Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Be careful who you let in. 

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. 

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. 

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone. 

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Review:

Sometimes the more points of view a mystery has, the better for me, especially if it’s executed well, and friends, it’s done SO well here. There are three distinct viewpoints and each was equally gripping for me, short chapters and multiple POV are my jam. Then throw in an old unsolved mystery, a stifling and creepy atmosphere and the hint of cult like vibes? My cold, black heart is swooning! 🖤🖤🖤

My biggest complaint with thrillers in general lately has been how boring and predictable they’ve all seemed and I was so impressed that this was completely unpredictable for me. There were quite a few intricate details that I didn’t see coming and the whole thing was just mapped out really well. This had serious gothic vibes, I kept being reminded of old school V. C. Andrews books but without the crazy, over the top plot lines, just the awesome settings and edgy vibes. While this was most definitely dark it would be great for readers that don’t want something super disturbing, it’s still addictive and intriguing but not nightmare inducing. I have to note that Jewell is an incredibly gifted writer, the whole book is seamless and was such an effortless read. Highly recommended for thriller fans, if you’re already a LJ fan you’ll be happy!

The Family Upstairs in three words: Atmospheric, Gripping and Tense

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: You Have to Believe Me by Sunday Tomassetti

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 19, 2019

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

She has every reason to hate her ex …

Every day on her way home from work, Dove Damiani drives past her ex-house, where her ex-husband lives with her ex-dog and her ex-yoga instructor, next to her ex-neighbors and the ex-life she once affectionately described as “frighteningly perfect.”

To outsiders, Dove is bitter and resentful. The divorce left her alone, with nothing but a set of car keys and 50% of a paltry savings account. 

…but it doesn’t mean she wants him dead.

When the lifeless body of her former husband is discovered in the birch grove outside Dove’s apartment on what would have been their fifth wedding anniversary, investigators waste no time making Dove a person of interest. She swears she didn’t do it. She’s never so much as killed a spider in her thirty years. 

But as evidence mounts against her, Dove finds herself questioning her memory, her sanity, and even—her innocence. 

Review:

Have you guys heard of Minka Kent? I discovered her books a couple of years ago and really like her style. She writes fast paced and addictive thrillers that are always pretty entertaining. I say all of this because the author of this is actually MK writing under a pseudonym, so if you’re a fan of her books don’t miss this one!

If you’re looking for your next weekend binge read this would be a good choice, it’s super fast and there was always a lot going on to keep my attention. I never knew quite who to trust and the whole thing was one big guessing game right up until the end. It was also pretty twisty and kind of read like a lifetime movie, a little over the top and dramatic but also fun, you can’t really stop reading because it just sucks you in, even if it’s a little out there.

A quick side note, I’ve still been struggling with thrillers and this one held my attention so that’s saying a lot for me at the moment! I can’t tell you how many thrillers I’ve set down in the last couple of months and this one made the cut 🙌🏻

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 17, 2019

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered and rough-around-the-edges contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction… 

Review:

I am obsessed with this series you guys, it’s so much fun! This is the second in a series, the first one is Passion on Park Avenue and there’s a third book coming out in early 2020. You could read this on it’s own but don’t, both books are such fun, fast and entertaining reads you don’t wanna miss out!

One of the best things about an LL book is her trademark humor and snark and this one does not disappoint in that area whatsoever. Claire and Scott are both smart and witty and their banter is amazing, there were so many funny one liners that made me legit laugh out loud. They also have fantastic chemistry and while there are a few slightly racy parts, there isn’t a ton of steam, the perfect balance for me in terms of flirty fun and sex. I really liked both Claire and Scott as characters, they’re the type of leads you’re rooting for the whole time and when they finally get their acts together I was thrilled. Recommended for fans of any rom coms, super cute and light and highly entertaining.

Love on Lexington Avenue in three words: Sparkling, Adorable and Charming

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

#Fallintomybacklist

Hey guys, I hope everyone is having a good weekend! I wanted to check in and tell you all about something fun I have planned with my friend Sarah at ReallyIntoThis We’re hosting a backlist reading challenge over on Instagram and we wanted to make sure we invited y’all to join in too. Tomorrow we’re having a stack challenge where we want to see a pile of older books that you would like to read before the end of the year. Then, from October through December we will be focusing mainly on backlist books. We would love to have anyone who wants to join us by using #fallintomybacklist anytime you post about an older book! We have some exciting stuff planned and both of us are really looking forward to reading some books we’ve had on our shelves for far too long. You can find us both on Instagram me and Sarah.

Since I’m going to be so focused on the challenge I’m not sure I’ll be posting quite as much on here for the next few months. I’ll be tracking my reading on Goodreads and Instagram still but probably won’t be posting as much here, I will be back though but just wanted to give everyone a heads up if things seem quiet.

Review: The Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 17, 2019

Publisher: Pantheon Books

Genre: Horror

Blurb:

Noah Turner see monsters.

His father saw them–and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates.

His practical mother has caught glimpses of terrors but refuses to believe–too focused on keeping the family from falling apart.

And his eldest sister, the dramatic and vulnerable Sydney, won’t admit to seeing anything but the beckoning glow of the spotlight . . . until it swallows her up.

Noah Turner sees monsters. But, unlike his family, Noah chooses to let them in . . . 

Review:

I’ve maybe read five horror novels my whole life, the genre is just slightly out of my comfort zone but when I saw high praise from two of my most trusted reviewers (Chelsea and Abby) I knew I had to give it a shot. And I’ve once again learned why it’s so important to step out of my comfort zone occasionally because this one was really good!

While this is definitely a horror novel it’s also not your typical gory, over the top classic horror novel, it’s way deeper and more sophisticated than I expected. Literary horror would be an apt description, there was a quiet beauty to the authors writing even in the midst of such a dark and disturbing tale. I’m not gonna lie, this one is weird you guys, there’s a few moments where I went, wait, WHAT?! But I loved the weirdness and so appreciated that I was reading something wholly unique and like nothing else I’ve read before. It’s beyond dark too and deals with some disturbing stuff but again, there’s something beautiful about the way the author handles deep issues. The structure was also fantastic, there are seven different sections and there’s leaps of years sometimes which really propelled the plot forward at a rapid pace. I really don’t want to say too much more because this was so unique and I went in blind and feel like that’s the best way, but I’ll close by saying that if you like dark thriller try this, it’s a standout, for sure and is unlike much of what is on the market today.

The Cosmology of Monsters in three words: Harrowing, Unique and Dark

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Stylist Takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Chick Lit

Blurb:

Novice stylist Amber Green is taking on the glittering celebrity world of Manhattan one fashion disaster and wardrobe malfunction at a time! 

When her TV producer boyfriend Rob announces that he’s been offered a job in New York, filming with the infamous Angel Wear lingerie models, Amber knows its her perfect chance to take the New York fashion world by storm.

But Amber wasn’t counting on unruly toddler photo shoots, clandestine designer handbag scams and a Hollywood star who is determined to wear as little as possible on the red carpet. Until she meets a disgraced former designer who could turn her career around…or leave it all in tatters.

Fun, adventure, glamour and high-fashion make this is the perfect feel good women’s fiction read.

Review:

I’m a HUGE sucker for British chick lit, and as soon as I read the description of this one I immediately was reminded of Becky Bloomwood, who in my opinion is like the funniest heroine of all time. Anyway, this one was similar in a lot of ways and was just a super fun and silly read. This is the second book in a series and I didn’t read the first one but I was totally fine, although I had so much fun with this one I’m wondering how the first book slipped under my radar? 🤔

Amber is the type of character who constantly finds herself in outrageous situations that always end up being highly entertaining. There is never a dull moment with her and there were many moments of slapstick style comedy and over the top hilarity that had me giggling. In between reading a few dark thrillers this was exactly the escape that I needed and besides Amber the supporting cast of characters were also fun and a nice balance to her wild escapades. Things were left open ended enough that I’m hoping there will be another book, I would love to read more about Amber and her adventures for sure!

The Stylist Takes Manhattan in three words: Cheeky, Glitzy and Sassy

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

August Wrap Up

The Arrangement: Addictive, Obsessive and Dramatic

Life and Other Inconveniences: Heartfelt, Emotional and Moving

Because You’re Mine: Twisty, Dark and Riveting

The Perfect Wife: Original, Slick and Advanved

The Right Swipe: Saucy, Fierce and Fun

Love at First Like: Amusing, Modern and Fun

Double review of the sweet and charming Moonlight Bay Series

The Escape Room: Entertaining, Suspenseful and Creative

Torment: Menacing, Twisted and Dark

Things You Save in a Fire:Evocative, Heartfelt and Unforgettable

Keeping Lucy was one I really struggled with

The Last Widow: Harrowing, Bold and Gripping

The Whisper Man: Atmospheric, Creepy and Tense

Stolen Things: Addictive, Pacey and Gritty

On the Corner of Love and Hate was just ok for me

Sidelined was a cute sports romance

The Sixth Wicked Child: Clever, Meticulous and Tense

Well Met: Adorable, Sweet and Charming