The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Thank you to Edelweiss for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

When I first began reading this book, I had no idea it had any ghostly underpinnings. Naturally, that just made me more excited to read it! I have been in a bit of a book slump for the past few weeks so I’ve been desperately searching for that story that will propel me back into reading – and this one was it! Here is my review:

35533431Summary (Goodreads): Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . .

Review: Let me start right away by saying this book gets 5/5 stars from me. I loved it that much. I’m struggling so much to find the right words to describe my emotions … but I’m going to try anyways.

I really liked that this story alternated between 2 different points in time. Some chapters were from 1950 and others were from 2014. The chapters from the 1950s were my favourite because every time the story switched to this time point, it was one of the 4 roommates who got to speak. This allowed the reader to connect with all of the girls and understand them – and their secrets. I thought the author did a fantastic job at this. I felt empathy for every single girl and could really feel their bond towards each other. I was also able to appreciate them as unique entities and could feel the pain of bearing the burden of their secrets. The chapters from 2014 were exclusively from Fiona’s perspective, as she searches for the truth. I will be honest, in the beginning, I wasn’t very drawn to Fiona. But as the story progressed and the different time points began to intersect, everything made sense and I grew to love every chapter, regardless of who was speaking.

I also really loved the mystery behind it all. I’m not going to say too much on it because I don’t want to ruin anything but there are 2 “main mysteries” that are the focus in this novel. Both of them made sense and were resolved beautifully, with no holes in reasoning. I loved the way the pieces fell together, and the emotions that were brought to the surface as Fiona tried to make sense of it all. Through the investigations, the novel raises difficult subject matter and does it in a very respectful way. I know I usually tell you what these are but for the sake of keeping this review spoiler-free, I’m going to stay silent.

The most surprising part of the novel was the ghostly element. I really wasn’t expecting it from this book but it was absolutely fantastic. It gave a very Gothic and haunting atmosphere to the story! I almost never get scared or feel shivers when reading a book with ghosts in it… but this book did it for me. My heart would race and I would turn on all the lights in my room because the mood was captured so perfectly. And in the case of this book, the ghost story aspect really enhanced the mystery! It added something more to the story, that set it apart and also gave it more …. substance. It reinforced the main message of the story: not all secrets stay in the past.

I have to say that this book was literally perfect for me. It had great characters, great writing, dual storylines that converged beautifully, and tons of mystery to it. The supernatural elements to the tale were just the cherry on top. I am so glad I got to read this book and I cannot wait to read more by this author!

Happy reading ~


Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

I really wanted to read this book because I heard that it was being made into a movie. I’m a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan so I was excited to watch it … but before watching, I wanted to read the novel and see how it was. I love spy-ish movies and stories so it was a no-brainer for me to choose this as my next read. Here’s my review:

15803037Summary (Goodreads): In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole.

Spies have long relied on the “honey trap,” whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of “sexpionage” in Russia’s secret “Sparrow School,” hidden outside of Moscow. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well. As secret allegiances are made and broken, Dominika and Nate’s game reaches a deadly crossroads. Soon one of them begins a dangerous double existence in a life-and-death operation that consumes intelligence agencies from Moscow to Washington, DC.

Review: I was surprised at how long it took me to read this book! It looked fairly short but it had super tiny font – so consider yourself warned!

This is a very detailed book. I had always figured that espionage would be very meticulous and intricate, but I had no idea how much until I read this book. The author has carefully researched and outlined every small thing in this story. I really appreciated this attention to detail because it created a lot of depth and gave the reader a very full picture of what it means to be part of the espionage world. It also gives the reader an understanding of politics and the different mind games that can take place, which is where all the fun happens! At times, this level of detail could be overwhelming; it is one of the reasons why it took me so long to finish this book. However, now that I have completed it, I can see no better way of telling this story.

The characters in this novel were very unique. Dominika is fiery, egotistical, and able to adapt to every situation. She is so smart and I really empathized with her feelings of being used as a pawn; she wanted to be so much more, knew she could be so much more, and I loved that about her. However, I didn’t like that the author made her very impulsive and moody. It just didn’t fit with the image of a spy that the author kept pushing forward. I liked that she had spunk but her outbursts were a little shocking to me, and seemed incompatible with the rest of her character. I also didn’t really like Luke. There didn’t seem to be too much of substance there. While I liked that Dominika was the driving force behind this novel, I wish that Luke had been a worthy match for her strong character.

The story’s pacing is a little weird. I can’t really classify it as fast or slow; its tempo changed as it progressed, ramping up and down as needed based on the events that were about to unfold. There were times when I wish things would progress faster … but it made sense why it didn’t.

The writing style was something else I am struggling to characterize. I think that it worked for telling this kind of story. It was a cold and calculated voice that distanced the reader from the characters. I can see why a lot of people would find it off-putting but it reminded me a lot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hypnotist so I didn’t really mind it too much. I thought it was really cool how each chapter ended with recipes of a dish that was described in that chapter; it wasn’t strictly necessary but it was an interesting tidbit.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I would give this a 3.5/5 stars. I think it took me time to start to really get into the novel; at first, I felt bogged down by all the details. Once I got used to the details and the writing style, I found myself caught up in the political intrigue. I definitely want to continue reading the rest of the books in the series, especially since this one ended on a cliffhanger. But before that, I’m going to go and check out the movie!

Happy reading ~

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I stayed away from this thriller for a while. It had a lot of hype and that scared me right away; this is what happened with so many other books in this genre and they all disappointed me. I really didn’t want this one to not meet my expectations so I tried to avoid it … but then the temptation to see if it was worth all the hype was too great. Here is my review:

34848682Summary (Goodreads): Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.


Review: Unfortunately, this novel failed to impress me. It didn’t live up to the hype. But it wasn’t a bad thriller, either.

We have this character, Anna, who is agoraphobic. That in itself has me intrigued. Agoraphobia is quite common and there are many therapeutic and pharmaceutical approaches for it. But then the author decides to also make Anna drunk. And that straight-up reminded me of Girl on the Train. As if the story wasn’t similar enough in terms of the idea of a woman who spies on others through a window! I really didn’t like that the author added the drinking element to the story because it wasn’t necessary; Anna was already an unreliable narrator because of her agoraphobia and the medications she was on. It just seemed like overkill to me.

I also found that the plot was a bit predictable. While I hadn’t completely pegged the ending, I had my suspicions, and a lot of the revelations were ones I had already guessed. I wish Anna had been a little quicker in coming to certain conclusions, but I will be fair and give her the benefit of the doubt; after all, she was drunk so maybe that’s why it took her longer to put the clues together.

A lot of people on Goodreads have been calling this a “popcorn” book and I have to agree. The story is interesting enough that it keeps you flipping the pages and you’re entertained. However, it wasn’t the best thriller I had ever read, and it was too predictable for me. I’m giving this a 2.5/5 stars, rounded to 3, because I liked the pacing and writing style and think it is a decent job for a debut author in a genre where it’s hard to stand out.

Happy reading ~

Half Moon Bay by Alice Laplante

I received this novel as an advance copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I read this premise and immediately thought “This book is the one for me”. I was so excited for this book … and then I read it. And I didn’t like it. Here’s why:

36495890Summary (Goodreads): Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Jane is devastated, but sometime later, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is inconsolable, and yet, as the months go by, she is able to cobble together some version of a job, of friends, of the possibility of peace.

And then, children begin to disappear. And soon, Jane sees her own pain reflected in all the parents in the town. She wonders if she will be able to live through the aching loss, the fear all around her. But as the disappearances continue, she begins to see that what her neighbors are wondering is if it is Jane herself who has unleashed the horror of loss.

Review: There were two issues for me with this book: 1) Jane’s character; and 2) the writing style.

Jane is a mother who is shrouded in grief, for obvious reasons. While I could empathize with Jane, I wasn’t able to connect with her or like her. I think this may have been because of the other personality traits the author tried to attribute to her, namely her ability to be easily manipulated. Personally, I prefer characters who have a bit more of a backbone to them, and the fact that Jane’s malleable character leads to so many future problems for her just annoyed me. This may not seem like a huge problem for a lot of readers, but it was a big reason why I couldn’t enjoy this book.

I also didn’t like the writing style. It just felt like I was in Jane’s head the entire time, following her stream of consciousness. And I didn’t really like it, especially since Jane has a very … foggy mind. I felt disoriented and since her thoughts constantly strayed to various different areas, it was hard for me to stay focused and keep up with the actual story line. This definitely hampered my reading experience and made this less enjoyable.

I think that the story here was interesting. However, I didn’t like the main character and I didn’t like the writing style, which meant that I couldn’t enjoy the book. It almost made the DNF pile – except I’ve been trying really hard to not DNF any books this year. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

So far, my experiences with Clare Mackintosh’s books have been positive. I absolutely loved I Let You Go, her debut novel. I See You, while not as intense of a thriller as her debut, was still a very good read. I went into this book with high expectations, wondering how twisted the story would get. Here is my review:

35839475Summary (Goodreads): The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…

Review: This is a book that is leaving me more than a little conflicted. It had its positive and negative moments, and I think a lot of it can be attributed to the way the author went about telling the story.

When I first began to read this book, I was a little disappointed. It started off like many other thrillers. Anna was a character that came off as very one-dimensional; while I could empathize with her grief, that seemed to be all that constituted her personality. From the start, she was obsessed with proving that there was more to her parent’s deaths than just suicide …. but I had read this type of story so many times that I just didn’t feel any interest. With the addition of an unknown person’s perspective in the mix, I thought I had pretty much figured out the story.

For about 200 pages, everything I guessed was on the nose.


Almost 100 pages before the end of the book, the major twist happened. And I really liked the twist. It shifts the paradigms and it makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about a person. I don’t want to say any more because I want this to be spoiler-free, but it was definitely surprising and I really liked it.

But here’s the real question: was the twist good enough to redeem the earlier part of the book? For this, I don’t really have a good answer. On the one hand, the twist saved this story from being a disappointment for me. It made me sit up and gripped me and made me invested in the story. But to get to this point, I had to slog through the novel. Now, after finishing the novel, I can understand why the author went about telling the story this way: by making the reader believe that this would be just like every other thriller, she managed to deliver the most epic shock factor. But even though I got the thrills, I still didn’t really care about Anna’s characters. Other side characters were also not as well-developed as I would like, and the introduction of the retired police officer was really not too necessary as he didn’t add too much to the story.

To sum it up, this was probably my least favourite book by Clare Mackintosh. That being said, it’s still quite good and better than most of the generic thrillers out there. I’m going to give this a 3/5 stars because I was definitely caught off-guard … but the twists weren’t enough to redeem the entire book for me. I will 100% read more by this author, though; she is definitely talented and knows how to spin a good tale!

Thank you to the publishers and Edelweiss for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson

When I found out that this novel was inspired by the Slender Man attack, I was immediately interested. I know that sounds like there is something seriously wrong with me, but I wanted to know how the author would describe it in a fictional setting. This story takes place after the incident and the premise was just too interesting to pass up. Here is my review:


Summary (Goodreads): How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender?
At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels.
Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear…

Review: I have very mixed feelings about this book. Do I think this is a very unique thriller? Yes, 100%. Did I love it? Not entirely.

If you haven’t heard about the Slender Man trials, then let me give you a little recap: a couple of years ago, there was a lot of hype about this creepy character named Slender Man. 2 girls became so obsessed with it that they stabbed another girl, claiming that Slender Man told them to do it. This was the premise that sparked the idea for this book, but the author took it further than just the incident: in this novel, we read about the victim’s life in the future.

The novel started off great. I loved reading from Alice’s perspective. She is damaged, she is paranoid, but she is strong and refuses to be a victim. The author painted a very realistic depiction of a survivor and I wanted to get to know her. However, as the story progressed, I found I didn’t really like Alice as much as I had hoped. For one thing, she’s a blabbermouth. For someone who should trust nobody, she trusts EVERYBODY. Every other chapter involves her meeting a character, deciding to trust them with her life story, and then divulging every little detail, including things that could be used against her. I wanted to shake her and yell at her for this. YOU ARE BEING STALKED BY A PSYCHO!!! DON’T GO AROUND TRUSTING PEOPLE!!! She even ignores the advice of her dead father, who explicitly told her to not trust anybody. It was something that really bothered me with this story.

That being said, I did like the way the story developed. There were a lot of twists and turns and a lot of mysteries explored. I like that things unfolded in their own time; instead of having the reader try to tease things apart, the author let everything come out gradually. It gave the story a good flow and allowed me to just enjoy the story as it came to me. I liked the identity reveal of Mister Tender and the way things led up to the climax.

But it was the climactic point that failed me. Mainly because there wasn’t one. After all this build up, after all the violence, it ended very easily. It was just too simple after all of the tension that was evoked previously, and I just couldn’t feel satisfied by it.

Despite some of the negative aspects of this story, I think that it gives a lot of food for thought about sensationalism and victim fetishism. The story is about how everyone is obsessed with getting to know Alice, understanding her and seeing how she lives her day after her horrific incident. In a way, the reader is a part of that: I am drawn to the grisliness of her story, I’m fascinated by her character and how she behaves. It’s easy to see how I could become another “fan” of Mister Tender… except I would never stoop to that level of depravity and violence. In a sense, this theme of sensationalism also touches on issues with privacy. With the internet, there really is no such thing as having privacy and through Alice’s struggles, we see how hard it can be to remain anonymous. This novel also looks at abuse in a very unique way. There are so many different types of abuse that this novel considers and it is worthwhile to note that abuse doesn’t just manifest itself through physical violence; it can come from a loved one, too, and have disastrous consequences on one’s mental and emotional well-being.

Even though there were things I really didn’t like about this novel, I’m still giving it a fairly high rating of 3.5/5 stars. This is a very unique psychological thriller, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers interested, so if you are looking for something new in the genre, consider this book.

Happy reading ~

Amber Alert by Dan Lawton

I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

I am always happy when an author gets in touch with me and asks me to read their work. It’s not easy to write and publish a novel, and I definitely want to support writers wherever possible! I was super excited to receive this novel, which sounded like a very cool thriller! Here is my review:

Synopsis (Goodreads): Time is running out.

Nine-year-old Chloe Janis is abducted.

Abby, her mom, is now faced with revealing her dark past, hidden these last seventeen years, or losing her daughter forever. A cryptic message from a man she’d shoved into the dark recesses of her mind forces her into an impossible situation—revealing secrets best kept hidden or losing her daughter forever.

Secrets, deception, and betrayal surround the small town of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. All eyes are on the community, threatening to split open as yet unhealed wounds are probed. Fates will be rewritten and careers redefined. Everyone involved will confront their pasts if there’s any hope of Mifflinburg becoming a town at the heart of redemption and forgiveness.

Review: The plot for this story was quite strong and I really liked the direction that the story took. However, I thought that the writing style wasn’t the best fit for this story.

A child being abducted is not necessarily a unique story … but the way the author presented it here made it stand out in my mind. It was easy for me to follow along with the events that unfolded, and I got caught up in the thrill of it all. I liked that the plot had depth to it and kept you guessing as to the motives behind this kidnapping.

I also really liked the characters because every single one of them had something to contribute to the story. There were no useless characters, and I’m so happy about that because that is one of my biggest pet peeves. All of the characters had a backstory and the author definitely had them all fleshed out. I will point out that I didn’t like the main detective’s character. He had an off-putting personality, and while that may have been done on purpose, I thought that some of his actions and remarks were uncharacteristic of a police detective and that didn’t really work for me.

The one issue I had with this novel was with the writing style. Oftentimes, I felt I was being told rather than shown what was happening. When the character was giving their backstory or their inputs, I would much rather have not been told it straight to my face; I like to be led to the conclusions, not given them. When I’m told rather than shown, I find that it takes me out of the rhythm of the story and it can be hard for me to get back into it. I think that if the writing style had been edited to be cleaner in these aspects, it would have made the story even better.

Overall, this was a very interesting premise and a well-developed story. However, I don’t think the writing style was a good fit for this novel. Nevertheless, this was a solid effort, and I’m giving this a 3/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

The Black Painting by Neil Olson

Look at this cover, and tell me you wouldn’t be intrigued to read it (especially if you are a book cover snob like me)!


I thought this was a stunning cover, and when I read the premise, I was immediately drawn to the supernatural aspect of the story. I may not know much about art, but I love everything to do with demons and this novel had everything to make it the perfect read for me.

Synopsis (Goodreads): There were four cousins in the Morse family: perfect Kenny, the preppy West Coast lawyer; James, the shy but brilliant medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, youngest and most fragile, haunted by the fear that she has inherited the madness that possessed her father.

Their grandfather summons them to his mansion at Owl’s Point. None of them has visited the family estate since they were children, when a prized painting disappeared: a self-portrait by Goya, rumored to cause madness or death upon viewing. Afterward, the family split apart amid the accusations and suspicions that followed its theft.

Any hope that their grandfather planned to make amends evaporates when Teresa arrives to find the old man dead, his horrified gaze pinned upon the spot where the painting once hung. As the family gathers and suspicions mount, Teresa hopes to find the reasons behind her grandfather’s death and the painting’s loss. But to do so she must uncover ugly family secrets and confront those who would keep them hidden.

Review: What a great premise, right? Unfortunately, the actual story failed to live up to it.

The story itself had all the makings to be great. You have a painting that contains a demon in it, and this painting is stolen. The owner of the painting, Teresa’s grandfather, is found dead with a look of horror on his face. And everyone in the family wants to find this painting because of its wealth – and because of the powers it is rumored to hold. The problem with the story, however, is the plot doesn’t really stick to the script. It meanders and flows in so many different directions that it is hard to keep track. I don’t care about any of the other side plots, I just want to know what is going on with this painting! It was so frustrating to read this novel because I never got the information or the story I wanted.

There were also a lot of characters. As in, way too many. There was nothing to really set any of them apart, and there was just so many names being dropped with no proper development that they all melded into one. It almost felt like I was experiencing whiplash, what with the sheer volume of characters and character interactions that were present in this novel. This is what happens when a story doesn’t have any character development whatsoever – and it was an experience I do not want to ever repeat.

As I’m writing this review, I feel quite sad. This novel could have been so good. And I don’t want to bash the author’s efforts to write and publish a book. But there was no redeeming quality about this book. There was no effort made to keep the plot concise and interesting. There was absolutely no character development, leaving the reader swamped by the sheer number of players in this book. It was just not a good book. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Happy reading ~

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

I had a long day in the lab, and I’ve been meaning to really get through my reading list so I decided to start with this one. Other people who read it considered it a quick but good read, and I thought it would be perfect for me, especially since I’ve been on a thriller binge right now!


Synopsis (Goodreads): Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.

Review: While I didn’t find this story to have anything surprising to it, I must say I quite enjoyed this novel. Margot Hunt is the pseudonym for a bestselling author who has published 12 books before this one. And it shows because the quality of the writing is very strong. I couldn’t stop myself from flipping one page after the next because the writing style allowed for this novel to maintain a fairly fast pace (even though there wasn’t actually a lot happening) and be an easy read.

What made this novel really work is the characterization of the 2 female characters, which was great. The story is from Alice’s perspective and she is a great protagonist. Alice is a logician, and her logical mind is evident in her various interactions with other people. She is described quite a few times as being cold or too calm, and this has been attributed to her logical thinking … but reading from her point of view showed that this isn’t necessarily true. Alice feels a lot. She feels protective towards her family and friends, driven by her love for them to do whatever it takes to make them happy. She was a character I could really connect with, and I enjoyed reading from her perspective as she went from loyal defender of Kat to doubting their friendship.

Kat’s character was also very interesting. I could tell right away why she wasn’t to be trusted…. but also why she was so easy to be best friends with. Heck, even wanted to be friends with her! I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Kat and Alice and how it may have seemed like a tight bond at first, but was just a manipulation by Kat.

The conclusion of the story, while predictable, was still quite good because the author really stuck to the theme that she had introduced from the start. This is a story about what it means to be a friend, and how friendship can be manipulated. I’m giving this a solid 3/5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers!

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Happy reading ~

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

I absolutely adored the cover of this book, and combined with all the hype surrounding this book, I borrowed a copy from my library right away. My mood these days is making me lean towards thrillers, so I thought this would be a great fit for me.


Synopsis (Goodreads): Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

Review: This book is uncannily similar to The Wife Between Us… but it’s not as good. If you haven’t seen my review of The Wife Between Us, check it out because I was raving about that one! It’s hard for me not to compare these two thrillers when they are so similar, but I will try to limit my comments to just my impressions of this novel.

The story is told in 3 parts. Part 1 is completely from Amber’s perspective, Part 2 is from Daphne’s point of view, and Part 3 is a combination of the two. I wasn’t expecting that the story would be split in this way in the beginning, but it soon became clear why. After just halfway through Part 1, I had already figured out the way the story was going to go. It was just too easy for me to put the pieces together. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if it is relatively simple, if the story is written well it can hold my attention.

And it was written well. By this, I mean that the story was easy to read and flowed well. However, the story wasn’t interesting. It got tiring to listen to all the different ways that Amber infiltrated Daphne’s life. I get that the author (or rather, authors) was trying to set the scene, but it didn’t need to be this long.

When Part 2 began, I was excited to read from Daphne’s perspective. But I quickly became disinterested. Why? Well, I had the same dilemma of being told everything and shown nothing. I don’t know why this is suddenly a trend with novels, but I don’t like it. It gives the story less depth and keeps me less interested because I just can’t connect with the characters.

Now, I gave this novel a trigger warning because it has a lot of instances of abuse that might disturb readers. These instances are described quite vividly, which I didn’t mind because it actually made me feel some emotion. However, there was a big problem that I had with this novel, and I’ve been shifting between saying it and potentially spoiling part of the story or just keeping it to myself. I decided to go with the former option. NO ONE DESERVES ABUSE. Regardless of how bad a person is or how cruel, nobody deserves to be abused. It really bothered me that this novel tried to justify this and I just couldn’t get over that.

So my overall thoughts about this book? The Wife Between Us was better. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to give this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~