Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

5 stars

Jules Larsen is down on her luck. She lost her job and found her boyfriend cheating on her in their apartment all in the same day. With no place to live or steady income, the streets of New York provide an unlikely and almost unreal way to make fast cash. Even more odd is the connection Jules has to the place through a childhood favorite novel. The Bartholomew is a Gothic apartment with gargoyles and an odd job opening. Jules is offered to make cash in thousands for stay at the Bartholomew for three months. The rules: she must stay in the apartment every night, she can’t ever post the inside on social media, no guests are ever allowed, and STAY OUT of the resident’s business. It’s too good to pass up. Things are creepy and visceral, but they get even scarier when another apartment sitter goes missing. What secrets lie in the Bartholomew and why is Jules scared for her life? I love Riley Sager. He is hands down one of my favorite authors in the thriller genre. I read The Last Time I Lied last year and loved it. The thing I love about Sager’s style is that is dripping with atmosphere. Whatever setting he decides to tackle he turns the setting into a character that haunts the pages and makes one feel unsettled. I loved how Gothic this one is. It’s creepy and it has all the chops of a creepy and unsettling movie from the ‘80s. It doesn’t feel good and as the plot progresses it becomes very apparent that the Bartholomew is complex enough that a number of sinister outcomes are possible. Sager decided to write this novel from an interesting perspective. We open with Jules in a hospital waking up and claiming to have escaped the Bartholomew. We flashback to six days prior when the events began and we zoom in and out of this throughout the novel until we reach the pivotal point of Jules landing in the hospital. Sager is a great writer. He is adept at masterfully painting a scene, creating a dynamic plot, and providing suspense in every chapter. The questions he sets up are just enough to lead the reader to believe they know the outcome and by the end of the book, we realize that our own guesses are just as off as Jules. I was blown away by the reveal. It was not on my radar at all. This book is set up in a great way. I suspect a lot of people will hate it though, but I loved it.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

The main female character is Jules. Jules is funny and layered. She does odd things like naming the gargoyle outside her window George and deciding to go on a wild goose chase and uncover the mystery of the Bartholomew, but I found her family’s past to be incredibly complex and it really was refreshing to follow a woman in the thriller from the poverty side who is not your typical domestic thriller. She didn’t have a drinking problem and she is just a woman with a lot of bad luck and a sad past. It’s a nice turn from the typical thrillers that have been released as of late. I wasn’t always on board with her decisions because she is dumb sometimes, but that’s to be expected when following a thriller heroine who decides to dig. I was always rooting for her. She is also strong and pretty adept at solving dangerous situations, so those finals pages of escape are intense and a wild ride. I loved following her narrative and I was a fan Sager’s depiction of her.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 5

The Villain- Wow. I had a theory and at one point my theory was being proved by Jules research, but that quickly went out the window. Everyone in this book is sketchy and no one should be trusted. It was masterfully done. When I finished reading this book I was so blown away by the complexity and brilliance of those within the Bartholomew.

Villain Scale: 5

Overall, I am a fan of Lock Every Door. Sager blew me away with this one and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s fun and spooky. The novel is atmospheric and the pacing is unputdownable. You don’t want to miss this novel because it will blow your mind.

Plotastic Scale: 5

Cover Thoughts: I am obsessed with the colors for this cover. It’s creepy and bold. I love it.

Thank you, Netgalley and Dutton Books, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Lock Every Door? Are you a fan of Riley Sager? What is one of your favorite summer thrillers that you highly recommend? Let me know down below in the comments!

Friday, August 2, 2019

July Reading Wrap-Up + My Reading Goals

Hey, everyone! I'm back from my mission trip to Detroit (Highland Park) and it's been a bit of an adjustment to come back home after such a spiritual high and really being moved by all that God did not only for the community, my team, but also, for myself. I am about to start teaching for my last year of college this month so I'm getting ready for that. I'm also going to be moving back on campus, attending a conference, having band camp, and starting college classes. So August is a SUPER busy month. I'm hoping I'll get some reading done, but I know that it may not happen. July was a decent reading month and I read some AMAZING books that I highly recommend! I hammered out five books in one weekend because of Hurricane Barry and I had so much fun reading like a madwoman.

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NOS4A2 by Joe Hill- 5 stars This book is one of the best books I read this year. It's in my top 5 of the year so far. The  concept was brilliant. The narrator made this book visceral, creepy, and chilling. I loved all the connections to Stephen King's work. I loved following such a messed up mom just trying to save her son. I loved how scary Mr. Manx was and I will be forever traumatized by the Gas Mask Man's voice and thoughts. Also vampire kids are horrifying to hear over the phones and I'm not about it. LOVE IT!
The Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren- 2 stars My theology didn't mesh well with Tish's. She is all about religious practices being the center instead of God being the center which is the exact reason why I'm no longer a practicing Catholic or identify as a Catholic (if you're curious I'm nondenominational). There was nothing inherently wrong with this book, but her obsession with practicing cultural religious doctrine seemed to overpower her message of how the ordinary day can be a form of worship to God. I liked two chapters in this book, but besides that I wouldn't recommend to this one for people who struggle with religious idolatry unless they feel a calling to read this book from the Holy Spirit. I do think if you are interested in learning more about Anglican practices then this may be informative.
Every Time I Feel the Spirit by Shannon W. Dycus- 4 stars This is a Bible study on women from the Bible and compares them to famous women in history. It's an interesting study and I really enjoyed it. I'm not in the Mennonite religion, but I really appreciated learning and interacting with one of their studies. I think this study would be great for young adults and teens and that it would be beneficial to all branches of Christianity and not just the Mennonites. Check out my review here
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager- 5 stars I haven't gotten around to reviewing this one yet, but I can't wait to write down all my thoughts because this was so much fun. It's creepy, unsettling, and full imagery that calls back to the Gothic genre as well as campy horror films. I loved the ending! It was brilliant. This one is different from the last Sager novel (The Last Time I Lied) and it has a lot of the same themes, but goes in a vastly different direction. I was impressed.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor- 3.75 stars I flew through this one. It was so much fun to discover how Okorafor would not only tackle cultural racism on a spaceship but also where the story of Binti would go. I knew nothing about Binti before going in, but I love that it followed a young woman from a tribe who never leaves home despite being able to create the highest forms of technology. Binti travels to a university and is met by an attack from a species who has been wronged by the university. It's light in concept and themes, but was so much fun.
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka- 3.5 stars (for overall collection) I love Kafka. He is one of my favorite absurdist. His work is always really horrifying while staying grounded enough to seem almost plausible. It was fun to reread The Metamorphosis (still a 5-star read) and I found some new favorites in this collection. I loved: The Judgment, The Stoker: A Fragment, In the Penal Colony.
Grace is Greater: God's Plan to Overcome Your Past, Redeem Your Pain, and Rewrite Your Story by Kyle Idleman- 5 stars I wasn't expecting to love this one. I started listening to the audiobook and then found it for $5 at Mardel in the bargain section. I read both formats, so technically speaking I read this book twice. Once listening and once reading after I listened. This experience was groundbreaking. I struggle with grace. Receiving it, giving, and accepting it, but this book and the testimonies touched my soul. My heart and soul were rejoicing. I walked away from this book letting a lot of hurt I was still holding onto tightly go. Praise the Lord!
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing- 5 stars This book is DISGUSTING. We follow a married couple who hunt and murder young women. The game of cat and mouse they play with young women is horrifying. Their idea to bring by a serial killer to cover up their kills was disturbing, but the way this book ended and the power dynamic was shocking. This book was nasty in all the ways a thriller about two serial killers should be. I loved it and I highly recommend the audiobook.
Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change by John Hagee- 1 star DNF @ page 49 I'm good. Books like this remind me of the importance of Biblical discernment and false teachings. This book has a lot of false teachings. Here's a review discussing my problems with it. I decided not to continue for my own personal spiritual walk and because the Holy Spirit told me I could and so I did.
Untouchable: Unraveling the Myth That You Are Too Faithful to Fall by Brittany Rust- 5 stars This book was God sent. I bought it for a $1 on a whim at Mardel and the cover struck me. The title, however, hit me harder. I picked this book up when I faced having to give grace and understanding to a person close to me for a sin that they were committing that I feel very strongly about (pornography) and God kept reminding me of this book. My reasons for picking it up aligned with part 1, but I found that every time I picked this book up I was going through something that was in direct alignment with the words I needed to hear. This book was challenging and convicting. I hated it because of that but I loved it all the more because of that reason alone.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire- 4.5 stars I love the concept of this one. I'm entranced by the characters. The idea of following a home (or asylum/sanitarium) for people who have traveled to other worlds and have been exiled out of them or forced to leave was so interesting. The main character we follow in this one went to an Underworld portal, so it was interesting to follow her struggle to integrate back into the human world. The home was amazing and I loved the characters. I'm a fan and can't wait to continue.

 Overall Thoughts:
 July was a solid month for me and I had a moment of slumpiness, but my hurricane reading brought me out of it. Here are my 5-star reads:
1. NOS4A2
2. Untouchable
3. Grace is Greater
4. My Lovely Wife
5. Lock Every Door
2019 TBR:
 *The Metamorphosis and Other Stories
*Every Heart a Doorway
Total Read: 14

Currently Reading / Hoping to Finish in August:
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Netgalley ARCs: WAIT, Selected Poems of Edith Wharton, What the Wind Knows, The Invited, A Darker Shade of Magic, DEV1AT3
ARCs: The Harp of Kings, Vulnerable
Audiobooks: The Hiding Place, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Gone with the Wind, Howl's Moving Castle, Good Omens
 Books I Own: Needful Things, The Hiding Place, Rachel's Tears, Gone with the Wind, Vulnerable, Celebration of Discipline, The Spiritual Gifts Handbook, Always Enough, Never Too Much, Moments of Grace, The Purple Book, East of Eden
ARCs That Come Out in August:
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Horror: Here There Are Monsters, The Girl on the Porch
Fantasy: House of Salt and Sorrows, The Last Hope, The First Girl Child
Christian Non-Fiction: Kingdom Come, Pressure Points, We Too
Thriller: We Are All Good People Here, The Swallows
Historical Fiction: The Doll Factory
Non-Fiction: Savage Appetites, The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets

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Books I Own:

How was your month of July? Did you read a lot of books? What was your favorite book of the month? Have you read any of these? Let me know down below in the comments!

What I've Read in August & September (I'm Not Gone, Just Busy)

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