Good morning, everyone! I’m so happy to be back this morning with a BOOK REVIEW! During the last few months of wedding planning, I didn’t have time to read at all… and the few times that I did try, I kept getting distracted by my thoughts. Since the wedding, though, I’ve been reading up a STORM! Two of these I would consider the best books I’ve read in 2018. Yup I said it, they’re that good! Let’s get started.
1. THE FRENCH GIRL by Lexie Elliott
By far the best book I’ve read all year! “The French Girl” pulled me in immediately and kept me turning page after page to find out what was going to happen next. It’s a suspense/thriller novel, but the author Lexie Elliott does an amazing job of building dynamic characters… I felt every single emotion along with the protagonist, Kate. Here’s the gist: the story takes place in current day London, where Kate receives a phone call from college friend Tom about the French police re-opening up a case about a missing person; an acquaintance that they met during a vacation in France – a French girl named Severine. The problem is, Kate, her boyfriend Seb, and her friends Lara, Tom, Theo and Caro were all the last people to see Severine. As the investigation begins, loyalties are tested and secrets from the past are revealed, and somehow Kate finds herself at the center of it all, and the main suspect for Severine’s murder. This novel is truly brilliant: I LOVED Kate and was able to relate to her in a lot of different ways, the ending was spectacular, AND there’s even a little romance in this book (my favorite part, actually!).
2. BRING ME BACK by B.A. Paris
This novel is tied with “The French Girl” for best book of the year – B.A. Paris has come to be one of my favorite authors and this novel did not disappoint. I read this one on our honeymoon in two days (mostly poolside, haha). British couple Finn and his girlfriend Layla are on their way home from a vacation in France when he pulls into a dimly lit area late at night to use the restroom. When he returns to the car, Layla is nowhere to be found. Fast forward 12 years later, and Finn has moved on with his life – in fact, he’s now in a relationship with Layla’s sister Ellen and they’re living happily together in a picturesque Cotswold village. Knowing how B.A. Paris’s previous books played out, I knew early on that this idyllic situation wasn’t going to last! Especially when someone contacts Finn by email, claiming to be Layla. This book is SPOOKY and also had me questioning everything – the tension began on page one and didn’t let up until the last page of the novel. Five stars from me!
3. THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY by Ruth Ware
I was sooo excited to read the latest novel by Ruth Ware, as I have absolutely loved her novels in the past; however, this one left me sorely disappointed. Ware writes in the style of a gothic mystery – I got the feeling that she was trying to write a modern-day “Rebecca” (one of my favorite books), but she missed the mark. The main character, Hal, is a tarot card reader who is in serious financial distress, with threatening men often showing up at her job and on her doorstep demanding for money. So it’s no surprise that when she receives a mysterious letter inviting her to Trespassen House to receive a substantial inheritance, she accepts, even though she is certain that the letter was not intended for her. She arrives at Trespassen House to find a dark and creepy mansion with an old, even creepier caretaker, the perfect setting for a gothic mystery. However, the plot really fell short for me – I kept waiting for something major to happen, but I waited until the end of the book and it never really came. I also had a problem keeping all of the characters straight, they all seemed to roll up into one and it was really hard to differentiate between who was who, which I found rather distracting. And I found whole sections of the book to be entirely unnecessary, with several passages dedicated to the tarot cards and their meanings (which I was 100% totally uninterested in reading about). I recommend passing on this one, folks… if you are really wanted to read a gothic mystery, I suggest reading one of the classics – “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier or “The Mysteries of Udolpho” by Ann Radcliffe.
4. THE NEW NEIGHBORS by Simon Lelic
In this one, we follow the story of Syd and Jack, a young couple buying their first house together – although the house seems perfect for them at first, the owner leaves behind all of his belongings and the descriptions we get of the house are certainly very creepy right from the get-go. In addition, we learn from the opening scene of the book that someone has died right outside of their new house. Syd and Jack take turns narrating each chapter, telling us their background before they met and their lives together now – and eventually the events leading up to and surrounding the murder. This book had a huge potential – I absolutely loved the first half of it, but it went in a different direction than I was expecting, which threw me for a loop. I also found the ending to be largely unbelievable. It was entertaining, but certainly not the best novel I’ve read lately. I encourage readers to try this one for themselves!
That’s it for me! Please please please comment below if you’ve read a good book lately so that we can all see! 🙂
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