Tuesday, July 12, 2016

June 2016 Book Review

Rating System
5- Loved it! All the feels and flails. New favorite
4- Really liked it. Would recommend
3- Decent/solid read.
2- Would not recommend. Barely finished
1- Hard no, DNF. Gave book away.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Rating: 3-3.5

Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

First off, I have to say that my version was a fuzzy black hardcover. I loved the fuzz but equally love the innuendo of the above cover. What to say about this book...it definitely had the shock value. I couldn't decide if it was written for that alone and might have been over the top or if this is really how a female pedophile works. I liked the first 2/3 of the book. It's funny in that you see on the news about these female teachers who get in trouble for sleeping with and/or getting pregnant with their 12-14 year old students and honestly (not sure why), I've never really connected that to them being a pedophile. Society has it ingrained in you to think of males as predators but not women. Kudos to Nutting for taking on this taboo subject and taking it that one step further.  I thought the ending of this book was rushed and felt like it was forced. I'd like to think that if you were doing something that would essentially ruin your life, you wouldn't repeat the same mistakes over and over (with this, I mean getting caught more than once). But maybe because it's an addict you don't care?

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Rating: 4

On the day she was abducted, Annie O'Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old realtor, had three goals―sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

I love this style of book where fucked up shit happens and you can't read fast enough trying to figure out what happens next. This was my first Stevens book and it won't be my last. It started off a little slow with the present day therapy sessions. I found it hard to reconcile the past person to the present person speaking but not a deal breaker. Talk about a messed up ending. I didn't figure it out until shortly before the reveal. Definitely would recommend to fans of Gillian Flynn or Jennifer McMahon.

Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas

Rating: 3

As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, “We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent—even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence.  Who are we? We are highly successful, noncriminal sociopaths and we comprise 4 percent of the American population.” 

I guess I had a theme last month- fucked up women. First a female pedophile, then a girl who gets abducted and now a female sociopath. I found the author to read as very condescending, arrogant and cold. While these are personality traits of a sociopath, it was kind of a turn off while reading. How many times do I have to hear that she has a "brilliant IQ"? I liked the psychology aspects but it felt redundant. It wasn't until the last 1/3 of the book that she made that personal connection and included stories from her life. I think if she could have done more of that, I would have enjoyed the book more. It definitely made me wonder how many sociopaths I know and when she talked about certain things, I kept wondering who I knew that might be one. Chances are, I have to know atleast one.

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Rating: 4
Inspector Gamache Series #5

Chaos is coming, old son.
With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.
No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him? 

This might possibly be my favorite Penny to date. There was so many things I loved about this story. From a cabin with treasures to the character development of the Three Pines residents to Ruth and Rosa. I cannot say enough about how much I am enjoying this series. I highly recommend listening to the series. The reader has a voice that perfectly fits the tone of the books but also Inspector Gamache. I have to pace myself and listen to other books inbetween. The ending was so heartbreaking, like sighing and tears in the car feelings.

Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick

Rating: 2.5

Set in the New York of the 1930s, Heir to the Glimmering World is a spellbinding, richly plotted novel brimming with intriguing characters. Orphaned at eighteen, with few possessions, Rose Meadows finds steady employment with the Mitwisser clan. Recently arrived from Berlin, the Mitwissers rely on the auspices of a generous benefactor, James A'Bair, the discontented heir to a fortune his father, a famous childen's author, made from a series of books called The Bear Boy. Against the vivid backdrop of a world in tumult, Rose learns the refugee family's secrets as she watches their fortunes rise and fall in Ozick's wholly engrossing novel.

Two thumbs down...what a tedious read. I don't know if it was because it was totally not what I was expecting or what but this was not for me. I quickly read the jacket summary and was picturing early WWII historical fiction. There were some sections that were ok. I'm not a fan of overly religious themed books and this was in large parts. For me, it was one of those books where you get to the ending and it just all feels pointless. I thought Rose could have been a great character if the book was more about her and less about stupid, nonsense stuff. 

Love It: The Brutal Telling and Still Missing
Leave It: Heir to the Glimmering World
Life According to Steph


  1. I read Still Missing this month too, and I could echo what you said.
    I need to pick up a Louise Penny book soon.

  2. The first two are already on my list. Tampa has been on it forever (it's in the top 20 or so out of nearly 500!), so I should probably get around to it soon.

    So is the M.E. Thomas book a memoir? It sounds like it is, but I'm too tired/lazy to check Goodreads right now. It does sound interesting, but I don't know that I'd enjoy reading an author with an overly condescending tone. That would get old fast.

    Everyone seems to love Louise Penny! I wasn't 100% sold on her books, but I keep seeing them popping up everywhere. Maybe I should just give one a try at some point.

  3. Tampa and Still Missing are both on my TBR. And yeah, I tend to picture men when I hear the word pedophile too. Adding The Brutal Telling to my TBR. I've heard lots of great things about Louise Penny and need to read one of her books.

    1. Still Missing was so good! I would definitely recommend to start with Still Life, the first book in the Penny series. While the murders are all stand alone, they take place in the same town and with the same characters.

  4. Confessions of a Sociopath was a DNF for me. I couldn't get into it.

    I enjoyed Still Missing a whole lot and subsequent books by her are equally as good.

    Steph and I did a whole podcast episode about Tampa. I echo your thoughts as well.

  5. Interesting reads. I put Tampa on my TBR last month, but I'm not sure if I will ever have the stomach for it. I'm intrigued and repulsed at the same time. Since both you and Erin have thought so highly of Still Missing, I need to bump it up on my TBR. Have a good one!

  6. I requested my first Louise Penny from the library a few weeks back!

    I don't think pedophiles can be rehabilitated, and there is definite proof that they will continue to make the same choices over and over that put their lives as they know it at risk. I thought Nutting did a brilliant job.

  7. It sounds like you read a lot of good mystery and thriller books this month! Still Missing sounds like a really good read and one that I'd really like. I've had Tampa on my TBR list for a while, and I hope to read it soon. It definitely sounds like you had a very interesting version of that book!

  8. Just put Still Missing on hold at the library. I love a good mystery & it has been a while since I've found one.

  9. Tampa has been on my TBR list forever...but for some reason I'm nervous to read it? Haha. I read Still Missing a few years ago and REALLY liked it. I agree - so messed up, but a real page turner. I haven't read anything else by the author yet either, although I do own a few of her other books.

  10. I have a bunch of Chevy Stevens books on my TBR i think, and that one is on there for sure. tampa is on my list but i am not sure if i will read it, i know a lot-ish about it because of steph and jana talking about it on their podcast, but it still sounds like an interesting book. i am with you, i never thought of those women as pedophiles either, but if it was a guy i definitely would have.

  11. I finished #3 in the Armande Gamache series this month. I am really enjoying the series as well! I like getting to know all the characters a little bit more every time.

  12. The Confessions book is on my TBR. Hell, at this point, all books are on my TBR. The first 2 sound like ones I wouldn't be able to put down though.

  13. I have had Still Missing on my Kindle forever and still haven't gotten around to it! Sounds like I need to read it ASAP.

  14. I've never read Louise Penny, but this series sounds so interesting! Adding it to my TBR :)

    1. Omg! I can't speak highly enough about the Penny series.

  15. Still Missing sounds really good. Not sure I could handle Tampa....

    I put the first Louise Penny book on hold on Overdrive from my library. Glad to hear the series works in audio.

    1. I'm so glad you are listening to it on audio! I've only listened and can't imagine reading just because I love the narrator so much!

  16. I think you're the third person I "know" who liked Still Missing, so I added it, and then realized that I have another Chevy Stevens on my To Read list as well!

  17. I'm about to start the fifth Louise Penny so I definitely appreciate that warning about the ending!!! Oh my goodness! I actually think I might listen to this one if I get it soon on audio from the library because I've read them all in print so far. What an amazing series!

  18. Bummer about Heir to the... sounds interesting enough! I have heard lots of good things about Louise Penny recently, I added some books to my TBR. :) Whew that first one sounds intense, but yes, always interesting to read about a taboo subject... hmmm... XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things