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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Review: The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

The Wife Who Knew Too MuchThe Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Going into 2020, The Wife Who Knew Too Much was one of my most highly anticipated Mystery/Thrillers.

I have really enjoyed previous works from Michele Campbell and was definitely hoping this would offer up the same high-intensity drama.

Unfortunately for me, I was let down by this one. It hurts me to write that, but it’s true.

Please don’t take my disappointment as meaning this isn’t a good story, however.

It is a good book, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

That tense drama I usually enjoy was definitely, in my opinion, toeing the line of eye-roll territory.

We mainly follow protagonist, Tabitha Girard, a recent divorcee, who works as a waitress at a seen-better-days restaurant in rural New Hampshire.

She can’t believe her eyes when, one night, a blast from her past gets seated in her section. A very rich, very handsome guy who had broke her teenage heart at the end of a summer fling. She has never forgotten him.

Connor Ford’s life has changed a lot since the last time he saw Tabby. For example, he’s now married to an uber-wealthy older woman, Nina Leavitt.

He’s a trophy husband, imagine that?! Or is he?

Once they circle back into each other’s orbit, Connor and Tabby cannot get enough of one another.

Cue the sappy music. Right around here was where it started to lose me.

Not long after their rekindled relationship, Nina Leavitt ends up face-down in her swimming pool after a lavish party. The incident is tentatively determined to be a suicide.

Soon after that, Connor and Tabby are married.

The icing on the cake, Tabby is pregnant with Connor’s baby, the timeline of which makes it clear the two of them were together prior to Nina’s untimely death.

As you can imagine, he is desperate to keep that fact hidden. He stands to lose the entire fortune if suspicions of infidelity, and possibly even murder, fall upon him.

I won’t belabor the point, this just wasn’t the book for me. It’s fun for what it is.

Campbell’s writing style is fast and smooth, making this a good, light weekend read. It’s not offending in any way, the content just wasn’t to my tastes.

My main complaint was the relationship. I just wasn’t buying it. For one thing, cheating tropes, like the one here, really get under my skin.

I also found Tabby to be lame and annoying, while Connor was just a jerk. I didn’t even understand why they would want to be together, besides the fact that they were purportedly both ridiculously good looking.

With all this being said, I’m not mad I read this book. I will continue to pick up anything Michele Campbell writes.

She has an addicting style and I’m here for it.

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.

As always, just because this book didn’t necessarily work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. There’s a Reader for every book!!

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Review: Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Don't Look for MeDon’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, hello, my new favorite Suspense novel of 2020.

I have always enjoyed Wendy Walker’s novels, but Don’t Look for Me takes it to a whole new level. Her best work yet!

It is clear from the very first pages that Molly Clarke is struggling in her life.

After a family tragedy, the remaining family members have drifted apart. Each consumed with grief and guilt, they rarely communicate and certainly not positively.

Molly’s daughter Nicole has told her she hates her, her husband won’t even look her in the eyes and her son publicly shuns her.

One night on a solo road trip, she becomes consumed with thoughts of leaving it all behind. The way she sees it, her family would be better off without her, happier.

With this storm of negative thoughts swirling in her head, she runs into a real life storm, literally. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, they do. She runs out of gas.

Molly doesn’t return home.

Nicole, Molly’s daughter, has been spiraling out of control. She knows it. Hell, everyone knows it. Between the drinking, one-night stands and explosions at her mother, she’s not proud of herself.

After her Mom goes missing, Nicole is desperate to find her. The things she said to her on the very morning she disappeared. She can’t live with it. She has to make amends, and she can’t until her Mother is found.

The authorities seem to think that Molly walked away, but Nicole knows better than that. Her Mom would never leave her family, would she?

Nicole returns to Hastings, the place where her Mother’s car and belongings were found, to begin her own investigation. She will never give up on her Mom.

If the police won’t continue the search, she will. Even if Molly doesn’t want to be found.

This novel alternates perspectives between Molly and Nicole, starting off on different timelines and ultimately merging into one.

In Walker’s signature style, the chapters are short, with each one ending on a revelation or mini-cliffhanger, making this the epitome of a one-more-chapter type of story.

I thought this was brilliantly plotted the entire way through. From the very first chapter, I was hooked.

There are extremely intense moments, eerie moments, heart-breaking moments; this truly had it all.

In addition to being extremely suspenseful, I was so impressed with the examination of grief, guilt and depression.

The way in which Walker incorporated a family trauma into this story, and was able to tactfully explore how that one event had lasting, and unique repercussions, for each of the family members, was just so well done.

If you are a Reader who likes your Thrillers to have some substance, this one definitely fits the bill.

I loved both Nicole and Molly. Watching their stories unfold, learning the how and why of their circumstances, was just so powerful.

This will definitely make my Favorites List for 2020! Will it be on yours?

Don’t Look for Me is available tomorrow, Tuesday, September 15th, where ever books are sold. This may sound like a pitch, but really, I’m just trying to bring joy to your life.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I truly appreciate it and of course, cannot wait to see what Walker comes up with next!!!

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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!

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