I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books

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Rating: ★★★

“A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Review:

I had a hard time with this one. This novel is classified as a mystery, thriller, and suspense. I couldn’t really get into the fact that it was classified that way because I personally didn’t feel like it was a mystery, thriller, or suspense.

This book was hard to get started. I read and read, but there just wasn’t that “oomph” to push it over the edge. Lisa Jewell wrote this book in hopes of holding the mystery until the end. I usually enjoy that, but I couldn’t really figure this one out. It had me kind of hating the fact that I had to wait until the end. I wanted some sort of clue of what was happening, but I got nothing.

I felt pretty disconnected from the story and from the characters. I found myself reading and not being able to associate myself with anyone or anything. I can usually connect with at least one element from a story, but unfortunately, with this one I didn’t.

Lastly, the ending is what did it for me to give this a 3-star rating. The ending gave me some answers to my questions. However, I found it to be extremely unrealistic. There was this desperation and need, I couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t understand the fact that there were times of “love” after 5 days.

This book wasn’t anything special for me. I would like to try Lisa Jewell’s other books to see if there were differences in the writing style. I think there were times in this book where I was confused and bored. However, there was a constant underlining of understanding.

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) 

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Rating: ★★★

“Known for novels featuring “great pacing and true surprises” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “nerve-shattering suspense” (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Time bestselling author), New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.”

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Kate Moretti, and Atria Books for allowing to read this before the publication date in exchange for an honest review.

I will be completely honest, I picked this book solely from the cover. The spooky and mysterious cover dragged me to it right away. I had a feeling that this would be a good one.

The beginning of this book will leave you with a sense of “what is going to happen next”. From the last page of the prologue, I was hooked. There was something fishy going on, and there is a wonder of what will go on in the following chapters. Or will you have to wait until the end?

The characters were interesting to say the least. My favorite character had to be Alecia. My mother is a special education teacher so I see the struggles that an autistic child and their mother has to go through. I feel like the author did a phenomenal job with making both characters real and relatable. All of the characters really developed, especially Bridget. Bridget was another character that I really felt that connected well with the reader. There were times where I feel like I would have to go back and read because there are four different characters going on at the same time, but that’s okay sometimes. Each character gave more to this story.

There was a lot of book that was answered, but there was a lot also left unanswered. There were interesting things about this because I liked the fact that I could think about what could’ve happened. This is where Kate Moretti did a great job making this not only a mystery, but a psychological thriller as well.

Overall, this book was very good. Kate Moretti’s writing style is absolutely something I can get into with other stories of hers. I think I will take the time to pick another one of hers up!

 

 

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Publication Date: October 1st, 2017

“When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.”

Review:

Thank you to Kindle First for allowing me to read this book before the publication date in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was not for me. I tried and tried to get into it, but I struggled a lot. I finished it and I feel like I didn’t really even read anything. I was pretty disappointed with all of the things that went on through this story.

First, I had a really hard time with the characters. The characters intrigued me in the beginning with the story and how things were progressing, but as I got further and further in, I couldn’t find a character that I liked or related to. There were so many point-of-views that I found myself confused and having to restart.

Next, I didn’t really find this book to be all that grasping or mysterious. By the end, I was a little confused and the last chapter just tried to bring everything together. The writing definitely wasn’t my favorite thing, but it did have it’s moments.

Lastly, I think this book would have worked better if there was a difference in either the choice of main character or the plot. I think that this book had a lot of different promising qualities. There just wasn’t enough mmph in the characters or plot for me to thoroughly enjoy this book.

Rating: ★★

Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Publication Date: June 13th, 2017

“When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the ‘BookFrogs’—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.
But when youngest BookFrog Joey Molina kills himself in the bookstore’s upper level, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions: Trinkets and books, the detritus of a lonely, uncared-for man. But when Lydia pages through his books, she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago—and never completely left, as she discovers.” 

Review: 

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore was good! I enjoyed this spooky story since Halloween time is coming up! 

Lydia was so awesome. Her character went through so many things in her life and showed that she could be smart and powerful when it came to using her brain! She figured things out that I would never be able to. 

There are a lot of surprises in this book, especially towards the end. Some might say it was predictable, but I didn’t think so at all! It took me until it was right under my nose to understand what happened. 

I really enjoyed this story. It was something that I had never heard of or read before. I love the setting. Bookstores and libraries are my absolute favorite settings! Matthew Sullivan did a great job writing about the details of the bookstore. He wrote things that really grabbed my attention like “The sound of books hitting the floor from the second floor.” 

Overall, this book was spooky and suspenseful. I’d really recommend it to anyone especially those who like mysteries. 

Rating: ★★★★

Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

Published: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.

In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory. Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.”

Review:

First, I want to say thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Danya Kukafka for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a story of how a small town suffers loss as a young girl, Lucinda Hayes, is found murdered at the local park. The story is told between three characters: Cameron, Jade, and Russ. Cameron is a young boy who’s father is an ex-cop who went AWOL, leaving him and his mother behind in this small town in Colorado. Jade is a girl who used to be friends with Lucinda. She used to be a lot of things before she secluded herself to only herself, her home, and her sister. She can barely take those things. Lastly, Russ is a current police officer working in that Colorado town. He watched many things throughout the years, including what happened to Cameron’s father, Lee. The three struggle through the death of Lucinda in their own ways, but intertwine and help each other along the way.

The first thing I want to talk about is the cover. Goodness, it’s beautiful. The cover was the first thing that drew me to this book in the first place. After reading the synopsis, it sounded like a book that I would really enjoy. Originally, this book wasn’t marked as young adult, but personally, I believe it should be classified as such. It’s a high school story that anyone would enjoy.

I want to congratulate Danya Kukafka on having such a beautiful debut novel. She really wrote each character delicately, making sure that they seemed like they were living the lives that she had for them. I appreciate when there is more than one character in a book because it’s easy to forget when there’s only one. With three characters, the going back and forth between them all really kept my attention.

The only thing that saddens me is that I feel like there was just something missing. I think it was towards the end, I was waiting for a certain thing to happen between a few people, and it unfortunately never did. It might be just more of a personal preference of what I wanted to happen, but it fell a little short.

Overall, I gave this book 4 stars because it was a great read. The characters throughout were amazing and I really loved a lot of the scenes that Kukafka had written. I wish I could’ve given this five stars, but there were some things missing for me.

Rating: ★★★★

Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen

Published: March 23rd, 2017
Publisher: 
Headline Publishing

GONE WITHOUT A TRACE by Mary Torjussen is a chilling, twisty, compulsive thriller about a woman whose boyfriend has vanished. Fans of I LET YOU GO and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN will be gripped.

No one ever disappears completely…

You leave for work one morning.

Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.
His belongings have disappeared.
He hasn’t been at work for weeks.
It’s as if he never existed.

But that’s not possible, is it?

And there is worse still to come.

Because just as you are searching for him
someone is also watching you”

Review:

First, I’d like to thank Netgalley, Headline Publishing, and Mary Torjussen for sending me an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review. I know that the book was published back in March, but here is my review!

The beginning of this book definitely caught my attention. Hannah goes to work one day, very happy and content with life. When she returns home, her world is shattered when she not only finds her boyfriend not there, but no trace of him. At all. She moves around the house not finding anything of his. Pictures, clothes, etc., are all gone. I wouldn’t know what to do. I’d be furious, hurt, numb, and lastly, inquisitive of where and why he left.

After that initial grab, I really struggled through the middle section of the book. I feel like I didn’t really connect to any of the characters and I didn’t really like them either. I feel like there were just filler words being put there instead of substance that the book needed. From 20% in, I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again. Even though my page number was increasing, I wasn’t grasping really anything new. If you are a fan of slow burn, this is a really slow burn.

After contemplating stopping a few times, I decided that I just wanted to see how it ended. I could finish it in a few hours if I really sat down and read it. I reached 70%, and I was so happy that something finally happened. I’ve never given up on a book, so, I was excited to see something catch my attention. However, it was a little short lived. I saw some other things coming from some foreshadowing earlier in the book, but there was one specific part that I did not see coming. I was grateful for that.

Overall, I wasn’t a big fan of this novel. This was described as a gripping, twisty, chilling and compulsive. Looking back at this book, I would say that it was somewhat twisty, but the rest, I didn’t see it being like that. Thank you again for the advanced copy!

Rating: 2.5/5 stars.

This Is the Story Of You by Beth Kephart

Published: April 12th, 2016

“On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But when a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, when it strands Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland and upends all logic, nothing will ever be as it was. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing is gone. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on—to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future.

Gripping and poetic, This Is the Story of You is about the beauty of nature and the power of family, about finding hope in the wake of tragedy and recovery in the face of overwhelming loss.”

Review:
“Haven is heaven without the e.”

Haven, a six mile long, half a mile wide island off of Atlantic City is the home where everyone knows each other. I picked up this book because of the cover at my local library. I didn’t know that it was based in New Jersey until a few pages in. As a New Jersey resident and frequent Jersey shore goer, I thought this book would be something I would be extremely interested in.

This Is the Story of You has three separate parts. This book started out for me how We Were Liars did. I feel like I was dragging through the first part. When I finally reached the storm, the book progressed very well. The third part is the reason why I gave this book four stars.What. An. Ending.
One thought came to my mind when I read the synopsis: Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy was a massive storm that ripped apart the shores of New Jersey leaving some dead and many homeless. As I read this book, I feel that the author really did a great job with describing the storm and how it occurred.

I would recommend this to young-adult lovers with a passion for mystery because the ending is very, very well written.

Rating: ★★★★