Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day

Juliet Townsend is used to losing. Back in high school, she lost every track team race to her best friend, Madeleine Bell. Ten years later, she’s still running behind, stuck in a dead-end job cleaning rooms at the Mid-Night Inn, a one-star motel that attracts only the cheap or the desperate. But what life won’t provide, Juliet takes. 

Then one night, Maddy checks in. Well-dressed, flashing a huge diamond ring, and as beautiful as ever, Maddy has it all. By the next morning, though, Juliet is no longer jealous of Maddy—she’s the chief suspect in her murder.

To protect herself, Juliet investigates the circumstances of her friend’s death. But what she learns about Maddy’s life might cost Juliet everything she didn’t realize she had.

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I’m torn on my rating for Pretty Little Things. I was hoping for something more, a more intense mystery, more dirty secrets and I didn’t get that. However it was still an enjoyable read.

When I read mysteries, I attempt to be a detective and I’m all over the place. Is this person? Wait no, this person? Hold on, who was that person? I get the odd cozy mystery killer right, but normally I’m wrong.

So within the first 1/3 of Pretty Little Things, I wasn’t my typical self because I had the killer and motive figured out. I didn’t second guess, I felt solid about my pick. And I was right! Which is a bit disappointing that I could guess the killer so easily. I don’t think those who can normally guess the killer, will enjoy this novel.

I wish there was more to the premise. I would of liked to see more of the high school scenes and the friendship between Juliet and Maddy. That way you felt more of a connection to the characters, where as I didn’t feel anything for Maddy since she was only around for a chapter or two.

3 calculators out of a potential 5! I enjoyed the novel and felt that it moved at a quick pace. I wish the killer wasn’t so easy to guess and we saw more of who Maddy was.

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

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Our book club met last night to discuss one of our best reads so far, The Great Alone. No one rated the novel lower than a 4.5 out of 5, so it comes highly recommended! This is the second novel that I read by Kristin Hannah, the first being her highly popular The Nightingale.

I think I would have to give an edge to The Great Alone over The Nightingale, just because I love the in depth look into the family. I was also more engaged with The Great Alone. Since I read the novel in one sitting, it’s clear that I couldn’t put it down.

The Great Alone does touch on heavy emotional topics including abuse and PTSD. You feel such a connection with Leni (the 13 year ago old daughter) and Cora (Leni’s mother) that the emotions they felt really impacted me as a reader.

The secondary characters in the novel were amazing! I loved everything about Large Marge and Tom Walker! Hannah also writes so beautifully that Alaska felt like another character by itself. You felt the fear that winter in Alaska brings and the isolation that comes with living in such a remote location. It was truly off the grid living.

5 calculators out of a potential 5! The Great Alone will make you feel. I laughed, I cried and when I finished I hugged my mom (and cried some more). Read this novel (and the Nightingale if you haven’t already)!!

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Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Providence

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and “fit in” with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away. 

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity–but he’s soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

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Providence was not what I expected at all. I really enjoyed Caroline Kepnes’ other novels, You and Hidden Bodies. If you are looking for a mystery that is different and has you somewhat rooting for the killer, check out You. You is also going to be a Lifetime TV series starring Penn Badgley coming this September.

If you plan on reading Providence, understand that this is not You or Hidden Bodies. It is a YA novel with hints of sci-fi and fantasy. If I knew that going into the novel, I wouldn’t of read it.

Providence goes deep into Jon, Chloe and Eggs. Jon disappeared on his way to school one day and appeared 4 years later without remember what had happened to him and with a “superpower”. Chloe was Jon’s best friend and Eggs is a detective looking into mysterious deaths.

I think my biggest dislike with the novel was that so little happened. Jon came back and there was still another 300 pages to go. The reader then got bounced back and forth between Jon, Chloe and Eggs and I couldn’t connect with any of them.

1 calculator out of a potential 5. Not for me! Check out You instead!

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Thank you to Netgallery and Random House Publishing Group for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. 

WWW Wednesday – June 20, 2018

WWW

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

Little Pretty Things

Juliet Townsend is used to losing. Back in high school, she lost every track team race to her best friend, Madeleine Bell. Ten years later, she’s still running behind, stuck in a dead-end job cleaning rooms at the Mid-Night Inn, a one-star motel that attracts only the cheap or the desperate. But what life won’t provide, Juliet takes.

Then one night, Maddy checks in. Well-dressed, flashing a huge diamond ring, and as beautiful as ever, Maddy has it all. By the next morning, though, Juliet is no longer jealous of Maddy—she’s the chief suspect in her murder.

To protect herself, Juliet investigates the circumstances of her friend’s death. But what she learns about Maddy’s life might cost Juliet everything she didn’t realize she had.

Love the description! Can’t wait to read more!

What did you recently finish reading?

Providence

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and “fit in” with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away. 

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity–but he’s soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected. 

To be honest, I did not enjoy Providence. Too random and too sci-fi/fantasy for me!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Silent Sister

Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?

As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.

I’ve read 2 other novels by Diane Chamberlain and I really enjoyed them. Excited to another novel by her!

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What are your WWW? Have you read Pretty Little Things, Providence or The Silent Sister?

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