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: Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

Someone's ListeningSomeone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

     NOW AVAILABLE!!!

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Self-Help guru, Faith Finley, has suffered a lot of trauma in her life. Luckily enough, she has been able to spin these negative events and use them for good.

Those horrifying personal experiences help her better relate to the individuals she counsels and she feels like it makes her advice more credible.

Just when her career is starting to take off, with a successful book published and regular radio and television spots, a sex scandal hits the news waves and her reputation is instantly shattered.

A past patient has come forward and made some pretty damning allegations against her. Since her main area of interest is abusive or toxic relationships, this patient’s claim seems particularly ironic.

She can’t believe it. She had such a good relationship with him. Why would he do this to her?

Faith doesn’t take the scrutiny well, relying on pills and drink to get her through.

Her loving husband, Liam, claims to believe her, but still, their relationship begins to feel the strain as well.

After a mysterious accident, Liam disappears. Faith is desperate to find him, or at least find out what happened to him.

Is it a case of a man fleeing an unhappy marriage or did something more sinister happen to him? When Faith ends up a suspect in his disappearance, she becomes even more determined to find out the truth.

With her own mental health spiraling, it’s hard to determine how much Faith actually knows.

Y’all know, I love a unreliable narrator and Faith Finley fits that description to a T. In addition to the fantastic use of an unreliable narrator trope, you also have Faith working a bit as an amateur sleuth in order to determine what happened to Liam.

Having two of my favorite tropes, it is no surprise that I really enjoyed Someone’s Listening.

I found it easy to become completely immersed within the story. Faith has a lot of flaws, but I think they are flaws that many readers will be able to relate to.

She’s not claiming to be perfect and I think after everything she has gone through, you can’t help but root for her to finally get some peace.

There are so many twists and turns and exciting leads that Faith follows during her investigation. Red herrings are plentiful and really well executed, in my opinion.

The only thing I was a little disappointed about was that, for some reason, I thought there was going to be a radio show involved in the story and there’s not.

Admittedly, that’s my own fault, but I just wish we could have got a little more of her in action in her career, but that isn’t a part of it at all.

Overall, I think this is a fun, fast Domestic Suspense novel that a lot of Readers will enjoy!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review, and for including me in the Blog Tour for the book release.

I definitely hope to read more from Seraphina Nova Glass in the future!

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Review: His & Hers by Alice Feeney

His & HersHis & Hers by Alice Feeney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Alice Feeney novel!!!

And, yeah, I can definitely see what all the fuss is about.

This gripping, Adult Thriller, follows three perspectives: his, hers and a mystery individual, that could be him, it could be her or it could be some completely unrelated individual.

Intrigued yet?

Here is what I can tell you, the her of this equation is BBC-television reporter, Anna Andrews.

Anna was such an interesting character. I loved reading from her perspective. She’s far from perfect and she’s pretty honest about all of that with the reader.

The him is none other than Anna’s ex-husband, intrepid-Blackdown DCI, Jack Harper.

Jack also was a great perspective to read from. You can tell he is a man with a lot of wounds just trying to do his best anyway he can. You can also tell he still carries a spark for Anna.

When Anna gets sent to Blackdown to report on a recent homicide, Jack is surprised to spot her on his crime scene.

Until very recently, Anna had been working in-studio, reporting the mid-day news, not trotting around in the field. Unfortunately for Anna, that cushy position was nabbed back by her colleague returning from maternity leave.

Their brief reunion doesn’t go well. Jack is much closer to this case than he’s letting on and the last thing he needs is his ex digging around.

Thinking this is an isolated incident, Jack is hoping Anna will just return to London, but the killer has other plans.

Soon, more bodies are dropping and Anna seems to have a connection with all of the victims. Could she be next?

The alternating perspectives were such a great way to watch this story unfold. My mind was spinning trying to piece together what was happening and who the mystery perspective was.

I thought that was super clever. There were moments when I thought that mystery perspective was every single character I had met thus far.

My earliest inclination of who it was, was incorrect and I was glad. Feeney played me and I love that!

There were a couple of plot points I found to be slightly confusing and one of the red herrings I thought was implausible and unnecessary, but a lot of other readers may disagree with me.

My slight criticisms are totally personal preference and nothing to do with the author, or her skill at weaving an intriguing tale.

As you learn more about the victims, and their connections with Anna, that was my favorite part.

Some truly terrible things had happened in Anna’s village and I definitely think she was in the right to leave it far behind. Regrettably, we all know buried secrets seldom stay buried.

If you are looking for an intense, fast-paced read to pick up this summer, you should definitely give His & Hers a shot! I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flatiron Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had a blast and really appreciate getting to it early.

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Review: The Safe Place by Anna Downes

The Safe PlaceThe Safe Place by Anna Downes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A strong debut Thriller, engrossing and intense!

Emily is down on her luck, wishing for rescue, as a white knight comes charging through to save her.

By white knight, I mean a very wealthy man, Scott Denny, Emily’s former boss, who offers her an unusual opportunity she cannot turn down.

Before she knows it, Em is being whisked off to the coast of France to live in a Guest Cottage at the Denny’s secluded waterfront estate, Querencia.

Scott’s mysterious wife, Nina, lives there with their young daughter, Aurelia. While the job description is foggy, Emily assumes she is part-housekeeper, part-nanny.

And while she does perform a large amount of upkeep and renovation projects, as the days pass, it begins to seem she is more of a companion for Nina than anything else.

They sit by the pool, drink wine, play with Aurelia. It’s a dream job. Until it’s not.

This book really intrigued me. For the first 60%, I could not figure out where it was going. Obviously, something was amiss, it’s a Thriller, but what was it?

Was Scott up to something? Was Nina? Aurelia seemed a little strange, was she possessed? What about Emily? An unreliable narrator if ever there was one, right?

Then at 60%, there was one sentence, one sentence that made every single puzzle piece fall into place for me. It was so glaringly obvious to me after that what was actually going on.

While I don’t believe that is where I was suppose to figure it all out, as looking back, it was a fairly mundane sentence, I did and it sort of sucked a little of the joy out of it for me.

But, just a little. Overall, I did have a ton of fun reading this. It was quite intense towards the end.

Even though the characters might not have made the choices I would have made, I was satisfied with the conclusion. It felt complete.

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

I definitely think it will end up being one of the hottest Thrillers of the summer. Available now!!!

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Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

RecursionRecursion by Blake Crouch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel like I am waking from a fever dream.

Recursion. Wow.

The possibility of this type of scenario in a future world is terrifying. Can you even imagine?

Maybe you don’t know what Recursion is about. Honestly, I am not sure I can adequately summarize it.

Basically, this novel follows two characters, Helena Smith and Barry Sutton.

Helena is a neuroscientist who is dedicated to creating a technology that will save our memories. Her mother is losing a battle with dementia and all Helena wants to do is help her before it is too late.

She gets recruited to work for a private company, but when her work goes too well, she’s afraid of the repercussions if the technology should fall into the wrong hands.

And, oh baby, is she ever right!

Barry is a New York City cop, who, when he can no longer ignore its significance, begins to investigate a phenomenon known as False Memory Syndrome, or FMS.

FMS is so powerful, it is causing a significant number of people to take their own lives. It is a mystery as to what the cause of the syndrome is, but Barry is hoping he will be able to uncover it.

When we begin following Barry and Helena, they are in different timelines, but eventually, those converge and a partnership develops.

Helena essentially helps Barry, by filling in a lot of missing pieces to his investigation.

This was such a wild ride. No one does temporal stories like Blake Crouch. The shifting timelines, the examination of time as a construct, dimension, however you want to describe it, it’s amazing to read.

Recursion left me reeling. A Neuroscientific Thriller for the record books. I am so glad I finally made the time for this one. It was hella fun!

I did get confused a bit as it starts racing to the conclusion. There were a lot of jumps and perspectives to try to remember and recall.

I think partly, that may have been because, it got so intense, I was reading really quickly. I needed to know what the heck was going to happen.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it hard to let every detail sink in and I think this is a very detail-oriented story.

If you liked Dark Matter like I did, you should definitely check this one out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Write on, Crouch! I can’t wait to see what he whips up next!!

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Review: The Shadows by Alex North

The ShadowsThe Shadows by Alex North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Paul Adams was a teenager, a classmate of his was quite brutally murdered. Paul was arrested and accused of the murder.

His mother, who knew her son was innocent, fought like a dog to regain his freedom. Paul was innocent, but who were the real culprits?

It turns out that two of Paul’s one-time friends, Billy and Charlie Crabtree, were the killers. Of the two, Charlie was definitely the leader. Billy went to prison and Charlie, subsequently, disappeared into the local woods, known as The Shadows.

Having suffered enough in the public spotlight of his village, Paul moves away as soon as he can, leaving his mother behind. He doesn’t return for 25-years.

He only returns after receiving word that his mother, who is in poor health and suffering from dementia, has taken a fall and is now being kept in a nursing facility.

As you can imagine, returning to the village he fled so many years before, stirs up a lot of memories and emotions. Making matters worse, a copycat crime has been committed, bringing the brutal violence of the past to a whole new generation.

As with, The Whisper Man, I really enjoyed North’s writing and the way he chose to format the story.

We follow a couple different perspectives, as well as past and present timelines. I just feel like he makes such clever choices with his storytelling and I’m down for it.

There were definitely moments I didn’t see coming, as well as some solid red herrings.

I wasn’t crazy about the conclusion to some of the mysteries held within the story, but that is purely personal preference. It is no way a reflection on the skill of the writing or the book itself. There were just a couple of things, I personally wish would have wrapped-up differently.

Overall, this is a fun, creepy read. I love the is it paranormal, is it not paranormal feel that North brings to his work. That’s how I live my life and I love it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Celadon Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint!

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Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

RILEY SAGER!!!

He has done it again, and actually, I think this is his best work yet!!!

Loved. Loved. Loved.

Perhaps I should throw together some coherent thoughts? Yeah, let’s try.

Upon the death of her father, Maggie Holt, is shocked to discover she has just inherited Baneberry Hall, the allegedly haunted mansion her and her parents abandoned some 25-years earlier.

Quite literally fleeing in the middle of the night, her parents refused to ever return to the property. Her father then published a best-selling non-fiction account of their time there. As you do.

For Maggie’s part, she remembers nothing of her time at Baneberry. Of course, she was just 5-years old and apparently her little mind wiped the slate clean after they departed.

She has read her father’s book, House of Horrors, numerous times, but doesn’t believe a word of it. Her parents, whose relationship didn’t survive the Book, wouldn’t tell her anything, even though she pleaded with them frequently to do so.

Returning all these years later, Maggie hopes to piece together a bit of the truth while she is renovating the home for sale.

As soon as she steps foot on the Baneberry property, however, she’s knows it is not going to be as easy as she had hoped.

Alternating between Maggie’s current perspective and full chapters from House of Horrors was an absolutely delightful way to read this story. I loved how Sager set that up.

The pacing was perfection!

I was so engaged with this throughout. It got into my mind.

I was racing towards the conclusion trying to discover how much of House of Horrors was the truth.

Baneberry Hall was such a presence in the story. It was ominous and creepy AF.

I can’t imagine being Maggie and actually staying there on my own!

Home Before Dark is without a doubt going to be on my top books of the year list!

If you haven’t read anything by Sager yet and are wondering where to start, I highly recommend giving this one a shot. I think it is a perfect example of his style.

If you have read Sager before, and are a fan, what are you waiting for!?

I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!

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Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The PassengersThe Passengers by John Marrs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A nonstop thrill ride from beginning to end. A Techno-Thriller to beat all Techno-Thrillers!

My first John Marrs novel gets two very solid thumbs up.

The premise of The Passengers intrigued me from the start.

It sounds like it will be The Purge but set in a Tesla.

Surprisingly enough, it is actually more like The Hunger Games but set in a Tesla and I was so down for that!

In a near-future U.K., Level 5 autonomous vehicles are now the law of land. Said to make personal travel completely safe, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Situations are still going to arise where an accident is imminent, but without a human to control the vehicle, what will happen if you are to say, hit a grandmother crossing the street, versus crash head on into another vehicle carrying the country’s most loved football star?

The vehicle, or more accurately, the computer controlling the vehicle will have to come to a decision. A sort of cost-benefit analysis for the greater good of society.

We meet eight individuals, all with one thing in common: they are getting into their autonomous cars around the same time, on the same day.

After settled in, the doors lock and a mysterious voice pumps through the car speakers telling them, their plans have changed and in just a few hours, they will all be dead.

Their collective plight is broadcast across all media outlets nationwide. The citizens of the country get to vote for one passenger to be the sole survivor.

Who will it be?

This whole story was so interesting. The commentary on our future with tech, the moral issues our dependence upon such technologies will bring about, as well as the potentially harmful nature of social media, was all spectacularly done.

There was never a moment while reading this that I felt bored, or that details were inconsequential to the story. It was so well crafted.

This may be my first John Marrs, but it certainly will not be my last!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and had a wonderful time with it.

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