Two Girls Down

You. Guys.

I just finished Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna. It was my January pick for Book of the Month. I was having some remorse about not picking The Woman in the Window because I am seeing it allllllll over Instagram, but once I started Two Girls Down, I was hooked. Initially, I thought it would take me a bit of time to get through because of how fast my last few books went, but I read it in only a few sittings. I stayed up late, read before work, and thought all day about how I couldn’t wait to get home to wrap up this read!

Two Girls Down is about a pair of sisters who disappear from a parking lot when their mother runs an errand. The police start to search, but find nothing, so the family of the girls hires Alice Vega. Alice is known to find missing kids. She teams up with an ex-cop to find the girls before it’s too late.

I’ve talked before about how I really enjoy mystery/thriller shows and movies, but do not tend to read many books in the same genre. This book may have turned me into a mystery/thriller fanatic. I loved Luna’s writing, I thought the story was great, and the book avoided two components of this genre that bother me. Both of those things would be spoilers, though, so I’m choosing not to elaborate!

This was the best book that I have read in a while, and I will be keeping my eye out for a similar read.


The Mothers

I finished The Mothers by Brit Bennett on New Years Eve, but had to wait to do a post because it was also someone’s Christmas gift (oops), and I had to send it to them.

I heard all of the hype about The Mothers on all kinds of podcasts and book recommendation lists over the past year. I completely understand why! It has been a long time since I devoured a book like this. I loved Nadia. She’s not perfect, she has regrets, but she also keeps moving forward.

Nadia is struggling with her mother’s suicide and her relationships. She is angry. She falls for the pastor’s son, and Nadia finds herself in a situation where she has to make decisions on her own, and without support. This decision stays with her and impacts her decisions for years.

I loved the gossipy group of the church Mothers who narrate this book like a Greek Chorus. Pick this one up if you haven’t yet!


The Doll Funeral

I recently finished The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer. I won this book in a giveaway, which was really exciting (and I took a killer Instagram photo with the cover).


I liked this book. For some reason it took me a long time to get through it, but I was able to pick it right back up whenever I decided to open it. The main character in the book is a girl named Ruby who lives with her parents – a father who physically and emotionally abuses her, and a mother who cannot intervene. Ruby recently learned that she is adopted, and is determined to find her real family.

You quickly learn that Ruby sees things that others around her cannot see. This escape helps her to find the motivation to keep going, even when the road to finding her parents is tough. Because she can see things others can’t, it keeps you wondering if characters are real, and I found this unreliable component kept me engaged in the story.

There were a few pieces of this story that I didn’t like, but they were overshadowed by what I did enjoy.

Happy reading!

Still Mine

My next vacation read that I need to feature is Still Mine by Amy Stuart. First of all, I really liked her writing! I thought this book had lovely prose, and I was engaged with the book. This book is about Clare, a woman who is moonlighting as a photographer in a small mining town in the mountains. You quickly learn that Clare is there to investigate the disappearance of a woman who is her age. She finds many similarities between the two. Clare herself has disappeared from her home, and knows that when someone disappears, it can mean a whole lot of things. Through the book Clare immerses herself in the roughest parts of this small and crumbling community to try to solve this mystery and sort through the life she just left behind.

This book was easy to read in that it held my attention, and had a great pace. That combined with the writing style made the perfect read through one of the rainy vacation days. Still Mine was not the most fast-paced-twisty mystery novel I have ever read, but it was certainly enjoyable and I look forward to the sequel!

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Big Little Lies

I have been focusing on reading more frequently. While I usually look for larger chunks of time to read, instead I have been trying to read in shorter spurts, even if it is only one chapter at night before I go to sleep. I have been stressed to the max with work, managing my household, and taking care of 8 (yes 8!) animals at the moment. I have four foster kittens at the moment, but they are ready to be adopted, so hopefully that will lead things to slow down soon. Taking the time to read and unwind at night is helping me to fall asleep sooner, and not stay awake thinking of everything I need to do.

I finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty this week. This book was basically the juicy reality shows (think Real Housewives) from Bravo that I love so much. I loved the gossipy, secret-keeping characters who try to only show the best parts of their lives to the people around them. It’s so not my world, which made it a great way to escape. The pages just kept turning! I was able to figure out the twist/mystery, but appreciated how the book kept my attention.

The book centers around a few families who all have children in an elementary school. The kindergarten mothers cause particular controversy as they all try to sort out which of the kids has been bullying one girl in the class. You know right away that there is an incident where someone dies, and you hear quotes from witnesses and gossip mongers in each chapter, but you do not really know what happened or who died until the end of the book. Throughout you fall in love with Jane, the new mom in town. Jane, as a young and single mom is trying to sort out where she fits into the world, and in the school.

I will be adding The Husband’s Secret to my TBR, and will pick it up when I need a fast and gossipy read!

I’m jumping back into my books-to-read-in-your-20s list with my next two reads, which I picked up from the library today. I am seven books behind on my book challenge, but hope to play some catch up with my new reading routine!

Under the Harrow

Under the Harrow is Flynn Berry’s first novel, and I’ll be looking to read anything else she publishes. I do not usually talk to people about what I’m reading, but this week I said at least ten times, “I’m reading a book that is really effing with me.”

This book really got into my head. It stuck with me. It took me one week to read, but I could have read it much faster if it hadn’t freaked me out so much. This story is about a young woman named Nora who goes to visit her sister for the weekend. She expects her sister to be in the kitchen of her house in the countryside making dinner, but Nora finds her brutally murdered. Through the book Nora tries to sort out who killed her sister, while telling us about how her sister had been attacked when they were teenagers.

Nora’s search for her sister’s murderer, coupled with her pain keeps this book moving quickly. We get glimpses into Nora’s history with her sister, her current life, and the struggles that every family faces. Nora learns that she does not know every aspect of her sister’s life as she thought she did.

The Killing Forest

A few months ago I had a realization that there is a vast difference in the books that I read versus the shows that I binge on Netflix. I am Netflix-obsessed with shows that contain an whodunnit component. Give me a show where someone is murdered and we have to figure out what happened over the course of a season, and I am hooked! I love the suspense, and I love trying to sort it all out before the detectives do. If you’re into this, be sure to watch: The Killing and Broadchurch. Actually, I should just give you my Netflix password so you can see the whole list of these.

I had the realization, however, that I have not ever really read a truly suspenseful novel. So, I picked up The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel. And it sat on my shelf for ages. Until two weeks ago!

I really liked the story of a 15-year-old boy who has gone missing coupled with other mysteries that are revealed as the book moves on. I jumped into this series of Louise Rick novels, and I think that I should have started at the beginning, or at least I should have read a few of the earlier books first. This one had so much hype, though!

While I liked the story and the mystery, I was not impressed with Blaedel’s writing. However, it may have been the translator? If I do read another of her novels I will be looking for one with a different translator, and at the start of a series.