Tag Archives: Books

Every Last Lie

I am a fan of Mary Kubica’s work. After I read The Good Girl, I could hardly wait to get my hands on all of her novels, so when I was given a chance to preview Every Last Lie, I jumped on it.

Clara Solberg’s last conversation with her husband, Nick, is about what to bring home for dinner. She wishes she could change that. She wishes she hadn’t sent him out. She wishes she had gone herself. Because Nick never came home after wrapping his car around a tree with their four-year-old daughter in the backseat. Thankfully, Maisie’s car seat saved her, but nothing could be done for Nick.

Every Last Lie. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Left with her four-year-old daughter and four-day-old son, Clara’s life is turned upside down as she tries to piece together the last few weeks of Nick’s life as strange things emerge one after another and make her question everything. Was Nick’s death a suicide with their daughter in the car? Was he having an affair? And then as Maisie begins to awaken screaming about the “bad man” in the middle of the night, Clara begins to wonder: Did someone kill him?

The novel moves back and forth between Clara’s point of view in the present situation and Nick’s point of view in the months leading up to his death. It is a good story, but I didn’t really feel much of a connection to either of the main characters. There is more development of Maisie than of either Clara or Nick, so it is difficult to feel much for either of them. And Clara is so busy with theories that she never grieves for her husband, making it difficult for the reader to grieve him.

That being said, Kubica’s writing style is still, in my opinion, top-notch and I plan to continue reading her novels. I just wish there had been a little more unfolding of the characters. I do recommend Every Last Lie, however, if you want true psychological thrills, read The Good Girl. It is amazing!

3 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

Into the Water. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

In case you’ve been living in a cave with no access to electricity or social media, you have probably seen all the promotions about Paula Hawkins newest release, Into the Water. But does it live up to the hype? After listening to her first novel The Girl on the Train (read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher), which I really liked, I was very excited to read her second novel.

Into the Water is read by Laura Aikman, Rachel Bavidge, Sophie Aldred, Daniel Weyman, and Imogen Church, a rather lengthy cast, as there are quite a few characters who make this book twist and turn and throw you for loop after loop. While it started a bit slowly, it did pick up the pace and there were a couple of turns I truly did not see coming. And then I listened to the ending three times because I just absolutely could not believe what I was hearing!

Into the Water. A Propensity to Discuss review.

For over 300 years the Drowning Pool has claimed many lives of Beckford women, whether they were accused a witchcraft and sorcery, adultery or to leave the world of their own accord, and Nel Abott has researched them all for the book she plans to publish.

When Nel dies falling into the “Drowning Pool” that has fascinated her all of her life, her sister must return to the town she ran from so many years before and swore she would never again set foot. This suicide, only months after a teen girl’s suicide at the same place leaves many in the town worried and many quite satisfied. Nel’s daughter knows it was suicide, but her long-lost sister stands at odds against the 16-year-old niece she has never met and swears that Nel had to have been pushed.

This book has quite a few negative feedbacks online. However, the audio version of this book has more positive responses than negative. I find this very interesting because I also listened to The Girl on the Train and loved it, but the people I knew who read the book didn’t like it. I actually have 2 friends who didn’t like The Girl on the Train book but listened to the audio and really liked it. So my suggestion here would be to start reading them and if you don’t like them, then listen to both of them. I really think it makes all the difference!

I highly recommend this book in audio form.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

 

Perfect. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Perfect Cecilia Ahern

Perfect by Cecilia Ahern

She was once thought of as Perfect. By her boyfriend, by her teachers, by her sister and by her classmates. Then she was branded as Flawed

One of the last things Celestine North’s mom told her to do was run. Run from Bosco Crevan Celestine ran and hiding at her grandfather’s farm put his life in jeopardy and sent him to Highland Castle. So Celestine is on the run again.

She desperately wants to find Carrick, but instead, he finds her. He takes her to a “safe” place, but they both know that being safe and hidden is not what they want. But leaving safety is a tough decision when your face is plastered on every newscast and billboard as a dangerous criminal and there are whistleblowers looking for you everywhere. 

Perfect. A Propensity to Discuss review.

And then there is the issue of trust. The only people she knows with absolute certainty that she can trust are her mom, dad, and sister and she can’t risk her life or theirs to be near them. She is basically on her own, with Carrick by her side, even when small doubts about him trickle in. She has become the face of a very quiet, very hopeful revolution and it is not something she takes lightly. But the thought that she has no one to trust terrifies her, almost as much as Mary May and Bosco Craven do.

Cecilia Ahern has created a Perfect sequel to the unputdownable Flawed (click here for my review of Flawed) I received this book last night and finished it this afternoon. It was also really unputdownable for me. It was so good that I may go back and read both of them again, and I very rarely, if ever, re-read books. There are just too many others to get out there waiting. But this series, to me, is that great!

Flawed and Perfect are absolutely my favorite dystopian story ever. And I love dystopian novels and have read more than my fair share of them. These are not-to-be-missed books!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

The Female of the Species. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Female of the Species

I have a confession. You have probably noticed, but here goes. When I find an author that I like, I read everything they have written and will write in the future.

That said, having read and loved A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, I knew I would have to read her other books. So I just finished The Female of the Species and it did not disappoint.

It has been said that we all have our own demons to face and we can either fight or flee. For the main characters in this story, the demons seem to be close to winning. Close, but not quite victorious.

The Female of the Species. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Alex Craft’s demons rule her life. Her older sister, Anna had always been her protector. She protected Alex from the world and from their alcoholic mother. Alex’s mother saw only her absent father in Alex and poured on to her all the anger that she could not show to her AWOL husband. But Anna was murdered and Alex bears the burden of her death as an albatross around her neck. She talks to no one. She has no friends. She goes to school, comes home, eats, studies, reads, and sleeps and does it again the next day. She has a mere existence, not a life.

Jack’s demons lie in the poverty that his parents can not overcome. He loves them, knows they do everything they can to make life better, but there is just no getting ahead. So leaving this town by way of a college scholarship is the demon that dominates his need to be the best in athletics, in classes, in life. Branley, his best friend since childhood knows everything about him and even though other people come in and out of their lives, Branley is one of the constants in Jack’s life, even when he knows it isn’t for the best.

Peekay’s demons are in her nickname. She is a “PK” or Preacher’s Kid. Peekay has a strong faith but living up to being a PK in a very small town where everyone knows your business is extremely difficult. And when her long-time boyfriend Adam leaves her for Branley, she is back to just being Peekay, having lost the title of Adam’s girlfriend. Her biggest demon is that she doesn’t allow herself to be who she is, just who everyone else needs her to be.

The Female of the Species. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Dark and emotionally challenging with some brutality, but with a lesson in vengeance, forgiveness, and acceptance the story of Alex, Jack and Peekay’s battle against their demons is a book that everyone needs to read. Whatever your own demons, this book shows how cathartic it can be to rid yourself of your demons, even if the cost of doing so is beyond what you can imagine or think you can handle.

When you consider the extreme contrast in setting, characters, and plot between this book and A Madness so Discreet, it is impossible to compare one to the other and to ensure that if you like one of them that you will like the other. However, McGinnis’ writing is quite mesmerizing. “Every day the sun rises and the wind bottle empties and his sits there wondering where his life went wrong until it sets again.” Her writing is beautiful, even when the subject isn’t. This is absolutely an author I will continue to read.

 

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Check out all the books I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

https://propensitytodiscuss.wordpress.com/book-reviews-list/

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Miniaturist

Yes, I am a librarian/media specialist. And yes, I buy books for the media center all the time (you can read about that process in this post). And yes, I LOVE to read but very rarely do I have the time to read at work. I am usually helping students with computer issues, teaching kids and adults how to use computers to do exactly what they want (sounds strange for high school students and teachers to need that help, but you’d be surprised), helping students find the right book to read and a myriad of other tasks.

So if I ever take out a book during the day and take the time to stop and read, it is a REALLY good book and it has bewitched me, body and soul as Mr. Darcy so eloquently put it.  The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is one of those books. I could not get enough of it. I could not put it down. I read every spare minute. So what had my attention, you ask?

When Petronella “Nella” Oortman turns 18, her mother arranges for her to marry Johannes Brandt of Amsterdam, who is in his late 30s, to save their family after Nella’s father drank away most of their money and then died, leaving them nearly destitute. Nella met Johannes a couple of times before the marriage but basically knows very little about him.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When she arrives in Amsterdam, she is met at the house by his sister Marin, who in most aspects is the head of the house, Otto, a former slave from Surinam who was freed by Johannes and Cornelia, the maid. The fact that Marin takes the lead of the house is damaging to Nella’s already low self-esteem. Add to this a husband who is rarely home and does not interact with his wife when he is there and Nella cannot figure our where she belongs in this new life she is supposed to forge.

When Johannes presents her with a miniature replica of their home as a wedding gift, she is not only confused by the gift that she sees as a toy but also angry that he would think so little of her as to believe she would be interested in such an expensive waste of time and money.

However, when Marin gives her the name of a miniaturist in Amsterdam and money of her own to pay for the items, she decides to hire out pieces for the house. When she receives the items that she ordered, she also receives pieces that she did not order and that seem to mock her life and her situation. Nella, furious, sends word to the miniaturist not to send anything else.

But as Nella’s life becomes more complicated, the miniatures keep coming and seem to not just mock her life, but to foretell it. While terrified of what the miniaturist will send next and yet terrified that no more will arrive, Nella sets out to get her life, her marriage, and her house in order, just as the walls seem to be falling down around her.

Detailed and intriguing, this novel deposits you smack in the middle of a macabre world of 1860s Amsterdam where the citizens are encouraged or maybe somewhat commanded by the Church to spy on their neighbors and to turn them in for anything that the Church deems impure, even the “idol worship” of gingerbread men and dolls, not to mention the “wickedness” of money, though no Priest would ever turn down a quickly palmed bribe.

This beautiful work is a rich tapestry of history, intrigue, love, hatred and family and exactly to what lengths people will go to protect those they love and seek vengeance against those believed to have inflicted harm or wrongdoing against them.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Burton first saw the dollhouse owned by Petronella Oortman (above) which does actually exist in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and decided to tell a fictional story about its owner. And I am so very happy that she did.

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Check out all the books I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

The audio version of The Miniaturist read by Davina Porter is also available. 

A Madness So Discreet. A Propensity to Discuss review.

A Madness So Discreet

Perfectly sane, Grace Mae leaves behind the life of a wealthy socialite and enters a horror filled existence when she is banished to an insane asylum for a reason thoroughly out of her control. Feeling that she has nothing to live for and certainly nothing to offer, she closes herself and her voice off from those around her.

When she is pushed beyond the limit of what she can withstand, she strikes out and is sent to the dungeon where she meets someone who changes the course of her life forever. Enter a very forward-thinking doctor who uses the clues left behind at the scenes of murder victims to identify their killers. Grace, in her new-found life, the doctor believes, can help him.

From the first few pages of A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, I was completely mesmerized. I hated to put it down and when I had to, I could hardly wait to pick it up again. McGinnis did a remarkable job developing the characters for this story, as well as giving them social and moral dilemmas that show how they react to working for the right reasons, even if they may be morally or ethically questionable.

Add the rich history of the ethics, or lack thereof, in asylums in the late 1800s and you have a story that vividly brings to light what fate those with mental illnesses, those who were easily disposed of by their wealthy families, and those who were chronically ill had to face.  Throw in the beginnings of forensic science and several main characters that you come to know and love and you have one really great book on your hands.

This is an unputdownable, must read!

If you are interested in the audio version of A Madness so Discreet performed by Brittany Pressley, I do recommend this as well. I both listened and read because I did not want to be away from Grace for long periods of time!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products! 

 

 

Not a story I would advise you to visit.

Summit Lake (Charlie Donlea) is a very small, close-knit town of full-time and part-time residents and tourists. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows everyone else and no one’s business is safe from the local gossip mongers.

So when a part-time resident, Becca Eckersley is savagely murdered in her family’s cabin, the entire town is up in arms to find out who killed her and why.

Not a story I would advise you to visit. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When Kelsey Castle returns to work as a crime magazine reporter after a month-long recuperation from a brutal attack, her boss and mentor sends her to Summit Lake for more rest and relaxation and to write a story on the murder. Makes sense, right? She’s trying to get over being raped and beaten, so send her to investigate a case where someone was raped, beaten and died.

She arrives to find that Becca’s family is doing everything they can to cover up some secret, including shutting out the local sheriff and calling in the State Police. Kelsey sets up an appointment with the Sheriff who gives her all of the notes that he and his team have on the case. Just like that. She asks; he gives. That happens, right?

In the meantime, Kelsey meets Rae, the pseudo owner of the town coffee shop and they become instant friends and confidants. Kelsey even opens up to her about her own attack, which is something she wouldn’t even do with her therapist.

There is also Dr. Peter Ambrose, a surgeon in town who is ready to do anything at all, including Breaking and Entering to help this reporter he has only just met. Not to mention the fact that having been brutally attacked 6 weeks before she was willing to just go out and commit not one, but 2 B&Es with this man she has only met three times. How does that make sense?

In the end, of course, the reporter is able to break the case that neither the local nor the state police were able to even get any leads on. And it leaves you asking why the family would try to cover up the murder anyway. Wouldn’t they want to see their daughter’s killer brought to justice?

Sorry, this one just didn’t do it for me.

And if I may add another warning: Do NOT purchase the audio of this book! It is really bad. Shannon McManus has recorded quite a few books, but this one is an absolute mess. Her inflection is completely wrong. Her voice goes up at the end of most sentences, the way it should when asking a question. She has no grasp of cadence in moving from one sentence to another. Thank goodness I only paid $2.95 for it! If I had paid more, I would be sick over it.

1 Star. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all.