Review – The Sister

The SisterThe Sister by Louise Jensen

Published July 7,2016

Bookouture

 

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Sister begins in the present. Twenty-five-year old Grace Matthews is digging up an old time capsule that her and her best friend Charlie buried ten years before.

She never thought she would be alone opening the box that contained all of their hopes and dreams. Things that were important to both of them as well as a bright pink envelope that Charlie slipped in right before they buried it. Grace doesn’t know what’s in the envelope but hopes if it will give her some answers to all the questions she has. Questions that Charlie can’t answer herself since she passed away four months earlier.

Charlie’s last words go around and around in her head.

“I did something terrible, Grace. I hope you can forgive me.”

When she opens the envelope she realizes just how little she knew about her best friend. Since Charlie’s death, Grace has become even more determined to find out what Charlie did that was so terrible. These thoughts occupy so much of Grace’s time that she feels she won’t be able to move on until she knows everything. It’s even affecting her relationship with her boyfriend.

When Grace met Charlie in middle school she instantly felt like she could trust her. The book delves into the friendship between her and Charlie as well as their close friends and the drama surrounding them all. There are many references made to Grace’s parents and her past. We are aware that something tragic has happened and Grace seems to feel very guilty. She refers to it as the day she’s tried to forget.

“Am I really to blame? Am I always to blame?”

When Grace starts an online search for Charlie’s father, someone else from Charlie’s past shows up. At first Grace is really happy, but it’s not long before strange things start happening. She begins receiving strange phone calls, things start to go missing, and she feels like someone might be following her. She wonders if she’s in danger or if she’s making a big deal about nothing.

When things start to take an even darker turn, Grace doesn’t know who to trust. Is this all related to Charlie and the past? Grace feels like someone is playing with her life and she’s terrified to find out what they’ll do next.

I thought “The Sister” was a good psychological thriller. It was easy to follow as it alternated between past and present. The story line and characters were interesting. However, there were a few times that Grace REALLY annoyed me. She would be overly paranoid about some things but didn’t seem to notice things that seemed glaringly obvious. A few of the decisions she made really baffled me, but it wasn’t enough to dissuade me from continuing on. I did have a few questions but still felt the book ended pretty strong.

Although I had to suspend belief occasionally I tried to stop analyzing (so hard for me sometimes) and just enjoy the book. Honestly, all in all it was a pretty good ride. The author did a great job of keeping me in suspense, and there were some good twists that I did not see coming! It was a very hard book to put down.

I think this is an very good debut novel and I look forward to more from Louise Jensen.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and Louise Jensen for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Watching Edie

Watching EdieWatching Edie by Camilla Way

Published July 28, 2016

Harper Collins UK

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

My legs were really bothering me yesterday and so I spent a lot of time with my feet up reading. I was so into this book, that I ended up staying up late to finish it.

Pregnant and alone, thirty-three year old Edie has a lot on her mind. So when the doorbell rings and she opens the door one day, she is completely surprised when she sees who’s standing on the other side. It’s her former best friend, Heather. They haven’t seen each other in almost seventeen years. Edie has imagined and dreaded this reunion over the years. Now that the moment has arrived, she is in shock and has no idea what to say to the one person she hoped to never see again.

Edie and Heather met when they were sixteen. While Edie had an easy time making friends, this wasn’t the case for Heather. When Edie shows an interest in being friends, Heather can’t believe it. Quickly they become close, but the friendship is always a bit lopsided with Heather a bit needier. Her home life is no better. They had moved to the town when Heather was ten for a “fresh start” after a tragedy rocked their family.

For awhile things are better for Heather, her friendship with Edie makes her so happy. But when Edie finds a boyfriend and starts hanging out with him and his friends, things start to change. But Heather doesn’t want things to change, she doesn’t want to lose Edie. Heather will do anything to keep from losing her.

However, not only do things change but everything goes horribly wrong. Betrayal and anger sets things in motion that changes both of their lives completely. Secrets that they have both kept all of these years. But who betrayed who? Why has Heather chosen to find Edie now?

What exactly happened all those years ago?

After that first visit, Edie avoids Heather but feels like she sees her everywhere she goes. But a few months later, Heather returns just when Edie has sunken far into feelings of hopelessness as a new mother. Edie doesn’t understand the feelings she’s having and why motherhood is so hard. Helpless to refuse the help that Heather offers, she even begs her to stay. But when she starts to come out of the black hole she had fallen into and her thinking clears, she starts to wonder about the timing of Heather’s return. Was it coincidence or was she just waiting for the perfect moment to come back? After everything that happened in the past, what does she truly want? And now that she’s back in her life, will Edie be able to get her out of it?

The book alternates between Before and After and is told from both Edie and Heather’s point of view. In the beginning I had a bit of a hard time figuring out who’s point of view it was but it didn’t take very long to catch on.

I think this is a really good psychological thriller. Full of suspense, with a clever and unique plot. Lots of little twists throughout the book made it even more enjoyable. It shows the darker side of friendship, obsession, and betrayal. That not everything is always what it seems. I would be positive I had figured something important out and and the author would throw a curve-ball into the mix and I would be back to trying to figure out just what was going on. I did not see the ending coming at all.

A gripping book. I was captivated by the story from start to finish. I hope to read more from Camilla Way very soon.

Thank you to NetGalley, Camilla Way, and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: All the Missing Girls

All the Missing GirlsAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Published June 28, 2016

Simon & Schuster

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading the description for this book I was really intrigued. Then I read the “Dear Reader” at the start of the book which stated that I would be spellbound and unable to stop reading until I found out what happened to the missing girls. That the twist makes it unlike any reading experience I’ve ever had. Phew!!

“The book is told backward. After the setup, the story jumps ahead fifteen days and then counts down, day by day, until we reach the beginning again”

This is a story about the disappearances of two young women – a decade apart – told in reverse.

Now I was more than intrigued…I was psyched! But to be honest I was also a little concerned as to how this was going to turn out. But I couldn’t wait to read it.

The way this book is written, makes it hard to read anything else at the same time. I sometimes like to read two or three books at a time. With this one that would be difficult. And once I was into it I didn’t want to read anything else. I wanted to know what happened! Definitely not a book that I could speed read.

Nicolette (Nic) Farrell left home ten years ago after her best friend Corinne went missing. Nic has and returned only a few times to visit. Corinne has never been found, her case never solved.

Nic receives a call from her brother Daniel stating that their father is not doing well and some decisions have to be made. Two days before her brother’s call she received a letter in the mail. The letter says “I need to talk to you” and “That girl, I saw that girl.”

The letter is from her father.

“Corinne was larger than life here. Had become even larger because she disappeared.”

Nic decides that she needs to go home.

“Tick-tock, Nic”

Now just like Corinne went missing all those years ago, another woman, Annaleise is missing. Annaleise just happens to be Nic’s neighbor and was recently dating Nic’s ex-boyfriend, Tyler.

Are the two cases connected?

What really happened to Corinne all those years ago? And where is Annaleise? Nic is determined to find out. To do so she has to look closely at all of her friends and family. She needs to look at everyone’s relationship with Corinne….including her own.

“The facts. The facts were fluid, and changed, depending on the point of view. The facts were easily distorted. The facts were not always right”

I thought All the Missing Girls was a good psychological suspense. Well written and gripping. There were times I did get confused and had to read back a few pages. But the story is very interesting and it was hard to put down. I look forward to more from Megan Miranda.

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Megan Miranda for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Untethered

UntetheredUntethered by Julie Lawson Timmer

Published June 7, 2016

G.P. Putnam’s Sons

 

My rating: 4.5 stars

This is the second book I’ve read by Julie Lawson Timmer. I read “Five Days Left” last year and I really enjoyed it. So I was pretty excited for this book. When I was approved to read the ARC from NetGalley I was thrilled. Then I started to worry that I wouldn’t like it as much as I liked her first book.

I needn’t have worried as I REALLY enjoyed this book too!

Char Hawthorn was very happy with her life. Deeply in love with her husband, Bradley and after a bit of a struggle now had a great relationship with her step-daughter, Allie. However, when her husband dies unexpectedly, her whole world explodes.

Char has been Allie’s stepmother for five years and they have a very tight bond. Char is the one who has been there every day for Allie, while her biological mother, Lindy flitted in and out of her life on a whim. With nothing binding them together legally, Allie’s narcissistic mother, Lindy holds all the cards. As much as Char loves Allie and wants her to remain living with her, the fact is that Allie’s mother now has sole custody and has the right to decide where Allie will live.

***Possibly some very minor spoilers***

Lindy, who hasn’t shown much of an interest in her daughter, who is beyond self-absorbed and whose actions are motivated more by her ego than anything else. One minute she wants Allie to come live in California the next she says she can stay until the end of the school year, never really making it clear what she wants.

“I used to belong to people, Will. They used to belong to me. Now I’m just…floating. Adrift. Alone. Untethered.”

Amidst all of this turmoil both Char and Allie are still grieving. Char tries to there for Allie without overstepping the boundaries she now feels between them. Then Allie’s attitude starts to change and she starts lying about who she is with and where she’s going. No longer feeling like she has any right to tell Allie what to do, but at the same time wanting to protect her, their relationship becomes even more strained.

On top of everything that is going on, both Allie and Char are very worried about a young girl that Allie tutors and has grown quite attached to. Ten-year-old Morgan has had a very rough life. After living in many foster homes she’s now with a family that has adopted her. However, after all she’s been through adjusting has not been easy on her or her new family.

When Char comes home one day to find that Allie is missing, her only focus is on finding her and bringing her home.

But where has Allie gone?

There is a lot going on this book but at no point did I find it hard to follow. The author touches on quite a few issues that both teenagers and adults can relate to. She writes about blended families and how hard step-parenting can be, especially when the biological parent is still in the picture. Honestly I found it all interesting.

This book was very hard to put down. I HAD to know what was going to happen and how it was all going to end. It was a very emotional read. I was frustrated, sad, happy, angry, even raging at times but totally immersed in everything going on.

“It would be so easy to hate her, if she didn’t so clearly hate herself.”

Julie Lawson Timmer is so good at writing about grief and loss as well as family, love, and the good and not so good in people . I felt that the characters were very well-developed, flaws and all. I could feel the desperation of some of the characters right in my gut. Once again after reading a book like this I feel like I need to watch how quick I am to judge someone. I like to think I know how I would handle some of these situations but there’s no way of truly knowing how I would react. People aren’t perfect and can make terrible decisions. At the same time I do feel there are some things that would be almost impossible to forgive.

While there was a lot going on in this novel. I felt it all came together very well. I highly recommend this book!

So Julie Lawson Timmer, we are now two for two! I am really looking forward to reading all of your future books!

Thank you to NetGalley, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Julie Lawson Timmer for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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