“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris

I read this with two of my friends for our bookclub because we all happened to have ARCs of it at the time. The premise sounded interesting, so we were eager to jump in. I thought it would be a fast, propulsive read that would have me at the edge of my seat the entire time. But although it started out good, the story was a huge letdown by the end that left me and my group quite unsatisfied.

Genre

Thriller

Series

n/a

Pubbed

June 2021

From Goodreads

Get Out meets The Stepford Wives in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

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“In the Garden of Spite” by Camilla Bruce

This is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Thanks to Mogsy and Tammy for telling me about it in their reviews. What made me want to read it?

Well, the first bit of info that sparked my interest is that the story is about a female serial killer. I’ve only read one other novel that focuses on such a character — My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, which was a propulsive read. I assumed In the Garden of Spite would be the same, so I quickly added it to my TBR.

Then, from Mogsy’s review, I learned that the novel is like a character study. We observe the protagonist justifying “being the monster, rationalizing her degeneracy and why she must do what she does,” which fascinated me and made me quickly hop on my library’s website to place a hold on the book. I got lucky and got an early placement in the queue for it. And now I can say it was a really good read.

Genre

Historical; Thriller; Horror

Series

n/a

Pubbed

January 2021

Goodreads summary

An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.

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“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Many people have read and loved Poe’s work, but before this, I’d never read anything by him. I wondered if the dude’s stuff was overhyped because that happens a lot with the classics to the point where I’ve begun thinking that people simply assume a thing is amazing or skillfully created if it’s considered a classic.

But after reading these short stories by Poe, I had to agree with everyone else: His stuff is pretty dope.

Genre:

Psychological thriller; Horror

Pubbed:

1839 (The Fall of the House of Usher)
1843 (The Tell-Tale Heart)
1846 (The Cask of Amontillado)

Quick summary:

“Horrifying tales of mystery, sickening madness and buried bodies by the master of the macabre.”

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“The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown

Who knew I’d become a Dan Brown fan? I sure didn’t. Thrillers and mysteries aren’t my go-to genre because I’m often too impatient to wait for the mystery to be solved. Such stories keep me at the edge of my seat, making me so anxious that I have to read the end before I even get there just to appease my curiosity. I didn’t do so with Brown’s books (although I was very tempted to), but I still enjoyed them.

The Da Vinci Code is the second of Brown’s books I’ve read. Two years ago, I read and enjoyed his Angels & Demons and since then have been looking forward to reading the Da Vinci Code. I’ve seen the film adaptation of both books but had forgotten much of the plot before reading Angels & Demons, so I was surprised by the twists and how that story ends. I read Da Vinci Code fairly soon after rewatching the movie, so I remembered more of that plot as I read, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. I still had a good time with it.

Genre:

Mystery

Series:

Robert Langdon, book 2

Pubbed:

2003

Quick summary:

The Da Vinci Code places Robert Langdon in Paris for academic reasons (I think it was to give a lecture) as well as to meet with a noted art historian named Jacques Saunière, who’s the curator of the Louvre and the leader of a secret society. Unfortunately for Langdon, Saunière is murdered and he becomes the prime suspect.

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Two Audiobooks: “Blue Monday” by Nicci French & “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

It’s the end of March and I’ve FINALLY started reviewing the books I read this year, smh. The first two books I read in 2020 were both audiobooks, which shows that this year began on a busy note.

It’s a little surprising to me how comfortable I’ve become with audiobooks. Now I don’t mind listening to new-to-me books on audio; however, I can only do so for certain genres. I refrain from listening to new-to-me epic fantasy books on audio since they tend to be very detailed and there’s no way I’d be able to keep up or remember what’s said. If I do listen to such a book on audio, it’s because it’s a reread.

As for these two books, one is a psychological thriller/mystery, which work well for me on audio because I get so hooked on the mystery that my attention hardly strays from the story, and the other is a memoir, which, surprisingly, works well for me on audio too. There are no similarities between these two books other than that they were the first books I read this year and they are both audiobooks. Those are the only reasons why I paired them in this post.


Blue Monday by Nicci French, narr. by Beth Chalmers

Genre:

Psychological Thriller; Mystery

Series:

Frieda Klein, book 1

Pubbed:

2011

Goodreads summary:

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when a picture of his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.

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Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar, narr. by Harsh Nayyar, Annapurna Sriram, Bernard White, Nick Choksi, Rita Wolf

I get some of my audio books through Audible, mostly Harry Potter, Wheel of Time, and other audios of books I’ve already read. My plan was to get all the Harry Potter ones and then cancel my account, but sometimes when I want something to listen to, it has a long wait list at the library, so for now I still have my Audible account and with it the Originals — I get 2 Audible Original productions per month for free.

Until I listened to Evil Eye, I’d avoided the Originals. I didn’t know what they were and didn’t care, but Evil Eye convinced me otherwise.

Genre:

Thriller; Supernatural

Series:

N/A

Pubbed:

May 2019

Goodreads summary:

Pallavi is an aspiring writer living in California. Her mother, Usha, is thousands of miles away in Delhi – and obsessed with finding her daughter a husband.

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Two Audiobooks: “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr & “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris

Considering that I was wary of audiobooks in the past, it’s a wonder that I listen to them so frequently now. I recently listened to three of them that were exciting and compelling, but I’ll discuss only two in this post because these two share some similarities.

In the past, I would struggle to focus on the story when I listened to audiobooks, so I instead listened only to audiobooks of stories I’d already read. It seems doing so has trained my ear or my brain to get used to this medium because now I focus on the story and remember what I heard, though my memory of the story isn’t as detailed as it is when I read the physical book or the e-book.

It could also be the genre of the stories I read that affected me so positively. By listening to the two in this post, I realized that the best type of audiobooks to listen to are thrillers. Thrillers often draw the reader in quickly and keep her hooked throughout as it twists and turns toward an explosive end. I was so hooked as I listened to these two that I completed both in a day each. I began with The Alienist because I am familiar with the show and wanted something to listen to at work. But I completed it on the same day I downloaded it, a Friday, so I downloaded Red Dragon to listen to on the following Monday. It was done by the Saturday evening.


The Alienist by Caleb Carr, narr. by Edward Herrmann

Genre:

Historical fiction; Mystery

Series:

Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, book 1

Pubbed:

May 1994

Goodreads summary:

New York, 1896: Lower Manhattan’s underworld is ruled by a new generation of cold-blooded criminals…Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt battles widespread corruption within the department’s ranks…and a shockingly brutal murder sets off an investigation that could change crime-fighting forever.

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“Providence” by Caroline Kepnes

I seem to be saying this a lot lately, but when I read the synopsis for this story, I truly didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I submitted a request for the ARC through Netgalley only because of the author’s name.

I read Kepnes’s first novel, You, about 2 years ago and loved it. You is a thriller about a man stalking a woman that is told in the second-person from the stalker’s perspective. It’s the only story I’ve read at such a length in the second-person narrative and didn’t feel annoyed by it. And the protagonist, Joe, has stuck in my mind ever since. I think Kepnes has a talent for developing strong characters that will stay with the reader long after completing the story. In Providence, the character who has stuck with me is Eggs.

Genre:

Mystery; paranormal

Pubbed:

June 19, 2018

Goodreads summary:

A propulsive new thriller about the obsessive nature of love when an intensifying relationship between best friends is disrupted by a kidnapping.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

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“Angels & Demons” by Dan Brown

Dan Brown dropped a book last year, Origins, and apparently it’s great because I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews about it. It piqued my interest. Once again, I found myself toying with the idea to read a Dan Brown, an author who’s said to be both a great and horrible writer, depending on who you speak to.

Luckily for me, Angels & Demons was available at the library, so I borrowed it and started to read. After a few pages in, I realized I would be one of the many to sing Dan Brown praises for his creation. I was immediately hooked and had to purchase my own copy of the book soon after starting the story.

Quick summary:

Angels & Demons is a thriller/mystery novel about a Harvard symbologist named Robert Langdon who is called in to help solve a murder that occurred on the campus of CERN, a Swiss research facility, since the murderer branded its victim with the mark of the Illuminati, an ancient brotherhood.

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“Sick” by Christa Wojciechowski

I read this one out of curiosity.

Lilyn over at SciFi and Scary read and reviewed it last year. She was so repulsed by the story that she was conflicted on how to write the review. My curiosity was instantly perked. It made we wonder why she had such a strong reaction to the story and if I would react the same too. But after reading, I understood.

Amazon summary:

A woman sacrifices everything to care for her husband whose chronic illness can’t be diagnosed. Susan Branch’s life revolves around the care of her charming and inscrutable husband John, a man born into wealth and prestige who lost his family’s fortune when his mysterious chronic illnesses left him bedridden. Together they live a decrepit existence beholden to the current owners of his family’s former estate.

After years of devoting herself to John’s care, Susan is worn out and frustrated. Yet she is determined to scrape together whatever resources she can to keep John comfortable and happy. This includes stealing Demerol from the doctor’s office where she works to feed John’s ever-increasing need for pain medication. As John’s condition continues to puzzle doctors, Susan begins to notice strange objects appearing around her house. Ever wary of creepy Old Pete, the groundskeeper, Susan decides to confront the elderly man and put an end to his snooping for good.

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