Tag: Mystery (page 1 of 18)

BOOK REVIEW: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

BOOK REVIEW: The Turn of the Key by Ruth WareThe Turn of the Key Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Dear Mr. Wrexham,
Please help me. I didn’t kill anyone.


I was cautiously optimistic when I saw a new Ruth Ware book was coming out. In a Dark, Dark Wood is one of my favorite thrillers, but her two most recent releases were disappointing. However, I thought the premise of The Turn of the Key sounded promising, so like I said, I was cautiously optimistic heading in to it. I was happily blown away.

The book is essentially one giant letter being written from Rowan Caine, who is sitting in jail on murder charges, to a solicitor she wants to help her in her defense. She wants to explain everything surrounding the incident and how everything came to be. Other than knowing that Rowan ends up being accused of a crime, the rest of it is in fairly chronological order.

When we first meet Rowan, she is working at a daycare facility and has recently been passed over for a promotion. So when an opportunity arises that would allow her to be a nanny for a wealthy family in the secluded Heatherbrae House, she jumps at the opportunity. It’s here she meets Jack Grant, a handyman, and more importantly, the three children she is to look after while their parents are away for a work trip.

“Don’t come here,” she whispered, still refusing to look at me. “it’s not safe.”
“It’s not safe?” I gave a little laugh. “Maddie, what do you mean?”
“It’s not safe,” she repeated, with a little angry sob, shaking her head harder so that her words were almost lost. “They wouldn’t like it.”


Left alone in a smart house, Rowan struggles to adapt to her new life. The two eldest children do not make things easy on her and weird things are happening around the house. Rowan can’t sleep due to the footsteps above her room at night and she feels like she’s going mad. But she’s determined to figure out exactly what’s going on, while holding on to explosive secrets.

It was like there were two forces in the house, one fighting to drive me away, another to protect me. But who—who was doing this?

I love nothing more than a secluded setting. Private homes/islands, secluded boarding schools, etc. There’s just something so unnerving about being so isolated from the rest of society that lends itself to a creepy atmosphere. I will say I was on the edge of my seat for most of this book. It didn’t help I was reading late into the night, which made going to sleep a bit difficult.

It was well-paced, the characters were incredibly engaging and the atmosphere was perfectly creepy. The ending was fairly shocking, but also a bit frustrating. We never get a true resolution to Rowan’s letter to Mr. Wexham. If you like everything tied up in a pretty bow, please be aware that while you will know many things, there’s a big thing that is left unstated. While I do wish I knew exactly what happened in the aftermath, I overall loved the book and would easily call it my second favorite Ruth Ware, just after IADDW.

A child is dead, and the police, and the public, and the press, they all want someone to pay. And that someone must be me. But I didn’t kill that little girl, Mr. Wexham. I loved her. And I don’t want to rot in jail for something I didn’t do. Please, please believe me.

BOOK REVIEW: Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes

BOOK REVIEW: Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies (You #2)
by Caroline Kepnes
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

THE RIVETING SEQUEL TO THE HIT BOOK YOU, NOW A NETFLIX SERIES

“Kepnes hits the mark, cuts deep, and twists the knife.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Delicious and insane...The plot may be twisty and scintillating, but its Kepnes’s wit and style that keep you coming back.” —Lena Dunham

“Hypnotic and scary.” —Stephen King

“Obsessed.” —Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive

In the compulsively readable sequel to her widely acclaimed debut novel, You, Caroline Kepnes weaves a tale that Booklist calls “the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman.”

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…



Honestly? I’m a bit shocked and disappointed. No, I DID NOT FINISH…but, hear me out, I just think-with a book/subject matter like this-less is more. The first book floored me. So many requotable quotes. Hilarious inner monologue. I LOVED Joe (as much as you can love a psycho who kills women who don’t adhere to what he believes a girlfriend should be ). I loved his take on life. On America-‘Fucking America, Beck.’. On pop culture and the idiots radiating through the streets of New York. The way he addressed Beck as ‘You’. Brilliant. And he slayed me with his humor.

But here…it hurts to say it…it just. It does not work. Not again, anyway. It was jarring, to say the least-to read about the untimely demise of Guinevere Beck. I was shocked that it happened, that he went through with it, that he killed someone he thought he loved. It was painful and cringy to read, honestly. But…it fit. It worked. It wasn’t shocking as much as it was heartbreaking.

Here? It’s tired. Overused. And I tire of him judging every woman he loves. I get wanting an epic, amazing love. Don’t many of us crave that? But disposing of all the women? My God it’s such an exaggerated overreaction and an overused formula. Okay. He’s a total freaking lunatic now. I think he really, truly didn’t intend to become a legit serial killer in the first (just a raving crazy stalker, of course :P), and he always *seemed* to find remorse for ‘having to do what needed to be done’. In Hidden Bodies, he kills like…without blinking. His rage blinds him. His lust for revenge drives him. And it’s just….annoying. Repetitive. And I don’t have that horribly wrong and misguided urge to sympathize with him. I found myself thinking [when something went wrong] ‘Well, bet he’ll kill [her/him] now.’ Shocker.



Where’s the fun of the mystery? The wondering if he really will go through with murdering the girl he wanted so much that he rearranged his whole life for her. I really and truly enjoyed the tone of the first book. It was almost like a fucked up version of a romance and I just loved it so much. I loved almost secretly rooting for them to make it, for Joe to get the girl he *thought* he loved. The sweet moments to flourish and become more. Sick as that is. This? This was a bloody witch hunt and I couldn’t emotionally connect with nor find the parallel of the Joe who made me feel as though he had a heart.



Robotic. Monotonous. Heart-breaking. I loved the effed up first book-but perhaps that’s what it should have stayed. A one book series that left a punch, readers enthralled, and the story wide open for our interpretation. This is definitely a case of knowing too much and there not being enough new (or interesting) material to justify the continuance of his story.

BOOK REVIEW: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

BOOK REVIEW: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma BerquistMissing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club. But Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge. Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.

Thank you Edelweiss, Greenwillow books and Emma Berquist for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Shoulders bump mine, and I grit my teeth as deaths wash over me in a sticky gray wave. I only get flashes, but it’s enough; all these plump, dimpled cheeks, thick hair, and painted nails, I glimpse the way it ends. Throat cancer, aneurysm, pneumonia. They beam even white teeth, and all I can see are the skulls smiling beneath.

What drew me to this book was this unique setting: Lexi can see anyone’s death with a simple touch. And if that was not hard enough, she can also talk with, touch and expel ghosts to the “other side.”

Lexi is a tough girl, who has a soft spot for her grandfather, who has the same powers as herself and Trevor, a teenage ghost who hangs around Lexi. She works at a bar with others who have a wide array of powers, but which are only featured sparingly in the book. However, the bar plays a large significance overall. Lexi also has an on and off relationship with Phillip, who also works at the bar, but struggles to be with him due to her ability to see his death every time they touch, which is an understandable downer.

Because being with you makes me lonelier than being alone. Because I can’t stop picturing your body on a cold metal table.

One night, Lexi accidentally bumps into a girl outside the club named Jane. She sees that Jane will be murdered that night, but doesn’t do anything about it, because as she has learned, there are serious repercussions for interfering with fate.

Jane then reappears as a ghost, and convinces Lexi and Trevor to help her figure out who killed her and if it is related to other killings in the area. Lexi does her best, but her powers weigh on her mental health heavily. Several times over the course of the novel, she is forced to check herself into a psych ward just to tune out the world and get some much-needed sleep. I really appreciated that this was included, as it rings incredibly true. Someone with this kind of power, who could not shut it off, would probably be overwhelmed. These scenes also lead to a small but cute relationship she develops with a doctor at the hospital.

Even without turning around, I can sense Jane behind me, feel the gravitational pull of her. I can’t escape it; she’s like my compass, like a lodestone. I always know where Jane is.

As Lexi and Jane work to solve Jane’s murder, they also become far closer to each other and begin to develop feelings for each other. While I certainly enjoyed their relationship, I was also struggled with the world-building that allowed for physical interactions for Lexi and Jane. You always see ghosts as corporeal, which Jane and Trevor are 99% of the time, except with Lexi. I wish I could put into better words why this slightly missed the mark for me, as I did like Lexi and Jane together, but ultimately I didn’t love them together or the fact that romance was such a major factor in this book. I guess I could have been OK if it would have stayed as mostly a creepy thriller book with just a small emphasis on a love story.

I loved the premise of this book so much. It was such a cool idea and unfortunately I think it was squandered away a little bit, focusing too much on romantic relationships and tying up the ending with a big shiny bow. This easily could have been a really cool and creepy series – there’s so many directions this could have gone and areas to be explored, especially all the side characters with different powers – but it just ended up being a very narrow story. I just wanted more from this and ultimately left feeling OK, but not great.

This book will be released on May 21, 2019.

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Guest House by Megan Miranda

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Guest House by Megan MirandaThe Last Guest House by Megan Miranda
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of - but that's just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable - until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can't help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie's brother Parker, who blame her. Someone known more than they're saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.

Thank you NetGalley, Megan Miranda and Corvus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Megan Miranda is back with her newest adult mystery/thriller and as much as I’ve enjoyed her previous works, this is easily my favorite from her yet.

I’m sorry. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

One year ago, Avery Greer’s best friend, the affluent Sadie Loman, is found dead on the night of the infamous end of summer party. The police determine it was suicide and close the case. Avery, after having a rough start at life – losing her parents to a car accident and her grandmother to illness – stays in Littleport to oversee the Loman rental properties.

Around the one year anniversary of Sadie’s death, strange things begin to happen around Littleport and the Loman rentals. Homes are rummaged through, candles lit but not by the renters, etc. Avery is sure these are connected to Sadie’s death and begins to raise questions with those who were at the party the night of her death.

The biggest danger of all in Littleport was assuming that you were invisible. That no one else saw you.

The books jumps back and forth between present day and the night of the party, but all through Avery’s point of view. We learn a lot about Avery and what brought her and Sadie together, as on paper, they had very little in common and not a lot of reasons to become as close as they did, even closer than Sadie was with her older brother, the handsome and charming Grant Loman. This even leads fellow a Littleport resident to say this to Avery: “She created you. A mini-Sadie. A monster in her likeness. And now she’s gone, but here you are.”

As with all Megan Miranda novels, all the layers of the story are peeled back until there’s a clear picture of exactly what happened. The ending was a doozy and I loved it. I definitely did not see everything that coming but was elated when it was put in front of me. I was very satisfied with the whole story and was sad when I got to the last page.

As I said up top, this was my favorite Miranda novel to-date. I loved Avery, the main character, and really liked a lot of the supporting cast. It was well-paced and kept me enthralled the entire time. This story would make a perfect summertime adaptation for HBO, a la “Big Little Lies.” The setting – an almost private and exclusive sea-side town in the summer, with a colorful cast of characters and slow-burning mystery and a touch of romance – would really lend itself well to the small screen.

When this comes out in May, be sure to pick it up and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

I stared once more down at the article in my hand. The truth, always inches away, just waiting for me to look again. The unfinished sentence, our paths crossing over and over, unseen, unknown.

The Last Guest House will be released on May 2, 2019.

BOOK REVIEW: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

BOOK REVIEW: The Au Pair by Emma RousThe Au Pair by Emma Rous
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

Something strange happened here on the day they were born.

The Au Pair is good mystery novel, centering around the Mayes family. Years before, Seraphine and her twin brother Danny were born, and in a matter of hours after their birth, their mother dies from what is considered suicide. Following the death of their father when they are adults, Seraphine finds a family photograph that raises a lot of questions about the fateful day. With her grandmother unable to clarify the events of her mother’s death, Seraphine begins to look for the au pair that was with the family at that time.

Why did they pose for a family photo with only one of their new babies?” I ask. “Why do they looks so–so normal, Mum and Dad, and yet a few hours after this was taken, Mum was dead? I don’t understand how it happened.

Naturally, Seraphine’s attempt to dig into past is met with resistance by many around her, including her brothers and her grandmother. She speaks with many people in the small, sea-side town, including the next door neighbor/childhood friend and his father, who spent a lot of time around the estate.

As with many mystery/thrillers, this book utilizes a split narrative and timeline. In present day, we follow Seraphine as she peels back the layers of her family; in the past, we follow the Laura, the Mayes’ au pair, and slowly learn about what happened and how it came to be.

I want to go back to the way things were before I found the photo. I want to be left to mourn my father without questioning whether he was my father.

Overall, I was fairly happy with the story. To many avid thriller readers, there probably isn’t a lot new here. I didn’t find the twists to be fairly obvious, but I wasn’t overall shocked by it either. I also had just come off reading, (spoilers for those who may have read this book first) View Spoiler » However, that didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. I really liked Seraphine, and especially enjoyed her relationship with her brothers.

I thought the story line wrapped up nicely and I wasn’t left with a lot of lingering questions, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. I will definitely check out what Emma Rous writes next.

“Why did you go looking for her?” His voice is quieter now but deeper, scratchy. “Why did you do this to us?”

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