Review- The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

33584818The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

Expected publication: July 11, 2017

Scribner

 

 

 

5 Stars !!

This is my first read from Michael Robotham. I loved it!


How far would you go to create the perfect family?

How many times have you looked at someone and thought “now there is someone who has it all?” Well I have. Plenty of times.

We may assume someone who is beautiful, rich, married with children must be happy. They must have the perfect life. But you know what they say about assuming….

The book alternates between Agatha and Meghan’s point of view.

When Agatha looks at Meghan she sees someone with the perfect life. She has a gorgeous home, two beautiful children, and a loving husband. While Agatha is at home, pregnant and alone, wondering if her baby daddy, Hayden will ever return her calls. Hayden is a sailor who is away for seven months. Agatha tells us the silly boy “thinks” they broke up before he left, but she says he’s just overreacting to her going through his phone and reading his emails. Now he’s avoiding her.

But she’ll find a way to make him reply to her.

Agatha is pregnant and works at a grocery store in an affluent area in London. Her favorite part of the day is when Meghan comes into the store.

Agatha knows A LOT about Meghan’s life. She knows her schedule, husband and children’s names, as well as what time Meghan picks up her daughter from school. She knows Meghan’s mothers’ group meets every Friday morning and even what each woman orders to drink. She’s gotten a lot of this information by watching Meghan. But she also gotten a lot of additional information from Meghan’s detailed posts on her mommy blog. She thinks Meghan makes motherhood and marriage look easy.

But Meghan’s life is far from perfect. Her marriage has been very bumpy lately. Jack has been acting strangely, and the couple has been fighting more than ever (more than once I wanted to reach into the book and throttle Jack, when he made comments about her weight or belittled her blog). Meghan hopes that once the baby is born things will go back to normal, that they will be happy again.

But Meghan has secrets…and she’s not the only one.

So many secrets.

Agatha finds out that Meghan is pregnant with baby number three and that they are both due around the same time. This gives her the push needed to strike up a conversation with Meghan. But Meghan doesn’t know that this little conversation has solidified a friendship (in Agatha’s mind). If Meghan only knew that a seemingly unimportant conversation with a woman stocking shelves at a grocery store will turn her life upside down in ways she never imagined.


“I’ve spoken to her properly now. We’ve made a connection. We’re going to be friends, Meg and I, and I’ll be just like her. I’ll make a lovely home and keep my man happy. We’ll do yoga classes and swap recipes and meet for coffee every Friday morning with our mothers’ group”

If only Meghan hadn’t gone to that store. If she’d done anything different that day. Maybe that would have changed everything.

This book got inside my head. So many twist and turns that literally had my mouth dropping open in surprise. I was so fully engrossed in the story that I didn’t see the time passing. I had an early appointment the next morning and wanted to get to sleep early. But I couldn’t stop reading!

We really have no idea what goes on in someone’s life. How things that happened throughout their lives can affect everything. I was trying to put myself into the minds of these characters. All of the horrible things some had been through. Some parts were very difficult to read.

How do we know what someone’s marriage or relationship is truly like. Just look at how happy everyone is on Facebook and other social media. So often we are just seeing just the parts they want us to see.

This was a gripping and powerful story full of thrills, twists, and mind games. And although occasionally things may have seemed implausible, I just went with it and enjoyed the story.

THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS is a clever and entertaining psychological suspense novel that I quickly devoured in just a few sittings.

I can honestly say this won’t be my last read from Michael Robotham

 

Thank you NetGalley and Scribner Publishing for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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REVIEW – The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger

31450897The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger

Published June 13,  2017 by St. Martin’s Press

4 Stars!

As I have mentioned before, I don’t read a lot of romance novels but something about this book intrigued me.

Heather has just graduated from Amherst college. She will be starting a job as an investment banker in the fall. Until then, she is going to enjoy her last summer free from responsibilities, traveling around Europe with her two best friends, Constance and Amy.

They have been enjoying their first few weeks traveling. Heather loves Paris and doesn’t want to leave. Now the friends are on to the next leg of their trip, and the crowded train headed for Amsterdam changes everything for Heather.

“Could you hold this?”

At first Heather doesn’t realize someone is talking to her, but when he asks again she looks up and into the eyes of a very handsome stranger. He wants her to hold his bag so he can climb up and have a nap….in the baggage rack. He even uses a bungee cord to strap himself in.

He tells her his name is Jack before he heads off to sleep. Heather continues reading but steals glances at him as he sleeps. When Jack wakes up a little later, they have their first conversation. It starts out well but then takes a quick turn for the worse, with him thinking she’s pretentious and her thinking he’s a condescending jerk. They make up, almost argue again… both seeming to enjoy the banter between them. All too quickly the train pulls into the station. After sharing a moment on the platform, they head off but make plans to meet up at a party later that evening.

Jack is from Vermont and is visiting various cities around Europe, following a path his grandfather once took. The journey is outlined in an old journal belonging to his grandfather. He wants to see the places that gave his grandfather hope after the ugliness of war.

After a very special night and magical morning. Heather wonders if Jack really is who he claims to be. She feels like there are things he’s not telling her. She realizes she doesn’t even know his last name. Jack is a fly by the seat of his pants sort. Seizes the day. A spontaneous free spirit. Heather likes to have fun but she’s more of a planner, and likes to stick to a schedule. There’s also the fact that Jack’s a bit judgemental about her career plans and has made a few passive aggressive remarks.

“I’m planning to go to New York in a few weeks to make a new start, and you let it drop that I am entering a prison of my own making”

She’s crazy about him. But after such a short time? Maybe for once in her life she doesn’t have to have everything figured out.

Or will his secrets change everything?

I thought the character development was great. Heather’s relationship with her girlfriends was heartwarming. I liked how Heather stuck up for herself with Jack, but she could also see when she may have overreacted. She came across as very well-balanced. I could see how Heather could fall for Jack right away. Not just good-looking, but funny and charming, though of course he wasn’t perfect.

“Insta-love” is something that usually doesn’t work for me. However, I found myself wondering if MAYBE it wasn’t quite so “Insta”. In the beginning there were times I was frustrated at some of the actions of certain characters. But I stopped over-thinking it, and got pulled into this budding romance. I had to see what was going to happen next.

So will Heather be able to deal with Jack’s go with the flow, Livin’ La Vida Loca style? Will she stick with her life plan or throw out her expensive Smythson day planner altogether? And what about Jack? What secrets is he keeping? Will it destroy this new and somewhat fragile relationship?

I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out!

This book surprised me…in many ways. Is it a bit predictable? Maybe. Did I care? No, not really. I’m not sure how I felt about the ending but this really was a good read. The descriptions of the places traveled were fantastic. The beautiful places they visited, at times it felt like I was actually there. In Paris, I could smell the food cooking in the restaurants. My stomach growled at the descriptions of what they were eating or the wine and expensive vodka they were drinking. I could feel the wind as they were speeding down the autobahn.

Overall, I thought this was an endearing novel with intriguing characters and an enjoyable plot.

 

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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Throwback Thursday – I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is:  I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Goodreads Description:

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating…

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I read I LET YOU GO a few years ago and LOVED IT!

This psychological thriller had me captivated and I really was unable to put it down until I finished it. An emotional plot with a huge twist that snuck up on me making my heart jump into my throat. Completely changed the dynamic of the story and then another twist that I never expected. Many great characters that are very well-developed. Jenna is haunting and felt very authentic as did many of the characters. This novel clearly shows how in one moment an unexpected tragedy can occur leaving many people devastated.

A clever and well written story that gripped me from beginning to end. Definitely one of my all-time favorite psychological thrillers.

Highly recommended!

Have you read this one yet? What did you think of it?

Review – Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Girl Last SeenGirl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Published: June 20th 2017

Grand Central Publishing

 

 

3.5 stars

I have always been interested in stories about missing people. So of course after reading the description for GIRL LAST SEEN, I knew I had to read it.

Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.

Ella/Lainey/Laine has seen many missing posters over the last ten years. She studies them closely. But this recent one is different. The missing girl looks very similar to how Lainey looked 13 years ago. They never caught the man who kidnapped her and she didn’t think he had replaced her…

Until now.


“Olivia Shaw, Age ten, missing for one week tomorrow”

After seeing the poster it’s all she can think about. Running on a loop in her head “Olivia Shaw, age 10, last seen….”

Laine works two jobs, trying to make ends meet. Her evening job is as a bartender in a strip-club. She’s working and notices one of the patrons is blatantly staring at her. It starts to creep her out. She’s about to tell him off but then he calls her by name. It takes her a moment to place the familiar voice. Then she remembers….it’s Detective Sean Ortiz with the Seattle PD. As soon as she realizes who he is, her first instinct is to flee. He gives chase catching up to her easily and wants to know why she ran. She doesn’t know what to tell him as she’s not sure why she ran either. She wonders what he wants from her.

“Laine…this is about a missing girl”

And then he proceeds to tell her something else that she did NOT see coming.

They need Laine’s help and she wants to help, but she’s not sure how. She doesn’t remember anything more about her time in captivity or her kidnapper.

I have to say I was really pulled in by the beginning of this book. However, about halfway through I started having trouble with a few things. I know that all characters won’t be likeable all the time. But everyone seemed unlikable. For one thing there aren’t a lot of characters in the book and I was having a hard time connecting with any of them. Of course I felt sorry for Laine….the girl hasn’t caught a break her whole life. She’s addicted to drinking and drugs which after everything she’d been through isn’t surprising. But some of her decisions were frustrating beyond belief. As time went on I did start to feel more for her and I was definitely engrossed in the story and what was happening.

There was also something about Detective Sean Ortiz that put my teeth on edge. I had a really hard time liking him. I found him inconsistent…which of course characters can be, but some of his actions as a detective and a man both baffled and angered me.

(view spoiler)

However, I was still intrigued and wanted to know what was going to happen. Laine is determined to help the Shaw family find their daughter, even if it means putting herself in danger.

What secrets is Laine still hiding? And the missing girls parents seem to have secrets of their own.

Where is Olivia?

The book started off really good. The plot had me intrigued. Then it sort of lagged from the middle on. However, the action definitely picked up again in the last few chapters. In fact at that point I had a hard time putting it down. So I am glad that I stuck with it.

Thank you NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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