My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This disturbing, horrifying read is one that will stick with me for a long time.
I flew through the pages from the very beginning. The distinct voice of the narrator, a simple yet engaging syntax, and a chilling idea sucked me into this book.
I loved that it focused on a husband and wife "team." They were both eerie in their own right--but combined, they were a couple I won't soon forget. This is one of those books where you find yourself sometimes rooting for the villain, which is horrifying in its own right. I loved that the author took a seemingly normal family and let us see into the far-from-normal aspects of their lives.
The plot was believable and chilling. I found the ending to be a bit rushed, but I still liked it a lot. I felt like it was realistic but also creepy in its own right. This is a great book for anyone who likes serial killer stories, dark novels, and female villains. I highly recommend this dark thriller and can't wait to read the author's next book.
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Atwood's The Testaments will make you see Gilead in a new light
That can't be the ending....
This was my stunned reaction to The Handmaid's Tale back in my senior year of high school. I was devastated that I would never get to see how June's story would end. Was she betrayed? Did she find a better life? The questions have haunted me for years, just like the chilling world Atwood created.
So when The Testaments released last week, I was thrilled to be able to get some answers and see more of Gilead. There is always a fear going into a sequel that it won't hold up to the first novel, but Atwood has had so many decades to think about her sequel. I should have known, too, that the amazingly talented writer wouldn't disappoint.
I flew through The Testaments as fast as possible, once again enveloped by the chilling, haunting world of female depravity that is Gilead. However, The Testaments goes deeper into Gilead and gives new perspectives of the world. The book focuses on the Aunts instead of the Handmaids, which gives a new view of power, lies, and deception in the corrupt, failing world.
I'm amazed by Atwood's attention to detail in her world building. Every question is truly answered, and every intricacy is handled with expert prose. This book gives a deeper look into the inner workings of the society and also at how it began.
Told from three different perspectives in testimony/diary format, the book weaves together three influential women in Gilead. I won't tell you who they are because I don't want to spoil anything. Just know that they have strong voices, intriguing stories, and plenty of secrets to divulge.
This book isn't filled with crazy twists or even a lot of action. It is told instead of shown, but I found that fitting for this eerie world. The distant feel of the narrator's added to the creepy quality of the world and underscored how Gilead is falling in this book.
I know many readers are wondering: Will we see June in this sequel? I won't give anything away, but I will say two things:
1. She is not a focus in this story. This is the story of other women.
2. You will see references to her....
I will say I was very disappointed in the final chapter. It did not leave me on a cliffhanger, which I appreciated (I can't wait another 10+ years to get more answers like last time...). However, the last chapter was stiff and dull, at least in my opinion. I understand Atwood's point in the final chapter. I just would have liked to have seen a more poignant end to this heartbreaking, powerful, and haunting story.
Overall, The Testaments is definitely worth the read for anyone who is a fan of The Handmaid's Tale. It didn't ruin the future seasons of the show on Hulu, either. If anything, I'm even more excited to see them.
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Love thrillers with crazy twists? You need to read 'Sometimes I Lie'
"A lot of people think I have a dream job, but nightmares are dreams too."
Wow, wow, wow! 'Sometimes I lie' is an intense, dark thriller that just takes you down a rabbit hole of confusion, despair, secrets, and amazing twists! Just when you think you figured this book out, it hits again.
The book is told from the perspective of Amber who is in a coma and cannot respond. She is trying to figure out what happened to her and the secrets her loved ones are keeping, especially her husband and sister. The book then flashes back to the week before Amber was in a coma as well as Diary entries from childhood.
The book is packed with all sorts of amazing, jaw-dropping twists and turns. The one took me a while to wrap my head around....because it fooled me entirely! I love that this book is good, but just keeps getting better and better as you learn that nothing is what you thought it was.
This book, overall, is about family loyalty, the bond of sisters, and how secrets can tear us apart. I thought the first person perspective from someone in a coma was eerie in its own right. The book definitely gets darker as you read, so be prepared. I also thought that the main character had a strong, clear voice and development.
This book really blew my mind. I will be looking for more books from Alice Feeney, for sure.
The one book you need to read if you think you're an expert on the BTK killer
What if you found out your father was a serial killer?
This is the question at the heart of the book "A Serial Killer's Daughter" by Kerri Rawson, the daughter of the infamous BTK killer.
There are so many documentaries, movies, and books on the horrific crimes of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer who bound, tortured, and killed ten victims, including two children. However, he got away with his crime spree for over thirty years and had a wife, a son, and a daughter who had no idea that their father was another man entirely.
This book is told from Kerri Rawson's perspective, and it is a raw, genuine, honest look at the man who was her father... and how her world crashed down when the news broke. This book, however, doesn't focus on the man the media focused on. It focused on the man who was her father. It gives insight into how Dennis Rader was able to compartmentalize the two sides of his personality.
Kerri goes into great detail about her life with her father and family. She doesn't seem to sugarcoat anything and really takes the reader on her journey through growing up, through betrayal, through guilt, and through recovery. She gives you a very different vantage point of true crime, one that few really stop to think about.
It's impossible not to put yourself in Kerri's shoes as you read. She takes something almost none of us could ever understand and helps us understand just a little bit more. You feel for her as she struggles with reconciling the man who did evil things with the man she knew her whole life.
I admire her bravery for telling her tale and for showing the other side of her father, the one few of us recognize. It is easy to make serial killers out to be purely evil monsters, but she reminds us that the lines between good and evil are sometimes murky.
I clearly cannot speak from experience and do not claim to speak for the victims' families, but I did feel that Kerri did a good job at handling the delicate subject matter with raw honesty and with sensitivity. I could see how some might argue it glorified her father and mitigated what he did. However, I didn't get that sense at all. I felt like she admitted his faults and recognized the pain he caused while also expressing the truth--the man she knew was different from the man known as BTK.
In an unexpected way, the book also instills a sense of hope. Kerri reveals how she was able to find her way to light from the darkness. She is a true survivor and has a story that could instill hope in others dealing with betrayal, lies, secrets, and difficult times.
The writing is excellent and emotional. I recommend this book for anyone interested in true crime because you get to see a different side to the story and understand that a criminal's family, in many ways, falls under the victim category as well.
5 stars for this raw, powerful memoir.
BOOK REVIEW OF THE CHILLING THRILLER,"SHE WAS THE QUIET ONE"
For Rose Enright, enrolling in a prestigious New England boarding school is the opportunity of a lifetime. But for Rose’s vulnerable twin sister Bel, Odell Academy is a place of temptation and danger. When Bel falls in with a crowd of wild rich kids who pressure her into hazing Rose, the sisters’ relationship is shattered. Rose turns to her dorm mother, Sarah Donovan, for advice. But Bel turns to Sarah’s husband Heath, a charismatic and ambitious teacher. Is Heath trying to help Bel or take advantage of her? In a world of privilege, seduction, and manipulation, only one sister will live to tell the truth.
In an audiobook full of twists, turns, and dark secrets, Michele Campbell once again proves her skill at crafting intricately spun and completely compelling plots.
Michele Campbell's "She Was the Quiet One" features a haunting, rich setting perfect for a twisted thriller.
When twins Rose and Bel are sent to live with their wealthy grandmother after being orphaned, their lives take a turn down a twisted journey of secrets, betrayal, and deceit. Sent to a private school, their lives will take two different paths that will lead to all sorts of questions and horrifying events.
The book also follows Sarah and Heath, the new heads of the dorm at Odell Academy. The couple seems perfect from the outside--responsible, smart, kind--but they just may have secrets of their own.
I loved the setting of this story and how it really played up the events. I also really enjoyed reading from the different perspectives and trying to piece the story together. This story wasn't super shocking with tons of twists. However, the suspense and thrill of it comes from knowing that doom is lurking and wondering if family loyalty will overpower lust, secrets, and the need for power. I really liked Rose's character and felt for her throughout the story.
I felt that the ending was well-planned out and didn't feel rushed like in some thrillers. As a side note, I also really like the newer cover because it captures the eerie feel of the book perfectly. This book is heavy on developed characters and relationships while having an exciting, believable plot working against a complex setting.
I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more from the author.
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door