Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

Publication Date: June 2012
Publisher: 1000Vultures
Rating: ★★

Penpal began as a series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror forum. Before long, it was adapted into illustrations, audio recordings, and short films; and that was before it was revised and expanded into a novel!

How much do you remember about your childhood?

In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If you’ve ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if you’ve ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won’t soon forget, despite how you might try.”

Review:

This one for sure had a creepy, creepy vibe. There were times where I would get goosebumps when reading the words Dathan Auerbach had written on these pages. However, there were somethings in this book I just couldn’t get into. And that hindered my ability to give it a higher rating.

This book was recommended to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were absolutely freaky moments and times where I had to stop and go“oh my god” or “woah, that’s weird”. On the other hand, there were times where I had to stop and reread a paragraph because it just wasn’t making sense to me. This was the most unfortunate part about the book, I think some things ended a little abruptly.

Penpal has potential and was a pretty decent read. If you are looking for a quick mystery, this might be a good choice for you. I’m giving it 3.5/5 starts because of some of the confusion and the ending wasn’t really good for my taste. Overall, it was okay and I’d recommend it to someone that is looking for a super quick read with a love of the mystery genre.

An Update on Lacey’s Library

Hello everyone!! I just wanted to give an honest update about my life. I am absolutely swamped and haven’t had the time to get any books read. I am a college student, so I am currently taking five classes as well as a part-time job, and an internship! So I promise I really am busy!

Since I’m not getting a lot of reading done, I figured I would take Lacey’s Library and transform it into an everything blog. I will continue to read and write book reviews when available, but I’m going to write different things in hopes of maintaining this blog!

I’m going to make this a lifestyle/book review/everything review blog. I liked the name Lacey’s Library because I was writing book reviews. However, not everything in libraries are books anymore. There’s magazines, newspapers, computers, ebooks, tablets, etc. Therefore, I feel like the name would still be alright! Do you think I should change the name? Comment below!

Thanks everyone! Hope everyone has been doing well in 2018! I know I have so far!

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★

“A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Review:

I had a hard time with this one. This novel is classified as a mystery, thriller, and suspense. I couldn’t really get into the fact that it was classified that way because I personally didn’t feel like it was a mystery, thriller, or suspense.

This book was hard to get started. I read and read, but there just wasn’t that “oomph” to push it over the edge. Lisa Jewell wrote this book in hopes of holding the mystery until the end. I usually enjoy that, but I couldn’t really figure this one out. It had me kind of hating the fact that I had to wait until the end. I wanted some sort of clue of what was happening, but I got nothing.

I felt pretty disconnected from the story and from the characters. I found myself reading and not being able to associate myself with anyone or anything. I can usually connect with at least one element from a story, but unfortunately, with this one I didn’t.

Lastly, the ending is what did it for me to give this a 3-star rating. The ending gave me some answers to my questions. However, I found it to be extremely unrealistic. There was this desperation and need, I couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t understand the fact that there were times of “love” after 5 days.

This book wasn’t anything special for me. I would like to try Lisa Jewell’s other books to see if there were differences in the writing style. I think there were times in this book where I was confused and bored. However, there was a constant underlining of understanding.

Rainy Day Kisses by Debbie Macomber

Publication Date: August 1, 1990 (Republished May 29, 2014)
Publisher: Harlequin Books

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★

“She was a woman on the rise. Susannah Simmons had a five-year plan for career success, and it didn’t include falling in love with her next-door neighbor. Nate Townsend was undeniably attractive, and he obviously had money, but he seemed to lack ambition. He stayed home, baking cookies and flying kites, while Susannah struggled up the corporate ladder. She resented the way he questioned her values – – and made her question them, too. Perhaps she had given up too much in pursuit of her career goals: family and fun – – and Nate Townsend’s love.”

Review:

This was my first Debbie Macomber read. I recently downloaded an app that you can connect with your libraries and has so many different selections of ebooks and audiobooks. I saw this and thought that the synopsis sounded great. If I love anything when it comes to books, it’s the “next door neighbor” narrative. The thought of moving into somewhere and having your neighbor be so romantic that you fall for them? Yes. Please. It’s so unlikely, but a girl can dream, right?

The characters were written well. I thought that the characters were really in tune with themselves. There were times that they said something and I cracked up out loud at how funny they were. I think Macomber knows how to write a character to get the reader to feel like they are actually in this story. She knows how to embody their emotions. I liked that the most about this book.

There were parts of this book that fell flat. The narrative is the reason why I picked this book. There were times where I felt like putting this book down because it got pushed off the narrative and I wasn’t sure when it would get back on track. This unfortunately made me drop the rating.

Lastly, this book seemed pretty vanilla. Like I said, this was my first Debbie Macomber, and I’m not sure if that is how her writing style is with all of her books. I felt like everything was good and simple. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, personally, I like to have a little angst or a little sultry factor in a book. I think this book was good, just a little plain for my taste.

Overall, I would definitely would give another Debbie Macomber book a chance. I want to find out if all of her books are simple, easy reads. I work in a library where her books are extremely popular. Therefore, I want to see what all the hype is about.

 

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Publication Date: August 23rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★

“A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is…I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just…mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.”

Review:

I have been hearing a lot about Susan Elizabeth Phillips, so I thought I would give her book a try. This book was alright, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite read.

This book definitely grabbed my attention right away. The contemporary romances always seem to have that affect on me, but I really like when one of the main characters plays a sport. After reading the synopsis, I really thought I would like this book.

Once I hit around halfway, it seems that I was losing interest quicker and quicker. The story lost me a little and I just couldn’t get back into it. Everything was a little confusing, and I had to go back and read some parts again. Even when I did that, I still feel like there were parts that completely lost me.

One of the main reasons I finished this book was the woman main character, Piper. She was feisty, and she had a lot of funny one-liners. She created a lot of the chemistry that this book had, and I really enjoyed her.

Overall, I think this book definitely had its moments. There were parts where I laughed, and some parts definitely had me in my feelings! However, there were parts that I just couldn’t get through and fell a little flat. I definitely would be interested in reading more Susan Elizabeth Phillips to see if I like her other ones a little bit more!

 

 

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) 

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★

“Known for novels featuring “great pacing and true surprises” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “nerve-shattering suspense” (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Time bestselling author), New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.”

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Kate Moretti, and Atria Books for allowing to read this before the publication date in exchange for an honest review.

I will be completely honest, I picked this book solely from the cover. The spooky and mysterious cover dragged me to it right away. I had a feeling that this would be a good one.

The beginning of this book will leave you with a sense of “what is going to happen next”. From the last page of the prologue, I was hooked. There was something fishy going on, and there is a wonder of what will go on in the following chapters. Or will you have to wait until the end?

The characters were interesting to say the least. My favorite character had to be Alecia. My mother is a special education teacher so I see the struggles that an autistic child and their mother has to go through. I feel like the author did a phenomenal job with making both characters real and relatable. All of the characters really developed, especially Bridget. Bridget was another character that I really felt that connected well with the reader. There were times where I feel like I would have to go back and read because there are four different characters going on at the same time, but that’s okay sometimes. Each character gave more to this story.

There was a lot of book that was answered, but there was a lot also left unanswered. There were interesting things about this because I liked the fact that I could think about what could’ve happened. This is where Kate Moretti did a great job making this not only a mystery, but a psychological thriller as well.

Overall, this book was very good. Kate Moretti’s writing style is absolutely something I can get into with other stories of hers. I think I will take the time to pick another one of hers up!

 

 

Confess by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★★★

“Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…”

Review: 

Colleen Hoover knows exactly how to reach her audience. Her books take me into the story right from the beginning. This is my third Colleen Hoover novel, and I’ve felt the same way about each one. She knows how to write angst perfectly and the romance is out of this world.

Auburn might be one of my favorite characters from a book ever. She is strong for going through the heartache she did when she was 15. Owen Gentry might also be one of my favorite characters from a book. He is so romantic and interesting, especially with his art. Owen is so sweet and gentle, but also has this hidden dark side that I adored.

The developments in this book were insane. There were surprises that had me shocked, gasping for the characters involved. The developments between the characters and the story made this book so wonderful for me.

If you are an emotional reader, please have tissues. I think I cried for the first time with this book maybe 10-15 pages in. Colleen Hoover has a way with words when it comes to heartbreak and angst, and I have yet to not cry with one of her books.

I’d recommend this book to anyone. Colleen Hoover has to continue writing books because she is becoming one of my all time favorite authors. I’m so in love with how each book is written and has it’s own individual flavor. I can’t choose a favorite.