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Good morning and welcome to my stop on the TLC blog tour for The Good Neighbours by Joanne Serling. I am thrilled to be able to provide a review for my stop of the tour

I went into this book with a lot of preexisting theories and notions based completely on the synopsis of the book.   The general gist involves an idyllic suburb, young family, an adoption, little girl from Russia with possible destructive tendencies; immediately, I found myself thinking of the 2009 movie, Orphan (starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) were a young couple adopt a young girl from Russia, Esther, who ends up terrorizing the family. This movie haunted me for about six years of my life so, when I opened up this book, I was expecting a dark and twisted story.

I was wrong.

Instead of the twisted suspense, I was expecting, I found The Good Neighbours was more of a character study surrounding a group of friends, the ties that bond them and the skeletons that each has in their closet.   The story does involve an adoption and a young family but instead, the narrative is pushed by the gossip of neighbours and personal opinions as each member of their group of friends voices their feelings on Gene and Paige’s adoption.

This book sort of gave me the same feeling I felt when I read The Party by Robyn Harding. It wasn’t overly suspenseful and I wasn’t driven to continue reading by excitement but I was intrigued by the story enough to read it quickly. The novel is much more of a contemporary fiction and really reminded me of the work of Liane Moriarity.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and think it would be a really good read for book clubs/discussion as it does present several different “hot topic” types of sub-themes.

Thanks to TLC Blog Tours for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review and participate in the tour.
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I am always on the hunt for a new crime read. I spend a lot of time scoping out book lists on the Internet, browsing Pinterest and asking other bloggers for book recommendations. So, when I discovered The Art of Fear, the first in a series by Pamela Crane, I was intrigued.

Centering on Ari Wilburn, a guilt-ridden woman struggling with sins of her past joins a suicide support group where she meets Tina, a woman who was trafficked and suspects foul play in the death of her father. Ari and Tina team up to try and figure out the truth and find themselves in danger.

I found this one very easy to get into. Dark and a bit brooding, after reading the first chapter, I found it difficult to put down.  Crane did not mess around with her opening page, that’s for sure!!   Although I didn’t find myself relating to the characters at all, I did find myself feeling a lot of empathy towards them and that compelled me to continue reading on. Ari is completely damaged by the death of her sister but watching her grow throughout the chapters and become more confident as she helped someone else gave me that “phoenix rising from the ashes” vibe.

One of the interesting features of the writing was the countdown to Ari’s death. The chapters are labelled this way and it really did keep my attention and drove my need to read the story. I knew the outcome but I desperately needed to know how she met that fate. I felt like this was a smart choice by the author.

Although I really loved the beginning and some of the small details that Crane added into the text, I did find the pacing to be a little bit slower than what I usually like when reading a mystery/thriller. I thought maybe the story would focus more on Tina’s past and go into a bit more detail about her time being trafficked but instead, it was more character centered and focused on Ari. This does make sense, as the series focuses on her, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting completely.

Overall, I loved the general vibe of this story and loved how it ended! I cannot wait to read more in the series!

Thanks to the author (Pamela Crane), the publisher (Tabella House) and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
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Earlier this year, I decided to take on the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge alongside Chelsea from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me.  The challenge, which takes on 40 prompts for the regular challenge and 10 extra choices for the advanced reading list, is proving to be a pretty awesome challenge for me.  With the ability to add some classics to my reading selections, read some books on my shelf and fit in some of the books that I want to read that will be published in 2018, there was a nice balance with my choices!

So, I’ve been participating in the challenge for the last three months and, so far, I have only managed to read seven books!  SEVEN??!!   I was actually a little shocked when I actually did the count because I did feel like I was further along but, in my defence, I did run into quite a book slump that lasted me several months.  I am hoping to be able to catch up!

I’m feeling like I may need to make some adjustements to my choices since I did try to read a couple and were not able to get into them, but I chalked that up to my slump and plan on trying again!

  • A BOOK MADE INTO A MOVIE YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN- The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • TRUE CRIME- Mindhunter by John Douglas
  • THE NEXT BOOK IN A SERIES YOU STARTED- Indelible by Karin Slaughter 
  • A BOOK INVOLVING A HEIST- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
  • NORDIC NOIR- Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
  • A NOVEL BASED ON A REAL PERSON- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 
  • A BOOK SET IN A COUNTRY THAT FASCINATES YOU-  The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel 
  • A BOOK WITH A TIME OF DAY IN THE TITLE- Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone 
  • A BOOK ABOUT A VILLAIN OR ANTIHERO- Normal by Graeme Cameron
  • A BOOK ABOUT DEATH OR GRIEF- Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult 
  • A BOOK WITH YOUR FAVORITE COLOR IN THE TITLE- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 
  • A BOOK WITH ALLITERATION IN THE TITLE- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 
  • A BOOK ABOUT TIME TRAVEL- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • A BOOK WITH A WEATHER ELEMENT IN THE TITLE- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 
  • A BOOK SET AT SEA- The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • A BOOK WITH AN ANIMAL IN THE TITLE-  The Night Bird by Brian Freeman 
  • A BOOK SET ON A DIFFERENT PLANET- Gravity by Tess Gerritsen 
  • A BOOK WITH SONG LYRICS IN THE TITLE- The Hand That Feeds You by A.J Rich
  • A BOOK ABOUT OR SET ON HALLOWEEN- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 
  • A BOOK WITH CHARACTERS WHO ARE TWINS- Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld 
  • A BOOK WITH A FEMALE AUTHOR WHO USES A MALE PSEUDONYM- The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith 
  • A BOOK WITH AN LGBTQ+ PROTAGONIST- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides 
  • A BOOK THAT IS ALSO A STAGE PLAY OR MUSICAL-  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 
  • A BOOK BY AN AUTHOR OF A DIFFERENT ETHNICITY THAN YOU- China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
  • A BOOK ABOUT FEMINISM- Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • A BOOK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH- This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
  • A BOOK YOU BORROWED OR THAT WAS GIVEN TO YOU AS A GIFT- Swing Time by Zadie Smith
  • A BOOK BY TWO AUTHORS- Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
  • A BOOK ABOUT OR INVOLVING A SPORT- Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
  • A BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR- Men Walking on Water by Emily Schultz
  • A BOOK MENTIONED IN ANOTHER BOOK- Animal Farm by George Orwell 
  • A BOOK FROM A CELEBRITY BOOK CLUB- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • A CHILDHOOD CLASSIC YOU’VE NEVER READ- The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman 
  • A BOOK THAT’S PUBLISHED IN 2018- Keep Her Safe by K.A Tucker 
  • A PAST GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS WINNER- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • A BOOK SET IN THE DECADE YOU WERE BORN- IT by Stephen King
  • A BOOK YOU MEANT TO READ IN 2017 BUT DIDN’T GET TO- The Obsession by Nora Roberts 
  • A BOOK WITH AN UGLY COVER- Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
  • A BOOK THAT INVOLVES A BOOKSTORE OR LIBRARY- Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
  • A BOOK BY AN AUTHOR YOU’VE NEVER READ BEFORE- The Ghost Writer by Alessandra Torre
ADVANCED LIST:
  • A BESTSELLER FROM THE YEAR YOU GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL-  The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
  • A CYBERPUNK BOOK- This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • A BOOK THAT WAS BEING READ BY A STRANGER IN A PUBLIC PLACE- We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
  • A BOOK TIED TO YOUR ANCESTRY- The French Girl by Lexie Elliot 
  • A BOOK WITH A FRUIT OR VEGETABLE IN THE TITLE- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  • AN ALLEGORY- 1984 by George Orwell
  • A BOOK BY AN AUTHOR WITH THE SAME FIRST OR LAST NAME AS YOU- Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes
  • A MICROHISTORY- Stiff by March Roach
  • A BOOK ABOUT A PROBLEM FACING SOCIETY TODAY- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • A BOOK RECOMMENDED BY SOMEONE ELSE TAKING THE POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Are you taking the POPSUGAR challenge? How are you doing?!

 If you need a group to join in discussing your POPSUGAR challenge for 2018, feel free to join us on Goodreads HERE

Also, if you want to see what Chelsea is reading, she listed her choices for the challenge HERE

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I have always been fascinated by cults. I find them to be equal parts fascinating and terrifying. So, naturally, in high school I picked up a copy of Helter Skelter, learning all about the Manson Family.   This book stayed with me and I actually ended up having to throw the book away because it gave me the creeps. How could people be manipulated into murder? How could one man dictate actions? What could compel a “normal” person to do such awful things?

The Manson Women and Me: Monsters, Morality and Murder, a true crime/memoir by Nikki Meredith, attempts to answer these types of questions by honing in on the Manson women and their mindsets/actions during the time of the Manson Family murder spree.   Beginning with Meredith in the late 60s travelling to the California state prison, as a journalist, which was home to Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, Meredith poses these types of questions and searches for answers over the course of 40 years.

From the first pages, I was completely sucked in. Meredith has a strong narrative voice and I thought it was brilliant to present this book as a true crime/memoir. By bringing in her personal feelings, reflections of her own childhood (growing up part Jewish and encountering some anti-Semitic people) and her own relationship that she developed with the Manson women, I found myself drawn into the STORY and not just the facts. I really appreciated this.   All of her own reflections are also backed by a ton of research and other professional works that she willingly and openly cites; it is obvious that she is a well-versed woman.  I really loved the mix of criminal psychology with historical significance.

I think one of the things I appreciated most about this book was how it made me think. Meredith touches on Nazi Germany and how regular Germans (not Nazi shoulders) were convinced to kill Jews, the Stanford Prison experiment, cult mentalities which all come to the same conclusion that people, who do not suffer from mental illness, can be convinced that murder/human brutality is okay in certain situations and that in these situations, after deprogramming, people can be integrated back into society without threat. This concept was so interesting to me. I went back and forth throughout my reading from being angered to feeling sympathy towards the women.

Overall, I think Meredith delivers a really well done and controversial true crime memoir/novel that will sit with me for a long time. I highly recommend.

5/5 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher (Kensington) and the author.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
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I know what you are thinking. “Seriously…Another book with “girl” in the title?!” But fear not! The Broken Girls, the recently released novel by Simone St. James, stood out for me!   From the beautifully blended narratives to the small details, St. James creates a novel that is hard to put down. In fact, I found myself reading this one late into the night.

The novel opens with the introduction of Fiona, a reporter with a haunted past. After the death of her sister, things have never been the same and even though the man responsible has been put in prison, Fiona (and her family) have never really been able to move past it. So, when she finds out there are plans to restore the building (an old school for girls) where her sister’s body was found, Fiona cannot help but dig around. And, in doing so, she quickly finds out that the past never really stays buried.

Told in alternating time periods and alternating perspectives, I loved the way St. James chooses to tell this story.  I loved the moments that flashed back to the girl’s school in the 40s and how each member of their group of friends had an individual chapter to voice.   I found each character likeable and I was interested in each of their stories and was truly concerned about their plights. I also found that Fiona, in the present storyline, was a well-developed character.

I think that St. James did a brilliant job incorporating a bit of historical fiction; it didn’t feel distracting. I felt like it really added another layer to the story.

One thing I didn’t care for with The Broken Girls was the paranormal storyline. The ghost at the school felt like it really didn’t belong and was sort of a side-plot. I felt like it wasn’t needed.

Overall, I was a huge fan of The Broken Girls and I think that fans of Fiona Barton or Fiona Davis will enjoy this one.

Thanks to the author (Simone St. James) and the publisher (Berkley) for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review. Want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought about this one?  Keep reading to find out what they thought!

What Chandra Thought:

This story spans two different timelines:  1950 and 2014.  Fiona, in 2014, is a journalist and wondering why Idlewild Hall is being restored and wants to write a story.  Little does she know the information that will be unburied.  These not only shed light on what happened back in 1950, but also what happened to her sister, who died years ago.  In 1950, we get the story of roommates Katie, Roberta, CeCe and Sonia.  At Idlewild, a school for wayward girls, seemingly haunted by Mary Hand.

I was not expecting the supernatural part of this story. (Probably a reason for me to reread synopses before I start a book!)  It brought a hauntingly chilling vibe that I really enjoyed.  It is not overdone and blends in perfectly that while I did get the chills in certain parts, it did not overwhelm the mystery part of the book.  Outstandingly done by the author.

I was engaged from the very start of the book and found Fiona’s tenacity  compelling.  I love a woman that doesn’t back down and she certainly does NOT.  Following both timelines wasn’t confusing… and I always find it interesting to see how different worlds are from one decade to another.  It’s not that it’s surprising, as we all have read these types of things, but adding in Mary Hand and Sonia’s further background added a special touch to the storyline.

Keep an eye out for more from Simone St. James.  I had already heard great things about this author and am happy to have entered into her world with this one first.  Looks like I’ll be adding even more to my overflowing TBR pile…. never a bad thing.. right?

What Jessica Thought:

Before starting this, I had seen some positive reviews, so I was excited to start! THE BROKEN GIRLS was my introduction to Simone St. James, and it won’t be my last. In this thriller meets supernatural fiction we focus on Idlewild Hall and the secrets its been keeping for decades.

St. James brings us back and forth between 1950 and 2014, what do they have in common? Idlewild Hall. This was originally a home that troubled girls were sent when no one wanted them any longer. In the small Vermont town, there had always been rumors that the building was haunted. One day one of the girls disappears, never to be heard from again.

Fast forward to Vermont in 2014 – Fiona is a journalist and she is still haunted by the death of her sister. Twenty years ago, her body was found near the abandoned Idlewild Hall, and her boyfriend was convicted. When news of the restoration of the building reaches Fiona, she decides to do an investigative story on the history, and the secrets she finds are ones that were meant to stay buried.

The story had an overall eerie and dark tone to it, the supernatural element gave this mystery thriller an edge that others don’t typically have. I think that St. James did a fantastic job blending these genres together and I really enjoyed it! You’d think that the two timelines and different stories would get confusing and muddled together, but the author does a great job keeping the timelines separate.

Overall, I’ll definitely be picking up more from St. James. If you want a great female lead, like the alternate timelines with a similar focal point (Idlewild Hall), and a touch of supernatural to your mystery, then this is the book for you!

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I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately, so, when Chandra from #cjsreads suggested we read Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men by Howard Schechter, I was all about it! I am a fan of historical fiction and true crime so this book seemed like it would be a no-brainer for me.

I hadn’t heard (surprisingly) of Belle Gunness before, so, before I started my reading, I did a quick Google search to get myself a little bit familiar with the story. This ended up being a huge mistake.

The book ended up being a long-winded version of the Wikipedia page. It lacked any real “story” and just ended up being more of a list of facts.

I also really struggled with Schechter’s narrative voice, which I actually found to be a little bit offensive.

Overall, I was not a huge fan.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing for the copy of Hell’s Princess; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review Want to see if this book worked better for Chandra and Jessica?  Keep reading to find out what they thought of Hell’s Princess

What Chandra Thought:

If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I’m not the biggest fan of non-fiction or history…. except when it comes to true crime and the like.  I was SO excited for this book.  I have done countless research on serial killers when I was younger as I had a bit of an obsession (still do but less research has been made in the past decade of my life).  I already knew the story of Belle Gunness but didn’t realize how much I remembered until I started reading this.  Unfortunately, I was a tad bit underwhelmed with this for a variety of reasons.

The first quarter of the book was about her and her victims.  Then she’s found decapitated in a fire and now it’s a story about her murder…and if she in fact was or is still at large somewhere.  Something apparently no one will ever know.  Another true crime that will forever be unsolved.  As someone who already knew this story, there was nothing new that I learned.  Nothing exciting that came to pass that sparked my interest again.

I’m not sure if the author was making references in light of the time period, or if it was his own prejudices and biases that made his book riddled with misogynistic and racial slurs.  There was consistent references to Belle not being an attractive woman and clearly her only form of attractiveness was her land and catering to a man’s need to be mothered as just a small example of what was found as I read.

Take all that above aside and this is fantastic for readers who are not familiar with Belle’s story and the aftermath of her killing farm and the poor victims that made their way into her deadly path.  Clearly a lot of research has been done… there are several pages of notes and a bibliography to reference.  I think this is definitely catered more for those who have never learned Belle’s story.  If you already know it, then I fear you’re not going to get much more out of this read.

2/5 stars
What Jessica Thought:
If you’ve followed my reviews for awhile, you’ll know that true crime and historical fiction are my jam. I love these genres and will pick up any book that falls under true crime. HELL’S PRINCESS was one of those rare books where I didn’t know any information about the subject. Belle Gunness, the Butcher of Men, sounded intriguing and I was ready to learn more about her.

This felt more like a regurgitation of some of the online searches you could do for her. Like my buddy reader, Same (of Clues and Reviews) said, it felt like the drawn out version of the Wikipedia page. I will say that it helped me get an introduction to who she was and the crimes she committed – and that this is a true crime that never had a real resolution (always fun and eerie when that happens)

I understand wanting to emulate the time period of the subject, but I felt like this one went a little too far in some cases. I think that Schechter could have limited some of his racial slurs and how he described Belle. If you’re wanting to learn about Gunness and her crimes, then this is a good one to read, but keep in mind that you’ll be getting a lot more than just a history lesson.

Overall, I give this one 2/5 stars

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Every so often, I come across a book that I become completely engrossed in. The prose is easy, the characters are intriguing and I find myself reading late into the night so I can figure out that the story. That is exactly what happened to me when I opened The Runaways, the sophomore novel by Sonya Terjanian.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up The Runaways and the synopsis wasn’t exactly clear. I knew it would involve a teenage runaway, trying to break free from what she believes will be a dull future and I knew she would meet a woman who is trying to escape from her mundane life.   Was it going to read like contemporary drama? Women’s fiction? Suspense? These were the types of thoughts running through my head as I sat down to flip open the first page.

What I found, as I continued my reading, was that this novel was a little bit of everything: a dark, cold landscape, deeply flawed characters that collide and secrets flow throughout the plot. It was sort of like Scandinavian Fiction meets Southern Gothic Fiction meets a psychological character study. Needless to say, Terjanian had me hook, line and sinker.

I really appreciated how she chose to roll out the story and how she focused on details. I loved the descriptions of the landscape. For the most part, the novel takes place at a summer cottage during a snowstorm. Terjanian did a brilliant job at making the reader truly FEEL the cold. Even I found myself snuggling deeper into the couch and pulling my blanket up a bit higher. Told through alternating chapters between teenage runaway, Ivy, and professional, Mary Ellen, they each are on their own path until their stories collide and they find themselves living together in the woods biting off way more than they can chew.

Something about this one gave me a creepy, southern Gothic vibe. I cannot really put my finger on WHY it gave me this vibe; surely, it was not the landscape I don’t know if it had something to with the encounters between two strangers who are keeping secrets from each other. It sort of reminded me of A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Conner (which happens to be one of my favourite short stories). I don’t believe it was the author’s intention to be “creepy” but the slow, meticulous release of the plot had me feeling like something was going to take a turn for the worst. Maybe it’s because I read so many thrillers?

There were a few things that bothered me throughout the story. For one, I found myself interested in one side of the plot.   I really was drawn to the chapters surrounding Ivy but didn’t find myself caring as much about Mary Ellen.  I also think that anyone going into this story expecting huge twists and turns will find themselves disappointed. The story is a bit of a slow burn. Finally, the ending left much to be desired for me. When I finished the last page, I said to myself “THAT’S IT??!!” I really wanted some resolutions.

Regardless of my small complaints, I did end up enjoying this story as a whole and would absolutely read more by this author. So, if you enjoy a character study, add this one to your list!

Thanks to the author, Netgalley and the publisher for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
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I really love a novel that is a nice blend of suspense and women’s fiction. I find them to be such a nice breath of fresh air in a genre saturated with serial killers and psychological thrillers (mind you, I enjoy those as well!).

After reading the synopsis of Then She Was Gone, the newest publication by Lisa Jewell, I knew this would fit that bill for me. Having read several of Jewell’s other novels, I was excited to dive into this one. Just as entertaining as her others, I flew through my reading but, truthfully, I didn’t find it to be as suspenseful as some of the other novels I have read by Jewell. I actually found it to be quite predictable but still incredibly entertaining.

Let me break it down a bit further.

So, the novel follows Laurel Mack, who is still reeling after the disappearance of her daughter, Ellie, 10 years prior. She has never been able to fully move on and this has ultimately affected most of her relationships.   This begins to change when she meets Floyd and she finally starts to feel like herself again. However, Floyd’s nine-year-old daughter unsettles Laurel when she realizes she shows a startling resemblance to Ellie.   All those memories of Ellie come flooding back pushing Laurel to find out once and for all what happened to her daughter.

I loved the writing style of Jewell, as I always do! Something about her writing is so easy to digest. It is sort of like chatting with a good friend. I really like that I can start one of her novels and them just sort of settle in and enjoy the ride.

However, like I said above, I found this novel lacking suspense. To me, it read more like women’s fiction or contemporary family drama. I enjoyed it. I wanted to know what happened. I just feel like it was a bit misleading in this genre.   Also, I felt like it was very predictable. I was able to guess what has happened very early on in the novel but was still interested to see whether or not I was correct.

Overall, I really like this novel as an easy read and will continue to read more Lisa Jewell. If you are looking for an on the edge of your seat style suspense, this will be lacking but I would highly recommend if you are looking for a well-rounded and developed story.

3.5/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher (Atria), the author (Lisa Jewell) and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review. Jessica and Chandra read this one with me for #cjsreads.  Want to know what they felt about Then She Was Gone?  Keep reading to find out!

What Jessica Thought:
Last year I was introduced to the writing and great storytelling of Lisa Jewell with I FOUND YOU. I absolutely loved that one, so when I saw she had another release coming I knew I had to snag a copy! Considering the almost 400 page length, this one read very fast and the second half completely sucks you in.

I would classify this as more women’s fiction or contemporary fiction and a little less on the thriller side, but that doesn’t take away from the novel. So that would be worth knowing before starting – if you’re looking for a crazy thriller like I FOUND YOU, then you may end up disappointed in the end. The characters were so real, the emotions were raw, and the story came together so well at the end.

Laurel Mack has the perfect teenage daughter. A smart girl, had a loving boyfriend, and close with her other siblings. At only 15 years old, Ellie disappears. Ten years later, Laurel is still trying to move on and piece her life back together. With a missing daughter, a divorce, and no new clues, she feels that it will be impossible to lead a normal life. Then one day, she meets a charming and handsome man, Floyd. When she meets his daughters, the youngest one, Poppy, stops her in her tracks. She has a striking resemblance to Ellie.

More questions pop up and Laurel is brought the emotional ringer trying to find out more about Floyd and why Poppy reminds her so much of her missing daughter. This one definitely had a more predictable ending, but that didn’t take away from the reading experience. I can see Lisa Jewell fans being split on this one, especially if they are wanting something more along the lines of I FOUND YOU. 

What Chandra Thought:

As a huge fan of Lisa Jewell, I was delighted to get a copy of this book in advance. Like cartwheels and Snoopy dance delighted! I certainly wasn’t disappointed and she is a go-to auto-buy author for me!

All the way through the first half of the book it was pretty glaringly obvious what was going to come. I did think there were some plausibility issues scientifically speaking that may have been a little out there but really, in psychological thrillers, you kinda have to take those with a grain of salt. As things began to be revealed, although not quite as shocking as I prefer, I was so fully invested that I just felt along with Laurel and Poppy. FEELINGS, y’all! The ending is beautifully emotional and really tugged at my heart strings (yes, you guys, I do have a heart – weird, I know!).

Now, because of the above and the comparisons to Lisa’s extremely popular book, I Found You, I’m going to expect to see lower ratings for this book from some reviewers. But NOT FROM ME! I actually think I’m in the minority in putting this book above I Found You.

The story is told mainly through Laurel’s POV as we see the past and present over the loss of Ellie and how it not only created ripples in her marriage and her relationships with her other children, but within herself and the ability to feel at all anymore. We do get a smattering of other POVs here and there but this didn’t not distract or become confusing in any way. To be honest, my favorite prospective to read was Noelle’s – I just love disturbing minds.. I CAN’T HELP IT! And I’m absolutely in love with Poppy and her precociousness. The last half of the book is what completely sucked me in. I was on the fence until I reached this last half and then I couldn’t put it down. COULD NOT!

If you’re looking for a punch you in the throat kind of thriller with surprising twists everywhere, this isn’t the read for you. However, if you enjoy psychological thrillers with an emotional feel and a touch of domestic darkness, you’ll be happy with this read. While predictable, the way it all came together did surprise me in its own beautiful way.

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Clare Mackintosh is one of those “blow my mind” authors. One of the queens of the psychological thriller genre, I found myself completely gripped with her previous novels from the fast-paced plots to the “real world” situations, I loved her full of suspense writing style and dynamically developed characters.

Unfortunately, for me, Let Me Lie, the newest publication by Clare Mackintosh left much to be desired.

For starters, this one was a sloooooooooow burn. I found myself unable to read more than a few chapters at a time without feeling the need to put this one down. It just didn’t have the same “grip” as some of the previous work I have read by Mackintosh.   I like to think I have a pretty solid attention span but this one tested me!

I did appreciate the final twist in the end and was intrigued by the last 15% or so of the novel, but, truthfully, I was expecting more!

I know that I shouldn’t compare one work to another but I cannot help it! I feel like fans of Mackintosh will be a little disappointed by this one but, if you are a new reader to her work, you may be more entertained!

I, of course, will continue to read more from this author but this particular book was a miss for me.

 Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review. Want to see if this book worked better for Jessica and Chandra?  They read this one too!  Keep reading to find out…

What Chandra Thought:
I’ve only read I See You from Mackintosh, with I Let You Go high on my TBR list.  I’ve noticed that both of these reads have received mixed reviews.  While I absolutely LOVED I See You, some did not.  Unfortunately, this one just didn’t QUITE get there for me.  Let me explain why.
First, the story has an extremely slow start.  Sometimes I don’t mind this but I was already 33% through the book and it still didn’t seem to be getting anywhere and what was being built up was strikingly obvious so I was not surprised in any way shape or form once I got to Part Two.  Honestly, at this point, I would normally DNF a book.  However, this is Mackintosh, and while I may have only read one of her other books at this juncture of my reading ‘career’, I know she’s capable of pulling you right in and making you second guess yourself.
Secondly, I didn’t quite get that psychological thriller FEEL that I did with I See You.  I can absolutely appreciate that instead of regurgitating the same thing with each book that she went in a different direction.  Oh how I DO appreciate THAT very much.  I think I was just expecting something … more.  Maybe my expectations are what let me down.  Maybe I’ve read such an abundance of these kind of books that it takes a LOT to grasp my interest these days.
Finally, let me just say that this isn’t a bad book by any means.  If you’re looking for more of that family drama/secrets type of book rather than that OOMPH your typical psychological thriller gives you, then I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book.  The last 25% of the book helped to spur this along for me and became more of what I expected from Mackintosh and this read in particular.
Will I read more of Mackintosh?  YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I WILL.  She’s a fantastic writer and really, you can’t expect EVERY book by the same author to work for you.  It’s just not probable.
What Jessica Thought:

Who else is a Clare Mackintosh fan? I loved I SEE YOU when it released last year and I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with next. LET ME LIE is on the lighter side when it comes to a suspense novel with a slower build to it. So if you’re going into it expecting a crazy thriller, then you may come out disappointed.

Tom and Caroline Johnson committed suicide just two years ago. They couldn’t live without the other, so they went together. Anna, their daughter, is trying to come to terms with their deaths, but she has so many questions. Why did they take their lives? She begins to investigate into their suicides more, but there’s someone that wants the past to remain buried.

“The police say it was suicide. Anna says it was murder. They’re both wrong.”  

 

There’s absolutely no denying that Clare Mackintosh knows how to write a story. The way she develops the characters and weaves the events always amazes me. So for the writing alone this was a great read. If you’re in the market for a slower burn read then this will be perfect for you! I can see this being one that Mackintosh fans will be divided on, but that’s what keeps this community so fun!

That last portion of the book will sink it’s teeth into you and you won’t want to stop reading!

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Happy Monday!  Not only am I thrilled that I have the day off today but I am also excited to be back in action with the “It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?” post.  During the past few months, I felt the need to take a step back from blogging while I handled some business in my personal life.  So, it’s been quite a while since I have used this post to keep me on track! However, as part of my new blogging plan of action, I have decided to commit to using this post every Monday!  I plan on using it to keep me on track, help keep me organized and give updates on news happening at Clues and Reviews so I can avoid further book slumps/blogging slumps in the future!   Needless to say, I am so excited to be back!

In case you don’t know, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

Keep reading to see what I read last week, what I am reading now and what I plan on reading this upcoming week.

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK (March 26, 2018 –  April 2, 2018)

Over the past week, I finished four books.

The Art of Fear by Pamela Crane

A Dangerous Game by Heather Graham

Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

WHAT I AM READING NOW:

Right now, I have a bunch of non-fiction on the go!  I am on a bit of a non-fiction kick and finding myself going cross-genre to meet that need!  I have a couple of true crime type books like Hell’s Princess by Harold Schechter and The Manson Women and Me by Nikki Meredith.  I have also been finding myself really into self-help novels lately, so I’m reading Sacred Powers by Davidji.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I will be starting a buddy read with Chelsea and reading The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.  Otherwise, I am just going to go with the flow and see what strikes me!

UPDATES:

So, as mentioned, I took quite a large step back from blogging over the last few months.  I even contemplated shutting Clues and Reviews down entirely!  I was feeling a lot of pressure, blogging stopped being fun and I lost sight of why I even started my blog in the first place!  However, after some discussion with my family/friends/fellow book bloggers, I decided to come up with a plan of action that would help keep me sane AND help me back to blogging.

So, I will be doing this post every Monday.  I’ll be posting a review Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and I’ll have a content/discussion post going live each Friday.  I feel like that will help give me a bit more balance!

I am also planning on adding different genres so I don’t get any more genre burn out.  I love mystery/thrillers but I feel like a little bit of a change (every now and again) will help to keep things fresh!

What are you reading this week?  Any good titles I need to add to my TBR? I’d love to know!
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