Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

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

After so many thrillers that focus on the wife, I thought it would be a good change to read one that focuses on the husband and child. That was my motivation for requesting this book … so here is my review:

It’s been 1 year since Billie Flanagan, a beautiful Berkeley mom, went on a solo hike and vanished. Only a hiking boot was ever found. Billie’s husband, Jonathan, and teenage daughter, Olive, do their best to ┬ácope with her death but things have been frayed between them. When Olive starts having waking dreams that her mother is alive, she is convinced these are signs that her mother wants Olive to look for her. Jonathan worries about Olive’s health and mental frame of mind … but then he unearths a secret from Billie’s past that makes him question everything he thought he knew about his wife. Now, Olive and Jonathan have to work together to piece together the woman they loved.

It was definitely unique to read this story with a husband and daughter as the main protagonists. I was hoping that the story would be more of a father-daughter search for the truth, where both characters grow. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The father’s character and judgments were reasonable based on the secrets he was discovering about his wife, Billie. However, he didn’t really do much about anything. He discovered things and let despair take him under. In fact, his daughter was much more active in getting to the bottom of things than he was. This ended up turning this book from an adult read to a young adult/teen read, which let me down a tad bit. In the end, this was a thriller that was interesting in terms of where the plot went, but I felt like it failed in its execution and character development.

Happy reading ~

The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

For the first time, I forgot to blog about a book I read. This is my problem with borrowing physical copies of a book; I get so worried about returning it on time that I forget about everything else. It’s a good thing I went through my posts and realized it was missing!

Grace Blades is a brilliant psychologist with a penchant for knowing how to reach out to people in all stages of grief in order to console them. She seems perfect on the outside, with her beautiful home and her nice clothes and fancy cars. No one would ever imagine that at the age of five, she had witnessed a murder-suicide that had left her parents dead. Although Grace was adopted by a warm family and was able to use her intellect as a way of escaping the trauma, she still harbors a dark side. And when both of her worlds come together, Grace’s past returns – with the intention to kill.

This book was good. But not great. Grace was portrayed pretty interestingly. She did not show many feminine characteristics in her thoughts and glimpses of emotion were a rare thing. Although the story made sense, the ending was anticlimactic and abrupt. There was a lot of buildup and detail (sometimes a bit too much) throughout the novel but the ending took away from that by happening so quickly. I wish there had been a bit more to it because that would have really taken it to the next level. This is a pretty good psychological thriller but if you want something fast-paced, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Happy reading ~

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

It seems as if I am on some streak for reading books where the main characters are senior citizens. Or maybe that is just the trend. Either way, this book is about an old woman. But that’s where the similarities end. In the other books, the story had a lightness to it but here, it is very muddled and dark. Anyways, I think I’ve given enough of a teaser. Time for my review!

Like I mentioned, this book is about Maud, an 82 year-old woman who is clearly losing her memory. She writes notes for herself constantly to remember things that she should or shouldn’t do. However, sometimes she gets the notes mixed up with the days. Recently, she keeps remembering that her friend, Elizabeth, is missing. And she is determined to find her. As she embarks on this quest, she starts to recall her past and her sister, Sukey, who went missing many many years ago. Soon, it is unclear whether the mystery of Elizabeth will be solved or the mystery of Sukey.

Okay so not a great review, I know. But it is a very confusing book! Reading a story from the viewpoint of a woman with dementia is quite a challenge; I’m sure writing it was even more of one! One thing I liked about this book was the richness of detail given to the past. It was vivid and beautiful and really made the mystery of Sukey relevant. And as I mentioned before, the way the author wrote was amazing, especially with such a difficult character type. However, I didn’t like this book very much. It was hard for me to follow sometimes and when the mystery was solved at the end, it seemed very abrupt and random. Even now, I feel like I need to reread the ending to see if I missed some connection. This story had me going in circles but not in a good way; there were many times when I just felt like putting it aside. Kudos to the author for their literary skills in character portrayal but the mystery story line itself falls short of my expectations.
If someone else has read this and strongly disagrees with me, I would love to hear from you in the hopes that you can change my mind!

Happy reading~

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

This book is very unique. No matter how many times I’ve read it, it still captivates me, still holds on to its charm. It is definitely a must-read! So here is my review:

When Cassandra’s grandmother Nell passes away, she discovers that Nell had a very big secret: she was adopted. The only thing linking Nell to her past is a suitcase that has a book of fairy tales in it by Eliza Makepiece. Another surprise for Cassandra is that Nell owns a cottage in England. Determined to piece together Nell’s past, Cassandra takes it upon herself to go to England to visit this cottage in the hopes that it will yield the answers she so desperately seeks.

One of the reasons why I love this book is because it is told in multiple voices and switches from the past to the present effortlessly to deliver this beautiful story. I am always in awe of authors who can do something like this; it requires a great deal of talent to execute (something which I lack, sadly). Another reason why this book is so good is that it is simply an amazing mystery; the developments kept me guessing constantly. The last big reason I love this novel is that the characters are vibrant. What I mean is that the author makes them feel alive even when she is writing about a flashback. Too often in novels the characters described in the flashbacks are dull and unbelievable and I’m glad this wasn’t the case here. Hopefully, you’ve been convinced to read this book because it truly is worth your while!

Happy reading ~