Audiobook Review: Nice Girls by Catherine Dang

Goodreads

Release date: September 14, 2021

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

What did you do?

Growing up in Liberty Lake, Minnesota, Mary was chubby, awkward, and smart. Earning a scholarship to an Ivy League school was her ticket out; she was going to do great things and never look back. Three years later, “Ivy League Mary” is back—a thinner, cynical, and restless failure. Kicked out of Cornell at the beginning of senior year, she won’t tell anyone why. Working at the local grocery store, she sees familiar faces from high school and tries to make sense of the past and her life.

When beautiful, magnetic Olivia Willand, a rising social media star, goes missing, Mary—like the rest of Liberty Lake—becomes obsessed. Best friends in childhood, Mary and Olivia haven’t spoken in years. Everyone admired Olivia, but Mary knows better than anyone that behind the Instagram persona hid a willful, manipulative girl with sharp edges. As the world worries for perfect, lovely Olivia, Mary can’t help but hate her. She also believes that her disappearance is tied to another missing person—a nineteen-year-old girl named DeMaria Jackson whose disappearance has gone under the radar.

Who was the true Olivia Willand, and where did she go? What happened to DeMaria? As Mary delves deeper into the lives of the two missing girls, old wounds bleed fresh and painful secrets threaten to destroy everything.

Maybe no one is really a nice girl, after all.

Review:

Ahh this is one of those tricky middle of the road books for me, and most of the time they’re the hardest ones for me to review. There was definitely many things I liked about this one, but I also had issues as well. I do want to mention that the audio saved it for me because I don’t think I would’ve even finished if not for the narrator, Carlotta Brenton, she was excellent.

Initially I was drawn into this one but somewhere along the way the author lost me. Maybe I didn’t forge a strong enough connection to Mary, I do think that was my issue especially since this is told solely through her viewpoint and the failed connection made it hard for me to truly care about what was happening. I did appreciate the way the author discusses the differences in the way the two cases were handled based on race and social status, we all know a young white woman going missing will make national news, especially if she’s pretty while a woman of color going missing can barely garner public attention, seriously so messed up. It was also a slower style burn which just tested my patience but I did like her writing style so I would definitely give the author another chance.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Release date: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Flatiron

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. 
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Review:

Is there anything better than being able to count on a thriller author to consistently surprise you?! In a genre that can oftentimes feel stale and repetitive AF seems to be that rare author for me that keeps things fresh and exciting time and time again and her latest is no exception.

Face blindness as a critical plot point was absolutely fascinating for me, the sheer idea of it is terrifying, seriously imagine not being able to recognize your loved ones by sight? So interesting! Besides that you have this married couple that both seem unreliable and untrustworthy from the jump, then there’s a third POV that I struggled to work out how they would fit into the narrative, but when all was revealed I was 🤯 I found it to be incredibly clever and I didn’t see where it was going. It was also fast paced, atmospheric and extremely addictive reading. Once again the author pulled one over on me and I loved everything about it!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng

Goodreads

Release date: August 10, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Sci Fi

Synopsis:

Two lives. The one you wanted. The one that wanted you.

Her birthday should be like any other night.

One minute Kelly’s a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend’s art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She’s got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she’s married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school.

Racing to get back to her old life, Kelly’s search leads only to more questions. In this life, she loves Eric and wants to trust him, but everything she discovers about him—including a connection to a mysterious tech startup—tells her she shouldn’t. And strange things keep happening. The tattoos she had when she was an artist briefly reappear on her skin, she remembers fights with Eric that he says never happened, and her relationships with loved ones both new and familiar seem to change without warning.

But the closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can’t figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything…

Review:

I don’t tend to pick up sci-fi books very often but this one just sounded too good to pass up. I loved the idea of a domestic suspense mixed in with the sci-fi aspect and the blend actually worked well for me. This was a really cool and unique read and despite the otherworldly stuff nothing felt too advanced or too far over my head which I always appreciate. I hate feeling like I have to think too hard to try and decipher technical type language or things that are just too complicated for an average person to read and I didn’t feel like that here. As for the mystery aspect it was fairly strong, I had a feeling about who may have been part of Kelly’s life mixup but not the how or the why exactly so I wasn’t bothered when I was partly correct. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read some unique that doesn’t feel like the same old thing over and over again because there was a lot about this one that was different and unusual.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Audiobook Review: Everything is Perfect by Kate Nason

Goodreads

Release date: August 5, 2021

Publisher: Audible Originals

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis:

Seven years into her second marriage, Kate Nason discovered her husband was cheating on her. Then, the unimaginable happened. Kate woke to the news that one of her husband’s “other women” was involved with an American president. It was January of 1998. The press surrounded her home, clamoring for details and transformed Kate’s private heartbreak into public humiliation.

Nason’s memoir uncovers the little-known side of a well-known story, unveiling a cautionary tale about the ways we deceive ourselves when we allow ourselves to be deceived by those we love. Everything Is Perfect is an intimate reveal of infidelity, gaslighting, and the silent wife at the press conference. Nason explores the roles women inhabit throughout their lives, how they carry trauma, and the lengths they’ll go to protect their children and save themselves. It’s a fierce and often funny self-reckoning, a meditation on learning to trust one’s intuition, and a case study of how one woman undid a bad “I do.”

In the tradition of Lisa Brennan Jobs’s Small Fry or Chanel Miller’s Know My Name, Everything is Perfect is a beautifully written, deeply personal, unsparing self-portrait that goes deeper than the familiar news story within.

Review:

If I’m going to pick up a memoir I always choose the audio version, and it’s always a bonus for me if the author narrates the book themselves. There’s something so intimate about hearing someone’s story in both their own words and their own voice that just never fails to reel me in. The author did a great job with her narration here, I found her voice easy to listen to and her emotions were portrayed in a raw way. Her story is powerful and engaging, she really nailed sharing the experience of being married to someone who is a pro gaslighter and what an emotional toll it took on her and her family. I was very interested in her life, she had quite the story to tell as she was betrayed in the worst way imaginable. This isn’t a pity party woe is me tale but rather a story of strength and resilience that was inspiring. One small thing I didn’t quite understand was why she used pseudonyms, everyone knows who the real players are so that seemed silly but overall a great listen.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.