Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

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Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

This engaging thriller is being marketed as  Gone Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why.  I suppose it is a thriller like Gone Girl and does, at least potentially, have a suicide like Thirteen Reasons.  But in my mind, it wasn’t nearly as good as either of those titles.  Not to say it didn’t catch my interest and keep me turning pages, at least for the first half.   June’s former BFF Delia has burned herself to death in a shed behind her house.  At least that’s what the authorities are saying.  But June doesn’t buy that explanation and goes on a hunt to find out who murdered Delia.  Along the way, her boyfriend and Delia’s boyfriend also get involved and there are rumors of conspiracy, illicit sex and betrayal.

While I really enjoyed the first part of the book, the last half sort of dragged by.  And I personally found the end disappointing, but maybe that was just me as a reader.  I would recommend this with caution to readers who like mysteries.

Review by Ms. Provence

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


url-1The Girl on the Train
written by Paula Hawkins is a psychological thriller that takes us throughout the life of Rachel Watson post divorce. Rachel was a drunk and was always described as having an overactive imagination. She finds herself to have a fascination with this young, active couple. Megan, the woman in the relationship was perfect in Rachel’s eyes. Young, attractive, happy. She watched them idly from the train she rode every morning, and she watched as their bond grew and flourished. She envied their new found love until one day, she catches Megan kissing another man. Rage consumed her, she didn’t understand how she could allow her perfect relationship to slip through her fingers. She drowned her rage in alcohol and the next morning she finds herself bruised, and bloodied with no recollection of what happened the night before. She turned on the news and noticed that the headline of the day was that Megan was missing. Rachel finds her world flipped upside down. She is questioned by police, and all fingers point to her being the one who did it. She is fed memories of her actions from her ex-husband Tom but none of it adds up. Did Rachel have something to do with Megan’s disappearance? Or is there a secondary source contributing to this thriller?

Review by Sydney

 

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Image result for lost in a good book by jasper ffordeLost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next, a literary detective in the Special Operations division, has become famous for her work trapping a villain in the pages of Jane Eyre. Set in an alternate universe centered in England, Thursday and he husband Landon start noticing bizarre coincidences that put their lives in danger. Thursday’s father, a renegade time traveler being hunted by the ChronoGuard, keeps finding her in the past and future to warn her about a mysterious substance that will destroy the world if she doesn’t stop it. At the same time Thursday keeps meeting Miss Havisham from Great Expectations to be trained as a book jumper. As the plot threads begin to merge and the characters keep meeting, the book becomes even more engaging. The second in the Thursday Next series, Lost in a Good Book continues Jasper Fforde’s wildly inventive and humorous universe created in The Eyre Affair. While having read the works of literature mentioned is not necessary, familiarity with their plots gives the reader a deeper understanding of this book. Fforde even brings in a character from his Nursery Crime series. This book is great fun and well worth the reader’s time.

Lost in a Good Book sub index

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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All Fall Down  by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #1)

Ally Carter, author of the popular Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series, has written the first book in a new series: Embassy Row. Sixteen year old Grace has been sent to live with her grandfather, the American ambassador to the European county of Adria, while her Army father is deployed. Grace has not been to Adria for 3 years, when her mother died in front of her. While Grace has been told her mother died in a fire, Grace is sure she was shot by a man with a scar. Grace has resolved to stop reckless behavior from her younger years so her grandfather will be proud of her, but can’t seem to change her habits. Grace and other “embassy brats” whose parents represent different countries follow suspicious characters through ancient tunnels, sure they are on the track of a nefarious plot. What they find surprises them.

I have been a devoted fan of Ally Carter’s two series and am waiting for the next installment in this series.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

MR MERCEDES

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Setting aside his usual horror tropes for this title, King shows readers he’s not afraid the take on the detective novel.  It’s still scary, but this time in a crazy human way with no help needed from the supernatural.  In the early morning hours of a depressed Midwest city, the promise of one thousand jobs has hundreds of unemployed folks lined up at the civic center for a job fair.  Some of them have been there since the previous evening, hoping to be some of the lucky ones who may be able to pay next month’s rent.  Just before 5 A.M., a gray Mercedes sedan plowed into the crowd, backed up, ran over more innocents, then somehow escaped off into the early morning mist.  The escaped mass murderer is nicknamed Mr. Mercedes and still haunts the lead detective from the case, even though Bill Hodges retired months ago from the police force.  Like so many retired police officers he knows, Hodges now has little to live for and spends his days in front of the television, toying with his father’s old Smith & Wesson 38 service revolver.  “On a couple occasions he has slid it between his lips, just to see what it feels like to have a loaded gun lying on your tongue and pointing at your palate.”  His suicidal thoughts stop quickly when he receives a crank letter from someone identifying himself as the Mercedes Killer, and taunting Hodges about spying on him and his now-empty life.  While the letter claims that the killer has had his fill of violence, the former detective knows that’s not how serial killers work, and the book becomes a fast-paced, high stakes hunt as Hodges tries to find the shrewd killer before he strikes again.

If you are expecting another fabulous horror story like The Stand or It, you will not find it here.  That being said, I still think this is a super fun book and was hardly able to put it down.  King is a master of suspense, and this latest title proves that in a new way.  I highly recommend this to Stephen King and mystery/suspense fans.

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The Mission Song by John Le Carre

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The Mission Song by John Le Carre

Le Carre is a bestselling author and this was his 20th novel! His stories are about spies, international deceit and corruption, AND the almost futile attempts of people to make the world a better place. If you are into the spy, CIA, covert ops, MI5, KGB, secret service kind of mystery than he is an author for you. Also if you like to understand some of the underground machinations of how the world is influenced by the elites, then Le Carre is an illuminating author.

The Mission Song is centered around a man whose father was a missionary and his mother a woman from the Congo. He speaks many languages from continental Africa and works as a part-time, off the books, as a translator for the secret service. He is called to take place in a secret meeting being held as an attempt to stop a war from breaking out in an already war-torn part of the world. But nobody is who they seem and their motives are anything but clear. Enjoy!

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

 

 

 

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck

ThreeQuartersDeadThree Quarters Dead by Richard Peck

YA author Richard Peck introduces us to 16 year old sophomore Kerry Williamson, new to Pondfield HS and alone since her best friend Abby Davis transferred to boarding school. Eating lunch alone every day in the cafeteria, trying to reach Abby by text, Kerry notices Tanya and Natalie, queens of the senior class, with Mackenzie, ruler of the juniors, at the far end of her table. They are there often, then one day Tanya invites Kerry by name to sit with them. From that moment Kerry feels like she’s in a story with a happy ending, part of an elite foursome over which Tanya clearly rules. Kerry notices that some days time during lunch seems to stand still, until Tanya has taken care of the day’s business, such as prom dresses or college. Invited to Tanya’s house for Halloween to make awards for select senior boys, Tanya gives Kerry a gruesome baby doll to drop off at a senior girl’s bedroom as a sort of initiation, using a key they stole to get in the house. Even though she’s nervous, Kerry wants to please Tanya, so she goes ahead. Caught by the girl’s mother, she’s sure there will be trouble, especially since Tanya and the others drive off and leave her. Amazed to get away without consequences, Kerry gets over her anger and continues the friendship until the day in early spring when Tanya, Natalie and Mackenzie die when Tanya drives into a tree. Kerry drifts in a fog of grief for a month, until the day Tanya sends her a text….

Although this book starts off as typical teen fiction about high school social circles and cliques, remember the author is Richard Peck, author of The Chocolate War and other teen classics with a dark side. Reading this is almost like waiting for the other shoe to drop; the reader just knows something spooky or weird is going to happen.

Review by Ellie Goldstein Erickson