Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
Pub. Date: July 7, 2015
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s!!)
Summary: Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Adult
Recommended for: Readers who are looking to be thoroughly ensnared in a story, newcomers to Chevy’s work

I’ll try my best to avoid spoilers, but there’s one in particular that needs to be mentioned in order to talk about the book, so heads up!

You might remember my pretty lackluster introduction to Chevy Stevens. I had an issue with the audiobook’s narrator and that – combined with a disappointing execution of what sounded to be an interesting premise – ultimately led to a less-than-stellar first go. Although That Night is an older title and one I had grabbed from my library, the publicist extraordinaire reached out to me and before I begin gushing over how great she is, I’ll just cut to the chase and say that we chatted about the book and she mentioned Chevy’s newest was much better.

Fast forward to about a month later. Much to my surprise, I received a copy of Those Girls. This led to me musing over giving authors second chances and before I knew it, I bypassed all the other books I had in favor of Those Girls. And you know what? I’m SO glad I gave Chevy another shot.

Summer, 1997. The three Campbell sisters (Dani, Courtney, and Jess) are working on a ranch, trying to create some semblance of normalcy while their father is away on the road. Late rent and rats are just a matter of life and since their mother passed, their father has been drowning in alcohol. Drunk and abusive, one night he goes too far and the girls know they need to leave now.

Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse. When their truck breaks down outside town, they consider themselves lucky when two cute boys pull over to help. Little did they know that moment would haunt them for the rest of their lives. You see, Brian and Gavin aren’t the good ol’ boys you hear about in country songs. No, these are Class A psychopaths and waste no time in taking the girls to a secluded warehouse where they’re handcuffed and brutally raped every night. NOT JOKING HERE – the rape scenes are especially graphic and violence reigns throughout this book. Sensitive readers, take note.

Eventually the girls are able to escape and, with the help of a tavern owner and his son, they’re soon on a bus where they’ll start life over again, new names and all. SPOILER Not long after they escape, Jess, the youngest sister at 15, discovers she’s pregnant and my goodness, my heart sank. The pregnancy needed to be mentioned because the second half of the story introduces Skylar, Jess’s daughter. END SPOILER.

Now in their thirties, Dallas, Crystal, and Jamie, have been able to carve out a pretty decent life though their past is constantly threatening to surface. One night, depressed and high, Crystal simply vanishes and it’s Skylar who goes to the apartment, sees the computer searches, and sets off for Cash Creek.

Those Girls surpassed all expectations and I’m thrilled I didn’t write off Stevens after one book. She’s clearly at the top of her game here and I was riveted. I want to go on and on about the story, but I also don’t want to give it all away – this book reads like a movie and the breakneck pace only added to it. So many times I wanted to reach into the book and grab these characters; I wanted to hug the girls, I wanted to do horrible things to Brian and Gavin, I wanted to shake the sheriff and scream ‘You’re so close GO IN THE HOUSE!!‘ Though the climax was a little sitcom-y, it went right along with the whole movie feel and if this was aired on Lifetime in the middle of the afternoon on the weekend, I would be all over it. Those Girls is an excellent rebound from my first attempt at Chevy’s work and a perfect thriller for a rainy day.

weekly wrap-up 7/5

Did you have a wonderful holiday?? (non-US friends, how was your weekend?) I’m probably 95% hot dog at this point. #noregrets

There was a cookout at my mom’s, a cookout at my dad’s, and a bunch of goats. That’s basically my weekend. Being trampled by goats.

WON
Black Glass by Karen Joy Fowler
Lately I’ve been all about short story collections and Ms. Fowler comes HIGHLY recommended by several friends, so yay for me! I own one of her more popular novels, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and it’s this one that friends have read and loved, so if all goes well with Black Glass I’ll be bumping it up a few spots on my To Read list! Thank you, Putnam!!

FOR REVIEW
Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
A YA thriller blurbed by Roxanne Gay and compared to Gillian Flynn. I’M INTRIGUED. All I’m getting from the summary is that a girl has to start over with a new identity, new city, the whole works…and someone from her past finds her. Okay, so there’s not a whole lot to go on, but this one seems to be getting some pretty high praise already and I’m really into YA thrillers at the moment, so I’m excited to see how this goes! Thank you, Random House for Young Readers!!

The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

Kate Darling’s enigmatic mother–a once-famous ballerina–has passed away, leaving Kate bereft. When her grandmother falls ill and bequeaths to Kate a small portrait of a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Kate’s mother, Kate uncovers a mystery that may upend everything she thought she knew.

Yes, yes, and yes. From there the novel jumps to the 1920s, through London and Paris, and I’m already starry-eyed! Thank you, Back Bay Books/Little, Brown!!

Have you read any of these? What do you think about short stories? Rec me some YA thrillers! What books did YOU get this week?

In Case You Missed It
Andi Teran’s Ana of California was good, but I felt it would have been fully capable of standing on its own, rather than piggybacking off Anne of Green Gables. This was a hard one to rate – as a retelling I wasn’t happy, but as its own separate story, I enjoyed it! This post featured a giveaway for Ana as well as a gorgeous hardback copy of Anne of Green Gables and now it’s time to announce the winner:

ERIN

June recap

I compiled a list of my top reads of 2015 (part one!) There’s a mix of just about everything here: non-fic, contemporary, horror, historical fiction, mystery. Looking back, I’m thrilled my favorites come from a variety of genres!

I devoured the first two books in Hannah Reed’s Scottish Highlands mystery series. What’s a dead body or two when you’re surrounded by Scottish men in kilts?

Scottish Highlands series by Hannah Reed


Off Kilter | Hooked on Ewe
October 7, 2014 | July 7, 2015 (Thank you, Berkley!!)

While other genres come and go, one that has always stuck with me is the cozy mystery. Fun and light-hearted (with terrifically punny titles!) these mysteries are a great way to spend a lazy weekend, a trip to the beach, a rainy afternoon. Basically, cozies are perfect for every season, suitable in every weather. Hannah Reed first appeared on my radar with her Queen Bee series (for those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve been taking beekeeping classes) but it wasn’t until I came across her Scottish Highlands novels that I decided to discover what Ms. Reed is all about.

Eden Elliott isn’t exactly in the best mindset. Newly-divorced and still grieving over the death of her mother, Eden’s struggling to move on, so when her bestie, bestselling author Ami Pederson, surprises her with a ticket bound for Scotland, she naturally balks at the idea. She couldn’t possibly leave Chicago now! It takes some urging on Ami’s part, but Eden eventually agrees to take this trip – not necessarily for the entire six months her visa allows, but enough to get a fresh start and hopefully work on her own novel.

What Eden hadn’t counted on, however, is to be utterly charmed by the gorgeous countryside, the enchanting village of Glenkillen, and the locals (one in particular..) What she also hadn’t expected is to start this trip with a dead body. Suddenly all thoughts of romance novels are put on hold and Eden finds herself digging deeper and deeper into solving the crime.

Once loose ends are tied and the killer has confessed, it seems Glenkillen is back to being its usual sleepy self. Until, just a few months later, another body is found (Eden has the worst luck!) and, once more, Eden finds herself in the middle of the investigation – this time in an official capacity. She’s been taken on as a Special Constable, a volunteer, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of the case, even if it means putting her second novel, Hooked on You, on the back burner.

These books are so much fun! Although I initially had issues with the Scottish accent being written phonetically, I realized it didn’t take long for me to get past the constant use of tae, nae, and aboot and, to be honest, after a while I no longer thought about it – though some unfamiliar terms and slang caught me off guard!

Off Kilter sets the series up very nicely, introducing the reader to this village and its inhabitants and Hooked on Ewe (I love how it’s a play on the title of Eden’s own novel, Hooked on You) jumps right back into things with a short recap to catch readers up to speed. Because I read these two novels relatively close together, there wasn’t much I had forgotten about or enough time for me to miss any of the characters, but I was thrilled to see my favorites were back once more in the sequel.

Hooked on Ewe introduces several new characters as well as a new murder to investigate and although I still enjoyed it (especially since it took me a while to figure out Who Did It) I noticed a distinct imbalance of time (or, rather, pages and scenes) devoted to the other aspects of this series, namely Eden’s novels and potential romance with Leith. Any reference to her work is largely mentioned in passing (for example, she talks about a table at the local pub where she goes to write) and a possible romance was, once more, merely hinted at. I thought for sure Off Kilter was setting the scene for Eden’s romance to come around in Hooked on Ewe, but still nothing. Talk about a slow burn!

Between the fantastic setting, fun characters, and quick pace, I relished in these two novels and look forward to the third! Fans of quirky charm and mysteries that aren’t focused on gore will be right at home here and I’d definitely recommend Reed’s Scottish Highland series to cozy lovers!

Leah’s top reads of 2015 (part one)

Here we are, another six months down, another six months of discovering new books. As always, I’ll be splitting this into two parts: my favorites from January – June, then in December I’ll select my favorites from the second half of the year. If you’re curious about my top reads from previous years, you can head over here: 2014 pt. 1, 2014 pt. 2, 2013 pt. 1, 2013 pt. 2.

2015 RELEASES

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis
Brooke’s beautiful, bittersweet novel was actually written for her PhD on grief after receiving news that her mother unexpectedly passed away while Brooke was backpacking overseas. A little girl abandoned by her mother, a man escaped from a nursing home, a widowed woman who lives by her routine. While Lost & Found broke my heart, it’s also a novel bursting with quirky characters and a charming joy that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. This is a quiet novel, far quieter than several others on this list, but it’s one that struck me the hardest.

In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
Three teens from different corners of the country have all ended up at their respective theater to see the same movie. Over the next few decades, the book follows these characters as they grow, fall in love, fall out of love, and find out who they really are. I was completely on board throughout the whole novel, but there’s one particular scene that made me open my eyes and see just how much thought Shari put into these characters and the tiniest of details.

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman
I had wanted to include Seraphina as well since I loved that one so much I read these back-to-back (something I NEVER do) but in the end I chose the sequel. This isn’t just a dragon book. There’s an incredibly intricate world that Hartman built, full of philosophy, religion, music, folklore. There’s politics and war, a gorgeous (and terrifying) dream world, and some of the best characters I’ve come across. Even if you’re not necessarily a dragon fan, I still urge you to read this one – there’s SO much to discover in these books and I’ve pushed this series on multiple friends (and even complete strangers) only to receive amazing feedback!

Dead Wake by Erik Larson
This is one I didn’t review, but it’s one that hit me the hardest and a candidate for favorite book of the year! Erik Larson is a master at what he does, so easily weaving together plots and threads that you would have never imagined would be connected. He’s a genius and I will never tire of singing his praises. Dead Wake is about the sinking of the Lusitania but it’s also about Woodrow Wilson’s second chance at love, a German fleet of u-boats, a British intelligence agency, one of the first female architects, an antiquarian bookseller…I could honestly go on and on. I have sung this book’s praises to numerous people and will continue to do so. I listened to this on audio (Scott Brick makes me heart skip a beat ♥) and purposefully paused during the final fifteen minutes because I wasn’t ready to finish just yet. When I did I couldn’t stop thinking about this incredible story and these fantastic people and THAT is the mark of an excellent writer.

The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
If you know me you know Civil War-era fiction is my jam and The Mapmaker’s Children hit all the right buttons. Dividing its pages between the present day and the 1860s, the story focuses on John Brown’s family and a modern-day woman who discovers an old (and, okay, slightly creepy) doll’s head in her house. From there the story weaves together beautifully and I’m surprised I haven’t come across more novels dealing with the Underground Railroad. There’s also a recipe included for organic dog treats which I think is such a fun bonus.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
The thriller to read this summer! In an attempt to rid herself of her past, Ani has all but taken on a new identity, happily living her glamorous life with a great job and fabulous fiance…until the day her past finally catches up to her. There were multiple twists I wasn’t expecting and, be warned, Knoll isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with these characters.

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy
Historical Southern fiction, need I say more? Seriously, though, Let Me Die is a haunting tale of a long-running feud between two families. Spanning from the 1930s to the 1950s, this story is slow to give up its secrets – it makes you work for them – but when you finally learn what’s happening, my oh my. Characters I initially loved I grew to hate, and characters I couldn’t stand completely redeemed themselves. I haven’t seen much buzz for this book, but it’s one of the best I’ve read this year.

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Oh Trish. Oh my word, TRISH. You know I’m not huge on YA, so I was taking a big gamble when grabbing this one and boy did it pay off. I ended up with such a huge book hangover after finishing that I’ve started seeking out other YA novels! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME. I’m not sure, but I’m enjoying it! Don’t be surprised if you see me wax poetic about her backlist soon!

PRE-2015 RELEASES

Revival by Stephen King
If you want to know why King is still topping the charts all these decades later, look no further than Revival. It’s a monster of a book and I completely tore through it, devouring it at a breakneck pace. While I didn’t lose any sleep over this one, I came to realize that King is so much more than a Horror novelist. There’s a wealth of drama here, sci-fi elements, religion even! Revival‘s roots run deep and the more you read, the further you’re sucked in. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this one as a starting point for newcomers to King’s work.

The Tiger by John Vaillant
This one came to me by way of a VERY happy accident and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Months later I’m still thinking about it and recommending it any chance I get. What first seems to be a tale about a hunt for a killer tiger turns out to be an incredibly researched, expertly written history of the land and people of the region. There are anthropological studies, thriller elements, a mystery worthy of a true crime novel (where the tiger is the villain!) and psychology to boot. I learned far more than I had thought I would and it’s The Tiger that really set the tone for much of my reading this year. Before I was even finished reading John Vaillant was added to my auto-buy list.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My very first Moriarty! I’m already a big fan of her sister’s work, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I (finally) discovered Liane. I couldn’t tell you how many friends and coworkers have recommended her books and now I see why. To say Big Little Lies is a novel about a group of Australian moms couldn’t be more off the mark. There’s a mystery at its core – a murder, and a wealth of character development and exploration. (also, the audio is absolutely fantastic!)

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix
I’m shocked it’s taken me so long to read this classic. It came out when I was the perfect age for it, but somehow became lost in the mix. Determined to make up for it, I grabbed the audiobook only to discover TIM CURRY was the narrator. That alone bumped Sabriel up a few stars, but really, the world and storytelling were excellent even without Tim doing the narration. I was completely enchanted with this world, the magic system, and the characters (particularly Mogget) and am itching to jump back into this series!

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
Yet another I never ‘officially’ reviewed, but one of the best I’ve read this year and I purposefully held off on posting this list until I was finished with this book just so I could add it. Like Larson, Millard weaves together an entire ensemble of characters and stories and she does so flawlessly. The assassination of President Garfield, Alexander Graham Bell, the medical community and thought in the 1800s, Charles J. Guiteau. It all came together effortlessly and I fell so hard for this book that I started making excuses to read it (these excuses amounted to more exercise and household chores, so I guess it was a win-win..) The true testament to an author’s skill – in regards to non-fic – is when you already know the outcome (in this case the fact that Garfield eventually dies from his wound and the subsequent infections/botched surgeries) but you’re so caught up in the story that you’re holding out hope that history will have changed. I was devastated when certain events finally happened and shocked that I was so effected! Bravo, Ms. Millard. Destiny of the Republic is, hands down, a favorite book of the year and I’m looking forward to her other work.

looking back on June.


hill-top view from one of my runs. ♥

Is it just me or did June fly by? I suppose it helped that I’ve been on vacation half the month and that it’s been raining/storming for weeks. Matt hates it, but I love me some thunderstorms! The fact that I’m able to sit in my pjs all day and enjoy them is even better!

I feel like June was a pretty bleh month as far as reading goes – particularly after reading some pretty fantastic books in May (some will show up on my Top Reads of 2015 list tomorrow!)

AWESOME THINGS I DID IN JUNE

REVIEWS
Lori Roy’s Let Me Die in His Footsteps is Southern Gothic at its best. A haunting tale of a two-decade feud between two families, this one stretches between the 1930s to the ’50s and features the barest of whispers of something otherworldly. This book is a TOP READ of 2015 and one I’ve been recommending to everyone!

Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen is an easy, breezy summer read. It’s a modern take on The Enchanted April and while I enjoyed this one, it wasn’t nearly as wonderful as the original and readers of April might actually be a bit disappointed with the contemporary take. I’m all for retellings but there were entire conversations basically copied and pasted from the original novel.

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell was a novel I had completely forgotten about until making this post…which is sad because I only read it two weeks ago. A man’s third wife is struck and killed by a bus one night and now he’s determined to find out what happened. Was it really just a random tragedy? Was Maya suicidal? Was she pushed? While I was certainly intrigued (especially once a strange and mysterious woman showed up – who was she??) the sitcom ending left me very disappointed. Massive spoilers in this review.

The Rules is SO over the top and insane that I’m craughing at how it took two people (Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie) to create. Under normal circumstances there’s no way I would touch this one, but it’s summer and I wanted something light and fluffy. It’s pitched as I Know What You Did Last Summer-meets-Saw and it’s definitely a B-movie/slasher flick in book form. There’s really no plot whatsoever, just a bunch of teens in the woods and they’re being offed one by one. There’s a budding rock band, teachers impregnating students, severed limbs, and a mountain lion.

I had such high hopes for Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies and it turned out to be one of the biggest letdowns this year. A world-renowned bestselling novelist has made his fortune by taking credit for the books his wife wrote. There’s an affair with his editor and multiple murders – whenever Henry gets bored with a woman his way of getting out of the relationship is to murder her. Spoiler warning for this one as well – I couldn’t help but get my frustrations out.

If you’re a fan of short stories or are curious about Rebecca Makkai, look no further than Music for Wartime. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the book as a whole, select stories really stood out for me and completely made the collection.

Trish Doller army, you’ve gained a new recruit! I devoured The Devil You Know and had a huge book hangover when I was finished. It actually led me to check out other YA novels/authors and if you know me, you know how big of a deal that is! Seriously, this was an excellent book and I’m eagerly looking forward to diving into her backlist.

I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of retellings and modernizations lately. Andi Teran’s Ana of California is a contemporary take on Anne of Green Gables and that alone sold me. While I enjoyed this book, I had some issues with it as a retelling. I think it would work far better as its own separate entity instead of a new take on Anne. I’ve got a giveaway going on for this one that’ll run through the end of this week!

FEATURES
weekly wrap-up 6/7
weekly wrap-up 6/14
weekly wrap-up 6/21
weekly wrap-up 6/28

History 101: Agatha Christie’s 11-day Disappearance

MISC
May recap.
Do you give authors second chances?

Ana of California by Andi Teran + GIVEAWAY!

Ana of California by Andi Teran
Pub. Date: June 30, 2015
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, Penguin!!)
Summary: Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.

When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.
Genre: Coming-of-Age, Retelling, YA (???)
Recommended for: Readers curious about a modern take of Anne of Green Gables, fans of the underdog

When I first heard about an Anne of Green Gables retelling, I was instantly sold. That book, that series was a defining part of my childhood, particularly in terms of cultivating a love of reading, so naturally I was interested in seeing how Andi Teran would take these beloved characters and reshape them, modernize them.

Ana Cortez is, unfortunately, no stranger to the foster system. For ten years she’s been in and out of homes, always managing to say or do something that ultimately sends her packing. On the verge of fifteen, she has one final shot at getting this right: there’s a farm looking for some summer help. She’ll be hired on as an intern and, if all goes well after that month, she’ll be on her way to emancipation.

Keeping the secrets of her past shut tight inside her, Ana knows she needs to get through this, she needs to make it through one month and then she’ll be free. Upon arrival at Garber Farm, however, she immediately realizes it’s not going to be easy. Siblings Abbie and Emmett couldn’t be more different – Abbie with her love of cooking and no-nonsense Emmett – but Ana soon discovers this brother and sister duo has their own secrets and memories they’d just as soon forget. With a new friend (her very first) in Rye, and a cute boy named Cole, Ana’s determined to see it through the next few weeks.

There’s a lot going on here – a lot. Everyone in town has deep-rooted grudges, long-harbored feuds, hurt feelings, and hidden pasts. At times it seems as though it’s impossible for anyone in this town to be happy, certainly not when affairs are ruining marriages, drugs and alcohol come into play, yet another mountain lion shows up (bewilderingly, this is my second book this month that featured a random mountain lion!) Honestly, the only happy person in town is Alder Kinman, preferring his secluded cabin with his beehives (and Eli the bear) to mingling with the townsfolk.

While I enjoyed Ana of California, I’m not sure I enjoyed it as a retelling and, truth to told, I don’t believe I would have read it had Anne not been attached. As a separate entity, it works just fine – though I’m not entirely sure how I would classify this. I instinctively want to label it Adult (and the fact that it doesn’t come from a Young Adult imprint and features a Readers Guide furthers that instinct) but it clearly has a YA feel that could make this one an excellent crossover hit. Fans of the original honestly could go either way – personally I liked this book a lot, but not as a retelling. It’s fully capable of standing on its own and readers unfamiliar with Anne will have no trouble diving in.

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!!

ONE
lucky winner will receive a copy of Andi Teran’s Ana of California AS WELL AS this gorgeous version of Anne of Green Gables!!
All you need to do is fill out this form (US ONLY, PLEASE!) and I’ll announce the winner this Sunday, July 5.

weekly wrap-up 6/28

Where oh where has June gone?? For a good portion of it we’ve had horrible storms and flooding + a tornado touched down last night in a town that’s less than ten minutes from me. LOOKIN’ GOOD, SUMMER!

It wasn’t all bad though. Last week I mentioned it was my brother’s birthday and later that day we partied hard. And by partied hard I mean I hung out with cats.

I also reached my GoodReads goal! Every year I tell myself I’m going to relax and take it easy, that I’m not going to aim as high as I did the previous year…and then beat my challenge just a few months into it. I’m in awe of people who read several hundreds books a year HOW DO YOU DO IT?! Last year I read 105. My goal was 60, I’m currently at 63 (though I have less than an hour to go in the MARVELOUS audiobook I’m currently listening to, so I’ll soon be at 64.) I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t break 100 again this year!

A few months ago Matt and I planned on getting away this weekend. Plans were eventually canceled because oh, you know, we’re buying a house (!!!!) and so we’ve spent these past few days at home. We were wild and crazy like all couples in their late-20s by baking oatmeal cookies and then last night had a bonfire/surprise graduation party for one of our best friends. Naturally we had fireworks (I’m terrible at photographing fireworks) and, just like every year, things ended when the cops showed up. Hahaha, every year our friend’s dad lights off a special homemade firework made out of an actual stick of dynamite. Good, good times.

FOR REVIEW
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This is the story of a mixed-race family living in Ohio in the 70s and how the parents want the very best for their middle daughter, their favorite…and then her body is discovered in a lake. This book made waves last year and it recently came out in softcover – I hadn’t realized how tiny it is! Less than 300 pages. I’ve heard great things about this one and it’s been on my Priority shelf for a while, so YAY! Thank you, Penguin!!

The Distance by Helen Giltrow
I was a bit surprised when this one appeared at my door. I first read it last September and, despite it sounding like a total Leah read, I couldn’t make it past page 100. I’m clearly in the minority though – it’s received a ton of praise, so perhaps I’ll do a giveaway? Thank you, Doubleday!!

FROM THE LIBRARY
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
After finishing Trish Doller’s The Devil You Know I was in SERIOUS book hangover mode and reached out to twitter to ask for recs. Both Asheley and Erin Lindsay McCabe immediately mentioned The Scorpio Races and I’m not at all surprised! I absolutely loved The Raven Boys and I own her Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but never got around to reading this one. CHANGING THAT NOW!

Have you read any of these? What books did YOU get this weekend?

In Case You Missed It
If I had to describe Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie’s The Rules in one sentence it would be a B-movie/slasher flick in book form complete with a budding rock band, teachers impregnating students, severed limbs, and a mountain lion. It’s SO over the top and ridiculous and took two authors to create. But you know what? I checked my judgment at the door and settled in for the ride.

The Truth and Other Lies was a book that immediately appealed the me: a best-selling author is known the world around when it’s actually his wife who had been writing the books. The actually story, however, was a complete letdown. When a woman gets in his way or he grows bored with her, Henry simply kills her. Nothing can touch him, there are no consequences to his actions. VERY disappointed with this one.

My introduction to Rebecca Makkai wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as fantastic as I had hoped. Music for Wartime is a short story collection that featured a few really excellent stories with some duds thrown in. I didn’t love this one as a whole, but a few stories really stuck out for me and are definitely worth reading.

And then, in the midst of a really crappy week for books, Trish Doller descended from the heavens with The Devil You Know to show everyone how it’s done. I completely devoured this book in record time and it gave me a horrible book hangover. Trish Army, you’ve found yourself a new recruit! Backlist, here I come ♥