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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies (You, #2) by Caroline Kepnes
on 23 February 2016
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense
Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: You

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Los Angeles, California // Malibu, California // Palm Springs, California // Cabo San Lucas, Mexico // Las Vegas, Nevada // Reno, Nevada

First Line(s): I buy violets for Amy. Not roses. Roses are for people who did something wrong.

Joe is back!

And he’s just as crazy as ever. HIDDEN BODIES is the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’s YOU (my review) which introduces us to Joe, a total sociopath that you just can’t help but love. As a reader, you know that Joe is crazy-pants and that what he is doing is wrong and yet it all seems so logical when you read his thoughts on why he does the things that he does. In HIDDEN BODIES, Joe has moved on to a new relationship “choosing better” as he says with a girl named Amy. As with the previous women that have come into Joe’s orbit Amy is a flawed character and that seems to be what draws Joe to them. Its as if the inevitable betrayal is what drives Joe to choose these women because deep down he really wants to give into his baser instincts of murder.

In HIDDEN BODIES, Amy does a thing that as a reader just makes you gasp as we know what Joe is capable of when he is betrayed. Amy does not. Which makes you feel for Amy but yet at the same time you are also angry at her for not living up to Joe’s expectations. Its really amazing just how much Kepnes’s writing puts the reader on Joe’s side as he’s usually the character we want the hero or heroine of the story to capture and put behind bars. But with YOU and HIDDEN BODIES all you want is for Joe to find peace and happiness. Its a strange feeling to be cheering for the bad guy and yet, how can you not?

HIDDEN BODIES is a fast paced thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Santino Fontana returns to narrate the story and he just becomes Joe. Fontana’s is a voice that is going to be hard for me to separate from this character as it just fits Joe so perfectly. Fontana’s narration style just sets the perfect mood for HIDDEN BODIES and makes it so easy to fall for Joe and to want him to come out on top. To find his place in the world and to be happy. Happiness isn’t easy for our Joe, he’s had a hard life, but by the end of HIDDEN BODIES you think that maybe things will turn out ok for him.

HIDDEN BODIES takes the reader to new places and we meet new characters. Some of whom are even worse than Joe. There are lots of ups and downs and twists and turns and where you end up is no where near where you thought you would. I fell for this story and just loved everything about it. I’m in awe of everything that Kepnes managed to do and know that I am going to want to rush out to grab her next book in hopes that its even half as good as this duology. Kepnes is a master of suspense and in defying expectations and this series is one that you must check out if you love a good mystery.

 

 

four-stars
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: You,
Also in this series: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 30 Sept 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam.

 

My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was “what the heck did I just read?” but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn’t be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.

I know that YOU isn’t a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don’t think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren’t the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe’s eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn’t think it would be a book that I would like but after…well…after I found it hard to leave Kepne’s world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.

You Quote

If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I’ve said, he’s a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he’s in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes’s words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.

YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can’t wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven’t experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!!

irishdarkblue

IR - You

Add Stolen by Lucy Christopher to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I’ll credit you and link back to your review!

five-stars
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published by Straus and Giroux on 17 September 2013
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Glendale, Rhode Island

First Line(s): You think it’s so easy to change yourself.

When it comes to a Leila Sales book I’ve come to expect a certain type of writing style. One that is a little bit quirky, light-hearted and fun. So when I picked up This Song Will Save Your Life and started to read it, I knew immediately that I was in for something different. Elise is sad. Through some crazy twist of fate she is that girl in high school who never seemed to fit in. At the start of the book Elise takes on a project to try and change herself. She wants to fit in, she wants to have friends, and most of all she just wants to be normal. But as the first line implies, its not that easy to change who you are.

This Song Will Save Your Life reminded me a lot of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (my review) in that it was filled with much of the same raw emotion. There is a bleakness to Elise that makes the reader just want to reach in and give her a hug. Like Hannah, Elise tries to kill herself but unlike Hannah she reaches out before its too late and is saved. But being saved may actually be worse than the life that she had before. That is until Elise discovers this secret club down the road from her mothers house. She meets some crazy, eccentric people a little older than she is and unlike those in her school accept her for who she is. This club becomes Elise’s salvation in many ways.

Oh Elise’s life doesn’t magically get better but her choices expand. She makes some good and bad decisions and she deals with the consequences of them. She has parents who care and act like real parents. They aren’t overly involved or overly distant. They struggle with how to cope with their moody, suicidal daughter as they deal with their own lives. I really liked Elise’s parents, even as I wanted to shake and slap them sometimes, because underneath it all you can see just how much they care about Elise.

This Song Will Save Your Life starts off as a book about suicide but its really so much more than that. Its about discovering oneself even though others around you may not see it. Its about figuring out talents that you never knew you had until you took a risk and tried something new. Its about making friends and living life and at its core its about music. Music can be such a powerful force in this world. A simple song can whisk you away to a time forgotten where you were unbelievably happy or to the time when your heart was broken for the first time. Within its beats and melodies it holds onto memories and also the power to help you forget who you are, if just for the length of the song, and so in that time you can be someone else.

I loved following Elise’s journey in This Song Will Save Your Life. I laughed and cried with her. I cringed when I saw that she was making a poor life choice and I applauded when the good things happened. This was a wonderful heart-warming story that will make the readers really sympathize with Elise and those around them. Its also a book that is solely about Elise, the main character, and holds little to no romantic story lines  Oh, the secondary characters are colorful and add depth to the story but this wasn’t their journey. It was Elise’s.

This is one of those books that I wish could go on for a hundred or so more pages. I enjoyed being in Elise’s world and I hated to leave it. I loved watching Elise grow and come into her own. For me, This Song Will Save Your Life is a perfect example of the old Proverb “just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly.” Its a phrase we should all remember as just because things might look bleak it doesn’t mean that its the end. Instead it can be a whole new beginning.

four-stars
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