And Then You Were Gone by R.J. Jacobs

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Rating: 3.25/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

Emily manages her bipolar disorder well enough to work as a moderately successful child psychologist, and is building a serious relationship with her boyfriend Paolo.

When he wants to take her on an overnight sailing trip, Emily knows her medication, generous amounts of wine, and her attraction to Paolo will help her deal with her aversion to the water and forget the fact that she can’t swim.

But after a romantic night, Emily wakes up on the sailboat, completely alone, drifting through the waves.

Her world is turned upside down as she becomes a person of interest while grieving Paolo, never getting answers or closure to what happened to him. He was a strong swimmer, and she cannot believe he simply drowned. With her personal and professional life in shambles, Emily attempts to find out the truth and clear her name, discovering a deeper and more dangerous plot than she ever suspected. Fueled by her own mania, Emily questions her own judgment every step of the way.

My Review:

3.25 stars

First of all can we all just enjoy that lovely cover! It’s just beautiful!

I really liked this novel and although there was a mystery aspect involved, it felt a little more like a drama to me. 

Paola and Emily go on a vacation and one day Emily wakes up on the boat and finds Paolo gone. Since Paola knows how to swim, he couldn’t have drowned but Emily cannot seem to find any other explanation. Where did he go? But when evidence surfaces, Emily thinks he could have been murder. But by whom? And why? 

This was an intriguing synopsis which is what made me want to read it. Emily and Cal (Paolo’s best friend) work together to try and uncover what really happened to Paolo and if he really was murdered. I did think that it was interesting since Jacobs was a psychologist and he created Emily’s character as one as well. One thing I would’ve liked to see a little more of was Emily in action. I wuold have loved to see Emily with a patient and just how she would work as a psychologist, but sadly we didn’t get to see that. 

We got to see Emily struggle with Paolo’s disappearance and see how far she would go to uncover what really happened to him. I think the novel wrapped up very well, and the twist was solid enough to make the whole novel come together. 

Many thanks to HarperCollins for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

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I Know You by Annabel Kantaria

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Description:

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.

My Review:

I Know You is one of these novels that when you start reading, you can’t seem to stop. From its hooking beginning, to its amazing conclusion, I Know You is a fast-paced thriller with a creep factor that is through the roof.

Two friends meet in London, Anna and Taylor. They are both new to the country. They become best friends and bond over the fact that they are both pregnant. But someone is watching one of them and they know everything about them.

This was so very close to becoming my first five star read of 2019 but I just felt that it lacked a little in terms of the last twist. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, I loved it very much and the twist was a great one, but I did want it to be a little more complex.

Between chapters, there is an anonymous narrator and the chapters start with “I know where you…I know what…” You get the point. It was just plain creepy! But it was one of my favorite parts not only because it was creepy but also because we don’t know who is narrating these chapters and we don’t know who they are referring to. So it’s like two mysteries in one. Double who. There are little hints here and there but you really have to pay attention to them because they are very easy to miss.

I figured out near the end of the novel who the anonymous narrator. That being said, it was still just as good to read with this knowledge except now that I knew who it was, I wanted to discover their intetntions.

Such a great twist and if it was a little more complex this easily would’ve gotten a five star rating from me. This is a must read to all thriller fans out there! A job well done to Kantaria!

 

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

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Rating: 3.5/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

In the bestselling tradition of Jodi Picoult and Celeste Ng, a tightly wound and suspenseful novel about a blended family in crisis after a drunk driving accident leaves the daughter of one parent dead—and the son of the other parent charged with manslaughter.

Divorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, she and Pete Conley have a perfectly blended family of her children and his. To celebrate their anniversary, they grab some precious moments of alone time and leave Pete’s son Kip, a high school senior, in charge of Leigh’s fourteen-year-old daughter Chrissy at their home.

Driving back on a rainy Friday night, their cell phones start ringing. After a raucous party celebrating his college acceptance to Duke and his upcoming birthday, Kip was arrested for drunk driving after his truck crashed into a tree. And he wasn’t alone—Chrissy was with him.

Twelve hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip is charged with manslaughter.

Kip has always been a notorious troublemaker, but he’s also a star student with a dazzling future ahead of him. At first, Leigh does her best to rally behind Pete and help Kip through his ordeal. Until he changes his story, and claims that he wasn’t driving after all—Chrissy was, and he swears there is a witness.

Leigh is stunned that he would lie about such a thing, while Pete clutches onto the story as the last, best hope to save his son, throwing his energy and money into finding this elusive witness. As they hurtle toward Kip’s trial date, husband and wife are torn between loyalty to their children and to each other, while the mystery of what really happened that night intensifies.

This richly conceived and tightly plotted psychological exploration of family and tragedy will have you racing toward its shocking and thought-provoking conclusion.

My Review: 

3.5 stars

House on Fire was a slow-burning family drama novel with a little bit of mystery. That being said, it was still in the 3 star range for me because of its little twists here and there. 

Pete, an architect and Leigh, a divorce lawyer choose to go out and celebrate the night of their anniversary leaving Pete’s son, Kip who is a high school senior with 14 year old Chirssy, Leigh’s daughter. Retunring home they recieve a call that they were in an accident and that Kip was driving intoxicated with Chrissy in the passanger seat. 12 hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip with charged with manslaughter. Then his story changes and he tells his parents that he wasn’t the one driving. Is that a lie? Is it the truth? Why change his story after she dies? Slowly and slowly Leigh’s blended family begins to fall apart. 

I loved how the central plot of the novel was about Kip and Chrissy, but we also got to learn about Leigh and the cases she handles and how she works on them. I thought it was very interesting and Leigh really is a great character and will do the impossible for her clients. Since Kistler is a trial lawyer it made it a lot more intruguing to read about the cases that Leigh would recieve. I think it was also interesting to see how every person deals with grief. For Leigh, she occopies herself with work to distract herself even though she isn’t fully over her grief. 

I found Pete to be a little annoying. I understand that he was trying to do anything to ensure his son would stay out fo jail, but it irked me how he sided with his son right away! What about your wife, Leigh, whose daughter just died??

Kistler opened up the doors of Leigh’s house, and we got to see how her family dealt with grief and drama.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

My Review:

Another Harlan Coben novel and they just keep getting better and better everytime. I really don’t know how he manages to do it but he does it and I love it!

Detective Nap’s brother Leo died 15 years ago with his girlfriend Daisy on the railroad tracks and at the same time his girlfriend Maura, disappeared. Now when he finds traces of her fingerprints in the system at a crime scene, Nap wants to know what she is doing there and where she has been this whole time. But this is no ordinary killing, it is one of the student’s that Nap went to high school with. Is it a coincidence that Maura’s fingerprints are at the crime scene? What is going on??

This novel is very complex but easy to follow. Coben’s novels are easy to fly through because he just has a way with words and his writing is so amazing that it’s hard not to keep reading. I don’t know how he comes up with these complicated plot points but I’m not complaining! The more twisty, the better!

Detective Nap is easily my favorite character, along with his best friend Ellie. Since he has no family, Ellie is really one of his only friends along with Augie, hsi mentor (also Diana’s father). He is surrounded by a sense of family members, one who is like a fathe figure, and another who is like a sister to him. But everyone has secrets and throughout this novel, you will find out that even his brother Leo, whom he was very close with was keeping secrets from him.

Everyone had secrets in this novel, even Nap did and some shocked me more than others. But I’ve read my fair share of thrillers and what’s a thriller novel without a good amount of secrets? A very thought out plot twist that I did not see coming even though the clues and answers were in my face the entire time. I never guess Coben’s plots because they’re always unpredictable in the best way possible.

!00% recommend for all the mystery fans out there

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Call Me Evie by J.P Pomare

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Rating: 4.25/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

In this propulsive, twist-filled, and haunting psychological suspense debut perfect for fans of Sharp Objects and Room, a seventeen-year-old girl struggles to remember the role she played on the night her life changed forever.

For the past two weeks, seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet has lived against her will in an isolated cabin in a remote beach town–brought there by a mysterious man named Bill. Part captor, part benefactor, Bill calls her Evie and tells her he’s hiding her to protect her. That she did something terrible one night back home in Melbourne–something so unspeakable that he had no choice but to take her away. The trouble is, Kate can’t remember the night in question.

The fragments of Kate’s shattered memories of her old life seem happy: good friends, a big house in the suburbs, a devoted boyfriend. Bill says he’ll help her fill in the blanks–but his story isn’t adding up. And as she tries to reconcile the girl she thought she’d been with the devastating consequences Bill claims she’s responsible for, Kate will unearth secrets about herself and those closest to her that could change everything.

A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind, Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth, even from ourselves.

My Review:

I have no doubt in my mind that this novel will be a huge hit on the bookshelves. New authors are making thier way in the thriller world and I enjoy reading their debut novels. 

Pomare does an amazing job with Call me Evie and he does not disappoint. As a debut novel, I felt that it was very strong and well plotted which are all signs of a successful thriller. The novel is told in two seperate times. We are taken back, where Kate was a 17 year old teenager living with her family in Aukland, and now, where she is living in a home where she is pretty much trapped with a man named Jim whom she does not know. 

This was very smartly written because when Kate talks in the present, she does not recall any recollection of how she got there, what happened, what she did or why it’s not safe for her. It is our task as the readers to uncover this mystery as we follow along with her story. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in this novel because it is packed with suspense and it’s never really boring. 

I think my favorite thing about this novel is the character Kate (or Evie) herself. Pomare did an astounding job bringing her to life and it was so intriguing hearing about her life then, and now. The storytelling is just superb and it sucks you in right away and you will find yourself finsihing this book within a matter of hours. 

The plot twists at the end really got me! I was not expecting to be that shocked! There are two major plot twists and they are all on the last few pages of the novel but the major one is on the last page (before the epilogue), so get ready for a twist of your life!

Thank you toPneguin Random House and G. P. Putnam’s Sons for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my hoenst review. 

The Ex by Alafair Burke

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Rating: 3.5/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:’

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

My Review:

A first by Burke but not a last. I would have easily given this one a higher rating if it wasn’t for the fact that this felt more like a courtroom drama to me. I did love how it was full of secrets and how every character had something to hide.

I devoured this book in a single day and I don’t regret it at all. I was so curious to find out whether Jack was guilty or not. I was back and forth many times tryinig to decide whether or not he did what he did. There was so much convincing evidence on both sides that I didn’t know what to believe.

Olivia was my favorite character in the novel. She was full of secrets and it was very clear that she was the heroine in this novel. Burke creates her to be a strong and stubborn woman which he writes very well. I enjoyed reading every bit from her perspective and she never failed to disappoint with her dark secrets.

The ending was so good and it was one that I thought of, but I didn’t think that Burke would take that direction. I’m very glad he did though because it made novel a lot better and gave it a wonderful ending. 

 

The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah

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Rating; 3.5/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and Woman with a Secret returns with a disturbing tale of psychological suspense and obsession that hits at the heart of some of our most precious relationships.

What if having a best friend could put you in the crosshairs of a killer?

A psychopath the police have dubbed “Billy Dead Mates” is targeting pairs of best friends, and killing them one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book.

For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or figure out what the white books symbolize and why the killer leaves them behind. The police are on edge; the public in a panic. Then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward. What she reveals shocks the investigators and adds another troubling layer to an already complex case.

Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did last year. Was the stranger Billy, and is he targeting her—or is it something more nefarious? Kim has no friends and trusts no one, so how—and why—could Billy Dead Mates want to target her? If it’s not her, then who will be the next to die?

Sophie Hannah raises the stakes with each successive page in this haunting and twisting thriller that reaffirms her place as one of today’s most talented suspense writers. 

My Review:

Third novel by Hannah, second overall this month, but I’m not complaining. 

This novel was more of a mystery rather than a thriller, but it was still very enjoyable to read as are all of her novels. Hannah never fails to disappoint even though some parts aren’t the best, the best parts of the novel always manage to boost the rating of the book.

I loved the complexity of the plot in this novel and it was very intriguing to find out what will happen next. Who will be the next victim and why is the murderer killing in pairs? Most important of all, who is the killer and are all the victims connected? 

Kim and Charlie were my favorite characters in the novel and if I’m being honest I would love to see them together in future novels of Hannah as a duo. I loved the fact that although the nvoel was centered on the murders of “Billy Dead Mates (or Women)”. We also got to learn more about Charlie’s family and we even got to see a little Kim and Charlie sleuthing. 

The killer was very well revealed but in the ned it got a little dragged on and it could’ve been done in a faster manner. 

Overall, a great mystery novel and a for sure to be success on bookshelves! 

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada and William Morrow Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. 

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Description:

Late one night in the quiet Hudson Valley town of Havenkill, a distraught woman stumbles into the police station—and lives are changed forever.

Aimee En, once a darling of the ’80s pop music scene, claims that a teenage boy stole her car, then ran over another young man who’d rushed to help.

As Liam Miller’s life hangs in the balance, the events of that fateful night begin to come into focus. But is everything as it seems?

The case quickly consumes social media, transforming Liam, a local high school football star, into a folk hero, and the suspect, a high school outcast named Wade Reed, into a depraved would-be killer. But is Wade really guilty? And if he isn’t, why won’t he talk?

Told from a kaleidoscope of viewpoints—Wade’s mother Jackie, his younger brother Connor, Aimee En and Pearl Maze, a young police officer with a tragic past, If I Die Tonight is a story of family ties and dark secrets—and the lengths we’ll go to protect ourselves. 

My Review:

If I Die Tonight was so close to getting 5 starts from me, but it was missing something to reach that five star mark. 

I think so far, it’s one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I didn’t think I would like it that much because a few novels I read with detectives in them change up the book a little and make it a little boring, but not this one. It really shone and every narrator was so entertaining to read. 

I love it when books have multirple narrators because we get to see each side of th esotry and we learn more about the characters themselves. In this one, everyone had a secret. It’s interesting because you think “No, not this character. She’s the only innocent one in the novel,” and then little do you know she is not. I had my speculations about certain characters and I was right about them, but not right about why and how. 

The central mystery of the story is who actually ran over Liam. I figured it out early on but I didn;t understand their motives. I was not at all disappointed with anything in this novel. Every secret, every revelation, every twist was better than the next one. 

Gaylin won me over with this novel and I will for sure be reading other titiles of hers.

The Dead Ex by Jane Corry

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Rating: 4/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

One man’s disappearance throws four women’s lives into chaos–who will survive?

Vicki works as an aromatherapist, healing her clients out of her home studio with her special blends of essential oils. She’s just finishing a session when the police arrive on her doorstep–her ex-husband David has gone missing. Vicki insists she last saw him years ago when they divorced, but the police clearly don’t believe her. And her memory’s hardly reliable–what if she didhave something to do with it?

Meanwhile, Scarlet and her mother Zelda are down on their luck, and at eight years old, Scarlet’s not old enough to know that the “game” her mother forces her to play is really just a twisted name for dealing drugs. Soon, Zelda is caught, and Scarlet is forced into years of foster care–an experience that will shape the rest of her life . . .

David’s new wife, Tanya, is the one who reported him missing, but what really happened on the night of David’s disappearance? And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself? The answer lies in the connection among these four women–and the one person they can’t escape. 

My Review:

This is my first novel by Corry and I have to say I was so excited to read it. The cover alone is beautiful and just the intricacy of it I foudn very intriguing. I think the title is so intersting and it’s tricky becaus eyou think you know who the dead ex is but you really don’t. 

I loved everything about this book down to every little detail. Vicki was my favourite character in the book. I loed how she was such an unreliable narrator and it gave the novel such a nice suspensful vibe because we don’t really know what happens to her during her seizures. She is also full of secrets and her storyline was just so enjoyable to read. 

Scarlet and Zelda’s story was very touching and also very distrubing. I mean Scarlet is a young child who is driug dealing for her mother? She’s definitely bound to grow up with some issues! I loved how it was told from Scarlet’s perspective, it’s much more fun when the story is told from the point of view form a young child rather than an adult. 

This novel was full of turns and twists and I didn’t know who to trust or what to believe. It was such a great thriller with so many secrets and lies and I’m very glad that I have read my first Corry novel. 

 

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

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Rating: 3.5/5 stars 

Goodreads Description:

Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature. 

My Review:

I’ve always been a huge fan of Harper ever since she wrote The Dry, but for some reason, liked this one a little less better than her other two. Having been said this, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this one, I 100% did!

I think that aside this novel being a mystery, it was also a story about family and the relationship between Nathan and his Xander. Although they were slowly trying to uncover the mystery of what happened to Nathan’s brother, Nathan and Xander’s relationship was expressed throughout the story and we got to see the real reason that they aren’t very close.

We also get to see the broken relationship of the whole family such as with Nathan and Bub (his brother) and even their mother. This creates some tension and we do get to see the dysfunctional family that they really are. We also get many secrets that become revealed near the end of the novel and that is where the novel starts to build up to its great conclusion.

I do think that Harper missed the line a little but I did like the ending of the novel and although the novel was a little bit rocky, Harper always manages to pull through with an amazing ending!