Verdict:meh. A mediocre mystery lacking sinister characters and shocking yet satisfying twist that mysteries and thrillers are built on.
Recommended: not really Look elsewhere for a character you like, or for a story that focuses on the suspense and not the domestic issues, or for people who are made out to be really sinister and suspicious, or for a twist/shock that will blow you away
Summary: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder. Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant. It was everything. She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
This might be the first time ever that I finished a book and wrote and posted a review the same day I finished it!! 🎉
Thoughts: Ah, I mean, I don’t know. While I read this pretty quickly, it wasn’t because of how into it I was. More because there wasn’t much to take in, so I flew through it.
I expected a lot more as far as developing the possible characters in suspicious ways. I wanted to see them seem evil, or sinister, or delve more into the supernatural elements. I wanted to have no idea who to trust, with scheming at every turn! There were a few select moments like this, but ultimately none really had the impact I was hoping for.
I actually have a planned reading list for this month, and I actually think I’ll stick pretty closely to it. The reason? Well, I’m excited for all the books!! Simple as that. 😀
I’m going for a spooky theme for October. Of course that includes a few thrillers and mysteries (though I’ve finished one or two already being a few days into October). I have a few spillover books that I was in progress with that I’m wrapping up as well, but those are left off this list because I really want to highlight all the themed books that I’m excited about!
Ah, finally I will read Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon!! I wrote about it for a Fast Forward Friday feature ages ago and then recently found the book on Hoopla. But I saved my excitement because I wanted it to be part of my spooky reads in October! FINALLY!! 😁 And I actually read and finished this one right away! It was quite good, and WELL I DID NOT CALL THE TWIST, let’s just put it that way!!!
Another one I’ve been waiting to read forever is The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. And also another gift copy from Elise because she spoils me with bookmail. ❤ I’m about a hundred pages in so far, and it seems to be a murder mystery / ghost story with nannying. I’m not big on children, but I can get into ghosts. Plus Scotland. The descriptions of the landscape alone would probably make this worth reading. 😍
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!
A while ago (like so long ago it was before we wore masks, and could still see other people) I found a book that sounded interesting.
Then a coworker mentioned how good it was and offered to lend it to me.
Then Covid derailed some plans. 😐
And now!! I have just finished that book: Verity by Colleen Hoover. And, well, I finished it in under 24 hours. I just couldn’t stop reading!
As I started it, I had no idea what it was about. It’s been so long since I first heard of it that by this point I had no recollection anymore: just that I’d been interested. It was like getting a blind recommendation, but from myself! I loved it. It’s definitely going to be getting a review soon. 👏
In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is one that I’ve seen around a lot — and it’s hard to miss the bright yellow cover for Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. Expected Release: September 15, 2020
Why wait on this one?
I find myself more interested in murder mysteries lately, and this one promises to deliver! The best part is that since Enchanted doesn’t remember anything about the night before, she becomes an unreliable narrator. What if she did kill her mentor, the super popular Korey Fields?
Since Korey is a celebrity and Enchanted is striving to be one, this murder takes on a national spotlight. As if being accused of murder wasn’t difficult enough, Enchanted is going to face hordes of fans who will be out for blood. Probably literally, given the things actual people do. That alone is truly horrifying.
And sure, Korey was popular, but did he hide a darker side from his fans (much like Ellen DeGeneres may have?)? Described by Enchanted as controlling and filled with rage, I can’t wait to see what the real face of the devil looks like in this YA thriller. Maybe Enchanted did kill Korey — and maybe he deserved it.
Summary: Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
Unlike Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look ahead to books publishing soon that I’m excited for! Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon is somewhat outside my usual reading zone, but I’m still pretty excited for it! Expected Release: May 26, 2020
Why wait on this one?
It starts with the main character learning her whole life has been a lie. Not only does your parent die, you learn you’re biologically someone else’s? ROUGH DAY.
It sounds like we’ll get to be in the perspective of someone unstable. Unreliable narrators are a special love of mine, and I hope this will be another one! I expect to see Eleanor slowly losing her grip on herself as her pain and jealousy drive her slowly slightly mad. Just mad enough to perhaps consider murder? 😮
In an out of character move for me, the mystery aspect of it quite appeals to me. I want to know what happens, and I haven’t even started it yet! What will Eleanor do to her sister or her bio family? Will she operate from the shadows, or openly address them? I don’t know, but I really want to find out!!
Summary: When Eleanor Hardwicke’s beloved father dies, her world is further shattered by a gut-wrenching secret: the man she’s grieving isn’t really her dad. Eleanor was the product of an affair and her biological father is still out there, living blissfully with the family he chose. With her personal life spiraling, a desperate Eleanor seeks him out, leading her to uncover another branch on her family tree—an infuriatingly enviable half sister. Perfectly perfect Victoria has everything Eleanor could ever dream of. Loving childhood, luxury home, devoted husband. All of it stolen from Eleanor, who plans to take it back. After all, good sisters are supposed to share. And quiet little Eleanor has been waiting far too long for her turn to play.
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!
Hello there! For those of us who find comfort in the mindset of “Well, things could be worse!” — this list is for you. Here we have books that are shades of scary, disturbing, unsettling, and graphic. I typically prefer books that make me laugh, but sometimes you’ve gotta fight fire with fire. So take a look at the list, read one of these books, and come out of it thinking that in comparison, maybe you’re doing okay.
True graphic horror
Seriously. I cannot give a big enough warning for this one. This scarred me. So of course, I have to share it here. It is incredibly brutal and graphic and disgusting and horrifying. But it is also so good because of that.
2 sentence summary: A bioengineered parasite is infecting people across America and turning them into raving murderous lunatics. Bitter ex-football star Perry is becoming one of them, and the war he must wage on his own body may impact all of humanity.
The perils of tech
So maybe we’re heading towards this reality in our own way. But at the moment, we’re not there yet, so thank goodness for that. If you don’t recognize Michael Crichton’s name already, prepare to be mesmerized.
2 sentence summary: Microbots programmed as predators have gained intelligence and are on the hunt. And they’re evolving more by the hour.
Words have always carried more weight with me than images – give me a book over its movie any day – but I do love to see the beautiful images other people create when they’re in love with a book. That’s not my strength, but I can certainly appreciate it in others! So here’s a few of my faves based on what I’ve been reading recently.
Heard of this from a friend who had picked the book up in BOTM and on some research saw I was the only of her Goodreads friends who had read the Tolstoy original. 😂 She let me borrow it, and OH. MAN. It’s been fascinating. I have lots of thoughts. One of which is that the colors of the cover are gorgeous, and yet feel at odds with the expected content of the story. Nonetheless, people will do gorgeous things with it.
Capturing the classiness of the families within; well, the surface-level class, anyway. They’re actually all pretty messed up.
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.