with her husband, the girls’ father. She finds comfort at first in the friendship that comes with sharing the communal back yard. Her girls seem to be adapting well, especially Grace who is spending a lot of time with another set of sisters who live across the way. Once Grace is found unconscious and bloody though, Clare learns about what her daughter has really been doing when she’s not at home and that the other girls are not exactly as innocent as they seem.
Overall I really liked this book. The story line was interesting and I thought the author did a great job with how she made the story flow. The story begins with Pip finding her sister after Grace had been attacked. Then the story back tracks to the six months leading up to the attack and then continues past the attack to what happened after Grace was found. The story was also told from Pip’s point of view as well as Clare’s and Adele’s (the other set of sisters’ mother) with two more points of view added in the last few chapters. The ending didn’t turn out quite as I expected but I really liked the plot and it was a fairly quick, fast-paced read. The author really did a great job with creating tension in the story, the drama and tension was coming off the book in waves and we kept finding out more scandalous tidbits the more the characters delved into the mystery. I think this will be a great read for this summer, I would definitely recommend trying this one!

The bottom line: I found this book very interesting and at the same time slightly disturbing. Not disturbing in a bad way, more in a suspenseful way. The author creates a real world for the reader inside the communal garden and the separate points of view added a lot of different pieces to the story line. I would definitely recommend this one!

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #69 – Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll


Title: Luckiest Girl Alive
Author: Jessica Knoll
Date finished: 7/8/15
Genre:  Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Pages in book: 338
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.
The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I feel like I have seen this book everywhere over the last few months. Every couple months now I feel like a book will come out and everyone says its the next “Gone Girl” but its nothing like Gone Girl. And that’s pretty much what happened with this one. It even says right on the front of the book “With the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn” (Gone Girl author), leading readers to believe this will fill the hole in them that Gone Girl left behind. I think its unfair in most cases to compare one book to another because each is its own little magical portal and while you may find similarities in them, they really aren’t comparable. And to be honest I saw more parallels to Gone Girl in The Daylight Marriage than I did in this book.
Anyways, so this book is about TifAni FaNelli, who grew up far too quickly when she transferred from a Catholic girls school to an upper class private school almost an hour away from her house. She was expelled from the Catholic school for an incident that had to do with pot, but I thought the whole thing was odd since she didn’t get the pot in the first place. So she ends up going to this hoity toity private school with a bunch of rich kids whose parents don’t ever supervise them so they end up spending all their time getting drunk and doing drugs. She makes friends with the popular kids eventually but then an “incident” causes her to fall out of favor with them. I don’t want to say too much about what else happens with the high school stuff because it is a bit of a twist. The book alternates between her remembering these events from her childhood/high school experience and her at twenty-nine when she is getting ready for her wedding in a few weeks and having a lot of second thoughts. Due to the trauma she dealt with in high school, she has a lot of undealt-with issues as an adult that she has trouble dealing with on a day-to-day basis. She also kind of has a selfish, thought-less fiance who doesn’t see anything past the surface with her and I don’t know how she wasn’t screaming in frustration all the time at him.
There were a lot of other things too that frustrated me about this book. I will say that TifAni is raped while in high school and when her mother finds out her reaction is “You don’t have a body like TifAni’s and go to a party with all boys and drink too much and not know exactly what you’re doing there.” Honestly I had to put the book down for a moment I was so mad. I can’t even imagine a mother so callous. I’m sure a fourteen year old girl who had never drank before (and therefore had no idea where she should limit herself while drinking) had no intention of going to a party and getting so drunk that when a boy found her drunk on the floor he decided to have sex with her unconscious body. WHAT MOTHER THINKS THAT IS HER DAUGHTER’S FAULT. Maybe if she weren’t such a desperate to climb the social ladder wanna-be then her daughter wouldn’t be in this situation. Rant over.
So like I was saying, there were a lot of things about this book that frustrated me. Not in a “this book is awful” way but more in a “these characters are frustrating but that’s a piece of the story” way. I’ve never experienced a character in any other book before that I was able to hate, pity, and admire all at the same time. Ani ends up having a crap ton of issues that kind of make her into a bitch (excuse the language) but through the book you see past the layers of bitch to the scared little girl that just wants to find somewhere she can feel safe again. And she has survived and dealt with so much and went on to find a job she loves and thrives at and its hard not to admire how much she’s managed to accomplish. I thought the ending was a little odd and vague but other than that I thought this was a good book. Not one of my all-time favorites but quite good.
The bottom line: Eh, I think I would recommend this book, probably not universally though. I would recommend it if I knew the person liked suspense fiction.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page