REVIEW: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

33785151Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Expected publication: September 5, 2017 by Grand Central Publishing

 

5 Stars !!!!

When I first heard about this book….I wanted it. I knew I had to read it. Social media fascinates and terrifies me in equal measure. I will try to get my hands on any book that has social media at the heart of it, and “Friend Request” fit the bill perfectly.

The book opens in 2016. Louise Williams is a single mother to four-year-old, Henry. It’s an ordinary day when Louise receives the email that will change her life. Henry is at her ex-husband, Sam’s house and she has spent the day working. At first she was a glad to see she had an email waiting. However, after opening it, she’d give anything to go back to the boredom she was feeling just minutes before. She reads….

“Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook”

Instantly, Louise feels like she can’t breathe, and her first instinct is to slam her laptop shut.

She feels that she must be mistaken, she MUST have read the email wrong or she’s seeing things. But when she opens her laptop again….it’s still there.

“Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook”

She has no idea who would play such a sick joke on her. She’s tempted to delete the message and the friend request. But another part of her is morbidly curious….and wants to know. Curiosity wins out and she hits ‘Confirm Request’.

It’s been 25 years since she’s seen the face staring at her from the Facebook profile picture.

She thinks of her comfortable life. Her little family…..just her and Henry. Is that comfortable life being threatened….because of a friend request? As she thinks of her life the same sentence keeps running through her head “Maria Weston wants to be friends with me”.

“But Maria Weston has been dead for more than twenty-five years”

We know there’s something that Louise feels guilty about, something to do with Maria that happened in High School in 1989.


“I’ve been a friend, a daughter, a wife, a mother. Yet all the time, in the back of my mind, this one unforgivable act has loomed – squashed, squeezed, parcelled, but always there”.

Is someone playing a joke on her? But who? Somebody from the upcoming school reunion? Or is it something more sinister? Could Maria possibly be alive? And what secrets is Louise keeping that she’s feeling so guilty about? What has she done?

Well…..I’m not going to tell you!

“Friend Request” was all that I was hoping for and more. Not just suspenseful, it also has great dialogue and the issues brought up are so relevant to what’s happening in the world today. Not just social media but also friendships, bullying, marriage, sex and more. The characters were very well-developed. I just loved little Henry. And I loved to hate bitchy Sophie Hannigan.

Social media really makes us all vulnerable. Sometimes just looking at someone’s Facebook page can bring back teenage feelings, insecurities from a time when all you wanted was to be liked. The constant pressure to fit in. The rumors that would spiral out of control. Everyone just wanted to go the good parties, hang out with the popular crowd. Not realizing how so much of it wouldn’t matter years later. I had a decent high school experience, though far from perfect. But I also saw things that I know must have really hurt people, and I can remember a few “Sophie’s”.

The story alternates between past and present. Back and forth between 2016 and 1989. Also interspersed throughout the novel are musings from an unknown source. This adds to the mystery. Leaving the reader to guess whose private thoughts they were. I wanted to know who it was. I had my guesses, but I wasn’t even close.


“What would life have been like if she’d made a different choice then, not just for her, but for everyone around her?”

The author really knows how to pump up the suspense and tension until your head is spinning, trying to figure out who is telling the truth….who to trust. With excellent twist and turns, especially in the second half of the book. The last few chapters so tense that there was no way you could have pried the book out of my hands. I was desperate to know what happened.

Not everyone is who or what they seem. Can we ever REALLY know anyone?

This was a well-written and fast-paced exciting read. A fantastic debut novel full of mystery and suspense, real world issues, and relatable characters. I thought the ending was surprising and satisfying. I can’t wait for more from Laura Marshall!

Teaser Tuesday – August 22, 2017

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that is hosted by The Purple Booker It is very easy to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Here are my “teaser” sentences:

Everyone treats me as if I’m fragile these days, maybe there’s a reason for that, maybe I am fragile; if I’m so uncertain about these things that I could be shaken by the potential of a single discouraging sentence from a woman I barely know.

Pathetic. Pathetic enough to stay, even when I knew I had to go. And look where that got me? Something has to change. Something has to change.

 

And the book is……

A Mother’s Confession

by Kelly Rimmer

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Published October 28th 2016 by Bookouture

 

Goodreads Description:

‘He’s dead and I’m safe, but I’m still scared. Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.’

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost…shouldn’t she?

From the bestselling author of The Secret Daughter and Me Without You comes another emotionally gripping and gut-wrenching read about love, loss and the strength of a mother’s love.

This is my first read from Kelly Rimmer. Dark, chilling, moving, emotional, and heartbreaking are some of the words I’ve seen describing this novel. And although I haven’t read very much of it yet….

So far, I agree.

I can’t wait to read more!!

Do you have this on your TBR? And for those of you that have read this novel, what did you think? I’d love to hear your comments!

Goodreads Monday – August 21, 2017

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part,  simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.  Be sure to check out Lauren’s blog and link back to add your own links!

Today the book I’m going to show off is: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

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The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

To Be Published October 17, 2017 by HarperCollins

 

Goodreads Description:

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve only had this novel on my TBR for a few weeks, but I am really excited about reading it. The author, Liv Constantine is actually the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. This is their debut novel. 

“a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants”

Sounds like main character, Amber Patterson could be a character that readers will love to hate!

shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end

This sounds like a fantastic psychological thriller….. and I can’t wait to get started!

 

REVIEW – Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

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Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka
Published: August 22nd 2017 by Simon & Schuster

 

3.5 Stars!!

I was quite intrigued after reading the description for, GIRL IN SNOW. The mysterious death of a small town girl and the secret lives of three individuals connected to her. A socially awkward boy who was in love with Lucinda, a teenage girl who despised Lucinda, and the detective investigating her death.

The story is told from the perspectives of Cameron Whitley, Jade Dixon-Burns and Detective Russ Fletcher.

The principal of Jefferson High School has called an assembly to tell the students about Lucinda’s death. Cameron has quite a physical reaction to this news. In the days ahead, Cameron recalls this as the moment he lost her. After the announcement, speculation starts immediately. Some said she was sexually assaulted, others said she killed herself, the rumors run rampant. A lot of students are genuinely sad, while others like the drama….

Cameron tries to recall where we was when Lucinda died, but he can’t remember.

Cameron likes to play “Statue Nights”He started playing this at age twelve. He believes that if he stands perfectly still he can’t be seen.

“The game of Statue Nights began with the Hansens, next door. Cameron would stand on the curb outside their house for hours, watching them eat microwaved food, and argue”

It’s wasn’t long before he started playing Statue Nights while watching Lucinda. Cameron has a lot of anxiety and often gets “Tangled“. Tangled is a word he uses to describe when he gets worked up about something.

Jade Dixon-Burns…….straight up hated Lucinda and doesn’t even try to hide it. Jade feels that Lucinda stole everything from her. She took her babysitting job but most importantly she stole Jade’s best friend. Jade is really irritated by the fact that Lucinda didn’t seem to notice who she hurts. Jade often says whatever pops into her head. She feels like she can’t even fake sadness over Lucinda’s death.

“faking shock is easier than faking sadness”

Interspersed thought-out the book is a screenplay written by Jade. “What You Want to Say But Can’t Without Being a Dick”, was about what she said to people vs. what she’d wished she said.

Detective Russ Fletcher is an officer with a sketchy past who is investigating the death of Lucinda Hayes. He’s been hearing rumors about Cameron Whitley and how he liked to follow and watch Lucinda. He has another connection to Cameron Whitley. The detective made a promise to someone years ago, a promise he intends on keeping.

We’ve got a body“, are words that Russ hasn’t heard in all his years on the job, most of his career has been spent on things like speeding tickets….small time stuff. He’ll soon find out that he’s connected to this crime in ways he’d never have expected.

When he asks Cameron Whitley where he was the night of Lucinda’s murder…

Cameron can’t remember.

We learn more about the inner lives of these three characters. There are quite a few people who may have had reason to kill Lucinda. Was it Cameron, who liked to watch her and can’t remember where he was when she was killed? Or Jade who so deeply despised Lucinda? Or could it be someone else? Cameron appeared harmless and I felt sorry for him. But harmless can also be dangerous. There’s a fine line between love and obsession.

While the mystery surrounding Lucinda’s death was intriguing, I didn’t feel connected to Lucinda herself, only as the victim of this horrible crime. It felt like more of a character study than a mystery or thriller. Quite slow at times, I found myself having trouble staying connected to the story. However, there was some really beautiful writing, including quotes that I want to remember forever. But it felt like there was quite a bit of extra writing, as well as a few extra characters, whose purpose I didn’t really understand.

All that being said, “Girl in Snow” was thought-provoking and interesting. I appreciated learning about the characters (some more than others). I especially enjoyed Jade’s chapters, learning about her life, her mother, and the experiences that helped define her. It was interesting seeing how her character developed over the course of the novel. I loved the addition of her screenplay. I had no idea who killed Lucinda, although I had my suspicions. So how everything played out was quite surprising.

All in all, I thought this was pretty good for a debut novel, though I wished there had been more focus on the plot and less on each individual character. The writing was still very good and I would absolutely read more from this author.

Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.