Book Review (Round 16)

Soo many good books this round, you guys! My favorite book that I read I’m actually saving for when I start my Book Club (I knowww I keep saying that, but I promise it’s coming this month!). Now let’s get started on these good reads!

1. The Shape of Night, by Tess Gerritsen

This was my first novel by Gerritsen and the first fifty pages had me convinced it was going to be the best book I’ve ever read. The opening scene grips you immediately with an atmospheric and creepy description of an old mansion on the coast of Maine, known as "Brodie’s Watch." The reader quickly finds out that Ava Collette, a food writer, has rented the mansion for the summer, having fled Boston after a tragedy that left her haunted and riddled with guilt. Even though she came looking for peace and quiet to write her cookbook, she soon realizes that she is not alone in the house… one night, Ava is awakened to find herself face to face with the ghost of Captain Brodie, a sea captain who was the original owner of the house. Throw in a series of accidental deaths, a murder investigation, and a possible love interest, and things continue to get interesting. I loved, LOVED the way that Gerritsen writes – I could practically feel the sea breeze on my face as I was reading. My mom and I both read this book in a single day – it will have you turning the pages like wildfire! However, I should note to you guys that things get a little weird in this book: Ava and the ghost get quite – cough – intimate… and it did make me a little uncomfortable. I also didn’t like the fact that there were some loose ends that never got tied up in the end. (The ending definitely could have been better.) I still would highly recommend this novel, though – it will grip you right from the start!!

2. The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

Another one of my favorites this month! This book has A LOT going on but if you hang in there, it will be worth it. The story is told from multiple points of view, and at times seems a bit confusing, but like I said – hang in there! At the age of 25, Libby learns she has inherited a house. Not just any house, but a mansion in London worth millions of pounds. The house has been vacant for the past 24 years, ever since her parents killed themselves in a suicide pact and left her to be found. What was never determined was what happened to the other people living in the house, including her siblings. The story switches between past and present, as Libby uncovers more details about her family, one of the children living in the house tells the story of exactly what happened those 24 years ago. This novel is a compelling family saga with a deliciously chilling narrative and disturbingly dark characters – it was one of those books I didn’t want to put down.

3. It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover

I don’t normally opt for romance novels, but you guys recommended this one so I wanted to test it out… my thoughts: this book will make you fall in love, rip your heart out and force you to reconsider your preconceived notions about abuse. And on that note, this book does deal with the topic of abuse, so if that’s a trigger for you, you might want to stay away. Here’s a general idea of the plot: Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. I was intrigued by Ryle right from the very beginning: he’s sensitive, brilliant, a little stubborn, and career-driven. As Lilly’s relationship with Ryle begins to develop, we learn about her first love, Atlas, through her diary entries; and when Atlas reappears, Lilly is forced to choose between the two men. This novel was an emotional roller coaster ride for me – I really did love it, but more than a few times I found myself transferring my feelings from reading the book over to my husband. The novel and Lilly’s feelings felt SO REAL to me that I started having trouble differentiating them my real life feelings – that might sound crazy, so let me know if you’ve ever felt that way, haha. Chris was very happy when I finished this book because I stopped being mad at him! Anyway, this book was absolutely addicting, difficult at times, and had me crying big, fat tears during multiple scenes. If you want to get completely lost in a book, I highly recommend this one.

4. The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James

This is an EPIC ghost story, and one you might consider saving for next October if you really want to put yourself in a spooky mindset for Halloween. I discovered Simone St. James when I was searching for novels similar to The Witch of Willow Hall (see my review of that novel here), and indeed this novel was very similar as it contains all of the same elements of historical fiction, ghosts, suspense and romance. Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter, Alistair Gellis. Alistair is rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts – and has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Although Sarah isn’t even sure she believes in ghosts at first, she finds Maddy’s ghost to be terrifyingly real and incredibly angry. I really, really loved this novel – it has a lot of creepy moments but is not what I would call "scary." And of course I love when there’s a little romance thrown in! This was my first novel by Simone St. James but will certainly not be my last.
If you guys have read any good books lately, definitely let us all know in the comments! And look out for a book club announcement next week!