Review: What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

What Lies in the WoodsWhat Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When they were 11-years old, best friends, Naomi, Olivia and Cassidy, spent an entire summer playing a game of their own invention, dubbed The Goddess Game, in the woods of their town. It was secret and magical, the rules made up as they went, appeasing a goddess known only to them.

They loved it and truly got immersed in their play. Sadly, their summer came to a shocking close when Naomi was viciously attacked in their playground, the woods.

Somehow, the little girl is able to survive her 17-stab wounds. Naomi is left with many scars though, both on her physical body, as well as in her heart and mind.

Olivia and Cassidy saw the man who did it, identified as Allan Michael Stahl, a suspected serial killer. The testimony of the three girls helped to put him behind bars.

He had killed six women, but it was his attack on Naomi that ultimately lead to his incarceration. The girls are lauded as heroes for their courageous testimony.

22-years later, Naomi receives a phone call that brings that horrible summer back to the forefront of her mind. Stahl has died in prison.

One might think this would provide Naomi with a bit of relief. The man who brutally attacked her, tried to take her life, has come to the end of his. He can never hurt another person. But Naomi feels more guilt and doubt than relief.

It’s clear from her reaction that there’s much more to the story. The girls may not have been 100% truthful about what was going on in the woods that day.

Naomi travels back to her hometown. She needs to see Liv and Cass. Maybe they can work through this together. The reunion brings up a lot of feelings, including tension. Liv wants to reveal the truth, but Naomi’s not even sure she knows the truth.

Naomi’s determined to figure it out. She knows the story they gave the authorities wasn’t the whole story, but what is? Naomi starts digging in and before long it’s clear, someone doesn’t want the truth coming out. Are they willing to kill to keep the secret?

I have really enjoyed some of Kate Alice Marshall’s YA-books, so when I heard that she was coming out with a debut Adult novel, I was super stoked. She has a darker writing style and I was very interested to see what she could do with that in the Adult space.

I was not disappointed! What Lies in the Woods was super intriguing to me from the very start. I loved how the reveals were arranged and the pace was perfection for me.

I had a lot of theories, some turned out to be true, but there were also some fun surprises along the way.

The tone of this story, and even some of the themes, reminded me a lot of two YA-Thrillers that I have really enjoyed, Little Monsters and Broken Things. So, yes, while this is Adult, there is a past perspective that takes place when the girls are younger.

I liked this. I always enjoy an alternating timeline, especially when it helps to piece a story together like this one did. Additionally, I think that makes this one a great transitional book for Readers who may be moving from YA-stories in the Adult-space. This could be a great place to start.

While this wasn’t perfect for me, I did lose track of some of the side characters every now and again, it is still such a strong debut for Marshall in this new space. I hope she continues to write more Adult Mystery/Thriller stories.

She definitely has a knack for the darker side of humanity and that’s what I like to see in this genre. Her main characters are always super compelling as well and I definitely felt that way about Naomi.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flatiron Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I had so much fun with this.

I will pick up anything Kate Alice Marshall writes, no matter the age range. Middle Grade to Adult, I’m here for it!!

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Review: The Swell by Allie Reynolds

The SwellThe Swell by Allie Reynolds
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m going to throw out a caution flag early that this review could get extremely salty…

I’m not sure why I feel so burned by this one, but I do. Putting it mildly would be to say that The Swell didn’t hit as I expected it to.

With Publisher’s Comps being Point Break and the classic And Then There Were None, I fully expected to be pulled in by this; to be engrossed, to be intrigued.

What I got was 95% boredom, 5% tepid interest.

This story follows Kenna, who abruptly travels to Australia after her estranged best friend, Mikki, announces her engagement.

Mikki has been living in Australia for a while and met Jack there. He’s an Aussie and if she marries him, that means she’ll be living there indefinitely. For some reason, the mere idea of this shocks Kenna into action, even though she has never gone to visit Mikki there before.

After she arrives, Mikki’s behavior could be described as a little strange, maybe stand-offish. Then her new man, Jake, announces they are taking off for the beach to surf. Some discussion finally determines that Kenna shall be lucky enough to go along with them.

A remote beach, a bunch of bizarre people gathered there. It’s a big secret, no one can find out. No one! Missing girls. Thefts, drama, acts of daring. Weird people doing weirder things. Deaths. Eyes glazing over. The end.

In theory, I should have enjoyed this. The remote location and mysterious group of people, but honestly, I could not have cared less about any of this.

I really had a great time reading Reynolds’ earlier release, Shiver. I found it to be so fun and compelling. I’m not sure why this one felt so different to me. Maybe the subject matter, the characters, the execution, all of the above?

Either way, if it wasn’t for the audiobook, I never would have made it through. I wanted to DNF so many times, but pushed on because I could calculate exactly how many more hours I had left to suffer through.

Anyway, look. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Just because this didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. If it sounds interesting, give it a go!

For me, I am so happy to be checking it off my list and moving on.

Thank you to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Even though this didn’t work for me, I would definitely be up to reading more from Allie Reynolds.

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Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

MagpieMagpie by Elizabeth Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Magpie follows Marissa, Kate and Jake. Marissa and Jake seem to have a perfect relationship. So perfect, in fact, that they dream of having a baby together.

Kate, is their perfect new lodger, whose rent should help them start their family. She gets on with Jake quite well.

All sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Guess what, if it seems that way, it’s probably not. We all read Thrillers, we know this.

It’s not just the fertility issues that start to put a strain on their relationship. Their new lodger also seems to like to push boundaries. It’s most distracting.

Magpie is a good book. It’s a solid story that I know a lot of Readers will really enjoy. I’m glad I picked it up, but unfortunately, I don’t think it is one that will stick in my mind for long.

For one, I’m not sure the subject matter really suited my tastes. Additionally, from the beginning I couldn’t stand Marissa. I felt like I was supposed to be on her side and if anything, it was the opposite for me.

This book is broken into separate Parts. Part I is from one perspective and then Part II shifts to another. Right around this time there was a big reveal.

For me, the reveal felt like it happened too early, because after that it was sort of just telling the aftermath of that reveal. It sucked any intrigue out of it for me.

I also feel, and this is 100% personal taste, that I would have enjoyed it more if it would have had a format that alternated perspectives for much longer. Sure, this could add some confusion, but also, that’s part of the fun.

There was something else more towards the end, but that ended up falling a little flat for me in comparison. Overall, this is a solid story. The things that didn’t work for me are personal taste issues and completely subjective. I’m sure many, many Readers will have a lot of fun with this.

If the synopsis sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a shot. There’s a book for every Reader and a Reader for every book. This one could be a new favorite for you.

This review feels a bit shorter than those I generally tend to write, but this one is really difficult to talk about without going into specifics. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so will leave it here.

Magpie is entertaining, if not super memorable. I’m glad I gave it a shot. Even though it won’t end up on any of my favorites lists, it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.

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Review: The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

The Family GameThe Family Game by Catherine Steadman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

The publisher claims the rules are as follows:

1. Listen carefully
2. Do your research
3. Trust no one
4. Run for your life

With the The Family Game, Steadman has created her most intriguing plot yet. I was truly captivated!!

We follow UK-born novelist, Harry, who currently lives in NYC with her beau, Edward. Things are going so well for Harry. Her first novel was well-received and she is currently writing her second. And there’s Edward. She can hardly believe their relationship. It’s almost too good to be true.

He’s as handsome as a movie star and as wealthy as an Astor; old money, family money. He’s also kind, supportive and seems so into her it hurts.

The thing is, their relationship is progressing rapidly and Harry has yet to be introduced to his family. Edward has warned her they can be a bit much.

Now that they are engaged, the Holbeck family suddenly emerges as a huge force in their lives. Edward was right, they are a bit overwhelming. That American old-money vibe is just poring from every orifice.

Harry grins and tries her best to take it in stride, but her future-father-in-law, Robert Holbeck really gets under her skin. She’s drawn to him in a way that frankly makes her uncomfortable. Then, of course, there is the Dictaphone cassette he slips her upon their initial meeting.

Harry is confused. What is this? Some sort of test?

Firstly, she will need to find a device to play the ancient form of technology, but once she does, it takes even longer for her to actually listen to it. Frankly, I would have had that baby listened to in full by the end of brunch the next day, but that’s just me.

Harry is shocked by the contents of the tape. It seems to be a confession of a very dark family secret. Something that, if true, could be the downfall of them all. Is it real? Why would Robert have given it to her?

With this potentially shocking information in mind, Harry must endure more family events, each one more dangerous than the last. It’s the holiday season, after all.

In between festive activities, Harry puts her natural research skills to the test as she tries to figure out whether or not Robert’s tape is based in fact or fiction. She’s not sure who she can trust, but the wrong decision could cost her everything.

The Family Game is fun, crazy, dangerous and dramatic, just how I like ’em. The twist was a bit obvious in my opinion, but the writing made it wildly-entertaining anyway.

Harry was in a tough spot. Having no family of her own, I could see why she would be attracted to the Holbecks.

Even though they were a bit scary in their forwardness, there was also something attractive about their closeness and traditions. I can certainly see why she would get caught up a bit in their opulent lifestyle.

I really enjoyed Harry’s investigations into the tape. Because of her work as an author, she was used to researching things and brought all of her experience to the table when looking into Robert’s confession.

I also loved the use of the contents of the tape as a narrative device for learning more about the Holbeck family and Edward’s backstory. We don’t get Edward’s perspective at all, so I found that useful for actually getting a read on him and his life.

I had a lot of fun reading this. It was paced so well and I loved the different family events that Harry got to attend with the Holbecks, each one more startling than the last.

By the end, this was well and truly wild, as over-the-top as they come, but still super fun with a satisfying conclusion. It’s the sort of story where you’ll need to suspend belief for a bit, but for me, that didn’t impact my enjoyment level at all.

Thank you to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Steadman!

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Review: Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Never Coming HomeNever Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The number one thing on Lucas Forester’s checklist for a future mate was that she have money, and we’re talking serious money. The kind of money most people can only dream of; top 1%-levels.

When he meets Michelle while she’s vacationing in London, he sees those big, beautiful dollar signs all over her. She’s perfectly wealthy.

He can hardly believe his luck. His long-time plans of acquiring wealth through a loveless marriage are about to come to fruition. Thus, he puts his well-thought out plan into motion.

The culmination of this plan requires he take a hit out on Michelle and he does, without hesitancy or complication. Now he must play his most important role yet, that of the grieving widower.

Everything is falling into place. He’s feeling good. He’s going to get away with this and then the photos and cryptic messages begin popping up.

Someone knows what he did…

Lucas is scrambling. He needs to figure out who is doing this and put an end to it before they’re able to expose him, but no matter what he does, they seem to remain a step ahead.

Lucas has a lot to hide and this mystery individual is a risk to everything he has built for himself. He’ll stop at nothing to take out this threat.

I really enjoyed Hannah Mary McKinnon’s last two novels, so was very excited to get to this one. Never Coming Home brought her signature wild drama, all while providing a unique perspective.

Getting the story from Lucas’s POV was different and admittedly, very fun. He’s a conniving-dirtbag, there’s no doubt about that, but I found myself quietly rooting for him. It felt a little strange initially, but I got swept up fairly quickly and then was all in.

The final twist was exciting and sort of a fist pump, jaw drop moment, but my main critique actually involves it. The big twist comes very close to the end and I actually could have done with a bit more after the big reveal.

I wanted more of that goodness and I felt it wrapped up a little too quickly for my tastes. Although, with this being said, the final few lines were super-satisfying.

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It took me a long time to get around to it, but I’m so glad I have finally read this one.

I am absolutely looking forward to more from McKinnon!

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Review: The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

The PrisonerThe Prisoner by B.A. Paris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

When Amelie was a teenager, her father passed away after struggling with an illness. She had already lost her mother, so suddenly found herself alone.

With no money and no desire to go into the state system, Amelie disappeared to London, where she set about making a life for herself.

She works hard at it too. It’s a struggle. Sometimes with no other options, she was forced to sleep on the streets. She works in restaurants mostly, but that industry doesn’t necessarily equal security for a young woman still in her teens. Nevertheless, she pushes on.

Her luck seems to turn around on the day that she meets Carolyn. Carolyn is a successful business woman, recently separated from her husband, who sees something in Amelie and offers her a job as a live-in housekeeper.

That’s how Amelie’s world changes. She now has friends she can count on, a safe and comfortable place to live, as well as a good salary. She begins to live the life that other, more privileged girls, her age are living.

Soon she is moving up in the world and it’s through a new job that she meets Ned Hawthorpe, a business man, technically her new boss and the heir to a vast fortune.

Whilst on a business trip to Vegas, Ned offers Amelie a deal. If she marries him, he’ll give her something she really desires. Who would think that something could go wrong from this?

Thus begins the spiral for poor Amelie.

There’s a kidnapping. There’s a hostage situation. There’s much back-and-forth filling it all in. Why has Amelie been kidnapped and will she be able to make it out of this horrible situation alive?

As with all her other novels, this book begins with a bang right out of the gate. That’s one thing I always appreciate about Paris’s writing. There’s no beating around the bush, or wasted eons of build-up, her stories start very, very quickly.

Usually within the first few pages, you’re in it. This book is no exception.

Then the narrative alternates between the present, which includes Amelie being held hostage reflecting on her situation, what could have lead her here and how she can get out of it, and the past, which fills the Reader in on Amelie’s life from the time her father died, up to the present.

I generally enjoy when stories are formatted this way and I did enjoy it in this case as well. I also enjoyed the short chapters, which made the pace feel very quick. I literally read this in a day.

Unfortunately, not all elements worked as well.

This sort of felt like an early 90s-Lifetime movie. Now, let me be clear, I love a good Lifetime movie now and again. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Lifetime movies. Please don’t come at me.

However, this was forced drama and way over-the-top. I usually love over-the-top, that’s sort of my brand. Even things that are fairly unbelievable, but for some reason the tone of this, the feel of some of the circumstances, just did not work for me.

All the male characters were practically indistinguishable from one another. I was almost at the end and one of them was mentioned and I thought, who the hell is that? It took me completely out of the story. I’m still confused about who he was and he played a pivotal role in the plot.

With all of this being said, it was suspenseful and it did keep me fairly engaged, but I have read all of B.A. Paris’s works and when I see her name on a cover, I get excited.

Admittedly, I expect a lot and maybe that’s on me, but honestly, this one disappointed me a bit. It is a good book, there is a fun story within these pages that will keep a lot of Readers on the edges of their seats. Sadly, for me, it just wasn’t as great as I was expecting.

Don’t take my word for it though, pick it up for yourself. If it sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a go!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I’m glad I read it and am already looking forward to seeing what B.A. Paris will come up with next!

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Review: Book of Knives by Lisa Haines

Book of KnivesBook of Knives by Lise Haines
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After the death of her husband, Nora finds a bit of comfort with the couple’s good friend, Paul. As time passes, Nora and Paul’s relationship continues to blossom.

Nora never expected to find love again, but she has and she isn’t going to let it slip from her grasp. Thus, she and Paul decide to get married.

The new couple lead a quiet, uneventful life together, until the day Paul gets a call from his estranged brother, Gabe. Paul doesn’t speak much about his early life, but Nora knows it wasn’t good.

Now it seems Paul’s elderly parents are in poor health and failing fast. Paul needs to go back to the family home, Hidden Lake Camp, a place he fled literally decades before, in order to help his brother out caring for their parents and refurbishing the property.

Nora, of course, agrees to go along with Paul and his teen-aged son, Leon, to the camp. It will be an adventure.

Unfortunately, as soon as they arrive, things get weird. Paul’s brother, his wife and their kids are already well established at the property and they are strange; really strange, especially the wife.

Gabe’s wife, Salish, has a collection of 13-knives passed down to her from her father. She’s slightly obsessed with the things, so as they start to mysteriously disappear one-by-one, it puts her in an absolute tail-spin.

Nora spends the majority of her time just trying to figure out Salish. Her wacky mood is beginning to have a negative impact on Nora’s own mental health. That’s when things really start feeling claustrophobic.

There’s a mystery afoot, or is there? It’s actually fairly unclear.

I’m sad to report that this super-slow burn, Adult Fiction story just wasn’t for me. I know there is an audience for it, but I shouldn’t have been part of it. Frankly, I should have walked out of the theater about a quarter of the way through.

I am a huge fan of weird and quirky stories, but they have to have some semblance of sense. I also need to actually care either about at least one of the characters, or about the general outcome.

Without putting too fine a point on it, I gave zero.

I know there are plenty of Readers out there that will enjoy this story. It just absolutely was not for me.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press and Dreamscape Media, for providing me with copies to read and review. Book of Knives releases tomorrow, Tuesday, October 4, 2022!

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Review: The Disinvited Guest by Carol Goodman

The Disinvited Guest: A NovelThe Disinvited Guest: A Novel by Carol Goodman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

I added The Disinvited Guest to my TBR just prior to its release knowing one thing, that it was set in Maine. Since that is my home state and the cover had such an ominous feel, I figured I should pick it up and give it a go.

When my library hold on an audiobook copy came through the morning I was leaving for a solo road trip to Maine, I figured it was serendipity and I should take advantage of it.

I downloaded this baby so fast, I left no room for second-guessing myself and I dove in. I didn’t even refresh my memory by reading the synopsis, although truth be told, I’m not sure I ever read the full thing to begin with.

Either way, I was surprised when I discovered that this story is based around a contagious virus situation where people are quarantining themselves away from the outside world.

This story takes place years after the 2020-pandemic and we follow Lucy Harper, who is still a bit traumatized from that time and actually has some lingering health effects.

Lucy’s husband, Reed, has a generational family home on an isolated island off the coast of Maine and the couple decide to head there to wait out this newest virus.

They plan to quarantine on the property with Reed’s sister and her girlfriend, Lucy’s best friend and her husband, as well as Reed’s best friend from childhood, who still lives in the area and helped provision the island for their stay.

What could possibly go wrong with this situation? It’s sounds fool proof…

Obviously, I am being sarcastic AF, because we all know all sorts of things are going to go wrong. Basically, anything that possibly can, will.

The island and property itself have a dark and murky past. Lucy, an author, is interested in that history and does a bit of poking about trying to learn more. She ends up finding an old diary of one of Reed’s ancestors and the Reader gets entire excerpts from that.

The historical aspect was something that I wasn’t expecting at all. While at times, I would have preferred to have been in the present, particularly towards the beginning, I ended up really enjoying it.

I also liked how the tension climbed in the present the longer they were stuck on the island. It was such a difficult situation and with no way out, people were definitely on edge with one another.

Additionally intriguing to me, was that Lucy’s perspective started to feel like she was losing her grip on reality a bit. She became so immersed in the diary that sometimes it became hard to decipher past from present.

Was the island haunting her, or was it just a by-product of her environment; of being so isolated?

This was my first Carol Goodman book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I got her number now. This got wild. I’m talking really wild as it was building to the climax.

I’ll be honest, I found The Disinvited Guest to be sort of ridiculous, but luckily, it was also a ridiculously entertaining road trip audiobook!!

I was shouting things at the characters, providing my own running stream of commentary. I must have looked completely unhinged driving down the highway.

It was fun. I enjoyed it. It kept me entertained for my entire drive to Maine and I’m thankful for that.

It was a long drive. I would definitely be interested in checking out more of Goodman’s work! If you’ve got recommendations, drop them below…

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Review: Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie

Please Join UsPlease Join Us by Catherine McKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

At 39-years old, Nicole Mueller’s life is floundering. This is not where she pictured herself being at this point.

Once her law career seemed destined for greatness, but now she’s been put on notice by her firm’s senior partners. Making matters worse, Nicole and her husband, Dan, are soon to be displaced from the apartment that they love.

As Nicole’s emotional level is reaching hopeless, she’s thrown a bone by way of an invitation to join an exclusive women’s networking group, Panthera Leo.

From what Nicole can tell, although membership is anonymous, every member is a successful business woman of one kind or another; think of the list of potential clients. This may be exactly what she needs to jump start her career.

After discussing it with Dan and despite his misgivings, Nicole accepts the invitation and signs up for the group’s retreat in Colorado.

Once there she meets a very small, hand-selected group of women who will make up her Pride. As Nicole begins to learn the philosophy of the group, they stress one thing in particular, they’re a girl’s club in a boy’s club world.

As Nicole settles in and is cut off from the rest of the world, she begins to bond with these new women. It’s hard to believe they were strangers such a short time ago.

Each day of the retreat the women are put through exercises and challenges that push them to interact and rely on one another. Their relationships develop quickly and deeply. It’s a unique experience.

After Nicole gets home, she’s surprised by how quickly she begins to reap the benefits of her new relationships. Things seem to be turning around, but then things turn a little too far.

Initially, Nicole enjoyed the new clients pushed her way from the other Pride members. Also, a new, gorgeous, modern apartment dropped in her lap, but when she gets called to one of the member’s apartments late at night and she’s pressed to help her cover up a very serious crime, her opinion shifts drastically.

From there we follow Nicole as she tries to decipher the truth behind Panthera Leo, including why she received an invitation in the first place.

Through her search for the truth, Nicole deep dives into the club and its members. She shocked by all she uncovers. It borders on diabolical. We’re talking A Few Good Men levels of corruption and intensity.

While this did start out a little slow for me, I will say that McKenzie succeeded in building the intensity throughout the story. I do feel like everything she included, even the slower bits in the beginning, were necessary to build out this story.

Towards the very, very end, I felt it got a little chaotic. I had to reread a couple sections a few times in order to follow it. There were just a lot of characters and as you’re watching them come together, it got to be a bit much right at the conclusion.

Overall, I did enjoy this. It was fun. I feel like I tend to pick up anything that is pitched to have a cult-like vibe, but I’m always disappointed.

This story did the most for me out of any recent books to claim that sort of atmosphere. I definitely felt the cultish influence and it had me freaked right out.

Our main character, Nicole, is an attorney and the way she goes about looking into Panthera Leo definitely lends a Legal Thriller feel to this story. I loved that aspect. That was probably my favorite part of the book.

I’m not sure if I am explaining that correctly, but I just loved following her as she began to unravel the truth behind this mysterious organization.

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

This is the first I have read from Catherine McKenzie, but it definitely won’t be the last. Please Join Us is available now!!

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Review: The It Girl by Ruth Ware

The It GirlThe It Girl by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Meg’s Ruth Ware Ratings:

1. The Turn of the Key: 5-stars
2. The Lying Game: 4.5-stars
2. The It Girl: 4.5-stars
3. One by One: 4-stars
4. The Death of Mrs. Westaway: 4-stars
5. In a Dark, Dark Wood: 3.5-stars
6. The Woman in Cabin 10: 3-stars

The It Girl has come in strong, tied for second place on my Ruth Ware ratings list. That’s not too shabby.

And before you come at me, I’m totally aware I am in the minority opinion on The Lying Game.

In this novel we follow Hannah, who is married to a charming, handsome man, Will. She’s currently pregnant with their first child and working in a bookshop. So, her life is pretty great.

It hasn’t always been as peaceful, however. A decade earlier, when Hannah was in college, her best friend and roommate, April, was murdered. Hannah found the body.

It was an absolutely terrible time in her life. One Hannah tries hard not to think about. Unfortunately, it’s about to come back to haunt her.

On the night April was killed, Hannah saw a man exiting their dorm just prior to her discovering the body. Through her eye-witness statement this man was ultimately convicted for the crime and has been in prison ever since.

He has proclaimed his innocence the entire way through, but don’t they all say that?

After Hannah receives the news that this man, John Neville, has died in prison, she is contacted by a young journalist who believes he has proof of Neville’s innocence.

This rocks Hannah’s world. Could Neville have been innocent? Did she make a horrible mistake and if she did, who really killed April?

I really enjoyed my time with this story. It is told via alternating timelines, which I always have fun watching unfold and ultimately meld together.

We get Hannah’s present perspective, as she grapples with the news of John Neville’s death, as well as her past perspective, which covers her time at Oxford and her friendship with April.

Both time periods were interesting, although the past perspective did draw me in more quickly than the present perspective. However, the present perspective definitely caught up.

Once Hannah starts questioning what she saw the night of April’s death, she begins a little investigation of her own. She cannot let it go. It was at that point that the present perspective really grabbed me. I love some amateur sleuthing.

Ware did a great job of growing the intensity throughout this story. At the end, we were treated to some real cat-and-mouse moments, which I was living for.

It did have me at the edge of my seat, questioning absolutely everyone. What was the answer!? Who killed April!?

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who has enjoyed Ware’s work in the past. This has her classic touch mixed beautifully with subtle dark academia vibes.

If you haven’t read Ware before, but are interested in trying her work, I do think this would be a great place to start. This story is captivating and well-plotted. Absolutely worth the time!

I am so excited to see Ware will deliver us next!!

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