Down the TBR Hole: Week 12

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
I’m going to cheat a little bit here — the next books are books 3 to 7 of the Outlander series, but I’m going to talk to about them all here. I listened to the first Outlander book and really enjoyed it, but have not had interest in keeping the series going. I am going to temporarily PASS of books 3 to 7 until I actually listen to the second book. Then, if I decide to continue with the series, I’ll bring them back.

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Madame Picasso by Anne Girard
I love art. I love fictional pieces based on art. This book sounds lovely, and I will be KEEPing it. Cannot wait to check it out…ya know, one day.

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Orphan Number Eight by Kim can Alkemade
This book appears a lot in various eBook deal emails. I’m certain it’s on my Kindle from one of those emails. It sounds incredibly interesting. KEEP.

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Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
I love memoirs. I love, specificaly, celebrity memoirs. And I grew up loving Julie Andrews. She still is one of my favorite people on the planet. I cannot wait to read this. KEEP!

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Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
If I wasn’t on a minimal-buy spree right now, I’d probably order this book before publishing this post. The cover, in and of itself, is gorgeous enough to make me want it on my shelf. But I love color. I woud love to read some information on the history of color. This one is moving to the top of my wishlist so I can order it next time I get to splurge a little. KEEP!

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Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
To this day, I still mostly listen to grunge and grunge-esque, alternative-if-you-will music. However, growing up and even now, I never really was a Sonic Youth fan. Having said that, I still greatly enjoy the genre and I love reading about female rockers. So, though not a fan of the band itself, I look forward to reading this. KEEP!

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Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
I listened to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children a while back and adored it. I am super bad about starting a series and never finishing it [a blog post about this will be up in a few weeks] but this is one I definitely want to continue. KEEP!

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To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Y’all…I’ve tried. I’ve tried so much to read this and other pieces by Woolf. And I just cannot get into it or her writing style. I may try listening in the future, but for now, this is a PASS.

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The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Re-reading the synopsis of this made me excited! I have it on my Kindle (thanks, BookBub!) and kind of forgot about it. This sounds really good. This may need to be added to books I want to read this summer…. KEEP!

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Confession…I’ve never read The Goldfinch. I know, I know. You’re sitting there thinking…how can you even call yourself a reader, Allie??? I do own it. I just haven’t made it to it yet. It will happen! I promise. KEEP!

 


 

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with the ones I’m keeping? Should I rethink some of the ones I passed?

WWW Wednesday: May 24, 2017


What are you reading? Wednesday: This meme asks us to post about three books:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words


 

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Currently Reading
I am still working through The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, as well as listening to Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I’m enjoying both but not wowed by either. The Nest really pulled me in, at first, but there are a lot of characters and with so many character changes, it pushes me out of the story. Into the Water is kind of the same. I feel like the writing style isn’t that great — really repetitive and maybe not all necessary — but the story is good.

 

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Recently Finished  Recently Purchased/Reading Next
I haven’t finished a book since I last posted, so I thought I would share a book I picked up this past week! Last week was…rough. So I used some retail therapy to get my spirits back up. I knew that I wanted to read The Secret History of Twin Peaks soon, so I grabbed it. I have been in the process of rewatching Twin Peaks and I cannot wait to get the free trial for Showtime once the new series is over so I can check it out. When I finish watching the series (I think I have ten episodes left), I am going to read this [I also have the audio version because I’ve heard it is so great, so I’ll probably go back and forth.]


 

What was your most recent book purchase? Will you be reading it soon or will it marinate on your shelves for a bit?

WWW Wednesday: May 17, 2017


What are you reading? Wednesday: This meme asks us to post about three books:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words


 

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Currently Reading
I am currently really enjoying The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. I received this in my first Book of the Month box last year and have been really wanting to read it. I am still getting over my reading slump (man, this one hit me hard) but this one has been great so far. I am only about 80 or so pages in but I cannot wait to see what is up with this Plumb family.

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Recently Finished
I know…I know. We’re all shocked! Not only have I actually finished a book, I already have the review upWoman No. 17 was my first book by Edan Lepucki but I really enjoyed her writing style and how this story progressed.

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Reading Next 
I actually have no clue what I will be reading next, but I do know that I will be picking up The Dinner by Herman Koch very soon.

 

 

Have you guys read any of these? 
What are you planning on reading next?

Review: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

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Book: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki [Goodreads | Amazon]
Genre:
 Fiction, Mystery 
Publisher:
Hogarth/Crown
Format: Physical copy (won from giveaway via LibraryThing)
Rating:
 4 stars (maybe more of 3.5)
Cover Rating:
2 stars

The Cover

I like the colors of this, the overexposed Polaroid feel to it. That’s my only positive. I understand why the images were chosen for the cover, having read the book and whatnot. But I am just not a fan.

The Synopsis

This novel, to me, reads as two separate stores that are intertwined. I am a fan of multiple perspective books as it is, but I found that this one really worked. First, we have Lady. She has separated from her husband, Karl (who is now living with his twin sister, Kit, a photographer who introduced Lady and Karl). She has a teenage son, Seth (who is mute), and a toddler named Devin. Lady is working on a novel to discuss what it was like raising Seth but she finds that now that it’s just her taking care of Devin, she is not able to get her writing done. To get rid of this excuse and to really get into her writing, she puts out an ad for a live in nanny. Enter S.

S. is also known as Esther. Esther, a wannabe (if you will) artist, has decided to move back home after finishing school. She sees that Lady is hiring and she decided this will be a good job for her to complete an…interesting art project that she has decided to do.

The stories of Lady and S. are singular and together. The lines between boss/employee are blurred. Both ladies are so different, yet both are trying to figure out exactly what it is they want.

The Review

I’m putting this under 4 stars but it’s probably more 3.5. I really enjoyed this for the first 75-80% of the book. The last 60 or so pages are…rushed?

I felt for both Esther and Lady, in different ways. I thought they were well written and believable characters. I enjoyed their stories separately and also as they connected. I enjoyed watching their friendship blossom and it really did seem like they were what the other needed at the points they were at in their lives.

I found that Karl (lady’s husband) and his twin, Kit, were not that well-developed themselves. Kit was used, I feel like, as a connection between some of the characters (she introduced Lady to Karl;  Esther knew of her photography from art classes). She was used a few times in the story to push the different timelines forward. However, I did not like Kit. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Karl, either.

The rest of the characters…are fine? The stars of this show are Esther and Lady. None of the other characters stand out to me as being great. I found Esther’s mom and dad to be interesting, but nothing super fascinating.

As I mentioned before, I really enjoyed the majority of this book. The ending isn’t completely awful, but not exactly what I wanted. I enjoyed Lady’s ending, but found Esther’s to not be really connected to her story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I really liked Lepucki’s writing style, enough to be interested in reading other books of hers in the future.

The Author

This is Edan Lepucki’s second full length novel. She can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, and at her Website.


 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. 

Down the TBR Hole: Week 11

I was originally doing this in a two post a week type deal to try to cut my TBR list down even more quickly. However, instead of two separate posts, I am just going to do 10 books every Sunday instead. 


 

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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Special Topic in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
I read her other book, Night Film, and really enjoyed it. So when I came across her first novel, I decided to pick it up. I tried to read it and could not get into it. This one is going to be a PASS for me.

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Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
I’ve heard lots of great things about this book. I am excited to check it out, probably on Audible since Aziz reads the book. Definite KEEP.

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Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
I have this on my shelf and I look forward to reading it…one day. It sounds really interesting and I am a sucker for the cover. KEEP!

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Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson
Normally, when I go through my TBR list for these posts, I am able to have at last some recollection of the book and/or why I added it to my list, if someone had recommended it to me, for example. This, however, I have zero recollection of. I am trying really hard to be harder on myself when it comes to passing on books, so I’m just gonna go ahead and PASS on this one.

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I have read one or two books by Rainbow Rowell. I don’t remember being incredibly wowed by them. I have heard this one is really good, but honestly, rereading the synopsis, I am not interested. PASS!

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A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
I have heard such good things about this book. And I am totally a sucker for that cover. This one will be a KEEP!

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They Never Came Home by Lois Duncan
Growing up, Lois Duncan was my favorite author. I’ve realized recently there are a couple of books of hers I don’t remember reading. So this one is a KEEP — gotta read them all, amiright?

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This is another book I’ve heard nothing but good things about. And if I remember correctly, they’ve turned it into a move/tv show/something? I need to look more into that, I guess…. KEEP!

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The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber
This is a definite KEEP! I am a sucker for true crime podcasts and thinks the idea of this book sounds so great.

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The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
You guys may remember…. I have already technically kept this book during this series. However, this one is specifically a graphic novel series based on the novel. This is a MUST! KEEP!

Down the TBR Hole: Week 10.5

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
I’m not even going to talk about this — this is of course a KEEP!

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
A few posts in this series back, I mentioned the first in the Waverly Family series by SAA. I’ve heard even more great things about the second book. I kept the first one, so I’ll be KEEPing the second one, as well.

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Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids 
I have been excited to read this ever since another friend of mine read it a couple of years ago. I am looking forward to check this out. I have chosen to be child-free, so I am excited to read some thoughts from others who have chose the same lifestyle.

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Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
Lois Duncan was my first favorite author. A few years back, I read her nonfiction book about the death of her daughter, which made me go down memory lane. Most of the books I had at least a vague recollection of, but this one did not sound familiar. This is a definite KEEP!

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Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) by Diana Gabaldon
I listened to Outlander a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. I started the second one last year immediately after finishing the first, and could not commit to the length of the book. I still have plans to give this one a listen, but there is something about the length of this book that makes me cautious to pick it up again, even with the first one being as good as it was. It’s still a KEEP, though.

WWW Wednesday: April 26, 2017


What are you reading? Wednesday: This meme asks us to post about three books:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words


 

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Currently Reading
I haven’t listened to an audio book in months, so I decided to go through my library and pick something out. I decided to give The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff a shot. It is very informative, but I’m not sure right now is a good time for listening to this (I found myself daydreaming a lot when I was trying to listen to it Monday), so I may put it back in the library and give a different audio book a chance.

Recently Finished
Ya know…I really thought I’d have a finished book this week. However, I didn’t do as much reading as I had planned this weekend and honestly (aside from a little bit of the previous book mentioned on Monday), I haven’t been able to sit down and get any reading done since Sunday. I am stealing glances to my book right now, so maybe I can dive in after work today.

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Reading Next
I’m realizing that this “reading next” section is starting to make me almost as anxious as the “recently finished” section! I’m sitting here now trying to figure out what I am doing with my time that I am not reading as much! I feel like I am constantly busy, but not seeing anything to show for it. I think I need a reading vacation…. But I digress. A book I plan to read soon is Big little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I watched the HBO mini-series a couple of weeks back and thought it was interesting. And I’ve heard such great things about the book. I’m looking forward to checking it out!


 

Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them?

Review: Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

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Book: Trouble Maker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini [Goodreads | Amazon]
Genre:
 Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher:
 Ballantine Books/Random House
Format: Audiobook by Audible
Rating:
 5 stars
Cover Rating:
4 stars

The Cover
As with most memoirs, especially celebrity ones, this cover features a picture of Leah Remini’s face. The cover is fine, Remini looks lovely, as always. And because she’s recognizable, it’s a good move to get more interest in the book itself. 

The Review
I listened to this book over a few days during my commute. I have been wanting to read this since it came out, but decided to try listening to it. I enjoy listening to memoirs because I feel like you get a lot more to the story when the person telling the story is actually able to, you know, tell it.

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I really am a fan of Remini. I have always liked her attitude and always enjoy it when she pops up on something I am watching. She was one of my favorite girlfriends to Zack Morris while growing up (a role that she apparently was advised against taking, so I’m glad she went against that and did her own thing). And while I didn’t watch King of Queens often, I always felt she and Kevin James showed great chemistry together.

When Remini decide to leave Scientology, even before this book came out, I read lots of interviews and saw lots of discussion about her and the religion. I know that there are a ton of books and articles that are trying to get out the truth behind the religion, so maybe there isn’t anything special about this book. However, I think that Remini offers a different, good perspective in regards to the religion and what actually went down.

There are parts of the book that are pre-scientology. These parts are limited and are important to explaining how she and her family got on when in the religion. I think Remini did a great job describing the occurrences throughout her part of the religion. She does a good job explaining the intricate parts to the religion. It was interesting to hear about the different levels, what a person has to do, and hearing the differences between being a non-celebrity member vs a celebrity member to the church.

One of the more interesting parts that Remini discusses (and there are quite a few of them), have to do the the Scientology golden boy, Tom Cruise. Even people who are not interested in Scientology know how important he is to the religion, and know bits and pieces to his odd behavior over the past few years (yes, the couch jumping is brought up and in fact the whole marriage to Katie Holmes in general). At first, I thought it was odd how much she discussed him but in retrospect, I realize how big of a part to her story he really is. And I guess he is to any and every one that is part of that religion.

Remini recently did a A&E special, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, that I have yet to check out. It’s on my list of shows to check out eventually, though. It will be interesting to see if there will be more information outside of what she has written about.

The Author
Leah Remini can be found online:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Down the TBR Hole: Week 10

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
I knew this book was coming up soon. I bought it from a Kindle book deal sometime last year. I love the concept of it and, in fact, had started reading it at one point, but never really got drawn into it. I do want to give it another shot, though. I’m going to mark this one as a KEEP, but will definitely be kicking it off the list if I’m not able to get into it next time around.

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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
I bought this on a whim to try out Rowling’s writing style outside of the Harry Potter universe. I also have the HBO series based on the novel on my Watchlist. Reading the synopsis, this book doesn’t seem interesting to me. However, I do still wish to give this book at least a chance. Maybe it will be better once I actually get into it….

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The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
I have only read a couple of books by Atwood. The ones I have finished I have enjoyed. However, the ones I’ve started-not-finished (this one included), I’ve never actually wanted to go back and try. I’m going to PASS on this one.

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Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
I started this one last year and found it interesting. I put it aside to focus my reading time on some other books. I do intend to pick this one back up. I remember the main character, Anna, to be very interesting. And that cover — I can’t get over it!

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The Water Museum by Luis Alberto Urrea 
Reading the Goodreads description of this, I’m left rather baffled. I do not recall actually hearing of this book and thus have no real recollection as to why it was on my TBR list. I’m going to PASS on this one, just because reading the description does nothing for me.


 

Have you read any of these books? Do you have a case for why I should add some of these back to the TBR list?

Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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Book: I See You by Clare Mackintosh [Goodreads | Amazon]
Genre:
 Fiction, Thriller, Mystery 
Publisher:
Penguin Random House
Format: eBook via NetGalley
Rating:
 4 stars
Cover Rating:
3 stars

The Cover
The colors on this cover are the only thing I find interesting. The bright blue with the pops of yellow, red and orange is a beautiful combination. However, the actual image looks more like a piece of chick lit or something. Knowing the story, I see how the cover works, but I feel like this could have been completed better to be much more compelling and interesting.

The Synopsis
Taken from the Goodreads page:

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

The Review
Clare Mackintosh has hit it out of the park again! I loved this book. It was an immediate, suck you in thriller with interesting characters, wonderful plot development, and an interesting ending. There is also an extra ending, if you will, that I am not 100% sure is necessary.

I found the writing style to be beautifully written, just as I did with her first novel, I Let You Go. And while this is another psychological thriller, I found her including technology to make this piece stand out a bit for me.

I love the premise – Zoe find herself randomly in an ad for a dating website, and while her husband discourages her from looking more into it (he believes she signed up for the site and is denying it), she can’t seem to drop it. So instead, she looks more into it, checking out past editions and seeing other pictures of women. And soon she realizes that hey…these women look familiar. And why do they look familiar? Because they have been on the news for various reason – having been robbed, stalked, and in some cases, murdered.

Zoe was a very interesting character. I also enjoyed Kelly, the detective that makes sure she stays on this case. They are both well written, developed characters with a good combination of flaws and positive attributes. I also enjoyed Zoe’s children, Katie and Justin. And Zoe’s friend/Justin’s boss, Melissa, could have her own book and I would read it. I, however, was not as interested in Simon, Zoe’s husband, or Matt, the father of Katie and Justin. I felt like they were lacking. Overall, though, I found the characters interesting and I did root for Zoe and Kelly throughout the entirety of the book.

The book is divided up into two perspectives – Zoe’s and Kelly’s. This is a great way to progress the book, as we get parts of the story from Zoe, a victim-turned-investigator, and Kelly, the detective who believes there is more to this story than some of the other officers. And I enjoy that Mackintosh took the time to make Kelly more of a complete character (we meet her family, learn some of her history as to why she became a cop, some of the trouble she got into while on the force, etc) as opposed to “just a cop”.

The plot development is good and I really enjoyed the ending. However, there is a type of epilogue that I am not sure is completely necessary. I feel like the book ends just fine without it. Other than that, I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading it again in the future.

The Author
You can find out more about Clare Mackintosh by checking out her:
Website
Facebook
Twitter


 

Disclosure: I received this eBook from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the advanced copy!