Reviews

Review: The Poet by Lisa Renee Jones

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Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Publish Date: March 09, 2021

Genre: Suspence, Crime Thriller

#netgalley arc

Some call him friend or boss.

Some call him husband or dad.

Some call him son, even a favorite son.

But the only title that matters to him is the one the media has given him: The Poet.

A name he earned from the written words he leaves behind after he kills that are as dark and mysterious as the reason he chooses his victims.

One word, two, three, a story in a poem, a secret that only Detective Samantha Jazz can solve. Because he’s writing this story for her.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

MY REVIEW:

Thank you to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for my copy of this AMAZING book!

The synopsis is intriguing but it’s also a little vague, not giving anything away so I didn’t know what to expect. And I’m glad because my mind was blown! I loved this book. Like, so much. It was the perfect crime thriller.
Detective Samantha Jazz was such a badass. I love how she was a likeable and smart character (y’all know how I feel about my characters). The investigation was gripping and kept me in suspense. The flow of the book never stalled or became boring. I also appreciate how I couldn’t guess who the Poet was though the author had me suspecting everybody. One of the best books I have read. You need to read this one!

REVIEW: And Then She Vanished by Nick Jones

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Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publish Date: February 02, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

#netgalleyarc

He only looked away for a second.

Still haunted by the disappearance of his little sister Amy over twenty years ago, Joseph Bridgeman’s life has fallen apart. When a friend talks him into seeing hypnotherapist Alexia Finch to help with his insomnia, Joseph accidentally discovers he can time travel. His first trip only takes him back a few minutes, but his new-found ability gives him something he hasn’t felt for the longest time: hope.

Joseph sets out to travel back to the night Amy went missing and save her. But after several failed attempts, he discovers the farther back he travels, the less time he gets to stay there. And the clock is ticking.

With the help of Alexia, Joseph embarks on a desperate race against the past to save his sister. Can he master his new skill and solve the mystery of Amy’s disappearance before it’s too late?

MY REVIEW:

If you go back in time to save someone or change something, would you?

This book intrigued me from the get-go. Missing sister, time travel, investigation into what happened … it checks off all the boxes. I do have to admit that my brain hurt trying to think of all the possible ways you can actually time travel (I was a biology major not physics) but I still loved it. The characters were interesting and the storyline kept my attention throughout.

This book isn’t too science-y either so anyone can definitely enjoy it! I do sorta wish that the ending could have been a bit more sinister or chilling but I still enjoyed trying to solve the mystery.

Also I do hope this book becomes part of a series because that ending was shocking.

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing for my copy of AND THEN SHE VANISHED!

REVIEW: The Imposter by Marin Montgomery

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Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publish Date: March 09, 2021

Genre: Thriller, Suspence, Mystery

#netgalleyarc

From the outside looking in, Sibley Sawyer has a perfect life. As a successful attorney, she’s worked hard to get to the top of her game—but when her personal and professional lives implode, Sibley looks for a way to turn the page.

Unable to shake the tragic circumstances that caused her to flee her rural Midwestern hometown, Sibley wants nothing more than to reunite with her estranged mother, Deborah, and bury their past tensions.

But as she reenters the life she left behind, she realizes her mother isn’t the same person she remembers, and she’s not the same daughter either.

As both women struggle to piece together a tangled web of deceit and lies, and the shocking circumstances that caused Sibley to leave in the first place, it becomes clear there are secrets rooted deeper than either mother or daughter could ever have imagined.

Can you really deceive your past and those around you?

MY REVIEW:

Whaaaat did I just read?! I just embarked on one helluva mind trip that left me questioning if I had read what I actually read … and it was awesome. Haha.

Initially, I didn’t like having two point of views of characters that were both mentally unstable. It led to a lot of confusion and rapid heartbeats but as I kept reading I realized: this author is a genius. She had me guessing what was actually going on and who was reliable. Is the alcoholic daughter Sibley who gets black out drunk and wakes up in random places without recollection of what she did or her mother Deborah who takes heavy medications and is still caught up in traumas of the past? Or neither?

I really enjoyed this author’s writing style and the storyline. I did suspect one person in the end of “mischief” but I was surprised by all of the revelations. Overall, I did really love this book and the characters, though Sibley tested my too thin patience, hah.

Thank you to the author for my copy of your book!

REVIEW: When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine

Publish Date: April 13, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Crime Thriller

#netgalleyarc

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.

The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives—and our faith in one another.

MY REVIEW:

Every once in a while I’ll stumble upon a book that just fractures my heart (in a good way). This book is that book. It easily slid into my ‘top five favorite books of this year’ list. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group for my copy!

Anna is one of my all time favorite characters, I loved her! And I can be really picky with

characters. From the very first few pages I was invested. Anna’s pain and grief radiated out of the words dried in ink and I felt for her so much. Even though I hadn’t gone through what she had or lost what she had, I related to her. I loved her compassion and dedication to finding the missing girls despite her own personal tragedies.

I did suspect who the killer might be but I was still surprised especially with the revelations that came to light. I really loved how the book ended but it did leave me with a feeling of sadness especially with who the killer was. It was just heartbreaking. This author’s writing is beautiful. I loved the imagery and metaphors, the flow and the storyline was the perfect pace. I actually felt sad to finish the book because I loved it so much. I wanted to see more of Anna’s journey.

I definitely definitely recommend this book. By far, one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t even explain completely why it affected me so much but it did.

“𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘶𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥?”

“𝘉𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘳.”

Review: A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publish date: June 8, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

#netgalleyarc

When prodigal daughter Heather Evans returns to her family home after her mother’s baffling suicide, she makes an alarming discovery–stacks and stacks of carefully preserved letters from notorious serial killer Michael Reave. The “Red Wolf,” as he was dubbed by the press, has been in prison for over twenty years, serving a life sentence for the gruesome and ritualistic murders of several women across the country, although he has always protested his innocence. The police have had no reason to listen, yet Heather isn’t the only one to have cause to re-examine the murders. The body of a young woman has just been found, dismembered and placed inside a tree, the corpse planted with flowers. Just as the Red Wolf once did.

What did Heather’s mother know? Why did she kill herself? And with the monstrous Red Wolf safely locked inside a maximum security prison, who is stalking young women now? Teaming up with DI Ben Parker, Heather hopes to get some answers for herself and for the newest victims of this depraved murderer. Yet to do that, she must speak to Michael Reave herself, and expose herself to truths she may not be ready to face. Something dark is walking in the woods, and it knows her all too well.

MY REVIEW:

How would you feel if you found out someone close to you has been corresponding with a serial killer? I only read the first couple of sentences of the synopsis and immediately requested it. It was such a unique plot and I definitely wanted to find out what happens.

The beginning grabbed me in right away. It was incredibly disturbing and chilling. The storyline didn’t falter from there and kept getting more and more twisted. I did feel like the ending wrapped up rather quickly. A lot of revelations happened and before you even had a chance to dissect it, bam! The end. Heather was an interesting character to say the least. She did get many eye rolls throughout the book but I did admire her courage.

One thing I do appreciate is when an author writes a sympathetic serial killer. I’ve seen this from Karen Rose many times and it makes the character that much more intriguing and complex. Overall, I did enjoy this book and will check out more by this author!

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for my copy of this book!

Review of The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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Publish date: March 09, 2021

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

#netgalleyarc

A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.” 

It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything. 

At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.

MY REVIEW:

Wow. This book left me reeling! Did you ever worry about social dynamics in school? Wanting to be part of the popular crowd and fitting in? What defines someone as popular anyways?
I love how this book conveyed toxic friendships and desires of the social hierarchy. The book flashes back and forth between past and present which sometimes can break the flow of the book but not in this one. The events and characters gripped my attention and kept me reading until I finished the book in one sitting. Even though we know right off the bat that something bad happened and the main character Amb, blames herself, I was still shocked by the revelations and the cruelty that humans can inflict upon one another.

I’m keeping this review intentionally vague because I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s best to go in not knowing what happens with this one. I will say, the ending was perfect! I was really anxious to see how the author would end it after everything and it was perfect. Everyone got what they deserved in my opinion. Definitely give this book a shot and add it to your tbr.

Thank you to @simonandschuster for my digital copy!

Review of You Will Never Know by S.A. Prentiss

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Publish Date: November 10, 2020

Publisher: Penzler Publishers

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

#netgalleyarc

In a small, suburban town, the murder of a local high school student rocks one woman’s family to its core—and threatens to expose her deepest, darkest secrets in the process.

After a lifetime of hardship, Jessica Thornton finally has the life she’s dreamed of: a new marriage to a realtor with burgeoning success; a daughter whose athleticism has won her a scholarship to college; and a freshly-secured grant from her bank to finally complete her own higher education.

Her life today is a complete reversal from the not-too-distant past, when the death of her first husband left her penniless and desperate to provide for her then-newborn child. But after the murder of her children’s high school classmate, a series of disturbances brings Jessica to question whether her dreams ever actually came true, or whether they’ve just been delusions all along . . .

In the days after the murder, suspicion creeps in at every corner, beginning with Jessica’s daughter and stepson, who won’t tell her where they were on that fateful night. Then she discovers that her husband’s business is failing, not growing, and that the stories he’s told of meetings with high-powered investors were nothing more than lies. And when a private investigator comes to look into the death of her first husband, her last foundation of truth slips suddenly away.

MY REVIEW:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this book. The synopsis was really intriguing but as this is a new author for me, I didn’t want to have any expectations. I liked the plot and thought it was original and mysterious. The characters however, were not. They were a bit bland and without dynamic except for the main character Jessica. I was not expecting her to be the way she was and the things she had done. This book also misleads you. You assume a certain sequence of events but it’s actually not. I’m not sure how I feel about all the revelations and twists but one thing is for sure: I do wish Jessica had gotten a different ending. Overall, this was a fast paced read that does keep you guessing but it did miss the mark for me.

Review of They’re Gone by E.A. Barres

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Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publish Date: November 10, 2020

Genre: thriller, mystery

#netgalleyarc

Two men from vastly different backgrounds are murdered one after another on the same night, in the same fashion with two bullet wounds: one in the head, another in the heart. The two slayings sends their wives on a desperate search for answers–and a desperate attempt to save their families’ lives.

Grief takes a heavy toll on northern Virginia freelance editor Deb Linh Thomas when she learns of her husband’s murder. And utter dismay sets in when, just a week after the funeral, she discovers that he had been the subject of an FBI investigation after withdrawing a large sum of money from their shared accounts.

Elsewhere, Baltimore bartender Cessy Castillo is less bereft when her abusive husband, ex-cop Hector Ramirez, is killed. But it turns out that he was deep in hock–and now Cessy’s expected to pay up.

Deb and the FBI agent assigned to her case start digging into her husband’s murder and learn that he had been the target of criminals. As Deb and Cessy join forces to learn the truth, their investigation reveals an ever-darker web of clues, but if they’re not careful, they may just end up like their husbands.


MY REVIEW:

I don’t know what I was expecting this book to be but this was not it!

This was a fast paced thriller with almost a comedic tint to it. It’s like one of those horror movies that’s scary but a little humorous as well. I loved the differences between the two women and how they came together and dealt with things. I found each woman to be brave and strong especially Cessy. I do wish there could have been more that was done with the bad characters … all the loose ends tied and their actions brought forefront. It seemed like what they did was all swept under rug and over and done with. But I really did enjoy this book and I appreciated the different concept the author used.

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for this arc!

Review: It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan

⭐️

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publish date: September 08, 2020

Genre: horror

#netgalleyarc

They say there’s a door in Wakefield that never opens… Sam Wakefield’s ancestral home, a decaying mansion built on the edge of a swamp, isn’t a place for children. Its labyrinthine halls, built by her mad ancestors, are filled with echoes of the past: ghosts and memories knotted together as one. In the presence of phantoms, it’s all Sam can do to disentangle past from present in her daily life. But when her pregnant sister Elizabeth moves in after a fight with her husband, something in the house shifts. Already navigating her tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth, Sam is even more unsettled by the appearance of a new ghost: a faceless boy who commits disturbing acts–threatening animals, terrorizing other children, and following Sam into the depths of the house wielding a knife. When it becomes clear the boy is connected to a locked, forgotten room, one which is never entered, Sam realizes this ghost is not like the others. This boy brings doom… As Elizabeth’s due date approaches, Sam must unravel the mysteries of Wakefield before her sister brings new life into a house marked by death. But as the faceless boy grows stronger, Sam will learn that some doors should stay closed–and some secrets are safer locked away forever.


MY REVIEW:

It took sheer will and a lot of skimming for me to finish this book. I thought: haunted house and evil ghost children would make for a great read but no.

I was really confused throughout the majority of the book. The writing while lovely was a little old fashioned which isn’t a bad thing but I did have to read some parts twice to fully understand what the author was talking about. I felt that there were a lot of unnecessary details intermingled throughout the story and this stalled the flow of the story.

Also, what the heck even was the point of the story? It was incredibly slow building up. The “ghost” part was really weird and confusing and the concept of zero nothingness.
And then that ending. How disappointing for everything to just end like that though it wasn’t really a surprise.

I really wish I could have liked this book but it just wasn’t for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this arc!

Review: When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publish Date: September 01, 2020

#digitalarc

Genre: mystery, thriller

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?


MY REVIEW:

“𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘐 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥 – 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘧 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘰 – 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘦. 𝘋𝘳𝘶𝘨𝘴. 𝘎𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘴. 𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘧𝘢𝘳𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘸𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘬𝘪𝘥. 𝘕𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘦𝘢.”

Wow. What a wild ride. Or at least the last 40% of it was. This was a slow burn thriller but I didn’t mind that at all. There was a lot of information being given about the gentrification of the neighborhood and racism that built up to an incredible finale. There was an eerie atmosphere and all the events in the beginning left a cold pit in my stomach. I LOVE what the author did with this book. Sydney was so broken but brave despite that. I felt all the helplessness, desperation and fury that she went through. This book brings light to the fact that the events it contained actually did happen. And do happen to this day. It’s sickening. Heartbreaking.

But it made me love the ending so much! It’s exactly what needed to happen. And I’m glad that Sydney and Theo did what they did. Everyone should read this book and learn from it.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this arc!