Review: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

Saving MeghanSaving Meghan by D.J. Palmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

15-year old, Meghan Gerard, is a very sick girl.
Or is she?

Her mother, Becky, insists there is something really wrong with her but after numerous specialists, and countless tests, there is no definitive diagnosis. In fact, Becky’s track record on dragging Meghan to a million different doctors has started to attract attention.

One doctor in particular, calls her out on it. Dr. Nash, a GI specialist, suspects Munchausen syndrome by Proxy as a cause for Meghan’s mysterious symptoms and she is not going to sit by while Meghan is further harmed.

Dr. Nash sets up a series of events that forces the removal of Meghan from her parent’s home. While this may seem brash, Dr. Nash feels that based on the totality of events, it could also be the best thing to ever happen to Meghan.

The premise behind this book is super intriguing and I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, overall, I was underwhelmed.

It just seemed to drag on and on. I couldn’t stand Becky, or Meghan really, and while I am not one who has to love my book characters, I honestly couldn’t have cared less what was wrong with Meghan.

There were also some fairly far-fetched plot points toward the end that definitely had me rolling my eyes. This being said, the writing itself was strong so I wouldn’t be opposed to reading future books by this author. This one just didn’t seem to stand out for me.

As we all know, there’s a reader for every book and a book for every reader.

Maybe this will work for you.
Pick it up. See if you can figure out who to believe.
It will definitely have you guessing.

Thank you so much to the publisher, one of my favorites, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As always, I appreciate the opportunity to share my opinion.

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Review: The Last by Hanna Jameson

The LastThe Last by Hanna Jameson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Jon Keller is attending an academic conference at the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland on the day the bombs fall. Nuclear war has broken out and cities all over the world have been decimated. Through early news alerts he learns hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

Jon’s wife and two children are home in San Francisco but he can’t really worry about that now, he needs to focus on his own survival. Jon and twenty other survivors hunker down in the relative safety of the hotel and that’s truly where our story begins.

A historian by trade, Jon takes it upon himself to begin writing the account of the survivors and that is how the narrative is told. For me, this worked so well as a way to tell this story. I loved the feel of it and how we were able to learn not just what was going on currently but also a bit of the survivor’s back stories, as well as some of the history of the hotel itself.

While opening up the top of some water tanks in an effort to start catching rain water, they find the body of a dead girl. It is clear she ended up in the tank by nefarious circumstances and Jon becomes obsessed with finding out who killed her. He starts a legit investigation and that is how he focuses most of his energy.

Tensions are running high and the survivors begin to form alliances and develop a social system unto themselves. When supplies begin to dwindle and winter is approaching the survivors start to send out mini-expeditions in search of food and other supplies. As you can imagine, these are dangerous undertakings and add quite a bit of tension to the plot.

I had a great time reading this book. I was absolutely entertained the whole time. I felt there was just the right level of tension the whole way through to keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved the exploration of people pushed to their limits and how they would organize themselves in order to function with some baseline of decency.

The last little bit seemed a little rushed to me but I wasn’t disappointed with how it ultimately turned out. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stories. This is nice and modern and fitting for our times. Very well done!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more by Jameson in the future!

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Review: The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

The Lies We ToldThe Lies We Told by Camilla Way
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, doesn’t return home one night, she prays there is some sort of logical explanation. He had too much to drink and slept it off at a mate’s flat, or he worked too hard prepping for an interview and fell asleep at the office. But as the hours tick by, she begins to suspect something much darker may have happened to him.

Increasingly concerned about his whereabouts, she ends up contacting their old friend, Mac, as well as Luke’s parents. No one has seen or heard from him. After some prodding, she notifies the authorities and he is formally listed as a missing person.

After the police find CCTV footage of Luke getting into a mysterious van, Clara knows for sure, something sinister has happened to him but what?

Along with her good friend, Mac, Clara begins an investigation of her own and discovers Luke may not be the person she thought he was.

I had so much fun with this book. I flew through it, I couldn’t put it down!

There’s no boring domestic drama prattle here. This is a right and proper Adult Thriller.

The dual narrative kept the story flowing at such a sensational pace with reveals coming just when you needed them. I trusted no one. Everyone was a suspect in my eyes and that made it so exciting. The ending — chills. LOVED IT.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am only sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner.

If you are an Adult Thriller fan, and you have been sleeping on this one like I had been, just stop. Pick this up. I would be shocked if you were disappointed!

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Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent PatientThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She tied her husband to a chair.
She shot him multiple times in the head.
She slit her own wrists.
She stood there and waited for the police to arrive.

…at least, that’s what THEY say she did.
Alicia Berenson isn’t SAYING anything.

When Theo Faber, criminal psychotherapist, takes a new job at The Grove, he is well aware of their most famous patient, Alicia Berenson. In fact, Theo’s goal is to work with her, to see if he can get her to reveal what really happened on the night her husband was killed.

Through Theo’s perspective, his investigation, and Alicia’s own diary entries, the reader is brought along on a hair-raising mystery that is not for the faint of heart.

Guys, I absolutely loved this book. This is the type of thriller that I really enjoy sinking my teeth into. The use of the diary entries, paired with Theo’s investigations, made for a perfectly paced reveal!

Michaelides is definitely an author to watch. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. Highly recommend!

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Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Beautiful BadBeautiful Bad by Annie Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Hey now!
This really came around at the end with a delightfully twisted finish. This being said, there were parts of this that definitely dragged for me. Upon reflection, I honestly think 50- to 100-pages could have been cut from this.

The setting of this was definitely unique. Beginning in Kansas, then shifting back in time and taking us over to Eastern Europe, Iraq and back to the United States, this was one of my favorite aspects of this book. It’s not often you read an Adult Thriller that has Macedonia and the Balkans as a backdrop.

Maddie, working as a Travel Writer, meets Ian while visiting her best friend, Joanna, in Macedonia. Joanna is working for a relief agency at the time and Ian is in private security. Along with some other Brits and Americans living there at the time, they chum around, drinking and getting to know one another.

Maddie is quite taken with Ian from the very beginning and despite Joanna’s warnings, she ends up with major heart eyes for him. Jo and Maddie have a huge falling out because of this and don’t speak for many years after…but she ends up marrying Ian, so there you go.

The story begins with a murder. That was exciting right off the bat! Then Maddie is seeking help for her depression and anxiety. Her meetings with her new psychologist, also interesting. Then the history begins…

…sometimes interesting, occasionally not. Also, at times, not super believable. The fact that Joanna and Maddie call each other ‘best friends’ is astounding. They are pretty terrible to each other. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Slowly, we piece together Maddie and Ian’s courtship and marriage, as well as the birth of their only child, Charlie. Their relationship is also terrible. It’s never great. The fact that they are trying to sell this story as a beautiful marriage gone south is laughable.

The pace definitely picks up towards the end and although I managed to piece it together prior to the reveal, I did hella enjoy the ending. So, props to you, Annie Ward! I was satisfied with this and happy I read it. I would recommend this to people who enjoy literary fiction with a mysterious or thrilling twist. Avid Adult Thriller readers may be slightly underwhelmed.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Park Row Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As always, I appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: For Better And Worst by Margot Hunt

For Better and WorseFor Better and Worse by Margot Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars rounded up**

What would you do if someone hurt your child?

Unfortunately for Will and Natalie Clarke, they find out after their son, Charlie, makes a horrifying admission to them in this adult revenge thriller.

Alternating perspectives between Nat and Will, we follow them on a dangerous road to vengeance. Natalie, a criminal defense attorney, and Will, a civil attorney, met in law school. In fact, on their very first date they discuss how they have all the information necessary to get away with murder.

But talking about murder versus the act of murder are two extraordinarily different animals.

Full of domestic strife, Nat and Will eventually learn to work together and to reassess what is important in their marriage and their life. They are both highly unlikable characters, in my opinion. Nat is an demanding and overly organized twat while Will is an adulterer and a whiner.

I personally never felt like I really connected to the story and the end felt too rushed and too convenient. It explored some interesting topics, which is why I rounded up to three stars, but overall nothing really blew me away here, or even really kept me interested.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Harlequin – MIRA, for the advanced copy to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity to provide my honest opinion on the books I am lucky enough to read. Although this book didn’t work real well for me, I am sure there are many people out there who will enjoy it a lot!

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Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting PartyThe Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Emma’s turn rolls around to plan the annual ‘Friends Getaway’ for the New Years Eve holiday, she is looking to impress. By pairing up with Mark, Emma has, through default, become included with the group but has never felt that she really belonged.

The rest of the crew: Samira, Miranda, Katie, Mark, Giles and Julien, have been friends since their days at Oxford and thusly, have a complex and well-rooted history together. Emma desperately wants to be accepted and this is her chance, by hosting the best getaway they’ve ever had. She goes all out, booking a swanky, private hunting lodge in the remote mountains of Scotland.

Anxious for their holiday, the train ride and first night start off with a bang. Everyone is in good spirits, the champagne is flowing and although there are a few tense moments, all goes fairly well.

But as the days drag on and the friends find themselves snowed in at the lodge, tempers flare, resentments surface and unrequited feelings come to light.

Frenemies.
Murder.
Whodunit?

I loved this book. It was fun from start to finish for me. I enjoyed the format, the dynamic among the friends, the mystery and the reveals. I understand that this book may not be for everyone but if you enjoy atmospheric, ‘locked-room’ mysteries, you should definitely check this out.

This felt like The Lying Game meets Murder on the Orient Express with modern, taboo twists. This seems like an odd mash-up, I know, but it is definitely more of a feeling of all those stories. The format follows multiple narratives and even dual timelines but I never had any issues following it. I think Foley did a great job of weaving it all together. It was tense and compelling and I could not put it down!

Thank you so much to the publisher, William Morrow, for sending me a copy of this book to read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more from Foley in the future. I will definitely pick up anything else she writes!

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Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Lying Game: A NovelThe Lying Game: A Novel by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meg’s Ware Ratings

1. The Woman in Cabin 10: 3-stars
2. The Death of Mrs. Westaway: 4-stars
3. The Lying Game:**4.5-stars**

When Isa Wilde receives a text from her old boarding school friend, Kate, that states, ‘I need you’, she packs her bag, her infant daughter, kisses her husband goodbye and boards a train. Destination = the idyllic ((but remote)) coastal town of Salten.

There she is reunited with her ole’ school chums Kate, Fatima and Thea. Think Mean Girls but nastier.

But Kate has more in mind than a reunion. A local woman out walking her dog has just uncovered a bone, most likely human, and Kate is petrified of what the repercussions of this find may be. She calls her friends because they are the only ones who know. They all have a secret. A dark secret that they have been holding for many years, but as we all know, secrets very seldom stay buried forever.

I have previously read two of Ware’s other books, The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Death of Mrs. Westaway. I can easily say I enjoyed this one the most out of the three. I think basically it boils down to the fact that boarding school stories are my jam. The fact that this had a present day time line weaved together with flashbacks of boarding school days did it for me. I love boarding schools, I love mean girls (fictionally) and I love secrets that just won’t stay secret. It was like this story was made for me. I know it won’t be for everyone, I can tell that from the ratings…

For me, it was great. Thoroughly enjoyable and now I feel like I have to read In a Dark, Dark Wood so that I may fully rank all of Ware’s works. After I finished The Death of Mrs. Westaway I took all of her other books off my tbr so I am super glad that I, on a whim, decided to give this one a try. Lesson Learned: Never give up on an author, every work is different and everything deserves a good honest try.

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Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Stalking Jack the Ripper is the first book in the series of the same name featuring young protagonist Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her charming friend, Thomas Cresswell. Audrey Rose is a great character, although at times a little flat, I liked the idea behind her. A young lady who doesn’t buckle under the pressures of conventional society. Audrey Rose wants to use her mind and more specifically, she wants to use it to study forensic medicine and thusly, crime.

She apprentices with her Uncle, which she has to keep secret from her father and the rest of the world. Her Uncle, who happens to be a forensic scientist, teaches at a local college and advises the local law enforcement on crimes. When the Jack the Ripper killings begin the bodies are brought to her Uncle’s laboratory to be studied and due to that, Audrey Rose becomes interested and tangentially involved with the case. It is during this early stage of the investigation that she first meets Thomas and a sort of hate-to-love relationship begins – one of my favorite YA-tropes. The banter between them is really sweet and Thomas stole my heart as well along the way!

The setting is Victorian London, one of my favorite settings, but for me this didn’t really feel that way. I felt like it could have been set anywhere. The atmosphere wasn’t as rich as I hoped it would be and that is my only real gripe with this book. Well that and the fact that I thought certain sections dragged a bit or were slightly unnecessary.

Overall, I thought the mystery was fun and I liked the risky situations that Audrey Rose put herself in. I definitely plan to continue on with the series. In fact, the last page of this book probably bumped my star rating a half star. I loved how it leaves you off in the perfect spot to have you strongly anticipating the second book. The next book features the legend of Dracula so, totally my aesthetic!

Original: FINALLY getting to this one which I bought when it was a new release a million years ago. This is my first book I am trying to complete for
Spookathon
which will meet challenge #3 to ‘read a book not set in our time period’. Victorian London is my aesthetic and forensic science, yes please! This should be a good one for me!

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Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs. WestawayThe Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a twisted tale of long buried secrets and newly developed deceptions. Mostly set at a decrepit old estate property where the coldness gets under your skin, I think I enjoyed the setting most of all. I went into this hoping for a gothic atmosphere that would pull me into the story and that’s exactly what I got.

Our main character, Harriet ‘Hal’ Westaway, is a very young woman down on her luck since the unfortunate hit-and-run death of her beloved mother. One day as she is believing she has hit rock bottom, she receives a letter in the mail announcing that her Grandmother, Hester Westaway, has passed and that she is due to the solicitor’s office to attend the reading of the will as she is named a beneficiary. Harriet, knowing there must be some sort of mistake as her Grandparents died years ago, decides to test her luck and go pretend to be the Harriet Westaway named in the letter. At most she is expecting a small financial payout that will allow her to pay off some debt and perhaps live a little more comfortably. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined what would take place once she entered into this dangerous game.

I don’t want to say too much more regarding the plot as I feel it is best to go into it knowing as little as possible. I will say that the family she meets upon traveling to the Westaway estate, Trepassen House, is very interesting indeed and it was a ton of fun watching the truth unfold. Again, to me the setting and atmosphere of this were fantastic. I could picture the cold, the snow, the eerie lake, the attic room with the bars on the windows; the estate was brought to life within the pages. I live for that in a story. At times, I felt I knew the answer to the mystery and I was correct on parts of it, but it was so twisted it was hard to tell until the final reveal whether I was on the right track or not. Truly a lot of fun to read.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes some gothic vibes weaved throughout their mystery/thrillers. My only slight criticism was that the beginning was a little slow. I had this same feeling while reading, The Woman in Cabin 10, another one of Ruth Ware’s books but luckily, for me, the introductory portion of this story didn’t drag quite as much as that one.

In the end, I am so happy that I picked this one up and I will definitely continue reading Ware’s books in future. If this one is any sign, it’s that her works are getting stronger and stronger!

Original: Spookathon Book #2 (read a thriller) – switching up my initial TBR (as I ALWAYS do) and starting this before it’s due back at the library! Excited to start!

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