“The Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule

1262745The Stranger Beside Me was originally published in 1980, and it had a 20th anniversary edition that came out in 2000. It’s been on my to-read shelf for…… longer than I care to admit.

Ann Rule, as you may know, is an acclaimed true crime author known for many of her works. Back in the 80’s, there was a suspected serial killer sexually assaulting and bludgeoning young women to death. The case was in full swing when Rule’s publisher asked her to follow the story and write a book about it.

A short time before this, Ann had done some work for a suicide hotline to honor her brother’s memory (he had committed suicide many years before). She became close to another volunteer there named Ted Bundy. Bundy was kind of a charmer, and Rule felt almost sisterly love for him, giving him rides and attending events together.

As Ann followed the serial killer case, she began to hear things that brought Ted to mind. But no, nice Ted that she worked with would never do something that horrible! Eventually, Ted was caught and sentenced to death by electrocution. Rule continued to communicate with Ted, even with him knowing she was writing this book, up until when he was executed.

Doesn’t that sound like an amazing, unbelievable story? In case you didn’t catch it, this is a T R U E  S T O R Y. You could not make this stuff up.

This is a very solid read, even with its age. If you like serial killers and well-researched procedural and mystery books, you should definitely put this on your list.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Buy the book here.

“Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter

We all know the actress, Krysten Ritter, from a myriad of things: The B in Apartment 23, Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, Jessica Jones, etc. But in her debut novel, Bonfire, we get to know another side of her. And it is full of thrilling, scheming, curious characters.

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Abby heads back to her small hometown in Indiana to work a case for her environmental law firm against the big corporation in town, Optimal Plastics. She has bad memories of the town, it being where she was teased and harassed incessantly in her high school. She runs into many of her old classmates, and notices the absence of her old friend, Kaycee. When they were in high school, Kaycee and many other girls came down with a mysterious illness that caused them to seize, vomit blood, and pass out. The illness eventually passed, and Kaycee left town. But no one knows where she went.

Abby is working the case against Optimal, but she also falls back into town gossip and rumor, and tries to figure out what happened to Kaycee.

This book is like Erin Brockovich meets Gillian Flynn, with the big corporation  (think Sweetums in Parks and Rec) with their hands in everything. And I do mean everything.

★★★★

Buy the book here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin

Okay everybody, take a seat. This is another case of “Why didn’t anyone force me to read these before?!” So here I am to shove these books in your face and make you read them.

This is a three-book series: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer starts off with Mara starting a new school in Florida after surviving a building collapse that kills her three best friends. Mara is understandably distraught and is diagnosed with PTSD that leaves her hallucinating at random. At her new school, Mara meets Noah Shaw, a supposedly notorious ladies’ man. There’s something about him that she can’t put her finger on, but he eventually convinces her to go on a date with him.

But Mara isn’t sure all of her hallucinations are actually figments of her imagination. Some of them are too real. She starts receiving creepy messages and photographs, and she suspects they’re coming from her deceased ex-boyfriend, Jude.

I can’t really get into any more details because it’ll be too spoiler-y.

This series is awesome because it combines so many genres flawlessly. It has YA contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, historical fiction, and more. It’s amazing, really. The audiobooks are narrated by Christy Romano… yes, that one — Christy Carlson Romano, known best for her role in Even Stevens and the voice of Kim Possible.

My review of the first book was few words — I couldn’t process it. “Wowwwww. Yes. Amazing.”

The same happened with the second book. ” Wow wow wow. Normally a second book falls flat. But that ending……..On to the next oneeeee!!!”

And the last book prompted this, “Well that ending had me SHOOK. But it definitely felt like it was dragging in the middle there. I can’t wait to read The Shaw Confessions series. NOVEMBER GET HERE NOOOOOW.”

Because *excited face* there’s a new spinoff series coming out that focuses on Noah! The first one is called The Becoming of Noah Shaw and it comes out November 7th, 2017.

So get caught up now, because there’s about to be another installment in the series! Overall, I give this series 4.5 stars.

Buy the box set of the first three books here.

Pre-order The Becoming of Noah Shaw here.

#ReadThemAllThon!

ReadThemAllThon

I’ve decided to join the #ReadThemAllThon hosted by Read at Midnight! It runs from August 14th through September 4th. Basically there are 8 challenges to complete and you get points for every book read (and some more things like tweeting!). It’s a great way to get a bunch of your books knocked off the ol’ TBR!

This time, it’s Pokemon themed. (Which isn’t really that interesting to me personally, but I can get behind a challenge for sure!)

Below, I list the challenges and the books I hope to read for them! My pokemon is Magikarp, because if I read a lot of books, I’m told it’s the best points-wise.

ReadThemAllThon-Badge01-Boulder
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
ReadThemAllThon-Badge02-Cascader
The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
ReadThemAllThon-Badge03-Thunder
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
ReadThemAllThon-Badge04-Rainbow
The Reader by Traci Chee
ReadThemAllThon-Badge05-Soul
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
ReadThemAllThon-Badge06-Marsh
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
ReadThemAllThon-Badge07-Flame
The Graces by Laure Eve
ReadThemAllThon-Badge08-Earth
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

So anyway, wish me luck! I am really excited to see how I do on this challenge. Are you participating in #ReadThemAllThon? What are you excited to knock off your TBR?

July Wrap-Up

It’s time to wrap-up my July reads. I read 20 books! Wow! That is by far the most books I’ve read in a month. It’s 1 book for every 1.55 days. I also completed my Goodreads Challenge this month, and now stand at 91 books total for the year!

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Books read in July 2016!
  1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  2. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein (Review)
  3. Jackaby by William Ritter
  4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  5. Shrill by Lindy West
  6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  7. All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker (Review)*
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman*
  9. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke*
  10. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Review)
  11. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  12. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Review)
  13. The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (Review)*
  14. Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  15. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover*
  16. The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
  17. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany (Review)

*Audiobook or eARC, not pictured
(Plus 3 books proofread for my work, not pictured and not within my blog’s scope of genre)

Some of these books have yet to be reviewed on my blog, but I will add the links as I add the reviews! I look forward to August being a very successful month as well.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones are you looking forward to reading?

“You’ll Grow Out of It” by Jessi Klein

186c98c0323fd6c5cf1008b23d0e36ed★★★★☆ — Out tomorrow!

Jessi Klein is most well known for being the head writer on Inside Amy Schumer, but has also written for several other popular comedies (e.g. SNL, The Kroll Show). You’ll Grow Out of It is a memoir of essays from childhood to motherhood that will make you snort.

However, it is also full of good tips and general advice for life. For instance, Klein spends a chapter describing precisely why you should GET THE EPIDURAL. She also tells us about the (not so?) glamorous life of going to the Emmys shortly after having a child.

I (along with pretty much everyone I’m sure) wish there were more tidbits about the shows she has worked on. Surely there are funny things that have happened on at least one of these shows that could apply to the book!

All in all, You’ll Grow Out of It is a funny look at an awkward childhood and how Klein (sort of) grew out of it. I’d recommend this for light reading on vacation or to make you laugh while you’re waiting for your baby to pop out, drugged out on your epidural.

Purchase the book here!

Thank you to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

“Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling

★★★★★

New release Tuesday!
Why Not Me?Why Not Me? is a funny collection of essays that has the perfect balance of wit, humor, and candor that Kaling is known for. In the book, you will find great tidbits from her work on The Office and The Mindy Project, stories about her relationships with various celebs (being soupsnakes with BJ Novak, offending unnamed pop stars, etc.), and her tips for looking like a movie star and various dieting mishaps. In addition, there are some great inspirational pieces that (of course) manage to stay hilarious, such as her tips on confidence and her commencement speech to Harvard.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?This book won’t change your life (and if this is what you’re expecting, you don’t know Mindy), but Mindy Kaling shows incredible growth from Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? and passion for what she does and what she stands for.

The unabridged audio version of Why Not Me? is highly entertaining as Kaling reads it herself. However, it should also be noted that there are pictures in the physical book that are not made available to the listener.

Purchase the book here.