Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Published: July 17, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis:

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

Review: This is one of those books that as soon as you read the synopsis, you know exactly what book this is. You will have an evil child that is trying to kill her mother. You will have a useless father who lets it go on. And it will end in a violent mess. You know it, I know it and we read to see how depraved it can get.

WARNING: Potential mild spoilers. Nothing directly plot related, but some character descriptions might give you some hints.

This book was a mixture of both good and bad. That narrative was quite engaging. I found that the pages seemed to fly through my fingers and I was very entertained by the story. But, I didn’t actually like anyone in this book and only felt sympathy for Hanna. Suzette was annoying and frankly, I never got the sense that she actually loved Hanna at all. This was confirmed for me at the end, she loved the idea of having a child but when her child ended up troubled then she disconnected entirely. Alex was the most useless excuse for a spouse or father that I’ve ever seen. Not only did he completely cater to his child’s every whim but he blatantly refused to believe from ANYONE that his child was exhibiting troubling behavior. Not his wife, not the school, not the therapist. If my husband blatantly refused to believe me when I commented on our child’s behavior while he was gone, I wouldn’t stick around for long.

I felt really bad for Hanna in the end. Her troubles weren’t her fault. They weren’t even anything she was aware of for the most part. And since she’d spent her entire life being pampered and told how perfect she is then no wonder she indulged her violent whims. I also don’t understand how her parents weren’t more troubled by the fact that she refused to speak at 7 years old? They determined long before then that it wasn’t a medical problem, which leaves a psychological one. Why was this child not seeing a child therapist to deal with the reasons she was choosing not to speak? Why were her parents content to just let her behavior spiral out of control without intervention? It was really frustrating and broke my heart for Hanna.

The ending was not quite the blood bath I had been expecting based on how the novel was proceeding. I also felt like it wasn’t much of a resolution. We leave the characters almost exactly where we started with them. It felt a little bit pointless. I liked the plot and enjoyed myself all the way through but only to be left without any concrete resolution. But maybe that was the point. That this situation is not fixable and eventually there’s the likelihood that the whole cycle will repeat itself. I would definitely read more by this author, even though I wasn’t crazy about this book. I do like the way she writes.

New Releases Wednesday

Dare to Speak by Suzanne Nossel

Published: July 28th, 2020 by Harper Collins

Goodreads

Synopsis: A vital, necessary playbook for navigating and defending free speech today by the CEO of PEN America, Dare To Speak provides a pathway for promoting free expression while also cultivating a more inclusive public culture.

Online trolls and fascist chat groups. Controversies over campus lectures. Cancel culture versus censorship. The daily hazards and debates surrounding free speech dominate headlines and fuel social media storms. In an era where one tweet can launch–or end–your career, and where free speech is often invoked as a principle but rarely understood, learning to maneuver the fast-changing, treacherous landscape of public discourse has never been more urgent.

In Dare To Speak, Suzanne Nossel, a leading voice in support of free expression, delivers a vital, necessary guide to maintaining democratic debate that is open, free-wheeling but at the same time respectful of the rich diversity of backgrounds and opinions in a changing country. Centered on practical principles, Nossel’s primer equips readers with the tools needed to speak one’s mind in today’s diverse, digitized, and highly-divided society without resorting to curbs on free expression.

At a time when free speech is often pitted against other progressive axioms–namely diversity and equality–Dare To Speak presents a clear-eyed argument that the drive to create a more inclusive society need not, and must not, compromise robust protections for free speech. Nossel provides concrete guidance on how to reconcile these two sets of core values within universities, on social media, and in daily life. She advises readers how to:

Use language conscientiously without self-censoring ideas;Defend the right to express unpopular views; And protest without silencing speech.Nossel warns against the increasingly fashionable embrace of expanded government and corporate controls over speech, warning that such strictures can reinforce the marginalization of lesser-heard voices. She argues that creating an open market of ideas demands aggressive steps to remedy exclusion and ensure equal participation.

Replete with insightful arguments, colorful examples, and salient advice, Dare To Speak brings much-needed clarity and guidance to this pressing–and often misunderstood–debate.

My Thoughts: Anyone who knows me in person knows that I am an absolute Libertarian on almost everything, including speech. I am an absolutist when it comes to free speech. In my neighborhood I am that weirdo person advocating for why hate speech should be allowed, why I should be able to have a grenade launcher, legalizing all drugs, and legalizing prostitution too. Yep, that’s me. So I am interested in this “guidebook” to free speech.

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

Published: July 28, 2020 by St Martin’s Press

Goodreads

Synopsis: Tabitha Girard had her heart broken years ago by Connor Ford. He was preppy and handsome. She was a pool girl at his country club. Their affair should have been a summer fling. But it meant everything to Tabitha.

Years later, Connor comes back into Tabitha’s life—older, richer, and desperately unhappy. He married for money, a wealthy, neurotic, controlling woman whom he never loved. He has always loved Tabitha.

When Connor’s wife Nina takes her own life, he’s free. He can finally be with Tabitha. Nina’s home, Windswept, can be theirs. It seems to be a perfect ending to a fairy tale romance that began so many years ago. But then, Tabitha finds a diary. “I’m writing this to raise an alarm in the event of my untimely death,” it begins. “If I die unexpectedly, it was foul play, and Connor was behind it. Connor—and her.”

Who is Connor Ford? Why did he marry Nina? Is Tabitha his true love, or a convenient affair? As the police investigate Nina’s death, is she a convenient suspect?

As Tabitha is drawn deeper into the dark glamour of a life she is ill-prepared for, it becomes clear to her that what a wife knows can kill her. 

My Thoughts: I know what you’re thinking. “Stefani, it’s another of those lackluster domestic thrillers with a great cover, how many of those have to disappoint before you don’t pick it up!?” I know. Really I do. And you’re right. But I am addicted. I cannot say no.

Audiobook Review: His & Hers by Alice Feeney

His & Hers by Alice Fenney

Published: July 28, 2020 by Macmillan Audio

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.

Anna Andrews finally has what she wants. Almost. She’s worked hard to become the main TV presenter of the BBC’s lunchtime news, putting work before friends, family, and her now ex-husband. So, when someone threatens to take her dream job away, she’ll do almost anything to keep it.

When asked to cover a murder in Blackdown–the sleepy countryside village where she grew up–Anna is reluctant to go. But when the victim turns out to be one of her childhood friends, she can’t leave. It soon becomes clear that Anna isn’t just covering the story, she’s at the heart of it.

DCI Jack Harper left London for a reason, but never thought he’d end up working in a place like Blackdown. When the body of a young woman is discovered, Jack decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim, until he begins to realise he is a suspect in his own murder investigation.

One of them knows more than they are letting on. Someone isn’t telling the truth. Alternating between Anna’s and Jack’s points of view, His & Hers is a fast-paced, complex, and dark puzzle that will keep listeners guessing until the very end.

Review: ***I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio!!***

This audiobook was just another in a long line of underwhelming thrillers for me this year. It had a lot of promise but it was just never realized. At least the audio of it was well done otherwise I probably would have stopped halfway through.

Both narrators did a wonderful job. I thoroughly enjoyed their reading and felt that they did the book as much justice as they could. I have no problem with anything related to the audio. The problem this book had was a plot problem and a disappointing twist.

So the synopsis lays out that Jack becomes a suspect in his own investigation. Unfortunately for everyone that didn’t actually happen until about 80% of the way through. Anna was also supposed to be a suspect, but that comes up very late in the story too. The lead up to the finale was alright. There was nothing earth shattering about it but nothing overtly bad either. I found the characters lack luster and I had a hard time connecting with any of them.

The ending of this book is where the wheels really fall off. The entire last two hours of the audiobook were an equivalent of a ping pong match. Ten minutes on giving us reason to suspect Jack, then explaining that and giving us reason to suspect Ann, then switching to Priya, then switching to Kathleen, then back to Jack, then back to Priya. And then at the end it’s a whole chapter of the killer breaking the 4th wall to explain to us (the readers) who they are and why they did it. It didn’t work for me. It was such a bizarre explanation that I just kind of sat there listening to it with a very puzzled expression before exclaiming “WTF, that doesn’t even make sense!”

Review: What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

Published: May 15, 2020 by Thomas & Mercer

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Rating:

Synopsis: Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

Review: ***Disclaimer*** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer!!***

I could not get enough of this book. It was similar to seeing a horrifying car crash on the side of the highway. You know that you don’t want to look. You don’t want to see the potentially mangled bodies or the severed head rolling down the shoulder. But you have to be sure that those things aren’t there too. You have to keep looking.

That comparison got rather dark, not nearly as dark as this book though. But this book in a less gruesome way. This was a psychological kind of dark. And just about every page had me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what secrets I would discover next.

This is a story of a mother and daughter. Both of them have secrets. Both of them have a boatload of resentment and anger. And the two of them are trapped in a house together, punishing each other for their respective secrets and past history.

I really loved this book. I can’t really say too much more about it without giving anything away. This book is deep and layered. The title has layers and nuances. The layers have layers. Just read it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Review: Catherine House by Elizabeth Thomas

Catherine House by Elizabeth Thomas

Published: May 12, 2020 by Custom House

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense — the debut of a spectacular new voice — about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

Review: This is another book that I was so torn about that I had no idea how to rate or review it. I found that I really loved the story but I can certainly see its flaws. I have seen five star reviews and one star reviews and frankly I agree with the points of both of them, so that means that I feel a three star rating is probably the most accurate.

Ines was a good narrator for this book, to an extent. Her rebellious nature made her a good conduit to see through some of the mystery shrouding the school. But it also meant that she was erratic as a narrator. Occasionally she would be trying to pry open mysteries and then the rest of the time she was getting blackout drunk and having random sex with people she couldn’t remember in the morning.

I found the school, and the mystery surrounding it, very interesting as well. The staff of the school. The students. And the journey of those students from their first year to their third year. That was all fantastic and drew me into the story.

The ending was okay. I saw it coming a mile off but it was well written and so I didn’t mind too much. But it wasn’t great either. What sold me on it was the last few lines of the book. It threw me for a loop with the possibilities that would never be realized. Had everything gone according to plan? Was the gig up? What was going to happen when that door opened? I’ll never know! That expectation sold me on the ending entirely.

At the end I was left with a book that I thoroughly enjoyed but I recognize all the reasons I should not have liked it. It’s a conundrum. I just can’t deny that I enjoyed it immensely.

Take My Money! Sunday

After a few weeks break, we are back! I had to search a bit through the covers I’ve seen recently for this one. Being sick took me out of the loop for upcoming releases.

A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson

Expected publication: September 15, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: While studying wolverines on a wildlife sanctuary in Montana, biologist Alex Carter is run off the road and threatened by locals determined to force her off the land.

Undeterred in her mission to help save this threatened species, Alex tracks wolverines on foot and by cameras positioned in remote regions of the preserve. But when she reviews the photos, she discovers disturbing images of an animal of a different kind: a severely injured man seemingly lost and wandering in the wilds.

After searches for the unknown man come up empty, local law enforcement is strangely set on dismissing the case altogether, raising Alex’s suspicions. Then another invasive predator trespasses onto the preserve. The hunter turns out to be another human—and the prey is the wildlife biologist herself. Alex realizes too late that she has seen too much—she’s stumbled onto a far-reaching illegal operation and now has become the biggest threat.

In this wild and dangerous landscape, Alex’s life depends on staying one step ahead—using all she knows about the animal world and what it takes to win the brutal battle for survival.

Why I’m Excited: This is the beginning of a new series, a mystery series that focuses on a wildlife biologist. That idea really interests me. Once upon a time I wanted to be a biologist of some sort when I grew up, so these kinds of stories always capture my attention.

Fable by Adrienne Young

Expected publication: September 1, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Why I’m Excited: As much as I should say no to young adult fantasies that sound as good as this, I never can. I keep hoping that the period of crappy young adult fiction will be over. Maybe this one will be the one. Because it sounds great! This one is also the first in a new series.

Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Published: June 2, 2020 by William Morrow

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Review: This book was one of my most anticipated of the summer. The synopsis is great, the cover is intriguing, and the narrators for the audiobook were great. In the end, it was okay.

I really enjoyed the lead up to the climax of the story. Everyone had an interesting tale and some secrets to hide. Mostly they were not good secrets. They were pretty mundane except for one person. By the time we got to anything interesting we were already in the midst of the climax of the story. But I didn’t really mind because when you think about life most secrets are horrifying for the person keeping it and mundane for most other people.

It was fairly obvious that the author was going for an Agatha Christie vibe with the ending but unfortunately I think she picked the wrong Christie to emulate. By the time we find out who got killed, who killed them and why it just seemed a bit ridiculous. It was very convoluted and an innocent person ended up going to prison. I didn’t like that and it brought the book down for me. I know precisely the Christie ending that the author should have gone for, but I won’t tell. It would give away too much about the story.

Review: Hunted by Darcy Coates

Hunted by Darcy Coates

Published: May 1, 2020 by Poisoned Pen Press

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: She only went off the trail for a moment…

22-year-old Eileen goes missing while hiking in the remote Ashlough Forest. Five days later, her camera is discovered washed downriver, containing bizarre photos taken after her disappearance.

Chris wants to believe Eileen is still alive. When the police search is abandoned, he and four of his friends create their own search party to scour the mountain range. As they stray further from the hiking trails and the unsettling discoveries mount, they begin to believe they’re not alone in the forest… and that Eileen’s disappearance wasn’t an accident.

By that point, it’s too late to escape. 

Review: ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press!!

This book scared the daylights out of me at a few points. I really need to stop reading at night with only a bedside light on and when everyone else in my house is asleep. I wasn’t expecting this book to get to me but it did. The author had a really interesting way of making you feel as alone and isolated as the lost characters. So it wasn’t really a horror book but it was certainly frightening.

I went back and forth in my head through the entire book, is it a monstrous creature or a person? Serial killer or Bigfoot? Demon or cult? I found evidence for any of these possibilities all along the way. It was such a thrilling ride. And frankly, I think I would have been happy with any outcome. To me, this tells me it is a very well put together story.

My only complaint is that I felt the characters were a bit one dimensional at first. Though they did create some depth and layers to them as the story went on, so this didn’t actually impact the story too much. Chris was wonderful and ultimately I found him to be the most complex and compelling character out of the whole book.

I also appreciate an author who can make me honestly believe that they might kill off any of their characters at any moment. Lots of author can’t do that and I always seem to be able to point out “well, this guy can’t die or the whole book is over.” This book was not like that at all. At any point anyone could have been killed and the story would have carried on without them. In the end not all of them make it. I recommend this book highly. I’ve been disappointed by thrillers lately but this was a fun ride.

Review: The Apartment by K.L. Slater

The Apartment by K.L. Slater

Published: April 28, 2020 by Thomas & Mercer

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: It’s an opportunity she can’t refuse. The woman before her tried…

Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye. Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a shockingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

Adder House sounds too good to be true… But Freya really can’t afford to be cynical, and Dr Marsden is adamant she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents.

But Adder House has secrets. Even behind a locked front door, Freya feels as if she’s being watched: objects moving, unfamiliar smells, the blinking light of a concealed camera… and it’s not long before she begins to suspect that her dream home is hiding a nightmarish reality. Was it really chance that led her here—or something unthinkably dark?

As the truth about Adder House starts to unravel, can Freya and Skye get out—or will they be locked in forever?

Review: ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer!***

I am horribly behind on my NetGalley and author requests, so I am on a mission to get caught up before the end of summer. So expect to see my disclaimer a lot in the next few months.

But on to The Apartment. This was a pretty average thriller, as they go. I can’t say it was great. Neither can I say it was bad. It kept my attention and it was entertaining. I ended up staying up late into the night again because I wanted to see how it ended. I already had a good idea of how it was going to end, but I was interested enough to want to see it through.

The premise of this book is a good one. The offer that’s “too good to be true” is a common theme in thrillers. Naturally it gives all readers those “don’t go into the basement, you idiot!!” kind of vibes. I am okay with that. I don’t mind feeling like a character is making an obviously stupid decision. It wouldn’t be very thrilling if they didn’t, right?

Freya is one of those characters. From the beginning I was screaming at her not to move into that house. I didn’t need anything suspicious to happen, it’s a thriller so I know it’s going to go badly. I do feel that she didn’t entirely respond the way a normal person would early on. That can be problematic because it pulls me out of the story. For example, when your new landlord takes it upon themselves to enroll your child into school. You don’t just be internally mad for a minute and then go to lunch. That’s the reaction of a not-normal person. Eventually though Freya pulled it together and was rightly angry and suspicious.

I felt like more time needed to be spent on this book. The ending was a really good one. Predictable, but good. And it was executed really well. But it stretched reality a little too much for me. All of this took place in less than a week. In order to accomplish what the villain was supposedly trying to accomplish there needed to be much more time invested. Unless Freya was unstable to begin with. But the author took great pains to tell me that she was a strong, capable woman. She dealt with a lot in her life and bounced back. So this needed more time to make me believe that she would lose it that way.

Overall I enjoyed it and it was a pretty good thriller. I wish it was longer and a bit more developed though.

Reading Progress Updates

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

Goodreads

Progress: Page 25 of 379

Synopsis: Sharks in the Time of Saviors is the story of a family, a people, and a legend, all wrapped in one. Faith and grief, rage and love, this book pulses with all of it. Kawai Strong Washburn makes his debut with a wealth of talent and a true artist’s eye.” –Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.

Nainoa’s family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods–a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family’s legacy.

When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai’i–with tragic consequences–they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.

Thoughts so Far: I am not sure what I think of this book so far. I keep putting it down and forgetting to pick it up again. That’s not really a good sign. Then I do pick it up and enjoy what I read. So I’m not sure what the problem is.

The Apartment by K.L. Slater

Goodreads

Progress: Page 126 of 270

Synopsis: It’s an opportunity she can’t refuse. The woman before her tried…

Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye. Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a shockingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

Adder House sounds too good to be true… But Freya really can’t afford to be cynical, and Dr Marsden is adamant she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents.

But Adder House has secrets. Even behind a locked front door, Freya feels as if she’s being watched: objects moving, unfamiliar smells, the blinking light of a concealed camera… and it’s not long before she begins to suspect that her dream home is hiding a nightmarish reality. Was it really chance that led her here—or something unthinkably dark?

As the truth about Adder House starts to unravel, can Freya and Skye get out—or will they be locked in forever?

Thoughts so Far: I am enjoying this book, but so far not much has happened. Freya is just barely having misgivings about the “too good to be true” apartment. I would have been having misgivings much sooner, so she’s a bit stupid. But it’s keeping my attention.