Review: The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer

The Perfect DaughterThe Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After Grace discovers an abandoned 4-year old girl in a park, she knows the little one is destined to be her daughter. Grace fights hard to foster the girl and ultimately adopts her into the family.

Grace and her husband, Arthur, have two boys, Ryan and Jack, but Grace has always wanted to mother a daughter. That relationship is just so special.

As it turns out, mothering this particular little girl, named Penny by her older brother, Jack, is more challenging than Grace initially anticipated.

Penny, due to trauma in her early life, has suffered a schism within her psyche, outwardly displayed as a case of Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID.

Once known as Multiple Personality Disorder, Grace and the rest of the family are slowly introduced to Penny’s alters, Ruby, Chloe and Eve.

When Penny is accused of killing her birth mother, caught red handed at the woman’s apartment, Grace knows there has to be another explanation. Her sweet Penny would never be capable of such violence.

But would one of her alters? Would Eve, the most aggressive and openly hostile?

Penny gets arrested, and subsequently committed, to Edgewater Psychiatric Hospital for care and treatment prior to her trial. It is there that she comes under the care of the perceptive, Dr. Mitch McHugh.

The Perfect Daughter is a fast-paced and intriguing Psychological Suspense novel. Palmer did a great job of keeping the tension high throughout the story.

I was constantly questioning who, or what, to believe. I know that mental health and disorders can be a complicated topic to write about, but I never felt icky about this. It felt like Palmer handled the topic with care, never demonizing Penny simply because she suffered from DID.

In signature Palmer style, this did get pretty wild towards the end, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to read.

He definitely has a brand and style he keeps returning to, and you know what, it works for me. It may be a little far-fetched, but it keeps me coming back every time!!!

The audiobook is fantastic, highly recommend that medium, as the narrators truly sweep you up into the story!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies of this to read and review. In my opinion, this is Palmer’s best work yet, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

View all my reviews

Review: When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

When No One is WatchingWhen No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Needing a distraction from her life, Sydney Green, decides to take one of the over-priced historic walking tours of her Brooklyn neighborhood.

She’s a history buff and is curious to find out what the tour guide will cover. While on the tour she quickly realizes that the community she has lived in her whole life isn’t being represented.

It’s hard to understand the history of a place while simultaneously ignoring the people who have lived there for generations.

Sydney decides to create her own, truly historic, walking tour of the neighborhood. With encouragement from her neighbors and friends, she begins to research the events and people she would like to cover.

It’s a big task, however, and she can’t do it all alone. Help comes in the form of a most unlikely source. A new neighbor, Theo, who just moved into the brownstone across from Sydney’s offers to be her assistant.

She’s hesitant to accept help from Theo at first. She doesn’t really trust him, or understand what his motives may be. As Sydney sees it, him and his Lululemon-loving live-in girlfriend are part of the problem.

Gentrification, they call it. Wealthy people swooping in and taking over urban neighborhoods; raising home prices, tax assessments and rents for all, thus displacing the long-term residents in the process.

Sydney can see it happening around her, changing everything. Theo’s persistent though and in a sort of dorky, yet charming way, he works his way through Sydney’s defenses and into her life.

Before she knows it, the two of them are working together on a daily basis. Also, as it turns out, the girl Sydney assumed to be Theo’s girlfriend, is actually his ex; it’s complicated.

As they dive into their research, events in the neighborhood are beginning to snowball. People are disappearing and both Sydney and Theo encounter strange things happening in the night.

It appears that something more sinister is going on than Sydney initially assumed, but who is going to believe her? Is she just paranoid, or is someone, or something, actually behind her neighbors mysterious disappearances?

I loved this story! I started out reading the paperback, but ended up switching to the audiobook and loved the narrators.

When No One is Watching has a lot of layers. It is a rare type of Thriller that I would actually read again.

I’ve noticed the reviews are mixed and I totally get that. The narrative heads in a direction that won’t be for everyone.

It definitely toes the line of Horror. I would comp this to Get Out meets Lock Every Door. If you loved either of those, I think you will enjoy this just as much!

Additionally, this story played to one of my biggest fears; knowing the truth about something and having no one believe you.

I guess it boils down to a feeling of helplessness. I love how Sydney fought back and how Theo supported her. Their relationship was great to read.

Overall, I found this to be a fast-paced, mind-reeling, horrifying modern-day Thriller and I loved every minute of it. Crossing my fingers this gets adapted into a film. It would be fantastic!!

Highly recommend!

View all my reviews

Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

The MaidensThe Maidens by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mariana Andros, a dedicated group therapist, has suffered a lot of trauma in her life. Therefore she exhibits a great amount of empathy and patience for her clients.

Due to a large inheritance, Mariana doesn’t need to work, however she continues her practice in order to help others.

Mariana has lost almost everyone she has ever loved. In fact, the only family she has left is her niece, Zoe, currently a student at Cambridge University.

That’s why when Zoe calls her one night, extremely distraught, Mariana boards a train the next morning to go to her. She must help.

Arriving in Cambridge stirs up a lot of memories for Mariana. She attended school there as well and wasn’t prepared for the emotional repercussions of being back on campus.

She tries to push her own emotions aside, however, in order to better focus on Zoe. Apparently, a dead body found the previous evening has been identified as Zoe’s good friend. It is obvious the girl has been murdered.

After conversations with Zoe about her dead friend, Mariana begins to suspect Edward Fosca, a popular and captivating Greek Tragedy professor may be the culprit.

Sure, he has an alibi, but not one that Mariana considers to be reliable; his secret society of young women students, known as The Maidens, would most likely be willing to lie for him.

Mariana successfully inserts herself, through various connections, into the investigation, putting herself on a collision course with the undeniably charming, Professor Fosca.

The Maidens is compulsively readable. Once I started it, I could not put it down!

I loved how Michaelides wove together all of the different aspects of this story. I thought it was wonderfully crafted. I was so engaged, I had to remind myself to come up for air.

The setting of Cambridge was extremely vivid. It starts as this beautiful, pristine and exclusive place. Then over the course of the narrative, a dark underbelly becomes exposed as Mariana digs further into the mystery.

I absolutely loved that. So is life, am I right!?

Additionally, Mariana had such depth of character. I loved learning about her and watching her try to push past her own anxieties and fears, to try and help Zoe.

She became laser-focused in her search for the truth and I was cheering her on the whole way. I wouldn’t say she is overly likable, in the traditional sense, but I certainly found her to be believable.

I could swoon about this for days, but will spare you that and wrap it up by saying, I loved this book!

I thought it was so fun, super entertaining and memorable. The setting, the characters, the twists and turns; it is WICKED!!!

I actually think I enjoyed this more than The Silent Patient, and that’s saying a lot. I already cannot wait to see what Michaelides comes up with next.

Thank you so, so, so much to the publisher, Celadon Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it more than I can say. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I cannot wait for it to release!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

Dear ChildDear Child by Romy Hausmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Dear Child is a taut Psychological Thriller that will leave you scratching your head until the very end.

It immediately drops you into this puzzle. It can take some time to get your bearings, but once the narrative begins to unfold, it’s completely intriguing.

The story is told from three main perspectives: a kidnapped woman, known as Lena, who has just escaped her captor; her daughter, Hannah; and Lena’s father, Matthias, who has been searching for his daughter for thirteen years.

From Lena and Hannah’s perspectives, the scope of the hell they, along with Hannah’s brother, Jonathan, have lived through begins to take shape. A cabin in the woods, the ‘father’ who controlled their every move and their utter isolation.

After her dramatic escape, Lena is hit by a car and immediately transported to the hospital, with Hannah in tow. It is there that the true depth of the mystery is exposed.

Is this woman really Lena? And if she’s not, then who is she?

This story is dark, twisted, sick, and intricate. Progressing through this story is like peeling back the layers of an onion; something stinks and at times you want to cry.

I thought this was so cleverly plotted. I had so many theories, my head was spinning. It did not end how I expected and I really enjoyed the journey.

There were moments in the beginning where I was almost too confused, but once the puzzle started to come together, wow. It was chef’s kiss.

The Epilogue was the delicious icing on the cake. It gave me that evil grin I love to have at the end of a story.

The most disturbing part of this was that it could really happen. There is nothing far-fetched about it. A cabin in the woods isn’t suspicious in and of itself. You can really do anything you want behind those doors.

I highly recommend this for people who love tense and twisted stories. I believe this is the first Thriller this author has written and obviously it shows incredible promise.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flatiron Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am definitely anxious to pick up more from Hausmann!

View all my reviews

Review: The Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate

The Last to See HerThe Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, that was a story. A heck of a wild ride. One, I am sorry to say, I didn’t enjoy that much.

In the beginning, I was really into this. It didn’t take long for the action to kick off and I was definitely intrigued.

For a while the tension was building quite nicely, then for me, it just crossed over into eye roll territory, from which it never returned.

By the last 25% I was racing through, not because I couldn’t wait to see what would happen, but because I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

With this being said, just because it wasn’t a good fit for my tastes, doesn’t mean it won’t be for you. There are definitely a lot of readers who will enjoy this. Sadly, I just wasn’t one of them.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Mira Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. Even though it wasn’t a new favorite for me, I still very much appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.

View all my reviews

Blog Tour: When I Was You by Amber Garza

When I Was YouWhen I Was You by Amber Garza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up **

Below is a line from the first paragraph of the synopsis for this book. I think it sums it up perfectly:

…this up-all-night psychological thriller about a lonely empty-nester’s growing obsession with a young mother who shares her name.

That statement certainly caught my attention and I’m super glad it did!

Kelly Medina is the empty-nester in question. Kelly Medina is also the young woman who arrives and shakes up her life.

The main Kelly, I will refer to her as ‘our Kelly’ from this point forward, is adjusting to life with her only son, Aaron, gone from home. Her husband, Raphael, is not around much either, as his job keeps him away during the week and even some weekends.

Because of this, our Kelly spends a lot of time alone and to be honest, she’s struggling.

Feeling increasingly lonely and isolated, one day she receives a phone call that will change everything.

The call is from Aaron’s pediatrician’s office, with a reminder of her upcoming well-baby appointment.

Kelly tries to laugh it off with the receptionist. Obviously, it’s a mistake, her son is in college.

The lady apologizes profusely. Apparently, there is another Kelly Medina in the area and their numbers must have gotten mixed up in the system.

Our Kelly is taken aback. Another woman, sharing her same name, in the same area, with a baby.

In the coming hours, it’s all she can think about. Imagining who this young woman is and what her life must be like. It all seems too strange.

The whole incident has shaken her. Arriving later at the gym to meet her best friend, Christine, for a yoga class, she has forgotten her membership card.

When the desk clerk looks her up in the system, she comments on how funny it is that another Kelly Medina was there that very morning for a workout.

Now the girl is even invading her gym space? Who is this person?

That’s all it takes for Kelly to become obsessed with finding out more about the other Kelly Medina.

After several attempts to discover who she is online, our Kelly realizes the best way to find her would be to go to that well-baby appointment.

That’s exactly what she does. The rest of the story goes from there and let me tell you, you are in for a WILD RIDE!!

I had so much fun reading When I Was You!

Once I got into the story, I could not put it down. I can definitely see why the publisher chose to describe it as an, up-all-night Psychological Thriller!

Garza added some epic twists. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My goodness.

My jaw hit the floor so many times! It was a bloody fantastic.

I don’t think I have had this much fun reading a Thriller since the first B.A. Paris novel I read, Behind Closed Doors.

And like that novel, When I Was You, is not perfect. Personally though, I feel like any tiny flaws were completely made up for with the perfectly plotted story.

I hope that Amber Garza continues to write in this genre. I really look forward to getting more of this type of story from her.

This is wildly imaginative. It went some places, guys, I was shocked. Just when you think you have hit the crazy limit, another revelation comes to light!

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a twisty-turny, compulsively readable Psychological Thriller.

Once you pick it up, it will be hard to put it down, so clear your calendar!

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Harlequin MIRA, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had so, so, so much fun reading it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

View all my reviews

Review: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Little SecretsLittle Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marin Machado is a boss.

A successful business woman, owning upscale hair salons catering to the stars, she is confident and happy.

Her equally successful and handsome husband, Derek, is also a business owner and the couple has a little boy, Sebastian, who is the light of their lives.

Marin has it all.

That is until someone nabs Sebastian from a busy shopping center just prior to the Christmas holiday.

In the blink of an eye, Marin and Derek’s world shatters. Devastated by Sebastian’s disappearance, they both retreat into themselves to deal with their pain and grief.

When the police investigation goes nowhere, Marin hires a PI to continue the search.

Over a year later, the private investigator uncovers something, but it isn’t about her son. It’s about her husband.

As further secrets are revealed the lines between love and hate begin to blur. A woman spurned is a serious force to be reckoned with and Marin has nothing to lose.

Her best friend, Sal, and a grief support group she is a part of, are Marin’s only real connections anymore. She feels so distant from Derek.

But who can she trust?

I had so much fun reading this book. It was captivating from the very first chapter.

I loved Marin’s character. All of her flaws and grief. I found her to be complex, yet relatable.

While I did guess one of the reveals earlier than I expect the reader is supposed to, it didn’t diminsh my enjoyment level at all.

I thought going along with Marin on her journey, as she learns the truth of her husband’s betrayal and what happened to her son, was so satisfying.

Hillier really impressed me with this one. My favorite Thriller of the year so far, I would say.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Jennifer Hillier dreams up next!

View all my reviews

Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not AloneYou Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shay Miller is a 30-something data researcher living in New York City. Estranged from her family, with few friends, she spends a good portion of her time on her own.

Sharing an apartment with a cute guy she has an unrequited crush on seems to be the highlight of her existence. That is until he gets a new girlfriend, Jody, who is slowly pushing Shay out.

Shay knows her days in that apartment are numbered, so like her numerous temp jobs, even her living situation is unstable.

As her life seemingly drifts out of her control, Shay witnesses a horrific event on a subway platform that unknowingly sets her on a new course.

Witnessing a young woman’s suicide, Shay is understandably shaken. She feels like she could have done something to stop it.

Compelled to learn more about this tragic girl, she discovers her identity, Amanda Evinger, and ends up attending her memorial service.

Once there, surrounded by Amanda’s friends and loved ones, Shay tries to blend in as well as she can. She makes up a loose acquaintance to Amanda for her cover story.

Everyone is so nice to her, including the glamorous Moore sisters, Cassandra and Jane. Despite herself, Shay gets caught up in the warmth of the service and begins to let her guard down.

After the Moore sisters come into her orbit, things begin to fall into place for Shay. She suddenly finds herself with an alternative living arrangement, a better job, and a potential love life.

When things seem too good too be true, however, they often are.

What happens next is a wild ride through the streets of New York as Shay slowly pieces together the truth of the Moore sisters.

Who is friend? Who is foe? If you don’t read this book, you’ll never know!

Much like previous works by Hendricks and Pekkanen, You Are Not Alone does a great job of building suspense throughout.

Alternating perspectives help to amp up your sense of dread as you rush towards the final conclusion. I was biting my nails, for sure!

It was definitely tense. I really enjoyed Shay and was feeling everything she was feeling.

This is a solid suspense story and it kept me entertained all the way through. At first, I had no clue what was happening and as it was revealed, I thought, how clever.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and will continue to read anything this dynamic duo writes!

View all my reviews

Review: No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez

No Bad DeedNo Bad Deed by Heather Chavez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My head is spinning. Wow, that was a wild ride!!!

Driving home from work one night, Cassie Larkin sees what she assumes to be a domestic conflict happening on the side of the road.

She stops her car and calls 911. Although the operator tells her to remain in her vehicle, Cassie cannot sit idly by while this woman gets assaulted or worse.

As she breaks up the altercation, the man tells her that if she lets him kill this woman, he will let her live. Basically, this woman’s life for hers, but Cassie isn’t having that.

Eventually, the man flees, but unfortunately he does so in Cassie’s van. Now the psycho has her handbag, complete with identification, family photos, address, and her house keys.

Without putting too fine a point on it, this is basically my worse nightmare come to the page. Reading this opening scene, I was so prepared to throw this book in the freezer.

It’s like Heather Chavez knew exactly what to write to freak me the heck out!

And I cherish that.

When Cassie’s husband disappears the next night, on Halloween, while out trick-or-treating with their 6-year old daughter, her instincts tell her something is terribly wrong.

After she reports it, it seems the cops just believe this is a case of a man leaving his family. Cassie knows better, however, and begins her own investigation.

While it did surprise me that the cops didn’t take his disappearance more seriously, especially considering they knew the crazy, violent guy who stole her vehicle had her keys and information, I did love Cassie getting involved and looking into his disappearance herself.

Amateur sleuthing is one of my favorite tropes in a thriller and I think Chavez did a great job with it here.

This story took so many crazy turns, there was no way to predict what was going to happen next. As secrets begin to come out from Cassie’s own dark past, you know the final reveal will probably blow you away.

The final scenes did not disappoint!

I was so impressed with this. I was creeped out almost the entire time and it was so much fun. I cannot wait to read more from Chavez!

Thank you so much to the publisher, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I truly appreciate it!

View all my reviews

Review: A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

A Nearly Normal FamilyA Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Apparently, legal thrillers are something I am into now because I f*ing loved this!!

I listened to the audiobook and I feel it was brilliantly cast and narrated. I definitely think that had an influence on my reading experience.

I thought the format was so clever. The three perspectives were presented in three separate chunks as opposed to alternating back and forth.

The story started with ‘The Father’s’ perspective. Adam, a family man and pastor, tells his side of the story. His relationship with his 18- y.o. daughter, who is now being held in police custody accused of a brutal murder.

He fills in a large part of the narrative and you think you have a fairly good handle on the overall story.

Then we get ‘The Daughter’s’ perspective. Well, she would know, wouldn’t she? She was there. The events happened to her.

But as I love, Stella, is a deliciously unreliable narrator, who openly admits to her outstanding ability to lie and manipulate others.

Her perspective fills in some blanks and of course, creates some new ones.

At this point, I was thinking a lot about how two different people can experience the same things and interpret those events completely differently.

It’s fascinating to think about. I love this type of psychological examination of characters.

Lastly, we get ‘The Mother’s’ perspective. Just when you think you have a super firm handle on the events in question, you discover there’s so much more going on.

Stella’s mom, a high powered attorney, knows how the system works and she’ll do anything in her power to protect her little girl.

While I can see how some readers may find this slow or choppy, I had absolutely no complaints about the writing or the format.

I was hooked into this story, start to finish, and loved how much it made me think outside of the reading experience itself.

Overall, a huge fan of this, recommend to anyone who enjoys a legal or crime drama. Would absolutely recommend the audiobook as well!

View all my reviews