Welcome back to AZE!
For the past couple of weeks, I had been thinking about doing a very honest book review. On the site, I've mentioned books that I've really enjoyed, but I haven't shared the moments in which I found some reads disappointing. I decided to review four best sellers that I was eager to read. Some I enjoyed... others not so much.
1. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (3 stars)
Days before her death, Nel called her sister, Jules, pleading for help. Now, Nel is dead. They say she jumped. Jules has been forced back to her hometown to clean up the mess her sister left behind. But there are moments when Jules wonders whether her sister's death was really suicide. Would Nel actually jump into the Drowning Pool?
While I really enjoy Paula Hawkins' writing, the most disappointing read this year has been Into the Water. I really enjoyed Hawkins' first book, The Girl on the Train, and felt heartbroken when I found myself wondering how the same author could write such different novels. While Hawkins' debut was composed of a clear and intriguing plot, memorable characters, and a great ending, Into the Water was composed of a messy structure and a mundane plot. This novel shifts viewpoints throughout the whole book. And while some authors are known to do that between two characters, Hawkins did it with more than five. This resulted in an unpleasant and dull storyline. While the writing was great, the plot’s structure made it so difficult to stay engaged and interested. Unlike Hawkins' first novel, which I would recommend in a heartbeat, I wouldn't recommend this book to any of my peers.
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4 stars)
On Amy and Nick's five-year anniversary, Amy Dunne disappears from home in broad daylight. There are definite signs of a struggle, and when evidence emerges against the husband, readers are left to decide whether Nick Dunne is a killer. How far would you go to avenge a betrayal?
I had been very excited to read Gone Girl when I purchased it. I did some research on it, read some reviews, and noticed that it had good ratings on Goodreads. I was so positive I would like this book, and I did..... at first. I was crazy about the plot, I devoured Flynn's writing, and then came the ending. Although Flynn perfectly developed characters and a fascinating story, she failed to write an ending that would satisfy many of her readers. This book left me hanging right after the last page, and I'm sure I'm not the only reader who felt like this. I had so many questions. I felt like there should've been so much more to the story... But Flynn just ended it without warning, and that left me without closure.
So, despite this being a great read, the ending made it impossible for me to give this 5 stars.
3. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (4 stars)
Everyone has dreamed of finding their perfect match. Well, Jack and Grace have. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. Sometimes, they're relationship just makes you wonder... Can any marriage really be that perfect?
Grace's friends ask her to tag along on girls night but she never makes it. Her friends call but she never answers? Why are there iron bars on the bedroom windows?
Is this the perfect marriage or something much more sinister?
There's no doubt that I'm a huge fan of B.A. Paris. I absolutely love her writing and the way she creates and develops such vivid characters. B.A. Paris does a brilliant job at painting a picture. Her readers can clearly imagine the story she's written. That's why I think I struggled with this read. Behind Closed Doors features a broken home, a twisted relationship, and horrific domestic abuse. While I don't want to spoil this story for any viewers, it's important that I'm honest with all of you when I say that this novel can be difficult to swallow. To me, The Breakdown, B.A. Paris' debut novel, was much more enjoyable. Regardless, both are great books!
4. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (4.5 stars)
On one cool morning, a woman is walking her dog along the water at Salten when it charges into the water and finds something dreadful. The next morning, three women residing around London receive the text they had always dreading coming. The message only contains three words: "I need you.” Moments later, four women find themselves reunited after years of silence. They'll soon find that there can be no avoiding the long awaited consequences of their actions... the truth always comes out.
I've read all three works published by Ruth Ware, and The Lying Game is definitely my favorite. As I've mentioned before, Ruth Ware is one of my favorites. Like B.A. Paris, she amazingly creates vivid characters and storylines. What I love most about this read is that it got better as the story developed. At first, I considered the novel to be a little slow. There’s no doubt that I enjoyed the book, but it didn't feel like a thriller or mystery throughout the first couple chapters. I really didn't find it to be a binge-reading page turner until the second half. As the story progressed, my interest in the story and characters certainly grew. I also found the ending of this book to be surprising. Overall, I’m positive that The Lying Game is sure to be a book that'll be memorable for a lot of readers.