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review 2018-03-21 18:54
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt,Jennifer Woodward,Erin Hunter,Garrick Hagon

This is a fictionalized retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders and though it gets many “meh”reviews, I surprisingly enjoyed it very much. These people are awful! They are selfish, resentful, devious and maddening in their “woe is me” entitled thoughts but I LOVED reading about their misery. And, boy, did they all live in a cesspool of misery, resentment and hate.


I do think you have to be in a certain grumpy headspace to appreciate this one and I was there. We’ve had a never-ending winter and I hurt my back so bad I had to quit a much loved workout routine probably forever. Reading this when I did was perfect timing. We were all miserable together for a short time. So moral of this sad story? Don’t read this if you’re happy or want to be happy.


The story is told from three different points of view. Lizzie, Bridget the maid and a shady male character whose name I can’t recall right now. I listened to the audio which is narrated by three different people. The women do a fine job as does the male narrator EXCEPT when he attempts to do a female voice in a painful fake falsetto. Fortunately he’s mostly narrating the man part so the cringe level is tolerable.


Many people have an issue with the grit and grue factor in this book and I can understand that. This book is an experience. You can feel the cloying sickness permeating these people and for me that’s the mark of good writing but it’s almost enough to make one queasy and I have a strong stomach. There is an exceptional amount of blood everywhere but almost worse is the vomit and rumbling stomachs. These gross people have been eating rotten mutton broth for what seems like weeks on end! The maid suspects it’s bad but keeps adding more salt to disguise the reek of rotten meat. I’m guessing this was because poppa Borden was too much of a cheapskate to let food go to waste.  But I wasn’t there so who knows.


Many people also have issues with the way the story was told and I get that too. It jumps around in time and can be quite confusing and the people telling the story seem quite confused themselves at times. The end of the book leaves a lot of questions unanswered but still I love reading about these people. I cannot explain exactly why. Their relationships are poisonous and mean but if you’re up for that maybe you’ll love it too!

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review 2018-03-16 19:03
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins,Bahni Turpin

This was a fun read until the killer was revealed with four hours left to go on the audio. This is way too early! Way, way too early. I was left highly disappointed with the dud of a reveal and disinterested in all the romance and minor bloodshed that followed because of it. But I’m kind of a jerk when it comes to these things and you may love it.


Someone is killing the talented high school kids in terribly gruesome ways but, no worries, most of the gore is left to the imagination. This is basically a 90’s teen slasher movie come to book life minus the scares and most of the grue. Who will be next? Why are they doing this? And, oh hell, who cares?! When will he give me a big sloppy kiss and bite his lip ring again?!


This is a romance set in a world where a serial killer just so happens to be murdering random people that have no impact on our main characters and zero emotional impact on the reader. The romance was well done and I liked the two teens together, they were interesting, imperfect kids, but I feel like too much went so very wrong with the “murdering” bits of the story. Also, many gut-wrenching opportunities were missed by keeping our main lovers too safe and that made reading it to the end a chore. I suppose I’m used to meaner stories that kick you in the gut. This one? I guess I’d recommend it as a good stepping stone for those who may want to meander over into the horror genre with their pinky toe and not get too scared or emotionally wrecked. I enjoy the wreckage and carnage and scares that a good horror story can deliver but none of those things were successful here. I’m bumping it up from a 2 ½ to a three only because there was one scene with a naked character that is still making me laugh when I think about it.

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review 2018-03-15 18:46
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Rules of Magic - Alice Hoffman,Marin Ireland

I read Practical Magic a million years ago (1996 maybe) and remember almost nothing about it besides the fact that I pretty much loved and adored everything about it. I didn’t obsessively write reviews for everything I read back then so I may need to reread it someday to see if this still holds true. This is the prequel. You do not have to have read Practical Magic in order to love and adore The Rules of Magic. I listened on audio and did not take notes and simply enjoyed every word. 

Susanna moved out of Massachusetts as soon as she was able. She landed in NY and was diligent about making sure her kids had a normal life and stayed away from certain things like Oujia boards, cats, moonlit nights, red shoes and true love. Especially true love. Finding or seeking love would doom them, she promised. Of course the kids do the exact opposite. When Susanna’s oldest daughter receives a formal invitation to spend the summer at her childhood home with her two younger siblings she tells them they can go but strongly advises against it. She claims, very ominously, that they will never be the same if they leave and visit their aunt and learn all the family secrets she’s been keeping from them! 

Susanna handled this all wrong, if you ask me. Were I her, I would’ve told the kids that auntie was a mean old hag who would lock them in the basement for the summer and feed them rats. Of course they go. I mean, wouldn’t you? Franny, Jet and Vincent spend the summer released from all of the rules and restrictions their parents usually inflict upon them. They can eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want and as long as “they do no harm” they are free to be themselves. They revel in it and start snooping into their heritage and learning all about their inherited magical abilities. And, just as their Mamma forecasted, none of them will ever be the same.

See, they’ve inherited more than magic. A terrible curse will plague them throughout their lives. The curse of true love. Mamma wasn't lying.

This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking book about the three siblings as they grow from teens to adults and do their best to avoid love and the grief that accompanies love. In the process, they fill their lives with sorrow.

“I’m fated to lose everyone I ever love”

“Of course you are. That’s what it means to be alive.”

Reading this is like free falling into another world. It’s a truly magical experience and I highly recommend it. I hated leaving the characters when it was all over and that so rarely happens that I’m giving it all the stars. 

The audio narrated by Marin Ireland is the way to go if you enjoy audio. She’s excellent and a pleasure to listen to.


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review 2018-03-09 18:48
The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
The Secrets She Keeps - Michael Robotham
I thought this book was going to be another five star read but alas it failed me near the end but I can’t tell you why because that would spoil everything and I’m not that much of a jerk. I’ll only say that I was wishing for a meaner end to it all and I’ll leave it at that. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood because I listened to this through a haze of back pain and a bout of the plague. Or maybe it’s because I read it directly after the fabulously evil “Behind Her Eyes” by Sarah Pinborough. Either way it’s getting four stars from me because of the end and how bloodless it felt to me.

Agatha is pregnant. Her baby’s daddy is “over-seas” and is not returning her calls but she doesn’t let that worry her. “He was like an everlasting packet of chocolate biscuits” and she knew he’d be back so she could have another taste. She works at a supermarket and spends all of her free time spying on another pregnant woman named Meg. Agatha believes Meg has the perfect life and she tries to emulate her by getting the same haircut while daydreaming about them being besties. And then one day it happens! Meg’s life isn’t quite so perfect and she’s made some mistakes but the biggest one is letting Agatha into her life. . .

This is a book about secrets just as the title promises. Even though I’ve seen it compared to those “twisty” books, there is really no big surprising twist in this one. There isn’t even a little twist, just a much anticipated reveal and that’s fine by me. You know what’s going on as you are right there in the characters heads the entire time and it’s pretty easy to see what the “reveal” is because although these people lie to everyone else they don’t lie to themselves, at least not for very long. Some of them do horrifying and shocking things but the author managed to make me feel sympathetic towards them despite everything. That rarely happens. These people felt real. Messed up and desperate? Sure but always real. Their secrets were all eventually laid bare to the reader as the story comes to its tense and action packed conclusion. I think most people will probably enjoy the end so don’t pay any attention to me. Also, if you have a little voice in your head that you call ‘creature’ you probably shouldn’t listen to it.

The narrator is pretty awesome with the dual narration so go with audio if you like them. 


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review 2018-03-05 18:04
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Behind Her Eyes - Sarah Pinborough,Bea Holland,Josie Dunn,Huw Parmenter,Anna Bentinck
If you want to read Behind Her Eyes I recommend you avoid reading the reviews. This is one of those books that can be easily ruined for you if someone gives too much away and several reviewers have already done so. I had one of the reveals ruined for me this way and I’m still pissed at myself for being nosy and checking out that review. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that without marking things as a spoiler because it’s not that hard! 

There will be no spoilers here and I will be annoyingly vague as hell. 

Trust me, it’s for your own good. 

This story revolves around three people. Louise is a single mom struggling with insecurities since her ex announced he’s having a baby with his newest lover. She works as a secretary at a doctor’s office. One night she meets a charming man named David at a bar. They share a drunken kiss but Louise is scared off when she realizes he’s married. Who needs that mess, right? Well, what seems like the very next day, she arrives at work to discover David is the newest doctor in the practice and she is now his secretary. She is embarrassed and a little tingly. He is so very handsome, after all. Surely he wouldn’t want her anyway, she thinks, after seeing his perfect wife. Speaking of his wife, her name is Adele and one morning Louise accidentally bumps into her so hard, the fragile beauty falls to the ground. Adele is kind and friendly and in desperate need of a friend and Louise is drawn to her and enjoys her company. But Adele’s friendship comes with a condition. Louise must never tell David about their friendship. 

Why you ask? Well I am not going to tell you. This is only the very beginning of one of the most messed up love triangles I’ve ever encountered. It is glorious and it must not be spoiled.

I’m going to warn you that these people are not very likable. They’re pretty horrible actually and I loved every minute of their two-timing, backstabbing, secretive, lying, selfish selves. They are all up to no good, almost all the time and it never got tiresome. I was riveted, fascinated and whatever other adjective you can think of that means this book was one I did not want to ever stop reading. That rarely happens and when it does I’m giving that book five stars.

This is not your typical “girl on all the books” thriller and for that I am very thankful. I like some of those books but the world has its fill of them right now. This one is different. You’ll either love it for that reason or despise it. I believe Pinborough was a horror writer for the majority of her writing career (yep, confirmed it as I have several Leisure titles in my tbr bins) and it works to her advantage in this book. She knows how to craft a creepy story that is deliciously evil and unflinchingly dark through and through. If you enjoy reading about devious, screwed up people I think you will enjoy this. Many hate it for its ending but for me that ending tied it all in perfectly. 



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