Verity by Colleen Hoover – ⭐⭐⭐⭐ WHOO. Damn, Colleen. Well done. I’ll be lingering over this the rest of today for sure 🤩
Recommended: yes For a delightfully creepy “villain” character, for an ending that makes you question everything in the best way, for atmosphere over character reflection
Summary: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died. Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
Thoughts: The coauthor premise was abandoned pretty quickly in lieu of the rest of the book’s plot, which is fine because the rest of the book was great. It did weaken the overall structure of the story a tiny bit, because it was clearly just used as the bridge to get her in the house, but it’s a minor thing. This book just rushes you right into the creepy bits, and everything prior to that is minimally important in my opinion. 😂 I just want the eerie-ness!
Recommended: sure For a pretty general suspense thriller novel, for female relationships that aren’t as expected, for an unusual ending to a thriller (as far as my limited experience has seen), for a non-graphic thriller focused more on mental manipulation
Summary: Psychology professor Jackie Strelitz thought she was over her ex-lover and colleague, Harlan Crispin. Why should she care if Harlan springs a new “friend” on her? After all, Jackie has everything she ever wanted: a loving husband and a thriving career. Still, she can’t help but be curious about Harlan’s latest. Nasira Amari is graceful, smart, and young. Worse, she’s the new member of Jackie’s research team. For five years, Harlan enforced rules limiting his relationship with Jackie. With Nasira he’s breaking every single one. Why her? Fixated by the couple, Jackie’s curiosity becomes obsession. But she soon learns that nothing is quite what it seems, and that to her surprise—and peril—she may not be the only one bho can’t let go.
Thoughts: I like the way this progressed, and it felt like it built up to the climax well. The big event was kind of predictable, mostly due to the little prologue at the beginning, but still enjoyable. The antagonist was fascinating, and I liked to getting to see inside their mind. However the chapters that were about other characters randomly were not my favorite. Yes, they gave some additional depth to the people around Jackie, but they were somewhat jarring in how offset they were in time and place.
I appreciated that this book included modern elements that are sometimes completely ignored, like how most people never change their account passwords, or those new video doorbells. That might seem silly, but to me it was a huge boon because it made it actually seem realistic.
Overall I generally enjoyed this, but it was also a pretty quick read. I don’t think I would have stuck with it if it were slower, because it just didn’t feel like there was that much new or original that would maintain my attention more than a few hours. It’s good for a stormy weekend night or a trip to the beach.
This was definitely worth it for one of the free Amazon first read picks!
Recommended: eh For those who don’t read many mysteries, for a slow-burn psychological drama, for a story you can read once and be done with forever after
Summary: Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Thoughts: I finally got around to reading this book. And since I remember years ago that there was a lot of excitement around this book, including it being a Goodreads Choice winner (2015 I believe), and there was also a movie adaptation, I had really high expectations. Maybe that was part of it’s downfall for me, really.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it while I was reading it and was usually interested to see what happened next. I wanted to know the answer to the mystery. I had my own suspicions and was really angling for a specific outcome that I thought would have been worthy of the intensity of hype around the book. Each character intrigued me in their own way, and the snippets I got from Anna and Megan drew me in each time. I didn’t dislike any of them, and was never disappointed when it switched perspectives.