Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Summary:
Seeking women ages 18-32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychological study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she beings to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking.
Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us come an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.
An Anonymous GirlReview:
I’ve heard so many good things about An Anonymous Girl so when it was suggested as the next book for my local book club I was beyond excited. So many people I know have really enjoyed this book, so I had a feeling I was going to as well. I was not disappointed.
I thought I had this book all figured out in the first fifty pages. But boy was I wrong. There were things that I guessed and was right, but then I’d find out that I was right except not really and we’d get another twist. There was so much going on that I stopped trying to guess what was going to happen next because I didn’t really know.
I thought there were a lot of aspects within the story that made me think more than I expected (and my book club girls confirmed this!) I didn’t expect it to be a particularly thought-provoking book. I don’t want to say anything specific because of potential spoilers but if you’ve read this and want to discuss let me know! The one thing I do want to say is that it certainly doesn’t make me want to trust any sort of psychologist in my life.
I really enjoyed the two different perspectives. Following the main character Jess as her life goes from mostly normal to absolutely nuts was interesting. I really liked Jess at first, the whole morality conversation was an interesting one and I think Jess really showed her limits and what she’d do to protect herself and her loved ones. I also really enjoyed the chapters told in second person. I thought that was a really interesting way to tell the story. It was complex and gripping. It had my sympathizing with someone who may not have deserved it.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was thrilling and interesting, complex and unpredictable. I flew through the pages and couldn’t stop until I knew how the story was going to end. I cannot recommend this book enough. I’m going to have to get my husband’s mom and sister to read this because it’s a book that fits their reading tastes.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Summary:
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, The Brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, The Beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, The Criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, The Athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, The Outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
One of Us Is LyingReview:
I chose to listen to this book on audiobook because I was on sort of a time crunch to read it before the end of February. So, when I saw it available from my library, I knew I could fly through it while doing other things. I’ve heard mixed reviews about One of Us is Lying, but I ended up enjoying it. I was expecting it to be more of a thriller, but it was mostly just mystery. I enjoyed the up and down of the story with a surprise here, a reveal there. I think the pace of the story was well done. It was fast enough where I was interested in the mystery and figuring out what happened but slow enough where I felt like I really got to know the characters and feel their struggles.
The characters are really what made this story for me. I really enjoyed the idea of each of them having a label and then learning that they might not be exactly what they’re labeled as. I enjoyed getting to know each character and learning more about them. Bronwyn is the smart girl, but she’s also a sister and a friend, determined and fiercely loyal. Addy is the princess, but only because of the influence of others. She realizes that and really takes time to figure out who she is and wants to be. Nate may do criminal things, but it’s because he has no other choice. Cooper plays baseball and is good at it, but there’s so much more to him than that. And Simon is an outcast, but it seems that he made things that way himself.
I think the audiobook made this book ten times better. If I read the book physically, I think I may have been bored or not as invested in the story. The four narrators did an incredible job bringing life and personality into their characters and the rest of the story.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away by the story, but I enjoyed the experience of reading it. I didn’t predict any of the twists or reveals, but there weren’t any jaw dropping moments. I really adored the characters and their interactions most of all. I recommend the audiobook for sure if you’re interested in reading this story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything · TBR Lists & Wrap Ups

Contemporary January TBR List – Mystery Edition

Hi, lovelies! I am back one last time to share with you the books left of my TBR list when it comes to those fitting the genre of mystery and thriller. I know that these are really their own genre, BUT there are many contemporaries that only have a bit of mystery and  I felt they merited their own post, so here we are.

Contemp Jan

Adult Mystery/Thriller

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
The Girl Who Takes an Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz

Young Adult Mystery/Thriller

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
The Female of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

These are the books on my TBR list! I don’t know why I haven’t picked them up yet. I know I’ll fly through them once I start becasue I always get through thrillers so fast. So hopefully this month I’ll read at least a handful of these! Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your TBR list too? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContemporaryJanuary and tag me & Alana if you’re joining in! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Contemporary January Recommendations – Mystery Edition

Hi, lovelies. Sadly, I am here with my last recommendation post for this Contemporary January that has just gone by too fast. I’m going to separate this week’s recommendations into adult and young adult books. These will be a mix of mystery and thrillers that I really enjoyed.

Check out Alana’s post here.

Contemp Jan

Adult Mystery

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Full of twists and turns and never really sure where the story is going, you won’t be able to put it down until the final pages.

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
Forever one of my favorite adult series. Stephanie is always getting into some sort of trouble. Blowing up cars, going missing. And the men, swoonworthy!

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
This is one that even my husband loves and he’s not much of a reader.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
You need to stop what you’re doing and go read this book right now.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity
My first Liane Moriarty book and it sure was a good one. Never really knowing what was really going on until the last page.

Young Adult Mystery

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A cute summery mystery full of questions and suspense.

Sadie by Courtney Summers
One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The story was incredible and so were the narrators.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
This was one that caught my eye because of the cover, but the pages inside were just as beautiful.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
A very atmospheric and suspenseful summertime read.

Jane Unlimited by Kristen Cashore
A book that leaves you with questions right up until the end of the book before revealing its secrets. This story sure was a wild ride.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
One of my absolute favorite mysteries. With all sorts of side plots going on, I couldn’t put it down until the end. The cover is freaking beautiful too which doesn’t hurt.

These are some of my favorite mysteries and thrillers. Let me know if you enjoyed any of these too! Tell me your favorites in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContemporaryJanuary and tag me & Alana if you’re joining in! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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GoodReads

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything · The Readers Favorites

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary:
When popular radio personality West McCray receives a desperate phone call from a stranger imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, he’s not convinced there’s a story there; girls go missing all the time. But as soon as West’s boss discovers Sadie fled home after the brutal murder of her little sister, Mattie, he sees the makings of something big and orders West to the small town of Cold Creek, Colorado, to uncover what happened.
Sadie has no idea that her story will soon become the subject of a blockbuster podcast. She just wants revenge. Armed with a switchblade, Sadie follows a meager set of clues hoping they’ll lead to the man who took Mattie’s life because she’s determined to make him pay for it with his own. But as West traces her journey to the darkest, most dangerous corners of big cities and small towns, a deeply unsettling mystery begins to unfold-one that’s bigger than them both. Can he find Sadie before it’s too late?
Alternating between Sadie’s unflinching voice as she hunts the killer and the podcast transcripts tracking the clues she’s left behind, Sadie, is a breathless thriller about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love and the high price we pay when we can’t. It will haunt you long after you reach the final page.
Review:
After hearing the endless hype for Sadie, I finally bought the book when it was on sale for black Friday. Shortly after buying it, my library informed me that they went ahead and bought the audiobook at my request. So, this led me to wait for the audiobook to be available instead of reading the physical book because I have heard nothing but good things about the audiobook. None of those things I heard were wrong. The audiobook and the story were so so much more than I ever expected.
This story follows two alternating perspectives. The first we follow is Sadie. We follow Sadie as she’s trying to deal with losing her sister, the one person she lived for. Sadie spent her life doing everything for Mattie. Taking care of her sister was her life’s purpose. I think I really related to Sadie because my own mother is one that struggles with addiction and wasn’t around for much of my life. So I know how Sadie feels toward her mother and I could understand those feelings. I cannot imagine what it wo0uld be like to lose a sibling like she did, in such a gruesome manner. I would be inconsolable and would likely attempt revenge, just like Sadie. Following Sadie on this mission was hard because it took Sadie to some dark places both physically and mentally. She had some dark thoughts, including but not limited to murder. I think that was one of the things I liked about this book. It was a mystery/thriller but the darker themes within it really made it just that much more exciting.
The second perspective we follow is West McCray who is a reporter, I think. I thought this was a very interesting way to tell this story. His chapters were so perfectly placed. Every time we switched away from Sadie it was always at the perfect place to just add that much more suspense. I really liked that we get to see into the process of West making the podcast instead of just the podcast episodes. I thought it was cool that we got to see how Sadie’s story was affecting West and the impact this project was having on him. I also really enjoyed the interview parts of the story that were included in the podcast. I feel like they really allowed the reader more insight into all the different pieces of the story.
I think my favorite part was the parallels in the storytelling. What I mean by this is that one chapter will be following Sadie going to a specific place or telling us about something and the next chapter will be the podcast where West is learning about the same things. I thought it was really interesting to see how Sadie saw or thought things and then seeing those same things from the perspective of another.
Finally, I have to mention the audiobook. It was freaking amazing. I absolutely adore audiobooks that are read by a cast of narrators. I think they make the story experience so much better and they’re my favorite kind of audiobooks. I actually waited to read this book despite owning the physical copy so that I could experience the audiobook because I’ve heard such good things. I was not disappointed in the least. I think this is even more important because the one thing I never see mentioned in the reviews I’ve seen is that Sadie has a serious stutter. I don’t know how that is portrayed in the book, but the audiobook you heard the stutter and felt the anxiety and anger that Sadie felt about it. I think the narrators for this story were absolutely incredible. They drew me into this book and spit me out in the last pages all used up and emotionally ruined.
If you haven’t read this book, you need to. If you’re not reading this book because of all the hype, don’t be silly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Summary:
We were liars.
A beautiful distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends-the Liars-whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
Review:
Wow this story was weird. I haven’t read a book this bizarre in quite a while. Now, don’t take that as me saying I didn’t like it because I totally did. I’ve heard really good things about this story and I was certainly not disappointed.

“The universe is seeming really huge right now,” he told me. “I need something to hold on to.”

E. Lockhart had me invested in the characters. Reading this story from Cady’s point of view had us wondering what was going on and struggling to remember right along with her. I was invested in finding out what had happened and what everyone was keeping from Cady. The struggle that she went through to feel better and figure out what it is that she is not remembering.

“This island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.”

The suspense in this book was unreal. Everything we read was leading up to the big plot twist reveal. This book got me in the feels with that plot twist though because of personal reasons. The other thing I really liked was the setting. The story takes place on an island that doesn’t really exist, BUT the rest of the setting (most of it anyway) is super close to my hometown. So it was super cool to read about the place that I was a reckless teenager most summers.

“Always do what you are afraid to do!” I call out.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It has characters that got me invested in them and their story, a setting that I absolutely loved, so much suspense and a plot twist that will blow your mind. I definitely recommend this book to all those that love thrillers.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the book cover! As affiliates we will earn a percentage off any purchase, so feel free to support us!

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Summary:
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
the lying game, ruth ware
Review:
I was given this book by my sister in law because she read it recently and enjoyed it. So when we went to visit home last weekend she let me borrow it. I was super excited to read it because the summary sounds pretty good, but also because my SIL and I have similar (for the most part) reading tastes. I like to stay up to date with what she’s reading because she’ll give me good suggestions like this one.
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is what I just finished. I mostly got what I was expecting from this book. With every page I read, I got some unexpected plot twists, some well-placed suspense, and characters that I could relate to. I liked the way this story was written. There were well-written descriptions that allowed me to picture the setting in my head as well as nice attention to detail. There were little things that were pointed out, little details that added that extra bit to the story. There was an abundance of suspenseful moments throughout this book. Suspense done the right way with enough tidbits of information to keep the reader wanting more, but not so little that we’re left with a huge amount of confusion and questions.
The characters that make this story were another thing I enjoyed very much. They were very realistic characters. When things blew up, their reactions and emotions and thoughts were real and relatable. This book focuses on four friends, Isa (whose point of view tells the story), Kate, Thea, and Fatima. These women became friends in school and have been best friends ever since, even if they didn’t always make time to see or talk to one another. The ladies have the kind of friendship that every girl hopes to make once they’re going into high school or college. They’re forever friends. One says jump and the others say when and how high. I really loved the dynamic between these four for most of the book. Toward the end, things got a bit screwy and they all fell apart for a bit, only to come back together again.
I want to mention a few things about our main character, Isa. She’s a new mother with a baby that’s only about six months old. As I’m currently seven months pregnant and expecting a baby I found myself really relating to her with many things that I can see myself going through in the near future. Along with the motherhood aspect, she’s also dealing with an immense amount of stress and drama from her friends. She finds herself taking it out on her partner, Owen. This is something that’s also super relatable and realistic because most relationships take the brunt of stress from both parties. I know this is something that happens in my relationship for sure. I lean on (mostly annoy and badger and take things out on) my husband when I’m feeling super stressed and he does the same with me. Though neither of us has dealt with the crazy things that Isa deals with during this story, it just makes her more of a real character that I could empathize with and understand more.
Overall, I loved this book. It was a fun quick and crazy thriller that I enjoyed. I loved the fast-paced story with crazy twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I especially loved the character that I got to know and love. The Lying Game is definitely an adult novel, one that I’d recommend to anyone that loves a good thriller. So if that’s you, go to the store or library and check Ruth Ware’s book out.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.