Sunday, March 15, 2020

Book Reviews - Dark Stuff (And Some Light)

Y'all, I am behind in blogging, so you should know that I read these the week of March 2nd. The news/world/life was different then, and no way, I'd so many thrillers together rn. You may find there's something in here that still works for you, but wanted to offer my personal disclaimer/hesitation to do too many thrillers.

It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa TerKeurst was phenomenal. There are times when a book's timing hits you at just the right time, and y'all, this was so much that. I had a long drive, so I decided to go with the audio version read by the author, and wow, wow, wow. This was just such a beautiful and honest reflection on faith in the journey. The author uses her own journey as the foundation. She talks authentically about her own big disappointments. But in this all, she reframes. She talks about how these moments are part of where we are supposed to be. She names it certainly doesn't feel that way which I appreciated, and then she talks through how this could possibly be. These were words I so needed to hear, and I found myself nodding as I drove, crying, and smiling because it was just truth after truth after truth. This was an absolutely beautiful book. It's my second of this author's, and I love the way she frames faith. She talks about the "tough stuff" and she explains how you can get through. These were such wonderful words of comfort. Also, I highly recommend the audiobook. There was such power in hearing the author actually talk through her own life and realizations. I cannot say enough how much I adored this one and needed it right in this season.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel was a heavy one y'all. I knew that going in, but whoa, it was just a hard read. The story centers on Eve whose 12 year old daughter and her best friend have been brutally murdered. She's determined to find out what happened to get some kind of closure, and she finds the formal processes just aren't moving fast enough. To look into this, it means she has to delve into a painful past she's always tried to protect her daughter from. Her brother who is a police officer keeps her updated on the investigation, and he offers his own ideas to his sister, as well as cautions for some dangerous leads and individuals she should or shouldn't engage with through her process. Throughout Eve is grieving while also feeling the anger of what as happened and remorse about wanting to have protected her daughter more. Again, this was heavy, but well-written. In the end, resolution comes, but given the subject matter, it's a hard ending to digest for Eve and the reader. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this March 2020 release!

Before He Vanished by Debra Webb was a book I read for a blog tour as I do. Find the full review and an author Q&A here!

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline was another thriller that just hit the spot as this author seems to always do, and I'm so here for that. What I really liked about this one was the way the story was told. The story begins with Dr. Noah Alderman being on trial for the death of his stepdaughter Anna. This is the after part. This alternates with chapters of the before when Anna showed up to live with Dr. Alderman and his wife Maggie. This was a really compelling way to tell the story as you were able to piece together what might have happened with how the relationship began and also see where things evolved via the happenings in the trial. The twists and turns of this one were fascinating given the dual timelines. You really wondered how all of this converged, and it kept me turning the pages to continue to piece together all sides of this story. One thing I've learned about Lisa Scottoline as this is my third of her novels is she goes hard on the sensational reveals. There's one twist, but then they keep coming with that. It's not a critique at all, but it definitely is interesting to see the big endings happen. And y'all, whoa, whoa on this ending. I sort of started to put this together, but what transpired was something. I'm so thankful I have found the work of Lisa Scottoline. Sometimes I just need that great thriller in my life, and she always delivers.

Onto the next ones!