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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Mystery, Thriller

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

The Last House GuestThe Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out June 18th! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Megan Miranda is so masterful at delivering thrilling and suspenseful novels time and time again.

After reading All the Missing Girls last year, I found that I really enjoyed her writing style and the way she develops her characters and stories. And when I saw this cover, something about it really drew me in.

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Littleport, Maine is your typical Hamptons-esque vacation town. Avery and Sadie are besties, despite Avery being a local and Sadie being an elite summer visitor (not your typical friendship). But when Sadie’s body is found at the bottom of a cliff after an apparent suicide, Avery’s world is turned upside down. Fast forward a year later and strange things start happening that lead Avery to believe that Sadie’s death may not have been a suicide after all. And when evidence starts pointing at her as a suspect, she’s in a race to discover the truth before she’s charged with murder.

I really liked the idea of this book. I was totally invested in the characters, particularly Avery who had a pretty terrible and tragic past. There were lots of mysterious elements to the story along the way that kept me guessing right up to the end. And while I thought the ending was good, I did feel like it was a little bit far fetched and unbelievable. But despite it’s far fetched nature, I still did enjoy it very much and remain a Megan Miranda fan.

If you’re looking for a good summer thriller about a mysterious vacation town, this is the book for you. It’s definitely worth giving it a read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Megan Miranda, and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to review.-

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Mystery, Thriller

Those People by Louise Candlish

Those PeopleThose People by Louise Candlish

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Out June 11th! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Have your neighbors ever driven you completely insane? Have you ever shaken your head when you looked out your window and wished the people next door would just sell their house and leave? Have you ever logged onto your neighborhood Facebook page and wondered how the heck people can be so ridiculously self absorbed? Welcome to Louise Candlish’s Those People.

This one is about a quaint little suburban street in the UK where everybody gets along. The neighbors are all friendly and happy. The kids play in the street every Sunday. The women and men congregate in their yards and everything is lovely. Until Darren and Jodie move in next door and all hell breaks loose. Think your typical loud, obnoxious, inconsiderate, awful neighbors who are so unpleasant to live next to that you question whether or not you should put a for sale sign on your front lawn. So the book is about these awful neighbors and somewhere in there is a murder mystery or two (but I won’t tell you much about that because it will give away half the fun).

I really enjoyed the concept of this book. I think we can all relate to having a neighbor or two that are not our favorite people. This one had me thinking of Investigation Discovery’s popular TV show Fear Thy Neighbor. The way that Louise Candlish unraveled the first half of the story was crafted wonderfully. She gave little snippets of information away at the right times, giving enough to keep me hooked while not revealing everything at once. However, right around the halfway point I started to slightly lose interest. The story slowed WAY down and seemed like it dragged on forever. I must say that I wasn’t entirely surprised by the “whodunit” in the end and felt like there was a really long and drawn out series of events to get there.

There was a whole cast of characters in this book and my impression is that they were put there as red herrings to throw you off the scent and place suspicion on other characters. But in the end I found myself feeling as if those characters felt a little unresolved. Given how drawn out the rest of the story was, the ending felt a bit rushed in the sense that I was looking for a little more closure, especially with those secondary characters.

Overall, this book was just okay for me. I struggled with whether I wanted to give it 3 stars or 4 stars because there was a lot about it that I really enjoyed. But at the end of the day, as a complete package, I found myself leaning closer to 3 stars. I have a feeling this one will still be a popular read this summer so definitely check it out for yourself.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Louise Candlish, and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Miracle CreekMiracle Creek by Angie Kim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an interesting and unique thriller! I feel like I’m always harping on my thriller authors out there because the story lines have become stagnant and tired. Untrustworthy husband this. And devious, backstabbing wife that. I’m always looking for that plot line that hooks me on something completely different. And Miracle Creek delivered.

Let’s talk HBOT. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A treatment strategy whereby patients are placed in a sealed chamber which is pressurized with high levels of oxygen. The theory? Provide high levels of oxygen to damaged tissues in the body to promote healing. Which is exactly why the patients in this novel were taking part in HBOT….. until the chamber exploded, tragically killing some of those who were inside. What follows is half courtroom drama and half whodunnit to determine who set the fire which caused the explosion.

I really enjoyed the thought Angie Kim put into this book. All of the loose ends tied together extremely well which showed just how well planned the story line was. I have to admit that I figured out the “who” very early in the story so wasn’t incredibly surprised when the arsonist was exposed. But I did not figure out the “why” or “how.” They were both completely unexpected with a good twist for the reader.

I also appreciated the multifaceted relationships described throughout the story. Patients and their family members. Patients and other patients. Family members and other family members. The HBOT owners and the patients. There was a lot to unpack.

I did feel like there was a little bit of a lull in the middle where I found the story to be a tad repetitive, and I did feel like the ending took a really long time to fully unfold. There was a point where I wanted the story to just “get there” in terms of giving away its secrets because it felt a bit drawn out. But that’s really the worst thing I can say about this book. Overall, it was a great read and I would recommend to any thriller lovers looking for a unique story line.

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Mystery, Thriller

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

I'll Never TellI’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Out June 1st! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Oh how I adore Catherine McKenzie. Last year when I read her novel, The Good Liar, I fell in love with her writing style. She writes captivating thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat with lots of twists and turns. So when I saw her next book, I’ll Never Tell, was coming out I jumped at the chance to review it.

Twenty years ago at Camp Macaw, teenage Amanda was brutally attacked on the camp’s “Back Beach” and was left for dead. Fast forward to present day and the five adult children of the camp owners (the McAllisters) descend upon the camp to memorialize their parents who tragically passed away. But they will be in for a surprise when their parent’s will is read, forcing them to revisit that awful night of Amanda’s attack and come to terms with their own pasts.

This one reminded me a ton of Riley Sager’s fabulous The Last Time I Lied with the sinister summer camp feel. It also had an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit style; one mystery, multiple suspects.

There were two things I really appreciated in this book:
1. The family dynamics were expertly crafted. There were a ton of layers to each of the relationships in this story (and there were a lot of relationships to unpack). It ended up giving the book more of a “slow burn” feel for me than your typical thriller/mystery but I was never bored. I was always waiting to see what happened next.
2. The way the story unfolded was perfect. Catherine McKenzie released the right amount of information at just the right times, peppering teasers throughout for the reader while not giving away all the secrets at once.

This is definitely a solid summer mystery for all you mystery lovers out there. It would make for a fantastic fireside, marshmallow-roasting, lake-swimming, trail-hiking summer camp read!

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for the opportunity to review.-

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