Mystery, Thriller

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

The ArrangementThe Arrangement by Robyn Harding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the story here. The idea of a young art student struggling in New York City and becoming a sugar baby to make ends meet was something I haven’t seen before.

Was the book the most exciting from beginning to end? No. It was actually on the basic side in terms of how the story unfolded. But it was a very fast read and kept my attention the entire time.

If I had to compare the two, I did like this one more than Robyn Harding’s last book Her Pretty Face. And although I saw the ending coming from a mile away, I still liked the thought the author put into the story’s final twist.

Overall, this was a successful thriller but nothing mind blowing. I would recommend it to my thriller readers out there. It’s worth the time investment.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Robyn Harding, and Gallery Books for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Horror, Mystery

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary FriendImaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit when I saw that this book was 700+ pages, I was kind of intimidated. I generally am not a fan of long books because they tend to be long for the sake of being long. However, one of my favorite things about this book was the journey. The order in which information was given to the baby took me as the reader on a ride from start to finish and I was constantly trying to figure out what would happen next.

I thought the story was extremely unique. A boy goes missing for 6 days and when he reemerges strange things start to happen in the town. But it took me forever to figure out what the strange things had to do with each other, which held my attention.

I will say that toward the end, the story started to get a little too weird and convoluted for my taste, and I did have some unanswered questions in the end that I wish I had more clear cut answers to. I would say that the first half of the book was a 5 star read but the second half ended up being closer to a 3 star read. So I’ll split the difference and give the book 4 stars overall.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Stephen Chbosky, and Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Thriller

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family UpstairsThe Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I have come to be a fan of Lisa Jewell after reading her books Watching You and Then She Was Gone. She is a wonderful storyteller and can write a great thriller.

I was thrilled (no pun intended) to read her newest book The Family Upstairs but I’ve got to say that although I liked the story, I was a tad underwhelmed overall.

The story was told from three different perspectives, and from the beginning seemed very disjointed. The three plot lines didn’t really merge until late into the book, and I found myself wondering where the story was headed for several hours. It all did end up coming together in the end, but by the time it did, I can’t say that I was entirely surprised or caught off guard by any of the “plot twists.”

I did think that the story itself was rather unique and not your typical domestic drama about some tragic nuclear family with issues. The complexity of the “family” in this case made for a different type of narrative that I quite enjoyed.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite novel by Lisa Jewell but I’ll continue to read her work going forward because she is a wonderful storyteller.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Lisa Jewell, and Atria Books for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Holiday, Romance

Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes

Christmas in Vermont: A NovelChristmas in Vermont: A Novel by Anita Hughes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Looking for a cheesy Christmas romance in the vein of Hallmark or a Netflix original? Well, here you go.

Christmas in Vermont was exactly what I expected it to be. It was cliche and predictable. One of those books where you know the ending from the very first pages. But I think there is a market for those types of book, so if that’s what you’re looking for, it would be right up your alley.

I personally had a hard time with quite a few things in the story that caused me to rate it lower:
1. A 9 year old girl who felt to be more like 12 or 13 at times.
2. A father that let the 9 year old girl roam around a foreign city with very little supervision or guidance.
3. Lots and lots of grammatical errors (I usually don’t comment on grammatical errors when I’m reading ARCs because I recognize they haven’t gone through the entire editing process, but in this case the errors were distracting and excessive).
4. I despised the way some of the characters reacted to various situations. Characters who fell in and out of love at the snap of a finger, characters who had no backbone/not an independent bone in their body, etc.
5. An overall need to suspend all reality to believe some of the coincidental events within the story.

I previously read Anita Hughes’s Christmas at the Chalet and had similar feelings, albeit maybe not as strong. Perhaps this holiday genre that requires one to fully suspend reality is just not my cup of tea.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Anita Hughes, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

Mystery, Thriller

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

Thirteen (Eddie Flynn, #4)Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I requested this book from the publisher, I had no idea that it was the 4th book in a series. But it honestly didn’t matter. While there were some minor references to earlier books in the series, it could have served as a stand alone.

I found the concept of a serial killer sitting on the jury of a murder trial unique and interesting. It reminded me of a mixture of John Grisham’s Runaway Jury and an episode of Criminal Minds.

I thought the way the story progressed was perfection, with lots of build up. I will say that I wasn’t entirely shocked by any of the “surprises” along the way, but the story came together in a way that made sense while addressing all the loose ends.

Overall, this was a strong mystery/thriller and I enjoyed my first read from Steve Cavanagh. I would highly recommend.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Steve Cavanagh, and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews