Reading Wrap-Up {3}

Happy New Year’s Eve!! It’s time once again for Reading Wrap-Up, my “book thoughts” post for non-review books I’ve read recently. I’m trying to squeeze one more of these in before the year ends.

2015 wasn’t the best year for me for number of books read – 50 total – but it was a great year quality-wise, which to me is most important! I read (or re-read) several classics by Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and Edgar Allan Poe. I read some really good suspense/thrillers (my favorite fiction genre), and some amazing historical fiction, like Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell series, books one and two.

Since the clock to New Year’s is ticking, I’ll move on to the wrap-up:

LineofBlood A Line of Blood
by Ben McPherson
★★★

Great murder mystery, set in London (yay!), BUT it had some of the most unlikable, insufferable characters you’ll ever meet. They were nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying, but I couldn’t quit reading until I knew what really happened to that poor neighbor.

Brother Brother
by Ania Ahlborn
★★½

I absolutely LOVED her last book (Within These Walls), but this one – not so much. BROTHER was dark, which I like, but it was really gory and violent, with nothing in the end that made all that worthwhile. I suppose it was a look at what the endless cycle of abuse can bring about. Sad.

TheGrownup The Grownup
by Gillian Flynn
★★★★

This was an intriguing short story (or novella?) by the author of Gone Girl, one of my faves from last year. I enjoyed it. It was fun trying to figure out if there really was some paranormal woo-woo going on or not. Nice creepy Gothic vibe.

PrideandPrejudice Pride and Prejudice (Audiobook)
by Jane Austen
★★★★★

What can you say about Pride & Prejudice that hasn’t already been said? For my re-read, I listened to the audiobook narrated by Carolyn Seymour. She was fabulous with the voices! I especially loved her performance as Mrs. Bennet. Wonderful.

WITHIN THESE WALLS by Ania Ahlborn

WithinWalls
Publisher: Gallery Books
Released: April 21, 2015
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


In her all-new supernatural thriller, bestselling indie horror author Ania Ahlborn asks: How far would you go for success? What would you be capable of if the promise of forever was real?

With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed-up true-crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback, one more shot at the bestselling success he once enjoyed. His chance comes when he’s promised exclusive access to death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the notorious cult leader and mass murderer who’s ready to break his silence after thirty years, and who contacted Lucas personally from his maximum-security cell. With nothing left to lose, Lucas leaves New York to live and work from the scene of the crime: a split-level farmhouse on a gray-sanded beach in Washington State whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners—runaways who were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. There, Lucas sets out to capture the real story of the departed faithful. Except that he’s not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.


This book’s creepy cover drew me in, but it was the author’s engaging writing style that had me hooked. Right away, I felt like I knew these characters and was invested in their story. WITHIN THESE WALLS had the right amount of spooky that had me looking over my shoulder a few times. There were a few gory details, but nothing too over the top.

Something that worked very well for this book was the dual-time period element. In the present, we have Lucas Graham, a down-on-his-luck true crime writer who’s been given the chance to revamp his career by being granted an interview with convicted killer Jeffrey Halcomb. Jeffrey’s story, along with his deranged “family,” is told 30 years in the past. I enjoyed seeing how the two parts came together, and the ending really surprised me.

I listened to a big chunk of this book on audio (thanks, library!). R. C. Bray was fantastic as the narrator. He made a convincing desperate crime writer. He did well with the other characters’ voices too.

Overall, loved it! Nice mix of my favorite elements — suspense, ghosts, family drama, complex characters. Will definitely read more from Ania Ahlborn.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.