Book Review: Providence (Caroline Kepnes)

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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.

Whisking us on a journey through New England and crashing these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, Kepnes explores the complex relationship between love and identity, unrequited passion and obsession, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

My Thoughts: 

Well, I made a mistake with this one.

It happens to the best of us.

You see an author that your LOVE and you dive into a book expecting it to give you all the same feels.

Unfortunately, I didn’t consider (even after reading the synopsis) that this novel would NOT contain Joe Goldberg.  The anti-hero from YOU and Hidden Bodies that I have come to know and (pretty much against my free will) love.

This novel is COMPLETELY different from Kepnes’ prior novels.  It is like comparing apples and oranges; and that, my friends, was probably my first mistake.  I went into this one thinking I would get the dark and twisty vibe that I have come to know and love, but Providence is really a hodgepodge of all different types of genres: a little bit paranormal, a dash of coming of age, a pinch of YA thriller.

I think Kepnes is fearless for doing something SO different, but, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t understand all the Lovecraft references and I don’t really love YA (I teach high school students- I get enough teen drama on the daily).

Overall, I would probably recommend this to my students or add it to my classroom library.

I’ll continue waiting for more Joe.

Book Review: Under My Skin (Lisa Unger)

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What if the nightmares are actually memories?

It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan’s Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn’t recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?

The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts–there are periods of time she can’t remember, and she’s unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she’s imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband’s death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?

My Thoughts: 

I  have been a huge fan of Lisa Unger for YEARS!   Give me a psychological thriller with a relatable character, and I am a happy camper!

Unfortunately, this one didn’t do it for me.

For the majority of the book, I found myself confused.  I was switching back and forth, checking dates and trying to organize the plot in my head.  I felt like a detective myself putting a red string on a board trying to connect my theories.   Is this okay?  Sure.  Sometimes I really like to be challenged while I read, but, honestly, sometimes I just want to escape and don’t want to have to piece things together.

Sometimes I want a straight forward thrill.

Did this put me off of Lisa Unger?  Absolutely not. Her talent is clearly apparent and this woman can WEAVE a story.  I will absolutely read more by her, but, this one wasn’t for me.


Book Review: The Fifth to Die (J.D Barker)

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In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

My Thoughts: 

When I read The Fourth Monkey, I was obsessed.

I lent it to all my friends.

I made my boss at work read it.

I was a woman on a mission.

After a long wait, I finally read The Fifth to Die, and, while I loved the pacing and the dark vibes, I really struggled to STAY engrossed in the sequel. 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It was just as brilliantly written, and I still love some Sam Porter, but there was a lot going on!  Almost too much going on.   Many more perspectives, many more storylines and, just as I thought I was getting everything straight, it was over!

I do think this one is worth the read; however, I think I’d read them back to back so I could follow along.

This isn’t one to go into blindly!

Thanks for Netgalley for the digital copy.