REVIEW – Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

Expected publication: February 25, 2020 by Gallery Books

 

I gravitate towards books that have anything to do with social media so there was no doubt I was going to be reading this book.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you more interesting”

Audrey Miller is a popular Instagrammer. She loves sharing her life with her many followers. Audrey has just moved to Washington, DC to start her dream job as Social Media Manager at the Hirshhorn Museum. Her friend Cat invites her to stay in her guest room but Audrey declines. Cat is nice but she has always been too needy. Plus Audrey already found a place to live. She found an ad on Craigslist and after speaking with the landlady on the phone, she said she would take it…UNSEEN! “How bad could it be?”  It won’t be long before Audrey regrets that decision.

Cat has always felt like Audrey’s friendship saved her. However, Cat is the complete opposite of Audrey, she doesn’t even have an Instagram account. Cat wants to become partner at the law firm where she works. Now that Audrey is in town, Cat has been going out a lot more and her work begins to suffer. But Cat feels like Audrey needs her right now. She feels like Audrey would do the same thing for her. At least that’s what she tells herself.

Lately, Audrey has been feeling like someone is watching her but tells herself that it is just her imagination. She is working on a social media campaign for a new exhibit called “The Life and Death of Rosalind Rose”. If she does well this could mean a terrific promotion. But when strange things start happening we have to wonder if life could be imitating art.

Someone IS obsessed with Audrey. This person has been following everything she does online. He knows almost everything about her. NOW he thinks he’s found a way to keep an even closer eye on Audrey.

 

This was a compelling and cautionary tale.

Cover up your webcam!

The story is told from multiple points of view. We hear from Cat, Audrey, and “HIM”.  I liked the alternating points of view. The story was gripping and I finished it in just a few sittings. This is a fictional story so there are definitely some over-the-top moments. However, I thought this was a very entertaining and thought-provoking read. If I hadn’t done it already, this book would have me jumping to cover up all of the webcams in my home.

I’m currently watching the TV series “Truth Be Told” which is based on the author’s previous novel “Are You Sleeping”.  I think this book would make an excellent movie/TV series too!

A fascinating and terrifying story about friendship, love, obsession, and jealousy.

I’d like to thank Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

Throwback Thursday – Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

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:

 

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Let You Go

Published March 14, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

 

Goodreads Description:

The author of Still Missing targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more. Lindsey Nash has left an abusive relationship and her ex-husband was sent to jail. She has started over with a new life, her own business, and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties. There is no way he can ever find her and her daughter again. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded. Even her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he is a different person and doesn’t want to do her any harm. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead even closer to home than she thought?

 

My Thoughts:

I am a big fan of Chevy Stevens, I love the way she tells a story and I really enjoyed this novel. The plot was intriguing and the character development was excellent. The book flows back and forth from past to present and is told from the two main character’s points of view. Their different perspectives made the story even more interesting. I was positive I had things all figured out, but then something would happen that had me second-guessing everything I thought I knew. I was always uncertain as to what would happen next.

This was a fast-paced and suspenseful story with plenty of terrific plot twists. It kept me gripped right up until the satisfying conclusion.

I highly recommend this novel!

REVIEW – Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Published February 4th 2020 by Berkley

 

This was a clever and entertaining read about parents behaving badly.

I really liked the cover of this book and the description was intriguing. So many books about high school seem to be about students misbehaving. This one is different as it is mostly parents and other adults behaving badly.

Isobel Johnson is a teacher at Liston Heights High which is currently the top public high school in Minnesota. Isobel frequently deals with concerns from over-involved helicopter parents, but even she’s surprised when “a concerned parent” leaves a rather threatening voice mail on her home phone early one morning.

Isobel is aware that the principal and some of her colleagues think she should stick to the board-approved curriculum. But Isobel wonders who WILL speak up if she doesn’t? She just wants her students to see literature as well as the rest of the world in new ways and to think about what really matters in life. “Her intention was to influence the kids who had the power to make big changes in society”. Isobel’s recent performance review had gone well but she knows how quickly things can change. When she’s called into a meeting with her superiors regarding some other complaints she worries that her job might be at risk.

Julia Abbott’s world revolves around her two teenage children, Andrew and Tracy. Like most parents Julia wants her children to succeed. If that means she needs to step in sometimes then so be it out. Julia isn’t a big fan of her daughter’s English teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She feels like Mrs. Johnson has some radical ideas and Julia really doesn’t like her teaching methods. She wonders if she should get some of the other parents involved…

Everyone is excited about the school’s upcoming musical.  After the cast list is finally posted, drama ensues leading to an unfortunate incident that goes viral. Not long after that, a secret “behind the scenes” Facebook account is discovered.

The incident and the Facebook account will have far-reaching consequences for many of those directly and indirectly involved.

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes was a very enjoyable read.

The majority of the story is told from Isobel and Julia’s point of view but we hear from other teachers, parents, the principal, students, and more. Some characters just have a couple of pages but it was still nice to hear their point of view. I really liked the short chapters.

This is definitely a timely read.  It was a thought-provoking story that deals with issues like teaching, parenting, rumors, social media, relationships and more. Realistic in many ways and pure entertainment in others.

All in all a humorous, intriguing, and clever debut novel.

 

I’d like to thank Berkley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW – Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Six Minutes

Published July 1st 2019 by Allen & Unwin

 

 

 “How can a child disappear from under the care of four playgroup mums?”

I’ve had this book for quite a while and can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read it. I had a few books going already but decided I would just read a few pages to see what I thought (famous last words).

I was hooked from the start!

Lexie is mother to three-year-old, Bella. Lexie and Bella attend a local playgroup. They are at playgroup one day when Lexie decides to run to the store. She’s anxious about leaving her daughter, but four other mothers will look out for Bella while Lexie is gone. Plus she won’t be gone long.

Lexie was only gone for six minutes.

Now Bella is missing. How could this have happened? Did Bella find a way out and get lost or was she taken? Wasn’t anyone paying attention? Lexie is devastated and blames herself. On top of that, she also has to deal with people online spewing hate and blaming her for Bella’s disappearance.

Where is Bella?

I really enjoyed this book. This is one of those stories that really gets into your head. It sure got into mine. I seem to gravitate towards these kinds of stories so I’m not surprised this caught my attention.  I’m really glad it did.

Fast-paced and compelling with some great twists and turns, this book didn’t disappoint.

A great debut novel from Petronella McGovern.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!