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Coni has commented on (21) products.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places

Coni, May 12, 2015

Whenever I thought I would stop and take a break from reading, I decided to just read one more chapter. Next thing I knew, I had read more than half the book in one sitting. I only stopped since it was the middle of the night and I really needed to get some sleep. The next time I picked up the book a couple days later, I finished it. I did the same thing with Gillian Flynn’s first book, Sharp Objects. I read it really quickly. I purchased this book as soon as it came out, but didn’t get around to reading it until after I tore through Flynn’s third book Gone Girl. Flynn writes really twisted, dark stories that I have a hard time putting down once I start reading them. I enjoyed Sharp Objects, but could tell where it was going about halfway through the book. Gone Girl threw me for a total loop and I did not completely expect that was heading where it went while reading it. I can see with this book, which was her second one written that her writing was improving. I did enjoy Gone Girl best out of the three I have read by Flynn, but really enjoyed Dark Places.

When I started reading this book, I had to know what happened with the murders so I was more interested in the chapters that were either from Patty or Ben’s point of view since it was what was going on with either of them the day before all the murders took place. The present day chapters were a bit sad because Libby had not adjusted well to adult life after living through that horrifying event and losing her entire family. Later on though, I found it really interesting that Libby started to doubt her own memories when she was faced with bits of evidence or heard conflicting stories from people she was talking to from her past. That’s when I reached a point of no return with this book and I couldn’t stop.

I could not completely tell where this story was heading. Even when I had a vague idea, there were still a lot of surprises. It was frustratingly realistic about how the entire town would feed into gossip and rumors about what they thought happened with the family and how it affected the trial and Libby’s life after the murders. Also, the murders and the family affected so many people still living besides just Libby. That’s why the current day part of the book became more interesting as it went on, even though what I guessed had happened with the actual murders still surprised me, which is great. I love it when I can’t guess what is going on, but still having enough clues to try to figure it out while I read anyway.
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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Coni, May 12, 2015

It’s hard to talk about this novel without giving too much away since a major piece of information is held back in the first part of the story. It does start in the middle, since Rosemary, a 22-year-old young woman, was told by her parents when she was younger to skip the beginning and start in the middle. She used to talk non-stop, until her sister, that she was so close to she considered her a twin sister, left. Not too long after that, her brother left. She hasn’t seen either one in many years. Around that time, she also quit talking so much because it was easier to get through life when people did not know much about her and couldn’t judge her. I had to keep reading to find what had happened to her sister and brother. I also had to know why she quit talking so much.

I enjoyed this book very much. It could be said that Rosemary is an unreliable narrator because she would explain what happened to her as a child, she wasn’t sure if it really happened how she remembered it or if she had filled in some gaps over the years with what she thought happened. I did not mind this because that is what memory is like. Is what you remember now, really how it happened? How can two or three people that were present remember what happened in different ways? It isn’t only perceptions that are different, but what we choose to remember and what we forget over the years and end up making up parts of the story to fill in those memory gaps.

I also really enjoyed that the narrator was in college in the early to mid-1990s, which is when I was in college so it was fun to read all the cultural references. It put me back into the headspace I was in when I was that age and then as the story moves along to current times to see how she matures and reaches the same age as I am while reading it. It isn’t often that happens while reading a book so it was a nice touch.

I do recommend that if you want to read this book then try not to read the back of the book flap like I did. It does give away some information about Rosemary’s sister. There is still much that is learned while reading it like why her sister went away and where she went, but I think it would be fun to actually learn the surprise in the second act of the book.

The way the book ends is heartbreaking. It is a really good ending. Many questions are answered and people are healed from anger they have felt over the years when they finally start talking to each other again. It ends on the only realistic note it could, but it is still quite sad.
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The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret

Coni, June 15, 2014

I mostly wanted to read this story to learn about the secret. I had to know. As I went along in the book, it became less important about the actual secret. I wanted to know how the three main women and how all the people in their lives would deal with the news of the secret. I was surprised I hadn’t been spoiled about the secret before I had a chance to read the book, but I think the reason was that isn’t the main point of the book. It is really about how this secret has shaped the lives of these people and how learning about it affects other people. It really shatters reality for some people and reading about how they deal with it is what kept me reading.
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Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition) (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition) (Outlander)

Coni, June 1, 2014

I’ve had a good friend talk about this book for years. Romance isn’t really a genre that I read. She had mentioned it had to do with time travel (briefly) and there was a lot of action and adventure in the Scottish Highlands. I still stayed away since romance isn’t a genre that I’m all that interested in. I don’t mind if romance is part of a bigger story, but I have never been into those bodice-ripping books that I used to see my mom read growing up. I used to go for the Edgar Allan Poe books that were on the bookshelf instead. What got me to finally read a romance? It was a genre that my Twitter book club (#1book140) decided to read. I'm glad I read it though since it changed my mind. Not so much about romances, but at least about this series.

The novel starts out in 1945 where a former combat nurse, Claire, is slowly getting to know her husband on their second honeymoon since they were separated for many years due to the war right after they were married. While wandering in Scotland on their vacation, she touches a rock that sends her back in time by 200 years to the Scottish Highlands. Since it is unclear for some time what has happened to her, when she does realize it, she is far away from that rock and has no way to get back to her own time, if that is even the way to get back to where she belongs. She pretty much stuck living in a much different time.

What I enjoyed about the book was that Claire was already very independent woman in 1945 and does not care if she is not acting the way people think women should act in the past. She is very stubborn though and at times, selfish. It’s those stubborn, selfish acts that end up hurting some people, but she does eventually realize what she’s done.

The action scenes were really well written. For a long book, I read it fairly quickly since there was always some crazy mess Claire got herself into. I had to know what was happening next. For a good portion of the book, I wouldn’t have even classified it as a romance except that there is tons of sex in this book. It takes place all the time. These parts of the book were my least favorite, mostly because they could have been better written. I rolled my eyes at some of the descriptions, but then I’ve read better sex scenes in Clive Barker novels. Some scenes were quite sweet and I thought those were better.

There was one scene between Claire and Jamie that I had issues with when I read it. Jamie was very violent towards Claire and it almost had a misogynistic tone, but not quite. I could see the reasons why it happened (and to get into them would give too much away for those that haven’t read it), but did love that she fought back and was pissed about it for a long time. Then in one scene, she proclaimed she loved him and seemed to forget all about what had just happened to her. That’s when I had a big issue with it since it seemed like she played into the battered wife role who forgives the abusive husband because he really loves her. Later on, I was pleasantly surprised when she brought it up again since she obviously still had issues with it. They verbally fought and then talked it out before finally moving on with both sides understanding each other more. That’s when I could finally move on too.

The book is a violent one, especially what happens with Jamie towards the end of it. It is pretty gruesome for a romance book. I would almost forget it was supposed to be a romance first and foremost until one of those sex scenes popped up again. Even though I still am not really interested in the romance genre as a whole, I am interested enough in this book series to want to continue reading more of it.
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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Luminaries

Coni, February 25, 2014

Set in 1865-1866 in New Zealand during the gold rush, 13 men try to solve a bunch of local mysteries, involving a opium-addicted whore, a missing prospector, a recently deceased man with a wife that no one knew about and a scarred man that no one likes. This is a long book, but it is necessary to cover all the story taking place between those men and all those other people.

I had no idea New Zealand had a gold rush so that was educational. This book is written like a Victorian-era book with each chapter giving a teaser about what it will be about. It is a bit like Charles Dickens without all the annoying Dickens bits (no unnecessary words!).

It seemed to have a bit of a slow start but once one of the men started sharing his part of the tale to a guy, it picks up and doesn't stop. Hearing people telling their versions of stories and piecing it all together into a much larger story was fun. There was some astrological stuff that didn't make much sense to me and wasn't really explained so I skipped over that. I still enjoyed the overall story.

When some of the backstory was pieced together by the men, the story shifts to real time where you learn even more about what happened from the other players. After that, the story wraps up with parts that the men never knew. It was a nice summary of the entire story, even though I still had a few unanswered questions at the end. Did I miss the answers in this 800+ book or were that not answered? Hard to tell.
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