Big Little Lies

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Author: Liane Moriarty

Genre: Thriller/Psych Thriller

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 460

 

Someone is dead… Was it murder, an accident, or somewhere in between? Welcome to the Pirriwee Peninsula in the suburbs of Australia, where everyone knows everyone, or so it would seem. Jane, a young mother to five-year-old Ziggy, has just moved here to start over. She is young enough that she is mistaken as a nanny. She befriends Madeline, who is as outspoken as they come, has a teenage daughter whom she fears that she is losing, and a son in Ziggy’s class. Her ex-husband and his wife have also moved to the Peninsula, and have a daughter the same age, in the same class. We also meet Celeste, a beauty to behold, with rambunctious twin boys, a wealthy corporate husband, and a mind that is constantly running in circles. With them, along with the rest of the cast, we learn that it’s the little lies, that could have the largest impact.

This is the first of Liane Moriarty’s novels that I have read. I admit that I, initially, picked it up because I wanted to watch the miniseries, and I won’t watch until I have read the book. (Yes, I am one of those people!) I am very glad that I picked it up! This book reminds me of a cross between Pretty Little Liars and Desperate Housewives- It was delicious! Once I got in to it, I didn’t want to put it down. The characters are all well fleshed out, with very individual personalities that allow the reader to decide to love or hate them (or somewhere in between). It really took me until very close to the reveal to decide what the answer to the actual mystery was, but I didn’t see the twist coming! I will definitely give another of her books a try in the future.

Shanghai Bandit

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Author: Eric Qiao

Genre: Fiction/Light Thriller

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Pages: 276

 

It all started with a bank robbery…by two parties…at once… Oh, right, then one robber has a stroke during the heist. Enter Vietnam Vet turned bank teller Major Chin, who offers to help the robber escape, and take the dude to the hospital. While travelling, the guy recovers from his stroke, and decides to hijack the earnings. Major Chin decides that he has a better plan for a heist, and they’re off for another robbery…

This was a quick read, that was quite a bit of fun to get through. It was filled with a great cast of characters, who each had personality. The main characters were pretty well fleshed out, and were fun to follow, though maybe not as well as in his debut (I will give that the debut focused on fewer characters and was bit longer). The book had some nice, subtle commentary on racial profiling/stereotyping, that is relevant to our society at present, but was nicely tempered with the abundant humor throughout the book, so it didn’t feel like it was being forced upon the reader. After reading this sophomore novel, it is clear that Qiao is finding his writing style, and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories

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Author: Stephen King

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Horror

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 512

 

As I have said many times before, short stories are one of my favorite things. This newest collection by King did not disappoint. In fact, it is what finally got me out of my reading slump. I had already ready several of the stories in previous collections/editions, although a couple were reworked or rewritten for this collection. Regardless of having read them before, they were all worth reading again. It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite story from this collection, but UR (a kindle with some very interesting features), Dune (an elderly judge has been making the canoe trip to a dune outside of his home since he was a boy to see the names of people who are to die soon written on its shore), and The Little Green God of Agony (a very wealthy man, who was in a plane crash and can’t get rid of the blinding pain, calls in a preacher to help him) are a few of the gems in this edition that I really enjoyed. The thing that I think that I loved the most about this collection was the pages that actually came before the stories themselves. Before each short story, King gives the reader a glimpse in to how the story came to him, what or who inspired it, and some of what his thought process was when he was penning it. It is incredibly interesting to get a glimpse in to this great author’s mind. Overall, I loved this collection, and would recommend it to any King or short story fan.

The Girl on the Train

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Author: Paula Hawkins

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Pages: 336

 

Rachel takes the same train in to town every day. Every day she sees the same couple, and watches as their lives (as she sees them) unfold before her. Their lives that are being lived just a few houses down from the life that she so recently lost. She has made up her own story about their perfect life. In her mind, it is a wonderful life. It is wonderful, until the day that it isn’t. Rachel sees something that shatters her image of “Jess and Jason”. Not long after seeing this, “Jess” goes missing. Rachel is suddenly thrust in to the middle of, not only the investigation, but their lives and the lives of everyone around them- including her ex-husband and his new family. Will they believe what Rachel has to say?

I will start by saying that it actually took me two tries to really get in to this book and read it all the way through. I believe that was a “me” thing though. It is a book that you have to be in the mood for, and I don’t think that I was in the right frame of mind the first time. The second time, however, I really enjoyed it. It is told from different narrators, but mostly from the unreliable narrator that is Rachel. It would be easy to feel a bit lost if you aren’t paying attention to the book as you’re reading it, as the narrator is an unreliable one (a drunk), so it can be difficult to tell if you’re really getting the story or not. That being said, it is a great psychological thriller with a wonderful twist! If you enjoy books that keep you thinking and guessing, this is a good one for you!

Bad Monkey

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Author: Carl Hiaasen

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Pages: 400

 

Andrew Yancey was a detective with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office, until an altercation with his lover’s husband got a little out of hand. Now he has been reduced to an Inspector on the “roach patrol”. He also has an arm in his freezer. The detective in him doesn’t believe the story behind this arm, though, and he believes that is he can prove and solve the murder it will buy his way back in to his badge. It won’t be that simple, though. He will have to wade his way through a horde of kooky characters including the deceased’s wife and daughter, ambitious (to a fault) real estate developers, the aforementioned (now ex) lover, a crazy voodoo priestess, and of course, the bad monkey.

This was my first Hiaasen read, and was recommended and loaned to me by a friend. It will definitely not be my last! The setting/world was beautifully built and easy to imagine, and the characters were so well developed. The story was entertaining, and laugh out loud funny in many places. It had stories within the main plot that kept the mind working, and enough questions within it that I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Quitters Inc.

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Author: Stephen King

Narrator: Eric Roberts

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Publisher: Phoenix Audio

 

Dick has an addiction problem: he eats too much, works too much, and smokes way too much. By happenstance, he runs in to an old pal at the airport who has kicked his habits, and offers him a way to quit his addictions: a place called Quitters Inc. Dick thinks that it is all probable a sham, but decides to check it out anyway. Before he knows it, Dick has signed up for a program that has severe punishment is he ever backslides on his smoking addiction. The consequences begin with mild electric shocks to his unsuspecting wife, and only get worse for his loved ones from there. Will Dick be able to quit his addictions in order to save his loved ones from to consequences of his shortcomings?

This is a wonderful short story, which was originally a part of King’s book of short stories titled Night Shift and then one of the stories in the movie Cat’s Eye. I loved this story! It wasn’t particularly creepy or scary, but it was definitely entertaining and kept me engaged while listening to it. If you enjoy King’s work, I definitely recommend this classic short story!

 

The Creeping

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Author: Alexandra Sirowy

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Fantasy

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 400

 

Twelve years ago, when they were six, Stella and her friend Jeanie disappeared while picking strawberries in Jeanie’s front yard. Stella returned, Jeanie didn’t. No one knows what happened to them, and it has become what the town, and Stella, are known for. Stella has no memory of what happened that day, and she is beyond trying to figure it out. She is over everything having to do with it. That is until the body of another little red haired girl shows up. Fragments of Stella’s memories begin to resurface, and she begins to try to remember, with the help of those around her. If you hunt for monsters, you will find them…

I really enjoyed this book! It wasn’t quite what I thought that it was going to be, from simply looking at the cover and reading the blurb in the bookstore, but it turned out to be really enjoyable. The writing flows really well, and the characters are really well written. I had a very clear picture of them and the setting while I was reading. I actually became really engrossed in it and read the last 250 pages in one sitting, and I love when I can do that. It has some really great twists in it, and when I thought I had it figured out, I didn’t. I recommend it!