Book Review

Book Review: The Lies We Told by Camilla Way- 5 Stars

Find it on Goodreads & Amazon

This novel follows two stories, one present day and one set in the 80’s that eventually collide and at the root of it all is a girl named Hannah.

In the late 80’s a couple desperately wants to have a baby. So when their dream finally comes true, they don’t want to believe that something is wrong with Hannah. Even as a little girl, she found joy in hurting people. Her parents want to get her help but it might be too late…

In present day, a man named Luke is missing. His girlfriend Clara can’t help but think something terrible has happened. Everyone else seems to think he’s just off drunk somewhere and will show up sooner or later, but Clara knows Luke, and this isn’t right. So when Clara begins to talk to people from Luke’s past she realizes she might not have known her boyfriend that well after all…

These two stories are told in alternating chapters but once it becomes clear how they are connected my jaw dropped! This book is FULL of twists and surprises. Many of the characters are unreliable and dysfunctional so it’s hard to distinguish what might really be going on and who is being honest.

The Lies We Told is chilling and fast paced making for a quick read! Definitely pick this one up if you’re a lover of thrillers!

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Book Review

Book Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier- 4 Stars

Find it on Goodreads!

 

Trigger warning: rape, abuse

 

Wow, this was a really twisted and depraved story.

Sixteen year old Angela Wong and Georgina (Geo) Shaw are best friends, attached at the hip, until a man five years their senior comes in between them. Geo and Calvin are inseparable, but it’s a tumultuous relationship. Calvin is abusive and controlling, but Geo can’t let him go, until one night when everything changes and Angela goes missing.

For fourteen years, Angela’s family wondered what happened to her, and only two people know the truth, so when it’s brought to light that Calvin is the Sweetbay Strangler and Geo was a witness the night Angela died, Geo is sent to prison for five years. But, is what’s revealed the full story, or is Calvin and Angela still harboring chilling secrets?

When more bodies are found murdered and dismembered just like Angela’s, police are convinced the Sweetbay Strangler has struck again after escaping prison, and only one person can help solve this case, and she’s not telling the whole story.

This story was definitely sick and twisted, and begs the question, are addictions and behaviors hereditary or learned? There is so many shocking moments in this story you won’t be able to put it down! This novel isn’t for the squeamish as it’s pretty dark and graphic, and I found myself at times wanting to stop reading because of that fact, but the story-line was so compelling I made myself keep reading as I just HAD to know the ending!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, the author, and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Order your copy from //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wordswisdomwh-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1250154197&asins=1250154197&linkId=d63d317c44d74653182be5f6467fff75&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF“>Amazon!

 

 

Book Review

Book Review: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer- 4 Stars

Can you love someone to death? 

Some would say Becky Gerard is a devoted mother and would do anything for her only child. Others claim she’s obsessed and can’t stop the vicious circle of finding a cure at her daughter’s expense. 

Fifteen-year-old Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a plague of unexplained illnesses. But when the ailments take a sharp turn, doctors intervene and immediately suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where the primary caretaker, typically the mother, seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child. Is this what’s going on? Or is there something even more sinister at hand?

Add it on Goodreads!

Saving Meghan is a medical courtroom thriller chronicling the hunt for diagnosis explaining Meghan’s illnesses. Her mom Becky is completely devoted to finding out what has plagued her daughter for the past few years, but her dad, Carl, doesn’t really believe Meghan is sick. Becky’s mom used her and her sister Sabrina to lie for her, enabling her to receive disability for made up symptoms all throughout their childhood, so it just seems likely that all those years of abuse and trauma are affecting Becky now in adulthood and it’s manifesting illnesses in her daughter.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy stories have always intrigued me, and this novel takes readers on a wild ride through the lives of Becky, Carl, and Meghan. Although a psychiatrist and a gastroenterologist strongly believe this is what is wrong with Meghan, another doctor  suspects a rare disease he has seen first hand with his own child. What follows is a fight to save Meghan’s life and her health. Told in multiple POV’s, each chapter will have you questioning what you really think it wrong with Meghan. It’s fast paced, full of suspense and family drama, and is so thrilling you won’t be able to put it down!

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for my advance copy of this book.

Saving Meghan will release April 9th!

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides- 5 Stars

Find it on Goodreads!

 

 

 

 

Alicia has been in a mental health facility for six years after shooting her husband in the face and refusing to speak since that fateful night. Theo, a psychotherapist, is enamored with her case, and convinced he can get her to talk. Told in chapters that alternate from past to present, with Alicia’s diary entries sprinkled throughout, readers are swept up in a story that is so shocking, confusing, and twisty, you will be at a loss of who to root for and who to hate. What happened to Alicia that has caused her to choose to be mute? Does Theo have ulterior motives or does he really just want to help her?

I love thrillers with unreliable narrators and this one doesn’t disappoint in that aspect. I didn’t have the twist figured out until it smacked me in the face and my jaw DROPPED! This book really puts you right into the mindset of the mentally ill and it’s quite frightening to experience what they are dealing with. This was a fantastic debut from the author and I highly recommend.

Do you like psychological thrillers? If you’ve read this one, what did you think?

Book Review

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens- 5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

At its essence, this book is about an abandoned girl who must figure out life by herself. But it’s so much more than that. Part mystery, part coming-of-age, and wholly engrossing, you will not be able to put this one down.

When Kya is young, her mom walks out of the house and never looks back. Shortly after, all her siblings leave, and she’s left to fend for herself and deal with an abusive father. She doesn’t know how to read, count, or cook, and has to figure it all out alone, until a nearby boy named Tate starts helping her read. Along with Tate, Jumpin’, who works at the local store, and his wife Mabel, show Kya she is valued and loved even through all of the abandonment and discrimination she’s endured.

I could not stop cheering for Kya. She is the epitome of feminine strength and determination, and the definition of “picking yourself up by your bootstraps!” Living alone in the marsh, isolation and abandonment  shaped Kya into someone very different than the girls in town, but she is clever and intuitive, taking cues from the wildlife and Mother Nature in order to survive.

The imagery of all the marsh life was so descriptive. I learned a lot about birds and marsh beings from this book, but in a way that didn’t just read like a text book. I also really liked the use of local dialect throughout the story. The chapters span back and forth from Kya’s childhood in the 1950’s to 1969 when the town’s favorite boy Chase Andrews is found possibly murdered and the Marsh Girl Kya is a prime suspect.

This is a book that sticks with you long after you turn the last page. It’s one of my favorites I’ve read so far this year, if not of all time. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and captivating. I recommend everyone read it.

Book Review

Book Review: The 7 & 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton- 2.5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

The Rules of Blackheath:

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. 
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. 
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. 
Understood? Then let’s begin…

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

This novel has a creative premise. I mean, it’s like Clue or Groundhog Day in book form!

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11 pm and Aiden must reveal the killer to escape Blackheath. The only problem is, Aiden wakes up in a different body every day for eight days, leaving his memory in fragments, making it hard to piece together what he knows and what else he needs to discover. The first day of the eight days Aiden is given to solve Evelyn’s murder was interesting. After that, I became bored and extremely confused. There were SO many characters and different subplots happening it was very hard to stay focused. I felt the whole book was disjointed and so many things didn’t seem to make sense. I especially thought Daniel was a confusing character that didn’t quite seem to be explained, as well as why Aiden could remember some events that took place, whether it be ones to come in another body, or those he’s already lived out in the past through another host.

It was long and slow moving so unfortunately this book ended up not being for me and I can’t recommend.

Book Review

Book Review: I Know You by Annabel Kantaria- 5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

You trust her. 

You shouldn’t. 

That picture you just posted on Instagram? I’ve seen it.
The location you tagged? I’ve been there.

You haven’t been careful enough, have you?
Because I know all about you.

But when I meet you, I won’t tell you that.
I’ll pretend. Just like you do.

You’ll like me though. You’ll trust me enough to let me into your life.

And then I’ll destroy it.

Wow! As someone who is very active on social media, especially Instagram, this was exceptionally creepy!

Taylor, a California native, has moved with her husband back to his hometown of Croydon, England, and is struggling to make friends. She has always lived her life through social media-constantly uploading little snippets of her life, be it where she goes for her honeymoon, for dinner, even her new baby’s crib and clothes. Sounds like most of us, right? When she joins a walking group in her neighborhood, she’s so lonely, homesick, and desperate for interaction she tries to get one of the girls, Anna, to like her, instantly. Slowly, Anna warms up to her, but Simon, also seemingly desperate for friendship, is constantly around Taylor and he gives Anna the creeps. Slowly, Anna and Taylor become best friends, as they have a lot in common-they’re both pregnant, their husbands both work out of town frequently, they both used to be airline cabin crew, and they’re both lonely and looking for friendship. Anna also shares a lot of her life online, especially Instagram, and Taylor is delighted when some of the hashtags Anna posts are about #newfriends! She clings to this, and it really hurts when Anna reschedules their plans, which is frequently.

Aside from the walking group, Taylor also joins a book club where she meets Caroline and Sarah. There are a lot of characters to keep up with but they are all well developed and it’s hard to pinpoint if one of them is the sadistic stalker that readers come across in some alternating chapters. If you’ve followed my blog for awhile now, it’s no secret I love to read thrillers! This one was especially relatable due to the contemporary time period where everyone puts everything online. I had an inkling of who the stalker would end up being but the final reveal was definitely not what I imagined! Make sure to pick this one up if you’re in the mood for a great twisty thriller!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and this has not influenced my review.

 

 

Book Review

Book Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris- 4 Stars

Summary From Goodreads:

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

I’ve become a huge fan of B.A. Paris in the past few months and I think this is my favorite of hers! Twelve years after the love of his life Layla disappears, Finn has moved on. He’s dating Ellen, who Layla’s sister, actually- and is very successful in his job, but not a day passes that he doesn’t wonder about Layla. Layla and Ellen are complete opposites- Layla is wild and outgoing, Ellen is more placid and reserved. Finn loves them both, but who does his heart belong to more?

When objects start turning up and emails begin pouring in, he has to face the truth that maybe Layla has come back. But why would Layla wait so long to reach out if she was alive all this time? Could it be so simple that she’s ready to come back to Finn, or is something more sinister at play here?

The ending was WILD and all of the clues that stacked up to the penultimate moment were shocking! It’s clever, creepy, and gripping to the point I could NOT put it down! Another one I highly recommend if you love thrillers.

Book Review

Book Review: The Date by Louise Jensen- 4 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor. 

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. 

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. 

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her… 

At the persistence of her friends, Ali signs up for an online dating site, and immediately hits it off with Ewan. Yet the next morning she wakes up with injuries and no memory of what happened the night before but the most frightening thing is she doesn’t recognize her own face in the mirror, and when her brother comes by, she doesn’t know him either.

After several tests in the hospital, doctors diagnose her with Prosopagnosia, or face blindness. She can’t recognize her own face, her family, and definitely not the faces of strangers. She’s convinced her date, Ewan, hurt her, and sets out to find him once she receives threatening messages and ominous gifts on her doorstep. But how will she ever find him if she can’t remember what he looked like, nor discern who anyone is now that she’s suffered this injury?

While reading I felt this nagging in my brain that the villain was this particular person, and I definitely had them pegged, but had no idea why they were doing what they were doing until the end-and it was a crazy reveal!

Louise Jensen’s books always keep me glued to the page and on the edge of my seat! It’s almost like I can’t read them fast enough; I’ve just GOT to know what happens next! Pick this one up if you’re in the mood for a fast paced thriller!

I received a copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

Book Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones- 4 Stars

From Goodreads: A deliciously disturbing, compulsively readable debut domestic suspense–prepare to meet The Other Woman: there’s nothing she won’t do to keep you away from her son …

Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.

This debut novel from Sandie Jones was crazy! Emily is dating Adam and everything is great except for her relationship with his mother, Pammie. She is constantly throwing barbed comments around at Emily, and is ridiculously obsessive over Adam. Her husband is dead so all she has are her sons, and some times they seem a little too close for comfort.

When Emily and Adam get engaged, things go from bad to worse. The Other Woman will have you questioning everyone’s motives and sanity. Adam can’t see how Pammie is trying to manipulate Emily and tear her and Adam apart. Emily begins to really wonder if she is the problem, as Pammie seems so sweet in everyone else’s eyes.

The ending was insane and definitely shocked me! This was a fast paced, mess with your mind thriller that I definitely recommend, and I can’t wait to read more from this author!