Tag: Thriller (page 1 of 15)

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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Add to: Goodreads

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?”

BOOK REVIEW: We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

BOOK REVIEW: We Told Six Lies by Victoria ScottWe Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Remember how many lies we told, Molly? It’s enough to make my head spin. You were wild when I met you, and I was mad for you. But then something happened. And now you’re gone.

But don’t worry. I’ll find you. I just need to sift through the story of us to get to where you might be. I’ve got places to look, and a list of names.

The police have a list of names, too. See now? There’s another lie. There is only one person they’re really looking at, Molly.

And that’s yours truly.

Thank you to NetGalley, Victoria Scott and Entangled Publishing for my free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5

Did you know it, then, that I already belonged to you? Because I did, you beautiful, wicked girl.

“We Told Six Lies” is a captivating and well written YA thriller from Victoria Scott. However, there were a few things that held the story back from being great.

As with many thrillers, this book is told from varying perspectives and time jumps. The main players in this book are Cobain and Molly. Yes, you read that right, Cobain is a character’s first name. This book has a number of questionable first name choices, but I digress.

Molly is new to the high school and area, but quickly finds friends and becomes interested in shy and socially awkward Cobain. Cobain’s chapters often reminded me of Joe from Caroline Kepner’s YOU books, as he was truly smitten with Molly, even to his own detriment. Thus, when Molly goes missing, it’s not a surprise the police are most interested in Cobain, who also has a well-known anger management problem.

“Follow me,” you said, and I recognized that you were about to do something you shouldn’t. It was your favorite pastime, and you knew I’d do it beside you without question.

Cobain was an OK main character. He has a lot of issues, both with himself and with his family. I truly did feel badly for him many times, but I never quite loved him. On the other hand, I really liked Molly, even as flawed as she is. We unfortunately only get Molly’s perspective in present day and not in the flashbacks, as opposed to how we get Cobain’s. Molly has a lot of layers and is smart and determined. She also uses people to get what she wants, just like her father taught her.

Molly wanted freedom. But he wanted Molly. And love always triumphed in the end.

Without giving away much more of the plot, I was slightly surprised at the “twist.” I think part of it becomes fairly clear as the story goes on, but not all of it is easy to guess. The last couple chapters are wild and thrilling, but then it fairly abruptly ends. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath and a hint at the future, as opposed to ending it where it did. Also, it was never clear what exactly those specific six lies were referenced in the title. It’s not a big deal, but it was just weird to have the book titled something that wasn’t explicitly explained within the book.

So many lies. More than any of us can count. And with every lie, we had a chance to make things right. How could we have been so stupid?

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen HamiltonThe Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She's even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she'll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it's worth all the pain...

Thank you to NetGalley, Karen Hamilton and Wildfire for my free ARC.


I loved him and yet I’d been unable to stop him making the biggest mistake of his life. He was mine.

Juliette loved Nate. Nate decided to end his relationship with Juliette. Juliette cannot let Nate go and will do anything to get him back. And thus begins our story.

Once upon a time, I could walk up to him and hug him any time I pleased. Now, I am not allowed. Those are the rules. I have not been given any choice or say in the matter.

Juliette is both highly problematic and also sympathetic in moments. After being dumped by Nate, an airline pilot, Juliette becomes a flight attendant to worm her way back into his life. She is methodical, disciplined and tries to stay three steps ahead of everyone else. It honestly sounds exhausting, but Juliette is nothing but dedicated.

He thinks he doesn’t want me, but he’s proving that he does. It’s all up to me to help him come to terms with his feelings so this whole mixed-messages thing stops.

This book is very much along the lines of Kaira Rouda novels or “The Last Mrs. Parrish.” I found it hard to put down because I wanted to see what Juliette would do next. I think my mouth dropped open as some of the pieces fell together at the end. I felt like I should have seen it coming, but I was so invested in what was in front of me, I wasn’t really trying to piece it together like that.

Some people may hate the ending, as it is not the cleanest, but I didn’t mind. After all the events of the book, it seemed fairly realistic. It thought this was very well written and while Juliette was far from a good person, I did have sympathy for her, especially as we learn about her background. I didn’t want her to succeed, but I did want her to get the help she very much needed.

If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, make them.

BOOK REVIEW: #Murdertrending (Murdertrending #1) by Gretchen McNeil

BOOK REVIEW: #Murdertrending (Murdertrending #1) by Gretchen McNeil#Murdertrending (Murdertrending #1)
by Gretchen McNeil
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?

“Fifty million people are about to watch me die.”

From the very first line of this book, I was hooked. Two years ago, I read McNeil’s book Ten and was left underwhelmed. The plot was good (I know it was borrowed, but still), but was not impressed by the characters. There was marked improvement in the character development, which made me enjoy this book more.

If you are squeamish, I would not recommend this. While this a YA book, there are fairly graphic descriptions of death, starting with the very opening pages. I thought the opening chapter set the story up splendidly: Dee, our protagonist, has been convicted of her step-sister’s murder and has been dropped off onto Alcatraz, where she has been sentenced to death in a government-sanctioned murder reality show. Think Survivor + The Hunger Games = The Postman app.

But instead of being murdered in the first few minutes of her time on the island, Dee fights back and kills her would-be killer. From then on, she is left to survive on the island with a group of other convicted killers, while all the while trying to prove she is innocent. And on top of that, Dee is still dealing with PTSD from the time she was kidnapped and kept captive by a deranged girl a few years prior to the events of the book.

“‘I Scream’?” Dee said, reading the name of the shop. “You’ve got be kidding me.”
“You’ll find an abundance of dark humor on the island.”

While I liked Dee well enough, I thought the side characters and the world building were even better. Nyles, Griselda, Blair, Ethan and Mara were all great characters and I enjoyed getting to know more about them and their stories. I also thought McNeil did a great job setting up the game and the island. It was intricate, but not overly bogged in unnecessary details. I especially enjoyed the brief pages of the user board messages and the detail around the infamous killers who were hired to take out the inhabitants of the island (for the most views of course!).

So where did this fall a little short? As with McNeil’s other work, I found the romance shoe-horned into the story line a little bit. I don’t mind romance in perilous situations, but I never felt the spark to make me overcome the oddness of romance against the backdrop of the story. And while I enjoyed the characters and world-building, the writing was a little stilted and simplistic in nature. Also, the ending is bit a cliffhanger, although it appears the author has confirmed there will be a sequel.

I’m interested in where this is headed, especially how it was mostly wrapped up at the conclusion of this book. I’m also curious if the author will explore the fallout of these characters being forced to kill before they were killed themselves. It is briefly touched upon in the book, but because of the action leading up to the ending, it is moved to the back burner.

Had Dee, in some way, become a Painiac? The idea mad her breath catch in her chest. No! She wasn’t like them, would never be like them. She was fighting for survival. She was different.

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