Thursday, June 13, 2019

Book Reviews - Three Thrillers and a Shot of (Im)Peach(ment)!

This was an odd quartet of reads - Not because of any of the books, but because I read three true thrillers, and then went for something on American history? The thrillers were full of all the things (Sometimes I Lie, I'm looking at you in particular), and even the historical piece had some intense moments. So, here y'all go.

The Couple on Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley was a sub-genre of thriller I tend to read often - stuff happens related to a troubled marriage. In this one, a husband is found dead. Much of the suspicion is around his wife. There's that time she found out her husband was having an affair at the neighborhood's summer barbeque that many neighbors remember. There's also that whole thing that the wife can't remember what went down that night. She's sure it wasn't her, but who the heck is going to believe that? The story is then pieced together as the wife tries to remember what happen, and the police go about their investigation to try to get more answers as to what went down. I liked that this one was told through the suspense of the story, but also through the investigation that was happening. It was a really good vehicle to raise questions and then discover some answers. There were some wild twists in this one, so if you need a thriller that's "good" where there are some twists as things/people aren't what they seem, then this should do the trick. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me check this one out as they always so kindly do.

Read this book if - You want a thriller that builds suspense through procedure and plot. You just need a reliable thriller that'll deliver on twists.

No Exit by Taylor Adams was a fast-paced thriller that was so, so great. It read like a Lifetime movie (in a good way), and I was here for that. Darby is driving home from college to Utah to see her dying mother when she hits a snowstorm in Colorado. She is forced to stop at a rest area to ride out the weather. There she meets a group of strangers. She steps outside to call her family, and she sees a little girl in a cage in the back of a van. As you can imagine, the story just goes from there as Darby has to figure out what to do. This was a book that did a masterful job of building suspense and story, and the twists were the kind that make your jaw legit drop because they're just so great. I couldn't flip the pages fast enough because I was so swept away in Darby's experience and what the heck she was going to do to save the kid and herself. I could vividly see this all happening at the rest stop, and y'all, that's some great storytelling. I read this in one sitting because it was so damn good!

Read this book if - You want a thriller that'll keep you guessing and excited as the plot develops. You like a book that reads like a movie with its action.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was a book I was really into for 200 pages. Y'all, the last 50 pages were wild. The story is about Amber. She wakes up in a coma, and she's not quite sure what has happened. Thing start to be pieced together through just before the accident, the aftermath of the accident, and a series of childhood diary entries. The story begins to piece together Amber's relationships - personal and professional, good and bad - through these three storylines. I appreciated this as a storytelling device and suspense builder as I knew something was happening, but I couldn't quite fit all the pieces together. And then a big twist was revealed - around 200 pages in, and my jaw just dropped. From there, things just spiraled. For me, it felt like reading "And another thing!" and then "And another thing!" and then (seriously) "And another thing!" happening. For me, it was too much. It was a lot to take in, and I even found myself getting confused. It definitely delivers on the thrills, and this is a heaping helping of twists, too, but I felt overserved. I found myself audibly just saying "Huh?!?!" as the layers of the story continued to be revealed. 

Read this book if - You like unreliable narrators/storytelling. You just want something where all the batsh*t crazy stuff goes down.

The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Winegate was a deep dive into a president and historical happenings I knew very little about. Understanding this "accidental presidency" (which happened because of Lincoln's assassination) is really critical in understanding American history post-Civil War. This is a thoroughly researched piece, and y'all, I learned so much. It's definitely a lot of information to take in, but I appreciated that I felt like I got the fullest picture of not only the presidency, but also the realities of what life was like in the United States after the war. This book is intense in its history, as there were deep divisions that remained in the country, as well as terrible violence that still occurred. With that, the book does a really strong job of framing up how this related to Johnson, how he led, and the impeachment process. For me, this was the history I wish I knew, and I'm glad I know it now. There were also definitely some pieces that were all too similar to the politics of today. This is a genre I rarely read (although this is my second presidential biography this year), and I was able to check this one out (and quite appreciated the read) thanks to NetGalley.

Read this book if - You want a thoroughly researched and informative piece on American history. You want to a deep dive into a controversial president.