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Autumn: What to Read

Fall is the time for spooky, scary, creepy, dark reads. Here are my favorite books to read September through November!

The Woman in the Window | A.J. Finn

Anna is trapped in her house due to dibilitating agoraphobia, so she spends her days watching out her many windows. When she sees her new neighbor get stabbed, she needs to find a way to prove what she saw without leaving the safety of her own home. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I have to admit, I figured this was going to be another over-hyped book. I basically wrote it off before even opening it. Yeah, yeah, another unreliable narrator thriller. Yeah, another Woman on/in the [insert noun] book. But this had so many elements that were unique. It definitely lived up to the hype. 

About halfway through I thought I had the whole book figured out and assumed it would be a four star book. But this book has so many amazing twists. There was one big twist that I guessed, so I patted myself on the back. But then, WHAM WHAM there were two other twists that I didn’t see coming until they happened. At one point I literally put the book down, looked at my husband, and said, “Holy [expletive].” 

At some points I was annoyed with the way things were worded, but I think that’s just because I’m in the editing stage of my own novel, so I am hypercritical of sentence structure right now. But after the twists, I realized that a lot of the wording was very intentional. 

I don’t want to ruin anything about this book, so I won’t go too much more into the details, but for as many pages there was, it was a quick read that kept me up until the late hours of the night. I even gave this my Best Book Award! If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here

5/5 Stars

All The Missing Girls | Megan Miranda

This book follows Nic, a woman who returns to her hometown to help her aging dad with dementia. Going back opens old wounds and mysteries, especially once a second girl goes missing, ten years after the first mysterious disappearance. Everyone has their secrets, but which ones are hiding murder(s)? For a complete summary, you can go here.

Wow! Probably my favorite thriller of the year! I even gave it my Best Book Award! The format was unique (it took place primarily over fifteen days and was told in reverse chronological order). Now I want to read it all over again to catch all the clues I missed! It was a little frustrating at first, and it does take some brainpower to piece everything together -- but doesn't that add to the excitement of solving the mystery?! I think so!

At first, I was afraid that this book would be another unreliable narrator cliche, but it wasn’t quite like that. I do have to say I loved this book a lot more than Miranda’s other book The Perfect Stranger. I enjoyed that one, but this one definitely lived up to the hype more. I have seen people poking at some of the holes, but really, most thrillers have some red herrings to make you think you have guessed the ending. I’m choosing to not to overthink it at this point, and I’ll just enjoy it for the unique story it was! If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here

5/5 Stars

The Perfect Stranger | Megan Miranda

The Perfect Stranger is about an ex-journalist who runs away from a controversy by moving to a rural town with an old friend that recently reappeared. Something is not right when that friend goes missing and there’s no evidence of her ever existing. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I love a good thriller with a twist. I was  certain that I figured out the twist early on, so I was annoyed by how obvious it seemed. But, fortunately, I was wrong and didn’t guess exactly how the mystery ended. 

This was a quick read because it caught my attention and I wanted to keep reading. The characters were all flawed, and maybe even a little creepy. You don’t usually meet that many creepy people, so that aspect was a little unbelievable for me. I would say that this book was enjoyable, but not fantastic. It’s not up there with the great thrillers that have become popular over the past few years, but it holds its own and is worth a read. Like most thrillers, I can't say too much about this book without giving away some of the mystery. 

I have not read Miranda’s bestselling book, All The Missing Girls, which is probably an advantage that I had, since many people were so hyped up about this book because of how good the first book was. I have it on my shelf and will be reading that one very soon! We’ll see if that one lives up to its reputation… 

I definitely recommend this book to people who love thriller mysteries. It somewhat reminded me of The Luckiest Girl Alive and The Girl on the Train, but not as epic as either of them. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here

4/5 Stars

In a Dark, Dark Wood | Ruth Ware

This book is about Nora, a solitary writer who gets invited to a long-lost friend’s bachelorette party in a remote cabin. She is forced to face the events of her past that she has run away from for the last ten years. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I was drawn to this book because it reminds me of my favorite story as a child:

In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house.
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room.
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark chest.
And in the dark, dark chest there was a dark, dark shelf.
And on the dark, dark shelf there was a dark, dark box.
And in the dark, dark box there was… A GHOST!

The story does take place in a house in a dark wood, but it does not have to do with anything in a dark box, unless you are talking about metaphorical ghosts. I was intrigued by the story and it grasped me from the beginning. Similarly to Ware’s other book The Woman in Cabin 10, this book starts off with a good build-up, but the ending leaves something to be desired. It also seemed like an unnecessarily long time for the reveal due to [another] unreliable narrator. That trope is feeling overused in modern thrillers. However, I did like this one much better than The Woman in Cabin 10.

The book definitely was creepy, and worth reading. There are just some holes in the story--some actions and motives didn’t quite add up. When you are reading a mystery book, you expect to have either red herrings or clues, but not facts that don’t make sense. 

Overall, I recommend this book. It’ll make you not want to go to the woods for a while, so it is perfect for Halloween time. It would be a great book for a book club so you can discuss some of the plot points and figure out some of the author’s purposes. There is also a great list of questions at the end of the book that would be perfect for a discussion. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here.  

4/5 Stars

The Woman in Cabin 10 | Ruth Ware

This book is about a travel journalist that gets the opportunity to experience the life of luxury on a fancy yacht to see the Northern Lights. However, the first night she hears a scream and a splash from the outside of the cabin next to hers. No one believes her story since the room was empty, but she is determined to find out the truth. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I’ll shamefully admit that I thought this book was going to take place in the woods. I was thinking of a log cabin, not a cabin in a boat. Water didn't seem as creepy to me as the woods, but now I am realizing how boats are the perfect places for crimes. You are trapped and there is a grey area for arrests in unclaimed water territory. Makes me not want to go on a cruise anytime soon…

This was actually the first book I was able to read after my major back surgery without falling asleep (pain meds = fatigue). This book caught my interest from the beginning and kept me intrigued until the last 50 pages or so. I’ll admit that it started to get boring and dry, so I speed-read through the last bit to just see how it ended. If it wasn’t for the last bit, I would have given it 5 stars. It also felt familiar to me. The unreliable narrator is starting to become somewhat cliche. 

I still thoroughly recommend this book for mystery lovers. It isn’t as dark as Gillian Flynn, so it can still be considered a warmer weather/beach read. I can’t wait to read Ware’s other big hit, In a Dark, Dark Wood (now if that book isn’t in the woods, then my radar is way off). If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here

4/5 Stars

Others to Read:

Gone Girl | Gillian Flynn
The Girl on the Train | Paula Hawkins
Sharp Objects | Gillian Flynn
Hex | Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Luckiest Girl Alive | Jessica Knoll

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