Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

3.75 Stars Suspense

Different.  With plenty of strong points, this book captured my attention, as the characters tried to protect their private lives, the only way that they knew how.  As the story kept building and building, something felt off as I read.   Perhaps it was me, perhaps it was my own expectations that were getting in the way but I felt that the tempo of this story was off.  Overall, I did enjoy the book, the story was captivating and I loved how all the twists worked and made my head spin.    

Secrets and lies, what a combination and one to keep you on your toes.  I enjoyed how the plot thicken as the story progressed.  The story starts off with a flashback and then, the narration progresses forward.  This short flashback is important as it sets the stage for one of the main characters.  Just when I thought the story couldn’t get any deeper, something else is thrown into the pot and more events unfolded.  I loved all the different reveals and how the author took the time to slowly introduce them.  The connection to events and items in the story was nicely done and like a puzzle, they all fit together.   I felt like at times, I was siding with one of the characters and then, I would learn something else and I would change my mind.  I just didn’t know which end was up sometimes. 

What I had a difficult time with while reading this novel, was the energy level in the book.  There were some excellent twists in this book and based on these developments, I was expecting this book to become more tense or more dramatic as time continued.  Some of these twists were pretty intense!  Yet, I didn’t feel that way as I read it.  I don’t know, perhaps I was expecting too much or again, it was just me. I did enjoy the book but I felt it was missing this intensity.   It’s like hearing that music from the Jaws movie and expecting something exciting or intense to occur.   The ending of the book, I didn’t really care for that part either. 

I think this was a good read, it contained lots of twists and interesting characters.   The story kept me on my toes and I look forward to reading more from this author.  3.75 stars

Subject matter: rape, death, alcoholism,

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing, Adele Parks, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book to me in exchange for an honest opinion.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

5 stars Mystery

As a parent you promise to protect your child but it’s kinda impossible to protect them from what happened to Junie.  Like Evie, I think the guilt and the anger/revenge would be in a constant battle within me, until someone paid for what they did. Struggling with a past, Evie finds herself looking in a mirror and wondering who is looking back.  She had wanted change and attempted it, yet did she really see the whole picture? 

Junie and Izzy had become friends in first grade.  Junie spent a lot of time at Izzy’s and that might have been because they preferred it that way or was it because Junie didn’t want anyone at her house.  There was definitely a financial dividing line between Junie and Izzy, as Izzy’s parents never struggled to put food on the table or provide what Izzy needed.  

Why were they murdered?  With Junie’s uncle on the police force, Evie feels no one will be comfortable coming forward with information to the police so she begins her own investigation and her nice motherly attitude goes out the window.  Yep, no more Ms. Nice Mom.  She’s begins sounding like her mother, the woman with a drink in one hand, a cigarette in another, and a loud, sarcastic comment spewing from her lips. It’s like she has lost her identity with her daughter gone. 

Snooping in her daughter’s room, after the police did their initial investigation, she finds something! This I couldn’t believe.  I think The 3 Stooges came to do the initial search of the house.  Anyways, this is where the book shoots off and there is no turning back now folks!

After Evie makes her discovery, she’s on a mission and nothing will hold her back, not even her brother, the cop.  We see more of Evie’s mother and boy, is she a fun, entertaining character.  It’s a circus, if you add in the news reporters, who come into town. Using flashbacks, Evie makes connections to her past.  She’s starting to get to the bottom of what has happened to these two young teens. I wasn’t ready for the big moments in the book that blew me away, they really took me by surprise.

I really enjoyed the characters in the book.  I liked how each one of them was cut and created from their environment and I liked how they mixed with one another. I liked how the author present the mystery of the book, I thought it was laid out nicely.

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

4.5 stars Mystery

This, this was like, amazingly good.  I loved how the two stories connected and then wow!  To me, the story led me down some dark streets as the characters were dealing with some pretty heavy issues.  Disturbing issues.  These are the books that have my eyes glued to the pages, every word is engrained in my head, and I can’t stop thinking about these individuals, that have consumed me, no matter how loud my life has become.

When her son Marcus gets accepted into the Academy, Frances thought her life was now headed into the right direction. Boy, she was wrong.  Not fitting the Academy image, Frances finds that she’s not even close to the holding the ticket. After an incident, she slides further down the ladder until she meets Kate.

Hello Kate! Kate was also a new mother at the Academy.  Kate, was one individual that you loved and you also hated. You hated her because she’s so perfect and you loved her because she’s so perfect.  Kate has a son named Charles and teenage daughter, Daisy.  Charles becomes friends with Marcus and is a huge help to him. As I was reading, I kept wondering when would Charles’ moment be? When would he turn on Marcus?  Was he really as nice as he seemed to be?  Daisy was a teenager with loose strings, she seemed to be running wild yet looking at Kate, you would think she would have this child under her wings.  

As the families come together, their friendships build, the trust between them becomes dependable.  With talk of their past and the secrets that they have kept hidden, it’s no wonder their current lives are in the shape that they are in.  I enjoyed the book’s twists and I highly recommend this book.  4.5 stars

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

5 stars YA

The teens each arrived to their destination, following the details of the invitation that they each received.  They were looking forward to a fun-filled evening.  After all the years of studying, staying up late, and doing countless problems, they were finally getting their reward. Yet, as the teens looked around the room and did the math, they realized the numbers weren’t adding up. Then, someone noticed the something strange in the room and the note.  What kind of a reward were they getting tonight?  And who, just shut the door?

As they read the note, a more serious mood replaces the relaxed atmosphere that once inhabited the room. They had just one hour, one hour to pick someone to die.  Was this a joke?  Who would do something like this? Now what?

I liked the premise of this book as it sounded like something that I could really get into. In a book like this, I always wonder what I would do as I read what the characters were actually doing. It was interesting how the author chose such a variety of individuals to lock inside this room together but in the end, it all made sense.

The novel continues to switch from present to past tense throughout the book, to tell the whole story.  I wondered sometimes if it would have been a better story if just one of the characters told us the story from the past instead of having us readers switch back and forth.  I know some readers hate (I know hate is a powerful word) books that have the back-and-forth reading.  I felt in this book, that I was doing A LOT of switching back and forth, almost too much for me.  Did I like any of the characters?  Not really. There were quite a few of them to keep track of and I thought a few of them were self-centered.

I enjoyed the book and the twists that came with it.  After I finished reading it, I got to thinking, wow, this all happened in one hour!  They only had a one-hour time limit.  That sure was a ton of stuff to happen and think about in one hour.  The book addresses depression, suicide, and bullying.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

4 stars Fiction

I’ve heard and seen this book everywhere so I had to read it.  Shooting your spouse five times in the face and then, pulling the silent treatment, now that is a good defense.  What would cause someone to commit such a crime? I had to know.

I didn’t know if I really trusted Alicia throughout the book, although I didn’t know who I trusted really. Theo and Alicia both seemed sketchy to me.  In parts of this books, I felt that I was secretly doing one of those sinister laughs as I read it.  So who was getting the raw end of the deal now?

Alicia was admitted to the Grove, six years ago for a crime that she committed against her husband.  Theo, feels that he’s qualified for the available position of forensic psychotherapist at the Grove, which will also provide him the opportunity to work with Alicia.  Oh Theo, right off the bat, you feel that you are uniquely qualified to help the unresponsive Alicia and that myself, has me questioning your motive.  

As I learned more about the two of them, both what is presently occurring and their past, it’s no wonder things are a mess.  What I thought for one of them, I ended up thinking for the other one eventually.  While I was reading, I was trying to figure out which one of them was clever and which one of them was smart.  What was their motive?  What did they really want?  I never saw that ending coming nor did I suspect it. 

I thought the book was a fun, entertaining read.  I can see why some individuals really loved the book, I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.  I’m glad that I read it and I look forward to reading what this author writes in the future. 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

4.5 stars Fiction

It was a slow burn at first, as the bridal party gets situated on the deserted island first.  The groom is a celebrity, his bride a publisher and the bridal party is a mish-mash of individuals, all linked to the couple, who each seem to have some hidden secret.  As the events of the story unfolded, I loved how the book picked up speed. As I tried to put the book down, to attend to other matters, my mind wouldn’t let go of the island, as the lights flickered, and the guests tried to make sense of what was happening.   

I could see why the couple had chosen this island for their special day with its seclusion, size, and the service that the owners provided. I really enjoyed the mixture of characters that the author included in this book and their interactions with each other.

When the big day arrived, the guests arrived on the island, ready for day of celebration.  With an abundance of individuals to keep track of, I found this confusing at times yet the connections that they had with one another, made this book intriguing and remarkable.

As the secrets start to surface, I didn’t know who might be the next one to unburden their heart.  Some of these, I had suspected but there were some that, made my jaw drop.  With twists and turns, and ups and downs, this book was a great escape. 4.5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the Book Club Girl Early Read program. This review is my own opinion of the novel and I thank Harper Collins and the Book Club Girl Early Read program for sending me this copy.

Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

4.5 stars Thriller

I enjoyed this book even though I thought I knew what was going on.  Thinking about this book, what I believe enticed me were the characters and the book’s timeline. I really needed to know the “why” behind the threads of this story, what was the motive?  

When Allie hurt her leg during cross-county tryouts, Sasha came back to help her.  Sasha had never said much to Allie before then, which to me was a red flag.  Sasha points out the two boys, Julian and David, who were in the distance, and wouldn’t you know it, they ended up talking to them.

There seemed to be quite a bit of trauma and drama in the lives of these four teens before they even got together.  Between the four of them, they had a recent divorce, a close family death, one teen already living alone as the parents were never home and one teen who, I thought, was too controlling. These teens become an instant four-some as they hung out together.  I started to dislike a few of them, their attitude and concern for others turned me off.  Looking into the lives of these individuals and their families, I got a good understanding of them and their situations.  I appreciated how the author included this information in the text. 

When Kyle moves into the area, Sasha invites him to hang-out with them.  Imagine that! Oh, did I mention that Kyle is nice to look at. I feel that adding him to the mix isn’t going to be good but I didn’t anticipate what actually occurred.  I have to give credit to Kyle though, he acted smart when he was first approached by the group.  They offered to let him become a member of their gang and Kyle was hesitant. I thought they were all getting along okay but I could feel some tension was building.  Three boys and two girls, that just doesn’t sound like a good combination especially when you add in their personalities. 

They don’t know what went wrong.  At least, that is what they are saying.  The four who fled the area that night, all take that same position.  The one who was left, they don’t even know what happened.  Was this a game or murder? 

We time travel in this book, as the author takes us forward in time.  One of the individuals from that night has now passed away and individuals are gathering for the funeral.  Friends are gathering and reacquainting themselves with one another. Will the three others who were in attendance that night gather and discuss what happened 20 years ago?  Will I learn anything different than what I already know?  The book is not over my friends, it’s only just beginning. 4.5 stars

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. 

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

5 Stars Thriller

The deeper I got into this book, the more intense and captivated I became in finding out the truth behind this sisterhood. As the pages turned, the more my curiosity and adrenaline rose.

I loved the connection that these “sisters” had but the more that I read about them, the more removed I became to their alliance. Oh, I totally understand how they felt and the reasoning behind it BUT, there is line that they had crossed.  

When Shay witnesses a suicide on the subway, it changes her life.  Spying a piece of jewelry nearby, Shay is now connected to Amanda’s “sisters,” as Shay picks up the jewelry and takes it with her.  Shay needs to find out more about the suicide victim meanwhile, the “sisters” can’t believe that Amanda would commit suicide.  On a collusion course, Shay ends up meeting the “sisters” and to her, this is destiny. 

Shay feels a connection with the “sisters” and her life finally starts to turn around.  The “sisters” are there for Shay and take Shay under their wings.  Shay loves how everything is working out for her but dang, if only Shay knew the truth. The pages aren’t turning fast enough but I don’t want to miss a word on the pages.  

Slowly, the author reveals the details of the sisterhood and how each member became involved. It’s crazy good but it’s wicked at the same time. There’s time travel involved as we hear each member’s story but that’s important as I needed to know when these events took place.

Wow, that was an excellent, invigorating story that had me hooked from the beginning.  I have enjoyed all the books that Hendricks and Pekkanen have written together and I hope that they continue to write together! Breathe……

This book is now available and I highly recommend it.  Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. #YouAreNotAloneBook

The Vanishing Season By Joanna Schaffhausen

4 stars Mystery

It’s that time of the year again, Ellery’s birthday is right around the corner.  For Ellery, unfortunately, she suspects that again, this birthday will not be a time for celebration.  It always began with her mail.  Opening the envelope, Ellery knew the minute her eyes landed on the colorful front what she was holding.  The greeting inside was just the beginning, its deception was just a part of the mystery that Ellery was a part of. Would this year be any different?

Ellery is a female officer who has moved into a small town where she is the only female on the payroll.  Ellery believes that some murders have been committed yet there haven’t been any bodies recovered. She has been connecting the “dots” in a few cases and she believes that she’s uncovered a pattern.  Now, Ellery is predicting the next murder.  However, no one is listening to her.  The real story is, Ellery is not telling her colleagues everything she knows about these cases and the clock is ticking.  What are you going to do Ellery?  You can’t delay your birthday.

With twists and turns, I enjoyed this griping mystery as Ellery works to uncover the pieces and get everyone on board.  I enjoyed the small town of Woodbury, the main characters with their flaws and the character’s history.  This was an entertaining, exciting book and Joanna Schaffhausen is an author that I look forward to reading in the future.   

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

5 stars Mystery

If only! Dang, as I drove the streets the Gabe, I kept thinking, if only……  It seemed that Gabe’s mind was finally concentrated on what should have been important many years ago but now, it seemed it was too late.  If only he had done this or that, he might not be behind the wheel of the only thing that he feels he has left in this world, searching for an answer. 

Alice grips the bag firmly as though it holds her life possessions.  Never far from her side, Alice feels a deep connection to its contents. Fran is there for her, again.  It’s Fran who helps Alice in her time of need yet I begin to question their story as something doesn’t feel right as the novel picks up speed.

It’s a job and it gives her money.  Each shift that Katie works, is different.  With the individuals who become frequent guests and those that are just passing through, they all make each day unique at the restaurant.  Katie’s had her own share of problems over the year yet this frequent customer intrigues her. I wondered if Katie saw a part of herself in this man and that was why she became concerned with him. As he visits the establishment, Katie begins to wonders about this man and what has caused him to carry such a burden on his shoulder?  Day-in and day-out, Katie notices how heartbroken this man is yet, she doesn’t reach out to him.

Leading their own lives, these individuals will merge eventually in this book. I liked how the three parts were laced together and how smoothly the book flowed. I kept thinking that I enjoyed one story over another one but I kept changing my mind on which story I enjoyed more.  Each story was different and carried with it, different emotions. 

I had a hard time putting this book down in different parts.  You know it’s bad when you fall asleep and the iPad hits you in the face (I only wanted to finish the one section I was reading). There were a few parts that I raced to get through as events were building up.  

These are the stories that get my adrenaline going.  They put a smile on my face when I’m finished as I think about everything that transpired during the book and the ride that I took.  It was a fun adventure and one that will stick in my mind for quite a while.

I received an ARC of this book from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!