Tuesday, May 10, 2016

From the Bookshelf: Recently Read - May 2016 Edition

It's the second Tuesday of the month, which means it's time to talk books with Steph, Jana, and many of the other awesome bloggers who participate in the Show Us Your Books! link-up.

April was a pretty good reading month for me. I finished Book Challenge by Erin 4.0, and read a total of 6 books from start to finish. (The first two books I read in April were reviewed here, if you missed that post.)

As always, I'm posting more condensed reviews today. If you want to know more about my thoughts on a specific book from this post, I'll be posting my in-depth reviews on Sunday.

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Do Not Disturb by A.R. Torre - 357 pages - 4 stars

In The Girl in 6E (which I reviewed here), readers were introduced to Deanna Madden, a troubled young woman who has opted to shut herself away from the outside world in an effort to prevent herself from acting on her dark, murderous urges. After breaking her own rules, Deanna begins exploring just how much freedom she can allow herself in Do Not Disturb.

But Deanna isn't the only one with newfound freedom. Marcus Renza has just been released from prison after serving time for brutally raping a woman. After chatting with Deanna online, he has his sights set on his next victim ... And will stop at nothing to find her.

I've really enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, and plan to read the final installment at some point soon. While the writing hasn't blown me away, the overall stories have been interesting and I always find myself frantically turning the pages to see how things will play out.

Like The Girl in 6EDo Not Disturb is an erotic thriller with plenty of graphic sex and violence. (So obviously not a book for everyone.)

If you think this might be the kind of book for you, though, I'd suggest starting with The Girl in 6E. While Do Not Disturb could technically be okay as a standalone, you'd be missing out on some of Deanna's background (which is only mentioned briefly in this book) and some of the references to things that happened in the first book wouldn't make much sense.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - 378 pages - 5 stars

All the Bright Places is the story of two teenagers: Violet and Finch. Violet is dealing with the painful loss of her older sister, withdrawing more and more each day. Finch has struggled with crippling depression and his status as "Freak" for years. After a chance encounter on the ledge of the bell tower at their high school, Violet and Finch discover that maybe they're not so alone after all.

That is quite literally the most basic summary I could think of to describe this book. While a part of me wants to share more about the story (and I'll talk a little more about it on Sunday when I post my more in-depth reviews), another part of me just wants you to pick up the book and discover it yourself.

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah - 419 pages - 3 stars

After leaving the stress of city life in London behind, Justine, her husband, and their 13-year-old daughter hope to start over and enjoy a quieter lifestyle in the country. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for them to realize that they won't be enjoying this new life the way they initially thought they would.

It starts with Justine's daughter, Ellen, growing withdrawn and depressed when her best friend, George, is expelled from school. This wouldn't be quite as concerning if Justine hadn't been told by the head teacher that George doesn't exist.

And then there are the anonymous calls. At first they're an annoyance, and Justine believes the caller simply has the wrong number. But as they grow increasingly threatening, she begins to wonder what this person knows about her and if she and her family could be in real danger.

I love really weird books, but A Game for All the Family was almost too weird. In fact, I'd say the only reason I gave it an "I liked it" rating is because I thought the book was full of interesting ideas and it did keep me guessing.

Unfortunately, I felt like Sophie Hannah tried too hard to create this elaborate plot full of unexpected twists, and, in the end, delivered a mostly unsatisfying conclusion. When I finished the book, I think my exact reaction was, "That was it? Really?" It could have been so much better.

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad - 371 pages - 4 stars

Frank Rath thought he'd given up his career as a detective years ago, but he agrees to help when he's called about a new case involving a missing young woman. He soon discovers that several young women in the area have disappeared within the last year, and wonders if the latest case is somehow connected.

The Silent Girls is a crime thriller filled with plenty of twists and WTF moments. I'll admit that I figured out what might link the missing girls before the big reveal, but there were plenty of times when Rickstad took the novel in a completely different direction than I expected.

The book was unsettling (but not what I'd consider scary), and it was an excellent reminder that evil can lurk in even the smallest towns. It's definitely worth reading if you're a fan of mystery/crime thrillers.

And the ending? Whoa. It's the sort of ending that smacks you in the face, leaves you wanting more, and then makes you feel relieved when you realize the author has plans to write another novel featuring the main character.

Version Control by Dexter Palmer - 495 pages - 3 stars

What if you were living the wrong version of your life? If you could, would you attempt to change the past, even if that meant altering not only your own future but the future of the world? These are just a few of the very complex questions that Version Control attempts to answer.

I have very mixed feelings about this book.

There's no doubt in my mind that Dexter Palmer has created a very intricate novel filled with thought-provoking ideas and realistic, well-developed characters. I was also pleasantly surprised that he injected a lot of humor into certain parts of the book.

Unfortunately, I felt like it took way too long to get to the point. This book is nearly 500 pages long, and I think it probably could have been edited down to at least 400 pages (or maybe even less). I understand why the author added some of the details he did, but I think the book would have had the same impact if he'd omitted a few things. By the time I neared the end, I was ready for the book to be over.


  1. I think I added The Girl in 6E based on your previous recommendation. I didn't even know it was part of a trilogy.

    I agree with your condensed synopsis of All the Bright Places and The Silent Girls. For The Silent Girls, I had heard nothing about the author or the book before selecting it for the challenge. I think that made it even more enjoyable of a read.

  2. I didn't realize The Girl in 6E was part of a trilogy. It's already on my TBR and I'm glad to hear that you like it. All The Bright Places and The Silent Girls are already on my TBR too. I've heard so many good things in particular about All The Bright Places - glad to hear another positive review about it.

  3. I read The Girl in 6E back last fall and I now you have piqued my interest in the sequel.

  4. I know 6E is on my list already and this review of the second makes me feel the need to move it on up!

  5. Do Not Disturb sounds good! I'll have to add the Girl in 6E to my reading list :)

    The Midwest Darling

  6. I'm definitely going to have to give The Girl In 6E a try! It sounds really interesting and like something that I'd like! All The Bright Places and The Silent Girls have been on my list for a while, and it sounds like I need to read them sooner rather than later!

  7. The Silent Girls is on my TBR. I'm looking forward to it.

    I think I've already told you my reaction to Bright Places but in case I haven't, it made me ugly, UGLY cry for hours.

  8. I haven't read The Girl in 6E, but I'm definitely adding it to my to read list. The story sounds fascinating!

  9. I loved All the Bright Places. So MUCH. Silent Girls is on my TBR list. I like thrillers!

  10. All The Bright Places sounds like a compelling read. Count me in!

  11. I really liked All the Bright Places - what an emotionally intense book.

  12. Oooh Silent Girls looks intriguing! Adding it to my TBR!

  13. I don't what my deal is but I keep getting All the Bright Places and Everything I Never Told You mixed up. I want to read both! haha

  14. I really enjoyed All the Bright Places. Silent Girls was already on my to read list, but I may have to get to it sooner than later!

  15. Sounds like I need to read The Girl in 6E! All the Bright Places sounds really good too.

  16. All The Bright Places has been on my list for so long. I'm going to reserve it at the library now :).

  17. all the bright places is on my list, i hope i get to it soon now. the silent girls is also on my list, i've heard good things.

  18. All the Bright Places has been on my list for a while, I really need to read it!

  19. I'm really interested in Version Control. And glad to hear All the Bright lived up to all the hype.

    PS I always feel bad when I leave a comment like above because you always leave such long and nice comments on my posts!!