My love of mystery/thrillers is well documented, but I may have finally broke myself. Yup, I read one too many books about actual bad hombres and got scared silly. Feeling paranoid, I looked at every single person with suspicion and fear and considered hiring bodyguards to walk to the store with me. I even bribed my cat with some treats to protect me against any unwelcome persons. Okay, the last one is a lie. Maybe the last two … maybe.
The Books I Loved, Liked and Loathed in April
All the bad hombres earned love and like designations. The annoying female was a loathe. Hmmmm … maybe it really is the end of the world.
The Books I Loved
These are the books that knocked my socks off, if I actually wore socks.
The Roses in May by Dot Hutchinson
Book Description: The Quantico Three are still dealing with the aftermath of The Butterfly Garden while also protecting a teen who has captured the attention of her sister’s killer.
Book Review: I must confess that I loved book 2 in The Collector Trilogy more than Book 1, which I also read this month. Awkward. Here’s why. 1) Priya is a great protagonist and I love that she is also Indian. 2) An amazing amount of GIRL Power. Seriously, the females in this book are fierce. Need an example? In response to something that happens to Priya, Inara and Bliss go to Times Square with posters that say “F*ck Off Bad Guys”. 3) The characters — from the FBI agents to the main characters — are better fleshed out. 4) Inara, Bliss, The Gardner, Desmond, Keely all make an appearance (about 20% of the book) 5) I actually gave a fist pump at the end of the story.
To Read or Not to Read: Absolutely. The story is probably more standard than The Butterfly Garden, which may be a disappointment to some who loved Book 1. However, the great characters make up for a slightly less unique story in my mind.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Roses in May is available on May 23, 2017. Read it. Read it. Read it.
Find Her by Lisa Gardner
Book Description: Once a victim, Flora now hunts predators, while never imagining one also hunts her.
Book Review: The story is fast-paced, completely engrossing and horrifying. Flora is understandably messed up after being held captive for 472 days and those memories are painfully rendered to the reader. You see when she breaks and it is hard to witness, while also understandable. I also love how she rebuilt herself into a hunter. I couldn’t put the book down, but I also couldn’t leave my home afterwards. Seriously.
To Read or Not to Read: Yes, especially those who love a good thriller/mystery and can handle graphic material. Gardner writes in a way that she sometimes takes us down the rabbit hole and other times leads us there and lets our imagination fill in the blanks. And I have a very vivid imagination.
The Books I Liked
These are the books I liked, from most liked to liked.
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Book Description: The Gardner oversees a beautiful garden of captive, young women tattooed with butterflies.
Book Review: This is like a train wreck. You know you shouldn’t look but you cannot resist staring at the carnage. Maya/Inara is like Job; her life has been one horror after another. Yet she persists. 😀 She is very contained, shrewd and pragmatic, which makes her the most dangerous butterfly. My only real quibble about this book is that it loses some urgency after a certain point, although it remains engrossing.
To Read or Not to Read: Yes. It is not overly graphic while still being stomach-churning and did add to my paranoia last month. 😀
The Black Country by Alex Grecian
Book Description: When members of a prominent family disappear, The Scotland Murder Squad is called to investigate but more than one killer awaits their arrival.
Book Review: This book #2 in the Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad series and continues the adventures of Inspector Walter Day. This time his team goes to coal country, where people are sick, superstitious to their dying breath and their homes are sinking into the earth. You’ll guess the killer fairly quickly (and it will break your heart a little bit too), and it’s another solid story in a series that will eventually let loose Saucy Jack.
To Read or Not to Read: Absolutely. It’s a great series for mystery lovers, especially those who like historical fiction.
Trust No One by Paul Cleave
Book Description: As dementia consumes Jerry’s mind, he confesses his darkest secret: the murders in his books are real.
Book Review: Talk about the ultimate unreliable narrator. The chapters go back and forth from the present (when Jerry is now living in a nursing home) to his Madness Diary. You definitely experience his descent into dementia. I wish Cleave had used the Madness Diary a little bit more sparingly. It was fine in the beginning to show us Jerry before and after, but there is a period where it somewhat stalls momentum (or wasn’t as interesting as the present time). There is also a coincidence that strains credulity a bit but overall the story is twisted, dark and sad. You know the truth but whether justice is really served, depends on your perspective.
To Read or Not to Read: Read it. It’s a good, twisted thriller that will mess with your head.
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Book Description: Leah and an old friend, Emmy, both need a fresh start but thing go awry after a woman is attacked and Emmy disappears.
Book Review: A good, twisty book where you keep second-guessing yourself. Leah, at times, wore at me. I didn’t connect with her as strongly as I did with my other protagonists this month and she could be a bit whiny. She did something stupid for understandable reasons, but I like my heroes to be smart enough to shiv someone without getting caught. The good news is she figures out how to do that by the end of the book.
To Read or Not to Read: Sure. It’s a good, solid mystery/thriller. And yes, it added to my paranoia because sometimes bad hombres are where you least expect them to be.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Perfect Stranger is available on May 16, 2017.
Lightning by Dean Koontz
Book Description: Someone has been looking after Laura Shane her entire life, but now her “Guardian” needs her help against his formidable enemies.
Book Review: I overall enjoyed this. It had been some time since I cracked open a Koontz book and forgot how fun they can be. I enjoy time-travel books, especially those that keep things relatively simple with how it works and those pesky paradox scenarios. Stefan clearly came from a grim place and I prayed that it wouldn’t be revealed as 2017 because gulp. Laura reminded me a bit of Sarah Connor with her Uzi and James Cameron would be proud of her spunk.
To Read or Not to Read: Sure, especially those who like sci-fi books.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Book Description: In a world where Human and Fae live side-by-side, the boy with the horns is considered special and now he’s missing.
Book Review: I selected this book because it met the criteria of a six-word title for Erin’s 6.0 Challenge. And yes, I basically chose the first book in my TBR with six words. 😀 I thought it was a mystery, which it is but it’s also YA fantasy with fae living among humans. Overall I enjoyed it. I liked Hazel. She is smart, capable and compassionate. (Is it just me or have females in recent books become less damsel in distress and have their own agency? I like this a lot.) While a bit predictable and a little slow in the beginning, it remains an enjoyable read.
To Read or Not to Read: Sure, if fantasy is your jam.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Book Description: Henry and Clare have an atypical marriage since Henry time-travels at whim.
Book Review: I read this about 14 years too late to truly love this book (not a big fan of romances). It meandered in the middle and I struggled with some of the time travel aspects because it was a genetic condition. In other words, the rules that exist in most time travel books don’t exist here. And I broke one of my major rules when it comes to reading (or any form of entertainment) with a fantastical element, which is to roll with it. To not overly question everything. But my right brain refused to turn off. Also, I may prefer time travel romances that involve hot Scots in kilts. Just saying.
To Read or Not to Read: Sure. Romance lovers who can “roll with” the time travel aspects will enjoy it. Those who are into time travel but not so much into romance should probably read Lightning instead. 😀
The Liane Moriarty is Just Not My Jam Book
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Book Description: A woman wakes up to discover she’s lost 10 years of life and doesn’t recognize herself or the life she’s living.
Book Review: While I enjoyed this more than Hypnotist’s Love Story, it still missed the mark for me. The idea of losing 10 years of memories and discovering you don’t like whom you’ve become is an intriguing set-up. But I feel like Moriarty writes about rich people dealing with serious issues that somehow resolve into the happiest, unearned endings. And you’re talking to someone who grew up on “happily ever after” and loves happy endings. Spoiler alert: In the last 42 pages of a 459 page book, she regains her memories and remembers that she really does hate her husband. But she tries to be a better Mom and create a more amicable relationship with her husband for their kids’ sake (all tell, little show). Then we get an epilogue with surprise, surprise she does love her husband and every problem magically disappeared! YAY for us! I want to puke.
To Read or Not to Read: If you want a complex look at marriage, rediscovering yourself and earned redemption, this isn’t the book. If you want a light read where all problems are magically solved and everyone holds hands and sings kum-ba-yah in the end (which is perfectly fine because I occasionally crave that kind of book too), then you’ll enjoy this book. I should note this is not my go-to genre and the book does seem to be well-loved by virtually everyone. Just not me. 😀
TL;DR – My Recommendations for You
Let’s break it down, this month I highly recommend The Butterfly Garden and The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison, Find Her by Lisa Gardner, The Black Country by Alex Grecian and Trust No One by Paul Cleave. What Alice Forgot is pretty much beloved by everyone but me. And I’m okay with that. 😀 Just know that if you read all my recommends this month, you might worry the end of the world is nigh. And it just might be. Dun, dun, dun …
To More Great Books
Those with good memories may recall that Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult was my book club selection for April. However, we had to cancel our April meeting so we’re reading it for May. And I am still procrastinating on reading it. 😀 Also, on tap for this month, I have a few NetGalley books to read but overall expect to read less as I need a break from all the bad hombres. 😀 As always, I’m joining Jana and Steph for their awesome Show Us Your Books link-up. Be sure to check it out and see what everyone read last month.
What good books did you read in April?
Confuzzled Bev says
Find Her sounds terrifying!
Stopping by from the link up 🙂
It really was. I was completely engrossed in the story but I did have to take a few breaks to catch my breath. And heal a little bit too.
I didn’t actually know that The Butterfly Garden continued into other books – I will definitely want to check it out. I loved the first one. I also want to read Find Her. I enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest – I usually enjoy Holly Black books – she does fantasy pretty well.
Definitely check it out. I really like The Butterfly Garden but I loved The Roses of May. Find Her is great. I was surprised by how intense it was. The Darkest Part of the Forest was my first Holly Black but I enjoyed it and want to check out her other books too.
LOL – I loved your thoughts on What Alice Forgot because when you said “if you like a book…” I was thinking, yes, I love books like that! And it’s true because I did love What Alice Forgot 😉 BUT not all books are for everyone so I always appreciate other opinions and I agree that it is definitely not entirely realistic. 🙂
I read The Time Traveller’s Wife years and years ago and really liked it but I don’t remember all the details very well.
The Perfect Stranger is on my list. Have you read her other book, the one with the ferris wheel on the cover? Its title isn’t coming to me (All the Missing Girls or something?) but I had heard it was really good too.
I think Liane Moriarty is a fine writer, but I’ve concluded that she doesn’t write the type of books I enjoy at this time. And that’s perfectly fine! I certainly understand why she has rabid fans, even if I am not one of them. I always love seeing people’s different opinions about books too!
I have not read All the Missing Girls yet. It’s been on my TBR for some time and I definitely want to read it.
Find Her has been on my list for a while! I need to pick it up 🙂
Yes! Give it a shot. I found it hard to put down, even though I did need a few breaks because the flashback scenes are tough.
Well you went and did it on the thrillers. Lol that’s me frequently.
I didn’t know there was another butterfly book. I’m on it!
Alice Moriarty is not for me either. I liked BLL but have no interest in reading the rest of her catalogue.
It makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who od’s on thrillers! Yes! Definitely read The Roses of May. I loved it so much. I read parts of it when I need a pick me up, thanks to all the Girl Power. 😀 Okay, I’m glad that I’m not the only who doesn’t enjoy Liane Moriaty.
So many new-to-me books in this post! I really didn’t care for What Alice Forgot either, I read it a couple of years ago but am pretty sure I had the same feelings of how it ended.
Another Liane Moriarty non-lover! We can make a club. 😀 Seriously, though, her writing abilities are fine. She just doesn’t write my kind of books, which is fine. I know that now and can stop reading them!
You didn’t like What Alice Forgot???? I loved that one!!! That and Big Little Lies are my two favorites of hers. I really didn’t care for her newest one, Truly, Madlly, Guilty. I think I am going to add the Butterfly Gardens and Trust No One to my list.
Ah, my first What Alice Forgot fan. It’s one of her books that gets so much praise so I fully expected to love it. And I did get sucked in at first but then …. nope. Oh well. She’s a good writer but not a writer of stories that I like. I accept that now. 😀 I hope you enjoy The Butterfly Garden and Trust No One. Both great books!
Rebecca Jo says
I hate you didnt like that Lianne Moriarty book. What Alice Forgot was one of my favorites of last year. But proof not every book is for every one 🙂
The Butterfly Garden sounds so interesting to me!!!!
I’m just impressed at all the books you get through in a month!!!!
I always feel bad when I don’t like a book everyone else does. I wonder what’s wrong with me. But there is nothing wrong with me. Liane Moriarty is a good writer but just not for me. Nothing wrong there! I love to read, so it’s how I spend all my free time. Plus, I am a very fast reader. 😀
Jana @ Jana Says says
I LOVED Trust No One. I read another one of his books whose title is escaping me right now but I loved that one, too.
Liane Moriarty isn’t for me, either.
Trust No One was my first Paul Cleave book but it won’t be last. I really enjoyed, although I felt a little heartbroken at the end. Okay, I feel a little better about my lack of affection for Liane Moriarty since I am not alone in my feelings!
I’m pretty sure I own the first book in the Scotland Yard mystery series, so I really need to get on that so I can continue reading. I’m glad you enjoyed the second so much.
I think Trust No One sounds great! I hadn’t heard of it before.
I really have enjoyed The Scotland Yard series thus far. I’m excited for when Jack makes his appearance. 😀 Trust No One is really good and I hope you like it!
I don’t like the scaries! I’m always looking for semi scary books if that makes any sense. I can deal with books like Girl on the Train and Woman in Cabin 10, but not the gory, chilling ones. I have What Alice Forgot on my to read list. I also have Truly Madly Guilty which I have heard mix opinions. Pam 🙂
I completely understand, Pam. I used to avoid scary books (and movies too) but a few years ago, I started enjoying them. 😀 The Perfect Stranger is in the vein of Girl on the Train, so that may be more up your alley!
Olya @ The Siberian American says
Haha, I really had a thriller get me this month too. Find Her is such a great read! I need to read The Butterfly Garden and the sequel.
Find Her was great; I really enjoyed it. I think you’d really enjoy The Butterfly Garden and The Roses of May. They seem like the kind of books you would enjoy. I requested Unsub based upon your review and just got approved for it on NetGalley. I can’t wait to read it, although it will probably make me paranoid again! LOL!
The Butterfly Garden seems super dark but it’s on my TBR list anyway. (Usually I avoid those books.) Seeing as you liked the second even more than the first, I’ll keep it on my list and add #2. Also, totally adding The Black Country! (And the first one!)
It is dark but still really good. I found The Roses of May to be less dark and surprisingly more hopeful and kickass. Yes, definitely give The Scotland Yard mystery series a shot. I have really enjoyed the first two books and am looking forward to reading more.
oooh i had no idea there were more books after the butterfly garden. i really enjoyed that so i will check out the next one for sure. boom, just got it off netgalley! ha thanks for the rec! i’m bummed you didn’t love the butterfly garden as much as me lol.
the darkest part of the forest is on my list! The Perfect Stranger sounds interesting but man, i don’t need anything adding to my already out of control paranoia lol.
the time traveler’s wife is one of my ALL TIME FAVES. i understand why some people don’t love it though, it’s not what i would call an ‘easy’ book. super bummed you didn’t love what alice forgot, we just shouldn’t be friends anymore if our tastes are so different?! lol
Oh, I really liked The Butterfly Garden and under normal circumstances it would probably be a love. But because I read The Roses of May at the same time and liked it so much more, it fell to a like. I love Inara and Bliss and was so happy that they were in book 2. I hear you on the paranoia. Seriously, I didn’t leave my apartment for a couple of days because … bad hombres. 😀 I should point out that by itself The Perfect Stranger probably wouldn’t have affected me so much. 😀 I don’t know why but I had such a hard time shutting off the right brain when I read The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had just read Lightning, which follows the rules more closely, so that may have played a role. I honestly expected and wanted to What Alice Forgot so much, which is probably why I am a little bit bitter that I didn’t.
I’m not a Liane Moriarty fan either. Random, weird sidenote – I really like how you formatted this post. It makes my librarian heart happy!
Okay, I’m glad that I’m not the only Liane Moriarty fan. It’s weird because it seemed like everyone loves her. But apparently that is not the case. And thank for the compliment on the format. It took a little bit to figure out what worked for me. 😀
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
I Just looked up Find Her and saw that it’s #8 in a series. Not sure I want to invest myself in another series, since I start them and never finish them……decisions, decisions. I just read The Perfect Stranger and my review will be in next month’s link up. I read the Time Traveler’s Wife years ago but loved it. Not sure how I’d feel if I read it today. What Alice Forgot is on my to read list….but I haven’t been a fan of Moriarty’s books that I’ve read, so I think I’m going to nix it!
I should have mentioned it in the post but Find Her really reads as a stand-alone. I have not read any of the other books in the series and it did not affect my enjoyment or understanding of the characters. So if you really are interested in the story, don’t feel that you have to read the other books first. Isn’t it funny how tastes can change over time? I would have loved The Time Traveler’s Wife when it first came out, but now it’s just okay. Honestly, if you haven’t been a huge fan of Moriarty’s other books, you may want to skip it. Or be willing to DNF it if it doesn’t keep your interest. It was one of my choices for Erin’s 6.0 Reading Challenge so I powered through it.
I think this is the blog to read for suspense/thriller genre! I’m just getting into it recently. So, I’m lost on the way to go. I don’t think I’m quite ready for intense or graphic quite yet. I’m stopping by from Show Me your Books linkup. My favorite book from April was Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It’s YA but the writing style got me!
It definitely is this month! Okay, most months. 😀 It is my favorite genre. I’m on the waiting list for Everything Everything. I’ve heard so many great things about it and can’t wait to get my mitts on it.
Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders says
So I got super excited when my work book club picked The Yard this month for our book! I remember how much you liked it, and I’m excited to start reading it soon! I think that I got The Butterfly Garden a while ago from Kindle First, and I still haven’t read it which is a bummer since I keep on hearing how good it is! Hopefully that means that it’ll move up on my list soon! Find Her also sounds like a really good thriller, which I’m always looking for!
Oh, I hope you enjoy The Yard as much as I did. I really like the characters. I’ve had The Butterfly Garden on my kindle for a few months too. It was a $1.99 so I nabbed it because my library did not have it. I really liked it and loved the book 2. Find Her is a good psychological thriller, so you should really enjoy it!
Brittany Pines says
Aw, I LOVED What Alice Forgot…a little tough to get through your review! Haha. Find Her sounds soooooo good, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to leave your house after that one.
I really, really wanted to love it too. It’s got so many 5 star reviews and everyone seems to love it … but I did not. Liane Moriarty is fine writer but just not for me. And that’s okay! Find Her was a great psychological thriller and I loved it so much.
Alexandra Consolver says
I have heard good things about The Butterfly Garden. Glad to know that the sequel is so good! 🙂 I want to start the Scotland Murder Squad books too. Sounds like a great reading month overall! Sorry that you got yourself panicky! XO – Alexandra
Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things
Butterfly Garden is really good and the sequel is great. I’ve really enjoyed The Scotland Murder Squad series thus far and I can’t wait to read the next one. Too many books; too little time!
Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue says
The Scotland Yard series sounds really good – I am going to check out the first book.
Ha, I am with you on Liane Moriarty. I did not like The Husband’s Secret at all but everyone is always going on and on about her other books that I was starting to think I should try another… But now I think I probably just won’t. Not my jam. And that’s OK.
I really like The Scotland Yard Murder Squad series. I like historical mysteries and anything that will eventually bring out Jack the Ripper. 😀 Okay, another Liane Moriaty non-fan! And it more than okay if you love her or don’t! I’m not a fan but I understand why people do like her books. I had been tempted to give Big Little Lies a try but I don’t think I will. I may try the HBO series but I’m not ready to devote any more reading hours to her at this point.
Lol, no wonder you scared yourself silly this month! Some of these books would have me sleeping with all the lights on, ha!
The Black Country is being added to my list! 🙂
Man, I really did a number on myself. Seriously, I need to run to the market, which is a block away, but it was dusk and I was scared. For no reason. 😀 I hope you enjoy The Black Country!
I read the Time Traveler’s Wife in high school and loved it! The book was much better than the movie. Have you read Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret? Maybe you’ll like that one better.
I have not seen the movie but think if I had read The Time-Traveler’s Wife in high school that I would have enjoyed it quite a bit. My tastes have changed so it was more okay than great. I have not read The Husband’s Secret. Beyond What Alice Forgot, I’ve read the Hypnotist’s Love Story, which also underwhelmed me. I just think Liane Moriary are not destined to be buds.
Kristin Darhower says
I’ve read all of Moriarity’s books and those are not my favorites by a longshot. Big Little Lies was my favorite but I read it almost 3 years ago so I hadn’t read anything else by the author.
The Last Anniversary was interesting and different from most her books too.
I think Big Little Lies would probably be the book out of her catalog that I would most enjoy. But having been burned twice, I’m a little hesitant to devote more hours to her books. I may try the HBO series though.