December Wrap-Up

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Today, I come at you guys with my December Wrap-Up! I read 15 books in total this month, with only one DNF quite early in the month. I’m actually surprised by how much I read, considering I stopped reading pretty early this month, and I felt like I was in a sort of slump-y mood, but I’m proud of myself!

Also, I’m going to spending the last day of 2016 being SO busy. The last of my Christmas Book Haul should be arriving today (yay!), so I’ll be rearranging my bookshelves, and finally purging my shelf of some books/series I didn’t like/I’m not going to finish. I’m thinking of selling them to a bookstore for money so I can buy more books, so, there might be another haul this month because I can’t control myself! Then I’m going to be getting my hair washed (boo!), but hopefully this means I can finally write down all my future blog posts for January and February (I’ve actually completed all my January posts except my wrap-up and WWW Wednesdays and planned out all of February, so I guess I’m an overachiever!). But, of course…

2017

Now, onto the books!

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My Sister Rosa

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*

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.

Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa?

*

❌DNF❌

So, this was probably one of my most anticipated YA thriller reads. I mean, a 17 year old boy has to keep up with his crazy sister? Of course I’m interested. Unfortunately, this was more of a contemporary masking as a thriller and nothing in this contemporary kept my interest. Apparently, the ending was mind-blowing, but I was halfway through and I much preferred I Let You Go (which I was reading at the same time), so I called it quits.

I Let You Go

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*

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

*

5 🌟

Hip hip hooray for second chances! I tried to read this earlier this year, and found it to be dreadfully boring, but decided to read it again because I heard so much about the brilliant plot twist, and I’m glad I stuck with it! The first part is definitely on the slower side, but then Part Two comes in, and I just couldn’t put it down. And I also loved the last couple of lines of the ending. CHILLS.

Dear Amy

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*

Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received: Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .

*

3.5 🌟

This one was pretty good. Near the beginning, I was slightly bored since it seemed slow and the mystery wasn’t really peaking my interest, but then the plot twist came in, and turned this into an okay read. Not my favorite thriller, but definitely enjoyable.

All Is Not Forgotten

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*

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

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5 🌟

I was actually really surprised that I enjoyed this one so much because I’d only seen bad reviews for this one, but oh my God, I must be crazy, because this was brilliant! It was so suspenseful and captivating that I started and finished it on the same day. Alan Forrester is now one of my favorite twisted characters ever. Warning that this book is quite dark, but it was so good, if you’re into literary thrillers!

All the Missing Girls

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*

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

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4 🌟

So, I was immediately pulled in to this book by its premise: it’s a story told backwards. I saw that most people were bored and disoriented by the format, but I devoured this book (even though it had long chapters, which is my pet peeve, but worked in this place). Definitely slow-burning, and it reminded me of a less dark version of Flynn’s Sharp Objects, with the idea of a small town keeping so many dark secrets.

(Also, it took place in my state, so that was a bonus!)

Missing, Presumed

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Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

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3.5 🌟

After reading and surprisingly enjoying The Missing Hours last month, I decided to read another police procedural. This one was really interesting, and I definitely loved Manon as a character. Really, the only problem was that the ending to the mystery fell flat for me, especially after going through 700+ pages on iBooks, but I’m definitely going to read the sequel when it comes out next year!

Until I Met Her

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*

When Beatrice said she wanted to publish her next novel under Emma’s name, Emma thought she was joking. Why on earth would Beatrice, the famous crime writer, not want to publish her new book under her own name?

Precisely because she was so famous, Beatrice had explained. This time, Beatrice wanted to write something different, and publish it as an unknown author, and she wanted Emma to help.

After everything Beatrice had done for her, Emma could hardly refuse. But what was meant to be a favor has turned into a betrayal, and now Emma has done something terrible, something shocking, and the consequences are terrifying…

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4 🌟

So, this was one of my most anticipated birthday buys, and it didn’t disappoint. I was glued to the Kindle app as soon as the MC admitted she murdered her best friend. Like, what? It was such a twisty read, and went into an unpredictable direction, which I really enjoyed. This wasn’t the best thriller ever in a critical sense, but it was a fun experience!

The Bird Tribunal

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*

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape… TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough… Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

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1 🌟

Oh, look, I have an unpopular opinion on another highly loved book! Most of the crime book-related Instagram accounts I stalk (lovingly) rated this highly, but I just don’t get it. The book is about an unsettling romance in an isolated cabin, and…that’s basically what happens. I guessed from the first five pages what was going to happen, and was disappointed when I wasn’t shocked. It would’ve been great if the MC was the true villain, or if the reader was left feeling confused but satisfied about the man’s true intentions, but if you’ve read a thriller before, the true ending won’t satisfy you either.

The Troop

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*

Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected…and one another.

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5 🌟

I’ve been eyeing this book for so long after reading its concept, and holy crap, THIS is why I wait before announcing my Top 10 Books of 2016, or this gem would not have been on it. I refuse to say much about it, because it’s really best to go in blind, but warning: this book is disgusting. Both physically and mentally. I mean, the writing’s great, but don’t read this while eating. And I also loved the last line. ❤️

The Women in the Walls

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*

Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.  

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

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2 🌟

I read Daughters Unto Devils, Amy Lukavics first novel, in October for my horror reads, and I didn’t love it. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t any better, and I gave it the same rating as her first one. Really, this one wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t for me. Also, it was probably a little unfair to read this straight after reading Cutter’s horror masterpiece, but what can you do?

I’m Traveling Alone

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*

A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree with a jump rope around her neck. She is dressed in strange doll’s clothes. Around her neck is an airline tag that says “I’m traveling alone.” 

A special homicide unit in Oslo re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. Holger’s first step is to persuade the brilliant but haunted investigator Mia Krüger to come back to the squad–she’s been living on an isolated island, overcome by memories of her past. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number “1” carved into the dead girl’s fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. She’ll soon discover that six years earlier, an infant girl was abducted from a nearby maternity ward. The baby was never found. Could this new killer have something to do with the missing child, or with the reclusive Christian sect hidden in the nearby woods?

Mia returns to duty to track down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer. But when Munch’s own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer’s sinister game is personal, and I’m Traveling Alone races to an explosive–and shocking–conclusion.

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4 🌟

I’m a huge fan of books that subtly introduce things that end up all playing a part in something bigger, and this book definitely gave me that! Holger and Mia were such great main characters, and I loved how tense the mystery was. This book was so addicting; one of those reads I would tell myself I’d stop at this point, but completely failed to do so because I needed to know what happened! I’m really excited for the second book to come out in June of next year!

The Book of You

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*

Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.

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2.5 🌟

So, I was sort of in a slump with this book? It took me three days to read, which isn’t that long in retrospect, since I usually read books in two, but I was sort of impatient with this one. The ending left me completely unsatisfied, and I’ve read too many better books with the “evil boyfriend” trope – such as Into the Darkest Corner and Behind Closed Doors – that this one just didn’t make the cut. I loved the journal style though.

You Sent Me a Letter

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*

At 2 a.m. on the morning of her 40th birthday, Sophie wakes in the darkness of her bedroom, and finds a stranger watching her from the foot of her bed. The intruder hands Sophie a letter and issues an ultimatum: the message is to be opened at her forthcoming party, in front of gathered family and friends, at exactly 8 p.m. Any failure to comply will not end well. Sophie can only think of one person who hates her enough to have hired a professional to menace her like this: her fiancé’s ex-wife. But what can the letter possibly contain? And why must it be read in front of everyone she loves best? This will be no ordinary 40th party. Sophie is not the only person holding a secret about the evening ahead. When the clock strikes eight, the course of several people’s lives will be altered forever.

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3 🌟

This one was extremely addicting, but again with the truly unsatisfying ending that left so many loose ends for a stand-alone thriller. I was definitely surprised by who sent the letter, since I thought I knew who it was halfway through, but was proven wrong, which was nice. Other than that, I’ve read better.

A Head Full of Ghosts

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*

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface–and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

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4 🌟

So, if you were a fan of the latest season of American Horror Story or AHS: Asylum, you will most likely love this. It’s an unsettling look at a family who claims that their fourteen-year-old daughter is possessed by a demon, and how the media plays a part in it. I definitely loved the blogging about the episodes, and this book was definitely an addicting read and quite creepy. And I adore how the ending left things up to interpretation for the reader, which was the really fun part.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

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*

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

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4 🌟

And here we have a creepy and unsettling read. Once I finished this, I was like, “Huh?” But I found this entire page (don’t click this link if you’re planning to read this, and don’t want to be spoiled) sponsored by the publishers that is wholly dedicated to discussing what happened in this book, which really made me realize how genius this is. This is definitely one of the weirdest and unique books I’ve read not only this year, but probably ever. And I might just bump up my reading because it still surprises me when I think about it. So good!

The Assassin Game

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*

At Cate’s isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game—it’s an elite secret society. Members must avoid being “Killed” during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the “Killer” is. When Cate’s finally invited to join the Assassins’ Guild, she know it’s her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.

But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she’s the next target?

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1 🌟

And, unfortunately, the year ends with a really sucky read. First off, as a high schooler myself, I found the game to be absolutely ridiculous. There is no way I will ever believe a high school in this day in age would find something like this cool, but maybe I’m the lame one. Second, of course this had an insta-love romance! And an obvious love triangle! Why not! Third, no one really gets hurt until halfway through the book, meaning you have to sit through pages and pages of boredom and the regular game, which I’m sure 99.9% of people who pick up this book are not looking for. Fourth, finding out the so-called “killer” pulling the deadly pranks was really unsatisfying. Not only that, but all their lines were super cheesy, nor did I believe a teenager had the capability of pulling their entire plan off. Overall, I hated it, but, hey, I finished it, at least!

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And that concludes the wrap-up, and the very last blog post of 2016! Happy New Year’s Eve to you all, and I hope 2017 will be a much better year! And, hopefully, blogging will be a great journey for me, personally. New post coming at you tomorrow!

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What were your favorite and least favorite reads of December?

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3 thoughts on “December Wrap-Up

  1. Great wrap up & a great reading month! Gosh, you are organised! I’ve only written 2 posts for January and I’m behind on my reviews lol, I’m hoping to write another 2 today but we’ll see! Looking forward to talking book with you in 2017. Happy New Year!x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I’ve really had nothing to do this break, so I was like, “Might as well get stuff done!” I’m actually a huge procrastinator, which makes it even funnier, when it comes to my schoolwork (which I should probably work on!). I forgot to mention that I haven’t written reviews either since I’m going to start reading again tomorrow, so I might be clogged with reviews! 😂 Happy New Year! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: All-Time Favorite Stand-Alones | the well-thumbed reader

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