REVIEW : Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Never Have I Ever

Published July 30, 2019 by William Morrow

 

This was a FANTASTIC novel. One of my favorite reads this year.

Forty-two year old, Amy Whey has a great life. She has a wonderful family and a terrific best friend. She finally feels at home for the first time in her life.

Tuesday, May 28, 1991, was the night that Amy’s life, as well as many others, changed forever. After that night, Amy tried a variety of ways to stuff her feelings. Eventually, it was diving that saved her. Being underwater was the only place she could forget… if just for a little while. Then Amy met Davis and his daughter, Maddy. They became her family, eventually adding baby Oliver to the mix. Finding a new best friend, Charlotte only added to Amy’s happiness.

The last seven years have been amazing, but there are times she wonders if she should have told the people she loves about her past.

Amy’s life is about to become VERY complicated.

 “Is this where the book club meets?”

Book club is well underway when the doorbell rings. Amy opens the door to a pretty woman with beautiful dark hair. The woman’s name is Angelica Roux, Roux for short. She is a single mom with a teenage son and they are staying at the Airbnb next door. She thought she would come to book club to meet some new people.

Amy never thought that book club would be the place where her life would start to unravel.

Roux introduces herself and the other women immediately start trying to impress her. However, Charlotte, who is the leader of the group is far from impressed. Roux insults the book, sits in the host’s chair, and mixes drinks like she owns the place. She basically hijacks the evening.

Soon, Roux, has the women drinking shots and playing a game called, “Never have I ever”. The game starts out innocently enough, but then one of the women confesses something that hits very close to home. Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a harmless game. Roux says that Amy would win this game hands-down. She seems to be indicating that she knows something about Amy’s past. Amy has had enough and tells Roux to get out. As Roux is leaving she tells Amy that they need to get together, that they have a LOT to talk about.

Amy has no intentions seeking Roux out, but she is worried. She tells herself that it’s impossible for Roux to know about her past. Truly impossible. But when Roux comes looking for her, Amy’s instincts are proven right. Roux wants something from her and if she doesn’t get it, she’s going to make Amy pay…

How will Amy protect the precious life she’s built?

I LOVED this book!

The story is told from Amy’s point of view. Most of it takes place in the present, but we do learn about Amy’s past and what happened that fateful night.

Filled with fascinating characters, an engaging plot, and twists that I NEVER saw coming. I thought the story was well-paced with perfect timing, and I loved how it all came together in the end.

Joshilyn Jackson is a tremendous storyteller, and I found this book so hard to put down! It held my attention completely.

A thrilling story about memory, betrayal, guilt, lies, love, friendship, and revenge.

I highly recommend this incredible domestic suspense novel!!

I’d like to thank William Morrow for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

 

REVIEW – The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

41150483

Published June 11,  2019 by Minotaur Books

 

Alice appears to have it all. She has a great family, a wonderful home, and a successful business.

Alice’s first husband, Tom died over ten years ago, and it was devastating. But eventually, she met and fell in love with Nathan and married for the second time.

Alice and Nathan have been trying to land a deal for a big project in Japan. AT Designs is the company that Alice and Tom started. Nathan joined the company and takes care of the business side of things while Alice takes care of the creative part.

Alice’s best friend is Beth. Beth’s daughter Millie goes to school with Olivia. Alice and Beth are very close and supportive of each other. They both lost their husbands, although it was in very different ways. Beth’s ex cheated on her and Beth is still quite angry about it.

Alice is thankful she has such a loving and loyal husband in Nathan.

Then Nathan starts acting strangely. But he seems to have an answer for everything. Alice WANTS to believe what he tells her, but her head and heart say two different things.

Is she being played for a fool?

One night Alice is browsing Facebook when she comes across a profile that shakes her entire world.

Luckily she has her best friend to lean on…

But after her next conversation with Beth, Alice’s world explodes yet again.

Is there anyone Alice can trust?

So many secrets, so many lies, and a whole lot of drama had me quickly flipping the pages of this engaging psychological suspense novel.

The novel is broken into three parts. Part one is Alice’s point of view. Part two is from Beth’s perspective and part three brings everything together. There were times I found myself annoyed with Alice and Beth and some of the decisions they made, but overall, this was quite an enjoyable read.

The First Mistake” was an interesting story of suspicion, jealousy, and betrayal. It also had some very surprising twists. I was positive I had things figured out, but in most cases, I was way off.

 

I’d like to thank Minotaur Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW – Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong

Wherever She Goes

Expected publication: June 25th, 2019 by Minotaur Books

 
What a great read!

Aubrey Finch has made mistakes. The pain in her shoulder is a reminder of a big one.

Aubrey is separated from her husband, Paul who has primary custody of their daughter, Charlotte. Aubrey didn’t want to uproot her daughter until she found an acceptable place for them to live. It was supposed to be temporary. That was six months ago. Aubrey and Paul are civil with each other. They both seem to want the best for Charlotte. But Aubrey knows if Paul ever found out about her past, he wouldn’t be so civil.

Aubrey loves her daughter, but motherhood has never come naturally to her. She watches the other parents; tries to “observe and assimilate”.  She reads all the articles and blogs but she just can’t relate to the other parents.

One day while doing cartwheels with Charlotte at the park, Aubrey meets another young mom who doesn’t seem to fit in either. They strike up a conversation as they watch their children play.

“I see this young woman, with her old needle scars and her worn jeans and her shabby sneakers and the way her face glows every time her gaze lights on her son, and she’s the mother I connect to.”

A few days later Aubrey is jogging through the same park. She notices a boy on the swings. It looks like the boy from the other day. Aubrey doesn’t see his mother anywhere. Suddenly she hears someone shout and the boy heads in the direction of a big SUV.  But when she hears him cry out. “No! Let me go!” Aubrey starts to run in his direction. The car pulls into traffic and roars off.

It’s gone.

Aubrey tries to explain what she saw to the police but they tell her that no one else saw anything. The police also say that the other parents see Aubrey watching them and their kids. “You make some of the other parents uncomfortable”.

Aubrey contacts the police again and they tell her no one has reported a child missing. She feels like no one believes what she saw, but her gut tells her she’s right.

Aubrey tries to put it out of her head. Her daughter needs to be her primary focus.

“Even if I am right, is it worth the risk to help a stranger?”

Then she sees a story in the local news that changes everything. Suddenly, Aubrey is more involved than ever. She still worries about being exposed. Her past coming out could ruin everything, but she can’t just stand by. She NEEDS to help. Aubrey knows what it is like to be left behind, to wait for someone…anyone to come. She’s going to find a way to prove what she saw.

But if she continues to investigate will she be putting her own child in danger?

How far would you go to save a child that wasn’t your own? 

I really enjoyed this engrossing and thought-provoking read.  I thought it was a unique take on a missing child story.

I really felt for the main character. Aubrey is a single mother who isn’t confident in her parenting skills. She hasn’t always made the best decisions but she was a relatable character. I was fully invested in the story and wanted Aubrey to succeed.

Overall, this was a touching and well-paced domestic suspense novel that held my interest from start to finish.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Blood Orange

Published February 19, 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

 

I had been seeing this book everywhere and thought the synopsis sounded intriguing.

Alison seems to have it all. The perfect family and a great job. Her future is bright.

But right from the start, we see that Alison most certainly does not have it all together. She’s drinking too much, working too much and….well let’s just say she’s doing too much of almost everything. What she’s not doing is spending any time with her family. Her excuse is that she’s working hard to support her family. But after a night of partying with some co-workers and passing out in her office, we see that Alison is more than a bit out of control.

Alison is a criminal defense lawyer and she’s just been given her first big case. A woman is accused of murdering her husband. The woman doesn’t deny she killed her husband and thinks she should go to jail. But Alison feels like there is so much more to the story.

Then Alison finds out that someone knows what she’s been doing and that someone wants her to pay.

Not everything is quite as it seems in “Blood Orange”

It did take me a little while to get into this story. However, after a slow start, I became absorbed in Alison’s wild private life and the murder case she was trying. I thought the characters were fairly well-developed, flaws and all. Alison wasn’t the most likable character and I cringed at her self-destructive behavior, but in many ways, she was still relatable. I eventually found myself rooting for her.

Overall, I enjoyed this dark and gritty audiobook. The narration was good and although I did guess a few things before they were revealed, the twisted and intense ending had me on edge and was a complete surprise.

“Blood Orange” was a clever and compelling debut novel about betrayal, control, addiction, and obsession.

I’m curious to see what Harriet Tyce has in store for readers next!