The Girl I Used To Be by Mary Torjussen

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

I am definitely on a roll right now with the thrillers! Most of the books that I have been reading for this month are thrillers and it has been quite interesting to see the trend in this genre, and how different authors go about trying to tell a tale that is unique and twisty enough for readers! Here is my review of this thriller:

Summary (Goodreads): The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she’s furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.

She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse…much worse. The problem is she doesn’t remember any of it.

As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night–years ago–that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach…

My Rating:Β Β 2 star

Review:Β Unfortunately, this book just missed the mark for me. I think the premise was really interesting. However, I didn’t think the story was told in an interesting way.

The story is split into Part 1 and Part 2, and Part 1 is entirely from Gemma’s perspective. Right away, I pegged the person behind her paranoia (even though I didn’t know the motive). Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I was excited to see how the author would tie things together. However, it took way too long to get to it. The story moves along very slowly and I found myself quite bored with the story. I wanted that feeling of heightened tension and the dread creeping over Gemma … but I really didn’t get much of that at all.

Part 2 was a lot faster in pacing, which was a relief since it also contained the revelations. Now, I don’t think the actual thought process behind the revelations was bad, but the way it was delivered didn’t really work for me. It was a little too easy for Gemma to figure out who was behind it all, and I really felt as if the author told me rather than showed me.

The other negative part of this novel was that I didn’t really feel any connection to the character. Gemma was okay, but lacked a lot of personality. Most of the novel was about her husband not stepping up and helping her, and while I sympathized with this, it made her come off as one-dimensional. There is a revelation in Part 2 about something that happened to her, and it took me aback because I don’t think the author created any hint of this traumatic event so it seemed like it came out of nowhere and didn’t really fit with her character.

Overall, I think that this novel had an interesting story idea but missed the mark in terms of execution. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~


The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton

Thank you to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

What attracted me to this novel was its unique idea: it’s rare to see a female embezzler, especially one who is a homemaker. I wanted to know how the author would go about telling this story, so here is my review:

Marion Palm prefers not to think of herself as a thief but rather “a woman who embezzles.” She has managed to embezzle $180,000 from her daughters’ private school, which she has used to pay for expensive vacations and renovations to her home. But when Marion discovers that the school is facing an audit, she pulls piles of cash from her basement hiding place and runs away, leaving her family to deal with the mess. As baffled detectives, and confused school board members start asking questions, Marion’s husband and children must navigate their new life without Marion.

When I began this novel, I thought it would for sure be one of those cases where I’m rooting for the criminal aka Marion. This novel was being sold as “wildly entertaining” which I interpreted as humorous. However, it was not. The novel started off interestingly enough, with Marion deserting her kids in a store. The novel is told from various perspectives: that of Marion, that of her husband, that of each of her kids, the detective assigned her case, and also that of some board members. While I admit that the story and the characters are quirky, this novel was a lot darker than I had expected. I had no sympathy for Marion or for her husband, as they were both quite despicable characters with no consideration for their children. I liked the children and they were the ones I sympathized with the most; they were innocents caught up in something that they didn’t deserve. I think my issue with this novel was that I couldn’t connect with the main character. She just seemed so distant and while I could understand her behaviour and motivations, I couldn’t feel the things she did and that made the story fall a little flat for me. This is a novel that cynical people who like dark humor would enjoy. While I enjoy dark humor, it wasn’t what I was expecting and that may be the reason I didn’t love this novel. Nevertheless, I’m giving this book a 3/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~

Who Is Rich by Matthew Klam

This novel is really out of my comfort zone. It’s a novel that is all about infidelity and family and sexual pleasure. It’s not something I have ever been comfortable reading about but I like to give new things a try and I wanted to broaden my reading range. So thank you to the First to Read program for giving me the chance to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Once a year, Rich Fischer goes away from his family to a week-long summer arts conference where he teaches a class on cartooning. A year ago, Rich met a student named Amy O’Donnell, a mother of 3 who is married to a Wall Street titan. That year was filled with passion and bonding on how their lives have turned out. Since then, they have exchanged hot texts and emails. And now they’re back at the arts conference. On the very first day, at the annual softball game, Amy breaks her wrist. Feeling guilty and wanting to comfort her, Rich makes an impulsive decision and buys a bracelet from a jewelry store, wiping out his family’s checking account. He then follows Amy through a near-death country-doctoring all for the sake of their intense chemistry.

This book … well, it was definitely not a favorite for me. I don’t think there was a single thing I liked about this novel. I went for it because I thought it would be an interesting perspective on adultery and lust. Instead, I was stuck with a novel that had terrible characters and self-indulgent narratives. I hated Rich for being so whiny and selfish and horrible. I hated all of the other characters for the same reason. I liked the writing style but the story itself was seriously not great and I am struggling to think of even one good thing to say about it. This book was just not for me but maybe someone else will enjoy it more.

Happy reading ~

Disclaimer by RenΓ©e Knight

I went back to my “dark novel” phase with this book. I’ve been trying to mix it up by reading books from a bunch of different genres so I’m not just reading one kind of novel but I find that the trend for this summer seems to be thrillers that are dark and disturbing. I want to keep up with the latest “hot” novels but I’ll continue to vary my selections so all my reviews don’t start sounding the same!

Catherine is a successful documentary filmmaker who seems to have a relatively good life. She’s just won a bunch of awards for her work, her husband is an amazingly kind man, and her son is finally starting to show signs of being independent. And then the book shows up. At first, it seems like an ordinary novel and Catherine enjoys reading it. That is, until she realizes that the book is about her. In fact, it describes one of her darkest secrets, one that she has done her utmost to hide from her family. Now, she finds it revealed in this book by a mysterious author whom she can find no information about. What’s worse is that this author has predicted her death. Catherine has to find out who is behind this plot before everything is taken from her – including her own life.

I must admit, it took me a while to get into it. I wasn’t really paying that much attention to the first few chapters and it wasn’t until I’d gotten through the first 1/3 of the book that it really piqued my interest. That being said, it was quite a good novel. I would never have predicted the ending (which was actually kind of happy) and I would never have believed it possible for the mystery author to have the strength to carry out the sinister plot. Once it got interesting, I raced through the book and finished it in the span of a couple hours. I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick thriller with a positive ending (because it’s never truly a happy one, is it?).

Happy reading ~

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

I’ve always been wary of reading fiction novels about famous people. I’m referring to books that hint at affairs or at secret muses of famous artists. I always worry that it will distort my view of their work. That’s why I approached this book only after having been recommended it numerous times.

Frances Osgood does not have a very easy life. Her painter of a husband has gone off gallivanting with an heiress, leaving her to raise their two daughters alone. As she seeks shelter with her friend, Frances decides to try to make a living by writing her own poetry. However, society is not interested in her work; they would much rather read Edgar Allan Poe’s poems instead. When Frances has the opportunity to meet Poe at an evening soiree, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. Even meeting Mrs. Poe isn’t enough of a deterrent for Frances. But she soon discovers that Mrs. Poe is not just a sweet innocent wife; she is a force to be reckoned with and the lengths that she will go to secure her husband’s love are unimaginable.

This book was good but I will admit that I expected more from it. The ending was quite jerky and it didn’t flow as well as I had wanted. The romance brewing between Frances and Edgar is expressed very well but at some points it dragged along. It was a nice novel as a whole but not one that I would read multiple times.

Happy reading ~