Recent Read: Career of Evil

At last, I have finished another book. With life being crazy and work being hectic, my reading speed is considerably slower than it used to be.

But…. with great fanfare… I announce that I finished Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling’s Career of Evil!

I really enjoy Rowling’s mystery writings. Her style is fast paced and she leaves bread crumbs of clues that only the best mystery solvers can follow.

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From Goodreads page

When I got to the end of Career of Evil, I had a few theories as to who the serial killer might have been. But, I audibly gasped when the final reveal was made. The clues had been there the whole time, however, I did not have the wherewithal to put them together in the way Cormoran Strike had.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Career of Evil compared to the previous two Strike mysteries was the backstory readers were given about Strike and Robin and their lives prior to working together.

Particularly with Robin, I was fascinated to learn about her life and see her react to different circumstances in her life. Instead of seeing her as a prissy, female detective, I began to see her as a strong, independent woman who was searching for herself.

I am curious to see how things go in the fourth installment. When we left things, Robin was in the middle of her wedding and she was, in theory, without a job. But with Strike bursting in at the last second, what does that mean?

I would highly recommend these mysteries to all lovers of the genre. They are well crafted, beautifully written and will keep you guessing until the final page.

Recent Read: Wild

OK. So, I have to say that I never really wanted to read Wild. But… then I watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

I was going through some things in my life and was trying to relocate myself. Wild seemed to help Lorelai, so I thought, why not?

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From Goodreads page

There came a point when I was reading Wild where that question changed to just why?

While Cheryl Strayed was certainly brave for taking on the Pacific Crest Trail on her own and her writing about it is easy to read and enjoyable, Wild didn’t have some sort of magical effect on me.

It didn’t help give me clarity or help me find myself or inspire me to go on a journey of self-discovery. It did, however, make me realize that I never want to go hiking for long distances of time. I like my toenails too much. And my personal hygiene.

As someone who is around the same age as Strayed was when she did her hike, I may simply be too young to grasp the true potential for self-help in Wild. And I’m OK with that.

I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and her honesty about the experience. She didn’t try to beg for pity in how horrible circumstances got or sugarcoat it. She told it like it was, good, bad and otherwise.

I’m looking forward to reading Tiny, Beautiful Things because I think Strayed’s version of honesty might work better for me in that sort of context.

Recent Read: I Let You Go

If you’re looking for a juicy thriller to entertain you and intrigue you, look no further than Clare MacKintosh’s I Let You Go.

The story opens with Jacob, age 5, walking across the street. When he’s hit by a car and killed, with the driver speeding off, detectives Stevens and Evans are on the case.

iletyougoA year goes by with no leads. Switching in perspectives from Stevens to Jenna Gray and back again and jumping from the past to the present, the narrative structure of I Let You Go is unique.

MacKintosh sets the reader up to believe that Jenna Gray is the driver of the car involved in the hit and run. But is she really? And if she isn’t, who is she protecting?

These questions are just some of the ones that popped in my head while I read this book, MacKintosh’s debut novel.

MacKintosh is a former detective herself and used a case that stuck with her as a loose basis for the hit and run scenario in I Let You Go.

After reading this work, I’m ready to read MacKintosh’s second work, I See You, which sounds like the same mix of psychological suspense and thrill.

Recent Read: Drums of Autumn

Hello, BiblioFiles readers! Long time, no posts.

I’m sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted any updates to this site. With so much going on in my life over the last 3-4 months, I haven’t had that much time or motivation to read.

But… I finally finished a book!

I started reading Drums of Autumn (the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series) in early fall. Over the weekend, I finally finished it. Yes, I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment. (See above about lacking time and motivation…)

The Outlander series is one of those that when you decide to read them, it’s a massive undertaking. Each of the books (eight have been published so far) are hundreds of pages long. And they’re dense.

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From Goodreads page

Diana Gabaldon has created complex, dynamic characters with flaws. She has masterfully researched the history of the area and the time where those characters are and weaves it in beautifully. There’s a lot on each page to digest and process.

It makes these books delightful to read.

I would strongly encourage anyone to read these books. There’s a little something for every type of reader. There’s a small fantasy element (with time travel), there’s history, there’s romance, there’s general fiction, there’s some mystery and suspense. It’s all there.

Drums of Autumn begins with Claire and Jamie Fraser in the American colonies and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and her beau, Roger Wakefield, in the “present day.” When Brianna decides to travel back in time to try and meet her biological father (Jamie) and warn Claire and Jamie of their reported demise several years in their future, Roger follows her. The pair don’t reunite until they’re both in the colonies and chaos ensues.

The chaos involves the Mohawk and Iriquois Indians, sexual assault, piracy, pregnancy, indentured servitude, repayment of debts etc. It’s a fascinating story.

There are heartbreaking moments where you genuinely feel what the characters are feeling because of the strength of Gabaldon’s writing. There are moments where you’re cheering for the characters or glaring just as strongly at the words on the pages as a character is on them.

And, you find yourself rooting for your favorite couple. (Mine is Brianna and Roger. I really like them together and the dynamic they share.)

I’m excited to start The Fiery Cross (Book 5) soon and work my way through it. Hopefully, it won’t take me nearly as long!

Recent Read: All the Missing Girls

It’s not often that I read a mystery/thriller and feel like it’s a plot or twist I’ve never seen before.

But Megan Miranda manages to that with All the Missing Girls. Told in reverse, Miranda opens with disclosing that Annaliese Carter and Corrine Porter are two young women who have gone missing in a North Carolina town almost exactly 10 years apart.

allthemissinggirls

From Goodreads page

The story begins with Nic Farrell in Philadelphia, being called back to her hometown by her brother to help with their ailing father. Once she gets there, Carter goes missing.

That plot starts part 2 of Miranda’s book — 15 days after Carter’s disappearance. Each chapter takes you back one day closer to the woman going missing.

Nic is the narrator and she and her group of friends have ties to both disappearances. But is it more than just ties? Do these friends have more to do with Corrine’s disappearance than anyone knows? And since Annaliese Carter was snooping around that case…. does that give them a motive to do the same thing again?

Miranda’s novel was really intriguing because of its non-traditional story format. At times, it was difficult to remember that what I’d read in previous chapters hadn’t happened yet in the actual plot. It was unsettling and challenging at times because it went so against the grain.

And the end reveal felt like a lot being unveiled all at once. We get back to the point of the initial disappearance and start moving forward in time again. It was a weird shift, but it worked for this story.

While the plot itself may have been a bit generic and the ending a tiny bit predictable in some ways, it was an exciting and quick read that blows the lid off traditional mystery/thriller novels. With an average Goodreads rating of 3.8 and placement on several “best of” lists already, it’s definitely a book to consider

Recent Read: The Widow

Funny story for you readers.

I hadn’t read a thriller in a while, which is a real unusual thing for me. I was meandering through my local library–browsing with no real intention of borrowing anything.

Then, I saw Fiona Barton’s The Widow sitting on the shelf.

thewidow

From Goodreads page

I’d heard good things and it had gotten rave reviews as a Gone Girl-esque book. So, I borrowed it.

Fiona Barton’s debut novel focuses on four main characters: Jean (the widow), Kate (a reporter), Bob Sparkes (the investigator looking into a missing child case) and Dawn (the mother of the missing child).

The story picks up about a week after Jean’s husband dies in a freak accident. Reporters have been seeking an interview with her, wanting to tell her story.

Kate finally weasels her way into an exclusive, but is Jean really ready to tell the whole story?

Barton’s plot uses two timelines simultaneously. She alternates between the conflict going on in Jean’s mind and the interview with Kate in the present, but also the investigation into the case of Bella Elliott, who was snatched from the garden outside her home several years ago.

Jean’s husband, Glen, was a key suspect in that case and was ultimately charged with her kidnapping before being acquitted because of questionable police tactics.

Glen had maintained his innocence, but Jean had her doubts. She begins to finally express those and as we see inside her head, there’s much more to the story.

As far as intrigue, Barton does a good job of keeping the reader engaged. A former reporter, Barton makes sure to have things set in a realistic manner. It reads as a crime reporter would want it to (I should know since I’m one as well.)

However, the plot was a bit predictable. I had guessed what had gone on (at least most of it) pretty early on. That didn’t stop me from reading, though.

Also, Barton’s writing style is a little bland. The writing was a bit dry and boring in parts and it made it difficult to follow.

Overall, I would give this book 3 stars out of 5. It was an interesting read and had some high points, but it wasn’t the exhilarating thrill ride similar books in the genre have been.

Recent Read: The Ex

Ex-boyfriends often come with baggage, but nothing like the luggage set Olivia Randall is carrying with regard to her ex, Jack Harris.

So, when Jack’s daughter calls Olivia to help her dad out of a legal situation involving multiple dead bodies, Olivia thinks she can help because she knows her ex isn’t capable of this act.

Or is he?

Thus, the premise for Alafair Burke’s The Ex.

Jack is accused of killing three people in a semi-public place. One of those people: the father of the teenager who killed his wife in a mass shooting several years earlier.

theex

From Goodreads page

I had no idea what to expect with this book. I had never read anything by Burke before, but The Ex had gotten good reviews and the narrative sounded interesting.

The connections between the characters in this book is fascinating. The web Burke weaves is complex and twisting at every turn. The characters themselves have secrets and flaws.

About 2/3 of the way through this book, I thought I had figured out the entire plot. I knew what the connection was and who did it and why. Burke’s writing pushed me off this plot, however, and made me believe that I was wrong in jumping to my weird and twisted conclusion.

And then, at the end of the book, Burke took me right back there. I had been right about the plot point all along.

As far as thrillers go, The Ex is a relatively quick read with a fast-moving plot and characters you can root for. Despite her flaws, I found myself rooting for Olivia as a defense attorney. I wanted her to get the win, even when she wasn’t sure she wanted it.

I would recommend The Ex for mystery and thriller readers who liked books by Gillian Flynn, Karin Slaughter or Iris Johansen.