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review 2018-02-14 19:04
Providence
Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

Jon and Chloe are young, they're best friends. And when Jon finally decides to tell Chloe the feelings he has for her, he's kidnapped on his way to school by an old substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity. Thoughts of Jon are never far away, but Chloe tries her best to fit in with the popular crowd and keep her life moving forward. But all that comes to an end when Jon escapes. He discovers he has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He stays away from Chloe, for her own good. He struggles to find the answers he's looking for that will bring him and Chloe together like they should be. But he's also being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of killings that he thinks are connected.

Unpopular opinion here and it pains me to say this, but I did not like this book at all. The big clue for me in the blurb should have been "an uncontrollable power that endangers.." and I ignored it. After that part of the story came into play my interest immediately faded. The book did start off great - two young friends at that awkward age are dancing around the feelings they have for one another then the boy is kidnapped and everyone who cares about him is thrown into turmoil. But as time went on I realized I didn't love these characters, I didn't like them nor did I hate them. I just didn't care about them. I didn't connect with any of them and I didn't get any depth from them. It was a boring story, full of nothing. I felt like I was reading forever and only made it to 52% before I skipped (it wasn't even worth a skim through) right to the epilogue which was just as boring and unsatisfying as everything that came before it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-04 10:43
Some Secrets just can't stay buried
You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes
Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes

Have now read  You twice now  and have to say it is just as good and fun the second time around as it was the first.Have only read Hidden Bodies once so far but will be honest though and say  I am glad she changed to the third person point of view in the sequel.  I was both a fan and not a fan of the second person perspective in You.Though maybe she changed it because well the "You" is now dead  in the sequel so can't really use that "You" again now can she? Now don't get me wrong when done correctly, especially in You, is jarring and just makes you feel slightly weird reading it . Think the jarring nature of it was what made reading You so much fun. Thing is the jarring nature of it also takes you out of the story at times. That and well second person usually for me only works really well in choose your own adventure sort of novels . It works in those sort of novels because the YOU they are referring to there is actually you. Descriptions of the you in them is none existent because  well the point is  that the reader is supposed to be so lost in the story they actual feel they are along for the adventure and the second the writer adds any descriptions the more people that will not match that description and thus not be able to see the themselves in the story any longer. The thing that makes You different is that the You Joe describes is not you the reader but a character in the story and you are more or less sort of living in her body for the story I guess is the best way to put it. I think You works and is way creepier , least to me, when he does mention the character he is stalking by name. Course get why he does because well she is a character in the story so unless the you was actual the reader be strange if not mentioning her name but again the effect is way better when the character's name is not mentioned.


Then came to the sequel , which if anything I think is even better than the first one.I am a bit sad she changed the title from love to Hidden Bodies since I think Love is a far better title and just  feel would have been better if all the books in this series had one word titles. Just like the first  novel, the sequel makes you root for Joe even though he is a horrible person who does some really horrible things.Will mention if books have to have likeable characters that you can relate to in order for you to like them will say to stay far away from You and Hidden Bodies. I personally like unlikeable characters and have no issues liking characters even if certain things about their personalities or things they do are really messed up. Just found myself  tons of times while reading it found myself not wanting him to get caught even though by now he should clearly be in prison or if not on death row.

 

Will admit I took my ratings down a bit for both mostly for the fact I thought he fell into the just too damn lucky camp . Now I realize there are tons of real life serial killers who get away with horrible things , go uncaught even though when they are caught everyone is just confused how they were not caught earlier since when caught it seemed so obvious it was them or how could anyone believe the lies and shit they feed to them.  Realize too there are real life causes where strange luck or whatever you want to call it factors in and people go uncaught far longer then they should(Cops miss clues because they are human, witness don't want to come forward, etc).  Even with that in mind though I still thing there were a few cases especially in Hidden bodies where just he surpassed luck in my opinion. The most notable example is when he admits everything to Love, his now new obsession and love interest. Now we as the reader don't know if he actually told her everything thing that happened as it happened. We sort of have to take his word for it that he did.I for one think he told her his version of events , leaving out details and such. Then again he is also our eyes so who is to say we know all of the truth either.  Now Love is again not a completely likeable character and even if she was say one of the many women that fall in love with serial killers , who I think if faced with someone like that for real and not just in a fantasy would head for the hills since the fantasy of being in love and helping a killer is not as scary as the reality, I just don't think she would be able to process that as fast as she did and even go so far as being totally down to just go help him gather evidence that he left behind Not saying that she wouldn't help at some point since there are tons of examples of serial killer couples or least lovers that help out a spouse that kills I  just  still think she would have a bit more time to fully process all she told her and have more a reaction to what he had than she did. Now after saying that even if was sort of forced to further the plot still happy she did just so he stayed free for longer in the novel.

Can sadly also  see the way she helped him working in real life since so many people even now would be like Peach's parents and rather bury a gay child in secret(After Joe kills Peach on a beach and throws her body out to sea her parents now in this one believe it was not suicide . It is shown in the first book that most likely Peach is a lesbian in love with her best friend . In this book her parents have a feeling it was not suicide and  decide to reopen the case but when love burst in acting like her lesbian lover they tell the cops to close the case again to hide the fact that their daughter was a lesbian and avoid family scandal.) than admit to the public that their child was gay and start some sort of a family scandal, which as someone who lgbt myself I find fucked up to all hell but just like in real life it is still a sad reality for so many families. So again Joe is not the only messed up character since the people he kills, encounters , etc include a Psychologist who cheats on his wife with patients , well least the main character of You, Peach , a lesbian who comes on to her best when she is more or a bit passed out , Love's brother who is more or less a walking flesh suit pumped full every drug he can get his hands on, and course Love who has her own issues.Will say too if you dislike semigraphic sex scenes in your mystery/suspense novels would avoid these books as well.  I think though if you can get over the unlikable characters, if that is usually not your thing, the books are full with enough twists and turns to keep you reading.

For that fact alone would recommend them since they are probably some of the fastest reads. You keep wanting to flip the pages want to find out if Joe will get caught or what other messed up crap is going to happen. Then with much frustration, there is one hell of a cliff hanger for Hidden Bodies, which makes me want a third book like now even though have seen the author saying several times will be awhile til ten.Will admit was surprised when Joe walks out of the restaurant with the place surrounded by the cops  and Love is gone that she was not part of a set up to catch him. Was sure one of the cops got to her, fed her lies to give to Joe and that she lead him on til they could strike. Even Joe was certain of this for a bit. Now maybe she still is and it will be brought to light in the next  book of the series.Am still also on the fence whether her being pregnant is true on not so guess will have to see about that too. Think though it seems like so far she is not involved in helping him get caught and again it was just one of those terrible mistakes that got people questioning and digging too much. Course with the way Joe is able to pretty much talk himself out of anything and not sure he will face any jail time as of yet. Besides that is no fun for the killer , least to me, to get caught too early and have a feeling this is going to be more than a three book series. Had the same feeling when reading the first few Dexter books along with the Showtime show of the same name, a book series I would highly recommend if you at all enjoyed these books since those have very similar vibe to those .

So in short if you like high paced, readable books in which characters and most importantly a narrator are very very unlikeable , don't mind quite a bit of in semidetail sexual content in your mysteries , and books that have enough twists and turns to keep you guessing   would highly recommend both of these books. 

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2018-02-03 00:31
PROVIDENCE Review
Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

Caroline Kepnes has one of the most unique voices in modern fiction, and by this point I will buy anything of hers on day one. No questions asked. She’s that good, folks. When the opportunity arose for me to read and review her new novel, Providence, some four months before release date, I jumped at the chance. And here we are.

 

The first fifty or so pages of this book is some of Kepnes’s finest writing to date. The reader is introduced to Jon and Chloe, best friends in junior high, and they immediately jumped off the page. Kepnes’s first two novels didn’t really feature kids, so it’s here she shows she can write them just as well as adults.

 

And then . . . we go forward in time, after some crazy circumstances tear these friends apart. The reader is introduced to Egg and Lo, a married couple; we also get to see other characters as they develop through the years. It’s all still very good — Kepnes really can’t write badly — but I must admit I felt a little deflated after the excellent opening chapters. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed this read through and through. It is a crime thriller of the highest order: likable characters and copious Lovecraft references make this a highly enjoyable read. I just felt there was a bit too much pining on the part of a couple of the leads. I don’t want to go into spoiler territory here, but at times I just felt this novel wasn’t living up to its potential. Kepnes has created a neat concept and doesn’t really utilize it much, and when she does it feels rushed.

 

Don’t get me wrong: I loved this book. It is beautifully written and shows this author is able to stretch her wings and try new things. Fans of her previous releases will find much to love about this.

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text 2018-01-31 18:45
January 2018-That's a Wrap!
The Warblers - Amber Fallon
You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes
Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes
City of the Dead - Brian Keene,Joe Hempel
The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman
My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady Hendrix
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,Elizabeth Power
The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One - Justin Richards
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating (Random House Large Print) - Alan Alda
Wylding Hall - Elizabeth Hand

I've started the year off by reading 18 books in January.

 

Graphic Novels

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman 5*

Bitch Planet Volume One: Extraordinary Machine by Kellie Sue DeConnick 4*

The Walking Dead: Book 14 by Robert Kirkman 4*

Total: 3

 

Novellas

The Warblers by Amber Fallon 4*

Infestation by William Meikle 3.5*

The Conversationalist by Justin Bog 4*

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand 4*

Total: 4

 

Audiobooks

You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana BOTH-5*

City of the Dead by Brian Keene, narrated by Joe Hempel 3.5*

Seriously...I'm Kidding written and narrated by Ellen DeGeneres 3*

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, narrated by Rob McQuay 3*

If I Understood You...written and narrated by Alan Alda 4*

Total: 6

 

ARCS

After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard 3*

Dark Screams Volume Nine (Anthology) 4*

Hardened Hearts (Anthology) 4.5*

Total: 3

 

Random Reads

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 4*

Splatterpunk Fighting Back (An anthology benefiting the fight against cancer) 4.5*

Total: 2

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

Status: 2/40

 

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review 2017-11-04 00:00
You: A Novel
You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes What a mind blowing book this was. Holy shit. Reminds me of Fatal Attraction
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