2018 Book #29 – The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

616KJc+oqsLTitle: The Beloveds
Author: Maureen Lindley
Date finished: 4/16/18
Genre: Thriller, suspense, fiction, scary
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.

Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.

Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.

My rating:  1.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’m not going to go on too long but I didn’t care for this book. I think I’m just too literal of a person to really have appreciated everything that went on in this book. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try it yourselves I’m just saying I didn’t like it myself. Betty’s character was a whack job and really there was no closure and no resolution at all, she just keeps on being crazy and trying to kill her only remaining family. I just could not get into the character or the story line. Its well-reviewed on Amazon so don’t let my thoughts discourage anyone!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #23 – Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

510QHlz22KLTitle: Not That I Could Tell
Author: Jessica Strawser
Date finished: 3/27/18
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An innocent night of fun takes a shocking turn in Not That I Could Tell, the next page-turner from Jessica Strawser.

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read Strawser’s debut novel, Almost Missed You, last year and really enjoyed it so I was excited to see her next book available for review. Strawser’s second book Not That I Could Tell is a great book with a lot to enjoy. The plot line had plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. I especially liked how the narrator / POV was continually changing, every time I felt myself growing a little restless with the story we’d switch the POV and I’d be back and engaged in the story. And I really loved how multi-faceted all the characters were, and how quirky and likable all the women were. There were a couple things in the book that happened that I found to be “unfair” (one example is the chastising speech Izzy gets from her Dad, while he may have been right it was painful still) but life is also unfair and it added to the drama and build up of the story line. I have to say I didn’t see the ending for this one coming, it took me completely by surprise. That being said I’m not sure that I ended up overall satisfied with how it ended. And I think as a reader I would’ve liked more details about Kristen’s back story (other than just the one event) to try and understand more of what she went through leading up to this. Overall though I really liked this book and I would recommend it, this would be a great vacation/beach read!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #21 – The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

41DOwpZKXvL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Flight Attendant
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Date finished: 3/20/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Pages in book: 345
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police – she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home – Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendantunveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

This book was hard for me to get into, I didn’t find that there was a lot that really reached out and grabbed me. Elena’s character didn’t evolve for me as I expected it to and Cassie’s character really was just a portrayal of an awful person and it made it hard for me to connect with her. She was extremely self-destructive and flawed, and I had trouble understanding a lot of her decisions throughout the book. I found it especially unfortunate that I struggled with some of the book because the ending ROCKED. I literally gasped, I never saw it coming. There aren’t many books I can say that for, if I had been more engaged through the rest of the novel this one would have probably been a home run for me. As it is though I would still really very much recommend it because my struggle was probably just based on my current attention span and even if it wasn’t the ending still was worth it!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #19 – The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

51FHd3Am-3LTitle: The Woman Left Behind
Author: Linda Howard
Date finished: 2/26/18
Genre: Fiction, romantic suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina–who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice–making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Finding love in the battle zone

First off I have to say that Linda Howard is one of my absolute favorite authors. She has always been able to draw me into her stories and I don’t think there is a single one of her books that I didn’t enjoy (I’ve read them all). I have been really looking forward to reading this new release and I have to say I was not disappointed. This book stars an amazingly strong and capable female lead, Jina, who ends up being kind of coerced into joining some crazy paramilitary team where her endurance is pushed to the limit (multiple times). Jina was such an amazing character and I just loved her strength and how capable and stubborn she was. And Levi (while a tad over-alpha like for me) was a perfect compliment to Jina’s character. Howard did a great job of drawing the reader into the story and she created such chemistry between Jina and Levi – it just about leaped off the page. There were what I found to be a couple dry sections to the book, but for the most part I couldn’t put the book down. I loved the team and the camaraderie between Jina and the other characters, and I loved reading about Jina’s training and the trials she was able to withstand. The back plot (with the congresswoman) was a little light but I loved Jina’s story too much to worry about that. Overall this was a great book and I would most definitely recommend.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #17 – The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

51dBmN-P1PLTitle: The Wife Between Us
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Date finished: 2/20/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Pages in book: 342
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Our perception of the truth

This book has been gaining a lot of popularity and I’ve seen it mentioned a number of places. But to be honest when I was about 50 pages into the book I was wondering how this book could possibly be so popular. The beginning of the book does get a tad repetitive and Vanessa sounds really whiny in the beginning, until the reader gets to the first twist and uncovers more of the story. I think that was my favorite part of this book was how at each twist and turn the reader gets another piece of the puzzle that will make up the whole picture. The description of the book didn’t stand out to me until I read the book, the reader’s perception is altered multiple times and it becomes harder and harder to know where the “truth” lies. Lies and truth co-mingle based on the character’s perception and the reader’s perception as well. While there were a couple of dry pieces to the story, overall I really loved the plot of this one and the facets of the story as the reader progresses through the book. This was a great book and I would most definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #14 – You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

51hQYpC879LTitle: You Will Be Mine
Author: Natasha Preston
Date finished: 2/9/18
Genre: Fiction, young adult, horror, suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Love turns deadly in a new heart-pounding thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cellar and The Cabin!

ROSES ARE RED
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
WATCH YOUR BACK
I’M COMING FOR YOU

Lylah and her friends can’t wait to spend a night out together. Partying is the perfect way to let loose from the stress of life and school, and Lylah hopes that hitting the dance floor with Chace, her best friend, will bring them closer together. She’s been crushing on him since they met. If only he thought of her the same way…

The girls are touching up their makeup and the guys are sliding on their coats when the doorbell rings. No one is there. An envelope sits on the doormat. It’s an anonymous note addressed to their friend Sonny. A secret admirer? Maybe. They all laugh it off.

Except Sonny never comes home. And a new note arrives:

YOUR TURN

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Killing for revenge on Valentine’s Day

Lylah and her friends try to outrun a killer bent on revenge and fixated on their little household. They obviously don’t do too well though since more than one of them ends up murdered. The characters in this novel were ok, although I found Lylah to be a tad whiny, but I guess that’s to be expected when your friends are being killed off. The plot of the book was really good. Even though I did kind of see the plot twist at the end coming, it was still super creepy and dark/twisted and I thought it was great. The book was appropriately creepy too, I found myself looking over my shoulder for bad guys while I was reading it. I also like that this was a horror story centered around the Valentine’s Day holiday, I thought that was a fun twist on what is normally just a mushy day. My issues with the story line mostly consisted of what felt like holes in the plot or incomplete sections. At one point Riley and Lylah argue and I don’t think the reader knows what happens to Riley then but Lylah goes upstairs and goes to sleep with Chase. Just felt a little scattered with the plot line in some parts. Other than that I liked the book a lot and I thought it was a great book for what’s normally a romantic holiday.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #11 – The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

51MbMthRSSLTitle: The Things We Wish Were True
Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Date finished: 1/29/18
Genre: Fiction, suspense, thriller
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Pages in book: 290
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This is from my 2016 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book whose title uses alliteration” category.

This book delved into the minds and lives of a number of different characters in a small town, including a child and a matron of the community. A boy is rescued from the pool one day during the summer, unconscious and unresponsive. The people there too witness the event seem to form a bond over the shared experience but all of them have significant secrets to hide. I think that’s one of the things that bothered me about this book, everyone seemed to be betraying someone and (while its naive) its sad to me to think that people are so deceptive and selfish. All of the characters were so downtrodden and unhappy at different points of the story, it was slightly frustrating to get involved with such flawed (but realistic I guess) characters. That being said, I thought this was such a great story and I love how everything was laid out in the end and all the loose ends got tied up neatly. There were some great plot twists, most of which the reader can see coming due to being able to tie together multiple view points but were still exciting. This was a really good read and I would recommend it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after I’d finished it!

 

Link to author website

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