Review: None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

None Shall SleepNone Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emma Lewis is a rare survivor of a serial killer. She was actually held hostage by him for days prior to her escape.

Travis Bell is a U.S. Marshall candidate, whose father lost his life in the line of duty at the hands of a serial killer.

In addition to these odd circumstances, they are also both extremely intelligent. It’s because of all of this, the FBI decides to recruit Emma and Bell to interview juvenile killers and provide insight on cold cases.

The theory is that teen killers will be more willing to open up to other teens, as opposed to stiff old, fuddy-duddy FBI agents.

Both Bell and Emma agree to the assignment within the Behavioral Sciences Unit and move into the dorms at Quantico. They begin training with other recruits and start their teen killer interviews.

The first interview ends up going better than expected. The killer does seem to be more receptive to them and opens up about his crimes and motivations.

Concurrently, the BSU is working on an active, high-profile serial killer case where all of the victims are teenagers.

Trying to get to the bottom of this case, and catch the killer before another teen is killed, the BSU decides to turn to infamous teen killer, Simon Gutmunsson, for help.

Emma ends up interviewing Simon alone and this is where the strong The Silence of the Lambs vibes begin.

Emma and Simon’s relationship is very Clarice and Hannibal. The more they talk, the more Simon is able to draw out of Emma. Details she should not be confessing to him under any circumstances.

Simon is a masterful manipulator, who could strike with zero provocation.

Simon is revealing a lot to Emma as well and it begins to seem that he has a connection to the current case, but how?

This story was super intriguing from the very first chapter. Emma and Bell were both great characters to get to know.

Because of their history of trauma, they were both working through the effects of that; deciding how they wanted their lives to go. Channeling their pain into potential good for others, instead of letting it hold them back.

They hit it off right away and bonded quickly. I thought that made sense. They were the only people in that position, going through the same things. They had no one else.

Watching their relationship evolve over the course of the book seemed so natural. I am attached to them now and genuinely hope this is not the last we see of their characters.

I also loved all the scenes with Simon. He was chilling, much like Hannibal Lecter before him. The audiobook had incredibly creepy narration for his portions, so highly recommend that.

The cat-and-mouse interactions between Simon and Emma were so well-written. Additionally, Simon has a family member who plays a role in this story and their relationship was equally disturbing.

Overall, I thought this was an exceptionally tense and well-plotted YA Thriller.

Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys shows like Criminal Minds, or Mindhunter, as well as The Silence of the Lambs!!

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Review: The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

The Burning GirlsThe Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

After a scandal at her church, unconventional vicar, Jack Brooks, and her teenage daughter, Flo, are relocated to the village of Chapel Croft.

This is quite a shift from their life in Nottingham, but they are both determined to make the best of it.

The location is peaceful and remote. It feels a million miles from their old life. Upon arrival, they are a little surprised by the untidy condition of the old chapel and their new residence, but still determined to make it work.

They also discover that Chapel Croft, like many small towns, has a dark past that lies not far from the surface. Five hundred years ago, eight Protestants, including two young girls, were burned at the stake for their beliefs.

This incident has shaped the town in many ways and the descendants of these original martyrs are still held in high regard.

They also have a slightly disturbing tradition of making little stick dolls in memory of The Burning Girls; a few of which Jack and Flo stumble upon shortly after arriving in town.

More recently, the village has been plague by other unfortunate events, like the disappearance of two teen girls thirty-years earlier.

In fact, just two months ago, the previous vicar took his own life. A fact Jack was unaware of when she accepted the position.

The people of the village have been through a lot. Secrets and suspicions abound amongst the residents, and when outsiders move in, it tends to cause quite the stir.

Flo unfortunately runs into the local bullies fairly soon after arriving in town and they latch on to her as their newest target. She also makes a friend, Lucas Wrigley, who because of a neurological disorder, finds himself bullied as well.

For her part, Jack is doing her best to learn what she can about her new congregation and ingratiate herself to its people.

Jack knows establishing strong personal relationships is key. She needs these people to trust her, if this placement is going to last.

However, some folks are easier to appease than others and Jack happens to be hiding a few secrets of her own, including the circumstances surrounding her departure from her former church.

The Burning Girls was such a fun read. It’s a slow burn, but once Jack and Flo are settled in their new home, disturbing occurrences begin happening with more regularity.

From there, the pace continues to increase through the jaw-dropping finale.

There’s some interesting subplots, where I wondered how it was all going to connect. Once the puzzle pieces fell into place, I was absolutely chilled.

I loved how Tudor brought this all together and honestly, didn’t see it coming!

Additionally, I loved the overall atmosphere. Chapel Croft came to life within these pages. It felt ominous; that feeling where you know something is not right, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

There was a tremendous cast of characters. It felt like Jack and Flo against the world, which really increased the intensity. I just wanted them to pack their bags and move!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I had an absolute blast with it and can’t wait to pick up more of Tudor’s work!

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Review: Possession by Katie Lowe

PossessionPossession by Katie Lowe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ten years ago, Hannah’s husband, Graham, was brutally murdered in their bed.

Hannah, along with their baby girl, Evie, were both in the London home that evening, but Hannah claims not to remember a thing; a mysterious head injury apparently to blame.

The police arrested a man, Mike, for the crime. A stranger to both her husband and herself, this man is now in prison for Graham’s murder.

Hannah moved from the city after that, unable to stay in the home where such a traumatic event took place. Her and Evie, along with Hannah’s long-time love interest, Dan, now reside in a comfy home in the suburbs.

Even though, for the most part her life is going well, Hannah is still troubled by flashbacks to that night and to her troubled marriage with Graham.

Unfortunately, things are about to get stirred up even more, as a popular True Crime podcast sets sights on the decades old murder case and decides to feature it on the next season of their show.

Conviction host, Anna Byers, believes Mike, the man currently in prison for Graham’s murder, was set-up by the police and she claims to have the proof needed to set him free.

The show’s suspicions focus on Hannah and thusly, popular opinion begins to sway that way as well, churning up all sorts of issues for Hannah and her family. This negative focus on her, causes Hannah to spiral out of control.

Alternating between past and present timelines, as well as incorporating podcast episodes, the truth behind Hannah’s past begins to come to light.

Hannah is a hugely unreliable narrator, so that definitely added to the overall suspense, as you had to question even her most basic memories.

I did feel like the pace of this was a little slow for my tastes, however, and frankly, I never found myself really invested in the mystery.

Some interesting choices were made in the plot progression and I thought the ultimate conclusion definitely tread into over-the-top eye roll territory, but that could just be me.

Overall, it is a good story that I think a lot of people will have a lot of fun with. It will not go down as particularly memorable for me, but I’m still glad I gave it a shot.

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.

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Review: If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

If I DisappearIf I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

With a story as strangely compelling as its cover, If I Disappear, is perfect for Readers who prefer an unconventional narrative.

After her divorce, Sera Fleece is a boat adrift. She spends her days listening to, and obsessing over, her favorite True Crime podcast, Murder, She Spoke.

When the podcast’s host, Rachel Bard, suddenly stops posting, Sera doesn’t take it well.

In fact, she suspects foul play is behind Rachel’s sudden disappearance from the air waves.

Further, Sera believes, armed with clues left within the podcast episodes, she will be able to find Rachel and possibly save her.

With this in mind, she travels to Rachel’s hometown, Happy Camp, in Northern California to investigate.

Once there, she is able to locate Rachel’s family ranch and secure a job through one conversation with Rachel’s greatly eccentric mother, Addy. Her duties will include working with the horses and general maintenance around the ranch; two things she’s not necessarily qualified for.

Doubts aside, Sera sees this as the best opportunity to delve into Rachel’s life and possibly discover what happened to her.

The strangest part is, no one else seems to be disturbed by Rachel’s disappearance. Not her parents, her brother, the other ranch hand, or any of her previous acquaintances in town.

Sera is able to make some progress and soon it is clear, something is not right with the Bard family.

Even though she realizes she is putting herself in danger, Sera cannot leave without solving the mystery. She is the only person left to advocate for Rachel.

While the content of this story is extremely intriguing, the writing style did not work that well for me. I never settled into the fact that it is told in the second person.

I wish it wasn’t, but honestly, I can’t imagine it otherwise. I think it just didn’t work for my taste.

I definitely needed to keep going. I wanted to find out the mystery of Rachel’s disappearance as much as Sera did; even though Sera, as a protagonist, drove me a little batty.

Some of the elements involved in building the mystery seemed off for me, but overall it is a good story. It’s tense and dramatic, with a whole host of suspicious characters, including Sera herself.

Additionally, there is some solid commentary in here on the treatment of girls and women within our society. I found that aspect interesting as well.

Overall, this is a solid debut and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I would absolutely pick up more stories from her.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

If I Disappear is slated to release on Tuesday, January 26th!!

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Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between UsThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

A Husband, a Wife and a Mistress. What could go wrong?

The Wife Between Us is a fast-moving, deliciously twisted suspense novel. The more I sit and think about it, the more I grow to appreciate what these authors did with this one.

I love when I feel like I have been tricked while reading a story. That initial sense of surprise when a storyline gets flipped on its head.

In this case, shocked would be the more apt description. Hendricks and Pekkanen got me good.

That first initial twist, after that, I was HOOKED.

I wouldn’t say this is a perfect book, but I loved how it took conventional assumptions and shook them up a bit.

That was a very pleasant surprise. One I think every fan of the genre should experience. I would definitely recommend this one to someone looking for an Adult Thriller.

I wish I would have read this when it first released in 2018, so I could have been in on the discussions and hype at the time.

I have had it since and just never picked it up!

I feel like I would have enjoyed it even more if I would have been participating in that initial excitement. I probably even would have ended up rounding up to 5-stars.

However, with this being said, I still did really enjoy this one. It is a heck of a good time. If you are like me and have been putting this one off, wait no longer!! It’s worth a read.

Another successful BACKLIST BUMP!!!

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Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

The Wife UpstairsThe Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-star**

Channeling the naturally gothic atmosphere of the American South, The Wife Upstairs puts a decidedly modern twist on a beloved classic.

Jane Bell is new to Alabama. Living on the outskirts of the posh neighborhood of Thornfield Estates, Jane originally works in a coffee shop, but then takes up dog-walking for the wealthy families within Thornfield.

She begins to learns the ins-and-outs of their lifestyle, envying and occasionally taking a little something for herself.

Jane is especially interested in the largest and most opulent property of all, imagining what it would be like to live there.

Once she meets the homeowner, a handsome young Widower, Eddie Rochester, things begin to change quite quickly for Jane.

As she and Eddie start a relationship, Jane can’t help but be curious about his late-wife, Bea, whose presence is still very much felt in his life.

The more she learns about Bea, the more she wonders what Eddie sees in her?

When questions begin to arise about Bea’s death, Jane becomes even more suspicious of the man she believes she is falling in love with.

Full of small town gossip and drama, this story was a cleverly-plotted, modern-interpretation of Jane Eyre. While I have never read Jane Eyre, after this, I really want to!

I really enjoyed how Hawkins gave us alternating perspectives between present-time, Jane, and past-Bea. The evolution of the story was very nicely done.

These perspective shifts also made the reveals fun and fast-paced.

Even though most of us know the basic outline of this story, I enjoyed where Hawkins took it.

In particular, I enjoyed how morally grey, Jane was. She’s not a helpless Ingenue looking for a savior. She is clearly a girl who can take care of herself. I loved that.

If you are in the mood for a fast, super-fun domestic suspense novel, look no further. Pick this book up and enjoy the show!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it so much and look forward to Hawkins writing more in the Adult space!

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Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest ListThe Guest List by Lucy Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Lucy Foley’s, The Guest List, was a fun and fast-paced, guessing game of a read. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie or Ruth Ware.

Weddings are generally memorable occasions. There’s frequently some level of drama simmering just under the pristine surface.

That’s certainly the case for Jules and Will’s wedding, taking place on a remote Irish island that the grumbling guests agree to congregate on for a 48-hour period.

This story is told from multiple perspectives over the course of the weekend, with the body and the killer only being revealed at the very end.

I was intrigued from the very start. This story has one of my favorite things, well, many of my favorite things, but one of the most notable was the quirky cast of unlikable characters.

Everyone had something to hide. Everyone had an axe to grind and I was there for every cat-clawing moment of it.

The setting was extremely atmospheric, channeling a gothic vibe by incorporating some of the island’s earlier history into the tale.

The varying perspectives kept the chapters short and therefore the story never had a chance to fall into a lull. Each chapter ended on a sort of mini-cliffhanger that kept me wanting more.

This book received a lot of buzz this year and for good reason. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this one up yet, what are you waiting for!?

I cannot wait to see what Lucy Foley comes up with next!!!

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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.

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Blog Tour: The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin

Hi, book friends! Good morning! Happy Sunday and start to Halloween Week! The most wonderful time of the year.

Let’s chat aboutĀ The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin. This fast-paced, Sci-Fi Suspense novel explores the ramifications of a near future, illegal cloning experiment.

Our protagonist, Jeremiah Adams, works in the marketing department for ViGen Pharmaceuticals. He’s surprised when he is offered the opportunity to take part in a top-secret scientific experiment, for which he will be generously compensated. We are talking millions of dollars.

What does he have to do? It’s pretty simple, he agrees to allow ViGen to create a clone of him that will then go out and live his life, while he is secluded in a luxury apartment for a full year.

Just to be clear, this means, the clone, who will have Jeremiah’s memories basically uploaded into its head, will then go and live at Jeremiah’s house with his wife, Diana, his teenage son, Parker and their dog, Louie.

Jeremiah agrees. He’s been having a rough go of it at home lately, anyway, and could use a break.

As part of his agreement, Jeremiah will be required to watch the clone go about his life for a minimum of 4-hours a day, via carefully placed video cameras. Another employee of ViGen, Brent, is to be his companion during these viewing sessions. They’re trying to determine if the clone veers at all from Jeremiah’s normal pattern of behavior.

He also must meet with a psychologist to discuss how the whole process is making him feel. Other than that, his only contact is with the two heads of the experiment, Drs. Scott and Pike.

I am currently 71% of the way through this novel. I have been flying through it. The narrative style is very addicting. It’s a solid Techno-Thriller and would definitely make a good movie.

I was impressed with how quickly the action kicked off. There’s no pages and pages of background filler on the experiment. The opening scenes are the clone getting its finishing touches before heading out into the world, and just like that, Jeremiah is enclosed in his room.

It’s mere moments before you can feel a sense of dread starting to seep in. Like when Jeremiah realizes the exterior door of his apartment doesn’t have a handle on his side. He is literally a prisoner at the mercy of the few ViGen employees who are actually privy to the experiment and know of his whereabouts.

As you continue turning pages, the true sinister nature of the story begins to reveal itself. I am loving the relationship between Jeremiah and Brent, right now. Brent brings a lot of much need humor. Although some of the plot is predictable in a 1990s-Techno-Thriller way, it’s still fun and engaging.

According to my e-Reader, I have under two hours left. So, I am going to go finish it up now and then I will circle back here with a full review. Right now my star rating is hovering between a 3.5 and 4. Stay tuned to find out more!!!

Review: Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Invisible GirlInvisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa Jewell’s latest Thriller, Invisible Girl, kept me up all night! Literally. Last night. I’m exhausted.

Following multiple perspectives in one UK neighborhood, this story had a nice build-up of tension the entire way through.

We get present perspectives, most notably that of Cate Fours and Owen Pick, as well as a past perspective from a teenage girl named, Saffrye Maddox.

Cate Fours is a stay-at-home mom to two teenage children, Georgia and Josh. Her husband Roan Fours, is a child psychologist, who keeps late hours and isn’t particularly present in the day-to-day functioning of the home.

Saffrye Maddox, a teenaged girl with a troubled past, was a patient of Roan for over three years due to self-harming behaviors. When he abruptly decides her care has come to an end, Saffrye feels abandoned by him.

Owen Pick is a single-man in his 30s, who recently lost his job as a teacher due to allegations of sexual misconduct, which he vehemently denies.

Owen becomes of interest to the Fours family when Georgia claims he was following her home from the tube station late one afternoon.

She’s freaked out by the encountered and in turn, Cate becomes equally on edge about Owen’s seemingly disturbing existence.

Adding fuel to the fires of the Fours family’s suspicions are a string of sexual attacks occurring within their neighborhood.

In fact, one of Georgia’s friends claims to have been a victim of such an attack after departing their flat one night.

When Saffrye Maddox goes missing on Valentine’s Day night, many believe the sexual predator has escalated from groping in alleys to potentially kidnapping, or worse.

Owen Pick ends up arrested for the crime. Through the multiple perspectives, the reader is brought on a journey through domestic life that will chill you to the bone.

I loved the way Jewell formatted this story. We start following Cate and Owen on the same timeline and Saffrye’s perspective begins farther back.

Her perspective, which I personally found to be the most interesting, progresses along at a nice steady pace, ultimately revealing what happened on the night she disappeared.

The lives of all of these characters are deeply intertwined. There’s deceptions and mistrust, scandal and heartbreak, twists and turns.

Owen’s perspective is also extremely interesting. His entire personality, treatment by the media, family and neighbors, offers up a lot to consider. I thought his point of view added depth to the story.

There were many times that I thought I knew who was behind Saffrye’s disappearance. I am happy to report, I was wrong every time.

One of the people I suspected, I’m honestly so glad it wasn’t them. That would have hurt my heart.

Overall, I had a great time reading this one. I felt like it had plenty of tension and drama throughout, while also offering up some great examinations of domestic interactions. Two thumbs up!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I certainly appreciate it!

TW: sexual assault, sexual molestation, self harm

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