“You think I wanted to kill her? I didn’t. But she figured it out. Can you believe it?” ― The House in the Pines, Ana Reyes
Summary: Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer.
Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer–the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.
At her mother’s house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased father’s book that didn’t stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank’s cabin….
My Opinion: This book was definitely entertaining, and I enjoyed the overall premise. The first half of the book was intriguing, but the plot wrapped up without a satisfying ending in my opinion. It was vague and relied on imagination. In some ways, it felt like the author wanted to do something different by not providing a shocking culmination.
The author portrayed the narrator as unreliable, which I struggle with, especially when their perspective is the only one we get. From the start, I agreed with Maya’s conclusions and was not surprised by the “twist”. Some parts that lost me were the chapters would occasionally go between past and present, but you didn’t know which timeline you were in. All in all, it was an okay book, and I’m glad I finished it since it was a different type of psychological thriller.
“I am a bricklayer without drawings, laying words in sentences, sentences into paragraphs, allowing my walls to twist and turn on a whim…”
― Sulari Gentill, The Woman in the Library
Summary: In every person’s story, there is something to hide…
The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation, and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.
Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
My Thoughts: I loved the idea of this clever mystery within a mystery.
The main character Freddie is an author who is writing a fictional story about what is happening in real life. The way reality played alongside the fictional story in a unique format had me intrigued from the start. There is a lot to unpack in this book. Murder at the library, people bonded by a scream, another murder or two, a manuscript, and many interesting turns!
The whole time it had me double guessing myself and swaying my opinion of the murderer’s identity. I found myself wanting to read more to find out who it was! It was fun to guess along with the characters as they tossed around theories. Overall I enjoyed this one, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a murder mystery to solve as the story develops.
First line: I’m really not supposed to be doing this, but a girl’s gotta get paid.
Summary: Ropa has dropped out of school to become a ghostalker. It’s not a fancy job but it brings in just enough money to take care of her grandmother, her sister and herself. Taking messages to the living from the dead can be rather boring until she starts to hear whispers about children being kidnapped and then returned with the life sucked out of them. Ropa is dragged into the investigation which leads her to a hidden underground library filled with occult magic. Using her wits and a little magic she is determined to hunt down the mysterious child snatcher that is haunting the streets of Edinburgh.
My Thoughts: Having recently visited Edinburgh this book caught my attention. I knew some of the locations Ropa visits and could easily picture them while reading. At first I was not sure if this book would be one I’d enjoy since the vernacular took a little bit to get used to. But once I got past this I was hooked. It was so different and quirky that I was immediately sucked into Ropa’s world.
There is still so much after reading this that is still unknown. There are hints to a war or revolution. The world is basically a dystopian society. Part of me likes that even after reading the second book I still am wondering about the Edinburgh that Ropa lives in. Little pieces are mentioned when they pertain to the story but not a full history has been revealed. And that sometimes is a downfall for fantasy books. They reveal too much that it is overwhelming. This seems to build naturally.
I cannot wait to learn more about Ropa’s world in upcoming books and the Library of the Dead. We have barely scratched the surface which leaves this series up for more shocking reveals and interesting storylines.
First line: Nineteen years before she decided to die, Nora Seed sat in the warmth of the small library at Hazeldene School in the town of Bedford.
Summary: Nora Seed has decided to die. Everything is falling apart around her. She is single, her cat died, she lost her job, her parents are dead and her brother won’t talk to her. What’s the point anymore? As she dies she finds that there is a library filled with possible other lives that would have existed had she made different choices. The librarian directs her to the books of these alternate lives where she can decide if she would rather live in those instead. Which one will she choose?
“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. At the beginning it can be depressing as Nora keeps having her world fall apart around her. It almost seems like an It’s a Wonderful Life situation. But this is more inventive and adds another dimension to story. Rather than seeing the world without her, it looks at the world if she had made different choices.
I liked how different each life was because of one small choice. It’s the Butterfly Effect. One decision can change so much for you and every person you come into contact with. But we also see that what may appear to be perfect can still have its challenges. Nothing is perfect.
Everyone has things that they regret. I know I do. I wish I had spent a year abroad in college. But if I did that I would never have gotten my dog, Winston. I regret not staying at K-State in order to save money on college but if I hadn’t I would not have traveled around Europe with a group from Tabor College. There is always something that could be different but with every regret there is something good you would lose too.
Even though this sounds like a depressing book, it is really uplifting. It has a great message to anyone who is struggling with life choices and how to make the best of what we are given. Find joy in the small things.
FYI: Trigger warnings: suicide, drug overdose, language.
It has been just over one week since the start of the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon here at the library. And boy has it been one heck of a week. You do not realize the pressure you are under when you are given a set number of books to read in just a month! It is a little intimidating.
Going into the challenge I figured that this would be a piece of cake. I have already read over 100 books this year. Twelve books should be easy right?! I have finished three at this point which is a fairly good place to be but they were the shorter ones. Several on my list are hovering around five hundred pages. Yikes! Maybe I was overly ambitious but I am determined to finish this challenge.
So far I have finished reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (we own the movie but not the book) and The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way. Each has had their ups and downs but I would say my favorite so far has been The Umbrella Academy graphic novel. I have even read book two and have three on my desk for later.
The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way
First line: It was the same year “Tusslin’ Tom” Gurney knocked out the space-squid from Rigel X-9…
At the exact same moment forty-three babies were born to women who had
previously not been pregnant. Of the forty-three newborns born, seven of
them were adopted by the eccentrically wealthy Reginald Hargreeves. He
knew that there was something special about these children. For years
they lived quietly hidden away in his mansion until one day when they
reappeared in order to save the world. They called themselves The
My Thoughts: I am not one that is much interested in graphic novels but they are slowly growing on me. I have now read a handful and started to enjoy them. The Netflix show based on the graphic novels is why I chose this book for the reading challenge. There are many similarities between the two but lots of differences as well. Each stand well on their own. The art is very interesting to look at. It is not realistic but it is not too cartoonish.
I liked the story because it is dark and imaginative. The authors create such an interesting world that it is not hard to get sucked into it. One of the characters, Number One or Luther, is part man and part ape. He is gigantic and spends quite a bit of his youth on the moon. Who thinks this stuff up? It is different which makes it fun. I am looking forward to book three and on.
There is a lot of violence which did not affect me at all but it may be
too much for younger readers. This is book one in the series.
It has been a lot of fun being able to sit down with Alyssa and several of our staff and talk about books. I have learned a lot about my fellow librarians through our chats and listening to the podcasts. Each of us have a wide range of interests and thoughts. We have chatted about things ranging from cookbooks, re-reading and David Sedaris. We always bring along a nice hot beverage and some snack to enjoy while we are talking. So grab yourself a cup of tea and listen with us!
Summary: Sadie has had a tough life. Her mother abandoned her at a young age. She took care of her younger sister, Mattie, until the day that she was found dead. Sadie is determined to seek revenge for her sister’s murder. She leaves town in search of the man she believes to be the culprit. When word of Sadie’s disappearance reaches the ears of West McCray, a radio personality doing a serial podcast, he starts to look into what happened to Sadie.
Highlights: I loved the way this story was constructed. It is very different than any other book I have read. It alternates between Sadie’s story and point of view to a podcast detailing the search for Sadie. It was a great book to listen to which is how I would recommend it. There is a full cast for all the characters. This brought the story to life and gave it a more realistic feel.
The story is heartbreaking. Sadie had a hard life with a mother who was not very involved. She brings home men including Keith. Listening to Sadie’s determination to find him is fascinating. With every little twist and turn I was continually nervous and cheering her on. The ending is hard. Be warned you will feel all the feelings with this book.
Lowlights: I struggled in the beginning while the story is building. It was a little slow moving until the story reached the halfway point it picked up and took off.
I don’t know about you, but when I am traveling, I love to visit libraries in the area where I am traveling. I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days with my parents who live in the Phoenix-Mesa area of Arizona, in Apache Junction. We made time to head over to their pretty fantastic library. I snapped a few photos to share with our readers.
From the outside the library looks like your average library, then you walk inside. Eh, still nothing spectacular, except the Friends of the library book sale right in the lobby! However, once I entered the library proper, it was so much fun!
And once you’re inside the children’s area, there is more fun waiting. Want to read in a castle? You can! Watch out, or the dragon may catch you from above. Find a huge book to sit on or tuck yourself away in a rock cave to enjoy your book.
Do you visit other libraries in your travels? Share a picture in the comments!