Books Lately Vol. 3

I feel like I am finally getting back into the habit of reading again after so many years of NOT reading anything!  I finally joined Goodreads & have been finding a ton of books that I want to read now.  Here is what I’ve read since my last post!

Broken Grace – E. C. Diskin

On an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbot wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

And someone is watching. Someone willing to kill again to protect a secret.

I had never heard of this book before & randomly found it on the new release section at the library one day.  It sounds like it would be pretty interesting but I actually kind of struggled to get through it.  At times, the story line was very slow & I just wanted them to get to the point!  Like most thrillers, it takes a turn near the end & changes all the thoughts you had about certain characters before.

The Girl Before – Rena Olsen

Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.

In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name—Diana—and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew, to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.

I loved this!  It’s hard for me to find a book where I can’t wait to read it just to find out what happens next.  Emotionally, this was hard to read at times though.  This book is focused on sex trafficking & how they basically brainwashed Clara starting when she was 6 years old.  It was interesting to read her side of the story as this life was all she knew & thought was normal.  Obviously it is a fiction novel but it left me frustrated at times as this is something that happens on a daily basis.  I would 100% recommend this!

Side note:  I didn’t actually realize this until I was reading the acknowledgements but the author thanked one of my fellow internet friends that I met on Kiwibox YEARS ago.  Her & I are still Facebook friends today yet haven’t talked in ages!

The Girl Before – J.P. Delaney

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.  The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Just after I finished the book by Rena Olsen, this one came up on my hold list at the library.  I had read a few other blogger reviews on it so I’ve been wanting to read it as well.  It was interesting how this book & the other one followed the same format– each chapter was either ‘now’ or ‘then’ which is different compared to most other books I’ve read.  I was really excited for this book as I read such awesome reviews about it but I really didn’t care for it.  At all.  I am not even sure I would recommend it.  I thought it was going to have some crazy twists & turns but it really didn’t.  The fact that the author wrote this under a pseudonym is really intriguing.  I want to know who the real person is!

Another book I tried to read but could not get through for the life of me was ‘The Magdalen Girls’ by V.S. Alexander.  It sounded so interesting on Goodreads but I had to give up.  Have you read any of these books?  What have you been reading lately?

Life According to Steph

18 Comments

  1. Mattie Dulka
    February 14, 2017

    I read the first The Girl Before you reviewed and enjoyed it, and I’m currently reading the second! That’s a bummer that you didn’t like it! I’ve only read rave reviews so far, and I’m about halfway through and enjoying it, but there’s definitely going to have to be a twist for me to rave about it. I didn’t know it was written under a pseudonym! I’m super curious now too.
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    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      The one by Rena Olsen was great & I could not put it down! I don’t know what it is about the other one… it just didn’t fit with me for some reason. And yes, I read such good reviews about it which is why I wanted to read it!

      Reply
  2. kristen
    February 14, 2017

    i am always curious about pseudonyms as well. i haven’t read any of these, but the second girl before is on my kindle. maybe one day i’ll get to it lol.
    kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      I read that they are making it into a movie so I’m curious to see how it is compared to the book!

      Reply
  3. SMD @ Life According to Steph
    February 14, 2017

    I also tore through The Girl Before (Olsen), so did MFD and my husband rarely reads fiction.

    I am waiting for the other The Girl Before to come in at the library for me!

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      It was SO good!

      Reply
  4. Olya @ The Siberian American
    February 14, 2017

    I read both “The Girl Before” books and really liked them! Such a bummer you didn’t like the second one.
    Olya @ The Siberian American recently posted…Eleven Books I Read in JanuaryMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      I’m really not sure what it was about the second one. I just didn’t find it very thriller-ish, if that makes any sense, haha. I thought I was going to be on the edge of my seat, not wanting to put it down, etc. after reading such good reviews about it! I’m interested to see the movie version of it though!

      Reply
  5. Carly
    February 14, 2017

    I love that you read two books of the same title– I feel like that has been a reading challenge category in the past that I always fail, haha. I have the Delaney one on my iPad to read hopefully soon, so I’m bummed to hear you didn’t care for it.
    Carly recently posted…Carly Reads Here | February 2017My Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      Yes, very random that they came up at the library at the same time! I feel like I am probably the only one that didn’t care for it after reading some comments & a lot of reviews. You’ll have to let me know what you think!

      Reply
  6. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration
    February 14, 2017

    JP Delaney is really Tony Strong. I was curious after reading the book and seeing it was written under a pseudonym. It sounds like I enjoyed it more than you did. For me, the twist felt a bit required (thanks Gone Girl!) but what I loved was how he kept flipping my perception of the various players. To me, that was where its strength lie. The other Girl Before is also on my reading list and I’ve heard great things about but just had a chance to get to it yet!

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      Thank you! I have never heard of Tony Strong before but now I’m interested to read some other books. Very true about flipping perception on the characters. I hated Edward at first but I definitely had a different opinion of him towards the end. Same with Simon. I am really curious to see the movie whenever it comes out as well!

      Reply
  7. I read The Girl Before by JP Delaney and absolutely loved it, but I totally understand that it’s not for everyone. The Girl Before by Rena Olsen also sounds like a good read as well, so I’m going to have to add it to my list!

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      I’m really not sure what it was about the Delaney book. I just really struggled to get into & enjoy the story for some reason. I wouldn’t say that it was terrible or anything like that. I am really interested to see the movie when it comes out though!

      Reply
  8. texerinsydney
    February 15, 2017

    I read Rena Olsen’s “The Girl Before” this month as well and loved it too! I love books that are provocative enough to make me feel both positive and negative feelings about the protagonist, and like you, I couldn’t wait to pick it up.
    texerinsydney recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yours… vol.25My Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      It was so so good & I would definitely read it again! And yes, there were times where I really felt for Clara but other times where I was really upset by her too.

      Reply
  9. ShootingStarsMag
    February 15, 2017

    That’s interesting that two of them have the same title! Glad you really enjoyed all of these. 🙂

    -Lauren
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Our Own Private Universe by Robin TalleyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 15, 2017

      Very strange that they ended up being on my list right after each other at the library, haha. I would definitely read Olsen’s book over & over again!

      Reply

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