I feel like I have been flying through them lately as I put a bunch on hold at the library & they all became available about the same time. Since I don’t want to give them up on my hold list, I’m trying to get through all of them! Anywho, here is what I read in June & so far this month.
The Bird Eater – Ania Ahlborn | Twenty years ago, the mysterious death of his aunt left Aaron Holbrook orphaned and alone. He abandoned his rural Arkansas hometown vowing never to return, until his seven-year-old son died in an accident, plunging Aaron into a nightmare of addiction and grief. Desperate to reclaim a piece of himself, he returns to the hills of his childhood, to Holbrook House, where he hopes to find peace among the memories of his youth. But solace doesn’t come easy. Someone—or something—has other plans. Like Aaron, Holbrook House is but a shell of what it once was, a target for vandals and ghost hunters who have nicknamed it “the devil’s den.” Aaron doesn’t believe in the paranormal—at least, not until a strange boy begins following him wherever he goes. Plagued by violent dreams and disturbing visions, Aaron begins to wonder if he’s losing his mind. But a festering darkness lurks at the heart of Holbrook House… a darkness that grins from within the shadows, delighting in Aaron’s sorrow, biding its time.
My last & final Ania Ahlborn book that the library owns. I think this one was probably my least favorite out of all the books I’ve read of hers the past two months. The premise of it is super interesting but I kind of hated Aaron Holbrook. He seemed liked a tool throughout most of the book. In a way, I can see why she created him to be like that due to the events in his past but it was hard to really like him as a character. Like some of her other books, this one had a supernatural theme to it which makes me think of Stephen King. I will say that there were parts that were creepy & just plain disgusting (hence the name of the book, haha) but I could take or leave this one.
The Woman In Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware | In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
This book had really good reviews so I was happy to find that it was on the shelf at the library without having to put a hold on it! I read this on the way to St. Louis and also during our vacation when we didn’t have much going on. However, I actually thought it was kind of boring! I didn’t find it to be as “thrilling” as I thought it was going to be. Maybe I’ve been reading too many other horror/thriller books that this one seemed pretty tame. I still wanted to find out what happened & how the lady disappeared so I trudged through & finished it. This book wasn’t anything special & I wouldn’t care to read it again.
Before He Finds Her – Michael Kardos | Everyone in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows the story: on a Sunday evening in September 1991, Ramsey Miller threw a blowout block party, then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter. But everyone is wrong. The daughter got away. Now she is nearly eighteen and tired of living in secrecy. Under the name Melanie Denison, she has spent the last fifteen years in small-town West Virginia as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has never been allowed to travel, go to a school dance, or even have internet at home. Precautions must be taken at every turn, because Ramsey Miller was never caught and might still be looking for his daughter. Yet despite strict house rules, Melanie has entered into a relationship with a young teacher at the local high school and is now ten weeks pregnant. She doesn’t want her child to live in hiding as she has had to. Defying her guardians and taking matters into her own hands, Melanie returns to Silver Bay in hopes of doing what the authorities have failed to do: find her father before he finds her.
This book went back & forth between 1991 and 2006 which I think helped make the story interesting. I did not see the twist at the end at all! I truly hated Ramsey throughout much of the story & thought he was a creep while I thought nothing of the family that Melanie had been living with. It was a pretty quick read & I think I finished it within a few days. I wouldn’t say that this was really a thriller type book but maybe more of a psychological/mystery so I would recommend this one.
Always Watching – Chevy Stevens | In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years. When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today? And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back.
This is the first Chevy Stevens book I’ve read & it did not disappoint! I finished it within a few days (and read most of it during our trip to Iowa a few weeks ago). I was especially interested in it because cults are fascinating to me. There was a lot going on in the book! It starts out with Nadine, the hospital psychiatrist, meeting Heather after a suicide attempt & learns that they had just left the same commune that Nadine lived in for awhile as a child. The story goes back & forth between her childhood & experiences with the commune and the present day. During this, Nadine is also dealing with her adult daughter who has sort of fallen off the face of the earth due to addiction and a stepson that was involved in her daughter’s decline. I don’t know if it was really necessary to include the daughter/stepson issues & rather just have the book focus on Nadine. Either way, I enjoyed this book & would recommend it.
The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel | After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away. Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
The background story of this book is absolutely disgusting. I can read about someone eating birds without being phased but the whole grandpa-daughter-granddaughter (who is actually a daughter) relationship makes me want to vomit. And that grandmother, ugh. All I could think about during the book was how ridiculous she was – WHY WOULD YOU PUT UP WITH YOUR HUSBAND DOING THAT??? Allegra & Lane were such interesting characters to follow along with. Despite all of the weird relationships & messed up family dynamics, I really enjoyed this book & would probably read it again.
In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware | Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her? But something goes wrong. Very wrong. Some things can’t stay secret for ever.
I had seen countless reviews & recommendations for this book so I was pretty excited when it finally came up on my hold list at the library. Unfortunately, this book did nothing for me. In fact, I was so irritated by Nora (Lee, Leo, Leonora… she had like 5 different names, haha) throughout most of the book. I mean, she’s a grown woman & is still struggling to get over a breakup from TEN years ago. It was fairly easy to figure out that Clare had something to do with the incident as well. I thought this would be a thriller/horror book but I didn’t think it was either of these.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson | I thought this would be kind of a fun self help type book but I could not stand this author’s writing. It basically did nothing for me & did not help me to give less fucks in life.
Rather Be The Devil – Ian Rankin | I picked up this book from the new release section at the library thinking it would be interesting…. No. I didn’t even get to page 10, haha.
A Mother’s Reckoning: Living In The Aftermath of Tragedy – Sue Klebold | I might give this book another try in the future. I started out really enjoying it but then kind of lost patience with it.