In the Woods

In the Woods

by Tana French

itw

The bestselling debut with over a million copies sold that launched Tana French, “required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting” (The New York Times), who is “the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (The Washington Post)

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Richly atmospheric and stunning in its complexity, In the Woods is utterly convincing and surprising to the end.

I picked up In the Woods because I wanted to read the second book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, The Likeness, and I can’t read the second book in a series without reading the first..first. I just can’t. So In the Woods was pushed to the top of my TBR.

I’m going to do everything I can to avoid spoilers but guys…whew.

season 2 ugh GIF by IFC

I sat on this review for a solid 2 weeks because I’m just not sure where to start. I’m still not sure how to accurately express my feelings for In the Woods. So here it goes.

Tana French has made the list as one of my favorite authors. In the Woods is one of my top five favorite reads of 2018. And around page 300 I was yelling (out loud) at the characters. I finished this book feeling drained, angry, sad, frustrated, and still amazed. This story left me so upset that I contacted a few of my closest friends just to remind them they are loved. I still find myself fondly thinking about it on a near daily basis. In the Woods will stick with me for a long time.

I’m not going to provide any story details because it would definitely ruin the reading experience. Just know that Tana French is a FANTASTIC character writer. I didn’t realize how invested I had become in Rob and Cassie until it was too late to pull back. French provides a startling decent into the mind of a victim, the manipulation of psychopaths, and the flawed logic of humans. She doesn’t insult her readers by switching traits of her characters. Rob is no Mary Sue; he sticks to his guns for better or for worse. I appreciate this in a writer; French made these characters real!

Oh..and there are multiple murders, some archaeology, and other amazing parts that make it the perfect fall mystery. Just read it. (but make sure you have a puppy or best friend to hug afterwards ☺️)

Anyone else a Tana French fan? Please please please tell me what you think of In the Woods. Happy Reading.

Lindsay

Advertisements

Red Dog

Red Dog

by Bill Wallace

205699

TERROR IN THE MOUNTAINS
In the rugged Wyoming territory, the red pup is Adam’s best friend.
Adam and his family live in a lonely cabin in the mountains, facing the dangers of the wilderness alone. One day, Adam¹s stepfather announces that he must leave for a weeklong trip to Cheyenne. Adam is put in charge of the family. Everything goes smoothly until three cutthroat gold prospectors come crashing into the cabin and hold the family at gunpoint.

Late that night, Adam manages to escape. Unfortunately, the men let the red pup loose, and the one thing that dog does best is track Adam…Will the pup lead the men to Adam? And if he does, can Adam still save his family?

I am finally getting around to sharing my review of the last book in my Back to School series, Red Dog. Honestly, this is the perfect time of year to talk about this story, as I first discovered the works of Bill Wallace one amazing afternoon in my elementary school library. They were never assigned reading, but I read every available book by Wallace in one year (probably all before the winter break). And Red Dog is my favorite.

Actually, Red Dog will likely always be a favorite! While rereading it a few weeks ago (I’m in my 30s y’all) I realized that, once again, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what would happen to Adam and his pup, and I found myself grumbling at any distraction. So, yes this will be a glowing review. Bill Wallace had this expert way of sharing life lessons disguised as a spellbinding adventure! In Red Dog, Adam is forced to let go of childish insecurities, learn how to properly treat animals, and develop a better understanding of his changed family dynamics. The lessons are at times painful, but the writing shows readers the necessity of choosing to be a better person. This is a reminder from which everyone, both young and old, can benefit. I’m not going to share any details of the actual story, because I don’t want to ruin the reading experience. Just know that the vivid imagery and heart racing scenes will stick with you long after turning that last page.

I do have a few less than positive points that sadly have to be shared. First, Adam is a royal pain for the first third of the book; whining and fighting against his mom and step-father. Thankfully, this only lasts for a third of the novel and it is necessary to show Adam’s personal growth throughout the story. Second, Wallace does not shy away from violence. Red Dog is set during the gold rush and the characters live in the Wyoming wilderness, days away from any town. Wallace does not sugar-coat the unfortunate reality that some people do not have good intentions, which results in a couple of gruesome moments. Both of these aspects mold this story and are necessary. I don’t consider them negative points, just aspects that readers should be aware of.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read Red Dog. I have my own copy of the story and now, so does godson. This is the story I share with parents requesting book for their kids. Wallace was my favorite author and his stories helped shape my childhood. Here were these amazing books that offered an escape to the wilderness when I was stuck inside, and Wallace promised a grand adventure that usually included a cute dog.

I blame Wallace for sparking my love of thriller and mystery fiction, and am forever grateful for finding him on that shelf.

Please share you’re favorite Bill Wallace book. I would love to hear what you think of his stories.
Lindsay

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

29430012

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

A Gentleman in Moscow is my favorite new read of 2017. I have heard only wonderful things about Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility, which is currently sitting on my shelves waiting to be read, and decided to pick up A Gentleman in Moscow when my local library offered the audio version. And this novel will make my 2017 favorites list for sure!

I’m not going to provide a summary, because the synopsis is perfect. Instead I am going to share the number one reason I adore A Gentleman in Moscow: Towles’ imagery. Even now, I can taste the Latvian stew served at Christmas and the wild honey crafted from apple blossoms. I can feel the comforting atmosphere of Alexander’s sitting room. I can hear the echo of three decades of feet clicking against the tile floor of the Metropol’s grand entry. I know Alexander’s life and Towles’ writing has painted it for me.

A Gentleman in Moscow is a book about relationships…not necessarily about Russian history. It is a book about old friends and new, familial bindings, lovers, enemies, and the unexpected comrade. In a story that spans over 30 years we meet the people who call Count Alexander Rostov their friend. (I will not provide any details because you need to read of these relationships your self) A Gentleman in Moscow also takes an interesting look on how to handle imprisonment without going insanity. Because even though Alexander lives in a hotel, he is a prisoner. Some reviewers find this life unrealistic; that Alexander’s optimistic response is not natural. I refer the naysayers to the scene where Alexander tries the apple blossom honey. Towels spend the entire story showing readers how focusing on the small gifts of every day life can help a person get through any type of predicament (and I will agree that being imprisoned in a cush hotel doesn’t hurt!)

I do not have any negative comments to share. I will state the negative points brought up by other reviewers are valid, and yet I still find myself thinking of Alexander and his life in the Metropol weeks after finishing the story. I will note that I listened to A Gentleman in Moscow on audiobook and found it enthralling. I am not sure I would have been drawn so quickly into the story if I had read the physical book. This may not have been a book about Russian history, but it has inspired me to do my own research into Russian culture. And in my ‘displaced academic’ opinion…there is no better quality in a book.

Please let me know what you thought about A Gentleman in Moscow and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Lindsay

Every Secret Thing

Every Secret Thing

by Susanna Kearsley

8509971

Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had spoken to her about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder and, most worryingly, her grandmother. His story was old, he had told her, but still deserving of justice. Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother s mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man s footsteps. Finding out the truth is not so simple, however, as only a few people are still alive who know the story and Kate soon realizes that her questions are putting their lives in danger. Stalked by an unknown and sinister enemy, she must use her tough journalistic instinct to find the answers from the past in order to have a future.

Hey everyone! I’m back! Thank you for being so patient during that unexpected three month break. I was having to deal with some life stuff that left little want and time for reviewing. But that’s in the past! I’m back for good, and I can’t think of a better way to jump back into the game than sharing my favorite mystery with you.

So, I’m not going to provide a synopsis because I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything. However, I will share how I came to read Every Secret Thing. A few years back, I was in need of a historical mystery, and my friend, Rachel, recommended Susanna Kearsley. I browsed through her book list on Goodreads and stumbled upon this novel, which was originally published under Kearsley’s pseudonym, Emma Cole. I decided to try it out, and Every Secret Thing instantly became one of my favorite books.

Every time I open these pages, I am swept along on a harrowing adventure. Every time I anxiously will Kate to find the clues and to stay alive. Every time I am swept away in the romance of New York during World War II. And every time I find myself in tears, heartbroken over Deacon’s lost love. EVERY TIME! Because Kearsley provides characters that are so well developed with all their strengths and faults that it’s hard to remember Every Secret Thing not a true story. I am completely invested in the outcome of the story.

But it’s more than realistic characters that keeps me coming back. Kearsley’s descriptive settings carry you across the world. She expertly guides you on this thrilling ride and ties everything together in a way that leaves you sighing contently when you turn that last page. History and intrigue drips from every page. And Every Secret Thing contains the best love story I have ever read!

Honestly, I can not think of anything bad to say about this story. I love it so much that I try to get everyone I know to read it. It’s been a month since I last finished it, and well, I’m tempted to read it again. I will say that I haven’t read anything else by Susanna Kearsley, so I am unable to compare it to her other work. And this may not be the book for readers wanting an over the top sappy romance, because the love story is far from the typical romance story. But I personally find that a good thing.

Just read it! Please!

Lindsay