Thursday, February 22, 2018

10 Book TBR #2

I'm coming to the end of my first 10 Book TBR, so it's time to compile another! I am really liking this new system of picking out which books I want to read in the future. It is extremely low-pressure, which is what I wanted this year, and I'm having fun taking my time with each book! This next stack has a LOT of books that I've been meaning to get to for a very long time, so I'm definitely looking forward to getting through this stack! Here's what I picked out for 10 Book TBR #2:

1. Kindle eBook: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
2. TBR Jar Book: 2 AM at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
3. Book of the Month Book: Eat Only When You're Hungry by Lindsay Hunter
4. Re-read: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
5. The Rosie Project by Grahame Simsion
6. Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
7. More Than This by Patrick Ness
8. Eliza and Her Monsters by Fancesca Zappia
9. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
10. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Book Review: With Malice

It's been a while since I've done a written book review here on my blog! I don't have a set system on how I decide which books to review. It's usually a gut feeling on when I feel like I have more to say about a book than I could fit into a monthly reading wrap up. I got this feeling when I read With Malice by Eileen Cook last weekend, so it's time for my first written book review since September!

With Malice is a young adult mystery thriller about Jill who goes on a trip to Italy but wakes up in the hospital back in the United States without any memory of the trip and is accused of murdering her best friend, Simone, by intentionally causing a car accident. Jill, who is the narrator of this story, has severe memory loss, making her extremely unreliable. She has no idea what actually happened, and when she starts to regain memory, she's unsure if they are her actual memories or if they are images of what people are telling her could have happened. A lot of readers really dislike the trope of the unreliable narrator, but I personally love it and thought it really worked for this story.

You can really tell that Eileen Cook was extremely inspired by the Amanda Knox case for this story. I'm fairly familiar with the ins and outs of Amanda Knox's story and the parallels between that case and With Malice are glaringly obvious. With Malice features a media frenzy around the case, a story line of Jill falling in love with an Italian local, the criticism of how the police in the story are mishandling evidence.... There's even a reference to the international school in Perugia that Knox attended at the time of the murder of her roommate. If you're familiar with the Knox case, the parallels are extremely hard to ignore. While these parallels did bring me out of the story a bit, they did not annoy me as much as I thought they might. I can see how if I didn't know Amanda Knox's story I would be much more invested in the story. I think that's my only major criticism of this book.

I really enjoyed how throughout the book the reader is in the shoes of Jill and you don't really know what's the truth and what is fabricated. Every other chapter contains police interviews, testimonies from people who were around Jill and Simone on their trip to Italy, television reports of the accident, and excerpts from a blog called "Justice for Simone". There is quite a bit of he said/she said throughout the story which really keeps the reader guessing throughout which I really enjoyed. Even though I guessed about every possible theory, I don't think I was ever sure what the answer was until it was finally revealed to us.

AND THAT ENDING THOUGH. Eileen Cook did something really interesting with the ending that is really hard to describe. It really did take me by surprise even though the ending turned out to be something that isn't totally shocking and the reader would probably guess the correct outcome at some point during their reading experience. I guess I was just impressed by the fact that I was never actually what the outcome would actually be until the very last second. Cook keeps you on the hook the entire time and because of that, the outcome just kind of turns your stomach. I really appreciated that Cook was able to do that to me as a reader because that's fairly difficult to pull off in a thriller.

Overall, I've rated With Malice...
4/5 Stars!

Have you read With Malice? If so, what did you think?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Vlog: #ContemporaryAThon Round 2

Last week I took part in the second round of the #ContemporaryAThon! I absolutely love this readathon. It's super laid back and it gives you the opportunity to read some really fun and light books which is always a great time! I had a really successful week of reading and actually got my whole TBR completed! I also complained a lot about the cold and watched a lot of the Olympics. Basically staying true to my brand. 

Thanks to Chelsea, Julie, and Natasha for another wonderful round of ContemporaryAThon! 
Cannot wait for another one. :)