Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the moment I read the description of this novel, I knew it was my kind of book. It sounded intense and thrilling and absolutely realistic. I’m really glad that I got approved for this book and now … here is my review:

Joan and her 4-year-old son, Lincoln, love going to the zoo near closing time to just relax and play. It’s the perfect way to end the day. But then Joan sees something as she and her son are moving toward the exit gate, something that makes her sprint back into the zoo with her son in her arms. And for the next 3 hours, she keeps running. Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and the zoo itself comes in handy in her time of need … but will it be enough to keep her safe from danger?

Just as I had expected, this novel was gripping from the start. Joan and her son are very believable characters and the situation they find themselves in is also, unfortunately, something I can realistically imagine happening. I had my heart in my throat the entire time I was reading because I could feel how dangerous the situation was and how desperate Joan was to keep her son safe. The danger is present for the entire span of the novel, which means that Joan was running for safety for that entire time…. and yet, there really wasn’t a boring moment in the story. It was one of the more enjoyable features of this story. The novel is also told from the perspectives of other people in the zoo: fellow victims and even a perpetrator. I found that interesting but I wished the author had done it more often instead of just randomly including snippets from other perspectives; it would have helped me visualize and connect to the other characters in the same way that I did with Joan. I will admit that there were certain discrepancies in the plot that bothered me. Some I was willing to ignore because I understood that it was necessary for plot development, but there were others that seemed a tad bit ridiculous. The explanations for certain behaviors exhibited in the story also weren’t the best at times. These were really the only flaws for me, and overall, I was quite satisfied with my experience with the novel. The author promised a book that would make your heart pound and she definitely delivered on that account! I would give this novel a 3.5/5 and would recommend it to anyone looking for a unique thriller.

Happy reading ~

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

This thriller has been on my TBR list for a while. Thank you to First to Read program and Penguin Random House for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

10 years ago, Quincy Carpenter survived a horror movie-scale massacre that left all her friends dead. Automatically, she became part of a club called the Final Girls, consisting of 2 other girls who had been the only survivors of separate massacres: Lisa, who lost her sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; and Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn. All 3 try to put their nightmares behind and move on. Now, Quincy is doing well. She has a caring boyfriend, Jeff, a popular baking blog, a nice apartment, and a friend in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. But her hard-won tranquility doesn’t last long, when Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead with her wrists slit, and Sam, the second Final Girl, shows up on Quincy’s doorstep. It seems Sam is determined to make Quincy relive the past. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy suddenly becomes suspicious of everyone. To find out the truth, she needs to remember what really happened to her 10 years ago.

This book took me on such an amazing ride! I absolutely adored every minute with this thriller. Deeply complex, with strong characters and a twisted plot, this novel had me on my toes the entire time. The story is mainly told from Quincy’s perspective, and she was a character that I really liked. The author did a great job of showcasing Quincy’s strengths and weaknesses, and making her likeable and believable. In fact, kudos to the author for all of the characters; each one was unique and intriguing to read about and I found it easy to imagine all of the different interactions playing out. The story itself had loads of different twists and turns, and there definitely wasn’t a single boring minute there! Nothing was too far-fetched as to throw me for a loop; everything worked and created this awesome thrill factor that fed my thrill addiction! I can go on and on about this novel but it is so much better if you experience it for yourself! If you like thrillers, then this is one you do NOT want to miss out on!

Happy reading ~

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I’ve become extremely lazy with this blog. It’s not like I’ve stopped reading; I read every single day on my subway rides and even at home in the evenings. But when I actually have to write my review, I push it aside and hold off for a bit. Maybe it’s from the exhaustion of my job or maybe it’s because I have been preoccupied. Either way I need to get my act together and get going on these reviews!

Ani is one of those miracle stories. She’s gone from a nobody to a somebody. She has an amazing job as a magazine editor, a rich and handsome fiancée, and a beautiful apartment with all of the furnishings. But she also has a secret and a dark past, one that still makes people give her double takes. Now, before her wedding, she has decided to participate in a documentary to tell everyone what happened to her all those years ago. But telling the truth may lead to consequences that even Ani can’t foresee.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book. So many reviewers were saying it was akin to Gone Girl and that it would keep you hooked. I wouldn’t rate it as highly as that. When I read the first chapter, I didn’t really like it and almost put the book down. But as I pushed through, I must admit that the story got better and better. The author mixes the past and present throughout the novel (which I liked) and I really liked the crass way that Ani talked and thought. I actually enjoyed the ending; it gave some hope to the main character which wasn’t something I really expected. But the dark past wasn’t all that terrible of a secret so the premise for the whole story just didn’t seem quite there for me. It was a decent novel and not a bad read but definitely not worthy of Gone Girl praise.

Happy reading ~

We need to talk about Kevin

I recently had the pleasure of reading We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

The story is about a mother who recounts the events leading up to her son’s decision to murder 9 schoolmates.

I found it to be….interesting, for lack of a better word. The voice of the story is completely unexpected; you do not hear the story from a stereotypical, tearful mother who doesn’t understand where she went wrong. Rather, the mother comes off as very strong and in control of the situation; she is fully aware of what she is dealing with and hints at knowing that there was something “not quite right” about her son. Gone are the images of mothers who claim to have no idea why their sons committed such a heinous crime; the mother in this story shows the readers all of the signs pointing to this one fatal event.

This story is both compelling and yet horrifying. And I can’t really put my finger on what it is that makes it seem so horrifying. Maybe it is the way the mother expresses her dislike for her son. Maybe it is how unloveable her son is. Maybe it is the way in which her son deceives some people but can be so blatantly obvious about the way he truly feels with his mother.

Whatever the case, this story is not for the faint of heart. It is a heavy read but an amazing one that will grip you from the beginning until the end. This is definitely worth reading over and over again.

Apparently, there is a movie adaptation of this book. Perhaps, I should watch it and critique that!

Happy reading ~