The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

D209F495-2755-4281-92C8-76EEBFB145B7Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a free copy of The Girl From Widow Hills in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

My Review:

Megan Miranda really knows how to do the slow burn thriller! The Girl From Widow Hills is full of smoldering mystery.  From the main character’s past, to the shady people in her present, I was guessing until the end on this one. So many shadows were cast, and I did have my suspicions, but the ending unfolded well.

Don’t expect a fast paced suspense novel with The Girl from Widow Hills, but be prepared for mystery and intrigue.  This was the prefect entertaining read for a long weekend (I read it over Memorial Day weekend!) I loved the build up of Olivia’s past with news articles and transcripts, and the way it wove into what was happening to her in the present.  Another plus: short chapters!  Irrelevant, I know, but I like that! Overall, a good, entertaining thriller!

The Dilemma by B.A.Paris

The Dilemma by B.A.Paris

E160BFE8-37DD-4A23-8E21-D854D0AA3999A new thriller from B.A. Paris that is different from her previous work, The Dilemma is a fantastic read!

Synopsis:

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad.

But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be there. Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for his wife: he’s arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the family celebration. But during the day, he hears some terrible news and he too is faced with a dilemma.

How far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

My Review:

I have so many great things to say about this book!  The writing, the pacing, the relatability: all perfect!  The entire books takes place over the course of one day, alternating between a husband and wife’s point of view. Each set of chapters moving ahead an hour in the long and eventful day. That set up alone made this a very compelling and page turning read!  I read this fast in just two days.

Here’s why The Dilemma is different from Paris’ previous works: it’s an extremely relatable family drama. Nothing shocking, scandalous (well just a little) or vindictive.  This is not Drama with a capital D and a hair flip, this is real life drama that could really happen to someone. This is a story about a family, about the choices people make and how those choices effect the ones we love most.  There is a lot of inner dialogue that explains the choices of the husband and the wife and that made it really impossible to choose a side and as someone who has been married for almost ten years, I could relate to this story so much!  It was emotional, suspenseful, poignant and beautiful.  I loved it.  It might be the best book I’ve read so far in 2020.

The Closer You Get Release Day!

The Closer You Get Release Day!

E64603D5-C06D-46C7-B90A-BC768A4FF048Thanks to Berkley for sending me a free copy of The Closer You Get! I’m so excited to read this suspenseful domestic drama!

Coworkers Ruby and Harry are in love—but they’re married to other people. They decide to tell their spouses that their marriages are over and to start a new life together. Ruby has wanted to leave her controlling husband for a while, so she tells him she’s leaving and waits at the hotel where she and Harry are to meet. But Harry never shows up.

Suddenly, Ruby has lost everything. Harry won’t answer her calls, and she’s fired from her job. She finds a cheap apartment in a run-down part of town, all the while wondering what happened to Harry.

Just as Ruby thinks she’s hit rock bottom, strange and menacing things start to happen—someone is sneaking into her apartment, and someone is following her home late at night—and she is going to have to fight for her survival.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

C2464F78-01DA-410E-A137-1DA3DBC1497EThank you to Dutton books for sending me a free copy of The Familiar Dark in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

My Review:

This book set it’s hooks in me from the very first page and the reading experience of The Familiar Dark was so visceral that I know I will be thinking about it for a very long time. I found the main character Eve to be so realistic, it was harrowing to see the way she changed after the death of her daughter.  I could so clearly picture Eve, her mother, and the run down town they lived in.  What surprised me was the level of depth into Eve’s relationships that Engel was able to slip into the pages. Even though I am not in a situation like Eve’s, I found I was able to relate with her quite a bit, and I think many readers who are mothers will also.

This is definitely what you call a slow burn but it really smoldered the whole way through. With just enough back story to build to plot, The Familiar Dark is an engrossing read with a very big surprise ending!  This book is dark, gritty, raw and heavy but oh so worth it! I highly recommend this book to just about anyone.  Easily a five star read for me!

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

3635602F-9B44-4838-829D-38C99233D261Thank you to Grand Central Pub for sending me a free copy of The Boy From the Woods in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

My Review:

The Boy From the Woods will delight Coben fans as it follows his signature style of writing, and while reading I was reminded a lot of last year’s Run Away. This book is an easy page turner and will make a great beach read for this summer.

I did have a few issues with this one, however.  The boy from the woods, while a main character in this story was only that: a character.  I was hoping for more of his story, so the title actually confused me. This book isn’t about him. I also felt like there were just a few too many moving parts and characters so that instead of throwing suspicion around, the plot just lacked cohesion.

Sometimes when there are a lot of characters and separate storylines going on, I don’t get the chance to latch onto one of them while reading and the experience overall can feel superficial. I think that this book was a light read.  Fun and easy, but also without much depth.  I finished it, so I did like it but it wasn’t my favorite.  However I still plan to read more of his work both in the future and backlist titles.

Darling Rose Gold by

Darling Rose Gold by

F3D57A89-1311-4329-8365-CD3639B74B06Thank you to Berkley for sending me a free advanced copy of Darling Rose Gold in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

My Review:

Here’s a little rule of thumb I use to decide how many stars to rate a book: How much did I think about the book when I wasn’t reading it?  For the few days that I was reading Darling Rose Gold, I was thinking about it a lot when not reading, I was so compelled by the characters and their story and I just had to know how things were going to unfold.  Needless to say, this was a five star read for, me!

With that being said, this story was dark,  very dark, with an extremely unhealthy mother-daughter relationship. I liked that the reader knows right off the bat that theirs is a story of Munch Hausen by proxy, rather than building up to it.  There are some stories out there already that follow this disturbing mental illness but what makes this take on it different is that the plot follows the aftermath.  You get to watch as the mother and daughter make an effort to rebuild their relationship, except neither the mother nor daughter has the most honest of intentions.

Darling Rose Gold is dark, addictive and pleasantly unusual. If you are looking for something a little less basic than most thrillers, you should definitely give this one a try! I highly recommend it!

 

 

 

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

12D064F3-0208-43C6-8FFF-0E7A227C1414Thank you to Dutton books for providing me with a free digital copy of When You See Me in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. What at first looks like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister…and they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers—and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.

My Review:

This is the first book by Lisa Gardner that I have read and I was a little nervous jumping into the middle of a series but I was pleasantly surprised that I had no problem enjoying the story and it’s characters.  Enough backstory is given to provide some depth and history to the characters and help make sense with the plot.

As for the story itself, I was surprised again.  What starts off as a basic detective mystery quickly spirals into something much more personal and emotional.  Gardner gives glimpses into the mind of a victim in the story, helping the reader to strongly connect to the book and keep turning pages to find out how the horrific perpetrator gets caught. What started off a little on the slow side for me, When You See Me quickly became a book I could not put down and I read about 70% in one day because I just had to get to the ending. I had to know what would happen!

I would recommend this to anyone who likes mysteries and thrillers, especially detective crime novels. A very enjoyable read and I will definitely be reading more Lisa Gardner books in the future!

 

Good Girls Lie by J.T.Ellison

Good Girls Lie by J.T.Ellison

B140B5D4-7460-47E0-99D5-9D13F94763D6Thank you MIRA books for sending me a free copy of Good Girls Lie in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Synopsis:

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond.

But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder.

When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

My Review:

This was a fun thriller packed with just as much drama as you would expect for a story about an exclusive all girls prep school. Good Girls Lie is full of well developed characters and will keep you guessing until the end. In my opinion, JT Ellison is a master at building a realistic thriller plot, which is a refreshing relief compared to the endless list of one-size-fits-all unrealistic domestic drama thrillers out there these days.

There is a lot going on in this novel: catty school girls, a orphan in their midst, high stakes education, secret societies.  The many facets of this story made it a fun and compulsive read. What makes Good Girls Lie special is the ever undulating light the main character, Ash, is shining in.  The reader doesn’t know whether to like her or not, to trust her or not. I was guessing until the end and the last two pages tied up every single lose thread. I greatly enjoyed this one and read it fairly quickly as well. I recommend to it anyone who likes suspenseful reads and novels with a good amount of drama.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

C9E5DE0A-A11D-46FE-982D-9E1209B64EC9Thank you to William Morrow books for sending me a free copy of Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it—teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way—a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who Amy is and what she once did.

When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

My Review:

This book was wild!  Amy and Roux are playing a game with each other’s lives and one of them has to draw the line. It was constant aggression, back and forth, cat and mouse for the entire book. The dynamics between these two characters was tremendous! I loved how they kept throwing each other off.

I also enjoyed hearing Amy’s back story.  Her teenage years were just as interesting as her adult years, however I felt at times that they were two separate characters rather than the same person. The Amy of the past wouldn’t have acted the way the Amy of the present was acting.

Never Have I Ever was a very well developed novel, with strong main and supporting characters as well as some really good twists. The ending was slightly abrupt, I was left wanting more answers.  Overall a solid thriller.  This is my first by Jackson so I can’t compare it to her other work but overall I enjoyed this one.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

The Whisper Man by Alex North

6057BEBA-47DE-4A6E-A1AE-38ADEA9B9A8CThank you NetGalley and Celadon Books for providing me with a free digital copy of The Whisper Man in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

My Review:

First of all, The Whisper Man gets major points for creepiness!  So many unanswered questions, add in a pinch of supernatural, this book was unsettling all the way through. There were a few scenes in particular that had me gasping out loud!

Something else that sets this police procedural apart from the others is the inclusion of intense emotion. Tom Kennedy and his son were a big part of this novel: the reader gets to witness how they were putting the pieces of their lives back together after the death of their wife and mother. I actually felt that their story carried the plot of this book more than the police investigation which made for a nice change.

I am calling The Whisper Man a solid thriller, with a lot of moving parts to keep you guessing and a uniqueness to make it stand out against the rest. I rate this one 4 out of 5 stars.