Review: The Woman Inside by E. G. Scott

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Release date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Rebecca didn’t know love was possible until she met Paul, a successful, charismatic, married man with a past as dark as her own. Their pain drew them together with an irresistible magnetism; they sensed that they were each other’s ideal (and perhaps only) match.
 
But twenty years later, Paul and Rebecca are drowning as the damage and secrets that ignited their love begin to consume their marriage. Paul is cheating on Rebecca, and his affair gets messy fast. His mistress is stalking them with growing audacity when Rebecca discovers Paul’s elaborate plan to build a new life without her. And though Rebecca is spiraling into an opiate addiction, it doesn’t stop her from coming up with a devious plot of her own, and this one could end absolutely everything.
 
What follows is an unpredictable and stylish game of cat and mouse—a shocking tale of unfaithfulness and unreliability that will keep you racing until the final twist and make you wonder how well you really know your spouse.
 

Review:

What is it about a pair of unreliable narrators that makes a book so compulsively readable for me? If it’s executed properly I absolutely cannot put a book full of unreliability down and this one was executed to perfection for me!

This is told primarily from both Rebecca and Paul’s perspectives and flips back and forth between them as well as Before, After and Now. You don’t know exactly what event happened to divide things into a before and after, but you damn sure want to find out! Rebecca has a major pill popping problem and Paul is a cheater so they’re both incredibly untrustworthy. I didn’t quite believe either of their stories but you know the truth is in there somewhere, and trying to figure that out was such fun for me.

This one had tons of marital drama, my favorite kind of entertainment and there were seriously some twisted moments in Paul and Rebecca’s marriage. There were also some killer twists that I didn’t see coming at all, this one held my attention throughout and though the ending was a bit over the top and dramatic, I loved it!

The Woman Inside in three words: Slick, Dramatic and Deceptive.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

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Release date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives. 
Review:

I’m such a sucker for a book about sisters and this had the added bonus of being set during World War Two which is rapidly becoming my favorite era in Historical Fiction! While the time period definitely plays a big role in the story, at its core this is really about the complicated relationship between siblings.

This is told in alternating timelines and also flips back and forth between Ruth and Millie. You also hear a little from some other women that are important in the women’s lives as well and I absolutely loved this structure, everything just flowed together so smoothly, there wasn’t any of that disjointed feeling that sometimes happens when a book bounces around. Loigman’s style was incredibly easy to get lost in and I could easily picture the scenes she brought to life.

There were several layers to this one, much more than meets the eye as both Ruth and Millie were trying to keep secrets from one another. It’s abundantly clear that they have issues and are harboring resentments against each other and as the book progresses you slowly find out where things went wrong between them. A really solid family drama set in an era sure to captivate, especially if you like women’s fiction as well as HF.

The Wartime Sisters in three words: Fluid, Insightful and Alluring.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard @cathryanhoward @corvusbooks #TheLiarsGirl

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Release date: January 3, 2018

Publisher: Corvus Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin’s elite St. John’s College-and Ireland’s most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his four young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city’s Central Psychiatric Hospital.

Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enrol in St. John’s and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed … and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer-and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who’d been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back.

When a young woman’s body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess-but there’s only one person he’s prepared to confess it to. The last thing Alison wants is to be pulled back into the past she’s worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn’t set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.

Only to discover that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of all … 

I’m so thrilled to be the stop on the blog tour for The Liar’s Girl in honor of the paperback release!

Review:

If you’re ever in the mood for slow burning suspense you have got to check this one out! The initial premise hooked me instantly, the idea of a woman being in a relationship with a serial killer is not only terrifying but also fascinating. The idea of a ruthless killer blending in amongst us never fails to intrigue me, does anyone else ever wonder if they’ve crossed paths with a psycho or is that just me?! Anyway, this one reeled me in right away and my interest never wavered once.

This flips between the present day and then back to when Alison was a fresh faced college student, drip feeding you relevant information at a subtle pace. Though this definitely had a slower pace, don’t mistake slow for boring because it was anything but, there was simmering tension and uncertainty the whole way through. By the time I made it to the last quarter of the book the pace had picked up significantly and the intensity was through the roof. I was utterly satisfied by the end and then when I got to the final chapter I was totally blown away, an intricately plotted twist was revealed that I never saw coming for a minute! Having loved both of the authors books now I’m a firm fan, definitely recommend both of her novels for fans of well thought out mysteries.

The Liar’s Girl in three words: Complex, Steady and Engrossing.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney

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Release date: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Flatiron

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

What happens when you’re really, truly done making your marriage work? You can’t be married to someone without sometimes wanting to bash them over the head…
As Long As We Both Shall Live is JoAnn Chaney’s wicked, masterful examination of a marriage gone very wrong, a marriage with lots of secrets…

“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work? 

Review:

It’s official, this book is the very first one that I’m adding to my best of 2019 shelf! Yes, I realize that we’re just days into a new year, however this was such an original, engaging read I’m confident about adding it so early!

While I really loved the story itself, (I’m a sucker for a domestic suspense) what really made this one stand out for me was the authors style. There was something darkly humorous about the writing, black comedy at it’s finest that just reeled me in and never let go. Diving into Matt and Marie’s marriage was wickedly fun, they’re a unique couple to say the least and then there’s a heavy police procedural vibe as you also hear from two detectives working the case, Loren and Spengler. It was a nice balance and the whole book flowed really smoothly and just when you get settled in and think you know where things are going, you get knocked on the ass with some twists. I never would’ve worked out the end on my own which I love, highly recommended if you want something that reads fresh.

As Long As We Both Shall Live in three words: Wicked, Addictive and Unpredictable.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

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Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her. 

Review:
The first I had heard of this one was last summer and it was being compared to V. C. Andrews, and that was enough for me to add this to my must read pile. Andrews was one of the first authors I followed closely, I spent at least a couple of years in middle school reading her various series and was totally captivated by her brand of domestic drama and over the top crazy plot lines. Surely my tastes have matured since then, but even so I do still love a family drama with gothic undertones and despite a few minor issues with this one, I can see why the comparison holds weight.
This is told in two timelines, Seraphine in 2017 after she finds an old family picture that raises more than a few questions and then it flips back to Laura when she begins a job as an au pair for Seraphine’s family. Rous is a good writer, there was definitely a dark, moody edge to her style that worked for me, but along with that melancholy vibe came a pretty slow pace. It did pick up some in the end, but this does require some patience for most of the book.
This does require the reader to suspend some disbelief in the end, I did kind of shake my head at a few reveals, but if that doesn’t bother you, this will be perfect. There were shocking revelations for sure, just don’t look too deep and ask too many questions and you’ll enjoy the ride!
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

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Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her. But it’s time that Leigh has her independence, and she hopes the beauty of the Colorado wilderness will entice her aunt to visit often.

Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again.

When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life. But the biggest surprise comes when Leigh takes Helen out to Sullivan’s Crossing and Helen finds herself falling for the place and one special person. Helen and Leigh will each have to decide if they can open themselves up to love neither expected to find and seize the opportunity to live their best lives. 

Review:

This is the fourth in a series and while I’ve wholeheartedly enjoyed every book, this one is hands down my favorite so far. I’m not sure exactly what made me love it so much this time, maybe it was that the two main characters this time around were so lovable or maybe it was just that I’ve grown to love reuniting with the residents of Timberlake, but whatever it is, Carr has made me a huge fan of this series.

There is always a lot going on in Carr’s books but this one had two separate developing romances and I was fully invested in both. I don’t want to ruin things for anyone but Helen ends up in a relationship with one of my favorite reoccurring characters and I was so excited about this storyline. The characters truly make this series special as well as the authenticity with which Carr writes, I always feel like I’m reading about real people in ordinary relationships which is so refreshing and appreciated.

The Best of Us in three words: Touching, Satisfying and Warm.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity and the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Deadly Recall by T. R. Ragan

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Release date: March 27, 2018

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

PI Jessie Cole is about to discover that there’s no revenge too wicked as New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan’s gripping series continues.

When you search for the missing, there’s no telling what you’ll find. PI Jessie Cole learned that painful truth firsthand when her sister disappeared. Now a new case will test Jessie and Ben once again.

Owen Shepard, the public face of one of the country’s biggest health insurance companies, has become the target of a vengeful father. The man blames Shepard for his child’s death and plans to make the CEO know what it’s like to live with a broken heart—and watch others die. After killing two employees, the desperate father kidnaps Shepard’s daughter. Tasked with finding her, Jessie and crime reporter Ben Morrison are running out of time to save her.

Meanwhile, Ben is still seeking insight into the man he used to be before a car crash erased his memories. And each discovery is leading Jessie and him down a frightening road. What they find could scar both of them forever. 

Review:

This is the second in a series that follows PI Jessie Cole and I really enjoyed the first book, she’s a character that intrigued me and while you learn quite a bit about her in the first book, there was still many questions left unanswered. I’m pleased to say that this may have answered a few of my burning questions about both her and Ben, but it still left plenty of room for more in the next books!

Much as with the last book there were several various plot threads to keep you on your toes. Jessie is hired to help find a killer so clearly it’s an intense case, and then Ben is still curious about his own past so Jessie is looking into that and then finally Jessie is also hired to help a mother find her daughter that was kidnapped as a newborn. I know that sounds like a lot, maybe even too much but Ragan is a pro and everything flows together seamlessly, definitely never a dull moment in this one.

Sometimes with the second book in a series that had a really strong start things start to get shaky but there was none of that here. It was a solid follow up and I’m eager to see what happens next!

Deadly Recall in three words: Dark, Multilayered and Gripping.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

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Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter….

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

Review:

What is it about a missing child premise that always intrigues me?! It’s one of my biggest fears as a parent, yet it always grabs my attention and this one more than grabbed my attention, it consumed me, I seriously could not put it down! I read it in two sittings in one afternoon and even my husband interrupted and said, wow you’re really into this one aren’t you Amy?! I just nodded and shushed him because, yes I am haha!

While I love a missing child storyline I’m always so excited when an author puts their own unique spin on the premise and Perks did just that. Imagine being in charge of your best friends daughter and then losing the child, how guilty and absolutely wretched would you feel? That’s the case for Charlotte and I truly felt sorry for her, there’s nothing you can do and surely nothing you can say to make things better in such a situation. Then poor Harriet, not knowing where her little girl is destroys her and I felt just as bad for her as I did for Charlotte. This flips back and forth between both women’s POV and I was really invested in both of their lives.

This is where I stop discussing even the most minor of plot details because things went in SO many unexpected directions that I don’t even want to hint at a possible spoiler. There are secrets galore and jaw dropping twists, I really didn’t see any of them coming, but I also wasn’t playing detective and looking too closely because I was entirely wrapped up in every single page. What a gripping read, it was incredibly well done, intense and complex, highly recommended!!

Her One Mistake in three words: Compulsive, Secretive and Twisty.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

December Wrap Up

Hey guys! I almost scrapped this wrap up, I only read nine books but honestly I had planned to give myself a reading break in December and I’m SO glad I did. It gave me such a nice break to spend time with my family and I loved having no pressure. How was your month? Do you slow down for the holidays as well?

The Silent Dead: Unusual, Twisted and Menacing.

Relatively Normal: Outrageous, Hilarious and Adorable.

Verity: Disturbing, Slick and Mind-blowing.

Fractured Truth: Unexpected, Engaging and Tense.

The Accidental Beauty Queen: Sparkly, Funny and Light.

Gown With the Wind: Light, Breezy and Easy.

Watching You: Obsessive, Gripping and Complex.

Into the Night: Engaging, Intriguing and Nuanced.

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky: Poignant, Emotional and Beautiful.

Review: Freefall by Jessica Barry

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Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Harper

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you

When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. For years, Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.

In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.

As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?

Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love. 

Review:

This is my first review of the new year and what a read it was, this one begs to be read in one breathless sitting, a total binge read. From the brief, incredibly fast paced chapters to the switch between points of view it’s a truly entertaining read with a fresh premise, what more could you want?!

This flips between Allison for one chapter and then her mother Maggie the next, Allison’s story begins from the minute her plane crashes and Maggie’s from the moment she finds out about the accident. As Allison fights to stay alive you slowly and steadily find out about her life over the past few years and the events that led to to the crash while simultaneously Maggie struggles to piece together what her daughter had been doing for the past two years. I was so invested in these two women and so eager to find out what was really going on, both possessed an inner strength that was remarkable and then add in a super tense environment for both women and I was all in.

While I did see a few things coming, the author did shock me in the end, and the aspects I did work out on my own didn’t take away from my enjoyment whatsoever. A really impressive debut, recommended for fans of pacey, exciting thrillers.

Freefall in three words: Entertaining, Dynamic and Fast.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.