Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda (Book Review #140)

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 01/12/17

My 33rd book this year)

Mia, the perfect wife is about to have the “best day ever” with her loving, caring, handsome and successful husband, Paul. The kids are with the babysitter all weekend so they can enjoy their “date” weekend.

The journey to their cottage proves to be quite challenging as they weave through negative topics but Paul is determined for them to have the “best day ever”. It seems the perfect pair have secrets to hide from one another as they try to remember the old days and they both have plans for how the weekend will end.

The more time they spend talking, the more they realise the other has changed. One of them are desperate for life to remain the same forever, the other wants more freedom and wants change. Either choice leads to a dramatic future for this wonderful pair.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I was absolutely captivated by this book and immensely eager to find out what was happening at every turn of the page. I cannot pinpoint what made this book such an enjoyable read, but I definitely didn’t want to put it down.

I loved the reminder of looking back on a relationship, right from the beginning when every heart beat was full of love for one another, when there is romance, laughter and nothing but goodness. When you learn to trust one another, love everything about each other then slowly unfold one another’s bad habits and deep dark secrets.

The author did an amazing job of bringing me back to the start in a subtle and controlling manner. I loved how this author didn’t feel the need to make every event shockingly dramatic. When the secrets began to unravel, it was great to know that they both had secrets and they both had big plans for the end of the night.

I would definitely recommend this book to other readers and am very much looking forward to reading another book by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (1/12/17).

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The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book Review #139)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 28/11/17

My 32nd book this year)

1899, those high up in society, the rich, the beautiful and handsome all show off their best attributes. Acting as perfect wealthy individuals yet each and every one of them hold their own secrets that could cause their whole lives to crumble before them.

One of the elite has to choose between true love or duty to protect the household and family name.

One of them has to give up his freedom to keep the family name.

One of them is full of spite and wants to destroy the original elites and claim the title of “best lady” for herself.

The Luxe is all about glamour, glitz, scandal, gossip and the need to stay at the top of society, no matter what the cost may be.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Your typical rich people problems and rich people arguments until one Elite family has hit financial crisis and the only way to save the family name is to marry into another richer name.

There is jealousy, deceit, hate and gossip. Those who appear to be great friends can turn out to be your ultimate downfall. An easy read.

The ending was unexpected. Although the storyline was intended to be intriguing and captivating, it actually felt calm and very slowly delivered. I would have enjoyed more detail into the luxuries and better concealed secrets. The ending makes you want to pick up book 2 of the series just to find out the whole truth.

I would recommend this series only to a female audience and for those who enjoy an easy straightforward read. Book 2 is definitely on my to read list in the future.

Written by Ling Lee (29/11/17).

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My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni (Book Review #138)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 23/11/17

My 31st book this year)

Tracy Crosswhite’s sister has suddenly gone missing, no body has been found and minimal clues have been gathered. Everyone believes she is dead but Tracy still has hope.

Someone is eventually convicted but Tracy believes there’s more to the story. When Sarah’s body is stumbled upon, Tracy begins to fight to uncover the whole truth.

Sometimes the truth is better left unknown. But it’s human nature to be curious and to want to know, even if the truth is even more devastating than a half truth.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I quite enjoyed this book. I was compelled to keep reading through ridiculous hours of the night. The story flowed with ease and worked well. Telling the story from when Sarah was alive, then continuing with what was happening at present to uncover the secrets behind the story.

I appreciate how the author didn’t try to integrate more twists than necessary. Sometimes less is more. It’s great to have closure and the sense of peace at the end of a story. Not every story needs the epic twist to make it great. I would definitely recommend this book to others and I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Written by Ling Lee (23/11/17)

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Watching Edie by Camilla Way (Book Review #137)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 17/11/17

My 30th book this year)

Heather, the strange girl who is avoided at school but talked about behind her back. Then a new girl, Edie, comes along. Edie is stunningly beautiful and she is unaware of the rumours surrounding Heather. Such opposite girls in both appearance and character yet somehow they are becoming good friends. Edie is in with the wrong crowd, getting dragged deeper into the darker side of life, Heather is concerned and does everything she can to watch over Edie, to save her. Tragedy strikes, they lose touch, then decades later when Edie is at her lowest point in life, Heather is there, again, to save her. Heather is always there, watching, waiting, hoping and loving.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I quite enjoyed this book but would have preferred a much different ending.

I was drawn into the story and very much held in suspense at wanting to find out what happened on this tragic day all those years ago. But then there were not enough hints for the reader to make even the slightest guess as to what could have happened. I kept having to remind myself which voice was Edie and which was Heather.

I felt the cold creep through my body as events unfolded. I felt the discomfort at being watched, the fear of being followed, the paranoia at every sound in the house, then the sleepless nights as the terror of the bad times try to catch up with you.

I would have given a higher rating for a different ending as I enjoyed most of the book. I loved being able to feel what the girls felt as they grew up. I would recommend this book to other readers and would definitely like to try other books by this author.

Written by Ling Lee (18/11/17).

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (Book Review #136)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 14/11/17

My 29th book this year)

Charlie is in her early teens. She has witnessed a brutal and violent death, been through an extremely traumatic event and has had to run for her life, leaving behind the people who are most precious to her.

Now a few decades later, tragedy strikes again bringing back all the awful memories that she has mentally stored away. She needs to process the events all over again and find a way to let go of her past. She must live her life, not just survive. She owes it to her mother and sister who did everything they could to enable her escape all those years ago.

***SPOILER ALERT***

This book had an explosively dramatic beginning. All this trouble brought to their doorstep because of the girls’ father, Rusty. A lawyer who fights cases for the “low lives” and criminals of society. Rusty loses nearly everything in life, but he is still determined to play his role. Deep down he is a good man, but to everyone else in the community, he is the worst of the worst.

Most of the book was captivating and interesting. But then the twist felt unnecessary and in my opinion, spoiled the story altogether. There is no need for EVERY book to have twist upon twist to capture the reader. Sometimes less is more and this book definitely needed less complicity. I kept having to reassemble my thoughts to remember what was happening.

A very detailed book. With the violence and gory parts well described, leaving the image of “the day it happened” seared clear in my mind. All in all, I would recommend this author to other readers. I would have given a much higher rating for a less complicated end. But this opinion is mine and many others have provided much higher ratings for this particular book.

Written by Ling Lee (14/11/17).

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review #135)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 09/11/17

My 28th book this year)

Kaz is once again full of fighting spirit, out for revenge for being cheated, fighting back for what he is owed on the previous job, redeeming what he owes for paying his crew. Too many reasons to fight, even more reasons why he should just cut his losses. But Kaz is determined to get back what he is owed and to destroy the one who led him on this path. 

With his crew, he once again plans something outrageous and his crew are crazy enough to help him every step of the way. 

***SPOILER ALERT***

Once again, a well written book full of wit, deceit, thievery, revenge, violence and love. A very enjoyable 2nd book to the series. The relationship between each crew member is heartfelt with everything they have endured. So much loss, pain and violence bringing them closer than they could ever imagine. Unknowingly forming a bond, a friendship, loyalties and somewhat trust between them. They fight together and they fight to the end. 

I did get a little lost in the planning and scheming but most of the story was extreme and over the top but somehow exciting to read. I guess the unbelievable and the impossible feats drew my rating for this book down a touch. But this series is still well worth reading and recommending. 

Written by Ling Lee (09/11/17).

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Because She Loves Me by Mark Edwards (Book Review #134)

I rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 10/10/17

My 27th book this year.)

Andrew has felt like his whole life has been filled with bad luck until the beautiful Charlie walks into his life. She turns his world upside down, bringing him love and hope for a better future. 

We all know nothing is perfect, not even Charlie. Andrew starts noticing strange outbursts of jealousy, then things start going missing. Then one after another, people in his life begin to get hurt, or die from numerous reasons. So many factors point to Charlie and now Andrew is beginning to have doubts. The seemingly sweet and innocent Charlie could never commit such crimes… could she?
***SPOILER ALERT***

I think the synopsis destroyed this book for me. Before we even begin this book, we are led to expect that someone loves Andrew, but they will also start doing creepy things in the name of love. The reader is “told” with every bit of information that Charlie is the one behind all this.

I hated the twist. It ruined the book even more. It was definitely unexpected by not in a positive way. Charlie felt too good to be true, but then her bad traits began to show. They were creepy and obsessive behaviour traits. I guess I was disappointed the book had such an unexpected end that wasn’t necessary. Sometimes a straightforward story probably would have been more satisfying to read.

A terribly frustrating read. Apologies to the author but I would not recommend this book, yet I might give one of his other books a chance.

Written by Ling Lee (10/10/17).

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Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney (Book Review #133)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 05/10/17

My 26th book this year.)

Amber is in a coma, her body is still and lifeless but her mind is sometimes awake and aware of everything around her. The people coming in and out, ones she wants to see and also ones she doesn’t. She is trying to remember how she ended up this way but it’s difficult to tell the difference between reality and the consistant dream/nightmare state that she is floating in. She can knows the memories are trying to emerge but she can feel fear and pain, she knows something bad happened. She just needs to remember what. 

Right now all Amber knows is:

1. I am in a coma.

2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.

3. Sometimes I lie.
***SPOILER ALERT*** 

Thrilling story. I love not knowing what is real and what is dreamt up from her mind. It was eerie to be stuck with her in her body, aware yet unable to alert anyone she is indeed alive at least in her mind. I wonder if coma patients really have to suffer this ordeal. 

Her sister Claire is such a strangely perfect person of who she is insanely jealous of. But with her troubled mind, there are so many problems that stem from her thoughts and it is difficult to distinguish if they are truth or lies. You are always reminded by the title, anything that happens may be a lie, so you find yourself questioning each step of the book. You wait for a twist, wait for the turns and even though you expect something to happen you just cannot guess what it is and you are hit with more shocking news before you know it.

Towards the end, I felt confusion set in as Claire, Amber, Taylor, Paul, David and Edward become more disturbed, adding depth to every character as we progress in the story. 

The end was epic and it took a while to unjumble my thoughts as I had to think and rearrange everything in my own mind. Alice Feeney is amazing. All of a sudden you find out there is a book 2 and not all of the questions have been answered. I would recommend this book. I would possibly even re-read this one. 

Each character was clear in my mind and I felt the fear, felt the imprisonment and felt chilled in the middle of the night and had to wait for sunrise before I could finish off the book. 

Awesome book. Awesome author. Cannot wait for the next book for the very much needed answers.

Written by Ling Lee (06/10/17).

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Book Review #132)

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 03/10/17

My 25th book this year)

Boarding school at Salten, is where Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa form their unbreakable friendship bond. Young teens exploring life, alcohol, cigarettes, sharing secrets and playing their game, the Lying Game. There are rules: the better the lie, the more points you get, only lie to ones who deserve it, never lie to each other and know when to stop lying. Notorious for their lying, you never know what you can or cannot believe when these girls speak. Breaking the rules at school, punishing those who are not in their favour. Then one day life is completely changed for them all when the school can no longer accept this behaviour.

Almost two decades laster, just three words “I need you” is all it takes for the girls to turn up for one another no matter the time, no matter the reason. Salten is the last place any of them want to be but “I need you” is their ultimate cry for help. It’s finally time to face up to their mistakes and decide if they want to lie once again or tell the truth for once, because the body has been found and they need to get their stories straight.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I very much enjoyed the idea of this book but I expected much more depth, detail and deceit considering the name of the book. 

I enjoyed most of the book until the twists and turns became quite sudden and unnecessary. For once I would have preferred the more obvious outcome for this story but the end became quite confusing and too dramatic. 

Still a worthy read. I would very much like to read another book by this author sometime. 

Written by Ling Lee (03/10/17)

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Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Book Review #131)

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 21/09/17

My 24th book this year.)

The law states there is a maximum of two children per household. The population police help to enforce the rules with severe consequences if any family is caught with more than two.

Shadow children are those extra children, the third child of the family. Luke is one of them. He has never had a birthday party, never been out in society, never had a friend and has never been known to exist to anyone except his parents and two brothers. 

Life was hard before, but it only gets harder as a new housing development is built where the woods surrounding his house used to be. Now he can’t leave the house at all and can’t look through the window, can’t sit at the dinner table with the family and is essentially imprisoned in the attic in his house.

Luke begins to think about freedom. He suspects one of the the new neighbours are also hiding a shadow child. Now he needs to work out how to contact the shadow child, so he can interact with someone just like him.
***SPOILER ALERT***

I really enjoyed this first book of the Shadow Children series. The idea of the whole world’s population controlled, supposedly because of food shortage. But there are always those who oppose the government with their own ideas and theories. It makes sense because some families may not have children, therefore maybe some others can have more. Then there is the issue of potentially turning the entire population into vegetarians to reduce food being used on livestock for meat. 

Farmers are controlled as to what they produce and in what quantities, yet they must give most of it up leaving themselves with barely enough. Government keeps taking and taking more than their fair share. Some families are not happy about it. Especially those with shadow children. 

I love how being brave can be forced upon people, depending on their circumstances in life. How sometimes you have to do something terrifying in order to survive better. But life is all about survival. How to better the way you live. Shadow children remind us to appreciate what we have, as the freedom we have is such an amazing thing when compared with confinement.

Many people have otherwise critisized the faults in the book regarding food sources etc, but to read the book without deliberately looking for faults, this storyline is great. But will society ever come to this as a worldwide phenomenom?

Written by Ling Lee (22/09/17)

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