After December’s TBR, I thought it would be best that I stick to a script when it comes to selecting books for monthly readings. I flopped so effing hard with last month’s reading that it forced me to get my shit together (i.e. stick to what I know). With that being said, for this month, I’m going back to my roots by revisiting the tropes that got me so invested in reading in the first place: troubled marriages, relationships and/or books with dark undertones.
If you know anything about me, you know that my favorite books have been those about couples with deep-seated issues that usually take a deadly turn. Since I first read it two years ago, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl reigns supreme, but there are so many other books I’ve been waiting to get into that could potentially dethrone Flynn’s coveted place.
Enough of my ramblings, here is my list of chilling reads for the month of January:
Hidden Bodies, Caroline Kepnes
Synopsis: Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.
In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…
Thoughts: Hmm… so after reading the synopsis of Caroline Kepnes‘ Hidden Bodies, I can deduce that this book could take a turn in one of two directions: The first, Joe really turns out to be some handsome, psychopathic serial killer whose only intentions with “Soho House” chick is to make her his next victim; the second, Joe is this pitiful, only slightly attractive serial killer whose only way to cope with unrequited love is by killing the women (…or men. Hey, you never know!) who have slighted him, which should make us feel even more sorry for him. For the book’s sake, I’m hoping it won’t be the latter. Nonetheless, this seems like an awesome villain reversal from Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne being the murdering villainess. I’m excited!
Before I Go to Sleep, S.J. Watson
Synopsis: As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…
Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
Welcome to Christine’s life.
Thoughts: Okay, for starters, you should know that I cheated on this one by watching the movie on Netflix over the summer. I had every intention of reading this book because it was recommended to me by an old co-worker whom I discussed my love for Gone Girl, and she suggested this one. Even so, the movie was brilliant, which only makes me more motivated to read S.J. Watson‘s original story. Contrary to sacrilegious belief, I think watching the movie before reading the book isn’t entirely blasphemous so long as you enjoyed it; and I really enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep!
You, Caroline Kepnes
Synopsis: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
Thoughts: Okay, so I purchased this one a long time ago when I had a coupon to Barnes & Noble and it’s been haunting my shelves for quite some time now. It seems like Kepnes’ thing is “creepy guy stalks the unsuspecting girl,” and I’ve also heard this book is pretty graphic in its content and subject matter. Which, if you aren’t familiar with my style, those two things are not deal breakers for me at all.
What I like most about having two books by Kepnes on my list is that they’re a continuation of a series. Now, whether or not I just spoiled what happens in this book by adding Hidden Bodies to the list first, I’ll never know, but for now, I’m down for trying out a new series. Also, does anyone else get the vibe that this seems like — I seriously hope no one who’s read the book takes offense to this — some really vicious version of Fifty Shades of Grey? I mean, if Joe really is stalking this chick just imagine what other weird fetishes he might have, right?
In a Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware
Synopsis: What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
Thoughts: This book really needs to introduction because my friend, Molly, WILL NOT STOP mentioning it to me! And for that, I love her, because I’ve heard nothing but rad things about this book. I love that this book seems like it will play on a lot of secrecy, memory and betrayal tropes. These are all good qualities I look for in a thriller, and Ruth Ware‘s work has been really buzzing lately. I even have her other book, Woman in Cabin 10, which I expect to read sometime this year as well. Fingers crossed for In a Dark, Dark Wood being fucking awesome!
Two Days Gone, Randall Silvis
Synopsis: A literary page-turner about a beloved college professor accused of murdering his entire family, and one small-town cop’s dangerous search for answers.
Thomas Huston, a beloved professor, and bestselling author is something of a local hero in the small Pennsylvania college town where he lives and teaches. So when Huston’s wife and children are found brutally murdered in their home, the community reacts with shock and anger. Huston has also mysteriously disappeared, and suddenly, the town celebrity is suspect number one.
Sergeant Ryan DeMarco has secrets of his own, but he can’t believe that a man he admired, a man he had considered a friend, could be capable of such a crime. Hoping to glean clues about Huston’s mind-set, DeMarco delves into the professor’s notes on his novel-in-progress. Soon, DeMarco doesn’t know who to trust—and the more he uncovers about Huston’s secret life, the more treacherous his search becomes.
Thoughts: So, I’m being really ballsy right now by adding this one because I really don’t know how (or if) I’ll have time to cram in five books in one month. Usually, however, so long as the book is interesting and draws me in with some sort of dark matter I can easily sift through it in just a few days. Two Days Gone is no exception to that rule, and I’m especially excited to have received an ARC copy from a friend not too long ago. The book itself isn’t set to release until January 10.
What’s most interesting about Randall Silvis‘ book, however, is the sudden murder of Thomas’ family as our main character has fled the scene. What the hell happened?! I must know!
Have you read any of the books on this list?!
Tell us which books you’re most looking forward to reading in the comments below!
Be sure to keep up with the Paperback Paris Team’s monthly TBRs!