The Night She Disappeared, By Lisa Jewell ~ 4.5 Stars

Tags

, ,

21F5C6AA-BC38-4C4A-B06A-EE86F505F555

Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: September 07, 2021

416 Pages

Synopsis: 

2017: 19 year old Tallulah is going out on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim.

Kim watches her daughter leave and, as late evening turns into night, which turns into early morning, she waits for her return. And waits.

The next morning, Kim phones Tallulah’s friends who tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place.

She never returns.

2019: Sophie is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started work as a head-teacher when she sees a note fixed to a tree.

‘DIG HERE’ . . .

A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma and dark secrets lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s remarkable new novel. (Goodreads)

The Night She Disappeared is a perfect example of why Lisa Jewell is one of my go-to authors when I masochistically want to be kept up all night. The story unfolds through multiple POVs and timelines, which never devolve into confusion because of Jewell’s detailed yet precise prose. Along the way to discovering what happened the night Tallulah and boyfriend Zach disappeared seemingly into thin air, there are quite a few twists, some that unexpectedly take you down a different path, and others involving the characters themselves. I often find when reading books with dual timelines, that I prefer one over the other, but that wasn’t the case here as I connected with both Sophie, Kim, and Tallulah. Although I began to surmise some of what might have occurred on the night in question midway through the book, I was ultimately still surprised by some of the reveals. In the end, The Night She Disappeared proves once again the storytelling prowess of Lisa Jewell. While there may be some aspects that defy reason, these don’t truly get in the way of the otherwise tightly woven mystery. This latest book will not only please her legions of fans, but undoubtedly win her new ones.

Reckless Girls, By Rachel Hawkins ~ 4.5 Stars

Tags

, ,

74551B38-5873-4314-945D-8AA686588CA1

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: January 4th, 2022

320 Pages

Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive. (Goodreads)

Reckless Girls is an eminently fun popcorn book that pulled me in immediately and had me polishing it off in a mere three hours. Lux, Nico, and the other characters aren’t perfect, and a couple are downright sketchy, but oddly there are likable aspects about all of them. The main part of the story moves from Meroe Island with its sinister past, to time jumps where the backstories of Lux, Brittany, Amma, and Eliza are which are teasingly revealed in alternating chapters. While the chapters that reveal bits and pieces about everyone’s past lives wind up playing an integral part of what transpires on Meroe, my favorite parts were the ones on the island because of the wonderful job Hawkins does at bringing this dark paradise to life. There’s more than one mystery at play here and watching them all come together is quite enjoyable. The only reason why I’m not giving this 5 stars is because while the ending is surprising, I personally have some torn feelings regarding it. Otherwise, Reckless Girls is an utterly captivating and suspenseful mystery chock full of twists that has Hollywood written all over it!

Blog Tour: Fierce Little Thing, By Miranda Beverly-Whittemore ~ 4.5 Stars

Tags

, , ,

7C89EFA8-D488-4A4A-B53B-DDF7FE667326

BC82BA31-3099-448D-9799-E1664FA3DCA7


E9DEBDAE-04CD-44D2-B850-3FDFC62B3253

F1945B36-8978-4986-8274-A7A7B803DAF9

Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

432 Pages

Synopsis: “A Secret History-esque tale…All the ingredients for the perfect summer read.” —The Millions
“Captivating, thoughtful, and tense, a great read for those who enjoy psychological thrillers and complex puzzles. Highly recommended.” —New York Journal Review of Books

“It’s time to come Home. All five of you. Or else.”

Saskia was a damaged, lonely teenager when she arrived at the lakeside commune called Home. She was entranced by the tang of sourdough starter; the midnight call of the loons; the triumph of foraging wild mushrooms from the forest floor. But most of all she was taken with Abraham, Home’s charismatic leader, the North Star to Saskia and the four other teens who lived there, her best and only friends.

Two decades later, Saskia is shuttered in her Connecticut estate, estranged from the others. Her carefully walled life is torn open by threatening letters. Unless she and her former friends return to the land in rural Maine, the terrible thing they did as teenagers—their last-ditch attempt to save Home—will be revealed.

From vastly different lives, the five return to confront their blackmailer and reckon with the horror that split them apart. How far will they go to bury their secret forever?

New York Times bestselling author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s Fierce Little Thing is a mesmerizing story of friendship and its reckonings. (Goodreads)

Fierce Little Things is a moody and evocative slow burning suspense that captivated me from the very first page. There are three mysteries to be solved here. What happened on the tragic day Saskia lost her younger sister? What was the terrible act that she and her friends committed at the cult-like Home when they were teenagers, and who is blackmailing them now? The story mainly unfolds in two separate timelines, but I was never left confused as the short chapters flipped back and forth. While this isn’t a thriller by any means, it’s certainly suspenseful and I was kept thoroughly occupied as I endeavored to put together all the puzzle pieces. The characters, including Saskia aren’t very likable, but they are interesting which kept me wanting to learn more about them. The setting of Home is vividly detailed, and I could easily picture everything in my mind. I loved the ending and thought it the perfect finish to this eerie story. I guarantee that Fierce Little Things is a creepy, twisty tale that will pull you in and not let go.

Literary Lines

Tags

, ,

4835B239-E763-4611-9198-D0B98A0710CF

The first week of August hangs on at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It’s curiously silent too, with blank white and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.

~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting ~

These Deadly Games, By Diana Urban ~ 4.0 Stars

Tags

, , ,

6E4263B1-1B24-4E0A-93ED-7E9B251FAA9A

Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: February 1st, 2022

416 Pages

Synopsis: Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, will keep you riveted until the final twist is revealed. (Goodreads)

These Deadly Games is another buzzy upcoming book making the rounds, and while I had a couple of issues with it I sped through it in three hours.

Let me get the negatives out of the way. I had a difficult time connecting to most of the characters, especially Crystal. Most of them were a bit obnoxious in one way or another, although I did warm up to a couple the further I got into the story and learned more about them. Crystal was especially difficult because adding to that was some poor decision making on her part. However, given that she’s sixteen, and put into an impossible situation I tried not to be too judgemental. And, as is usually the case with unsympathetic characters, they can make great suspects, which is what happens here. Up until the halfway point of the story I had pegged the role of the villain on everyone, including Crystal. Although I did deduce who it was well before the big reveal, it was still interesting because of all the unknown particulars. What makes me give this 4 stars though is the unique action-packed storyline and all the twists. All too often I’ve gone into a book that’s billed as a thriller only to find that it barely fits into the suspense genre. This story is a thriller in every sense, and I was absolutely glued to the pages as Crystal careened from one tormenting game to another, while at the same time desperately trying to unmask her tormentor. The ending when it came, unveiled a few last surprises that left me quite happy with the few hours I spent reading.

Overall, despite the mainly unlikable cast, I really enjoyed These Deadly Games. In her acknowledgments, Diana Urban mentions that her film agent is championing this in Hollywood, which isn’t surprising to me because I couldn’t help thinking what a fantastic movie or series this would make. If you love thrilling cat-and-mouse tales, I highly recommend this!