Trust No One

The key ingredient in any thriller is the psychopath. The dark, twisted pathways of his brain drive the plot and keep us up at night.

Normally the thrills in a thriller are deliberate. That instinct that forces the monster to plan his next move and torture his victims is what makes the book so exciting to us (because let’s face it, we are pretty twisted gluttons ourselves, aren’t we?). My favorite part is trying to figure out what the heck is going on inside his head, trying to guess his next move.

But what happens when the killer doesn’t remember killing?

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Paul Cleave plots out one of the most thrilling thrillers I’ve ever read with just that situation, in Trust No One.

Successful crime novelist Jerry Grey’s career is cut short by early-onset Alzheimer’s. He keeps escaping from the nursing home and losing time. When his daughter picks him up, she acts very strange about her mother, something just isn’t right. In fact, no one is acting right towards Jerry. Apparently a woman was found dead at the same time Jerry was gone and he is suspected of the murder. Why? He’s just an sick old man! Because, Jerry, you shot your wife. She’s dead. That’s why you are in a nursing home. You were out of your mind, and you have no memory of it.

Thus is the basis of one of the craziest thrillers I have ever read. It is an emotional roller coaster! Three women, besides Jerry’s wife, are dead. Who killed them? Jerry insists that he did not. He would remember, right? But all the evidence points to him. And he is a crime writer with very elaborate plans and getaways laid out in his books. He cannot account for hours of time, and he has been disappearing. His pseudonym has become almost a split personality, a devil on his shoulder that he can’t get away from.

Cleave has written one hell of a creative novel. It doesn’t come out until August 4, so mark your calendars. This one isn’t necessarily a scary or bloody thriller. It’s more about the utter mindfuck that is going on. Where do you put your sympathy? Who do you trust?

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Released Aug. 4.

Trees of Reverie July Read-A-Thon Day One

Create a TBR list and set some goals for the Read-A-Thon!

I completely forgot to put this month’s challenge on my calendar, and so forgot that it started today. OOOOOPS! Thankfully I saw people posting this challenge just in time for it to start.

Let’s get rolling, shall we?

This will work similar to the other challenges I’ve done in the past. I’ll go off my regularly scheduled TBR, and log the pages I’ve read. I’ll also be doing most, if not all, of the Daily Bookish Challenges Sarah posts. Should be a good week. I don’t have too many major things planned, so this could be a big challenge for me!

TBR, starting with what I am currently reading:

Trust No One by Paul Cleaves

Awake by Natasha Preston

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

 

I’m also reading daily The Queen of the Tearling, The Ramayana and The Treasury of Poems, so there will be pages included from that in my count as well.

Good luck next week everyone!

WWW Wednesday 7/8/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Tess of d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

For Study:  The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

 

What did you just finish reading?

Empire of Sin by Gary Krist

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Torro

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Trust No One by Paul Cleave

Awake by Dan Chaon

 

Trollhunters

Trolls get a pretty bad rep in the fantasy world. They are dumb, slow, dirty, mean. Really the only likeable trolls I have ever seen have been in Frozen…I’ve yet to see Boxtrolls, so maybe those are ok too. But for the most part, trolls are pretty foul creatures.

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The mind of Guillermo del Toro is a wild and crazy place, so when I saw he had a new book coming out, I jumped at the chance to read it. I was not disappointed.

There’s something afoot in San Bernadino. It begins in 1967 when hundreds of kids go missing suddenly. Then, just as soon as it began, it stopped. Now, it’s starting again. Jim, whose dad has always been afraid of his own shadow, is starting to wonder about those bumps in the night. But when those “bumps” come for him, he finds out they are actually recruiting him to help save the town from the real problem–the Voldemort of the troll world. He had been defeated in 1967, but now he’s back, and seriously pissed off.

Trollhunters is no sophisticated novel, my friends, but the kids are going to love it. It’s akin to Goosebumps and Gremlins, and everything wonderful about middle school horror from the 80s and 90s. Deliciously ridiculous and just enough cheese and slime. Put this in the hands of a 10 year old and they will not come out of their room until it is finished. It’s one of those books that you just expect to find on a library shelf in worn paperback–I mean, did the Goosebumps books ever actually look pristine, or did they just come off the printer torn and dirty?

I’m not sure if del Toro has plans for a movie on this one. 2015 is almost too high quality for it. It needs to be on a fuzzy VHS tape. You’ll know what I mean when you read it.

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Published June 30.

WWW Wednesday 7/1/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

For Study:  The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

 

What did you just finish reading?

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Review up tomorrow)

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Trust No One by Paul Cleave

Tess of the D’Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy

 

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Travelling requires easy, light reads. Even if I am already in the middle of something when I leave–I usually pause it for something else while I’m gone. I can never give a difficult book the time and effort it requires while I’m travelling because there are too many distractions–other people, things to do, constant stops and starts. That is why there is a whole genre called “Beach Reads” that are always touted in the summertime. People do not want complicated when on vacation.

Thankfully, I had a couple of these on my Kindle, ready to go. Yesterday’s The Flying Circus was a great travel read, and I had started it in anticipation of my trip north. And when I finished it, I pulled up The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. 

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Modern romances always make great “beach reads.” (And no, I didn’t go to the beach, but I’m going to use that genre title.) They are usually light and fun, have a similar plot pattern, and almost always resolve themselves at the end.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was exactly that kind of book. Lou runs a fairly successful French restaurant in Milwaukee, and is thinking about opening a second place with a changing menu. Her fiance, though, is completely unsupportive of her dreams. Always trying to convince him, she shows up early on his birthday with a surprise coconut cake–her grandmother’s famous recipe–only to find his secretary standing in his living room in HER negligee.

Devastated, she tries to go back to work, thinking that will help her keep her mind of it. Unfortunately, she completely screws up order after order, on a night when the Devil Incarnate is reviewing her restaurant. He destroys her.

A while later, she meets a handsome British freelance writer and teaches him all about Milwaukee charm. They fall crazy in love, of course. And, well…you’ll have to read the rest…if you haven’t already figured it out.

Even if you have, go read it. This book, just like the title, is super sweet, with a hint of vanilla. It’s pretty hard to put down, once you start it (even if you get carsick and have to stop every chapter to look out the window). I don’t read too many books from the actual romance genre anymore, but this one was completely uncheesy…well…I can’t say that. It WAS set in Wisconsin after all. But it was delightful.

And, I mean, the whole thing was about cheese and burgers and beer and cheese, so…you know I had to love it. Come on. That’s my whole vocabulary right there!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for unbiased review. Book to be released on July 21st.

The Flying Circus

Aw man, guys! I was doing so well with posting every day, and then I finally ran out of posts. I knew it would happen at some point. Sorry to leave you hanging yesterday.

But…we were out of town this weekend for my 10 year reunion, so while I was reading, I didn’t have time or access to type it all up. It was a whirlwind of 14 hours in the car, dinner with his family, drinks with some awesome Indy friends, more time in the car, having an amaaaaaaaaaaazing time with some people I haven’t seen in a decade, a day with my family, and then another 14 hours in the car. PHEW. I am exhausted!

The title of today’s book is especially apt, because my weekend WAS The Flying Circus!

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This was a fun book to read on the way up through the south, because we are obsessed with the cropduster planes in Arkansas. They are so fun to watch swooping and diving across the highways and fields. We even saw one dive parallel to the other side of the interstate, to spray directly under some powerlines that left one tiny strip of field close to the road. I would have been terrified to be driving next to him!

The Flying Circus is set in the 1920s years when flapper/prohibition was raging. Three people running from their lives find each other in small-town Indiana and put together a stunt circus with an airplane and a motorcycle. Oh, and don’t forget Mercury, the sausage stealing dog! They become a surrogate family for each other and travel around Indiana and Illinois, selling their show, mostly making just enough to live on and pay for gas. Their love of adventure and need for the road/air is what drove them, not money. They did know they couldn’t do it without each other.

I’m usually not in to the flapperesque period pieces, but I really enjoyed this one. I had a hard time putting it down, and it was a great one to read while travelling. There was a triangle romance, and plenty of other drama, but it ended quite sweetly. This comes out next week on July 7th, and it comes highly recommended by me!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for unbiased review.

Swerve

Last night was a blast, ya’ll! One of the area neighborhoods, Deep Ellum,  has a monthly Wine Walk that they put on in the summer. A bunch of shops and galleries serve in the back, and then everyone just kind of mingles around for a few hours. What a great way to get in our Fitbit steps, and check out some local shopping! We’ll definitely do it again.

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I ended up surprising myself–because we went out last night, I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to read and finish a new book in time for today’s blog. But hey, you know me. I can’t leave you guys hanging!

Actually, I just picked one that I hoped would be a quickie. It also turned out to be REALLY good.

With Hannibal starting back up, I am craving thrillers. That show just charges me up for that surge of electricity I get from reading terrifying, twisted stories. (Does it say something about me that I like reading about psychopaths and broken people? Maybe…but I am a broken person too.)

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Vicki Pettersson’s new book Swerve releases just after the July 4th holiday and it fills that thriller need perfectly. Kristine is on a trip with her fiance to visit his mother, when the couple is abducted by a psychopath. The mystery trucker leaders her down a terrifying road of destruction in order to save her fiance.

This book reminded me a lot of Red Dragon–even though we never got a look out from the perspective of the killer, we do hear a lot about what is going on in his head and what lead him to this point. The precision and escalation to the moments in the book, the “hot” point of the serial killer instinct, it’s all very similar to how Dolerhyde escalates.

I highly recommend this for you thriller freaks out there like me. Pick this up on July 7 and be prepared for your summer to sizzle!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

Airplane Rides: Observations from Above

I have a fear of flying. More accurately, I have a fear of falling.

The take offs and descents, that’s what gets me. Oh, and turbulence. I HATE turbulence. That feeling that the plane is going to drop out of the air at any second…it is torture. Once we are at cruising altitude, I’m generally ok (You know…except for turbulence. Did I mention that I hate turbulence?) But until then, it is white knuckles and my husband telling me to breathe. Same on the way down. Oh god.

I’ve been travelling a lot more since meeting R. Until then, the last time I had flown was as a young teenager, before most of my anxieties kicked in. I was totally not prepared for how much flying would scare me that first time up. Now, at least I’m ready for it, I guess.

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Jake Alexander (a pseudonym) has written down 10 stories that were told to him by fellow frequent flyers. Interestingly enough, none were quite as panicked as I am about flying. I guess that would make for a less interesting story (I hate talking on planes). Anyway, somehow all 10 people seriously open up about some pretty real stuff.

This is one of those books that I’m juuuuuust not sure about. There’s some of the stories I liked. Pastor Daniel, flying to New York to take a break from his faith. The goth kid running away from home, so tough, but really she just wants to be loved by her parents.

However, most of the stories had a very real theme running through them. This is very much a MAN’S book. Ladies, don’t look for many feminist themes here. Jake hits on every single female he comes across (except maybe the underage goth girl), including two gay women who clearly have absolutely no interest in him. He is completely wasted nearly every single sentence of this book. Stoli on the rocks. Seriously. There’s only one reason to drink vodka straight. *shudder* He even allegedly convinces a women to masturbate under one of those blankets in a bag while he watches. Ew.

Oh, did I mention that he ALWAYS flies first class? As in, at one point he says he had not flown coach in 10 years. Snooty patooty. He’s also one of those people who bitches out the desk workers, and talks about them as if they were the dirt under their feet. The worker who is a “nineteen-year-old overweight, underpaid child” and “her fate had already been sealed by a fatherless child, an abusive parent, an absent education or maybe all of the above.” You know what, I am sure about this book. Very sure.

I think the moral of this book, if there is one hidden in the liquor and sex, is that slowly through this journey of constant drunken plane travel, he realizes that maybe there’s some greater life out there than this. He has this great epiphany, decides he’s going to change everything. And then at the end of the book (Yeah I know, SPOILER. Trust me, it’s huge, I promise.) he’s had a four day affair with an actress, and he makes her breakfast. WHOA. MINDBLOWING CHANGE. I AM SO IMPRESSED.

I feel like maybe I shouldn’t write reviews at ten o’clock at night. Or maybe I should, this is probably pretty entertaining. At least it is honest. I’ll never be anything but!

Guys, I didn’t love this book, obviously. It did make me outrageously thirsty. But, I’m a gin girl. Sorry Jake.

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. (This was technically from NetGalley, but it has been out since December 2014. I’m not sure if they consider this an ARC anymore or not.)

The Truth According to Us

R and I are on this fitness track. Both of us are trying to lose weight, so we bought Fitbits, and have been walking. I’ve upped my yoga game, and we’ve been cooking more (and healthier) at home. So far so good!

Something I’ve noticed though is that since we’ve started this, I have a really hard time sitting still! Relaxing has never been an issue for me, but lately, I’ve been pretty charged up. This means that settling into a book can be challenging. I read in shorter spurts, unless it is something that really holds my attention.

Normally, I can go through two books on a weekend, unless it is something really long. 500 pages doesn’t really scare me. It might take me a day and a half…but it doesn’t pose too much of a challenge. When it’s day 3 and I’m only halfway through, that usually means I’m not so interested.

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The thing about The Truth According to Us isn’t really the characters or the setting this time. I actually like the idea of the book itself–a senator wants to teach his daughter Layla some work ethic in the middle of the Depression, so he sends her to a tiny town in West Virginia to write its history for the WPA. Of course, she hates the idea, but the more stories she hears, the more she falls in love with the place and its people. There’s also a little girl (an almost Scout-like character) who follows her around, trying to figure out what she’s up to. At first, she worships her, then it because more suspicion.

Part of me really wants to know what happens, but I just can’t keep going. I am so incredibly frustrated with the writing. Actually…it’s not even that. It’s really just the narration. I can’t freaking figure out from page to page who is talking! One moment, it’ll be 1st person narrative from Willa’s (the little Scout personality) point of view. Then you’ll have a not even a chapter break, but just a section pause, and it’ll shift to third person narrative overlooking everyone. Then the chapter WILL break and there will be some letters between Layla and her friends, and it’ll be more third person, but more from her perspective…until you go back to Willa again with little warning. Oh my gosh. It’s so frustrating and confusing. I can’t keep straight what is going on.

I was seriously reading a chapter where Willa was talking in 1st person and a paragraph later “they” were all sitting in the kitchen, Willa included. HUH?

Nope. Trying to figure out who is in the frame and if the narrator is omnipresent is just making me crazy. That is why it is taking me so dang long to read this book. It’s giving me a headache, and it’s just not worth finishing. I hate quitting ARC reviews halfway through, but I just can’t do it!

The Truth According to Haley is…don’t read this one unless you have a LOT of patience.

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. It is being released today, June 9th, 2015.

Fulfills PopSugar #50:  A book you started but never finished