The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.

In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the appearance of a person they’d hoped never to see again.

I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know.”

Another quick read to take a break from the previous book I read. It wasn’t that the previous book was a long read, but it was so thrilling and stressful that I needed something that could be considered light. Sure, nothing in this book is particularly “happy”, but these books remind me of my adolescent years and sometimes I just need a little reminder of the smaller books I used to read.

I liked this book a lot, but I also had to remember that none of these books have a happy ending. It’s not like Lemony Snicket warns us of that in every book or anything (sarcasm). To me, Uncle Monty was the best guardian that they ever had, and it broke my heart when they couldn’t be with him anymore.

Sorry, was that a spoiler?

Go read this book!

Rated: 4/5 

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

“…nobody makes that much money without taking advantage of somebody. It’s much easier to make money if you don’t care who you hurt. If you have scruples, it’s much harder to get rich.” 

This was one of the books that I listened to on Audible, and I think that I’m leaning towards listening to more books than I used to. Seriously, if you haven’t tried audiobooks yet, I highly recommend them, especially for books that you probably wouldn’t read normally.

So anyway.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! I couldn’t believe it, actually. I mean, I know that this was deemed a mystery and a thriller, but I don’t know if I was expecting to actually like it! I think the main reason why I really couldn’t stop listening to it was because I wanted to find out whether the baby would survive by the end of the book. That was the main endgame for me: does Cora survive? Was she killed? Will she be reunited with her family? Who cares about the rest of these people! I just want to know what happens to the only innocent party in this entire book.

To be honest, I did not like any of the characters in the book. That fact alone made it interesting that I even still wanted to listen to it and actually finish it. Especially since this isn’t the type of book I would normally choose to digest. (Thank my amazing Buddy Reads partner for this accomplishment.)

I had so many thoughts while reading this book, mostly revolving around the expression of “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!” There were so many little tidbits that the author added throughout the book that didn’t seem to make sense at first until it made more sense at the end. Oh and the ending?! That last chapter was something I was not expecting, and yet I was so happy when it happened. If you have read that last part and you know what I’m talking about, I swear I’m not a bad person. That’s all I have to say about that!

I highly recommend this book, if you’re into those crime procedurals where you just want to know who the bad guy is, or you want to find out what happens to the victim. It’s exciting like that. I’m not sure if you’ll like any of the characters, but if you do, good on you. Just know that nobody in this book – except for the baby – is entirely innocent. Everyone has secrets, and they all somehow tie into one another by the time this book is done.

Rated: 4/5 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

“I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?”

I was definitely a fan of this book, even though I’m not really a James Patterson fan. I know that he wasn’t the author, but seeing that this is part of his “Children’s” book line was something that I found to be quite interesting. Did it make it better because it was associated with James Patterson? In my opinion, I pretty much forgot that his name was attached to this book by the time I started reading it.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth reminded me of Joan Watson, from the TV show Elementary. While she wasn’t an established surgeon like Joan was, she was learning her way around the medical field, mostly dealing with autopsies with her Uncle Jonathan, who was one of the best coroners in London during this time. She got down and dirty in this field, not shying away from the death and decay that comes with corpses. She was good at what she did, and she learned a lot by apprenticing under her uncle, even if this was something that was considered too “dirty” or too “improper” for women to learn. All throughout the book, she was shamed by both men and women for dabbling in the medical field, being around dead bodies and cutting into them for scientific purposes. Apparently, this was going to hurt her chances at being a proper lady in society and even hurt her chances of finding a proper husband to take care of her.

This was the time that she lived in though, and it was refreshing to see Audrey not care about such things like that.

Audrey Rose wasn’t the only feminist character in this book. Actually, the most surprising part about it was that her cousin Liza also had feminist tendencies that even Audrey Rose wasn’t expecting to see. One of my all-time favorite quotes from the book came from Liza:

“Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that. There’s no reason you can’t wear a simple frock to work, then don the finest gown and dance the night away. But only if it pleases you.”

I’m even tempted to have it tattooed somewhere on my body, but that’s another story. Isn’t it amazing that men seem to forget that a Queen is in charge of all of England? Even back then? And yet they feel like women should not be in power or deal with unsavory things? Silly boys.

I’m really glad that I finally had the time to finish this book, especially before the Christmas holiday.

Rated: 5/5