Tag Archives: lil red’s book club

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Spires By Kate Moretti Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Spires By Kate Moretti Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing The Spires by Kate Moretti – without giving any spoilers away, of course. 🙂 The Spires was a fast paced read that I finished after a mere four reading sessions. Although it wasn’t my favorite, it definitely qualified as unputdownable as twists and turns seemed to happen with every short chapter. Now, let’s get to it:

Bland, rational, shy Penelope has been living her life on autopilot for the past year. With her unemployed husband not picking up any extra slack, Penelope has been forced to juggle absolutely everything – A demanding job, cooking, cleaning, and two children with tons of extra curriculars. She is run down, exhausted, and closer to reaching her breaking point with every passing day. But, with the arrival of a friend who she hasn’t seen in twenty years on her doorstep, her busy life becomes the least of her problems.

Willa and Penelope were best friends in college and lived with each other and three other roommates for a year after graduating. Willa was the resident life of the party in the renovated church that they lived in, which made her state at Penelope’s door startling. She was terrified of the abusive ex that she escaped from and needed a place to stay.

At first, Willa was a welcome guest in Penelope’s home. She cooked delicious meals, cleaned, and helped out with the kids. Then, things started turning very suspicious. Jewelry of Penelope’s began turning up missing, major boundaries in the home were being crossed, and photos of her life that she can’t recall anyone taking appeared in her bedroom. The worst part? No one believes Penelope, which leaves her questioning her own sanity and sinking further back into her history and the tragedy that took place in the church house.

With no one in her corner, Penelope goes at it alone and the secrets that she uncovers about Willa unravel her even more. In a shocking final stand off where it all began, the truth of the tragedy at the church house is revealed as well as one more grand reveal that will make your jaw drop. Will Penelope survive the show down? Read The Spires to find out!

What I liked the most about The Spires was its format. No one loves a back and forth setup more than Lil Red and this book alternated from Penelope in present and past day to present day Willa. The chapters were short and sweet which is what made it so hard to put down because just a few more pages would uncover even more game changers. And, we all know that just a few more pages means you end up reading fifty more!

While I enjoyed the story line of The Spires because it was different than anything I have read before, I wasn’t particularly fond of any of the characters. Penelope bored me, her husband drove me crazy, and Willa was SO annoying. Not feeling any type of connection to any of the main players made for a lackluster reading experience despite a riveting plot.

Overall, The Spires is one that you could take or leave and I am going to award it with five and a half out of ten stars. These stars were given for the unique plot and enjoyable format. Had I liked even one character, it would have been a much higher star rating. If you are looking for a quick read, give The Spires a try. If you are looking for something deeper than that, it is one that you can pass on.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: False Witness By Karin Slaughter Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: False Witness By Karin Slaughter Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we will be discussing a book called False Witness by Karin Slaughter – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, however, I will be placing an extreme trigger warning on this book and post. False Witness covers every type of abuse imaginable, violence, rape, and drug addiction. It is definitely not a book to be read by the faint of heart. With that in mind, let’s get to it:

Big sister Leigh and little sis Callie spent their childhood in poverty and immersed in abuse at the hands of adults who should have been protecting them. Finally, the hunted became the hunters and the sisters murdered one of their abusers – the father of the child that Callie was babysitting. They cleaned house, covered their tracks, and lived their lives as if nothing happened afterwards.

To cope, Leigh worked hard to the point of obsessive and became a defense attorney for a major law firm. Callie, on the other hand, turned to hard drugs to ease her pain from scars both mental and physical. She would show up in Leigh’s life occasionally to steal money and possessions but mainly lived on the streets or seedy motels.

For over twenty years, the girls thought that they had gotten away with the perfect crime and did their best to keep it in the back of their minds. That is, until Leigh is hired to defend a new client on brutal rape charges. Who is he? None other than the boy that they babysat all of those years ago.

Andrew Tenant is clearly guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and everyone seems to know it. However, he expects to get off scot free because he has leverage over Leigh that will incriminate both her and Callie if she doesn’t succeed in trial… He knows that they killed his father. How, you may ask? Read False Witness to find out!

Let me start off by saying that False Witness in its entirety was insanely hard to read. Its content was nothing short of heartbreaking and deeply disturbing. Having said that, it was a book that kept my attention to the very end with twists, turns, and complete curve balls on every page.

The subject matter was, at times, unbearable. However, Karin Slaughter crafted the two sisters in such a way that I was rooting for them harder than I have for any other character in the books that I have read recently. Despite their flaws, both Leigh and Callie were likeable, smart, so strong, and sometimes absolutely hilarious. In fact, I liked them even more because of everything that they have gone through.

Slaughter hit hard in this book to the point that it was almost grueling. She shined a light on very real issues and wrote in such a way that it felt like you were reading a true story. The sense of urgency in this book was palpable. There were also delicious moments of comic relief that had me in stitches, which was much needed and appreciated.

I am going to award Karin Slaughter’s False Witness with a six out of ten star rating. While I can’t say that I enjoyed this book due to its graphic nature, I loved how it was written as well as the two main characters. If you can stomach it, False Witness is certainly worth the read. If not, please don’t bother with it because it is not worth damaging your own mental health.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Thing He Told Me By Laura Dave Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Thing He Told Me By Laura Dave Edition

Hello and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Laura Dave called The Last Thing He Told Me – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This book kept me on the edge of my seat with twists and turns on every page and an ending that almost made my cry. I simply could not put it down and devoured it in less than a week! Now, let’s get to it:

Hannah and Owen have been married for about a year and everything is going picture perfect. They live in a charming houseboat with Owen’s teenage daughter, Bailey, in Sausalito, California and Hannah constantly wonders how she got so lucky. Even though Bailey is not particularly thrilled over the relationship!

Hannah thinks that she knows everything there is to know about Owen until he doesn’t return home from work. Instead of calling, he has a note delivered to their front door with the simple message of “Protect her.” on it. Shortly after Hannah receives the note, we learn that the CEO of the tech company that her husband works for has been indited for major fraud and embezzlement. Fast forward a few days later and Owen has seemingly disappeared without a trace… That is, except for the huge bag of cash he left in Bailey’s locker at school.

As if Hannah didn’t have enough to stress about, the FBI and U.S. Marshals are hot on her trail and she knows that she needs to act fast to save herself, her step daughter, and husband. With the unlikely help of Bailey, they begin to uncover dark secrets of Owen’s past that could put all of them in unspeakable danger. This begs the question of if Hannah and Bailey really even knew him at all.

The Last Thing He Told Me was a fast paced, urgent read because every twist that occurred put everyone closer to being in harm’s way. This is why I couldn’t stop reading if I tried and it was definitely a nice change of pace from the lackluster Such A Quiet Place, which I finished recently. The Last Thing He Told Me also offered a story line that was incredibly unique which made trying to figure out the grand reveal pretty difficult. There were some things I got right and others that I missed and that made it even better.

What I liked the most about The Last Thing He Told Me were all of the different emotions that I felt while reading. Hannah and Bailey’s anxiety was palpable and they were both so easy to root for as they were thrown into such a life altering situation. I felt bad that Hannah’s fairy tale was cut short and awful that the only parent Bailey has left had disappeared off the face of the Earth. This made all of their discoveries and final heart wrenching sentence even more triumphant to the point that I was almost moved to tears.

I really can’t go into detail about Owen’s past because it would ruin the point of reading this book. I can tell you, however, that if you like a good thriller, then The Last Thing He Told Me is definitely worth the read. I am going to award it with an eight out of ten star rating. Laura Dave delivered with flawed but insanely likeable characters and a book that will keep you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend it!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: Such A Quiet Place By Megan Miranda Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Such A Quiet Place By Megan Miranda Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, of course, we are going to be discussing a thriller called Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda. Was it the best book I have ever read? No. Was it the worst? Still no. Now, let’s get to it:

Hollow’s Edge is a beautiful neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. The home owners consider themselves a family and you can often find them at each other’s places having coffee and barbecues or lounging together at the community pool. Not only is their free time spent with each other but their work lives also mingle as many of the neighbors are employed at the local college. It is a picture perfect place for thirty somethings to truly begin their adult lives with family or blossoming careers. However, if we know anything about thrillers, we know that Hollow’s Edge is anything but picture perfect.

A year and a half ago, the community was turned upside down by the murders of Brandon and Fiona Truett via carbon monoxide poisoning. With the utmost cooperation from the Hollow’s Edge residents, twenty-five year old Ruby Fletcher was convicted of murder and sent to prison. The neighborhood was completely shaken and everyone tried to move back to some sense of normality. That is, until Ruby’s charges were dropped after she served fourteen months thanks to an excellent lawyer and new evidence.

After being released from prison, Ruby waltzes back into Hollow’s Edge as if nothing happened. She invites herself back into the home she shared with her old roommate, Harper, and begins plotting her revenge for the wrongful conviction. Her erratic behavior frightens the community and they are sure that a murderer is walking freely around their tight knit neighborhood.

The people of Hollow’s Edge try their best to ignore Ruby but it is with much difficulty with every twist and turn she presents. And, when she is reported dead after a Fourth of July party, it becomes impossible. Are there two murderers in the neighborhood? Or was Ruby’s death just collateral for desperate community members trying to save face? Read Such A Quiet Place to find out!

Given the description, you would think that Such A Quiet Place would be right up Lil Red’s alley because I love a good thriller. And I did like this book. The story line was different than anything I had read before and that, in itself, is a huge plus. The grand reveal wasn’t the grandest ever, though, and I had figured it out well before the book was over despite all of the red herrings. While I do enjoy solving the major twist in thrillers, I like being completely blindsided better.

Megan Miranda’s writing style didn’t help the cause, either. This is not to say the book was poorly written because it wasn’t. However, I never got a deeper understanding of any of the characters because it was always skirted around with their outward cattiness. The book wasn’t boring, per se, but it’s not much fun to read about an entire neighborhood of people who are exactly the same.

I can’t say that I particularly cared for any of the characters in Such A Quiet Place. Although they were all pretty shitty people, it is nice to have someone to root for in a book and I just didn’t feel that connection to any of them. So, even when the plot twist finally revealed itself, I still felt underwhelmed.

Such A Quiet Place is a read that you could take or leave and I am going to award it with a five out of ten star rating. This thriller really didn’t do much for me but I did like the unique story line. Whomp whomp.

Which book are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Flight By Julie Clark Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Last Flight By Julie Clark Edition

Howdy and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the thriller that I just finished called The Last Flight by Julie Clark – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Right from the start, The Last Flight had me on the edge of my seat and it was an unputdownable read revolving around two strong women. Now, let’s get to it but, first, I will be putting a trigger warning on this book as it deals with spousal abuse:

If you saw Claire Cook in the news or in a gossip rag, you would think she had it all. She is married into the powerful Cook family and her husband, Rory, is about to begin his campaign to become a New York senator. What you don’t see in the pictures, however, are Claire’s expertly covered bruises and utterly fake smile as she tip toes around her husband to keep him from losing his temper. The beatings have worsened and an incident unraveling from Rory’s past leave Claire fearing for her life. The only thing she can do now, is plan her escape.

On the opposite end of the country in California, there is Eva James. If you were a student on the Berkeley campus, you would be sure to have seen Eva skulking about and would brush her off as a loner just trying to get by. Eva’s hard facade is not by choice but, rather, out of necessity. If you passed Eva on the street, you would never guess that she is the chemist for a drug lord named Fish. With a DEA agent hot on her trail and murders being linked to Fish, Eva very well could be next. The only thing she can do now, is plan her escape.

After months upon months of creating a master plan, Claire and Eva are ready to execute them and come to find themselves in the same airport. A chance encounter brings them together and they decide to add one more curve ball to the mix: They are going to swap plane tickets. Will the escape of Claire and Eva be successful? Or will they wind up even worse off than they were before? Read The Last Flight to find out!

If you have read any Lil Red’s Book Club posts before, then you will know that I am partial to the back and forth narrator thrillers. The Last Flight alternated between Claire and Eva each chapter, which made it so hard to put down because I couldn’t read about one without reading about the other too! I devoured this Julie Clark novel and my only regret is that it wasn’t longer because I thought it was excellent.

In the world of “unstable narrator” suspense novels, it is rare to find one that revolves around two women who are both in a sane state of mind. The very real threat of danger for Claire and Eva rather than something possibly imagined added such a sense of urgency to The Last Flight because their lives are completely dependent on the success of their ticket swap. Each page introduced new twists and turns and it was exciting to read how Claire and Eva used their intelligence to evade their problems.

Although both of these women have their flaws, you will find yourself rooting for them the entire time and will be blown away by the outcome of The Last Flight. I highly recommend this read and will be awarding it with an eight out of ten stars for the fresh story line, strong heroines, and the anticipation I felt with every turn of the page.

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: Before She Disappeared By Lisa Gardner Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Before She Disappeared By Lisa Gardner Edition

Hi! This past month has been so busy, I feel like I barely had any time to read. However, after an afternoon reading marathon over the weekend, I finally finished the book I had been working on called Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. I can’t say that I was overly impressed with the way the book ended but I really liked it as a whole due to the strong female lead, Frankie Elken. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

Frankie Elken is a middle aged former alcoholic who drifts from place to place trying to solve missing person cases that have gone cold. She is not a professional and does her investigating without getting paid, so she picks up odd jobs in whatever city she ends up in. Due to Frankie’s own demons, she is highly passionate about what she does. But, unfortunately, she has never brought anyone home alive in the fourteen missing person cases she has worked on. This time, she desperately wants to get it right and heads to Mattapan in Boston to search for teen aged Angelique Badeau.

Angelique and her family are Haitian immigrants who came to America during the earthquakes. She is described as an incredibly gifted student with dreams of being a doctor and has a deep love for her family and Haiti. According to everyone who knows her, the last thing Angelique could be described as is a troublemaker and has never acted rashly before.

Eleven months ago, quiet and determined Angelique disappeared after school without a trace. After months of tracking evidence and following leads, the Boston Police Department came up with nothing and the case eventually goes cold. Cue Frankie Elken.

In a handful of days, Frankie uncovers secrets that the police weren’t even close to discovering on their own. As you can imagine, this leads to much tension between her and the professionals. In a missing person case, every minute is crucial and newly found intel leads Frankie to believe that Angelique is running out of time and fast. Can Frankie bring Angelique home? And just what in the heck happened to her? Read Before She Disappeared to find out!

Although I wasn’t particularly blown away with the way Before She Disappeared ended, I had a good time reading it. The entire book had such a sense of urgency to it and as I read, I felt like I was a detective right alongside Frankie. She is an unlikely heroine and her tenacity and street smarts blew the case wide open when she arrived in Boston. I found myself liking and rooting for her even more with every page.

The entire book felt like waiting for a bomb to blow because time was of the essence and, although the finale was a bit of a dud, I still recommend reading this book. I am going to rate it with a six out of ten star rating and it actually would have been a seven if there weren’t So. Many. Typos. in the book. It’s me being nit-picky, but it drove me nuts! Lisa Gardner has written a plethora of other books and I wouldn’t mind reading more of her work in the future.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Night Swim By Megan Goldin Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Night Swim By Megan Goldin Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today we will be discussing a true crime thriller called The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – without giving any spoilers away, of course. It took me a while to get started on reading this book because these past few weeks have been super busy for yours truly. However, once I finally cracked it open I devoured it in less than one week and it was excellent. In fact, it has easily been one of the best books that I’ve read in a good long while.

Before proceeding with the review of The Night Swim, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book as the true crime aspects include rape and murder. Here we go:

Rachel Krall is the creator of the hugely popular true crime podcast called Guilty or Not Guilty. Love her or hate her, she is a household name who reached overnight celebrity status when she uncovered new information that lead to a man falsely convicted of murder to get out of jail in one of her seasons. Between investigating, writing, and recording for her podcast, Rachel is an extremely busy woman and is in crunch mode because the highly anticipated third season of Guilty or Not Guilty is about to begin.

While previous seasons of her podcast reviewed crimes and trials that had already happened, season three will be completely different as Rachel will be reporting in real time at the trial of Scott Blair – a teenage swimming champion accused of rape. Rachel travels to the sleepy, small town called Neapolis in coastal North Carolina, which is already incredibly divided about the case before the trial has even began.

Before reaching town, Rachel stops at a roadside diner for some caffeine and returns to her car to find a letter tucked under her windshield. Despite Rachel’s celebrity status, she has maintained anonymity and her fans don’t know what she looks like, making this delivery alarming. Even more shocking, however, are the contents of the letter from a fan named Hannah who grew up in Neapolis.

Hannah explains that she believes her older sister, Jenny, was murdered twenty-five years ago and wants Rachel’s help to uncover the truth. As previously mentioned, Rachel is a busy woman and her time in Neapolis is spent between investigating a current rape trial and a cold case from a quarter of a century ago. Will her skill and instinct lead her to new information to give closure to Hannah? What will be the outcome of season three of Guilty or Not Guilty? Read The Night Swim to find out!

Despite downright disturbing subject matter, The Night Swim was a captivating read and it really felt like I was investigating the cases right along with Rachel. The book went back and forth each chapter between Rachel’s detective work, letters from Hannah, transcripts from her podcast, and a play by play of the rape trial. It made The Night Swim completely unputdownable because it felt like I was Rachel’s partner and I was urgent for more information to try and solve the cases. While I didn’t get the grand reveal right, I was damn close and was pleased with how much I was able to piece together.

What I enjoyed the most about The Night Swim was how seamlessly it weaved together the past and present cases that Rachel was investigating. In Neapolis, everyone knows everyone and having information from twenty-five years past about current characters provided insight that you rarely get in psychological thrillers. And, of course, Rachel was an amazing heroine who you will find yourself rooting for the entire book.

If the subject matter of The Night Swim isn’t triggering for you, then I cannot recommend this book enough. To further confirm this, I will be awarding it with the prestigious ten out of ten star rating. I have never read a book like this before and I honestly wouldn’t mind reading it again. Megan Goldin is definitely an author to look out for!

What are you reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: Every Vow You Break By Peter Swanson Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Every Vow You Break By Peter Swanson Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Peter Swanson called Every Vow You Break – without giving any spoilers away, of course. It took me a while to finish this book as I have been pretty busy lately but I really enjoyed it and I did not see the grand reveal coming at all. Every Vow You Break was suspenseful and downright scary at times and I am looking forward to reading more from Peter Swanson. Now, let’s get to it:

After several failed relationships, Abigail has seemingly hit the jackpot with Bruce. He is kind, handsome, and filthy rich. However, despite all of the good times that they have shared, Abigail often feels the overwhelming sensation that she is marrying a complete stranger. During her bachelorette party at a vineyard, Abigail’s reservations skyrocket while she chats with a handsome man on the patio and ends up having a one night stand days before her wedding.

What could possibly be worse than that? Literally everything that follows. Despite the infidelity, Abigail gets married to Bruce anyways and plans on taking her secret to the grave. Unfortunately for her, that is going to be a lot easier said than done when the man she cheated on Bruce with ends up at the exclusive resort that they are honeymooning at called Camp Passamaquoddy or the “Quoddy” for short.

The Quoddy is located on Heart Pond Island and is designed for people who work with technology to take a break from the screens and enjoy nature. There is no cell phone reception or internet, rather, lots of alcohol, lush furnishings, and gourmet meals. And, oh yeah, Bruce just happens to be a partial owner. Abigail can deal with the lack of communication to the outside world but what really creeps her out is the fact that she is the only other woman staying at the resort. Needless to say, Bruce’s choice for the honeymoon wasn’t exactly what she expected but she tries to make the best of it.

The Quoddy is, essentially, a boy’s club so of course Abigail seeks out the company of the woman from the other couple honeymooning on the island named Jill. Over drinks, Jill tells Abigail that her ex-fiance is on the island as well and shakes it off as a strange coincidence. But is it really? Because the man who Abigail had an affair with is on the island too.

Abigail decides to tell her new friend her story the following day for a lunch date but Jill never shows up. She does see Jill later that night, however, running frenzied through the woods and bleeding. What is going on at the Quoddy? And is Abigail next? Read Every Vow You Break to find out!

Despite it taking me longer than usual to finish this book, I was kind of glad to stretch it out because it was that good. I, truly, had no idea what was going to happen with the turn of each page and felt disappointed every time I had to wrap up my reading sesh. Every Vow You Break is basically everyone’s nightmare and the eerie Quoddy resort provided the perfect backdrop for that awful moment when you realize the person you thought you loved is not who they said they were at all.

I cannot give any hints about the grand reveal because it would completely ruin it. Just know, that my stomach dropped when I read it and that doesn’t happen very often. The situation also felt even more desperate because I really liked Abigail. I thought she was such a strong, resourceful heroine and, like me, you will find yourself rooting for her the entire time.

I highly recommend Every Vow You Break and, although it is not quite a ten star rank book to me, it comes damn close. I am going to reward it with eight out of ten stars for its gripping plot, jaw dropping grand reveal, and characters that draw you in. Honestly, my only regret is that it wasn’t longer and I would have really liked to have read more about the aftermath of the honeymoon from hell.

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Midnight Library By Matt Haig Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Midnight Library By Matt Haig Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, without giving any spoilers away, we are going to be talking about the super popular The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. A month or so ago, I felt like I was constantly getting recommendations to read this book and, obviously, I caved since we are discussing it now! Multiple people told me it was “one of the best books” they have ever read and I was definitely interested in seeing if it lived up to the hype.

While I can certainly understand why people really enjoyed this book, I didn’t think it was the best thing I have read by any means. I was into it for the first two hundred pages or so but it dragged out quite a bit and I was ready for it to be over. Let’s discuss further but before doing so I will put a trigger warning in place as The Midnight Library deals with suicide.

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Nora has had a bad day and, according to her, an all around bad life filled with regrets and what ifs. She had the potential to be an Olympic athlete or a rock star but now she lives alone in a shabby apartment and just got fired from her job at a music shop. Broken family relationships and friendships leave her feeling even more alone and her cat died. Her life feels unaccomplished and meaningless and she wants it to end. So she takes an overdose.

But, just when Nora thinks her life is over, she wakes up in a library that is filled with an infinite number of books and is overseen by the librarian at Nora’s high school twenty years ago, Mrs. Elm. This place is called The Midnight Library and it is where people who are hovering between life and death might find themselves. It looks different to everyone but the idea is the same: You can try out any kind of life you would like and if you find one that makes you especially happy, you can stay there.

Before Nora gets to take a different life for a test spin, she must face her own personal Book Of Regrets. As you can guess, its pages are filled with all of the things Nora wanted to do but didn’t. By confronting these regrets, she is able to narrow down the lives she might like to try, like if she really did become an Olympian or a glaciologist. However, despite all of these different lives, Nora always ends up back in the library because something about it didn’t make her completely happy.

Nora can’t stay in The Midnight Library forever and she is quickly running out of time but none of the lives have fully restored her will to live. She is in a place where people are either born or die so what will she end up choosing? Read The Midnight Library to find out!

Now, let me start off by saying that I absolutely LOVED the idea of The Midnight Library and the possibility to live a multitude of different choices, careers, and lifestyles all around the world. I also deeply appreciated the resounding theme of the book that true happiness can be found within yourself and your perspective. Happiness doesn’t come from what you did or failed to do but how you are best living in this one moment because each one opens up a new universe. Like Nora, I struggle with mental health issues and and this was a powerful and inspiring message to me.

Overall, I liked The Midnight Library a lot but it lost a lot of its initial momentum at the halfway mark. The first few times Nora was transported to a new life it was exciting but then there was another, and another, and another… And it just felt like it was never going to end. There was so much build up for an ending that was very easy to be predicted and all of the extra life hopping and parallel universe theories seemed unnecessary and, frankly, it got to be a little boring.

Despite being too drawn out for my taste, this book kind of had a Mitch Albom The Five People You Meet In Heaven vibe and it was a good read. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve read recently but it wasn’t the worst, either. I am going to rate it with a seven out of ten stars. I enjoyed the story line and the hopeful message. It is also a great reminder to always be kind because you never know what someone is going through. I recommend giving it a read!

What are you currently reading? What did you think about The Midnight Library? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Authenticity Project By Clare Pooley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Authenticity Project By Clare Pooley Edition

Hello and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, without giving any spoilers away, we will be discussing a charming feel good book by Clare Pooley called The Authenticity Project. Typically, I tend to shy away from “feel good” books because I like the sense of adventure that comes with a thriller and I enjoy being shocked as well as trying to guess the grand reveal. However, after reading my last book club choice of The Wrong Family, I definitely needed a palette cleanser!

I really did love the last feel good book that I read called Miss Benson’s Beetle and wanted another story about ordinary people. From the pile of books that my mom got me from the library (Angel!), The Authenticity Project caught my eye. Just the title alone intrigued me and I wanted to know more. In its brief synopsis on the jacket, I learned that The Authenticity Project is a notebook that encourages people to share their truth honestly in its pages if they happen to find it.

This nice, light story line based around a simple but exciting concept sounded like just what I needed and I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did! The Authenticity Project was a delightful read so let’s get to it:

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Julian is a former famed artist who was very prominent in the social scene. Now, as a seventy-nine year old widower, he lives the life of a recluse and is incredibly lonely. Starved for connection, he decides to start The Authenticity Project in which he shares his story and shortcomings and encourages everyone who comes across it to do the same, pass it on, and live a more honest life. Julian thinks that the stories that each page holds has the potential to help someone but, little does he know, his project is about to turn his own world upside down.

The Authenticity Project ends up being found by Monica, an uptight cafe owner who yearns for the picture perfect life of marriage and a baby. After reading Julian’s story, she feels inclined to help him break free from his lonely life and begins advertising for someone to teach a weekly art class at her cafe with Julian in mind. To her own surprise, Monica wrote frankly about herself in the book too and passed it on to be found by the next person.

The next person? Hazard. The person after? Riley. Then Alice. And so on and so forth until The Authenticity Project’s “magic” creates a group of complete strangers who come together thanks to the stories on the pages with Julian right in the middle. The book worked in favor for Julian but how are the lives of the other characters in this interweaving tale benefiting from it? Read The Authenticity Project and find out!

As you all know, I love a book with multiple narrators and The Authenticity Project has six so, obviously, I was in heaven. I was excited to see how each character developed once they found the notebook and how they would show up among the existing characters. Despite having six narrators, The Authenticity Project balanced all of them beautifully and I felt a connection in some way to each of them. I also never felt like I was lacking in information about any of them because their highly personal notebook entry is shared when the character is introduced.

The idea of six lives melding together because of something as simple as writing in a notebook is such a lovely one and it was hard to read The Authenticity Project without smiling. I am also sure that many of you will be just as obsessed with the sassy high fashion senior citizen, Julian, as I was. He was fabulous and I aspire to be just as fierce as him when I’m almost eighty. 🙂

ANYWHO, my only qualm with this book is that it was a bit too obvious for my taste. It, honestly, felt like a more modern and grown up Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants. Sorry lol, I’ve been waiting this entire post to say that!! But there is some truth to that. Not only could you see each new development happen from a mile away but some of the character choices were a bit tired. See: Influencer whose life isn’t as perfect as she posts online as your starring example!

This seems like harsh criticism for a book that I just said was a delight but it really was and I enjoyed reading it a lot. It just had some of the classic feel good flaws and I wish that there was a little more depth to it. Overall, I am going to rate The Authenticity Project with a 6.25 out of ten stars. It was the perfect palette cleanser after just finishing a really intense book and if you are in that situation too, then I highly recommend it. However, if you’re looking for a more groundbreaking feel good read, then you could definitely take or leave this one.

What was the last book you read? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah