Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Posted on Saturday, October 24th, 2015 by Chantal

Dark Places by Gillian FlynnDark Places by Gillian Flynn
Published by Shaye Areheart Books on January 1st 2009
Genres: Mystery & Thriller, Adult, Death & Dying
Pages: 349
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FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OFGONE GIRL

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

This book was insaaaaane. But so so good. Dark Places was my first Gillian Flynn book (though I have seen the Gone Girl movie) but I fully plan on picking up all her other books now.

It’s the kind of novel that makes you question what on earth we humans can come up with. I kept wondering what was going on in Gillian Flynn’s head. How does she think of these things?

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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by Chantal

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Published by HarperCollins on September 30th 2008
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Death & Dying, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Friendship
Pages: 312
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After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

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One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry
Posted on Friday, September 25th, 2015 by Angela

The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. CherryThe Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry
on September 25th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Romance
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I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.

But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

The Air He Breathes is a wonderful tale of loss, forgiveness, and second chances. I can easily see how it would tug at the heartstrings of many people. However, it’s the little details—and lack thereof—that prevented me from giving this four stars.

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One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Posted on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 by Chantal

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 24th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery & Thriller, Paranormal, Friendship
Pages: 336
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On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

Welcome to The Book Geek’s monthly feature, affectionately called The Genre Spotlight. It’s where we explore and choose one of the myriad genres. We’ll showcase it by having each Book Geek read and review at least one, but possibly a few books belonging to that month’s chosen genre. 

We’re hoping to expand our reading horizons to genre’s we haven’t or have barely read, and, hopefully, usher in gems our lives have been missing out on.

As we fall into September, our spotlight is on Mystery & Thrillers!

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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards
Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 by Brandi

Follow You Home by Mark EdwardsFollow You Home by Mark Edwards
Published by Thomas & Mercer on June 30th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Depression & Mental Illness, Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 381
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It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.

After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura’s travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest…a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning…

Follow You Home is a chilling tale of secrets, lies and deadly consequences from the author of #1 bestsellers The Magpies and Because She Loves Me.

I need to read more psychological thrillers!

It’s funny because I had just finished reading a traditional romance story for the Genre Spotlight feature and wasn’t sure if I wanted to grab another one (then I saw some titles in the Kindle store and just couldn’t do it), but I did want something contemporary-ish. I normally never go to the Kindle store when I’m looking for books, but I was already in bed and decided to take a walk on the wild side.

For I am a rebel.

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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson
Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 by Angela

The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel HigginsonThe Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson
Published by Createspace on January 27th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Family, Romance
Pages: 286
Goodreads

Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief. Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her? Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days. When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again. As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.

This story is not about me falling in love. This story is about me learning to live again after love left my life.

This book was a nice surprise. I expected a book that deals with the five stages of grieving to be gut wrenching so I’d put off reading it until a day when I was in the mood for a good cry and when I was stocked up on Puffs Plus. Undoubtedly, there are many sad times but the first chapter was the only one I thought was truly heartbreaking (okay, and maybe another towards the end). Those occasions are outweighed by many uplifting moments throughout the book.

It’s the story of Liz, a mom of four young children, who is struggling to hold it together and simply make it through each day six months after the death of her husband, Grady. She is consumed with grief and completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising her children alone. Simple tasks like getting the kids to school on time and remembering to take out the garbage have become monumental. Ben moves next door and instantly irritates her. Little by little however, Ben’s acts of kindness wear down Liz’s defenses. The two develop a close friendship but eventually Ben wants more from their relationship. Can Liz ever allow herself to experience love or even happiness with another man again?

Liz is a character I could easily identify with. She isn’t the perfect mom. Her kids are late to school all the time, her son misses soccer practice, she’s horrible at helping with math homework, and her daughter is a discipline problem. Although she might want to have a pity party, she shows up for her kids and makes the effort to do better each day. Yes, she’s flawed but she’s a good mom and I admired her tremendously. Her kids are loved and they love her in return.

I loved Ben! He’s just a genuinely nice guy. I adored how gentle he is with Liz’s emotions and how willing he is to take what pieces of her affections she’s able to give at her pace. My ovaries practically ached reading about Ben interacting with Liz’s kids. They were clearly meant to be a family. The only thing holding them back was Liz.

On the downside, I felt the pacing dragged in places. And although Liz’s grief was understandable, her proclamations of love for her deceased husband seemed repetitive: Grady is the love of my life; I will never love Ben like Grady; we can never have what Grady and I had. It still wound up being enjoyable and heartwarming.

I recommend this book for those who appreciate a sweet, thoughtful and mature love story.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Posted on Saturday, June 20th, 2015 by Emily May

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie RyanDaughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on May 26th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Death & Dying, Family, Orphans & Foster Homes
Pages: 375
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I’m the daughter of murdered parents.I’m the friend of a dead girl.I’m the lover of my enemy.And I will have my revenge.   In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.   Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

Daughter of Deep Silence demonstrates how an author can tell you one thing, but show something completely different.

It demonstrates how a narrator can take centre stage, metaphorically throw her hands in the air and declare herself an unlikable and complex character hell-bent on revenge, but never give any indication that she’s anything more than an incompetent fool who lusts after a boy she believes is involved in her parents’ deaths.

People love them these days: the unlikable narrators. The complex individuals. The revenge-seekers. From Kill Bill to The Count of Monte Cristo to Black Iris, we just love it when an author can take a character we shouldn’t love and peel back the layers of their mind until we understand them and sympathize with them. I’ve given books high ratings for having such characters.

BUT sometimes, often in YA, authors cheat. They give us fake unlikable narrators that actually – when you take a closer look – never do or think anything the average person wouldn’t. Oh, you don’t care if the people involved in your loved ones’ deaths die? Well, whoop-de-doo, neither would fucking I. Oh, you harbor feelings of resentment towards the people that ruined your whole life? Goddamn, you must be evil.

It’s bullshit. Frances can say whatever the hell she wants about being all broody and vengeful but, in reality, all she wants is to get together with Grey – the guy who at best is covering up a mass homicide, at worst actually helped cause it. In fact, I felt the book breezed over the events of her parents’ deaths without emotion; the real feelings being reserved for when she’s in Grey’s sexy arms.

The book opens with Frances being rescued after spending seven days adrift at sea, following an armed attack on the Persephone in which her parents were killed. The only other survivors – Grey and his father – lie to the press and say it was a rogue wave that brought down the boat. Her friend Libby died on the raft before they were rescued and Libby’s father is the only one who will believe Frances’ story. So he encourages Frances to pretend to be Libby (coincidentally, they look alike), in order to avoid people coming after her. Four years later, Frances – “Libby” – returns for revenge. Or so she says.

Let’s look at the reality.

Frances says:
“Everything about me is perfected and polished, and thoroughly, thoroughly Libby.”

The reality: The very first time she really needs to pretend to be Libby, she calls Libby’s dad “Cecil”.
“The whole point of hosting this thing is because the Senator supported Cecil’s efforts along the coast.”
Shepherd stares at me for a long moment. “So you call him Cecil now?”

So you’ve perfected the art of being Libby but – oops! – you can’t even remember to call her dad “Dad”?

Frances says:
“The only brightness in the black I’d plunged myself into.
Truth.
Another, darker word followed quickly after.
Revenge.”

The reality:
“But there’s another part of me that only cares that, after all these years, I’m finally in his arms again.”

Frances says:
“Rage is a powerful emotion. Strong enough not just to burn away the pain but also sear back the whispering tendrils of fear.”

The reality:
“Yet, somehow, this is the situation I’ve found myself in. Desperate for him to continue loving the girl I used to be.”

And don’t even get me started on that part where she goes out alone at night to meet up with a guy she believes to be involved in a mass homicide. Shepherd expresses concern for her safety and she’s like “I’m badass, whatever.”

Revenge? Yeah, right. This is another angsty love story with a stupid heroine.

One Star

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Hi! I'm Emily May but feel free to call me Emily. I'm a book lover, beta-reader, and Politics graduate from the North of England.

Hey there! I'm Brandi; I'm a Navy veteran, Army wife, mother, feminist and book lover! My go-to genre would have to be Urban Fantasy, but any fiction is game really.

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