Review: The New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger

The New Couple in 5BThe New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The New Couple in 5B follows a married couple, Rosie and Chad, as they try to navigate life in the uber-expensive rat race that is NYC. They’re both struggling artists of a sort, Rosie is a nonfiction writer and Chad is an actor, so they’re just trying to make ends meet any way they can.

That’s why when they receive news that Chad’s recently deceased Uncle Ivan has bequeathed to them his fully-paid off luxury apartment, it seems like they’ve won the lottery.

To Rosie the inheritance is a surprise, but it also make sense. Ivan had been quite ill before his passing and she and Chad took care of him when no one else in the family stepped up, including Ivan’s own daughter, Dana.

The apartment itself is located in the desirable neighborhood of Murray Hill on the East side of Manhattan. The building it is housed in, the Windermere, is well-known as a haven for creative types and boasts a rich cultural history.

As the couple settles in, Rosie, frequently left home alone while Chad is out working, starts to feel unsettled by the building and its other residents.

The doorman, Abi, is always there; as in, it’s like he never sleeps. He’s also always listening, with a intercom within their apartment that he is constantly connected to. There are cameras everywhere, and Rosie feels like her every move is under surveillance.

When people connected to the apartment unexpectedly and suspiciously die, Rosie feels like she could be next. She needs to get to the truth behind the Windermere before its too late. No inheritance is worth your life.

Lisa Unger and I haven’t had the best relationship, but this was quite entertaining. Unger has redeemed herself for me after the mess that was Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six.

This does have heavy, HEAVY Rosemary’s Baby vibes, but I’m not mad about it. Those are some solid vibes. We’ll take ’em.

I liked the unsettling feel of the property. Abi, the doorman, was an especially disturbing character, who even I wanted to get away from.

I do feel like the intensity built steadily as Rosie begins to become more and more suspicious of the Windermere and its residents. I also like the way it leaned into the Psychological Thriller genre. It felt like Rosie was on her own, like no one was going to believe her.

Rosie does have some allies, but her husband Chad felt like he could be friend and foe. I really appreciate that mystery surrounding his character. We got to know Rosie so much more than Chad, obviously by design, but I did feel like their relationship was framed perfectly to keep the suspense high.

There was a historical perspective that I wasn’t crazy about, but it did make sense in context with the overall story.

Personally, I just wish we could have received those details in a different way, as I found that perspective more distracting than anything. I just wanted to be with Rosie.

I did really enjoy how Unger kept me guessing though. It gets especially wild towards the end, but overall, yeah, I feel like this is engaging and entertaining, which was exactly what I was hoping for.

I did listen to the audiobook and would highly recommend that format. I did feel like the narration was very well-done, particularly as a voice for Rosie.

At the end of the day, I had fun with this.

I’m glad I picked it up and won’t hesitate to pick up more from this author in the future. I couldn’t say that before this book, so we have progress!

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Review: The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

The Return of Ellie BlackThe Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ellie Black has been missing for 2-years when she’s suddenly found by hikers in the woods of Washington State.

She’s distraught and disheveled, but where exactly has she been? Detective Chelsey Calhoun is shocked by Ellie’s reappearance, but unfortunately, Ellie’s not offering up a lot of answers. The mystery lingers.

For Chelsey, any missing person case hits close to home. Her sister, Lydia, went missing when they were just teens, and ever since, Chelsey has been searching for closure for herself, and any other missing girls out there.

As Chelsey begins questioning Ellie, she’s not able to get any real answers from her. It feels off, like Ellie is hiding something, but what? She’s a victim here, right?

This novel is insta-compelling. We kick off with Ellie being discovered and from there, it’s a ride. We get a lot of different perspectives, and even different points in time, as we begin to build out the truth behind this mystery.

I was initially surprised by all the perspectives, but somehow, it just worked. I also loved the tone from the start, how mysterious it all was.

This definitely kept me guessing and I appreciated how Jean continually added to the mystery. What started out as the mystery of what had happened to Ellie, ultimately evolved into so much more.

I thought Jean had some very clever reveals and I loved the thoughtful way she explored the topic of the exploitation and victimization of women.

Overall, I was impressed with this. The tone stood out for me. I’m not sure quite how to explain it, but it felt distinctive from other Missing Persons Thrillers. It’s quite character-drive, but so well-executed.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m looking forward to reading more from Emiko Jean!

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Review: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

The Midnight FeastThe Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Midnight Feast is easily one of my most anticipated releases of 2024, coming from one of my go-to Mystery/Thriller authors, Lucy Foley. I love her classic style, her sense of place, as well as her dramatic characters.

The moment I read this synopsis, I needed it.

This story follows four different perspectives: Francesca, the founder, Owen, the husband, Bella the mystery guest, and Eddie the kitchen help. On first observation, you may think four perspectives it a lot, but honestly, it never felt like it here.

They’re all equally interesting in their own right, and so well developed. Additionally, each play an important role in the events that play out over the course of the story.

We join these characters on the first night of the grand opening weekend at The Manor, a luxury retreat that Francesca has created, along with the help of her husband, Owen, upon her familial coastal estate.

The unique property is sold out for the weekend and all guests are expecting the best of the best, to be pampered and low-key treated like royalty. Francesca is pulling out all the stops, no expense has been spared, but will it all come off without a hitch? She’s beyond stressed.

It doesn’t take long after you meet all the characters for the ominous tone to set in. There are some mysterious things happening and the property itself seems to be mired in a darkness. It’s unsettling; wicked and wild.

The abutting woods feel like they are looming over the resort, like they may harbor secrets and other disturbing things. The local lore surrounding these woods certainly doesn’t help matters. This atmosphere got under my skin fairly quickly and I was eating it up.

Further, I loved the construction of this story. The chapters are short and you alternate between all of these perspectives. With each chapter you’re learning more and more about what is actually going here, the history and connections.

We also get some journal entries, which take us back to the property, I believe, 15-years prior, and the horrific events that happened there at that time. Through these journal entries we learn a bit more about some of the players in our modern timeline. Enlightening stuff.

I was at the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading this. I found the story to be so gripping. As each chapter ended, it felt like another puzzle piece falling into place.

I was scrambling to get through it. I had to know the truth behind all the connections and what was going to happen on the night of the Midnight Feast. It was a real race to figure everything out. I had so much fun with it.

I’m trying not to give too much away about what happens. It’s best to just go in and be surprised. This definitely went places that I wasn’t expecting.

I can’t stress enough how great this atmosphere felt though. I’m an atmosphere-girlie through-and-through. That’s the number one thing I want out of my stories and Foley delivered it in spades here.

It felt rich, dangerous, hedonistic, and a bit pagan in nature. It almost toes the line into Folk Horror territory, if I’m being honest, and you know I love that.

This was wildly-engaging and non-stop entertainment. There’s no lulls ever in the forward progression of the narrative and mystery of The Manor. The conclusion was exciting and included more than one jaw-dropping moment.

In my most humble opinion, this is Foley’s strongest work yet. Everything about this gets top marks from me. I literally have no complaints.

It comes with my highest recommendation. If you haven’t already, you need to add this to your Summer TBR. If you love atmosphere, clever plot development and non-stop twists and turns, you are sure to enjoy this as much as I did.

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As mentioned above, this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it far exceeded my expectations.

Well done, Lucy Foley. Well done!

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Review: If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay

If Something Happens to MeIf Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Looking for some much desired alone time, Ryan and Ali, a high school couple, find a quiet place to park in their hometown by Suncatcher Lake.

The next thing Ryan knows, it’s hours later, he’s laying on the ground having been bludgeoned in the head and Ali is gone. He remembers being yanked out of the car at some point, and briefly seeing a strange man, but that’s it.

In the aftermath of Ali’s disappearance, everyone suspected Ryan. The ole’ logic of, it’s always the husband, or boyfriend, in full effect. The fact that there’s no evidence against him, doesn’t stop the world from speculating.

Haunted by that night and the blow to his reputation, Ryan changed his last name and moved away for law school. Nevertheless, he hasn’t truly been able to move on. Ali was the love of his life and it tortures him imagining what may have happened to her.

Five years later, in Italy on a trip with some law school classmates, Ryan gets an unexpected call from his father. Ali’s car has just been found submerged in Suncatcher Lake.

Once the car is recovered from the water, a grisly discovery is revealed. There are two dead men in the trunk, along with a cryptic note contained in an envelope that has five words written on it in Ali’s handwriting:

If something happens to me…

Obviously, this reopens everything for Ryan. With that night fresh in his mind, the unthinkable happens. Ryan actually spots the man he remembers seeing that night. What is that man doing in Italy? Who the heck is he?

Ryan is no longer a scared teen. He pursues the man. He needs answers and he’s not stopping until he gets them.

If Something Happens to Me is a whirlwind ride. The drama takes place in multiple countries and follows a few different perspectives. Initially, it’s jarring, but as the pieces start falling into place, the various connections are revealed.

Even though this isn’t my favorite Finlay novel, that distinction goes to The Night Shift, there’s no denying he knows how to deliver the action and page-turning intrigue.

This is a very action-oriented Thriller, most in line with Finlay’s earlier work, Every Last Fear. The various perspectives each help to build out a different aspect of the underlying mystery and it always impresses me how much detail Finlay goes into.

For me, Ryan’s perspective was the most memorable, but I also enjoyed Poppy McGee, a young deputy from Ryan’s hometown, brought onto the case after the car is found.

As a side note, there were certain elements of this that reminded me of the series, Your Honor, featuring Bryan Cranston, but with an international twist.

Overall, this is fast-paced and twisty. I listened to the audio and enjoyed the narration. It felt compelling and I needed to keep reading until it was complete.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. Alex Finlay is a force to be reckoned with in the Thriller space, and I’ll continue picking up his work!

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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: Keep Your Friends Close by Leah Konen

Keep Your Friends CloseKeep Your Friends Close by Leah Konen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Separated from her husband, George, and embroiled in a tense custody battle over their 2-year old, Mary needs a friend to support her now more than ever.

She realizes, as she tries to put her life back together, that over time she’s become estranged from the friends she had before she and George married. He took over her life. He changed her. She feels very alone.

It’s at this low point when Mary happens to meet Willa at a playground in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Mary has never connected with another Mom organically like this before, so it feels a bit fated. Willa seems equally receptive.

The two become fast friends and Mary feels like she finally has someone she can confide in about everything she is currently going through.

One night though, after too many margaritas, Mary says some things about George that she later regrets. It seems too have turned Willa off as well, because after that night, Mary doesn’t hear from her again.

Willa ghosted her.

A couple of months later, fed up with all things Brooklyn and with their divorce almost finalized, Mary decides she needs a completely fresh start.

She travels to a town halfway between NYC and her hometown, where her family still lives. She figures this will be a fair middle ground when sharing custody of Alex.

It’s there that she bumps into Willa again, only Willa pretends not to know who she is. Oh yeah, and she claims her name isn’t Willa, she’s Annie. What the heck is going on? Mary feels like she’s losing her mind.

Things go from bad to worse, when George tracks her down to try to win her back. Mary doesn’t want any of this. She just wants a new life.

When George turns up dead shortly thereafter, Mary quickly becomes the prime suspect. With no one else to turn to, Mary seeks out Willa again for help.

As new evidence comes to light, Mary starts to wonder just how well she really knows Willa, if at all. Is she friend, foe, or something much, much worse? Mary needs to figure it out ASAP before she loses even more than she already has!

Keep Your Friends Close is an entertaining and fast-paced Domestic Thriller. Konen kept the drama high throughout, so it’s easy to fly through. You want to get to the truth.

I liked the back and forth between Then and Now sections as the full scope of Mary’s relationship with Willa, as well as the dissolution of her marriage are presented to the Reader. I actually really enjoyed getting to know Mary.

I think Konen did a great job of keeping me at the edge of my seat with short chapters and several mini-reveals. Just when I thought it was starting to come together, something else would come up that would leave me scratching my head.

I also appreciated getting Willa’s perspective a bit as well. That helped to fill in some of the finer details of what all had happened in this messed up friendship.

I will say towards the end, it did start to get a little convoluted, IMO. It definitely toed the line into the dreaded, one twist too many territory. However, the ultimate conclusion did leave me satisfied.

I would recommend this to Readers who enjoy Thriller, or Suspense stories, involving complicated Female Friendships. Bonus if you love a Twisted Domestic Drama. This one definitely went there as well.

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I enjoyed this and am definitely planning to read more from Leah Konen!

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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: 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: 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: The Clinic by Cate Quinn

The ClinicThe Clinic by Cate Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Cate Quinn’s recent Thriller, The Clinic, the Reader is transported to the Pacific Northwest coast, where a remote Addictions Treatment Center caters to the rich and famous.

One of the perspectives we follow is Meg, whose estranged sister, Haley, a famous actress, has been receiving in-patient care there. When Meg hears the news that her sister has overdosed while in treatment, and rumors swirl it was possibly suicide, Meg doesn’t believe it.

As in, she really thinks there is no way in heck her sister would have overdosed, let alone on purpose. Meg suspects foul play and decides to go undercover at the Clinic to try to figure out what really happened to Haley.

We also follow a woman employed at the Clinic, Cara. She’s relatively new and as she begins to settle in and get to know everyone around her, she too suspects something may be off.

As the narrative shifts back and forth, it offers the Reader an inside glimpse into the Clinic from both a worker’s and a patient’s perspective. It’s through that dual view that the truth is able to come to light.

Y’all, this is a very basic way of summing up all that is going on in this story, but I don’t want to risk giving anything else away. It’s best to go into this knowing as little as possible.

I enjoyed the set-up of this one a lot, as well as the setting. It hooked me from the very start. I felt like the opening scene really set the stage for all that was about to play out.

I really loved Meg as a main character. Her perspective just fit my tastes so well. She’s tough, smart and no-nonsense, but also flawed and struggling with a lot of things in her life; including her own addiction to painkillers and alcohol.

I liked learning about her, the events in her past that had propelled her to her current state. I felt like Quinn did an incredible job of bringing Meg to life, breathing humanity into her and making her actions and motivations understandable. Honestly, I became very attached to her.

That’s unsurprising though, as I love flawed characters. If characters are too perfect, I don’t like ’em. No one is perfect, why would I want my fictional characters to be?

I was excited to go undercover with Meg and investigate the Clinic. It seemed shady as all get out from the start and I liked meeting all the various players within that setting.

It also felt very claustrophobic; like once Meg was in there, it felt like there was seriously no turning back. The fact that she was also grappling with her own addictions issues, and that her mind wasn’t in top form through that, added to the sense of being trapped and desperate.

I feel like Quinn really succeeded in that regard.

I wasn’t as sold on the other perspective, Cara, but I do understand and appreciate why it was necessary for the overall story. For things to ultimately play out the way they did, both women were needed.

This definitely went in an unexpected direction for me and I thought it was so much fun. It gets pretty wild and I loved being with Meg as she tried to navigate through all the chaos. Some of her choices, oh baby, were they intense.

I would definitely recommend this to Readers who enjoy tense, suspenseful Thrillers with flawed MCs and questionable organizations. This had a lot of action and a full cast of unlikable side characters as well. It’s engaging and a bit OTT. Overall, a great read!

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

I cannot wait to read more from Cate Quinn!!!

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