Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out July 2nd! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Lord… I don’t even think I can do this book justice with a review. What can I write that will explain how I felt after finishing? I was just taken on an absolutely phenomenal ride by Riley Sager.

Let me first start by saying that I fell in love with Sager after reading his first two novels, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. I feel like sometimes authors who come out with a smash hit tend to let me down when I read their sophomore novels. Well The Last Time I Lied did anything but disappoint. And reading Sager’s junior novel, Lock Every Door, I’m officially bowing down to a master of thriller/mystery/horror.

I honestly did not think I would get my hands on this book as it’s one of the most sought after books of the summer. So huge thank you to Dutton for allowing me the opportunity to review.

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When I started reading this book, it slightly reminded me of The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (another author I adore). Jules is dead broke. She gets fired from her job. She stumbles upon her live in boyfriend cheating on her (in the act) and finds herself couch surfing with a friend and with nowhere to live. Life’s not going very well. Until she finds an ad in the paper looking for an apartment sitter at a highly prestigious New York City apartment complex… getting paid $4,000 per month. She cannot believe her luck and good fortune. Until things start to get weird. Which is where I’ll stop this synopsis because you really need to experience it for yourself.

As the book went on, it reminded me of the Oscar-nominated movie Get Out. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you’ll understand what I mean when you read the book.

Things I’m Raving About:
1. The juxtaposition between poverty and wealth. Sager played with this concept in several different ways throughout the story and did it in a way that didn’t get preachy but highlighted the differences in the lives of those with money versus those who struggle financially. I felt Jules’s helplessness and hopelessness as she worked to get herself out of her current financial situation.
2. How everything tied together. There were so many little details placed strategically throughout the story that wouldn’t even strike you as being relevant. But Sager surprised me dozens of times by looping back to things that happened several hundred pages earlier and perfectly tying up all the loose ends.
3. The uniqueness of the story. I honestly had no idea where this story was headed. I kept trying to guess as I always do with thrillers. And let me make a pretty bold statement… I feel confident that you are NOT going to see the major twist coming. It threw me completely off my game in the best way.

Things I’m Not Raving About:
1. Nothing
2. Nothing
3. Nothing

There is so much more I want to say but for the sake of brevity I’ll just say that I’m confident Sager has another smash hit in Lock Every Door and I think readers will be raving across social media for months to come.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Riley Sager, and Dutton for the opportunity to review-

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult)

Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner

Drawing HomeDrawing Home by Jamie Brenner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jamie Brenner never fails to deliver a fabulous summer read perfect for poolside lounging. Last year I read her book The Husband Hour and adored it. When I saw early praise for Drawing Home was super excited to read it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get an advanced copy for review but I put myself immediately on the library’s waitlist for the audiobook once it published.

When a prestigious and rich artist suddenly passes away in a small town and leaves all his assets to a young girl to whom he’d been giving drawing lessons, everybody is confused. Her mom. His long time friend. And when the young girl’s absentee father shows up after years of neglect, everybody is suspicious of his motives. Drawning Home is a complex look at family dynamics with a small town summer feel.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the inheritance and why it was bestowed on the young girl. I kept trying to guess why the artist would have given her such a substantial gift upon his death, and I’ll tell you right now that I guessed wrong.

The multiple characters’ story lines kept the story interesting and the relationships they all developed to each other was probably my favorite part of the book.

I don’t think I liked this one quite as much as The Husband Hour. Not that there was anything wrong with this story, I just really adored the former. If you’re looking for a great beach read, Jamie Brenner is usually a safe bet. I would highly recommend this one.

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Historical Fiction

The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad

The Long Flight HomeThe Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out June 25th! Pre-order from Amazon here!

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is that virtually every time I read something in the genre, I learn something new. Alan Hlad’s The Long Flight Home is no exception. I was fascinated to learn that during WWII, the British dropped 200,000 homing pigeons into Nazi-occupied France in an attempt to get intelligence back to Britain from behind enemy lines. Although this story is fiction, I loved Hlad’s use of historical elements to enhance the fictional story line.

Ollie is an American who lives a (for lack of a better word) pitiful life. His parents passed away. He was robbed. He has no assets to his name. But as a pilot dusting crops on his father’s farm, he feels he can contribute to the fight in Britain. America hasn’t entered the war yet (we’re in the late 1930’s) so he travels overseas to lend a hand. But rather than flying, he ends up working with the National Pigeon Service, a less than glamorous assignment. That is until he meets the beautiful pigeon trainer, Susan.

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I just adored the characters in this book. I cannot imagine the horrific things the British people enduring during The Blitz. Relentless bombing. Countless civilian casualties. Unbelievable destruction. The resilience displayed in this book was heartwarming.

Hlad was also able to built quite a bit of suspense throughout the novel. Several of the characters found themselves in challenging situations that kept me flipping page after page. I couldn’t wait to discover the outcome for our protagonists.

Overall, I adored this book. It was wonderful to learn yet another little morsel about WWII that I hadn’t yet. And to be told in such a beautiful way. Bravo to Alan Hlad. You’ve got a new fan in me.

I won an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Alan Hlad and Kensington Publishing for hosting the giveaway.

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Mystery, Thriller

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

Dear WifeDear Wife by Kimberly Belle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out June 25th! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Kimberly Belle does it again! After reading her smash hits Three Days Missing and The Marriage Lie last year, I was so excited to get an advanced copy of her latest book Dear Wife.

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This one was very reminiscent of Gone Girl. Woman goes missing. Signs point at the husband. Woman is on the run from abusive husband. Detective is trying to find missing woman, dead or alive. This one read much like an episode of Disappeared on Investigation Discovery.

I very much enjoyed how Kimberly Belle allowed the story to unfold, revealing bits of information along the way. It kept things interesting and moving forward while still saving the surprises for the end. I must say that I thought I guessed the ending around 50% into the book and then quickly realized that I was wrong. But, I did guess the ending correctly around 80% and from there on out was waiting for the secrets to be revealed.

I was left with a couple unanswered questions in the end, which is why this one was a 4 star read for me rather than a 5 star read. But, all in all, I would consider this one pretty un-put-downable. I essentially read it in 2 sittings and was engaged from start to finish.

Would highly recommend for fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or any of you fellow Disappeared fans! I have a feeling Dear Wife is going to be a huge summer success!

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Kimberly Belle, and Park Row Books for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Reese Witherspoon's Book Club, Romance

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

The ProposalThe Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve seen Jasmine Guillory’s book covers all over social media. From The Proposal to The Wedding Date and The Wedding Party, the playful cover art has been grabbing my attention. The Proposal was a Reese Witherspoon pick from a few months back that finally dropped onto my shelf from the library after a while of waiting.

Nik and her boyfriend go to a Dodgers baseball game where he (after 5 months of dating) proceeds to propose to her on the scoreboard in front of thousands of fans. She is mortified and embarrassingly declines his proposal. FYI – this is not a spoiler…. all of this happens in the first chapter of the book. After her BF stomps away, Carlos and his sister (strangers and fellow Dodger watchers) feel awful for Nik as everybody stares in her direction and decide to save her. Cue the “meet cute” because the rest of the story is essentially a love story between Nik and Carlos after their unconventional meeting.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book is that it was a love story that involved persons of color, which I have found is somewhat rare (at least in the books that I have read lately). So I liked that Jasmine Guillory incorporated characters of multiple races and also tied in cultural elements from their backgrounds as well. It was a nice change of pace and added some flavor.

The story overall is pretty simple. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. There is some climactic tension and a satisfying ending. So it’s not anything mind blowing in terms of the content itself. But it’s a light, easy, and fast read, which would be good for somebody who’s just coming off of a dark or heavy book and needs some reprieve.

Cute. Fun. Flirty. Romantic. All in all, a perfect feel-good romance for the summer.

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