Review: When She Was Me by Marlee Bush

When She Was MeWhen She Was Me by Marlee Bush
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When She Was Me is an enticing, and compulsively-readable Psychological Thriller centered around twin sisters.

Cassie and Lenora are permanent residents at a campground in rural Tennessee, Cabin Two to be exact. For the most part, their day-to-day life is peaceful, and they can almost…almost…forget the events of their troubled past.

After the death of the long-time campground owner, a new woman, Sarah, takes ownership and charge. Cassie and Lenora are initially concerned that Sarah will want to change things, thus disrupting their quiet life.

Much to their surprise, she actually seems pretty cool, implementing only minor changes, and Cassie, in particular, ends up interacting with Sarah more. Their life does end up disrupted though, after a teen girl, who’d checked into the cabin next door with her family, goes missing.

The girl, and the unsettling circumstances under which she disappeared, brings back a lot of memories for the mysterious sisters. Both Cassie and Lenora suspects that the other may know more about the events surrounding the disappearance then they’re letting on.

The narrative cycles between the two sisters, filtering in a past perspective as well and with a past that eerily mirrors the present, and everyone’s motivations a little unclear, this story is rife with unreliable narrators.

Both sisters try to figure out what happened to the missing girl, but it feels like a helpless race against the clock, as well as their own personal demons.

When She Was Me is a very promising debut from Marlee Bush. Even though the writing style wasn’t great for me, I still found the story to be incredibly compelling; I couldn’t stop. The characters were well done and I appreciated the way Bush delivered the twists!

When I mention writing style, it’s no shade against the author, it’s just preference. It was more obscure, more stream of consciousness narrative than I tend to prefer.

Nevertheless, the content and the character work kept me flying through. The atmospheric setting was fantastic as well. I loved the isolating feel, not just of the campground itself, but also of the sisters’ way of life.

They had essentially cut themselves off from the outside world and as the intensity increased, you could really truly feel their solitude.

The characters were all so interesting. I had a ton of theories over the course of the story about what was really going on; some panned out, others didn’t. I always appreciate it when an author can keep me on my toes.

Ultimately, I didn’t see the final resolution coming by a mile. It was clever and unexpected, leaving me with a big, sinister grin on my face. I had fun and definitely recommend the audiobook as the format for taking in this story. The narration fit it so well.

Thank you to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m really looking forward to reading more from Marlee Bush!

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Review: Everyone is Watching by Heater Gudenkauf

Everyone Is WatchingEveryone Is Watching by Heather Gudenkauf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone is Watching is the 2024-release for popular author, Heather Gudenkauf. I’ve read two previous novels from her, This Is How I Lied and The Overnight Guest, and really enjoyed both, so I was anticipating diving into this one.

Happily, I had a blast with it. It was so wickedly-wild and OTT, I feel like I just orbited the Earth and returned, noshing popcorn all the while. It was so much fun!

This story features five contestants selected to participate in an all-new reality game show; think Squid Game, or Big Brother. The grand prize of which is $10,000,000.

None of the participants know quite what to expect, but with a potential prize that large, they’re willing to risk it. As they arrive at the secluded-California property at which the show will be filmed, an immediate sense of unease sets in.

It’s isolated and they’re stripped of their phones, and told in no uncertain terms they’re not to leave the grounds, or communicate with anyone on the outside.

The show is being live-streamed to the world, there are cameras everywhere, and involves a series of different challenges; some physical, some not. The viewing public will be voting contestants out one-by-one, until only one remains; the $10,000,000-winner.

As the challenges begin, it becomes clear that whoever organized this show knows a lot more about these contestants than was originally let on. This starts to seem less like a game show and more like a revenge show.

The further the show progresses, the more the contestants deeply-held secrets begin to be exposed. Soon, you’re spotting connections and low-key judging everyone.

Is anyone going to make it out of this thing with their reputations, or yeah, their lives intact?

This was so entertaining. I loved the concept of the show and the way the contestants all ended up there. I feel like this book doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it succeeded because of that.

This story is the epitome of a good-time Popcorn Thriller. I flew through it and was impressed with the rapid pace of the reveals and the thoughtful connections throughout.

After the initial set-up, you can feel that there is something much larger going on under the surface. I thought the way Gudenkauf built-out that suspense was really well done.

There aren’t a ton of likable characters in this, but I still loved learning about each and every one of them. You get dirt on all of them, and I’m always down for that.

Some of them were more despicable than others though, and I know who I would have been voting for had it been real. I also loved the concept of this live-stream, and we do get a mixed media element, with comments from viewers.

I would say, this one probably won’t work for Readers who can’t suspend belief for a bit, but luckily, I love suspending belief. If you read for fun, for escape, to forget about life for a while, I would def recommend this.

It absolutely gets wild and there are things that would realistically never happen IRL, but who cares!?

Overall, I appreciated Gudenkauf doing something completely out of the box here. This didn’t really feel like the two previous books that I have read from her. It felt more fast-paced and punchy, as opposed to the darker, moodier vibes that I have read from her in the past.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Park Row, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’ll pick up anything Gudenkauf writes. This definitely entertained me!

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Review: The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass

The Vacancy in Room 10The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Vacancy in Room 10 is the latest from Seraphina Nova Glass, a Mystery/Thriller writer who has definitely become one of my go-to authors over the past couple of years.

The first time I picked this up, it was in the morning before work. I have about 35-minutes each morning, before I start my real day, where I sit and read and drink coffee. It’s my me-time, Monday through Friday.

I read the first few chapters of this in one of those moments and knew it was something I would want to binge. I put it down and patiently waited for the weekend to arrive…

I picked it up again on Saturday morning and didn’t stop until it was done. This was fully-immersive and engaging, the day flew by. It was seriously so fun!

In this story, we follow two MCs, Anna and Cass. Anna’s husband, Henry, an artist, dies at the beginning of the story, tragically and unexpectedly. He phoned Anna just prior to his death, saying some cryptic things she didn’t understand.

In the wake of his death, Anna begins to dig into the parts of his life from which she was excluded, like the apartment he rented at The Sycamores, a dilapidated repurposed-motel. He claimed to be using the space as an art studio.

Cass is the property manager-handyma’am at The Sycamores. Cass is only there following a total upheaval of her regular life, where her long-time partner left her for a much younger woman. It was a very public, very messy break-up, that has severed all Cass’s previous ties.

Cass is at rock bottom now, as are some of the other residents at The Sycamores. It’s a colorful place. The long-time residents have formed a bit of a dysfunctional found family that was fascinating to read about.

Anna decides to move into Henry’s studio to immerse herself in that side of his life. She figures she can question the people there and find out if they know anything that could help her make sense of what happened to Henry.

As the Reader, you follow along with these two women as they try to put the pieces of their shattered lives back together, find peace and maybe return to some normalcy.

The alternating perspectives kept this one moving along at a nice steady clip. I found both Cass and Anna’s perspectives so interesting, but I will admit to favoring Cass. I just loved her way of navigating everything she was going through. I found her dry humor relatable and endearing.

There were so many twists and turns throughout this story. SNG definitely had some tricks up her sleeve with this one. It went in directions I wasn’t expecting and kept me guessing in an entertaining way.

I also loved the feelings I had while reading this. I found myself really connecting with the vibe of The Sycamores and the way that many of residents interacted with one another. That found family feel was oozing off every page and it took me by surprise.

I was rooting for these characters. I wanted them to be able to move forward from the things that had happened to them and going along with them on their journeys was as captivating as the mystery elements.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well-rounded Mystery/Thriller, with captivating characters and strong levels of suspense. This will be a memorable one for me. I’m just so pleased.

Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with a copy to read and review. For me, this was the best I have read from this author. She slayed it!

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Review: A Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney

A Marriage of LiesA Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

A Marriage of Lies is a tense Psychological Thriller from Amanda McKinney. I was seeing a lot of early buzz for this release and needed to find out what it was all about.

After reading it, in a day (!!!), I am so happy that I took a chance on a new-to-me author and have officially joined the Hype Train. I was left with whiplash after finishing this twisted tale of love, devious deception and lies.

I don’t want to say anything about the plot. I knew nothing going in and that’s what I would recommend.

I will say that I loved one of the main characters, Rowan, and her trusty companion, Banjo. Rowan is a Detective and I was pleasantly surprised to have an MC with that career leading the show here.

This also went pretty dark, as far as the crimes are concerned, and I definitely wasn’t expecting that either!

As mentioned above, this is the first time I have read from Amanda McKinney, but I’m absolutely ready to pick up some more of her Thrillers. If they’re anything like this, I know I’m in for a good time.

While I did find some aspects slightly predictable, particularly towards the end, that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. Overall, I found it to be extremely engaging, as well as highly-readable and incredibly entertaining!

Thank you to the publisher, Storm Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was a delightful surprise!

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Review: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

The HikeThe Hike by Lucy Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Maggie, Liz, Helena and Joni have been a fabulous foursome for a long time. The women have history, friends since childhood, who have stuck together through thick and thin. Even when life took them in unexpected directions.

They’ve been good about keeping in touch and even have a tradition of taking trips together, just the four of them. It’s a great way to reconnect and recharge.

Their most recent excursion is going to take them far from the beach trips they are used to though. This time around, the women are heading to the majestic mountains of Norway to go hiking.

A hiking trip!? Some of them are more prepared than others, but let’s be honest, none of them are truly prepared for a serious trek through the mountains. Nevertheless, they persist and head for the wilderness.

This is a little slow to start, as we’re introduced to the different ladies and get the scope on their current life status, as well as their relationship to all the other women.

There are some strong personalities in the group, but they seem to all get along for the most part, and provide a lot of support and encouragement for one another. But no friendship group is perfect, and this one has it’s cracks.

In addition to interpersonal dramas, dangers on the trail are many; some of them coming in the most unexpected forms.

Clarke took this story in directions I definitely wasn’t expecting, and you know what, I really enjoyed it. She succeeded in keeping me on my toes and entertained.

When the women travel to Norway, they stay in a small town adjacent to their trailhead the night before they set-out on the anticipated 4-day hike. It’s there we meet some of the locals, and we do end up following some of the local drama, as well as the perspective of one of the local men.

I was surprised when we got that perspective, and initially it seemed a little odd and out of place. Clarke did bring it around and tied everything together fairly seamlessly in the end. Although, admittedly, I did have trouble differentiating between a few of the male characters.

For me the highlight of this book is the relationships amongst the women and the fact that they undertake this crazy hike. I love hiking and being out in nature, so that also tends to be something I have fun with in fiction.

There’s a lot of time to think on the trail, and if you’re with other people, a lot of time to talk and bond. I think these women were in over the heads and the pressure starts to show early. That brought out some issues that needed addressing, and boy do they get addressed.

While this did start slow, the pace steadily increases throughout. By the end, it’s going top speed, as you try to ascertain who’s going to make it out alive!?

This is the second novel that I have read from this author, the other being One of the Girls, also a girls getaway story. I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as OOTG, but this has definitely solidified Lucy Clarke as a go-to author for me.

If you enjoy Travel Thrillers, or stories that involve female friendships, you should definitely give this one a shot. It’s exciting, intriguing and made me want to go to Norway even more than I already did. Job well done by Clarke.

Thank you to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m seriously sorry it took me so long to get to it.

It was a trip!!

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Review: Kill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanaugh

Kill for Me, Kill for YouKill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanagh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kill for Me, Kill for You is a fast-paced Psychological Thriller that follows a few different perspectives. I would say the stars of our show are Ruth and Amanda, two women struggling to overcome personal tragedies.

We also get the perspective of Detective Farrow, familiar to both women, as well as Ruth’s husband, Scott.

Ruth was attacked in her home by a man stalking New York City, the Blue-Eyed Killer. Ruth survived, but was left with lasting injuries. Will she ever be able to feel safe again?

We follow Ruth and Scott as they try to navigate the aftermath of this attack. It’s a lot for the couple to try to work through. It has truly shattered their lives.

Amanda lost a child, and within a week, her husband. She’s been living with the pain for a while. It never gets easier.

She has recently joined a support group and it’s there that she meets Wendy. The two women bond over their shared feelings and end up hanging out outside of group.

As they talk over drinks one night, they come up with a plan for revenge, straight out of Strangers on a Train.

I don’t want to say anything more about this. You should be able to judge whether you want to read it or not. It’s a tough one to talk about without revealing too much.

Just know, I had fun with it. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters. The build-up of learning about their lives and situations that led them to where they were, I found it fascinating. I was glued to the pages.

I was actually surprised about getting the Detective’s perspective. I wasn’t sure where he was going to come out in the overall narrative, but I always enjoy an investigator’s perspective, so it was a happy surprise.

I was so curious how this was all going to come together, as any connections amongst the characters were initially blurry. I loved watching it play out.

With this being said, I will admit that, even though this was an enjoyable ride, it was slightly uneven for me. Once the biggest reveal occurred, when those pieces fell in place, I felt satisfied, but there was still quite a bit of book left.

I feel like I lost a little interest after that reveal. However, it did pick back up for me again in the final moments.

At the end of the day though, this was highly entertaining. Did I want to grab popcorn? Hell yes, and let it be known, this is absolutely a compliment from me.

I’m excited to pick up more of Cavanagh’s work.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me a copy to read and review. This was a definite win for me!!

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Review: Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth

Darling GirlsDarling Girls by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Oh my gosh, I read this so quickly. I always find Sally Hepworth’s stories incredibly readable. They’re addicting. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

All the twists and turns gave me whiplash. Also, I loved the three main characters. Bonus, this left me with the devilish grin that I always enjoy at the end.

But what’s it all about?! Let’s discuss.

In this story, we follow three sisters: Jessica, Norah and Alicia. While not biologically-related, the girls spent many of their formative years together in a foster home run by Miss Fairchild. Their experiences there bonded them for life.

From the outside, it looked like the idyllic place to be a child. Certainly better than the circumstances the girls came from, however, there were secret things happening behind closed doors, as there often are, and Miss Fairchild wasn’t necessarily as sweet as she appeared from the outside.

Eventually, the three were able to break free from Miss Fairchild’s home, and although they never saw her again, the hurtful memories remained.

As adults, they have kept in very close contact, and are all living mostly satisfying lives well away from their traumatic childhood home. Then one day out of the blue, they receive word that a body has been discovered under the home where they used to live with Miss Fairchild.

Shocked by the discovery, the three women join up and travel back to that place they left long ago, but are they returning as possible witnesses, or suspects?

I had a blast reading this. It was a super intriguing set-up and I loved learning about all three women. They were each unique and well-developed, and even though they were quite different, their shared history made for very close and believable relationships.

This story is expertly-constructed using past and present timelines, both of which I found equally interesting. I think Hepworth did a great job of creating suspense, as well as characters that you could care about.

Finding out the truth about the girls’ time with Miss Fairchild was fascinating. I never knew what was going to come next. It made me tense, in a good way.

IMO, Hepworth is an incredible, dramatic storyteller. She never fails to draw me in quickly and hold my attention. Although I guessed some things, it made it no less enjoyable, or impactful. In fact, I think I was probably realizing things at the pace in which Hepworth was intending.

The pace picks up closer to the end and I found the conclusion to be fun and satisfying. There were some surprises left in the tank and I walked away a happy girl.

I would recommend the audio format, as the narration was very well done and seemed to fit the overall story nicely. It kept me focused and relaxed.

Thank you to the publishers, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I always look forward to the latest from Sally Hepworth, and this definitely did not disappoint.

10-out-of-10 recommend!!

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Review: She’s Not Sorry by Mary Kubica

She's Not SorryShe’s Not Sorry by Mary Kubica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

In She’s Not Sorry, we meet dedicated ICU nurse, Meghan Michaels. Meghan is recently divorced and has primary custody of their teenage daughter, Sienna.

As the Reader, you really get to know Meghan and follow her both in her work life and her personal life. Let me just say, Meghan has a lot going on.

Her divorce has caused a lot of self doubt and she’s had to work extra hard to provide for herself and Sienna. Frequently reminding herself that she’s done the right thing.

The divorce was her choice. She felt she and Sienna deserved better than what her emotionally unavailable ex-husband, Ben, was providing; particularly when it came to Sienna. She had to move them out of their comfortable condo though, and into an apartment she’d be comfortable with financially.

Their new place isn’t in the greatest area, with a few vacant buildings and parking lots surrounding their apartment building. Additionally, the L runs directly beside their flat, so that’s a fun disturbance every hour.

Sienna also has moods. She’s a teenager, so typical stuff. That sums up Meghan’s current home life.

At work, Meghan is assigned as the primary care nurse for a young woman, Caitlin, brought into their unit in a coma, suffering traumatic brain injury, after allegedly jumping from a raised pedestrian walkway.

By all parameters Caitlin should be dead. She’s holding on however, and Meghan becomes quite emotionally involved in her case, spending a lot of time with Caitlin’s parents, the Becketts. She finds Caitlin consuming her mind.

Just when she thinks Caitlin’s situation couldn’t get any more disturbing, the police arrive on the unit. A new witness has come forward, stating they believe Caitlin was in an altercation on the bridge just prior to her fall.

Does that mean someone pushed Caitlin, and if so, who?

With a man stalking the neighborhoods around Meghan’s apartment, attacking women at their most vulnerable times, and the potential attack on Caitlin, her assailant still at large, Meghan begins to feel incredibly unsafe.

How is she supposed to keep everyone safe?

Honestly, She’s Not Sorry has A LOT going on, but it kept me enraptured. I was literally glued to the pages and had so much fun going on this journey with Meghan.

I remember everything about this story. It was so memorable for me. In a world where constant Thriller, Suspense and Mystery stories begin to blend together, this one stands out.

Well executed by Kubica!

This kicks off with a Prologue, though only a few pages long, absolutely gripped and stunned me. It grabbed me by the throat and said, hey, pay attention!!

Then the story truly begins. I would classify this as a slow burn, but I never mind that and loved how it was done here. The intensity steadily builds as more and more is revealed.

Kubica really gave me time to get to know and connect with Meghan. I absolutely adored her as a MC. I cared about her situation. I felt like I was reading about a friend.

This is such a ride; an exciting read. There are so many twists, turns, and red herrings. Kubica would successfully lull me into a sense that I actually knew what was going on, and then, BAM, throw something new in my face.

It was great; a lot of fun. I would recommend it to the world. Intriguing, suspenseful and full of drama. If you read for fun, escape, or for jaw-dropping intrigue, pick this one up!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Park Row, for providing me with a copy to read and review. If you don’t have this added to your Spring TBR, you need to add it immediately.

She’s Not Sorry is releasing April 2, 2024!!

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Review: I’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

I’m Not Done with You YetI’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Jesse Q. Sutanto has rapidly become one of my favorite authors in the last few years. I’ve read 9-novels from her and IMO, she has excelled in all three major genre spaces: Middle Grade, YA and Adult. That’s impressive.

She’s a freaking unicorn!

I’m Not Done with You Yet is an Adult Psychological Suspense novel. At it’s heart, it’s an intense story of a toxic friendship.

I thought it was fun and incredibly well-plotted. I flew through it so quickly. I just couldn’t put it down!

In this story we mainly follow, Jane, a midlist writer, who is presently not exactly stoked with her life. Her marriage is passing, at best. Her career is essentially nonexistent and she feels like she is living a life she doesn’t want.

Reflecting back on her best times, her happiest times, Jane always thinks about the start of her Creative Writing program at Oxford, and of Thalia. So much Thalia.

The girls were growing very close that first year. Thalia’s friendship had a huge effect on Jane, but eventually other people started to get in between them.

Then on one particular night, tragedy struck and Thalia and Jane were there for one another. Jane assumed surviving this trauma would draw them closer together, but it actually had the opposite effect.

Thalia abruptly left school and Jane never heard from her again. Years have passed and Jane has never been able to track Thalia down. She’s like a ghost.

That is until the day Jane spots Thalia’s name at the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. And that’s the only breadcrumb she needs.

From there, Jane easily discovers Thalia will soon be attending a Book Con in NYC. Jane will stop at nothing to get herself into that Con.

Even if it means selling her worldly-possessions in order to get funds enough to make the trip. Even if it means making up a fake story to sell her husband on the idea. Even if it means dragging along said husband, who she can barely stand most days. She’s going.

Jane is excited about her mission. She’s going to find Thalia again and once she does, she’s never letting go.

Y’all, this is such a wild ride. There are a few different layers, including past and present timelines. The present, described above, provides the impetus for the main events. The past perspective follows the friendship, from their first meeting, until that final fateful night at Oxford.

The back and forth between the two timelines, beautifully builds out the bigger picture of this relationship. I was absolutely hooked. It’s so intriguing.

Sutanto writes obsession incredibly well. In a way that makes you uncomfortable, yet you can’t look away. Even though her thoughts were messed up, I was drawn to Jane. I was so willing to go on this journey with her.

The twists kept coming and as Part III began, I was floored. There was a reveal that I didn’t see coming, not from a mile away. I think Sutanto had completely lured me into thinking everything was a steadfast, linear course to a particular ending, but life is rarely that way, is it?

These characters were really well done. Not just Jane and Thalia, but also the side characters, including Jane’s husband. They felt believable.

This story kept me on my toes and engaged the entire way through. I thought it was fun that we got to follow two writers, who were at different levels of their career. This does discuss publishing a bit and I was curious how much of Sutanto’s own experiences she brought to the page here.

I do feel like I enjoyed the present timeline a little more than the past, but everything included in the past perspective was necessary in understanding what was happening in the present. Obviously, Sutanto knows what she’s doing.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a twisted and intense story of toxic friendship. Bonus points if you enjoy stories with a college setting, or stories that include insight into the publishing industry.

If you follow my reviews at all, it’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jesse Q. Sutanto. I will continue to pick up every single thing she writes. Keep ’em coming, Jesse!!

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am really enjoying Sutanto in the Adult space. There’s nothing she can’t write!

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Review: You Know What You Did by K.T. Nguyen

You Know What You DidYou Know What You Did by K.T. Nguyen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

You Know What You Did is an intensely-suspenseful Mystery/Thriller debut from a hot up-and-coming author, K.T. Nguyen. And what a crackling debut it is!!

This story follows a fascinating-MC, Anh Le, who goes by Annie. She’s married, and the mother of a teenaged daughter. Annie is also an artist, although she’s feeling unsatisfied with her career lately.

In fact, a few aspects of Annie’s life are beginning to derail after the passing of her Mom, a Vietnam War refugee, who Annie had a contentious relationship with.

Annie’s mother had been residing in an out-building on their family property, so she had been a fairly constant presence in Annie’s life.

The loss impacted Annie in a lot of unexpected ways. Her severe-OCD comes roaring back and the dark fixations of her mind seem to be morphing into her reality.

When Annie’s most wealthy patron goes missing, shortly after Annie visited her home, the police come knocking.

The disappearance is shocking and it has Annie questioning everything, even herself. She can’t seem to keep current events straight in her mind.

She’s confused about many things and it’s scary. She begins to distance herself from her family and friends.

With Annie’s husband traveling for work, and her daughter off to summer camp, Annie is left to her own devices. As you can imagine, that doesn’t go well.

Waking up in a hotel, with a lifeless body beside her, Annie has officially hit rock bottom. The police are back and she doesn’t have answers that make sense, not even to herself.

Y’all, I loved this. I found it completely engaging, creepy and thought-provoking. K.T. Nguyen delivered all the tense, claustrophobic, desperate, unreliable narrator vibes that I could ever hope for.

I found it so easy to connect with Annie. I felt everything she was feeling. It made me incredibly anxious, but in a good, entertaining way, if that’s possible. There were times that I was crawling out of my skin of anticipation.

I was sympathetic to Annie’s character from the start, particularly since I couldn’t stand her husband, or her daughter. It often felt like they were ganging up on Annie and were just not giving her any slack.

I was happy when they both left, so Annie could be alone. Although it definitely didn’t help her mental state.

It’s funny, I was Buddy Reading this with a friend and she mentioned, like how much is what Annie is relaying to us about her husband and daughter true? Could it be her paranoia? Part of her mental spiral? Or were they really being that rotten to her?

It’s so funny, I didn’t even consider that before she said it, but yeah, Annie’s mental state definitely added so much to the suspense of this story. It was an exceptionally well-executed unreliable narrator situation.

I absolutely loved Nguyen’s writing. The character work in particular, I was so impressed. I enjoyed not only the suspense and mystery of this story, but Nguyen also chose to tackle some difficult topics, such as the immigrant experience and mental health.

I enjoyed the levels of depth that these topics added to the story. This is more than just your standard Popcorn Thriller. This story has meat and I enjoyed every bite.

I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a taut, engaging and emotional Mystery/Thriller. Particularly, if you enjoy an unreliable narrator.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review. If this is her debut, I cannot wait to see what Nguyen delivers next!!!

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